Divorce [financial implications]

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Topic Author
vas
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Divorce [financial implications]

Post by vas »

Anyone here been through a divorce? What are your lessons learned from a financial / legal / personnel perspective?

Update: My personal situation no longer includes an immanent divorce. Lot's of good advice in the responses below if you need it. I hope you don't.
Last edited by vas on Tue Jul 28, 2015 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
There is nothing you can't prove if your outlook is sufficiently limited
BahamaMan
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Re: Divorce

Post by BahamaMan »

vas wrote:Anyone here been through a divorce? What are your lessons learned from a financial / legal / personnel perspective?
My experience is that the Lawyers cause more conflict than the fighting spouses do. When they are 'on the clock', the more conflict that they can cause, the more billable hours that they charge. Avoid lawyers if possible and get a mediator. Whether you get Lawyers or not, you will have to work it out with the other party in the end anyway. We both got so sick of our lawyers, we had to tell them to "Quit fighting and Settle". It was like baby sitting.

And Get it over early in your investing career and then Marry the right person. Happily re-married for 30 years now! :happy
BlackStrat
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Re: Divorce

Post by BlackStrat »

+1 on a mediator (convince each other that it's in both of your best interests).

I haven't been through it but have close friends who have. One of my buddies said his lawyer told him right off the bat that it will be 'unfair' and for him to get used to that idea.

sorry about what you're going through.
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PaddyMac
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Re: Divorce

Post by PaddyMac »

My brother went through divorce twice and it was clear that the only people who gained anything were the lawyers. He was left practically penniless. If possible do everything you can to agree on one thing with the spouse and that is to avoid making both lawyers rich. Agree to disagree but not to prolong the agony so that both of you can maximize what you end up with financially.

And best of luck on finding your soulmate the next time around.
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rterickson
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Re: Divorce

Post by rterickson »

It certainly helps if you have a reasonable spouse.

+2 on the mediator, I used this firm in California and never even had to go to court. The wife and I had to come to agreement on everything on our own however.

http://divorcehelp.com/
Topic Author
vas
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Re: Divorce

Post by vas »

Thanks for your responses. I'll check the divorce help site. I'm hoping to find some examples of parenting plans and financial distributions. I suspect my wife and I will be able to workout a good (in the context) plan for the kiddo. Assets are another story. I have assets that were accumulated pre marriage. Is it typical to keep those or do they become shared over time? What about retirement savings accumulated during the marriage?
There is nothing you can't prove if your outlook is sufficiently limited
Greentree
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Re: Divorce

Post by Greentree »

I have a friend who is a divorce lawyer. He told me one time that people would save a lot of money if they would just work it out between themselves and then come to the lawyer to finish it up. So another vote for the mediator. You may not end up 50/50 but it is cheaper than battling it out with lawyers.
stoptothink
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Re: Divorce

Post by stoptothink »

BahamaMan wrote:
vas wrote:Anyone here been through a divorce? What are your lessons learned from a financial / legal / personnel perspective?
My experience is that the Lawyers cause more conflict than the fighting spouses do. When they are 'on the clock', the more conflict that they can cause, the more billable hours that they charge. Avoid lawyers if possible and get a mediator. Whether you get Lawyers or not, you will have to work it out with the other party in the end anyway. We both got so sick of our lawyers, we had to tell them to "Quit fighting and Settle". It was like baby sitting.

And Get it over early in your investing career and then Marry the right person. Happily re-married for 30 years now! :happy
+1. A lawyer stretched my divorce proceedings from the state minimum (something like 62 days) to over 11-months. In the end, my ex-wife received absolutely nothing she had not taken when we separated and the judge commented in court that had I decided to fight it, very likely I would have received a substantial settlement in my favor. Don't even want to guess what it cost her father (from the little I know, it was his idea to fight it and he bankrolled it) to fight the settlement her and I agreed upon when we separated, it cost me $0 to fight it and "win" (although you can't put a price on nearly a year of sleepless nights). We came to a financial agreement amicably, within days of deciding to divorce and within 30 min of discussing it - getting other people involved made it a long and drawn-out nightmare. Do whatever you can to settle without lawyers and without the input of outside (inherently biased) parties.

