Your divorce settlement: The one thing to remember

Today’s Featured Comment

From Laurette

I am going through a divorce and the one thing I told myself over and over is that this is a business deal. The entire marital asset pie is both of yours, not his from which to throw you a bone. You own 50% of what is in that marital asset pie.

It is tough, but I have been agreeable to much…however, since he believes I don’t own 50%, he has fought me tooth and nail, gone through two attorneys, three mediators, a GAL and parenting coordinator.

I stood my ground, he dragged me through five days of court for the final hearing….and the court order came back that I get 50% of the marital assets.  Had he been able to do that from the beginning, we would not have spent so much $$$ on legal fees.  But if we hadn’t gone to court, I never would have seen the 50%.   It is THE most painful thing I’ve ever been thru, but please remember to STAND STRONG, RECOGNIZE THIS IS A BUSINESS DEAL AND LEAVE WITH 50% OF WHAT YOUR MARITAL ASSETS ARE WORTH. HE WILL TRY AND LEAVE WITH WHATEVER HE CAN GET; WHY SHOULDN’T YOU, ESPECIALLY IF IT’S YOUR STATE’S LAW????  An opening line in a divorce book I read is “marriage is about love, divorce is about money”…sad but true.

And one more thing….call or contact a forensic accountant, who can be brought in to assess/value his business.  While speaking with him initially, ask him/her WHO THEY WOULD RECOMMEND AS A GOOD DIVORCE LAWYER. That will send you in the right direction….you need a great lawyer, even to only get your 50%.  Trust me.

[This comment was originally posted in this conversation. ~ Eds.]

What advice would you give a friend negotiating a divorce settlement?

Posted in family & relationships, other topics, VN Featured Comment, work & money.

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3 Responses

  1. Magnolia Miller Magnolia Miller says

    I’m right there too.  It’s shocking isn’t it?  You marry someone, a lot of us give up the best years of our lives, bear their children, forgo employment while they build up retirement funds, and work history.
    When divorce comes, they think they have the right to every stinking penny.
    I suspect my own greedy SOB of a soon-to-be-ex-husband thinks he’s also going to drag me into court to accuse me of this and that to keep from having to give me spousal support and child support.
    Just writing it out sets my blood on a boil.

    7 like

  2. WhoKnew? WhoKnew? says

    Excellent timing for this post. I also took time to read the “10 Mistakes” post.

    I have had consults with 2 attorneys now, and plan to meet with 1 more. I am not financially able to come up with the retainer for a few months, but I am going to sock away the money for it.

    Knowledge is power. I am in a fairly disadvantageous position, financially speaking (stay at home mom for the past 12 years, although I recently got an associate’s degree and am working in a field that I love, albeit part-time). We’ve no assets, not much property, but hubs makes 4 times what I do. He doesn’t want to give me a penny, he has made it clear. He works full time, has a volunteer gig about 10 to 15 hours per week, goes to school 4 nights per week. And he told me that I should find full time work to support myself. We have 2 teenage daughters and despite their being teenagers, they do still need a parent around (at least one who isn’t unavailable 90 hours per week).

    So much water under the bridge in this marriage and I am sorting it all out with the help of friends, my therapist, and this wonderful website.

    So far, both attorneys I have consulted with told me that I will probably get a fairly good maintenance award, based on the length of the marriage, circumstances, etc. That knowledge is a relief, but I know hubs will be furious and it will affect my relationship with my children.

    But…I have sacrificed for 20 years for everyone else and I need to stand up for my rights.

    It’s going to be hard. My tendency is to back down. Hubs is also verbally abusive, and that’s been very difficult and confusing for me.

    Divorce is on the horizon…after the first of the year. I am planning, getting my ducks in a row. I need to get strong and fight for what I deserve. That is going to be hard for me.

    BTW, I am 52. So need to proceed wisely. Particularly with no assets to divide. Ugh!

    6 like

  3. Sarah Sarah says

    Get as much for the kids you can and run like hell. Try to get sole custody (most likely won’t but you will get more support for them).
    Turn the part time job into a full time job. You are going to need it.
    Take the furniture and rent an apartment. If the house is paid off. But you said no assets so no house. If it is then keep it other wise sell it and split the proceeds. Don’t let him do anything without your attorney’s approval. If you cannot afford the house get rid of it. It will drain what you have left. Your children do not need the family home. They are almost adults.
    Consider a room mate to cut down on expenses if you stay in the house.
    Do as much of the foot work on your divorce as you possibly can. Go to your county divorce court, they will have all the forms, familiairize yourself with the process by talking with the clerks. A person can do their own divorce but with children and maintenance and child support you will need a professional.
    DO NOT AND I MEAN DO NOT call, write, e mail, text, your attorney unless it is crucial (like your husband ran off with your children to a hidden island)….that is what eats up the retainer big time. Expect to pay double your attorney if not more. Borrow from family, don’t back down and do as much of the financial work yourself. It is not that hard. Go to the divorce clerks office they have people there that will walk you through the process for free.
    This may not mean much now but it will when you need to retire. Since you are over the 10 year mark on the marriage you are going to get a good portion of his social security. Don’t forget that. It could be sizable and make sure it is in the settlement agreement BUT, do not mention it. Let it come out at the end. You get part of his SS. No negotiation. the amount is based on what he has in SS at the time of retirement (I believe you can start collecting sooner if you are younger than he, in other words, call SS and find out how it is calculated. this can be quite a bit of money over time in retirement since you haven’t worked as much.
    That is all I can say now but good luck, you’ll know who your friends are when this all gets going. Oh, yes, figure out if the kids get anything from dad for their schooling, extra curriculars and college or voc school. These are the things to fight for.
    Support for you is going to be next to nothing with no assets and his still in school. Sorry, but women got screwed with divorce was changed to no fault. No fault means no alimony. So even if you got a court order saying he is supposed to pay you a few years of money to get you on your feet. He isn’t making enough to support to children and a wife I bet.
    Be as straight up with yourself as possible. You can’t fight for money that is not there. Remember that.
    Also, get him off all you credit cards and take what you can from the joint account. You are going to need it. You will not be put in jail. Just make sure you keep a paper trail and use it for living expenses only. DO THAT NOW! He’s working so he won’t starve.
    With all the hope in the world.

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