25 Ways to Divorce Without Going Broke

Divorce is the largest single financial transaction of most people’s lives, raising important questions that demand immediate answers.

This booklet contains helpful tips on every aspect of divorce, including: before the divorce, gathering records, alimony, tax returns, navigating the divorce, accumulating cash, hiring an attorney, child support, property division, and life changes after divorce.

Before the Divorce

    1. Cancel all joint credit cards, including charge, department store, and gasoline card accounts. Even if a court rules that you aren’t responsible for charges made by your spouse after you separate, the credit card company can hold you responsible while you and your ex sort it out.
    2. Before you separate, use joint funds to repair your automobile and home, buy clothes for yourself and your children, and other family expenses. Begin your divorce with these expenses already paid, rather than arguing with your spouse about who should pay them later.
    3. Remember that judges usually enforce the status quo, so start the processes now that you will want to continue after your divorce. For example, go back to school, get braces for the kids, begin medical treatments, etc.
    4. Open a post office box that you can use for your mail before you separate and while you are in the process of divorce. Confidential information can be sent to you there, and it provides a stable mailing address as your life changes.

Accumulating Cash

    1. Accumulate money in an easily accessible bank account in your name. Although eventually you will have to tell your soon-to-be ex-spouse about the funds, you will be able to use the money to get through the divorce.
    2. Apply for credit cards in your own name. These cards have multiple uses: as an easy way to access money during the divorce, to establish credit in your own name, and to use when you cancel your joint accounts.
    3. If you need quick access to cash, borrow funds from your parents, your 401(k), or a credit union. The cost of these sources of funds beats credit card interest rates by a wide margin.

Gathering Records

    1. Make a clear copy of all tax returns, loan applications, wills, trusts, financial statements, banking information, loan documents, credit card statements, deeds to real property, car registration, insurance inventories, and all insurance policies. Copy all papers having to do with money now, so you won’t have to subpoena them later.
    2. Don’t delay gathering financial information, even if you are not sure if you want to divorce. Knowledge about your finances will make you a better partner if the two of you stay together, and will help you get the best settlement possible if you don’t.
    3. Copy records that you can use to trace your separate property, such as an inheritance or a gift from your family. These assets will remain yours as long as you can document them.

Hiring an Attorney

    1. Read a book or take a class on do-it-yourself divorce even if you plan to use an attorney or mediator. Knowing how the legal process works will mean that your attorney won’t have to explain it to you—at his or her normal hourly rate.
    2. Try mediation instead of litigation. The litigation process creates an environment in which two spouses fight against each other, instead of working together to solve the problems of property division and custody arrangements. Mediation is private, less expensive, and kinder to your children than litigation.
    3. If mediation won’t work, consider arbitration. Arbitration is less expensive than court, but lets you “rent a judge”, an impartial observer who may be able to help decide any issues remaining in your settlement.

Alimony and Child Support

    1. Do not waive your right to alimony except after close consideration of all of the facts and a thorough discussion with your attorney. Once waived, the right to alimony cannot be re-acquired.
    2. Consider receiving your alimony as a lump sum payment instead of monthly checks. The default rate for monthly alimony payments is about 50%. A smaller lump sum that you actually receive is better than monthly payments that never arrive.
    3. Fighting over child support in court is generally unnecessary. Most states have legal guidelines based on income and child sharing arrangements that do not allow for negotiation or tantrums. Ask your attorney to compute support according to your local guidelines.

Property Division

    1. When deciding whether or not to keep the house, consider the cost of maintenance, repairs, homeowner’s association fees, gardeners, and other household expenses. Although you may be able to afford the mortgage, the other expenses may exceed the amount your budget.
    2. Consider the value of professional degrees and licenses. In some states, these assets are marital property, and you are entitled to a share of their value.
    3. Don’t forget often overlooked assets. Frequent flyer miles, vacation and sick pay, season tickets, club memberships, timeshares, magazine subscriptions, and prepaid insurance all are assets that have value and should be split.
    4. If you allocate part of the retirement plans to the non-employee spouse, use a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order, pronounced “quadro”). A QDRO is a court order used to separate retirement property (except IRAs) and should be prepared by a family law attorney or a QDRO specialist.

Navigating the Divorce

  1. Find common ground and proceed from there. Even if you and your soon-to-be-ex can agree only on minor points, that’s a starting place. Document your understandings in writing, and build on your agreements, rather than focusing on disagreements.
  2. Don’t let guilt rule you. “Please release me, let me go” goes the country song, but don’t give up everything to buy your release. Your spouse will still be unhappy, and you’ll be equally unhappy when you find yourself impoverished by your foolish gesture.
  3. Don’t leave home until you have to. Once you move, you may have trouble getting your personal items, and you’ll also have difficulty gaining custody of the children you’ve left behind. And if you and your spouse both want to keep the house, the resident spouse is more likely to win.
  4. Don’t let your spouse turn off the utilities and phone. If your spouse moves out and asks the utility companies to cease billing him, they may turn out the lights. Contact the utility companies to be sure they will continue service in your name.
  5. Pay your attorney fees personally. While it is tempting to pay legal fees from your business, don’t. Most divorce costs are not tax deductible, and paying the expenses from your business may make it possible for your spouse’s attorney to join the business in the lawsuit and scrutinize its records in detail.

