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Divorce folks, I need your help


Carol in Cal.
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Someone I know is being played by her STBX.

It is really really clear that he is doing divorce planning.

She is a homeschooler with no college (but smart), and doesn't know the patterns or how to prioritize what to do.

 

Can you please give me your best advice or observations of typical patterns in this thread, and I will point her to it?

 

Old 'I'm about to be divorced' threads tend to get erased, so I need all the things but can't find them by searching. 

 

Thank you!

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I am not divorced but I have had several friends that have gotten a divorce.  I am wondering what your goal is.  Are you trying to help her see that he is preparing to yank the rug out from under her?  Are you saying she doesn't even know yet that divorce may be imminent? The STBX followed by your other statement confused me.  I think people are going to need some clarification to understand what you are seeking.

 

I"m sorry she is facing this.

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Crazy making interactions.  Conversations with him where she is left wondering what just happened and how can she do better next time.  

 

Irrational criticizing.

 

Setting her up to look bad in some way.  Parenting, housekeeping, financial, wife, unstable.  

 

Not being transparent with his time, money and activities.

 

And there is almost always another woman involved.  And if he wants to leave his wife, it has probably been going on for a while.  

 

I would encourage you to encourage her to not try to discuss any of this with her husband.  If it is true, he would then have a heads up that she is on to him and he will go deeper underground toward whatever goal he has planned.  

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She needs to do divorce planning of her own, such as lining herself up for a job.

It really depends on their financial situation and the laws of their jurisdiction. I was told to not rush out and get a job because it would affect my alimony award. However if there is zero chance of her getting alimony then yes a job would be a good idea....UNLESS she has small children and would prefer to not put them in school/daycare and wants to request enough of a settlement to allow her to keep staying home.

 

There are a lot of variables.

 

But it sounds like the woman is not even aware of what is about to happen to her.

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This.

 

And open her own bank account and credit card before he leaves her and she’s left with nothing. CA is community property right? But it could be a long process and she’ll need a way to restart. She needs her own credit and her own bank account without him on it. I’d be checking everything financial possible. Know the accounts and what was where when. At least then if he drains them she can show what was there.

Yes and it is very important to get hold of all important documents and keep them on a safe place that he can't get to.

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My advice is to start socking away small bits of money. If she can grab an extra $20-50 cash from every grocery transaction, that's a great start. She can get her own account, but if you're in a community property state it may make more sense to just put it somewhere else for safekeeping - a friend, family, for example. If cash would raise suspicious, she may have better luck purchasing gift cards - generic Visa, but also grocery and gas cards. I used to buy these and put them in the middle of my purchases so that they'd be buried in the middle of my receipt. Cashback is often listed down at the bottom, and many stores even circle the "cash back" part, so if he checks receipts or if she forgets them in the bottom of grocery bags she'll want to learn to be more careful. He may clean out their accounts, or they may get frozen - in either case, she won't want to be stuck while it's sorted out. 

 

My other advice is to maintain the status quo - don't necessarily get a job, but start working on a resume and looking to see what's out there/put out feelers. It may depend on the state/judge, but - especially since she's the one being divorced - if she can show that their joint expectation is and has long been for her to be homemaker/home educator then she has a better chance of being awarded what's fair. I had a friend who didn't get alimony, but whose husband was ordered to finance his wife's AA degree. He was also ordered to make her car payments and insurance during the two years she was enrolled, because she was at the disadvantage in the divorce. This was a "fault" divorce, which may make a difference. A lawyer can let her know what may make the most sense where you live, and in her specific situation. 

 

Don't sign anything without reading it. Sit on it for at least 48 hours. My ex-husband signed our decree without even reading it. I could have screwed him over so badly. I know lots of women who get screwed over this way. Wording I made sure to include was "maintain the status quo" - to me that protected my history of being able to stay home with the kids, homeschooling them, and doing the other non-traditional things that he could have brought up to make trouble if he had wanted to. I made sure to print out text messages, emails, etc. that show his support or expectation of my role as homemaker and home educator. I didn't need them, but was prepared if he decided to make an issue of things. 