I am also very fortunate that mine came early in life (28). I lost six-figures in possible networth due to paying for her undergrad, dental school, all her previous debt (ie. car), and all her living expenses for five years, but it could have been so much worse had it come later in life when I was more established in my career or had we had kids. If you decide to do it, get it over with ASAP and get started on moving on.

I, as well, made a much better decision the second time around.
hicabob
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Re: Divorce

Post by hicabob »

rterickson wrote:It certainly helps if you have a reasonable spouse.

+2 on the mediator, I used this firm in California and never even had to go to court. The wife and I had to come to agreement on everything on our own however.

http://divorcehelp.com/

I used this firm too. A good experience considering the alternatives. If both parties are reasonable and amenable to a 50/50 split mediation is the way to go.
Twins Fan
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Re: Divorce

Post by Twins Fan »

vas wrote:Anyone here been through a divorce?
Yes, two of them.
vas wrote: What are your lessons learned from a financial / legal / personnel perspective?
Stay single. :D

Both of mine were worked out between us... no lawyers and didn't even have to go to court. Made the agreements between us and signed the papers.

Definitely the preferable way to go, if possible. Getting lawyers involved, one or both parties being greedy, and numerous court dates gets expensive in a hurry.

It can depend on how much there is to divide up and how agreeable you two would be. If you can decide it all yourselves and agree to it, the courts will usually just sign off on it. They do check the papers and if something is way off balance they will say to make the correction. We had entered the insurance coverage for the kids incorrectly in the second one and they asked for a correction. Things like that. Otherwise, if the courts can keep a case out of the courtroom.....

Check out your county web site where you live. There's probably a family law section with all the papers/forms needed and instructions for them. That will give you some guidance.
Rupert
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Re: Divorce

Post by Rupert »

vas wrote:Thanks for your responses. I'll check the divorce help site. I'm hoping to find some examples of parenting plans and financial distributions. I suspect my wife and I will be able to workout a good (in the context) plan for the kiddo. Assets are another story. I have assets that were accumulated pre marriage. Is it typical to keep those or do they become shared over time? What about retirement savings accumulated during the marriage?
You're asking questions that are dependent on state law. Don't rely on legal advice given by anyone on this forum. Even if you plan on trying to work things out with your spouse using a mediator, talk first to a competent divorce lawyer, who can outline the relevant law for you and tell you what would be a reasonable outcome in your case given your individual circumstances. This consultation might cost you a couple or several hundred dollars, but it will be money well spent. Also, as you are searching for a lawyer, be upfront about your expectations. If you don't want a fight, tell the person you're talking to that you don't want a fight. That will help them help you find the best sort of lawyer for your case. I'm a lawyer who does not practice domestic relations law, but I get calls now and then from people seeking referrals to domestic relations lawyers. I always ask two questions when I get these calls: What sort of divorce do you want to have, and what lawyer has your wife/husband hired? I ask these questions because there are domestic relations lawyers who are known to be scrappy fighters. You don't want to accidentally walk into one of those lawyer's offices if that's not the kind of divorce you want to have. But if your wife/husband has hired one of those type of lawyers, you need one of them too.
BahamaMan
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Re: Divorce

Post by BahamaMan »

Rupert wrote:You're asking questions that are dependent on state law. Don't rely on legal advice given by anyone on this forum. Even if you plan on trying to work things out with your spouse using a mediator, talk first to a competent divorce lawyer, who can outline the relevant law for you and tell you what would be a reasonable outcome in your case given your individual circumstances. This consultation might cost you a couple or several hundred dollars, but it will be money well spent. Also, as you are searching for a lawyer, be upfront about your expectations. If you don't want a fight, tell the person you're talking to that you don't want a fight. That will help them help you find the best sort of lawyer for your case. I'm a lawyer who does not practice domestic relations law, but I get calls now and then from people seeking referrals to domestic relations lawyers. I always ask two questions when I get these calls: What sort of divorce do you want to have, and what lawyer has your wife/husband hired? I ask these questions because there are domestic relations lawyers who are known to be scrappy fighters. You don't want to accidentally walk into one of those lawyer's offices if that's not the kind of divorce you want to have. But if your wife/husband has hired one of those type of lawyers, you need one of them too.
LOL ! ........ :D
Twins Fan
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Re: Divorce

Post by Twins Fan »

