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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife has made up her mind that a divorce is in her best interest and is what is necessary for her to start to be happy. I've said repeatedly that our marriage is struggling because we haven't put the effort into making and keeping it strong. I've strongly suggested counseling for us. She has checked out. We have three kids. They get almost ALL our free time.
I'm pretty sure she has slowly been planning this for some time. We both work full time. In October she went down to part time.
In her mind, this is the way it will go: She stays in our house, I get to leave. She keeps the kids at least half time. I work full time and give her the required support/maintenance.
In my mind this is how it should work: She wants to leave. I can't stop her. So she should move out, not me. When she was working full time, our incomes were about equal. Now that she reduced her hours, she feels she is entitled to some of my full time income as maintenance. I feel she can earn income equal to me if she so chooses, so there should be no maintenance. We are both fairly good parents, no abuse or other issues.
So here is my question. How can a divorcing man in WI get what he would consider a fair divorce settlement? I am already going to lose at least 50% of time not seeing my family grow up. There's a lot more specifics to this story that would probably bias some responses. I'll add more if necessary.
 

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I went through/am going through a similar situation. No kids, but my wife started her own business 3 years ago and only made 9k last year whereas I earned nearly 100k. My wife has more education than me and can get a better job than I can, she just chooses not to. The bottom line is my wife's ability to earn an income is not my problem and I have no obligation to bank roll a 100k lifestyle for her since she walked out on me. She also refused to goto marriage counseling and put forth any effort to reconcile.

In your situation, I would tell her the same thing-her ability to earn an income isn't your problem. Furthermore, if she can't support kids financially and/or work full time to provide health insurance, especially if she has the ability to, a judge would be foolish to award custody to a parent that chooses to be lazy and unproductive.

I was married 5 years and the woman I married turned out to never exist and everything was a front. I found my wife's journal after the fact and it turns out she cheated on ex boyfriends and did all sorts of bad things before she used me up and spit me out. I found out recently doing research on the web that so ionics said our relationship was one of growing laziness where the extravert (her) starts to manipulate the introvert (me) for their own personal gain and that is exactly what happened. I found out the truth only AFTER signing a separation agreement and thank God other laws were broken in the process and I have leverage to renegotiate the terms, of which I am in the process of doing. I was originally supposed to pay her out for assets, which I am now refusing. She waived spousal support because she planned on moving 14 hours away to a new city with the man she left me for and if she is living with someone romantically, spousal support stops immediately.

My advice to you is that if you have more financial resources than her, which it sounds like you do, you need to flex your muscles. My soon to be exwife is scared to death of me because I have more financial resources than her at this point and she would go nearly bankrupt paying a defense attorney if I took her to court. As long as your being reasonable and fair with her, she should accept what you have to offer and fade into the background. My advice would be done sign anything without a lawyer and wait as long as possible before settling assets so that whatever truth needs to come out has time to do so. I wanted a fast separation and we signed separation agreement about a month after the split. Two weeks later she was moved in with her new boyfriend that she bought a plane ticket to go see while we were still together. Give it as much time as possible.because she will get impatient and execute whatever premeditated plans she may have.

Also, my exwife thought that commitment was a feeling you experience versus a conscious choice one makes. If your wife thinks commitment is a tingling feeling in her leg versus a decision she makes to be there for richer or poorer etc, you need to get out and run the other way. My wife married me out of convienence versus commitment and when the going got tough, she got going. Sounds like you may be in a similar situation.
 

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In her mind, this is the way it will go: She stays in our house, I get to leave. She keeps the kids at least half time. I work full time and give her the required support/maintenance.
Wife wants the kids, the house, and support.

You think since she wants out, she should leave and make her own money.

You ask how you can get a fair settlement in your state?

The answer is you probably can't.

The way the law works in most states is exactly the way your wife has presented it. It sounds like she did her homework and you're still thinking about what's "fair".