Excerpted from:150 Ways to Divorce Without Going Broke, by Ginita WallCPA®, CFP with Jessica Richman.

Comments

  1. Mark a goodwin says:

    I was severely injured, and had a lawsuit 10 months ago! I then bought a home and made a bad mistake on putting her name on. It! I’ve filled for divorce two time before! Now she filled and want 75/000 buck doi have any chance to fight for a smaller amount?!!!? 727/329/ 8314 thank you mark Goodwin!!!

  2. Damien Hill says:

    I notice that you mention “him” being the one to leave and stop paying the bills. In this world of equality one would think that it could be either party that could be the billpayer.

    Irergardless of that fact, your book is simply a leeches guide to getting money.

    • Thank you for pointing out that it could be either spouse. As for your other comment, this little guide encourages spouses to negotiate and settle their divorce peceably, thus paying less in divorce costs and dividing more money between them. If that makes the spouses leeches in your mind, so be it — most people would reserve that term for the attorneys.

  3. Hello I live in GA. My husband of 1 1/2 yrs. left me penniless, he moved out over an argument and has not paid any of the bills. I am disable and am expecting a SSD hearing soon (after a long 24 months). I have ask him to pay the bills and at first he said he would pay half, I do not have a job at this time ( I was working PT whenever I could) and no money.

    My Uncle (lives in MD) wired me money to place my belongings in storage. I can not even find a homeless shelter to go to. We are one month behind in rent and management will file a disposition on the 16th, I know I have about a month to stay in my apt before I am put out. If a man who claims to love you can do this, I’m so over it!!! Do I have any rights for spousal support until I at lease get my SSD? I also plan to divorce as my finances allow.

  4. A question. My soon to be ex husband has a credit card in his name only. None of my information was used to secure the card. Its maxed out now. Most of the charges on it are for himself. A few were for the household. He says I’m liable for half the balance. Is this true? We live in massachusetts.

  5. Soon to be Ex hold $500,000 in separate property in stock in his name. He will be inheriting his parents home (when they pass) and when he retires ex will have full medical benefits. I have been the bread winner for the last 23 years and paid for the healthinsurances for the family for the 25 years. He did not want his family business to pay for it, thus saving his family business $150,000 over our 26 year marriage. What is the best way to keep my retirement and pension plans since i have worked for 40 years and he worked for the family business for 35 years (no pension plan) and just started working for private industry with pension within the last 7 years? Is it possible to calculate my pension on a post tax basis?

    • The laws of each state are different, so you’ll need to ask these questions to an attorney familiar with the laws of your state. In many states, if you are trading retirement accounts for non-retiremente accounts, the taxes that would be paid down the road on retirement assets are taken into account to make the division fair. But check with your attorney to see what will work in your situation in your state.

  6. I found out recently that my husband & I were never divorced, as I tried to get a copy of divorce decree to apply for SS benefits, and found the case was dismissed years ago. So we’ve been married 22 years, living apart for 15. I also discovered he knew about this pseudo-divorce for ten years & never said again. He recently took a buyout from an automotive supplier located in Michigan & never divulged that information to me. Can I take him to court to recoup any monies? My quality of life is nothing as I have 4 children, one of which is still a minor? Any help or information you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

    • See an attorney immediately.

    • Im not sure I understand this, If he bought it with money he earned AFTER the divorcee was in essence made (not that you sure dont sound like you where giving any emotional support or anything afterwards) Why would you think you have any right to what is his?

      If he is not paying child support, or alimony and should be, that is different. However I am on the other side of this, with a wife who is going onto SS, I have zero funds myself, she choose to leave and now wants alimony.(which no judge is going to give since shes getting a higher quality of life than I am!) I am getting ready to file for SSI myself. So you may want to consider those questions.

      However beyond that, I must Agree with Ginita. It does seem rather shady, and you may be due things for honest reasons and should speak to an attorney right away!

  7. am in month 2 of our mandatory year long North Carolina) separation and will be letting my husband “have” the house, he says he needs a divorce decree first in order to get my name off the mortgage and refinance in his name only…Does that mean we have to wait till we are divorced to have my name removed? We have a separation agreement which states during the year waiting period I have “custody ” of the house, but I have moved away to another state ( for my sanity) and his Military Housing allowance pays for the mortgage, we have a VA loan. I do not care about a buy out I just want him and the house gone! what is the best way to accomplish this?

