Category Archives: Uncategorized

It’s My Money

I am a stay at home wife and mother who now wants a divorce but has no money- should I represent myself because I can’t afford a lawyer? This is a lament I often hear from women. You can afford a lawyer and you NEED a lawyer.

Marriage is a partnership where one or both parties contribute outside employment income. You may be putting money into a joint account or individual accounts- it doesn’t matter because all money earned during the marriage is a marital asset. Don’t listen when your husband says its his money because he earns it. First, you should be offended because he has placed no value on your contribution to caring for the house and the children. Second repeat to him and to you- this is a partnership, 50/50- we each contribute to this marriage.

You can take the money out of the joint account to pay for an attorney. You can take out all of the money or part of it- but you will need to account for the money when the marital assets are inventoried but so will he. (Do take out enough to keep paying bills, buying food and paying for other family expenses.) Your husband can’t leave your family without support but you’ll need a court order to make him continue supporting the family and paying for the house.

I had a client who believed she owned nothing- all of the money in their accounts was “his” and “his” money paid for the house. When she divorced him all she got was child support- she did not have a lawyer because she thought she had no money to pay for legal representation. Because she was”gas lighted” by her husband she lost $50,000 equity in their house, a portion of all of the marital assets, and no alimony (which she was entitled to). A lawyer can handle your case from beginning to end or assist you with the parts of your case your feel that you are competent to handle. You can’t afford not to hire an attorney!

Order of Protection

This is the third beating this month but he always says he’s sorry. I know he means it when he says sorry and I know he had a horrible childhood. He told me his dad used to beat up his mom and him.

When he’s not drinking he’s the greatest husband and father. If his boss wasn’t such a jerk, I know my husband wouldn’t drink so much. I know if I was a better wife and the kids picked up their toys he wouldn’t get so mad.

This is the fourth time this month he beat me and now he is beating the kids. I know he doesn’t mean it. He loves us.

I’m pretty sure we’ll survive the beatings. Besides, what can I do?

Mom Knows Best

I am a single Mom raising 3 kids on my own with no help from that jerk I was previously married to. I know now why he is referred to as my X because I have X’d him out of my life.

I’ve told the kids all about him since they are too young to see how horrible he was as a husband. I believe kids are entitled to the truth no matter how ugly it is. They need to know that the court screwed me on child support because the court favors fathers. When the kids ask me why we can’t do something, I remind them of all their father’s faults and how he doesn’t pay me enough money to raise them properly. I tell them that if he really loved them he would pay me more money so I could take care of them. Sure they cry but it’s better they know the truth.

I don’t always have them home when he comes to get them for his visitation. I have a life you know and besides, kids need their Mom more than their Dad. He complains, but seriously, does he think I care? I tell him to send more money and maybe I’ll be home more often.

The other day the kids told me how much they love their Dad and they don’t like it when I say bad things about him. Kids! What do they know?

Why Do My Kids Hate Me

I don’t understand why my kids hate me. I’m really trying to figure it out, but I’m pretty sure it’s because of their Mom (she hates me). I started a checklist to see what’s the matter.

  1. I’m always late with pay child support so the kids can’t be in sports or other activities.
  2. I never pay the full amount of child support because I have bills to pay and a social life, I’m pretty sure my paying less doesn’t impact my kids.(Why do they keep asking me about stuff?)
  3. I always complain to my kids about child support. (They should know the court ripped me off.)
  4. I always complain to my kids about their mother.
  5. I use my kids as my personal messenger to deliver my message to their mother.
  6. I ask my kids what their Mom has recently bought for the house or about her new partner. (I’m just curious- that’s not making them my spies)
  7. Baseball games, school plays, parent-teacher nights interfere with my plans besides I might see their mother and I hate her. (Sitting in the same stadium is not far enough away for me.)
  8. It’s the playoffs or world series, that only happens once a year and I have a bet in the game. I can see the kids next week or next month. I don’t want to watch the game on my DVR. They understand how much I love sports.
  9. I am not going to a kids movie or event, that’s just not my thing.
  10. This is a really important text- the kids don’t mind if I’m not “present.”
  11. A conversation at dinner- what would we talk about?
  12. This new 75 inch TV is really for them.

Why do my kids hate me? It’s can’t be anything I’m doing.

Talk To Me

Why do we divorce? It’s better to start with why do we get married. While there are some who shared a few too many drinks and headed off to the Chapel of Love in Las Vegas, most of us dated and thought this person was our soulmate (a term I find so disingenuous) and we overlooked all of those big and little annoyances (s/he is so cute when…..). Some of us thought our marriage clock was winding down fast and better march down the aisle before the alarm rang (no one wants to hear the alarm bell). Some of us got married because we said yes to the proposal (or offered the proposal) in those heady first months (or year) and then you were afraid to hurt your partner’s feeling by saying your love had changed and marriage was no longer right for you. Then there are the expectations of family and friends- they love your intended- and you can’t possibly let them down (not a good answer!). Or the wedding invitations have been sent out and the reception venue booked, might as well go through with it (you can get refunds so draft the contract with enough wiggle room for you to cancel the venue).

