Seeing A Lawyer - Why Is It So Hard?

So one story a couple days ago elicited a lot of responses of "bring this to your lawyer" "have you seen a lawyer yet?" "go contact your lawyer".

And now I am wondering just WHY is it SO DAMN HARD for me to go get a lawyer in this case? There's gonna be some "free-flow" thinking below as I try to work out why I have a million excuses and no great urge to do MORE lawyering at this time.

Yes, baz, you are 100% right: I should see a lawyer. Something in my head is stopping me. I have no idea how to make this a priority. Somehow I can't seem to do it.

There's a myriad of things I think I should do BEFORE the lawyer. There's the fact I have been screwed over by a lawyer recently, in terms of my patent. There's the knowledge that it may cost wayyyyy too much money for someone who has been out of work since 2010. But there's more personal issues I think....

First of all, I have done the initial lawyer consult (for free), to understand my rights in a general sense and what the laws in our jurisdiction are. We have a legal separation agreement, albeit downloaded from a lawyer's website and signed by friends, rather than a lawyer; overseen by the lawyer on the website (small fee). Of course everything paid by me.

There's the fact that everything in our marriage was implicit on the understanding that we don't go blabbing about our issues; in the end I realize this screwed me over. It's a holdover from childhood for me; abusive mother, you're either with her or against her and the worst thing you can do is tell someone else your mother's faults. Damn I married my own mother. Because my EX, he would die of shame before he'd let anyone in "his" basement room - posting his pics showed me that I am not exaggerating the situation, and keeping it silent did not help over the years.

Yet somehow I have this feeling that if I break the faith and go to a lawyer, he'll (ex) have GREATER control over me. i am still somehow feeling that the best path is to keep silent and cross fingers and push ahead. That somehow, asking for TOO MUCH is something I'll regret. Asking FOR MYSELF to have help, a clean house, custody of the kids, child support - I'll pay dearly if I try. Holdover from childhood?

I am feeling that there's no point even going there until the contract with the European university is inked, and I haven't even heard from them yet. What if I fail to get a position, fail to get a job; what if it was me that needed to rely on the EX's grace, how would I like to be treated?

I kind of feel that taking the kids overseas and away from him is a huge sin on my part. But I want a FUTURE. I WANT to be known as "Dr. Z" and have respect, and money coming in, and I want my kids to have the best of everything they can, and I KNOW the EX has nothing, and even when he had something, he wasn't sharing (it all goes to hoarding and Starbucks lattes for himself). I worked really hard at my invention, which I have spent $50K on, which has not taken off (I've got a patent, it's actually really useful and could make millions, but I am tired... and stuck... )... I want SOMETHING to work out!!!!

WHY am I trying everything EXCEPT just asking legally for what I know should be mine? Am I blind somehow? HE cannot take care of himself, much less the kids - I've been covering for him for ever.

Is it some secret that I've been covering for him that I don't want to come out and be the laughing stock?

Do I still love him enough that I don't want to hurt him? Is it my kids I don't want to see dragged down?

Am I too stingy with money to pay more fees that I am worried will balloon out of control?

I am terrified, to be honest, if I think of it. I have a small government stipend while I do retraining until April, then I have zero money coming in after that. I have to spend money to get wherever we will end up - repairing the house, moving expenses, etc. I have no plan other than to go to Europe if possible, and even that terrifies me.

I have been taken for a long, long 12 year ride by my ex, I used to make more than $65K/year and I have a Master's degree and I've saved every penny in this marriage and I'm a year away from broke and homeless.

I don't have another emotional fight in me.

I know I was raised extremely superstitious, you never ask for anything for yourself, you never ask for what you want, it'll be taken from you. Where the he*11 does that come from? I need these demons exorcised.

I am so scared.

zsuzsilowinger zsuzsilowinger
36-40, F
12 Responses Feb 3, 2013

I am so scared too. This is my second divorce and I remember the first one literally nearly killed me. But I got back on my feet and you will too

Just remembered.
I wrote a story about this very subject called "Seeing the Lawyer" a while back. Might be worth you having a look MsZ.

Tread your own path.

