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help with a crappy situation

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help with a crappy situation

Postby vitalogist » Sun Jun 03, 2007 1:23 pm

this is not the usual cafe fodder, but occasionally i've seen some people drop some serious personal matters into this forum so i'll do it now too.

after six years of marriage, i came to the realization yesterday that mine is over. to make a long story short, my soon to be ex-wife is guilty of some actions that i may never be able to forgive her for. and thus, the union is ended.

we have two kids together, a small amount of money, and a house we own together. has anyone here gone through this before? i really am at a loss as to where to start. i am in the state of washington, and i know that the laws vary by state but i was curious as to what others have experienced / been exposed to.

i do know that we will at least have to go to court and have a formal parenting plan at least. so far she has been amicable in this regard, as she knows what i mean to my boys. i'm a very hands-on dad and i have never done anything but put them first so i feel i am entitled to nothing less than 50% of their time. i know she knows this, and she admits it readily.

as far as the money is concerned, i feel we sell the house, pay off the bills, and whatevers left we split. seems simple. she also says she agrees here but given recent events i cannot trust one word that comes out of her mouth. i need to protect myself and most importantly my two little boys here so i need to do things the right way. the one thing i DONT want to do is to rack up thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting over stuff because there will be nothing left. its just money but my kids deserve the security. i know that i need some professional legal advice i just thought i'd throw this out here to see what you guys thought....

oh and just for one final bit of irony - yesterday was our anniversary.
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Postby mrblitz » Sun Jun 03, 2007 1:26 pm

Wish I could help. Sorry to here of your situation. It's got to be especially difficult with children involved. I'm sure someone here will be able to help you out. Keep your head up.
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Postby BlueBandit24 » Sun Jun 03, 2007 1:45 pm

The 50% split of everything seems reasonable at first glance, but rarely is it ever that black and white. Considering she has been less than truthful in the past it's likely that she is going to want to squeeze as much money and as many assets out of the deal as she can.

I would put all your effort first into making sure you have at the very least shared custody of your kids. Even if it does cost you money in legal battles, you can make that back while your kids will only be young once and you're going to play a pivotal role into molding them into the people they will become. If you invest plenty in your kids there is no way you will regret it. If need be, ceding some of the household items and money made from the selling of the house to her may actually save you money in the long run. It sucks but often in cases like this the courts/jury will turn a kinder eye to the mother. Since your first priority is obviously your kids, the rest of it is fairly irrelevant in comparison. The most monetary loss would likely come from dragging out the process and continually paying your representation and court fees.

I've never gone through this personally but my parents when through a messy divorce when I was a child. Their situation was a tad different but they had many differences and it led to a long and costly process which resulted in my mom, rightfully so, gaining full custody but losing out on a lot of assets that my dad was able to retain. It's unfair but unfortunately it seems to be the way the system works.

In any case, good luck and I hope it all works out for the best. ;-D
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Postby steelerfan513 » Sun Jun 03, 2007 1:49 pm

That really sucks man. I hope the divorce isn't messy, although it sounds like it won't be too bad. :-/
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Postby A Fleshner Fantasy » Sun Jun 03, 2007 2:53 pm

For starters, I'm really sorry about the divorce and the whole situation.

Anyway, I haven't been through this before so I can't say from first hand experience what you should do. However, one thing that occured to me is that you should consider how much of the money you have earned. If you've earned the bulk of it, you probably deserve more than her, however if not, an even split seems like the most logical thing. I don't know what specific things she's done, and it isn't my business, but that being said, I don't know whether she's the type of person that would try to squeeze money out of you. You have to be alert as to what she is doing though, and make sure that she doesn't rip you off. With all of that in mind, I still think the kids are your #1 priority. Getting custody will be extremely difficult, however if you cannot do that, I think you will be able to get 50% of their time, which I think is the least that you deserve.

Anyway, keep me posted, and I hope all goes well.
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Postby Plindsey88 » Sun Jun 03, 2007 3:13 pm

Divorce is DEFINITELY one of those legal matters you don't want to try to tackle on your own... Get a lawyer... Hopefully with a decent attorney you can force the sale of the house, and whatever legal fees you incur can come off the top from the money you get there...

As a general rule, unless the wife has proven to be extremely reckless, she will get primary custody of the children... That's just the way it works... If you want primary custody you will have to prove in court that she is an unfit mother...

If she is agreeable, you will likely end up with decent visitation rights, though... Usually the non-custodial parent (99% of the time the father) gets every other weekend, one night a week, and every other holiday... That is what the courts consider to be substantial custody for the father...

