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That Unicorn Ran Off with Your Cash

The Unicorn of ReconciliationToday’s guest post is by Vickie Adams, a certified financial planner / certified divorce financial analyst discussing the financial risks of reconciliation. Men, this advice goes for you too. Please forgive the gender pronouns. Finally, the professional advice and opinions today belong to Vickie (who has way more sense than chumpy me ever had at D-Day…) Enjoy!

By Vickie Adams

The very first spouses of those named in the Ashley Madison hack are just beginning to turn up at my office for financial advice. Any other group of readers might wonder why the betrayed waited so long to start proceedings.

Didn’t that happen like over 3 months ago?

The uninitiated believe they’d be lawyering up in 3 minutes.

Chump Nation readily acknowledges that the disordered have “odd and confusing” reactions and responses to everyday stuff. Little things like marriage vows, empathy, impulse control, boundaries. Like when you find your spouse has had multiple partners for decades and their monotone response is: “So what’s the problem? You know it meant nothing.” Odd.

But did you know that that those close to you see chumps as having “odd and confusing” reactions too? Specifically, a lack of appropriate action or anger when dealing with infidelity, deception, or just plain being screwed over.

It’s painful to point out, but on some level you know this is true. Have you ever lied to friends or family members about what’s going on in your marriage post D-day? Ever skirt the truth rather than out the cheater because even you can’t say without hurling: “Yes, he’s been a horrible husband, but he’s such a good dad!” Odd response.

Early on in divorce financial planning, I noticed chumps had a special ability to suspend belief rather than act in their own best interest. It was a clearly a case of that old saying, “Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?”

Chumps go overboard to show they are “good and fair people” who possess an unwavering sense of honor and commitment. Because you believe in love, family, and unicorns, chumps hold themselves to insanely unreasonable standards. There is no prize for this. Instead you damage yourself emotionally and financially in the process. Everyone who cares about you hopes that you will go from D-day to Dump His Ass Day — instead you’re more likely to go from D-day to Beating Yourself Up Day.

Chumps are more likely to tell me, ‘I did everything wrong. I got by angry and I reacted and now I’ve ruined it. I should have understood his disease, his family of origin issues, his need for strange. If I would have embraced hot yoga threesomes,  we might still be together.”

I’m sure he was a stellar catch. Besides that unfortunate day that he was caught in the prostitution sting, I can see why you’d fight for that.

Post-D-Day

Here’s a typical timeline of events post-D-Day and some tips to minimize your collateral financial damage. It is my fondest hope that you will catch on before you are out-played.

Week 1 – 4 — Let the games begin! If a cheater had a high-profile job, he enters rehab and is upgraded from common cheater to someone suffering from a Sex Addiction to save his ass and job. If the career was not so sparkly, you search for a marriage counselor while he critiques your choices and or may or may not show up.

Chumps charge in for the rescue. Reading, attending support groups, and accepting blame for their contribution to the problem. Wrong focus, people. Instead of googling “Do sex addicts recover?” use this brief period of “contrition” to start gathering and preserving assets, while preparing for the worst. Don’t focus on “fixing it” — focus on protecting yourself financially.

Instead of being the marriage police, be the money police. If there is a chunk of money from any community asset you can put in your own name alone, do it now. It can be equalized in divorce settlement. If reconciliation blows up, you will need money for retainers, therapy, living expenses, etc. Spouses mistakenly think that because the higher earning spouse has always put their check in a joint account, they will continue to do so. NOT TRUE. Because someone’s never drained a bank account before, don’t assume they won’t. Don’t wait for this to happen. Act first.

Week 4  Are you going to meetings or are you going to a hotel? You may hear “how can I recover when you don’t trust me?” Rather than accepting the undeserved title of co-addict that the marriage counseling /rehab industry has anointed you with, recognize you’ve been had by someone with a personality disorder. That means their personalities aren’t organized in a way that makes sense to most people. That extends to money and those promises they make in front of others — “I swear I’m not with her anymore”, “I didn’t take that money. The bank made a mistake and I’m waiting for them to fix it.”

While you are waiting to see if they’re serious run a credit report, get tax returns, bank statements, see a lawyer, a financial planner. Ask important questions Use this brief period of ‘transparency ’ to extract as much financial information as you can. Trust but verify. Actually I wouldn’t trust but it’s not my first rodeo.

Week 8 – 12 — It’s not so shiny anymore. Rehab is over, counseling is boring. Meetings, what meetings? The facade starts to crumble. Chumps waste months in counseling, negotiating for symbolic crumbs that prove they are first in the pick me dance, like requesting lists of dating websites and passwords or deciding on the exact definition of full transparency. By now the cheater has often returned to affair partner(s) and is now moving money out of accounts and possessions out of the house. While you are “standing your ground” for access to ALL of the cheater’s email accounts and passwords, bank accounts are being closed, money is being diverted, new debt is being incurred. Again, the focus is on the wrong issue. Don’t waste time waiting for some sign that your love and time has meant something to him. GIVE THAT TO YOURSELF by securing your financial future.

Week 13 — You get tired of going to marriage counseling by yourself. You realize you are back to square one. Most of the initial promises of “transparency” and “working on it” are blown off. You can continue to search for ways to change yourself enough to win the pick-me dance or you can make a plan to “leave a cheater and gain a life.”

Week 14 — The stall of “working on the post nup.” At Chump Nation, we stress post-D-day actions. “Get tested, run a credit report, get a post-nup.” Just this week, an unsigned post-nup landed on my desk that was was being worked on until the day someone unexpectedly moved out. “He really wanted to do it. We just couldn’t agree on semantics.” It also was missing huge amounts of valuable assets. It was all just a stall tactic while he figured out where he was going.

If you aren’t aware of your complete financial picture, can you negotiate an accurate post-nup? If someone is sincere in coming to the table with a post nup, 45 days is a fair amount of time for completion. Be sure you know what you are signing.

Week 16 — Someone moves out and you are left holding the bag.

Chumps mistakenly feel that protecting themselves financially telegraphs “you didn’t believe in us.” Translation: you didn’t want to hurt his feelings or rock the boat when reconciliation was still possible. Meanwhile they were deciding on Plan A or Plan B (also known as you if you were the bigger earner.) This is where we are the chumpiest: Financially.

What happened in these few months is they only pulled you closer to get a better shot at you.

Let’s hear it Chump Nation: What have you done financially for yourself during the D-Day time line? Did you do something ballsy during your divorce that helped you avoid financial disaster? Any financial questions?

Vickie will be checking this post over the weekend, so feel free to weigh in with your comments and concerns. 

VickieAdamsVickie Adams is a certified financial planner® and certified divorce financial analyst™.

Over two decades ago, she founded a client-centered, boutique wealth management firm in San Pedro, CA., located south of Los Angeles. 

During her own divorce, she realized that while her attorney was an expert in family law, he lacked the specialized skills necessary to structure a strategic divorce settlement that considered the long-term financial effects. 

In addition, the practice of fighting over individual, unrelated financial issues, combined with the siege mentality of divorce, led many of her clients to be exhausted, confused, and often devastated by the monetary implications of their divorce agreement.  

Vickie took a proactive stance in advising clients to plan for their economic future before, during and after their divorce. Her practice is focused on assisting others to navigate the life-changing transition of divorce successfully. See more of her articles at www.MyDivorceFinancialPlanner.com

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  • I completely blew it after D-day, I will post what I did after work today because I do need advice still on where I’m at today. 🙁

    • I was way chomped financially and still fighting for the basic child support. I was psychologically wracked and so bashed down, I could not fight. I could not do anything but run as if the building was burning.

      But now I have regrets and feel so angry and duped when I see that his abuse and monster-like treatment of me was all part of his personality disordered manipulation to keep me running. Makes me cry just thinking about it. I certainly pass this site on to others in need and tell many many people where they can come to get smart.

    • Vicki, We are not in the divorce process. We have some realestate that is on the market. When it sells where is the safest place the money can go?

      • Hi SF. I can’t give investment advice here so I’m assuming ‘safe’ means where it’s most likely not to disappear. I’m assuming it’s a joint investment in a community prop state

        1- You can suggest putting the funds 50-50 into separate accounts in individual names, esp if the D word has come up prior
        2- If it winds up in a joint account and you suspect it might disappear, you’d have to watch it like a hawk. So
        I’d try for the first option.)v

  • I was still on the unicorn hunt clear through to finalization of the divorce so yeah, I did also get chumped financially as well. And now he hasn’t made a spousal support payment for almost a year, and I don’t know in VA what legally can be done.

    • From a google search, saw same info on multiple sites: if your former spouse is refusing to pay a valid support order, Virginia law allows the court to enter an income deduction order. That means the court has the power to order that the spouse’s employer deduct the appropriate monthly amount from the employee’s paycheck and to pay it to the spouse entitled to receive the support.

      If you don’t have an attorney, court clerks can sometimes be very helpful in instructing how to do stuff like this. Jedi hugs!

      • ***Note To Self: Change screen name to something less “victim” (because ‘eff PigFucker) and more reflective of the “me” I have slowly but SURELY been recovering these past few months!!!

      • I agree – you have my favorite screen name to date! Chump, chump, chump around! (Says the lady whose name autocorrects to “fool”…and then alternatively, “cool”. Even autocorrect is leading me to gaining a better life!)

  • This is an incredible post. Absolutely spot-on.

    I would also like to add something I learned in my divorce. If your state has an at-fault option and you let a cheater stay in your home and try to reconcile, you have given up the ability to claim adultery as fault. And that can cost you. The cheater can argue that your attempt to reconcile was condoning the affair.

    • In a no fault state like CA ‘faults’ like ‘cheating ‘ don’t matter. What does matter for division of assets and calculation of spousal support is ‘the date of separation’. That now does not begin here until someone physically moves out. Each state is different however. Thanks for that info.

    • OMG, no. I live in a fault state. My lawyer already has adultery down as the reason but he said it sways things very little here anyhow. How I wish they would just enforce the adultery-is-a-felony thing here! Would make life much simpler for me, lol.

      • No fault was initiated in CA by Ronald Regan allegedly to protect himself from accusations by his first wife. He later said it was the biggest mistake of his career. Bringing up issues like adultery in a no fault case offen upsets a judge bc they see you as wasting the court’s time. If you dwell on it with the attorney, you run up a big bill.

        Cheating is heinous but not a felony. Watch for missing assets, new debt and other financial fraud that can be addressed legally.

        • I do live in a fault state, so before I even replied to that question on my lawyer’s worksheet, he had written it down and underlined it. He said it can help my case for custody (and hence child support) but that it wouldn’t affect spousal support much, if at all.

          Adultery is on the books as a felony in my state 😀 Of course people are rarely prosecuted for it though every couple of years somebody goes there and the ensuing news coverage provides everyone with a good laugh, lol. The statute was removed in the late 70s and put back in the very next year! I can only fantasize about giving my cheater a momentary heart attack as he contemplates a potential three year jail sentence 😉

          I have access to all (at least I hope it is all) our financials and keep daily watch over them. I ran my own credit reports as the wackadoo OW in my case is squirrelly but I have not run my husband’s. I am not sure I can do that without permission.

          • In my state, adultery affects division of assets and can affect custody/visitation.

            Also incriminating evidence that cheaters do not want presented in court and made public can be used as leverage in mediation.

        • It is really too bad that ‘cheating’ has nothing to do with the division of assets. The only thing it can do is show ‘character.’ I was watching Hot Bench a few weeks ago and one of the judges mentioned just that. He said, (something along the lines of) “I can’t condone him for the cheating, but it does show character.” Therefore the judges were more persuaded by the other parties claim.
          My stbx was almost PROUD that his actions aren’t going to affect him. He’s always gotten away with everything and this is just another one of those things. He told me that he had gone to his lawyer and admitted to his lawyer right away that he had gotten a fuck phone and was busted cheating. His lawyer (according to stbx) told him he could care less if I had caught him in bed with another woman because it didn’t matter. My stbx was elated with that information. So basically when he was telling me this it was a “HAHA I fucked up our whole family and cheated on you and once again, I suffer no consequences to my actions. In your face LadyStrange, you only get half.”

          • I live in a community property state as well which will work out more or less okay. I can ask for anything in a settlement. I already know what I am asking for and it is straightforward. Asshat had already promised numerous times to allow me to live in our house with Little Elf and that he would make sure we are well taken care of. He will want to do at least as much as other sparkly people do to pay up so, in theory, we should be okay.

            LadyStrange, I saw your post about the pool cue. I would offer to pay him $10 to shove it up his *ss….

            • ChumpyElf, my ex promised that he would split all child care expenses if we just left the courts out of it and of course, he pays very very little, won’t honor my bills, won’t pay the actual expenses, pays whatever he wants whenever he wants and it NEVER covers what I spend so PLEASE please get the agreement in writing.

              • ChumpB, we are still together before I blindside him by filing in a few months. Yes, you are right, everything needs to be in writing. I am sorry your ex is (still) a liar. My sister has everything in writing and a jerky ex who drags her back to court a couple of times a year. He doesn’t pay what he is supposed to, even though it is in writing. She is overseas and it is a mess. I would not trust Asshat and I am signing NOTHING if it isn’t precisely what I want even if I have to go to the mediator a million times. My version of negotiating is a bit one-sided ;O Okay, I don’t actually know at what point the mediator says, “I give up! Get thee to the judge!” My lawyer doesn’t question when I whip out a stack of papers with numbers and demands on it. He just adds it to the list. I will stop at nothing to get anything and everything (and some extra) for Little Elf and myself 🙂

            • Same here~ ex is court ordered to pay support, whining & crying to all how broke he is because child support, actually has yet to pay a cent. Be prepared to enforce everything.

