Author Topic: Divorce help and discussion  (Read 8905 times)

K-ice

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Divorce help and discussion
« on: May 23, 2017, 12:16:47 PM »
So there was an interesting discussion set up about divorce but it seams to have been removed. I hope the OP is OK. 

That thread was mainly about one person but I would like to open this up to everyone as lots of people need a sounding board.

I find the perspectives from the people on this forum are usually a good source of information. There are some serious number crunchers on this forum who could help with is it worth fighting for $xxx?

Remember, the opinions here are just from every day people, and divorce is a serious issue, so you should always consult with a lawyer before finalizing anything with your ex.   Every country, state and province has different laws and every judge will interpret those laws differently.

My perspective is as a child living through 2 divorces. Of course the way things were done in the 80's compared to now has changed a lot but some things are the same. I recently shared with a friend that I never felt at home at my Dad's because I didn't have a room. The odd sleep over I had was in the very white guest room. So I said make sure your son has a space of their own at your place. Not everyone can afford a room for their child (especially with blended families) but make sure they feel welcome. That may just be changing to "their" special sheets or sleeping bag when they spend the night. 

I also take an interest in my friends and I have seen it go smooth and not so smooth. Perhaps the experience on this thread can help give some people some hindsight.

I sat in on divorce court with a friend a few months ago.  The wife was complaining because they had 5 cars and he husband had only given her a collectors Mustang 1960's to drive.  She wanted another vehicle because she did not want to drive that vehicle in the winter.  The judge basically had no sympathy for her and said go ahead and drive it in the salt and slush. The judge did not care!


So what have you done right in your divorce?
What would you change if you had to do it over again?
What do you need help with right now?









NewReality

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2017, 08:33:27 PM »
5 years ago my divorce with my wife of 15 years ago was finalized. During that time (and after) I was very involved in the process, learning family law, and helped counsel others going through the process as well.

Here are a few of the most important lessons I learned about the divorce process itself, that are unfortunately not always intuitive:

1. When divorce proceedings begin (and sometimes even before), it is important to understand that the situation has become less a *personal* matter than a *legal* one, especially if minor children are involved.

This is the biggest problem I have seen for many folks. They expend enormous amounts of time and energy focusing on issues and aspects of the situation that have no bearing on the outcome or the path forward. For example, trying to gather information and argue that a spouse cheated, lied, was irresponsible, or in some way was horrible. Largely, the court does not consider any of these things in judgement. They will not listen or accept such in court save for very specific circumstances. This is a tough one since naturally people's emotions are involved--so much may be at stake--, and often there's long history of ill will leading up to this point. A good attorney that specializes in family law will be able to advise on what your judge and jurisdiction (your state's laws) might care about most in a contest. In a divorce with minor children, it is often what they deem in the children's "best interests". Those who recognize this early can save themselves much grief and work up the best strategy for moving forward.

2. Realize that from the time divorce is imminent, your spouse is no longer your partner but your *legal adversary*, and take steps accordingly to protect yourself. This is another tough one for people to get over, especially if they have been with their spouse for many years. They may still have strong feelings for them, and so switching over instantly to view them as an adversary in a contest may seem harsh and cold. Many couples break up swearing to divorce "amicably", all while at least one of the spouses has already laid plains to drain bank accounts, skip town with the children, or do other things that give them a strategic advantage at the other's expense. Often, by the time the person comes to realize just what the other is doing and is capable of, they're already in a deep hole.

3. If there are minor children involved, think of everything in terms of their long-term best interests. The great pressures and life changes that come with a divorce with children may cause otherwise well-meaning parents to do things that seem necessary or like a good idea at the time, but may have serious long-term negative consequences.

One example is a parent moving out of the house before the divorce is finalized in order to escape a hostile household situation, or else to attempt to "diffuse" it for the children's sake. What can happen in this scenario however is that the remaining parent petitions the court for exclusive use of the home as well as temporary orders to establish a parenting plan and support payments (in their favor, at the other's expense, of course). In this case, what the leaving parent may have thought was a considerate and pragmatic yet temporary act to relieve the situation in fact turns into a legal status quo in which they are banned from their household and diminished in their children's daily lives--a status quo that often becomes permanent when the final judgment is issued.

Another common example is parents getting involved in new relationships--sometimes before the last one is legally divorced--and introducing the children to these. They are doing it for their own sake, not wanting to be alone, but in doing so drag already upset and likely confused children into it as well, complicating an already overly complex situation even further.

4. Learn your states laws regarding divorce, but also retain an attorney to advise and represent you, no matter what. There are many commonalities between many states, but many important differences that may apply to your own circumstances. Do this in conjunction with consulting an attorney, no matter how simple or amicable you believe your case will be.

K-ice

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2017, 12:45:29 AM »
Thanks. Those tips are helpful.

Part 2 about the "amicably" but not really is ringing true for a friend right now.

spartana

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2017, 07:34:40 AM »
I don't think too many people on this forum are divorced as most seem to be in their 30s or younger. For me,,I had a very good loving marriage of around 17 years (got married when I was 23 and him 21), and an equally amicable divorce. No kids, no debts, equal paying jobs and investments/assets so just split everything we didn't own separately 50/50 and did the divorce ourselves with no lawyer. Cost a couple hundred bucks. Sorry no real advice but the above poster hits on so many great things to do.

ETA: we drew up the separation agreement ourselves and filed it with the divorce papers to the court via mail. We used a NOLO Press divorce in Calif book.as a guide and used their forms that wete in.the book. Once the allotted time between filing and court date (which neither of us had to attend) they just mailed us back the divorce decree. Soooo easy and cheap. So if both spouses can agree on everything you can often do everything yourself cheaply and easily. At least in no-fault community property state Calif.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 04:35:08 PM by spartana »
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Letj

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2017, 04:26:59 PM »
I don't think too many people on this forum are divorced as most seem to be in their 30s or younger. For me,,I had a very good loving marriage of around 17 years (got married when I was 23 and him 21), and an equally amicable divorce. No kids, no debts, equal paying jobs and investments/assets so just split everything we didn't own separately 50/50 and did the divorce ourselves with no lawyer. Cost a couple hundred bucks. Sorry no real advice but the above poster hits on so many great things to do.

Forgive me if I am prying but just curious why would a very good, long, loving marriage end in divorce? I thought that those are the marriages that last. I have this type of marriage and I feel lucky indeed. We've been together for 31 years since I was 18.

kayvent

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2017, 05:44:34 PM »
The best divorce advice is this: don't have one. Sometimes it is unavoidable but often it is avoidable. For example, if all your friends and family members say don't get involved with a person, I've learned first hand that it is fucking brain dead stupid to not listen. Often warning signs of a dead end or signs of deterioration occur far before the sad collapse.

With that said, I consider divorce to be a matter of damage control.

So what have you done right in your divorce?

Here are some ways to keep damage under control.

Lawyers eat money. My lawyer, a long time family friend, gave me the family rate and a free consultation. Six hundred dollars for two hours of work. Three thousand to OPEN, just open, a court case. Family wealth gets obliterated in many divorces. Many people would gladly burn tens of thousands of dollars over a dispute of a few thousand dollars in CC debt. It is better to suffer an injustice than to burn everything to try to get a fair division. Life isn't fair. For my separation, I asked for nothing. For child custody, I asked for no child support. No splitting of child costs. Any items the ex spouse wanted she got without resistance.

Don't fight baseless accusations unless needed to. I will disagree with NewReality on one point only. The USA and Canadian legal system incentivize parties to lob accusations on the other. There is a plethora of case studies on lawyers compelling their clients to make up or exaggerate allegations of abuse, unfaithfulness, and neglect. It takes lots of time and money to defend against these. A lot of these can be ignored. When I separated and had to fight for custody, my lawyer basically ignored all the accusations but was upfront with acknowledging the one episode of a singular suicidal thought. Had we decided to debunk every lie, we'd have spent lots of time and money and in return would have only gotten more grievous allegations of unimaginable horror.

What would you change if you had to do it over again?

This is more so an issue with the Canadian courts: they have a status quo bias. If one spouse is the primary caregiver when the court meets, it is probable that they will be granted primary physical custody. As such, the best advice to give to get custody in the Canadian system is to deny access to the other parent until the court date (which will be a year away). This is disgusting. If I found myself back in time, I'd not have denied access. I'd just have denied unsupervised access. I was the primary caregiver from my daughter's birth until fourteen months. Relationship disintegrated at six. At fourteen months, the other parent had them for a weekend then refused to give them back. And refused access. For months. When we did get to court, it was impossible to overcome the status quo bias. I did get back primary physical and legal custody but that was due to externalities.

Status quo bias rears its head in other ways. If someone is driving a car or living in a house, the court will think of creative ways to keep them so (ex. Liens to be paid for at the property's sale). In other words, if you want something, keep it.

What do you need help with right now?