 

Oh, one thing I did was to open a credit card while I still had the advantage of using his credit/income. We're in a community property state, so I knew if worse came to worse he'd be responsible for half of the charges to it. I got it to use for emergencies if our accounts were frozen or wiped out - groceries, gas, hotel, lawyer. I ended up not needing it, and canceling it once our divorce was finalized. But I did that because I had seen women get screwed and stuck when their husbands left them high and dry without any funds. I had the bills sent to a PO Box, which cost $30 for 6 months. I sent away for all kinds of financial information and passport stuff, etc. that I didn't want him to know about. The PO Box was a great help because I didn't have to worry the mail falling into the wrong hands. 

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Gaslighting - Scarlett described this above. Feeling like you have just lost your mind or memory of events as everything is turned around.

Isolating from others - Controlled to the degree where relatives and friends are unable to help because contact is monitored - perhaps not the case here since you are aware of it.

Will not let her look at his cell phone/ipad/tablet/laptop history

Charges on credit cards that she is unaware of and he cannot / will not explain.

 

I have not gone through divorce but have watched it unfold.

 

I would seek a consultation with an attorney (consultations are often free) to see what she should do since CA is community property state.

Can a relative or friend open up an account for her and make her a cosigner so she can deposit funds and withdraw?

 

 

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It really depends on their financial situation and the laws of their jurisdiction. I was told to not rush out and get a job because it would affect my alimony award. However if there is zero chance of her getting alimony then yes a job would be a good idea....UNLESS she has small children and would prefer to not put them in school/daycare and wants to request enough of a settlement to allow her to keep staying home.

 

There are a lot of variables.

 

But it sounds like the woman is not even aware of what is about to happen to her.

 

I was more thinking from the point of view that he will almost certainly try to get the kids court ordered to school and she needs to be prepared for that in whatever way she is supposed to in her part of the world.

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She needs to do divorce planning of her own, such as lining herself up for a job.

This may help or not, depending on assets and his income. If she shows she’s at least employable, that may affect any spousal support.

OP, i’d research attorneys (initial consultations are free), gather round paystubs and statements and keep an eye on accounts. She also needs to come up with a retainer to pay the attorney initially. (He may be eventually ordered to pay her expenses but may take a while).

Edited by madteaparty
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for California, we have many homeschool charter schools, which legally are considered public schools. If there is going to be a fight for custody with homeschooling as the main complaint, it could really help her to start using a homeschool charter, she could then continue homeschooling but legally they will be public school students. Many of the charters have optional class days at a campus, which also might help with the whole "socialization" rant.  

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I advised my friend to open a mailbox in town, open a bank account in her name only (with the only address being her P.O. box), and other steps to prepare.  Start socking away small amounts of money.  She also began talking to a social worker who helps walk women through something like this.  (There was no charge for that, and the social worker was able to lead her to a pro-bono attorney.)  And have her keep records on all the harmful things he is doing.  Sometimes, my friend would send me emails that I'd then keep because they had so much information packed in them and I figured they'd help her in court someday.  Have her start paying attention to credit card accounts, bank accounts, and all financially-related things before he blocks her completely.  (She can get card and account numbers and phone numbers, etc.)  And open up a new credit card account with just her name on it but while she can still list his income.  (Linked to her P.O. box.)

 

In another words, begin preparing as quietly but thoroughly as possible.

 

I'm sorry your friend is going through that, but glad that you're there to support her.  My friend was married to a man who was an abuser, and so I also helped her find a shelter that she could go to with her children.   It was a horrible situation and she was afraid to tell anybody.  I was so grateful that she felt comfortable enough with me to finally tell me everything that was going on, and that I could step in to try and help.  Everything worked out in the end in her favor, thankfully.  