Rupert wrote:I ask these questions because there are domestic relations lawyers who are known to be scrappy fighters.
That's a nice way to put it. I would choose different words for those lawyers, but those words would be inappropriate for this forum. :)
nordsteve
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Re: Divorce

Post by nordsteve »

My ex-wife and I used the Collaborative Law process. Highly recommended.
jbdiver
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Re: Divorce

Post by jbdiver »

I got divorced in my early 30's. Thankfully we qualified for a "quickie" divorce because we had been married less than 8 years, we didn't have kids, and we had limited assets. My ex-wife spent every spare nickel we had on clothes, shoes, and entertainment while flying all over the country for her job. When we decided to divorce, I let her take anything she wanted in the house and I gave her half of the remaining home equity. We filled out the paperwork, got it notarized, and sent it to the county. One month later, I received a signed divorce decree from a county judge. She signed a quit claim deed on the house and I was free!
mhalley
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Re: Divorce

Post by mhalley »

From listening to Dave Ramsey the biggest problem that people call in about is that there was a mortgage in both spouses names, and one spouse gets the house in the divorce. Invariably, the mortgage is not switched over to the one spouse, and the one living in the house stops making payments, trashing the other spouses credit. So, if there is a mortgage, be sure that the house being refinanced is in the divorce decree. Otherwise, sell the house.
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IlliniDave
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Re: Divorce

Post by IlliniDave »

Unfortunately, I have.

Financially, make sure everything is completely separated (no spouse A gets the house but spouse B is responsible for paying the mortgage or the like). It's almost certain you will take a hit financially, expect it and expect some amount of struggle to dig out of it. The older you are/longer married, the worse it may be.

From a legal perspective, retain a lawyer for yourself, but make every effort to come up with a settlement between the two of you, using a mediator if necessary. What the two of you freely agree to is fair. One lawyer told me, "Nothing good happens in front of a judge in a divorce hearing." Lawyers have financial incentive to create a long, drawn-out, ugly mess. Not all of them will encourage that, but a disappointing number will. I actually "interviewed" several lawyers before selecting one who seemed willing to accept my wishes that things go as amicably as possible.

From a personal perspective it's hard to say much. Once my divorce was over I was far better off, and even though it was unusually amicable (from what people tell me), going through the process still sucked. Especially when kids are involved, there is nothing to be gained by trying to hurt the other party. Don't be greedy. There's no point to letting it drag on for months over a little bit of money. I was lucky in that my ex- was ~75% reasonable. Hopefully you will not be facing an irrational, vindictive spouse in this. Once it's over, let go. When you get out of bed each morning look at where your feet hit the floor and do the best you can starting from there. Constantly looking back will drag you down.
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Caduceus
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Re: Divorce

Post by Caduceus »

I have never been through a divorce, but apart from the legal fees, isn't this just like returning to a state of singlehood, financially speaking?

Singles can't afford as big a house as a household with pooled income, but the networth per person is still the same. If you are the frugal spouse, won't your savings rate go up?
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bottlecap
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Re: Divorce

Post by bottlecap »

A lawyer is not a bad idea, especially with previous assets. However, a lawyer is paid to be your advocate and do what's best for you. You don't have to do it and can tell your lawyer you won't be pressing certain issues. As long as you make clear how you want things handled, your lawyer should'nt be a problem. If the lawyer doesn't want to go along with your wishes, get a new one.

JT
Call_Me_Op
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Re: Divorce

Post by Call_Me_Op »

Unfortunately, marriage today is a business contract. Think of it differently at your own peril.
Best regards, -Op | | "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Einstein
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Divorce

Post by TomatoTomahto »

I learned a lot, and I hope that some of it translates:

1. If you have children, remember that you love them more than you dislike your ex.
2. I agree with what others have said about lawyers. My ex wanted to fight, but in the end she wound up with half of our possessions, less the considerable portion that the lawyers divided among themselves. The pie we divided would have been bigger if the lawyers' portions were smaller. I offered 50% initially, and that's what she got.
3. Take the high road, especially if there are children involved. You might not get points for it right away, but life is long.
4. Be open to finding a soulmate the next time around.
5. Grieve over the marriage, the hopes and plans, and yes, the assets you've seen go away, but get over it. Bitterness won't allow #4 above to happen.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
Stupendous
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Re: Divorce

Post by Stupendous »

vas wrote:What are your lessons learned from a financial / legal / personnel perspective?
Cohabitate. If you aren't having kids and aren't religious there is no good reason to get married as you can see.
Caduceus wrote:I have never been through a divorce, but apart from the legal fees, isn't this just like returning to a state of singlehood, financially speaking?

