What can I or should I do?

For the parties involved, separation and divorce are very emotional. Threats are used on both sides to persuade, disuade, throw guilt at…whatever possible. The person unhappy is afraid to leave, yet unhappy to stay.

However, as far as NC is concerned-marriage is a business contract when it comes to money and how things are split up. They dont’ care about the emotional aspect. If you leave, and your wife has not worked during the marriage, then she is eligible for alimony. You would also have to pay Child Support.

If you cheated during the marriage-yet stayed married, then your wife ‘forgave’ you according to the law. That has no impact on child custody or visitation. The misdemeanor-I’m not positive, but I dont’ think that has any bearing either (not knowing any more info than you provided). Hiding money: I guess they’d find it in a discovery credit check. If it’s cash-then she would have to have proof. She can’t just claim you hid money.

Bottom line is that you will have 2 households that you’re paying into. For the person who is leaving due to unhappiness-it is hard financially and seems unfair. To the person who has been left-it is a ‘look at what you’ve done to my life and our children’s life’ and there could be a certain amount of ‘revenge factor’ in the whole process. BUT it is hard being a single parent too–trying to make ends meet on a less household money.

Each case is different. I have seen both sides-good and bad.
I would get some legal advice. Make a list of questions before you go and get a consultation. Most lawyers will give you an hour. It will be good money spent.

Thank you for the feedback “needing”.

It is a very complex situation, as I’m sure all marriage related issues are. What makes mine harder to understand and deal with is my spouse was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder over a year ago, although their bouts with emotional issues goes back to their childhood. The thing I struggle with is had I known this when we first met, it would have given me the opportunity to make a “fair” decision for myself. I can’t change history however, and now must either choose to live with this lifelong burden or go my own way and support my kids via divorce. Believe me, I’m not trying to be cruel. I struggle with whether this was my fate or if by making the choice to pursue my happiness, I may upset GOD’s intentions for me. This has been eating at me for a long time. It’s not so simple to ask “do I love my spouse”. If it were that simple, this post wouldn’t exist. The battle between moral, ethical, and legal obligations have clouded my judgement over the years and in addition to these internal battles exists the marrital battles between the two of us. I will not bypass the parental obligations to my children, however I struggle immensely with whether leaving the marriage would be the right thing to do at this point. I don’t believe GOD intends on divorce, but I also don’t believe HE intends for his children to live in misery either.

Therein lies my dilemma.

It sounds to me as though you are struggling more with the “giving up” or “failing” at your marriage and the possible repercussions of leaving are only adding to the unhappiness of staying.
Unfortunately only you can answer the needed questions about this. You, your spouse and your children are the only ones who will be living with the situation regardless of outcome. The attorneys, judges, and even friends and most family will not directly be affected by your situation. You will have to decide without worrying about money or anything else if you can truly spend the rest of your life this way…If you decide that you can’t then I believe that any amount of money is worth it and you should consult an attorney.

I struggled for many years with my ex for similar reasons…I didn’t want to admit that I was wrong when I said I could make it work. I didn’t want my friends to think that I had not done everything in my power to make it work out. I’m very stubborn and I guess I assumed that on some level felt I deserved whatever I was going through. What I realize now is that I would be a very different person had I not gone through and endured what I did with him. He drank and did drugs and was mentally and verbally abusive…
Me? There was no me…I did whatever I had to to survive. He drank, and I drank with him for a time. He did hard drugs, I experimented with some lighter stuff once or twice…he cheated on me, I forgave him…he cheated again…I made excuses for him…he belittled me in front of friends and I cried and said I didn’t care.
After a while, it turns out that I had long ago quit trying to be happy and was just surviving. It didn’t hurt me so much to watch and know that he was physically killing himself. I got to the point after 11 years that I really didn’t care. I was not happy but was anyone really happy? I quit trying to make him happy and that was when I knew that somehow, some way, it would end. I quit trying to force my life and my plans to work out and started to let God take over planning.
I look back now and all I can think is…“WTF was I thinking?” “How did I talk myself into believing that was NORMAL?”

I will always have a place in my heart for that man. He is part of my past and has helped to make me the person I am today. I still have feelings for him to some extent and I always will. You can’t spend any length of time with someone and expect to just quit feeling for them. Would I ever consider going back? I’ve had nightmares about that. The thought makes me physically ill. Would I care if he dropped dead tomorrow…yes. I could then quit feeling sorry for him.
My husband’s ex is bipolar and I’ve found that it’s very similar to drug addicts/alcolholics. He feels the same about his ex as I do about mine. He did not leave his marriage, she left him. But that is something that every person has to decide for him/her self.

My husband likes to make the comment that he and his ex should have never made it past their second year of marriage. To this I respond, “But dear, I wasn’t ready then”. I firmly believe that though we can not always know why, everything does happen for a reason. I believe that everthing that we both went through makes us appreciate what we have now all the more…and it had to be on God’s schedule.

Stepmother, Very interesting input. Thank you.

I guess I am struggling with the the guilt of quitting and “failing” at the marriage. It’s nothing I take lightly having come from a broken marriage “twice” as a child. I know what it’s like from a child’s perspective. On the other hand, as an adult there is nothing that rides on my conscience more than disappointing my kids. However, them living in an unhappy environment is of no benefit to them either.

I must admit I have been and can be verbally rough and have been accused of being abusive in nature at times. I can’t be objective on this because I’m involved. I do have short patience, can react quickly and sometimes harshly to things, and have a tendacy to become angered much more easily than I used to. I think that is situational for the most part.

I can’t help but be a little resentful for the decision I made 10 years ago. I know in my heart that had I known then what I know now about my spouse, that I would not have married. Is it wrong to feel that way? Perhaps, and that’s what drives my guilt. I’m thankful for the two wonderful kids we have, but other than that I can’t generate a list of things we’ve done well together. We live check to check, can’t seem to agree on anything substantial, and don’t even attend church on a regular basis. When I look at friends of mine, it makes me sick that I haven’t progressed any further in life than I have. It’s like I’m standing still in time and everyone else including my kids are surpassing me.

Regardless of the decision, I have to deal with the money issue, as I am the bread winner in the family. I am in know way seeking advice so that I can avoid paying child support but the thought of paying unfair amounts of alimony to someone who has a poor work history (even before our marriage) and shows no ambitions towards making a career burns my insides. I can’t help but feel I have been sucked dry all these years financially. And now the thought of a divorce would make it even worse.

The only way to get confidential advise would be to schedule an initial consultation with an attorney.

If you have a specific question I can give opinions on the message board, but they will be public.

With regards to custody, if you committed some act nine years ago and your spouse has stayed with you all this time and you have been a good parent since then, I would not invest a lot of energy worrying about it.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax

Charlotte Office
301 McCullough Drive
Suite 510
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044

Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Building 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(919) 321.0780


The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.

I am at a point in my marriage where enough is enough but I am afraid to leave my children. My spouse threatens to “use” my past mistakes against me to enforce alimony along with child support I already know will apply. Examples include a misdemeanor arrest 9 years ago, cheating that never happened, hiding money, etc. We’re a single income family and there is no way I can afford two rents, two car payments, paying double utilities, etc. if we were to separate. I know I’m not happy with the current situation that only seems to improve as long as the other party is getting their way. What are my rights under the law? I don’t want a legal battle and in no way would I want information to get out that DSS may misinterpret which could jeapordize our children. I am feeling somewhat desperate. How can I get some confidential and much needed guidance?