Edited by J-rap
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Money: Pull a credit report to see where she is, what's on there, keep cash

 

document: document everything. Keep emails and texts that seem off. Date everything. 

 

Weird things you don't think about: Utilities, what are in both names? It may be different in your state. My ex paid the deposit on the electric when we moved in 2010 (still married). Even after a divorce and me paying the utility for several  years on my own, they will not remove his name without me paying a new deposit. We even went in there to see about changing it after the divorce, but they would only do it if I paid the new deposit and they would refund the other to him. So the bill still comes in his name. It infuriates me. It's a small town, you think they'd be willing to make an exception, but no. I don't trust that he'd return me the deposit money, so I've never changed it. Thankfully, we're in the process of selling the house. 

 

homeschooling: what are his views. Even if they are positive, start documenting things, keep meticulous records of what you're doing. 

 

Lawyer: start looking for your own. I found one that was affordable and would take payments

 

 

My situation was a bit different in that ex had some issues that led me to filing for divorce. He was not living in the home at the time, which made things easier. But the amount of documentation I kept helped. I could pinpoint exactly what days these issues had come up because I'd make notes in my planner about something being off. 

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Did anyone mention income taxes? If your friend files jointly, she should be aware that spouses share any tax debts, penalties etc. She should be aware of what is in the tax return when she signs it.

 

Be aware of distinction between separate property and marital property.

Edited by Alessandra
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I had a friend go through this.  She didn't get a job until after the divorce for alimony reasons.  She was completely dependent on his income and she wanted to show that.  She knew that she couldn't get a decent job.  

 

She opened a new email address and an online bank account like ally and connected it to her new email address and enrolled in e-communications and statements.  

She linked her PayPal account to the new bank account.  She sold things on eBay, used apps like Ibotta, etc to get money into her own account.  She also deposited any rebate checks, gifts, etc into her Ally account.

Edited by Attolia
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Figure out a lawyer first.

 

Alimony will not be an issue to even worry about if she doesn't have a lawyer to secure her rights. Child support may not even happen. Elective Income Reduction is a thing men do to avoid paying child support by working a part time min wage job during the court proceedings. Then after child support is set, returning to real work. Modifying child support takes a lawyer...which you cannot afford if you are not getting alimony or child support...so plenty of women are left absolutely penniless even though they SHOULD be getting alimony and child support.

 

Unless she has a friend or family member to help her transition, she could be screwed.

 

Figure out her support system. If she depends upon her parents or family to help (in any small way) she needs to have back up plans because even parents will throw you to the wolves. In my experience, when the caregiver suddenly needs caretaking she is no longer a valued part of the family. Where are her kids going to stay while she goes on job interviews and works those first few weeks before being able to afford childcare? Where are they going to live? If she keeps the house, how is she going to pay the bills?

 

Trust no one.

 

 

 

Squirrel away money, yes. Much of the advice assumes she can squirrel away thousands before he leaves. If she doesn't have access to that kind of money, alimony is a moot point because she won't have a lawyer. The court system runs on money.

Edited by FO4UR
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Figure out a lawyer first.

 

Alimony will not be an issue to even worry about if she doesn't have a lawyer to secure her rights. Child support may not even happen. Elective Income Reduction is a thing men do to avoid paying child support by working a part time min wage job during the court proceedings. Then after child support is set, returning to real work. Modifying child support takes a lawyer...which you cannot afford if you are not getting alimony or child support...so plenty of women are left absolutely penniless even though they SHOULD be getting alimony and child support.

 

Unless she has a friend or family member to help her transition, she could be screwed.

 

Figure out her support system. If she depends upon her parents or family to help (in any small way) she needs to have back up plans because even parents will throw you to the wolves. In my experience, when the caregiver suddenly needs caretaking she is no longer a valued part of the family. Where are her kids going to stay while she goes on job interviews and works those first few weeks before being able to afford childcare? Where are they going to live? If she keeps the house, how is she going to pay the bills?