It's not about fair. It's about the law. If you are the primary breadwinner and she's the stay at home primary caregiver she will most likely get exactly what she wants.

The seeds were sown years ago when you said "I do", and now there's nothing you can do about it.
 

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Also, when it comes to the house only half the equity is hers. If she wants to keep the house, she can pay you for half the equity--otherwise sell it. She will be forced to move into a smaller house that may or may not accommodate the kids. There is no reason she should get to live a full time lifestyle on a part time job just because you choose to work harder. If you have joint custody then that means expenses should be split 50-50 and if she is only working part time it will hit her budget much harder than yours. You have this woman by the balls, you just don't realize.
 

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Also, when it comes to the house only half the equity is hers. If she wants to keep the house, she can pay you for half the equity--otherwise sell it.
According to the laws in my state as well as the laws in many other states, the primary caregiver/custodial parent gets to stay in the house, oftentimes receiving support until the children are no longer minors.

So for you to suggest that she either pays him off or she must sell the house, given that there are young children involved, is rather presumptive and probably incorrect from a legal perspective. Why do you think people fight for child custody? It's usually about money as in support, and sole possession of the marital home.

She will be forced to move into a smaller house that may or may not accommodate the kids.
Not very likely, as per my post above.

There is no reason she should get to live a full time lifestyle on a part time job just because you choose to work harder.
Yes, there sure is a reason.

Because they both agreed that he would work harder and she was the primary caregiver, that will be what the courts use to decide on post marriage issues such as who lives where and who pays for what.

If you have joint custody then that means expenses should be split 50-50
Oh! Joint custody could certainly change things more in his favor. I missed where they have been granted joint custody, perhaps you can point me to where it says that anywhere in his post.

You have this woman by the balls, you just don't realize.
Women don't have balls. At least, not the ones I've met.

Your mileage may vary
 

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I am in a similar situation myself. It's indescribably (spell check) tough for me, so I know its tough for you. Do what's best for your boys at whatever cost that will be. It is worth it. Noone is a doormat when it comes to children.
 

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I am in a similar situation myself. It's indescribably (spell check) tough for me, so I know its tough for you. Do what's best for your boys at whatever cost that will be. It is worth it. Noone is a doormat when it comes to children.
I agree completely so long as you don't bend over and grab ankles thinking it's helping them in some way. Often times the BS assumes blame for how the D disrupts the children when the WS is the cause. Don't assume blame that's undue.

You hope to be able to look back and be able defend your choices as what you thought was right from a principled stance later.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks to all who have viewed and responded. Wafer, your comment on your wife's view of commitment is identical to my wife's. Our youngest son (5) is going to have a tough time if we separate. The older boys (10,14) if given a choice would probably choose to live with me. Sometimes they feel like I do when their mom is home that they are walking on eggshells and at any moment could be demanded to do something.
My wife is in another affair. This time an EA. Thus, working on our marriage right now is not an option for her. She is spending time after work at his apartment and occasionally overnight. She says she is helping him get set up in his new place. He is a paraplegic. Says she can't be intimate with him. Paralyzed from the chest down. Some of our extra home items are finding their way into this apartment. Christmas decorations, extra kitchen items, a chair, radio, etc. My point with this is, when it comes to primary residence rights, can any of this be a factor? She has told me today that she wants us to do this without lawyers and be civil about this, but there is no way she is leaving our house.
Also, she has gone from full time to part time in October, thus making it look like she is more capable of parenting, and I should just work hard and send out the checks. In most states it's not what is right it's what is legal. So maybe I should have my hours voluntarily reduced so I have additional time and flexibility in parenting. Any thoughts?
 

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The older boys (10,14) if given a choice would probably choose to live with me.
Your children are of the age that their wishes will be strongly considered by the courts, especially the older son, and since the courts want to keep kids together, you've got a strong case for custody of all three kids, based on what you said about their preference.

