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Do-It-Yourself Mediation Is for Suckers

trustFollowing up on Vickie’s excellent financial advice last Friday, I thought I would devote today’s column to mediation debacles.

Vickie had a great comment on chump/cheater power dynamics that you may have missed. It bears repeating here. Someone asked Vickie her thoughts on mediation. She replied:

Mediation – well that’s a whole nother Oprah show honey.

It deserves its own blog as it’s one of the tactics in what Tracy (CL) calls “their playbook.”

I’m not a fan of mediation with the disordered as imbalance of power or imbalance of info can have disastrous results like your situation DDW.

Mediation: Also known as “Why do want to spend our kids college fund on YOUR divorce?” or “If you bring the lawyers in, I’ll make sure you live in a cardboard box forever.”

Often this version of mediation involves the Cheater insisting on a kitchen table division of assets and then you go to mediation.

I make these comments as a trained mediator in my state. Each state is different. Some require attys to be present to represent you. Mine doesn’t.

I’ll leave it at this for now: I’ll never understand why someone will come in and say “He’s lied about everything, I’m terrified to represent myself (and that’s what happens in some states where you don’t need to have a lawyer with you) I’m not clear on our exact financial situation but HE’s a really frugal guy and HE wants to mediate. SO we are going to mediation.”

This is one of those overly accommodating things chumps do that are so baffling.

I can’t give blanket advice but in most cases I’m a huge fan of being the first to file — if your ducks are in order. And those ducks vary from state to state.

Before I continue — a few caveats.

  1. I’m not a lawyer. What follows is my opinion. Don’t mistake it for legal advice. Get ACTUAL legal advice.
  2. I’m not advocating irrationally fighting tooth and nail over Aunt Hilda’s silver service. Or punishing cheaters with endless litigation. Or stayed mired in protracted divorce proceedings if you can avoid it. The goal here is to GET OUT. Whatever it costs, you can rebuild. No one gets through divorce unscathed. If you got a terrible settlement? Hey, it’s not as bad as staying married to a serial cheater.

The point is, stop being your own worst enemy. Chumps often have a very hard time sticking up for themselves. I don’t want you to take your codependent idiocy into divorce proceedings. Some thoughts on that:

A) Why are chumps so accommodating? Because we think we can control other people through our behavior. I’ll make my needs small and be so fair and kind, the cheater will Appreciate Me! And s/he will reciprocate in kind! And this Regrettable Event Won’t Harm the Children! Because I’m going to lead with decency and fair-mindedness! And everyone will follow suit, such will be my guiding moral influence. And then the heavens will part, and Gandhi will ride in on a lamb. For world peace. And we’ll all bake snickledoodles together. And cuddle puppies. And remain best of friends!


You are divorcing. You know what says I don’t appreciate you? CHEATING on you. This person isn’t your friend. They demonstrated that they can lie to your face and blithely take advantage of you — why would you let that continue? Why would you think such a person has your (or your children’s) best interests at heart? Why do you think you could negotiate a fair settlement with such a person? Because they promised you one?

Yeah. How’s that promised commitment thing working out for you?

B) SEE A LAWYER. You need the cool rationality of an impartial legal professional. Unless you’re absolutely confident in your ability to snow your cheater (a few success stories abound) or perhaps are a lawyer yourself, or have zero assets and zero debts and no children, you are not well-served by a do-it-yourself divorce settlement.

“Let’s work things out over the kitchen table.” And “no need to get ugly with lawyers” usually means Please Keep Being My Chump. Let me keep taking financial advantage of you! Pay no attention to those hidden assets/love child/missing retirement accounts.

Let the LAW tell you what’s fair — not a cheater.

And remember, no lawyer can help you if you won’t help yourself. A lawyer can give you great advice — but you have to listen to it. So long as you’re mired in Giving the Cheater What They Want to make them think well of you and accepting the few crumbs thrown your way (be grateful!), you’re going to get fucked.

You want to mediate? Take a lawyer with you. (Some states require this.) You can say you tried. Of course, that attempt costs money. I think you’re better served just going on the offensive and filing. Trying to achieve consensus with a cheater assumes the cheater is going to deal honestly with you. See the first item. How’s that worked out for you?

C) Get them while they’re contrite and in impression management mode. The only success stories I know of quick and relatively painless divorce settlements are when the chump lets go so the cheater can run off with Schoompie. The cheater fears exposure, or everyone’s bad opinion and want your buy-in, so they sign whatever. Their need for instant gratification and obliviousness to long-term consequences can work to your favor.

However, usually chumps happily play the Obstacle to Cheater Happiness, and fight (pick me dance) for their spouses. You could be missing a window of opportunity here, chumps.

I have a friend who got rid of her whackadoodle husband by letting him think his insane ideas were great. He was chaotic and moved them all over the country for his crazy schemes. One day he decided that he wanted to be an Alaskan fisherman. She said, “That’s fine! Why don’t you go off to Alaska, and I’ll stay here and settle things and join you in a bit?”

He ran off to the salmon boats in Juneau. She packed everything up, moved out on him, and filed. (True story!)

Sometimes it’s better just to let them have it — you make your escape.

So, divorced chumps — any words of advice for the newbies? Any regrets over the do-it-yourself settlements?

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  • In the resonating words of my friend Jo, “You cannot negotiate with a grapefruit.”

    People in the throes of irrational, risk-it-all love are so high on drama and adrenalin and bunny sex hormones that it’s not possible to have a meaningful conversation with them under almost any circumstances.

    Most of us who have tried mediation have found it fruitless and frustrating.

    • And, like what Tracy said in C) that’s when you nail them. They are SO HIGH on themselves and their One True Love, that they really think there is an endless supply of money (my cheap-assed ex as much as said so in that moment) and this is your best opportunity to get them to sign anything.

      You think you’re going to win them back? You think you’re going to have a stronger relationship because of the affair? You think (s)he’ll “come crawling back, begging for forgiveness for being so stupid?” Fine–but get your settlement NOW, and then you can negotiate their return later (’cause it ain’t happening. So get your settlement now.)

    • Regrets? Big time. I did all the wrong things. I believed he would be fair with child support, e.g., pay it! Ha Ha. Not once! The narc abuse was so bad I settled for $12/mo (yes, it’s in the decree) because he promised to split the expenses and “not get the courts involved.” The best advice I can give, having so many regrets, is just don’t settle or listen to promises that may work against you later. Think of everything down to the finest detail. It’s been a tough one to swallow that he vacations, spends thousands of dollars on recreational equipment, alcohol, and travel with his fuckbuddy but doesn’t pay his child’s medical expenses. I know I am supposed to be moving toward meh, but as my mother used to say (born in the 30s) it just burns me up!

      I love that CL is addressing this so others can be methodical, fueled by power and anger to get a good and decent settlement, and can learn about what low levels narcs stoop to. They justify everything. I’ve said this to CN before but buttwad brings AP scum to the court hearings and they hold hands to fight that meanie who wants child support (because I am at least trying to get it modified).

      Thanks CL for encouraging me to fight but at this point, I only have one year left (daughter is 17) and figuring this out on my own (typing up interrogatories) to at least get his documentation which he has delayed for over one year and the judge just keeps letting it happen is wiping my psyche out, affecting meh, dragging me down.

      I find myself so triggered when I learn they are on vacation and I am paying the bills for our child who lives with me full-time. I want to shift to gratitude that she is choosing to live with me and I do enjoy every day I have with her, but hey, I’m human, it’s hard.

      • ChumpB-it is hard that we have to continue to pay for having married a fucktard. If your daughter only has one more year of child support anyway, for your own sake, give up the expectation that X will be fair & just think of him as dead. Sorry you’ve had to live through that!

          • Just lending a hug, as well. It’s all I got. Tempest gave you good advice. Your daughter’s love is gold. Traveling with a narc is poison–so don’t envy the current female.
            I’m so sorry for what you’re dealing with. Just, what an ass!!

  • I mediated successfully. BUT I had a lawyer I consulted with through the whole process. And she had been around long enough to see that my ex was in a guilty phase and would sign anything so he could start his new life with his soulmate. So she wrote most of the settlement agreement and I presented it. He had no ability to look forward and didn’t consult with a lawyer. If I had waited or stalled it wouldn’t have worked out.

  • A lot of divorce support groups suggest treating your marriage dissolution like a business. Take the emotion out of it. This only works when BOTH parties come to the table to negotiate. Or meeting halfway. Both only work when BOTH parties show up. It’s hard not to want to be fair and considerate but unfortunely, the table is already tilted. If your partner had been fair and considerate, they would have had a rational discussion and moved out before moving onto another person.

    My lawyer suggested the guilt lasts about 90 days. You have to move fast and hard. Mediation rarely does. Keep quiet, collect th paperwork and go stealth mode. It’s anti successful marriage advice, but you have already lost the “successful” part.

    Protect yourself, your future and your kids.

    • “My lawyer suggested the guilt lasts about 90 days.” I’d say this is true. My X went from offering to come walk the dog, helping me out financially for 6 months, and giving me everything to, “I don’t feel bad anymore and neither do you so, I’m not going to do X, Y, or Z.”

      Lucky for me he previously signed the quit claim deed without even knowing what it was. Also, everything he agreed to was in emails so I threatened to make our divorce a long, drawn out process if he didn’t do what he said he was going to do. He decided to stand down, and I got everything. He now lives in a shoe box. I’d say that’s fair.

        • My ex’s guilt lasted about 3 months too. He went from saying he’d sign the house over to me, pay all the bills and do all the maintenance work to aggressively demanding “half the house in cash”. Luckily I’d already worked out that his initial offer was just a ploy to get out the door.

          • I think part of that is also because they have the AP whispering in their ear, being the “voice of reason” to make sure they don’t lose out on anything to the person they fucked over in the first place.

            • So true CArmella1722, AP comes to court to fight his paying child support. Can anyone wrap their heads around that? They cheat on me, our family is destroyed, I am lied to for 4 years, endured narc abuse like nobody’s business, take huge hits financially, and they whip up their little frenzied fight for payment of child support. What?

              • My ex recently tried to get child support reduced. And yes, final OW is whispering in his ear. I didn’t even bother talking to a lawyer – he hadn’t a chance in hell and nope, he didn’t get it reduced. They’re still victims, though, of big, bad, mean old me.

    • The few comments I read here with a positive mediation experience (including those that were state mandated ) also had a lawyer represent them.

      In my state,it’s only ‘suggested’ that you have a lawyer ‘review ‘ your settlement agreement.

      Mediation means different things in every state

      It’s not been my experience as some have written here that the mediator ‘Intervened w hard facts ‘ etc. The true mediator here is a neutral party who works to ‘ facilitate a conversation’ between two parties who are ‘trying’ to reach agreement. There’s no discovery.

      Therefore if you don’t have all of the facts or the ability to say ‘I’m not comfortable with what’s happening here, I want to stop – or I need more info — or even a simple: I don’t understand’ your chances of getting your fair share will be diminished.

      Know what you are getting into in your state

      If you decide you still want to go this route, see if your state has a team approach to mediation that has a lawyer, a family therapist (if there are parenting plan issues).and a neutral financial.

  • When we divided things up, it was prior to getting the lawyers involved. Fortunately, we did not have much to divide. In retrospect, I realize this was likely done to exploit me as she had filed but had not told me as much when we divided up our things.

    It is important to remember one is dealing with someone without character. That is why having a lawyer is a good idea. They have already betrayed you in the most intimated of ways…so why be surprised if they attempt to betray you financially in the mediation?

    I am glad I had a lawyer.

  • I’m in a place where I need help. I live in a no-fault state where the only requirement to get divorced is a year-long separation before filing (which, is the worst – only TWO months to go). The STBX and I have no real assets (besides a house and two cars) and the debt that we have are our student loans – his are in his name and mine are in my name. We have two young children together and he has insisted on 50/50 custody. I have seen an attorney and basically he’s told me that our situation really doesn’t require much negotiating and the STBX (for now) is agreeing to most everything, that I could do it on my own. OR he can charge me a $5 K retainer and $300 per hour after to help write a separation agreement and custody order. I don’t have that kind of money. See, the last 5 years of our 10 year ‘marriage’ I was working full-time while fucktard decided to go back to school full-time after being fired from his last job. He’s still not finished, but will be in May 2016. How convenient for him to blow up our life after I’ve been supporting his ass basically our entire marriage.

    In my state you can also sue for ‘Alienation of Affection’ – which I have enough proof of should I ever want to pursue litigation against the cum dumpster who he left the kids and I for. I do not plan on doing this, as it would cost me more for an attorney than I would actually ever receive from her (she’s a bartender); however, he doesn’t know this and has moved from feeling contrite and ‘remorseful’ to full asshole narcissist mode. He is now threatening me stating that he has been recording our conversations (without my knowledge) and intends on taking me to court for full custody of the children. I’m feeling I’m at a standstill. Part of me doesn’t believe him – that he’s bluffing and another part of me is terrified. He was never a go-getter when we were together and I used to have to beg him to get things done, so I highly doubt he has changed that and his threats to see an attorney are all just talk. He originally offered to go to mediation (to avoid it getting ‘ugly with lawyers involved’) and I declined.

    BUT – and here’s my dilemma – WHAT if he has changed? I can’t afford an attorney. I just absolutely do not have the funds – I am barely able to keep my mortgage paid and the lights on. I KNOW he doesn’t have the money – he’s a full-time student and works part-time as a server. I’m scared and confused and feeling like a major chump. I feel like his years of gaslighting are coming to play making me feel scared, little and unmighty. I just don’t know what to do.

    • In most states, it’s illegal to tape someone without their knowledge and consent, so I’d find a way to bring that to his attention and then slide a settlement agreement over to him. If he balks, you might also want to mention the alienation of affection charge. Do it all in the most business-like way you can muster. There are usually lawyers or law clerks at the courthouse, where you have to go to file anyway, who will help you with the court paperwork. Don’t know what to say about the actual writing of the settlement.

      • What just happened. I wish I had gotten a lawyer. It is my biggest regret. I look back and think, what was I doing? A lawyer will address things you may not think of: all assets, expenses, child custody, child support, debt, who gets the tax deduction, all of it, everything (and the list goes on). Then review it with a fine tooth comb, sign only after much thought and careful deliberation. I am still beating myself up about not getting a lawyer.

