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Divorce/Separation :
Do It Yourself Divorce

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 Misery (original poster new member #80348) posted at 3:09 PM on Saturday, July 9th, 2022

Who here has filled divorce without attorneys? We’re considering something like legalzoom website and doing the paperwork ourselves. Frankly we can’t really afford for both of us to get lawyers and overall it shouldn’t be too complicated. We’re selling the house and the money will sit in an account until we file and split it 50/50. No kids are involved. Sad that 18 years doesn’t result in a ton of things to consider. My WS is pretty agreeable as there’s significant guilt on his part.
We’re living separately atm but can’t sustain it without selling the house asap. I’m heartbroken over all of this and really don’t wanna file for divorce. DDay was May 2nd. But he’s certain there’s no repairing our relationship and wants to just everything done. I want to wait as I don’t think it’s really hit reality for either of us yet.
I’d like to start splitting things financially, living separately, before we file for divorce. At least for, idk 3-6 months? Would that make divorce easier or harder.
Idk my mind is spinning with everything going on. Really I just wanna crawl in a cave and hide from all of it. But I know I can’t ignore it and we need start moving forward whatever that looks like.

posts: 12   ·   registered: May. 24th, 2022   ·   location: US
id 8744012
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BraveSirRobin ( Guide #69242) posted at 5:02 PM on Saturday, July 9th, 2022

Right now, from what you've written, he's sold himself on the narrative that he doesn't care about material things. He's still feeling guilty about the split. This is your rapidly closing window of opportunity. Three to six months from now, he'll be established with AP and most likely listening to her telling him that he shouldn't let you "take advantage" of him in the settlement.

If you can end this now in a way that's more financially advantageous to you than what the state would mandate, I'd jump at it. He's not going to spend those months realizing what he lost. He's going to spend them building entitlement, because that will make him more able to live with what he's done to you.

WW/BW

posts: 2835   ·   registered: Dec. 27th, 2018
id 8744024
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Charity411 ( member #41033) posted at 5:58 PM on Saturday, July 9th, 2022

Brave Sir Robin is spot on. In my experience, the longer you wait the more he'll ask for. If he's already made this decision, he's already showing you that what matters most is his happiness at any cost. My EX did the same to me. He decided he was leaving me for her and she did everything in her power to convince him to get as much as possible in the settlement. By all means take advantage of the guilt factor and negotiate from that position of advantage. It's the practical thing to do.

It is as scary as hell at first, because this person who was your partner and best friend suddenly becomes your enemy. Right now you love him and miss him, but little by little that will change, and it will all be easier to deal with. Something that worked for me was writing down what I needed as it came to me, because otherwise it would just swirl around endlessly in my head and couldn't accomplish anything. Within a few weeks I had a pretty well thought out plan by doing that.

You will get through this. It sucks for now but take one day at a time. Big cyber hugs to you (((((Misery))))

posts: 1609   ·   registered: Oct. 18th, 2013   ·   location: Illinois
id 8744033
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ChamomileTea ( Guide #53574) posted at 7:22 PM on Saturday, July 9th, 2022

Agreed with BSR, time is not going to be your friend in terms of getting everything you need. I wouldn't even attempt some kind of DIY divorce settlement. It's worth the expense to see an attorney and figure out what you need to be comfortable. The housing market is awful right now. Sure, the selling prices are high, but that means they're high for the potential buyer too. And rents are outrageous. I don't know where you live but my house payment is lower than what people are charged for one-bedroom apartments locally.

You are NOT required to be nice, gentle, or fair in this divorce. You're only required to abide by the law.

IMHO, your best bet would be to at least have a consultation with a couple of local attorneys. It's bad enough that the path you've laid out for yourself has been changed by a cheater's self-involved machinations. But it's grinding salt in the wound to lose your home too. Are you in a financial position to be able to afford an equally nice place without advertising for roommates. If not, fight for a better future. Your STBX can get Miss Thing to kick in toward his expenses.

