How to File for Legal Separation

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“We would like to file for a legal separation but the woman involved is pregnant. We live in Greenville, Texas and don’t know how all the laws work. She is not pregnant with the husband’s baby. They have been separated for over a year now and have not lived together for that time. We don’t have a lot of money and every lawyer we have spoken to wants at least $400.00 just to speak to us. Could you please suggest someone we could speak to within our area. Also what legal rights she has within this separation. He has been abusive and increasing threatening and now that things have gotten so far out of hand we are at a point that we feel we no longer have any options. She is disabled and can not work and he has now withdrawn his financial support from her. Thank you in advance for your time and energy in answering these questions.”There may be a pro bono project through the county bar association. Call them and ask. You can find the number on line or in the phone book. Many Court houses (especially the family court house) have a free clinic to help people fill out paperwork. Call the family court clerk to see if there is one at your court. Often if people truly do not have the means to pay Court filing fees, a “waiver of fees” can be obtained. Many of the forms you might need may be available for free on line or at the local law library. Do a google search. Often there is someone at the Court who will examine documents before they are filed and force people to cure deficiencies before they take papers, and you might avail this of yourself if your paperwork is close.

Question: If there are no complicated issues, many states allow paralegals to fill out some paperwork. If there is a need for immediate spousal support (alimony), a motion for same can usually be filed at the time of filing initial paperwork. Many states have provisions for the payment of attorney fees to the disadvantaged party.
As far as rights, depending on the length of the marriage, she may be entitled to spousal support. If they have kids, and she has custody, she would be entitled to child support. If he has been abusive, she would have the right to end the marriage.