              • I find the whining and crying about child support one of the *most* annoying aspects of dealing with the cheater. Each time I hear it , I want to scream you did this a-hole. The only one to blame is yourself. So damn glad that Alberta has maintenance enforcement, a table that dictates how much is owed and I don’t have to chase. The money comes off his paycheque before he has a chance to squirrel it away or hide it. The games I read about on here just make me livid. Cheater had the kids and now has the RESPPONSIBILITY of, if nothing else, PAYING for them. If the cheater’s life isn’t as easy or sparkly or lacks finances to chase/pay for the AP/OW/new wife, don’t expect one tear drop of remorse or pity. Sorry, this issue just really burns me. 🙁

  • Wow … this sounds just like what I remember those first months were like. I realized he had opened a new checking account and although he didn’t touch our joint account (there wasn’t enough there!), he was diverting his paycheck/bonus to the new account. I couldn’t get my hands on it but at least could let my lawyer know about it. This was during a time that the company he worked for was going bankrupt because of insider trading. I followed it very closely and knew that he and his partners were suing for monies owed. I put that out there to my lawyer too.

    Now three years later and we are still working on our agreement. The last stall was because I realized he had taken loans against our life insurance and the kids insurance. I told my lawyer and she did her homework. Turns out if he ever defaulted on paying the premiums, it would trigger a taxable event and I could possibly have run into financial problems. I’m 59 years old and don’t plan on working forever, so this would have caused real hardship. We met with the judge who said she had never run into this sort of thing so our lawyers got together with our insurance agent to get the correct language for the agreement.

    My lawyer commended me for thinking with my head and catching what could have been a big problem. Now I feel good that we have the past 32 years accounted for and I can move on knowing I’m on track!

  • I have paid over $50,000 in legal fees….and the meter is still ticking. I have an all claims hearing next week. It’s about pots and pans…furniture. Guess his girlfriend likes my taste in Home Decor and my Culinary cookware. I can’t get out if this hearing…he won’t settle. Im sick of the meter running.

    • Hi Tracy,

      I’m now facing the six-figure bill (and both STBX and I are virtually unemployed with two young children)! Like you, I won’t get out of the tenth(?) hearing, that started with his filing for divorce and an attempt to legally block me from ever seeing our children, although I really want to escape the ‘justice’ system, as he won’t settle on anything less than almost complete annihilation of me. Amazingly, he is stunned that I don’t jump at the opportunity to reconcile with him.

    • Wow, Tracy and RockStarWife! What absolute shameful despicable disordered sick fuckwads we were married to. Honestly, I still can’t believe how people can be so deplorable, narcissistic, abusive, hurtful, unkind, and just plain mean. But it’s me who’s the meanie because I want child support and the fact that daughter will not live with him and the fact that he has had two major vacations with AP and not paid fair child support is unconscionable! Makes moving on hard and the obsessive thoughts and paperwork and court hearings ends up shoving shit sandwiches right down my throat!

        • Hi ChumpB,
          I don’t know exactly what you’re going through, but in reading what you write, I can relate to the pain you describe. My STBX has taken a few vacations since the day he moved out, in spite of leaving me with his bills and ‘not having enough’ to pay child support. I think that he is on a short vacation this weekend and/or he is earning money under the table, which is easy to do in his industry.

  • It was my fourth D-Day. Kids were grown, so I decided enough was enough. Got him out of the house and figured out how to change the key code and the garage code. I secured my own checking and savings account and within a month had my attorney draft a separation agreement where he still had to deposit so much money into the joint account so I could pay bills until the house sold. Emotionally it was a horrible time and he kept inviting me to the dance. Stay strong chumps, because you need to stay financially stable. I think because I acted when he was still in trying to eat cake mode, he was more agreeable. Within two months he turned into a total ass. I was so glad to have the agreement in place.

    • This is important to remember too. Cheaters are often off their game a bit in the weeks post D-Day. Even my stone cold sociopathic ex was floundering around trying to still look like Mr. Nice Guy and worried about what the fallout may be from the revelations of his decades-long affairs and group sex habits.

      An attorney friend of mine told me within days of D-Day–“get him early while he still feels guilty.” I got him to sign a Letter of Intent to waive alimony and other terms of the Property Settlement Agreement (which I spiced up by paying half of the up-front cash we agreed he would get at that time), and was divorced within 4 months of D-day. Ex would never sign that now. That was some of the best advice I ever got, along with acting relatively nice to him till the divorce was complete (worked for my particular brand of Cluster B).

      • Kelly

        You are so right about the initial image control. If I wasn’t in the paralysis stage I would have filed sooner. It’s easier said than done. Things escalated after 6 weeks when I went to an attorney and he knew I wasn’t dancing. The AP became involved and it was months of stalling. There is no doubt he overestimated his power over me. Luckily dumb, dummied so far down I got everything important for my future. My lawyer kept saying, ” this us a simple divorce,what’s wrong with him”? Personality disorder meets BP druggie was the answer.

        • Donna– My ex was the opposite, you probably had a narcissist but mine truly was and is what I believe is more sociopathic, no rage no remorse (not even fake). Just calculations as to how best to get over on me.

          I literally researched how to manipulate a sociopath and did it and it worked on him (Blech, vomit). Thank god the divorce was quick because I couldn’t keep it up for long, and his AP#1 (he had many waiting in the wings) had become a “family friend” over the many years of their affair (and group sex romos with her best friend), and despised me. But she was scared of me too at that point so they both just wanted him out. I’m pretty sure she’s histrionic so they probably truly are a match made in cheater heaven.

          • Kelly

            When it was clear he was going to drag it out after being dumped by his lawyer ( was abusive to her), getting a continuation to hire another, not showing up at the next hearing, and finally threatening to hire a lawyer at our next hearing, I threw the dog a bone to get him the fuck out if my life. I pay the 600 a year to cover his co pay on my insurance. He will be getting a bill when it exceeds 600. Or will be dumped altogether when I change jobs. THIS.WILL.HAPPEN. I am timing it to the failure of his penile implant shelf life. I’m figuring it has a year or two before it needs replacing.

      • I left without even discussing my D-Day discovery. I knew from many long years that anything I said would only lead to more gaslighting and blameshifting, and I am so fucking done with that bullshit.

        I was lucky. I could venue shop for the most favorable outcome. Not everyone is so fortunate.

        I wanted no-fault and community property, and I was in a position to get it.

        I will have this go to court under MY terms, and the fucker can’t get the ball back in his court.

        I don’t care as much about proving him a cheater as I do about not being subjected to the defamation of my character that supposedly “made” him do it.

        Fuck that noise.

        If I get half our assets, I’m cool. I’ll be okay. I guess I was lucky to be married to a high functioning narc who found his niche as the company hatchet man.

      • Kelly, I agree with you about the window after dday where a cheater might be more open to a fair(er) settlement. Some people told me to wait to divorce, but since my ex was an abandonner, I saw no point in waiting. I think that it would have been a lot harder even if I had waited a month or so longer. Before the divorce was even final he expressed regret at what he had agreed to and felt he had been to generous and he should have done only x, y, and z.

  • I closed the joint bank accounts and opened new accounts in my name only. Removed her from my credit cards, closed the gym membership.

    All in all, I paid off nearly 70k in debt during the time it took to divorce. Sold one of my cars to pay it off. She didn’t want a minivan and wanted to trade it for a VW Beetle. So that helped with the debt. For me to give up my interest in any equity in that vehicle she had to agree that her loan for anything she buys was not marital debt and she could not claim any vehicles I had or purchased were marital property.

    I had good records of what I had pre-marriage so all of that came off the table. I had a snapshot of what the finances looked like the day she moved into her apartment and we negotiated from that position for the property settlement.

    So she did not benefit from my paying off of the debt.

    The amount I paid/pay in child support was far less than she could spend in a month, so I had the means to live better with her out of the house.

    I kept the house my remaining car and the majority of my 401 (k) and IRA money.

    • Tony, can you close a joint account without the other party’s signature? I was told (after the fact) that he couldn’t close ours but he could drain it and vice versa. Not saying you couldn’t or questioning your post, but maybe it varies from state to state? It’s a good thing for new chumps to know.

      • Yes you can, you only need their signature to open an account but to close joint accounts all you need is one party to say that’s what they want. Now the bank will give you a hard time but I was blunt with them and I said the balance is $0 if you DO NOT close the account anything that goes on there I will not be responsible for and in fact I will be send you a certified letter stating that we had this conversation and you refused to close the account I requested to be closed and therefore I am not responsible for any debt that is accrued on the account from this point forward due to the fact that you (the bank) refused to close it. They then closed it right away!

        • Good to know! Not that I ever plan on having a joint account with anyone ever again.

          I questioned it because the bank where I have a joint account with my Dad insisted he be there just for me to change my last name on it after the divorce. Even though he’s in poor health and can’t walk. I hate banks.

        • Yes, once you let companies/doctors/organizations know that your Cheater won’t/doesn’t pay bills, they change their existing tune of “I can’t remove him from the (doctors bills, bank accounts, medical records, etc). They always hem and haw that they can’t remove Cheater and I respond, “that’s fine. You should know he never pays bills, so all of this will be going to collections. If you want it paid, remove his name from everything and just send it to me.” They pause for like a minute and say, “ok”. (My Cheater lives 2000 miles away, so when they include his name and address, it gets sent 2000 miles away and he just throws all bills in the trash – unpaid ).

      • This might depend on the state. In CA, I could not remove my name from joint checking account without ex’s approval. Yet I WAS allowed to drain the account if I so desired. I didn’t, but in looking back, I probably should have.

        • I’m in CA, too. I was ‘deer caught in headlights’ chump for many weeks after D-Day #1, much to my detriment. My STBX was an ‘account drainer’ and financially hurt me greatly. Thankfully, in spite of being nearly completely psychologically paralyzed for the few months between D-Day #1 and the date my STBX dragged me into court on allegations that I had committed felonies, I moved half of the balance of a few accounts into my individual checking account. If I had not done so, having no income, I would not have been able to pay rent and support my children. (STBX chose not to pay child support until the Court ordered him to pay, a few months after he moved out.)

      • Where I am, one person can freeze a joint account. From that point on, both people have to come in and sign something to take further action with the account.

    • My credit union would not allow me to close the joint account or take his name off of it without Saddam’s signature, I got him to sign when he was drunk. Then it turned out it didn’t sufficiently match their archived scan of his signature. However, I talked the manager into accepting a phone call from him affirming he had signed (again, when he was drunk).

      • You are mighty, dat! Asshat’s signature is so bad nobody can read it anyhow. Physicians must spend a lot of time learning crappy penmanship. I check our bank balances constantly, hold the statements and question him constantly anyway. He wouldn’t dare. Not only would I know the same day but he fears my chumpy lungs would finally explode. Maybe I should buy a bull horn and keep it by the door as a reminder of how many people I could share his indiscretions with. Small town. I wouldn’t have to go far.

      • My stbx got mad at me about 10 years ago and threatened to take my name off our joint bank account if I didn’t come home. I didn’t come home – so he went to the bank and did just that! Took me off the account and THEY DID IT! I was furious! I should of called a lawyer then and sued the bank. Nothing I can do about it now – there was a 6-year statute of limitations.

        • For several years my ex was cashing investment dividend checks that were issued in both of our names with “and” — I had no idea and I never endorsed a single check. He pocketed the money without telling me. He also convinced the bank to freeze my bank accounts without a court order. He was well-known businessman in our small town and he had friends at the bank…

  • I’ve posted this before but in case there’s any newbies my advice is RUN, don’t walk, to the bank and take what’s yours from any joint accounts. Mine took it all and I sure could have used that money. I was still in the hoping he’d come back mindset and will always regret I didn’t do this.

    Also look into any pensions, 401Ks, etc. yourself or have a pension appraiser look into them. DO NOT take their word for what they put down as to value on their financial statement. Even my lawyer was tripped up here. The balliest thing I did was refuse to sign the first agreement because I had the feeling there was more that I was entitled to somewhere and I was right. It was a lot more. Enough to save my financial ass for long enough to get on my feet and keep my Dad from a state nursing home and myself on the street. Oh, and if they’re hurrying to get the divorce done it’s probably because they’re hiding money and hope it’s over before you find out.

    I also wish that I snooped more when he started acting shitty and talking about his “friend” at work. I’m certain he also had secret bank accounts and was hiding money. He was keeping most of his paycheck for himself and it was going somewhere.

    Get your hands on and copy all financial documents. Your lawyer will need them. For some reason that I still haven’t figured out, mine was lying to me about what was still owed on our mortgage. Don’t trust them!

    • Oh, and don’t forget something as simple as a shared Fast Lane transponder. I’d forgotten ours was still in my name and the bastard rode off into the sunset with it and didn’t change it over to his name. I had to report it stolen. If he uses it again he gets slapped with a huge fine and I got a rebate.

      He also cancelled my car insurance without notifying me. Watch out for that.

      • In CA, it’s illegal to cancel insurance. It’s on the back of filing documents. It’s called an automatic restraining order and it prohibits them for cancelling ins, borrowing against your assets.

        Each state has different laws but there can be protections afforded (ATROs) by getting into action and filing.

        It’s that reconciliation time where the big fruds often occurs.

          • Wish I’d have thought to research that in my state. I didn’t expect him to pay my insurance but he could have let me know. A-hole.

            • My STBX and I are CA residents. Although my STBX knew he was supposed to keep me on all insurance policies until our divorce was final, he worked hard to get me kicked off some policies and transfered our insurance policies to cover him/his home instead of mine! Our judge doesn’t care. She just pats him on the back and gives him a ‘There; there’ whenever he breaks the law, even when it is as clear as day and the violation of orders and laws are documented in court records!

    • That’s good to know about the Pension appraiser Lina. I will be receiving MY portion of HIS pension and I guess I just assumed my lawyer would take care of that. With all the lies and run-arounds my stbx is dishing out – better to have it ‘appraised.’
      Thanks!

