Hind Sight is 20/20

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2012
Hind Sight is 20/20
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!


iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 02-07-2013 - 10:20am

I can possibly see not charging rent to your son but why should his friends get to live in your house for free?  And by the way since your name is on the deed & mortgage, shouldn't you have a say in whether these kids are paying rent?  I'm sure he'd say that it's not up to you since he's paying the expenses, but the problem is that since he's paying for the house, then he doesn't have enough money to give you what you need--so maybe you could collect the rent from the freeloaders.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Thu, 02-07-2013 - 12:50pm
That's exactly what I was thinking. He'd have a lot more money if he wasn't paying ALL the freeloaders expenses. I think they should at least be paying for the utilities if their living there. And since our house is legally half mine, I would have stayed in the marital home until the divorce was final and I got my half of the profits from the sale of the home. Idk I just get so angry with these men. Seems like so many of them go thru a mid life crisis, go out and get a gf and throw 25 or more years of marriage away, and the wife who stayed home and raised the kids and took care of the home all those years ends up barely getting by whilst the ex husband could care less and him and the gf end up live the high life. That's exactly what happened to my MIL after more than 25 years of marriage and I felt so bad for her having to live in a 2 room apt. whilst he and his 22 yr.old gf lived the high life. But karma got him in the end though.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Sun, 02-10-2013 - 11:02am

  I have no better advice to give than the others have given you, but just wanted you to know you are not alone.  In real life, I know noone like myself...a woman who was left after 24 years of marriage (although we surpassed our 25th by the time our divorce was final.) 

  Honestly, I commend you for hanging in there for 3 years while your DD has been in college, but, honestly, since your STBX is the breadwinner, you could have divorced 3 years ago and had it put in the divorce decree that he continue to pay for your DD's college.  You could be 3 years "moved on" by now.  I met my  now dh only 1 year and a half after the initial separation from my ex and only a month after the ink was dry.  We married iin 2011.  I, too, have a DD21 in college, but to put off your own life for your child...hmmm.  It could have been worked out.

I was 48 years old when my ex ended it and thought my life was over.  He immediately said I'd get half of everything (pension, 401(k), etc...) and, with the help of my great divorce lawyer, I got the alimony I asked for...which was considerable...along with 25% of his bonuses.  The rotten part was, that 7 months after he told me he wanted a divorce, he got fired from his high paying job and has now been unemployed for 5 years. The divorce had not yet been finalized, so we had to start over and put my alimony on a sliding scale depending on what both of us made and where we lived.  It was stupid because none of it ever materialized.  He remarred 4 months after the divorce was final to his ex co-worker and mistress who now pays his bills (including the mortgage on our dream home we build for our family in 1998).  They travel and live the good life.  She works and he gardens and cooks and my girls say he's happy.  And THIS was a man who appeared to thrive on his career!  Anyway, there went my alimony, so my DD28 told me I might as well remarry as "Dad was never going to work again."...so i did.  The ex did buy me out of our house which allowed me to buy my condo in cash which then helped dh and me buy the really nice condo we live in today. 

 I know noone in real life like myself...whose dh left in midlife, so have really appreciated having these boards.  So, I guess that's why I keep coming back...to let others know they are not alone.  Dh's and my sibliings all have been married over 20-30 years and our parents have been married over 50.  All of my friends are the same as well.

At any rate, just get yourself a great lawyer as I did...take him for half of all retirement and get your good alimony.  My lawyer told me that when there's a huge discrepancy of income that the court will award alimony so the spouse who makes less can still enjoy the level of lifestyle they were accustomed to.  Well, it never quite works out that way, but between my job and my alimony, I would  have been fine and still been able to travel to see my older 2 DDs who live on opposite coasts.  (I live in the midwest.)  Had I not met my current dh, I'd be in amongst the working poor and travel would not have been in  my budget. 

Keep us updated and go get what you deserve!!!

