DEAR ABBY: I've always been a self-sufficient woman. I grew up in an abusive household, moved out at 16, and cut off contact with my family a couple of years later when it became apparent nothing would change.
Nine months ago, my husband walked out on me and our 3-year-old son. He has no interest in our child. Our roommate, "Matt," became "Daddy" to my son with my ex's blessing.
I want a divorce, but I'm not sure how to proceed. My ex and I have talked; he wants to give up his parental rights, and I have no interest in getting child support from him. All I want is my son.
I can't afford a lawyer right now because of some financial obligations my ex left me saddled with, but I don't want to put this off. If anything were to happen to me, my son would go to my ex instead of the man he considers his dad.
All my friends are either happily married or single, and I have no family to turn to for advice. I'm not religious, so I have no clergyperson to consult. Is there someplace I can turn to for help in ending this marriage, or do I just need to save up until I can afford legal counsel? -- SINGLE MOM IN OREGON
DEAR SINGLE MOM: Your next step should be to contact your state bar association and find out if there are low-cost legal services in your area. If both parties are in agreement, a divorce can be amicable and not expensive. I wish you luck; do not procrastinate.