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You Need a Lawyer

legalToday’s little public service announcement is brought to you by the Broke Ass Divorced Losers United Council (BADLUC).

(Cue bouncy tune…)

Are you divorcing a fuckwit? Has she suggested collaborative mediation? Would he like to remain “friends”? Did you watch an instructional video on youtube and decide that you can build your own divorce decree with glue, scissors, and a shot of vodka? STOP! AND GET A LAWYER!

Yes! A lawyer! Frequently the butt of shark jokes, overlooked and often reviled, that shambling figure at your local bar association is actually YOUR FRIEND. Shocking that someone with three years of advanced post-graduate legal education would know something about divorce laws, but THEY DO! Their brains are stuffed with all sorts of knowledge like contracts, torts, and how to balance those scale thingies. YOU NEED A LAWYER!

But how do I know I’m getting the right sort of lawyer, Tracy? They all look the same in their drab, gray Brooks Brothers suits.

Good question! You want a FAMILY LAW LAWYER! Although they appear indistinguishable, lawyers actually come in many flavors — Criminal, Employment, Tax, and extra socially awkward — Patent! Avoid those sorts, and get a FAMILY LAW PROFESSIONAL.

Family Law Professionals can help you leave that fuckwit! CALL A LAWYER TODAY!

(Bouncy music fades…)

Chump Lady here. Every day I get a letter that goes like this:

Awful thing, awful thing, more awful thing… divorce? Awful thing, awful thing, OUTRAGEOUS run-away-like-your-hair-is-on-fire thing… I can’t afford an attorney.

Listen to me: GET A LAWYER.

If I told you your child would die if he didn’t get a kidney, would you say “I can’t afford a kidney”?

No. You would do anything in your power to get a kidney. You’d get a Kickstarter account. You’d ask a family member for a kidney. You’d ask a stranger for a kidney. You’d hock your jewelry. You’d exhaust your credit cards. You would GET THAT KIDNEY.

I know the problem here is that some of you do not think proper legal advice is a life-or-death situation. Or you’re so mindfucked that you think cheaters still have your best interests at heart. Oh They Would Never…

They may cheat and lie, but they’d NEVER hide money. They might break their marriage vows, but they would NEVER treat me unfairly in a divorce!

You might believe all the caterwauling from your cheater that you’re a terrible person if you hire a lawyer. How can you do that to your CHILDREN? Why, your cheater just wants to keep things friendly and inexpensive! They fail to understand your hostility.

Chumps — cheaters have a vested interest in a) cake b) no financial consequences and c) gaming the system to their benefit.

The only kind of professional who can help you out of this clusterfuck and think of questions you never even dreamed of asking, is a LAWYER.

I know some of you are going to tell me stories that you mediated and it was great. Or you spent $20 on divorce software and she signed the papers you shoved at her and she signed them in a fit of guilt. IMO, you people are outliers. Unicorns. The rest of you are dealing with narcissistic fuckwits who get very pissy when they don’t get their way. YOU NEED A LAWYER.

I’m sorry it’s expensive. I’m sorry the process sucks. But please, please get proper legal representation after you’ve been chumped.

Why? Here’s a few reasons:

That self-made mediation you drew up, probably sucks and fails to account for all sorts of things. You may very well be back in court ANYWAY, only now you wasted all that money on mediation and have to undo a lousy agreement.

Oh! Oh! But a lawyer helped draw it up and signed off on it! 

That’s very different than hiring a lawyer to represent you in a divorce and fight for your interests. They may catch some things, insist on others, but the biggest reason you need a lawyer is….


Hey, Ms. Reasonable there. You, Mr. Fair Minded. Have you spent years putting yourself last? Stuffing down your needs until you wouldn’t recognize one if it came up and bit your nipple? Well, aren’t you the perfect sucker to broker a deal with. Heartbroken, emotionally exhausted, used to appeasing the unappeasable narcissists in your life. Sure you can represent yourself! NOT.

Please hand over the wheel to a legal professional who knows what a fair settlement looks like. And if you have an extra narky narc? Get one of those high conflict divorce lawyers who understands personality disorders.

You can’t afford not to.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Great advice! One more tip to add; if you are planning on using evidence of an affair in your divorce, DO NOT (I repeat) do not put yourself in a situation where your cheater sleeps in the same place as you, or even worse, do not sleep with your cheater. Every shred of evidence you have becomes obsolete at that point – this is because the courts consider this as and act of forgiveness with the implication that you have “condoned” any prior infidelity, so the aforementioned proof would not “count” in court afterward. Almost happened to me when my ex didn’t have any place to sleep and I offered my couch (he had “the sadz”, and I was still was unaware of my chump status). Thank goodness he declined because I find out later he could have used it against me!

    • And this is what I hate about therapist…hate to say it, but religious therapists– They told us to fix everything by getting back into the marriage roles, never denying sex, sleeping in the same bed, performing tasks we performed before the affair… I did that for as long as I could stand it, trying to modify my thoughts and flashbacks as I had been taught by these therapists.
      Once I realized wreck-conciliation was against my whole being and felt so wrong, I went to a lawyer who told me I can’t file because I “condoned” the affair, so I had to wait a year.
      The above advice from TCSIR is the number ONE thing I think all chumps should know as soon as they find out!! SEPARATE YOURSELF because if s/he claims you continued as a married couple, you can’t file divorce by adultery.
      At least consulting with a lawyer should be #1, even before therapy! My therapists did not help me because they had their own agenda and my cheater was a Jesus-Cheater, so they felt even more excited about their saved soul.

      • Preach it, JX! And it’s so hard for us chumps. SO HARD! I remember still trying to wrap my head around processing all of the things that were being simultaneously thrown at me at once to me: he was cheating, the breakup of our family, the public smear campaign, etc. I remember thinking these legal details and who gets what seeming such vulgar questions at the time because they’re thrown on you in an instant. And unlike the xnarcs, we hadn’t been plotting and planning shit for months. Remember, they are PREPARED and will show you NO MERCY!! DO NOT EXPECT THEM TO HAVE ANY HONOR OR DECENCY!! Your ex will do everything is his power to destroy you, there is no low they won’t sink to. So to those new chumps, I advise you to cut out your heart and put your warrior gear on because you’re going into the fight of your life. And get even last retail fine tuned, with no room for grey area because they will exploit it! Channel all your well-desrved rage into outsmarting them (Narcs are evil, but so sloppy) into watching them burn. Then roast some marshmallows and drink a glass of wine and remember how fabulous you are!

        • Well said, thechumpstruggleisreal, you’re accurate describing all the emotion, heart break, the confusion of facing the unimaginable, decisions, lies, smear campaigns, feeling numb, Shit and more shit being thrown your direction. You’re in disbelief that the person you loved and trusted with your life is now your worst enemy who will stoop to any level to destroy you. An absolute nightmare..

          • This is what Luziana wrote about so eloquently yesterday-the Fuckwit Tornado.
            Mediation is never possible with these cheaters. Mediation only works for two people who want it to work and be honest. Cheaters cannot and will not ever be honest. I’ll admit that I did try to call one soon after DDay to try and save on atty fees since I didn’t have a lot of money or a job. I called the top divorce mediation firm in Southern California. They gave me the wake up call I needed. Mediation would be a waste of time and money when dealing with a cheater. CL was right-when there is a will, there is a way. I sold my gold jewelry, purses, and the center stone out of my wedding ring to pay for the atty. I can only say money well spent!

            A good atty is the saving grace oe shelter when you are trying to survive the “destructive vortex of a soul sucking cheater”

            • I sold my wedding ring/engagement ring, a set of diamond earrings to pay for an attorney. It was a smart decision.

              • Late in the game but saw this post and had to respond. Yes, I’ve been a little absent from CN due to legal issues and modifying my divorce. Please please listen to CL, get a lawyer! He has helped my entire healing process, not as a therapist, but as someone who is protecting my interests. We did the cut and paste online divorce and it ended in disaster; ex-hole would not pay child support, owed me thousands. We mediated, had a great plan, then fuckwit singlehandedly fought and changed every single point. The lawyer has been fighting with him now for 5 months and we are still not done. Narcissists must win and as much as the lawyer tries to say, “hey we are negotiating here,” fuckpig can not bend on any points. And these issues are important financially for my daughter so I keep fighting but asshat has whittled down what he pays for our daughter (who lives full-time with me btw and has not spent one night in X’s home with his new girlfriend). Anyway, the tough thing about this is narcs can’t really negotiate or cooperate for the good of the children. He wants to punish me by withholding money from our daughter. Gawd, their thinking.

                Here’s a funny story: I have fucktard in my phone as Cheater POS. Well, with a phone change and an email I needed to send to him the Cheater POS came through in the email (no one could understand how that happened). Cheater POS accused me of name calling and sent me a note with a check and a reduced child support by 70 percent as punishment for my “name calling.” Whatever. Narcs are so stupid but also very intelligent in their ability to hurt others. They do it because it makes them feel alive; it is sick and awful and I am still recovering from the abuse.

                I am forever grateful to have a lawyer to fight for me; it has not really turned out the way I wanted but at least I had a shield to protect me.

              • ChumpB, so glad you feel some relief. Love the phone/email story …. and whether it’s a mediator or a judge, POS’s retaliation with decreased child support should NOT go well for him (or, if past, should not have gone well).

                I can’t tell; are you still in mediation and not in court? It sounds like you have a shrewd lawyer, but if you’ve paid for 5 months’ of fighting with that asshat, I’m kind of surprised you’re not in court. If you aren’t in court, has your lawyer explained why not?