She is spending time after work at his apartment and occasionally overnight. She says she is helping him get set up in his new place.
I'd keep a journal of the dates and times she's over there, it might be useful in the divorce especially if you are going to make the case that she's fully capable of working full time and that her free time is spent doing other things besides parenting.

My point with this is, when it comes to primary residence rights, can any of this be a factor?
Usually the parent who gets primary custody gets occupancy of the house at least for the short term. If you end up with split custody then it's a wild card. I wouldn't think her bringing household decorations to his place is going to give you much ammo in regard to that.

She has told me today that she wants us to do this without lawyers and be civil about this, but there is no way she is leaving our house.
Well, someone's got to leave. If you can't resolve that major point, then you're headed for divorce court. But you can work out other issues even if there are some sticking points. The more you do on your own the faster and less expensive the divorce process will be.

Also, she has gone from full time to part time in October, thus making it look like she is more capable of parenting
Could be she's planning ahead for divorce. Perhaps she's even consulted with an attorney. By reducing her income it may increase your support obligation and she may try to use the part time work (and thus her availability for child care) as a way to bolster a custody battle.

Make sure you keep records of when she made the job change, if the divorce happens soon then her reduction in work hours probably won't be considered that heavily but a year or two from now then the courts might take that as the "status quo" and it could definitely work against you.

So maybe I should have my hours voluntarily reduced so I have additional time and flexibility in parenting. Any thoughts?
Reducing your own work hours for those same reasons is a consideration, can you take the financial hit?
 

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Leading,

You CAN get a fair settlement anywhere you are. You have to fight for it though. If you have the financial advantage, then use it.

For spousal support, make sure you ask the court to impute income to her at what she CAN AND HAS earned, not what she is earning now. This is what the law in almost all states allows. Reducing hours to get support from a spouse is NOT ALLOWED. Your attorney will understand what this means. Equal incomes equals NO SUPPORT!

For custody, your 14 year old will have a majority say and your 10 year old's opinion will be given heavy weight. If you get the kids, NO CHILD SUPPORT. Do whatever you have to do to secure their best interests. Sounds like your wife does not make good decisions.

Your wife is lazy, selfish, and is looking for a payout on the way out the door. DON'T GIVE HER ONE. Make her fight you in court for EVERY penny. Don't sign anything unless it's truly to your advantage.

Once spousal and child support are settled, then divide assets and force the sale of the home if you so desire.

Of course you can file first and request all this at the pendente lite hearing. Can she afford a lawyer to fight you? If not, then use that to your advantage. If you are fair, the courts will be on your side.
 

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Having been through a high conflict, drawn out, every expensive divorce, and having read numerous accounts of others who have gone through the same thing, I take issue with many of the points raised by this poster.

You CAN get a fair settlement anywhere you are. You have to fight for it though.
Sure it's possible to get a fair settlement in any court. It's also possible for a court to make an outrageous ruling that will leave your head spinning because it appears to completely defy logic and the facts of the case. Judges are only human, they're biased, some are corrupt, some are lazy, some are just having a bad day. You NEVER know what a court will do, and you are always better trying to settle things on your own rather than rolling the dice, assuming the other party is somewhat reasonable and cooperative.

If you have the financial advantage, then use it.
Only if what you're fighting for is worth the amount of money you're going to spend trying to obtain it. Of course child custody is not a tangible asset so leave that out of the equation and deal with that as a separate matter.

For spousal support, make sure you ask the court to impute income to her at what she CAN AND HAS earned, not what she is earning now. This is what the law in almost all states allows.
So what "it's the law". My ex stopped working as a nurse, but her license was current, we were separated, no reason she couldn't go back to work. We asked the support magistrate to please impute income at the rate of what an LPN earns in our area. The magistrate came right out and said she wasn't going to consider it. No good reason, just because that's what the magistrate decided to do. Sure I could have appealed her decision, and it would have cost another $30,000 or more with an uncertain outcome.

