That's me! Thanks, Care
Yes, we S January of 2011 and the D was just final last month. It was for purely financial reasons as ex is gay...and I would never have R'd with him.
Here is what I did...ex moved into an apartment and I stayed in the marital house with the kids for the first 6 months. At first, he came over every night and I put a stop to that because it was just an invitation for pain. I started the visitation schedule.
1. Sold my expensive car and bought cheaper one.
2. Separated all finances.
3. Started separation proceedings by negotiating a PSA (Property Settlement Agreement). This took us several months to complete because...well...he is an ass. It is the paperwork that turns into the divorce decree later (for Virginia). You can create this an abide by it, but if you decide to R, it can simply be torn up.
4. I decided to move closer to family, so then bought a new house (ex was the co-signer).
5. Started school.
We lived completely separate lives.
He was with AP, and after 6 months I moved with the kids 1.5 hours away and bought a new house. But, it just made financial sense to remain married as COBRA is $600 per month and if we were married, my health insurance was free. Plus, ex makes a ton of money and our taxes are cheaper as married. I will carry the majority of the tax burden now.
Also, we revised our PSA at about year 1 because I decided to pursue a Master's Degree and he allowed my spousal support to be extended, and I gave up some of his bonus money and in turn he agreed to pay COBRA cost. In other words, we continued to negotiate the money.
A few months ago I sold the house that was in "his name too" and bought a new one with my name only. Having 3 years of spousal support as "income" allowed me to qualify. So, we are now completely financially separate. On the original "marital home", he had a "quit claim deed" completed to remove my name from the deed, and had verbiage added to the PSA showing I have no financial responsibility for that house (now a rental property).
3 years later I finally pushed the D through.
The biggest thing was that we lived separate lives. I didn't count on him to do anything with the kids, the upkeep of the house, anything. I learned to live completely on my own and took care of everything (not that it was much different...), but begin a true single mom was an adjustment. I have primary custody (he only sees them e/o weekend).
Like everything, just take it one step at a time. It helped me to prioritize everything and tackle one at a time!