What a great New Years Resolution!! I applaud you for finally taking
a stand and taking yor life back. This process will take some time,
but if you follow my steps, you could be out in as little time as 30
days. 60 days at the most. It all depends on how fast you can move
through the steps I have outlined for you below. If it's any
consolation, I have done this. You'll live through it, but it will be
a scary time in your life. Take a deep breath and read on.
I'm not going to give you a bunch of useless links to support groups
for spouses of alcoholics to help you cope with your situation. I am
going to tell you exactly what you asked for: HOW TO LEAVE.
First, I want to Answer your miscellaneous Questions that were in your text:
Q) Do you just walk out on a 34 year marriage, especially since I
have kept so quiet about any of my "problems, issues, anger" towards
him because I know after he is drunk whatever logical discussion we
had during the day will turn into drunken diarrhea from him at night.
A) There's no way to sugar coat this answer. It is, very simply:
YES, you just leave.
Q) Would I stay married to him if he quit drinking?
A) Since you are not responsible for his drinking, you can't make
decisions based on "what if's." YOU are responsible for YOUR
HAPPINESS, and Your Life, not HIS. Cross that bridge IF AND WHEN he
stops drinking. In the meantime, CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY. Threatening to
leave will not affect him. He would probably just say GO AHEAD.
Then, he'd be alerted to your plan and make every step nearly
impossible for you.
Q) So why do I stay in this torturous situation and how do I get out of it?
A) Most simply, you stay because even as bad as it is, it is your
"comfort zone." Understand that when you begin these steps, you will
feel very scared. although I don't recommend telling anyone of your
plan, I can't imagine you not telling ANYONE. You will need some
emotional support. Think very hard, and select ONE SINGLE FRIEND that
you are ABSOLUTELY 100% CERTAIN you can trust. Send that person to
this web page. Go over the steps below with your friend. I recommend
getting your friend to help with step number 5.
As I said, my Answer assumes you have already made the decision to
leave, and as you stated, you want detailed instructions on how to do
this. The plan is to move without a confrontation, and in such a way
that you will NOT HAVE TO GO BACK TO THE HOUSE. I recommend you do
all this very quietly. DO NOT ALERT YOUR HUSBAND. Tell no one, that
way you don't have to lie (except by omission), and there will be ZERO
chance your husband will find out and confront you. Feeling like you
do about confrontation, this is the best way for you to leave.
It's important to realize and understand that separation and divorce
are a complex series of events. Every divorce is different. Let's
break this down to the three stages.
The emotional divorce. You are half way through this stage. It is
the most difficult stage of the process. The actual physical
separation signals the end of this stage.
The financial divorce. Your Personal Property Inventory will make
this a lot easier. Rember, once you have moved out, it gets a LOT
The legal divorce. The final stage is the easiest part. A formality.
The piece of paper that says you have completed the journey.
My Answer also assumes your husband is still working, --or-- that
there will be sometime where he will be gone for an extended period of
time so you can load things without having to call the police.
IF YOU NEED HELP BRAINSTORMING HOW TO GET HIM OUT OF THE HOUSE FOR A
DAY - JUST ASK. Also, I want to make it very clear that the posting of
this Answer does not signify the END of my assistance. All you need
to do to receive more help from me (at no additional cost) --is to ask
via the "REQUEST FOR CLARIFICATION" feature. I will be notified via
email that you have posted and I will respond again. At the time of
this posting, I actually don't consider my work for you to be done. I
WILL CONTINUE TO ASSIST YOU.
Q) The answer I want from you is a clear cut list, follow steps 1 -
10, of how to leave him.
A) HOW TO LEAVE YOUR HUSBAND IN 10 STEPS
1) RENT AN APARTMENT NEAR WORK - (PAY WITH CASH)
You may think this is a radical first step, but it's an IMPORTANT one. Here's why:
a) You will start to feel the autonomy IMMEDIATELY.
b) You won't have to move items twice. (you'd have to use a mail
stop and storage unit)
c) You will be more MUCH MORE committed, you won't change your mind.
d) You'll have a place to keep your lists of things TO-DO etc...