BW: 2004(online EAs), 2014 (multiple PAs)Married 38 years; in R with fWH for 7

No one can make you into a liar but you.

posts: 5748   ·   registered: Jun. 8th, 2016   ·   location: U.S.
id 8744047
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morningglory ( member #80236) posted at 7:29 PM on Saturday, July 9th, 2022

Get a lawyer, and talk with him or her about whether it's financially possible to keep the house. The housing market is brutal and not getting better (prices will stay high and interest rates are going up), rentals of all types are expensive, so if you can possibly hold onto it, you should. What your husband can afford doesn't matter- this is all about you. You need an attorney who represents your interests. Your husband is not your friend in this. He might have sold you on the idea of selling the house, because he has a place to go and he wants the cash. But selling the house is not what's best for YOU.

You have enough money to have recently bought a sports car (which your husband pushed for- that should be something your attorney pushes to have you financially released from), so you can afford an attorney. You really need one when going through a divorce. Get a good one. What they quote you for the retainer is usually a pretty good estimate of about how much it will actually cost in total. They usually take credit cards.

A lot of betrayeds get financially screwed in divorce because they're too emotional to look out for their own best interest. That's part of why you need a good lawyer. Yes, you absolutely need one.

Don't delay. You should be doing consultations now. Stop talking to your ex, and don't negotiate with him directly. It doesn't matter what you two have agreed to thus far because it's all talk and not legally binding. But stop talking. Get an attorney and he will do the negotiations on your behalf, which is much more effective.

[This message edited by morningglory at 7:48 PM, Saturday, July 9th]

posts: 454   ·   registered: Apr. 15th, 2022
id 8744048
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 Misery (original poster new member #80348) posted at 8:32 PM on Saturday, July 9th, 2022

Honestly the outlook the two consultations gave me is not in my favor. I make more than him. Could end up owing alimony payments etc. Right now we do it ourselves and he won’t even think about it. He’s also does not want to take out of my 401k which is more than his. We both get lawyers and it’s gonna be a hell of a fight.
The house we have to sell. Neither of us can afford it on our own. Rent will be maybe 200-300 less per month but utilities and other costs will be a fraction of what it takes to keep this house. And I don’t want to stay here. It’s haunted with memories of us. If I have to start over than I need a new place for just me. I’ll be able to manage a small apartment. He’s likely moving in with the AP. 😢 😡
I’m torn about getting a lawyer or not. I think we’ll draft everything up ourselves and have a lawyer look over before we file. I don’t even know if that’s a thing or not.
And yeah I’m not paying a dime towards his new car. He’ll take it and the debt and I’ll own what’s left of my student loan. Not equal but close enough for both of us.

posts: 12   ·   registered: May. 24th, 2022   ·   location: US
id 8744055
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leafields ( member #63517) posted at 11:05 PM on Saturday, July 9th, 2022

Check with your county clerk's office. I had to buy a book that had all of the forms in it, and take a class. Our kids are adults, so we didn't have to do the parenting stuff, so it was easier. Part of the paperwork is listing your assets and debts and how you want to split.

I filled out the papers, and we went to the courthouse to file and sign. He signed the non-contested form, so he didn't have to be served.

There was another fee for a court facilitator. During that call, they went over the paperwork to make sure everything was there.

There's a 90-day waiting period and the court facilitator called after the judge signed the papers.

Cost was a little under $500.

ETA: Legalzoom doesn't pay the filing fees or other fees that may be involved. You can probably find copies of the forms you need online for free. Take a look to see how involved it is and if you would feel up to filling them out yourself.

[This message edited by leafields at 11:12 PM, Saturday, July 9th]

BW M 34years, Dday 1: March 2018, Dday 2: August 2019, D final 2/25/21

posts: 1238   ·   registered: Apr. 21st, 2018   ·   location: Washington State
id 8744064
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Bigger ( Attaché #8354) posted at 3:03 AM on Sunday, July 10th, 2022

Maybe the wisest thing I have ever shared on SI is this:
The worst advice offered on SI is legal advice – mine included.
Laws vary from state to state, country to country, case by case. Take all this as general very broad painted advice.

