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Alcoholism...Debt...Divorce

Old 12-24-2008, 02:34 PM
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Unhappy Alcoholism...Debt...Divorce

Hi all. I am new here and am so glad I found this site. Seems as though there is a lot of knowledge and experience here and I could really use some advice.

I have been married for 27-1/2 years. We have two grown boys, one in the AF and one that just graduated college. My husband was in the military for 20 years and that discipline apparently kept his alcoholism in check. However, since he retired 5 years ago, he has turned into a full blown alcoholic. He has been arrested for a couple DUIs, has been in rehab several times, makes his promises then breaks them (of course), and is out of work. We have his retirement and my paycheck, but we are in terrible debt and I see no way out. We went to a credit counseling place and they worked out a payment plan and got some of our creditors to drastically reduce the charges, but since he doesn't really help me that much in paying things (he always makes late payments or doesn't bother to pay at all), we just can't seem to get ahead. My credit is runied because of his actions. I am so tired of working and coming home and finding him drunk. He does cook....makes dinner every night just about....and he cleans when he is able to function, which is most days, but there are times (stretching several days at the least) where I come home and he is passed out because he's been on a binge and nothing is done.

I am going to school to get my degree (should have it by the time i'm 50 in August 2010) because the only way we can get this stuff paid is if I make more money...I can't depend on him, so when I get home I'm pretty tired. I have applied for a job in another part of the state that would require me to stay there at least 4 nights a week....I would get twice what I do now, and will get me away from him for a bit. Not only does he not work but he is home 24/7. He has no friends, no hobbies other than working in the yard, and never goes anywhere. He has lots of free time to think of ways to annoy and irritate me, which he seems to derive great pleasure from.

Alright....that's the background....now for the advice I need. I do know I want out of this marriage. I hate it, but nothing is going to change, and I want a partner, not another child. Life is too short and I would much rather live alone than to deal with this. So....any advice on, when we are in such debt, how in the world I can get afford a divorce? I have no money, no savings, no 401k, nothing. We have a home that he is more than welcome to keep....he loves it here and never wants to leave, so I really don't care. I would be happy to take our dog and go elsewhere.

(I actually already did that....I had left for a year and lived in an apartment with our dogs...that is what exhausted me financially. I moved back only after he promised to go to rehab, which he did.....for about a week. At times I feel the worst move I made was to move back, but in a way it wasn't because it just proved to me that I have done all I can.)

Anyway....thanks so much for 'listening'. Please anything you can tell me about being in debt and obtaining a divorce would be great.

Thanks!
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:43 PM
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Welcome! Consulting an attorney to find out exactly what your options are might be a great palce to start.

Stick around and keeping reading and posting. This place can be a wonderful resource.
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Old 12-24-2008, 02:49 PM
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Welcome to SR.
While you wait for more replies, you might want to take a look at some of the sticky threads; there are several that should help you with your situation.
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Old 12-24-2008, 03:08 PM
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Welcome to SR, glad you're here!

Here in Los Angeles the court system offers help to those who cannot afford counsel.

Another poster here always say "life is too long" and I agree with her.

Good luck - have been where you are - it isn't easy but it's so worth it.

Keep posting!
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Old 12-24-2008, 03:44 PM
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Divorce laws differ between states. You can find out what you need to know online, as far as if you can file your own papers etc. and how much it costs to do so.

And Welcome to Sober Recovery!
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Old 12-24-2008, 03:45 PM
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As Denny mentioned, there IS free legal aid to those who cannot afford it. Call your county prosecutor's office. Lots of young attorneys on staff take cases pro bono to get the experience litigating.

I am graduating in May with a degree in paralegal studies/business management from the University of Maryland (entirely online). If it earns me a paycheck and gets me outta here ... AMEN!

I understand having TONS of debt. I went through a debt consolidator. One step better than bankruptcy. I couldn't get credit to buy a new car, but I was able to get an aparment. If you don't want to go that route, the only other thing that has worked for me is to pay my bills as soon as I get them. And I pay a few dollars over the minimum - sometimes it's only $2 more, but my credit rating is slowly improving.