        • And Ps WhatJustHappened, he sounds like a fucking loser who won’t be able to maintain the momentum to fight you but obviously that is the scary part. It’s not always clear what these narcs will do. I’ve learned they will do anything to not follow the rules, throw obstacles in court, use tactics to “win.” And that list goes on and on too. Geez, lawyers need to take some psych classes about narcissism.

    • In many states, it is a felony to record a person’s conversations without their consent, and even in those states where it is legal to do so, judges are not happy when litigants do this kind of sneaky shit. So unless you talked about trying to kick your heroin habit or how much you like little boys, I would not be swayed by those kind of threats. For the most part, judges aren’t fools and can see through manipulative custody threats Additionally, shared custody does not eliminate a parent’s financial obiigation to the children, something many dead beat parents seem not to understand.

      Having said tha, though, many jurisdictions also require mediation before a case can proceed to trial. Of course, in those cases it’s the lawyer who is doing the mediating for you (although you are required to be present) and that makes all the difference in the world. An option is to hire the lawyer for pre-litigation mediation, which is much cheaper than hiring one for litigation. This is a very common thing to do in the states that require mediation. If you do this, you should try to have most issues decided among yourselves. Your husband isn’t making money now. What happens if that changes? Is he going to pay child support? Even when there is joint custody, child support payments can be ordered and are usually necessary. Otherwise, one parent ends up paying for costs that should be shared-medical, dental, educational, hell, even things seemingy so trite as school supplies Also, who is going to be entitled to claim the child for tax purposes? You say you have a mortgage, so that means you own property. If it is jointy owned or considered marital property, you are going to need a lawyer to get his name off the deed.

      Even when there are very few assets and each party leaves with the debt the came in with, “do it youself” divorces can be tricky because there are so many details that can be overlooked, with serious consequences down the road. But hiring a lawyer does not have to mean all out war and can end up saving money. Both parties have to want to reach an agreement they can each live with and that is where things can fall apart. If you decide to mediate you should, at minimum, have a lawyer review your agreement to make sure you have covered all your bases and that there are not hidden time bombs lurking in the agreement.

      • Thank you! Thank you! It’s been 11 months since D-day and 9, almost 10 since he walked out to be with her and I AM STILL BAFFLED BY HIS BEHAVIOR. Everyone’s advice is so appreciated! I didn’t want to believe he was disordered, but the more I read on here and read about narcissism, the more he fits the bill. I have to do something to get an attorney. I was the primary breadwinner for our entire marriage. I think I’m most afraid to go after him is because he makes the threats (i.e. – “I make no money, therefore YOU will owe me child support”), which according to the child support calculators in North Carolina is true. It’s awful living in a no fault state.

        • Document EVERYTHING. Document when he picks the kids up and when he drops them off, and who was watching them during his custody. Write this on a calendar. Many times these guys are using custody as income, but they don’t really want the responsibility–document it all.
          Get his name off the deed of your house that you worked for.
          Get divorced from him ASAP so that you don’t owe him support.

          • Custody Calculator software or apps are WELL WORTH the cheap investment. Mine was about $3-$6 a month and allowed me to print off detailed reports for court. My ex did the same thing. Said he wanted 50/50 but I knew he was only ever seeing our child about 10% of the time we were even married. It’s all a game of threats, show and self preservation for those idiots. Don’t even mention that you’re keeping track – just use the software and do it!! You’ve got this!

            • Yes, regarding how little the exes see the children (usually). I should have been able to charge him for babysitting services. Sitting home while your husband is out with a damn whore should be reinburseable.

        • I think that if you weren’t married to a cheater, you could probably have a DIY divorce. It’d be tough, but as long as you keep on task, you’d be able to do so. Cheating makes this difficult because cheaters lie.

          Check to see if you have any lawyers who’ll allow you to retain their services at an a la carte rate. My lawyer does that, and she’s not the only one in town. The other thing is to see lots of lawyers, using the initial free/low-cost consultation rate. You can ask a lot of questions this way, and refine the questions as you go along.

          With respect to the child custody, you may end up having to support your cheater–initially–but build in some kind of clause that revisits child support on a regular basis. Also, document how often your STBX has had contact with his children and how long he’s been jobless. This may have an impact on custody. Certainly this is something to ask one of the attorneys in your low-cost/free initial consultation.

          Best of luck!

    • WhatJustHappened, I understand. I well remember staring down the barrel of the divorce process and not knowing how in the hell I could manage the logistics of it: paying the attorney, getting the divorce agreement settled, getting him to move out–any of it!

      And yet here I am, happily divorced. The good news is that you’ll get here too.

      I’m sure there is a wealth of advice coming your way, but my first suggestion would be to see a few more attorneys. Retainers and hourly fees can fluctuate wildly (even for solid, quality attorneys), and many attorneys offer free consults. I asked a well-connected acquaintance for lawyer recommendations, and this led me to find my attorney. My divorce was relatively straightforward (situation very similar to yours), and she lowered her usual retainer and hourly fee when she saw the grim reality of my finances at the time.

      My point is, there’s hope. But you really do need a lawyer to help you navigate what is right and appropriate when it comes to the all of the issues surrounding your children. I’ve heard of people charging the retainer to a credit card or getting a loan from a family member. It happens. It’s not the end of the world.

      Also, to answer your question: no he hasn’t changed. He’s trying to manipulate you by playing on your fears. He’s an asshole. But what if, say, he’s that rare unicorn and he HAS changed? See above. You’ll have your own attorney.

      Best of luck to you! Hang in there.

    • Whatjusthappened-it sounds like your stbx is getting advice from his friendly neighborhood bar room lawyers. I’m sure his bartender girlfriend and her customers are offering all kinds of advice. Don’t let it scare you. My stbx did the same thing. Threatened plenty of things, but never came through with them. He can’t admit those recorded conversations in court. Mine threatened the same thing and my lawyer said the judge would throw them out. Don’t let all these threats scare you. He’s gaslighting.

      You say you can’t afford a lawyer, but that you work full time. Start skimming money from your paycheck to put aside for a lawyer. Or use your debit card when grocery shopping and get cash back every time you shop. I “interviewed” three lawyers. I found lawyers who offer their initial consultation for free. Went to them with questions which helped me tremendously. The last lawyer I spoke with I liked and told him I would love to hire him but that I didn’t have much money. I gave him a small initial payment and now I pay him monthly. Some lawyers are willing to help you. Do research online. It’s amazing what you can find out about your state divorce laws on line.

      Since you have kids, you really need to get a lawyer. You want to make sure the custody is what it should be, that you get child support, that you can split the assets, etc. It sounds like your stbx will take you for what you have – especially since he doesn’t work. Don’t let him! He has NOT changed. It’s just a ploy. Good luck – you will learn so much from Chump Nation! I wish I had found this sight when I first left. I’d be much further in the divorce process if I had!

    • Divorce 101 tactic-threatening to take full custody of the kids-won’t ever happen and highly unlikely his AP would agree to that scenario. You could screw with him and next time he threatens to take full custody, say well maybe that might work for me while I go off to school full time, hike the Himalayas, etc. No employment = no child support

      • Making empty threats is right out of the disordered cheater playbook. I agree with others that your STBX has NOT changed–they are incapable of following through on anything. Plus, they’re so used to manipulating and intimidating us that they think we’ll fold when they do it during a divorce. Please follow the advice above and stay strong!

      • Yep, absolutely. In the weeks after d-day, when I had kicked him out, ex would send me texts saying things like, ‘You’re scaring me – you’re acting so crazy, I don’t think you should be around the kids.’. I was flipping out and really believed he would try to take the kids. Then one day he had them, got in an argument with one of them and called me to pick them up and deal with things. That’s when I knew that nope, he had no interest in having the kids full time, he was interested in fucking with me. So I stopped listening to his bullshit. That’s basically what you have to do: stop listening to their bullshit. 90% of it means absolutely nothing.

    • I am in a similar situation- I have no money and Hohub just finished school. But we have no kids and he doesn’t know I know. My province has a ’12 month or admitted adultery’ seperation clause. I hope to hell he will sign to expedite and admit to infidelity when I am ready to jettison this sinking ship. We have piles of collective debt and he is marginally employed and will balance out when he is finally doing what his schooling was for. According to some lawyers and Vicky, I may be able to get some money back since I was the breadwinner for years, supporting him. But when i think about how long it takes him to do anything- wash his clothes, get a job, go back to school, I kindof just want to keep it simple because he’s stupid. ‘ I keep my Pile of debt, you keep your pile of debt, and your rotting cock and heinous morals and I will never meet again. ‘ can that actually be in my divorce decree? Totally official verbiage, no?

    • **GET THE ATTORNEY.** $5K is worth getting custody of your kids. Consider how old each child is, how many more years they will be with you, and the number of children to calculate your annual cost per child. You’ll see it is well-worth it. You cannot talk sense to the disordered, and NO WAY should he get 100% or even 50/50 custody if you’re still breathing & can fight him.

      • Yes, definitely get a lawyer, even if you have to put it on a credit card. FIGHT that 50/50 shit. My Cheater MOVED 2000 MILES AWAY, and STILL tried to argue 50/50, by saying my 2 young boys would fly to MA for the ENTIRE SUMMER and EVERY holiday. Just so he wouldn’t have to pay child support, not that he wanted to care for them 50% of the time. Even with that, he came up 88 days short, so was trying to tell the judge he’d fly them random weekends. The judge saw through all of his nonsense. If the Cheater hasn’t been doing 50/50 till now, they aren’t going to start.

      • I do agree she should get the attorney, but also, even when spending $5000 is a great investment, sometimes people just don’t have access to $5000. I don’t know the specifics of this case.

        Sometimes, after many years with the disordered:
        – credit is bad and maxed out
        – retirement loans and house LOCs are maxed out
        – monthly expenditures exceed income even after cutting back
        – assets have already been cashed out
        – the stbx can still be financially irresponsible or refuse to sell assets etc

        At the same time, the longer one lives with the disordered, the worse the finances can get, so in that sense, its best to do everything you can do now to find the $5000 somewhere somehow.

        • True, but this is a case where long-term goals need to come first. Just in case, I took out a credit card in my name for any legal fees I incurred to get out of cheater-marriage.

        • I totally understand this, Buddy. I realized when I discovered that STBX was cheating, and when I had my first interview with a lawyer, that I couldn’t afford a divorce. I kept quiet, looked for a job, and when I got one, downplayed the increase in income.

          I would not be in this position if I’d not gotten the promotion, and it’s still recent enough to remember that sometimes having no money really means having no money. Barring a promotion, it might be possible to find an additional part-time job. I know some students who have worked writing web content, and they’ve made enough money to pay their in-state tuition. Their job needs no web development skills. It really is a case of writing content for corporate websites at a per-word rate.

          Anyway, it’s worth it for Chumps to check into short-term means for raising cash for attorney fees.

          • It really is worth the expense. I am 1 month from paying off my lawyer. It took me 2 years, but she didn’t charge me interest, and said it didn’t matter how long it took as long as I paid something every month. (She’d seen my finances. She knew what I could and couldn’t handle). Also, consider all your options. Do you have friends or relatives you could ask for a loan? (I know you don’t want to – but to protect your children?)

            • That’s what I did to pay my lawyer – I borrowed when the savings ran out. I was/am working but my salary barely paid for the house expenses and food after X quit paying for anything in spite of his promises. Fortunately for me I have really good credit and between that and borrowing from family I ended up being able to pay my lawyers and all the court and expert bills.

              By the time everything was finished I had maxed out two credit cards, had two maxed lines of credit, and had borrowed upward of $40k from family. Thank goddess for low interest rates, as I was paying over $700 a month just in interest on all that. The worst of it was that I had never been in debt before this experience, paying off my one credit card every month, extra on the mortgage, saving. It was awful. I can’t tell you how many nights I woke up in a panic, bolt upright in bed, sweating and with my heart racing, wondering how I would pay it off.

              I am fortunate that the family home of 30 years went for a good price, enough to pay everything off and provide me with a retirement nest egg. Now I am grateful every day that this debacle happened when it did. I can’t even imagine being retired and having to go through that. Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.

    • Not sure what the procedure is in your stste, but you can also try getting a separation agreement first. Lawyer fees are usually about half that of a divorce. Custody and spousal support as well as some property issues are worked out on a temporary basis, but once that agreement is in place, it usually just carries over to the divorce agreement. Then when you file, most of the work is done and you’re just looking at filing fees. (For others out there like SAHMs, or moms who work part time or anyone at a financial disadvantage, the advantage of that is he can’t cut off money or sell property or anything like that, you stay in the house, you stay on his health insurance, etc.)

      You can try legal services in your area, or if the closest university has a law school, they usually have legal clinics. You can save a lot by doing anything you can on your own, like making copies or filing paperwork at the clerk’s office. Also, keep a list of all your non urgent questions and get them out in one phone call. Dont pick up the phone every time you think of a question. And remember, your lawyer is not your therapist or your friend. If you need to talk about the relationship cry to a friend, not someone who is charging you in six minute increments.

      A temporary agreement also allows some time to go by, and while the goal is to end it ad quickly as possible, things have a way of changing over time. Like the reality of having full custody loses its lustre once the kids’ needs cut into his fuck time with schmoopie, or the novelty of playing mom wears off for her. Or the sparkles rust and schmoopie disappears altogether.

      As far as him taping your conversations, that’s a joke. Unless he is making a motion to have the kids removed from your custody on the grounds that you are an unfit mother, no one is going to listen to those tapes.

    • Whatjusthappened, I am in NC also and the laws here did NOTHING for me. I was the primary breadwinner and the chump. Mediation benefited me because I left my chumpy attitude at home.

      My ex wanted the mediation thing, mainly because he did not want ALLLLL his dirty laundry aired out in court. He had forged my signature on deeds and a loan for said property for his family business. I came in ticked and had my “Ace in the Hole”. I sat there and basically said, no, I’m not going to do this. You need me to sign a quitclaim, you are going to give me what I want. He started by suing me for 1/2 the house, 1/2 my retirement, the contents of the house, the boat and both vehicles (a truck and a car). He ended up with his truck and the boat. My lawyer prepped me prior and after he said, “Why did you need me here?”.