I’m all for making divorce as practical and easy as possible.
But… "easy" is like when the medical staff in the operating theater wear mismatching pastel-colored scrubs to make you feel better. Does not change the fact they are going to cut you open…


We recently had a poster on this site whose ex-spouse ran up a debt on a credit-card issued when married. In the D-process the ex-spouse took responsibility for that debt but hadn’t honored the deal. Now – some 3-4 years later – they were collecting from the poster.
Chances are they can. The collections agency can probably take him to court for that old debt. He might then later be able to sue the ex-spouse, but just imagine all the hassle and grief.

THIS is why you get a professional to AT LEAST manage the divorce. That professional would have know what to do to remove the posters name off the card, what debt needed to be cleared and what debt could be transferred.

Another factor: Based on what you share about possible inequality… The correct wordage can make the difference on if your husband can later contest the divorce based on no representation or having been taken advantage of. An attorney will know what to put in the contract that confirms both parties were offered representation and/or are fully aware of the settlement being made.

This does not mean you need 2 attorneys and to contest everything. If your H is up to it then you hire an attorney. Outline what you want, ask what data he needs and then prepare as much as you can yourself. The attorney makes sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed.

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

posts: 10815   ·   registered: Sep. 29th, 2005
id 8744074
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Jeaniegirl ( member #6370) posted at 3:53 AM on Sunday, July 10th, 2022

Misery, I don't often feel like I have a lot to share on this site but I will share with you how I handled it all.

Like you, My EX-H and I made comparable salaries. I am an attorney and he's an executive with an international company (which gave him ample opportunity to 'play') - so we were fairly evened out money wise. His 401K was bigger than mine. After all, I'm an attorney but a 'poor man's attorney' and work mainly on the state and federal levels for indigent people.

When I caught him, I forced myself to go as cold as ice. I envisioned myself as an ice cube even though the hurt was so strong. Our only child was in college so no worries about custody or child support. I wanted to untangle with him ASAP and I drew up my own settlement agreement and had a couple of family law attorney friends go through it with me.

I told him we could make the D quite or I would take it LOUD, meaning I could put his job in jeopardy because of his actions while he was 'on the clock.' He was shell-shocked at being caught, regretful, even had tears but I said .."No, Just NO." He was on 'probation' with me from his sleazy actions 5 years previously and was told I wouldn't go through that again.

I put in black and white how the settlement was going to be. He got a list of what he could have -- his sports car, his truck, his boat, his personal belongings and clothes from our home. I took some investments we had both contributed to - and he kept his 401K and I kept mine. I got our two homes in two different states (one we used as a rental) but I kept the main home. He found himself homeless and had to eventually buy another home. I let him have only what I didn't want. To me it's important to make up your mind and act quickly. After all, D is not forever. If by a miracle he changes, you can always remarry. That wasn't an option for me but it might be for you in the future.

When I remember it all now, I recall how I didn't shed a tear unless I was alone. It was not easy. We had been friends first before marriage and he kept asking (begging) that we work it out, or at least that we could retain a friendship. I cut him out for a very long time after the D. Due to activities with our daughter, that improved over time. I don't hate him and we don't argue. I can't say we have a warm relationship but it's a civil one for the sake of our daughter. We are both very proud of her and her achievements.

You have to take control for YOURSELF and please know you WILL be happy and content again. I was able to get through it all by not having a bunch of lawyers involved, saved us both a lot of cash and he KNEW that I could have made it a lot worse on him. He still has his great job that he loves, still travels internationally and is successful. This sleazy OW I caught him with was someone he'd had a short-term sexual relationship with and as far as I know (or care), he never saw her again. He has not remarried,

You can do this. Just remember that none of this is your fault. You so deserve better. When you stand strong and start to take control and make decisions, he will probably come around, begging you to take him back after the Unicorn and rainbow life with his AP implodes (and it probably will.)