<p>OK, playing devil's advocate here, so don't flame me:</P><br />
<p>- Stay. Not permanently, but stay, for now, because of your financial situation. You're still leaving, just not this year. Shelve the idea of leaving, and reduce the stress on yourself. <br />
- It will be a roommate and co-parenting arrangement, nothing more. He is not going to love you they way you need, so just forget that. (keep reading ...) <br />
- Finish your current courses. Get a decent-paying job. (Yes, I can just say that so easily - I have met you and you are extremely employable.) If you do further schooling, do it online/part-time. <br />
- Hire a part-time nanny/housekeeper.<br />
- Have your husband (which he is) evaluated to obtain a diagnosis regarding his health. In your stories, one minute he is capable and safe to be babysitting, driving the kids around and shopping, the next too sick to hold down a job. How much of it is physical, how much psychological, is any of it fake? (Don't answer me - I don't need to know - but he may be entitled to additional treatment, therapy, home-care, a social worker, or even long-term care. YOU may be entitled to additional help as his care-giver. )<br />
- Do the dumpster thing, now and yearly if necessary. <br />
- Get a lover. Or two. Be discrete for the kids' sake, but really, what is your H going to do about it, would he even notice, and who would condemn you? <br />
- I know you have a personal issue with psychs/therapists, but find one that you like, and you can unload on. Someone who can help you find your way forward. <br />
- Re-evaluate the go/stay decision yearly. Spring is a good time to reconsider your launch-readiness.</P>

Three things:
- It's OK if you're not ready for this ....but you can't skip it. You really, really can't go forward without legal assistance, because of the children.

- No, you cannot take the kids out of country, even for a vacation, without the other parent's permission. You really need to hear this from a lawyer, but here's a link:

- My uncontested divorce in your jurisdiction only cost a couple thousand. There were additional costs for the associated real estate transactions.

Chai, I know about the consent letter, and was planning to get him to sign one IF accepted to Europe university. His signature or not would tell me more about getting a lawyer.

A couple of thousand is enormous to me right now, and if I go to a lawyer, it will be because it is CONTESTED, not uncontested, and HE won't pay any of it I know, because he has no extra money - it would be painful getting him to pay.

One reason we're separated rather than proceed with divorce is that separated means less restrictions on where I can go with kids. etc.

Two agenda's here.
1 - spouse #1 wishes to wind up the marriage and move on with the kids.
2 - spouse #2 wishes everything to stay just as it is.

Spouse #1's leverage. Divorce does not require the consent of spouse #2. Spouse #1 can enact that whenever they like.

Spouse #2's leverage. Moving the kids out of the jurisdiction DOE'S require Spouse #2's consent.

With appropriate legal advice, you might do well to consider this scenario.
You say - "I am sick of this faux separation and I intend proceeding to divorce"
He says - "You do that and I will NEVER give my consent to the kids leaving this jurisdiction.

Key information missing here is what the law in your jurisdiction says about the movement of kids outside the jurisdiction. Maybe there are mechanism that compel him to have to make a case for holding them in the jurisdiction if it is not in there best interests to stay in the jurisdiction. The answers to this, and other pertinent questions will NOT be found within this group.

I have a personal opinion, but it doesn't fit with your feelings Ms Z, so apply appropriate discounts.

ILIASM people are very reticent to "see the lawyer" because it makes the whole **** up REAL. It makes the prospect of leaving REAL. It makes the arduous task of getting out REAL.

That's intimidating.

Tread your own path.

How very true.

Have you thought about hiring a lawyer for a few hours and consulting with them. No obligation to hire them on for the full divorce, just get a legal opinion, get your questions answered and find out the true costs. I did this on a business matter and it was great. It showed me very clearly where I stood and could then made better decisions going forward.

You sound spookily like me. I'm a uni lecturer, witha daughter, whom I had at age 43. My husband's a refuser. We last had physical relations about a year ago after a gap of about 5 years. Last night he wouldn't give me and my daughter a hug. He said if he had hugged us he was condoning my stand of supporting our daughter when his mother had shown favoritism to her other grandchildren (in my opinion because my daughter's adopted). He gave up teacher training to become a minimum wage care worker despite having a 1st class honours degree.
I decided then to tell him to leave today but in the cold light of day have not. I work part time now and can't afford the house without some contribution from him. Child care would also be a challenge. He has put me through hell. I'm trying to do a phd -I'm about half way and trying to focus on getting it done so I can look for a full time post again and move away with my child. I deserve happiness but I'm scared to take it...