The key to why we divorce is the lack of communication. Communication is not just talking but actively engaging in the process. Communication includes listening. When you began to be unhappy was when you should have started talking- actually, if you could recognize changes in you, or your relationship, that was really the starting point of your discontent and the should have been the impetus to start communicating. Communication is self-reflective not finger-pointing. It’s an opportunity to change your relationship, your future, for the better. If you don’t know how to start the conversation, there are plenty of self-help books and there is therapy  (for you). I am not a fan of couple’s therapy (I find them to be bitch sessions) but it may work for you (you can always stop). Communication during dating and then, importantly, during the marriage may prevent you from divorcing. 

What about family and friends? Yes, have a conversation with them and let them know you have changed and the relationship has changed. No big details and don’t try hurting your spouse through 3rd party communications. Social media- save the nasty statements for your therapists or bartender.

Start today.

I Hate You-Merry Christmas

Not every marriage ends with both parties agreeing that they were not the perfect match. Usually each party feels they have been duped, or taken advantage of, or treated badly AND they are right. Each person views the breakup of the marriage their their own “rose colored” glasses. It may take years (and possibly therapy) to realize that rarely is the breakup of a marriage one sided. So what do you do while you are waiting for your realization light bulb to occur? Be cordial.

I can hear you now, “Me be cordial after what s/he has done! No way!” I get it, but think of how you would react to a coworker you detested but had to interact with- you’d be cordial. When opening the horrible present you got from a family member-you’d be cordial. If you don’t have children together chances are you will not be speaking after the divorce order has been delivered by the court but if you have children-be cordial.

Well, s/he is not cordial to me…ever. OK, so ignore s/he and just be cordial. Being cordial is a gift to yourself and to your children.

The Turkey Wishbone

Do you remember that as a kid you would argue over who got the wishbone?  You and another person each held the wishbone, made a wish, and then pulled n the bone and the person with the largest part got their wish.

This holiday your children are wishing that their family was back together. You and your Ex both know that is not going to happen but you can grant them a facsimile of that wish by being kind to each other. Say hello to your spouse and don’t just drop the kids off in the driveway or your exchange spot. Wish your Ex a happy holiday. Be kind and share the holiday weekend especially if other family members are in town for the holiday- your kids are supported by those family relationships.

I hear you saying but I have this weekend according to our visitation plan. OK! But if your Ex is willing, why not let the kids visit for a while with yourEx.

Some families even hold a joint Thanksgiving dinner. I know that’s not for most families but how wonderful that would be for the kids. The kids get hurt the most by divorce so be kind and remember how much you love your kids not how much you hate your Ex. Every mean thing your kids hear from you about their mother or father cannot be erased and changes them for the rest of their life. Be a parent teaching your children a loving life lesson.

Should I get a protective order

If you feel you or your children are in danger, then yes, get a protective order. There is no cost to getting a protective order and you don’t need a lawyer. (but it’s better if you do have a lawyer to protect your interests). In Maryland, you will apply for a temporary protective order (PO) and a week later the court will determine if you qualify for a  PO.  Your spouse will be kept separate from you both in the court and as you leave the court.

A judge can require your spouse to leave the house or apartment and can award monetary supp

From Divorced Mom’s Website -Is It Time To Get a Divorce?

20 Questions to Help You Know It It’s Time To Divorce

1. Are you unhappy most (or all) of the time?

Having a fight is one thing, but if you find yourself unhappy more than 50% of the time, then it’s time to examine what’s behind that feeling.

2. If it wasn’t for the children, would you leave?

Children are the number one reason I hear women say they can’t leave. We worry divorce will be too difficult on them, scar them or give them emotional issues. But having children watch as you stay in a marriage that is emotionally damaging can be just as bad.

3. Do you avoid talking to your spouse to avoid a fight?

I have a girlfriend who teased that her house was like “the Cold War”. They rarely spoke unless they had to, or it was about the kids because otherwise, it turned into a screaming match. If you’re constantly walking on eggshells to avoid upsetting your spouse, it’s a sign.

4. Are your friends and family telling you your relationship is unhealthy?

Friends and family know us better than anyone. If everyone is telling you that they’re worried about what effect your relationship is having on you, maybe it’s time to listen and closely examine their concerns.

