Mother in Need of Advice

Updated on March 22, 2009
S.C. asks from Surprise, AZ
21 answers

Hi moms! I am a SAHM, and in a terrible marriage. I have been trying to work things out with my husband for my son's sake, but it is not working! I strongly feel that my husband and I should seperate and get a divorce, but I dont even know where to start. I am so overwhelmed! I want my son to be able to see his dad, but I want to live out of state too, but am not sure how the law works with that. Like I have said, I have so many questions and do not know where to begin. Has anyone gone through a divorce and has any advice? Any advice would be great! Thanks!

Further info: My husband and I have been married almost three years, and did not date but a few months before deciding to get married. Certainly not long enough to know each other. Our marriage is a love-less marriage, and we bring out the worst in each other. We have come to resent each other. I dont want my son growing up in a dysfunctional home thinking that, that is how relationships should be. We moved here from AZ a little over a year ago and my support system is still there.

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L.C.

answers from Albuquerque on

I am a mother of 2 wonderful kids they are all grown up now. My advise to you is don't stay in a loveless marriage only for the childs sake. that is what i did. my husband brought me to new mexico from another state where all my family was and still is. my son was a year and a half when we moved down here and my daughter was born a year later. The marriage was on the rocks from the begining but we were together for 2 years before getting married he totally changed after we got married. being down here with two children i felt i couldn't do anything else but stay with him so i did until my son had graduated and my daughter was 16. when they found out we were getting divorced the first thing they said to me was why did you stay with dad so long you were never happy. So my answer to you is if you are not happy get out now life is to short to live it unhappily and it doesn't make for a good life for a child if you are not happy. sorry to go through details but am trying to help you understand why i say don't stay in a marriage you are not happy in.

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P.E.

answers from Albuquerque on

Hello Sara,
My heart goes out to you. I am a child of divorced parents. I can say it was hard at the moment but ultimately it was best for the whole family. My father was and still is any alcoholic. There were 6 kids involved, I was 11 and the youngest was 5yrs. I do agree with some of the ladies about making sure this is the final call on your marriage. But I do NOT agree with staying in it just for your son. The emotional damage that can be caused by witnessing un-happiness, anger, bitter, resentment is life changing. Whatever your reasons are if you believe they are valid do not let anyone tell you any different. My mother raised all 6 of us with a waitressing job, it was hard yes but she was determined to make us strong independent beings and we all are. She made it a point to have us all talk to someone just to make sure we understood the seriousness of it all. I suggest that you should try to contain your emotions until you have everything in order. Later you can retreat into your comfort zone and let it all out -- the regret or guilt that sticks like a thorn can keep you from confronting shattered romantic illusions. Be aware that fear or sorrow hanging over your head could be taking its toll on your son as well. If this torment is recurring, realize that it isn't about what you have done to deserve this, but more about the natural consequences of something you have been unable to see clearly until now. This is about that moment of painful yet necessary realization. If you know you can't go on like this anymore inevitable change must come. I hope you take what you need out of all the great suggestions you have received and listen to where your heart leads you. If you need anything at all please feel free to email me!
Truly & Sincerely
P.

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A.S.

answers from Phoenix on

Hey Sara,

I just want to write to support you to do what you think is best for you and for your son. My parents stayed together "for the kid," and I can't tell you how many times as a child I encouraged them to divorce because I couldn't stand to see their unhappiness and feel that I was the cause of it. Remember, they stayed together for MY sake. Divorce is a serious decision, and I'm certainly not going to second guess your desire to leave a loveless marriage. I'm sure you've thought about it a lot, and I wish you all the best as you move forward in whatever direction YOU deem best for you and your son. Take care of yourself.

A.

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L.S.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi Sara,

So sorry to hear what you are going through. I understand as I left my husband when my daughter was 19 months. I must say that I disagree with some of the statements that divorce is "the easy or simple way out". It is so much the opposite.

The decision to even consider divorce involves guilt, anger, sadness, loneliness, detachment, resentment, hundreds of "what if's" and many unanswered questions.

A decision to stay or leave must involve one simple question: what is best for me and my child. I am not one to believe that a woman must nurture the man and reach out to the man and change her behavior so he may or may not change. A relationship, both personal and parenting, requires commitment and compromise on both parts not just the female.

I am guessing that you have given this quite some thought for a long period of time. I know, I did the same. Just make sure that when you make that final decision that you know you will be "okay" with the decision, whatever it is.

If you pursue separation and divorce I highly recommend that you speak with an attorney without your husband knowing about it. At least get your questions answered and know where you stand regarding custody, child support, financial obligations etc. Knowledge is power even though it can be fearful.

