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How to start

brinbk posted 2/24/2021 09:56 AM

Hi all, some of you may have read my thread in "Just Found Out". 3 months post-dday and I'm ready to file for D. It has not been an easy, overnight decision, but after much reflection, several good IC sessions (ongoing), and serious conversations with WS, I've realized this is what I need to move forward and be happy.

While that's a big step, I am plenty aware there's a long road ahead here, and I am a bit lost as how best to proceed. I've spoken to a lawyer twice now and will retain her to move forward. Very preliminary conversations with WS have outlined my intentions to go 50/50 on basically everything, including kids, but I know the devil's in the details on these things. Worth noting that I own the home pre-marriage and confirmed with the lawyer that that would remain 100% mine, but everything else should be fair game. I have also been the "breadwinner" for the past few years, and while this makes WS feel powerless (I too am concerned about where she would live, because it has to be nearby for the kids and big enough for all of them when she has them too), I've assured her I will not be vindictive (it has never been my style - I know things can change in a hurry on this, but it would really take something well out of the ordinary for that to change).

Any advice/thoughts on how to proceed, what to avoid, etc. are welcome.

[This message edited by brinbk at 10:42 AM, February 24th (Wednesday)]

grubs posted 2/24/2021 11:26 AM

Most of that should be driven by advice from your attorney as to the specifics can vary by country or state.

If you haven't already start separating your finances. Get new credit cards in your names only and cancel joint cards. You should have a bank account that she doesn't have access to which your check is deposited. Just use an existing joint to transfer money to her. Separate assets. Does vehicle ownership need to be transferred?

You may still need to appraise the apartment. Around here even though the house was owned pre-marriage the spouse is worth half of any increase in value during the marriage. That cost me $10k for the 9 years we were married and that included the dip due to the housing crash in 2008 the year before D.

[This message edited by grubs at 11:46 AM, February 24th (Wednesday)]

barcher144 posted 2/24/2021 11:41 AM

Be. Careful.

The same character flaws that allow a person to commit infidelity also allow divorces to be very difficult.

I could have wrote something similar in September 2018, after my xWW and I agreed to get a divorce. Ironically, people here warned me to be careful, just like I am warning you, about my now xWW. I ignored them, much like you are likely to ignore me. To be clear, I really hope that I am wrong about this.

After verbally agreeing to have a quick, easy, and amicable divorce, my xWW then proceeded to initiate an exceptionally high conflict divorce that has (so far) cost about $60,000 (combined) and it's still climbing (I am appealing a portion of the judge's decision).

And, unfortunately for xWW, all of those legal expenses did nothing but make life difficult for her, for me, and for our children. She "won" on the child custody issue only (i.e., she has the kids for 70% of the overnights), but it actually cost her financially (a lot). She is currently receiving child support and alimony that are slightly less than I offered her in December 2018. Meaning, she felt entitled to more than her fair share (wayward thinking, amiright?) but she only got her fair share because that's the law. Admittedly, I had to have a lot of patience and courage to have spent all of that money to get a judgment that was fair (or close to fair).

So, more specific advice:

0. Take care of your kids, first and foremost. This is a scary time for them and they are even less responsible for your divorce than you.

1. Do not express any anger towards her at all if you can help it, especially with your writing.

2. Keep all documentation of everything that you can. People lie, either intentionally or because their memory is biased.

An irrelevant example from my divorce is that xWW agreed that we should get our son (age = 9) a cell phone so that he could play games in the car and so that he could call us. She claimed, in court, that I got him a phone without her permission and that I was a bad father for doing so. The reality is that she agreed to getting the cell phone via text message (I would have shown this evidence in court, but our trial literally had nothing to do with my parenting abilities because we had already agreed on custody.

3. Consider getting a voice activated recorder.

It's not uncommon for people to say things that you would like recorded. Make sure that you live in a one-party consent area (i.e., one party consent means that you can record conversations with another person without their permission... you cannot, however, record conversations between other people without their permission).