      • Jesus Cheater. The holy ones are the worse of the lot, the holier they are, pray for yourself and run from them, run, run , do not stop, not even to catch your breath until you swim across the oceans and reach the far lands across the globe. If possible, run to another planet .Run for your sanity! They are evil to the core. Satan is innocent and naive compared to them. They are the stars of the most shocking, horrifying, real life/horror movies out there. I know what I’m talking about ( married the holiest cheater) and know plenty others from years in church, and if anyone here is religious they know plenty of the horrors this people bring on their families and brothers and sisters in church .Boy, they are a class of their own. UNBELIEVABLE!
        DO NOT BELIEVE HOLY CHEATERS, FOR YOUR OWN GOOD. THINK, IF THEY PLAY/DECEIVE, USE THE CREATORS NAME, WHAT MAKE YOU THINK THEY CARE ABOUT YOU, YOUR CHILDREN OR ANYONE ELSE? Please understand that religiosity is a mask to them, nothing to do with being a better person, nothing to to with loving anyone. EVERYTHING IS FOR THEIR USE ONLY: God, religiosity, family, good deeds, that is their secret/mask, behind all that there is someone even satan himself fears.They only love their genitals and the pleasure it brings them. They do not even love themselves, only their genitalia. If they could choose a body part to live for ever and ever, roaming the earth after they are long gone and decomposed, it would be their penis and vaginas. I do believe what I’m saying.

    • This one actually happened to my MIL! She is French, and had split from her 2nd asshole husband because of a documented incident of domestic violence. This gave her the right to a quick divorce, which he could not contest. She went back, it only lasted a month or two, but BINGO! Forgiveness of any previous bad stuff that might lead to a quick divorce. Result; he contested, wouldn’t agree to divorce at all, it takes years and years for a contested divorce to go through. AND under French law, there could be no financial settlement until they were actually eligible to divorce. So she spent years on this, built up a ton of debt, and was essentially broke once the divorce finally came through.

      One more reason not to sleep with your ex, or to let him move back in, even temporarily. FIRST get the divorce, then do whatever you want. If they really want reconciliation, they’ll accept this.

    • Yes this is true, exasshole knew this and tried it. BTW, no witnesses, no photo? it never happened. another thing to look out for.
      Exasshole moved into his own apartment, but after a few months started spending one night here and there at my home. Then he moved back in at 5 months 2 weeks…why you may ask? Because in VA if you leave the marital home for 6 months that is a basis for desertion…I say this to warn any chumps, do NOT move out of your home until you have a settlement or separation agreement.

  • Does anyone have any experience of mediating, but with a lawyer on call?

    I’m mediating (not my idea, but guess what, I got pressured into it), but I have the ‘support’ of my lawyer to give advice before / after each session.

    Except I don’t feel like it’s working. I can’t focus half the time on what the mediator says (I particularly drift off when she talks about pensions), I’ve cried in two of the three sessions and I switch between being angry then timid. Hardly negotiating-friendly behaviour. My passive-aggressive, stonewalling ex doesn’t contribute much at all. It’s like paying loads of money to sit and hear the mediator gabble on about pensions and what a court would do.

    • Then I send the reports to my lawyer and she gives me yet more generalised information. So I’m paying twice, and not really getting anywhere. Except poorer.

      Has anyone done this successfully? What’s the secret?

      • IT’S NEVER TOO LATE to fire your attorney and say you aren’t mediating anymore! I fired my first attorney ,because she sucked and was LYING TO ME. My STBX wanted to mediate, because it was “fastest and cheapest” way to get a divorce. LOL! Assbrain! Thankfully, I sucked it up and called my neighbor who went through a divorce a few years ago and asked her for advice. She said, “Don’t mediate.” I didn’t even know what that was at the time! My Cheater was busy behind the scenes, talking to his ho-workers about divorce MONTHS before he read to me the Divorce Letter. He said in the letter that he hadn’t thought about the “details” of divorce, but he had. Chump Lady is right! The Cheater doesn’t have your best interest in mind AT ALL! They just want to get divorced as quickly and cheaply as possible. My Cheater tried to pressure me into mediating, too. He tried to take advantage of me when I was at my weakest.

        • The cheaters always want to mediate! Our meditator was recommended by our marriage counselor (which is odd in itself, but he thought my ex was an idiot). We went to two sessions and that was it. I interviewed (just you normally get a free 15 – 30 minute consultation, use it) 3 different lawyers and finally found one that fit, we wrote the agreement, he signed it, we are divorced. I think we would still be “working on the agreement” if we were in mediation. My attorney made me feel powerful at my weakest. And that was worth every check I wrote!!

          • I do not recommend mediation with the back up of a lawyer. Just sack the mediator and use what you save to pay for more lawyer time. Mediation was nothing but an expensive waste of time, my ex is dishonest and I do not trust him to tell the truth so I told him to get himself a lawyer as I wanted a proper settlement. Mediation can work but relies upon full and frank disclosure….like the full and frank disclosure of the affair he was having?
            Remember the evasions, the drip feed of trickle truth, the bombshells that kept on dropping, the total disregard for your wellbeing or even your very sanity?
            Well that is how mediation is likely to pan out when you are dealing with a known liar with a proven tract record for deceit. What new bank account??? Oh, that one….I can explain that and its not how it looks.
            Divorce is expensive….mediation can end up even more expensive if you wind up with some sort of half baked deal that is not even legally binding.

        • Martha, it was the same for me. Apparently my ex had already been talking to a lawyer and had been writing up lists of how we could split our assets before I even had an inkling what was going on! Then he slammed me with the news that he wanted out of our marriage of 31 years, then tried to come back the next morning to “tell me how this could all work.” I was completely reeling, hadn’t slept all night, I told him to stay the hell away from me. I went out and hired my own lawyer. She worked for a pit bull divorce lawyer, but she was fairly young so charged much less. She consulted the pit bull lawyer, though. She saved my butt a couple of times when my husband suggested stuff that was ridiculous, that I was tempted to give in on. I was so confused, overwhelmed, grieving…I couldn’t think straight. Thank goodness she was able to think straight for me. It wasn’t easy, but it would have been much worse without a lawyer to represent my interests.

          One of the hardest things for me to comprehend is that my ex could have been planning the divorce all along, then try to take advantage of my confusion and grief to benefit himself, all the while saying everything was my fault. Sheesh, it was so overwhelming it almost made my head explode.

          • Mine did the same thing. He and his GF had transferred joint titles and bank accounts to his name only. He already had a list of how things should be divided and a clause that I didn’t tell her husband. Wanted me to go to his friend lawyer ( also a cheater) and sign ASAP. Oh and was nice enough to say he would come get his shit out of the house and we wouldn’t have to include it in the decree. Really! I was also emotionally drained and being hit with reasons it was my fault. He assumed I would go along with everything he said because I had for 34 years. BUT I’m not stupid. Hired a good lawyer, stuck through the rage that followed and ended up ok. He filed irreconcilable differences, I filed adultery. Didn’t matter, we lived in a no contest state, but it gave me immense satisfaction to see it on the decree.

          • Yes Lawyers will “THINK STRAIGHT” for you!!! You need this chumps, trust me, because too often you will still be thinking with your hearts despite the fact that your cheaters didn’t and won’t. Your needs are IMPORTANT! And deserve to be met. Let your lawyer handle it.

        • I fired my first attorney after finding out he was friends with and god parent to ex hubs attorney child. After I found out about the latest married OW in my then husbands life he secretly taped me on his phone and showed this to everyone who would watch, including his attorney, children’s therapist, etc. all to paint himself as victim and me as a crazy bitch. After the phone taping my attorneys demeanor changed and I did not feel my interests were being represented. I was encouraged to accept 50/50 placement and minimal chils support because I was advised 80/20 placement rarely occurs. I changed to a pit bull type attorney who represented me through 14 months in and out of court. It was worth the money spent. If or when I go back to court I would again use the same attorney.

          As for mediation I would not recommend it. My ex lied about everything and after about one frustrating hour I left. Nothing was resolved and even the mediator looked flustered. This was a waste of $150

          • I had a bit of the same thing with my first attorney. She was recommended by an attorney friend who was president of the GA Bar at the time. We swung along for several months but the moment she said to me re. Crapweasel’s attorney, “You’ll love her, she’s a doll!”, I couldn’t get out of there faster and had new representation within a week. Effective, she-bitch representation wrapped up in a cool, blonde, take-no-shit package. She was expensive, but SO worth it.

          • I walked out of mediation the first time. In my room I had my lawyer, her lawyer assistant, my CPA, my forensic accountant and myself. After three hours, the mediator was flustered and said my x was not there in good faith and recommended I walk. Two more times to avoid a trial. there were depositions and discovery in between. So frustrating and emotional. I remember the mediator telling me I couldn’t ask for something and I just looked at him and said “He’ll cheat me, but not his children if he wants to look good”. I negotiated for my kids and myself. Got most of what I wanted. In the end, he doesn’t follow the JOD, I do and keep him in line. I’m lucky in that he needs to keep his image clean and is greedy. I also discovered all sorts of secret shit, forensic accountants are worth their weight in gold! My lawyer pointed out that it was joint assists that would pay and he couldn’t get out of that. At the end of mediation, his lawyer went on record to say that he “couldn’t support the results of mediation”. I did pretty well. So far he pays. Cost a fortune.

            • NO NO NO NO. Mediators do NOT have your best interest (nor your children’s) at heart. It’s all about stats – just like doctors. “I’m a mediator and I managed to get the parties to agree!!” They don’t care if the settlement is fair or not. They’re “indifferent” to the interests of either party- except lots of times they’re not either based upon their own past experiences, who they know etc. They just want to get it done. After all, they have a reputation to uphold.

              Having a rottweiler – even if costly – will be worth it. You’ll come out better on the other side AND you can let your protector do the heavy lifting while you protect and nourish your own emotional needs and those of your kids. You may not even be able to think straight and agree to something you will seriously regret later on.

              Hiring a lawyer also does NOT necessarily mean you will go to trial. In fact, it is most likely your attorney will settle out of court- with a better result.