Had we not had a child, the separation would be over with and I would be content. We'd have no communication. The child complicates things. The parent goes through tidal pulls of not wanting to be involved at all (ex. literally moving to the other side of a continent) to wanting to be uncomfortably involved . Having limits or consistency would help.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 08:07:43 PM by kayvent »

Hotstreak

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2017, 09:49:50 PM »
For those posting, did any of you have a pre-nup in place?  How much of a difference do you think it made?

spartana

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2017, 10:52:34 PM »
I don't think too many people on this forum are divorced as most seem to be in their 30s or younger. For me,,I had a very good loving marriage of around 17 years (got married when I was 23 and him 21), and an equally amicable divorce. No kids, no debts, equal paying jobs and investments/assets so just split everything we didn't own separately 50/50 and did the divorce ourselves with no lawyer. Cost a couple hundred bucks. Sorry no real advice but the above poster hits on so many great things to do.

Forgive me if I am prying but just curious why would a very good, long, loving marriage end in divorce? I thought that those are the marriages that last. I have this type of marriage and I feel lucky indeed. We've been together for 31 years since I was 18.
Not to sound like a cliche but we just ended up wanting different things in life and after much compromise on both our parts we just couldn't work out those difference.  So we sadly, but amicably parted.
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spartana

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2017, 11:07:39 PM »
For those posting, did any of you have a pre-nup in place?  How much of a difference do you think it made?
No pre nup but got married young with no assets and basucly same careers and pay and no plans for kids or debt (ex was very mustashian too). However if I was to remarry now (older and with assets) I'd get a pre nup.
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kayvent

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2017, 09:19:05 AM »
For those posting, did any of you have a pre-nup in place?  How much of a difference do you think it made?

I am anti-prenup. First, there is the issue of enforcement. Some jurisdiction may not recognize the agreement. Second, even if you are in a place that acknowledges them in separation proceedings, the prenup may not be sufficient. Third, this is a dangerous topic to broach to a fiancé or fiancée. Fourth, and this is a controversial opinion, I don't think you should plan around divorcing. It is better to plan, as much as possible, to not divorce than to have a contingency in the case of divorce.

FiguringItOut

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2017, 11:48:43 AM »
My divorce after 14 years of marriage was amicable.  We ended up hiring a mediator and doing everything through them.  Total cost was about $5K.  Money well spend.

Because one of the issues in the marriage was spending of the money, what I did was open a separate bank account in my name only and transferred all cash that we had into that account.  That was also the account where I was collecting all saved cash for about 18 month leading up to divorce. This was done by interbank transfers from out joint account to this separate account.  I told him about the account and gave him online access to it so that he could check and monitor balance.  But I didn't give him debit card or checks for that account.  It took about 18 months to save enough cash so that both of us could move on. Savings started from zero basically.  I believe this move was very specific to my marriage and our relationship.  I wasn't trying to scam him and he trusted that I wasn't doing that.  In the end that account was split 50/50 between us and I transferred half of it to his new personal account right before I moved out.  To be honest, I don't see this move working well in most other marriages/divorces.

We had no consumer debt but had student loans, mortgage, and car loan. I walked away with my own student loans and my portion of the house equity.  He kept the house with the mortgage, both cars (one paid for), and his student loans. 
I also have full custody of both kids for living and we have joint custody for medical and child raising decisions.  He pays me child support calculated according to NY State formula and half of other child related expenses as was agreed to.  He takes kids every other weekend and half holidays.

We split all 401K account in half and agreed on how much I would get from his account since his was larger.  My house equity was also added to that since there wasn't enough cash for him to buy me out of the house.  I am still waiting to receive my portion of his 401K, but hopefully it will come through the end of this year.  I personally liked that idea of receiving my portion of house equity in tax deferred money, so I think it worked out best for me. 

Everything was agreed to and spelled out in our divorce agreement.  There were no fights or major disagreements.  It really was as amicable as possible. 
What surprised me the most was that on the last day when we were sitting in the lawyer's office signing the documents we started reminiscing about the good times.  It was really unexpected.  I moved out right before we signed the documents.

Now 2 years later it's going well.  I get my child support and whatever else he owes me.  He sees kids.  It took kids about 6 months at the new place to adjust, but they seem to be ok now. 

There wasn't any prenup.

It's doubtful that I'll ever re-marry, but it that ever happens, there will be a prenup; no questions about that.

Also, my financial situation has improved drastically after the divorce.  This is  not very common as usually it is happening the other way.  But due to our particular circumstances, it worked out better for me to be on my own; which I knew it would.  Though the 'money' wasn't the only or even the primary issue that lead to divorce, it was a major contributor once it was obvious that other factors were not going to be worked out to our mutual satisfaction. 




K-ice

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2017, 10:58:57 AM »
Thanks for the comments.

It's nice to hear that financially it often works out better for Mustacians after the divorce.

partgypsy

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2017, 12:55:20 PM »
Thank you for starting this thread. I have already spent 4500 on attorney's fees, and we haven't gotten to the signed papers, and going to court part. So to me it seems very expensive for what has been done so far, and this team was recommended as being reasonable in costs. Ex is going to review papers today with an attorney, and get back to me. I hope we can come to an agreement soon. 
It has been traumatic past few years. I am still mourning and regret the loss of the break up of the family unit which was something really important to me, but am ready to move on. Things financially will be tight, but it will be a less stressful and emotionally uncertain situation.

ladyinred

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2017, 03:34:39 PM »
I'm a 34 yo woman in my first marriage. We've been married for three years, together for one before that. We have an amusingly high number of pets (cats and chickens) but no children. Our major mutual assets include a Denver area house and a car (bought with cash) and all of the things you fill those with. I have a $55k job, husband has a $95k job. Side hustles are my $1150 a month in US veteran's disability payments and we rent out our guest room on Airbnb for $7000 a year. Aside from our house, our big debt is his $35k in student loans.(My loans will be paid off within the next four months!) I have almost $70k in retirement savings (Roths and the like), most of which I accrued before meeting him. He has less than $10k in retirement savings. We don't really have anything in liquid cash right now because of a recent trip and his credit card spending habits.

I have been considering divorce for the last year, and very seriously for the last six months. To the outside, we are a remarkably high functioning, successful, and productive couple. We have a beautiful home, we're delightful and social, we run a successful Meetup group and Airbnb. What others don't see is are the painfully sore areas of misalignment that have plagued us for a while now - the incredibly cliche problems of sex and money disagreements. The problems have been going on for years and are not going to be solved. I fantasize about being freed of him and living a happier, more frugal life.

Since we are both independently successful and have no children, I'm of the opinion that we should separate. Cut our losses and move on to other lives and people who will be better for each of us and be happier in the long haul. No hard feelings - I just don't feel we're great for each other. He, on the other hand, doesn't feel he will ever be able to find someone as wonderful as me and is horrified at the thought of divorce (probably because he hates feeling rejected and is the child of divorce). When we've talked about it, he has explicitly said he will make the process difficult and made threats of suicide.

Yes, suicide.

I have no problems being impartial, emotionless and amicable in a separation, but that is wildly outside his ability. I've already mentally divvied up our stuff in what I feel is a very good split. I've started making lists of things I should do to "circle my wagons" before serving papers (download financial documents, take picture of assets, etc). I just don't really know how to start the divorce process so that I don't end up with $20k in lawyer's fees. Anyone have any suggestions?

Holyoak

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2017, 08:17:22 PM »
After 23+ years of marriage, my ex-wife had been committing adultery for at least a year, and looking back with new clarity, I'm pretty sure she had done the same 10 years earlier.  Two families were left utterly destroyed, my daughter suffered a type of hell at the hands of her mother, that caused her profound damage, leaving her broken.  I was completely and utterly devastated, and even in a state of pain and anguish that burned with no end, I had to take care of my daughter.  Looking back, I truly don't know how I am here, on the other side.  My divorce was final Dec of 2013, and how it had to come about, changes the very essence of who you were, forever. 

I filed, and had her served, and so started a chapter in my life that was needed, but very painful...  Kinda like going to a vet, but in this instance you are euthanizing a marriage.  I would strongly suggest if you are in a similar situation dealing with adultery, hit them very HARD, while they are in la-la land, with their co-cheater.  All they want is to get rid of you/their former life/children, and live a grand sleazy lie...  Let them have each other, and use this to your advantage, while the iron is hot.  My wife became a very formidable enemy, and was treated as such.  One day they go from being a person you know and love, to a dead eyed lizard being, capable of harming anyone in their path, to include their own children.

If I had it to do again, I would have insisted the reason for divorce was adultery, written on the petition.

Lastly, I learned that men are treated very differently in court, than women.  My attorney of over twenty years of experience, said if I were the female in this case, I would have received lifetime alimony, paid court costs, and a larger share of the assets...  His words, not mine.  I'll never do it again.

kayvent

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2017, 04:14:18 AM »
I would strongly suggest if you are in a similar situation dealing with adultery, hit them very HARD, while they are in la-la land, with their co-cheater.  All they want is to get rid of you/their former life/children, and live a grand sleazy lie...  Let them have each other, and use this to your advantage, while the iron is hot.