Singles can't afford as big a house as a household with pooled income, but the networth per person is still the same. If you are the frugal spouse, won't your savings rate go up?
This would only be true if both people worked and had similar incomes. If you had an income split of 70/30, e.g., in the marriage then the 70 split person would be worse off and the 30 split person is better off had they not gotten married.
mholdi1540
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Re: Divorce

Post by mholdi1540 »

All I can say is that next time around have a pre-nup and if your soulmate does not agree to it then walk out the door. I have had two and it makes all the difference in the world. You might get dinged financially but you will not get ruined. Make sure it is done by an attorney who has experience in this area not some local yokel. A few thousand dollars up front could save you millions on the back end !! As for the current divorce just get through it as best as you can.
WhyNotUs
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Re: Divorce

Post by WhyNotUs »

Best advice from my lawyer was to take a day or two and identify what would be most important to me to be whole at the end of the day and that would not harm any other parties involved. He helped me create a short list (three) things that I needed to have addressed in final settlement and why they were important to me. It allowed me to be very clear and to let the chips fall where they may on the other issues.
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sesq
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Re: Divorce

Post by sesq »

I am not a lawyer, but I am not sure they deserve all the blame for making the process contentious.

My wife and I have had a couple friends divorce and we have given advice when asked. In the contentious situations one divorcing spouse was very controlling and directing their lawyer to scorch the earth. The other spouse was often very prone to being bullied and having a good lawyer was critical in my view. One of these jerks had a wake up moment and started to push for mediation. For anyone else this would be sensible but not in this instance. When mediation was declined the jerk went back to threatening to have their ex spouse deported (had a green card pre-marriage, is now a parent to children who were born here) and that they will leverage family resources to "bury" the spouse. Ugly.

That said, I do think there is a lot of time wasted as parties try to position themselves. If I were ever to divorce I would compute my best offer on day one, have counsel look it over for points of obvious stupidity, and then put that out there to be the starting point for discussion. Admittedly I would have the opportunity to skip discovery since I manage the finances and I know what is where. I know the theory that the first person to "blink" in a negotiation loses but I would assume the difference would be offset by shortening the controversy and thus the legal fees.
Call_Me_Op
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Re: Divorce

Post by Call_Me_Op »

sesq wrote:I am not a lawyer, but I am not sure they deserve all the blame for making the process contentious.
Divorce lawyers have a conflict of interest; they make more money when the divorce is contentious. Perhaps they do not deserve "all" of the blame, but I don't think there is any question the the conflict of interest exists and that it impacts the way divorces play out.

As I indicated above, marriage today is (in the eyes of the law) a business arrangement - no more, no less. It can mean whatever you want it to mean in your heart and mind, but its dissolution is handled like the dissolution of a business.
Best regards, -Op | | "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Einstein
Barefootgirl
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Re: Divorce

Post by Barefootgirl »

Marriage starts out being about love, but ends up being about money, so the comment above about viewing it as a business arrangement is wise.

In theory
, by the time a divorce is initiated, the parties have gotten over the emotional hurdles and can focus on disentangling the assets.

You've gotten excellent advice about trying to minimize the involvement of lawyers. Since I have a background in law, I was able to review, edit and somewhat negotiate the terms of our final agreements - and just hand it to my attorney to review for any errors or omissions. He would have liked to have had a larger role in it, obviously.

I would have preferred to mediate, but my ex-husband preferred to attempt to extract an extra pound of flesh. Almost never a wise move.