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2012
Sun, 02-10-2013 - 9:21pm

Thank you so much for your post! We have a lot of similar things going on.  I know I should have divorced him 3 years ago.  I had so much emotional stuff going on, it was worth it to wait. My bigest issue now, I moved 2.5 years ago to another state. I didn't have a job, and this was the only one I could find at the time. I miss my kids horribly. I don't know how to make choices without thinking of them. I recently thought of going back, but I do love my job.  I make crap money, but it challenging and interesting. I met someone, still early, but we are happy together. He treats me so well.  I am not thrilled with where I live, but its not so bad. I miss my friends, my kids and my parents are getting older.  Do I go back? Do I stay?  Oh hell, I don't know! I didn't want to seel our home because I wanted my daughter to have a place to call home, she doesn't seem to much care now.  She is gone so much and doesn't go back. Is unhappy when she does. My DS needs to get out and make his own way, stop letting daddy dearest pay the bills. (And he said I was the permissive parent!)  I think a lot of it is that I can't afford to go and visit often.  If we go through with the divorce I would.  

Funny, my STBXH moved in with his gf whom he cheated on me with, who was from his office.  She pays the bills there.  What a mess.  He actually told me it was my fault they "reconnected".  I am not so convinced they ever stopped seeing each other, but that really doesn't matter now.  

I hadn't thought about him losing his job. I don't think he will. He is pretty safe and secure with the company at this point, but I guess that could all change!  

I don't feel as though many people support in this alimony thing.  My mom and step-dad are still friends with him. Which is fine to a point. But the other day I mentioned to my mom that I was pushing ahead with the divorce and pushy for what I am entitled to.  She elluded to the fact that it was my choice to take a low paying job in a poor area, so what the kind of lifestyle I was accustomed to didn't exsist anymore, and I needed to base my life on my salary. Really?  So I am just above the poverty line, can't always afford food and he makes over 200k and I should be okay with that?  I wasn't the one that got to work on their career all these years. 

I still have anger about so many things.  Everyone seems to just be so "okay" with the gf.  Why should I ever be okay to have to share space at my kids events with the woman who knowingly participated in ruining my marriage?  I could go on and on, but its not worth it.  Everyone tells me I just need to deal with it. I get the kids have to find a way to be okay with her, but my parents?  My family?  It's a whole mess which could be a bored unto itself!

All I know is, I deserve better than the way I am living.  Before I can move on, I need to get him about as much as I can out of my life.  He will always be the father of my children, but the only other contact I want is the check he sends me. And I want the check to be much larger than it is now!  Then I can figure out my next step. 

Thanks for listening and sorry for going on and on.  I don't have too many people who really understand my situation. A few, but not in my family either.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Mon, 02-11-2013 - 8:01am

I am so sorry that your family doesn't support you!  That's terrible after what he did to you!  And your own MOTHER!! My family all told me to nail my ex to the wall and take him for everything he had!  I don't understand why people are against alimony making it seem ok for a man to just cheat, leave, and destroy a family. If it was YOUR decision to leave, then yes...but it wasn't.  I just don't get it.

So, why did you leave the state?  I was going to move to AZ after my youngest graduated high school (2010), but met dh here with his good job and family here, so here I stayed.  And, I had told my 4 DDs that I would NEVER stay in the cold for yet another man and yet I did.  Go figure. 