You may decide to rent what is called an "Extended Stay" suite. If
you want to leave all the furniture, this is a good idea. I will find
one for you if you decide to use this suggestion. They are in every
major city. You would then use the Extended Stay abode as a
transitional dwelling, and perhaps buy a condo in a few months, but
less than a year. they are more expensive than an Apartment. Here's
a web site where you can browse to your city and see what's available:
Extended Stay Hotels
..."Welcome to the largest selection of extended stay hotels in
America - over 650 hotels coast-to-coast..."
ASSUMING YOU DECIDE TO RENT AN aPARTMENT...
I promise, as soon as you secure keys to a new Apartment, and start
walking back to your car, a smile will creep over your face. You will
feel differently. I know, because I have done this. Make sure the
new Apartment is in a secure building on at least the 2nd floor, or
higher. When he finds out where you are, you don't want him banging on
your door in a drunken belligerent stupor.
When renting, be up front with the landlord. Pay with cash withdrawn
from your joint checking or savings account. Do not pay by check.
Ask if there is some way you can rent without them running a credit
report. That way, there will be no record of your new location.
Maybe showing tax returns and paystubs from your work will suffice.
In any event, GET THE APARTMENT. Not running your credit is not
imperative, it would only give you some extra time before he finds you
is all, if he even thought of looking for you that way (my husband
found _me_ that way).
Although you will deal with the Utilities in the last week before
moving, here are my recommendations:
PHONE LINE CONSIDERATIONS
The only utility I recommend keeping is your old phone number/phone
line. You will want to transfer your home phone "landline" (and
billing) to your new apartment. Keep the same number. You will want
CALLER ID --AND-- CALL REJECTION. Here's why:
a) He'll call you, but you will have Caller ID. As soon as you know
which number is his, hang up and BLOCK IT with CALL REJECTION. And
block the one from his work as well. This can easily be done through
the phone company. With call rejection, your phone won't even ring
when he calls. No agonanizing over whether to answer it. You'll
never hear it ring. You can add as many numbers as you like for the
same monthly fee. In my city, it's $5.99 a month. Politely tell his
friends, when they call, if he has any besides the bottle, that you
have moved and you don't know his new number.
Also, set up the phone so that PRIVATE CALLERS HAVE TO UNBLOCK THEIR
NUMBER... Ask the phone company how to do this. In my city, this is
free. Then, every call you receive will have a name attached to it.
No matter where "he" calls you from, hang up and BLOCK THE NUMBER.
b) This will give you some level of comfort and control so that as
people call, _YOU_ can inform them of the separation.
c) You won't have to call all your friends and give them a new number.
d) He won't be answering the phone when your friends call, telling
them what a B***H you have been, that you deserted him, etc.
Heck, you don't want his phone number anyway, do you? Keep yours!!
The phone company is VERY GOOD about transfering phone service to a
new address, they can transfer service neatly, at very near the EXACT
HOUR you request them to. Certainly within a 4-5 hour window. (I
have done this) Another option for you to consider is: you can ask
the phone company to have it ring in BOTH locations for one or two
days in advance of the move, and then shut off the old location after
you have everything out and you know you are not going to return.
This does NOT cost a lot, they just wait for you to call and give the
heads-up to shut off the old location.
Tell the phone company what you are doing. Tell them you want your
name ALONE on the bill, they will cooperate.
OTHER UTILITIES to consider/shut off (refer to this list later):
Internet Service Provider
I am assuming the utilities are in both your names... I don't know how
vengeful you feel, but if you shut them off, he will have no choice
but to open them in his own name, alone. There is certainly no law
against it. You don't want your name on the household utilities when
you leave. If you don't want to do that, call each Provider (during
the last week before you move) and ask how they recommend handling it.
They deal with this daily...
Here's a couple links to assist you in locating an apartment near your work:
For Rent Magazine - Online Search
Note the link: Search by Distance: Find apartments located next to
your job, daycare center, school - any address:
Search Apartments for Rent...
2) GET A SEPARATE BANK ACCOUNT - BEGIN TO SEPARATE YOUR FINANCES
Get a separate bank account, now. It will take a couple weeks to
receive the new checks, etc. When you order checks, tell the bank you
want the first check NUMBER to be 1000. This makes it easier as your
account won't be looked at as "NEW." Have the new checks and
bankcards sent to your new Apartment. I would use a different bank so
there is no overlap at all. You don't want a teller innocently
mentioning your 2nd separate account to your husband.
