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Wanted to share my situation because I'm at a crossroads. About 9 months ago, my wife and I had a terrible fight. Not physical, but close. She threatened to "*&^ing kill me" at one point. Aside from that and a few other fights throughout our 9 years of marriage and 12 yrs together, I thought we were pretty happy. We have two kids, we're financially secure, we've always tried to be open and honest, and we typically communicate our feelings fairly well, I thought.

We went to marriage counseling for about 4 months and I thought we were making progress. We stopped around Christmas, and after a few weeks in January, she went cold on me. No real catalyst that I could tell. And by cold, I mean she literally did not say "I love you" or initiate physical contact of any kind for over a month. No hugs, no arm touches, she'd even squeeze over so she didn't have to brush by me when I went past in the kitchen. It may be a coincidence, but she also started hanging out with one of her old friends and started some new age meditation program with her at roughly the same time. I can't help but feel her friend was feeding her "advice".

So about a month and a half ago, I'd had enough and asked her for a discussion. I started by saying, "If you love me, I need more effort from you," thinking she'd make excuses about how I was the one who wasn't trying. That's typically how those discussions go. Instead, she said she doesn't love me anymore. Bam. Load of bricks.

Wanna hear the kicker? Our relationship seems better (friendliness wise, not marriage wise) and she's been happier this past month and change than she has been in over a year. From my perspective, the only thing that's changed is that she knows we won't be together. That makes me think she decided at some point a while back that she didn't want to be with me and it was making her miserable. My behavior hasn't changed, so I doubt it was anything I was explicitly doing. Anyway, she doesn't have a good explanation. She wants to "find herself" because she "doesn't know who she is anymore." She also says I don't respect her, though she doesn't have good examples and I'd argue that door swings both ways. Either way, I thought we were miles away from the point where it wasn't worth another attempt at salvaging our marriage, and her reasons sound like flimsy ones to rip apart our lives, scar our children for life, label us with the social stigma that comes with divorce, and throw us both into dire straits financially.

Anyway, we have been looking at mediators and the whole process here in NC. We want to minimize the impact on our two young boys (1 and 4). We're going to try to keep the house. I think we've both kind of had it in our minds that I'd be the one to move out and get visitation rights. However, the more I think about it, why am I agreeing to that? I'll miss our boys like a lost limb, and I'm the only one who can afford the mortgage anyway. I make twice as much as she does. I already pay mortgage and childcare costs, though she transfers a few hundred dollars every month to assist and takes care of a lot of the bills. (We had a really good financial arrangement, as I said.) If she really wants to "find herself", I think that'll be a lot easier without a mortgage and two young kids saddling her. Plus, I'm not the one who wants to end this. If she wants to leave, she can be the one to uproot her life and leave.

Am I just being bitter? Is it worth potentially scuttling an amicable settlement to fight for the house and physical custody?
 

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she said she doesn't love me anymore
she decided at some point a while back that she didn't want to be with me
he wants to "find herself" because she "doesn't know who she is anymore
her reasons sound like flimsy ones to rip apart our lives, scar our children for life
All of these things add up. What they add up to is the common, head-up-the-ass, mid-life-crisis horse****.
Her reasons don't only sound flimsy, they ARE flimsy. She won't know one scintilla more about "who she is" at the end of this folderol than she does at this moment. I can almost guarantee that she cannot actually define what her goal is.


Is it worth potentially scuttling an amicable settlement to fight for the house and physical custody?
In my opinion, although the scenario you describe makes perfect financial sense, the amicable settlement is worth its weight in gold to your kids. I don't think you will ever regret making the concessions necessary to provide a good co-parenting situation for them.

BTW, there does come a time in the life of many mid-life-crisis sufferers in which their head comes out of their ass and they recognize that they have been WRONG and have lost the very things that were the most precious to them.
 

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You're right. I will never put my kids through a court battle unless there are absolutely zero other options. I may push just to see how much resistance I get. If I do meet substantial resistance, I will fold before it comes to that much as it'll kill me. Thank you.

EDIT: And thank you for expanding my vocabulary. "Folderol" is going into use from here on out.
 

