Should I get a divorce at this point in my life?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2005
Should I get a divorce at this point in my life?
9
Wed, 01-29-2014 - 9:29am

Hi all,

I am nearing retirement age and the delema I am facing is whether or not to file for divorce at my age of 62.  My husband left about 15 years ago and took up with another woman. My children are now grown and married.   I stayed in our house all these years and he continued to pay the mortgage and some of the bills.  It took me a very long time to get over the fact that my marriage ended, but as the years went on, I was ok as long as I still had a roof over my head. I got a job and was getting by and even taking a vacation every now and then, but now I am at the point where I realize I am getting older and will be retiring soon.  My husband wants to retire in a few months and I resent the fact that I have to keep working for lack of money.  He has control of our savings, but I didn't want to upset the apple cart as long as I was getting by financially with his help.  I recently saw pictures of him and his girlfriend online enjoying a wonderful european vacation, complete with dinners and champagne, while I have to worry everyday about what my future holds for me and how I am going to survive if I ever lost his financial support.  About a month ago, I emailed him and told him that I heard he wants to retire in a few months.  He emailed me back and said he does want to retire, but he has make sure he can still make the mortgage payments on the house otherwise he will not retire.

I emailed him back and told him that I had a solution - I told him we should sell the house and then he could retire because he wouldn't have to worry about making mortgage payments anymore.  I told him that instead of him making mortgage payments, he could give me x amount of dollars each month so that I could retire also.  Then he wanted to know where I would live.  I told him I would move out of state near my daughter for half the year, and move back here near my son for the other half of the year. I thought he would welcome the thought of selling this house and going along with my plan since that would be much less money he would have to pay and he would be able to retire.     In fact, he told me that he won't be retiring unless he can still pay the mortgage on the house.  I don't get it and  I don't know what to do anymore.  I have thought about filing for divorce, but my fear is that I would be jumping from the frying pan into the fire. And the thought of going through a divorce at my age is not something I want to face.  I just want peace in my life.  As long as I stay in this house and keep my job, I can get by.  If I divorced him and sold the house, I doubt I'd be able to suvive financially after that. Seeing those pictures of him and his girlfriend turns my stomach, when I am here barely getting by.   I guess I need some opinions and ideas.  Do I leave well enough alone, or should I slap him with divorce papers, or do you have any other advice for me?  Please, I need help.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 01-29-2014 - 11:19am

What you need to do is consult a lawyer and get some good advice about your finances.  when I read the line about "he has control over our savings" that really struck me--if you have a lot of money saved up, then rightfully some (maybe 1/2) of that money is yours, as is 1/2 of the house--and half of his pension, if he is going to get one.  You will also get Social Security based on his wages if he made more money than you over the years.  What you should be concerned about is that in most states, someone who is retired doesn't have to pay alimony (and paying the mortgage could be considered in lieu of alimony).  It seems like you were saying that he could sell the house--and keep all of the money--if he would then give you monthly payments.  That is just dumb.  It seems like there is a big financial disparity here where he can enjoy European vacations and you are barely getting by.  I think the reason he never pushed for divorce, despite his GF, is that he KNOWS that he will have to give you money and he is actually taking advantage of you.  I am a divorce lawyer and I did a case years ago where the wife had mostly stayed home with the kids so when they separated she got a low paying job working in a daycare.  The DH had a pension from one job and was still working full time in the computer field.  He stayed in the marital house (long story) and she bought a smaller house and he was paying the mortgage so she figured that was a good contribution.  When we went to court, the judge said that the amount he had been paying her was way too small!  So the guy was not too pleased but my client was quite happy.

