Morning friend,

I am thrilled that so many people helpers watched the webinar that Chris Moles and I did regarding the 3 milestones you must master to work competently with those in destructive relationships.  We had a lot of positive feedback and was very encouraged that there are people helpers who are wanting to learn more.

Today’s Question:  I have been so blessed by your book The Emotionally Destructive Marriage.  I see my marriage described in ways I never had words for.  I am looking at filing for legal separation. But I am shocked at how much it costs. I have no money available to me as I have been a stay at home mom for 16 years. 

Finances are the main area my husband manipulates, threatens and controls in. How do other women get separated or file for divorce when they have no money of their own? The lawyer I have been referred to is very good and experienced as my case could be complicated. I am so stressed by this money thing. $5000 just to retain him!  Any ideas?

Answer:  One of the things I continue to be distressed at is the number of women who see that they are in a very bad marriage from year one and yet don’t make a plan or prepare for a day in the future where they might have to support themselves, pay for a lawyer, or take care of their children.  

Please don’t misunderstand. Yes, there are controlling husbands, kids that need to be cared for and life that keeps us crazy busy, but it’s important to think of you and your children’s safety and sanity by facing the fearful realities that might be in your future and take baby steps forward.  

Therefore, in today’s blog, I want to invite the women who have “been there” to answer your question.  Below are some legal resources to check out.

https://www.womenagainstabuse.org/services/legal-center

https://esme.com/resources/domestic-violence/legal-resources-for-victims-of-domestic-violence

https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2019/10/pro-bono-week-activities/

Friend, How did you find the money to pay for legal expenses and/or go forward when you had no personal resources? 

Secondly, once you realized that your marriage was destructive, what steps did you take to prepare for the possibility that your marriage may not make it?  Share your wisdom and even some of your mistakes.  

I think we can help this woman move forward with your collective wisdom, tips, and even mistakes to avoid. 

I love you guys.  Thanks for helping this woman out today.

16 Comments

  1. Becky Whittemore on March 24, 2021 at 9:34 am

    I took money out of our joint savings account before I left, and then I got a job. Thankfully I was able to live with family members rent-free for several months so I was then able to save up some money. But without the stimulus money I would be in very dire straits financially. After the house sells I am going to have to be very careful with what kind of housing situation I put that money into. And probably will need a housemate as well. There are still challenges, but I know God will provide as He has all along.

    • JoAnn on March 24, 2021 at 12:40 pm

      Yes, Becky, I believe along with you. Amen!

  2. Pilar on March 24, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    I am in the planning stages right now because my spouse has shown no signs that he will change in any way. I am doing my own work and saving money to retain a lawyer.

  3. Amy on March 24, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    I just commented and thought of one more thing that is very important. It is definitely worth paying for a GOOD, knowledgeable, reputable lawyer, particularly if your case may be difficult. I have seen many people opt for “cheaper” lawyers and they have really gotten themselves in a bind. Many of these are also “stay at home moms” for years (as was I), but the ones who have secured better lawyers have much better outcomes. Also, after the initial payment (which should come from your joint account), your lawyer can ask for your husband to pay the legal fees. That may not be determined until the final days, but he is the reason you are having to file for anything.

    • Nevergiveup on March 31, 2021 at 8:29 pm

      Yes this is so true. You can have a family member or friend front the money (like I did) since my attorney is charging all fees to my husband in the case. They will get it back when the divorce is final. I filed a No Contact Order citing a recent episode that put me and my son in danger. PLAN THIS OUT by talking with a SAFE close friend or family member to help you as well as a Domestic Abuse case worker from a local shelter. They helped me complete the legal forms. Plan, plan, plan before you go—have clothes and essentials tucked away at someone’s house. It took me 6 weeks to prepare and I still wasn’t quite ready—31 years is a long time to call it for what it is. My life has changed radically and it’s been very difficult. My son and I are just now starting to recover (it’s been 5 months) and move forward. Thanks to people like Leslie who have excellent advice—I just wish I would have known all this years ago.

      • Nevergiveup on March 31, 2021 at 8:32 pm

        Cleaning jobs are a great way to start earning money and so is house- or pet-sitting for people you know.

  4. Yoyo on March 25, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    From year one I personally did not recognize that my marriage was bad.My dysfunction in my family of origin, did not give the insight I needed to make a strategic decision. A new believer, I trusted God in my relationship and I forgave. No one plans for divorce at the beginning, unless they are worldly minded. Should Have ,scenarios are not helpful at this stage.