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Wanted to share my situation because I'm at a crossroads. About 9 months ago, my wife and I had a terrible fight. Not physical, but close. She threatened to "*&^ing kill me" at one point. Aside from that and a few other fights throughout our 9 years of marriage and 12 yrs together, I thought we were pretty happy. We have two kids, we're financially secure, we've always tried to be open and honest, and we typically communicate our feelings fairly well, I thought.

We went to marriage counseling for about 4 months and I thought we were making progress. We stopped around Christmas, and after a few weeks in January, she went cold on me. No real catalyst that I could tell. And by cold, I mean she literally did not say "I love you" or initiate physical contact of any kind for over a month. No hugs, no arm touches, she'd even squeeze over so she didn't have to brush by me when I went past in the kitchen. It may be a coincidence, but she also started hanging out with one of her old friends and started some new age meditation program with her at roughly the same time. I can't help but feel her friend was feeding her "advice".

So about a month and a half ago, I'd had enough and asked her for a discussion. I started by saying, "If you love me, I need more effort from you," thinking she'd make excuses about how I was the one who wasn't trying. That's typically how those discussions go. Instead, she said she doesn't love me anymore. Bam. Load of bricks.

Wanna hear the kicker? Our relationship seems better (friendliness wise, not marriage wise) and she's been happier this past month and change than she has been in over a year. From my perspective, the only thing that's changed is that she knows we won't be together. That makes me think she decided at some point a while back that she didn't want to be with me and it was making her miserable. My behavior hasn't changed, so I doubt it was anything I was explicitly doing. Anyway, she doesn't have a good explanation. She wants to "find herself" because she "doesn't know who she is anymore." She also says I don't respect her, though she doesn't have good examples and I'd argue that door swings both ways. Either way, I thought we were miles away from the point where it wasn't worth another attempt at salvaging our marriage, and her reasons sound like flimsy ones to rip apart our lives, scar our children for life, label us with the social stigma that comes with divorce, and throw us both into dire straits financially.

Anyway, we have been looking at mediators and the whole process here in NC. We want to minimize the impact on our two young boys (1 and 4). We're going to try to keep the house. I think we've both kind of had it in our minds that I'd be the one to move out and get visitation rights. However, the more I think about it, why am I agreeing to that? I'll miss our boys like a lost limb, and I'm the only one who can afford the mortgage anyway. I make twice as much as she does. I already pay mortgage and childcare costs, though she transfers a few hundred dollars every month to assist and takes care of a lot of the bills. (We had a really good financial arrangement, as I said.) If she really wants to "find herself", I think that'll be a lot easier without a mortgage and two young kids saddling her. Plus, I'm not the one who wants to end this. If she wants to leave, she can be the one to uproot her life and leave.

Am I just being bitter? Is it worth potentially scuttling an amicable settlement to fight for the house and physical custody?
I'd highly recommend your getting to a good, reputable family attorney and having him thoroughly research all of your options for you!
 

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I have a consult tomorrow morning. Any advice on what to bring with me to maximize my return on investment?
 

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All of these things add up. What they add up to is the common, head-up-the-ass, mid-life-crisis horse****.
Her reasons don't only sound flimsy, they ARE flimsy. She won't know one scintilla more about "who she is" at the end of this folderol than she does at this moment. I can almost guarantee that she cannot actually define what her goal is.
Totally agree. Folderol, lol, what a great definition.

In my opinion, although the scenario you describe makes perfect financial sense, the amicable settlement is worth its weight in gold to your kids. I don't think you will ever regret making the concessions necessary to provide a good co-parenting situation for them..
You're right. I will never put my kids through a court battle unless there are absolutely zero other options. I may push just to see how much resistance I get. If I do meet substantial resistance, I will fold before it comes to that much as it'll kill me. Thank you.
You should absolutely pursue a 50/50 parenting schedule with your children (you don't visit your kids) and seek an equitable division of the marital assets. You are your kids father and have every right to spend as much time with them as possible. Do not accept one weekday and every other weekend, your kids need you in their lives. I would not settle for less than a 50/50 schedule, there are several very workable schedules out there to use. First rule of thumb though, do not move out of the house until you have the custody settled and approved by the court. Settle custody first and, then move to assets.

At this point, it is a business transaction. You get your pre-marital stuff, she gets her's. Then everything else is divided down the middle. If you want the house, fine, just buy her out or trade her material things of equal value. Same if she wants something. Try to remove any financial entanglements (homes, rentals, business, ect) that the two of you may have so that it does not come back to haunt you later. You don't want to get years down the road and have to deal with someone who may not want to deal with you.

