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How do you afford it?

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Darkness Falls posted 8/13/2020 15:09 PM

So I want to start getting my ducks in a row to be able to leave this marriage in 3-4 years or so. I just feel paralyzed and stuck when I try to make a plan.

My primary concern, besides the emotional wellbeing of my kids, is financial. I’ve been with my employer for a decade and a half. Going full time would provide a comfortable standard of living but the hours are such that I couldn’t adequately care for my children. The hours go beyond the end of school/aftercare/daycare being open and private babysitters cost a fortune. One of my kids has special needs so can’t go to daycare or an after-school program anyway, even if it worked out with the potential work hours (which it doesn’t). She also couldn’t be left with just any old regular babysitter. I have no family in the state.

I feel that changing jobs isn’t a good option because a.) I have significant seniority with my current company; b.) I’d run into the same childcare issues no matter where I worked, and c.) I couldn’t make the money I could make at my current company anywhere else, plus my job provides free healthcare.

My H works for the same company and currently has the hours that I would be looking at if I were to go full time, so he wouldn’t be able to pick up the childcare slack—as it is now, I do 80/90% of the childcare because of his hours—which of course I’m fine with, but I feel it puts me—and the children—in a real predicament in the case of a divorce.

What can I do? My current hours do not give me a living wage for even just myself, let alone me plus two kids—it’s doable now as part of a married couple/intact family, but something would have to change in a single-parent situation. I just don’t know what.

Poppy704 posted 8/13/2020 15:33 PM

Speak to a lawyer about alimony and child support. Your situation is a textbook example of the primary caregiver being entitled to support because their earning potential is negatively effected by their family responsibilities.

apache posted 8/13/2020 16:04 PM

Should you be honest with your husband at this time about your future plans, or have you already?

If no, it seems like your taking his agency in the marriage away, very much like an affair.
Maybe a 2x4, but I believe worth asking.

Darkness Falls posted 8/13/2020 16:09 PM

True, but I feel it would be very unfair to put the burden on my H to support both himself/his own single-person household PLUS “mine”/the kids’ when it would be cheaper to just remain an intact family, ESPECIALLY as I would be the one initiating the divorce—it would be different if he were the petitioner; then I could say “you want it; you can pay the price.” But I would feel slimy about it the other way around, kwim?

Darkness Falls posted 8/13/2020 16:22 PM

Apache, so we’re equivocating aboveboard divorces with affairs now? I don’t see BSs who are getting potential-divorce ducks in a row being accused of taking away their WS’s agency. 🤔

That being said, my H is very aware of the problems in this M and is just as miserable as I am. We have mentioned divorce a few times in conversation and I suspect he’d love for me to be the one to pull the plug so he’s not the bad guy. We’ve talked about waiting until the kids are older/things with my SN child are more stable before proceeding, hence my thought of 3-4 years.

HalfTime2017 posted 8/13/2020 16:30 PM

Darkness, it might be helpful to discuss the cost with the Husband if you are both aware of the marital issues. You don't have to feel slimy asking for help, if he is willing and able to contribute to some form of care. Additionally, you both would be better able to work out the custody and childcare issues that would allow you both to D sooner rather than later.

It could be a win win, if you both want out.

Darkness Falls posted 8/13/2020 16:56 PM

Good point, HalfTime. The furthest we’ve gotten in the past is agreeing that neither of us would screw the other over regarding the kids. Haven’t even brought finances into it yet.

apache posted 8/13/2020 17:03 PM

I also asked if you had already discussed divorce, and to some degree you have.

I make no comparison to an affair and a "plain old divorce", my words.

A BS making divorce plans is someone reacting to an event they weren't consulted on, and your post seemed to make it seem as though you were solely thinking alone w/ no conversation, thus in the future putting your husband in that position again, reacting to something he wasn't involved in planning/starting.

It still doesn't seem like it's an actual conversation, just an occasional aside remark.

My suggestion or question is an actual conversation and or planning event that could process out over 3-4 years, or whatever time frame you guys can compromise on.

He isn't surprised that way, and by your description he is a good and intelligent guy w/ your kids' best interests at heart.

That sounds like someone I want involved in the planning.