 

Trust no one.

 

 

Boy isn't this the truth.  I remember when I was in the evidence gathering stage.  I nearly went insane.  I trusted my parents but it was all so sordid I didn't want to bog them down with it until I was SURE of what all I was dealing with.  I remember when I laid it all out for my parents.  My mom said, 'you have been dealing with this on your own for how long?'  I did have some on line support which was VERY helpful--both in keeping me sane and with practical steps to take.

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Everyone, Thank you so much.

A few details--they are on the verge of separating.  Live in another state from me, not a community property one.

It appears to me from what I have heard that he is trying to get her to say things and make changes in her life that will help him in a support/marital property/child support battle.  She is quite isolated and can't easily get a sanity check on the things he says and does.  It's a very difficult situation all around.

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Boy isn't this the truth.  I remember when I was in the evidence gathering stage.  I nearly went insane.  I trusted my parents but it was all so sordid I didn't want to bog them down with it until I was SURE of what all I was dealing with.  I remember when I laid it all out for my parents.  My mom said, 'you have been dealing with this on your own for how long?'  I did have some on line support which was VERY helpful--both in keeping me sane and with practical steps to take.

 

 

My mom did some horrid things, leaving us homeless and unemployed in the middle of the court process. She published a book, a memoir, about what a wonderful Christian woman she is less than a year later. She uses my name and stories about me in the book without my permission. I never signed. It was published anyway. If anyone here knows how to rectify that without being able to afford a lawyer, I'd love to know.

 

I am currently estranged from nearly all of my family.

 

I'm highly tempted to write my own "Mommy Dearest" in response to her memoir.

 

All that said, you really cannot trust even your mom. Be prepared for your siblings, etc...to ghost on you too. Some have come back around since I stabilized with a home and a job. But I saw what they are. They are no longer welcome back in my life. (I never asked any of them for any kind of help but I think they were afraid I would...or maybe they didn't want to feel guilty knowing what trouble I was in and not wanting to help...Christian morality and cognitive dissonance...)

 

Emotional health is a BIG deal!  She needs to sleep. Drink water. Eat a banana every day. Eat very well. Exercise. Be as healthy as possible before shit hits the fan.

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Everyone, Thank you so much.

A few details--they are on the verge of separating.  Live in another state from me, not a community property one.

It appears to me from what I have heard that he is trying to get her to say things and make changes in her life that will help him in a support/marital property/child support battle.  She is quite isolated and can't easily get a sanity check on the things he says and does.  It's a very difficult situation all around.

 

In this case she needs an attorney NOW.  

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My mom did some horrid things, leaving us homeless and unemployed in the middle of the court process. She published a book, a memoir, about what a wonderful Christian woman she is less than a year later. She uses my name and stories about me in the book without my permission. I never signed. It was published anyway. If anyone here knows how to rectify that without being able to afford a lawyer, I'd love to know.

 

I am currently estranged from nearly all of my family.

 

I'm highly tempted to write my own "Mommy Dearest" in response to her memoir.

 

All that said, you really cannot trust even your mom. Be prepared for your siblings, etc...to ghost on you too. Some have come back around since I stabilized with a home and a job. But I saw what they are. They are no longer welcome back in my life. (I never asked any of them for any kind of help but I think they were afraid I would...or maybe they didn't want to feel guilty knowing what trouble I was in and not wanting to help...Christian morality and cognitive dissonance...)

 

Emotional health is a BIG deal!  She needs to sleep. Drink water. Eat a banana every day. Eat very well. Exercise. Be as healthy as possible before shit hits the fan.

 

That is terrible.  I knew I could trust my parents and they did help me a lot during the divorce.  But I know not everyone has parents like that.

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Everyone, Thank you so much.

A few details--they are on the verge of separating.  Live in another state from me, not a community property one.