I wish you all the best and know that God will guide you through this difficult time. Take each day as it comes and try not to anticipate too much. Be strong for your son and remember that you are a role model for your son and what he sees in the marriage and how you are treated is what he will grow up believing as acceptable. Only you can take charge of yourself and your son's well-being.

Good luck and God Bless.

L.

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R.M.

answers from Phoenix on

I would say first, find a lawyer that will meet with you for a free consult so that you can ask the questions you have.
Make a list of what you want out of the divorce - full custody, to move out of state, child support, etc. & then talk to a lawyer.
Get everything straight in your head first & then it will be easier.
Divorce is never easy, but it's even harder when children are involved.
Kids know when thier parents aren't happy though & they feel it.
Staying married "for the kids" is never a good thing.
It's much better for them, that they have happy parents than married parents.
With Love,
R.

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F.H.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi Sara, I'm sorry you are going thru this, I went thru the same. My advice to you is this...guard your money starting right this second...my ex wiped out one of our accounts and then lied to me about it. Also...DO NOT feel sorry for him when it comes to paying child support...your son deserves to be taken care of by BOTH parents. I fell for the "poor me" sob story my ex gave me and then had to take him to court to MAKE him pay child support and even to SEE his kids. Makes me sick. Anyway, now he consistantly sees them every other weekend, child support automatically comes out of his check, and we are civil with each other when it comes to the kids. My other advice to you is if you are a SAHM, not sure if you have any credit or not, but try to get some credit cards in your name while you still have good credit and if you don't already have a checking/savings account in your name...get one IMMEDIATELY and start putting money in it. I lost my home in the divorce as a short sale, struggled to make credit card payments, etc and it really hit my credit score hard. So those are just a few things I learned going thru my divorce that no one else has mentioned. I want to mention too that I did not take divorce lightly, it was only after much trying on my part (and none on his) that I realized he didn't want to be married anymore (he had girlfriends and was addicted to computer websites and playstation games) so I made the decision to end the marriage. Our kids were older and it's hard on them. Also hard on other family members, his parents did NOT see it coming AT ALL. So be ready for all that. If you ever need someone to talk to, just let me know. It always helps to have a friend who has been there and completely understands. I have to mention now that I'm engaged to someone wonderful, who loves my kids and they love him and is everything my ex is not. So there is light at the end of the tunnel. Be strong...I wish you the very best. My cell is ###-###-#### if you ever need to talk...F.

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J.R.

answers from Phoenix on

I can't recommend an attorney, however I would highly recommend you consider attending one of those reputable Divorce Recovery programs. Scottsdale Bible Church on Shea, between Scottsdale and Hayden has a good one and seems to be in your area.

You do not need to be divorced to attend. It's better to attend BEFORE you divorce. They provide tons of useful information regarding children, finances, provide childcare and counseling,etc. Please consider it for you own emotional stability and the future health of your son and relationship with X.

I went through a divorce in Texas about 20 years ago. We used a court appointed mediator which was required by law at that time. It saved us tons of attorney fees as the mediator told us exactly what to expect in terms of child support payment amounts, visitation out of state, etc. We were able to maintain an amicable front for the best interest of our daughter. Because, we, like you and yours, also only knew each other 8 weeks before tying the knot.
Best of decision making.
Jennifer rho

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B.W.

answers from Phoenix on

I divorced my first husband with no lawyers involved. The first thing to do is talk to your husband. Let him know that you want your son to see him and also let him know that you want to live out of state.( my ex is in the military and is in Washington state.) Come to an agreement(if you can) about holidays...school breaks and summer vacation. We have joint custody but since he is out of state I basically have sole custody. I get child support. We came to an agreement on the holidays and school breaks and summer before we went to court. (we wrote out an agreement signed and witnessed, so there could be no objection on anyone's part.) We also came to an agreement on health care and major decisions regarding our son. Also when my son leaves the state for more than a week we have a written or verbal(with witness) saying when he will be back. (we have been kind of lax on that, we have some trust)We had all that written in the divorce papers. Go on the internet and look up the clerk of the court. it will give you all the info you need for filing and stuff. But first talk to your husband so he is not surprised when he gets served. (and to try and make it as painless as possible, its easier on everyone ...especially the child...if there is an agreement before you start the process)

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M.V.

answers from Las Cruces on

I went through something similar and 11 months later am still not divorced. I could tell you a lot about my experience, but I suggest you talk to an attorney. I live in Las Cruces, NM and they have pro se clinics that you can go to. They have attorney's who volunteer to answer questions for people who are currently representing themselves. If you haven't gotten an attorney yet, this is you. I hope this helps. Good luck, and if you need any other support or advice, feel free to contact me.

