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Divorce/Separation :
Filing tomorrow - so... how do I tell my spouse?

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 lumpygravy (original poster member #11877) posted at 2:46 AM on Monday, November 22nd, 2021

So I am turning in financials tomorrow with my lawyer and I assume I will be approving and signing the divorce decree.

Now I *was* going to let the divorce decree get delivered to her as her official announcement from me, but my therapist felt that was a bad idea and I agree with her. Someone might find out early and tell her or she'd find out from the local newspaper, I have to get over any anxiety, and while she lowered the boom on me with multiple affairs out of the blue: I AM NOT THAT PERSON.

So... how do you tell your spouse? I want to stay in the house. I also want to keep the house. But if she wants to cohabitate, I'd be *ok* for a while but eventually one of us needs to go.

My therapist and I were going to work on this, but we ran out of time, but when she started it was firm, short, and basically: if there's anything to discuss it needs to be with a lawyer, and that she needs to get a lawyer. And that I really don't want to talk about anything else until we are with mediators or a lawyer. That's it. Over and over. Be firm and be emotionless.

I mean, is that it? Again, I'm going to talk to my lawyer tomorrow and strategize and we might come up with some of the same ideas. But if not: what is the best way of handling this.

I feel like I need a script to study because I have a tendency to talk down different paths.

BS: Me WS: Her M: 26 Years Daughter: 24
DDays: 1996, 8/2006, 5/2016
1st: Online, 2nd: EA/PA, 3rd: She got shot down
Starting to take care of myself.

posts: 122   ·   registered: Aug. 29th, 2006
id 8699577
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LostInHisFog ( member #78503) posted at 4:17 AM on Monday, November 22nd, 2021

I was coached by my IC to also deliver the news like a band-aid. Was told to watch my reactiveness, face to face confrontations with someone who hurt you so much rarely involves detached emotions, feelings are going to be felt so "to the point" is the best way because it reduces conflict emotive responses by her and emotive reactions from you. I wouldn't do it over a cup of tea for example, treat it like firing an employee who you used to like working with, keep to the basics, they do not need to know any reasonings or conclusions or feedback, you just need to fire them. A good place to have the talk is somewhere you don't usually sit down together at, if you have an office or outdoor table setting use that, you want some where that isn't usually tied with your comfort zones in the house (kitchen, loungeroom etc.) If a script helps then do it, bullet points on a post it or the full thing, go for it, no rules with this, use all the tools you have to help you through it.

I would caution trying to defuse any negative reactions from her or soften the blow with using "give a dog a bone" sayings, do not offer her scraps of hope like "I want to keep the house... but it's ok if you want to cohabitate". If you want the house word it like there's no room for negotiation a simple "I want the house, I want you to move out" and leave it at that.

It's easier said then done isn't it?! "to do it without emotion", definitely aim for that but don't beat yourself up if you can't.

[This message edited by LostInHisFog at 4:19 AM, Monday, November 22nd]

I edit because I'm fluent in typo & autocorrect hates me.

posts: 216   ·   registered: Mar. 14th, 2021
id 8699590
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Countingsheep65 ( member #56000) posted at 8:45 PM on Monday, November 22nd, 2021

Shoot....I served my husband at OUR BUSINESS! I knew the exact minute he was served, I got great pleasure out of this, pure and simply because of all the mental anguish he has put me through for years, I wanted to see his face. He text me and says , " I received your papers" I did not respond.

You don’t need to sugar coat it, she doesn’t deserve it, give it to her hard.

Any way you do it, your going to get a reaction from her, then again I’m sure she’s expecting it.

You’ll feel better once you get her the notice, was a huge relief for me.

You got this!

posts: 434   ·   registered: Nov. 11th, 2016
id 8699677
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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 12:27 AM on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

I have been a divorce lawyer for thirty years.

First, this is up to you, not your lawyer.

Second, sending a sheriff out to deliver papers to someone at home or at work is sort of a nasty thing to do and I recommend against it. It does not start an already adversarial process off on the right foot. Any sense of "revenge" or "you deserve it" or "shock and awe" will soon be lost in a retaliatory salvo by the other side and it will be a while (and thousands in fees) before anyone starts to think about pragmatic problem solving rather than revenge or evening the score for the way it started.

