I have been thinking a lot about this situation and how best we can help you.
The typical infidelity shared here is a couple between 28-55 with 2-3 kids, the unpaid home and debt to their eyeballs. When we get a youngish couple – maybe even unmarried – with no combined debt and no kids dealing with an ongoing affair we tend to suggest the betrayed partner cuts his losses and moves on. When the affair is over or inactive or the WS ends it then many here (as can be seen on how the site is structured) suggest the relationship can be reconciled. Although children are IMHO never a good reason to remain married then I do believe that they can be the catalyst for why one would want to attempt reconciliation.
But I don’t recall a single poster ever having suggested that reconciling is possible while the affair is active. If she were to tell you that she has ended it with Dr. Clouseau you would have a shot, but she hasn’t. She’s told you she wants to be married but not the way you were married. That is not the same as saying the affair is over.
Then there is a school of thought that says that once a woman has an affair and is open about it, she’s already committed to leaving the marriage. It’s called an exit affair. I’m not so sure about how decided she is, but I am 100% of the view that a) reconciliation isn’t possible when the affair is active and b) most times it pays to listen to what the WS is saying, and maybe even give them what they ask for. Note I didn’t say give then what they want – its give them what they ask for. Sometimes what we ask for isn’t exactly what we expect or even what we want.
In your instance we have a couple entering the Golden Years. Worked hard all your life, comfortable life and good times ahead, only now she wants to change it.
I do believe your wife is committed to this. I do belief that the “standard” actions we suggest terminating infidelity won’t work here. I don’t think exposure will change, I think the OP isn’t breaking any written ethical law or rule of his association, I don’t think WW family will see this as wrong… I see that the efficient and good tools we nearly always suggest will work here.
What that leaves us with IMHO is to seek the best divorce settlement you can get.
The key here might be to detach emotionally from the business aspect of the process. You about 66-67? Realistically you have about 15-20 good active years ahead. Maybe more depending on health. Then maybe some fewer active years (I can say that because I’m fast reaching your age!). You want to fund those years, so you are comfortable and don’t need to bag groceries to supplement your half-pension. If you live to be 120 you want those years spent sitting at the 19th hole talking to the sons of the sons of your departed friends, and not worrying about your next meal.
I try to be realistic about divorce. I know you could demand everything and refuse everything and spend $$$$$$ on legal fees. I am also pretty certain that the likely result will be you getting about half the value of your assets, minus half the amount of debt. I am not going to suggest you go for more than you are reasonably owed.
But… There are some things that you should consider. Your statement about her getting half your pension made me stop and think if there might be a misunderstanding. Your statement about inheritance also made be stumble…
It finally clicked when I read you were using one attorney and a mediator. The mediator’s job is to be impartial and find a solution both are happy with. That solution could lean to either side… Basically the mediator finds a solution that is more-or-less fair that both agree to.
Half of everything does not equate to getting half of every single item. It’s not like you take a chainsaw to the vehicle so you get the AU and she gets the DI of the Audi. Half of everything is the mathematical process of placing value on everything and then dividing it in a fair way.
Like inheritance: Did your WW ever use marital money (in California ALL money earned by either spouse is considered marital money…) to pay for maintenance, taxes, council-fees… for the condo? How about furniture? THAT could be considered marital cost. In some states a possible rise in the price of property from day of inheritance can be considered marital property…
Her company: Like probably all travel companies it’s in the dumps right now, but generally divorce doesn’t always look at NOW. They look at the last couple of years. This is done to prevent a partner from hiding income/profit in preparation for divorce. Despite the present low then everything indicates an EXPLOSION in travel once the Covid vaccine becomes available. In fact – try renting a summer house in the south of France 2021 and you will already see they are getting booked… What would be a realistic valuation of her company?
Your wife wants to get away. She has no interest in owning half a sofa or a table seating for 12 in California, or a Volvo or Toyota. You can fairly value the “fixed” or hard-to-transfer assets at the lower range of a fair market price.
Your pension: How long does that go on? Many pensions (if not all) are limited to your lifetime. Some end with your demise, some might allow the legal wife/widow/widower get part of it. In other words, if your pension is 2000 per month and she get’s 1000 then if you pass away it goes down to 0 or maybe half of what a living dependent might get. It might be to your advantage to settle for a cash-sum up-front. You could do a present-value calculation. They can be rather morbid because you are more-or-less betting against your life-expectancy:
If you are 67 -> average age for men is about 80 = 13 years = (13x12 payments =146).
Your pension = X
Half your pension = 1/2X = 146x 0.5X = 73X
Getting it paid up-front rather than monthly (and therefore being able to invest it), getting rid of conversion rates USD to EUR and wiring cost…
Getting rid of the risk of you being run over by a golf-cart in 2021…
45X might be a fair valuation. Nothing wrong with offering her a lump-sum of 30X. That cash can then be found in her getting both the family vehicles, or a larger assessment of the family home, OR her keeping her company AND any claim you have in her condo…
Get where I’m going? It’s not being unfair, but rather playing within the rules but to your advantage.
I would always – even if using a mediator – have my own attorney to go over and evaluate any offer or suggestion made.
[This message edited by Bigger at 10:34 AM, December 5th (Saturday)]