Apply for and obtain NEW Credit Cards, and any Department Store, or
revolving Credit Cards you presently have using your new address,
totally separate from your husband. you will want to cancel all JOINT
cards IMMEDIATELY AFTER the move.
BEN'S SMART DIVORCE CHECKLIST
3) SECURE LEGAL REPRESENTATION - GET DIVORCE PAPERS READY
Next, get an Attorney. Since you stated money is not a problem for
you, get a good one. I don't recommend asking friends, family, or
co-workers for referrals. This will start the "rumor mill." I would
post a new question here at Google Answers that mentions syour city
and ask for referrals from people that live in your city. Pay the
Attorney a starting retainer with one of the new "starter checks" from
your new checking account. The Attorney will understand the starter
Tell your attorney that if she/he must call you on the phone, to only
contact you at work, period. If you own and use a cell phone, be sure
to give the Attorney strict times that it is OK to call. Use your new
Apartment address to receive ALL correspondence pertaining to your NEW
LIFE. (YES!! You will have one.)
Once you have secured an Attorney, and she/he has filed tell your
husband the name of your Attorney, and that if he wants to talk to
you, to go through her/him. If he bothers you too much, or bothers
you at WORK, AT ALL, have your attorney file a no-contact order.
Print this Question and Answer, and take it to your Attorney.
Although I will have covered most items, she/he will have a couple
more suggestions. Ask your new attorney the following questions:
a) How much of the liquid (cash) assets should you take? Generally,
hiding money or assets is not a good idea. In the end, it would bite
you in ass.
b) Ask your Attorney about running a PUBLIC NOTICE in the local
newspaper regarding the separation. This is standard in divorces. It
goes something like this: ..."I, Jane Doe, am from this date forward,
not responsible for debts, public or private, other than my own..."
c) Clauses to hold the other spouse harmless and indemnification in
case someone fails to live up to his or her obligations
d) Attorney fees and/or mediator, accountant, and other expert fees
and payment of same
e) Spousal support. I know you are self-supporting, but ask anyway.
f) Discuss with your Attorney just when to seerve your husband with
the Divorce Papers. Ideally, this will be at the exact same time as
he is discovering you have moved out.
g) Ask what an "INJUNCTION" is --should you file one? ...and how to
prepare for one filed by your husband, and how to avoid it.
DIVORCE CHECKLIST - By Henry S. Gornbein
Your Divorce Checklist - By Courtney Knowles
4) GATHER FINANCIAL -- AND OTHER -- IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Now that you have a place to move things, go through your home inch by
inch while your husband is gone or sleeping. Gather the following
items, if they are in your home:
a) Birth Certificates
b) Tax Returns
c) Insurance policies - life, home, auto, health, other...
d) HIS Pension Information (yours too).
e) Other Pensions, IRA accounts, 401K transfers, etc.
f) Asset information - Stocks and Bonds information, including
Brokerage contact info.
g) Copies of DEEDS to any real estate.
h) Property tax information.
i) Health information and history, medical test results, etc.
j) Vehicle titles. Copies of his, originals of yours. Include Motor
vehicles, trailers and boats.
k) Keepsakes - this is important: PICTURES - things you promised to
your children, look carefully, this is your last chance.
l) Take more than you need, you can return things later if he wants
m) Receipts for anything on your Personal Property Inventory (as many
as you can locate).
n) All Bank Account information: Checking and Saving, Personal Lines
of Credit, etc.
o) Pay stubs for 2004. Yours AND His.
Your Attorney may be able to add to this list, but it is fairly
complete. As you are going through your paperwork, if you see
something I missed that will be important, by all means, take it.
5) FIND A MOVER --OR-- RENT A TRUCK --FOR LARGE ITEMS ON MOVING DAY
You have 2 large considerations here.
1) You need to pick a day!! Choose a day that your husband will be
gone. Remember, if you need help figuring out how to get him out of
the house, ask me via the "Request For Clarification" feature...
You'll want to decide how much furniture you are taking. I would take
only the items you absolutely MUST HAVE. Family heirlooms, special
favorites. Remember, you have your Personal Property Inventory and
will be able to get some of the items you leave behind later. The old
adage ..."Possession is 9/10's of the law..." definitely applies here.
