I don't think I can take much more of this

I apologize for being so vague about some details but I have to protect myself. I can't talk about this with anyone and I'm trying to save money to get it fixed legally but even then I don't know exactly what to do. My parents are both deceased, and I don't have any close family. I'm sorry but a lot of this is ranting and venting,but I appreciate any words of support or suggestions on what to do. You've always been such a great community to me.

Last year while I was working a full time job but in the evenings and my spouse would go upstairs to watch TV and drink heavily and leave me with our 4 kids, age 10 and younger, while I was enrolled in college taking classes over the computer. I just couldn't do it, and I failed out -and that left all the blame on me for being a failure.

Last year my spouse started staying out all night and not coming home on top of that other stuff. I suspected cheating, but I couldn't get an admission and was made to feel as if I am a horrible person for suspecting such a thing. I had messed up in the past, having emailed some people and been in chatrooms but I never followed through on any of it, it was found out quickly and I truly regretted it. I realized my 18 years of marriage were worth more than throwing it away, for the sake of the kids too. We didn't always get along, different hobbies and I thought we had similar interests (games, music, movies, etc) when we got married but that was apparently all said just for the sake of 'catching'me.

So last year they started looking for jobs -had always been a stay-at-home parent while I've been working all these years - and then moved out. After moving out the confessions came, and their love interest turned out to be the former school principal. That was when I found our joint bank account was at about -$500 and had been at the end of every month, as well as not paying car payments and other bills. I was left with the kids and no money to even buy groceries for them, and scrambling to find a babysitter so I could still go to work. They told the kids they were moving out to live closer to their job so they could help pay for things - they told their friends/family I had been crazy and physically violent (I didn't find that out until months later when people started wondering why the kids are still with me if that was the case).

My spouse came to me a few months after moving out saying they couldn't afford their car payment and needed some money, and I offered to help one time only as long as it got repaid. So I gave $160 in cash and about $300 for the car, which I paid over the phone for them. I worried that if I didn't I would be accused of not supporting them and I worried about the kids getting to see their other parent. I found out over the next 2 months my bank account was charged 2 more times for car payments. I contest this with the bank but they said since I authorized the first payment, it's my fault. My spouse claims ignorance of that happening saying they didn't realize it didn't come out of their account - while also not having money to pay it back or help with supporting the children. They've been fired from/lost/quit 6-7 jobs now in a one year period.

I had also asked at some point, if they were having money trouble, why not move back in, be with the children and try to get their money problems fixed - the answer was, "I don?t want to deal with them" and pointing at the kids.

I saved money and consulted a lawyer - but the lawyer wants a lot of money for a retainer fee, and I couldn't afford it. I don't want to file for divorce without a lawyer as all of this has been getting incredibly messy, so I planned on waiting for income tax refund to file, and on the lawyer's suggestion claim abandonment of the children or adultery (which is harder to prove) - but either way it's going to be thousands of dollars before it's all done.

My spouse moved in with their lover to a more expensive house and neighborhood, and they're now 2 hours away from me and the kids. The kids have only been at their place for a total of 10 about days, due to not having a car big enough to take all of them and not having money to have them visit. There's been an increasing amount of 'black outs' from my spouse - phone calls they don't remember, saying things they don't remember, wild mood swings - like dealing with someone that has multiple personalities. One day they love me and want to come back the next day they hate me and spew lies and nonsense. One day they called threatening suicide and I had no idea what to do, so I called a suicide hotline and had them call my spouse. My spouse called the next day and I asked how they were and if they talked to someone the day prior, but they had no clue what I was talking. They said later they looked at their phone and there was a call but they don't know who or what they talked about. I don't have a custody order/agreement so I have no choice but to let them see the kids. Because of the memory issues I don't feel comfortable with the visits but I don't have a choice. Even their family has come around to talking to me asking what's going on and realizing there are memory/mental issues - unfortunately they are not anywhere close to help.

One day earlier this year I picked up the kids from school and arrived to my house to find police waiting for me. There was a complaint from my spouse that I was horribly neglecting and abusing the kids. Other things I won't even go into here, they had to investigate because they had a report - and found it all to be unsubstantiated claims.

When I filed the income tax return, I found that my spouse had already claimed the children so my claim was denied - and claiming them over the last year, I will now possibly owe money. I still haven't seen any money for support! It's pure greed and it makes me so angry.

Everything has fallen apart for me. I can't afford the lawyer, I'm still paying off debts I didn't cause, and on top of that I'm going to lose my job in 2 months and not have a place to live. I had planned to continue working after the job ended but I don't know what job I can do with these same hours where I can be there for the children. If the youngest one is sick, they're out of daycare for 2 days. It's not like I can just go drop 4 kids off with someone and on top of that being able to afford the daycare/babysitter cost. I'm in such a state of panic right now. :(

That is like, some serious real legit problems, problems that I know I am not qualified nor capable of solving or even alleviating. I wish I could tell you how to fix them, but well, I cant. I dont really imagine many people here can help you either.

I wish I could point you to the direction of someone that can, but I cant do that either, but if you can look for something, please do. I realize money is a major issue here though, but hopefully some free service or people can be found to help...legally too mind you.

I wish I could give you more than mere words of support, but that is all I have for you, I am really sorry.

 

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