"Because I deserve better"

posts: 3234   ·   registered: Feb. 1st, 2005
id 8744075
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hcsv ( member #51813) posted at 5:03 PM on Sunday, July 10th, 2022

Ex wanted us to do the divorce ourselves. He actually had a rough draft written up before I ever knew about the affair or that he intended to divorce. Basically, he just wanted me to sign it.

When he emptied our two joint accounts, I got a lawyer and filed.

It's worth the money to get professional advice, even if you write it yourselves and have a lawyer make sure it is fair and you are being protected.

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

posts: 715   ·   registered: Feb. 14th, 2016
id 8744103
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Flaco ( member #80117) posted at 6:30 AM on Monday, July 11th, 2022

I agree with BSR and those who say act quickly. That’s what happened to me. WS said "you keep it, I’ll replace it, buy me out".

Then it became "I should get to keep my retirement" then "I should keep my higher salary " then, "I want the equity from the house". She ended up presenting me with such unfavorable terms I had to respond defensively.

DDay 12/6/20 married 13 years at that time. Me: BH 46. Her: WW 41
2 beautiful kids. Legally separating which may turn into D

posts: 51   ·   registered: Mar. 21st, 2022   ·   location: Sacto
id 8744159
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EllieKMAS ( member #68900) posted at 3:17 PM on Monday, July 11th, 2022

I was the breadwinner in my situation too, and we filed ourselves with no lawyers. Check your county website - I was able to print off the paperwork and fill it all out myself. Thankfully mine didn't argue at all, so I was able to get out of it with nothing owing to him. I did find a women's legal aid place and had one of their lawyers review the paperwork before we filed it just to make sure there was nothing in there that would prevent it being finalized (that cost me $150 - well worth it). He didn't know I did that, but I always was smarter than him laugh

Right when we separated, I got the finances split immediately and then switched the few bills he was on over to my name.

So my timeline was: separated July 29 (he moved in with his parents), Aug 5 he texted after a fight "let's just get the divorce over with", that afternoon all his shit was packed in the garage and the locks were changed (which was probably illegal tbh, but I was pat the point of caring), by Aug 15th-ish all the bills/finances were separated, we filed together at the courthouse Sep 10, and my D was final Dec 13. I did all the paperwork and just flagged where he needed to sign, and it was uncontested so we didn't even have to meet with the judge. He signed where I told him to without even reading anything.

Were I you, I wouldn't wait for 3-6 months - move fast and get it done asap. 3-6 months gives him time to start thinking, and that will not end well for you. I definitely think if I hadn't acted quickly and decisively on mine, he would have started thinking of the money and I would have wound up having to pay the SOB alimony. Very glad I just "got it over with" like he asked.

As for his car - unfortunately that is marital debt and you may be on the hook for it. In CO where we filed, we were able to list out all the assets each of us was assuming responsibility for, and then once it was final I was able to provide the decree to get myself taken off of anything that had his name on it. That was advice provided by the lawyer at the legal aid place. I did end up keeping the house in my situation just because it made more financial sense for me to do that, but I get wanting to sell yours. If you can sell it and get some money out of it to start a new life with, I say go for it. If I could have, I would have.

Hang in there. Divorce sucks, but life on the other side of it has been better than I thought possible in the beginning.

"No, it's you mothafucka, here's a list of reasons why." – Iliza Schlesinger

"The love that you lost isn't worth what it cost and in time you'll be glad that it's gone." – Linkin Park

posts: 3516   ·   registered: Nov. 22nd, 2018   ·   location: CO
id 8744188
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ChewedMeUp ( member #8008) posted at 5:04 PM on Monday, July 11th, 2022

We were in limbo for many years, so I spent those years doing tons and tons of research, looking at draft agreements, what my state required, etc. I wrote up a draft agreement, and when the time came, simply handed it to him when we were splitting, and told him to let me know if changes were needed. (State required a year’s separation, and agreements can be filed with the court paperwork at the one year mark, but I wanted the agreement notarized ASAP so I wouldn’t have to deal with anything a year later, and had a definitive date to start the clock from.)