      • I hope it helps. Nope, don’t rely on your lawyer. We had the pension appraiser on conference call after I refused to sign the first agreement and he outed the ex and told us the actual amount. My lawyer was shocked. I did have to pay the appraiser $250.00 but it was well worth it.

        Good luck LadyStrange.

  • Oh, this is an interesting post. I suspected D-Day (did not know it for sure) but the day before my X moved out she got all dressed up on a Saturday morning around 11am and said she was going shopping when that very morning she told me she was done and getting a divorce. I had a feeling she was heading to the bank so I moved all the money from the checking account to my savings account as we still had all of our monthly bills to pay (which I had wrote checks for just a few days prior). At the time I suspected she was cheating on me but it was not till almost a month later that I found out for sure.

    The very first week she moved out I just did what my lawyer told me to do even though I was the “typical” mental mess. I closed our Home Equity Line of Credit down and Cancel our joint Credit Cards. Good thing to because about 2 weeks later she tried to get access to all of them. She was very upset she could not drain the 55k from our Home Equity Line.

    Fast forward to today and she is a financial mess. She has already blow through the 36k she got from me at the divorce and is now trying to speed up the process to get half of my retirement account so she can drain that to. I guess that’s what happens when you work for minimum wage and drive around in a brand new Nissan Morano, sleep in a 4k king size bed and spend another 3k on a TV. That’s her problem though not mine.

    Meanwhile I am putting solar panels on my home since I did the math I could have it paid off in 5 years with all the Uncle Sam kickbacks and then have 0$ for an electric bill. Gee who is the one that was more responsible lol? I would not be surprised if she has to file for bankruptcy at some point as she has no concept of money or a budget.

    • I did the exact same thing with the credit cards and line of credit. I phrased it, like “it’s high time you developed your own credit rating.” This after finding a *new* credit card in the mail for him that I hadn’t heard about/known about. Cancelled all his access/cut him off. He still left with over 26K of our savings (which he blew thru in six weeks) but I have to let that go. I have the house, had the van and sole custody of the kids. Most expensive cyber p*ssy, I’d say.

  • As Unicorn Queen, I did a lot of stupid financial things since I was sure that he would become a better man and remember that he loved me.

    Perhaps the only smart thing I did was divert my paychecks (meager compared to his) to a private acct he had no access to and continued to live on his income to boost my “escape fund” (there was $40,000 in it when he died).

    I missed the “I will give you everything if you just let me leave” stage which was a HUGE mistake. I should have run to a lawyer that very day.

    During the wreckonciliation, he made some good money at times and I paid down bills with it rather than living it up. So much so that he once asked “I make good money, where is it?” but he had us in debt so far it still didn’t pay shit off.

    I kept my steady job with benefits and refused to move when he bullied me to do it.

    What saved my ass in the end was something that others can’t plan for…he got a huge life insurance policy then he dropped dead…in that way I am the MOST unlikely unicorn of all (making my name ironic) since my scenario rather never happens.

    I wonder what Vickie advises about life insurance in divorce.

    • I insisted that in my separation judgement (see my other post as to why mine was done that way rather than divorce), that a clause was included that Dexter was required to keep a life insurance policy, payable only to me, for at least the amount he would still owe me in spousal support.
      This type of clause is normally highly suggested if their are child support payments due, but apparently not as common for just spousal support.

      For example, say your agreement stipulates that the spouse must pay you $25,000 a year for 10 years. That’s a total of $250,000 overall. The spouse must then (at least in the first year) keep a life insurance policy for $250,000.
      The next year they can lower their coverage to $225,000, and the year after that to $200,000, and so on.

      I was going to be damned if Dexter was going to get an easy way out even if he croaked… and I’m holding out hope that in his inherent laziness he forgets that he can lower his insurance payments annually and it’ll eventually pay off the full amount when he screws the wrong guy’s girlfriend/wife/sister. LMAO

      • Just make sure the premiums are paid and there are sanctions for nonpayment. My sister’s X was required to have life insurance. The fucker died having not paid premiums. My sister was left to raise 3 small children on virtually nothing, What a different life that famiy could have lived if only…

      • No way am I paying my unfaithful ex wife. I’ve set up a trust for my daughter and insurance, 401(k) etc goes into the trust.

        Ex would get more from SSI survivor than I’m paying in child support anyway. So she probably wants me dead 🙂

        But I don’t want my daughter (or ex wife) to get a half million or so at a young age to blow, so the money goes into a trust. She can have money for an undergrad degree and then the trust pays to her when she is 35.

        My wife and daughter are protected. My wife’s assets pass to me and her kids. My assets pass to my wife and my child. If we both go, the estate is divided up as we dictated in our wills and the assets that would go to each child are placed into a trust.

        Our home is in a trust as well, to ensure the children get their share of the equity should their parent precede the other parent in death. It was all quite complicated, but having a blended family and family assets that you want to pass to your kids makes such planning necessary.

        Our goals were to ensure that certain assets went to kids, but not without strings and oversight. We also wanted to protect one another. I’m not giving it all to my child, nor is she giving all to her children.

        • I went the trust route, too, through a revocable trust (instead of a will). Otherwise, if something happened to me and X had to take custody of DD14, he’d end up with that money.

          Ain’t no way I’m permitting that (even though X recently lamented that I took half HIS life savings in the divorce–married for 19 years and it was still HIS life savings, not OUR life savings. lol. This irked me at first, but I’m glad he thinks about it that way since it hurts him more ; )

          • It wouldn’t be right my new husband to get any of the cash from my dead cheater’s life insurance…if I die those assets go to my kids.

            BUT

            I paid off my house with some of the money and my new husband lives here, its his home. I don’t want my kids to put him on the street if I died, so I wrote into my will that he can live in this house 5 years rent free as long as he doesn’t move a woman into it.

            My new husbands XW is in the same spot, she owns her house outright and she is likely leaving it to her daughter but if XW died, where would her new husband go? I hope for his sake she made some plans for that in her will. It would suck to lose your spouse and be put out of your home.

          • Something about existing living trusts that you have w your spouse during divorce. Remember to change the durable health care power of attorney to someone besides your Stbx as soon as you file. You wouldn’t want the person you are divorcing to be making the decision ‘to pull the plug’ in case your have an untimely Accident.

            • In my state, powers of attorney designations are automatically revoked upon insurance of divorce decree. So, do make a new one so you have a trusted person in place, but here, the ex can’t be the one to direct a hospital to pull the plug under an old POA.

              Also, if you negotiated a life insurance arrangement, make sure it is addressed in a court order, or that the policy naming you as beneficiary is purchased after the divorce. Here, existing life insurance policies benefitting the now-former spouse are also revoked on divorce, unless specifically named in a court order. (This issue is a money maker for lawyers).

        • Out of curiosity, is setting up a trust a way my cheating STBX could screw ME over?

          If he moved his 401(k) into an IRA, that’s fine, because that is divisible in divorce.

    • Congratulations! Definitely life insurance to cover alimony and child support. Ideally you should be the owner of the policy and irrevocable beneficiary and get notices on default of payment so you can take legal action.

      The best way is to have the total premiums put into upon separation and have it totally funded from one of his assets.

      Sad so many lawyers can’t seem to draft an agreement that protects you properly. This is why a team approach is so important.

      If your spouse dies and you were married 10 years or more you will also collect HIS social security benefit at retirement age if he was the higher wage earner. You just need to present a certified copy of your marriage certificate. That can also result in better cash flow for you. Don’t forget this at retirement age.

      • The divorce settlement states he has to pay for the life insurance and maintain me as the beneficiary. However, when I called for a copy of the policy they said he would have to orovide the copy. It’s a policy we took out years ago. In my settlement he is supposed to send me a current copy. Hiw do I know he won’t change it or let it lapse?

        • That’s why you should be named as owner of the policy, your ex will be the named insured (meaning you collect if he croaks) and have yourself named ‘IRREVOCABLE beneficiary’. This means you get notices if he doesn’t pay and he’s forbidden to change beneificiaries

          I had to go back to court to do this myself in my own divorce (which took 3 years and 8 months) when my son’s dad changed beneficiaries to his new wife.

          Please ask your lawyer about a modification in your settlement agreement to provide this. It might circumvent a huge problem in years to come.

          • My ex was ordered to pay for life insurance policy after divorce, but of course, he never paid the premiums and I ended up paying them quarterly. I just recently gave up on the policy, as the premiums tripled once he turned 50 and I can’t afford to gamble that much on the unlikely chance that he dies soon.

          • My ex was also required to maintain disability insurance as well as his life insurance policy- two things we’d been paying for many years, so the policies were already in place. In our divorce settlement what my very smart attorney did to address the possibility my ex would cancel his insurance policies was to add a clause that in event of death, and no insurance, the balance of what was owed to me through spousal support would be taken off the top of his estate.

            On credit cards: my ex was an authorized user on my visa. Even though I’d taken him off the card he still had the card and gave it to an OW to use. Imagine my surprise when I got THAT statement. The credit card co didn’t care and I had to pay the bill. So, the moral of the story is to CANCEL the credit card altogether and get a new one.

      • So glad my ex will not be able to claim on my SSI. We were not married 10 years, so she cannot collect on me.

      • Vicki, two questions. Yes, I am in California. The ten years to access your former spouse’s Social Security (yes he had the good sense to die after tossing me off for his student and stealing lots from me, then divorcing her when she was less compliant). Is that from date of marriage to date of judgment or date of separation (something never resolved by the court)? And also, what happens if you remarry?

        • If you are the divorced spouse of a worker who dies, you could get benefits just the same as a widow or widower, provided that your marriage lasted 10 years or more. That’s date of marriage to date of divorce. It’s a federal law.

          Benefits paid to you as a surviving divorced spouse who meets the age or disability requirement as a widow or widower won’t affect the benefit rates for other survivors getting benefits on the worker’s record.

          Note: If you remarry after you reach age 60 (age 50 if disabled), the remarriage will not affect your eligibility for survivors benefits.

          From http://www.ssa.gov

  • As far as credit reports go, can I get a credit report that shows both mine and my wife’s comings and goings? My wife spends a crap load of money each month on her own credit cards and I have no idea on what — it could be hotels and/or an apartment, etc. Is there any way I can get one for both of us?

    • You can only get your credit report. I highly reccomend you do – you get a free one each year from annual credit report.com. Do not sign up for anything that requires a credit card! Check it oit on the FTC website, they direct you to the real, free credit reporting site.
      The credit report shows accounts open, and amounts owed, it does not show individual transactions. You can try logging into your wife’s credit cards online if you have the password information, often people save that info on the home computer.
      I hope you need this information to recover marital assets rather than any interest in what your cheater is doing. Best of luck.

      • Thanks for the info MD, I’ll pull my report. I know I won’t see individual transactions but I was really curious to see if she had signed any leases somewhere that would tell me where all of her money has gone over the years. Money has just always just flown out of her account (over $1000 per month) and she literally has no household bills of ours to pay and nothing around the house to show for it. If she’s spending it all on an apartment or something else affair-based, then I will try to seek reimbursement (if at all possible) in the divorce, or at least have it credited against her share of the marital property.

        • Just an FYI, all that is needed to run a credit report is the person’s birthdate and social security number. I pulled one for my son when he needed a loan (with his permission).

        • Lost – I requested all dipshits credit card statements for the past 2 years to show how much he was spending in beer (he buys beer by the pallet) and gambling a month. He was giving himself a $2000 allowance per month and I am trying to prove with my dissipation claim that he has a gambling/alcohol addiction, besides hiding money in a shoe box. You can ask your lawyer to obtain credit card statements. I also got his bank statements for the past two/three years to prove his ‘allowance’ per month. But you need to run a credit check to make sure you are aware of ALL his credit cards.

          • I see lots of warnings about credit reports when you are filling out forms online. It would obvious that I ran them.

            Silly question, how would a legal, but secret-from-me, bank account be hidden for long? I file our taxes. Even if he managed to hide (or lose) tax documents between the post office and the house, he would know it would show up somewhere. Ooh, I guess if it doesn’t accrue interest, it might not. Shoot.

          • Oops, and for secret credit cards…. They would come up for loan applications. So I would see them then. Or would I?

              • I am 99% sure he doesn’t have any secret ones so I guess I will just wait until we file and have to dig everything out. We both have cards in our own names as well as one in both names. I don’t see statements for his cards but I know some are lying around. I do see the payments from our joint account though and they are not anything outrageous. Will do a little more sleuthing but that is the one loose end. Thanks for all your great info today!

          • LadyStrange

            If he is gambling at at a casino and using a casino card for points they usually have a statement you can access online on the casino website. You just enter the card number and it tells the dollar amount of losses for each year.

  • I was able to do all of the above and then some. Idiot was counting on the fact that I was an emotional wreck. He even threw in multiple threats ‘ there are ways to deal with you outside of a court room’ and ‘ I will fucking kill u’
    I had to go on autopilot. I shut off all my feelings and went stealth mode. It was the only way for me. I feel ( more) apart after the official stamp and seal. But it was done and I had my child and I wasnt broke( financially).
    Its been over a year and I get weekly text reminders of how ‘ easy’ he makes my life and how I am ‘ living off his dime’ and if I hear the word’ fair’ one more time I am going to explode. He feels the settlement was ‘ unfair’ He has no money. He cant go anywhere ! He has to work overtime to make ends meet while I am living ‘ the high life’ The high life would be Walmart, home hair cuts and manicures. The high life he thinks I live is called a ‘ BUDGET’
    Aint my fault that Tweeny cant hold anything but a $6/ hr job. I recall holding a fulltime time job, a part time job and maintaining our family while he went to school…. Which I helped pay for amongst other things.
    I got one year down… 4 more to go. And I am certain that I will hear how ‘ unfair’ I have been until the last child support check is written. Ya know what Idiot? I DONT FUCKING CARE.

