Author Topic: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce  (Read 1350 times)

theninthwall

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How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« on: December 27, 2022, 08:43:42 AM »
Iím not really sure what Iím going to ask for here, other than perhaps advice from someone who has been in a similar situation.
My wifeís parents separated in 2018 and the divorce is still not final. My mother in lawís approach has been to put her head in the sand about a lot of things, but she will still share parts of information with us. Like this week she tells us there is a hearing, but she doesnít know what it is about.
My wife is an attorney (not in family law, but she understands the basics), and she wants to get more involved to start putting her mother in control, rather than letting her be potentially screwed over. However her mother does not want my wife to be more involved.
What we are concerned about is that if we donít fight now for what my mother in law deserves in any divorce settlement, we will eventually be on the hook for her care later in life - which will derail our FIRE plans. Not to mention we plan to move back to my home country one day, which makes it even more important for my wifeís mother to be able to care for herself.

So do we respect my mother in lawís wishes and pull back, or should we fight to become more involved? I donít know if anyone has dealt with anything similar but any input is appreciated.

Kris

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2022, 08:48:35 AM »
I would have your wife explain why she wants to get involved, and that it is important for her mom to be financially solid because you plan to move to your home country and will not be able to care for her later.

If she still resistsÖ well, you did what you could. The consequences are hers to bear. Done.

Paper Chaser

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2022, 08:55:05 AM »
Sounds like a great way to damage the relationship with both parents to me. Mom doesn't want help, and Dad would probably feel spurned. Why would you venture into that minefield if you don't absolutely have to?

slappy

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2022, 08:55:14 AM »
If the mom doesn't want her involved, I don't see what the question really is. As PP mentioned, maybe try one more time to talk to her about what's in it for her if your daughter helps, but other than that, you just have to let it be. Divorce seems like a very personal matter, I can see what she wouldn't want your daughter involved. I would just make sure mom has a great lawyer and leave it at that.

YttriumNitrate

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2022, 08:56:41 AM »
Dave Ramsey sometimes talks about "powdered butt syndrome" when it comes to parents taking advice from their children. If you feel that your mother in law is getting screwed, hire an outside attorney for her.

Catbert

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2022, 09:51:05 AM »
I can understand you MIL not wanting you or your wife being involved in her divorce.  I can also understand why you don't want to be holding the bag if she gets a lousy settlement.  If there's a hearing scheduled and she doesn't understand what it's about, that's a big problem.

Would you MIL accept your wife finding and paying for a divorce lawyer?  At least for a meeting or two to get MIL to understand how badly it's all playing out. 

charis

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2022, 11:54:42 AM »
If the mom doesn't want her involved, I don't see what the question really is. As PP mentioned, maybe try one more time to talk to her about what's in it for her if your daughter helps, but other than that, you just have to let it be. Divorce seems like a very personal matter, I can see what she wouldn't want your daughter involved. I would just make sure mom has a great lawyer and leave it at that.

This.  I think most parents wouldn't want their kids involved in their divorce, depending on the circumstances.  Does you MIL currently have an attorney? 

YttriumNitrate

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2022, 12:09:19 PM »
One more thing. Even if the mother-in-law does get screwed over in the divorce, would it really impact theninthwall's obligations for end of life care? Husbands are often older than their wives, and men tend to die younger, so there's a good chance that by the time the mother-in-law needs end of life care the father-in-law's assets would have already been inherited by theninthwall's wife.

iris lily

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2022, 12:24:51 PM »
One more thing. Even if the mother-in-law does get screwed over in the divorce, would it really impact theninthwall's obligations for end of life care? Husbands are often older than their wives, and men tend to die younger, so there's a good chance that by the time the mother-in-law needs end of life care the father-in-law's assets would have already been inherited by theninthwall's wife.
these are a lot of projected scenarios that just may not come true.

Why do you think OP will inherent, for instance?

Sandi_k

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2022, 01:22:20 PM »
One more thing. Even if the mother-in-law does get screwed over in the divorce, would it really impact theninthwall's obligations for end of life care? Husbands are often older than their wives, and men tend to die younger, so there's a good chance that by the time the mother-in-law needs end of life care the father-in-law's assets would have already been inherited by theninthwall's wife.

Nope. I would bet money that the father has a second (or third) wife in the picture, and the new wife would inherit, not the kids.

theninthwall

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2022, 02:15:43 PM »
Thanks everyone for your input, I really appreciate it.

My wifeís dad was at one time very successful, but also ruthless. He was also chronically unfaithful. The marriage probably lasted way long than it should have, but thatís life. My wife once looked up to him, but has now not spoken to him for three years. So sheís not worried about the impact on him. Itís a very toxic divorce.

My mother in law has an attorney, but as far as we know she does not speak with her regularly. We think this may be for monetary reasons. Maybe reading some posts here we should offer to pay for some more meetings with the attorney to help?

And the father in law has had a girlfriend for the past four years, so it is highly likely he will remarry at some point.

Thanks again everyone, if anything I just appreciate having different takes on the situation from people from different backgrounds.


GilesMM

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2022, 02:40:26 PM »
I guess you could tell Mom that if she doesnít get serious about the divorce suit you will not be taking care of her and she could end up on the street in her dotage.

gooki

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2022, 02:47:31 AM »
She has an attorney, let them help your mother.

Hula Hoop

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2022, 03:33:06 AM »
From your clarification, it sounds like your wife isn't worried about ruining her relationship with her father so that's one concern you don't need to worry about.  Normally, I'd say not to get involved as taking sides isn't a good idea but here it sounds like she is squarely in her mother's camp.

I'd say that you and your wife should offer to pay part or all of all of the legal fees - depending on your MIL's financial situation.  Was she financially dependant on her husband?  Maybe lack of financial independence is why she stayed so long and if she doesn't have a good income she may also be really stressed about legal fees.   

Has your wife asked her mother if she can speak directly to her divorce attorney to see what the upcoming hearing is about and any other information that she should know?  If your MIL has a good attorney then maybe things will be OK.  Is she elderly?  It may be that she doesn't really understand all the legal jargon but the lawyer has things under control (I really hope so).

Omy

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Re: How involved to get with wifeís parentsí divorce
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2022, 06:28:38 AM »
"What we are concerned about is that if we donít fight now for what my mother in law deserves in any divorce settlement, we will eventually be on the hook for her care later in life - which will derail our FIRE plans."

My approach would be to offer advice and/or money to help MIL understand the ramifications of keeping her head in the sand. I would also plan for a fatter FIRE to help support MIL in her later years (unless you are both fine with a scenario that leaves her unsupported.) And make sure that you are on the same page with this outcome since divorce can also derail FIRE.

I used to get "facepunched" regularly for over saving for retirement, but "possibly taking care of one or more parents or siblings" was one of the many contingencies we decided to prioritize when we decided to fatFIRE.