It appears to me from what I have heard that he is trying to get her to say things and make changes in her life that will help him in a support/marital property/child support battle.  She is quite isolated and can't easily get a sanity check on the things he says and does.  It's a very difficult situation all around.

 

 

She needs to be close to people who will physically and emotionally support her.

 

If she is isolated, I'm assuming that is the tip of an icerberg. She is being abused. Financial abuse is typically involved every time. Assume she does not have access to any real money, even if he has it.

 

 

A good friend can help make some calls on her behalf. Call around for Center for Prevention of Abuse in either her area or your area. Call and ask them about legal aid lawyers, financial help, etc... If she thinks she might keep the home, she needs a center in her area.

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A lot of this just depends on how much money they have.  If they have a long term marriage and he makes a good income I think in most places she will get some alimony.  But if he doesn't make much money she is not likely to get any alimony.

 

A lot of places are going to the 50/50 child custody model....and some men push for that so that it lowers or gets rid of completely their child support obligation.  In my situation I had access to enough money for a retainer and my attorney filed for xh to pay for my legal fees.  He was ordered to pay a portion I forget how much.

 

So anyway, there are just so many variables.  Jurisdiction, ages of children, length of marriage, his income, her income potential .....this is why she needs an attorney  now.

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This. 

My advice is to start socking away small bits of money. If she can grab an extra $20-50 cash from every grocery transaction, that's a great start. She can get her own account, but if you're in a community property state it may make more sense to just put it somewhere else for safekeeping - a friend, family, for example. If cash would raise suspicious, she may have better luck purchasing gift cards - generic Visa, but also grocery and gas cards. I used to buy these and put them in the middle of my purchases so that they'd be buried in the middle of my receipt. Cashback is often listed down at the bottom, and many stores even circle the "cash back" part, so if he checks receipts or if she forgets them in the bottom of grocery bags she'll want to learn to be more careful. He may clean out their accounts, or they may get frozen - in either case, she won't want to be stuck while it's sorted out. 

 

My other advice is to maintain the status quo - don't necessarily get a job, but start working on a resume and looking to see what's out there/put out feelers. It may depend on the state/judge, but - especially since she's the one being divorced - if she can show that their joint expectation is and has long been for her to be homemaker/home educator then she has a better chance of being awarded what's fair. I had a friend who didn't get alimony, but whose husband was ordered to finance his wife's AA degree. He was also ordered to make her car payments and insurance during the two years she was enrolled, because she was at the disadvantage in the divorce. This was a "fault" divorce, which may make a difference. A lawyer can let her know what may make the most sense where you live, and in her specific situation. 

 

Don't sign anything without reading it. Sit on it for at least 48 hours. My ex-husband signed our decree without even reading it. I could have screwed him over so badly. I know lots of women who get screwed over this way. Wording I made sure to include was "maintain the status quo" - to me that protected my history of being able to stay home with the kids, homeschooling them, and doing the other non-traditional things that he could have brought up to make trouble if he had wanted to. I made sure to print out text messages, emails, etc. that show his support or expectation of my role as homemaker and home educator. I didn't need them, but was prepared if he decided to make an issue of things. 

 

Oh, one thing I did was to open a credit card while I still had the advantage of using his credit/income. We're in a community property state, so I knew if worse came to worse he'd be responsible for half of the charges to it. I got it to use for emergencies if our accounts were frozen or wiped out - groceries, gas, hotel, lawyer. I ended up not needing it, and canceling it once our divorce was finalized. But I did that because I had seen women get screwed and stuck when their husbands left them high and dry without any funds. I had the bills sent to a PO Box, which cost $30 for 6 months. I sent away for all kinds of financial information and passport stuff, etc. that I didn't want him to know about. The PO Box was a great help because I didn't have to worry the mail falling into the wrong hands. 

 

Edited by reefgazer
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Everyone, Thank you so much.

A few details--they are on the verge of separating.  Live in another state from me, not a community property one.