4. Learn everything that you can about child support and alimony in your area.

My xWW wanted more custody because she wanted more child support (i.e., more money for her). In some locations, alimony has specific rules. In other areas, the rules are murky. In some places, infidelity is a disqualifying factor for alimony; other places are "no fault." This will be particularly important for you because you were the "breadwinner" and alimony is intended to help out your ex in situations like this... which means that she might play the "woe is me" card as much as possible to get as much alimony as possible.

5. I would get her moved out of your house as soon as possible. No one claims that in-house separation is enjoyable... and it can possibly lead to issues that affect your divorce.

6. Listen to your lawyer. Teach your lawyer all of the pertinent details.

The1stWife posted 2/24/2021 13:28 PM

BE specific where you can. Outline what child support covers.

Things like college tuition is merely one expense. Thereís books snd fees and travel costs, living expenses/dorm rooms, semester abroad, etc.

Who pays for spring break vacations in college?

Who pays for clothes and dorm room accessories or apartments during college? Is everything 50-50?

At what age does child support stop?

Who covers the health insurance and is that split 50-50 for the child?

Extras like sports or music or art classes - is that covered by child support?

Some states have formulas. That can be good or bad.

Get to a reasonable agreement. Fast. Donít be a Barcher. He paid dearly.

Also you need some agreement on living arrangements. Like your STBXW cannot move across the country w/ child until a certain age (18 or whatever). It must be in writing. A good friend spent $100k stopping his cheating XW from taking kids to opposite coast to live with her AP - now H. She thought b/c she had custody she could just make these decisions. Judge ruled she could not move as it was detrimental to the father.

Things like your child exposed to random guys - whatís the agreement on that. You donít want a parade of men in your kidís life. Period.

Hope this helps you.

[This message edited by The1stWife at 1:29 PM, February 24th (Wednesday)]

Catwoman posted 2/24/2021 13:57 PM

In addition to what everyone else has said, know how support and parenting time is calculated in your jurisdiction. You shouldn't agree to something without that information.

Also, make sure you agree to something IN TOTAL. My ex's favorite trick was to try and get me to agree to things piecemeal. NOPE--you need to look at the agreement as a whole.

Specifics are your friend--if someone is deceitful enough to betray you, you shouldn't trust them and you should be very, VERY specific on what the agreement details. My attorney (love her) did specifics on everything, including what "college expenses" were.

Document EVERYTHING, particularly if your ex ditches parenting time at the last minute or plays games with money. Keep all texts and emails. Think of this as a project you need to manage closely.


barcher144 posted 2/24/2021 14:10 PM

My ex's favorite trick was to try and get me to agree to things piecemeal. NOPE--you need to look at the agreement as a whole.

A related comment...

I had a similar problem with my xWW. Even worse, somehow opposing counsel convinced my attorney that I refused to negotiate a whole-divorce settlement and that I was requiring piecemeal agreements.

I honestly did not even know this until my attorney expressed some frustration at me for this "requirement." I had to tell her that I would almost certainly follow her advice on all issues and that I had no requirements for how an agreement would be reached.

src9043 posted 2/24/2021 15:35 PM

My only advice is not to sweat the small stuff. Be as reasonable as possible without giving away the store. Remember, the more you fight, the higher the attorney fees and the longer the entire process takes. Try and remain friendly with your STBXW and act as if the marriage ran its course and you hold no grudge. After the divorce is final, limit contact to only issues involving children. Do not play as if you are still a family by sharing holidays, vacations, or whatever with your STBXW. I made a mistake in staying too friendly with my ex-wife. We share a son so NC was not in the cards. But, he is a grown adult now and I should have gone NC a long time ago. It ate at my soul to have anything to do with her. I allowed it so that is on me. When you feel ready, start dating. My first girlfriend after my divorce was a great sounding board for everything I went through. She was also recently divorced. Once we beat our previous spouses and marriages into the ground, we didn't have much in common and we broke up. Try not to carry your issues into future relationships. Good luck, you are on the right track.

