I want to separate from my husband, but I don't know how I will financially support myself. I have been a full-time stay-at-home mother since my first was a baby, and before then, I was a college student (didn't graduate) working minimum wage fast food jobs. I am currently pregnant with my third. Our living situation is safe, just not happy, so while I'd love to end the relationship now, I feel like I could spend a few months giving myself the best chance of living separately but not in poverty. What should I do?
Separating From Husband
Since you are ready to leave anyway, it's worth trying to become more financially and emotionally independent without leaving. Does that make sense? But I'm saying, don't give it a deadline--just do it as though you planned to stay married. You don't need the excuse of leaving to get what you want.
I'm basing this on my own experience of always compromising. When my husband left me anyway, I was unhappy that I hadn't insisted much earlier on what I wanted.
If one thing that would make you happy would be to go back to college to finish, tell your husband that you are going to do that, and then make plans to do it. Since you are ready to leave him anyway, it won't much matter if he doesn't like the idea.
Or look for a job and set up the necessary day care/nannying.
My thought is that if you are so unhappy you are planning to leave, you should do the things that will make you feel like more of a person and will make you more independent.
It is entirely possible, if the relationship isn't abusive and you just feel kind of "out of love," that if you do what you wanted to do, you'll feel better about the marriage. If you don't feel better, you'll have education/job skills for when you do leave.
I love Captain O's advice! I would heed it. Looking back on my experience, I was so glad I did what I did and kept my career going (at one point I pondered being a full time SAHM), and when things go bad, I started saving money in an account separately in my own name (secretly)....and I justified it as our emergency savings, and my emergency savings in case the marriage went south and I needed some cash to live on in the meantime. It was still considered family property and I will need to account for that money in the settlement - however it has been such a source of security and confidence for me knowing that I am employed and still have a bit of emergency funds - that he cannot access until a judge orders something. But since his assets are so much more, he won't get access to that cash without giving me access to his - so I'm fine really.
I think if there is not current abuse or danger, then it's wisest to get some financial independence while you are still married. Then you have more power and financial abilities when and if you do separate. Seeing what I went through and what other mamas go through...things can get VERY nasty once they know you are leaving - so it's very important to be financially stable, so you can afford all the legal fees associated with divorce, custody, etc. I think every one of us would say were were surprised by just how nasty they got...
1. Start working evenings and weekends st a grocery store: grocery discount, less time with DH, making new friends/networking, options for adding hours, making $.
2. Open savings account in my name only, and all my income goes there, untouched, for now. This will be my transition fund.
3. Get necessary medical stuff done ASAP. I have a fluid cyst in my hip that will require mri and surgery soon.
4. Scout out apartment complexes near preferred public schools. If separated, there's a chance kids will need to go to school, though I hope to homeschool.
5. Research attorneys who offer sliding scale work. Learn about my rights financially and parental.
6. Seek counseling to help keep a level head and make best choices.
7. Be patient.
To further explain, my DH is a very engaged and loving father who is working on learning better discipline tactics. He has had some anger/control issues that seem to be getting better. Unfortunately, he doesn't feel like our relationship as a couple needs work, but I am unhappy with our dynamic. If it can't/ won't change, I will be leaving. If he miraculously sees that putting more effort into us is worth it to him, there's a chance I may stay. Even if we do stay together, all of the above steps will be useful to our family and personal well being.
Not sure if my plan is helpful, but I hope you'll find all the support and clarity you need for your own life. Hugs to you, mama. This can't be easy, but it might be good.
I did it several years ago. Two children plus one on the way. I was a stay at home mom with no money of my own. We didn't have a ton of financial assets anyway so we split the bank acct 50/50(it worked out to less than $1k each and no property) and opened our own accts. He kept his car and payments, I kept mine. We discussed visitation and I got a job waitressing while he had the kids so we didn't have daycare costs. I applied for medicaid for myself and he found a place to live. I filed for child support before he left. Essentially we split within 6 weeks of deciding the marriage was over. In 6 weeks I went from being a stay at home mom to working nearly full-time outside the home and being single. The child support and my tips from waitressing just barely kept us afloat for several years until I was able to pay off my credit card debt and my car and free up my budget a little.
I don't know whether you are truly convinced that the marriage is over or not but I do want to tell you that I wish we had separated only and not divorced. We've been divorced for 3 years and dating for 2 of them. He sleeps here several days a week and we vacation together and do things with the kids as a family. We attend family functions together as a couple as well. So basically the separation was necessary in my mind for us to find our way but obviously the marriage wasn't truly over if we've been dating so long so successfully. Eventually once we are feeling like things are safe, we will move in together but I don't think either of us want to chance ruining it again. I don't usually share that much here but I just don't want you to throw away what you have without really thinking it through. Thankfully our kids were really little but we've still put them through a lot over the years with us dating and splitting up and such. I wish we would have been mature enough to stick it out and make the hard decisions in order to stay together instead of taking the easy way out.