This advice is spot on. Without going into details, this worked for me in getting custody. Accidentally but it worked. They were far more concerned with their new boyfriend than raising our daughter. To this day, it shocks me how much a person will give up for the person they are dating. The relationship lasted three months. Maybe two.

Quote
Lastly, I learned that men are treated very differently in court, than women.  My attorney of over twenty years of experience, said if I were the female in this case, I would have received lifetime alimony, paid court costs, and a larger share of the assets...  His words, not mine.  I'll never do it again.

I think it depends where one lives. The USA I hear is a hell. Where I live (Eastern Canada), I earnestly believe the courts are blind to sex. They do have a status-quo bias that results in the primary caregiver, who is often the mother, getting the kids; however, male primary caregivers are given the same advantage.

That being said, the social services departments like Child Protection (CP) are horrendously sexist. Unimaginably. Once my daughter's mother was under investigation for child neglect and abuse. Her grandmother filed a complaint. I had filed numerous similar complaints in the past and CP actively ignored them. Fine. During the investigation of child endangerment, CP went out of their way to not interview and talk to people. And closed the case as fast as they could.

It was at that point I lost all faith in that department of the government because I knew from first and second hand experiences that when a woman would make any complaint, even if it was over an incident many years old, they would do a thorough investigation. I don't mind that but I wish they were balanced. /rant (Sorry, this frustrates me. Still bitter.)
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 04:18:39 AM by kayvent »

Schaefer Light

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2017, 06:29:33 AM »
The problems have been going on for years and are not going to be solved....

...Anyone have any suggestions?

My suggestion is to do everything within your power to save your marriage.  You say your problems cannot be solved, but I don't think that's true.  Anything is possible.  You must have loved each other at some point, or you would not have gotten married in the first place.  If the two of you are willing to work on your relationship, and more importantly to work on yourselves, then you can save your marriage.  People can and will change when faced with something as traumatic as losing the most important person in their lives.  I would advise you and your husband to read books on the topic and possibly also try counseling (either individually or together).  Though the two of you haven't physically separated yet, a good book to read is "Hope for the Separated".

prognastat

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2017, 09:11:02 AM »
Since we are both independently successful and have no children, I'm of the opinion that we should separate. Cut our losses and move on to other lives and people who will be better for each of us and be happier in the long haul. No hard feelings - I just don't feel we're great for each other. He, on the other hand, doesn't feel he will ever be able to find someone as wonderful as me and is horrified at the thought of divorce (probably because he hates feeling rejected and is the child of divorce). When we've talked about it, he has explicitly said he will make the process difficult and made threats of suicide.

Yes, suicide.

Threats of suicide when feeling like you are being abandoned can be a major indication of psychological issues such as borderline personality disorder and have a great potential of being a form of emotional abuse and a way to control a partner. I would be very careful and evaluate your partners behavior if this is the case.

Holyoak

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2017, 09:30:32 AM »
Threats of suicide when feeling like you are being abandoned can be a major indication of psychological issues such as borderline personality disorder and have a great potential of being a form of emotional abuse and a way to control a partner. I would be very careful and evaluate your partners behavior if this is the case.

Very true, and very common...  It can many times be used as a very powerful tool of psychological leverage/warfare, the ultimate trump card...  It can also be exactly what it is, and the person will carry out the threat.  Such a fine line, and threats of suicide being so serious, require intervention...  Be it going to therapy, or calling 911.  Tough spot to be in, and quite a shit-sandwich to be served when you wish to divorce.

TartanTallulah

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2017, 10:39:01 AM »
When I divorced, although the marriage could have been saved if I had wanted to save it (my XH was keen to salvage the marriage, as well he might be, because I had become his carer and his meal ticket), the nasty old man in his late 30s I was divorcing was not the same person as the bright, eccentric man in his early 20s that I had married some 15 years earlier. I've never had a moment's regret about the divorce, and I've forgiven myself for not realising that my XH's personality would disintegrate in the way it did.

It was a horrible episode in my life. Unspeakably unpleasant. And I was shocked to discover that several people who professed a desire to give me emotional support were nothing but vultures scavenging for gossip or, in the case of one close family member, wanting to fan the flames of conflict. I always advise people now to be very wary about who they trust.

The best thing I did was to realise that there was only one person who was interested in putting an end to the game of Courtrooms and Lawyers, and it was me. My XH had endless time on his hands and enjoyed whining at me in front of an audience. The lawyers had their eye on their fees. I had my life to be getting on with. So I pulled the rug from under their feet by agreeing to what were quite preposterous financial demands. I said, "You can have as much of the money and material goods as you want. In return, I want full custody of the children and a clean financial break." There have been times when I've thought, "Dammit, I wish I hadn't let him have that chunk of the pension I'd paid into before I'd even met him," but I walked away with my children (I gave him as much access as he wanted and he accused me of trying to use him as a free babysitter), my earning potential, and the rest of my life.

My poor second husband, though! It took about a decade before he stopped falling over the baggage of my first marriage, and he's such a lovely man. I always say that the best thing I ever gave my children was their stepfather.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2017, 11:41:52 AM »
For those who have been through divorce (especially those of you who didn't initiate the divorce), how long did it take you to get over it?  Or did you ever get over it?  My wife and I are legally separated right now, and there's nothing in my life that excites me or makes me happy.  In fact, almost everything I see, hear, or do just makes me even sadder as there are so many things I encounter in my daily life that just bring back memories of good times I spent with my wife.  I can't even listen to music I used to enjoy because it makes me too sad thinking about how we used to enjoy it together.

A friend from church asked me if there was anything I looked forward to doing now that I was on my own.  I couldn't think of a single thing.  I've been getting lots of exercise, eating a healthy diet, and have cut way back on my alcohol consumption.  Everyone says I'm doing all the right things, but I don't think most people can understand what it's like when the most important person in your life just walks out on you and refuses to talk.  While I'm not suicidal, I can certainly understand how someone could make the decision to end his life at a time like this.  I've even thought to myself that going to sleep and never waking up again didn't sound so bad. 

There's a toxic combination of loneliness, depression, guilt, fear, abandonment, and hopelessness that kicks in after the initial shock wears off.  And the worst part is you know it's probably not going to get better any time soon.  I'd rather deal with a physical injury than this kind of emotional trauma any day of the week.

partgypsy

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2017, 12:10:10 PM »
For those who have been through divorce (especially those of you who didn't initiate the divorce), how long did it take you to get over it?  Or did you ever get over it?  My wife and I are legally separated right now, and there's nothing in my life that excites me or makes me happy.  In fact, almost everything I see, hear, or do just makes me even sadder as there are so many things I encounter in my daily life that just bring back memories of good times I spent with my wife.  I can't even listen to music I used to enjoy because it makes me too sad thinking about how we used to enjoy it together.

A friend from church asked me if there was anything I looked forward to doing now that I was on my own.  I couldn't think of a single thing.  I've been getting lots of exercise, eating a healthy diet, and have cut way back on my alcohol consumption.  Everyone says I'm doing all the right things, but I don't think most people can understand what it's like when the most important person in your life just walks out on you and refuses to talk.  While I'm not suicidal, I can certainly understand how someone could make the decision to end his life at a time like this.  I've even thought to myself that going to sleep and never waking up again didn't sound so bad. 

There's a toxic combination of loneliness, depression, guilt, fear, abandonment, and hopelessness that kicks in after the initial shock wears off.  And the worst part is you know it's probably not going to get better any time soon.  I'd rather deal with a physical injury than this kind of emotional trauma any day of the week.

It will get better. It will be different, but you will feel better than you do now. Not that you will forget, but it will go into perspective. At first everything I thought my life was, was ending, or being destroyed. Now I see I am being given a chance to write a new chapter of my life. I do feel bad for my kids, they didn't deserve this (neglect, broken home). But I definitely feel better than I did last year, when I would describe myself as in bereavement of the death of our relationship, and everything reminded me of what I had lost.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 12:11:55 PM by partgypsy »

Schaefer Light

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2017, 12:13:46 PM »
It will get better. It will be different, but you will feel better than you do now. Not that you will forget, but it will go into perspective. At first everything I thought my life was, was ending, or being destroyed. Now I see I am being given a chance to write a new chapter of my life. I do feel bad for my kids, they didn't deserve this (neglect, broken home). But I definitely feel better than I did last year, when I would describe myself as in bereavement of the death of our relationship, and everything reminded me of what I had lost.

Thanks for responding.  I guess one of my big concerns is that I won't like the new chapter of my life as much as the old one.

doublethinkmoney

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2017, 12:26:28 PM »
It will get better. It will be different, but you will feel better than you do now. Not that you will forget, but it will go into perspective. At first everything I thought my life was, was ending, or being destroyed. Now I see I am being given a chance to write a new chapter of my life. I do feel bad for my kids, they didn't deserve this (neglect, broken home). But I definitely feel better than I did last year, when I would describe myself as in bereavement of the death of our relationship, and everything reminded me of what I had lost.