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M.F.

answers from Phoenix on

I know that there are lots of reasons to get divorced. My brother-in-law was having a rough time in his marriage. They were both feeling emotionally abused but they still loved each other, they were just really hurting. They went to a marriage counselor and the guy said, "well it sounds like your marriage is over, why don't you just get divorced?" After that they felt like there was nothing they could do. Not much of a counselor if you ask me.
They did get divorced but because they still loved each other and their daughter, they worked a lot of things out to make sure he still saw the daughter a lot. For the first 2 years after the divorce they almost got back together but because they had started separate lives, they never made the effort. Sad for their daughter and them.
My cousin however, was in a very abusive situation and after a lot of prayer, finally left him while he was on one of his camping trips with his buddies.
Some things are worth working for, and some things are just bad for us. I am sure you married him for lots of reasons... if he is willing, maybe it is worth saving? Being a single parent is really rough. good luck

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G.G.

answers from Flagstaff on

I was in an unhealthy relationship and it was a decision like you- that I knew I needed to make yet dragged my feet. One day I decided to take the step. When I divorced my now ex husband, looking back it was the best thing I've ever done. Laws have changed now about being in state so you'll have to check with an attorney. You can probably call or get on line just to ask that question so it's free.
If your husband agrees that the relationship is unhealthy and you both can take some time to write down what you'd like to have happen (i.e. live with mom weekend with dad holidays etc.) then you can hire an attorney to draw up the papers which will keep costs low.
If the situation is in a place where one of you can't face the other (or both) to make fair arrangements (someone's always got to bend what they want to make it happen) then look for a mediator. They know what's logical/reasonable and they are someone who's not involved emotionally so they can assist in common ground.
If the situation's really out of hand, you may need to see a judge, yet be careful, AZ laws are tough. Even if your partner is abusive, it seems that AZ Courts/Judges will award shared custody.
PS. don't worry so much about sole custody or joint. they both pretty much mean the same thing. if the kids are living with you most of the time make sure that you are listed as the primary caretaker, this way you have the 'right' to make big decisions without always finding common ground with your ex.
Staying in an unhealthy relationship is a bad example for you son. Divorce can be a good thing when both mom and dad can put their issues with each other aside, be flexible and know that it's extremely important for your son to spend time with each of you.
It's definitely not an easy choice/path yet sometimes it's the best all around.
Best wishes.

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S.K.

answers from Albuquerque on

Sara,
You don't say what is "terrible" about your marriage or what you've done to try to work things out, but I'll tell you, the actual process of getting divorced is very easy but the effect it has on your children lasts a lifetime. If your husband is abusive in any way, GET OUT NOW. Short of that, I would suggest that you talk to him about immediately starting marriage counseling that is biblically based. Be honest with yourself about your reasons for wanting to be divorced and I would suggest you watch the movie Fireproof together. I have been divorced and my children are now 20 and 15 and I can tell you, it is the worst thing I have done to them. I don't personally know what it's like to have divorced parents because mine are still married but I do see how difficult it is for my kids to have to split their loyalties.
I think we have all learned to give up way to easily.

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J.D.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi Sara!

Sorry to hear that you are having so much trouble in your marriage. Before you give up on it, have you been to professional counseling? When you say you are trying to make it work, what does that mean? It would certainly be best for your son if his family was intact, but you can't stay with someone just for the sake of the child. Maybe you can reconnect with your husband through professional intervention, but you have to be truly committed for it to work (your husband, too). You don't mention if he wants you to leave or stay or maybe he is also confused about what he wants. I went through a long and bitter divorce from my son's father, so I am not trying to just convince you to stay in the marriage no matter what. I just don't want you to give up before you have really done everything you can to keep your family intact. As much as I knew I needed to get away from my ex, who was emotionally abusive and uncommitted to our son, it was still very painful for our family to shatter even though I had good support of family and friends. This may be a very trying time, but there is still hope for your family to work towards loving each other and creating something wonderful if you both desire it.

-Jen

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B.M.

answers from Albuquerque on

First things first. It is very difficult to take a custody battle out of the county the child has lived in for the last six months of there lives. GO GET ADVICE from an attorney. Joyce Gentry. Atkinson and Kelsey, or Kathleen Carter. The consultation Fee will be WELL worth it. Get your ducks in a row or your in for a worse experience than you really want. On the new friends and Playdates there are Lots of story times at bookstores and the library and that is an awesome place to meet other mothers. Good luck to you.

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S.L.

answers from Phoenix on

Your question is all too fresh for me. Within the next week or so, I will be divorced from a marriage that was an obligation, not a choice anymore. Of course the story goes much deeper than that, but they all do. We have children, and they are still young enough that they never really knew too much was happening. My husband and I agreed from the start that anything having to do with the kids remain 50/50, open conversation, and they come first no matter what. We had the great majority of the details worked out prior to even seeing a judge.