Now personalli I don't know why you would want to stay married to someone you have not lived with in so long and where he already has another girlfriend.  You really aren't that old (I'm 56 so not that much younger than you).  It actually might be possible for you to find some nice man also but you shouldn't still be tied to your ex.  As far as retiring at 62, well it might be nice, but you need to consider that your Social Security will be less than if you worked longer.  I hope to be able to retire at age 66 1/2 which is when the normal retirement age will be for people my age.  I've been working my whole life and I still won't be able to retire early.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2009

Please pay attention to what Musiclover told you.  You NEED a lawyer and you need to divorce him.  You might be entitled to half the revenue from the house, as well as part of the savings.  As far as going thru a divorce at your age.......there's nothing difficult about geting a divorce.  You get a good lawyer, he/she will take care of everything for you, and tell you what to do and what to say in court.  It's very simple, if there are disagreements before the divorce, they will be ironed out before you go to court.  You should really have done something years ago, and moved on with your life.  Captain and Tenille just filed for divorce, and they're in their 70's!  There's nothing physically hard about a divorce, and since you seem to have accepted that he's moved on and is settled in with a new woman.......it shouldn't be emotionally hard, either.  I know a couple in the same situation as your husband & his g/f.  She's late 70's and he's early 80's.  They have lived together for many years, but he's got a wife somewhere.  He's going into dementia, and the g/f is taking care of him.  His lucky wife doesn't have to deal with it.  The g/f has a 24/7 job taking care of him.  Also, that SS benefit........hold off if you can till you're able to get the full retirement.  As far as claiming his, only if and when he passes away.  I had a wonderful ex who walked out on me, left me with three sons, I hadn't worked in almost 20 years, and wasn't prepared for the business world.  In those days, child support was paid by mailing a personal check.  He didn't!  No computers taking it out of a paycheck.......besides, he was in construction (making GOOD money) and they change employers like underwear.  I never got child support......not one penny!  I could have thrown him in jail, but that wouldn't get me child support, and I wanted no contact with him.  He remarried, an alcoholic just like him......and she divorced him too.  In the end, he drank himself to death.at 70.  I'd retired by then, and my SS was barely enough to get by on.  When he died, my SS was more than doubled.  I am now SAVING money, lol  My lawyer also told me that he'd have to make mortgage payments too, until the last son was 18.  I knew the man, and told they lawyer that wasn't acceptable to me.  He wouldn't make the payments, and we'd be on the street.  I wanted the house in MY name, and I would make the last 15 years of payments......I did, and now I have a home free and clear.....a savings account, and I'm happy!  There is nothing to fear,  nothing to worry about, just DO it, and get a good lawyer....it will be a huge weight off your shoulders. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-13-2012

I agree with everyone else-get a lawyer asap! I am not understanding why a man you haven't lived with in 15 years has control over your savings account and your life. You can make it on your own; you may just have to be a little more resourceful.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-02-2002

Hi Haley.  I too agree with everyone else.  It sounds llike you may be entitled to much more money than he has given you (ie: paying the mortgage).  In fact he may have known all these years that he couldnt AFFORD to divorce you and so set up this arrangement in his own best interest.  Seek an attorney immediately then you can make a truly educated and sound decision in your own best interest.  Best wishes to you.  Let us know what you find out.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2010

You need to see an attorney ASAP!  He left you 15 yrs ago and moved in with his mistress....Why in the world would you stay married to or trust him in regards to finances??? He's in charge of your savings???  If he's lived with her that long, been taking expensive vacations and has been 'in charge' of your savings...I can only hope you do indeed HAVE anything in savings. In what world did you think he could be trusted to take care of savings and finances? This totally baffles me! He's shown himself to be anything but trustworthy!

You didn't want to upset the apple cart or the family? I'm sorry but what kind of life is that for anyone??? You should have divorced him a long time ago!  I'm assuming you had been married for more than 10 years when he left and you would have been entitled to alimony, child support, could have stayed in the home until the kids turned 18 at the very least.  By you taking a job (even though you had to struggle to get by), that may hurt the amount of alimony you will get.  But you are entitled to half of everything you and he have together~property, money,etc. As a matter of fact, if your name is on any joint account, you can legally withdraw every red cent right now.