              • AND don’t even THINK about agreeing to arbitration. The result is final and binding. Non-appeal able.

            • I need to talk with you on how you succeeded . I’m dealing with a similar scenario.

      • Just say no to mediation w the disordered. Everyone does need an attorney but I’m not excited about being coached by a lawyer on financials either. You’re too triggered here.

        Get a divorce financial planner to run various scenarios including all of your assets to show you which division is best for you. They can show you what your life will look like post divorce with several versions of settlement scenarios. You can bring those written plans into your mediation to help you if you insist on doing it yourself which is what you’re doing now. You don’t have to share your work w your x

        Lawyers are expert in the law, not long term financial planning, which is what a pension is. It could be your retirement

        I’d take those written plans the financial provides to a NEW attorney who will represent YOU – and negotiate for the settlement that you’ve decided on. Cheater lie and stonewall IRL — you can expect the same tedious tactics in mediation.

        Next time a mediator says ‘this is what would happen if you went to court’ I’d say — yes and we are not in court, that’s why we’re here and since we aren’t making any progress, I think I’m done here.

        Protect yourself. Get a lawyer. And get a divorce financial analyst to help you make your plan.

        • Thanks for weighing in, Vickie! Everyone going through a divorce should check out Vickie’s EXCELLENT blog. Great financial advice there — and it’s free. An absolutely terrific resource.

        • Preach it, Vickie!

          I did not use a divorce financial planner, but only because the marital estate was very straightforward. I live in a no-fault, equitable division state, but I discovered through reading the divorce financial planning blogs that how you draw that line can make a big impact on the settlement. In the end, I got the assets and he got the debts!

          If we’d had children, if there had been more tied up in investments–then I’d have had a divorce financial planner on my team.

        • Excellent, Vicki! My attorney made no bones about not being a financial planner. She shuffled me off to a CDFA who was excellent and worth every check.
          And during the court ordered mediation, my CDFA AND my attorney represented my interests. I am grateful to them both as they – and the mediator – took no shit from Crapweasel and he made an ass out of himself.

          • This may be addressed below, but for anyone who lives in a state that requires mediation before proceeding to the next step in court, you STILL need an attorney. In fact, my advice is that if you end up going to court-ordered mediation, you need your attorney with you at all times–and if you’re required to mediate with a disordered freak, even MORE reason to hire the best pit-bull attorney in town!

            I also want to second the point that if a mediator tries to tell you what will happen at trial or what a judge would order, fire them and move on. The whole point of mediation is to negotiate a settlement (bearing in mind that negotiating with a disordered freak is nearly impossible to begin with, which is why if you find yourself in this situation, bring your attorney). If you negotiate a settlement in mediation (with your attorney), then the judge will sign it, which means you are not bound by the strict letter of asset division in your state (as others have pointed out, even a required 50/50 split can be achieved in lots of different ways with different long term financial results).

        • I happen to believe in mediation. My exwife dragged out the divorce for 18 month. Had a restraining order, etc. We both had attorneys and stayed for about 6 hours and hammered out all the details. You cannot go to mediation without an attorney and a good financial plan. My sole focus was the custody agreement. Once we resolved this issue, we figured out the money. Five years on, I am nearly debt free (my new wife came with a reverse dowry).


    • *Raises hand* I do! We had 3 meditations (the courts insist you do this before the trial) and I was passive during the first two rounds. By the 3rd session, I had to “come alive” and turned into a ruthless bitch. I ran the show and didn’t care what my lawyer said. I finally told the mediator (when he came back to try and whittle down the agreement), “Listen, I know you lawyers are ready to take your lunch break, but this is MY life we’re deciding. I have have to live with the decisions we make today. And I can tell you that I’ll be damned if you think my children are going to go without winter coats so this hooker can go on shopping sprees. You tell that son-of-a-bitch that if he doesn’t agree to my terms, I will drag that whore into the courtroom and let her sweat it out on the stand!”. Needless to say, he caved.

    • Me too! Stbx & I went through mediation for a parenting plan (good mediator) then once that was in place, mediated with 2 lawyers to finish up the splitting of assets. After a year & a half the Fucktard did a 360 & started to change his mind about everything that was put in place. In Canada, you cannot use the same lawyer to mediate & litigate. Once I saw it was going to go to court, my initial lawyer told me to settle (fuck that) & the Fucktard started contacting me directly (gah!). I wasted a year and a half dealing with more mind fuckery. Now I have a new lawyer who has my back 🙂
      IMO don’t mediate. CL has it right – cake, no financial consequences & gaming the system to their advantage. They figure they can continue to abuse you. It would take me days to recover after being in the same room with asshat & being exposed to the mindfuckery yet again. No contact and my mental health are most important now. Yes, it hurts to be broke & it’s difficult for chumps to fight for themselves. One friend told me “think of it as fighting for your children as you will be the only one raising them”. Somehow, it is easier to stand up for myself when I keep this thought in the back of my head.

      • Never settle with a fuckwit if it puts your kids at risk of being raised 50% by said fuckwit.

        Think of the cost this way–you have 2 kids, say 6 and 8. It costs you $22,000 to get a divorce through because, well, you married a disordered fuckwit. Those kids are with you (minimum), 12 and 10 years more, 22 collective years. That is $1000 per child per year to increase the odds that they grow up normal and well-cared for. Who wouldn’t pay $1000/year to keep their kids safe?

    • I did it this way. It might not be for everyone, especially if you’re still in the emotional whirlwind of post D-Day. I didn’t have to disclose to ex that I had an outside lawyer, so I was able to keep from escalating the tension: he thought we were playing nice and mediating, while I was having someone else vet the agreements we were making.

      I know it’s hard at this point to remain clear-headed. Several times during the mediation sessions I had to excuse myself and sob in the bathroom. If you can, remember like they say in the Godfather: “It’s not personal. It’s strictly business.”

    • Don’t F-ING mediate! ! I have a mediation horror story. Total waste of time and money $5,000. Use that time and money in court instead. I can recount my mediation horror story if it helps folks later, just let me know, but DON’T do it!!!! These Cluster B’s snow and play the mediators with their charms and tricks.

      • I agree, Chris! I got to watch my ex flirt with and charm the mediator, to the point where I got nothing.

      • Chris, yes please, do share your mediation horror story!

      • Amen! Susannah, he snowed a court clerk so much that when I asked for a contempt hrg. in re non-pmt she said she’d give him a call to remind him! A call! On the telephone! Because the poor guy was working (f-ing & vacationing) out of state and his mom wasn’t forwarding his mail. I called Bullshit. His mom couldn’t wait to open his mail, call me to ask what it was, and then call him. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I’ve said that at least 10 times since then.

    • Off the Crazy Train: Your post led to a cascading discussion on mediation, but I just wanted to say that your description of your experience explains exactly why you, in particular, shouldn’t do mediation. It’s hard enough to take apart a marriage with a decent person you loved but can no longer live with (I’ve done that). But you are too traumatized to be intellectually present for what’s going on. Look at what you said: “I can’t focus half the time on what the mediator says (I particularly drift off when she talks about pensions), I’ve cried in two of the three sessions and I switch between being angry then timid.” You already know your STBX is a lying cheater. First, stop the mediation, You are in no shape to be your own advocate. Then, take a long, hard look at your current attorney and assess how effective that person is as your advocate. It may be better to start new, make a list of what you want to accomplish, and interview attorneys until you find one who will work for you (in every sense of that word).

      Most of all, I think you need to (as much as possible) learn to care about the outcome of the process. You will live with the financial repercussions for a long time, and if you have kids, you will live with the custody repercussions until they are on their own. And of course, so will they. Love yourself enough to protect yourself.

      • LaJ- thank you so, so much for your reply. I really appreciate that. I made that post just before I embarked on a 400 mile drive and I’ve been hectic ever since, so I’ve not had chance to participate in everyone’s responses. I really appreciate hearing everyone’s experiences. And thank you for giving me a direct response here.

        I know you’re right, even about my lawyer. I always felt she was a bit ‘neutral’ from the start. I guess I’m just worried about finding another lawyer, the lost time and investment, what she will think (I know, but I am a chump after all), and how it might look to Shitbox (almost typed his name there!) if I switch lawyers.

        I am going to start investigating new lawyers though. I’ve taken everything on board that’s been said and I can see that a lot of how I’m feeling is because I don’t feel reassured that my interests are being adequately represented. I feel like I’m on my own and very exposed. I’m going to start my search for that pitbull. Thank you.

  • Best. Advice. Ever.
    THIS is not where you save money NO MATTER WHAT.
    Read what Chump Lady has always said about paying for the best lawyer you can FIND – notice I didn’t say afford.
    Shout out to Pam Sloan in NY.
    This chump’s hero.

    • THIS^^^ Agree! Shout out to Laura Urbik-Kern near O’Hare (Chicago). She didn’t let her get away with any of her bullshit. Pit bull lawyer. Yes!

  • Ex Douchcanoe hired a lawyer before I even found out about the affair. He blindsided me with news that he retained a lawyer and was working on papers. It took me 8 hours to get it out of him that he was banging his married coworker and they had retained the same lawyer.

    But don’t worry! He and his lawyer were going to write up a nice little plan and all I had to do was sign off on it and it would be so simple. No need to get my pretty little head all in a tizzy. They would do all the work and I could just agree to it in an uncontested way. Simple and cheap.

    I literally lol-ed when he told me that and said it was a brilliant idea. Except since he was so busy fucking his coworker then I would hire my own lawyer, we would draft up the divorce and he could sign off on it. There was no way in hell I was going to simply agree to his shenanigans. He was so hurt that I thought that he was going to screw me over. Really?

    Not sure how this happened, but OW’s husband agreed to the uncontested divorce. He sounds like an idiot.

    It was a bitter, nasty, expensive divorce. I can’t say that I’m happy with how it all went down, but it could have been much worse.

