What do I do since I’ve been the primary care provider for our son for all of his life and have not worked? She asked me to stay at home with, but now I have no money to afford a divorce attorney. To top it all off, through her spending of every cent that comes into the house, we are also in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Basically, what do I do now?
There are many layers to your request for advice. As such, I will attempt to address them in the order you presented them to us.
First, while in Texas historically stay-at-home fathers have been a discounted group in court proceedings, the current trend is much more open and amenable to a father who has stayed home and provided the majority of the care for his children. This may provide you an advantage if court proceedings are necessary in regards to retaining possession of your child and/or having a court require your spouse to pay child support, and if your situation qualifies, maybe even obtain an order for spousal maintenance.
As it appears that it was your spouse’s desire to have a specific level of care for the child during the marriage, justifying such a need in the future should not be quite as difficult to justify in court, and as you were providing the care at her bequest, a court may find that a very compelling argument in regards to how to address the future needs and conservatorship for the child.
Next, while I understand the sometimes high cost of divorce, appearing in any court without proper representation is typically a recipe for disaster. I would highly recommend at least paying an initial consultation fee to discuss you specific cases issues with an experience attorney to ensure that you protect yourself and your family’s interests.
Lastly, as you have mentioned that you are currently involved in a bankruptcy proceeding, you should know that this will complicate any divorce proceeding significantly. A divorce may not be finalized without permission from the bankruptcy trustee and the bankruptcy court. While the bankruptcy court has jurisdiction, most issues regarding property, assets, and debts are layered with additional complexity as not only will you have to manage Texas Family Codes, you will also have to manage the federal bankruptcy statutes as well. My strong suggestion is that you should seek out an attorney who might provide you specific direction as to how best to address your current situation.
Although I practice law in Texas, I cannot give you legal advice without thoroughly reviewing your case. Do not rely on this information as establishing an attorney-client relationship. Contact an attorney immediately for assistance. Cordell & Cordell, P.C. does represent clients in Texas. Thank you for submitting a question to Cordell & Cordell, P.C.
Samuel M. Sanchez an Associate Attorney in the Fort Worth, Texas, office of Cordell & Cordell P.C. where his primary practice is exclusively in the area of domestic relations. Mr. Sanchez is licensed in the state of Texas where he is a certified mediator, interview/interrogation specialist, and is appointed by Gov. Perry to the Board of Regents for Midwestern University. Mr. Sanchez received his Bachelor of Arts from Texas Tech University, and received his Juris Doctor from Wesleyan Law School in Fort Worth, Texas.