Much like Ellie, thankfully I knew he wouldn’t pay too much attention (and wouldn't bother to learn how divorce worked), and since I pointed out that I was waiving any demand to child support (only 1 would’ve been eligible, and she was already in HS by then, plus I made more), he was happy enough to take my word for it that things were basically fair. He didn’t want to put any effort in, to the point that I explained that once he signed the agreement, I literally could take care of the rest myself (filing for default) and he didn’t even have to show up for court. He was thrilled with that.

At my final hearing, my magistrate had a couple of questions (mostly about the child support) but no objections to anything in my agreement, and I was done and blessed within 15 minutes and out the door. Altogether, my divorce cost something in the neighborhood of $300, mostly just various filing fees. So yes, it can be done without lawyers, but you have to be sure your paperwork will pass muster, and be sure that your spouse isn’t going to throw a wrench in the works later. The sooner you can take advantage of the guilt and get things down and signed, the better.

BS - 40
DivorcED, finally.
2 Kids

posts: 619   ·   registered: Aug. 26th, 2005   ·   location: Baltimore, MD
id 8744213
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Pragmatic ( new member #63510) posted at 4:08 PM on Friday, July 15th, 2022

Hi Misery,

Sorry you are here.

I don't post here often, but been a member for a long time, but your post caught my eye. If we could have done it by ourselves we would have (UK) but just used solicitors to ensure it was legal.

You financial situation sounds pretty straight forward.

I agree with you once lawyers get involved it can turn into a big fight for the simple reason is if challenged a lawyer will have to prove that you did not take xxx against their advise, so they will push for whatever maximum each lawyer believes each client can get. So you can bet your bottom dollar his lawyer will advise to come after some of your 401k (assume pension), etc, etc.

We got to that stage and I sat down with the STBXW and we talked and agreed everything, so it was fair, I was not going to take her for a ride and she neither wanted to take me for a ride, so there was some trading, I wrote it up in a document went to a friends house signed four copies (1 for each lawyer and one for each of us) had the friend witness them then gave those to the solicitors and said get on with it. It was not legally binding but that what was delivered, i.e. the courts did not challenge it.

Our was slightly more complex as we had a child who ended up staying with me, but again it was a trade off, I did not want child support if she did not want alimony etc, etc. Can't remember the the year, but can the date 4th July :)

So you two I believe could do something similar without the lawyers.

My only comment is both of you be fair, unless you can live with screwing the other partner, might be easier as presume once you two divorce you'll possibly never see each other again. We did not have that luxury due to said child, but even after the diverse, a lot of teachers (parents night - not sure what you have in the US, but it when you kids teacher tells you how bad/good they've been) could not believe we were divorce by the way we acted as a team for our son's sake. So it can be done amicable if required.

Good luck and hope you eventually find that right person to grow old with.

Regards

[This message edited by Pragmatic at 4:17 PM, Friday, July 15th]

posts: 32   ·   registered: Apr. 20th, 2018   ·   location: England
id 8744897
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countrydirt ( member #55758) posted at 3:22 AM on Saturday, July 16th, 2022

We did it all DIY. We had nothing of contention. The only major asset was the family home and we agreed to split it. She started making noise about alimony and I showed her the calculators our state uses for alimony and child support and she saw that not only was she not entitled to alimony, but also would have had to cough up child support for a year. In the end, I think it cost about $500 with the filing fees and paperwork charges.

I was fortunate. Once we got over the shock of her infidelity and the decision to divorce, we calmed down and treated each other with respect. We agreed on how we would split our stuff. We both had our own retirements and our own cars (both with loans, but we used the proceeds from the home sale to pay them off). We easily split the household goods and treated each other with respect.

[This message edited by countrydirt at 3:22 AM, Saturday, July 16th]

3 adult sonsMarried 32 years. DDay1 - June 2016, DDay 2 - April 2017, Final DDay - May 2020. Divorced - January 2021

posts: 413   ·   registered: Oct. 25th, 2016   ·   location: Colorado
id 8744998
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