    • Similar story Strawberry. Asshat X hired the same dufus attorney as married howorker and me and my attorney did all the work. But while I hired one of the best in Illinois I did not go for the jugular. Instead, it was 55%, standard in Illinois for a stay at home mom who gave up a great career. And while I sometimes wish I’d raked him over the coals for his continued narc duchery these last 7 years (sued me three times to end or reduce child support, ridiculous expectations post divorce) the day finally came last week when my 17 year old son started asking questions. And I could hold my chin up and honestly say that “even though your father lied and cheated and broke my heart and our family, I let him out of our marriage fairly.”

        • F-wit X tried to tell me it was not fair that I would keep all my IRA’s (larger than his.) Our final division was somewhere in the neighborhood of 75/25. If I ever tell my adult children what the division was of if they question if I was fair and ” let him out of our marriage fairly.” — my response will be what was fair about what he did? As I was 2 yrs till retirement.

  • When jackass left I started getting all the debt collector letters & phone calls again from new accounts he opened. I assumed I was immune since they were his. A friend told me I was liable since it was marital debt regardless of whether or no my name was on it. I got a lawyer to draw up a legal separation, told jackass I’d pay for it, all he had to do was sign. Voila, free legal for him was perfect bait. He signed off on everything. Quick & easy. Divorce currently in the works.

    • Umm,. did your friend tell you that credit that is opened (especially covertly during an affair) you may not be held liable for ANY of it? You need a lawyer – not a contract writer, but someone who will take an active interest in your side.

      I was not held liable for his credit…

      • Although you may not be held liable for the debt, cheaters debt may still be taken into account when dividing assets.

        In the UK, there is an aim that both parties should ideally walk away from the marriage with a ‘clean slate’ and debt-free.

        This is one of the things I am insanely angry about. I’ve been careful financially all my life, I have savings and rarely splurge. My shitbox cheater entered our relationship and marriage with debt he never told me about and then secretly got into more debt during the course of our marriage. None of that debt is marital or for the children. And now I’m being told I may get less because of this! Insanely unjust

        • That is so unbelievably unjust! Just nuts. In Ontario, Canada you have to be separated for a year before you can even file. But we have government standards for child support based on income. Standards that are too low imo. CL is so right! The cheater will try to screw you financially. One good thing I managed to do a few hours after d day was drain the joint account we had together before he made it to the bank. When he asked how could I do that? I laughed: “I don’t trust you!”

          • My stbx took thousands out of the savings to rent house for him and OW. I took out the rest of the savings and he was soooooo mad! I stole that money, he said! LOL I said how about all that money you stole for hotel rooms and rented house in expensive neighborhood for you and OW. Well, all that money ‘I stole’ is paying for my lawyer and hopefully he’ll be ordered to pay my atty fees.
            And then he was so mad that he had to get a lawyer ‘to protect himself’ from me – I’m so evil. No, evil is being a lying, cheating, predator.

        • So many truths in these posts. Cheater ex turned on a dime when he realized he wasn’t going to get his way early on. It got ugly and expensive. And our kids are grown. One bit of advice – make sure all joint debt gets paid off or refinanced. Although my decree said he had to pay the (then) $15k visa he has charged it up to $22k and it is seriously affectingly my credit. Attorney said as long as my name is on it and he’s making payments there is not much I can do to get out of it. It’s too much for him to refinance. I told him if he charges so much as a tic tac on it from here on out I am posting all the charges on Facebook. Really you spent $100 At me Asshole.

      • @Magneto, you’re correct! The douche had a 16k credit card that I found out about just before he walked out. The dumb ass didn’t have his mail forwarded so I started getting everything. I found out about secret bank accounts and credit cards and handed everything over to my lawyer. I wasn’t held liable for any of it.

        On Attorney’s. The first lawyer I had a consultation with was shitty. She told me that I wouldn’t get anything and spent most of our time ‘scolding’ me for being a sahm for the past 12 years. I went out to my car and cried. I talked to a friend and my family and they insisted that I go see another attorney. I was a basket case but heeded their advice. Guess what? I came out on top and he basically walked away with nothing. On top of maintenance for the next four years while I go to college.

    • I did this. I paid my attorney to draw up separation papers to address everything but custody (we had taken care of that with mandatory custody mediation.) But Asshat would not sign the separation papers because he doesn’t want to pay his part of our debt. He is using the system to buy himself more time of me paying and him living (mooching off) the OW that he moved in with before the divorce was final. So now i am waiting until October for a Judge to force him to pay for martial debt.

      These cheaters do NOT play fair and do NOT want to face any consequences. And I think he is kind of stupid or acting really well because he thinks that because the marital debt is in my name solely that he gets to just walk away. THe fights me by being passive. No crazy disordered antics. Not showing up for court is passive…but his day will come. And so will mine.

  • Thanky you CL. There are three involved in this process. You, the cheater AND the OW. Guess what? She wants it all.

    Find an attorney who others recommend. My therapist and two friends referred my lawyer. She was fair, stuck with the laws and had a reputation for representing women. I was her last client. He didn’t want my pension when we previously filed and he cancelled.

    Luckily the OW is a train wreck and his lawyer with a few years experience withdrew. Do NOT use his attornry.

    Your attorney should outline the process right from the start.

  • Ex consulted an on line legal resource. I’m fairly sure that is where he came up with his 50/50 custody suggestion. This is from someone who spent as little time as possible with his child and family. And when he did “spend time” he had his ass either on a computer or a cell phone texting whores. Someone who bragged to some whore he was “playing daddy” (you got that right, mother fucker), was “bored” spending time with his own child, and who spent all his own mental resources to help a slut turn her kid’s life away from the juvenile delinquent path she was on. Here’s a hint, quit being a whore yourself. And quit getting parenting advice from whoring married men who are pathetic parents themselves.

    • Yeah, my STBX wanted 50/50, too. He used to work seven days a week. A few years ago he started *only* working six. He worked almost every night from home after dinner. And why exactly do you want the kids 50% of the time when you pretty much ignored them most of their lives???? All of the great kid moments he missed out on, because of work and ho-workers.

  • My X was kind enough to stop by one afternoon with a book entitled “California’s Guide to Divorce.” Handed the book to me with a huge smile on his face and excitedly told me he has his own copy.
    I hired an attorney but I might have been better off using the book. I trusted my attorney, he had a great reputation. As time went on my attorney fees wiped out my bank account and I was losing everything to the X. I made appt. and voiced my concerns, I told the attorney how I was worried. He laughed and said that was his job. Meanwhile I was taking care of my Mom who was dying with cancer.
    I continued to lose miserably,I questioned the attorney again, his reply was that it’s the way it is.
    No one gets everything they want.., I remember going to court and he would look at me like he knew nothing and I would be frantically sending him notes to remind or tell him what X’s attorney was referring to on napkins. My X is a Capt for a major airline and I haven’t worked in over 25 years sacrificing my career for his and taking care of our son. I ended up owing him thousands of dollars and responsible for our debt. including $30,000.00 second on our home. I’ve never been in debt in my life. Everyone I’ve told is speechless. I feel as if I will never dig myself out of this financial nightmare. It’s as if my attorney was working for the X. I have a different attorney and he can’t believe anyone signed off on my case. I trusted my first attorney and when I went in to question him he asked if I could pay him the remainder of my balance which was thousands. I said no I had given him all the money I had. He said well use one of your credit cards.. I told him those too were maxed. Yes, I was responsible for my attorney fees. My advice is to question your attorney and don’t blindly trust him as I did. I don’t know how attorney offices operate and if his legal secretary is to blame which ever I’m physically ill over how I was taken advantage of. I have have anxiety attacks just thinking about it. X had me evicted from our home and took everything of value while he had possession of the home. I understand he has recently bought a huge new home with all the upgrades and is furnishing it with all new furniture. I can barely make it through the month. I can’t afford to see a dentist… It’s been a fucking nightmare. The thought of going to court again to increase support gives me such severe panic attacks I can barely breath. I’ve been humiliated and lost so much I fear more humiliation and loss.. I feel like I’m drowning. With X’s income of almost $300,000.00 a year, and all the sacrifices and support I gave him for over 20 years of our marriage I shouldn’t be living on less than minimum wage and drowning in debt. Debt which was incurred while we where married. Legal aid is a $40.00 consultation with an attorney who expects $2000.00 retaining fee. Taking X to court to increase support costs money that I don’t have. I’ve borrowed from family. I’m financial exhausted and feeling hopeless. Sorry for the rant.., I’m tired of being Chump dumb/

    • Brit,
      Some lawyers make back-alley deals to sacrifice their own clients. Lawyers care more about their relationships with judges and other lawyers than their mild mannered clients. It is very unfair.

      • Thats more than unfair! Thats criminal! If thats what Brits atty did, he should share a cell with her thieving ex.

        • I forgot to mention Cheaters AP is an attorney, his sister is a legal secretary. I knew nothing going into the divorce thinking honesty would prevail. X played so many games claiming illness, stepping down from his position as Capt, to first officer, “sick” then suddenly X was feeling better, next hearing to increase my support to where it was , X became sick again, this time seeing spots, then claimed disability, all to reduce my financial support. surprisingly after each court hearing to have my support reduced which he was granted, he has Miraculous recovery. By the time our next court hearing for an increase in support he’s back on disability.
          Braveagain, I can’t help but agree that some back alley dealings had to be taking place. I felt something wasn’t right. I had so many life altering events happening at once with my Mom being sick with cancer. When I had doubts and questioned the attorney he reassured me that worrying was his job.
          I have recently hired a new attorney who I hope will help me receive the support I deserve and help me untangle this mountain of bullshit,
          Thank you Kibblefree for the information, I’m going to look into it, I’ll write more tomorrow getting late here and I’m driving off. Thanks everyone for your posts.