I have no experience with this sort of thing in Washington... I know how it works in the Southeast, though... As a general rule, everything on the West Coast tends to run more liberally than everything in my neck of the woods, so you may end up with a better deal out there...

Now, regarding the house, if you don't get a lawyer and she does, you will most likely end up giving her the house because she is the custodial parent... Judges don't normally kick the custodial parent to the curb... If she voluntarily leaves, then you can sell the house and split the money, but if she fights for the house she will most likely get it... She will assume payments solely in her name... You will lose the equity you have accrued...

That's how it usually works out down here...

In most no-fault divorce cases, all other assets and debts are split down the middle... You get your car... She gets her car... Bank accounts are split... Investments are split... Insurance policies go with the insured... And all unsecured debts (credit cards, etc...) are split down the middle...

All of that is up for grabs, though... So you really need an attorney to make sure that you get your share...

You may have a better leg to stand on if you can prove in court that she was unfaithful... It kind of sounds like that is/was the case... If that's so, do what you can to prove it... Any evidence you have to substantiate that claim will be helpful... Cell phone records can be a good start... Credit card statements can sometimes also help...

Ummmm... That's what I can think of off the top of my head...

Oh, and it may be worth mentioning that in some states the children can decide who they want to be their custodial parent in no-fault divorce cases... Normally that depends on the age of the child... I know that in North Carolina at 13 the child has the right to decide... I don't know how old your kids are, but that is worth noting...

In short, get a lawyer... No matter what she tells you upfront, if she gets a lawyer of her own, her lawyer's fee will be determined by the amount of the settlement she gets in the divorce, and therefore, she'll end up fighting you for everything, on the advice of her attorney...

This is NOT one of those things you want to tackle on your own... Period... Whatever it costs, it is worth the legal help...

Good Luck!

:-o
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Postby stomperrob » Sun Jun 03, 2007 3:43 pm

Sorry to hear that - just went through a nasty divorce myself over the past 18 months. As stated, the most important thing is to get a lawyer - even if you and your wife agree on things now, chances are once she talks to a lawyer her lawyer may change that! Don't let the lawyers drag it out endlessly if ya don't have to - obviously the longer it goes on, the more they get paid and the more you lose - and if you can settle without going to court it's a lot cheaper.

And while adultery may be grounds for a divorce, these days it doesn't give you any special edge in settling things in most jurisdictions, but that's something your lawyer can clarify.

As for custody matters, as Plindsey stated, older kids do have a say in that in most cases. Also in a lot of jurisdictions, they are going with shared custody now, where kids alternate back and forth, for example, 1 week with mom and then 1 week with dad - that was how we did it with our oldest son but then that only works in cases like ours where the parents live fairly close together so it's not a problem for things like school and extra-curricular activities. And as it turned out, after a couple months the older boy decided he wanted to live here and the ex didn't fight it (not like she could force him to stay there and make him miserable - wouldn't really accomplish much).

It's gonna be tough to go through, financially and especially emotionally (a real rollercoaster). If ya need to talk any time - just PM me.

Hang in there - there lots of support here if ya need it - sure helped me! ;-D
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Postby HskrPwr13 » Sun Jun 03, 2007 4:00 pm

Sorry, man. I can offer is my sympathy. Anything else I could add would be strictly opinion.
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Postby onnestabe » Sun Jun 03, 2007 4:18 pm

You should consult a divorce lawyer. I really feel for you, and as much as you both want it to end amicably, you shouldn't try to handle these matters without legal counsel.

I understand the concern with hiring a lawyer at this early stage is that she will see it as an act of aggression and it might turn nasty, but if you and the future-ex are still talking about things in a rational manner, it shouldn't be hard to explain to her that you just want to make sure everything runs smoothly, and you needed someone with experience to help make it happen.
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Postby vitalogist » Sun Jun 03, 2007 11:13 pm

thanks for all the kind words guys.

for starters, yes adultery was committed many times. it wasnt that that broke the deal for me it was all the lying and deceit that she did.

after reading up on the laws, 1) even though i earned the bulk of the money she is entitled to 50% and 2) the adultery is not going to count against her since this is a "no-fault" state. so that blows. so i'm definitely calling a lawyer tomorrow and i'm going to find out what i can do.

what's most important to me is earning no less than joint custody of my 5 and 2 year old sons, meaning they are with me 50% of the time and her 50% of the time. i havent decided to fight for custodial status or not. i'll keep everyone posted and thanks again for all the support.
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