    • You can deed the house to your husband without a divorce decree. How to get your name off the mortgage depends on the rules of the mortgage company. If he must refinance to do so, and he does that while you are still married, then you will probably be required to sign papers saying that you claim no interest in the house.

  8. I am thinkin about filing for divorce but i have saved a few thousand dollars of my own work pay will i get to keep this money if i saved it

  9. Me and my family have one vehicle in my name and i pay the bill and my wife does not even have here license so will i get to keep my truck

  10. filed D after married 10 months. no kids. we have $3000 in bills, he did not work at all whole time and I was tired of supporting him. I owned a home 9 yrs prior and he wants equity for 10 months. I refinanced 17 months ago so there is little to no equity.
    he wants to walk away w no debt.
    he thinks I should pay him back cause his VA money paid for some bills.
    he is $6600 in debt to child support for his bio kid. Not my fault.
    he bought a vehicle during marriage, with money from a car he sold prior to marriage.

    whats my leverage. I have a lawyer but to keep costs low, I am trying to settle and have lawyer write it up.
    our hearing said he had to pay me min on cards, and maintenance w va money. still waiting to see it.

    Im thinking we should call it a wash on the equity. have him pay me $1300 on the bills thru va till that is paid and be done. fair? i just want a divorce as soon as possible. if we contest anything, its about 2 more months wait.

    • If you can come close to break even, that’s probably your best bet after a short marriage — otherwise you’ll likely spend more money and take more time than you’ll get in settlement.

      • I offered the above including him to keep his car. he refuses to sign. he wants to fight cause I wont get back together with him. so at least I tried. Hopefully the paperwork I sent him cannot hold me at that offer, since he is wanting to fight, I will ask the full 50% of bills, which is $3000 on his part. I had a typo above.
        I dont understand why people can act so crazy and selfish when a relationship ends.

        • It’s amazing how women sound so much like men when they are the primary breadwinners. You supported him for 10 months and had “enough” … Imagine how we as men feel when we do it for 5-10 even 20 years. I hope you get the equality you have worked so hard to deserve.

          • JC: I think what the real problem has been all along is that men generally do NOT want to pay women their fair share when MEN decide it’s time to leave. That is what you are talking about; not the issue of women who work and support and it’s vice-a-versa. Divorce isn’t a game of “he said she said” or “let’s stick it to the men.” Men do it for 5-10 or 20 years? Usually the wife/mother has the children ….. but the men don’t want to pay. OR, the men feel that they earned the paycheck when a wife is a stay-at-home mom and they don’t want to pay cuz “she didn’t work.” You know that dontcha? So, it’s difficult for me to imagine how you men feel when the marriage ends and you don’t wnat to pay support or divide property equally. Because statistically that is usually the case.

            Here is my case JC: After 27 years together with one adult disabled dtr, husband left in the night without one word of warning and with the shirt on his back and fled to another state to be with his girlfriend. So, get over it eh? Only thing is he took all the money! MY money as well as his. I am 67 yrs old with chronic physical conditions and leukemia. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. It’s been three years – I still can’t move out of the 4 bdrm family home (rental) becuz I can’t physically move and because I have no money to move or hire an atty.

          • JC. In some way, I have to agree with what Sheri is saying. I have been married for over 15 years. Up until August of 2011, I worked full time for the entire marriage. Albeit, we have no children together-but my husband did basically the same thing. We never argued EVER! That in my opinion was part of the problem-he would just not talk. Then one day he decided he wanted out of our marriage, but instead of coming to me he too went to our joint account and took all the money. He is younger than I am and is still capable of working and bringing in good money (that is when he works-construction). He now seems to think “You go your way and I will go mine”..I am sorry, but it does not work that way. Gee, what can I say but Yes, the bills are ALL in my name. Some of which are on a contract (ie-cell phones, internet & cable) to which if I try and cancel, I am the one who will be charged penalties, not him!!
            I am trying to find a room mate to help me at least pay the rent. Our local government will only help me with 1 month of rent and or I am being FORCED to move into government home living in the city.
            So, JC-Do you think that is being fair?

  11. If my name is not on our mortgage or deed and my husband has always paid all the mortgage payments, can he make me leave before we get a divorce? We have been married for 7 years. He also now will mot let my daughter, from my previous marriage, on the property.