Third, I frequently just email the other party, attach a copy of the complaint, ask them to let me know who they hire to represent them. This is generally well-received. It doesn’t count as service of process officially, but if they act a fool, I can just send the sheriff out to serve them at my convenience.

In summary, it is easy to turn the acrimony up in a divorce, but very difficult to turn it down.

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

posts: 145   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8699717
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Darkness Falls ( member #27879) posted at 3:21 AM on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

Do you have reason to be concerned that she (or her eventual attorney) might be reluctant to just let you have the house merely because you tell her you want it?

WS - remarried to BH but not in R

D-day 2010

posts: 6327   ·   registered: Mar. 8th, 2010   ·   location: USA
id 8699735
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 lumpygravy (original poster member #11877) posted at 6:16 AM on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

Second, sending a sheriff out to deliver papers to someone at home or at work is sort of a nasty thing to do and I recommend against it. It does not start an already adversarial process off on the right foot. Any sense of "revenge" or "you deserve it" or "shock and awe" will soon be lost in a retaliatory salvo by the other side and it will be a while (and thousands in fees) before anyone starts to think about pragmatic problem solving rather than revenge or evening the score for the way it started.


In our county I'm not sure we do it any other way. I can review this with my lawyer but I'm not sure it goes any other way. I've been served papers many times and it is always at the whim of county process servers.

Do you have reason to be concerned that she (or her eventual attorney) might be reluctant to just let you have the house merely because you tell her you want it?


I'm more concerned that leaving the house would show I am not interested in keeping it. I don't want to cohabitate after this happens, I'd rather she left.

BS: Me WS: Her M: 26 Years Daughter: 24
DDays: 1996, 8/2006, 5/2016
1st: Online, 2nd: EA/PA, 3rd: She got shot down
Starting to take care of myself.

posts: 122   ·   registered: Aug. 29th, 2006
id 8699746
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Bigger ( Guide #8354) posted at 11:08 AM on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

In our county I'm not sure we do it any other way. I can review this with my lawyer but I'm not sure it goes any other way. I've been served papers many times and it is always at the whim of county process servers.

Read the content of what Wiseoldfool shared rather than read it literally.
The content is that you let your wife know before an official comes knocking on the door.
You can either tell your wife or send her an email where you let her know you are filing for divorce. If your county dictates that all official documents such as divorce need to be formally served you let her know that the sheriff will be serving her soon.

I also suggest you don’t hang on to the house with too much intensity.
Basically it’s the same rules that apply as if you were buying a used car. If you show the dealer too much interest he jacks up the price, knowing you want the vehicle. When you divorce the house tends to boil down to who can afford it. Can you afford to pay your wife half the equity of the house? Can you also pay the mortgage, utilities, taxes and all that as well as spousal support (an issue you raised earlier)?
Would you be better served having HER want the house and accepting part of your half of the equity in lieu of being entitled to part of your pension or as prepaid spousal support?

Divorce isn’t so much about what you want as what you can get within the boundaries of the divorce process. Be realistic about that because that’s where it really will end up.

"If, therefore, any be unhappy, let him remember that he is unhappy by reason of himself alone." Epictetus

posts: 10012   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8699757
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 lumpygravy (original poster member #11877) posted at 3:13 PM on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

The content is that you let your wife know before an official comes knocking on the door.
You can either tell your wife or send her an email where you let her know you are filing for divorce. If your county dictates that all official documents such as divorce need to be formally served you let her know that the sheriff will be serving her soon.


Yes, I agree, and my initial feeling was to let the process be the message, but in my original post I was talked out of it by my therapist. And absolutely it is the right thing to do.

When you divorce the house tends to boil down to who can afford it. Can you afford to pay your wife half the equity of the house? Can you also pay the mortgage, utilities, taxes and all that as well as spousal support (an issue you raised earlier)?


Yes.

