Safely leaving a marriage


#1

I am kind of hoping to get some advice from someone who has been through this already.

How do you leave your husband? I know people do this all the time, but really, just the thought of it totally scares me. I know I have to do it though. God is making that very clear to me.

I mean, I have known it since forever. I never went to a counselor because I knew that I would be told to leave him. When we were studying Exodus in Bible study a few months ago, it just suddenly hit me though that was what God was telling me to do. I tried to ignore it, tried to work on being a better wife and see if that would help.

Then I wanted to make a plenary indulgence for my dad on the Immaculate Conception. I really wanted to give up all of my attachments to sin, and so I prayed to Mary to help me make a good confession. During confession the priest told me that I have to leave my husband, that I am his slave, his hostage. He is a controller, verbally and emotionally abusive, physically intimidating and threatening. He is also an alcoholic and won’t seek treatment or agree to counsling. I didn’t expect that in confession. He told me not to wait any longer than June, to put a deadline on it.

I know my priest is right. I felt like it was the Holy Spirit speaking directly to my heart and soul. Just the same, I am scared. We have 4 kids, so I know I can’t just do nothing and put up with this kind of behavior.

I don’t work. I have talked about wanting to go back to work, but my husband won’t let me. He doesn’t want our youngest in day care. He doesn’t want the housework to slide or to have to eat fast food. So, I am totally financially dependent on my husband.

We could move in with my parents. I know that wouldn’t be easy. They live 5 hours away, so my kids would have to give up all of their friends, and they do have nice friends. They go to good schools and are doing well academically, so I hate the thought of uprooting them. Still, I know that they are hurting from the frequent angry and unreasonable outbusts that are our home life.

I am also totally scared for their safety and mine. My husband is used to having total control over me, and still he is very explosive and angry with me. What will he do if I say I am going to leave him? It is pretty scary and overwhelming to think about.

Has anyone ever successfully done this? What practical advice do you have?


#2

Someone I know is going through this very same situation with five kids, the oldest three homeschooled.

Basically she just kicked her husband out despite the fact that he is the primary source of income. My understanding is that any place will side with the woman (not that I think it is always fair, but this time it works in your favor), and eventually he’ll be forced to pay child support/alimony.

There is loads of assistance available to single mothers- be it furthering your education, getting a job, daycare money for kids- but you have to be willing to ask for it. This is precisely why we have places like Catholic Social Services and places where you can get a free meal- sometimes people just get the short end of the stick and need help making a new life.

My prayers are with you.


#3

dulcissima:

First, do not discuss this decision with your husband. Just leave one day with the children after he goes to work. Send the children to school, then pick them up an hour later. That seems cruel, but heaven only knows what your husband would do to you if you tell him to his face. Are you or your children in danger? If so, leave asap. Get yourself and your children out of harm’s way now. Go to your parents right away. Otherwise, I think that the next thing you have to do is meet with your parents about helping you financially, since that is the foremost practical hurdle you need to overcome. For example, can they establish a credit card in your name with the bills going to their home? Next, you need to contact a family lawyer. Can your mother or father go with you to the attorney so that you can use that time effectively and for support? If you feel safe, can you wait until May before you leave, so that the school year is over? I know that’s a long time, four months, but it will allow you to get things in order. Talk to your lawyer about getting a restraining order and don’t forget that all visits between children and their father should be supervised by a court appointed professional. Also talk to the lawyer about what the ramifications are if you leave the marriage and the house versus telling him to go. Since you will get the children, you should get the house as well and you don’t want to jeopardize the house, if at all possible. In that case, you will need to face him, call the police if necessary to have him removed from the house and locked up if need be.

Lastly, can your husband view anything that you do on your computer? Do you erase your browsing when you are finished online? Perhaps others will chime in on this, but I wonder what you can do at home, over the internet, to make preliminary arrangements for a divorce.

And I’m sorry that you are going through this. I know you will be strong for your precious children. You’re in my prayers.


#4

I have not gone through anything like what you are facing, but I would like to offer you my prayers. If God has lead you to this decision then continue to trust in Him and He will see you through.

I would also think that going and seeing a lawyer who deals with these kinds of situations and also talking to a battered woman’s shelter before you make any of this known to your husband would be a very good idea.

** The lawyer should be able to help you know what to expect legally and finacially and the shelter should be able to offer advice on how to leave him in the safest way possible for you and your children.**


Without having any knowledge of what you should do, I would think that trying to stay in the home (get the husband out) would be best for you and the kids. He will have to pay spousal support until you can manage as well as child support.


I wish you all the luck in the world and will continue to pray for you to find a safe way out of this situation.


Malia


#5

Oh my. You’re in my prayers. Is there a Catholic Social Services in your area? They might be able to help.


#6

Talk to a lawyer before you move so much as your pinkie finger.


#7

[quote=mercygate]Talk to a lawyer before you move so much as your pinkie finger.
[/quote]

Yep , best advice you are going to get.

I did leave my husband, who threatened my life with butcher knives. It was a hard decision, but God provides.