    • TheClip

      X wanted control of my money as soon as I finished getting my masters. He wanted to sit at the beach and drink beer every day. He gave up his business and we lost our house so he could live his DREAM life in florida at the age 43. His exact words were, “I supported YOU for all these years and now it’s your turn to support ME”. He was making 80 dollars a fucking week. I worked three part time jobs around my children’s schedule for years and started a house cleaning business I ran for the seven years I was getting my degrees. I left him there after 6 months. He returned and started his business up again.
      When I threw him out he wanted me to fail and can’t figure out how I’m supporting two houses, my son, and granddaughter. His rag works part time, takes drugs, and us an alcoholic. Smile.
      Don’t you just love the karma when their penis leads them to supporting their habits. It’s fair, his whore lives to travel (one bar stool to another), likes to go out to eat (oub fries at the casino), and see shows every weekend (free comedy acts at the casino every weekend). Fair just slapped them in the face. She makes little to no money and found a sucker to support her. And his dream to go sit on a beach? Squashed. She’s going to be a grandmother. Hahaha. Suddenly he misses his family. Popcorn anyone.

  • A few financial suggestions some people (even some divorce lawyers it seems) don’t know about.
    Keep in mind that I am in New York City, NY so things may be different where you are.

    This one may just be the way Deter’s COMPANY handles medical coverage, but for those worried about losing medical it’s worth it to check into.
    With his company if you are divorced you are no longer eligible for medical coverage, but you ARE eligible if you are separated.

    Had we gotten a *divorce* I would have lost my coverage which I direly need, so ours was done as a “Separation Judgement”.
    Note that this ISN’T the same as a “legal separation”, in that it cannot simply be a notarized set of papers.
    A Separation Judgement goes through the court system the same way as a full divorce would, which, again at least in NY, makes it faster to go through the court system should he decide he no longer feels like paying my spousal support and I have to have his wages garnished.

    (As aside..in my case it appears that even the judge himself or his clerk was not aware that this was an option and crossed out the words “separation judgement” on our papers and added in “divorce”..what a mess we have now trying to get this corrected!!! Just when you thought you were finally out they suck you back in 🙁 )

    Doing it this way is not common, but it IS perfectly legal.
    The only problem with it is that either party, at any time, can decide they want it converted to a full divorce, and back to the courts it goes.

    Second option that is apparently VERY uncommon because I had to explain to the lawyers on BOTH sides how to do it (!) is that one can receive their “spousal support” tax free. Meaning, as far as the IRS is concerned the money you receive is not treated as “income”. You don’t pay taxes on your end, and the payee is not allowed to take the payments as a deduction and must pay taxes on their full income.

    There is specific language that has to be used in preparing the documents, and I’ll include here the way mine is written, but be sure to have YOUR lawyers verify it, (should you be able to get your asshat to agree to it to begin with !). The last thing you need is IRS issues on top of everything else.

    Language to include is as follows:
    “”Payments herein designated as spousal support are NOT intended to qualify and be treated as “alimony” or “maintenance” for income tax purposes pursuant to internal revenue services code Sections 71 and 215. Accordingly payments of spousal support made pursuant to the obligation established by this paragraph are hereby expressly designated as payments that are not includable in gross income of the payee under IRC Section 71 and not allowable as a deduction for the payor under IRC Section 215″”

    HTH somebody else.
    Since I am so low income because of health reasons, the ability to be able to not pay taxes on the money received for Dexter means the difference between eating for the full year and not.

    • Magnet, thank you very much for that info! I copied the paragraph about tax-free spousal payments and will show it to my lawyer the next time I see him. Hope we can write that into the agreement.

    • In my case, I would consider taxable alimony, but only because it would be virtually my only source of taxable income until I begin IRA withdrawals in a few years. I would consider up to about 20,000 annually as taxable alimony during that timeframe, because he will be in a higher tax bracket, so offering the tax deduction when it doesn’t cost me anything is a carrot to get everything coming to me.

      BUT… I don’t think I need to offer him any fucking carrots, so that is a last resort.

    • Magnet 4 Deranged,
      How did you get the Court to allow you to receive spousal support without paying taxes on the support? Are you given spousal support tax free because you have health issues that prevent you from earning enough to pay tax on spousal support?

      • Usually one of the only motivations that ‘sell’ the concept of spousal support, besides the fact it’s owed and court ordered, is its tax deductibility.

        Factoid: some bills paid on your behalf – usually mortgage interest to keep someone in the marital home paid in lieu of paying alimony, is also taxable income to the recipient and deductible to the payor if documented in the master settlement agreement.

        • Hi Vickie,
          I get what you are saying, which sounds similar to what I have read and heard from attorneys and tax preparers. However, if I understand correctly, Magnet 4 Deranged is saying that she, the PAYEE, not the PAYOR, does not need to pay taxes on RECEIPT of spousal support. Do you have an idea why the payee might not have to pay taxes on the receipt of spousal support?

          • RSW my understanding of what M4D is saying is: that paragraph written into her judgement exempts her from the necessity to claim it as taxable income. I’d want to ask my attorney about that.

            There are 5 specific items
            that qualify payments as alimony, therefore taxable to the recipient and deductible to the Payor. They are listed on http://www.irs.gov.

  • Lucky, lucky, lucky me. Following D-day, I had just finished my advanced degree and looking for work, and she’d been working the entire seven years I was studying, so essentially all the marital assets were hers– and I was such a chump that I actually held on for weeks because I knew how badly a divorce would hurt HER, financially, and I honestly believed she was just so “foggy” that she couldn’t see what a bad decision she was making.

    But fortunately I went to a support group where, as soon as I mentioned this, three people instantly jumped in to tell me that it was my responsibility to protect myself, not her. I took action the very next day and, thank goodness, did make it in time for the “I won’t fight anything if you just let me leave” window.

  • Someone who refuses to do an iron clad post nup is not serious about reconciliation.. period. Protect yourself financially. I do think some people can reconcile, but you can’t reconcile with someone who won’t put your interests first and the “money where the mouth” is hurdle #1. No post nup=divorce.

    Period.

    • I would also add that someone who answers pretty much no questions you ask is likewise not sincere about reconciliation…. I knew it wasn’t ultimately worth it to ask for a postnup bc Asshat had no intention of truly reconciling. I hadn’t seen you around in awhile, newchump, I almost started a thread looking for you the other day. Good to see you 🙂

  • I came into the marriage with 29k, a house, a boat, and a car. The only thing with his name on it was 29k. He was in Saudi Arabia when he called and I knew he had no idea what our passwords to the bank account were because “he doesn’t care about money”…one of his reasons for the divorce (translation: I hate the fact you’re responsible). The day he appeared at out home unannounced with a moving truck and moved his stuff out, I transferred all 29k to my name only. I left the 5 k from him in there. It took him another 4 months to even notice I did that and then of course I was the bitch that stole HIS money. Luckily, I came from divorced parents so I was able to protect myself while doing the pick me dance.

  • In the multiple Gbytes of electronic correspondence I discovered just after D-day, I saw an email from a rental company – he had just completed a form to co-sign for financial responsibility for a lease OWhore was just about to take.

    I contacted the rental company, told them that I did NOT give him permission to use MY marital assets (his salary) to guarantee the lease (with a strong hint that I would sue their asses). Dodged a bullet there, as lunatic OWhore would gladly have stopped paying rent and let Fucktard take it over for her. AND put a bullet in OWhore (largely symbolic, as she got a former boyfriend(!) to co-sign instead, but it still felt good).

  • After the steps posted today (which I did, sadly), I took out loans and all my savings and paid him off to leave. It took me three years to pay off the majority of loans – still have the line of credit to go and the house – but he’s gone, out of my life and not threatening me with lawsuits – he’s a partner at a CPA firm and yet was planning on going after me for support – yep – he’s just that kind of guy.

    • Donwit raises a good point… I made sure to have a clause in my divorce decree stating that my ex could never come after ME for alimony, because I knew for sure he would try…. he was really angry about that decree, believe me.

    • I pretty much did the same thing, donwit. I paid for my freedom. I got less than half of our assets with this strategy, but I did the math, and since it also kept the legal bills down, I decided it was the best choice. Deciding what to fight for is an important part of breaking free from a narcissist. I try not to be annoyed when he tells our kids things like “your mother took all of the money,” when the opposite is true, but then I try to remind myself that he’d be lying about me and blaming me for his dysfunctions no matter what our settlement had been. I have a couple more years left before our financial ties can be wholly severed, but I will be throwing myself a very big party when that day comes.

      • Yep, it was rough, but I decided to leave a bunch of cash and rights to intellectual property on the table in exchange of my current and future business/creative potential (i.e. my work freedom).

        The savings on divorce fees and time are well worth it, and so is the added karma bonus… The knowledge that he will regret not getting any money from any of my future business successes.

        • Yes, I agreed to give ex some up front cash and $100,000 from my profit sharing. It was well worth it to have him not get his own attorney, waive alimony, keep him calm, and have the divorce done in 4 months. Some chumps don’t have that option but if you do take it and run (of course, I would once in a while mention how awful it would be if we couldn’t agree and I had to pursue a fault divorce with all the nasty details of adultery it would reveal). It was the biggest blessing out of that whole mess that I was able to get rid of him quickly and completely, my ex is one of the ones who “just left.”

  • Vickie, do you think it’s good to wait to expose knowledge of the affair until your ducks are in a row? I am playing dumb, because he only finished school recently and will finally have a comparable income by December. If he has a better job I can make him walk the plank. Crazy? Not crazy?

    • Yes yes yes. I would wait if I was not in physical or emotional danger. Not just bc he’s finishing school but until you have your complete action plan ready and have gathered all of your financial documents. There’s another CL blog from Jan 6 2015 that shows all the steps you need to gather info before your pull the plug.

      If you helped pay foeb his education from community assets, depending on the state you can be reimbursed for your PHT (putting Hubby Through).

      Get your ducks in a row, store your info outside of the house and wait until it’s a time that works for you. That way if he does go into the ‘I’m sorry I’ll do anything more when you expose him, you’ll have an excellent idea of what to negotiate for. Best of luck

  • My g-d Vickie this is an excellent article and great advice. You obviously understand all too well.

    I am an attorney and saw a lawyer later in the day on D-Day to start divorce proceedings and give me advice, but I still did not realize the many ways my ex could siphon off and divert money. I had never paid attention to where the money actually was, having trusted ex implicitly before that day (and not surprisingly ex was a consultant and broker so he always handled all the money, while I just earned most of it). Within a week, he had diverted a large IRS refund that should have been mine, and drained the children’s college accounts along with any other accounts we held jointly. Luckily, and oddly, I had received a bonus months before D-Day but I kept stalling placing it into the joint accounts, something just held me back, thank goodness.

    I am remarried now. While I love and care for my new husband and step-sons, and am happy to share my income with them in many ways, I also have a pre-nup. I will never allow my money in a joint account again, and my biggest debate right now is the monetary benefit my husband and I would get from filing our federal tax returns jointly and whether I should go that route in the future.

    • This is a common question. If you are in a community property state, income of the entire community will be considered in a tax return even if you file married filing separately unless you have a strict separate property agreement or trust
      MFS – married filing separately is the most punitive filing status. Pls consult a tax professional any time you have a major life change. Also if you are in a community prop state, filing separately often will not protect you from your partners liability. That’s a nasty surprise. Isn’t it ?

      • Wow interesting Vicki, I will take your advice and talk to someone before next April rolls around (I’m in Pennsylvania). Thanks, this had been extremely helpful and needed.

  • After 10 months of doing the fabulous pick me dance I filled for divorce.
    My attourney told me to go to the bank ASAP and take 1/2 of savings and 1/2 of checking. I opened my own savings / checkin account in my name and deposited the money there.attoyney told me to not spent that $$. He was so pissed!!! Lol because he was out with his smoopie and the bank send him an alert that a huge amount was withdrawn. He emediatly closed all our joint credit cards.
    So chumps make sure you have a credit card in your name only.
    We kept our joint checking and I would deposit half of my paycheck In there and he would keep enough of his money In there to pay the bills for the household. He did open his own checking account as well at a different bank.
    So glad I did that because all that $$went to pay for the divorce.

    • wow33, that is what I did as well, with the same results as you!

      Newly Chumped, the moment you experience DDay:
      (1) Open a new CC on your name only,
      (2) Change all you passwords on all financial online accounts you have with them (my STBX tried multiple times to to talk me into giving him my login to our joint accounts. I have no doubt he was trying that so he could later on accuse me of moving money)
      (3) Wire 1/2 of all liquid assets (balance of savings and checking accounts on DDay) to your very own new checking account,
      (4) Get copies of all financial statements, tax returns, and online accounts you can. A week post DDay, I packed up all our financial info in four hugs clear plastic bins. I can’t lift them up today, but I was so angry and in survival mode then that I hauled them in my car and went to hide them in a safe place.

      While you do this chumps, PLEASE STAY SAFE… I went about taking these steps quietly, and behind my STBX’s back. The moment my STBX realized I had taken these 4 steps (especially 3 and 4), his eyes took on that cold shark-like look, and I immediately knew I had to GTFO. Fortunately, this all happened during my moving out day, and I never have to be alone in a room with him again.

  • My X was so incompetent that I got him to quit claim the house over to me, without my name even being on the mortgage. I then had the divorce documents drawn up to state that after two years, I will refinance the house in my name, or sell it and keep 100% of the profit. This way I sit on his nice low interest VA loan and if I sell, I make a nice little profit.

    Shortly after my furnace died. So I played sad little kitten and got him to fork over 75% of the money to replace it. He thought it was a good idea because he thought he owned half of the property. And that’s how dumb he is . . . I don’t think he even knew what a quit claim deed was. My lawyer was in stitches over that.