Thanks for responding.  I guess one of my big concerns is that I won't like the new chapter of my life as much as the old one.
Divorce was the best decision I made in my life.

It sucked my soul going through it. I felt like a worthless failure of a person and constantly wished I could escape to a remote island to escape the world.

But I am much happier after a few years and got a second chance at life. Now 6-7 years later I am happily married to my soulmate and living my life in a way I've always envisioned.

Once you get past the past, you can focus on who and what you want to be and that new concept could be very exciting as you hold the reigns.


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Schaefer Light

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2017, 12:30:31 PM »
Divorce was the best decision I made in my life.

It sounds like you were the one who wanted the divorce.  My wife left me.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2017, 12:36:05 PM by Schaefer Light »

Bicycle_B

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2017, 01:45:43 PM »
For those who have been through divorce (especially those of you who didn't initiate the divorce), how long did it take you to get over it?  Or did you ever get over it? 

Watching my Dad after Mom divorced him 30+ years in, it looked like the first year was the hardest.  The first 2 years he was just dragging himself through the day.  He started doing activities beyond divorce groups after 2 or 3 years.  Divorce groups up to the 2 or 3 year mark were very helpful, not to stop from being sad but to keep slowly pushing toward recovery.  Do the work and listen to everybody's useless-sounding advice and keep trying it is the lesson from watching that.  It looked like he turned the corner from being mostly sad to more often happy around the 3 year mark.  He looked like the pain generally faded around the 4 year mark. 

He met someone after 2 years but they were a bad replacement.  We all thought she was terrible.  She was after his money and treated him bad, so be careful and listen to your friends/family if you get pulled into something new. Thank God they didn't marry.  After that, at 4 or 5 years, he met a nicer lady for a year or two.  By then he was happy and stable, generally in all life areas.  Another year or two later, he met his second wife.  They remained in love to the end of his days and she still misses him.

Schaefer Light

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2017, 02:02:05 PM »
For those who have been through divorce (especially those of you who didn't initiate the divorce), how long did it take you to get over it?  Or did you ever get over it? 

Watching my Dad after Mom divorced him 30+ years in, it looked like the first year was the hardest.  The first 2 years he was just dragging himself through the day.  He started doing activities beyond divorce groups after 2 or 3 years.  Divorce groups up to the 2 or 3 year mark were very helpful, not to stop from being sad but to keep slowly pushing toward recovery.  Do the work and listen to everybody's useless-sounding advice and keep trying it is the lesson from watching that.  It looked like he turned the corner from being mostly sad to more often happy around the 3 year mark.  He looked like the pain generally faded around the 4 year mark. 

He met someone after 2 years but they were a bad replacement.  We all thought she was terrible.  She was after his money and treated him bad, so be careful and listen to your friends/family if you get pulled into something new. Thank God they didn't marry.  After that, at 4 or 5 years, he met a nicer lady for a year or two.  By then he was happy and stable, generally in all life areas.  Another year or two later, he met his second wife.  They remained in love to the end of his days and she still misses him.
I don't know that I can call your post encouraging, but I certainly appreciate you taking the time to tell the story about your Dad.  3 to 4 years is a pretty big percentage of your life to spend feeling sad.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2017, 02:59:48 PM »
For those who have been through divorce (especially those of you who didn't initiate the divorce), how long did it take you to get over it?  Or did you ever get over it? 

Watching my Dad after Mom divorced him 30+ years in, it looked like the first year was the hardest.  The first 2 years he was just dragging himself through the day.  He started doing activities beyond divorce groups after 2 or 3 years.  Divorce groups up to the 2 or 3 year mark were very helpful, not to stop from being sad but to keep slowly pushing toward recovery.  Do the work and listen to everybody's useless-sounding advice and keep trying it is the lesson from watching that.  It looked like he turned the corner from being mostly sad to more often happy around the 3 year mark.  He looked like the pain generally faded around the 4 year mark. 

He met someone after 2 years but they were a bad replacement.  We all thought she was terrible.  She was after his money and treated him bad, so be careful and listen to your friends/family if you get pulled into something new. Thank God they didn't marry.  After that, at 4 or 5 years, he met a nicer lady for a year or two.  By then he was happy and stable, generally in all life areas.  Another year or two later, he met his second wife.  They remained in love to the end of his days and she still misses him.
I don't know that I can call your post encouraging, but I certainly appreciate you taking the time to tell the story about your Dad.  3 to 4 years is a pretty big percentage of your life to spend feeling sad.
[/b]

It is. Though you might not be THIS sad the whole 3-4 years.  You might have this level only a very small % of the time. 

In my own my moments of despair, facts that showed a path were more helpful than smoke being blown up my heinie, so hey, just giving it my best shot. 

Fwiw, 3-4 years is only 10% of the marriage length.  Maybe the worst part will pass in 10% of the marriage time.  Was your marriage less than 30 years? 

Personally I think divorce must be like getting over a loved one's death, it's one the few times a person faces total despair.   In which case, the hopeful part is simply that the pain passes. 

If you're looking for minute to minute things to hang onto, most advice (exercise, keep in touch with people, get counseling, go to groups, etc) is worth following.  You can get through this.  The key to know is that you don't have to believe you can get through it, you'll get through it anyway.  Following the advice makes it faster, o' course.  But you don't have to believe or imagine that the pain will pass.  It will pass even if you can't believe it at all right now.  That much I can attest by mere analogy (have survived deaths of loved ones).

Now making space for people with actual divorce experience...

Holyoak

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2017, 03:00:48 PM »
how long did it take you to get over it? 

Not intending to be cliché, but you get/go through it...  A very hard fought slog on an unfamiliar field, won in battles that can span just moments, where you discover inner strength you never thought possible.  Sorry if militaristic terms seem out of place, but a battle it is, many times with yourself.  You can go from near suicidal despair and sadness, to white hot rage within the same minute, have overwhelming feelings of failure, self-worth feeling destroyed, and that a bleak, unhappy future is now your lot in life...  Bollocks!  In time, as what seems a long cold winter, gives way to the first green shoots of spring, so will you.  It creeps up on you, and as if by magic, you start feeling better.  You will smile again, you will experience real joy, you will feel love again, even if it's for yourself in a good way, and you will heal.  Without scars? Nope, but well healed, and I bet much stronger than before.

I really believe divorce uncovers what a person is truly made of, and I bet you will be proud of yourself when this terrible chapter is closed.  You are doing the right things, it's only that you can't see them for what they are...  I couldn't either.  How you are feeling is completely normal, and I felt many of them too.  The triggers will fade, and in time, and as hard as this may be to believe now, one day she could be just somebody you once knew.  Crazy I know, but it's true. Please, if you want to talk, I'm a phone call away...  PM me and I'll give you my cell #.  There is no shame reaching out to anyone, be it friends, family, or even strangers who have gone through this terrible situation.  A burden shared is a burdened lightened, and more people care about you than you think. 

Good luck friend. 


Zamboni

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2017, 03:13:01 PM »
At first you just have to focus on doing what you need to do each day. The number one thing to do in a imminent divorce situation is to find someone to talk with who is qualified to help you with your emotions. In my case it was a counselor . . . it took two tries because the first person I went to see I really just didn't like (perhaps from body language?) But I found a different person who really helped me a lot, so please keep trying if the first therapist you see doesn't seem like a good fit. If your employer has an Employee Assistance Program or other free counseling, then I highly recommend that because the price is right and they help people get through divorces all of the time.

I read many books during my divorce process and found that by far the two most helpful for me were:
Getting Divorced without Ruining your Life by Margulies
Mom's House Dad's House: Making Two Homes for your Child by Ricci

I initiated my divorce and it still took me about a year of separation to not be in a pretty bad place emotionally. We had been together two decades, and it was a lengthy process for me to come to terms with the fact that things had gone wrong even though it was very clear our relationship had definitely gone very wrong. The unexpectedly hardest thing for me during the first couple of years post-separation was a business trip to the town where we had met and had our courtship. . . I had all of these happy memories of us there two decades earlier, and I had to mourn that.

Also, we had children, and I was extremely self conscious about the "single mom" label for a year or two. I didn't like checking "divorced" on forms (why does the doctor's office need to have that as an option?) I didn't like not having a ring on my finger. I'm over all of that now.

My divorce got somewhat dragged out and ended up costing about $10K in legal fees (for me, I suspect my ex paid a similar amount.) Most of this cost was really due to my ex needing time to deal with emotions, in retrospect. Because of his emotions, he just wouldn't agree to anything, and he wouldn't offer any counter proposal. He hired the biggest firm in town who assigned the most junior lawyer on the planet to the case, and she didn't do anything at all to help move it along. I don't blame him for this, but it did cost us both a bunch of money. He also went into panic mode when he realized I was probably leaving and took two large cash advances ($10K each) from our joint credit cards. This was strange to me, as he earned about quadruple my salary. He controlled all of the finances, so he tried to do this without me finding out about it. Don't do something like that, as it just made him look bad during the mediation; the lawyers both immediately agreed that the full $20K of debt should be assigned to him before considering the remainder of the assets and debts. The advice to be aware that something like this could happen is spot on . . . I wouldn't have thought he would do something like that, and I only found out about it by accident.

