Laura, are you ok? Please post a new blog - we don't get notified if a member posts to a blog or question unless we happen to see it on our page or the home page near the time that you post.
We're here for you.
Rule #1 of divorce: Don't believe a thing your soon-to-be-ex says - unless your attorney verifies it.
Hon, my ex loved having me around as long as I took care of the kids, the house, the yard, the chores, and let him spend money any way he wanted to without cluing me in and saying that we didn't have enough money to do things that I thought needed doing - like finishing a remodeling project that had us walking on unsecured subfloor - even when his mom fell because of it, there still wasn't enough money to get it fixed. After I went back to work, there wasn't enough money to fix it.
After I stopped being the cook, maid, chaffeur, personal shopper, landscaper, etc, he still acted like there was nothing wrong - except that he wasn't getting laid enough. It wasn't the way he looked that was repulsive, it was the way he behaved.
Love is not a noun, it's a verb. it's something you do. Putting another above yourself on your priority list. Clearly, he's not done that with you or the kids.
You need to take a step back and see how awful his behavior towards you is. Would you advise a friend of yours in the same situation to stay put?
With electronic filing, the IRS probably doesn't even have your signature on those 3 years, and possibly not your accountant either. If you want the details you can go to the accountant. If you want to know what was filed, you can go to irs.gov and request a transcript of your taxes for free. (A transcript has all the numbers but it isn't formatted like a return). A word of caution about "needing a tax audit." If you bring in the IRS, you will have to prove that you aren't equally responsible for any unpaid taxes. However, the threat of an audit might be useful in negotiations.
If your parents can help you, make sure they are helping ONLY you and your kids, not him. That is, do not let him pay off the house while your husband still owns half of it. Much better use of their money right now to pay for a good lawyer, and possibly a forensic accountant.
"You are afraid because your husband has made you feel worthless all this time. It is not a matter of finding a new man. It is a matter of living in a way that you can respect yourself." ---I'm cutting this out and pasting it on my forehead....exactly what my therapist has been telling me! Thank you for validating this!
Pray for me
The very first thing you have to do, is to stop believing your husband. If he wanted a divorce, he would get one. So, he does not want a divorce. Therefore everything he says is to keep you from filing for divorce, or even seriously looking into it.
Don't count on you or your father getting back any of the money he has contributed. But that house is half yours, so you do get half of the equity if he keeps the house. That is, if you sold it, you get half of the net proceeds. If he wants to keep it, he has to "buy you out" by giving you half of the equity. You get an appraisal, subtract the mortgage from that, and he pays you half the difference.
Your marriage is long enough that you should qualify for alimony. But the amount you might get is dependent on a lot of factors, especially the difference in your two incomes--and yes, unless you can prove he's earned more than he says, his recent low official income would reduce your alimony. Child support as well, but that's only really a factor for one child for two years.
Now ask yourself why he doesn't want a divorce, if you are "not worth much." You work, you pay bills and buy groceries. You cook and clean. Etc. It's a good deal for him. If you get divorced, he will have to give up basically half of everything the two of you have together. He may be good at hiding money and assets, but they can be found.
If I were you, I'd stop paying bills with your money. Buy food for yourself and your kids. Save the rest toward a retainer for a lawyer. If your dad will help you with that, all the better.
You are afraid because your husband has made you feel worthless all this time. It is not a matter of finding a new man. It is a matter of living in a way that you can respect yourself.
You can't do it because you're afraid. Afraid of what will happen if you leave. It's okay to be afraid, but not to keep fear from doing what you need to do. Here are a few suggestions:
Find out what the law says about divorce in your state in a marriage as long as yours. How to do it? you can follow the links on the upper right hand corner of this page to "State Laws and Calculators," or google divorce laws and the abbreviation for your state. You can also consult an attorney. Some offer a free first-time consultation. How to find an attorney? If you have an attorney who you've worked with for other things (real estate, wills, etc), ask her/him for referrals. If you're concerned about paying an attorney, I bet you anything that you're willing to lose that if your Dad had any idea of what you have been dealing with, he'd do whatever was needed to help you get out of that situation.
There's a lot of information out there for younger women with younger kids and divorce. "He's History, You're Not," by Erica Manfred is geared towards women like us - a little older. I found it really helpful.
Other books that may help are "Codependent No More" and "Why does He do That?"
If you're afraid of what he might do, use MOSAIC, a threat assessment tool by Gavin DeBecker. You can get to it through Oprah's website. If you think he might be monitoring your computer use, use a computer at a public library. If you give the tool honest information, it will give you an accurate assessment. If that scares you even more, call a women's hotline. They can help you make an escape plan, and would rather help before a crisis occurs. I didn't find out about MOSAIC until after I moved out - it helped me realize just how dangerous an environment I left.
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