5. Is there ANY physical abuse?

This is a no-brainer, and something I have zero tolerance for. Whether it’s “just pushing”, or rough squeezing of the arm in the heat of anger…doesn’t matter. There is NO reason for you to tolerate physical abuse in a marriage. Ever.

6. Is there emotional abuse?

This can take many forms. Passive aggressive relationships, the narcissistic spouse, guilt, lying, threats…whatever form this takes, it’s emotional abuse. Whether you stay for months or years, emotional abuse leaves wounds that can scar you forever.

7. Is the thought of physical intimacy terrifying or repulsive?

If you’re afraid of sleeping with your spouse for any reason, that’s a HUGE danger sign. If the thought of him leaves you cold – or worse, retching – then it’s time to find out why. People go through periods in their life where they “aren’t in the mood”, but I’m talking about a prolonged period where you’d rather gnaw off your own arm than sleep with your spouse.

8. Do you find yourself daydreaming about being single?

I’ve said this before – we are not talking about being the girl who slathers down Captain America’s body with oil before a shoot. (I’m all over that one.) I’m talking about needing to be “free” – to the point where you are literally dreaming about what you’d do if you weren’t married.

9. Are you engaging in emotional affairs outside of your marriage?

One spouse isn’t getting what they need in the marriage, so they tell a “friend” of the opposite sex one day at lunch. Which turns to dinner, which turns to texting, talking on the phone late and night and finally…well, you get the picture. If you’re not getting what you need from your spouse, then the one you need to be telling…is HIM.

10. Is your spouse TOO emotionally dependent on you?

Togetherness is great, but if your spouse can’t be alone – because he has no friends, hobbies or activities he does without you, it puts a lot of pressure on you. Everyone needs an outlet – outside of being married.

11. Do you feel emotionally alone most of the time?

You don’t have to be single to feel alone. In fact, many of the women I’m friends with said that they felt most alone lying right next to their ex-spouses. A spouse should be your partner, your ally…even occasionally your cheerleader. If you’re flying solo emotionally, time to decide whether it’s what you want to deal with forever…or not.

12. Are you scared to leave because of the emotional fragility of your partner?

If your spouse has told you that he “doesn’t know what he’ll do without you”, or gives hints that he would want to die if you weren’t together…it’s a warning sign. Your spouse could be suffering from depression, anxiety or have a serious disorder that requires therapy or intervention. You cannot be someone else’s emotional life preserver – it never ends well.

13. Do you find yourself hiding money “in case” you need to leave “one day”?

If you’re burying cash in a cigar box under your son’s dead parakeet…something is foul. And I’m not talking about the bird.

14. Have friends stopped coming around because of your spouse?

This is a big one. Spouses don’t get along with all of our friends, but when he literally finds fault with every friend that you have…or worse, drives them away when they’re over…it’s time to evaluate who has the problem.

15. Do you feel like you can’t relax or be yourself when you’re with your spouse?

One of my girlfriends once told me that she knew her husband was a keeper when she was able to pass gas and not draw criticism. Now, I’m not “passing” judgment, but if you can’t have simple biological functions without knowing it won’t result in repercussions, will you be able to keep that up forever?

16. Are your emotional needs never met?

You tell yourself you don’t need an acknowledgment of Mother’s Day. Or your birthday. Or your anniversary. Or a kind word on a hard day. Or a hug. Eventually, everyone has emotional needs. Pushing yours aside will only make you feel like you don’t matter.

17. Are your physical needs being neglected?

People are of the misconception that it’s only the men who suffer in this department, but I’ve heard from LOTS of women who simply aren’t getting their physical needs met in their marriage. I’m not just talking about sex. Hugs. Touching. A kiss. Just like babies flourish with physical touch…so do grown-ups.

18. Do you feel as though being with your spouse is holding you back from true happiness?

You love going to the theater, but he thinks it’s stupid. You want to try camping, but he tells you it’s “barbaric”. You took an art class, but every time you left he punished you when you returned. If you have dreams and they aren’t supported by your spouse – ask yourself whose happiness he’s really thinking of.

19. Does your spouse engage in behavior that puts stress on your family?

One of my best friends called to tell me that her husband’s road rage was so bad that he’d jumped out of the car and threatened to beat up another driver for cutting her off in a parking lot. Her children were crying, she was screaming at him, begging him to get back in the car. If your spouse won’t seek help for behavior that’s damaging to the family, it’s time for you to re-evaluate.

20. Are you constantly “convincing” yourself to stay in your marriage?

I used to have an internal monolog with myself about my marriage. I would tell myself that it wasn’t that bad, that I could keep going; and then I would mentally list all of the good things about my marriage. Over the years, that list got shorter and shorter until one day…there was no list. If you have to convince yourself, chances are, there’s a problem that can’t be fixed by “reasoning”.