      I ended spending $15,000 to get rid of his personality disordered hind end. He still dishes it to me on a regular basis but for the peace of knowing I DO NOT have to put up with his mess, it is WELL WORTH IT!

      • Nothing that would have my children taken away. Really just the early days of me begging for him to stop the affair and moments of anger where I called him an asshole and his lady friend a whore.

        I’m a play by the rules kind of person, just your run of the mill chump.

    • Get a lawyer which will take the fees out of total settlement money, if you can’t afford it. Or set up a payment plan.
      This might sound morbid as hell, but if I had to choose (and had no choice but these two options) between a cheating ex fuckwit getting my hard-earned money, or my lawyer, I’d choose the lawyer. At least that way, cum-dumpster slut won’t get her hands on it.

    • In a lot of states, the fact you were the sole breadwinner while he was getting an education and theoretically improving his earning ability at your expense may get you a larger settlement..

  • Exceptional advice! I’ve learnt so much from this site.
    I’m stuck due to my disability. We co exist under the same roof. I want out. I can’t seem to take that final step. Any advice on being able to handle things on my own would be greatly appreciated. I really do not care about getting support from him. I know it is my right but I also know that if he has to quit his job or leave the country in order that he will not pay support he will.
    I am unable to do simple everyday things like go to the market or grocery shopping because I cannot lift anything beyond say 5lbs. I cannot push a trolley. I have found a job which I can do from home. That is a really big step for I cannot sit for long periods of time. My pay is small, may not get me shelter but I can buy food. I just do not know how to handle everyday things. Anyone who can offer any assistance, or advice where I can get some, I will greatly appreciate it. I feel so lost and alone. He is just too charming in public. I do not want to fight him I just want to be able to live my own life without the daily torment.

    • Lioness–if your job won’t even allow you to pay for shelter, you need legal and social services advice. And you need to not give up a fair settlement. Lots of chumps want to just escape the situation, and then they do so at their own long-term risk. You were married to a fucktard, you deserve something out of that so that you can have a roof over your head. One hour’s worth of legal consultation is often free. Use it to find out your options.

      If you are in a community property state, division of assets can be quite simple if you have documentation. do not sell yourself short.

      • Please get yourself to a women’s shelter and seek legal advice. You should qualify for some legal aid and some free lawyer’s services if nothing else!!

        This is how I started out. There are phone numbers at all hospitals and one call to the ER will usually get you the contacts that you need to start exploring your options.

        Churches are also get resources and may direct you to programs in your area.

        You deserve to be free of his Narky Ass!!!

      • Lioness–Tempest and Lucky are right. Check out the local resources for people with disabilities. It may also be possible for you to go on disability, especially if your job doesn’t pay you a lot.

        The women’s shelter may be a good source for a lawyer, as well as temporary housing. The point is that you are still entitled to half the marital assets. Depending on your situation and your state, you may get temporary spousal support while you train for a better, higher-paying job. Talk to the local community college to see if they are aware of jobs that are hard to fill. Maybe you can get an idea from them and remember that community colleges offer 2-year programs, so 2 years of temporary spousal support + one more year to help make the transition to a livable wage.

        Best of luck!

        • Thanks guys but I live on a tiny island. I did check out our few limited resources here but I got turned down. They wont even give me food unless I am living out of the house. Then they turn around and tell me that is “abandonment” and I could end up with NOTHING! He is not “violent” so I cannot get into a shelter. They say my life is not in “immediate danger.”
          Any thoughts???

          • This sounds like the worst part of the show Lost… You need to get off the island. Then you will have access to better/more resources. Where are your friends or family and can you stay with them? My heart breaks for you.

  • I was able to do the mediation and divorce in 5 weeks without a lawyer.

    In hindsight it cost me….my cheater should have gotten much less….Should have played the fear card with my ex-wife after the third attempt with mediation.

    * Would have made out better had I discovered this site sooner, and had CL/CN as my advocate while going through the process. I think I’ve made just about every mistake (and continue to), therapy, family, dealing with X, and the other man (co-worker).

    I so want to expose them and their secret at work.

    • Agreed, Chris. I feel like I’ve made every chumpy mistake discussed on here! Wish I would’ve google searched ‘getting rid of a cheater’ instead of ‘Why did he cheat’ and ‘How do I save my marriage’. But I didn’t and finally landed here and I can only take the advice and move forward in a much better way.

      And don’t expose – I just did that last week by wanting to ‘get back’ at them by exposing them to her mom. I’m not only feeling like it was a chump move and immature and way far from ‘meh’. AND once they were exposed, it just left him to go full-on raging narc on me and yell at me in front of the kids, calling me every name in the book and reducing me to a puddle of tears on my front porch. The pain I felt and continue to feel wasn’t worth the two minutes of ‘exposure’. Besides, YOU then look like the crazy one. These assholes have a way of making us look crazy. And unfortunately, when we react – it works.

      • Thanks “WhatJustHappend! I will keep from exposing them – I don’t need to look like the crazy one any more then I already perceived.

        • I think about TV characters- would Liz lemon do this? She’s quirky and crAzy but not heinous? No she wouldn’t do that. But Allison from pretty little liars totally would, so I can’t do this because that bitch is hawt but she is ridiculous and off
          her rocker. If it’s Liz lemon crazy, green light. Allison? No go. Drama drama drama

      • Fuck them. I am not for exposing because it adds fuel to the fire, but fuck them if we have to blurt out the bullshit of their “affair” to relieve our pain.

        Don’t be shamed by what you did. They deserve the hot light of truth on their cowardly deeds. Don’t ever forget, they are the losers. The lying cowards. The chickenshit deceiving selfish backstabbing fucktards.

        NOT THE CHUMP.

        They just don’t like to be on the receiving end of the knife they inflicted on us.

        You just learned it does nothing but add fire to the fuel and in the end the chump doesn’t benefit.

        Big hugs to you, WJH.

        • Oh – I definitely rocked their happy little love nest for sure. Which is why he raged at me. See, his cum dumpster is 10 years his junior, so in her mid-20’s. She left a great finance for my loser of a husband and told her family that her finance cheated on her and kicked her out. SO, I shed some truth on that to her mom. And cum dumpster didn’t like that. And the AssDad reacted with fury. He *claims* her parents knew – but I’m not sure his reaction would warrant the reaction I received. I received the works – gaslighting, blameshifting, screaming (which prior to this whole scenario, was completely out of character – it’s what’s really brought me to my reality), name calling, threatening, you name it. Because I told his lovah’s motha that her daughter is a homewrecker and thought she might like to know. Why the fuck can I not cause a little ripple when they’ve taken the bottom out of my life and everything I knew to be real?!?

          But, in the end, it’s been more torture than what it’s worth.

          I’m so glad I found Chump Lady and Chump Nation. Best results of a desperate late-night google search fest by far in the past 11 months.

          • Be kind to yourself. If he was screaming and name-calling and freaking out in front of the kids it sounds like HE’S the crazy one, and someday in the future that sort of thing is what will stand out in their minds. Dad being a jerk to mom when she was hurting.

            • I love the nickname cum dumpster! I agree with Carry On…HE is is crazy one. Still keep telling the truth. When people ask why I am no longer married, I tell the truth. “He had a girlfriend”. If they think I’m crazy, then let them.

      • What just happened, YOU need to get a recorder and turn it on for every time you speak to that fucker. Phone or in person, you record that abusive shit. Recorders are cheap at radio shack, ask me how I know

        Jedi hugs!

      • What Just Happened, I get it. I get the raging impulse. I initially called everyone of his family members and told them the truth about our divorce (as the infidelity came out after divorce). Be careful though because my impulse also created my crazy fuel to contact AP (which I had in the past due to feeling threatened and suspecting the affair, which they both denied). So I contacted her by voice mail 3 times, a few text messages (around 4 primarily getting ex to pay bills he was ignoring), and two letters (one letter was chock full of name calling and outrage at what they had stolen from me and the family that was destroyed, along with my beautiful house we had to sell). To tell the truth, I felt like the Incredible Hulk and I did not have CL at that time to reign me in.

        Long story short, because others already know this story, but daughter, in a fit of rage texts AP about 15 very angry texts with an app that hid her identity. AP ends up filing a civil stalking injunction against me and we land in court. I had no idea about the 15 angry texts by daughter and genuinely expressed I had no idea where they came from, e.g., despite a subpoena they were unable to locate the sender so my daughter was protected.

        Just be wary, you never know who will retaliate. I was served that injunction at work, very embarrassing. The judge practically threw it out but because AP claimed “emotional distress” she was able to keep it in place for 6 months (she wanted 3 years but the judge said no, there was certainly not enough to incriminate me). This was perhaps the lowest point ever enacted by me in my life and I say that with utter conviction. Never have I regretted any behavior in my life as much as contacting AP. Never! It was my lowest of lows and did not help me whatsoever except give them fuel about how crazy I was.

        I am still so ashamed when I think about it but tell the story so you can try to be mindful of your actions. It’s important to discharge your feelings but do it wisely.

        • This. Why is it that they have an affair (mine and his AP will not admit to it either, although they moved in together after only 4 months of us being separated) and THEN call US crazy for exposing them?!?! AND WHY DO PEOPLE BELIEVE THEM? After I contacted the mom, in his fit of rage against me he also threatened that her family was planning on filing a harassment and restraining order against ME because they were concerned about the safety of their daughter! UNREAL.

          I was “normal” before all of this. I was happy, friendly, productive, organized, involved, empathetic, and loving – I was content with our life. Hindsight, I was also stressed and taking care of three kids instead of two, he was irresponsible, lazy, disconnected, financially unstable, smoked pot and didn’t work for half of our marriage – but I’m finding that I enjoyed my role as wife and mother more than I enjoyed him. Now? I’m miserable, I can’t stand to be around other people for long periods of time, I have no empathy for others, I’m disorganized and undriven at work, and I forget things. It’s like this has sucked the life right out of me and I just want it back. And meanwhile, AssDad and cum dumpster are playing pretend family with my kids.

    • Agree–exposing them makes us look loony. I am sitting on information that could get my X fired. The public opprobrium he would suffer (would probably make national newspapers as his profession has come under fire recently) would be satisfying, but would mean he could claim that he did not have the money anymore pay for oldest daughter’s tuition. I’m siding with my kid and her tuition over the satisfaction of seeing him toppled.

      • I don’t know if I agree with this. I exposed my stbxh and his AP at church since they taught Sunday School together. I didn’t tell everyone, I told church leadership and just a few strategic gossipers and it got out. Our church has shunned them and fully supported me and my kids. It has been a great source of support and justice for me. So I think it is OK to expose in some situations. (I also work at my church.)

        • I completely agree in general about telling the truth; I exposed X to everyone else (just leaving the sexual harassment officer out of the loop for now).

        • But, the exposure of their cheating has to be done very early after D-day, or it becomes less effective, IMO. I made sure all our immediate friends knew right away.

          • I completely agree Tempest. I exposed right away. Some people told me not to but it felt like the right thing to do. I got way ahead of him and his side of the story (we grew apart crap). It has paid off.

          • I exposed within days. Told his parents (they didn’t give a shit, despite knowing me for a few decades), friends, even a bartender one night (he was very sympathetic). I don’t really regret it because he was already on the ‘we hadn’t been happy for years/Nord knew this was coming/I can’t help what my heart tells me’. When I exposed that I had discovered he’d been cheating for years that changed things up quite a bit. 🙂

        • Agreed. I told anyone it seemed even vaguely appropriate to tell lol, including church, family, neighbors, our doctor, his Christian Uncle, and every mutual FB friend we had. Didn’t think twice about it. Did it with humor and as much class as I could muster and let him live with the consequences he rendered.

          • I feel like I did a pretty poor job of spreading the word. Maybe it’s bc I just don’t have that many friends in town since we only moved here a few years ago (I only came to live here full-time 2 1/2 years ago). I wonder if it’s too late for the Goodyear blimp approach? Sigh.

      • And there’s a difference between exposing the cheater to people so that you can get social support (do it) vs. exposing them so they have work consequences (don’t do it). Just to explain–I am 100% for telling the truth to kids, family, friends.

        • I agree 100%. I don’t hesitate to tell the truth, but there is much less of a need, now, 5 years out. I used to fantasize about xH losing his job in a Catholic organization (which seems to tolerate all sorts of cheating from many of the professionals it employs). Then the reality of my kids having a broke father hit me in the head and woke me up. What happens 3 years from now, however, when my youngest graduate from uni? Not my concern. But by then xH’s mother will likely have left xH a nice inheritance, and he can retire comfortably (but still worried about money because that’s what he does.)

          Best to point your head in the direction of “meh!” Move on with your own life, be your own best, be glad you’re away from the nightmare of being married to a disordered mess. One foot in front of the other. You’ll get there.

        • After putting up with the fuckwit for years of multiple exposures to STD’s I refuse to simply say,it didn’t work out. I went to my class reunion this weekend and everyone asked, “Where’s X”. I told them I finally threw him out and divorced him due to cheating for years. I could no longer put up with his mental health issues,drug addiction, and drug use. I smiled and said I was much happier now. He graduated with me and my brother in law, who I went with said if I told the truth it would look like I was bitter. I’m not. I made sure to give a big genuine smile when I talked about how much happier I am. I laughed and danced with an old friend and he asked for my number. He’s single and a genuinely kind person. I haven’t felt this much joy in years.

          I agree Tempest, we can’t cut off our nose to spite our face. I too have the ability to expose X for other things and my children are well aware of his wrong doings. Just having him know I could crush him in an instant in fact let’s him know I have that power. Having the respect of our children is worth so much more. They will sink and we will swim. It’s all about timing.

          • Donna–I got to use a line I’d been dying to use. The man helping me at the post office said he detected a bit of a foreign accent, and I admitted my X was British and that I may have picked up odd words, etc. He later asked, “X, huh. Was he that bad?” With a twinkle in my eye, I said, “Well, I didn’t like his Ashley Madison account.”

