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Divorce folks, I need your help


Carol in Cal.
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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

 

And don't tell anyone, except your lawyers, you're doing it.

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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.

 

1. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOUSE. (I don't mean, don't go to the grocery store, but don't leave for a prolonged period of time... and in fact, I would consider asking a friend to shop for groceries if he's trying to possess the house.)

 

Whether or not he paid the mortgage is immaterial. Don't leave. It is your house, even if your name isn't on the mortgage. There are very few states in which he could argue it's his because you stayed home with the kids, and even then, it's tenuous.

 

There is a strong chance you will get half the house or the house in the divorce, whether or not the kids are ordered to go to school. Asking you to leave and get an apartment is basically his asking you to materially abandon the house as his.

 

You earned that by caring for your family. Don't leave it. PM me if you're at all doubtful. Please trust me on this one. Many people have waited for a STBX to leave the house for groceries or just "cooling off" and changed the locks. "It's my house and she's not taking it during the divorce!" is what he may be thinking.

 

2. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR KIDS.

 

"I'm not leaving the children unattended." "I'm not leaving the children during this stressful time." Don't go to your mom's. Have her come to your place if needed. Someone from your family needs to be there 100% of the time with them.

 

3. Everything by text or e-mail. Do not speak to him on the phone. If he asks why, don't answer. It really doesn't matter. You're getting a divorce, this was advised, and you do not have to answer to him.

 

Remember: right now you have to protect your kids. Making him be nice to you is now off of your goal list. Prepare for anger and the worst-case scenario and remember that the state laws should protect you.

 

Finally, if your family is not well off, yes, wait for a lawyer but do. not. move. If he physically calls to force you out, use landlord tenant laws and call the police. He can't make you leave your house.

 

The earlier you know the laws and your rights, the better off you will be. 

 

I have been through a divorce, in case it's not obvious. I don't get massive child support and I already worked (though I work much more now), but I kept my kids. PM me if you have any questions and also if you want state-specific information. I can't give you a ton of information for all states but for community property states I can probably help with more rules of thumb.

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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.

 

 

Wait a second, honey. I see where you think that your daughter's health and homeschooling have contributed to some isolation but do you think it's possible your husband likes you isolated? The more you are removed from any possibility of meeting other women - even women who also have children with health issues - the less you will compare your situation to theirs and realize that a few things are off.

 

I am very glad that you have Carol as a friend. She is extremely smart - well you know her better than I do so I don't have to go any further. Please discuss any and all events with her. 

I also agree with texasmom33 to lawyer up at all cost. I have not read all the replies but if you are afraid to google at home or have no access to a computer, perhaps someone else can do some research for you and connect you with top notch divorce attorney because it seems, this is what you need above all else. 

 

Self-care: In order not to lose one's mind in these situations (I have not lived through it but a close friend has) take walks, exercise any way, breathe deeply, remember that you will live through this with the help of friends and an excellent attorney. Training for a future job can and will happen, just not yet. Life is waiting for you on the other side of this and you will get there!

 

Picture this like a staircase. The first step is getting the attorney who will tell you what the next step is.

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You need to focus on learning how to protect yourself, your children, and your share of marital assets (including the house). THAT'S your full time job right now, and it starts with getting advice from a lawyer. Many lawyers offer free one-hour consultations, and many of them have waiting rooms with video games and other pastimes for kids. If you piece together a few free consults with different lawyers, you will learn an enormous amount about how to protect yourself and why the advice your STBX is giving you is designed to benefit him and harm you in divorce proceedings.

 

Ask what your next steps should be in terms of gathering financial information, documenting financial control/isolation/abuse. Also ask if there are things you shouldn't do--moving out would be at the top of the list, unless you fear for your safety. In that case returning to the shelter or another place that would document your presence could be helpful in case you need that documentation in court.

 

In addition to free consults, ask around for other waiting lists for lawyers. Ask any relatives who might be able to help with the cost of retainer. 

 

You really, really need advice from a lawyer who knows your state laws inside out and who asks for more details of the situation than you can give on the internet. 

 

Amy

 

 

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My ex tried to keep me isolated, we often only had one working car and he needed as he did construction. I had been miserable for a while and when an opportunity arose that I could divorce him, I did. So my situation is a bit different, but I knew how much he was controlling and I justified some of it because he supported me homeschooling. 

 

I found a good lawyer that was affordable in our rural city. Her prices were much more affordable than I would have paid in the next larger city. She also allowed me to pay in chunks. I ended up going back to school because I live near an affordable university and I qualified for enough aid to live on. 

 

My ex is supposed to pay child support. He's made one payment. I refuse to push it because 90% of fights were about money and I don't really want to deal with him anymore than I need to. For many years, he didn't have the money to pay (this i know for sure) and I had parents that helped keep us afloat when things were really tight. I graduate from college this semester and in many ways, I had no clue how isolated he had made me. 

 

Wishing you peace and luck as you navigate this process. 

 

 

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I would like to add--this is a respite time to gather yourself and prepare for the future, not a time to rush into it, IMO.