If however, you are afraid he will be VERY angry and SELL some of the
items you want to get later, you'd be better off taking them to be
sure you don't lose them. Leave the rest and buy new, start over.
Remember, original price is not as important as replacement value.
2) Decide if you are going to use a MOVING COMPANY or if you are
going to RENT A TRUCK and get some help moving furniture, boxes, and
clothes. If you decide to use a Truck, you'll need boxes. This is
where your FRIEND can help. using a moving company for a cross-town
move can be VERY expensive, so I recommend renting a truck for 2 days,
the 2nd day being the day BEFORE you will move. Park the truck at
your friends house the day BEFORE you will be moving. Be sure to
purchase boxes from the truck rental company. Store them in the
truck. Get the blankets they offer to protect items such as fine
furnishings, mirrors, and artwork. Rent their hand truck, it's well
worth the extra $10.00 I was charged. I would NOT select the 1st day
of the month because trucks are scarce that day. A few days before or
after is fine.
You will want to locate casual labor. If you are moving a lot of
furniture, get a 15'-18 truck. Remember, when you are actually
moving, you will be nervous and won't want to be concerned about
packing the truck correctly. I was terrified. If your friend is
familiar enough with your belongings, give him/her a list of things to
load and wait at a nearby restaurant until you are needed to do a
walk-thru just prior to driving off. Packing and loading CAN be done
in less than 8 hours.
I recommend getting the truck and using casual labor. There are too
many things that can go wrong with using a moving company, plus, it's
very expensive. I can find the location for you to call to reserve
2-4 strong men for 4-6 hours. I did it this way and everything went
like clockwork. The men work for little more than nminimum wage and
when you dangle a large TIP in front of them, they work VERY FAST.
3) Start saving newspaper for packing.
6) LISTS TO MAKE FOR YOUR ATTORNEY
These lists must be made before you leave the home.
~~~~LIST #1: CREDITORS
Names, addresses, account numbers, balances etc. The best way to do
this is to take one bill, after it's paid for the month --just prior
to your move, and deliver it to your new Apartment. Everything you do
that involves your new life will be paid for with this new checking
account. I don't recommend using the "CHANGE OF ADDRESS CARDS FROM
THE POST OFFICE." I suggest contacting each and every person and
creditor that you wish to receive mail from, and change your address.
Be sure to get the name and title of each person you talk to.
~~~~LIST #2: PERSONAL PROPERTY INVENTORY
You want a complete Inventory of all belongings in your home. List
EVERYTHING (within reason), and note those items you are taking with
you. His Attorney will ask for the list of items you took. Note
large items for MoVING DAY, and put all small items in a box to take
to your new apartment PRIOR to Moving Day. It will be especially
useful to take pictures of your Property. When taking pictures, take
a picture of each wall in each room, With cabinets and dressers, open
each drawer and lay out the items (or otherwise make visible), take a
picture and move on to the next drawer or cabinet. do the same with
You may decide to use a Video Camera instead of Pictures. Both are
EXTREMELY VALUABLE in divorce proceedings.
Don't forget the Garage, outdoor items, items on loan to family and/or
friends, items in storage, etc.
I suggest you select and print the forms below and use them to aid you
in a complete Inventory of your personal belongings:
Personal Property Inventory Guide
Inventory ALL personal property. Consider taking photos of expensive
items that you will be leaving behind. Remember, even if the personal
property was "HIS," half of the money that was used to aquire it WAS
YOURS. So, in addition to the written Inventory, take pictures of his
expensive golf clubs and power tools, etc.
This Inventory List to print was created for Mobile Homes, but that
does not matter, you will see it has many advantages:
Personal Property Inventory List
You can fill in the Amount paid and Current value columns later, but
INSTRUCTIONS PAGE: http://www.aarpforemost.com/safety/inventory.htm
You might decide to use this, or a similiar program:
My Personal Inventory v 1.4 - FREEWARE
NOTE: There are areas to enter financial information as well.
..."My Personal Inventory provides a framework for organizing and
printing lists of household possessions that could come in very handy
for insurance or replacement purposes in the event of theft or fire.
The program is divided into two components:
~~Financial Data, for information on insurance policies, savings
bonds, savings/checking accounts, etc.
