Re: What can you do WITHOUT a lawyer?
yes! My first step was to contact a lawyer- she recommended we first try collabrative divorce. She sent him a certified letter letting him know I had contracted her services and wanted to start the collabrative process( it is cheaper and does not involve court dictating settlements) he was also to contact a collabrative divorce lawyer and she included a list for him. He had 30 days to respond. He did not respond and lied to me that he had. After the 30 days, my lawyer filed a complaint in court asking for full and permanent custody of the children, child support, alimony and payment of all my legal fees. She cited abandonment and infidelity and stated his home was immoral as he was living there with his mistress. It cited his drinking, verbal mistreatment and failure to provide support for the children and I for several months. It was pretty brutal and it was hand delivered by the sheriff's department. He took attention then and was furious with me for several months. He finally got a lawyer ( I have no idea how he is paying for it- probably some relative is helping him)and his lawyer advised him to enter collabrative divorce process. Most lawyers in the US require a retainer before they will even take a case. I think my husband may have used money he should have given me for support to pay the lawyer. It is not a pleasant process and in my state one must attend a "parenting children of divorce" class and a court orientation class that really will make you want to avoid going before a judge at all costs. Judges do not care about personal or moral issues in most cases. It is very business like and support and visitation/custody are 2 separate issues completely. Hope this helps somewhat.