Overall, be careful in what you agree to in an amiable settlement and don't give away things "just to make it easier." Remember that mediators are still attorneys at heart.

If you really think you can be amiable, follow my rules but do it yourself. Hash out everything and write it down. Have a paralegal/attorney go over it and add the appropriate legal verbiage. Then take it down the courthouse and file yourself with the Clerk of the Court. Pay your fee and go in front of the judge in about 6 to 8 weeks. That's how I got it done (In NC). NC is pretty progressive about giving 50/50.
 

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Either way, I thought we were miles away from the point where it wasn't worth another attempt at salvaging our marriage, and her reasons sound like flimsy ones to rip apart our lives, scar our children for life, label us with the social stigma that comes with divorce, and throw us both into dire straits financially.

Anyway, we have been looking at mediators and the whole process here in NC. We want to minimize the impact on our two young boys (1 and 4). We're going to try to keep the house. I think we've both kind of had it in our minds that I'd be the one to move out and get visitation rights. However, the more I think about it, why am I agreeing to that? I'll miss our boys like a lost limb, and I'm the only one who can afford the mortgage anyway. I make twice as much as she does.

Am I just being bitter? Is it worth potentially scuttling an amicable settlement to fight for the house and physical custody?
She doesn't love you. I don't think that is a flimsy reason to divorce. Why would either of you want to waste years of your lives in a loveless marriage of friendly convenience?

Outside of that, I think you're being a bit of a Drama Queen.

The kids needn't be "scarred for life". As long as you handle the divorce like a civilized adult and co-parent amicably, they'll be fine. If it helps, I divorced when my kids were 6 and 1 year old, respectively. They were so young when we split that they literally have no memory of anything different. Divorced parents was their normal growing up.

I do agree with a previous poster and think you should request 50/50 shared custody.

Divorce is common. About half of all marriages end in divorce. There isn't exactly a social stigma anymore and hasn't been for many years. Unless you're cult members or you are involved in a religion that doesn't accept divorce, no one cares. Really.

Finances are a thing, but as long as you both work and live within your means you'll both be fine.

As to the house, I'd suggest selling it and splitting any equity. That way you've removed a possible source of animosity and resentment. No one "got to keep the house" and everyone gets a fresh start.
 

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I have a consult tomorrow morning. Any advice on what to bring with me to maximize my return on investment?
1. Your goals for the divorce, specifically your custody goals.
2. Rough financials: income, debt, special circumstances (Businesses, rentals, ect)
3. Your vision of how things will look after the divorce is final

For a consult, they will go over the basics and give you an idea of how things might play out. Take it with a grain of salt. You have to remember they make the most money by going to court, so their view can be a little skewed sometimes.
 

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here is the problem i see with the house, she clearly would not be able to afford the house on her own, she won't be able to pay you your share of the house, and the last thing you want is to pay mortgage on a house you can't live in and perhaps another man is living there with her. Definitely get advice from a lawyer but i would cut my lose and sell the house spilt any proceeds and let her figure it out on her own where to live, you can then buy another house where the kids will stay...i think she will come very quickly to the hard realization that of her "trying to find herself" will ultimately lead to her finding more income...and she will not have time to find herself.
 

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I have a consult tomorrow morning. Any advice on what to bring with me to maximize my return on investment?
Bring every damned thing that you can possibly lay your hands on!
 

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Two things. First regardless of whether you or some other poster thinks her reasons a "flimsy", the fact that she feels that way means they aren't. She doesn't love you anymore, for whatever reason. That is a fact. Accept it and stop trying to it out. You cannot control what another person thinks or how they feel. She may not have any clue as to what her "goal" is, other than she knows she doesn't want to be with you. Let her go.
Second, I am not sure of how much you make or what the laws are in regards to spousal and child support where you live are. Rather than rely on the uneducated and biased guesses of anonymous people on the internet, I would do exactly as you said you were going to do - go see a lawyer. You will need to decide how you want it to go down, hopefully you will agree. But do NOT let your attorney talk you into anything you are not comfortable with - like a scorched earth, burn it all to the ground and take names later strategy (unless you want to end up spending years of your life fighting and even more years of your life paying your attorney fees)
 

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Sincere thanks for all the advice folks. She and I sat down and had a very good discussion tonight. We agreed that the number one thing is to keep our relationship solid as we'll be partners in raising our kids regardless of our personal feelings for each other. That was a good foundation to build on. I told her the process the lawyer I consulted with laid out to save us money should we agree on our terms of separation: have one legal counsel draft the agreement and turn over to other spouse to take for review by theirs.