Reducing hours to get support from a spouse is NOT ALLOWED.
He'd have to prove that she intentionally cutback on her hours as a manipulative tactic to squeeze support dollars out of him. You can bet the first thing a competent attorney will do is come up with one or more reasons why she cutback on her hours, even if there are twists, and outright fabrications including (for example) caring for a sick friend, her employer cut back her hours for assorted reasons beyond her control, she was too stressed out because of the divorce, etc.. etc. I'm sure my exwife's attorneys advised her not to go back to work so she'd get more support from me, and she got thousands per month. I've read other stories where a judge in the very same courthouse told the unemployed spouse to get their a$$ back to work and they don't give them a dime of support. To this day I wish I had that particular judge who is tough on lazy nonworking spouses. You never know- however an attorney who is familiar with the various judges can give you an idea of how your particular judge may rule.

Your attorney will understand what this means. Equal incomes equals NO SUPPORT!
Possibly, probably- but you don't know that for sure. Her expenses could be higher than his and she could make a case for support even with equal incomes.

Your wife is lazy, selfish.. Make her fight you in court for EVERY penny.
After quickly racking up the better part of $100k in attorneys fees and accomplishing nothing, I quickly realized that fighting for every penny isn't worth it because it costs you at least a dime in legal fees to earn that penny. And it drags out the legal process for months or years putting a huge emotional strain on everyone involved.

Don't sign anything unless it's truly to your advantage.
Don't sign anything without the advice of a qualified legal professional.

Once spousal and child support are settled, then divide assets and force the sale of the home if you so desire.
These things don't have to happen in any particular order. Settle what you can, and leave the rest to the attorneys and the courts. In my case while we were battling out the larger issues of support and asset distribution, we had a brief period where we were actually civil, and we went through every closet and every drawer and divided up all the personal possessions.

Can she afford a lawyer to fight you? .. If not, then use that to your advantage.
In my state, if one party has the financial means to hire an attorney and the other doesn't, the one with the financial means pays for BOTH attorneys. Check your local laws on that one.

If you are fair, the courts will be on your side.
Yeah and pigs fly too.

If you understand that the court system is flawed and unpredictable and expensive, and you're going to take a hit, and that you won't walk away from the table feeling like you got a reasonable deal, and you realize that if you don't make some sacrifices it will cost you big time in legal fees and wasted months or years of your life, and you make every attempt to avoid a costly legal battle and get things wrapped up as smoothly as possible, you just might get through this thing ok.
 

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Sharkeey,
Wow you got screwed, sorry to hear it. My experiences are based on the laws of Virginia and my personal involvment with the system here as well as coaching numerous active duty sailors through the divorce and custody process as it exists here. Not sure what state you are in as they are all a bit different. Folks who get divorced in high alimony California would be utterly shocked here in VA. Spousal support awards are rarely given here and when they are it's only for a limited time. For instance, I make 84K a year. I would only pay $800 per month in spousal for 7 years (1/2 my 14 year marriage). Custody here is presumed joint unless one parent is unfit or doesn't want custody. I guess it just depends on what the laws are where you live. Again, sorry to hear about your situation, that sucks.
 

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Sharkeey,
Wow you got screwed, sorry to hear it. ..Again, sorry to hear about your situation, that sucks.
I didnt get such a bad deal. In fact after it was all over, I sent my exwife a long email clearly showing her that she got pretty much what I offered her prior to the 3 yrs worth of litigation that cost each of us about $125,000 in legal fees and 3 wasted years.

Yeah there were a few questionable decisions along the way that left me shaking my head but in the end she got about a third of the marital assets, I'm paying spousal support for about 6.5 years on a 16 year marriage and child support according to our state laws but capped at $250,000 worth of income and I make more than that. So I'm paying a lot but I make a lot and it could have been much worse.

It wasn't really the courts that were the problem, it was my greedy and unreasonable exwife who was so easily persuaded by her attorneys to make a big fight out of it.
 
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