My best advice to remain calm and logical, if you can.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.
stoptothink
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Re: Divorce

Post by stoptothink »

Stupendous wrote:
vas wrote:
Singles can't afford as big a house as a household with pooled income, but the networth per person is still the same. If you are the frugal spouse, won't your savings rate go up?
This would only be true if both people worked and had similar incomes. If you had an income split of 70/30, e.g., in the marriage then the 70 split person would be worse off and the 30 split person is better off had they not gotten married.
My ex-wife came into our marriage with significant debt (undergrad loans and car loan) and did not earn a penny in the 5yrs of our marriage - but left with zero debt, was probably the only person in her dental school who graduated with no loans, and low/mid 5-figures in cash. Has got to be great to be a newly licensed dentist without the burden of any debt (education or otherwise) and enough cash for a down payment on a nice home. I made the decision to "invest" much of my life savings to that point in her and it cost me.

I pretty much had to start over, she was expedited to a financial situation that would have taken her another decade or two to reach on her own. Tough pill to swallow, but I was fortunate that it came early and I have been able to recover in short time.
sls239
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Re: Divorce

Post by sls239 »

Go see a therapist, and take the children to a therapist, and pay for your wife to see a therapist.

You don't want to lash out, but you don't want to shut-down either. IMO anyone short of a superhero would need some special help with this emotional time.

And Nolo is, as always, a great starting place. http://www.nolo.com/products/nolos-esse ... -nodv.html
vested1
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Re: Divorce

Post by vested1 »

My advice, if you find it absolutely necessary to go to a lawyer, is to not chose one on a flat-rate fee basis. I did so thinking I was saving money and tried to warn my lawyer that my then wife would be a lot more contentious and demanding than he realized. In the end he sold me out because he realized that everything I was saying was correct. You need to be able to trust your lawyer to look out for your best interests, and once the cost of handling your case exceeds his/her profit margin they will tend to cut their losses. My lawyer even admitted this to me after the dust settled. The results were disastrous and took about 15 years to overcome, with highly unusual concessions on my part that I was told were normal.

When I retained a "better" lawyer at a ridiculous hourly rate due to the urging of a friend I was told that pursuing a case against my previous lawyer would be very costly. It seemed a bit like circling the wagons to me, as the misconduct was egregious in my opinion.

State law does vary but most important is the length of the marriage. The ten year rule applies for SS, and also for DB retirement packages. As far as retirement savings separate from DB packages the amount plus gain during the period of the marriage is considered community property and must be split. If you have a DB pension or lump sum coming and have been married over 10 years, a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order, pronounced quadro) will lock up your funds until submitted and signed by both parties.

I paid my ex a lump sum to sign the papers in order to avoid a huge drain on my DB benefits after retirement, and thankfully she took it. Even though we hadn't been married 10 years the divorce decree said she was to get half of my DB benefit. She wasn't qualified for any of it and the normal method is to pro-rate the benefit for the time you were married, but once again, my lawyer was cutting his loses.

Most importantly, the children should never be used as a sounding board for any grievance you have, or used as pawns to get something you want. They take priority over everything and should be the first consideration.
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Toons
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Re: Divorce

Post by Toons »

"Time Heals All Wounds" :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
Confused
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Re: Divorce

Post by Confused »

Blanked for privacy
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Barefootgirl
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Re: Divorce

Post by Barefootgirl »

I'm just not sure what a lawyer would "finish up" if the divorcing couple already worked it out between themselves.

It's often wise to have any agreements hashed out informally between parties, reviewed as to legal form, at a minimum.

What a pain it would be to later have to revisit it.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.
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FelixTheCat
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Re: Divorce

Post by FelixTheCat »

Mine was a high conflict divorce.

Lessons learned:
  • Communicate in writing. Messages should fit on the size of a post-it note stating only facts.
    Be polite and Never react to drama.
    Use a therapist to help you get through this chapter.
    Use mediators as much as possible to reduce costs.
    Know what you want and have it on a list and be reasonable.
    Assets will be divided in half. Child custody will be determined in mediation.
    Financial Support (spousal/child) will be calculated.
    Take lots of walks. Enjoy the small things such as trees, sunsets, etc.
    Visit friends and family. Don't isolate yourself.
    Forgive the other person.