So getting READY for a GOOD job is more important and urgent than landing ANY job would be, because it would have more far-reaching benefits.

 

There is a ton of good advice on this thread about how to think forward into the future and how to picture what the implications might be of what the STBX is suggesting.  Talking with HIM about this is foolish and counterproductive, (no sense tipping your hand, plus he would undoubtedly try to confuse you) but acting on your own behalf is smart and crucial.

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My aunts husband kept her isolated and on a very limited budget, telling her that they couldn’t afford more than $75 per week for groceries and there was no money for vacations, car repairs, new clothes for the kids, ect.  He also claimed that he did not receive any raises in salary for years and that their only asset was the house.  My aunt believed him.  When they divorced she found a budget attorney because there was no money, my aunt had been a stay at home mom for 15 years and no recent job skills and a very limited support system.  The divorce went through, she got $75 per week in child support.  About 6 months after the divorce, her now ex-husband took the kids to help with yard work at his rental property.  He owned 6 houses that were rentals and had a very nice retirement portfolio. My aunt did not believe the kids and did not pursue the issue.  When the last kid was in high school the ex-husband came clean and admitted that he had substantial resources and did not feel bad about leaving her with next to nothing.  Today he is retired and he and his wife travel extensively.  My aunt has no retirement. 

 

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I feel like maybe all this is making me more paranoid. For example, one reason he was pushing me out of the house is that he got a raise and I told him that we need to be separated before the kids lose their health insurance.

 

And one day he said something to me and I misheard it and I said, "I know I cant afford to keep the house."

Edited by Joyce Gripe
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I would like to add--this is a respite time to gather yourself and prepare for the future, not a time to rush into it, IMO.

So getting READY for a GOOD job is more important and urgent than landing ANY job would be, because it would have more far-reaching benefits.

 

There is a ton of good advice on this thread about how to think forward into the future and how to picture what the implications might be of what the STBX is suggesting. Talking with HIM about this is foolish and counterproductive, (no sense tipping your hand, plus he would undoubtedly try to confuse you) but acting on your own behalf is smart and crucial.

the problem is that this is constant stress. He is always watching me, making notes of what I do every day. He also asked me if something was wrong because I'm acting weird today. He is expecting reconciliation and soon. And he even said this can't go on forever because a sexless marriage sucks. He will expect sex sooner or later and it's never happening again if I can do anything about it. So then what happens?
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the problem is that this is constant stress. He is always watching me, making notes of what I do every day. He also asked me if something was wrong because I'm acting weird today. He is expecting reconciliation and soon. And he even said this can't go on forever because a sexless marriage sucks. He will expect sex sooner or later and it's never happening again if I can do anything about it. So then what happens?

If you think he is cheating on you don't have sex. You could get an STD.

 

If he refused to live with you he has to file for divorce.

 

He is asking if something is wrong.to gaslight you, make you feel that it is your behavior that is the problem, not his.

 

Then he will get you defending yourself and he has an "in" to attack you.

 

The response is, "no, thank you for asking." "Oh because you have that look.on your face..." "Hm." Then stop.

 

He might flip out.

 

You have to be prepared for the worst.

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He raped me. I fled to the women's shelter with the kids. Now somehow our divorce is my fault.

 

Okay thank you for the advice on the questions he asks.

This concerns me when you put this next to your post about him expecting sex soon. Did you report the rape? https://www.domesticshelters.org/domestic-violence-articles-information/can-he-rape-me-if-we-re-married#.Wma6GWKIbYU

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I started to and they talked me out of it. Then he started stalking me so I couldn't call the detective back.

 

He is on his best behavior now, trying to prove I'm crazy, so I'm sure he won't do it again. He'll probably just try to demand sex and then get verbally angry and immediately file for divorce when he doesn't get it

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He raped me. I fled to the women's shelter with the kids. Now somehow our divorce is my fault.

 

Okay thank you for the advice on the questions he asks.

 

I'm so sorry. I have been in that situation. :( You can get better and you deserve better.

 

If you are afraid he will rape you again, ensure you have a cell phone to call the police. Have them on speed dial. You don't even have to say anything, call and leave it on and yell "don't [do that thing] at him".

 

He won't file for divorce for a long time though. He knows you'll get the house or at least some of it. All these things he's whining about--these are extremely typical. He wants to make you leave. You're right that he wants to paint you as crazy. However, so long as you are not physically violent, that's going to be harder than he thinks. Get yourself a safe room to hide in. Do your bathrooms lock?

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All of our doors have locks but he has the key.

 

I also don't want him to have 50/50 custody of the kids :( I dont want them neglected. And I don't want my daughter forced into it when he has abused her too.

 

And I won't lie. Money concerns me very much. We pay twice as much for groceries than we used to because of her diet and she and I are both on natural meds. Gas was a concern just driving my son back and forth for visitation when we were at the shelter. I'm feeling very hopeless right now.

Edited by Joyce Gripe
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All of our doors have locks but he has the key.