    • Yeah, one of cheater ex’s biggest goof ups was to try to screw me over by going down to the local courthouse and filing a quit claim deed on our jointly owned house. He figured I wouldn’t be able to make the mortgage payments on my own. Well, I just went and got a part time job to go with my full time job….no problem. Cheater ex didn’t realize that he only screwed himself out of half the equity. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when he found out what he had done to himself.

      Of course he had driven us into bankruptcy three years beforehand with his girlfriend and pornography habit. I was stupid enough to let him handle the money up until then. Not afterwards, that’s for sure. After my kids and I moved back into MY house, cheater ex quit his well paying job to go to work as a janitor. He figured he would get away with having to pay little to no child support due to his low income. Nope the judge took a third of his take home pay for child support. It was only $236 a month for two kids, but you should have heard him squeal. Of course he had gone out and gotten himself a newer house right after he quit claim deeded mine over to me. My guess is that his narc family coughed up the cash for that one. Not my problem.

      When I applied for SSI I found out I was eligible for widows benefits courtesy of cheater ex. Best of all they were half again more than my stand alone benefits. Seems cheater ex made a lot more money than he ever let on. Now I snicker every month when my SSI check is deposited. He must be spinning in his grave.

  • My 19-year-old son had a mental break down back in May 2013. We had no idea what was happening to him, drugs were ruled out. We chalked it up to a lot of stress with school, work, breaking up with GF, too much caffeign….. After his 19-day stint in the mental hospital, I picked him up and brought him home. It was then he told me about hif fathers fuck phone. Things started to make sense now. Prior to my knowledge of asswipes fuck phone and Yahoo chat accounts, he was giving himself a $2000 allowance a month. We had separate bank accounts, but I still kept his checkbook. Therefore – I knew about the ‘allowance.’ Things were not ‘right’ in our relationship so I just thought – if that is what makes him happy, so be it. I paid the mortgage, bills, school lunches, school pictures, etc….. Then it came to light (after son’s breakdown) what asshole was doing. He KNEW my son was eventually going to tell me and the jig was going to be up soon. SO – dipshit was putting away $2000/month for himself – I don’t know if it is in a shoe box, who knows. I am asking for dissipation of those assets. My lawyer has obtained his bank statement over the past 3 years and she said that yes – he does give himself $2000/month while I give myself mayb $100. I’ve been told that trying to recover that money will be hard because it was PRE-Divorce. WTF? How was I supposed to know he was ‘planning’ on screwing me over? He was putting money away to pay for a divorce that I didn’t even know about? I didn’t have the opportunity to put money away to pay to divorce an asshole because I never had any intention of doing so until I found out about his cheating. He’s the fuck face that cheated – not me.

    • Yes. I relate to this so much. Unfortunately it’s legal to rob your own family. Which is utter crap…the penalties should be the same, if you have a record of what they were doing. My ex was diverting hundreds of dollars per paycheck secretly, away from our household and infant, and now tells his “friends” all about how he just wants to take care of the child and that that’s all that matters to him. In this narrative I’m the evil witch who “pushed” him out. Sociopathy knows no bounds. If only I had known how many years he had been planning and preparing for his escape, while living off the fruits of my labor.

      • Many of us are in the same boat. My cheater, who earns money mostly through self-employed work in other countries and states (and thus can earn a lot of money without my knowledge but now claims he can’t make a living), withdrew cash from accounts, a little at a time, and quit paying into our children’s college fund, to pay for sex. He wanted to get away with crime–and he did.

    • That sucks but you can do two things. 1) If it is not cash it a shoebox, then it is an asset that you will need to divide. 2) Alternatively, you can try to use this to your advantage — get him to pay for all your legal fees. Check with your attorney on this, but it is standard where I live.

      • Thanks moving. I have talked to my attorney about him paying her fees – mostly because he is the one prolonging everything by changing his mind, not liking numbers, wanting to change valuation dates now because all the vehicles were appraised back in December – it is now 10 months later so thier value must be less, canceling mediation and 2 court dates, etc… Yep.

        • Sometimes it’s what they think you know or have on them LadyStrange. X’s first lawyer knew about the unethical things he did because, get this, he TOLD her. In his narcissist brain he figured she couldn’t tell anyone. After he screamed at her, she withdrew. I have no idea what she said to my lawyer or in the doccument she had to submit but it certainly hurt him in the end. He never obtained another one.

          When He finally showed up for the settlement hearing, ordered by the kickass judge I approached him with a brief case full of doccuments. I made sure he saw it as I held it up to my chest as I belittled him as the fucker he is telling him not one if his chikdren respected what he had done to me by hooking up with an ugly whore at a hotel and moving in with her weeks later. It was MY day. In our conference with my lawyer he continued to threaten me and my lawyer let him know why she hung up on him when he tried to negotiate on the phone. She said, “I DON’T tolerate ABUSE! Love that woman!! Finally. I gave him a carrot and insinuated he would be dumb if he didn’t take it and his kids had had enough of his actions. Slam dunk for the WIN. We had nothing in terms if assets, he kept a very small Roth IRA and I kept my pension, contents if my home, and cars. They know they abused us emotionally and financially. Hoping your son is recovering. Make him pay!!!

    • Lady, that is just heartbreaking about your son…. I have a feeling the Gaseous Nebula may have wanted to get caught, but if he did, he let ME do it… Leaving it for your child to find is sickening.

  • Great post, Vicki.

    My ex sucked with money. So, all of our joint accounts were in my name.

    When I moved out on my wife the first time (3 months prior to filing due to a false “reconciliation”), I cancelled our joint CC and told her to get her own.

    I changed the passwords on all of our other accounts.

    I also saved an email from her in which she casually mentioned the amount that she had separately saved in her own account, so I knew that amount if (when) we were dividing assets.

    During those 3 months, she regularly requested access to our joint savings account (not a ton of $$, but enough for a down payment on a home). I told her that lawyers would deal with that $$ if we got to that point.

    And at the end, I persuaded her to write into the settlement to simply separate our workplace retirement accounts by owner, knowing fully well that I’d been better about saving for retirement than she had been.

    I was also first to research division of community property in my state, specifically $$ paid toward current graduate education (mine) being offset by money paid toward loans for past education (hers). Doing the math, it was a wash.

    I wasn’t perfect on all aspects of leaving a cheater, but on money, I was as good as it gets. I live in a no-fault state, but I did the best that I could given that circumstance.

    Now she can deal with the wise financial decision of living with her AP, who has financial (and paternal) obligations to a child hundreds of miles away.

    Oh, and since my ex started cheating, my base salary has increased 40 percent, and my new company’s retirement plan makes it “one of the best firms to work for.”

    If only my cheating ex had waited until I finished my MBA to reap some of that benefit.

    Oh well. Her loss…literally.

  • Question everyone – Jackass just texted me to tell me he is doing his insurance for next year and will not be insuring my dental. Can he do that? Dental is provided at my job, but I have to pay for it and at his job I am “free” because he insures himself and the kids so it is the same amount whether you insure 3 or 4. We are not yet divorced….
    Any thoughts?

    • He can do this if you don’t have it written into a legal agreement. I would get him to confirm in writing that he is covering the kids. Then, for you, it won’t be that costly for you to get coverage at your work.

    • Are you in process of divorce? When a case has been opened, my state issues an automatic temporary order restraining either party from making those kinds of changes.

      Vicky – this is an amazing post. I think a huge number of people will be helped by it.

  • I had a complicated situation because we had moved to the Philippines for my job and, when I filed, the now ex attempted to claim $3000/month in spousal support. Yep. Apparently I had ruined his so-called career. The one he was fired from more times than anyone can count.

    Plus, it was an “international divorce” which almost no attorney in my home town could deal with. And oh yeah, the Philippines is the only country in the world that has a ban on divorce.

    I eventually found an excellent lawyer who advised me to lay low for a few years because the longer he was on his own and (supposedly) supporting himself, the better my chances. It worked for me. Still cost an ungodly amount of my retirement, but I’ve since recovered that and more while he likely still lives in his parents’ basement.

    Sometimes simple patience pays off. My divorce took about 6 years but was well worth the wait.

  • I have not seen anyone address the college tuition fuck you that I got. Two of our three kids are in college. X left in January. FAFSA (federal aid) forms were due in May. X refused to fill out the NCP set. I had to file an Emergency Motion to Require Respondent to Prepare FAFSA Forms to Preserve Community Estate. X then filled out the forms but told me he had no intention of paying a dime for either child, ever. And he hasn’t. We are scraping by with family help, grants, work study, etc. but my two kids are never going to forgive him. Nor will I!

    • I got mine to sign an AID-Agreement Incident to Divorce–to cover oldest daughter’s tuition (since she’s not a minor, this could not be covered in the divorce decree). If he fails to live up to it, I can take him to court (though since oldest daughter is the only one in the family who talks to him, she’s safe since she’s giving him narc supply).

  • I saw a lawyer and started filing divorce papers within a week of finding out about his affair. I also started gathering important papers (bank statements, insurance policies, kids birth certificates, etc.) and put them at my parents house so he couldn’t get them. I opened my own bank account and deposited my paycheck there. He was pissed when he discovered (weeks later) that I had taken the important papers, but it was too late then.

    • Jackass probably has no idea what documents I took. For instance our home owners insurance. We are on #6 appraisal for the house because he wants it to be worth the least amount as possible (he is getting the house). His appraiser basically appraised our house at what the county assesses it for. Huh – go figure. MY appraiser said it was worth about $66 thousand more than his. Then the others in between pretty much valued it at close to mine. Anyway – I have the insurance in which we pay insurance on a home in which MY appraiser says it is worth. Now why would we be paying insurance on a $100 house when it was only worth $60.
      Then there is the shed contract. We are arguing over property lines and he is claiming the shed we built back in 2008 doesn’t actually belong to us, but rather belongs to his parents because it is on their land (another long story in itself). Yet I have the contracts with HIS signature stating that “We are putting this building up on our property.” If he only knew what an ass he is making of himself. I am sitting back chuckling because he thinks he can talk me into his craziness, when I can PROVE his craziness. I don’t know if he even knows these documents exhist but it will sure will be funny if we end up going to court and I can easily prove his lies….

  • I spent the first couple of months sending my ex emails since he refused to speak or meet with me. He would tell me how this was driving him further away. My response was good!!! He even tried to use them against me saying it was harassment and I was threatening him. Lmfao as I sent about 4 emails a Week and only threats were if your didn’t pay or stop something I would take him back to court. I told him those were not threats but promises!!!
    Amazing how they twist things so that they believe their own S! Mine acted like we got a divorce because I was so angry not that I was angry because he was sleeping around!

  • Thank you Vickie for this excellent advice! You did us all a favor by letting us know the many ways that our cheating spouses can cheat us further. I don’t know why we chumps think that they won’t cheat us financially. We live in denial, and we literally can’t afford to. Although I was able to track down various assets, my attorney told me they could also get a forensic accountant to investigate further. Most cheaters get so busy cheating that they get sloppy and leave tracks!

  • LOVE this article!!!!! The first thing that I did when Ex “went to the grocery store” ( that was how he left…” Honey, I’m going to the store. Do you need anything?”……and then 5 minutes later he called…”oh btw, I’m not coming home. I left a note on the desk.”….good thing I didn’t ask for ice cream….!!!!!!!)….I went straight to the bank where our savings account was and took all the money out and put it in an account in my name ONLY. I then called our stock broker/ financial advisor ( what a joke HE was!!!) and told him there were to be NO withdrawals without BOTH of our consent…put it in writting in an email as well.
    This is all such GOOD advice. I just wish that I had stopped doing the pick me dance so much sooner!!!!!

    • You’ve got to be kidding. He said he was “going to the store”? What the fuck is wrong with these people?

      • They are such pussies! Want to play the big boy game of cheating and lying then they slink out of the house to go “shopping” because they’re afriad of confrontation and admitting what slimy rats they are. Disgusting.

  • I got a legal separation immediately which would turn into a divorce decree. I asked for EVERYTHING and then some and I got it. He was guilt ridden at that moment in time and I played it to the max. The guy makes no sense at all. To this day I could call him up with a wish list and he’d give me anything. I wonder what his GF would think of that……

    • Syringa, you were ‘here’ when you did that? I wonder if something has changed or maybe I am just confused (which is the more likely scenario). My lawyer told me there is no legal status of ‘separated’ so you just mean it was an agreement, to arrange financial stuff etc? And when you say it became the divorce decree, do you just then file for divorce and use that same agreement document for the split?

      • Here in Idaho this is how it worked. It was a ‘Legal Separation’ that rolled over into a divorce decree when we said it was time. We kept it as a separation until I could get my own health insurance. A Legal Separation protects each party against the other one incurring debt, etc. Maybe it’s a state thing.

  • Great post Vicky. To this I would add:

    1. Get professional help.

    This should be a no-brainer but get professionals to help you and understand the laws. It will save you money and heartache. Most often disordered people don’t understand the law or will manipulate what they do know to their benefit. If you’ve are numb or have brain-fog also get someone you trust like a sibling or parent to help you out.

    2. Act fast.

    Again a no-brainer, but life doesn’t stop. Within 2 years of DD2, my EX had purchased a new home and to his surprise had gotten his new gf pregnant. Guess who was now calling the shots about his money? (He’d already moved on from OW2). We still had to wait the full 1 year to get the divorce. (The cheapest way here is to wait a full year and then file.) He was already trying to weasel out of the agreement saying he now had other more important obligations. See #1.

    3. Play nice.

    OK, well act like you are playing nice. In retrospect, I could have caused both the Ex and OW2 to lose their jobs. But, the old saying is that you can’t get blood from a stone.

    Also, I used my EX’s lawyer to draft most of the paperwork (making my EX think he was being a good guy and that it was saving him money). It’s not advice I would suggest to anyone but it worked for me. Importantly I had my own very, very, sharp lawyer reviewing it and giving the final say.