Also, my financial situation has improved drastically after the divorce.  This is  not very common as usually it is happening the other way.  But due to our particular circumstances, it worked out better for me to be on my own; which I knew it would.  Though the 'money' wasn't the only or even the primary issue that lead to divorce, it was a major contributor once it was obvious that other factors were not going to be worked out to our mutual satisfaction.

Me too. My ex- assured me that I would have to file bankruptcy if we divorced . . . nope. He is not a bad person. Rather, he has a high burn rate and doesn't comprehend that most people actually live differently than he does. We were poor students when we met and I never got spendypants, but it's like he has forgotten it is not only possible but desirable to run an entire household this way. The first year after the divorce was admittedly tight financially, but I got a part time job on the particular weekday evenings when he had the children and read voraciously about personal finance. With frugal living plus the extra money from the second job, I completely paid off my share of the debts in the first year using the snowball method. Less than 7 years later: I could probably retire right now if I didn't like my job so much.

Holyoak

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #30 on: July 06, 2017, 04:14:56 PM »

Don't fight baseless accusations unless needed to. I will disagree with NewReality on one point only. The USA and Canadian legal system incentivize parties to lob accusations on the other. There is a plethora of case studies on lawyers compelling their clients to make up or exaggerate allegations

Absolutely true, and in ways that if you are going to flat out lie, at least don't make them so easy to disprove!  My ex-wife's attorney, submitted a signed document stating I had not contributed one penny in 23 years of marriage.  Here is the exact quote, attached in this post. 

Geez, my stack of W-2's kinda blew this bald faced lie out of the water, not to mention I was a military officer when we married, and supported her as a non-working spouse.  It was all to bleed me of $$$, and continue to lie, not to mention blowing off court deadlines, w/o any repercussions from the court.  The whole experience left me feeling as if I needed a shower, to wash of what could not ever be removed...  What a sleazy system it seems at times.


Bosco4789

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #31 on: July 07, 2017, 06:11:36 AM »
I love telling my story!  Way back in the 80's, my wife told me she wanted a divorce.  We had 2 daughters, a 3yo and an 8 month old.  We had a miscarriage between them.  I thought at first she was suffering from a post-partum depression.  There was nothing wrong with our marriage, the normal no money things, but she was also from out of state, and missed her family, and was generally depressed.

She told me that as long as I did whatever she wanted, she would see that I continued to have contact with the kids, but warned me not to fight her.  She was making plans to leave our house and signed a lease on an apartment.  I went to an attorney just to hear my options, and he basically told me not to fight her, the husband always loses, and to go along with her to keep things calm.

I convinced her to at least try marriage counseling, and we went a few times to a woman therapist.  In the meantime, I found another attorney and he basically said the same thing, not to fight her.  By now I was really depressed, as I was as good a parent as she.  I worked days, and she worked evenings.  I took care of the girls every night, and actually spent the same time if not more than she.

We each then talked to the marriage counselor separately, and when we were alone, the therapist asked me why I wasn't trying to get custody.  I told her what the lawyers had said, and she gave me the name of a young woman attorney and told me to talk to her.  This new attorney told me that I may or may not win, but either way my ex would make my life miserable and there was no reason not to fight her. Her plan was to let my wife move out, thinking all was okay.  The plan was to keep the kids while she got settled, then afterwards file for divorce and not let the kids leave.  My inlaws came to town to talk her out of it, but werent successful, and couldn't understand why I was not fighting her for custody.  When I suggested that I was, of course they told their daughter.  That was my mistake.  My wife then refused to move out, and we filed.

An advantage of filing first, is that my lawyer got the woman judge she had requested. We went to court the first time, each of us had witnesses, and I never had to prove she was a bad mother, just that I was as good a parent as she.  My MIL testified against me, that I left hairs in the sink when I shaved, and that when they visited, I took my daughter to watch cartoons, but the 3 yo got bored and left, and I continued to watch cartoons alone.  The judge said, "yeah, my husband does that all the time too"!

Our case was continued for a month, and we continued to live together in wedded bliss, like nothing was wrong.  The entire time I begged her for joint custody, at that time it was only granted if both parties agreed.  She refused. On the day we went back to court, she even adjusted my tie, it was surreal.

After another hour in court, things were not looking good. We were continued until the next morning at 7am, an unheard of time in the court system!  The judge said we have to get this done.  My lawyer gave me a list of questions she was going to ask, and I prepared for hours that evening.  When we began the next morning, my lawyer asked me none of the questions, I had no idea what was going on.  I actually had tears rolling down my face.

As the judge said she was ready to render her decision, my wife asked if she could speak. My lawyer jumped up and objected, but the judge said she would allow it.  My wife talked about the bond between a mother and her daughters, and even said to the judge, as a mother you must understand. By now I was actually crying.

The judge said, "You're right, Mrs. Bosco, I do understand the bond between a mother and daughter, and that's why the hardest thing I ever have to do is give custody to the father, but that is what I am doing here."

I barely heard it, I was in a daze, my wife was screaming, I was in shock. As my lawyer told me afterwards, the judge had told her that morning, that I had won, unless I did something stupid.  That's why she didn't ask me any of the prepared questions!

We have had a wonderful life. My daughters grew up to be wonderful young ladies. Their mother is been in and out of their lives.  I don't think there was a weekend that she didn't bring them home early, or I had to go get them because they were miserable.  She ended up moving out of state when they were in the 7th and 4th grades.  They were devistated, but we got through it.  When my daughter graduated from college, her career brought her near her mom.  After a few months, she asked me, "How could you marry this woman?"!!

Bottom line, don't ever give up the fight, whether kids are involved or not.
 


loyalreader

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #32 on: July 07, 2017, 09:08:59 AM »
The number one thing to do in a imminent divorce situation is to find someone to talk with who is qualified to help you with your emotions. In my case it was a counselor . . . it took two tries because the first person I went to see I really just didn't like (perhaps from body language?) But I found a different person who really helped me a lot, so please keep trying if the first therapist you see doesn't seem like a good fit. If your employer has an Employee Assistance Program or other free counseling, then I highly recommend that because the price is right and they help people get through divorces all of the time.

Besides having no kids and being a guy, Zamboni's story and mine are very similar. Whether you initiate a divorce or not, there is pain on both sides. Unless you are a sociopath...

I think the best thing you can do is focus on your own shit. I'm not talking about dissecting what went wrong with the marriage - too easy to find reason for blame. But divorces happen because there are problems with both parties. Read books and get counseling. Go into this next chapter of your life thinking 'how can I take responsibility for my own actions and how do I make myself a better person'. You will no doubt be surprised what you will find, and in retrospect I can almost guarantee the divorce will make sense. Plus you will be a much better partner (and know how to choose a better partner) if you decide to go down that road again.

My divorce was costly mostly because we split up during a recession. One thing I will give my ex credit for is she handled the legality of the divorce relatively reasonably. Not having kids made it a lot easier. And I am in a much better position financially, like some of the other posters, because my ex had a terrible relationship with money and we could never figure out how to get on the same page. 

 

mm1970

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #33 on: July 07, 2017, 11:47:45 AM »
Quote
For those who have been through divorce (especially those of you who didn't initiate the divorce), how long did it take you to get over it?

I've not been through a divorce.  My parents divorced when I was a teen.  My in-laws divorced after 45+ years of marriage.  My "in the back" neighbor moved in RIGHT after his divorce, and my next door neighbor's wife divorced him less than a year after they got married.

It seems to be 3+ years, especially if you didn't initiate it.   We heard a LOT of bitterness from the neighbor in the back, for a few years, before he got over it.  And now, here we are 12 years later - he had a party last year, his daughter was singing at it and ... his ex-wife was there.  I believe it was the first time ever that something like that happened, that he invited her to his home. 

Similarly, my in-laws had friends who married and divorced, and *eventually* things got back to "normal".  But it was on the order of 10 years before families could be friendly again.  (My FIL wanted to "move on" even though he cheated on MIL, and it seems like he just wanted that kind of friendliness that comes back after a decade, without going through the decade.  They have both "moved on" because FIL had a honey on the side, and MIL has had a boyfriend for about 6 years.  But the separation was about 9 years ago.  They still aren't at that "normal" point.  MIL is still pissed, rightly so.  They do occasionally are together at grandchildren's events.  But it's not comfortable.

My parents separated in 1986.  My brother married in 2002.  My parents were able to speak to each other then, but it still wasn't awesome (mom was remarried by then, dad never remarried).