    • Brit – this is probably the last thing you likely want to hear, because it’s what I worked tirelessly from happening for decades, but it has honestly saved my sanity, and I can function and sleep without living scared anymore, and although it pisses me off, it’s been a blessing. Bankruptcy.

      I was drowning in debt for over a decade because of the X-douchebag’s amazing rental property idea that was killing me financially. ALL the expenses for the multiple rental houses were on our (mostly my) personal credit cards. “But! We’ll flip them! We’ll only have them for 6 months, max!” So 12 years of these rental houses on my shoulders and over 25K in debt for AC units, fencing, tile, flooring, roofs, paint, sinks, etc. (NONE for my own house), I have DDay. Learned that I had wasted all my 20s and 30s on this cheating, lying douchebag. He abandoned me and our child and took NOTHING from the home. Not even a pic of our kids.

      The judge ordered mediation, during which all of the martial debt was split down the middle. The only problem was that I was the only responsible one. So, month #1 after the finalized divorce, when douche didn’t make his monthly credit card payments, it was reflected on my credit score. This went on for months, until he just stopped paying things. Only when I called the credit card co. is how I learned that he was protected from their calls b/c he had filed for Chapt. 7 bankruptcy. This also meant I was now 100% responsible for ALL the marital debt, EVEN THOUGH he was court ordered to pay his half of that debt in mediation, and on the finalized divorce documents.

      I struggled trying to pay things for 3 months, trying desperately to save my credit score, until I got a new lawyer who specialized in bankruptcy. She told me I was essentially being forced into a Chapt. 7 myself b/c I couldn’t keep all the marital credit card debt, plus the rental properties, and my own car and home all on my shoulders alone. I had earned a 770+ credit score since I was 18, and before all of this, and I kept it that way for years paying everything early, only for this?!

      Yes. God was looking out for me. I asked God for a way out and for Him to help me, but my way of doing it by struggling and suffering wasn’t the best way.

      I filed for Chapt. 7 and reaffirmed my loan on my car, house, and the second mortgage tied to my house. Since he took nothing when he abandoned, nothing about my living situation changed at all. However, by going through bankruptcy process, I save $850 per month in credit card debt for rental house crap that I was never going to get out of. The rental houses were foreclosed on, and I did quit claim deeds into the douchebag’s name only, so all the hassle of those properties goes to him. I kept my house, car, and everything in it, AND because I reaffirmed the loans, I’m rebuilding my credit. I didn’t HAVE to reaffirm the loans, and could keep paying on them, but would not be actively rebuilding my credit score. The only way that happens is by reaffirming those loans in court.

      The ONLY shit thing is that every month that I make my payments, I’m also rebuilding his credit. This is b/c his name is on the original loans. The only way around that is to rebuy my home on my own, which I can’t for 7 years b/c of the bankruptcy now on my credit report, or get new loan for the 2nd mortgage, which again, I can’t b/c of the bankruptcy listed on my credit report.

      But look at the bigger picture!! I’m free of the calls, the anxiety, and the feeling of desperation and drowning. I can sleep, eat, and actually be happy. I can now finally use my extra “play money” to buy things I’ve wanted or needed for myself or my own home, or put away in savings! I’m finally experiencing the blessings of my hard work, instead of throwing it away on debt from that douchebag’s lameass rental house ideas.

      My CPA told me that he had to file for Chapt. 7 after 25 years of marriage, but every year he’s grown his business back, and is happy. You know you’re the responsible one, and so you know you’ll rebuild YOUR credit on your own. Yes, I went through the shame and guilt of doing it, but that’s b/c our word means something, and that goes for making good on loans, credit, etc., but Brit, there’s a better way to live.

      I hope some of this info helps you. I hate that you’re living scared and feel like there’s not an end to it, but there can be. Good luck. Xo

      • Kibble-I am not sure if you are in the US-but if you are-please know that you will not have to wait 7 years after a BK to purchase or refinance a property. There are programs that will be available to you when you are 2 or 3 years out from the date of BK discharge if you can prove your mortgage payments have been current prior to the BK.

        I am actually in the credit/mortgage/finance industry & see this on a daily basis.

        7 years is actually the term for prior foreclosure if you want to do conventional financing. If you use FHA it is 3-4 years from foreclosure or short sale. Some lenders will even do loans with FICO scores as low as 580.

        New programs come out all the time to address different credit situations…… will not be “punished” for 7 years.

        Good Luck!

        • Current Chump – THANK YOU SO MUCH for that amazing info!! I’m smiling even more now! I’ve also heard not to go through a big bank for the refi, but to look into credit unions who will actually LOOK over my credit history and see that I was doing a really good job until the Chapt. 7, and that I then continued to maintain payments post BK. Do you know if that’s sound advice? I’m already at one year post BK, so I’m going to do my homework on this! You saved the day for me! Yay! =D

          • I have a friend in CO who filed BK and 3 yrs. later bought a house.

          • Kibble-You can go to a credit union, a mortgage company (they are not an actual bank) or a bank. Mortgage companies & credit unions are usually more lenient than a large bank ie; Wells Fargo, B of A, etc. Some institutions even service their own portfolios (loans) which also opens up options for financing with less than perfect credit. Fannie Mae is going to launch a program soon for folks with no credit score. The VA already has a version of this but you have to be a vet.

            Just don’t lose hope. There are options. A lot of us chumps took a financial or credit beating from the Fuckwit Tornado we had to endure……BUT it doesn’t last forever and credit can be repaired/restored. Lending institutions make constant changes to their guidelines to continue to do business and things have started to ease up since the 2007 crash.

            Good Luck!

            • Thank you SO much, Current Chump. I’ve been so happy since I read this last week! I just want to re-fi and get that douchebag’s name off the loan so I can STOP improving his credit on my dime and hard work. Thx again!!

    • Maybe you can find a pit bull attorney to sue your attorney for malpractice. Your’s certainly sounds like a case for that. You shouldn’t be in the situation you are in. Don’t give up! Ask for help and don’t be afraid to take it. Most people do want to help if we just ask. Hate that you got screwed by the legal system. It’s rarely fair like most people believe.

    • I see some suggestions from others re your situation. I hope it helps. You’re not alone, I think it happens more often than you’d think. From what I’ve seen, it’s attorney’s taking on too many cases. Get the retainer, shuffle you through. Ignore all but the highest paying.

      I was divorced in the ’80’s, the 1st in my entire extended family to do so. My parents paid, but we were mystified by the process. Lady lawyer acted like a pit bull during the consult, so my dad paid the retainer. Nightmare. My calls were not returned, x quit his 50k yr job to avoid CS, my atty left me behind to walk and laugh w/ his attorney all the way to the courtroom where somehow it was ruled he didn’t have to pay because he was unemployed. Boom, I was divorced, no cs. I was 23, wasn’t sure what had just happened and would never make a scene. Josephine Fitzpatrick was a shit attorney. Now she’s a judge. If you’re in Long Beach Superior Court, avoid that one.

      First job post-divorce? Process server, court runner. No skills and 2 kids, I got my foot in the door to learn how things worked, I never wanted to be in that position again.

  • I did get an attorney, a woman , who was disgusted by him even though I could not prove anything beyond an “emotional affair”. That term makes my skin crawl. It was wonderful in our first consultation when I told my story and for once no one wanted me to ” claim my part” in his whoring.

  • Right on, as usual. Once she realized I was serious about a divorce, my XW was adamant: “No lawyers!” With red flags a-waving, I agreed to mediation. What a joke. In our first and only mediation, it was clear (even to the mediator who looked at me like “she is crazy”) that XW would be her usual bullying self. It went nowhere.

    I then heard from a mutual friend that XW had told her I had raped her and that I was not safe around children. These bizarre lies scared me to death and woke me up: she was capable of anything and certainly did not have the best interest of our children in mind.

    I retained a lawyer, so did she, and the vicious war commenced. I ended up with majority custody, spousal support, and child support. It devastated me financially but I have no regrets. I am now protected with an airtight, detailed Court Order. Coparenting is hell, predictably, but I feel secure.

    Get a good lawyer. As CL says, “Oh, they would never…Oh yes they would.”

    • Yeah, mine threatened divorce and strung me along until I changed the locks on our condo telling her we weren’t playing the “break up game.” Getting a lawyer means cheaters can’t just make up the rules anymore. Cheater ball is over. And that will tick them off…did in my (now) xW’s case.

      Such wise counsel to get a lawyer. Cheaters lack character; so, it is unwise to rely on them doing the right thing at that point.

    • In addition to ABSOLUTELY needing a lawyer during the divorce process and once the divorce is final, do you really think these losers are going to abide by the divorce decree? The answer is NO. Another reason to have an attorney available to you at all times.

      I am over 3 years divorced and have 50/50 residential custody of kids and my cheater ex-wife is still playing games.

      Do you think that she sends me the kids school or sports schedule when she receives it? NO she does not.

      Do you think that when she goes out of town overnight for work that she gives me the “right of first refusal”. NO she does not.

      Do you think she returns my emails in regards to the kids? NO she does not.

      Instead of playing into her games, I just call my lawyer at 1-800-PIT-BULL and he lock-jaws on her ass!

      • I love this image! Somebody do a meme on this! The PB could be saying: EAT PIE BITCH!

  • As others have said, this is not the time to be cheap. As a lawyer, I was asked on multiple occasions if I was doing my own divorce since it would be free. Nope! I hired one of the best family law attorneys I knew and let them advocate for me. I won sole custody and the ex was solely responsible for all of his debt. It was absolutely worth every penny spent on legal fees.

    • Me too NotToday, I am an attorney but hired the best family law attorney I knew (and she was not cheap). My ex got so scared between her and me that he refused to get his own attorney, negotiated the property settlement agreement with me by himself, signed everything and then pretty much disappeared. The legal fees were well worth it both for the good advice and because my attorney scared him. Our youngest son was 12 at the time and he has not seen his father since D-Day, it’s been over 4 years. Under the circumstances, it is a win-win.