    4. Never Underestimate the AP. They are an extension of your money: assets and/or debts.

    I acted on my suspicions during false reconciliation and went to my lawyer to investigate the details of a house my EX had purchased as an “investment” with OW2. They were very thorough and provided the details of the mortgage, title, etc. They also checked to see if there were any liens on any of our properties. (This means that if you sell the lien/loan gets paid out first.) The laws here make it illegal to do this without the owners knowledge BUT there is still lots of fraud. OW2 was shocked when I informed her that half of her house legally belonged to me. In retrospect, I should have kept my mouth shut and asked for it to be sold as part of the settlement.

    5. Be forward thinking.

    I made the assumption that I would likely need to sell the martial home in a year or two. To get the best price I knew that a number of costly repairs needed to be done and I worked this into the post nup /separation agreement. My EX flipped his lid when I acted on this – telling me how unreasonable I was and that our agreement was ours to work out. See #1. I had to remind him that it was a legal document and was binding.

    6. Know what to let go of.

    Oh boy, this is a tough one but you might need to do this to wrap things up quickly. For me, I can’t shake that feeling that he was hiding money.

    Be brave!

  • I’m in the process of preparing for my first strategic meeting with my (very expensive) bulldog attorney. The cost of his services has me scared to the point of paralysis. I’ve given him a retainer, and have about 50k set aside for the divorce. I want to do everything I possibly can to expedite the process. I’m putting together a binder of documents with an attached summary. I only want to pay him for his expertise, not to search for documents. What else should I be doing??? Advice please, or links to resources would be great!!

    Vickie’s advice rings true! My stbxh and I are on “amicable” terms (he harbors no resentment, and I’m hiding mine). He moved out and swore that he wouldn’t do anything to hurt me more than he already has. He made his regular deposits to our checking account until about 2 months ago… now it’s a game; “oh, I didn’t deposit that check?… oh here it is in my wallet… I’m sorry… I meant to deposit that 2 weeks ago” Right! Thankfully I set aside a sizable chunk of my own money before I asked him to leave.

    • Ask the lawyer directly what you can do to keep the costs down. Seriously. Ask them!

      If you have exhausted all of your sources and they recommend a forensic accountant – then yes!

      • All I had to do was mention ‘Forensic Accountant’ and he immediately coughed up $100g’s in a secret account.

    • It’s a Journey, I, too, had and have a very expensive legal team. I may lose everything to the Court and attorneys, but I am trying to save a few scraps for my children by (1) NOT requesting psychological evaluations (although my STBX exhibits many signs of psychosis and several personality disorders) and custody evaluations because judges, I have been told and believe based on what I have observed in various cases, rarely make decisions based on feedback from psychologists and custody evaluators; (2) NOT hiring a forensic accountant, because my attorneys told me that the cost of a forensic accountant wasn’t justified in my case; and (3) trying to keep my correspondence to my attorneys clear, organized, and BRIEF because time, measured in six-minute intervals in most attorneys’ world, spent listening to and reading mail from clients is money! STBX and I will probably finally get divorced and out of court (for at least a few years, ideally) when he has no money left to harass me in court and I have no money left to defend myself and the children. Good luck!

  • Mine did not mess with the finances leading up to separation — he waited until a few weeks after separation, then quit his $100K per year job to become an actor. He stopped paying the mortgage on our house (he remained in house taking in boarders off Craigslist, I moved out with our son) and lived off unemployment for a couple of years (not sure how he managed to qualify, but he did) until the bank finally foreclosed and tossed him out. Oh, and he filed bankruptcy to delay the foreclosure a few more months.

    I was the fan hit by all of that shit, as my name was also on mortgage, and the debt he dumped was marital debt at that point.

    More than five years later, he STILL is not really employed, beyond occasional, part-time, minimum-wage stuff like working a food trailer at the county fair. He lives with his dad mostly, when not bumming around from place to place. Currently over $42K in arrears on child support and alimony. I know I’ll never see that money, but it still makes me angry.

    Few cheaters are going to be as extreme as mine, but if they choose to throw away everything, not a damn thing you can do about it. My local child support agency is useless, they actually encouraged and helped him lower his ordered monthly payments, which he still doesn’t make, and they do absolutely nothing to penalize him in any way.

    • GIO, I agree with you that if the cheater is going to throw everything away there’s nothing you can do about it. A friend of mine’s ex drained his retirement and moved to another state leaving his ex wife destitute with an incurable and fatal disease. She’s living on medicare and disability in section 8 housing now. Even though a lawyer in town donated services and the judge ruled that her ex had to pay maintenance and settle debts, he hasn’t done a thing. My friend doesn’t have enough money to pursue him and no lawyer in that state wants to donate services to help her. My friend’s ex works on a cash basis now and lives off the grid. They were married 35+ years. Now a group of her friends donate $10 a month to help her pay her rent and groceries. She just can’t live on $700 a month in disability. She manages to stay positive and says she counts her blessings, though. She’s very grateful for her network of friends.

    • GIO, your ex sounds a LOT like my STBX. As STBX is flaky, I will try to wholly support my young kids and me. Unemployed at 50 with possibly no support (spousal or child) from STBX, who is now a ‘starving’ artist instead of a paid one, I’m very worried and often feel down about the ‘new world order.’

  • I ran our cattle ranch while my stbx worked five hours away in the city. I knew what I was dealing with, a ruthless narcissist. I was actually terrified to leave even though he’d never been physically abusive. I saw a lawyer who advised me to put a lien on our 10,000 aces of land and withdraw a chunk of cash before I left. I don’t think I stopped shaking while I was doing it, but I got it accomplished.

    I told him over the phone as my lawyer advised but he promptly drove out to our ranch to convince me to stay. When I said I wouldn’t he threatened to slaughter all my horses, etc. I was so badly damaged from all his years of emotional abuse that I could barely function but I knew I had to escape. And I did, my divorce isn’t final, I’m taking it a very slow pace but I will get there soon. My horses are safe too.

    I don’t understand, he had a ten year affair with a fellow VP of his company. When I left I thought they would be together but no, he is still pressuring me to not divorce him. I would never go back, I am free!

      • Thanks, I still sleep with a cellphone in my hand. He actually admitted to one of our daughters that he doesn’t feel empathy for anyone, I believe it! The year before I left I was badly injured by a cow when I was helping her newborn calf, she broke my back and my legs and hurt my neck which I’m having fused soon. He came to the ranch for two days and then went back to the city. Major A-hole.

  • My family was so angry for me for not being more angry after D-day. It took forever for me to feel anything but fear and heartbreaking sadness. I remember calling my mom to yell at me about all the stuff I should be mad about before meeting with my lawyer so I wouldn’t be completely passive and give in to everything.

    Somewhere around week 16 I did burst into flames and raged for the next 2 years, though. LOL.

    Luckily, my ex was very fair with money and we even managed to live out of our joint account going for the duration of the settlement. I ended up having to finish the odds and ends and close out the account out, though. By that time he’d lost interest.

    We had an unusual case in that he didn’t try to screw me financially. Most people aren’t that lucky, though. My lawyer kept telling me she could go to the judge and get temporary maintenance payments, but I kept putting her off. Luckily, for me it wasn’t necessary.

    • Lyn, I feel as though I fall under that lucky category too. He did’t even get a lawyer at the beginning. When my lawyer filed for temporary maintenance (even though I had agreed with my STBX my maintenance fee and not needing it to be filed legally),this upset my STBX and he immediately hired a lawyer which I understood completely. He told me, even though he knows that I would never hurt or screw him over he was not sure that my lawyer would not. I was upset with my lawyer since I had repeatedly told him that my STBX would not screw me financially. We have agreed split 50/50 on everything. I have documented and taken this agreement to my lawyer and I have told him that all I needed from him is to do all the necessary paper work for the divorce. I don’t think he is listening to me. Most people don’t believe you when you tell them that I trust my STBX in regards to the financial situation. It seems that when someone cheats then they fall into the category of cheating financially too. This is not always true!!!!

      • I’m in a similar situation, so I certainly hope you’re right. I’m protecting myself the best I can without getting adversarial, however, I have been “testing the waters” with him. I asked him his thoughts on how a settlement would look; he suggested I keep our primary residence, and he would keep a very nice rental we have. Now, I know that this isn’t a fair deal… he would be getting income property, and I wouldn’t. Also, he asked me to put together a spreadsheet of my living expenses; you should have seen his face when I asked if HE had finished putting together HIS.

        Our stbx’s have already demonstrated that they don’t value our feelings, or welfare, and that they can lie, lie, lie. They’re perfectly comfortable with their deceptive behavior. I think you should still protect yourself. Oh, and I have receipts for nearly 30k he spent on his fk buddies. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’ll be reimbursing me for that before we split anything. If your husband is in a hurry to settle you might want to pay a forensic accountant to do a little financial digging before settling.

        • Do.Not.Trust.Them. Mine was also, seemingly very amicable during settlement once divorce attorneys were involved. And, I threatened him with a Forensic Acct, where he revealed an account with a lot of money it in, hidden from me. He was afraid of losing his job over something like this. But, I let him into the house and he stole all of our sizable gold stash, and thought I wouldn’t notice it – hah. Joke was on him. He never had it inventoried and one of my steps around his back was taking pictures of all of it and inventorying it and putting it all back ‘untouched’. (Safeway plastic shopping bags). If I hadn’t thought of that, he could have gotten away with a lot of my money. How fucking DARE him to think he’s smarter than me.
          Again, never trust. They don’t like you and you are at war.

  • One if the things X did on the initial paperwork was to omit his seoerate credit card debt. Why?this has never made sence to me as I had all his credit card statements. It would have been to his advantage. He also overinflated the value if his vehicles. I am sure he planned leaving, hiding assets for the year previous to DDay. He is self employed and put down his income as 0 on paper. Then when the judge asked about his income he stated 64000 and her eyes raised in shock. I divorced a moron.

    • Wow Donna – that is funny. My stbx is underestimating his vehicles and of course my 2000 CRV is worth $2000 more than what KBB says. Whatever. As far as personal property? He wants me to give me ‘liquidation’ value on his crap. Example: he is trying to convince me that one (just one of the many mind you!) of his $500 pool sticks (price tag still attached) would only go for $20 at auction, therefore is willing to give me $10.00 for it. Yep – that is what I am dealing with.

  • at 2am, after 8pm Dday, still in shock, I called our bank and moved half our savings into an account he could not access. before customer service rep said goodbye, he said, “hang in there, it will get better”. I think he was a guardian angel.

    I was in shock and wanting real reconciliation when unicorn came back. he left again 5 months later for Cruella. in re-shock, I agreed to a very generous settlement that he offered out of remorse (I thought) but in reality, he was eager to appease Cruella. she had been patiently waiting 4 yrs already! while married!

    apparently, his plan with generous settlement was to go back and change it later. not sure if that is entitlement or delusion but it freaked me out when he hired a lawyer to do this. so 2.5 years since court decree (now), he is claiming he was under duress (from “my” emotional abuse!). guess her unemployed status that made her so available to him during the affair years is cramping their $tyle now. or it might be poor budget management from the house they recently bought after a week in Europe and a new car.

    i am happy to report I saw a bull dog lawyer yesterday who said the property settlement is valid, and I do not need to agree to any changes (in his words…”why would you??”) and XH is full of sh*t. I think he was a guardian angel too.

    trust that they suck is the best. advice. ever.

    • Are you kidding me?? Under duress from YOUR emotional abuse. OMG what a loser. I also heard about how emotionally abusive I was. You know – he didn’t get a daily blow job, hense, he was abused.

      • Before quitting his job altogether, my ex tried to go on disability. His reason for being disabled — he was unable to work due to the stress of my asking for a divorce. Of course, HE was the one who said he didn’t want to be married anymore, never should have married me to begin with and felt no passion for me, HE was the one carrying on two affairs simultaneously while also having lots of anonymous sex with strange men, but somehow I was the one to blame for his crippling “stress.”

        He was turned down for disability, but he quit anyway. The rest is history.

  • I know that I let my ex walk away with far more than his fair share of the wealth– his 70 to my 30– but honestly, I wanted to be rid of him. I got the most important things that I wanted, and anything else would have meant a court battle and more time spent with him.

    I did do one thing right, though– I made sure that he’s not connected to my retirement. He didn’t get half of any of my retirement accounts; I was adamant about us not splitting those. Some day, when my children are full-grown, that perv truly will no longer be a part of my life, and I will be so glad to know that he’s not collecting any of my pension or entitled to funds from my IRA.

    Think about the future, chumps. Think long-term. Cut as many financial ties as you can. Believe me, you will feel great peace knowing that there is one less thing you have to share with your ex.

  • Our first hearing was 2 weeks after DDay due to the protection order I had placed on him. The court ruled that neither party was to spend money other than the necessities of life, and neither one is to transfer money or assets. Well, since then ( June 17th ) he has taken four trips, that I know of, has partied the entire summer, and of course has only escalated his hooker addiction. A few days ago, I discovered he’s withdrawn $25k from his IRA account. To me, this is contempt?

    Our next hearing will be this coming Wednesday where my attorney is going to file Dissipation and set a date for the Deposition. But I have NO idea where he deposited the $25k, or what, or who he is spending it on, although I have a pretty good idea. It hasn’t gone to pay off my medical debts or any other debt he has, that I do know. Either he’s in denial, thinks he’s above the law, or that he can get away with it all. Looks like all of the above so far.

  • A quick post…
    My unicorn hunt only lasted two weeks this time. In that two weeks I opened a new checking account and started depositing my small check into it. I found out immediately that my ex already drained my small savings account contrasting only my last bonus check. I closed out my credit card only to receive a nasty phone call from her that she couldn’t buy food. Seems that she closed the joint checking account because she thought I was going to steal her money. She didn’t think I’d have a problem with her using a credit card that was previously in my name only.

