When the Ex-Wife is a financial burden

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-23-2010
When the Ex-Wife is a financial burden
Thu, 12-13-2012 - 4:26pm

I have been dating my SO for a year now and we both want to get married once his divorce is finalized. He had been seperated from his wife for 2 years, neither party wants any reconciliation and she has been dating. Problem is she was a mess during their marriage and basically cleaned out his bank account. She never held a job and stayed at home. She initiated the divorce and then moved away across country to start a job, only to end up quitting and has now returned to the area. She had been living with a friend, then had a fight and left, now lives in a hotel living off of credit cards (no job) and can't rent an apartment because she has terrible credit. It's a nightmare and I didnt' even want them coming back here, but was happy for my boyfriend because he could see his 9 year old son more often. I want nothing to do with this woman, and my boyfriend can't help her because he is rebuilding his credit. I certainly won't sign for her. What have I gotten into? I love him so much but I don't want this in our lives. I can only pray this woman gets on her feet and eventually remarries. Has anyone ever dealt with this?

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Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Thu, 12-13-2012 - 5:47pm

  You need to see a divorce lawyer and research the child support and alimony laws.  The reason is that in some states your income can be attached for child support.  There may be other issues.  A prenup is warrented. You will need ways to protect yourself.  Even if you are in a state that at this time does not do anything the future is unknowable.  Ck the other laws like alimony.  Many states have very damaging alimony.  Since she does not have a job that is not good.  Know what can go wrong!


iVillage Member
Registered: 12-04-2012
Fri, 12-14-2012 - 3:45am

My suggestion is to not get married. You can still have the same relationship without being tied with a piece of paper. Make sure you are financially independant. He needs to take care of all his financially responsibilities. Regardless of what type of wife she was or what type of marriage they had he will have to take financial responsibility. So if you don't want it to be your responsibility as well then don't get married.  You love him and want to be with him, then be with him but look out for yourself legally and financially.

Be Well Always,


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Fri, 12-14-2012 - 8:48am

Hi Ginger--


You've gotten some good advice already.....and I'm sure there will be more to follow.

Here's the big red flag I see:

He's been separated 2 years already, but not divorced yet.  Doesnt even look like they've been negotiating this?  Reason this is a bit of a "red flag" to me, is we've had others on here involved with a guy who (for whatever reason) completely drags his feet on completing the divorce.  Generally, this winds up causing distress in new relationship....especially when he says he'll be doing X....then winds up doing Y, for whatever reason.  Eg, if he had just done Y when he finalized divorce before getting into relationship with you....that would be one thing, and would be reasonably easy to accept.  But.....when he is in relationship with you,....shares his life/issues with you.....tells you he will do X...............but then ex-wife wants Y, and he agrees to Y..................it is alot harder to take.  Also, it is difficult to move forward with your own life/relationship together, when this is still dragging on...AND...it is completely out of your control how his divorce moves forward.  You are really not at all a part of his divorce settlement, and wind up with absolutely no control over getting it over with sooner........I've just known alot of women agonizing during this time period.  Also....FWIW, I've had friends seriously dating a guy who's separated, or newly divorced, ...and initially, they are needy and really "into" the relationship, and completely serious re: new relationship.....but then, a year or so after divorce finalized, they get cold feet re: getting into another committment so soon......and they back off and want to date others first........which is REALLY hard to take, when you (the woman) HAS already become so vested in relationship.

The poster who suggested not marrying, and keeping finances separate that way has a good point----what is hurry to marry?  (FWIW---I drug my feet on legal marriage at first, because fearful of his financial issues with exW also...........currently, I'm not concerned re: that,....but, we've been together about 10 years now, living together close to 9 of them, and things are fine not married......so thinking I'll stay this way?  FWIW also---we did do "power of attorney" papers, so that if there are medical issues or he becomes mentally unable to make own decisions, I am given authority as a wife/guardian would)  .  Regarding the financial specifics of CS and alimony.......yes, you'd want to check on your own state, although in general I believe new spouse income is NOT usually used to calculate CS payments, but IS considered in alimony/spousal support...........

Anyhow, I'm sorry to be so pessimistic (!!) re: above.  None of that may happen to you.....so just put it in the back of your mind as a "possible" scenario ONLY, and let's move on to the actual situation:

What is the status of his divorce settlement?

I'm wondering particularly re: custody of the 9 yo?  Does he only have this one 9 yo son with her?  FWIW---she sounds incredibly unstable, and unable to get along with others (like the "friend" she was staying with, keeping a job, etc etc)...................................what is he asking for re: custody of the boy?  I"m sure, since she's been SAHM, she's wanting full custody and consequently full CS$, which she'll live off of, since she doesnt seem to have another way to live................................but she seems unstable, and since this is a boy, who often judges seem (this may sound sexist, but I think has a bit of truth to what happens) are a little more lenient re: sending to live with dad...........what is he asking for re: physical custody?  

I COMPLETELY understand your "I wish they would just go away" feelings......................and while I"m sure your BF would be thrilled for exW to "just go away"............I"m wondering what his feelings are and will be re: the son......................how much did he see son when she WAS "gone away"?  Would he be OK with not having much contact with son?  Otherwise, you will DEFINITELY have this woman in your lives ALOT over the next 9-10 years.  ESPECIALLY if she continues her MO of using your BF as her major financial support------she will be on his case CONSTANTLY for more $$----phrasing it all as "for the kids"----that's what my SO's exW did continually, as well.  