It appears to me from what I have heard that he is trying to get her to say things and make changes in her life that will help him in a support/marital property/child support battle.  She is quite isolated and can't easily get a sanity check on the things he says and does.  It's a very difficult situation all around.

 

 

Does she have an email account from which she can safely communicate with you? Any IRL friends, church support nearby?

Otherwise the isolation and the second guessing may work in his favor. And yes, a good attorney is probably needed.

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I don't know whether to try to get a job or not. I would be picky but not overly picky. There is one for a patient intake clerk, 12pm-6pm Mon-Fri. Six hours a day might be doable but then I don't know if it really would be with my health, and I'd have to leave the kids during those hours. I think a work from home job is more likely to be something I can do.

 

I am wanting to take classes for Microsoft office since I haven't worked for over 16 years. Does anyone know about something like that?

 

I am afraid to move into an apartment because I can't afford anything good. Even if I could afford one at all it would be in a bad neighborhood. However, I can't keep up on the maintenance of the house and lawn, and the utilities are expensive in the house (mortgage isn't bad but then I'd owe him equity). He is determined that he wants the house, and I need a separation or I lose government help. So he is pushing me to get an apartment. He could move in with his sister but refuses.

Edited by Joyce Gripe
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You really need to hire a lawyer before doing anything at all. I know they are expensive, but it really is essential In Order to protect yourself and your best interests. A lawyer will tell you exactly what to do/not do in your own personal situation. Every state has diffferent laws.

 

For the time being, do not leave the house unless you are worried for your safety. It can be ordered that he leave, it can be ordered that the house be sold, it can be ordered that he pay you your part of the equity in the house, etc.

 

Don't do anything until you've consulted a lawyer.

 

Personally, not knowing anything about the laws in your state and going only from my own experiences, I would not change your lifestyle at all until a lawyer tells you to do so. I was told not to get a job until the divorce was final and he was required to continue to support us until that time as well.

 

You can get a legal separation while still living under the same roof, but again I would speak with a lawyer first.

 

Feel free to pm me if you need to speak privately with someone who has been there.

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All that said, you really cannot trust even your mom.

 

This makes me so sad. My parents were my rock when I got divorced. They let me, my son, and my dog move in with them without a second's hesitation. I lived there for years, rent free the first year, then contributing a token amount (I paid the electric bill) after that. They provided child care, food, shelter....everything. And my mom STILL says she wish she could have done more! 

 

I wish everyone had that kind of support. 

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I would get one but I would be reluctamt to be supported by someone in the first place. It is as much for self reliamce and confidemce as anything else. The problem is it is really hard to work and homeschool without support or a really well paid job.

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Usually the thinking and the experience here has been--guys who are doing divorce planning try to get their wives to get a job and to downscale their lifestyle so that that is what the judge sees--the assumption being that the judge is most likely to support the status quo.  So women who want to continue to homeschool are often urged by their STBXs to get a 'temporary, short term' job 'just for a while'.  Then the guy tells the judge that he shouldn't have to support this presumably able bodied woman who even has a CAREER!  And BAM, no more homeschooling.  

 

They also often try to get their wives to move out, and then claim abandonment and that they should have the family home.

 

Lawyers seem to always, from the sound of it, tell women in this position not to make any changes.

 

People here always say to collect as much financial and family information as possible, and document everything six ways from Sunday, preferably off site.  And to possible start getting educated for a career down the road, but again without doing anything that changes their living or economic status.  Based on what I've seen and heard over the years, this is good general advice.

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Not my real name. And yeah, custody has me very concerned. Telling me to get a job, an apartment in a bad neighborhood, and leave them home alone all day. How unbelievably stupid.

 

I have $100 in cash that I have to use for groceries then give him receipts so that he will pay that back. I have no access to any other funds. There are no savings or retirement accounts. Our only asset is the house.

Edited by Joyce Gripe
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I did the child support calculator and my getting job doesn't affect it much. It's like I make $300 a week and child support goes down only $35. So I'm not sure why it's so important to him that I get one or to you all that I don't.

