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How do I get alimony & get him to pay for my lawyer?

Grayson, GA |

My husband of 11 yrs(18yrs total) walked out on 11/4 and has not helped me financially with our mortgage,my son,or utilities. I paid most of the bills until Aug 12.Now I have no money to get a lawyer and he just received a large bonus in November. He made many comments about him leaving prior to him doing so, and has also trashed our home. He left evidence of infidelity as well as all of his financial documents showing that he was hinding money during our marriage. He only helped me with the mortgage & bills sometimes of which I have bank statements to show.I took sole care of our 11 year old who he has only seen three times since,and asked about 1pr shoes & headphones he bought him after he walked out. He will not tell me why he left but left after I was diagnosed with precancerous cells

He filed for the divorce on December 12. The paper work was mailed and I received it on December 24,in it was a child support decree to start in February. I was out of town until January 5th and will be filing an answer on 1/14 without a lawyer because I can not afford one as my job took an unexpected downward turn in August and I have been maintiaing my household bills (through borrowed funds) & caring for my son by myself since November. Does the fact that papers have already been filed cancel out my potential request for child support?

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Attorney answers 3


I am sorry you are going through this. Both parents are responsible for financial support of the child, whether or not the parents live together. If one parent refuses to provide support voluntarily, you need to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to make sure that an order for a support is established by the court as soon as possible. the counsel will also be able to advise you regarding your eligibility for alimony. With respect to attorney's fees, it appears from the facts you describe, you may be able to have the court issue an order for either 1) your husband to pay your attorney fees and/or 2) advance against the future distribution of the marital property. Please do not delay to consult an attorney. I hope it helps and good luck!

Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.

Harold D. Holcombe

Harold D. Holcombe


I agree. You should ask for a temporary hearing to establish who pays what and to seek attorneys fees. It would be best if you can retain an attorney for this hearing, but if you can't you can't; just ask the judge for funds to retain an attorney.


Even if you get an order for him to assist with your legal fees, that doesn't help, as you would need to retain a lawyer with your funds, and would be trying to recover those later. So get your family and friends (and charge cards) to assist. In the meantime, if he is not paying child support you can go to the state and put him on child support. You really do need a lawyer and while some may work with you on fees, you need to be prepared to bear some costs now.

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You did not say if the son is his biological son: but from what you did say, I will answer this on the assumption that if the the son is his child, he will have a child support obligation, and you are entitled to attorney's fees establishing that child support obligation. If he has the type of job where there are401k benefits or pension benefits, earned by him during his marriage to you, those are marital assets to which you are entitled to a share. Finally, you are probably entitled to some alimony, at least for a short period of time, as I assume there is a big difference between the amount of your income and his income. All of those factors would also support the court awarding you attorney's fees. I would strongly advise you to call an attorney, tell him or her the situation as you have here, and enlist legal representation. Feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance.

Mr. Benedict practices law in Lawrenceville, Georgia. This opinion is for general educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice to anyone. There is no attorney/client relationship expressed or implied by this general response to a general question. Specific details not stated in the general question can result in dramatically different advice. For that reason the individual raising the question should consult an attorney with more of the details to determine if any form of legal action is in the person's interest.