        • Again- Liz lemon vs Pretty little liars character approach-‘ Liz might get a shirt that said “I was cheated on, but I’m still fabulous” so she doesn’t even have to talk about it. Everyone will know her recent romantic entanglement was up shit creek, but she’s moving on. pretty little liars version would involve a burning house, a Backhoe, a truck of manure used to make the words ‘cum ho’ with the backhoe on their lawn, and maybe some really cute dark smokey eye makeup.

  • When I brought up notion of post-nup the ex got very mad and said “that’s not fair” complete with 5 yr old girly fit! I then had a successful mediation. I had a lawyer who went in with 1st offer very aggressive. He had a lawyer who was not very smart of saw what a sad sausage he was. Guess what? The end result was similar to what the “unfair” post-nup would have been! My mediator was a middle age woman (score 1 for us) and after looking at our scenario right away said “we are going to have to give her 60%.” We ended up way better than that.
    Lawyer ended up sending me a flower arrangement. Every week I get new flowers for that vase and I call it my WINNER FLOWERS.

    Yes, he was so desparate to get to her girl-child it was like a George Straight song–just give it away

  • In my state many/most divorces are mediated with lawyers present. I would not have considered mediation without legal representation. Heck, if his lips are moving, he’s probably lying. DIY mediation with a wingnut is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall.

    I had an attorney who knew the laws and the local court system well enough that she knew what I would and would not get at trial. My ex’s attorney was very experienced, too. Lawyers are expensive, but it’s much more expensive to skip the lawyer and make stupid decisions.

  • I consulted with a collaborative attorney. He wanted to represent me, but based on my husbands history, he had concerns about his ability to pass a required psychiatric evaluation. I took that as a huge red flag, and went with the most aggressive attorney I could find. I’m in the discovery phase now, and considering a forensic accountant. I. want. out.

    • It’s a journey,

      I hired a bulldog of a lawyer who in turn hired a forensic firm. Very expensive, very worth my time. At mediation the first time I sat in a room with my lawyers, her assistant (an other lawyer), my forensic accountant, my CPA. After several hours the mediation lawyer came in and advised me to walk, that my ex was not there to mediate. I walked. His lawyer got pissed. And a week later I had the custody agreement I had written 9 months earlier, to the letter. We did another round and another. By the last round I sent my lawyer and went to work. She called me and told me what was going on. All this cost an arm and a leg and then some, I don’t regret it. Now I have to keep a paper trail of ways he isn’t following the JOD so that if I have to go back to court in the future, I can prove that I have held up my end of the JOD and been “nice” and “proper” about enforcing his end…..To be sure, my x lied in interrogatories and every phase of discovery. That was prob the best day of the discovery process, my hair dresser did my hair “sex kitten” look. My x almost refused to do discovery because I was there….and then my lawyer caught him in all sorts of financial shenanigans….

      Today I called off work, because in true narcissitic form my x refused to get all his stuff out of my house and for the third time has to come back. This time I have to pay a lawyer by the hour while he picks up the rest of his shit. I have packed it all.

      It’s a long journey….good luck. Get the forensic, totally worth it. I hope you get this as I know the post is a couple days old. OutWest.

  • I have spent about $60,000 in legal fees to divorce him. He represented himself for 90% of the proceedings. His first lawyer dumped him because she finally saw him for the evil man he is…..he didn’t want a divorce. He wanted to destroy me. He had me in jail…..several times. All because of the false accusations he used to get a restraining order against me….then he proceeded to come to my church…find out what restaurant I was at using my children. Then walk in….and say I harassed him….so…I got arrested.
    He refused to pay for our daughters 2nd year of college out of our joint escrow account.
    $60,000…..and guess what…..we go to all claims trial because he wants my dishes….my antique quilts….and cake decorating supplies.
    Or…maybe it’s his girlfriend….since he moved her and her 3 kids into our house we haven’t settled on yet.
    Divorcing a cheater…a liar….a narcissist…is not easy or cheap. There is no easy way out. I made many many offers….he turned them all down. Now….the judge decides.
    My advice…’s illegal….and frowned upon….but 100% satisfaction. Too bad I didn’t just plead insanity and serve 2 years and get out….it would have done me and my children better than this hell. Sorry….but that is where he belongs.

    • Tracy–I’m sorry you’re going through that. What an evil bastard. (And fight for those antique quilts!! You deserve them.)

    • Tracy, I spent well over $80,000 getting rid of X. And that was with adult children, giving him anything he wanted as far as household goods went, and going into this intending on a 50-50 split of assets.

      I think he was just trying to wear me down and make me throw up my hands and walk away, leaving him everything. I certainly wanted to give it all up many times, but my lawyers and my family were always there to bolster my resolve. And I am too close to retirement at 58 to have given up close to 40 years of assets to a disordered cheater. It was hard, hard, hard though, especially when he would tell anyone that I wasn’t worth anything, and didn’t deserve anything from our “marriage” (I use the word loosely now.).

      Every time he could delay he would. The only stick I had was to schedule repeated court dates to force him to do the simplest things – provide a financial statement, get an assessment of the business, choose a real estate agent to sell the house, split the pensions. All things laid out in law and in our divorce agreement; you’d think that would make it simple, wouldn’t you? He still has never supported our kids in university, won’t give them a cent even though he agreed to in the settlement, and there is nothing I can do about that (he makes well over three times what I do). Of course there were additional delays when his lawyers kept firing him – he was on his third when all this finally dragged to a close.

      Best advice I have is save everything, every e-mail, every scrap of paper, every text. You never know what might come in handy. I’ve learned that the longer things drag out the more the disordered forget their lies, which trips them up eventually.

      And you know your narc better than anyone. When X left to move in with Schmoopy (of course I didn’t know that at the time, took 10 months to find out) I saved everything of his. He is a hoarder and I knew that if I got rid of anything he would make it an issue. It was crappy living with all his garbage for three years (three rooms in the house packed to the ceiling) but when he finally had to pick it up there was absolutely nothing he could complain about. I saved every scrap of non-perishable garbage for him and it took him hours to move it from the back yard where it was stacked. Every piece, every box, was video’d just in case he came back to claim something was missing.

      He made sure to ask for the few things he knew I would want to keep, too, cast iron cookware, pieces of furniture. I gave everything to him. And you know, it’s all coming back – he’s given most of it to my kids I am finding out.

      The one smart thing I did while married was that I always handled the money. I knew what information he needed to cough up and kept after it. I kept excellent records going back years. When he cashed in one of his retirement accounts after the divorce (in contravention of the final order) I knew exactly how much he had and how much he needed to give me to make up for it. Paper is everything in these situations.

      I’m sure he still had money stashed away, but there comes a point where things just need to end. He’ll end up frittering it away anyway, so it’s not as if it will be much good to him.

      It was a horrible nearly 4 years from the day he told me ILYBINILWY, but I’m done now, financially secure and able to help my kids with school. The debts are finally paid off thanks to selling the family residence and i’m debt free. Consequences persist though – I’ll never marry again and probably won’t live with anyone (cohabit for two years in this jurisdiction and you are seen as married.) My will is changed and I no longer have any ties to him except the spousal support he pays, which goes through a third partly. There is no freaking way I will ever go through anything like that again, or risk my retirement or my kids’ education. Life is too short.

      • OMG NewMeme, you have given me so much perspective. I appreciate your story very much and I feel nothing but admiration and respect for your determination and persistence. You are amazing!

        • I’m glad my story is helpful, ChumpB. I think of determination and persistence as two of the many Chump Superpowers that all of us have. It just takes us a while sometimes to use them to benefit ourselves instead of the disordered rat bastards we marry.

            • Tracy, I’ll be sending good thoughts your way on Thursday! Stay strong and focused, and remember that there will be an end to this, and that your life will be so.much.better once you are done!

      • NewMeme,

        You showed me what the next few years will be for me…thank you. I have been pissed all week as I pack his stuff that will be removed from my house under the watchful gaze of an arbitrator.

        I remember being flabbergasted as he told me “you don’t deserve a penny, you haven’t contributed to the bottom line in 14 years”.

  • I know I sure was surprised when Mr. Absentee (Father and Husband) stated he wanted 50% custody of our preschooler. That would have put his ass around her more than he had ever been in her entire life. That was before I knew it was a common cheater ploy to AVOID CHILD SUPPORT. Loser.

    • Same here, Anita. It’s unreal. A person who’s not around 99% of the time, suddenly asking for tons of visitation as soon as lawyers get involved? Of course it’s just to avoid child support and to narc-manage his appearance in front of his friends.

  • I had no idea that my ex was cheater (looking back I see the signs now, but I was blissfully ignorant). He actually retained a lawyer prior to me finding out to protect himself. (To this day his own family uses that face to point out what a jackass he is.) A few days after he hired his lawyer he told me he was leaving. He insisted there was no other woman, then the next day he admitted that there way a ho-worker who are also leaving her spouse. THEY HIRED THE SAME ATTORNEY FOR THEIR DIVORCES. HOW ROMANTIC!

    He preyed on my frugalness and the fact that I make half as much money as him. He knew/knows that it would kill me to spend our hard earned and hard saved money on a lawyer. He suggested an uncontested divorce. His lawyer would write it all up and I would sign it and be done. (This is exactly how the ho-worker and her husband did things.) I said uncontested would be great, but I would get a lawyer to represent ME and then he could just agree to all the terms. He was pissed. He assumed that I would be an idiot who would just agree to anything he said? When I declined he got pissed and everything got nasty. How dare I not do whatever he says, right?

    I suggested mediation, found a mediator that came highly recommended, ex wanted to get us in as soon as humanly possible. 4:00 the afternoon before our appointment he cancelled and said he wanted lawyers. I guess he was too afraid to be in a room with me without OW who quickly became his keeper.

    So we went lawyers. I hired a lawyer who specialized in amicable divorces. Her plan was after the initial paperwork we would all sit down together in a 4-way meeting and hash it out so we minimized the expensive back and forth. After receiving the initial settlement offer my lawyer said that in her 30 years as a lawyer she never saw such an egregious offer, he saddled me with 100% of the debt and he took anything of value, it was so lopsided that nobody would ever accept it and it showed how nasty he and his lawyer were planning to me. She encouraged me to find a more sharky lawyer. So I begrudging accepted that this was my punishment from him for not just letting him write up the terms with his lawyer and me signing off.

    I hired a $350/hr shark and it cost me $18K. I got most of what I was hoping for (which was within reason) but certainly not everything. I get my daughter every year on her birthday and Christmas, I get to claim her as a dependent on taxes each year, my address is used for her schooling purposes, somehow I got him to agree to pay for 100% of her orthodontics (threw that one in there randomly and he never took it out sooo….okay….) I got pretty much all posessions, furniture, electronics, etc. He got the empty house (and didn’t pay me for it because we were underwater). I got written into the paperwork that our divorce was a result of his infidelity (that was hotly fought over, and my lawyer advised me to let it go, but I refused and in the end I won).

    I don’t think it needed to go this way. I don’t feel like I got my money’s worth. I feel like we cheated our daughter and he did this because he hates me more than he loves her. The money doesn’t matter to him since he makes a lot more than I do and he and ho-worker live together so their income is much higher than ours was together. He knew it hurt me to do it this way.

    Every once in a while I hear through the grapevine about how pissed he is about what he received in the divorce. I laugh. I thought it was pretty fair so I don’t feel like I got the better end of the deal, but maybe I did after all.

    • Just to give newbies some idea of the differences that divorces can cost, I spent about $6k on my lawyer. My ex spent about $3k on his. I’ve asked around and found pretty big differences in prices. Of course the more complicated the settlement, the more expensive it is. I’ve also seen friends use cheap, small town lawyers that charge around $1500. They seem to get the worst settlements.

      • Between the PO hearing and the divorce I spent over $30K in lawyer and financial consultant fees. Ya’ll got off cheap. And no I didn’t have kids, and I am not rich, I was married to a motherfuckin snake who set me up for a DV charge, then pulled a gun on me. He refused to settle with my more than generous offers because he thought he was entitled to half my shit AND alimony. After all his new girlfriend was a teacher and he’d lost his job, of court I should support him after divorce.

    • OMG CN, these stories are so depressing. I mean, cheaters, they destroy everything in their wake, get what they want (APs), then continue with the most insane hurtful behavior. Truly, I will never understand it for one freaking second. What the fuck?

  • Forget the kitchen table. He had already decided what the “settlement” was going to be and it wasn’t anywhere near to what I was entitled to. No way was I doing mediation with or without a lawyer despite being accused of being a trouble-maker for not going along with him. Yes, he was the cheater who was walking out but I was the trouble maker. It took every penny I had saved to pay my lawyer but I consider it well spent.

    • Oh, and I counter-sued for emotional abuse on the advice of my lawyer. It makes me feel better that that’s on public record. Just the reaction of his nephew/attorney upon hearing that gave me a little satisfaction. I’m sure he was playing sad sausage or “we grew apart” before that.

      • Around here it seems common to ask the cheater to pay your lawyer’s fees, but never actually happens. Did anyone else’s lawyer try that?

        • I did ask for and receive (from the judge) that he should pay my attorney’s fees. By then he had skipped town, so I knew I’d never see the money (I paid my lawyer), but the judgment entered against him was one more roadblock to keep him the hell away from me. So, yes attorney’s fees can be awarded — but note the other lesson here: the disordered don’t follow anyone’s orders, including the courts.

          • True, Psyche and true! They are above all the rules. If the judge ordered narc to submit something in 28 days, he would submit it on day 28. Wow, their needs are sick!

        • I asked my ex to pay for the divorce and he agreed and actually did it. We did mediation without lawyers. I did consult with a lawyer once in advance to educate myself, though, about the process and what was fair and what was not. I was not going to accept an unfair agreement, but my ex was fair (he was very eager to ride off into the sunset with OW and thinks/lives in the present), so I am one of the lucky few who did okay with mediation. There were no kids, no debt and minimal assets. I would not advise mediation in most cases, and if it is done, I would advise consulting with a lawyer to educate yourself.