Post Divorce
  • Make sure you retitle homes, cars, bank accounts, etc. in your name only.
    Check all life insurance policies and make sure the appropriate beneficiary is on the insurance.
Felix is a wonderful, wonderful cat.
truenorth418
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Re: Divorce

Post by truenorth418 »

stoptothink wrote:
My ex-wife came into our marriage with significant debt (undergrad loans and car loan) and did not earn a penny in the 5yrs of our marriage - but left with zero debt, was probably the only person in her dental school who graduated with no loans, and low/mid 5-figures in cash. Has got to be great to be a newly licensed dentist without the burden of any debt (education or otherwise) and enough cash for a down payment on a nice home. I made the decision to "invest" much of my life savings to that point in her and it cost me.
Call_Me_Op wrote:Unfortunately, marriage today is a business contract. Think of it differently at your own peril.
The combination of these two posts says it all.
Busting Myths
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Re: Divorce

Post by Busting Myths »

Greentree wrote:I have a friend who is a divorce lawyer. He told me one time that people would save a lot of money if they would just work it out between themselves and then come to the lawyer to finish it up. So another vote for the mediator. You may not end up 50/50 but it is cheaper than battling it out with lawyers.
If they could work things out between themselves they probably would not be getting a divorce in the first place.
sesq
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Re: Divorce

Post by sesq »

Call_Me_Op wrote:
sesq wrote:I am not a lawyer, but I am not sure they deserve all the blame for making the process contentious.
Divorce lawyers have a conflict of interest; they make more money when the divorce is contentious. Perhaps they do not deserve "all" of the blame, but I don't think there is any question the the conflict of interest exists and that it impacts the way divorces play out.
Fair enough, "all" was putting words in people's mouth. "Some" is certainly true and I agree the conflict is there. I'd wager the abuse scales with the marital net worth / incomes.
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HomerJ
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Re: Divorce

Post by HomerJ »

vas wrote:Thanks for your responses. I'll check the divorce help site. I'm hoping to find some examples of parenting plans and financial distributions. I suspect my wife and I will be able to workout a good (in the context) plan for the kiddo. Assets are another story. I have assets that were accumulated pre marriage. Is it typical to keep those or do they become shared over time? What about retirement savings accumulated during the marriage?
How long have you been married? More than 10 years?

I would suggest you split everything 50/50, if you want to have a good chance of avoiding a protracted divorce battle with lawyers.
physicsgal
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Re: Divorce

Post by physicsgal »

I'm so sorry you have to go through this. Divorce is heartbreaking.

Do you have kids? I got divorced in 2013 but we didn't have kids so that makes it much easier (the reason we got divorced is b/c I want kids and he decided he didn't), but it was still really painful. I recommend a mediator, ask around in your area to find a good one. Lawyers are so not worth it, unless you are uber high net worth and it $10k doesn't sound like a lot of money to waste on a lawyer. I just want to warn you, fighting with the person you loved for so many years over money can poison things. If you have kids, you want to avoid hostility if at all possible so that you can co-parent healthfully. Also, if you have kids, read up and get help from other divorced parents on the transition and what to do for you kids. It's really hard on them. I don't know your situation well enough, but if giving a little in terms of $ can keep your relationship civil so you can co-parent more successfully, it may be smart to be the "adult" and let your partner keep a little more $, for for the sake of your family. At least, if I had kids, had a partner who wanted to fight for money, and could afford to give a little extra to keep the process civil, I would totally do it. It makes me sick to my stomach when people use kids to hurt their partners during divorce proceedings. Act like you're the adults, people!
AngelD
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Joined: Wed Mar 25, 2015 12:36 pm

Re: Divorce

Post by AngelD »

Confused wrote:
Greentree wrote:He told me one time that people would save a lot of money if they would just work it out between themselves and then come to the lawyer to finish it up.
Finish what up? I've never been divorced and hopefully never will be, but I figure my spouse and I would say to each other, "Alright, we'll each take the car we normally drive and split our Roth IRAs 50/50" and call it a day. I mean, we know who "owns" the stuff related to our individual hobbies and such. Maybe one of us would take the couch and the other take the bed, but if (s)he wanted both or neither of them, that's fine by me.

We filled out the marriage forms without help from an attorney, I'm sure we could handle the divorce forms as well. I'm just not sure what a lawyer would "finish up" if the divorcing couple already worked it out between themselves.
You probably could do it yourselves, I did. But, it is a ton of paperwork. There is the petition to file, case information sheet, the financial statements (7 pages), child support worksheets, parenting plan (10 pages), decree, separation agreement (9 pages). Certain forms have to be filed first, then others later, then you have court dates & classes. Then you have to re-file forms if there are any issues. It is a lot, especially if you aren't familiar with the process or what the judges will approve. I had put something in the parenting plan that was not enforceable & had to be removed, then the judge wasn't happy with our CS agreement so that had to change.