#8

Call 800-799-7233. This is a national clearing house that can direct you to help in your area. Call as soon as you safely can!

God be with you and your kids. You will be in my prayers tonight.


#9

I am so sorry for your situation. I have not personally experienced this, but have friends who have.

First, before doing anything else, retain a lawyer. I know finances are a problem, but you can call a local battered women’s shelter, Catholic charities, etc. There are lawyers who will take pro-bono or contingency work. They can get the judget to make your husband (the money maker) pay for both his and your lawyer. So, don’t let finances stop you from getting the best lawyer you can find.

Remember, the lawyer’s job is to protect you and your children’s interests. The lawyer will be the one to handle everything. They will advise you on first steps-- such as whether you should move out, make him move out (through the courts), what your rights are regarding property, assets, etc.

A battered women’s shelter will also know the law and how to help you.

Start stashing cash. Get larger bills, pay cash at the grocery and keep the change if you must. Sell some things on eBay that will not be missed so that you will have some financial resources. Open a bank account in your name only and put cash in it. Be creative if you must.

If he is not physically threatening at this point, then plan carefully, talk to a lawyer first, and time your departure as they suggest. If he is physically threatening you and your children-- then pack your belongings while he is at work and be gone before he comes home as quickly as you can.

Also, just a suggestion, but take pictures (get disposables if you don’t have a digital) of all assets of worth. Document bank account balances-- printouts, copies of statements, etc-- and all assets before you leave the house, if you end up being the one to leave.

Also, keep detailed notes (daytimer, notebook, pad of paper, whatever) of everything he says, does, etc, that is emotionally abusive to you and your kids-- so that when it comes time for court you will have detailed and accurate records. Record him with a micro-recorder if you can.

And, lastly, let the lawyer do the deal when the time comes. Many women get emotional, and they ‘try to get along’ and the let their spouse off easy regarding support, visitation, assets, etc. Don’t make this mistake.


#10

Thanks everyone for the good advice you’ve given so far. It sounds like everyone says the most important thing is to talk to a lawyer. I will have to talk to my mom about that I guess. She has offered to pay for a lawyer and/or a counselor for me. I just have been having a hard time thinking about doing this, let alone taking any concrete steps.

I do hope to wait until after school is out in June primarily because my daughter’s highschool has them only take three classes each semester, so she is only just now starting to take English and geometry, so transferring schools would really be difficult for her.

I do think as long as I manage to continue to be very accommodating to him, we can make it that far. I mean that has been my strategy throughout my entire marriage and that is why I think it has been mostly limited to verbal assaults.

I do delete from history and empty the cache when I am on here. I know to do that much, since everything I do is closely scrutinized (my e-mails are read and the number of minutes I am on the phone are examined). I also never visit this site when he is around, so he doesn’t know about it.

The good news for me is that he has 5 business trips this month, so that gives me a little bit of breathing room.

Thanks for the advice, encouragement, and especially for your prayers.


#11

[quote=Cupofkindness]dulcissima:
First, do not discuss this decision with your husband. Just leave one day with the children after he goes to work. Send the children to school, then pick them up an hour later.
[/quote]

unadvisable. usually considered custodial interference by law. might land you in jail for a few days. find a lawyer, get counsel, and then if you hire him, advise him [the lawyer] you are leaving and that HE will be the only source of contact your husband can have with you.

There is no guarantee you will get the house. most likely if YOU leave, then he will retain residence in the house.

if there is no outward violence, the police will stand and look at you, and do nothing. you need an ex parte order to have him removed. sometimes difficult to get without signs of physical violence.

just be aware, with new domestic violence laws, if you do call the police because of violence, all he has to do is say you hit him too, and you BOTH go to jail no quesitons asked. its good idea to have someone you trust as a witness. otherwise if he has half a brain, he will take you down with him.

now in speak from PERSONAL EYEWITNESS EXPERIENCE. should you leave, talk to your lawyer about establishing an inventory of finances and assets and posessions. otherwise, he very well and legally can saw every posession you own in the house in half. i actually stood and watched a man saw a car in half with a diamond tipped saw and could do NOTHING about it. they were about to file for divorce, and he decided to “divide” the assets himself. she called us (the police), and as long as he kept the saw aimed at the car, it was half his by law and could be destroyed. he showed us the title that had his name on it, so all we did was watch and make sure he sawed the car, and not his wife. we had no authority to stop him.

in short, get a GOOD lawyer


#12

Take your mother’s advice and offer…seek a counselor and a lawyer to guide you ‘how’ to go about leaving the marriage - for you as a wife, for your kids as his children, etc…it’s going to be difficult because you’ve already indicated your scared about doing anything concrete.

Fear comes from not knowing…the counselor can help you prepare for what lies ahead for you…the lawyer will protect you and your children now and into the future. Once you ‘know’ what has to happen, how it will happen and what may result from the decisions you make, you will be less fearful about the future.

I will keep you and your children in my prayers.