  • I did every chumpy mistake too, even after reading this blog and other articles about divorcing a narc. I got a lawyer but tried to play nice, not file for the adultery or abuse, I ended up spending lots of money, wasting time, and still had to spilt 50/50, the X even got into my retirement. The mediator told me I got off good, considering I make more then the X, guess he could have asked for support too. So, yes, get a good lawyer, go for what you can, make sure you put all the marbles on the table, abuse, cheating, etc- don’t hope for them to do the right thing or change…huge mistakes.

    • Most fault states do not allow alimony to adulterous spouse, that’s why I filed for fault, well that and you get a quicker court date

  • My problem was I didn’t know my worth by the time, Diablo, the MFA-hole, left. They are depending on your continued ignorance and acquiescence of their overt and/or covert bullying tactics.

    Do NOT feel sorry for them. Take advantage of the brief window of opportunity you have when their somewhat of a boiled conscience is stewing and stand up for yourself and your children with a damn good lawyer.

    Your future depends on it. ESPECIALLY the stay at home moms. Your earning power will rarely ever match theirs because of the years they have on you working in the corporate world.

    The last, and hopefully final, covert, SA, narc left without any problem. Why? I never mingled my assets, didn’t marry and I had the goods on him. I would have sung like a canary if he did one thing that I felt jeopardized me or my family and made this very clear when he slithered out.

    Never hurts to have a quiver of arrows.

    Important comment today, CL.

    • We chumps never understand our worth, and we want to be “fair” (which = cheater gets more advantages). Diablo deserved to give you more, but compare your life to his now and perhaps justice has been served? (yeah, Karma!)

      I’m still not making as much as I was 14 years ago when I gave up a better-paying, more secure job so X could have his bigwig job (and his salary has doubled in the meantime, to be 5x what I make). Looking back, I should have fought for more than 50/50 under the circumstances. C’est la vie; just glad to be rid of the MFer.

      • My ex made 5x what I did too. Although I always worked, my career took a back seat to his since his earning potential was so much higher. If a kid was sick, I took off, etc. A financial advisor even told me not to worry about saving for my own retirement , he told me to put my earnings towards the kids’ educational expenses instead. Luckily I ended up getting 1/2 my ex’s retirement at the time of settlement. He’ll still end up with a lot more retirement than me since he will continue to work at 5x my salary rate for another 10 years or so…

      • Justice was served for me, Tempest. I am doing better than I ever thought possible, and karma hit him like a load of bricks.

        That’s the other thing. The injured spouse gives up their great job to move to a new location to advance the cheater’s career. Damn it to hell.

        So important to have a good kick ass lawyer.

    • Oh Calamity Jane, this post is really hitting me tonight. You said it exactly: I did not know my worth. Furthermore, I believed lies, I trusted. I am definitely learning to “Trust that he sucks,” but sometimes my head just spins with it and I feel so angry.

  • In CA you have to have a lawyer represent you in mediation. My ex didn’t want binding mediation (instead of trial) just in case he didn’t like the outcome. So instead he spend six figures on lawyers with the same predicted outcome. Granted it cost me too, but he ended up paying a share of my costs.

    I gave him more of the household split than was fair but I honestly didn’t want any of that crap. He took advantage and seem to enjoy it. If I had said I didn’t want it anyway he would not have been so ‘accommodating’. I got out of the house what I wanted.

    Suffice it to say, he made a spectacle of himself in front of the mediator and my atty. He was so mad, he was spitting and throwing papers at my attorney. If we had done binding, my atty said all my legal bills would have been put on him.

    In Ca most people use mediation successfully and don’t go to trial. My ex caved the week before the trial date. His atty had quit on him because of his attitude; and the second atty refused to take his case to trial because he was so unreasonable.

    In my case, I am disabled and not able to rebuilt my life. I was retired when the cheating happened. So a decent settlement was required.

  • I hired a lawyer for mediation and he was great. He made sure my interests were protected and said this, “Settle fast because in 3 months he (my ex) won’t remember your name.” We did. I got more than 50% because cheater pants wanted to do impression management. I got a good settlement and I’m ok.

    The lawyer is not your friend. They are not your therapist. They are there to protect you and your assets. Listen to them but trust your instincts too. And as CL says, THE CHEATER IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. Don’t put it past them to do anything.

    Also you’re in negotiations. You will likely have to give up something to get something you really want. Figure out what you can let go of whether it’s art or dishes – let the cheater have something and go for the big prize which is getting them out of your life and a good settlement. Shit can be replaced so don’t argue over stupid stuff. Decide what you can let go of and move along.

    ALWAYS put everything in writing. Don’t communicate with a cheater about the divorce without your lawyer present. And this: Get it written into your settlement that you require post-dated checks for every month of the year that you receive child and spousal. Have it written in the contract when those checks should arrive and penalties (financial) if they don’t. If your cheater doesn’t comply you can hold them in contempt.

    You can rebuild your life but it helps to have money on your side. Don’t let the cheater bully you or threaten you and let your lawyer do the talking – that is what you are paying them for.

    • Regarding negotiations: I put together a list of everything I wanted out of the divorce, then I arranged the list so it was ranked. My lawyer actually loved this is was very helpful for her to know what was more of a priority for me and what I was willing to give up in order to get something that was more important to me. Being organized, thoughtful, able to see the big picture really helped me.

    • Take heed to Thensomes words chumps with kids “Get it written into your settlement that you require post-dated checks for every month of the year that you receive child and spousal. Have it written in the contract when those checks should arrive and penalties (financial) if they don’t. If your cheater doesn’t comply you can hold them in contempt.”

      Of course check with lawyer to be sure your state allows you to file contempt charges for violations. Good advice Thensome!

  • I have no regrets at all with my do it myself settlement. I went into mother tiger mode and struck immediately shaming my husband into signing over the house to me so that my children’s lives would be the least affected. I did have a thorough knowledge of our finances. He kept the pension and some other property, which means that I have about 65% of the marital assets, which is on a par with what a judge would give in a divorce to the parent who still cares for children. We used wikivorce and spent no more than about £500 on our legal separation agreement including separate legal advice. If we want to divorce 99% of judges would uphold our legal separation agreement. Obviously for this kind of arrangement to work you need to to be knowledgeable about what you are entitled to and you need to know what assets you have and you need to be confident that your cheating spouse has at least some small streak of decency that they would rather your joint assets went to your children than to lawyers.

    • In Canada you can do that but they first have to show a record of not paying. Checks can bounce and be cancelled but at least you have proof that they did.

    • In some states like mine (Texas) it’s mandatory. I wasn’t concerned about X paying up every month as he loves his high credit rating. But there was no option–he has the money taken out of his paycheck same as potential dead-beat parents, and it is automatically deposited into my account.

      • I will need to find out how it works here bc Asshat can’t manage to pay his bills on time. Ever. “But why are they mad at me and calling? I make good money. I’m not a deadbeat.” His not paying a utility bill last winter led to his loose lipped landlord unknowingly telling my friend all about how he was having trouble with his wife. I suppose maybe I can look that up online instead of worrying about it, lol.

  • I have one of those litigation stories that is long. My stbxh’s OW decided to ditch him so that made him difficult right away. He wants our sons 50% of the time. My sons say “no way” are they spending that much time with him because he’s mean and crazy. So I’ve spent a lot of time fighting that. The court appointed custody evaluator found the stbxh to be an abuser and gave him every other Saturday only until he gets some counseling and makes changes. He’s never going to change, I don’t see one ounce of effort to change. I’ve learned through divorce proceedings that the ex secretly ran up almost $100,000 of credit card debt that I knew nothing about and now the IRS is after us because he used his 401K to pay some of the debt. In other words, it is a huge mess.

    We tried mediation- my lawyer said I had to do it or the judge would see me as difficult. Mediation was a complete waste of money and time. My ex doesn’t realize I’m a reformed chump and I’m not going to give in to his crap so this could go on for a while. We were supposed to go to trial in December but the ex asked for a delay and got it. I just want what is fair and I want it to be over and to move one with my life. It feels like it is never going to end and I am pretty sure there was no window with my stbxh that he would have been less difficult- just part of his personality disorder.

    • Nicole–good for you, fighting for your kids. I’m sure it’s expensive, but there’s no price high enough for our kids’ mental health. My second daughter (14) is NC with cheater-narc, and he didn’t even fight for any custody at all.

      • You are absolutely right Tempest. I will never regret fighting for my kids. My kids would envy your daughter. They would like to go no contact but he keeps forcing it so they have no choice. The more he forces things, the more he pushes them away. We are scheduled to go into family counseling next week all 4 of us so my ex can play his narc games. I figure I will show up once, confirm that he is doing nothing productive and refuse to go back. I feel so badly that my kids have to go through this. I pray it makes them strong adults with firm boundaries.

        • How old are your kids? In most states, over 11 or 12, they can decide for themselves. (And if they are close to those ages, assuage the poor kids that they don’t have much longer to go.)

          • My sons are 12 and 15 and will probably be 13 and 16 when divorce is final. My state (Arizona) says each case is different with the kids. Luckily, the judge we’ve been assigned very often lets older children choose. Unfortunately, the narc ex can’t accept this and keeps forcing the issue on his kids. The kids say he is just pushing them further away. So glad my kids are much smarter and kinder than their dad. Any suggestions on the family counseling Tempest? I am dreading it. I’ve come a long way with no contact.

            • Nicole: Ugh, the family counseling sounds painful. The positive note is that it will not last long. Wingnuts don’t like having the spotlight turned on themselves and their ridiculous behavior. He’ll drop out soon enough (just stay calm yourself throughout and appear the voice of reason). Keep us posted. Hugs!

            • What ever happens the fact that they can see what a crazy piece of shit father he is is priceless. You have obviously done a great job parenting them that they have not followed in his personality footsteps. Whatever happens you’ve won that battle.
              Keep fighting but also remember you and your kids haven’t got too long to go. In a few years you won’t have to deal with the idiot. Better than having 10/15 years of his rubbish.
              Your children are testimony to your character.

              • Thanks Tempest and chapterphx for the encouraging words. I am SO grateful my kids aren’t little. My parents are great parents and I learned a lot from them. I also am a chump because of them- I thought everyone was as kind as they are. Thanks for the reminder to be the voice of reason Tempest. In marriage counseling I was just an emotional mess and barely said anything. Maybe I can see this as my opportunity to stand up for myself, my kids and all that is right in the world. 🙂

    • In terms of the IRS, get a CPA to represent you. You can file for innocent spouse protection, especially if you have documentation.

  • Mediator had made a comment on tax implications and penalties on retirement assets and I saw a lightbulb. I gave XH full brokerage account to give substantially less retirement assets. Don’t think I paid him equity in house to get the property deeded over. I haven’t done the math but suspect I got better than 50-50 in the end. XH didn’t care, he was all about immediate gratification and has spent every dime received anyways. Hope he has fun at tax time!

    • Such a great point. Divorce itself isn’t taxable but division of many assets can lead to taxable events. If get the rental condominium that’s completely depreciated and you sell later on your own, you’ll likely have a tax hit. All the more reason to have a trained financial or CDFA help you make a comprehensive strategy that includes tax ramifications. A good one will give you a written report that you can refer to.

      Decide what you want and then instruct the lawyer to negotiate for that.

  • I went with option #3 –

    “Get them while they’re contrite and in impression management mode. The only success stories I know of quick and relatively painless divorce settlements are when the chump lets go so the cheater can run off with Schoompie.”

    When my ex realized that I wasn’t playing the pick me dance he wanted to be certain that he had the OW lined up. I pretended to “still be friends”. I was also careful not to make him jealous or angry. He and the OW planned to move in together which worked in my favor because he didn’t need furniture or dishes, so I got to keep most of the things in our home (and the home). He bought a house that she helped him pick out and because he didn’t want that deal to fall through he suddenly became engaged in the entire process instead of leaving it all up to me.

    It was definitely a test in patience for me. I kept reminding myself that it would eventually end and that I would forever be happy with the outcome if I could just stick it out.

    I know this isn’t the way it is for a lot of people. I believe my situation was more the exception than the rule. I do remind myself that it could have been worse and I admire the strength of those who manage those conditions. Also, having online support was extremely helpful in making my decisions. 🙂

    • Same here. He was even so lazy that he asked me to find him a lawyer to represent him. The requirement for the deal to be signed. Who lets their EX get their lawyer? As was, I had met a girl in divorce support group that talked about a lazy, doesn’t really look at things lawyer that she got for her EX. I emailed her, got the name, made the appointment for him and we were signed off in less than six weeks. There are times when his lazy ass is beneficial and it helped that he was desperate to be with OW/AP. The hardest part was biting my tongue till it bled about knowing about the affair.

    • Applause to you and PhysicsGal for being so strong! I was a jiggly MESS, very angry, very hurt, losing crazy amounts of weight. I was unable to pretend that everything was ok. Maybe with on-line support it would have been better, but I don’t think I have the EQ that you two have.

      Well done!! And it worked out well for you both!

      My way worked out for me (actually really well, because, in anger, I struck hard), but looking back I wish I could have had a little more ice in my veins.

  • I separated the bank accounts within six days of d-day. He signed the final agreement with my attorney (he didn’t have one because I told him she was doing this for us so we would not rack up legal costs…he not so smart) within two months of d-day. The judge signed off on the divorce three months and three days after d-day. I knew if he lived on his own for too long that he would realize how poor he was going to be after paying alimony, child support and 80% of private school costs for two kids. Now, he doesn’t have enough money to go party like he did when we were married…to bad, so sad….for him. Now, it helped that he is not so smart but I say move quick and swift.

    I had a savvy attorney, worth every penny (which he had to pay half of her bill, again he is not so smart). She really kept me on the fast track with no feeling. Later, I dealt with all the pain and agony but while in the fight no emotion. Hard to do, but so worth it.

    Wishing much luck to my fellow chumps still in the quest for divorce papers!!!!

  • I hadn’t planned on mediation, which is fine, as STBX blew mediation out of the water anyway.

    We have little to divide, and it’s straightforward. My lawyer told me that we were so straightforward, she’d say we could have a DIY divorce. I wanted a lawyer for the Qualified Domestic Relations Order and I wanted to have a lawyer in case STBX proved difficult.

