Can't afford to divorce, seeking therapist to draw up a contract

I am at the end of my rope, but still have at least 2 years before I can afford to divorce. I need a couple’s therapist to help draw up a contract to equalize responsibilities around household duties, get stability in management of finances and get basic rules for child rearing or I will surely lose my mind. It is already affecting the kids. We get to ugly stalemates. If I get busy with work, instead of pitching in, he will take it as “cat’s away” and blow off what little he does do. I get home and kids are neglected/glued to screens, domestic work is undone, no one is fed . Leveraging of situations to express unhappiness indirectly is happening through kids who are acting out for many good reasons. It’s chaos and we havre to pull it together.

I encourage my husband to have hobbies and leave me with kids. Everything goes much smoother when he is gone and not undermining basic routines. Problem is, we have to dig out of financial disaster #2 he created before we can separate. I have to work more, which means everything unravels and the kids are crazy, the house is exploded and husband resentful that I would leave him with the kids. Can’t afford to outsource anything and whatever extra I could use to move out and divorce are used to stabilize us financially. I know he will never change, hemce my desire to ultimately divorce when feasible. In the meantime, I would like for us to establish basic rules of engagement for the sake of the children, household and our sanity.

I’m not ready to use the D-word out of the certainty he will destroy me financially and retaliate through the kids. But this crap has to change because it is totally toxic to us all. There are days I worry someone may call CPS when I am working due to naked unfed children on the street because the house is uninhabitable and my husband is locked up in his office glued to a computer screen, oblivious to anyone else but himself

I would like for us to go to a behavioral, no nonsense couples therapist who can help draw up a contract that lays out clearly the responsibilities. I do not need or want to hash out underlying issues. We’ve been there, done that and husband sits there agreeably and  refuses to engage. Getting a plan with action steps takes out the finger pointing and wiggle room. 

Thanks in advance for referrals in North Betkeley, Albany or El Cerrito. Thanks!

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So sorry to hear this.  It resonated with my life many years ago.  With the help of our couples therapist, we too drew up a plan, with a few very reachable goals.  But somehow, they were never important enough for my ex to work together to reach.  One of them was to have $3,000 in savings, but any time we had even $800 in savings, he would spend it.  I hope you can find the therapist who will help you with your plan.  But my guess is that he will not abide by the contract.  So I guess what I am saying is go ahead and start laying the groundwork for separation -- he may not be motivated to change.  

And as far as getting out from under community debt, don't do anything crazy like I did, encouraged by ex, and dip into your retirement account.  You will never get it back during the financial valuation process, because it was co-mingled before you split.

Once you find out all the details on the separation process, you can choose your financial separation date, which means that as of that date, all of the incurred debt belongs to BOTH of you, and any debt that each of you incur after that, belongs to each of you alone. 

Sorry that I didn't answer your real question.  I just wish you the best of luck in a very difficult situation and at some point in your future, you will be so happy that you are no longer financially connected to him.

I am so sorry for your situation. There are so many aspects of it that I can relate to...

Try Alisa Genovese, she is in Kensington. Be VERY clear how many sessions you all have to work with and since your objective is clear she may be able to help.

I have experienced many couples counselors in this geography taking care of the man in a heterosexual relationship - as if simply his effort were enough even when passive/aggressive, irresponsible or other bad behavior continue - rather than holding them accountable and treating them as fully capable adults who could benefit from growth - so were I you, I would just watch out for that.

Best of luck to you!

I feel for you. This is a horrible situation. Unfortunately it doesn't sound like you can count on him to take responsibility for much at all so I can't imagine why creating an "agreement" in a therapist's office would change anything. Those kinds of negotiations only work when both parties are looking for a solution. It sounds like it would just be a waste of time and money since he's not really looking to change anything.

You might try talking to an attorney about a separation agreement that addresses financial issues. This is sometimes done when people aren't ready to talk divorce but want to protect themselves (from partner racking up debt, etc.) in the event they can't work things out.  Since it's a legal agreement it won't be so easy for your husband to just ignore as he would probably do with a therapist negotiation. 

This won't help with the child-care problems of course but it might relieve your financial worries a little.