Hi y'all. Back again.
So, I've finally decided it's time to ask my husband for a divorce. (I think it's funny that you "ask" when you don't want to give them the option of saying "no.")
My parents are totally behind me on this. I have a loooong list of reasons this would be for the best. I realize I'm in for a world of pain-in-the-ass, and I don't expect him to take this well. It doesn't help that we're financially strapped, so the concept of paying for two households is a pretty rough one. The majority of reasons for this are:
- I've considered and/or discussed divorce for 12 of the 15 years we've been married.
- We have absolutely no intimacy in our relationship.
- When I'm gone, we don't miss each other.
- I'm social, outgoing, and connected all over the community. He has no friends, barely speaks with his mother, and has no interest in changing this situation.
- When he comes home from work, he puts on headphones and either plays games or watches Netflix on his phone. Very limited interaction with me or the kids.
- He has anger issues. He takes the bare minimum of medication for them but is not willing to up his dose or make changes, despite the fact that I've suggested he's disconnected from the family.
- We have three kids, two of whom are special needs. They are all somewhat afraid of his temper.
- Recently, I had to move to my parents' house with my kids for nearly three weeks. He didn't once say he missed any of us. They didn't once say they missed him. The only time he saw the kids was when I forcefully arranged it.
- We discussed marriage counseling, but he refuses to do it until I "finish therapy" with the family therapist who sees our eldest Aspberger's son and helps us with issues. Of course, no consideration of the fact that I have my own therapist and take my medication.... but apparently, everything wrong in our life is my fault.
So.... now that I've word-vomited all over you (sorry 'bout that), I'd like your advice. Those of you who have gone through this, are therapeutic professionals, are children of divorce, I'd like to know what I really need to know. I'm already:
- Discussing this with my therapist and the family therapist
- Trying to arrange for work I can do from home (I'm on unemployment and two of our kids require a lot of special needs care).
- Planning for therapy for the kids
- Planning to "force" my husband into doing counseling while we go through the process
- Planning to take primary custody but work out a compatible shared custody arrangement as long as the kids are happy and safe
- Hoping to break this to him (a) with the family therapist so that we have an impartial third party and (b) with the intention of not placing blame, but stating that I know he doesn't want to change his life and I'd like something different.
- Have the name of an attorney whom I've met before and who is very highly regarded in the field.
What else do I need to know? (Besides that this will be sucky no matter what)
Health insurance--who carries it? If him, it probably ends at the divorce.
Child support? If you are going to have primary custody, be sure you know your state's laws on this--often much easier to let the state support collection handle it, so you never actually have to discuss money with him.
Cost of the divorce? In my state (where I practice matrimonial law) sometimes to save costs, people go to family court (free) to establish child support and custody so they can have a (cheaper) uncontested divorce.
Forcing him into counseling if he doesn't want to go probably won't help too much.
Stop trying to "forcefully arrange" his parenting time. You can't make someone be more of a nusband or father than they are, or want to be.
Trust the attorney you hire; once you file for divorce, talk to your lawyer before you talk to your husband.
You seem to have laid out your side of the issue clearly and rationally. If he is disconnected and hasn't done much to bring you back after your time away, at least a separation does seem best. Untreated anger and depression (the withdrawal) are not good for kids to be around. I gave my husband a second chance because he bent over backwards and threw himself into therapy when I kicked him out. I hope that by talking with the counselor when you break the news, he might open his eyes and seek treatment.
I can't help with the divorce stuff -Bethany seems to have that covered - but as for working from home, what are your skills? When I was at home with Ebay I did a lot of research into jobs from the home because I thought she'd need more care for a long time. Sometimes it's as simple as dogwalking, or secret shopping, or a professional errand-runner (yes, there are such things, if you're willling to drive a lot), allow for money to come in with still having flexible hours. I started a virtual assistant job, but really didn't push myself on advertising, and did a few things here and there mostly for people I knew. And while you're looking for work, volunteer. It keeps you busy, and helps you stay social and make connections.
And, of course, big hugs to you and the boys.
I don't have any advice, but I just wanted to say that I'm sorry you and your kids have to go through this. But, it sounds like you've really thought things through and are making a decision that is right for your family. Best of luck with everything and I hope it all goes smoothly.
I +1 what Jersey said. I'm sorry but I hope that it goes smoothly and gives you all some happiness.
Giant hugs, JTX. I'll second the stuff Bethany said (I also practice family law, but in a different state). The biggest piece of advice I have is to have a lawyer. It's nice to have someone to handle the complicated paperwork, especially around child support and benefits. And if you're worried about his anger, an attorney can be a little bit of a shield. Best of luck.
Be extremely guarded on Facebook. Divorce lawyers love Facebook.
Hugs and best of luck to you!
My BIL and his wife are going through the same thing, but with just one 18 month old. I saw problems on both sides of their equation and have to say I'm not totally surprised.
I've been urging my BIL to be more proactive, but he moved in with his parents and seems settled into a "routine". I urged him to set up his own bank accounts- no cash should exchange hands, just pay bills or buy supplies as needed. Talk to an attorney and understand your rights.
I know in MA, divorcing parents are required to attend a "parenting" class- just to go over the logistics of becoming a two household family. I can't say I would suggest "forcing" counseling in the long run, you may be beyond that.
Also, everything bethany said....
Best of luck to you and your kids.
Thank you everyone, for the advice and the well wishes. I am hoping for the best possible outcome -- safety for me and the kids, and a happier home. I'm trying not to rush anything and make sure I have all of my i's dotted and t's crossed, etc....
Sorry, first of all. Even when you know divorce is the right thing for everyone, it still sucks balls.
Second, everything Bethany said, including about not pushing his contact with the boys. If he isn't asking for it, he might resent his time with them and since he's disconnected and angry, that wouldn't benefit the boys, in my opinion. Just be amicable in arranging the time he does request, and once the amount of time is decided, do insist that it be consistent. One of my boys has Asperger's and one has autism, so knowing WHEN visits were going to happen was the most important thing, even when visitation was only a few hours a week.
Good luck. It sounds like you've given it a lot of thought and are on the right track. I hope it goes smoothly.
I have no advice either, but big hugs to you. Thinking of you!!