~~Personal Property Inventory, for information regarding items such as
TV/VCR´s, appliances, artworks, etc. In each case, categories can be
created to accommodate any variety of possessions. ..."
Sorry, there is no shortcut here. Your Attorney will love you for
completing this. Do it.
~~~~LIST #3: SUMMARY OF YOUR MONTHLY EXPENSES - PAST AND FUTURE
This is similar to the list of creditors, but shows the scope of your
cash flow in totality, then, and now. List your monthly expenditures
as they were, include: housing, utilities, food, clothing, car
payments, gasoline, credit cards, insurance payments, loans of any
kind, miscellaneous expenses and any other monthly obligations.
7) GROCERIES - AND MISC ITEMS --FOR YOUR NEW APARTMENT or EXTENDED STAY LODGING
You won't be taking all the food. I suggest you buy all the staples
in advance. Also, buy the ingredients for your favorite meals so you
can literally just start "going home" to a new home. When you are
moving out, remember, your husbands food of choice is Vodka, so take
all the frozen goods. Don't forget the staple items such as spices,
sugar, flour, T.P., etc.
One of these printable lists will help you get started:
My Grocery Checklist
This site allows you to create a custom grocery list, or you can just
use their generic form as a "memory jogger."
GROCERY SHOPPING LIST
A generic grocery list to use as a memory jogger.
Extended stay lodging facilities normally include items such as
dishes, bedding, etc. Call the one nearest your work if you are so
inclined, and see what is included.
8) 7-10 DAYS BEFORE MOVING DAY
a) ARRANGE FOR UTILITIES IN YOUR NEW APARTMENT (skip if using
Extended Stay) - 7-10 days before D-Day, call all the Utility
companies listed above. You would have been advised by your Attorney
by now, and have decided whether you are shutting them off on moving
day or just removing your name.
b) Arrange for the phone to be transfered, or have it begin to ring
in both locations.
c) Arrange for an Internet connection. You must be able to get
online and report here that you made it !!! ;-)
9) MOvING DAY
a) Arrange for the casual labor and your friend with the truck arrive
2 hours after your husband has left. In 2 hours, believe it or not,
as nervous as you will be, you will be nearly done. No kidding.
b) Start packing in the rooms closest to the front door so as boxes
and furniture are moved, you are creating a clear path. Pack all
loose items QUICKLY. You would have done this in your mind about 100
times by now. It will go MUCH faster than you imagine. Be sure you
get PLENTY of boxes so you don't have to pack to save space. Use the
newspapers you have been saving for the dishes and/or kitchen items
you are taking.
c) Once you have completed a room, CLOSE THE DOOR.
d) LOAD THE TRUCK. DRIVE AWAY. HAVE A GOOD CRY.
e) RETAIN the keys to the house. Although it's likely he will change
the locks, maybe he won't. You never know, you may need them. If you
don't want him to change the locks, make copies in advance, CONFIRM
THAT THEY WORK, and then simply LEAVE YOUR ORIGINAL SET on the kitchen
counter. No, don't leave a note. Actions speak louder than words.
10) NIGHT OF THE MOVING DAY
a) After the dust settles, treat yourself and the friend that helped
you to a nice dinner. You deserve it.
b) Call your children, and any very close friends that don't know
what you have done... You don't want him co call them first. But
remember, he'll be doing that from neighbor's house, a bar, or a pay
phone if he has no cell phone.
c) Return the truck. If they are not open, you will have to go back
the next day and get your deposit back, or, you can wait till morning.
Remember, please Answer these via the "Request For Clarification" feature.
1) How old are your children, do they live close by, and what are
their feelings about your husband and his drinking?
2) What city and state are you in? I want to find you some specific
separation and divorce information, but every state is different.
3) Will you be taking furniture? How much?
4) Extended Stay or Apartment?
5) How large is the home you're leaving?
6) Have you chosen a friend to help you yet?
Please tell me how I can assist you further. Is there some aspect of
this ordeal you feel I have missed? How shocking is this plan to you?
hehehe... I bet it's quite a shock. CAN YOU DO IT??
I DID IT, SO CAN YOU!!!
Anyway, I await the answers to your questions and will enjoy an
ongoing conversation to help you through this.
Unfortunately, mostly personal experience... reference: