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Vicki: Can't Afford a Divorce? Have an Exit Plan

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I really want a divorce, but I cannot afford one. I traveled with my husband to his new duty station two years ago so we could both save money to split up.

With my husband's rank and bills, he wouldn't be able to pay me child support and spousal support, so we decided to live together for a while.

Ms. Vicki, I am miserable living with him because he likes to watch and monitor everything I do. He even makes comments as if I am still his wife -- things like "where's dinner?" and "did you do the laundry?" No, I didn't fix your dinner and I didn't do laundry. He should do it.

I'm trying to make this work for a while, but I don't think I can.

He also tries to present me to other people like we are still married. He wants me to participate with his unit family functions and he becomes angry when I refuse. I am not his wife!

Please help me get this through his head that we are living together for financial reasons, or a lack of finances.

He is close to our two sons, and he can see them every day. He doesn't realize this is temporary and as soon as I can save up the money, I'm getting my own place and I'm hiring an attorney to represent me in a divorce.

I wonder if our living together is giving him the wrong idea about our relationship. I refuse to play like I'm married to him. Any advice?

-- Play Marriage

Dear Play Marriage,

I don't know what other options you have because according to your report you cannot afford to move out on your own and you can't afford a divorce attorney. This could drag on for years.

Actually, many married couples decide to stay married for financial reasons and they decide to live together after their divorce for their children and for those same financial reasons.

The fact that you and your husband are still together and your children have both of you under one roof is a good thing. It's funny that it bothers you to hear the word "marriage" or for him to act like you are his wife. Well, you are still married to him.

Now I'm in no way saying you should cook or clean for him but, because you don't have the financial means to live on your own, I suggest that you and your husband should try to have an amicable relationship, especially because there are children involved.

If I can be real with you for a minute: I really don't see you in a rush to get away from your husband. If you were so miserable, why did you PCS with him? I'm sure you are still using your ID card, Tricare and other benefits -- as you should. But again, you are miserable.

Moreover, I don't see you having a valid exit plan. Many military couples divorce without a high-powered divorce lawyer. They get legal advice with whatever they can afford, and from the legal office on base too.

If you want to divorce, you will divorce. I just don't see that happening very soon. I think you want to be married and single at the same time.

Just my thoughts. I would still love to hear what you decide to do.

-- Ms. Vicki

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki, a native of Dallas, has been the ‘Dear Abby’ for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her column has appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Ms. Vicki has retired from writing new columns for Military.com. Although Ms. Vicki is no longer offering new advice on Military.com, you can still email military benefits questions to our Questions and Benefits team. Need military spouse career help? Email our Dear Career writers.