  12. I have been married for 24years. I would like to file for divorce. I have been a housewife for 22years. My husband pays all the bills and pays the repairs on my car and pays our daughter’s college fees and rent. Are my chances of keeping our home and being paid alimony to keep up with the bills to the house and cars a likely settlement in my favor? My husband IN NO WAY wants to give me the house nor wants to pay alimony. What (in your OPINION) will be my outcome

    • The laws differ from state to state. In most states, it is the goal to maintain the status quo and keep things as they have been, awarding you the support you need to do so at least for the period you are going through the divorce process. That will give you a chance to weigh your options and balance keeping the house against the finances of selling it and living elsewhere. Talk to an attorney to find out what happens in your kind of situation in your state.

  13. My husband and I are divorcing and have just begun the process. We are trying to figure out what to do with the house. He has already moved out and I am considering buying him out. However, I am on disability and that is my primary source of income. How do I do a buyout if I do not have a full time job? Is there even a chance? If we sell and I have to move, with the kids, I will be spending more in rent than what the mortgage payments are and if I buy a new place, it will be significantly smaller and still cost the same per month. How does a buyout work? We are in Massachusetts.

    • It sounds as though you want to refinance the house to borrow the funds needed to buy him out, so the current mortgage payments are not relevant, since (if you can qualify to refinance) you will owe much more on the new mortgage and will have much higher payments. Find out from a mortgage company how much those payments would be, then see if you can afford them, considering all your other expenses. It may make more sense to sell the house and rent.

  14. Married 28 years, divorce finalized 4/18/2013 with settlement.
    He is a federal postal employee. TSP- under fers.

    PROBLEM or maybe not?
    My lawyer put in my divorce decree that the QUDRO is still in the works and we will meet back in her office once the qudro is finished.
    almost a year now………. when I call my lawyer, she just keeps telling me it takes a while to get the qdro back.

    I am getting nervous.
    Please advise me on this as I don’t even know the right questions to ask.

    ALSO- 2 days ago my lawyer called me and told me she is no longer my lawyer. that the firm has a new lawyer for me and he will be calling me soon.
    any advice would be greatly appreciated .

    • Maybe getting a new attorney is a good thing. Tell that new attorney that your top priority is getting that QDRO finished and filed, and you want it to be the top priority of the attorney as well. Find out exactly where the QDRO is in the process and whose desk it is on, and then start calling, every day if you have to. Sometimes you have to be a squeaky wheel to get the grease.

      • I have called the main/owner of the law firm several times, Friday, and today twice. I left a mssg with the receptionist as well as voice mssgs with no replies.

        I guess I’m in trouble.
        at this point ex has not kept in any of the settlement order (we have been with no heat this winter, he agreed to put heat in our home- he has not) and due to freezing conditions the water pipe froze (on the inside of my house) and insurance refuses to pay because we didn’t maintain heat in the home. so now we have no heat, nor water. this is going on the 41 day with no water.

        I know I need to take him back to court for contempt. I am scared.

  15. Thanks for the useful article. Is it better then to be in broke right before the divorce? that way you have nothing to half anyways.

  16. My husband is divorce for almost 14 years now,the ex wife got the house , bank and savings account and 2 cars. The kids are 17 and 11 now! They have settle and deal that no child support ,since everytime the kids needs financial support he always there even though they need something in the house like appliances or repairs my husband will pay for it!i saw my husband like a dog because he always follow what the ex wife wants and dictate and I’m sick and tired seeing that situation.my question is …..just incase my husband didn’t do what the ex wife dictate is there any possible that she can filed for child support even though they settle already and they divorce already for 14 years?

    • You can review his divorce agreement to see if child support was waived in the agreement (generally it is not waived since parents can’t bargain away the support their children are entitled to). If it isn’t waived, then it is possible for her to request child support until they are the age of majority in your state (generally 18 or graduated from high school, if that is later than their 18th birthday.

  17. NEW QUESTION, Please advise me.

    As I stated above I am in a state of unanswered questions from my ‘attorney’ the ‘new’ attorney that is supposedly taken over my case is now wanting a new retaining fee. my question is this even possible? he couldn’t even answer me as to what stage is my QDRO in? whos desk was it on or if it had even been started? he told me that he would need to ask the attorney that was handling my case in the beginning.

    Mt settlement clearly says:
    Husband is to pay half of attorneys, paid directly to clients attorney at the time of the signing of the QDRO.
    this was signed on 4/18/2013.
    I have called my attorney several times to find out the status of the QDRO and she always told me that it takes time.
    and now all of a sudden she is no longer on my case, and this other attorney calls me last night wanting me to come in on Tuesday with another retaining fee.
    I have called now 6 times to request to speak to the main attorney (his law firm) and he does not return my calls. and today when I called and spoke with the receptionist she then called me back and told me to ask my question to her. I then told her that I need to ask a question regarding the QDRO that was started on my case in 2013. she insisted that the main attorney was busy that I need to come in on Tuesday to ask my questions.
    I told her that I wanted to simply find out the status of the QDRO. she kept telling me to come in on Tuesday.
    Why should I have to pay another attorney to find out the status of a QDRO that was started last year?
    do I have any rights?
    Please advise me. what should I do?

    thank you in advance.
    I am so lost. maybe I should call the bar? or contact the BBB? or even another attorney? have they mislead me or have they screwed up on my QDRO? I don’t know but this sounds so fishy to me now.
    there has got to be a reason why my main attorney has dropped my case, and why the main attorney wont speak with me.

    thank you.

