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I need to leave. No income of my own. Help me plan?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've decided I really need to go, but am so overwhelmed at the task of leaving. We have two kids, ages 7 and 3. I was a SAHM for 6 years, went back to school last year. I'm doing an AAS in an allied health field which takes about three years to complete, so I should be done by spring of 2011... so far I've maintained a 4.0 GPA, and I'm going into a field with pretty decent job prospects, so I'm not too worried about finding work after that.

In the meantime, however... I can't stick it out here for another year. But I can't line up student aid, child support, food stamps, etc until I have already moved out, and it is hard to find anybody to rent you a place when you can't prove income. I have a couple of thousand dollars I squirreled away from the tax refund when it came in (easy for me to do, as I handle pretty much all the finances, although he can't or won't keep a budget... never mind.) Cost of living is high here, and that money will not go far.

So, how do I make this leap? H and I jointly own the house we live in, and there is some equity in it, but I don't know how to handle that either. I have two dogs, which also makes renting more difficult. I have a good enough relationship with my parents that I know they will do what they can to help me, but they live almost 2,000 miles away. I do have friends I could ask to watch the kids for a couple of hours, or help me move furniture, or call on the phone and cry. I do think H will pay child support without complaint, though I have no idea how he will do that and still be able to make the mortgage payments.

I just don't know how to get myself, and kids and dogs, into a new place. I wish I had, like, a flowchart to show me my next step. Somebody talk to me?
post #2 of 8
Have you X posted in Frugality and Finances? Seriously, there are some super thrify mamas over there with some of the best Ideas I have ever read!

and good luck.
post #3 of 8
I would start by talking to a lawyer. That will help you get an idea of how to continue to untangle things financially, what you will be entitled to etc. I filed for a divorce before asking my xh to leave. he still had to make all the house payments, utilities etc. I had about $2000 squirreled away. it went fast. i forget on what.....probably groceries. and gas and stuff. that was temporary but it got us through until I could get back to work and the girls could get off to school and child support could be established. It also enabled me to charge the retainer to his credit card which he got all the debt in the divorce....

secondly, honestly I would recommend considering rehoming the dogs. I know it sucks but yeah, you are going to have a hard time renting with two dogs. not to mention all the work of two dogs. I love my puppy so much but had I known what was involved I would not have gotten her. She spends a lot of time in her kennel. fortunately she loves it in there but i still feel really bad. and if we have to move and rent a place I would likely have to give her up. I cannot imagine a singel rental where they would let me have her and she is a medium sized submissive dog.
post #4 of 8
It IS possible to get food stamps and cash assistance before you move... it may not be easy, but it is possible because I did it. My X was horribley abusive though, which maybe made it easier for the financial worker to push through. It does not hurt to meet with a county worker and ask if there are any options for you. You may get no where (my experience with financial workers is varied... some are very helpful, some won't give you the time of day).

Can you get on the section 8 housing waiting list? Is there any subsidized housing in your city? Call them and get on their waiting lists. Anything through you school that can help you find a place to live? Did you only take out loans for the tuition? If so, you may be able to amend your FAFSA to get extra loan money for living expenses. Check with county human services to see if they have any housing programs or dislocated worker or displaced homemaker programs.

Those are my initial ideas. If all lead to a dead end, you can always bring your kiddos to a homeless shelter. You'll get immediate service and will then qualify for programs because you are homeless (more of a formality than actually being homeless).
post #5 of 8
Have you spoken to the financial aid department at your school. You can apply for a change in your grant since your living situation is going to change. You can ask that they make the loan re-available to you and accept it now without amending your FAFSA, it will take a few weeks to come in though. There are hotels that will rent to you by the week, but they are very pricey. If you are in an abusive relationship you may be able to get help from a Women's Shelter. If your University has a Women's Center then they may be able to help you find resources that you don't know about.
post #6 of 8
while you may not be able to get food stamps etc right now, you can get the paperwork and get it filled out and set up an appointment with your social worker for the day you move out. I didn't even have an appointment, I just walked in with a rough estimate of what I made and left with full medicaid benefits. if I had qualified for food stamps or wic I would have left with those as well. I was shocked to be seen and shocked to get benefits without a lot of proof of income, no child support order, nothing. but call them now (or go in) get any and all paperwork that may apply, find out what "proof" you will need. have everything in order. Then go in the day things change. most benefts (or at least emergancy befits) can kick in right away or within 24 hours.
post #7 of 8
I think at its simplest, you need to make a list of resources and a list of needs. Your resources are your various income streams (tax refund, government assistance, child support, school grants, possible part time job), the help you can get from family and friends (moving help, emotional help, childcare help, emergency loans) and the stuff you already have (car, furniture, skills, stuff you could sell, stuff you don't need to buy). Then your needs are going to be a place to live, transportation, child care, food, utilities, legal aide, tuition, and health insurance.
When you get those lists clear in your mind, that'll give you some direction.

As far as stuff to do, I would say:
--Talk to a lawyer first. They can give you a lot of advice. Though they are expensive, so you may be able to find a lot fo info online.
--Talk to social services people and the financial aid people in your school. They might be able to tell you what services you could be eligible for and what you'll need to apply. That way you can start planning out a budget.
--When you have an idea of what your income will be, look for a place to live somewhere like Craigslist or www.coabode.com, where other single moms match up to find roommates. Also, do you have any friends who might want a roommate for the short term or long term?

Have you broken the news to your STBX yet? Any idea how he'll take it? If he can be rational about it, he may be willing to talk logistics.
Here's on link that may be useful: http://life.familyeducation.com/divo...18.html?page=1
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thank you, mamas. I really, really appreciate the support.

H is not abusive. Trying not to give too much detail about him here because he knows my screen name, etc. I do not actually have any student aid package, as I didn't qualify for anything with his income. The financial aid office at the college has informed me that I need to resubmit my amended FAFSA *after* I move out. The county social services office here also told me over the phone that I need to establish separate residency first, and then file. Section 8 lists here are *long.* I think I really just have to find a place and move with the cash I have, and then scramble to get things in order afterward.

I am nervous about talking to a lawyer. H is not the vindictive type but he is very very stubborn, and I worry that he will perceive me as backing him into a corner. I have told H. He mostly made me promise I won't "take the kids away from him". He will keep me on his health insurance until I can get a job with benefits, and I will have to figure out a plan for custody and child support to present to him. He is pretty rational, once past his initial emotional reaction.

Actually I am so grateful that he is talking calmly about this that I think I need to be careful not to concede too much to him in order to maintain that state, yk?

The idea of giving up my dogs is pretty hard to come to terms with. The older one has been my faithful friend since before my children were born. He is such a good dog and he loves me so much, and he is old, so not easy to re-home... and the younger dog is about 5, so not young either, and she came to us with a past. She is afraid of strange men and growls at them. I think, realistically, they are very unlikely to find new homes

I am trying to move past being overwhelmed into some serious planning. I might be back soon to talk things through some more.
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