 

This is one of the reasons why you need an attorney. 

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So he doesn't allow you access to finances? Unless you have a history of something like compulsive gambling (clearly unablento handle money properly), I think this would be considered abusive. You might be able to get some legal aid - or direction to it - through a local women's shelter.

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That $100 arrangement will possibly be important to the judge. It is definitely a financial control tactic that might meet the definition of abuse or mistreatment (varies by location).

 

Therefore it's one of those things you should get some kind of documentation about. Can you send him an email like, "I got groceries today with the $100 + some plausible reason you needed to mention it in an email + you have the receipt for him to reimburse you as usual..." -- then print out his response and add it to a file.

 

I think you should get a support person on side to act as your temporary mailing address, and a physical location where you can keep documents and valuables. Maybe begin collecting a few essential things there too (in case you need to take sudden action).

 

I agree with opening a credit card in your own name (using the secondary address if possible? That might not work though, with a credit check). Even if it's only a department store card (that you apply for at the till), anything is better than nothing in an emergency.

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Not my real name. And yeah, custody has me very concerned. Telling me to get a job, an apartment in a bad neighborhood, and leave them home alone all day. How unbelievably stupid.

 

I have $100 in cash that I have to use for groceries then give him receipts so that he will pay that back. I have no access to any other funds. There are no savings or retirement accounts. Our only asset is the house.

:grouphug:

 

That you know of.  How certain are you that he doesn't have assets he has not made you aware of?  If he is that controlling he may and just never shared that information with you.

 

It sounds like he has systematically isolated you and kept you completely dependent on him for years and years (although maybe I am reading more into this than there actually is).  Do you get to see bank statements?  The income tax return?  The bills?  Is anything in your name?  Including utilities?  Is the house in both of your names?  Is there anything at all with your name on it?  What about transportation?  Do either of you own a vehicle?  Whose name is it in?

 

:grouphug:

Edited by OneStepAtATime
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I am dependent and isolated mostly because of my daughter's severe health issues and the fact that we homeschool. I will never encourage anyone to homeschool again.

 

I used to have access to the financial information. It was after I fled to the women's shelter that he started to control all of the money like this. I took a thousand dollars out of the bank account with me that day. Between medication and gluten free food for myself and daughter I've already spent more than half.

Edited by Joyce Gripe
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I am dependent and isolated mostly because of my daughter's severe health issues and the fact that we homeschool. I will never encourage anyone to homeschool again.

 

I used to have access to the financial information. It was after I fled to the women's shelter that he started to control all of the money like this. I took a thousand dollars out of the bank account with me that day. Between medication and gluten free food for myself and daughter I've already spent more than half.

I am thinking that the events that led you to flee to the women's shelter in the first place will be very important to your case. You really do need professional legal aid beyond what this forum can provide. Any recourse through that shelter, since they know your history?

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Can you buy multiples of something at the grocery store and then return some immediately and keep the cash? Could work if the store gives separate return receipts and doesn't mark the original receipt.

 

That kind of financial control is absolutely abusive.

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I did the child support calculator and my getting job doesn't affect it much. It's like I make $300 a week and child support goes down only $35. So I'm not sure why it's so important to him that I get one or to you all that I don't.

 

See, if it's important to him, that would make *me* more reluctant to get one. He has ulterior motives for *everything* he does. You cannot trust anything he says.

 

The women here who are advising you have either been through the same thing themselves or have close friends who have. I would trust their advice over his advice every time.

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Not my real name. And yeah, custody has me very concerned. Telling me to get a job, an apartment in a bad neighborhood, and leave them home alone all day. How unbelievably stupid.

 

I have $100 in cash that I have to use for groceries then give him receipts so that he will pay that back. I have no access to any other funds. There are no savings or retirement accounts. Our only asset is the house.