    I am not sure my Cheater wants to remain married, but he sure doesn’t want a divorce! 😀

    He dragged his heels every step. Finally, after he’d backed out of signing the settlement he’d helped craft back in July, I told my lawyer I wanted him to have to pay some money. Prior to that, I paid out legal fees (not a whole lot, but still….), and he didn’t have to pay anything!

    Well, he backed out of mediation the day before, claiming he had no money to pay the mediator (payment is required at time of mediation), and that he wanted to retain a lawyer (he’d told my lawyer the month before that he had already retained one, so yep, he’s a liar). Rather than reschedule mediation, I opted to go forward with the court date.

    I am glad that I didn’t have to go through the time and expense of mediation. One of my friends did, as her husband had to deal with his NPD Cheater XW, who cost them tens of thousands in mediation. You can’t negotiate with the disordered.

    • My state requires attempting mediation before court. We both had attorneys and then a separate mediator. My attorney cost me $3500. His cost him $10,000 and the mediator cost us each $812 for5 hours of his and his staff’s time. Mediation didn’t cost me much time or money and I got a good settlement.

  • My Ex was exhibiting symptoms of guilt when he said he wanted a divorce. He went to a lawyer to surprise me with this little issue – when I found out (yes, I checked who he had been calling) I told him there was no reason for him to get a lawyer, I had one of my own. (And I did have one. From before the reconciliation attempt). I made an appointment the next day and told her he didn’t have a lawyer and didn’t want one (too expensive). It was worth it for me to pay my lawyer – the divorce settlement was drawn up in my favor. He even filed a quit claim on our house and the title is in my name only. I added dog care and medical bills for our college-aged children to be paid at 50% by him; he also is responsible for our daughter’s auto insurance as long as she is in college (she graduates undergrad this year and is embarking on a 6 year MA/PHD program in the fall.

    He kept telling me that it would be cheaper to do this ourselves but I know him too well. He would never get around to doing his part. The OW did hers all by herself, of course, and I should be able to do so too. LOL

    Now that he is no longer a dead weight to me, I actually have more money than I ever did married to him. He was a spendthrift and always had reasons for why we had no money or were overdrawn. Not having my paycheck has affected his life hugely – he finally has to be responsible for living within his means (or not).

    Our kids just shake their heads at his behavior.

  • Make the copy person at Office Max your bestest friend–copy, copy, copy. Document, document, document. My X tried to claim he had MUCH more in his retirement account at marriage than he actually had. My having the documentation for his retirement account put much more money in the community property pot. Also claimed to have virtually no money in a second retirement count, but aha–I had copied the latest statement.

    DON’T BELIEVE THEM. My X pulled a few real whopping lies: (a) we should settle before the divorce was even final or we’d have to file joint tax returns for the following year, too. Bullshit.

    Secondly, that friends had said it was SOOOOOOO difficult to divide retirement accounts, I should take a smaller cash payout instead (which reflected that he would be paying taxes on it, so down 33% immediately). Nope–easy peasy to divide retirement accounts with a QDRO, especially since it only involved an internal transfer of funds (as we used the same retirement system).

    I told him whoever was feeding him legal advice was an idiot.

  • Statistically speaking, at least one of you newbies will have a whack-a-doo ex like mine. Even when you follow the advice to the letter, and you play the divorce game like a champ, and your mantra is “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” you will still get screwed.

    Because sometimes, cheating is merely one of the manifestations of your ex’s crazy. Mine is clinically psychotic and sociopathic. He is Next Level Narcissistic. For example:

    We have two girls, and we separated in January, 2014. That was the last month I received any kind of financial help from him.

    In May, 2014, he decided to fight me for 50/50 custody of our children, ages 2 and 3 at the time, because he did not want to pay upwards of $1500/month in child support.

    In June, July, August, and November of 2014, his attorney canceled our court hearings due to a “conflict” in her schedule. The “conflict” was that my ex husband realized that his attorney would cancel court if he owed his attorney any money. So, each time I filed for a court date, he would just not pay his attorney, and court would get canceled. No court, no court order for child support. Win, win! For him, at least.

    In January, 2015, I finally got him in front of a judge, and the judge ordered us to do a custody study, since we could not agree on the children. Also, the judge ordered him to pay retroactive expenses. He still has not paid what the judge ordered him to pay, almost a year later. I have filed for contempt of court once and won, and have another contempt filing pending. He refuses to pay anything.

    In August, our custody study with a court-appointed psychologist was complete, and in his 21-page report, the psychologist explained how my ex was a pathological liar, failed his psychological testing (MMPI-2 and Millon personality inventory). The psychologist said in his report that my children “wouldn’t be harmed by supervised visitation with their father” but he adamantly argued against any overnight visitation. I was awarded sole physical and legal custody of my daughters.

    When I was awarded sole custody, the judge tried to set child support at that hearing, but as luck would have it, my ex had quit his job. So, with no job or income at the time, we had to continue the hearing on child support for November 12th. Meanwhile, the ex was ordered to pay half of all expenses and daycare, etc., and, naturally, he has yet to do so. Also, he was held in contempt, and ordered to pay all of the back money he owed. Of course, he hasn’t paid me that either. So, again, I have filed for contempt, to be heard at the November 12th hearing.

    Sometimes, you have to just be prepared to deal with an ex that refuses to do anything that the court orders. As far as our property settlement, we didn’t have much, and what we did have, he spent, so getting him to pay me my half is not likely to ever happen. But, I have decided that my line in the sand is child support. I will continue to fight for a child support order, and have his wages garnished. If he doesn’t pay me, I have no problem throwing his sorry ass in jail.

    So, my advice is to decide what your line in the sand is before you start fighting, so you know when to call off the fight. I know that he will be one of those dads who owes tens of thousands of dollars in back child support. I’m not going to walk away from the money, though. I’m simply going to let him dig his own grave with the judge, because this time, in court, we are asking that he get no visitation whatsoever, since he won’t pay up. At least then, he will be out of our lives for good.

    • My story is very similar to yours, without the extended child support battle (yet) because he’s only been dodging payments for five months so far, and the hearing is set for next year.

      Isn’t it just so adorable how after all this runaround from your ex, the court will look at you like “geez lady, why can’t you agree to something” when all you’re asking for is basic human decency? I was brought up thinking that if you get called to court, you HAVE to go. That running away or avoiding justice would be much worse than showing up and taking it. But in reality, they can just not show up or not pay, and get along just fine. For years.

      • Chump-tastic, I found the coolest thing ever… My stepmom is my attorney (which is quite convenient), and our new strategy for this go around is NOT to have those initial chats that the lawyers have with the judge before the actual hearing starts. Turns out, that is when the attorneys tell the judge their “side” of the story, and present any “evidence.” I was always curious why there was always a resolution when they came out of the judge’s chambers, and now I know.

        So, this go around, we aren’t doing that. No, siree! This go around, in court, in front of his parents, grandparents, and girlfriend, we are telling the judge on the record that the scumbag hasn’t paid anything for his children in almost two years. His mother will know that he failed his psych test (I doubt he told her). His grandmother will know that he is being held in contempt for not paying the money he owes from being held in contempt.

        I tried subpoenaing the girlfriend for a deposition. That didn’t get him motivated. I tried filing all kinds of things just to jack up his legal bill. I have sole custody and won’t let his family see the children outside of the visitation allowed by our custody order until he gets out of contempt (for the first go-round.) None of that worked. I’m hoping that maybe his family hearing why he lost his children (and subsequently why they lost the children) will get his attention.

        • Thanks for this, Kelli. I’m not super worried about what my ex’s friends and family think, as they’re just being duped by him like I was. Now that the truth about him is plain as day, I don’t really want people in my life anyway if they’re the kind of people who will look the other way when my child is neglected and mistreated by him. Keep those jerks away from me, please. He can keep them. And their approval or disapproval doesn’t really matter either. Approval from jerks is worth nothing. So I don’t really care about making him look bad or anything like that.

          What I’m annoyed with is that in the legal system they get away with it. Saying “you must pay this amount” and then not enforcing it is the same as saying “you are released of your responsibility to these kids.” And I just really don’t understand how that’s okay in our culture, and not the subject of widespread outrage.

    • I hear you, Kelli. My ex also played the “quit my job” game to get out of paying ordered support. It makes my blood boil to think about it (so I try not to) but there is really nothing I can do. Sure, I could spend money to go to court to try and get him hit with contempt, but so what? If he has no job, he can’t pay the support. And here in CA, nothing happens to deadbeats. I’ve had an open case with the state child support agency for over two years, and they do absolutely nothing. They will collect a small portion of ex’s wages on the rare occasion he takes a brief job that isn’t hidden under the table, nothing more. They assisted him in lowering the ordered support by 4/5, but they do not penalize him in any way for continuing to not pay the full amount.

      If a deadbeat is willing to do whatever it takes to get out of paying, they can do so without any repercussion. Of course, one could say that living like a bum IS a penalty, but it certainly hasn’t bothered my ex any, and I suspect there are plenty of other losers like him out there.

      Nor did he ever pay me any of the other things he was supposed to pay: half of his 401K, a settlement for our marital home, half of our son’s medical bills, insurance for our son, nothing.

      • I just don’t get it. Who would choose that life? It’s insane. I’m dealing with that now. He took a cash under the table job working for his mom’s boyfriend who owns a car lot.

        I get that these freak shows don’t understand consequences. I really do. But, who in their right mind would CHOOSE to live a life where all of their jobs have to be paid in cash? Is getting out of paying child support *really* worth never having the opportunity to make an honest living ever again?

        Cash under the table jobs are not going to make anyone rich. I know some people who have had them, and those jobs aren’t bringing in huge amounts of money. Also, what happens when you want to buy a house? Or a car? You have to show proof of income. You can’t get a mortgage if you make a living like this.

        Complete and utter insanity. All to get out of paying *his half* of the children’s expenses…

    • You are a warrior for dealing with this crap. I’m there too pretty much. It is astonishing the lengths they will go to just so as not to pay.

  • Mediation worked for us. In Florida I believe mediation is mandatory when there are children involved. We both had lawyers. My ex dragged out the divorce for 18 months. My attorney fees were $18,000. Long story short, we dealt with custody first. 50/50 split, I gave her more money then she deserved and more child support then required. The custody was by far my biggest worry. I am five years out, getting married in three weeks, homeowner and debt free (except the house). Good luck to all and I wish your outcome is as good as mine.

    • Yes it is required in Florida before you get to court. It’s better to have that fight with each person represented by an attorney though as opposed to do it yourself mediation.

  • Narkles the Clown wanted to do mediation without attorneys, and boy did he push for it. Luckily I read CL before I even confronted him about the affair and had an attorney before I even confronted him. If you’re here for the advice take this away from me 1- listen to Chump Nation and get an attorney! now! now! now! 2 – from there on out your attorney handles the response to any idea that comes from the cheater’s lips about how money and assets should be split 3 – move like the wind!!!!! (I was divorced within 5 months of d-day Narkles the Clown is still spinning from it) The more time they have the more assets they can dissipate or hide and the more they can screw with you. In the end Narkles the Clown spent $10,000 on an attorney to my $3500 and has longterm financial responsibilities such as providing the children with insurance and a small monthly child support check (tiny but my attorney insisted he have to think every month about what he had done and there was no better way to do that-best attorney every!) No one can answer all the “what ifs” but I will tell you, while my settlement is not perfect it is better than it would have been had I waited or had I listened to Narkles the Clown’s advice to mediate our selves and have an attorney look it over. It’s as good as it is because I moved quickly and forcefully. That numbness you feel, the beginnings of the PTSD setting in from the trauma – use it!!!!!! The numbness will let you find those financial docs without feeling the pain or the suffering. It will let you sit down with your attorney and figure out your affidavit and what it should include. I suffered some really bad days of actually feeling all the emotions…..after the divorce was finalized.

  • It's a trap
    FWIW, my lawyers basically said the same thing (mediation isn’t a good idea with known cheaters), and they *are* lawyers. :)

    Mediation is a viable option, I think, when both parties can trust one another. No way in hell that can happen when one is a cheating liar.

      • Thanks. For some reason, these humorous but appropriate gifs I’ve found drive home the simplicity of central tenets that I need to take away from these situations. Generally, I’m a fan of boiling it down and stopping myself and hopefully others from over thinking themselves into further abuse.

  • My ex pushed hard for mediation, because we shouldn’t “waste our money” on attorneys. Of course, he never hired an attorney, he represented himself in divorce, basically by not responding to anything until the very last second, calling MY attorney with questions and agreeing to things he knew he was never going to fulfill anyway.

    He blamed me endlessly for moving out of the marital home after he announced he never should have married me and was “interested” in two other married women. He said I was “wasting our money” on rent, and should have stayed in marital home with him, living in separate rooms while he carried on his affairs. He blamed me for our financial problems after HE quit his excellent job. He blamed ME for his tax hit when he emptied his 401k and used his half to live on, and then claimed that my half qualified as the support he was ordered to pay (that’s an additional $35K he cheated me out of.)

    My ex did not honor one single thing he agreed on in our divorce settlement. Not one.

    In my case, it probably would have made no difference if I had gone to mediation with him as he requested, because almost certainly the end result would have been the same — I’d be screwed and he’d be living his dream life as a bum. But for the majority of chumps with somewhat sane cheaters….. they are liars and they are manipulators and they are used to living a double life… why would you think they would be any more honest or ethical during mediation? They are going to use their mind fucking skills to screw you further. Don’t do it.

  • “C) Get them while they’re contrite and in impression management mode”

    That surely worked for me, though I’m not sure how contrite she really was. I live in a no fault state in the U.S. and I filed a Simple Dissolution of Marriage. Basically, no lawyers although I contacted one who told me I didn’t need him since we didn’t have children or property together, only a joint checking and joint savings account. I didn’t put it together at the time but what Tracy said about fear of exposure was definitely true. She was constantly asking who I was talking to. It took me two weeks to make the decision, but she was quick to agree to the divorce once I did. One of the sections of the forms was an agreement that we cannot go after each other after the divorce and that we’ve already settled everything financially. I was stoked when she signed it without even looking. I did give her fair share of money back to her before we split.

  • We started in mediation. He pulled the plug when he didn’t follow the rules and had me served (after I handed him a Waiver of Service) the day before my birthday. I was walking out the door to go on an international trip to Australia and thought the server was the airport driver.

