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I've decided to leave my husband after 5 years of unhappiness. (Almost 3 of those we were married.) I'm a stay at home mom (we have a 2 year old). He works. But he doesn't make much and we don't have much saved. I am planning on getting a job after the summer, which will most likely be when I tell him I want a divorce.

I have some concerns though. If anyone could help me, I would be so grateful!

1.) We don't have much money, like I said. Should we try to do the divorce paperwork ourselves, without hiring a lawyer? Because if we pay a lawyer, we will have next to no money left afterward. Good idea, or bad? Has anyone done the divorce paperwork themselves?

2.) Should we try to come to a custody agreement on our own, without lawyers? If it's not going my way or I feel unhappy with the way it's going, I could get a lawyer. Right? Or should I just get a lawyer for the custody issue from the get go?

3.) Before I tell him I want a divorce, can I take half of our money? Or some of it? If I tell him I want a divorce, and then he takes the money and leaves, then I'm left with $200.

4.) Can he take our daughter and leave with her after I tell him? I hope he wouldn't react like that, but I'm scared of him just taking her and not letting me see her. I guess technically he could, since he is her dad, but I would imagine that would not look good for him in a custody hearing.

5.) How long does it take for child support and spousal support to kick in?

6.) Can I keep my engagement ring? (So I can sell it)

Thanks in advance for anyone who can help at all :)
 

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1. Yes. It's cheaper if you have an uncontested divorce in which you agree on everything without using lawyers/mediators. It's also rare.
2. Yes. Again, the more you agree, the better.
3. Eh. He would probably be just as upset as you would be if he were to take half before telling you he wants a divorce.
4. He technically "can" since she's his daughter too and it isn't against the law unless he's kidnapped her and done something heinous. Find out the laws. Better yet........get an agreement re: child custody with him.
5. Depends on county/state/country laws. Find out what it is where you live. And none of those are guaranteed. Just saying.
6. I say yes. Because it was a gift and you did get married. Had you dumped him during the engagement I'd say to give it back to him.

7. Get a job. You will need one to support yourself and your daughter.



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The only part of the do it yourself divorce that is a problem is the custody and child support portion. If it is not done correctly then he might be able to get out of paying you any support, and you would have to get an attorney anyway. Before I went the direction of NO lawyer, I would make and appointment to consult with one at least, the initial visit is free with most lawyers. Why wait until the end of the Summer to get a job? If he is not making much money you might qualify for help with childcare in order for you to get a job, and be more financially stable on your own. My question for you is when you tell him you want the divorce is he going to expect it, or is he going to be hurt and resentful? That would be your main determining factor on the do it yourself divorce. and Jellybean is correct, if you went through with the marriage the ring is yours, i just did a law paper on that for school! Good luck and I hope it all works out for you!
 
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