It is doable, especially if you agree on everything, but it is a pain. A lawyer could make the process a lot simpler & walk you through the steps, but at a cost.
Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Divorce

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

HomerJ wrote:
vas wrote:Thanks for your responses. I'll check the divorce help site. I'm hoping to find some examples of parenting plans and financial distributions. I suspect my wife and I will be able to workout a good (in the context) plan for the kiddo. Assets are another story. I have assets that were accumulated pre marriage. Is it typical to keep those or do they become shared over time? What about retirement savings accumulated during the marriage?
How long have you been married? More than 10 years?

I would suggest you split everything 50/50, if you want to have a good chance of avoiding a protracted divorce battle with lawyers.
How generous of you to suggest splitting pre-marital assets at the time of divorce! Pre-marital assets are not part of the marital estate, so long as the OP did not commingle the assets with the joint assets, and can trace back the assets to pre-marriage, I think it's over the top to suggest it. OP should split marital assets 50/50, come up with an equitable child support plan and equitable co-parenting schedule. I suggest mediation and avoid the lawyer route if at all possible, especially if OP is on amicable terms with spouse. The only winners in a protracted divorce are the lawyers, everyone else loses, especially the child.
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Grt2bOutdoors
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Location: New York

Re: Divorce

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Toons wrote:"Time Heals All Wounds" :happy
The nasty scars are all that remain as a momento, right?
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vas
Posts: 153
Joined: Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:51 pm

Re: Divorce

Post by vas »

Thanks for all the great replies and supportive comments. I have some good, and somewhat embarrassing, news. Looks like we have broken through some barrier and resolved the crisis. We were both completely ready to call it quits, the wife was looking for a house to rent, some relative told, etc. Its not like everything is instantly perfect but going to the mat and both showing that we were ready and willing to split up turned out to be a good thing for us. Opened up some new lines of communication and showed just how important certain issues are to both of us. It was also very interesting to see how we both handled the situation.

Anyway, sorry for crying wolf on the internet. Hopefully others can use the great advice and hopefully I'll never need it.

This is academic, but it's interesting how many times the 50/50 split came up. It seems so fair doesn't it. Regardless of the specific situation, starting net worth, relative participation in savings and discretionary spending, future income potential, etc. Somehow, the assets just ooze about and level off during a marriage. I think people should always execute a prenup to avoid entering a contract without understanding the terms. Can you imagine executing a business contract with terms similar to a typical state's marriage license?
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Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Divorce

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

^^ Congrats and best wishes that you never will need the services that start off with Divorce as the lead in the title.
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ResearchMed
Posts: 10980
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Divorce

Post by ResearchMed »

vas wrote:Thanks for all the great replies and supportive comments. I have some good, and somewhat embarrassing, news. Looks like we have broken through some barrier and resolved the crisis. We were both completely ready to call it quits, the wife was looking for a house to rent, some relative told, etc. Its not like everything is instantly perfect but going to the mat and both showing that we were ready and willing to split up turned out to be a good thing for us. Opened up some new lines of communication and showed just how important certain issues are to both of us. It was also very interesting to see how we both handled the situation.

Anyway, sorry for crying wolf on the internet. Hopefully others can use the great advice and hopefully I'll never need it.

This is academic, but it's interesting how many times the 50/50 split came up. It seems so fair doesn't it. Regardless of the specific situation, starting net worth, relative participation in savings and discretionary spending, future income potential, etc. Somehow, the assets just ooze about and level off during a marriage. I think people should always execute a prenup to avoid entering a contract without understanding the terms. Can you imagine executing a business contract with terms similar to a typical state's marriage license?
This is GREAT news, and nothing embarrassing about it!

Quite the opposite.
Sometimes it takes stronger people to decide that they need to "shift gears" and "not do" what they had planned to do, especially once something is sort of "announced" to others.

I hope that it continues to head in this better direction.
If so, maybe a true second honeymoon would be in order (but wait just a bit to suggest that....)