    Ex’s whore was a previous chump. She was kind enough to use her knowledge of the divorce process against another chump. Anyway, while I was gone, he pulled 1/2 of the money from the bank and hired a lawyer. Not the best maneuver in a no-fault state where we had already easily come to an agreement on our assets and had no children – there was no fighting over any assets. Anyway, I just paid an attorney to file a response and review the same settlement we had agreed upon. Done – he spent $2500 on nothing in my situation. His attorney was lazy and quite dim.

    By the way, yes, get them while they are guilty and wanting to run off with the OW/OM. Dumb ass let me keep my pension plus my 401k that was just slightly less than his (Ex took a pension buy-out a few years before divorce and it amounted to pennies on the dollar, so I guess he didn’t realize the long term worth). Schmoopie never had a pension, apparently they didn’t realize it was worth about $300k to them. 🙂 It took a long time to sell our home and it’s amazing how greedy he became 7 months after our divorce was finalized. He started refusing to pay for even half of the landscaping for our then long vacated house. We’re taking $30 when he lost $300k. Total. Idiot.

  • Yea, I was going to try and be nice and we were going to “share” an attorney. Until he found out I had no intention of giving up half of his pension. I told him he could have all his tools and guns. Then things got ugly. I was supposed to write a list of everything that I wanted and he was going to do the same. Then I was supposed to get a Realtor to look at the house (see a pattern I was doing everything, again). He showed up yesterday and wanted to talk about the house. Of course he really wanted to talk about me not going after pension. He asked again, what are you going to do about my pension? I said I want half. He went crazy again. Threw my purse across the kitchen got in my face and said he hopes I choke on the pension payments because that is what I deserve (I guess I deserve to die because I want half of his hard earned pension that he worked for 20 years to get). Then said that I would not get anything on that list because he would run over it in the driveway first. He then said I knew you were going to be a cunt about this! And for good measures he said that I will always be alone because no one would make me happy and no one would want to fuck my fat ass.

    I contacted my own lawyer today and will now only speak through my attorney, Blocked his number on my cell phone and hope I will get some news from my attorney about him staying away from the house. They will not be nice no matter what lies they tell you! Get an attorney, I might go into debt over this but at least I will be free! It’s like dealing with some strange man, not someone I have known for 32 years. I so want to tell my adult kids what he says and does but I know that they might hate me for that. My oldest is getting married in May and my fat ass will be the hottest women there!! That is my revenge! Him and his fat sloppy stomach and grey hair can kiss my ass! I hope him and his howorker will live happily ever after! (not really I hope he is miserable and lonely!)

    • Stilltrying-I heard similar comments. My stbx is FUMING that I am “TAKING” half of HIS pension. I told him I wanted half of MY pension – I worked for it too asshole. Oh yes – that is his biggest bitch. Oh well.
      I finally blocked assholes number yesterday. He gets on these kicks to text me and won’t stop. He bitch texts me, bullies me, brings up my ‘affair’ that I never had 15 years ago, then wants to come over to my house to get laid. Yep – that is the deranged I am dealing with.
      Him and his fat beer gut and bozo the clown bald head can kiss my ass 🙂 Cheers stilltrying.

      • Haha, LadyStrange–mine said the same thing. Told my daughter I had “taken half his life savings.” Really? Married for 19 years, 2 kids (that I raised), and gave up my higher paying job so he could have his dream job. HIS?? not OURS?

        But then I realized I was glad he thought like that–hurts him more if he gave up HIS money. lol.

        • My ex always referred to the money he earned as “my money,” and the part-time income I earned (same field, same hourly rate) as “your money.” That was a clue, right there.

          I like your thinking. It probably DOES hurt more that I took part of “his” retirement account. It wasn’t much, by the way, but I know it smarts. And that feels great!

      • I gave up my job to move halfway across the country for his career. We only had 5 years until retirement, so he suggested I might as well not work anymore, we were in good shape financially with the new job.

        Then I listened to over 5 years of MY money bullshit. He used my lack of income to increase the gaslighting and reduce my self-respect and self-esteem even further. I was a mess after a few years… but taking control of my own life and divorcing his ass is putting me on the way to recovery.

    • Good for you stilltrying-either join a gym or get an elliptical/stairmaster-your ass and legs will look fantastic after 5-6 months of using these machines.

    • My money, Iheard that over and over again. And when we ‘found’ a secret account. It’s all the same. This thread is crazy scary for me. I’m not getting off the roller coaster anytime soon.

  • Haven’t read here about many folks having a good or even fair outcome from mediating. I’ll just add my voice to the chorus. I tried mediation with my ex. We never discussed custody until the first session. She was very quite the whole time. I think I must have assumed she would know that, since we were separating, that I would want to have our children with me at least half the time. In my mind, it was just assumed that this is what happens when you separate. She didn’t say so at the mediation session but sent an email at 4am that next morning that she “couldn’t find her voice” in the meeting and didn’t agree with me on the custody. I guess maybe this was her first real taste of those dreaded “consequences!” Of course she didn’t want those! I ended up filing first on the basis of adultery. More consequences. Now am (I wouldn’t say happily) divorced with 50% custody. At least I have my kids in my life as much as I could get.

  • The day after he dropped the bomb on my life he emailed to tell me that he was coming home to “tell me how this can go.” Best thing I ever did was tell him to stay the hell away from me and go get my own lawyer. See, he’d been planning his exit for a long time, had assets already split in his mind, and planned to take advantage of me while I was still reeling. I’m sure he was going to suggest we mediate, or use the same lawyer. Please don’t trust a cheater to be fair in a divorce settlement. I found a young lawyer working for a pit bull divorce lawyer. She charged less, but was supervised by the more experienced lawyer. She stopped my ex from trying to get me to pay him “rent” for our marital home after I moved in with a friend. He suggested I needed to pay rent in order to split the equity after it was sold, which wasn’t true. Please get your own lawyer, it’s worth it.

  • xH suggested mediation, because he figured it would be an easy way to save himself some money. That way, he could have his cake and eat it, too!
    So I filed pro-se, and he got an attorney!
    So then I got myself an attorney.

    I think xH figured it would work out like this: I would have the kids full time except when he invited them out to dinner a couple hours a month, then I would submit detailed expense reports to him, and he would pay whatever he felt like paying for those expenses after arguing that I was being excessively indulgent. My attorney was all, “Uhhhhh, no. That’s not how it works.” She plugged some numbers into the child support calculator, and, voila! xH was STUNNED. And bitter! I, too, was stunned. And ELATED! Finally, after years of being married to a withholding, cheap jerk, I was getting the support I should have had all along to be a mom, all while working full time. Of course, working full time meant that xH owed me no alimony, but I’m actually better off divorced than I ever was married. I was able to buy my ex out of our below-means home at the bottom of the price/rate market, and am not struggling for once in my life to make ends meet. The divorce forced the sale of his dream rental/vacation property money/time toilet. Thank GOD that’s over. Now he’s onto another hobby that I’m glad to not be a part of. OW is dragged along, instead. Hope she likes the wrinkles and damp, cramped quarters.


    If you go to mediation, make sure you know what you’re doing. Do not settle for their version of “fairness.” Remember, you’re a chump, not the best judge of “fair.”

    Go get ’em!

  • I was such a chumpy chump. I tried to be fair and kind – I actually cringe now if I allow myself to think about it.
    Upon DD #2 and the realization that my entire 31 year relationship was a complete sham due to his serial cheating, I wanted a separation. He refused to move out, saying he didn’t want to separate. There was no change in his behaviour, no remorse, no apology. He refused to talk about it . I kicked him out after a couple of weeks of this. We then had a Legal Separation in place – bear in mind I live in BC, Canada. We had a mediator who put this in place. I believe it was a mandatory step. Mediation covered Child Support for my son who was in his final year at school and shared costs for our daughter who was in first year University, as well as terms covering him buying me out of the house and dividing our possessions. Seeing that I was the one who filed for separation, I was in the driver’s seat, but I do think it hadn’t all sunk in yet, and perhaps I was trying to shock him into realizing that he was going to lose his family.
    Then I was served with divorce papers just under 4 months after separation. I was stunned when I was served as I just found out he had met someone new and they were getting engaged as soon as the divorce was finalized. I was still trying to process the fact that he was a serial cheater for our entire 31 years together, never mind that he could move on so quickly without even a backward glance. I was trying to grapple with how distant he was, how absolutely detached – and my heart was breaking.
    So I retained a lawyer in those nightmare, mind-numbing days – all I knew was that I had 7 days to respond and then another 7 days after that. Having never been in a law court for anything, it was more than frightening. He relied on that and thought I would roll over and take it all. His reaction was pure rage on being told that I had a lawyer. Spit was flying as he shouted at me that how dare I contest the divorce. He was beside himself. He really thought that I would just accept it, and let the divorce go through without saying a word. (There was no mention of supporting our children through university, no spousal support, just the divorce.) Thereafter there were veiled threats that if I didn’t fire my lawyer, I would get nothing from him and he would alienate me from my children. They were 18 and 17 and they knew about one affair – it was all over town. Thank heavens I just ignored it all. It was more from shock and heart-break I think.
    He did get a lawyer, but fired her after a few months and told me he EXPECTED me to fire mine too, we were wasting money that should be directed to our children. I refused. He then proceeded to stall the divorce, even called me once, as nice as pie, and asked me to stop the divorce, that there was no reason to be getting a divorce at this stage. (Of course, that’s when things weren’t going all that well with his new soulmate.)
    Excuse me? You file for divorce, then rage at me for retaining a lawyer – how dare I – then decide a divorce isn’t necessary right now because it doesn’t suit you? Of course, I didn’t have CL and CN, so I didn’t understand what was actually going on.
    It took 3 years for the divorce to be finalised due to his stalling tactics. It cost me far more than it should have. My lawyer was decent about it and gave me a break as he said that many of the costs were due to cheaterpants ignoring letters and phone calls. Ex arrived in court for the final hearing representing himself. The judge advised him to get a lawyer, he refused, saying the money should be going to our children – the judge was not amused. My lawyer asked for Spousal Support seeing we had been married over 27 years and we had moved to another country together. The judge had no hesitation and the shock on fucktard’s face was actually comical.
    Since then he has not spoken to me and can’t make eye contact. He doesn’t acknowledge me as the mother of his children. I just don’t exist. Period.
    It took me a long time to recognize that this was a gift, not a slap in my face. Now, I’m at meh most of the time and I don’t care either way. I’m just grateful I knew that I couldn’t stay married to a serial cheater despite the PTSD and total shock I was in and the heartbreak I felt. I couldn’t believe that the man I had married was not who I thought he was and had gone to great pains to keep that mask on for so long. Took me a long time, but I’m mostly just grateful now that I’m out of it.

  • I do love these stories where these cheating losers are too damned dumb or lazy to pay attention to the legal paperwork they’re signing because they’re JUST too busy being in luuuuuuuuv with their OW’s. That is – until they find their sorry asses living in abject poverty and their new girlfriend has to support them because they’re broke. ROFL!! Yeah, I love a good story like that!

    I also have to laugh at all these worthless sacks of shit who maybe spent 15 minutes a day actually interacting with their kids but never prepared meals for them, did their laundry, nursed them when they were sick or any of the other thousands of things required to TRULY care for a child – and claim they ‘want’ 50/50 custody.. Playing with your kids for 15 minutes on a daily basis then laying on the couch scratching your balls while watching Terminator HARDLY qualifies anyone as a stellar father.

    I’m so glad I didn’t have to deal with asswipes like a lot of the ladies here had had to deal with. When I divorced my serial-cheating ex-husband, HE said to me, “I know I couldn’t nearly be the parent to (our son) that you are, so I’m not even going to try to ask or fight for equal custody.”

    I can only imagine what these Father of the Year Award recipients are doing when they’ve actually got their kids for days at a time – but I’d be willing to bet they’re depending heavily on their mothers and/or female relatives to do most of the work. Pitiful.

    • ChumpLadyFan – “Playing with your kids for 15 minutes on a daily basis then laying on the couch scratching your balls while watching Terminator HARDLY qualifies anyone as a stellar father.”

      This is sad, but I’m sorry, I’m just falling off my chair holding in my gut laughing. What a visual!!!

      • Mine may realize being obstructionist will damage our daughter’s impression of him. Since I am the one who left, he’s playing sad sausage with her, saying everything will be 50/50, no problem… while conspiring with his broker and lawyer to hide assets.

        But I have enough documentation of assets that existed when I left, so he has to account to the court for any dissipation of them. I took a large chunk out of the joint checking account to see me through this in case he is a fucktard.

        I haven’t even bothered to confront him about the OW. That’s in my back pocket if I need to make him feel like he should feel guilty. Or really make him look bad to our daughter.

        I’ll tell our daughter eventually anyway. But he doesn’t have to know that.

  • I wanted to post a caution to everyone about the automobile piece of any settlement. Every state and DMV is different. If the automobile is titled in his name as married and you receive it via settlement documents, he will have to sign off on the back of the title to put it in your name. Be sure you speak to your attorney or call your state DMV to see if ANY other papers are necessary for you to receive the title at no cost to you. I mistakenly assumed that the signature was all that was needed and when I took the signed title to the DMV, I needed an affidavit from him stating that he was transferring title without any monies being exchanged. Because I did not have that piece of paper, it cost me $1.7 K to put the car in my name….state sales tax based on car value. This piece fell through the cracks in my lawyers office and was an additional expense to me. Ugh!!

    • Oh geez…thank you for posting that. My car is a company car ( his company that I also worked for ) and I had told him that I will need a car in my name to move back where I came from, over 1,000 miles away. I came here with one,( but he traded that and titled the new car to the company), and I’m leaving with one. It amazes me with all the stories where the attorneys just didn’t protect their clients properly. That’s what we’re paying them the big bucks for. So sorry about what happened to you!

    • Warning to those dealing with divorce now, no matter how good your lawyer seems, research shit yourself. I had to look up the car stuff, in my state it was simplest to make the car transfer a gift but it varies stay by state on just about everything. Trust but verify what your attorney says. And honestly it saves money to do a lot of the legwork yourself, it also gives you some feeling of control over what is going on.