  18. I recently lost my job, prior to leaving my job i withdrew my pension for an emergency related to my husband who promised to replace it. Fast forward I’m unemployed I have nothing my husband has not given me anything and we are currently separated our 3 kids are in my care and I am receiving no support. He works, filed the kids on his taxes and received a return, had a 20k inheritance deposited into his account, had a bonus from work coming and has a 401k with work. Can I file for divorce and have him pay the fees? Also how do I ensure that he does not hide/spend down/ transfer assets to cut me out? He also is part owner in his mothers home can I sue him for a portion of his stake in that property?

    • I don’t know the laws of your state regarding attorney fees — you can ask a knowledgeable attorney in your area. Also ask whether filing for divorce would restrain him from transferring assets. In most states property he inherits is his, so it isn’t likely that you will get a portion of his inheritance or gifts to him from his family.

  19. Hi, I’m married 30 yrs. Disabled for the last 13 yrs truly unable to work. Had been doped up until the last 3 yrs when I started noticing missing money. My spouse was “laid off” 3yrs ago but was disabled due to diabetes. I get 3700.00/mth. He used to get 2000.00/mth but said SS stopped his money but he still has his medical benefits. He states sometimes that we don’t have money for food? I don’t understand. I’ve just laid back and taken his BS for all these yrs. I’ve seen texts from other women. He leaves and doesn’t tell me where he goes. He buys things: expensive rod and reels, boat supplies, etc. but if I want some thing a set of gardening gloves he raises Cain! He took his entire retirement out at the age of 48 and supposedly paid everything off without discussing it with me. Now after paying the IRS approx. $150,000, he says WE still owe another $48000.00. I don’t know what to do. I know he’s stashing money somewhere, but I don’t even know how much his retirement he received or where he put it. His 22′ Ranger boat which is supposed to have my name on, doesn’t. I found that out when I opened the tag renewal notice. He hit the roof when I went and got the mail. He’s getting worse and worse. He didn’t used to be this jumpy! I want to find out if he has any accounts anywhere. I don’t care about other women unless he’s spending my money on them. Whew! No food. No money! Any suggestions? PI! Attorney?…..

  20. Jessica says:

    I am currently separated and located in NC which required you to be separated for a year before filing for a divorce. I left our home with our children (that is in both of our names). I could not afford the mortgage and he tried to kick me out so many times, I just got tired of it and left and left everything there except the kids stuff. He fought me for the house and for me to move out and now that I have done that, he says he doesn’t want the house and we have put it up for sale. The house is in both of our names although he has always paid the mortgage. We also have 2 cars that are in both of our names. One is my oldest daughters and one is mine. He has refused to give me any money and refused to pay my car payment but still pays my daughters. He has always paid the payments. I am currently renting and cannot afford to pay anything outside my living expenses. He makes 5 times as much as I do and we cannot file for divorce until August. He is currently on leave from his job and receiving Workmans’ comp for a self inflicted injury because he thought he would have to give me less money if he was receiving that. He also has indicated that he will quit is 6 figure job just to stop from giving me any money. Will the judge hold me accountable for paying the mortgage and car payments even though I have never had to pay them and my debt is more than my income? He says I abandoned him and left him which is technically true but only after I discovered he has been having not one, but several affairs over the course of our marriage (10 yrs) and is still involved in one extramarital affair.

    • Most states are no-fault states, so if you live in one of those states it won’t matter about his affairs, etc. If he has an ability to earn, the judge may assess support based on those earnings in some states. You’ll need to get legal advice to find out if the court would order him to pay the mortgage payment.

  21. Kristina says:

    I am considering selling my stock to pay for attorney fees. It is better to sell the stock or transfer to a friend who will pay me cash for the value of stock minus tax? Stock value ~ 21K. Both my friend and I have a tax bracket of ~ 28%

    • I’m not sure what you are trying to accomplish. If you sell the stock on the open market, you’ll have to pay tax on the gain, but you’ll get the up-to-the-date sales price, which fluctuates many times each minute throughout the trading day. If you give it to your friend, you’ll not get the most current price, which will disadvantage either you or your friend. And you will subtract the future tax from the proceeds, so you won’t have any more money than you had before.

      The answer is, sell it on the open market to be sure that you get what you should.