I have other friends who have divorced, and it seems like the hard part is a few years.  But as far as feeling "normal", it depends on what you define as "normal".

caracarn

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #34 on: July 07, 2017, 12:03:26 PM »
For those who have been through divorce (especially those of you who didn't initiate the divorce), how long did it take you to get over it?  Or did you ever get over it?  My wife and I are legally separated right now, and there's nothing in my life that excites me or makes me happy.  In fact, almost everything I see, hear, or do just makes me even sadder as there are so many things I encounter in my daily life that just bring back memories of good times I spent with my wife.  I can't even listen to music I used to enjoy because it makes me too sad thinking about how we used to enjoy it together.

A friend from church asked me if there was anything I looked forward to doing now that I was on my own.  I couldn't think of a single thing.  I've been getting lots of exercise, eating a healthy diet, and have cut way back on my alcohol consumption.  Everyone says I'm doing all the right things, but I don't think most people can understand what it's like when the most important person in your life just walks out on you and refuses to talk.  While I'm not suicidal, I can certainly understand how someone could make the decision to end his life at a time like this.  I've even thought to myself that going to sleep and never waking up again didn't sound so bad. 

There's a toxic combination of loneliness, depression, guilt, fear, abandonment, and hopelessness that kicks in after the initial shock wears off.  And the worst part is you know it's probably not going to get better any time soon.  I'd rather deal with a physical injury than this kind of emotional trauma any day of the week.
Let me start by saying I'm sorry for what you're going through.  And if you are feeling at all suicidal, get help immediately.  It is a terrible experience and one that I never wish on anyone, even my worst enemy.

Next, I would encourage you to find a good divorce support program.  I have been a DivorceCare leader for many years after my divorce and is one of the best programs I have run across.  I've participated in a couple others through other groups I was involved in.  They have a website and you can enter your zip code and likely find a local session that will start in a few months at most.  It's a 13 week program and we had people who came multiple times if needed.  I highly encourage it because it helps you work through every aspect of what you describe and more.  A lot of the information I will provide for the rest of the post is based on my experiences with that system.

So how long does it take?  Most counselors will tell you it takes about a year for every three years you've been married.  This is not what people want to hear, and not what friends who tell you to get out there and date understand, but I find it is a pretty good rule of thumb and those who try to short circuit it end up divorcing again or feeling a whole lot more hurt and taking someone else with them for the ride.  Obviously this can be different for people and if you knew your marriage was falling apart ahead of time and were dealing with it, then some of that time may have been spent while being married, but for most it begins when they divorce.

I've been where you are, and my wife also was the one pushing for divorce, but it was a fight for the last ten years of our marriage to keep things together so I was not blind sided, and ultimately when it ended, I was the one who finally agreed to stop fighting about it and actually filed (there's a whole long story there).  I cried myself to sleep many nights for months even though I knew for years before this day was coming.  What you are feeling is normal.  Take one day at a time.  Some days just getting out of bed is a win.  Some days just washing a dish is all you can do.  Do what you can, and you will see as time passes it does get easier.


partgypsy

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2017, 12:55:54 PM »
Yes. I had a friend when I was going through the worst of it (my husband left, and for the few months before and after, I really wanted to figure out how to save the marriage), they told me to have "a day". Not a good day, but "a day". Some days you just have to get through. For me going to counseling was very helpful, because the counselor was able to give me an objective view of the relationship, and that it was not a healthy relationship, in fact harmful to stay in it. And I had a lot of mulling over, what I knew of my ex, that he had not had a healthy, loving, mutually supportive relationship with me for years. And that he was probably not capable of it. Then there is the mourning, and bereavement (not all of it was bad, and we have kids together) you just have to get through it. Feelings, even bad ones, just show that you are alive.

« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 01:00:10 PM by partgypsy »

caracarn

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #36 on: July 07, 2017, 01:01:21 PM »
Responding to OP

Nothing we need help with right now.  Things are about where they can be.

My wife and I have two divorce situations that cover both sides.  Mine was relatively amicable and we filled a dissolution, were done in 9 weeks and spent about $4,000 on the attorney.  To avoid rehashing some items with custody of the kids or alimony on my end I ended up eating a ton of extra cost (to the tune of about $50K) in lost home equity and realtor costs when I sold our house after we had initially drawn up the paperwork to assume I was keeping it and just splitting the equity we had in it.  My wife's situation was extremely adversarial, to the tune of still being on record as the longest divorce proceeding in our state (they had over 31 full days in court) and she ended up having to file for bankruptcy when done and her ex was trying to go back for another custody hearing which was scheduled for another 10 days in court when she filed for bankruptcy, which stopped that proceeding.  This was after she had already spent $70K on attorney fees in a marriage that had no real assets to divvy up, it was simply her ex trying to cause pain through the legal system as he represented himself pro se so it was not costing him anything.

The obvious tongue in cheek answer to what either of us would have done differently is to not marry our exes to begin with, but other than that there really was nothing of note.  My process was quick and efficient and the financial bath I took by not following my attorney's advice to go back to the table and re-open the agreement but instead to press on and just eat it  I would do again for the same reason I did it to begin with; to avoid any adverse effects on my kids.  My challenge there is I still have a disengaged mother of my children on the other end who I have to push to spend the minimal amount of time she does with her kids but it certainly is still much better than other situations I have counseled others on as a support group leader.  Similarly on my wife's side, her ex is simply a manipulative con man who like to push every envelope he can for personal gain and he uses anyone he can, including his kids, as pawns, but there is little that we can do differently.  My wife has indicated that what she should have realized sooner was that the court system will do everything it can to avoid full custody by a parent because your ex is always able to just turn around and file again.  In her process she had been awared full custody at the end of their long trial, but she realized that the only way to get him to stop reopening proceedings was to agree to shared parenting, which is what she ended up doing, but the fight for full custody ended up costing her to the point of bankruptcy and she ended up not having the result at all, so it was a complete waste.  She also felt she made a mistake by getting a female attorney who was not able to stand up to her ex and therefore lots of things were going on and costing her money.  In subsequent court visits that have occurred since we have been married, we've used a bulldog attorney when needing to change residency and avoided further custody fights because of pre-emptive attacks from our attorney as needed.  We've been blessed to not have had any court costs in the last four years since the residency change, though there are occasional fees for OurFamilyWizard which is court mandated in their case, and when there are child services things stirred up that result in a fee but usually no useful action on the part of child services.  The last one was when the school called child services on her ex because he refused to allow his diabetic son to be treated for a high reading that the school nurse felt was dangerous.  A lot of activity, but ultimately nothing happened because you quickly find out that child services has almost zero authority unless you do something criminal, and he knows that, so it's another envelope he pushes.

I think what I did right on my end, was to immediately treat the divorce as what it was, a business transaction, and negotiate and move forward in that manner and keep my emotions out of it.  I helped get the division of assets together in 24 hours and get things over to the attorney to move through as quickly as possible and separate.  I got involved in a divorce support group immediately and that helped me process things much better than if I just spoke with family and friends who really could offer little of value and much, that in hindsight had i followed it, would have caused me more pain and agony.  My wife also got involved in a divorce support group quickly, and it actually led to her being saved and totally changing her lifestyle and perspective on the world.  We have taken the negative experiences and given back by helping co-lead divorce support groups for years and helping others learn from our experiences.

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #37 on: July 07, 2017, 01:03:44 PM »
Let me start by saying I'm sorry for what you're going through.  And if you are feeling at all suicidal, get help immediately.  It is a terrible experience and one that I never wish on anyone, even my worst enemy.

Next, I would encourage you to find a good divorce support program.  I have been a DivorceCare leader for many years after my divorce and is one of the best programs I have run across.  I've participated in a couple others through other groups I was involved in.  They have a website and you can enter your zip code and likely find a local session that will start in a few months at most.  It's a 13 week program and we had people who came multiple times if needed.  I highly encourage it because it helps you work through every aspect of what you describe and more.  A lot of the information I will provide for the rest of the post is based on my experiences with that system.

So how long does it take?  Most counselors will tell you it takes about a year for every three years you've been married.  This is not what people want to hear, and not what friends who tell you to get out there and date understand, but I find it is a pretty good rule of thumb and those who try to short circuit it end up divorcing again or feeling a whole lot more hurt and taking someone else with them for the ride.  Obviously this can be different for people and if you knew your marriage was falling apart ahead of time and were dealing with it, then some of that time may have been spent while being married, but for most it begins when they divorce.

I've been where you are, and my wife also was the one pushing for divorce, but it was a fight for the last ten years of our marriage to keep things together so I was not blind sided, and ultimately when it ended, I was the one who finally agreed to stop fighting about it and actually filed (there's a whole long story there).  I cried myself to sleep many nights for months even though I knew for years before this day was coming.  What you are feeling is normal.  Take one day at a time.  Some days just getting out of bed is a win.  Some days just washing a dish is all you can do.  Do what you can, and you will see as time passes it does get easier.
Thanks so much for the advice.  I actually just learned about the DivorceCare programs while searching the web for support groups yesterday.  There is one in my town starting in August.  I was considering signing up when I saw it yesterday, and after reading your post I just signed up for it.  I'm glad that it runs right up until the holiday season.

