Husband received promotion that required moving to another state. I filed for sole custody - my son is 12 years + 4 months and signed a declaration stating he wants to live with me and that his stepmother is abusive. (In case you're curious, this was not coaxed and prior to learning of the move we had planned to file for sole custody.) I would like some opinions/info on the following:

1. We could each pay lawyers a bunch of money and drag this out, but by the time we get in front of a judge he will be nearing age 14 (when he can decide for himself and there's no contesting it). He is in crisis in many ways, even more so now that I'm far away most of the time. It's tearing me apart. Opinions? Suggestions?

2. Even though the ex is saying I owe him a bunch of money, I don't. But it seems smarter to pay him a token amount if he will agree to the custody change, and also then I don't have the risk involved in a judge's decision. Opinions? Suggestions?

3. Would it make sense to approach him on my own to discuss settling (to avoid the legal fees)? What are the risks and benefits of doing this?

4. My attorney mentioned that we can arrange it so that if we offer a settlement, then the judge awards him the same or less, he has to pay my legal fees. How does this work?

5. Knowing that he has already tried to dig up "dirt" to use against me, I feel he will try to use whatever I say against me. Can I legally forbid him to tape record any verbal conversations between us? In case you're wondering, there really isn't any "dirt" out there, but he's also a liar so I can't get into any he said/she said situations with him.

6. The money he claims I owe him is from college costs. Our divorce does stipulate that we pay percentages based upon State University rates. However, she goes to a private college, and she has scholarships that would have enabled her to attend UGA or Georgia Tech for free. Despite my repeated notifications and objections, he has unilaterally made decisions to spend a lot of extra money for her, and thinks he can just bill me for it. Opinions? Suggestions?

7. I am 100% disabled due to a terrible accident that resulted in a brain injury. Documenting and proving this will not be a problem. I have no income and am deeply in debt due to medical bills as well as pre-existing financial issues prior to my accident. If a judge were to award him anything beyond a token amount, I can not pay it anyway. Opinions? Suggestions?

Thanks so much for any info and for sharing your own experiences with these issues. Good luck with your process, too!

Janey D.