Unsure2019 posted 2/25/2021 15:33 PM

Hi Brinbk,

Iíve been following your story in JFO. You may want to post over there on your thread that you have moved over here. Many posters, including me, donít always check over here regularly.

Was there a tipping point since your last post in JFO? How did your WW wife react to your decision?

brinbk posted 2/25/2021 16:14 PM

Thanks all, this is gold, so I appreciate the thoughtfulness.

Unsure, I'm not sure there was a specific tipping point - it feels like a combination of things: realizing I haven't been truly happy, knowing WS wasn't 100% honest in what was shared, sheer exhaustion, a desire to "get back out there", setting an example of self-respect for my young kids. There's probably other points, but all of these have been swirling in my head for weeks/months. I'm sure these are common.

The reaction was surprise but not shock (if that makes any sense). Genuine sadness and fear, all understandable. While there's a lot of pretty gut-wrenching pain right now, I feel good about our chances to remain friends and co-parent as amicably as possible. Time will tell of course, but that's what I want and my kids' wellbeing is the priority.

I'll check in periodically with any meaningful updates. I have a lot to learn on how to hammer out a good agreement, but I'm working on it.

guvensiz posted 2/25/2021 17:22 PM

If STBXWW also agreed to divorce, I guess she will continue her relationship with AP. Have you reached an agreement regarding your children? Maybe you don't want him near your kids.

Adira posted 2/25/2021 17:37 PM

Hi brinbk
I don't have any practical advice as I'm completely new to S/D too, I just wanted to say I understand where you're at & wish you the best of luck going forward.

[This message edited by Adira at 5:38 PM, February 25th (Thursday)]

Robert22205https posted 2/27/2021 09:24 AM

Among other things, personality characteristics that permit a wayward to cheat are: selfishness, deceitfulness, entitlement, and a lack of empathy for their spouse (and kids).

This is 'who' she is in the context of marriage.

Sometimes it takes the wayward time to process the fact that you are really going to divorce them. It's not unusual for them to be in denial (hang on to their fantasy) up until you actually file.

As I recall her affair was very one sided. He lives far away. He doesn't pursue or reciprocate her feelings. She initiates contact and she's worked hard chasing and visiting him.

There's no sign he's interested in marrying your wife or raising your kids .... or even living in the same town.

Your wife's reality (when it hits) is she will end up alone, unloved, humiliated, and living at a lower standard of living.

IMO when her reality hits she will go into self preservation mode. Be prepared for her to attempt to manipulate you with tears and self hate, love bomb you and make all sorts of promises.

When all attempts to manipulate you fail, she will likely become angry at you (rather than assume responsibility) - and that's when things escalate.

My advice is to:

- reach and sign a settlement agreement before reality hits and while she's cooperative.

- once the agreement is signed, immediately move her to her own place

Unsure2019 posted 3/17/2021 15:50 PM

Hi Brinbk,

Just checking In. Itís been a few weeks since youíve posted. How is your D coming along. You were hoping for a amicable D and co-parenting. Is that happening.? Hoe youíre doing well.

brinbk posted 3/18/2021 10:56 AM

Thanks all, and thanks Unsure for checking in.

Things are moving along - we have both hired lawyers and decided to take the collaborative law approach rather than go to court. I'm pretty confident we'll resolve everything fairly amicably. Still cohabitating and there's been a small handful of tense moments but they pass quickly. I expect one of us (most likely her) will move out in the next ~4-6 weeks, and we'll share custody of the kids.

Emotionally, I am a bit sad at times but also quite hopeful for what's next. IC has been so helpful and while parenting solo will have its challenges, in some ways I can lean into it more, and I believe the kids will come out of this stronger longterm.

Karmafan posted 3/18/2021 11:44 AM

Glad to hear itís proceeding amicably. An amicable divorce sets the scene for effective co-parenting, happy kids and an easier life. Thatís what we did and, five years on, we are all in a good place and the children are thriving. Yours will be no exception. Take good care of yourself, and the rest will take care of itself.

You got this.

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