At two weeks postpartum with our 2nd daughter, DH let me know that he wants to separate. I didn't expect this at all, although I knew that he was really reaching a midlife crisis. Although he has a lot of resentment and anger toward me, overall his is very amicable and nonemotional in approaching this. I have asked him to give us 6 months before making the final decision since I really CAN'T take a major life change like this on top of a brand new baby. I am hoping that given time and and a chance to process his feelings a bit more (we are going to counseling) the situation will change by the end of the year.
We have our own business, although I haven't been participating full time in the operation of it since our first daughter was born 4 years ago (this is part of his resentment). I do oversee accounting and some marketing, but only about 2 hours a week at most. However, I have run our household 100% (everything from childcare, cooking, lawn care, accounting, cars, etc) so that he can focus all of his attention on the business. He is offering that I remain 50% owner in the business and would continue to receive 50% of the income. I would get the house and the new car we just bought (although payments would be mine).
Up until now, I've gotten the larger salary from our business. BUT all of our living expenses have come out of that. There was nothing left to save or spend on my own fun stuff. Out of his salary, he paid his very large student loan (from pre marriage) and the rest was his personal spending money. It has bothered me for years that about 15% of our total income went to his personal use and I had no say over how it was spent. I preferred to see that money (or some of it at least) go toward emergency savings or retirement. But, to keep things happy I just let it go.
So now I am kicking myself for not insisting that I also get discretionary spending that I could have saved up. He had wanted me to, but I was afraid that we couldn't afford it on top of what he was already taking. Since I saw it all as "our" money anyway, I figured that it would all work out.
I believe that as long as he follows through on the 50/50 part with business income I will be able to support myself and my children. But I am concerned that I have to support 2 kids on that 50% and he gets his 50% for himself. Since he is basically running the business now, perhaps that is fair, since I wouldn't have to work outside the home (hopefully) for a few years. He sees this as basically money I'm getting for doing nothing and thinks it is very generous. I feel really undervalued for all I've contributed already and will continue to contribute (I would still do accounting and marketing), but I also know a lot of single mothers who would be so grateful for this arrangement.
Would I be expected to pay for all of our children's expenses out of my 50%? I don't think that he would want joint custody, although he plans to be involved with their lives. Although he really loves them, he just isn't a children person and wants to be less distracted from his work (part of the reason he wants to leave).
I just am not sure what to expect. Although I really hope we can work it out in the next 6 months, I feel I should be planning now to make sure that my girls and I are taken care of and we are getting a fair arrangement.
Also, he has asked that if we do separate in 6 months that we claim that we have already been living separately for a year so that he can file immediately for divorce. I said I couldn't agree to that because I have no idea what the implications are. Is there a good reason to wait (other than hoping for reconciliation?)? This is one of those conversations that has me thinking I need to act now rather than waiting out the 6 months. It seems that he has really made up his mind and is just supporting my need to wait 6 months before the change is made. But it seems pretty clear from his actions and conversations that he ins't holding open the option to make things work to stay together.
Should I talk to a financial planner? Mediator? I don't want to go the lawyer route yet because I'm afraid of polarizing sides. It is really important to me that we keep things open and positive. I really hate to give energy towards the separation and would rather put my thoughts and energy toward making things work, but I also don't want to be caught on the short end of things. I guess I'm thinking "hope for the best, plan for the worst".
I have read this from a lot of other single moms too.... but I just NEVER imagined myself in this position after 11 years of marriage! So sad.....
Edited by MamaRuga - 7/19/12 at 6:18am