 

I also don't want him to have 50/50 custody of the kids :( I dont want them neglected. And I don't want my daughter forced into it when he has abused her too.

 

And I won't lie. Money concerns me very much. We pay twice as much for groceries than we used to because of her diet and she and I are both on natural meds. Gas was a concern just driving my son back and forth for visitation when we were at the shelter. I'm feeling very hopeless right now.

 

Money, that is why it's important to get a better job.

If you leave with an education that will permit this it will help you for the rest of your life.

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A few posts ago, you said "they talked me out of it" in connection with reporting the rape. The detectives talked you out of it?

This is highly unprofessional and likely borders on misconduct. They should have taken a report.

Can you make phone calls while he is at work? I would want to get this reported asap. Was there a statement taken at the intake at the women's shelter as to this incident?

All this could eventually be subpoenaed and taken into evidence.

If your daughter has experienced physical / sexual abuse, it also needs to be documented. Has this been reported to a pediatrician? If it's emotional / verbal abuse, depending on age a counselor can interview her and take a statement.

Edited by Liz CA
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I didn't know that your kids were abused. If they are being physically abused in any way, and you can document it--document it. And forget my initial advice which was economic and assuming an emotional abuse / adulterous situation.

 

 

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I haven't read all the posts but in my personal experience, because I didn't have documentation such as police reports, after the divorce my child was unsupervised with his abuser at the direction of the judge and was abused far worse than he ever was when I was around to protect him or deflect it to me. The truth in my case was that all that mattered was documentation. So he had to nearly kill my child more than once after the divorce to get his rights removed etc. I didn't have the documentation before the divorce because of the death threats that if I tried to get him arrested that he would just get out on bail and kill me, and I mistakenly had faith in the judicial system that they would make sure my child was protected after the divorce. But now looking back I wish despite the death threats that I had called the police every time and just took that risk because the documentation ended up being key. Good luck.

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Due to my daughter's health she could not do school at all for a long time. (She was starving and had brain damage but the doctors kept ignoring it so I really don't have much in the way of records for that) She is able to now but we are just starting back up. We've been unschooling for the most part for my son and I have not kept records. Like I said, other than the one assault on me all of his abuse has been verbal. So if he fights me for custody I'm not sure how it will go to be honest.

 

He is asking now if I want to do the divorce without lawyers.

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And as far as other random advice I can offer...in my experience anything documented from the shelter I went to didn't matter because they said it was one sided so I could have made it up. All that could have helped would have been police reports ...911 recordings etc. Also, I was embarrassed and hid everything from neighbors and looking back I wish I would have run out of the house with my baby, screaming to get anyone's attention and get it reported that way if I couldn't get to my phone. One thing I did that worked out was over a very long time I successfully hid cash from him by taking apart new tampons and hiding the cash rolled up in applicators and closed up in a tampon box. It was the one place he really didn't look so I at least had some cash for food and gas if needed.

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Due to my daughter's health she could not do school at all for a long time. (She was starving and had brain damage but the doctors kept ignoring it so I really don't have much in the way of records for that) She is able to now but we are just starting back up. We've been unschooling for the most part for my son and I have not kept records. Like I said, other than the one assault on me all of his abuse has been verbal. So if he fights me for custody I'm not sure how it will go to be honest.

 

He is asking now if I want to do the divorce without lawyers.

I would not do it without lawyers.

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In my location, verbal abuse of a spouse does not have relevance for custody decisions -- but verbal abuse of the child is taken very seriously. Keep notes of exactly what he says and does to the child.

Yes and I would try to get 911 recordings of it or any recordings of it because in my experience none of my notes or journals etc mattered.

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He knows that a lawyer that you hire will fight for justice for you. Is it any wonder that he'd rather try to reach terms without you having a qualified advocate? Of course he would!

 

Ask yourself this: "Would I offer my services to help a friend of mine set up a lawyer-free divorce? Would I urge her to count on me instead of hiring a lawyer?" -- of course not. You are inherently unqualified and very likely to mess everything up. If you wouldn't do it to a friend, don't do it to yourself and your kids!

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I will get her to counseling but it's so hard to get an appointment:( last time we sat for 2 hours and they turned us away. Will it really help?

 

I would persist. Not only may it help your daughter but it provides official documentation which may be helpful as you go through the divorce proceedings.

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Due to my daughter's health she could not do school at all for a long time. (She was starving and had brain damage but the doctors kept ignoring it so I really don't have much in the way of records for that) She is able to now but we are just starting back up. We've been unschooling for the most part for my son and I have not kept records. Like I said, other than the one assault on me all of his abuse has been verbal. So if he fights me for custody I'm not sure how it will go to be honest.

 

He is asking now if I want to do the divorce without lawyers.

 

Go and get the kids assessed by an educational psychologist so you can do it again when you actually get to court, showing appropriate improvement. Not too little and not too much.

 

And no, you don't want to do the divorce without the lawyers. That's just Ex-Speak for "I'm still gonna get a better lawyer than you."

 

 

Hopefully having your dd in counselling will help. It didn't help us because he didn't pay half.

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