You cannot believe how much it saddens me to know how many people out there do not seek the representation of an experienced and knowledgeable divorce (family law) attorney, simply because they do not have an income. Many stay-at-home moms and even stay-at-home dads, feel that there is no way that they can get proper legal representation, simply because they do not have an income. Even worse, is when someone in this situation stays in an unhappy or abusive marriage simply because they feel they can’t afford to get divorced. I’m here today to tell you that you have options and you have rights. If you have dedicated your life to your family, simply because you do not work does not mean you are less worthy than your spouse. Don’t get me wrong, I am not attempting in any way to discredit the breadwinner of the family and certainly not attempting to reach out to people who are not raising children and stay home simply because their spouse make so much money if they do not need to work. But if you’re in a situation, where your particular marriage has been based upon one person working for the money to support the household and the other person having the main responsibility of running the household and taking care of the day-to-day duties such as raising children in keeping with the home, both equally share in the money in the eyes of the law.
This doesn’t mean that every situation where one spouse stays home and the other works is afforded this particular protection. I can think of many situations where one spouse is working themselves to death, while the other spouse is not keeping the home and not raising children and is completely capable of supporting themselves financially and simply choose not to, and live off the other person. The people I am attempting to address here are those who are working just as hard or not harder as there income generating partner. People need to know that, simply because you are not the breadwinner, that you are less important than one who brings home the bacon. There are laws that take into account the fact that the person who maintains the home, can simply not afford legal representation. This fact is further exacerbated by the point that many of those who generate the income for a marriage, also keep that money separate from the person who maintains the household. The courts have long held that this puts one party of a marriage in a severe financial disadvantage and legal disadvantage from the person who is the breadwinner.
This is where an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney is critical to protect you and your rights. A knowledgeable and experienced lawyer will be able to file the appropriate motions with the court, in order to have your spouse pay for your legal fees. There is nothing worse than seeing someone who can’t afford a good attorney or can’t afford one at all, get real road it within divorce proceedings. The simple fact is, with the right representation, you will be able to have a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side. Do not forget, once the divorce judgment is final, you are stuck living with that divorce settlement agreement, once it is adjudicated by the court. Obviously there are certain situations that will always be open on the table, mainly those pertaining to child support and child custody. But for the vast majority of other situations that are adjudicated within a divorce proceeding, you are going to be stuck with living with them for the rest of your life. It is not fair for someone who has dedicated their life to their family, to be left out in the cold if the marriage is to dissolve.
So when seeking a divorce attorney, not simply ask for what they charge per hour, take the free consultation and asked them what their plan of action will be if you hire them. Also ask them, if you do not have the ability to pay for all the legal services, what they plan to do in order to have your spouse pay for those services. It’s also important to know that when one spouse is paying for both sides of the legal battle, that the settlements are arrived at more quickly than other situations. Please do not think that this means you can get your spouse to pay for your legal fees, and have your attorney spend tens of thousands of dollars to simply destroy your spouse’s life and finances, the courts will not allow that. But you do have a right to adequate representation even though you do not have the financial means to pay for them, when your spouse does. Obviously this is not gonna hold true in situations where one spouse cannot afford to pay the mortgage, rent, legal fees and then support all of yours also. Some people come to my office thinking that they’re going to get to stay in their home, when their spouse could not afford the mortgage and to live on their own also. The Family Court system is not to make one person homeless, simply because there a member of a particular gender or group. This is for people who genuinely need a family law attorney and cannot afford one and their spouse makes enough money to be able to support the entire cost of the legal expenses. This is not a situation is afforded to everyone, and there are circumstances that will dictate if this is possible, this is why it is important to get the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable family lore attorney.
Joseph F. Botelho, Esq.
BOTELHO LAW GROUP
Attorneys At Law
901 Eastern Ave.
Fall River, MA 02723
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