    • Same here. People should know that lawyers hire other lawyers to do this stuff for them. They absolutely need to be doing the same.

      Family law is not my field. I sat down to look at the initial paperwork and read up a bit on the process, thinking that I might be able to at least do some of my own pleadings and save a bit of money that way. Almost immediately, I knew I was in over my head and reached for the phone to call someone.

    • Very random and off topic: Not Today Satan, along with I Have Hate, are my favorite CN monikers.

  • The big problem I ran into was that I had so much more to lose than him financially. He hadn’t saved anything for retirement and legally half of mine was his. I didn’t want him taking half of my pension and 401k. So I probably have into some stuff just to save those interests. My plan in a year or two is to fight harder for the child support he’s not paying me once all of the marital assets have been divided through the divorce we already signed. I hope it was a smart strategy. Seemed like it at the time and I had a lawyer advising me that said I am “awfully forgiving”. I ended up with the house, and keeping all of my pension and retirement. It’s sad I had to fight for what I actually worked hard to earn, but that’s how divorce works I guess. So glad that part is over and so glad I had a lawyer. i wish somebody could explain to me how it’s “justice” to be cheated on multiple times and have half your retirement savings legally available for the cheater.

    • @Peaceful chump1111

      “justice” to be cheated on multiple times and have half your retirement savings legally available for the cheater.”

      Talk to me about it. My STBXW gets 50% of the house. And to think, she never carried 1 cent towards the bond. I paid every month, extra amounts, bonuses etc into the house. Guess what? She gets 50%… no questions asked.

      She wants the car (I’m paying), she wants massive amount for child support (aka her social spending money).

      There is really no justice… she cheated but get 50%.

      O she was clever. She nagged me for the car (6 months before she left)… and made me pay her parents loan back (from the house) 2 months before she left. She knew she was leaving.. and faked it till her ducks were in a row.

      She is now running around with the AP (we are not even divorced yet)

      • SDK, all I can say is ouch! The injustice and hurt of getting cheating on and watching your family being broken apart is probably one of the most painful things that can happen to anyone.

        I feel that the injustice is elevated when the chump (male or female) is the bread winner which gives the cheater legal recourse to all current and future assets especially alimony.

        I realize there are pros and cons to being the breadwinner just as there are pros and cons of not being the breadwinner. I would imagine that if one was to get an incredible settlement of current and future assets from the cheater that it would bring them at least some justice – but obviously would never trump the injustice and hurt of getting cheating on and having your family break apart.

        Alimony to the cheater = continued financial cake to the cheater

        • I know your pain. Worked 25 years supporting her and my children. She begged to quit her job 10 years before the divorce. Made many promises about what she would do. Never did any of it. Mostly ran around with her mother screwing off. I even taught the kids how to wash their own clothes so I wouldn’t have to do it. I gave her the new cars so she and the kids would be in the best we had. Nice home in a good school district and very safe town. I sacrificed my hobbies since money was tight. Had the house on a 15 year note. Yeah, she got 1/2 of my 401K and retirement plan. Now she will have a house that is paid for thanks to me. Also a 2013 car that’s paid for. One I bought for her while she was having an affair ( didn’t know it at the time). They are entitled fuck wits for sure! I just look at the bright side when possible. Now I will only be responsible for me when she gets old. Hell, she’s already a wreck in her mid 40’s. Multiple medications and surgeries the past several years. I won’t need near as much money as i would if I were still with her. Plus, I won’t be burdened taking care of her sick ass! I take care of myself and will now get to enjoy my older age. The divorce was just a prepayment for a better life in a few years. Look for the positive in it. Now every dollar you spend or save is for you!

          • Gah, I bought exasshole a new car with cash about 3 months before Dday, of course let him have it in settlement while I limped with my old Firebird. He got about 1/3 of my total retirement moneys because I had some in an investment account, was on track to work part time by 58. Not any more. He only got 10K out of my house, but he still got more than he deserved. At least he didn’t get alimony, the fucker tried.

    • Yes, my case was similar, Peaceful. Cheater never saved, I saved. I caved in A LOT on child support – he was making $200k at the time of the divorce, but lost that job due to stealing from his employer and the cheating and claimed, “I think I can only find a job paying $70,000, so that’s what child support should be based on”. But, I kept house, all of my retirement and my stock portfolio. 18 months later, I still think that was the best decision.

      • Totally sucks! But at least once the divorce is done we have less to worry about.

  • If you’re in the Mercer County (NJ) area and are looking for a great lawyer, please contact me. Mine was terrific.

    • Is there a list of recommended lawyers in the forums somewhere? If not, can we start one? I’ve talked to a couple of lawyers here in the Atlanta area, and was not impressed, but don’t really know anyone to ask for a referral. And my divorce will be complicated….

      • MCJJ – I’m her in the ATL area and would HIGHLY recommend mine. She is pit bull chumped herself many years ago – won’t waste your money. Don’t laugh but she is also a mediator but knows how to shut down cheating fuckwits and litigate if needed. She knows only the divorce/custody cases involving a personality disordered person go to court – and she’ll handle it!

    • Does anyone know a great lawyer in the Seattle area? Maybe we could start a thread in the Forum to recommend pit-bull lawyers by location?

      • Michael Louden in Seattle. Was recommended to me by 2 chump friends with completely fucked-up disordered exes. He is awesome!

  • Clearly as stated yesterday, my parenting plan has holes but I do not think is was the fault of my lawyer. I truly believe that we both underestimated the level of Whacko my ex is willing to go to to gain leverage. But he does not hesitate to send letters to my ex via his solicitor when his crazy goes beyond an acceptable level. Yes, Am much more positive today.
    But I am truly shocked at the shit my ex has pulled, and the need to keep me engaged in the crazy, to keep control. so returning to court in the future at some point is not fully out of the question.
    I have tried to enforce NC since our daughter ended her chemo treatment but it is now a necessity. Today I opened a new email account that only he will be given for corrospondece as up till now it has all been via Text. and he will be blocked on my phone.

    so a few thoughts,
    If you are in any way engaged in a religious organisation and they try to peddle the RIC theory. RUN! FAST!
    you are the only one who knows the reality of your situation and only you can make the decision to reconcile or end your marriage and religious leaders who cannot respect that, only have one agenda, theirs. Your faith is not reliant on your marriage or your ongoing relationship with holy self righteous bullies.

    look after you.

    • Congratulations on pulling the plug on texting. While it is a great way to instantly communicate with people you want to talk to, and who will respect your boundaries, it is an open pipeline into your life for anyone with text access. I have two female friends who would text me about their personal problems, asking for help, and would inevitably escalate into a flaming text fight. After 2 or 3 of those incidents, as well as Jackass’s bizarre behavior, I decided never to communicate by text with people who want to push my buttons–or use me to vent their frustration. And to never, ever text when emotional about anything. A dedicated email address is a great idea. And even if the Cheaterpants sends awful emails, they are just written proof that helps you trust that they suck.

  • Trust me, get an attorney. After D day, I saw an attorney that week, which was the smartest thing I have done. ExN wanted to see an attorney together and settle this together because, “That’s what adults do”. My response, “Get your own.”. He suggested this because he didn’t want me to find out ALLLLL his sins. I had to get a court order to get him out of the house, I found out he forged my signature on loan documents for his business and on a deed for a large piece of property that he had recently sold, making the deal null and void.

    When that came out, he then went for full custody and child support.

    I thank God for my attorney, who not only secured a good settlement, but also let my ex dig his own hole and we came out smelling like roses.

    If they are going to lie and cheat during the marriage, they will lie and cheat worse during the divorce. Get an attorney.

    • He forged your signature on a loan for his business and on a deed for some land?! Unfrigginbelievable, this guy will stop at nothing. What a con artist and charlatan. Sorry you had to go through that.

      • I was a wealthy landowner and didn’t know it. The guy he sold the property to is as shady as he is. I would have loved to be a fly in the wall when he had to fess up to his actions.

  • This x 1000. Like. Thumbs Up. Favorite. Heart.

    Not getting a lawyer probably cost me $20k. Minimum. I was so chumpy (and just beat down), I didn’t even get it in writing. Because, ya know…she “promised”. Lol. But I did get the dogs, so fuck her, I still won.

    • Scotty–The loyalty and love of dogs after you’ve suffered a cheater is worth $20,000 x 5. You won.

      • I agree with Tempest…You definitely won Scotty !
        First my XH fully expected me to sit down with HIS attorney and settle everything through him, was livid when I didn’t.

        And though I got my own attorney, I was still so entrenched in chumpdom after 34+ years, battling cancer, then sitting in a hospital for 2 weeks watching my Dad slowly pass away and in less than a week from that sat down in mediation, couldn’t think straight….just wanted to bolt and run. It lasted 11 hours. And I don’t remember any of it, except trying desperately to fight for my kids. Wish I had found Cl before that, found that kick ass attorney….I didn’t..I got taken.

        He walked with everything that mattered to him, sport car, boat, business, money becauae without them he never would hold on to his AP….But I got the kids, so I’m richer than he will ever be.

  • I am dealing with the fallout from this now. I of course got a kick ass attorney but my new husband didn’t when his ex wife left him for his very rich best friend. She did that software thing and he just signed it and she wrote that she gets no less than $1000 a month child support. She has a very successful hair salon now that she owns. She hides all her money and claims that the both of them only make $4000 a year. She had the kids on free government health insurance. One kid ages out in a year but I think he’ll still be paying $1000 for one child cause he didn’t get a lawyer

    • NoWire – if you’re not going through your county’s child support office, get that going. It will equalize things, and will be based off of hard numbers and documentation, instead of what that hoe thinks she should get. I know we’re talking about paying $ to his child, but let’s be honest, that hoe lies, and that $ isn’t going to the child. Better for your husband to keep more of his own money and spend it on his child when he’s in your personal care.