RM
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Confused
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Re: Divorce

Post by Confused »

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Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Divorce

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Confused wrote:
AngelD wrote:There is the petition to file, case information sheet, the financial statements (7 pages), child support worksheets, parenting plan (10 pages), decree, separation agreement (9 pages). Certain forms have to be filed first, then others later, then you have court dates & classes. Then you have to re-file forms if there are any issues. It is a lot, especially if you aren't familiar with the process or what the judges will approve. I had put something in the parenting plan that was not enforceable & had to be removed, then the judge wasn't happy with our CS agreement so that had to change.
Holy moly, that's a lot of forms! I figured there would be a We Have Separated Our Stuff And No Longer Wish To File Taxes Together Or Mingle Future Assets Form that just needed each person's name and stuff on it, dated and signed by both parties.

Why does a judge have to approve something? A judge didn't approve the marriage - why need approval for the divorce?
Legal dissolution of a contract, changing names requires approval as well.
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truenorth418
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Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:38 am

Re: Divorce

Post by truenorth418 »

Confused wrote:
AngelD wrote:There is the petition to file, case information sheet, the financial statements (7 pages), child support worksheets, parenting plan (10 pages), decree, separation agreement (9 pages). Certain forms have to be filed first, then others later, then you have court dates & classes. Then you have to re-file forms if there are any issues. It is a lot, especially if you aren't familiar with the process or what the judges will approve. I had put something in the parenting plan that was not enforceable & had to be removed, then the judge wasn't happy with our CS agreement so that had to change.
Holy moly, that's a lot of forms! I figured there would be a We Have Separated Our Stuff And No Longer Wish To File Taxes Together Or Mingle Future Assets Form that just needed each person's name and stuff on it, dated and signed by both parties.

Why does a judge have to approve something? A judge didn't approve the marriage - why need approval for the divorce?

Didn't the minister or priest who officiated at the beginning of the marriage say something like "By the power vested in my by the State of New York (or whatever)...?"

That's why a judge is involved at the the end of the marriage.
Twins Fan
Posts: 2775
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Re: Divorce

Post by Twins Fan »

Oh yeah, forms and paperwork out the wazoo when it comes to family court stuff!!

The judge gets involved because there are state laws that need to be followed... child support, parenting plan, alimony... whatever applies to the case at hand. There may be none of that, or both parties can come to a reasonable agreement and the judge would just sign off on it. If no agreement is reached and some of that applies, the court decides the arrangement. But, the judge has to make sure it's all legit.

All you need to do is get a license to get married... all kinds of paperwork and laws to follow to get divorced. So easy to go into, so difficult to get out of. :)

OP, I wish you the best of luck. But, you may want to save the info in this thread somewhere. Once that road is started down, it's difficult to turn it around. Some couples/marriage counseling may be a good idea for you guys at this point.
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HomerJ
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Re: Divorce

Post by HomerJ »

Grt2bOutdoors wrote:
HomerJ wrote:
vas wrote:Thanks for your responses. I'll check the divorce help site. I'm hoping to find some examples of parenting plans and financial distributions. I suspect my wife and I will be able to workout a good (in the context) plan for the kiddo. Assets are another story. I have assets that were accumulated pre marriage. Is it typical to keep those or do they become shared over time? What about retirement savings accumulated during the marriage?
How long have you been married? More than 10 years?

I would suggest you split everything 50/50, if you want to have a good chance of avoiding a protracted divorce battle with lawyers.
How generous of you to suggest splitting pre-marital assets at the time of divorce! Pre-marital assets are not part of the marital estate, so long as the OP did not commingle the assets with the joint assets, and can trace back the assets to pre-marriage, I think it's over the top to suggest it. OP should split marital assets 50/50, come up with an equitable child support plan and equitable co-parenting schedule. I suggest mediation and avoid the lawyer route if at all possible, especially if OP is on amicable terms with spouse. The only winners in a protracted divorce are the lawyers, everyone else loses, especially the child.
If the OP wants to avoid lawyers, I suggest being generous.

As soon as one party says, "Okay, we'll split everything 50/50... oh except for THIS account.... This account is all mine", lawyers will likely get involved.

If it's a lot of money, I'm sure the OP will be willing to deal with lawyers to keep it. If it's not a lot of money, I suggest splitting as an act of good faith.
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