He is your husband and you each do have a level of care for each other and mutual children together. I feel like he deserves it. (Yes, I'm an internet stranger)

I'm a widower and father of grown children, and I would have wanted to be involved in that discussion at the earliest time possible had it ever have needed to happen.

Who knows, maybe it makes him rethink your current marriage situation and improvements happen? Don't laugh, it isn't impossible, but obviously don't bet your paycheck on that.

I mainly wanted to provide a perspective I'm not sure you had as of yet and I wish your whole family happiness.

Chili posted 8/13/2020 17:11 PM

Hey DF:

Disclaimer: I did not have children, but I had a business with him and was really worried about my financial future across the board. After talking with several lawyers and my financial advisor, I was able to get a plan into place fairly quickly.

BUT - I did take a big hit. And my FP indicated that it would take me about 5-7 years to get back on my feet flying solo, which was kind of typical for most divorces in general they indicated.

For me, I got to a point where I said - you know what I'm going to have to go the hamburger and happiness route and trust that I'll figure it out as I go. My situation (and frankly my mental health) didn't make me feel like I had a lot of time to get my ducks in a row. I had to just sort of jump off the cliff and get to it (see my tagline). I was willing to dissolve the business, move somewhere else, sell every possession I could, go back to tending bar and every other gig possible or whatever I needed to do to get out of Dodge.

This may not be helpful at all in giving you very good advice for your concerns - especially since you have the big issue of kiddos to consider. But maybe look at it this way - let's say your husband is magically not in the picture at all and you have this job and your kids to figure out. (This can also be a helpful exercise if you think you won't be able to count on your Ex in any real way after a divorce).

Would you need to move to an area where you have family? Or what could you put together to make it all work? Is there any wiggle room at all with your current company to work some kind of flex time? Mornings in the office, evenings/weekend time at home? Just brainstorming.

Have you met with a financial planner or attorney just yet?

And just to chime in - considering and exploring all of your options at any time in your life doesn't somehow take away anyone else's agency. This is the perfect place to bounce things around and see how they look.

Darkness Falls posted 8/13/2020 17:14 PM

Thank you, and I’m sorry if I came across as harsh in my reply to you. I admit to being very frustrated and stressed, both in general and regarding the marriage. It occasionally causes me to lash out.

I care about him as the father of my kids, and of course as a fellow human being. Over the years since our remarriage after divorce, he has proven to be very difficult to care about as relates to marriage and romantic love. I’m certainly not the easiest person to be in a relationship with, and our problems are not all his fault, but he has outright refused to contribute to working on the issues, and without both of us then it is impossible.

Darkness Falls posted 8/13/2020 17:20 PM


I couldn’t move to where my mother (my only family support) is because of the laws in my state precluding a parent from moving states without the other parent’s consent—which he’d never give and certainly I’d never suggest anyway. Even were he not in the picture at all, my mother is elderly and my SN child would be too much for her to manage for any length of time. I have to therefore proceed as if I don’t have family, basically.

My job is such that it’s not very flexible as far as available hours. I think that’s the problem with any potential job; I wish it were possible to split shifts or get away with saying “I can work from X to Y and A to B”; that would make things much easier.

apache posted 8/13/2020 17:49 PM


No offense taken.

I am a fixer by nature and mostly like to chip in ideas when I can.
As always online, use what info you find helpful.

I will say, you are wise to think ahead ( I still advise not alone, though)
Since you are theoretically ahead of the curve on this, don't left the stress get to you.

I presume you haven't reached your limit yet, so set some goals:

Know what state laws are for alimony and child support.

Know what early retirement pays at that point in time, if that's even possible.
You might retire early and then get another part time job and add them together.
Who knows, lots of crazy possibilities.

SSI for the one child with issues?

Break it down into pieces and try to get one or two pieces together per year for example.

Go slow with your husband and lower the bar so he doesn't let you down, proceed slowly.
You should know pretty well what you're working with there. Try a different method with him, you know the saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. :

I repeat, I wish happiness for all of you.

Darkness Falls posted 8/13/2020 17:54 PM


Thanks for the well-wishes.

That’s actually what I’m considering; looking for a second part-time job with very limited hours to try to bridge some of the gap.