      • I have found channeling my anger into research and planning and tactics is good for me.

        I think my lawyer was a little impressed at me having all my ducks in a row for him. After so much contempt and disrespect and belittling directed my way by the snake, it was nice to feel respected for my brain.

  • Mediation with a fuck wit Ex is like trying to pick up Mercury with your bare hands.
    A fruitless task, and highly toxic.

  • This is in part why I wondered if ex had aspergers instead of narcissism. (there is a lot of overlap and some argue now that NPD is actually on the autism spectrum…anywho…)

    I spoke to a couple mediators who were attorneys. Picked one. Told ex. He was slow to get his paperwork in, not out of regret, but laziness. When it came to valuing the property he just kept writing on his form that they should go by my disclosure… (the mediator was obviously weirded out about his behavior).

    He didn’t feel he could manage the kids more that 15%, he moved in with schmoopie so he left everything, he even agreed (my idea) to dedicate his portion of the house proceeds to the kids’ college fund (mediator put a special caveat in the agreement that said he didn’t have to do that). He pays the minimum state ordered support and other expenses mostly on time via autopayment (but still manages to be late on some things.) We hired a QDRO attorney through the mediator to deal with pensions…

    The mediator suggested we get attorneys to look over the agreement, neither of us did.

  • I’m a little confused. I understand some folks are desperate for monies to pay for an attorney. However, for those that still have a joint account with their spouses, the retainer can be taken out of the joint account. In my case, I had my own credit card because I didn’t want him to know I filed but the joint account paid me back later. He hired ‘the best attorney money could buy’ @ $600/hr. I hired a local atty at $250/hr. For every dime he spent on his attorney, I was able to deduct every penny of that and put it into my private account. And, of course, he got to take out the paltry amount my attorney cost.

    I cannot tell you the satisfaction I got when he freaked out about that! ha! So, I’d spend $3000, which he got to take out for his private account. And, he’d spend $10,000, which I deposited in my account.


    Does this not work in most cases with shared joint accounts?

    • Many of us did not have $13,000 sitting around in joint (or otherwise) accounts. Many of us had spendthrift exes who kept us in debt no matter how hard we worked to dig out. Money makes everything easier… but we don’t all have it. Good for you for using yours wisely, though!

    • In my state it is damn near impossible to get attorney costs covered in a divorce settlement. I spent $ 30K and he spent maybe $5k. Congrats on how it worked for you, what state are you in?

      • I’m in Oregon, and seriously, I think I had the best attorney in the state. (over his high-priced one). Whether she slipped this in, I have no idea, or whether it is the law. But, it makes sense. If you spend 50% of the joint-account, so should he, and vice versa. Only, I made out with like, $30,000 extra because his attorney was so expensive. He quit contacting him for advice! He didn’t want to pay twice – I’m not sure how that worked, but my cracker-jack local po-dunk attorney got it done, up against the big city lawyer!

        • I would seriously like to know why this is not fair? He takes out $50g’s for his attorney from the joint account (and believe me, it got to be far more than that at the end), so I should also get $50g’s. Right? Same with my atty – I take out $3g’s – he gets $3’gs. It’s just good math. I’m surprised to hear divorce expenses don’t come out of the joint-account where most of you are from????

          • btw – we had THE most simplest divorces of all time. No debt, just assets – easily split in half, no businesses – it should have been done in 3 mos. But, we kept trying to ‘negotiate’ the spousal support without attorneys. Bad move. That delayed us a long time and in the end, we hated each other. So, back to attorneys and we finally had a mediator come in for another $20’gs to settle on what we settled on in the first place! What a waste of money.

  • Xh was soooooo sure that we would sit down like old friends and work out everything. Then we would just print off a divorce decree from the internet, sign it with the same pen, and live happily ever after as the bestest of friends.

    He texted me after he left the home to move in with Schmoopie and told me he would come by so we could “talk” about the next step. I am sure he thought I was still curled up on the floor in the fetal position and it would be easy.

    He didn’t realize that in the time I was “waiting for him” to come by and “tell me how this was going to go”, I had already hired an attorney and had him served with the divorce papers. Since he was in such shock and still feeling a small smidgen of guilt, I was able to get more than he realized until it was too late. And he was in such a hurry to get it done, he really didn’t do his research. Too bad for him!!!

    New Chumps…GET A LAWYER! I had to borrow the money for the retainer from my father, but it was the best investment ever. The person you thought you could trust the most is the person you can now trust the least. Don’t give an inch on what you want or deserve!!

  • I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND that you hire both a lawyer AND a therapist who is experienced in helping clients through divorce. My biggest mistake was thinking my attorney gave two shits about my spouse’s nastiness. In the end, all he cared about was the bottom line.

    I estimate I spent probably $7000 in attorney fees that could have been saved if I didn’t call him to coach me through the emotional pain my X enjoyed inflicting just for sport.

    • Excellent point Chutes, never never never talk to an attorney about anything other than the actual divorce, a therapist is waaaaaay cheaper and much more helpful with emotional shit!

  • Geez, my request for confirmation that mediation usually blows sparks a blog post and I work late so don’t see it until late! I’m super glad to see all this feedback.mseems pretty clear mediation only works if you do it in the first couple months, and only if the cheater is still in the soul mate found, ready to go days. After that you’re just wasting time. So bottom line if your cheater isn’t dying to divorce you, most don’t want to, then file first and file for fault if your state allows

  • PS from the Practical side of paying an attorney. Even if you have the cash use a good rewards credit card for the attorney retainer if you have one and then pay it off. I used my points for a plane ticket. Always maximize benefits where you can!

  • When I met with my lawyer, he asked me “how bad does get feel?” I said “really bad” and we came in with our starting offer expecting to negotiate. Ex just agreed. (It feels good to type Ex…divorce final last week after 1.5 yrs of separation!)

    Get them while they feel guilty. It’s the only way to a fair settlement. I was a sahm for almost 10 years and helped him advance his career. I deserve my half. It’s hard as hell but you can pick yourself up, get a life/job and move on…even when the ex continues to violate no contact by sending you unsolicited emo emails.

    Most importantly, I’ve learned to ditch people who don’t give back. Hear that chumps…if people don’t reciprocate, walk, no run away!

  • I found the court system extremely slow and went in favor for those to delay, drag on, and extend the divorce as long as they wanted. My attorney advised me similar as most of you – act fast…Men in these positions give up a lot more than they would that are not. While it took a hot minute to get it over with I’m so grateful for my kick ass attorney. He cost a pretty penny, but my family helped a ton. My dad cashed out some of his 401K to help me and I have him almost paid back. I had to move myself and 3 small kids into my parent’s house while my house was for sale and quickly sold. I stayed with them almost a year and 6 months after the divorce was final I bought my OWN house! Cheaterpants stalled, and whined, and fought til the very end on silly details. When it was time to get in front of the judge and go over his silly details the judge smirked and replied with a quick, “No.” I will never forget that feeling. It was magical. All the stress and hard work paid off because I listened to my attorney and did what he said. He toughened me up and prepped me all along without me even knowing it. He will forever be an important person in my life. He knew what I wanted, what I deserved, and fought for me. You get what you pay for! There are a few things I let go that he told me not to, but in the end it all worked out and I’m glad I went with that intuition.

    We never made it to mediation. He stalled that. Probably because of the cost. He had a new family now and was supporting them- mistress and her 2 kids. So when things started to effect his pocketbook he plummeted. He settled hard and fast. An agreement was drawn that afternoon, took it to court and the divorce was final. There were a few things after the prove up that he tried to fight (see comments above), but he walked away with nothing. And I came out bright, shiny, and new!

    When he fucks up and violates the decree or doesn’t pay child support (I let him get 7K in the hole before) then contempt is filed on him. You have to play hardball with these narcs. Sure I had to endure many rages from him and a shit ton of bullying. Called every name in the book by him, mistress, and she even got her friends to do dirty work. But I believe now that the word “boundary”, even though he has no idea how to have one or respect one, he has an inkling of what it means and he knows now that I’m not bluffing.

    My experience was not perfect, but I’m now in a place that I can reflect on it and have no regrets about what the end result was/is and I sleep like a fucking baby at night.

  • I was with my husband 29 yrs. I worked a good job as a Sup in a male prison. I was injured be a prisoner on heroin. I had to go through about 12 surgeries so far. My has-been decided that was the time to fall in “Tru Luv” with his honey. My husabind brought me to court for support when I filed for divorce. He claimed he was disabled. Soc Sec Disability had denied his claim for 10 yrs. He had never worked in those 10 yrs. I was lucky I saved all letters, E-mails and such from him through the yrs. In the letters he said he was benching 200 lbs, running 2-3 miles a day, doing the whole gym thing. (getting in shape for “tru-luv) I turned those over to the judge. The judge told him to get a job. The look on his face, priceless. That would cut down on his “tru-luv” time.

    He got a job because he had to. I waited a few months and went after him for support. I was totally disabled.I had 5 surgeries on left leg plus knee replacement, 3 on right leg plus hip replacement right hand rebuild, mesh holding up my organs, bone graphs in my jaw plus teeth put in. I rec’d a large Worker’s Comp settlement. My hasbeen then went after that. Nice guy that he is. Have to support “tru-Luv”. He didn’t read the laws on that. Worker’s Comp designed to support the injured party only. Not divisible in divorce. He pissed me off when he tried that. So I sent all his letters to the Soc Sec Disability judge. He got a letter from them. It said they considered him a opiate addicted, doctor shopping liar. My attorney said he never saw a Gov Agency use such strong words.

    Working in a prison all my life gave me zero tolerance for bullshit. I paid my attorney 6 grand for my divorce. I got everything. I signed 1 vehicle over to my X and told him to leave town in it. He did. He promptly got arrested in another state and had to do 90 days in jail trying to get to his “tru-luv”. He spent Thanksgiving, X-mas and New Years locked up in a jail in Tx. That was within 30 days of our divorce. He was trying to keep it a secret. So I put out on my facebook the jail name and address so his “friends” could write him and send him X-mas cards. Some times karma does it’s job.

  • Don’t dismiss mediation altogether! It works really well for some people. In my case, it was far better for me financially and emotionally than it would have been to have a knock down, drag out court battle.

    A local women’s center offered a series of classes on Divorce 101. The first session focused on the legal process in my state, the second on finances, and the third on child and family issues. It was the best money I ever spent. One piece of advice the teacher gave the women at the seminar was the same as mentioned multiple times here: strike while the iron is hot. Get your stbx to mediation/court while they are still feeling guilty, before they have time to lawyer up and get defensive. Another valuable piece of advice was that mediation can offer women, especially chumps, the opportunity to walk away with more than the standard 50/50 split that the courts usually offer, IF you play your cards right.

    The Center offered low cost attorney services on a sliding fee scale based on your income. I ended up hiring the woman who ran the seminar as my mediator. She was neutral and fair, but very thorough in uncovering all of our assets and walking us step by step through every single thing we needed to discuss, from custody to retirement accounts.

    My deepest wish was to keep my home, even though I could not afford to buy out Cheater’s share. The mediator helped us horse trade: I get exclusive use of the house for ten years, until our youngest graduates high school, while Cheater keeps all of the money in one of our investment accounts. Since most of it was an inheritance from his mother, I would have had no legal claim to that money anyhow, but this way he got to feel like he “won.” And I most certainly did! The mediator also helped me negotiate a generous lifetime alimony payment, where the court would likely have given me less, for a limited time.

    It took several weeks, two in person meetings, and many emails and faxes to get the separation agreement mediated. Then the mediator sent us off to our own separate lawyers — again, I found mine through the Women’s Center — to have the document approved. Cheater’s lawyer told him he was giving away “too much” but guilt was still working in my favor, and Cheater signed the agreement as written.

    Mediation was one of the very few smart, proactive decisions I made after dday. Don’t DIY it without legal advice, but don’t write it off, either.

  • Mediation actually worked for me. My situation was reversed, I was the significant breadwinner (high 6 figures) and he owned a company that had not started making a profit yet. He “fell madly in love” with his 25 y/o part-time assistant. Given our lifestyle, she believed that the big house, fancy cars, etc. were a product of his company. So after 6 months of trying to put our marriage back together, I found out that he was still seeing her. I hired a detective, found a hidden condo, and assets that were being diverted. I then shut down all accounts and moved the money, even took hid sports car to the dealership to be sold. I also found out at this time that the slut was getting impatient with him and was threatening to leave if he did not divorce quick. I then suggested mediation so that our assets would not get eaten up in a long divorce. He was immediately amenable to this and was excited about getting it done quick. We then went to mediation and I presented him with what I thought was fair … I would give him X dollars in cash and his work SUV (the lump sum cash sounded like a lot, but in reality was far less than he was used to living on, but given he did not pay the bills I don’t think he realized how much his usual lifestyle cost). I kept the house, cars, investments, remaining cash, and other assets including value of my medical practice. He even agreed to split children’s expenses and private school cost (which I realize he will be unable to pay once he goes through the lump sum), but at least I will be able to get some of it back:-) Of course when I initially presented this “deal” to him, he balked. But I told him if he did not take it I would drag out the divorce and would begin proceedings with a forensic accountant to go through his business. I told him the slut would certainly be 30 before he would be divorced. Also, I know he was concerned about custody. He has had some issues in the past that would likely not have played out well in court and of course I threatened those as well. I then told him if he mediated I would do 50/50 custody, but if we go to court I was going for full custody. So lucky for me he was scared he would lose the slut and knew he needed some immediate money. We met with the mediator in July and the ink was dry on the agreement in October! By far the best business deal I have ever negotiated!
    Once the divorce was done, he was with the slut for about 6 months and then she dumped him! So now he lives in a piece of shit rented condo with a broken down Suburban and I just smile when I see him! It’s been a little over 2 years now and life is indeed good. CL you have an amazing blog and I will never forget all of the help you have given, especially in the early days of discovery!
    Thanks a million!

  • My lawyer advised me to deal early. Strike while there is some contrition left (it doesn’t last long) and while the cheat is basing their financial assumptions on a happily ever after scenario with newbie. If you wait too long any residual guilt will have disappeared and the newbie relationship might well have gone belly up.

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