I'm with you...wanted my ex as much out of my life as possible.  It IS hard to look forward to future family things regardng my DDs.  My DDs like their stepmother...I knew her years ago when she worked with the ex.  She's a nice person.  My dh is an opinionated hothead, so my girls are less than thriled with him.  He has seen my DDs favor their father and  his family over me since we met 4 years ago and the pain it's caused me, so he has no respect for them because of their treatment of me.  At this point, my DD27 who just got engaged, told me she doesn't want him at her wedding (which will be in 2014) on the east coast.  I'd like to tell her without HIM,  I wouldn't even be able to afford to GO to her wedding, no less give her any money for it!  The ex and I don't speak and my DDs view him and HIS wife as family, but not me and dh.  So,do I look forward to my girls' weddings?  No.  I told dh last night that I can see the wedding pictures now...my 4 DDs, their 2 stepsiblings, the ex and his wife.  I have no place there.  My DDs love me, but I'm no longer "family".  They were raised around their father's famiy as most of mine is in AZ and coast to coast.  I have no family here.  The last time we had to have a family gathering was my DD21's high school graduation for which the ex flew my older 2 home for and they stayed at HIS house and sat at the table with HIS family.  See what I mean?  I know I will go and be happy for my daughter, but deep down, will be miserable.  I got a Christmas card this year from one of my best friends whose DD24 got married last summer and it had a beautiful family picture on it.  I envy her. 

Sorry to have gone on, but you have EVERY right to be angry for what he did, so you go get what's yours!  You should NOT have to worry about where your next meal is coming from while HE lives the high life.  This was HIS decision to end things, NOT yours.  And, to heck with what your family thinks!  I cannot BELIEVE your mother would say that to you!  Wow.  As for your lawyer's fees, make HIM pay them.  Mine did.  I even  made HIM open up new bank accounts. I told him if HE wanted out, HE was going to do the work to do it.  I think men who want out badly enough will cave more quickly just to get it over with.  Mine did.

By the way, you wouldn't even need to see your alimony check.  We had mine set up through the courts to just be moved from his bank account into mine the 15th of the month.  :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-30-2012
Tue, 02-12-2013 - 7:30pm
I feel somewhat better that I am not the only one who struggles with the kid thing. I moved for work. After over a year of unemployment I needed a job, it was the only one I found. I wanted out of the winters and to go south anyway. I just feel like I lost so much and not sure it matters to the kids any more where I live. Ex doesn't speak to his family, we haven't seen them in over 10 years. The only family they have is mine. I was happy (to a point) when he still went to big events with them. But now, he has pretty much taken them over as his own. He had prostrate cancer this fall, my mother and step-dad went to the surgery. Sat in the recovery room with the GF. There is no one who understands how much I feel like I have been discarded by my own mother. There is a part of me that is glad they were there for him, but really, hanging out with the woman who he cheated on me with? I know we have been together since I was 20, and they have always been close to him, but he is everywhere. Too long of a story to tell, but Christmas Eve he took the kids and the GF to the place where my family has gone for 30 years. None of my family was there for other reasons, but he had invited all my cousins to go. If they had shown up? I didn't know this until two weekends ago when my DD told me about how drunk the GF was and nice she was. Yet when I asked her if she would come down to visit me if I lived with someone, she said "Probably not." I know she is in college and all, and starting her own life, I get all that. Daddy Dearest can write checks and be the big guy and look all great and wonderful. He was never there for 20 years, I raised those kids, mostly on my own. He worked all the time. Now, it's like I was never there. I love my job, about as much as you could love a public health job in one of the poorest counties in the country and I have met a wonderful man. Do I stay? Or do I go back and claim back my family and my kids? I have no illusions about how often I would see them, DS is 23. AS I stated before, he is freeloading off his father. He will have to get his own place and would be over for food and laundry, I am okay with that! That's what you are suppose to do as a mother. I am not looking to go back and think they are still children and I will see them every day, but..... This divorce is going to cost him dearly. Most likely will have to sell the house to afford me. The unfortunate thing is, he won't be the Big Daddy who writes the checks. He will go back to being the slug he always was. He won't be able to promise trips on spring breaks and summers and pay all their bills. I know that sounds mean to my kids, but I am living off of next to nothing and can't afford to see them but once a year, while he is wining and dining them. How is that fair? I am the one that was there for everything. I don't know how to make this decision. I do miss my friends and the things I used to do. On the other hand, I enjoy my job and for however long this relationship lasts, I am enjoying being treated well and being with someone who truly wants to be with me. I just don't think I can move forward with him until I figure this out. I made mistakes in the marriage too. I can't sit here and claim I was perfect. AT the end though, I begged him to work things out, not to throw away all that we had. He didn't care until I said it was over. My mother doesn't know all the things he put me through. She sees him as this great and wonderful man, and a great father. So he didn't beat the kids, okay. He wasn't a horrible father, but there are so many times I remember the pain in their eyes as he wouldn't give them them time of day. Just after he left, the 3 of us were watching tv, DD said, "This is no different than when you were still together, except we get to watch what we want and he isn't yelling at us." It kills me that now, I am nothing and he is so wonderful. I know he wants this divorce on some level, but he will never take responsibility for it. Just like the end of the marriage. He didn't want to be with me, he was so horrible to me, but he wouldn't go. I thought I was going to have to throw his stuff out and change the locks to get him to go. He has always thought I was weak and couldn't survive without him. I think there is a part of him that likes being in control of me financially and doesn't want to be divorced. It also makes it very easy to not have to marry the GF. I am his 2nd wife, he doesn't want to get married again. She is almost 20 years younger, never married and never had kids. How long is she going to stick around? I am sorry for babbling on. Mostly I think I am fine with all of this. As far as the divorce goes, can't happen fast enough now. The issue with the kids is killing me. I am not prepared to be lost to them. I know this was my choice, I thought they would care more. Thanks for your posts. Knowing I am not the only one who feels left out by their children does help.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-13-2010
Tue, 02-12-2013 - 8:47pm

