We have been married 9 years, have one child in common, and he's stepfather to my oldest. he has been sole provider for us through our entire marraige, we own a home that is in the middle of forcloseur. we owe more than it's worth. It has been a loveless and emotionally abusive (on both sides) for the last five. I would like to know my options, and costs, and chances of having shared custody, but pyhsical custody of our children. if there is anything to split, I want to do it down the middle. I don't want to be nasty, there has been enough of that. I still love him, he does not love me. It's not fair to anyone to continue to live this way, especially for the kids. NO ONE has been happy in this house for over 5 years......
If your marriage cannot be saved, then you'll need to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to get the process started. If you and your husband can reach some agreements at the outset, or along the way, you can save yourself a great deal of time and money. The court will likely direct you to participate in mediation, and you can arrange a mediation yourself early in the case -- this will also get you to the end of the case faster and cheaper too. Your chances of getting primary custody seem strong, especially if your one child in common is bonded to your oldest child.
In terms of splitting property, you're both entitled to "equitable distribution," which may be 50/50, or slightly different, depending on circumstances. In terms of costs, any lawyer is going to charge you a retainer up front (ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 on the average), and then they're going to charge you an hourly rate (could be anywhere from $150 to $450, depending on experience, on the average). Don't be scared by the dollar-amounts, and don't shop for the "cheapest" lawyer. I recommend that you ask questions, gather information, and make your decisions on how to proceed (and who to hire) based on the best fit.
If you want to read more about custody issues, I’d like to invite you to follow me on Twitter where I give out daily custody tips. http://twitter.com/DailyCustodyTip
Also, please visit my blog on Daily Custody Tips at http://dailycustodytip.blogspot.com/
We handle many cases in the Osceola courts. Feel free to call or visit me in my Orlando office.
Mark S. Guralnick
Filing for divorce is an intensely personal decision. You need to discuss the issue with your support network before taking the step of filing for divorce.
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