    We wrote a quick Separation Agreement to ride is over but she immediately wanted to renegotiate it… And the secont one to. None months past divorce and she’s trying to renegotiate the Separation Agreement that was approved by the court. She demands for me to pay more than she is. Screw promises and agreements. Screw the kids. It’s all about them.

  • Immediately saw a lawyer and got shareholdings in companies, that I had been excluded from, became a trustee (finally) of our major asset owning entity, a family trust, etc. Just normal stuff that I should have had anyway. Stuff I had been niggling away at for years, but that we had BOTH (I take my part of the blame) been a bit too tight to pay legal fees for/lazy to get done. Post nup in the bag straight away. I stayed, but I got my ducks whipped into line straight away, and he was pretty damn smart on getting his part done – his call was he had little chance of me staying (I was with one who had no intention nor desire to leave me, just a fucking selfish fucking, fuckity fucking ‘breakdown’) but none if he didn’t do it. Damn right! I know those who are wanting out would never agree to this, so I was ‘lucky’ there.

  • Please advice: Am I making the right decision to hold off on the divorce that I have already filed for in order to give my X a chance to expand his business. Financially it would be helpful (for him) to hold off so he can use the funds to invest and expand that would intern benefit my children. When he makes more money my kids will benefit. He has not asked for this temporary holding off, he actually has indicated that he will expand no matter what. He will be in more debt if the divorce goes through. I am not sure if helping him out this way will eventually benefit me financially too. Am I being too naive?

    • mgirontree — be wary of this carrot…aka unicorn…

      TALK to your attorney!!! A clever attorney can put some very good clauses/ wording into your agreement that will ensure that 1) you aren’t responsible for his business debts, 2) your kids benefit now, 3) you and your kids benefit from an increased income in the future.

  • Hi Vickie,

    I’m wondering how to value my 401K.

    I had a 401K worth $200K when I got married 11 years ago.

    After marriage, I added $100K over the first six years of marriage, then stopped contributing.

    Then in the last five years, I took out loans and hardship withdrawals. The hardship withdrawal was used to buy real estate acquired during marriage. Also, I did change the investment portfolio from time to time, making it difficult to calculate thinks like NPV, FPV, and annual ROI.

    Today the 401K is worth about $380K.

    While it probably depends on the state, I am hoping that i have some claim to the initial pre-marital 200K plus some reasonable return on that 200K, e.g the original 200K plus 100K of growth, then we split the remaining $80K, so I would “get” $340K and she would get $40K.

    I’m just not sure how to value or rationalize a claim to the pre-marital portion of my 401K.

    I know some will say it is a 50/50 thing, but it does appear that in many states (I am in a non-community separate property state) there is a notion of getting the pre-marriage value of a retirement fund.

    My wife has no retirement accounts.

    • I know I was able to take off pre-marital 401(k) balance. Of course our divorce was over 2003-2004, when everything was down, so I was happy to have my 1996 balance taken off the table and only the “increases” from mid 1996-2003.

      Perhaps you can look at share values. I.E. you had X number of shares of each issue pre marriage. Today you have Y number of shares.

      X comes off the table and (Y-X) is split between the two of you. Figure the current value of (Y-X)/2 and that’s what she gets.

      Work the math several ways and propose what is most advantageous.

      You might also take on more marital debt to keep your accounts. I.E. instead of transferring an IRA or 401(k) to her via a QDRO, you take a higher percentage of the marital debt.

      Again, it depends on the laws and what she’s trying to get. She may not want as much debt or money that costs a lot to tap as in the penalties for early redemption on retirement accounts.

    • If your state allows you to keep anything you had before marriage you need a financial advisor to do the math for you. Same with a home you owned before the marriage, your ex isn’t entitled to all the gains in equity but the formula is complex.

      • In most states a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) must be filed w the plan administrator directing them how exactly to divide the plan. This needs to be done as soon as possible to check that no one else has prior claims to that plan also.

        Many a person has been surprised by including it in the marital settlement agreement only to find it’s been already promised to someone else in a prior filing.

        The calculation is usually done by someone who is a specialist if it involves separate assets unless you can both agree on a number. He/she usually drafts the Qdro and files w the plan administrator who is regulated by ERISA. It’s very meticulous business and as someone wisely said in a prior thread, well worth the money. Consult your attorney.

        • thanks for the answers.

          We do have a considerable amount of debt, so I will try to figure out how I can keep the 401K without having to do a QDRO by taking on the debt.

          The housing issue is another one along a similar vein. I brought a house with about 200K in equity into the marriage, and between her treating the LOC as a debit card and the housing crash of 2008/9, we got down to no equity. The only equity now is due to the 401K hardship withdrawal.

          So I’m guessing my $200K in original equity at some point was “introduced” into the marriage when I sold that original house and bought a different house together in 2007 right before the housing crash.

          But overall it all just seems to suck somehow. I probably had a net worth of about $600K when we got married, and now together, our entire net worth is about $350K (negative net worth excluding the 401k), and the whole time we were married, I hardly spent a dime on myself, and now I’m looking to losing some of this net worth and having to pay $2500/month spousal support, while the last 5 years I did all the money earning and 80-90% of the parenting. Infidelity and narcissism and codependency suck.

  • I haven’t read the comments yet. But one thing that wasn’t mentioned in the article was getting into any safe deposit boxes you may have. Open a new one in your name only. Empty out anything you may need, especially children’s birth certificates and passports. Make copies if you feel you need to put something back in that could cause you trouble later. Keep the originals, give your cheater the copy.

    I did this before our divorce. After signing the papers, my ex wanted to stop by the bank to get everything done at once. The nice lady there helped us separate our checking and savings. Then she mentioned the safe deposit box. I just about threw up. But you should have seen the look on his face when I said I’d already taken care of it. Priceless.

  • Some of the $ amounts and assets y’all are talking about here are breathtaking. smh

    I have a different situation. We have nothing. No assets. Don’t own a home, no savings, hardly anything in my retirement fund, no property of any worth (even our wedding rings only cost about $30 bucks apiece). Two old cars, one in my name, one in his. Nothing but debt – lots and lots of student loan debt (not consolidated though) and plenty of credit card debt separately, no joint credit accounts. We got separate checking accounts when he moved out, but still maintain a little in the joint account to cover stuff for our son.

    I do make a lot more than him, so honestly, if we were to get into a contested divorce now, I worry I would have to pay him alimony. Although what I make is exactly enough to cover my rent and bills, nothing left over at all. I am still paying the cell phone bill for all of us, and I pay his student loan payment. It’s a low payment bc his income is so low, but I am considering asking him to take over that payment starting in January. Not sure if I want to poke that bear, tho.

    So I am planning to divorce him in about 3 years when my son is 18, and we can do the cheapie DIY version in our no-fault state. There is NO money for a retainer or to file right now.

    Am I crazy? I just don’t see much alternative…

    • Oh Arlo, that just stinks for you. I have to hold out a few more months and I feel like my head will explode. So waiting until your son is 18 is for your son’s sake? If your state counts your income as marital assets, it won’t matter whose name is on the bank account, right? Or does it all stop being marital assets bc you are separated? Does living separately count or do you have an agreement in place and are legally separated? Is there somewhere you can ask for free legal advice? You need to know from someone in your area if it behooves you to file now. Don’t pay his stupid student loan. Those payments are cheap. Why can’t he pay it? Assclown. Or post in the forums and see if anyone is in your state bc someone probably knows those big answers. Your son is already 15 and your cheater doesn’t live with you. I assume he already knows what’s going on. Why wait?

      • Hi CE thank you for responding 🙂

        No, waiting til my son is 18 is because the filing cost of the divorce drops about $1000 if there are no minor children involved. And most of all, because I just do not have any money or credit to pay for a divorce right now, even if we didn’t use lawyers. The free/income based legal services here have a 2-3 year backlog, so not much point starting that now.

        It’s not bad now, he’s not doing anything horrible enough to make me need to divorce at the moment. He leaves me alone and is an adequate dad. If he does start acting up, I’ll sell a kidney or something and get the divorce.

        Ugh, the student loan thing, tho. That has been bugging me. In a very chumpy moment, I said I would continue to pay it bc he makes so little money and I make more. Hes as big a deadbeat fuckwit as i am a chump. But it actually is a hardship for me – I seriously have zero dollars left each month after paying my bills. I’m buying groceries and gas on a credit card now, but about to hit the limit soon, so this can’t go on much longer anyway. So that hundred bucks would make a huge difference to me. I broached the subject recently and provoked a whole sad sausage/rage cycle shitstorm that I just do not have the energy to deal with, so I told him I’d revisit in January when he has to recertify his income for the reduced payment program. Wimpy, I know.

        Also I’m just exhausted and avoiding everything. Hoping I’ll snap out of it and get my shit together soon.

        • Ah, okay, the no minor children thing makes a lot of sense. Does he know you are going to file or is he oblivious? Will it matter? I assume he has no funds to just file first anyway. By free legal advice, I just meant those free consults where you can ask a few questions. I understand the student loan thing is a sore subject with him but it’s freaking loan! I would think going to speak to a lawyer or tax person can help put your mind at ease to make sure how to prevent him from ruining your credit. You should not be taken on the burden of his loan to the detriment of your own finances. You are taking care of your child! But try to double check how non-payment of the loan could potentially impact you. If you are still married your credit remains tied together, doesn’t it? Gawd what a jerk!

          Leaving you alone and being an okay dad may still hurt you financially. It would be nice if when your divorce is final you pop back up on your feet without being saddled with a ton of debt. It would be so awesome for you to be able to move on responsibly while he festers in the cesspool of his miserable little life!

          • I told him the plan when I told him to leave. Hes a stupid ass and lives in lalaland, so who can tell if he’s oblivious or not. Who cares? In my heart and mind the marriage is over and he damn sure knows that. Of course the death certificate needs to be signed – it sucks that it costs so much! I thought the marriage certificate was bad – 16 years ago we had to borrow the $75 bucks for that. Why should the damn divorce cost so much more?!

            Anyway my credit was and is shot, so there’s not much more damage he can do to that. Actually his student loan is the one thing that can’t really affect me.

            After my last post, I felt like “fuck it, I don’t have any plans this weekend”, so I emailed him that I wasn’t paying it anymore starting November. Sorry for the short notice – not! Im just sick of being so broke and over it, and I know he’s all bark, no bite, so no reason for me to avoid that any longer.

            He’s no doubt too drunk to read it right now, but I’ll hear about it tomorrow.

            • Funny, how they have money to buy alcohol, but not pay bills (really, not funny at all). I had one of those, too. You have my sympathies, hang tough.

            • Arlo, does he have a cell phone? Clearly, like FreeWoman says, he’s got the cash to buy booze. Let him deal with it. It isn’t like he got an awesome job to support you all with that education so let him default on that if that’s what he chooses to do. Good luck 🙂

    • I’m in a fault state, if you can prove adultery then alimony is OFF the table. I knew my ex was going to try for alimony so painful as putting the shit on record was I filed for adultery, desertion and abuse. You know what’s fucked up? You can get an instant divorce for adultery, you can not get that for abuse…

      • I am so sick of thinking about this crap! So now I’m having a heart attack. Must check how you have to prove adultery in my (it’s ALL Asshat’s FAULT) state. For heavens sake. Is them admitting good enough? It’s been a few months but I think that’s what my lawyer said. [panic-Googling all night now!]

  • Excellent article. A couple of questions for the chumpdom…. In a no fault state what happens if you have 3 d-days with a wreckonciliation period but cheatums leaves wife and 6 kids for good with a + paternity pregnant AP? Still no fault even though he obviously maintained the affair secretly? And to make matters worse…quits his job to live off AP’s mega inheritance? So, now he has no income. Cruella is paying child support. What can I do, if anything?? Oh, forgot to mention they are “engaged”. Isn’t that illegal if you’re legally married. And NO, I’m not making this stuff up chumps. Welcome to my twilight zone!

    • chumpetta, you get a really good lawyer. I live in a no fault state. But after talking to a lawyer, I learned that the reality was that repeated infidelity like that is taken pretty serious here anyway, if you can prove it. And you can. I don’t know about your state, but sometimes “no fault” doesn’t tell you everything you need to know. A lawyer with lots of trial experience in your county is the best place to get good information, because every judge in every county is different.

  • Chumpetta, I am not an attorney, but I have had a strange marriage and am now going through a very strange divorce (from a cheater who quit his job just one week before hiring a divorce attorney, who served me at court), so I can tell you about my experience in a no-fault state.

    I believe that a person can get engaged (to an affair partner or anyone else) while legally married as ‘engaged’ is not a legally meaningful term. (I can confirm with my attorney friends, but I am fairly certain that I am correct on this issue.)

    ‘No fault’ means that the court does not care whether a spouse had an extramarital emotional/sexual affair, secret or not. The court in a no-fault state (and, based on what I’ve heard and read, generally most fault states) does not want to consider adultery in making its decisions. The court in states like yours and mine is concerned primarily (almost exclusively, it usually seems) with division of assets, determination of support amount, and custody (if the divorcing couple have any minor children).

    I hope that you, I, and anyone else in our situation can, under our own firepower, decently support our offspring. I really hope that you get a decent settlement, and I, ethical party in my marriage and primary custodian, don’t have to pay my STBX support after I get a permanent full-time job.

  • I was married to my husband for seven years. Since he was an MBA, I let him handle our finances and trusted him completely. That was my first and biggest mistake. Never let someone else, even your husband, have complete control over finances. This responsibility must be shared and available to both partners.