  22. Erica Vanderwalker says:

    Got married in January 2014 want to get divorced now. only 3 months later is divorce still as costly and harder to do…

    • In California, you can apply for a Summary Dissolution which is a very simple process. I don’t know if a simplified process exists in your state for short term marriage with no kids and little property, but you can call the county clerk’s office to see.

  23. My spouse decided to have an affair. After confronting her, she says she is just not happy and wants to leave. With 3 children and her working night shift, we have decided that the children would stay with me for the most part. ( I work day shift and make a good salary ). I am offering her some of our furniture, I offered to continue paying for both cars and insurance, and medical insurance.. I have also offered to give her a few hundred dollars per month to help her live. I will be staying in our apartment with the children and paying all of the bills, except for her new bills..housing, utilites, gas and groceries. I do have about 200k in a 401k. Does this sound like a case for mediation?

  24. My husband and I are separated after being married for 20 years. He received two DUI’s in April 2013, lost his license and was sent away for months of company mandated therapy. He obtained an attorney who has been able to keep him from spending the 5 days jail time that was sentenced him by the court. He purchased a car for me in 2012 with only his name on the title and the insurance company has sent me a notice indicating that since he hasn’t had a license in almost a year, they are cancelling our insurance. He won’t have his license because he is afraid to do the punishment for the laws broken and the attorney just keeps getting new court dates. How can I keep my insurance? I called the finance company to see what I could do and they said I would have to apply to be put on the loan and that takes 3-4 weeks and I would have to pay $595 for this.

    Thank you in advance for any advice you can provide.

    • Talk to the finance company to see if they can waive the fee because of hardship — if they won’t do that, you could shop around for alternate financing. Otherwise you could just leave the loan in his name, and find out from the insurance company if there’s any way that would work.

  25. I been married for almost 13 years. My husband and I have been together for 21 years. I just reasonly found out that he has been cheating with this girl for 8 years. And I found out she had a baby. I also found out that he is seeing two other girls. I have a house that I bought before we got married. He is moving out. Can I lose my house? And I have been go though a mental break down where I am getting put off my job by my doctor. I need questions answered can I get allimony? And can I get half of his pension ?

    • The laws of each state are different. You are likely entitled to alimony, and your share of the pension earned during marriage. If you can’t make the mortgage payments, you will lose your house for sure, so see an attorney as soon as you can to apply for support.

  26. Also we have 5 cars he bought during the marriage and a motorcycle. What will happen to them? Will I get some of the cars?

  27. Sorry, Not only that I been going though mental break down. I am on his medical benefits and dental benefits. My benefits don’t cover much. But them together I am ok, I also have a health problem, can he be made to keep me on there?

  28. Dear Ginita:

    1st let me say it is really amazing that for a full year on this site you have responded to each question/comment from folks who are really worried and looking for some kind advice. Bravo.

    Ok so here is the jist in my situation.

    My wife of 25 years wants out.

    0-18 years — She did a really great job of raising our four kids (stay at home mom) while we bought the auto repair business i was working at from my old partner/boss.

    19-21 years — We sparated and I supported two households while the business was being beat up in the resession. She moved out and found work and after a year was fired. she fell behind on her bills and begged me to come back. I was in love with her and wanted to save the marriage and had her and the kids move back into our home. What I did not know is while we were separated and dating each other (yes i dated my wife- it was really fun) she was also dating someone else and that continued when she moved back.

    22-23 years — She filed for divoce 6 months after moving back in and it was a crazy. I have never moved out of our home. She and her boyfriend played every weekend taking our kids on vacations with him, staying at his home a few towns away while still living at our home. The lawyer fees almost bankrupted us. We were days away from a trial and since we were trying to purchase the property our business sits on we reconciled to please the underwriters.

    24-25 years — Well our credit sucks and we could not get the loan. I may have to close the business we built over the last 38 years. We have four kids 24-22-20 & 16 One away at school, two at home in Jr college and the youngest in High School.

    I could write a book with the events, family craziness that has gone on but here is my question.

    I am paying all the families bills, college tuitions, and I also give her 300 a week down from 500 Jan 1st cause we are going broke. The 300 is for food and supplies for the house & personal expenses. She does do a fine job of shopping and feeding the family. Any money she earns outside of home she keeps and I have no idea about it.

    This year she has traveled to Florida each month for a week, she has parents down there however she wants to move to an area where her boyfriend has family. She wants to start her life in a new direction in a new place. She is has been traveling there and looking for work in this area.

    She wants to take our youngest son, he will be a Junior Next year.

    He wants to stay at home with his friends and family to finish school. He loves his mom and wishes her well but he feels that taking him to a new state far away from the rest of his family, his friends and the school he has only two years left to finish would be too disruptive at this point in his life.

    So My offer to her was
    Sell our vacation Property and split the proceeds. 50/50

    She takes the family Truck, its old but mint as I am an auto technician.