Stop emailing him and asking him anything! DO NOT TALK TO HIM ABOUT ONE SINGLE THING REGARDING FINANCES, PROPERTY, BANK ACCOUNTS, NOTHING!  See an attorney PRONTO!

Avatar for ratherbeme
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-23-2010
Sat, 02-01-2014 - 12:12pm

Consulting or hiring an attorney will get you a divorce quicker than you can blink your eye, a ex-husband who will fight you all the way, he will quit paying for the house you live in and you will find out what poverty really is.  It is a big risk and big chance that you are NOT going to come out ahead of where you are at this present moment. You can only negoitiate from strength, and it doesn't sound like you have any.  Depending on some lawyer and a hopeful court system isn't my idea of strength. KWIM???

I can't imagine that you didn't want to disrupt the family when in fact he was the one moving in with another woman. What was in it for you, other than denial???

I can't imagine that you have no idea why he continues to pay the house payment.  Whats in it for him? Whats in it for you if you force him to sell the house?  Is there equity or does he just have a cheap place for you to live without too much discomfort/hassle for himself?

What reason has he stayed married to you?  He could have ended that very easily if he wanted to. There has to be a reason.

Do your kids WANT you living close to them?  Why aren't they living by you now? Are they going to help you or is it the other way around? Sounds like you are planning on two places, can you afford two?  Or are you going to live in six month transit places or maintain two homes?

I suggest you come up with some real answers to these and the other obvious questions before you go off head-strong and piss someone off who can hurt you finacially.  Thinking this through and planning is key.

I know it isn't easy, but you have to face realality and the answers.

We only miss what could have been. I know I don't miss what it really was.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2010

Her H has been living with another woman for 15 years. Its obvious why he stayed married to her~he knew he had much more to lose than she did by divorcing. Consulting an attorney for advice will not get her a 'divorce quicker than you can blink an eye'.  Her H will not even know that she has had a consultation unless she chooses to tell him or proceeds with the divorce. It will; however, give her information on her rights and where she stands financially.

Arming yourself with information and having an attorney to represent you and help preserve your rights IS strength. Given that usually divorce is an emotional experience for most people and they are not at their best to think clearly and make good decisions, that is why having an attorney is so important.

Why her children aren't living near her now is irrelevant. They are grown and on their own. Adult children often live far from their parents because of jobs, desire to relocate, etc. It doesn't mean that they live away from her because of some fault on her part.

As you said thinking and planning are key and that's the very reason she should seek the advice of an attorney. This man has taken advantage of her long enough. She is entitled to half of everything they acquired during the marriage. But monetary aspects aside, she can't/won't move on with her life while she is tied to him. As he's been living with another woman in an adulterous relationship for the last 15 years, and still has control of their savings, its clear she still has some misguided trust in him.  That's all  the more reason to see an attorney who will fight for her rights and what she is legally entitled to by law.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-25-2013
Sun, 02-02-2014 - 10:14am

Wow. Fifteen years is a long time to be tied to your ex when your kids are grown and you should have no reason to be in contact. Why on earth wouldn't you get half of the equity if your house sold? Why would you still need monthly payments from him? Why are you looking at vacation photos of him? Are you facebook friends? Please take the advice of all the others who have posted here. Get all of the finances you are owed and deserve free and clear, so that you never have to speak to your ex again. Then delete him as a facebook friend or on whatever network you are viewing these photos on. You can't have closure when you're so tied to him. With proper management of your finances and downsizing, you'll survive. Good luck.

Avatar for xxxs
Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010

  I agree with Music but I also would say get a tax accountant and a planner . How you do a divorce can be a win-win for everyone   Some items in a divorce have tax breaks.   Taking care of the money is important for everyone.  Amicable divorces are a lot cheaper.   Planning a retirement is very important that is why it all needs to be planned out with the divorce so there are no suprises.  Investing will be important to consider.

dragowoman