Hind Sight is 20/20

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2012
Hind Sight is 20/20
17
Tue, 02-05-2013 - 4:19pm

Once again, I turn to the people of these boards for help. Over the years, I have made some friends, and learned a lot from these boards. Hoping this time around, will be no different. So here goes....

After 3 years of separation we are finally divorcing!  Ready for this to be over.  What I want to know is, what would have you asked for in the divorce you did not, or did not fight for?

My marriage is almost 25 years.  According to my state laws, separation or not, the marriage is not over until the ink is dry.  Financially, our asets are still ours, even though he has been living with someone for 3 years and we still own a home. I know what I am entitled to for alimony. Due to the large difference between our incomes, I am entitled to quite a big alimony. I am not looking to screw him, but I made sacrifices over the last 3 years so our daughter could go to the college she wanted and to do all that she wanted. Now, I no longer want to liveon the poverty line while he buys new cars and takes trips with the girl friend that he cheated on me with for years. 

What I am most interested in is, what can I ask for in terms of his retirement and 401k?  Is there anything I should ask for? I do not know have near what I need because I really have just started my career and have not had the years to put away money that he has.  Again, I do think he deserves all the benfits of his career, but I am the one who was the single parent while he worked 60 - 80 or more hours a week, traveled and then moved on. 

Sorry for the bits of anger, it's still there. That's why this divorce needs to happen to I can move on, and stopped being tied financially to him.  I don't have many complaints about his treatment since we separated, but he has no idea how little I live off of while he earns over $200k.  

There are no children to argue over, they are adults. We jointly own a home. He claims we cannot sell is for a profit, which is crap since we owe so little on it.  But I am willing to hold off on the sale of the house to increase profits.  We have already agreed to use mediation instead of a lawyer. 

Anyone got the alimony you wanted?  How did you do it?  

Any thoughts, advice from people who have been in long term marriages and gone through divorces would be great appreciated!

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Tue, 02-05-2013 - 8:28pm

Let me start by saying that I'm a divorce lawyer.  I got divorced twice myself w/o using a lawyer--of course I am familiar with the laws and there really weren't any big issues.  The 2nd marriage was only 5 yrs & we didn't have kids.  I wasn't entitled to alimony.  I am not against mediation--I think it's good if you can work out the issues amicably but I'm not sure that someone who is justifiably angry is really in a position to do that.  2nd, it seems that sometimes people will say "let's not use a laywer" because they are in the position of power and really want to screw you over, so if you do decide to go that route, make sure you consult a lawyer first so you know what your rights are.

In my state you would be entitled to 50% of his 401K that was earned during the time of the marriage.  I assume that you were a SAHM.  Yes, he worked & earned the money & retirement, but you raised the kids & took care of the home, didn't you?  You weren't in a position to put anything toward retirement--you could have put money into your own IRA if you thought you were going to get divorced.  Of course, you didn't & you figured that his retirement would benefit both of you.  That's why I think you should not feel guilty about asking for 1/2.  And I'm confused about the house--if you don't have much of a mortgage, are you saying that the current market value isn't much more than what is owed?  In that case, why not just deed it to him if he is living there & paying the mortgage?  Have you had an appraisal or talked to a broker to see if what he's saying is in fact true?  If you do decide to sell the house later, then make sure you split the proceeds as of the date of sale--but I dont' think that' s a good idea cause you will be tied to him longer, you'll have to decide who makes the repairs, etc.

Community Leader
Registered: 01-03-2004
Tue, 02-05-2013 - 8:44pm

Hi,

Music is correct in say that the only person qualified to answer your questions is an experienced divorce attorney who practices in the state in which you file. My suggestion is you write down all the things you feel you need and want and present these to your lawyer, and let him/her do the talking. Your STBX sounds like he's all ready living the single life so now he has to pay.

My only thought is this: had you known it was going to be three years before the legal divorce would you have put a legal separation agreement in place? If so, can you retroactively ask for "alimony" for the three years you were separated? Might be worth asking!

Good luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2012
Tue, 02-05-2013 - 10:53pm
In my state there isn't anything like legal separation. Once you make it legal, you are pretty much divorced. He has been "giving" me money on a monthly basis, but it is nothing compared to what I am entitled to given the law. I opted to take less as we were putting our daughter through college. She worked hard to get where she is, I wasn't going to turn around and shoot her dreams down just because her parents couldn't make a go of it. I did talk with someone who did say, the money I get is really mine anyway. We actually still have a joint checking account. I could go into it at any time and take money. I don't because he covers the mortgage and college tuition. We agreed upon an amount for me, but it is not enough. He is a bit delusional about the reality of our financial situation. Although I have provided him with the current alimony laws, I don't think he believes he will have to pay that. Umm.... Wrong! I may not get 100% of what I am entitled to, but it will be damn close. The house, again, he is clueless. We don't owe much, and there have been major repair work done to it in the last few years. Basically, everything but the kitchen. I realized the housing market isn't great, but we would get more than what we owe on it. My STBEX's biggest issue is he never wants to take responsibility for his actions. This is just another example. He wants to play, he wants to write checks for the kids, and he wants to control me. He will be angry at what he is going to have to pay me, but the reality is, a 25 year year marriage with a HUGE discrepancy in earnings. Interesting that you say mediation is for those who think they have the power. He thinks he has all the power because he has the money. In reality, I have done my homework on as much as I can. I know I can ask for anything, whether I get it or not is another issue. I want 50% of his retirement, but didn't know if I was entitled. I see no reason why I would not be. I cannot afford a lawyer of my own. I am going to have to just stand my ground for that I am entitled to. There is really very little to agree upon, it will boil down to dollar amounts. I want more, he wants to give as little as possible. That is not going to happen! Put up with that in my marriage, not going to put up with it in my divorce. Tonight he wanted to know up front what I was going to ask for. I told him only what I was entitled to. Did not go into specifics. He will just get angry and make issues. Let the the mediators handle this. I do not need to get all worked up about this before we get there.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Wed, 02-06-2013 - 2:03am
  1. I am not a lawyer, but have heard that if you live in a community property state that you are entitled to half of all the assets (including 401K and any other retirement accounts) that were earned during the marriage. I would definitely get a realtor in to appraise the house (this usually free from any local realtor looking for a potential sale) and would consider at least consulting a lawyer for an initial consultation to see what you would be entitled to. Don't know where you live but I have seen some advertisments here for a "free initial consultation" but don't know how legit those ads are. I also don't know much about how the mediator thing works, but it sounds like you're H is going to try to get out by giving you as little as possible and that would concern me if I were you.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 02-06-2013 - 10:25am