Would you be better served having HER want the house and accepting part of your half of the equity in lieu of being entitled to part of your pension or as prepaid spousal support?


There is no way in heck she could afford it.

I honestly feel (right now) that she won't want the house, but if it must be split, it must be split. It wouldn't break my heart.

All of this is tremendous advice.

BS: Me WS: Her M: 26 Years Daughter: 24
DDays: 1996, 8/2006, 5/2016
1st: Online, 2nd: EA/PA, 3rd: She got shot down
Starting to take care of myself.

posts: 122   ·   registered: Aug. 29th, 2006
id 8699787
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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 3:40 PM on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

Where I practice, by custom among those of us who do it all day every day, service of process in a divorce case is not done like service of process in a garden variety civil litigation matter. If you have to serve someone to evict them, or to collect money from them, or because they caused a car wreck, or basically because they owe someone money and there aren’t any family matters involved, it’s different.

If the local rules require service by LEO, you should definitely explain that to your wife before it happens. I’d be surprised to learn that’s the case, however, because the rules of civil procedure, while not uniform across all states, permit of a variety of methods and generally speaking LEO would rather be doing almost anything else. There are some lawyers, generally the bombastic ones who make every case a grease fire, who never miss an opportunity to send the sheriff with papers, however. Where I practice, we all know who that is and what a case with them is going to be like, and it nearly never works out to the advantage of their client. Those lawyers do have nice lake houses and condos in Florida, however. Maybe all the lawyers in your area decided to buy nice vacation homes and launching divorce cases in the most acrimonious way possible is the custom there.

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

posts: 145   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8699793
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 lumpygravy (original poster member #11877) posted at 4:05 PM on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

Tremendous information. I will review with my lawyer. It's possible he went over it with me and I blew right by it. Thank you!

BS: Me WS: Her M: 26 Years Daughter: 24
DDays: 1996, 8/2006, 5/2016
1st: Online, 2nd: EA/PA, 3rd: She got shot down
Starting to take care of myself.

posts: 122   ·   registered: Aug. 29th, 2006
id 8699798
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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 7:07 PM on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

Well, do your lawyer and me a favor and don’t tell him or her you got legal advice on the internet.

😎

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

posts: 145   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8699830
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 lumpygravy (original poster member #11877) posted at 9:15 PM on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

TOO LATE!

Kidding.

I found out it'll be sent certified mail to our house. Still going to tell her Sunday night that she should expect it. I like that so much more than a county processor driving into her job.

BS: Me WS: Her M: 26 Years Daughter: 24
DDays: 1996, 8/2006, 5/2016
1st: Online, 2nd: EA/PA, 3rd: She got shot down
Starting to take care of myself.

posts: 122   ·   registered: Aug. 29th, 2006
id 8699846
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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 11:15 PM on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

Yes, certified mail is one of the ways I was referring to as acceptable under the rules of civil procedure. Just make sure SHE signs for it, not you. Might want to add, signing for the envelope does not constitute an admission or agreement to anything at all except that she got the papers. It is not an admission that anything in the papers is accurate, not an agreement to anything proposed in the papers, nada. Only that she got handed the papers. People who don’t know often conjure up all kinds of reasons why they shouldn’t let someone put an envelope in their hands.

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

posts: 145   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8699864
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 lumpygravy (original poster member #11877) posted at 3:10 AM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Hmm. So, if I tell her on Sunday night to expect this to happen, and tell her that she might get them delivered on Thursday... what's to say she just refuses to pick them up? Like actively refuses to sign for or go to the post office and get said documents?

BS: Me WS: Her M: 26 Years Daughter: 24
DDays: 1996, 8/2006, 5/2016
1st: Online, 2nd: EA/PA, 3rd: She got shot down
Starting to take care of myself.

posts: 122   ·   registered: Aug. 29th, 2006
id 8699906
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gmc94 ( member #62810) posted at 3:45 AM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

It works different in different states... in my neck 'o the woods, if the respondent doesn't collect the certified mail, then petitioner would move on to serve via LEO or hire a special process server. More often than not, when that's explained, the respondent will voluntarily accept service or have their attorney enter an appearance (bc most folks would prefer NOT to have the local sheriff or some random person come by their work to effect service - not to mention it adds costs/atty fees. ).