    She takes anything she wants from the house since all is replaceable.

    Our family business is struggling and i may have to close and get a job working for someone so I am leaving that one alone.

    The family house was in foreclosure and I managed pulled it out with a loan modification and have been doing OK for the last 15 months. I want to stay in the house until my son graduates High School and at that time we can sell and split the proceeds or i can buy her out.

    I offered to pay her $250.00 a week or 20% of my net Income which ever is highter (my income is so volital) for 3 years to help her.

    She keeps her credit card bills and I keep mine and mine are much more due to running the house, kids, college fees and business expences.

    We have not filed for divorce (2nd time) yet. My lawyer had died one year into my case and since I could not afford to pay for two lawyers I went prosi and did ok.

    The lawyer she works with is a pretty straight shooter and he can see we both have worked together for the good of the family but I am fully aware its her lawyer.

    Is my offer out of line? She thinks so, she has not said what she wants, only that it is way more.

    If my son stays with me at our current home I still need to have something to live on. Paying her more would not allow us to remain in our home as we have been his whole life.

    If my offer is resonable should i stay firm in my offer knowing that what is the difference if I cave in and pay more or have a judge rule the same thing. If we can not agree am I better off taking my chance and proving my case in court?

    She wants to move asap and get this done, me Im in no rush.

    Thanks for taking time to read my mini-story. I look forward to your advice.

    Bob

    • You’ll need to run your offer by an attorney in your state to see whether it is supported by the law. Though I don’t know the laws of every state, I can tell you this, court is expensive in every state. So going to court should be a last resort.

  29. I married my high school sweetheart. We have been married for three years. He hasn’t worked in over two years. I have been supporting him while he has taken one class at a time. He is about to get his second degree, a bachelors in business administration (his first was an associates). I am taking six classes and working full time. I got him a job which he quit and started just driving around when he was supposed to be working. I can’t take it anymore. I’ve been telling him that he needs to start helping, I need a break but nothing has gotten through his head. I moved into the second bedroom. Nothing changed. He won’t even do a load of laundry or take out the trash unless I beg. I love him but I don’t think that this is fair to me. He keeps buying things with my money and hiding them or lying about it when I catch him. I am not his mother, I am supposed to be his wife. We rent a house from his parents and our one, crappy, car is in his name. I don’t know how to get out of this with my dignity. I don’t want to start over, I just want his head to come out of the sand. I have already started drawing up property agreements because he say, “you can have whatever you want I don’t care.” I know that when/if I file for divorce, this will change. I am trying to get everything ironed out but it is hard. I don’t have time between work and school to have any semblance of a life. I am tired of supporting him and all of his hobbies. The only reason I have today off is because I had to attend a funeral. We want the same things but he lies. He lies and he knows I know he is lying. He doesn’t try to make any changes, he is just sailing along while I provide. I want the man I married back but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. Any advice would be appreciated.

    • You know the old saying, “You can’t change someone else, you can only change yourself.” So you need to look within yourself, decide what is really important to you and what you can let go or live with, and then communicate clearly to your husband how your situation makes you feel and what you want to change in the future. It will then be up to him to decide if he is willing to work on making those changes. Even if he is willing to make changes, they won’t happen overnight and there will be starts and stumbles. I think it is time for the two of you to get the help of a good couples counselor to help you through this, no matter where it is going.

  30. I filed a petition for divorce on January 21, 2014. I moved out of my home with my 3 kids on March 31, 2014. I was wondering if it is possible to start getting child support. I know the petition asked for temporary support, but I have not heard anything from my attorney in weeks. I know we have a progress check in court next month, will they work out temporary stuff then?

    • If your attorney petitioned the court to get support, generally the support will be retroactive to the date of the petition. Your attorney would be the one who could tell you the date set for that support hearing.

  31. Melanie Flores, Louisiana says:

    I need money for my divorce and I want to use my 401k. My husband says watch out but I don’t know why. Can I take a withdrawal to pay for my divorce? We have been separted for a month now.

    • If you are still an employee at the company where your 401(k) is, then you probably can’t take a withdrawal. You might be able to borrow against it, so talk to the plan custodian or human resources to find out. If the 401(k) is at a former employer, you can withdraw the money, but you’ll owe income taxes and possibly penalties for doing so, so be prepared for a big tax bill at year end.

  32. sharee brown says:

    We have 59.000 in our home equity. House is almost paid for. It’s worth about 120.000. I have 13,00.00 of debt in my name. Credit in my name. My name is on the deed to the house. If I walk away from the house, can I remove the equity.