    My husband started acting strangely, lying and gaslighting me for a few months. I thought I was going crazy! I even told my ex-mother-in-law, that if I didn’t know better, I would swear he was having an affair. Well, I found out that he was having an affair with a married woman that I knew well. They had covered their tracks well, but not well enough. They were both doing some financial shananigans and planning for their exit. Luckily, during this time, my gut was screaming at me and I listened! When he was out of town for a few days (I later learned, with her), I started snooping and I found his phone bill and the numerous calls and texts to her. I WAS SO PISSED! That’s what saved me. My anger kicked in. Yes, I was terribly hurt, stunned and scared, but I was MAD.

    Upon finding that phone bill, I began searching EVERYTHING in the house, garage and his cars. I checked coat pockets, shoes, even under furniture! As a couple of examples, hidden in an old box at the bottom of the trunk of his antique car was a checkbook for a new account at a local bank. Also, in the closet in our home-office, I found a safe-deposit key hidden in a box of co-axial wire for the computer. If I wasn’t looking through EVERYTHING thoroughly, I would have missed it. Wow! I made copies of everything and put them back where I had found them.

    I continued searching and found even more. I can’t tell you the level of pain and heartbreak I experienced during this search. I couldn’t believe that my husband was doing this to us – to me! My advice to anyone, whether it’s a gut-feeling, D-Day or “the Speech”, would be the following:

    1. Get mad. Let your anger kick-in. Don’t buy-in to fear, wreckonciliation or therapy.

    2. Start snooping! Search everything and everywhere that you can! These idiots hide things in the strangest places. Their minds are truly a mess. If they are still at home, search through their wallet.

    3. If you find something strange (new account, photos, etc.), copy it, and put it back in its place.

    4. Copy all financial documents that you have access to and put them back. Pay attention to bank accounts, credit card statements, and other monthly expenses.

    5. Do not let the cheater know that you are collecting this information and what you have found. Keep it to yourself.

    6. See an attorney ASAP.

    7. Do not confront the cheater until you have all your financial ducks in a row, so to speak. When I did confront him about the affair, he started hiding everything better. He (and the MOW) even became threatening about my contact with the MOW’s husband. They both started hiding things better.

    My husband died in an accident a few months later. As the Executor of his probate, I discovered that the safe deposit box key that I found was incredibly important. In that box, I found $70K in cash. I learned that he had been withdrawing cash in small amounts as well as selling things (jetski, computer and other items) and putting the cash from the sales into the safe deposit box. He would even buy expensive items at the store and later return them for cash. Doing this made it seem like he had a lot of debt. I found other things that he did that were devastating. Going into detail would be overkill. If he had lived, our divorce would have left me very little. At the end of the probate, I ended up receiving everything in his estate and our marriage. His debts were his, and since no creditors filed claims, I wasn’t responsible for the his unsecured debts (credit cards).

  • What I’d like to add to my comment above is that my husband was a narcissistic, a++hole who was planning for possible divorce BEFORE we even married. He had learned a lot from his father from the divorce with his mother. And, had learned more during his first marriage and divorce. During the probate, I learned how badly he had taken advantage of my trust and naivete throughout our marriage. This is not common in a marriage or divorce, but it happened.

    Be aware. These a**holes are out there. I’ve learned to not be so trusting and to have a prenup before getting married again. Keep your eyes open and listen to your gut.

    • SW,
      Love your account of your detctive work, sad as it was. I’m afraid after two chumpings, I am hyperalert to such treachery. I’ve managed to catch and dump two boyfriends since my last marriage, and gave them the sendoff they deserved.

      Better to just stay totally independent financially in later life.

      Imworked for a bank once in a residential neighbourhood many miles from where I lived. Looking through the records one day, I found a safe deposit box belonging to a neighbour’s husband. I always wondered why he would maintain this so far from home. When that marriage went on the rocks, and since I was leaving the country anyway, I said told her what I knew and she thanked me. She said she would have her lawyer do some discovery work and specifically see if they could get at it. Tha marriage started as an affair anyway…what did she expect.

  • While I was dazed, at least I’d read on one site that once you’ve discovered your spouse has been cheating, the first thing to do is not to confront the spouse, but to see a lawyer. I did that and discovered I couldn’t afford a divorce.

    We’d always kept all accounts separate, and we divided bills. Only the mortgage was in both our names. Of course, this meant he could spend money on Schmoopie, but it also meant that I could shore up my financial position, which I did. When I filed, I had a small war chest I could use for legal fees, but nothing for a house downpayment (I live in an area where rent is artificially high due to college students).

    I think the one thing I hadn’t anticipated was that he’d be so slow signing, well, anything. I’m going to court in 9 days. We don’t have anything interesting to split up. He’s out-earned me. His retirement will take a hit. He’s been trying to avoid that by not doing anything. In retrospect, I should have seen this and we should have gone to court sooner.

  • This isn’t as “funny” or reinforcing of our right to better… but it definitely lifts my spirits to have people pushing us to get a good plan. Durp. I’m so lost

  • I so needed this today, CL! I have a horror story to share about this very subject that, coincidentally, happened today.

    After three months of entreaties to “work things out,” I discovered today my husband, from whom I am separated, has been stalling ONLY to amass enough cash for a divorce lawyer and to complete a very important work project in order to focus on the divorce.

    It. Was. All. MORE. Lies.

    I am sickened that I got so easily sucked back in. Do I ever feel stupid! ONE WEEK ago he told me he was planning a vacation to Hawaii for us. He TOLD me he LOVED me. We even SLEPT TOGETHER.

    Now I’ve gone into Defcon 1. I’m talking like Darth Vader and planning to unleash merciless hell-fire, in the form of a shark lawyer, from above. I’ll be blasting the Ride of the Valkyries on the way to sign the paperwork Monday morning.

    Oh, and I’m fucking finally going No Contact!

    Luckily, he makes more than double what I do, which means he’ll be ruing the day be messed with me for about the next decade to the tune of $1,000 per month. It’s not a lot for someone who makes six figures but there’s nothing more important to that sleazebag than money. It will drive him nuts to hand anything over to me. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    To all those chumps in limbo out there, please note it took me three years to get here. It’s my unfortunate, three-year D-Day anniversary on Nov. 4. I will celebrate my emancipation by setting on fire the expensive suit he left at my apartment last week when I drove him to the airport.

  • In summary, the cheater almost certainly felt entitled/resentful/spiteful/stupid enough to lie to you and many others, expose you to possible health risks, betray their own family, ignore their wedding vows, and more than likely spread untrue rumours about you.

    So, yeah, odd I’d say that the likelihood of that person trying to f-ck you over financially is about 99 percent.

  • I was lucky that my ex-husband was stupid with an equally stupid attorney. I actually felt sad he has was being represented so terribly, however I needed to protect myself first. I found the best attorney I could find and spent a fortune, well worth it! I also retained a woman attorney, contrary to advice you hear, a woman should be represented by a man for divorces, not so. She understood exactly what I was dealing with and didn’t shrug it off as “boys will be boys”.

    This is what I did:

    I filed and asked him how he wanted to go about settling. My attorney drew up the papers and included a list of items under the dissolution, breaking down all assets and what each would get. I told ex he could sign as is or we could go to court and fight. He took paperwork to his attorney and came back with his own demands. I was not going to waiver, so I told him: you can sign or I can file under adultery, drag all your whores into court to testify and subpoena all your phone/text/email/computer records. I also told him in our state I can also sue his mistresses for alienation of affection. I actually called one of the women up and told her I was going to sue her under this statute that is on our state books. She panicked and retained an attorney, I saw the text messages she sent ex-husband about it. He begged me to leave them alone.

    The next day he signed everything, notarized, all of it.

  • uNfortunately I am afraid of give details of my situation! ( took me a year to write in here) I am in a force “limbo” since I have to save money to untangle the big mess that cheater is doing! Is there any chump in FL? Can you get something extra if you have proof of the cheater “sex adventures”? Can you get part of his 401k ? spouse suppport? If you know a good legal website let me know. I am afraid to even google stuff in my laptop start getting banners and messages from lawyers and my cheater might noticed! jUst trying to leave with order is driving me crazy. I wish I can win the lotto and leave the cheaters after picking my half. As usual the most painful part my son’s heart. 🙁

    • Fl is a no fault state so adultery won’t help you there. It will help you when it comes to the amount of alimony you’ll get. You should get half of his retirement, but it really will be determined by the length of your marriage. If you share underage children you will get child support. Educate yourself by reading every comment on this entire blog and good luck.

    • Fico, you are so right that your search terms will cause targeted ads on your computer – good thinking. Can you get to a library or other community center to use a computer?
      Florida is a no-fault state, which means technically, the court won’t consider any of the adultery/morality stuff. However, I have heard from a lawyer friend that every judge here runs their own little kingdom, so look for an attorney that is very familiar with the judges in your district, because some will take it into consideration, and some will consider it a waste of time. Also if you can show dissipation of marital assets, they do have to consider that. So if you haven’t already, make copies of all financial records you can get.
      Winning the lotto might be helpful, or maybe not- mo’ money, mo’ problems, as they say. From what I understand, many firms will take you on the retainer, and then file for him to pay the rest of your legal fees. And adultery can help in that sort of judgement.
      I’m in a similar spot, in that I can’t afford to file right now, but I make a lot more money than my husband so I am going to wait until our son turns 18 (3 more years) and I can do the cheap DIY filing.

  • “Yes, he’s been a horrible husband, but he’s such a good dad!”

    funny thing about that odd chump response…XH actually said it about himself! but that was when he still had some vestige of remorse. now his story is that i was a horrible wife but a good mom. and i emotionally abused him for 20+ years.

    the thing about that delusion is when we were married, he would genuinely be confused about my (healthy) anger about his lies, financial infidelities and general lack of boundaries. we would talk it out. always thought it got resolved. nope. for him, natural consequences and mutual respect depleted his kibbles. and he was keeping a list and checking it twice!

    had a scare last night (he feigned suicide gesture). my worst fear is how it would have affected my adult children since they are not speaking with him now. (because he moved in with adulteress and rages at them for not “accepting who he is”.) they are being punished for no kibbles too. other than freaking out about this and nightmares of OW turning up in my house all night, today i am SOOO grateful i am not married to him anymore.

    off topic thread about finances — but on target with feeling very wealthy as a cheaterless chump today.

  • Vickie,
    If you are still checking in I think it would be helpful to chumps to hear your opinion of attempting mediation with the cheater. I recommend filing immediately because that puts a finite date on negotiating a settlement. I came to this conclusion based on my own experience and others on the forums where ex used negotiations to delay, delay. A new chump just asked about this today in the forums. What are your recommendations?

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

      It deserves it’s own blog as its 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.

      • Thanks for the input. Since I live in a fault state I was concerned that my advice to file immediately might be counter productive in a no fault state.

        I *really* feel bad for those in no fault states, at least in VA there is no prospect of alimony for an adulterous spouse. My ex went after that, and I would have lost my shit if I’d had to pay the bastard alimony!

      • I have a feeling our mediation is going to be a waste of time. My stbx’s goal is to destroy me financially. He has cancelled mediation and 2 court dates, therefore it is MY attorney setting up new dates and who do you think is paying for that? He is doing everything underhandedly as possible and he is getting away with it. He lied about our property and I had to pay a lawyer to prove he lied – but he will continue with the charade. I got values for the vehicles/toys through KBB back in December – now he wants to change the valuation dates because it has been 10 months. He drives a 2013 F150 while I drive a 2000 CRV – which one do you think has lost the most value in these 10 months – HIS TRUCK. He is running me around in circles and they are allowing him to do it. He is living in MY home while I struggle to find a place to live until I have money to get out of here. What is wrong with this process?

  • http://narcissistsupport.com/
    This site and her youtube videos are also a good place to seek healing. She is a mental health nurse and an advocate against abuse as well as a person on the receiving end of one of these idiots. Today I am reading on anger not letting it take hold. Reading about the disordered (some are narcissists and some have other disorders mixed in) with some detachment is useful.

  • I was married to cheater #1 for 29 years. The year we got married, we purchased a house. Together, we had plenty of income to just take out a mortgage at the bank. Instead, Ex’s mommy dearest offered to give us a private mortgage at an “advantageous rate”. I objected at the time, thinking I did not want to be paying MIL a cheque each month. Just the thought of it was creepy.

    Ex insisted we tske the private loan, which turned out to be at no better a rate than the bank. He took to paying mommy monthly over a visit and a cup of tea. The only input I had was my paycheque going into the mortgag savongs account, and my name on the deed. Or so I thought.

    Fast forward to 2008, when I was planning my escape from the years of cheating, which I endured “for the kids”. I started putting together a list of assets to figure out if and when I’d be able to live on my 50% share.

    Imagine my shock when for the first time, I read the mortgage agreement that I naively signed at age 23. It stated clearly that “in the event of divorce, if there was any loan still outstanding then the entire equity of the house would revert to Ex and Mommy”. My name notably absent.

    Now, whether legal or ethical, to this day I do not know. What I did was insist that we pay off the remaining $60k (on a house then worth almost 2m) so that the private loan was paid off. Wow, I was not surprised at the pushback from Ex and Mommy. I knew why they were so adamant that it was not necessary “we all love each other, just enjoy the money, take a vacation”. Utter bullshite!

    Ex did relent in the end, since I think he either suspected I knew the scam they had pulled on me, or he knew it would cost him legal fees to fight it in court. So, the day we were mortgage free, he did not seem interested in a clebration at all! I had my own private celebration.

    As fate would have it, mommy dearest left this earth not long after and the elimination of that loan simplified everything. Our splitting of assets just involved selling the house, rather than being messed up by involvement in an estate settlement.

    Interestingly, I recently had contact with an ex-BIL who divorced my Ex’s sister years ago. He voluntarily told me a creepily similar story about THEIR private mortgage from the same MIL, and he had to walk away with nothing.

  • Unfortunately, in a lot of cases chumps go right from Stage #13 back to Stage #1, and the cycle keeps recirculating. I bet many of the Ashley Madison chumps may not surface for divorce for many years.

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