Though I'm not feeling suicidal, I am seeing a psychologist.  I met with him for the second time today.  While I don't generally enjoy asking others for help, in this situation I knew I needed the assistance of someone who's trained to deal with these types of situations.

I know what it's like to cry yourself to sleep.  I've cried more in the past 37 days (she left on June 1st) than I have in my entire adult life.  I was definitely more blind-sided by it than you were, but in retrospect there were some things she said that should have been huge warning signs.  I just didn't recognize them until after the fact.  I think that's partly due to her communication style versus mine.  She talked about feelings, and I like to deal in facts.

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #38 on: July 07, 2017, 01:05:28 PM »
Not intending to be cliché, but you get/go through it...  A very hard fought slog on an unfamiliar field, won in battles that can span just moments, where you discover inner strength you never thought possible.  Sorry if militaristic terms seem out of place, but a battle it is, many times with yourself.  You can go from near suicidal despair and sadness, to white hot rage within the same minute, have overwhelming feelings of failure, self-worth feeling destroyed, and that a bleak, unhappy future is now your lot in life...  Bollocks!  In time, as what seems a long cold winter, gives way to the first green shoots of spring, so will you.  It creeps up on you, and as if by magic, you start feeling better.  You will smile again, you will experience real joy, you will feel love again, even if it's for yourself in a good way, and you will heal.  Without scars? Nope, but well healed, and I bet much stronger than before.

I really believe divorce uncovers what a person is truly made of, and I bet you will be proud of yourself when this terrible chapter is closed.  You are doing the right things, it's only that you can't see them for what they are...  I couldn't either.  How you are feeling is completely normal, and I felt many of them too.  The triggers will fade, and in time, and as hard as this may be to believe now, one day she could be just somebody you once knew.  Crazy I know, but it's true. Please, if you want to talk, I'm a phone call away...  PM me and I'll give you my cell #.  There is no shame reaching out to anyone, be it friends, family, or even strangers who have gone through this terrible situation.  A burden shared is a burdened lightened, and more people care about you than you think. 

Good luck friend.
That was a very thoughtful and informative post.  I especially appreciate the offer to talk to me directly about what I'm going through.  It's good to know that these wild emotional swings are normal.

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #39 on: July 07, 2017, 01:11:44 PM »
Yes. I had a friend when I was going through the worst of it (my husband left, and for the few months before and after, I really wanted to figure out how to save the marriage), they told me to have "a day". Not a good day, but "a day". Some days you just have to get through.
I like your "have a day" jpeg.  That's all you can do sometimes.

caracarn

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #40 on: July 07, 2017, 01:47:12 PM »

Personally I think divorce must be like getting over a loved one's death, it's one the few times a person faces total despair.   In which case, the hopeful part is simply that the pain passes. 


Research has shown it is actually worse.  With a loved one's death you have closure and it is much easier to grieve and move on.  Also, there is the psychological burden where with death, they did not "choose" to leave you.  With divorce it was a conscious decision and it tends to make it much more difficult.  Also, divorce impact every single aspect of your life.  It is not only the person that is gone.  So are the dreams and plans you had built with them.  Every aspect of your life is changed.  Death of a loved one is much more compartmentalized.

wenchsenior

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #41 on: July 07, 2017, 01:58:24 PM »
Yes. I had a friend when I was going through the worst of it (my husband left, and for the few months before and after, I really wanted to figure out how to save the marriage), they told me to have "a day". Not a good day, but "a day". Some days you just have to get through. For me going to counseling was very helpful, because the counselor was able to give me an objective view of the relationship, and that it was not a healthy relationship, in fact harmful to stay in it. And I had a lot of mulling over, what I knew of my ex, that he had not had a healthy, loving, mutually supportive relationship with me for years. And that he was probably not capable of it. Then there is the mourning, and bereavement (not all of it was bad, and we have kids together) you just have to get through it. Feelings, even bad ones, just show that you are alive.

That is a fantastic saying, partygypsy. I'm totally going to remember it.

caracarn

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #42 on: July 07, 2017, 02:01:48 PM »
Let me start by saying I'm sorry for what you're going through.  And if you are feeling at all suicidal, get help immediately.  It is a terrible experience and one that I never wish on anyone, even my worst enemy.

Next, I would encourage you to find a good divorce support program.  I have been a DivorceCare leader for many years after my divorce and is one of the best programs I have run across.  I've participated in a couple others through other groups I was involved in.  They have a website and you can enter your zip code and likely find a local session that will start in a few months at most.  It's a 13 week program and we had people who came multiple times if needed.  I highly encourage it because it helps you work through every aspect of what you describe and more.  A lot of the information I will provide for the rest of the post is based on my experiences with that system.

So how long does it take?  Most counselors will tell you it takes about a year for every three years you've been married.  This is not what people want to hear, and not what friends who tell you to get out there and date understand, but I find it is a pretty good rule of thumb and those who try to short circuit it end up divorcing again or feeling a whole lot more hurt and taking someone else with them for the ride.  Obviously this can be different for people and if you knew your marriage was falling apart ahead of time and were dealing with it, then some of that time may have been spent while being married, but for most it begins when they divorce.

I've been where you are, and my wife also was the one pushing for divorce, but it was a fight for the last ten years of our marriage to keep things together so I was not blind sided, and ultimately when it ended, I was the one who finally agreed to stop fighting about it and actually filed (there's a whole long story there).  I cried myself to sleep many nights for months even though I knew for years before this day was coming.  What you are feeling is normal.  Take one day at a time.  Some days just getting out of bed is a win.  Some days just washing a dish is all you can do.  Do what you can, and you will see as time passes it does get easier.
Thanks so much for the advice.  I actually just learned about the DivorceCare programs while searching the web for support groups yesterday.  There is one in my town starting in August.  I was considering signing up when I saw it yesterday, and after reading your post I just signed up for it.  I'm glad that it runs right up until the holiday season.

Though I'm not feeling suicidal, I am seeing a psychologist.  I met with him for the second time today.  While I don't generally enjoy asking others for help, in this situation I knew I needed the assistance of someone who's trained to deal with these types of situations.

I know what it's like to cry yourself to sleep.  I've cried more in the past 37 days (she left on June 1st) than I have in my entire adult life.  I was definitely more blind-sided by it than you were, but in retrospect there were some things she said that should have been huge warning signs.  I just didn't recognize them until after the fact.  I think that's partly due to her communication style versus mine.  She talked about feelings, and I like to deal in facts.
Glad you signed up.  One of the reasons I decided to help lead the group was that I think men avoid going to these things because they are too "tough".  They feel they should be able to get through it without help, mainly because all their buddies are telling them so and trying to set them up with someone to "get over it".  While our attendees are mainly women, there have been several men as well, and usually the other leaders had me call them when they fill out the form expressing interest.  Several times I had to convince men to attend.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it did not.  Hope to hear about how things are going as you go through it.  There is a special  "surviving the holidays" session that we would show in the sessions that went up to the holidays.  Hopefully your group leader(s) will do that.  You might want to ask them if you feel it is a hard thing for you.  The first year is usually the hardest because as each milestone comes around, you think about what it was like last year.  I do think it was an extra DVD, but I was not the one buying the material, it was already at the church that we held it at so not sure. 

If you want to talk about anything you're not comfortable posting in a public forum, feel free to PM me.  I'm always happy to do what I can to help anyone going through this awful experience.  Also be aware you will backslide.  It is not always forward progress.  People get really worried when this happens, but it is normal.  Sometimes it's two steps forward, five steps back.  Random things would trigger reactions in me.  Luckily I had an understanding boss.  There were some days that I closed the door to my office all day because I'd be tearing up off and on months after we were divorced.  All these things are normal.  I do not recall if you said you had kids or not.  If you do, do not under any circumstances, even if your ex is speaking to them, drag them into conversations about the divorce.  Obviously listen to them and respond to their issues, but do not bad mouth their mom.  So many people take the low road here and all it does is hurt the kids.

wenchsenior

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #43 on: July 07, 2017, 02:09:19 PM »

Personally I think divorce must be like getting over a loved one's death, it's one the few times a person faces total despair.   In which case, the hopeful part is simply that the pain passes. 


Research has shown it is actually worse.  With a loved one's death you have closure and it is much easier to grieve and move on.  Also, there is the psychological burden where with death, they did not "choose" to leave you.  With divorce it was a conscious decision and it tends to make it much more difficult.  Also, divorce impact every single aspect of your life.  It is not only the person that is gone.  So are the dreams and plans you had built with them.  Every aspect of your life is changed.  Death of a loved one is much more compartmentalized.