How your life will go really is all about how well your BF sets BOUNDARIES with his exW, and (more importantly!) how well he ENFORCES them!

THere are a few posters on here who have been in shoes similar to yours, who will probably give you some other thoughts from their perspectives.....holiday busy-ness abounds now, so the board has been pretty slow.


I really hope I dont come across as TOO pessimistic!!-----but I think it's GOOD that you are looking forward about these things-----and I DO ....COMPLETELY!....understand your concerns re: all of this.

((((HUGS!))) BEST WISHES!!----please keep us posted!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-23-2010
Fri, 12-14-2012 - 10:14am

Thanks so much for the feedback, it's a stressful situation. I'm not worried about there being any reconciliation, he said he would never go back to that life with her ever, and every day he shows his appreciation and love for me. As for the divorce, he did not ask for custody of the child, and there has been no fighting over the kid or even money, it has been her ability to support herself. The problem is even with the temporary child support/alimony he is giving her in the generous amount of $1500 a month, and he pays for their health insurance, and the car payment, she still can not make ends meet and will not go out and find a job. I think she also suffered from depression/bipolar disorder. Mind you, she wanted the divorce, and was married once before.  But he does all of this so his son has a roof over his head and a stable environment.  I just want us to move forward with our lives and I don't know if that will ever be possible. He should only be concerned with his son and providing child support. Nothing more.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-20-2002
Fri, 12-14-2012 - 7:53pm

So what's holding up the divorce from being finalized?

Since he's concerned with keeping a roof over son's head.....has he considered/talked about asking for custody? (so he's sure son has that?).  (My guess is he knows that would be a bitter battle with her, so he doesnt want to go there....)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sat, 12-15-2012 - 12:16pm

Your thought that your BF should only be concerned about the son & not his STBX may be unrealistic.  From your description it does sound like she could have bipolar disorder--excessive spending is one typical symptom and also instability in relationships.  My exH has bipolar but it was kept under control w/ medication and he was always able to work, which was good since he was a single father (child's mother died when she was 3).  Since she has basically never worked and can't control spending, is it realistic to think that this will ever change?  And although she probably would be doing a lot better on medication and with therapy, unless a person is dangerous to self or others, you can't force them into treatment either.

Some states have time limits for alimony depending on how long people were married, like the state I live in recently enacted that law, however, there would be an exception for a person with a chronic illness--you need to check on that one.  I am a divorce lawyer and I had one case where I represented the wife who was mentally ill (probably schizoprenia) where she would come up with these wacky thoughts about her DH & DS being clones, however she was very sharp when it came to money and she was able to pull it together enough to be able to live alone, but she never could have worked.  The dad ended up w/ custody of the teenage boy but since he was a high earner, he ended up paying her over $2000/mo in alimony--forever.  I know it depends on where you live, but $1500/mo would basically be poverty level where I live in the Northeast where housing is very expensive.  If she is truly too sick to work, she should probably look into getting Social Security disability payments--but that would mean that she would have to acknowledge being MI.

Good luck--this is why I would avoid dating anyone whose divorce is not final.  At least then you know what the guy's financial circumstances are and can choose whether or not to deal with that.  You have a big uncertainty now.

Community Leader
Registered: 08-25-2006
Mon, 12-17-2012 - 2:43pm

Hi Gingerpie and welcome!  I wish I could have replied sooner, but having log on issues.

I am one of those Laurena was talking about.  I am here to tell you, don't get in any hurry to get married.  I have been with SO for 7 years and not married.  He did not get divorced until 2 years into our relationship.  I don't have regrets, but if I could go back, I would do things differently.  

Money can cause grief even in a nuclear family, you move to a second marriage with ex's and kids and we are here to tell you, beware.  From where I sit, I would not even talk marriage until his D is final.  

Even then, the BM isn't going to be going anywhere for a very long time.  Sure, we can hope they remarry and/or move on, but it may never happen.  

I understand that you and him may be totally fine as a couple, and I believe you that they will not be reconciling, but it takes time to heal from a divorce, even if seemingly okay with it.

I can't read your post from this view I get with Chrome, but I forget how far into the D you BF is?  Are they fighting over anything?  Are you concerned he will be strapped with CS and SS?  Is he doing too much for her? Is she asking too much of him?  Or is everything going smooth, and you are in fear (possibly justifiably so) about the long term effects of her erradic behavior?  

Lastly, just remember the divorce is his.  He can bounce things off of you, but be mindful in your replies.  BTDT and it is a fine line to walk.  I loved my SO, but I am also and xW.  I didn't agree with some of the things they did, or should I say didn't do, but I had remember that my way is not the only way, nor the right way.  Everyone is different.  

Keep us posted!


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-23-2010
Tue, 12-25-2012 - 9:05am
So far there has been no fighting and the ex is even ok with me in his life. I think he has been putting off sitting down with her to go over the divorce paperwork because he hares to deal with her. If they commmunicate it is only in regards to the son. I do not think she is bipolar but according to my bf and other friends I spoke with, she was extremely passive aggressive and it wore down the marriage. She does take meds for depression. She spent thousands of dollars on seminars and pyramid schemes that went belly up istead of just getting a good job she has a business degree. She is fully capable of getting a job. Atleast she is working from home doing translation work. She is also busy dating trying to find s sugar daddy. Lol. I sincerely hope she finds a good man. I guess what I have been most worried about is she trying to manipulate my ex and he enabling her but so far he has not to teach her to solve her own problems. She got her credit sorted out on her own. Only time will tell but no marriage for me anytime soon. Maybe a long engagement. :)