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I will seperate from my wife soon. Where do I stand?

Grivven plik
Community Member

Hi all.
My wife of 10 years was an alcoholic for 6.5 of those years. She's a wonderful person to have successfully recovered from her addiction.
I have a lot of respect for her. We have a 6 year old, and he loves her very much. She's a great mum now.

During the long years of her addiction, she was terrifying to live with. I was often in fear for her life, our sons life and sometimes my own.
There were many traumatising events, and I am currently seeing some psychologists to deal with them.

Despite being sober, she can still be hostile and resentful to me in extreme ways, and also (rarely) to our son. One of my psychologists thinks she could have Borderline Personality Disorder. She has good support, but no diagnosis, and I don't feel safe enough yet to raise that possibility with her.

I also have recently been diagnosed with ADHD and can see now that I have coped through all the conflict by pushing my own needs and wants to the background, to avoid conflict, rejection and overwhelm. I am medicated and doing ok with that now but I can see clearer now and have decided I need to leave.

I am worried about finances. It is likely we could have a 50 50 split of our child, but It might be that she has more, as It would be easier for me to move out and for him to stay in the home he knows. I believe this generally means a higher split of assets for her?

I guess this is the tough part, what about me. Is there a way that some compensation can be factored into the asset split to account for the damage I took in supporting her during her addiction years? Does this ever happen?
A major reason I stayed with her was to wait until she was solid and reliable as a parent. I helped her get sober, and I constantly supported and encouraged her career pursuits. I would not leave if she was not safe with him. God I'm lucky she has gotten sober.

But, there were violent events in our child's first year where she lashed out at him and I had to put my own body in the line of strikes. It hurt me in a way i am still only just coming to grips with now. Sometimes she would drive drunk with him. Very drunk. I was afraid to say no to sex.
I struggle daily with my sleep, sometimes having nightmares, sometimes having daytime vivid horror daydreams, not of her attacking, but just me needing to be ready to fight for my life and his. I struggle with sex now.

She has gone forward, I have gone backward.

Where do I stand?
What are my best first handful of steps to take?

9 Replies 9

Dear Grivven plik,
Firstly, welcome the Beyond Blue forums. We sorry to hear that you’re having a hard time and of your recent losses. The community is here to help and support you through this time. In addition, if you need extra support, you can always feel free to call the Beyond blue Line on 1300 224 636 or Lifeline 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 or even Men’s Line 1300 789 978.
There are professional counsellors there to help you with your concerns and needs.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Grivven plik, it's good that she stopped the drinking, but by doing this, it can create other problems and whether you want to move permanently, separate or eventually divorce will depend on what you want to do, so the question you've asked needs to be clarified if that's possible, then an answer can be provided.


Thanks for your replies.

To clarify, the main question is this "I guess this is the tough part, what about me. Is there a way that some compensation can be factored into the asset split to account for the damage I took in supporting her during her addiction years? Does this ever happen?"

Hello Grivven plik, sorry I couldn't get back to you early this morning, if she has become sober and appears to be moving forward then that's in her benefit and will be looked upon as positive, whereas what's happened before this will be taken into account and a decision will be made.

I'm unable to say whether you will benefit from what's happened previously, but perhaps if you can contact a mediator who sits down with both of you and discusses all the issues, so an agreement between you and your wife can be made.

All these issues are discussed and then settling an agreement of who gets what is discussed, then a lawyer draws up the agreement, if that's what you want.

A mediator may not cost you anything, depends on who you contact.

My son and his wife used one when they wanted a divorce but they have to be separated for a year first, this didn't cost them a cent.

Please get back to me but I'm about to log off and will keep an eye out for your comment.


Thanks Geoff. I appreciate that answer, It gives me some hope.

So far I'm hearing a lot of 'go to a lawyer' and not much else.

I guess if anyone else has any stories of successful mediation, I would appreciate hearing those too!

Hello Grivven plik, if a compromise can't be agreed upon with the mediator and then taken to court, the cost can be enormous and any resolution may take months or even years and financially you lose a great deal of money.

Are you able to settle on an agreement.


Grivven plink,

I can see you are pleased that your wife is sober now and a good mum but it is hard for you to cope with what happened in the past and how it affected you.

I think how mediation works may be different depending what state you live in.
My experience was about 15 years ago and it was means tested .The experience was good as we had a competent mediator who can listen to both sides and help come to a decision.

After we both signed an agreement we needed to go to a lawyer to have it made legal.
Of course things may have have changed during those years. If you look up mediation in your area you could contact them and find out more.
I know people who were very pleased with mediation .

Thanks for the replies.

Yes, mediation will be the starting point, thanks for telling me a good news story 🙂


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Grivven,

Addiction is a harrowing road for any couple to go down, and your wife is to be commended for the work she has done to get sober. But unfortunately that does not miraculously heal the wounds inflicted or the damage caused during that time. Addicts also have a way of minimizing the effect their behavior has on other people, do you don’t always get that recognition from them. It’s funny how, when you’re in the midst of it, you think that them being clean and sober will miraculously solve all of your problems. But sometimes the addiction can take up so much space that you don’t realise the gaping issues lying underneath it.
My understanding is that Australia has no fault divorce, so those type of things (addiction, mental illness, domestic violence) aren’t really taken into consideration in any asset split but only really factor into it if she is considered a risk to your child. I suppose I understand their reasoning for this, it would be so hard to quantify and so open to abuse and misuse that it would be nearly impossible to determine. It may also unfairly target people with mental illnesses, which could be seen as discriminatory. But as someone who came from a domestic violence relationship, it can be a bitter pill to swallow when they are free to move onward and upward and you are left to deal with the emotional fallout, and I imagine addiction is not a too dissimilar feeling. That being said, like the others have already mentioned, mediation sounds like the best avenue for you and hopefully you can reach some peaceful and fair agreement. Please keep us posted how you get on.