 

It may be that he's thinking of the bigger picture, ... which he has the luxury of doing from his position (whereas you are more like a deer in headlights trying to make a million decisions in a single second with all of the stress in the world clouding your ability.)

 

Bigger picture: I don't know you, so this may be off base ... but if you're dependent then you've been out of the game for awhile. I don't know what skills or career you had prior to home schooling, but likely you're first go-to job is going to be something very basic. Retail, sales, waitress, daycare - something that's easy to get in the door with a gap on your resume, and while you sort out your life. The problem is that these jobs can be inflexible. It sets you up to be unavailable, to rely more heavily on him (which could also mean his new girlfriend, his parents, his family, etc.) for childcare. That sets him up to negotiate for less child support (if any), and - if he wants - full physical custody. 

 

Bigger picture: apartment in a bad neighborhood. This is another set-up. What he says is "okay" now may soon become "I fear for the children's safety" and again ... sets him up to keep the kids more frequently. This is especially true if he's staying in the family home. It's an important reason for you to NOT MOVE OUT until you've settled this issue. (A) You move out and "abandon" the kids, then (B) you live in a sketchy neighborhood that he's not comfortable sending the kids to. Before you know it, he's got more custody and say than you are probably comfortable with. 

 

Bigger picture: leave them home all day. in an apartment in a bad neighborhood. while you're at a minimum wage job. Sister, please  :wub: he's taking you for a fool and taking advantage of your state of mind. Don't make the mistake of thinking you guys are friends who will work this out nicely. It may be that you can be friendly, it may be that this works out nicely, but right now what he's trying to do is set you up to fail so that he can swoop in and impress your friends, your families, your judges, and your children. Don't fall for it. "Mommy wants you to stay home all day in that scary neighborhood, but wouldn't you rather stay here AT HOME?" Or "Judge/Mom/MIL, Joyce Gripe moved out into a neighborhood I'm not comfortable leaving the kids in, and she wants them to stay home all day while she's wiping toddler butts at City Daycare Center. I feel I deserve full custody while she sorts out her life." Just don't do it. Don't fall for it.

 

Don't even look deeply into anything he suggests because none of it will make sense to you. It's not supposed to make sense, it's supposed to confuse you into thinking he's an idiot so that you're distracted. Just assume it's a trap. It may not always be one, but you're wise to assume one is and to proceed appropriately. This is especially true if you left under circumstances that warranted a women's shelter IMO.

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I did the child support calculator and my getting job doesn't affect it much. It's like I make $300 a week and child support goes down only $35. So I'm not sure why it's so important to him that I get one or to you all that I don't.

 

It's not so much the money, though that's important (IMO) - it's the other things that go along with the paycheck. 

 

Suddenly, instead of him covering kids' medical bills it's split 50/50. 50% from your paycheck is likely a bigger chunk than 50% from his, but a good lawyer will argue that if you're both employed then you're both equally responsible for these expenses. Same goes for his covering health insurance. If your job offers it, you might be mandated to cover all or half of the cost of health insurance. If you switch jobs, this could hurt you should you move to a job that doesn't offer it - you'd have to scramble to cover your share, or take him back to court. $$

 

It's important to you that he get one because it starts his slippery slope to his ultimate goal. I don't know what HIS ultimate goal is, but a lot of times it's either taking away the kids from the mother or hitting the mother where it hurts (her finances.) It's another way of forcing dependence upon them, if not (you) financially then the kids' needs because a dad who has always worked will generally out earn a mom whose been home for some years. 

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I highly recommend that you try to see if there is  a Jobs for Life program in your area. If there is, sign up! They help people who are re-entering the workforce, among other things. Help with job hunting, creating a resume, interview practice, etc.. Our church also connects the Jobs for Life students with Dress for Success for help building a suitable workplace wardrobe. Looking for a job requires planning and this program really will help you do that planning. It is an eight week course. 

 

https://www.jobsforlife.org/students

Edited by TechWife
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