I live in a town with a TWENTY PERCENT unemployment rate, so I have to really jump out into the unknown. By the time I leave here, it will be on $6K in savings, less debt, and a prayer.

I know it looks insurmountable, but persevere. Focus on what lies ahead. Get as much free help as you can. It's out there. Try the YMCA and/or YWCA. Try the Salvation Army. Look for any free legal aid that is available. I wish you all the best.

There IS light at the end of the tunnel .... and I promise you, it's NOT a train!
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Old 12-24-2008, 04:00 PM
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I can't give you legal advice, but I just wanted to say, kudos to you for going for that degree! I'm 50 years old and going for a double degree myself!
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Old 12-24-2008, 06:02 PM
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thanks everyone! i know i'm doing what i need to, but am so confused as to how. i will be trying the advice you have given. will have to go the legal aid route.....i talked to a lawyer that i LOVED, lots in common...her past mirrored my own....but i just in no way could afford her....hoping she does some legal aid and will take me on.

i so hate it....he will be lost without me...part of the problem...but like i said...i need a partner....am i terrible?
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Old 12-24-2008, 06:09 PM
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Everyone told me xAH would be lost without me. Except for the fact he's still drinking and has some serious health issues (2 things I couldn't change even if we were together), he's managed without me now for 3 years.

((( )))
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Old 12-24-2008, 08:59 PM
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Ocnblu,

You are not terrible.

You are saving yourself.

We have an expression that gets bandied about here a lot: sometimes, you have to either let go, or be dragged. You cannot save him - you can only save yourself.

Hoping you find the right legal solutions to help you through this.

Hugs,
GL
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Old 12-26-2008, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Ocnblu View Post
Hi all. I am new here and am so glad I found this site. Seems as though there is a lot of knowledge and experience here and I could really use some advice.
I'm not sure I have any sound advice for you, but I sure can commiserate with the debt situation. I gave my AH the boot and that lasted until I took an in depth look at our debt situation. After a month he was back home because we simply just couldn't afford a mortgage and rent. I've got myself on a 2.5 year get out of debt plan, it'll probably take more like 5, but I'm striving for 2.5 years. As for now we tolerate each other the best we can. It's better now that I don't really give a flying crap if he drinks or if he doesn't, just so long as he stays out of my way and doesn't try to engage me in conversation.

I've been told that I should just leave and be done with it, and that I can start over, and I know that, but it isn't what I want to do at this point. I am bound and determined to buy him out of our house. And yes, I know, it's just a house. It's not really the house that I am clinging on to, it is the principle. He's taken enough from me already, he's not taking my house too.
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Old 12-26-2008, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by hmbld View Post
After a month he was back home because we simply just couldn't afford a mortgage and rent. I've got myself on a 2.5 year get out of debt plan, it'll probably take more like 5, but I'm striving for 2.5 years. As for now we tolerate each other the best we can. It's better now that I don't really give a flying crap if he drinks or if he doesn't, just so long as he stays out of my way and doesn't try to engage me in conversation.
Have you talked to an attorney? It's possible to lose everything if the alcoholic continues on his path over the next 2.5 to 5 years. A DUI where someone gets killed. Losing a job, etc. I suggest looking into ways to protect yourself financially.

Good luck!
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Old 12-26-2008, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by denny57 View Post
Have you talked to an attorney? It's possible to lose everything if the alcoholic continues on his path over the next 2.5 to 5 years. A DUI where someone gets killed. Losing a job, etc. I suggest looking into ways to protect yourself financially.

Good luck!
Yes, I have spoken to an attorney. The only real option I have NOW is to sell the house, which will be unlikely in this market anyway. We're already in the process of separating our finances, the only thing that can't be separated at this point is the house. When my share of the debt is paid off I can buy him out of the house. The whole point is getting to where I can live without a single dime of his income. If he loses a job he loses his job and I have other options available, but in the mean time, my plan is to dig out and refinance the house on my own. Maybe it's a stupid thing to do, but it's what I want to do. My final last stand so to speak, even if it goes the way of Custer's last stand I'll manage. ;-)
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