You have to prepare for at least the possibility that your spouse is not coming back. This is a tough pill for some people to swallow. The other spouse who has moved out has probably been planning this move for a while and has already been through the five stages of grief, arrived at acceptance of the situation and is now moving on with his/her plan for a divorce. You, meanwhile, are left mired in stage one, denial.
While you are paralyzed by fear and doubt, your spouse is securing documents, raiding the bank account, and gathering evidence for his/her case. It is even worse if your spouse has taken the children with her and left for another state. I see this sort of thing happen quite often. Kentucky is bordered by seven different states. Some of those states (like Illinois) have very short residency requirements in order to be able to file for divorce. A wife can pack up the child and move across the river and file for divorce in Illinois after only ninety days. You may be able to fight jurisdiction over the child custody issues and probably be successful, you will still wind up spending more in attorney's fees all because you did not move quickly to protect your rights.
Regardless of whether you actually want a divorce, you should see a skilled family law attorney to learn about your rights. Keep in mind, a number of attorneys promise free consultations, but do not actually provide any sound legal advice in these "consultations." Remember the old maxim, "You get what you pay for." Even if you are not prepared to file for a divorce, the attorney can guide you and advise you on actions you can take immediately to safeguard yourself as well as your children both physically and financially. The attorney can also advise you as to your options on divorce and legal separation or possibly refer you to quality marriage counselors. Moreover, even if you are not ready for a divorce, you spouse may have already determined it is the only option. You have to be prepared especially if you have already been served with divorce papers.
The prospect of going through a divorce is never something anyone wants to think about. Nevertheless, if you are in this situation, you simply cannot sit back and just hope things get better. You must take steps to protect yourself. If you have more questions, please contact the Alford Law Office.
Photo courtesy of Bob B. Brown
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