I will not say that any marriage is the same, and all aspects of each marriage are different. I was in an unsalvageable relationship that was hurting me and him, and we parted before we needed to come together for the sports/dance/schoool events that kids need the united front for. We have time to get over the animosity that our partnership created and allow healing to come together 100% for them.

I only share this because after time and thought, you may be able to salvage the relationship with your husband and stay together. In the end, it can be best for them. In my case, the best thing for them is that mommy and daddy are happier and therefore better parents to them for the rest of thier lives. My thoughts are with you.

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M.S.

answers from Albuquerque on

The best petson to advise you is an attorney who specializesin family law. He is the one who knows the laws in your state and how best to handle the details for you. If you need financial help, call the local Bar Association. Usually there are several avenues to help people. Good luck! Incidentally, the laws are much more protective now; years ago I ended up with nothing because my husband disappeared and changed his name. That doesn't happen now.

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M.S.

answers from Phoenix on

Dear Sara, I too went thru a very hard hard marriage when my daughter was younger. I have to tell you thou, that if it wasn't for God in my life I would have left my husband. I felt led to persevere the bump in the road because God doesn't like divorce. Because I did persevere God has blessed my marriage and are now going on 15 years. Sara, hang in there. The advise that I can give you is to love your husband no matter what. Make him dinner- they say that the best way to get to a mans heart is thru his stomach, also- make love to him (Two of mens favorite) and you watch your husband turn around and so will you. Trust me, it works! If you don't have God in your lives- Trust Him, and He will bless your marriage.

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M.!.

answers from Phoenix on

I had never been a huge fan of Dr. Laura before, but the more I listened to her the more I liked her. I still disagree with her advice from time to time, but she is mostly right on the money. I would suggest that you and your hubby read her book, "The Proper Care and Feeding of Marriage" before you do another thing. The two of you entered into and marriage and brought a child into this world. You owe that child a two parent family that works. It is your responsibility to make it work not find that fastest way out. Marriage is hard work and so is parenting, but so what. Anything worth having is hard work, if everything was easy we would all be fat and lazy. (Watch Wall E). You obviously did not bring out the worst in each other when you decided to get married after a few months, so figure out how to make it work and do it. Don't make your son pay the price of your mistake. That would just be selfish.

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D.S.

answers from Albuquerque on

Watch the movie "Fireproof" before you make any drastic decisions that will affect your son's life forever. There is a book that goes along with the movie. Try it before you file. Isn't it worth a shot for your son sake?

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A.R.

answers from Albuquerque on

This is such a mixed bag. You need to be 100% sure before a divorce. No "what if's". What if I did this, what if he did that. I raised my boys as a single mom for many years, and it is hard, but we were happy and very close. It can be done successfully if you are determined that you and your son are number one in your life and you two deserve to be happy.

So if you are certain that this is where you are, and what you need to do, make sure you're skills are up to date so you are able to get a job and financially support yourself and your son. Also make sure you have some credit in your name so you are able to get a lease or whatever you need. Most divorces ruin your credit as well as the ex spouse, try to work together to keep your credit in tact.

You may want to speak to an attorney prior to your husband so you know what you are legally allowed to do and not allowed to do. I have a friend who had custody of his kids and was told by a judge he was not allowed to move more than 30 miles. Of course laws change rapidly and good legal advice is important.

Good luck no matter what you choose to do. This is a tough decision to make.

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D.P.

answers from Phoenix on

Hi Sara!

Sorry your going through this. Divorce sucks. I know, went through one when my son was just about 1 1/2 years old. I dont know the laws now, but when I went through my divorce, I had custody of my son and my husband had visitation rights. So I was able to move with no problem. But I had to tell my husband where we were going. ( such as address, phone number, etc.) Also anytime I moved I had to make sure he knew where I was moving too. His visitation rights gave him 2 weeks of every year and different holidays. He had to come and pick my son up and then bring him back. My ex husband hated that part, because it cost him double, everytime. Oh yeah, make sure you get a lawyer, dont do this on your own. Your husband might say things like we dont need a lawyer we can work this out together, but dont listen to him. This is too serious and things and feelings change while going through a divorce. Your lawyer is always on your side. Your husband wont be. He is out to do whats best for him, not you. So please, dont be silly, get a lawyer, for you and yours sons sake.Also dont be understanding about child support, make sure you get what you need to support your son. Believe me, I learned the hard way. I tried to be nice and understanding and was given a higher amount, but turned it down and took less, because I felt sorry for my husband. But after the divorce was final, boy was it a rude awakening. Well I hope this helps a little. Good Luck! Just remember it takes time but you'll be happy again! If you want to email me and talk a little more I dont mind. [email protected]____.com

D.

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