Refusers pull the rug out from under us... Not in one fell swoop, but as slowly as they can. Our self esteem and confidence are gradually eroded, until one day we are left wondering where the rug has gone and where is it that we now stand. I guess I'm just describing the boiled frog syndrome.<br />
Z-winger, I hope you can find the strength to face each new day with renewed assurance that you are an intelligent, capable, loving woman, who is worthy of happiness and success.

I've probably said this before, but I truly believe that people get what they *think* they deserve in life. Not what they actually deserve---and who can judge that anyway? People who feel they deserve wealth or fame or family or happiness or success or whatever tend to find it. It seems to me you are stuck at the part where you have the desire, but you haven't given yourself permission to feel like you deserve to HAVE what you DESIRE. But why not? Doesn't every human being deserve the right to pursue happiness? Even the constitution guarantees that right! What makes you less deserving than everyone else?

I do think you have been conditioned from your childhood to have these extreme guilt feelings about betrayal. You were told that doing what would have helped you---talking to someone about your Mom, for example---would hurt her. And HER hurt was more important than YOURS. My Mom is the same way, so I know of what you speak. Trust me.

Your husband's needs are not more important than yours. And he is not your mother, he's your spouse. You don't owe him the kind of loyalty you were taught you had to supply. You don't even owe it to your mother!

It is really hard to go to a lawyer---it makes it real. But I think in your case it's less to do with that than it does with feeling like you are a terrible person if you put your own happiness above his. Once you give yourself permission to to that, it will be easy.

Maybe you can just create a mantra: I deserve happiness. Say it all day, in front of a mirror, in the car, when you're happy, when you're sad, in the car, at the gym, whatever. I DESERVE HAPPINESS. Because you do!!

Maybe you're just not "there" yet, maybe it doesn't feel right because you know that once the wheels are in motion there is no stopping you.
Maybe you should just take it easy on your self, finish your studying, take care of whats in front of you, and as time passes things will get clearer, and then you'll know what to do.
What are you going to do with an empty basement anyways? LOL
Take baby steps, you have done good so far, don;t doubt your self now.

I had a lot of trouble seeing a lawyer. For me it was two fold. First was the expense. I read somewhere that the average divorce costs $20,000 and that completely freaked me out. Second, and more important, I was holding on to the belief that my P/A STBX was a good guy and didn't deserve to be sued. I mean, that's what divorce is, you are suing them. I thought we could get along and have an amicable divorce without all the hostility. What I realize now is that he is a 'good guy' as long as I am doing what he wants. Since he does not care about our relationship but wishes to keep me for housecleaning and childcare purposes, any attempt to change our situation was not going to go over well. In the end I realized that my hesitance to see a lawyer was based more on 10 years of training myself not to upset him than on any concern for our situation.

There are two monetary components to a divorce.
1 - is what the lawyer charges you for their time
2 - is what is awarded in the split up.
When you hear someone say "I got divorced and it cost me $1.5 million, think it through. It was likely a total pool of $3.0 million that got split up and the person got their right whack (of about half). It didn't "cost them $1.5 million"

If the lawyers time was worth say $ 20,000, that would be about 1.3% of the $1.5 million awarded. That ain't extravagant.

In my case, my legal fees and my then missus' legal fees (plus filing charges and other incidental matters) came to a bit over $1,000 in total, but say $1,500. That equated with about 0.1% of the total pool we split up.
But for dramatic effect, I could say "My divorce cost me a million bucks".

Don't let the fear consume your ability to operate. There are a few things you can do as a start that don't cost too much. There is a Divorce Planner book on Amazon, it helps you perform much of the work and tasks that people pay lawyers to do. Helps you get all your affairs in order, and lined up to move through the legal process faster and for less money.there are other books about fast divorces, cheap divorces, etc. Look into additional financial aid, your attorney may be able to recover some fees from your STBX. I'm no expert, this is what i have found in the last few days. Seek out expert advice, I'm going to a divorce support group...they will help me as well.