Unfortunately, her needs aren’t “severe enough” to qualify for SSI. I mean, that’s NOT unfortunate—thank God they’re not—but you know what I mean.

[This message edited by Darkness Falls at 5:55 PM, August 13th (Thursday)]

apache posted 8/13/2020 18:06 PM


My late wife was SAHM for 15 years, meaning in regards to full time in her actual career. She did work part time at the school when the youngest started.

That way, same hours, holidays etc.
If yours are in public school, you may well be able to get some benefits and retirement, albeit limited on the retirement.

homewrecked2011 posted 8/13/2020 19:39 PM

Does he have a retirement account? (Ha-none if my business, no need to answer! ). I ask bc I was in a similar predicament. I requested and got a bigger chunk of retirement money thru a QDRO. That plus my pt job I was able to keep my same work schedule until youngest Was in 11th grade. I was able to put the kids on Medicaid, (even though he kept them on ins, I couldn’t count on it) we got some SNAP for a while. The kids got free breakfast and lunch. The huge huge surprise for me was when I filed taxes! OMG!! I filed head of household, got 1,000 CREDIT per child -now I think it’s 2,000 per child, and I got the earned Income Credit-around $ 3,900! And credits you get over and above any refund, and it doesn’t count as income.

There’s lots of other help, maybe look on online blogs, too. I think if you do need someone to watch your children here and there, or everyday, the money can be taken out of your pay b4 taxes, etc.

That said, my WS had moved out and was paying everything. My atty said to lay low for as long as possible. But then I found out he was cheating and I couldn’t fake it, I filed for D.

[This message edited by homewrecked2011 at 5:55 AM, August 14th (Friday)]

Charity411 posted 8/13/2020 20:31 PM

DF, something you might want to think about is that traditional employment as we know it has all changed because of this pandemic. Employers that would never have considered hiring someone to work from home are now, because they were forced to do it and now they know it works.

I speak from experience here because I work for a city that is a rural tourism destination for about 4 cities that are within a 2 to 4 hour drive. When everything got locked down we got hit hard. But now, those people who would come here once or twice a year are moving here. There are bidding wars for houses, because they figured out they can work from home, so home can be where ever they want it to be.

What you could do from home last year may be enormously different this year. Make a list of your skills and start looking for websites that are offering jobs from home. They have grown exponentially.

Neanderthal posted 8/13/2020 20:40 PM

it would be very unfair to put the burden on my H to support both himself/his own single-person household PLUS “mine”
Wrong, he would be providing for his children, just as he is now. Don't feel guilty about that. It also sounds like he cares for his children, so I doubt he would be against child support anyways.

I agree, you have every right to prepare for the future. But if you honestly think he'd prefer being divorced too, why not try to work out divorce details together?

prissy4lyfe posted 8/13/2020 21:41 PM

You still need to look into SSI for her...she pay partially qualify.
See what the Medicaid waiver process is for your state. Depending on the waiver it would cover dependant care...and yes for unconventional hours.

She should be receiving early intervention thru your school system.

Not too personal....but to offer some good advice...what is her disability? Does she have a formal diagnosis?

Poppy704 posted 8/13/2020 21:46 PM

Ditto Neanderthal. It is perfectly fair for the primary caregiver to expect financial support from the primary earner. He has more earning potential because you are taking care of the kids. If he was shouldering the burden of caregiving he would not earn as much and you’d earn more.

messyleslie posted 8/14/2020 00:57 AM

he would be providing for his children, just as he is now. Don't feel guilty about that. It also sounds like he cares for his children, so I doubt he would be against child support anyways.

This x1000. As much as it sucks for some of us, most states do no fault divorces. So really it doesn't matter the reason you want a divorce and whose "fault" the end of the marriage is - his obligation is to his children. Just as yours would be if you were the primary earner.

I would meet with an attorney and have them run the numbers- I was really surprised by mine. If my stbx actually pays me what he will owe me, and I have a small part time job I would be bringing in 6 figures and probably doing better financially than I was with his as a husband and living in our home.

Plus any childcare expenses would be split 50/50 - I assume he would want to split custody, so could you do your job during his time? Would he want to essentially pay you for childcare during his time? There are a lot of options.

Don't not ask for child support and alimony because the divorce is your choice. That money isn't really for you - its for your kids.

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