Does your estranged wife earn that much money that she can pay for alimony and child support? Is there a reason why you were a stay at home dad other than by mutual agreement ?
There was no other reason other than mutual agreement. Her income is such that she can afford these things. We've been married for three years.
Hello again David --
In this day and age it is becoming more common for husbands to be stay at home fathers, however, the stay at home fathers who generally receive alimony and child support are when there is a long term marriage involved -- and in the eyes of the courts, 10 years or more is considered a long term marriage. I just wanted to give you a heads up on that fact before I go any further. Depending on the judge, I have seen these cases go such that the stay at home father is permitted to remain so because it is in the best interests of the child for the arrangements to stay that way and I have seen it go that the father is given visitation and ordered to pay child support. Yes, there are situations where the working spouse is ordered to pay the legal fees of the stay at home spouse but what you have to do to have that ordered is to find a free or low cost attorney who will make a filing to the court on your behalf and it that filing there should be a request to pay legal fees. My suggestion to you at this point is to contact your local family court where the filing was made and ask them for referrals to the free and low cost attorneys in your county so that an Answer to the divorce complaint can be filed within the 28 days that you have left to do so. If you do not answer the complaint then your estranged wife can get a default judgment against you and she will receive full custody with no questions asked. In your answer, if you are seeking custody to be the stay at home parent with your child, then you must make a request for custody and the payment of child support, temporary alimony and legal fees -- and your attorney can ask for the hearing on these matters to be expedited so that you can get some temporary orders put in place until the divorce is final. Regarding how the the court determines which parent gets custody of the child -- that is completely up to the judge using a legal test called the "best interests" of the child test -- the court will look at finances, living arrangements, who was the primary caregiver (that does count), and make a determination regarding who gets custody and who receives visitation.
Please let me know if you have further questions.
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