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3509   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8699911
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Wiseoldfool ( member #78413) posted at 3:53 AM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

^that

And the rules in some places even permit that refusal to constitute service.

I’ve had people refuse to sign, but when i tell them my next move is a sheriff tracks them down where I know they live or work, they sign.

[This message edited by Wiseoldfool at 3:54 AM, Wednesday, November 24th]

Every secret you keep with your affair partner sustains the affair. Every lie you tell, every misunderstanding you permit, every deflection you pose, every omission you allow sustains the affair.

posts: 145   ·   registered: Mar. 1st, 2021
id 8699914
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hcsv ( member #51813) posted at 5:29 PM on Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

Ex wanted a 'do it himself' divorce and for me to just sign. Yeah right!!

I retained an attorney but did not file at that time. My attorney sent a certified letter to ex saying I had retained an attorney. So, he spoke to an attorney. I actually filed later when he cleaned out our joint accounts.

Because we both had lawyers, the filing went to his lawyer's office and he accepted and signed there.

After 40 years, ex turned into someone I didnt know and couldnt trust anymore. Divorced. 1/17

posts: 656   ·   registered: Feb. 14th, 2016
id 8699977
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 lumpygravy (original poster member #11877) posted at 10:57 PM on Saturday, November 27th, 2021

So, tomorrow is the day. There is a her-family party here at the house tomorrow and I want to be able to see them one last time before it all goes down.

I need to write some stuff out and get it right in my mind. I've talked to plenty of family and friends about it, and nearly all of them are supportive. I'm so analytical that I want to know how things are going to happen, but I know that's just not possible in this case. That's all the anxiety, just not knowing the outcome. I just know after I tell her and she understands I am serious about it, I will have to really lean on those friends for a while.

BS: Me WS: Her M: 26 Years Daughter: 24
DDays: 1996, 8/2006, 5/2016
1st: Online, 2nd: EA/PA, 3rd: She got shot down
Starting to take care of myself.

posts: 122   ·   registered: Aug. 29th, 2006
id 8700538
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messyleslie ( member #58177) posted at 11:57 PM on Saturday, November 27th, 2021

My attorney just emailed it to my ex - and he is an attorney so he knew how it all worked.

I think before that happened I said something like "just wanted to let you know that I went ahead and spoke to an attorney about moving forward with the divorce and they will be sending you an email soon."

He was in complete denial that we were divorcing so even though I had kicked him out a couple months before, he knew I had spoken to an attorney and had told him I wanted a divorce he still flipped out. It helped that I reminded him that it was only the first step and that was what I needed to do right at that moment to protect myself.

And expect a flip out. My attorney basically said don’t try to work anything out for a couple weeks because he will be upset and trying anything and everything to make it stop - which turned out to be very very true.

Good luck. I think coming to the table as emotionless as possible and thinking of the divorce as something you are doing FOR yourself so you don’t have to live like this anymore rather than TO your spouse because they had an affair or are not a good spouse etc. is the best way to think about it. My ex couldn’t try to convince me that he could change because my decision had nothing to do with what he did or didn’t do, it was about how I felt and what I wanted in my life, which he could not change or control.

posts: 255   ·   registered: Apr. 6th, 2017
id 8700544
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BluerThanBlue ( member #74855) posted at 11:57 PM on Saturday, November 27th, 2021

Tell her during the day (morning or afternoon); do not wait until the evening. My reasoning for this is that nothing good happens at night… you’re both tired and you could end up spending the entire evening arguing. Also, depending on where you live, you could be more limited on your options of where to go if it’s night time and the conversation gets heated. You don’t want to show up at a friend’s doorstep at midnight because she blew a gasket.

BW, age 40
Divorced WH in 2015; now happily remarried to a great guy

I edit my comments a lot for spelling, grammar, typos, etc.

posts: 549   ·   registered: Jul. 13th, 2020
id 8700545
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