    • Michele on June 3, 2022 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you YoYo. There is much shame to wrestle with more often than not as we wake up, find our way out of the fog, or whatever anyone calls it. The realization that we have found ourselves at a crossroads we never thought to prepare for doesn’t speak to – we should have prepared better. It speaks to our commitment before God and our loved ones that we are invested in this marriage for better or worse. Having a Plan B while standing at the altar doesn’t even seem consistent with the vows we take let alone God’s design. That said, once we have fond out we are in a destructive relationship, plans are important. Planning often takes time to bring us into a place we do have resources. I do appreciate the input from an earlier reply – some attorneys will petition for spousal support through a separation.

  5. Joyce on March 26, 2021 at 12:38 am

    I have read of so many abused women from this blog and other blogs and I note that many of them are stay at home mums. Whilst I appreciate the contributions of stay at home mums to their families, the moment she realizes that she is in a abusive marriage, she should get a job to become financially independent.

    I have never given up my job even after having my children and I thank God for this. My husband was financially and emotionally abusive and supervised my salary account although he refused to work and stayed at home to look after the children. Although he has contributed to the well being of the family, he tries to control what I do with my money. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had no money of my own.

    I say this humbly from my own experience that women should not be too eager to be stay at home mums until they are certain that they are in loving relationships. But of course there are some women who do not know they are being abused until many years later, like me, as the abuse can be very subtle at first and the fact that no marriage is perfect.

    Anon

  6. Moon Beam on March 26, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    Regarding securing funds for legal assistance. I sold my jewelry. Do you have an engagement ring you could sell?

  7. Jriah on March 27, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    It seems to me…
    All money in all bank/ investment accounts are legally both parties.
    It is not stealing to use your own money for your own needs.
    If, for some reason, you do not have access, or have any liquid assets, a good attorney can file for spousal support during the separation. He will take his fees from that.

  8. Heather Wininger on March 28, 2021 at 11:37 am

    It took years for me to work through the fog of others advice and my own beliefs that I needed to stay and be a stay at home mom….even after I realized I was in a destructive marriage. I finally went back to school while cleaning houses to have some financial control. Today I am a certified physical therapist assistant making a good wage and preparing to file soon.

  9. Free on March 28, 2021 at 5:41 pm

    Most women’s shelters have attorneys who work for free to help obtain a restraining order, or PFA (protection from abuse).One does not have to be hit to obtain a restraining order. Things like blocking your exit from a room, garage, or driveway; as well as, locking you in a room are consider endangerment.

    Most judges will issue a 30 day temporary restraining just because you feel scared on unsafe in your relationship. It is the longer duration, PFA or restraining order, that requires a hearing and may require evidence of mistreatment.

    Often obtaining legal protection is a great way to start the process of separation. This powerful legal tool is especially helpful when it comes to future child custody issues. It allows victims a to to detox from the abuse and think clearly.

    • Heather Wininger on March 28, 2021 at 6:44 pm

      By the way, I would recommend cleaning…you can make a pretty decent wage and, since you are your own boss, you can set your own hours, which was good when my children were young.

  10. GFinAtl on March 30, 2021 at 11:22 am

    I’m two years post divorce. When I got married my now ex h had me sign a prenup giving me nothing. I worked so thought nothing of it. We were married 18 years when I finally left the abuse. The divorce took a year. I lived in a small room, paid for by my old IRA that I cashed out. In the end he had to give me five years of support. At 63 y/o I have roommates but no abuser. God always makes a way when we trust him.

  11. Minerva on April 15, 2021 at 2:31 am

    Check the county/state where you will file for divorce, some offer waivers of filing fees. You can file for a waiver in Arizona.

Leave a Comment





Read More

How Do I Keep Hope Alive?

Morning friends, Pray for me. I know many of you do and I deeply appreciate it. I would love to have more time to be still, to ponder some deeper things that God is showing me and somehow I have to carve out the time to do it. I’ve also promised myself that I will…

Read More...

Setting Boundaries and Applying Consequences with Compassion [Guest]

Morning friends, This week has been a hard week. Last Saturday, my sweet dog Gracie stopped eating. After tests we found out she had stage IV cancer and as she grew weaker, we decided to put her down just this past Saturday. It’s almost surreal how quickly life can change in a week. Gracie has…

Read More...

Overfunctioning Doesn’t Fix Things

Morning friend, I appreciate all of you and your contributions to help women who come here confused and scared, looking for other godly women to help them see Biblical truths in new ways.  There is so much growth and maturity in the responses since I started this blog 10 years ago. It’s encouraging to see…

Read More...

Ask Your Question

Have a blog question you'd like to submit?