      Some of the things requested of me from the beginning of the process seemed repetitive and ridiculous, but it’ll save your sanity in the end.

      See, in the divorce, I played nice and didn’t garnish his wages. Why? Cuz I was a freaking Chump! I did the “when are you going to deposit the child support check” thing for a year. The x is an untrustworthy douchebag, and my lawyer said, “file the documents with the child support office today. This is over, and list me as your representative. It’ll get things moving faster.” She was right. Within 6 weeks his wages were being garnished, and it allowed me to go total NC. But…I delivered every single document they needed quickly, and made calls to verify things using a super sweet attitude, and it all worked.

      A few months ago, HE filed a request with the child support office to re-review the numbers b/c he had a different job and thought he could get away with paying less. We just had the formal meeting two weeks ago, and funny: because of the numbers this office demands from both of us, he owes me about $3K in back pay, and the child support amount per month stays the SAME!

      Stop hassling with this whore, and go through the state office. If your ultra-responsive and provide things quickly and have a super positive attitude with the overworked staff, you’ll see results. Good luck!!

    • Best revenge in this case is report them to the IRS. It can be done over a 1-800 number without any requirement you leave your name or information. They love to audit hair dressers!

      • This is awesome! And we all know that hairdressers who make $4000 a year can afford to drive porches and go on lavish vacations. I love the idea of reporting them to the IRS. I will keep the 1-800 number in mind, he he he.

  • My STBX isn’t a Narc – she has some features, but not from being a Narc – but is very entitled, hurt that I am divorcing her and wanting to drag things out.

    She is therefore impossible to deal with. We made her an offer. She refused to respond. We tried mediation (at her suggestion) and I gave up after 3 sessions as I was sick of hearing “but I am entitled to….” without making any offers or compromises. She begged me not to issue court proceedings and her lawyer convinced my lawyer to let them put in an offer. After months of promising something, they eventually made an offer that gave her 160% of our assets, I would borrow 60% of the value of our assets and give it to her, walk away with -60% of the estate and she would take 90% of my current income for the rest of my life (even after I retired and was earning far less than I do now). And then she issued the court proceedings she begged me not to start and did so before we even responded.

    Folks, we are dealing with first class Fuckwits here who want to feel in control and superior. They manipulate through mediations and negotiations and then issue proceedings because they can claim “woe is me, he made me go to court” to family/friends or whatever else the fuck their agenda is.

    So I have lost 5 months by not issuing proceedings. Well, we’re in court now (a “victory” for her as she issued) so we have a path to getting done. Best thing is to let the lawyers bring it on home and not leave it to an amateur (ie me).

    • And being the Chump I once was, I offered her way to much in the beginning which she is now trying to stick it to me with. Go hard with these Fucks and don’t think they will act reasonably. They have already show they really don’t give a fuck about you, so expect that to continue.

      • My lawyer was very upfront, even though then-H and I were attempting an amicable divorce (before I found out he screwed the equivalent of the Dallas Cheerleading Squad), “You are now in an adversarial relationship with your STBX.” I was taken aback at the time, but truer words were never spoken. Cheaters do not have your best interests at heart (or they wouldn’t be cheaters).

        • I hope you counter file with something as ridiculous as hers. As in, she gets nothing and can pay you. It’s just posturing. Your attorney should have a pretty good idea of how it will play out. Just remember, if she didn’t get it in writing, it means nothing. I was very chumpy in the beginning as well. I backed off that shit fast when i figured out who she really was and fought for what was mine under the law. Don’t think it’s fair since she is a liar and cheater, but i can’t change the laws. You have to quit being nice and get ugly to get their attention.

      • FSTL, ask your atty about counterfiling if you have grounds. I’m sorry you went through that. I tried negotiation too but realized in time it was useless. I live in a fault state, filed for desertion, adultery and domestic abuse, not necessarily in that order..

        Jedi Hugs! Hope you get a good judge, you may need a new lawyer cos the one you have should have realized you needed to file a while ago. Mine didn’t, I had to insist.

    • WHAT?! She got 100 % of everything AND you had to go into debt to give her another 60% because…? And 90% of your income? Was she balling the judge? Please go back and fix this outrageous mess or else she is being rewarded for being a greedy whore. Thats YOUR money, not hers!

    • THat is crazy !!!

      But your STBXW sounds like mine (entitled to everything, wants everything). Mine also wanted to negotiate , tried 3 times with her… every time she just said no after 1 day. I just stopped… now the lawyers must do their work.

  • “Criminal, Employment, Tax, and extra socially awkward — Patent! Avoid those sorts,”

    Yep. CheaterHusband is a Patent attorney though most of his work now is as a criminal defense lawyer. Which is funny considering he was fucking escorts. God I wish he had been caught and lost his license. My attorney told me that we could use that against him if I had proof but all I had was his word against mine. Wish I had recorded him when he confessed. Mostly wish we had never met in the first place. *sigh*

    • Yes! Record them when they are “so sorry” and starting their long series of d-days.

  • Things I was told by my cheater:
    – You can’t have the house
    – You have to sell the house or give me half of what someone I hire says it is worth
    – Half your retirement is mine
    – There’s only $2000 in my business bank account, that’s all my business is worth
    – We’ll split all the family expenses 50/50
    – All we need is a mediator to draw up the document

    What my attorney did for me:
    – The house is mine, I refinanced and assumed payment
    – His business is worth way more than $2000, so we traded that value for my $150,000 in retirement savings, since he never saved a penny for the future
    – Custody may be 50/50 but he pays 60 percent of expenses
    – He must pay for their medical insurance
    – I get a small child support payment each month (my attorney says “to remind him every month what he did”)

    See the difference?
    Total legal fees for me, just under $5000

    • Man, $5000 is *table stakes* for a lawyer here. I’m trying to push everything through pro se with the damn workshops. Where does one get the money? I’m considering paying $500-1000 for an hour of advice, but that $5000 min retainer is daunting.

      • I had to borrow the money but it was a good investment. I asked every divorced person I knew for the name of a good attorney. I then interviewed them and among my questions was “what can I do for myself to make your job easier and keep my bill to a minimum?” Anyone who said “nothing” was off my list. I redacted my own documents. I completely organized all my bank statements, tax returns, etc. in order with tabs in a three ring binder before turning them over. I included a 12 month spread sheet of my expenses with my financial affidavit. I handled the process server when they screwed up serving the papers. There were things I could and did do but when we had to go to mandatory mediation having my attorney to act as my backbone was worth every penny. The insurance thing was totally her idea, and it was a surprise to me, one that I love considering the cost of insurance and it’s likely annual increase every year!

      • I used a credit card for the initial retainer, figuring I’d pay it off with the proceeds of the sale of the marital home (no way could I afford to keep the house). As the divorce dragged on and the legal fees mounted, I used the credit card to pay the lawyer a few more times. Ultimately, X’s “men’s rights” lawyer offered to split ALL the credit card debt (I know!). I was also using the credit cards to pay for the college tuition of our oldest kid, the expensive meds for our middle kid, and the various extra expenses for our youngest kid. I used MasterCard a whole lot. He later tried to renege, but it didn’t work. The credit cards were all paid off from the house sale proceeds before we split the remainder of the proceeds.

        I’m absolutely not advocating financing your way through life with a credit card, but needs must, y’know?

        • Always use a credit card for the retainer, the one with the best points….in fact pay for everything with a credit card that has rewards and pay it off every month. Easy way to track expenses and get free money off what you were spending anyway.

  • I am a attorney and a former practicing family law attorney at that but I STILL hired an attorney! You have to do it. All that “one-size-fits-all” legal software out there gives me nightmares. It will be expensive and it will suck and you won’t get everything you want and maybe not everything you need but you WILL get a much better deal than if you rely on your fucktard STBX to treat you fairly. If our ex’s were the type to play by the rules and/or live up to their obligations, we’d probably still be with them. Since I am an attorney I anticipated he was lying out his ass when he said he would cooperate fully in the divorce process but even I was stunned at how hard he worked at dragging things out. The divorce went on months longer than it needed to (our kids are adults so no custody or child support issues) simply because he refused to communicate with his lawyer or sign documents or do anything, really, on a timely basis even when doing so made financial sense for him. As an added bonus, having all communication run through the lawyers helps with NC and keeps the crazy at a remove.

  • I went to mediation, tried to be nice, lost have of the money I saved, and half my pension to an abusive cheater. Spent 20 years cleaning up his messes. They only reason we had a house and money was because i saved, while he spent on himself and his girlfriends.

    I thought I had a tough lawyer, but it was bait and switch. They advertise the tough guy, send a tiny, demure female to the mediation who rolled over as soon as we walked in. She was late, had another case that afternoon, so they just wanted to make it happen quickly. Mediator even told me I was getting off easy since I didn’t have to pay spouse support.

    But, I am free of the idiot and happy now. When it came down to my decision to finally get past my fear and divorce him, I had decided I would rather live in a box on the street then one more day with him, so, all in all, I am doing quite well.

    I am sure any money he got from me is already spent and he is in debt. I still have savings, a great paying job and I will recover. He will just go on getting more in debt and making dumb decisions. It could be worse. I could still be with him.

  • Another ploy in the cheater handbook at least here in MD is called “collaborative divorce” — don’t do it ! Why would you “collaborate” with a lying cheating SOB ? My ex actually was surprised I wouldn’t do it !!! Another good strategy — find out who the best divorce lawyers in your town are & have a consult w/ each of them —that way asshat can’t use them !!! I didn’t do it – but I wish I had !!!!

    • Completely agree sephage!

      Mine wanted to “do it on our own”, then mediate, and was outraged when I required that we go through this with lawyers. He lied his way through five top notch financial planners, lawyers and divorce professionals but thank goodness they were there to protect my interests and helped me reach a fairish agreement out of court. That experience was expensive, traumatizing, but I got divorced in record time for my state.