I think definitely worse than death in terms of the impact on the self esteem of the one being left.  My mother just shut down for about 10 years after my father left, and to be honest, she never really recovered.  That is not typical, btw, but it was the result of a longstanding pattern of her building an entire identity around him and his goals since they met when she was in her early 20s. She was also very overwhelmed by practical things like finance, and just avoided making financial decisions until she ended up in deep trouble. That made her feel worse and caused her to shut down more. 

There is a good lesson in my mother's situation: The partner who is being 'left' (if there is one) should absolutely understand that a period of grief and mourning is normal and healthy, but that if you find you are shutting down, withdrawing completely from the world out of fear, not working, etc... this is not healthy and counseling is probably imperative then. 

Also, I would recommend that you set a couple of manageable, practical goals to work toward during this period. You won't always feel like it, but you should try to inch toward it anyway because it gives a sense of individual purpose and self worth when yours is beaten down.   It's best if they are not directly tied to goals that you shared with your spouse, and do not directly remind you of your lost relationship.  Ideally, they can be developing new 'rituals' for the single you; or new fun things to do with friends or family that you didn't do with spouse; or taking up  a hobby that you meant to get around to, etc.

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #44 on: July 07, 2017, 02:54:29 PM »
DivorceCare: wow! I wish I'd known that existed.

My ex and I separated in early 2013, after years of therapy and trying to make it work.

I will be the caveat to the advice above of "avoid divorce": I have never been happier, despite way more financial and other stressors. In my case, it was absolutely the right thing. And I was adamantly against it for a long time, or I could have found happiness sooner. I was in a terrible marriage and I had no idea how much it was affecting the rest of my life until I got out.

We ended up with lawyers, and I can't see how we could have gotten around that, but it sucked. So much wasted money.

Every time we were finalizing things at the end, I would think, "Is this worth it to pay my attorney $200/hr to do?" (Yeah, my attorney was cheap compared to some, a benefit of small-town living.)

For a family like us, with almost no assets, there was really nothing worth fighting over. I did fight tooth and nail to keep the house; he wanted to force me out and to sell it, out of vindictiveness and some mistaken idea that there was a ton of equity he was missing out on (I paid him his equity by taking on more CC debt and giving up my right to half his retirement pension).

I think it's important to disconnect your feelings/emotions around the failed marriage from how things shake out in terms of property division. There is no "fair" here. There is no meting out justice by "getting more" in the divorce. Just try to get out with your lawyer bill as low as possible.

And emotionally: yeah, it is tough. It does get better. Time helps, but definitely seek support and counseling. I got really good at "radical self-care." Lots of weekends soaking in a hot tub, watching good movies, sleeping in, and forcing myself to go out with friends at least some of the time.

caracarn

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #45 on: July 10, 2017, 06:31:56 AM »
DivorceCare: wow! I wish I'd known that existed.


Keep in mind, you can still attend.  Lots of folks came through 5, 10, 15 years after their divorce because they still felt they could use some help to get past things they could not work through themselves.  In most cases it is just the cost of the book, which is $20 or so, for 13 weeks, so certainly not going to break anyone's budget and you might be surprised by what you learn even after you think you've got it figured out.

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #46 on: July 10, 2017, 07:24:01 AM »
Also, I would recommend that you set a couple of manageable, practical goals to work toward during this period. You won't always feel like it, but you should try to inch toward it anyway because it gives a sense of individual purpose and self worth when yours is beaten down.   It's best if they are not directly tied to goals that you shared with your spouse, and do not directly remind you of your lost relationship.  Ideally, they can be developing new 'rituals' for the single you; or new fun things to do with friends or family that you didn't do with spouse; or taking up  a hobby that you meant to get around to, etc.

Good advice.  Ironically, the biggest goal on these forums (saving enough for an early retirement) may be the one that makes me miss my spouse the most as we were planning to enjoy a long retirement together.  ER is still a goal of mine, but I do get sad thinking about it now.  Maybe I'll try to shift my focus to gaining financial independence instead of retirement for a while and see if that change of perspective helps.

I have developed some new routines related to my health, hobbies, and life outside of work and these new rituals seem to be helping.  I may set some career-related goals at some point, but I know that for now I need to have some constants in my life.  I'm also not emotionally ready to make a decision about a possible career change.

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #47 on: July 10, 2017, 02:10:14 PM »
I haven't been divorced and fingers crossed, hope I never end up divorced, but I am an attorney and handle some family law cases.  My number one piece of advice is to leave your heart at the door and put on your business hat whenever you discuss negotiations.  First, you are paying your attorney by the hour.  Don't make your attorney your therapist.  Second, don't spend 10 hours of attorney time ($2500 for each side, so $5k of family money) to fight over a $1000 asset.  If there are kids, put those kids first.  The saddest cases for me are parents who can't get past themselves.  If dad cheated and broke your heart, that sucks big time, but he is still the father of your kids.  Suck it up and go to your kid's birthday party that dad is throwing.  Cry to your friends and therapist about it later but do it for your kids.  I had an entire hearing once over who had the kids for dinner on one particular special night.  My client begged and plead for mom to just skip the big legal fees and just spend the night together for just that one night.  The kids wouldn't be happy spending it with just mom or just dad.  They wanted both of them there.  Mom refused to do it and actually flat out refused to even discuss it, even with attorneys.  There was no abuse in this family, just hurt feelings.  Sorry, but once you are a parent, your kids come before some hurt feelings.

caracarn

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #48 on: July 10, 2017, 02:18:19 PM »
I haven't been divorced and fingers crossed, hope I never end up divorced, but I am an attorney and handle some family law cases.  My number one piece of advice is to leave your heart at the door and put on your business hat whenever you discuss negotiations.  First, you are paying your attorney by the hour.  Don't make your attorney your therapist.  Second, don't spend 10 hours of attorney time ($2500 for each side, so $5k of family money) to fight over a $1000 asset.  If there are kids, put those kids first.  The saddest cases for me are parents who can't get past themselves.  If dad cheated and broke your heart, that sucks big time, but he is still the father of your kids.  Suck it up and go to your kid's birthday party that dad is throwing.  Cry to your friends and therapist about it later but do it for your kids.  I had an entire hearing once over who had the kids for dinner on one particular special night.  My client begged and plead for mom to just skip the big legal fees and just spend the night together for just that one night.  The kids wouldn't be happy spending it with just mom or just dad.  They wanted both of them there.  Mom refused to do it and actually flat out refused to even discuss it, even with attorneys.  There was no abuse in this family, just hurt feelings.  Sorry, but once you are a parent, your kids come before some hurt feelings.
+1

The advice we have to drill into people over and over in support group is that YOUR relationship with your ex is not your kids relationship with your ex.  They do not have the same issues with them that you do, and trying to make them feel they should puts them in a terrible situation of feeling they need to take sides.  Their relationship with that other parent is not changing because you are divorcing.  They are still their mom or dad and they need that to continue.  It is so hard when you see people who just do not internalize that and dump their crap on their kids.  Worse is when they make their kids their therapist and expose them to all kinds of things they should not be privy to.  Why you got divorced is not a topic you discuss with your kids at all, unless they are adults on their own with their own families, and I'd still encourage even not then.  It's really between you and your ex and I've never seen any value of dumping it on the kids.  Even as adults, they still want their parents involved.  It's sad when adult children are trying to plan life events like weddings or grandkids graduations around parents who still refuse to be in the same room together.  I had one bride who decided to get married at the courthouse versus the big wedding she had always dreamed of because she knew her parents would make a scene and ruin the wedding.  It's just sad.

Zamboni

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Re: Divorce help and discussion
« Reply #49 on: July 10, 2017, 02:52:03 PM »
Why you got divorced is not a topic you discuss with your kids at all, unless they are adults on their own with their own families, and I'd still encourage even not then.  It's really between you and your ex and I've never seen any value of dumping it on the kids.  Even as adults, they still want their parents involved.  It's sad when adult children are trying to plan life events like weddings or grandkids graduations around parents who still refuse to be in the same room together.  I had one bride who decided to get married at the courthouse versus the big wedding she had always dreamed of because she knew her parents would make a scene and ruin the wedding.  It's just sad.

This cannot be emphasized enough. My parents didn't divorce until I was an adult, they needed to divorce for their own sanities, and I still don't want to hear about it from either of them. I was there, and neither of them have an even close to reality version of the past (unless you think one person's perception is reality, but I always think there are at least two sides to every story.) No, even as an adult with adult processing skills, I don't want to hear their tales of woe or their bashing of my other parent. My brother (an adult with his own kids) nearly stopped talking to my dad and his current wife over their badmouthing of my Mom. Yes, she has issues. We get it. She likes to tell us all about your issues, too. We don't want to hear it. Thankfully, they were both well behaved at our weddings . . . they work in the wedding industry and had seen enough weddings ruined by feuding divorced parents of the bride or groom to know better than to put even a toe out of line around those events.

On the other hand, I have one friend whose dad wouldn't even go to her wedding because her mother (the mother of the bride) would be there . . . all I can think is "what an asshole."