Turns out, she's fine with 50-50 physical custody (we agreed on a Mon/Tue, Wed/Thu, alternating weekends and holidays schedule) and with me buying her out of the house. We also managed to agree on how we'd divide the other marital assets (cars, retirement accounts, etc) and we're both satisfied. I took the time this week to draft up post-separation budgets for us both and laid them out to justify my proposals for child support and alimony, and she was on board with those too. I shared the spreadsheet so she can review tomorrow in more detail if she chooses. I then rehashed everything verbally before typing it up and sending it to her in an email asking for feedback or agreement; she's planning to review tomorrow morning.

Overall, I feel much better about the situation; it's rough being unmoored and imagining the worst for your future for a couple months. We have a clear path forward now.

My next question is, do we even need to pay a lawyer several thousand dollars to draft the separation agreement? I see lots of online tools and our agreement seems about as simple as they come. We would still take it for review by our respective attorneys, but legal reviews seem to be much cheaper than drafting the initial document. Has anyone used these online tools (Rocket Lawyer, etc) and have feedback? Thanks in advance!


PS: To those few who said I was a "drama queen" or something similar, I say yeah, and? A divorce is a very dramatic event. I reserve the right to get upset, anticipate the worst, heed my fears, tear my hair out, shout "why!" at a full moon on a dark and stormy night... whatever feels right to me to help me get through this moment, so long as it doesn't harm myself or my loved ones. I don't care how many other people have gone through this (well, aside from the lack of stigma part; that's a good point and thank you). This is MY divorce and it effing sucks, bigtime.
 

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Wanted to share my situation because I'm at a crossroads. About 9 months ago, my wife and I had a terrible fight. Not physical, but close. She threatened to "*&^ing kill me" at one point. Aside from that and a few other fights throughout our 9 years of marriage and 12 yrs together, I thought we were pretty happy. We have two kids, we're financially secure, we've always tried to be open and honest, and we typically communicate our feelings fairly well, I thought.

We went to marriage counseling for about 4 months and I thought we were making progress. We stopped around Christmas, and after a few weeks in January, she went cold on me. No real catalyst that I could tell. And by cold, I mean she literally did not say "I love you" or initiate physical contact of any kind for over a month. No hugs, no arm touches, she'd even squeeze over so she didn't have to brush by me when I went past in the kitchen. It may be a coincidence, but she also started hanging out with one of her old friends and started some new age meditation program with her at roughly the same time. I can't help but feel her friend was feeding her "advice".

Her friend is an enabler

So about a month and a half ago, I'd had enough and asked her for a discussion. I started by saying, "If you love me, I need more effort from you," thinking she'd make excuses about how I was the one who wasn't trying. That's typically how those discussions go. Instead, she said she doesn't love me anymore. Bam. Load of bricks.

hmmmmmmm

Wanna hear the kicker? Our relationship seems better (friendliness wise, not marriage wise) and she's been happier this past month and change than she has been in over a year. From my perspective, the only thing that's changed is that she knows we won't be together. That makes me think she decided at some point a while back that she didn't want to be with me and it was making her miserable. My behavior hasn't changed, so I doubt it was anything I was explicitly doing. Anyway, she doesn't have a good explanation. She wants to "find herself" because she "doesn't know who she is anymore." She also says I don't respect her, though she doesn't have good examples and I'd argue that door swings both ways. Either way, I thought we were miles away from the point where it wasn't worth another attempt at salvaging our marriage, and her reasons sound like flimsy ones to rip apart our lives, scar our children for life, label us with the social stigma that comes with divorce, and throw us both into dire straits financially.