  I normally don't give advice, but, in this case, if I were you, I'd stay put and get your divorce via fax and email.  My own mother told me that my kids were grown and to now live MY life.  I'm telling you the same.  I KNOW you miss your kids, but it sounds like you are starting to build a life of your own where you are...and I have to say...in a warm climate!  I am currently back in counseling due to the 4 years of pain my DDs have caused me (ever since I met dh).  I've confided in my mother who, when I told her how DDs feel about dh and how I felt the only way I could have a decent relationship with them would be to leave my dh, she reminded me of the marriage vows...forsaking all others (meaning including my own children). I got it.  My kids are now grown and it's time for ME...AND YOU!  Your kids may not like some decisions you make (MINE sure haven't), but it's YOUR life to live and, as I was reminded not long ago...I have more time BEHIND me than in FRONT of me, so to LIVE it! 

<< Daddy Dearest can write checks and be the big guy and look all great and wonderful. He was never there for 20 years, I raised those kids, mostly on my own. He worked all the time.>>

W0W.  I could have written that! What I HAVE learned in counseling is that kids in their twenties are still very selfish and don't have the maturity to think of anyone but themselves.  (I know that's not true of all twenty-somethings, but it is of mine.)  I think kids who are brought up in a more affluent family like yours and mine probably don't grow up as quickly as we'd like because they WERE privileged and spoiled, so the parent who can keep giving is the favored one. 

I still don't understand your family, but perhaps because YOU were the one to end the marriage, they just see you as the bad guy.  A friend of mine told me once that my ex did everything the last 7 years of our marriage to make ME leave, probably so he wouldn't be the one to look like the bad guy, but he obviously didn't understand my commitment to the vows and to family.  I always thought he had the same morals and value and I was mistaken.  At any rate, since you haven't told them everything, that might be why they aren't "standing behind you" as you had hoped. 

Keep in touch and let me know how it goes.  Just be happy in your new life.  Live for yourself now...NOT your kids.  All we can do once our kids are grown is to let them know we love them and are here for them.  Period.  I HAVE told dh though that I'm going to spend Christmas in AZ with my parents.  I don't care WHAT my kids have planned.  I know they'd rather be with their father and his family anyway, so it'll make it easier on me.  This Christmas was very painful...only having dh and his family around.  Even after 4 years, I still don't feel like a part of his family...and may never.  MY kids are not part of HIS family and, since  I have none here, it'll be easier for me to spend it with my extended family in AZ.