#13

[quote=dulcissima]I do hope to wait until after school is out in June primarily because my daughter’s highschool has them only take three classes each semester, so she is only just now starting to take English and geometry, so transferring schools would really be difficult for her.
[/quote]

I would echo the advice to consult an attorney. IF you are not in immediate physical danger–I think you are wise to maintain your routine, make things seem as normal as possible and come up with a plan so when you leave you are prepared. You might be able to send some of your/the kids’ things ahead to your parents so you aren’t packing up the day you finally leave. You will want to work out a plan to access your finances with the attorney before you leave so you aren’t cut off by your husband. This may require you to do some investigating and provide some information on the banks/investment firms where you/your husband maintain accts.

[quote=]I do think as long as I manage to continue to be very accommodating to him, we can make it that far. I mean that has been my strategy throughout my entire marriage and that is why I think it has been mostly limited to verbal assaults.
[/quote]

Again, if you are not putting yourself or children in danger this is probably the best approach

[quote=]I do delete from history and empty the cache when I am on here. I know to do that much, since everything I do is closely scrutinized (my e-mails are read and the number of minutes I am on the phone are examined). I also never visit this site when he is around, so he doesn’t know about it.
[/quote]

This part is CRITICAL. Do not do anything that could tip him off to your plan. Do not make any phone calls or e-mails to attorneys, shelters, social service agencies, banks, etc. that you would not normally make from your home or cell phone. Go to a public place and use a pay phone. Be adamant that the attorney not call you at home–they are sensitive to this and should comply. Do not discuss your plan with anyone before you go. Any information you collect about your finances, etc. should be kept in a very private place or mailed to your mom. Do not start hoarding $ or altering your spending. Make plans for summer activities for the kids as your normally would. Maintain your routine as if nothing has changed. The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when the victim tries to leave. I know you are under tremendous stress but please use every ounce of caution you can. I will remember you in a daily prayer to St. Michael the Archangel–a source of great protection.


#14

[quote=Island Oak]I would echo the advice to consult an attorney. IF you are not in immediate physical danger–I think you are wise to maintain your routine, make things seem as normal as possible and come up with a plan so when you leave you are prepared. You might be able to send some of your/the kids’ things ahead to your parents so you aren’t packing up the day you finally leave. You will want to work out a plan to access your finances with the attorney before you leave so you aren’t cut off by your husband. This may require you to do some investigating and provide some information on the banks/investment firms where you/your husband maintain accts.

Again, if you are not putting yourself or children in danger this is probably the best approach

This part is CRITICAL. Do not do anything that could tip him off to your plan. Do not make any phone calls or e-mails to attorneys, shelters, social service agencies, banks, etc. that you would not normally make from your home or cell phone. Go to a public place and use a pay phone. Be adamant that the attorney not call you at home–they are sensitive to this and should comply. Do not discuss your plan with anyone before you go. Any information you collect about your finances, etc. should be kept in a very private place or mailed to your mom. Do not start hoarding $ or altering your spending. Make plans for summer activities for the kids as your normally would. Maintain your routine as if nothing has changed. The most dangerous time in an abusive relationship is when the victim tries to leave. I know you are under tremendous stress but please use every ounce of caution you can. I will remember you in a daily prayer to St. Michael the Archangel–a source of great protection.
[/quote]

Man! You know too much! But I second everything you say here.


#15

I left my husband but my son was older and able to take care of himself after school, etc. Before I did this I went to a counselor for several sessions. My ex was emotionally but not physically abusive. You should go see a lawyer. You may be able to stay in the home with your children and your husband may be forced to leave. I don’t know exactly what this would entail legally.


#16

God be with you. I don’t have advice, I just wanted to let you know that I’ll pray for you and your children.


#17

You may want to have a police officer there when you move out or ask him to move out just for your own safety.

Be strong.


#18

Lots of gratutitous advice here for someone who makes a few simple statements about her husband’s “controlling behaviour”. He doesn’t want his youngest in child care. Well, that’s a fair enough standard to aspire to. The inference is that the older kids were never in child care. Why the sudden need for the youngest one to go into care? Are there financial problems? The OP states she is afraid of her husband, but she details no history of physical abuse. I get the feeling that there is more going on in this relationship than meets the eye. So, excuse me if I appear somewhat cynical, but there are other kids involved and what is their relationship with their father like? I ask, because taking them away from their father is a very serious thing and too many women do it as a shield behind which they conceal their own discontent and selfishness.

So easy to destroy. Much harder to nurture.


#19

Um this thread is over 4 years old. Dulcissima has already had a declaration of nullity from this relationship I believe. By the way someone doesn’t have to hit you to make you afraid of them.


#20

rayne, thanks for pointing this out to me. I hadn’t taken notice of the dates at all. My apologies to all. :blush:

You are correct that someone doesn’t have to hit you to make them afraid of you. However, my point is that it is sometimes too easy to go around offering advice when we don’t have all the facts and so that advice can be gratuitous. Enough said. Hopefully this will fade away and not cause anyone any grief.


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