Separation is usually to make time for someone else

Anyway, we have been looking at mediators and the whole process here in NC. We want to minimize the impact on our two young boys (1 and 4). We're going to try to keep the house. I think we've both kind of had it in our minds that I'd be the one to move out and get visitation rights. However, the more I think about it, why am I agreeing to that? I'll miss our boys like a lost limb, and I'm the only one who can afford the mortgage anyway. I make twice as much as she does. I already pay mortgage and childcare costs, though she transfers a few hundred dollars every month to assist and takes care of a lot of the bills. (We had a really good financial arrangement, as I said.) If she really wants to "find herself", I think that'll be a lot easier without a mortgage and two young kids saddling her. Plus, I'm not the one who wants to end this. If she wants to leave, she can be the one to uproot her life and leave.

Exactly. Never leave your home

Am I just being bitter? Is it worth potentially scuttling an amicable settlement to fight for the house and physical custody?
You'd better look out for yourself. What do you really think she's doing?

Again go online and Check your phone bill
 

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If it were me I'd check her phone bill online.

Sounds like she's monkey branching to someone else.

I think NC is a fault state which if you have proof means no alimony
Thanks Marc! It is a fault state. I think we have everything worked out though. We're trying really hard to keep the relationship cordial so we can keep things "normal" for the kids. We don't want them to feel any tension between us.
 

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My next question is, do we even need to pay a lawyer several thousand dollars to draft the separation agreement? I see lots of online tools and our agreement seems about as simple as they come. We would still take it for review by our respective attorneys, but legal reviews seem to be much cheaper than drafting the initial document. Has anyone used these online tools (Rocket Lawyer, etc) and have feedback? Thanks in advance!
No, but ... with kids involved you need to be sure it is really airtight.

My kids were all adults when I divorced. I used a lawyer for advice and to draft a few key documents. The court has forms online which are all we needed for the basic filings. Things like asset distribution. When it came to the title on the house, I paid a lawyer to write that up to be sure it was 100% legally rock solid. For your custody agreement I would pay a lawyer to do it right.

One of the online legal forms sites may be good enough, but you need to be sure a local attorney experienced in the matter in your location approves it. Additionally, while the attorney might agree the online form meets legal standards, it may not include details or provisions the attorney would have put in his own documents. You may miss out on some important protections.

As an example, when I did my new will the atty asked me about all of my family members. One of my siblings is fully disabled and receives some government assistance. I needed to structure the provisions in my will so as not to disqualify her from her disability benefits. Had I used a basic online will product it would have caused her a net loss in assets for her support! There may be details regarding future custody or alimony issues that are not adequately covered by online forms.

You don't want some loophole to bite you 15 years from now!
 

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If it were me I'd check her phone bill online.

Sounds like she's monkey branching to someone else.

I think NC is a fault state which if you have proof means no alimony
This is correct.

And ... when they say they don't love you anymore it OFTEN means they have someone else they DO LOVE as a point of comparison. Also, her new 'happiness' could be about this new 'relationship' and her kindness towards you is simply her way of appeasing your home situation so you don't otherwise interfere with her adulterous relationship.

DO NOT Ask Her if she's having an affair or "in love" with someone else because she won't tell you or admit it to you {especially in North Carolina where the consequences in divorce are higher and anyone that's been through divorce there knows it}. I KNOW you've known your wife forever and she's horrible when she's angry but she's never been a liar or a good liar. IF she's cheating...she's a good liar NOW and you won't get the truth from her mouth UNTIL you accumulate overwhelming evidence of this other relationship.

Unfortunately, you've got to snoop out the truth and find out if she's cheating all on your own without her being suspicious or "on guard" that you are highly suspicious.


Is her "meditation" friend male????

You've got a 1 and 4 year old child with this woman. Don't move out. Don't abandon them to what sounds to me like a wayward wife. If you leave, OM will just be over there having the affair in your own home, own bed and around your own children.

The problems in your marriage, from your wife's point of view, have always been YOU. Well, maybe, bust her having an affair, get her to end the affair and FINALLY, maybe, you can both walk into a counseling office and have her realize that SHE is the problem TOO and TOGETHER, you can go about learning how to be married and have a great marriage and get control over all that anger she's got inside her. I'm not suggesting you HAVE TO forgive her and reconcile if you do bust her cheating, but it's an option that you could then shoot for {still takes two and she may not be capable of it}. There's value also to you if you end up leaving the marriage knowing you did everything you could to save it.
 
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