If you have access to a joint bank account, you have money for a lawyer--don't be stupid.  He will most certainly get a laywer once he finds out that you're not going to roll over & be a doormat and you need one too.  It is certainly within your legal rights to take money from the joint acct. to pay for your legal fees.  I think you should at least consult someone--the initial consultation shouldn't cost that much--go in prepared with all your financial info and then find out how much they want for a retainer.  In my state, also if there is a big discrepancy in earnings the lower earning person can ask for the higher earning one to pay their atty fees, but that presumes they have no access to money--you can just take it out of the bank. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2012
Wed, 02-06-2013 - 10:58pm
I guess in some ways I have been easy on him. With our daughter in a very expensive college and he has paid all the bills on the home (and put money into the house) I have never taken much money. If I have needed more, I have gotten it. It has always irked me because I have to "ask". On a practical side, I get this. He does not want checks to bounce. However, I moved, started completely over, owning no furniture, not even a can opener. I walked away with a bed, desk, bureau and dishes. Period. I could not even make a cup up of coffee. He had the nerve to ask what I did will the that money "he gave me". I have made a few financial mistakes, so what. Nothing major. Not like I was investing in get rich schemes, it has all just been an adjustment. For the most part now, I am lucky I can afford to eat all month. He travels for a living and has a company credit card. His choices are his to live with. He cries poverty every month. At least he doesn't have to worry about his next meal, his gf covers that. I know I have been too nice not demanding more, I did it to ensure our daughter got what she deserved. I am done with that. Since his last tears of living in the gutter, he has purchased a new car, is planning a second trip with our kids (I do not mind this so much, but I can't afford to even visit the kids, never mind take them anywhere!) and is constantly going to concerts. I am beginning to think of selling off things to pay off bills, when it occurred to me, that was stupid. Time for a divorce and for him to pay the price of life without responsibility! Sorry for going on. Most days, I am fine with things. He gets me when he cries poverty. He wouldn't last a week living as I have in the the 3 years. I am better off than most, and I take full responsibility for my financial choices, but when I know what he earns, and what I earn, he needs to pay up. Party time is over.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Wed, 02-06-2013 - 11:04pm

Well when you said that you moved, does that mean that he stayed in the marital home?  Then of course he should be paying all the bills on the home if he's living there--not to mention that if the mortgage has his name on it, he doesn't want to ruin his credit.  Yeah I think it's time for you to get a little angry--not to be unfair but just enough to make sure that you get what is fair to you.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2012
Wed, 02-06-2013 - 11:24pm
Oh its better.... he moved in with his gf and left the kids to live there! I mean, it'snot like there were little. Our son lives there now, with friends. They pay no rent! None! No electric bills, cable, internet, trash collection, taxes. Nothing, nada! And he complains about being broke? Both our names are on the mortgage and the deed.
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Thu, 02-07-2013 - 3:32am

Well if he can afford new cars and vacations then he needs to quit crying poverty. And he lets all those guys live in that house expense free whilst you are barely getting by? Do they not have jobs that he is paying all their expenses? Sounds like you're getting the short end of the stick to me. Idk you can try the mediator route but with the way he's crying poverty and all I still say he is going to try to get out of this with as little as he possibly can give you. In the end you may have to get a lawyer to get what you deserve. Good Luck

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Thu, 02-07-2013 - 9:46am

Oh My.. If you cant get angry I will because your post made me sick and mad..

Unfortunately you waited too long to divorce your exHusbands sorry ass and now three years later you need a new plan.. and if he is making so much money and you guys have a house time to take your power back.. Nail him to the wall and get what you deserve... Get a lawyer and forget the mediator.. My ex wanted to go that route and I refused because it just sugar coats the money issue or so I have been told. what I did was got smarter and empowered myself first and asked for what I needed to live on.. All we had up for negotiation was a house which was worth some money and my ex;s pension and his social security and my car and that was it... Well after me moving back in our marital home after I had been out for two years my lawyer said move back into the marital home so I did  for almost two years for free my ex decided since he had a gfriend already oh; and he was payi ng her rent of 2,000 a month which totally ticked me off I wasnt leaving with what I had moved back into the marital home for..and that would have to be what I needed to live on ...

So after two years ex wanted me out so he offered  me a buy out and I took it along with some of his pension and my car and half of his social security in which if I live to 62 will be an extra 900 a month.. I am now almost 59 so I thought I made a good deal... The house never got sold and the idiot ex rented it out and is now having to go to court and get sued for illegally renting it out.. Oh; and if my ex dies I will receive a whopping amount of  money and that is written in stone because of laws in my state...

I hear you on the hardly being able to eat because I go through that myself.. Its a toss up between eating, gas and going out and trust me I am very frugal.. check out some farmers markets or co ops as they have some good prices.

Good Luck and dont forget dont get divorced and leave with less than you need and can live with..

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