  33. alisson says:

    I have been married for 12 years, but unhappy for several years. My husband is one of those men who work alot and have given his friends advice how to win in divorce. We have a home in both of our names and two small children. One is autistic. He had me sign a prenuptial before we got married stating what we put into our home we obtain in the marriage, we get back. He pays the mortgage and utilities and I pay everything else (health insurance, medical bills, clothes, groceries, education, etc. )
    I work part time so I can be here for our children. I am very unhappy and I am thinking about leaving my husband. I am always walking on eggshells every day. What I was wondering is, I would like to keep the house I am sure he is going to want to split it. Will the courts make me split the house? My autistic son will be very uncomfortable if we move. I am also worried whether I can afford it because I work part time and make half of what he does. That is my only worry. I know I can take care of the kids, because I am always alone and do it by myself anyways.

    • The laws of each state are different, so check with an attorney to find out your rights. In many states, if there are young children or children with disabilities, the caregiving spouse would be allowed to remain in the house for several years to make the divorce an easier transition for the children.

  34. Paula rodriguez says:

    Hi, I have been married for 10 years and I started the process of divorce. We have 2 kids. He comes inside the house without letting me know and he even goes to my room without knocking the door. Is he right to do that? I live in Connecticut

    • You may need to go to court to get a ruling on who has use of the property. If he fails to respect that, you may have to get restraining orders against him, so he has to stay a certain distance away from your house.

  35. I’m divorcing my wife, or annulling our marriage if possible. I understand the laws pertaining to misrepresentation and certain things not being disclosed until after the wedding, so that should qualify me for annulment. Either way, I have two questions: I bought a new car for her 4 months ago and it’s in my name entirely. Both of our cars are only in my name. She quit her job and cheated on me, so I’m leaving her for the infidelity even though I’ve stuck by as long as I can…there’s just no honesty coming forward and I’m past my breaking point. Can I sell the car she drives before the divorce/annulment without her knowing? She has no income and won’t be able to get approved to be put on the lean, so I assume it’s mine and I can do as I please to protect myself in advance of filing for divorce.

    • If you’ve filed for divorce then there might be restraining orders that prohibit you from selling assets. Other than that, I don’t know, since I am not an attorney familiar with the laws of your state.

  36. This is most definitely not good information if you live in a community property state. It also seems like it’s bias toward women.

  37. My wife of 10 years left me about a month ago and is seeking divorce. We are both mentally ill and at this second I am unable to hire a lawyer. In our entire marriage most of our living came from either me making money on the internet, the help of others, or a rare job one of us could manage. For the last 2 years we have basically been living 80% off my non-biological parents. She is now asking that I pay for basically all of her bills plus some money to live on. Now, I have been doing this since I have had the money and i dont want to see anyone just hurt, however shes living with her own biological father, and it was her choice to leave. My parents no longer want to support her for obvious reasons. In a few days we are sitting down to write up the Decree. Ive let her have everything she wanted but my TV,Computer,Video game system, truck. What are the odds that with me having no income at all, and likely no ability to get income that she will be able to get a judge to force Alimony of some kind on me? Also i got her to take her name off my truck finally, if she takes it at this point is it theft?

  38. Have been married 22 years and was a stay at home for 19 of it while working part-time. Filed for separation 3 years ago in TN but during mediation husband would have no part of that so I changed it to absolute divorce. He wanted to pay $300 a month in alimony 3 years so I wouldn’t agree. I made about 700. A month that year, moved in with mom until she died. I filed an order of reconciliation and did a year of professional marriage counseling but husband would not take the marriage psychologist’s suggestions. Moved daughter and me out. Have been waiting a year for him to agree to pay $400 alimony for 4 years. I wanted to avoid a trial. I have grossed 800 a month for the last 2 years as a teacher assistant with him paying 700 in child support. After being out of the teaching profession it has been hard to break back in. Last week I have finally gotten a teaching job but haven’t gotten paid yet. Should I tell my lawyer I got a job? I have spent $6000 on all these proceedings and still have no divorce! My lawyer says the only way to get anywhere is to spend 15,000 to take him to court .
    I scrimped and scraped and did without while he has lived in luxuriously, compared to my daughter and me. Now that I have a professional job, will this mean he now won’t have to pay alimony?

    • Of course you should tell your attorney. It is likely that in your state you are required to disclose all information as you go through divorce and answer all questions truthfullly. Your income is very relevant to the support issue, and if you have enough income to support yourself, he probably won’t have to pay alimony. But believe me, it is my safer and satisfying to rely on your own earning power rather than chasing him for alimony. Give up any notion of punishing him by getting him to pay you alimony – that isn’t what it is for. Take the money you would have spent on legal fees trying to get alimony and spend it on getting therapy for yourself, individually and especially in a group, so that you can learn how to just let it be. Even if you got alimony, it wouldn’t change what he did or didn’t do. Put the past in the past and find a way to move on with your life.

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