      This started the clock for future negotiations as we share a young daughter. Thanks to CL and CN, I am documenting his actions and damage to our daughter every step of the way, and will go straight to aggressive negotiations in court the future.

      New chumps, cheaters are compulsive entitled liars! To entitled liars, fairness to their chumps feels like oppression. They do not believe you deserve anything from the marriage and most of them would be most happy to see you and kids live in poverty if that means they can keep more money. They know chumps will put their kids’ needs before theirs and will make you feel guilty even trying to protect your own interests.

      This is why there are laws, because entitled people do not play fair. This is why there are lawyers, to help you know your rights and fight for them as much as feasible.

      So please do yourself a favor, especially if you have young kids, invest in a good divorce lawyer that specializes in high conflict personalities and a kick ass therapist. I was lucky to find a really good therapist that got paid through my work’s benefits program.

      Borrow your way through this so you can get a fairish settlement, the money you spend now will save your sanity for many years to come!

      • Amen, Chumptitude. You are mighty!

        FWIW, my first comment above was more-or-less exactly what I told my cheating STBXW when she asked me “so, are you saying that you want to mediate?!?”

        Wishful thinking on her part, I suspect! 🙂

    • An attorney / friend yelled, “HE HAS NO CREDIBILITY!” after being approached by X with some agmt. Atty was pissed off, quite over my chumpiness.
      From that day forward, after a year thinking I could keep it from getting ugly, I yell it to myself. What was I thinking? It was ugly from the word ‘go.’ When you start out ‘borrowing’ your wife’s car for a ‘business trip’ and end up living out of state with a hog, the ugly line is drawn. I replaced my dunce cap with a helmut.

      • Oh yes mine “borrowed ” my car too–he was supposed to be selling it on his trip which turned out to be a shopping excursion with his OW/NS. POS!!!

  • Bad Lawyer Red Flags:
    He/she doesn’t take notes.
    He/she says, “Don’t worry about a thing; I’m the one you’ve been waiting for.” (-nope, you want a plan)
    He/she blames you when things don’t work out.
    He/she has gossipy/critical staffers.
    He/she doesn’t stick to an agreed-upon timeline.
    He/she can ‘see your ex’s side of the story too.’
    He/she neglects to read the documents you give.
    He/she doesn’t plan much ahead & wings it in court.
    He/she pressure you for money without first presenting a plan.
    He/she makes more promises than sense.
    He/she insults you for believing or investing in marriage.

    Lawyers in America by law cannot drop clients mid-suit without good reason. However, some lawyers get away with a lot. Some lawyers do not defend their clients.

    • I’ll add to your list BraveAgain:

      He/She has a crappy email account in which half of your emails go to her ‘junk’ folder. Therefore she is contacting you telling you she is waiting for information in which you sent her a week ago.
      He/She leads you to beleive you have a case of dissipation when your x was clearly giving himself a $2000 allowance every month, then when you actually hire the asshole – he tells you that you cannot claim dissipation.
      He/She has you sign a quit claim on the house but fails to mention that the party (asshole) getting the house needs to refinance to get your name taken off the loan. Therefore, when you are looking to buy a house, that much debt is sitting on your credit.

    • BraveAgain, words of wisdom, (no surprise), I can check off just about everything on this list of what happened with the attorney I hired.
      Wish I had this list back then.

  • Excellent advice! I actually fired two lawyers. One wanted me to file needless paperwork and the other was trying to retire and just wanted me to give in. Then I hired the best bulldog lawyer in my city. I told him my story and presented evidence I had (much of which was illegal for me to have – privacy violation). Within 2 hours he came back with an awesome strategy and sent cheater’s lawyer a letter. The letter stated that it was time to play hardball and give me what I want or have to turn over embarrassing bank statements, evidence of cooked books from a restaurant business cheater partly owned with his sister, and incriminating photos of cheater picking up street prostitutes. It was enough to piss cheater off and let me keep my full 401K as well as half of the household items. There was no trial or drawn out process. The process was finalized in 4 months. Yes, it cost me a little more up front. But hiring a smart, bulldog lawyer may save you money and time in the long run and make the cheater back down early.

  • This is great advice. I don’t practice in this area, and it was hugely beneficial to have someone who did and could give me a realistic evaluation of my case and advice on the do’s and don’ts while the divorce was pending. She knew what information was important and what wasn’t, so was able to keep me from wasting a lot of time in areas that were not going to benefit me much in the end.

    I also think chumps are sometimes too benevolent in the early stages and need someone to slap you in the face with the reality that this person (in my case, a long term serial cheater), did not value you and has been swindling you for years – so stop worrying about her and worry about YOU and your kids. My attorney was a short and feisty Jewish woman who had been practicing 25 years and, from experience, accurately sized my EX up in the first visit (of course, I was still in denial of the scope of her infidelity). She had seen our situation so many times she sized everything up quickly and accurately. She was worth every cent.

  • On D-day, holy shit was I broke! Ass-nugget had siphoned a lot of OUR money out of OUR shared bank account. He got a lawyer and wanted me to share the same one and split the cost, to which I said, go fuck your mother.

    So I found a lady lawyer in town who charged $6,000 up front to get the ball rolling. As we’re talking, she said, “I like you. I’ll charge you $3,000 and you can pay me $100 a month. So every month I slip an envelope with a smiley face on it in her door. By the time I get to $1,500, she sent me an email stating I was paid in full. The woman was a fucking saint. If it wasn’t for her, I’m certain I wouldn’t have my house, which I now rent out. 🙂

    So see . . . happy story. There really are good people out there.

  • I also highly recommend seeing a lawyer if you’re not married, to find out the legal situation of living common-law. I went to see a lawyer and was thrilled to find out that in Ontario, the laws governing marital property do not apply to common-law spouses. If we had been married, fucktard would have been entitled to half the appreciation in the value of my condo during the time he lived with me. I would have had to sell my condo to pay him off! But I was dismayed to find out that he still could have sued me for spousal support because I made more money than him. Thankfully he moved to another province (where the lawyers would likely not be able to file a suit in Ontario) and/or was too dumb to see a lawyer to realize he had that right.

  • Unicorn here. I led us through a DIY divorce, with only a few bumps.

    But, before you think this is a good idea for you, please consider my circumstances:

    –My wife and I had only been married for 4 years.
    –We owned no real estate.
    –We had no children.
    –My wife showed a remarkable lack of interest in legal and financial matters for years.
    –My wife never, right up through our signing of the final settlement agreement, actually believed I’d divorce her. She considered herself soooooo amazing that I would come around eventually. So, she went through the process without a plan (just like she banged another man without a plan). Ever the optimist, she assumed all would work out and we’d end up back together. I f*cking blew her mind when we met to sign the final settlement agreement.

    Did I get hosed? It’s possible that I somehow didn’t know she had some money hidden. But given how little we earned, whatever amount she hid would not have been worth fighting for. I’m actually quite confident how well I came out of the process.

    So…I can only recommend a DIY divorce if you have the unique circumstances that I had. And even then, I did get a couple of forms wrong, which were corrected by the Court. But in those instances, it become clear that *I* was the one in the driver seat. My wife was optimistic/oblivious, and she mostly did as asked.

    It was, actually, a nice change of roles.

    –For the prior 6 months, she had been in the driver seat, having an affair and manipulating me, taking advantage of my trust and understanding. She’s good at lying and manipulating about matters of the heart, and I’m not good at playing those games. Advantage: wife.

    –And then, when the divorce started, she lost that advantage. Of the two of us, I’m the one who handles financial/legal matters. She has little interest in them and doesn’t know how to handle them. Advantage: me.

    Good luck to all of you going through the process now. It hurts financially, I know. I’m not thrilled with my financial position if I look sideways at my married peers. But, when I look backward at my long-gone marriage, I’m quite happy with my financial position and what I’ve built in the 2 years since my divorce was finalized.

    You’ll be able to do the same.

    • I’m glad this worked out for you, JC. Just want to reiterate that these circumstances are very narrow. Many states won’t allow a DIY divorce if there are minor children involved. And it’s to the disadvantage of a lot of women who weren’t the primary earner to try to go DIY. The QDRO and pension forms are mindnumbingly complex.

      Even *with* a lawyer, I did a whole lot of the legal legwork. In the end, I was glad to have done it because I was completely clear about what the Marital Settlement Agreement covered. X never read it and assumes it covers things it doesn’t — which is not. my. problem.

  • CL, what do you say about those divorce lawyers that purposefully stoke the animosity in order to bank more hours/money? They do exist. And they may look like good, tough family law attorneys for a newly minted chump.

    • The saddest thing my xh did was hire a bitch of a “fighter!” attorney, – who recommended he go to the police and “report” them – for finding out where OW lived – and now my daughters will never speak to him again.
      I mean EVER.
      One getting married in July – dad does not even know, nor is he welcome. Great sadness in my heart, but I agree 100% with her decision.

      Did he really think he could treat his wife like this – abandon his kids – and then “someday” they would run back into his daddy arms?

      My xh was a pathetic mess of a narc, his attorney was greedy – I bet his bill was 2X what mine was –
      (Even though my guy was WAY TOO reasonable, got trampled many times -) at least I left with integrity.

      and my kids
      saved the family pets
      sold the family house myself (after marketing)
      bought a fixer upper – invested $20,000 re appraised at $100,000 more than I paid 6 months prior…
      and I am mighty…..

    • Get a referral from someone who has used them. Check their status with the bar. (You can see any dings or ethics violations). Ask another lawyer who’s seen them in court and respects them.

      That said, the best lawyer I had divorcing my cheater was someone I found locally on line. I liked her because she went to Cass Tech HS in Detroit and Wayne State to college and she’d been a litigator. She had a kind face and I thought she was probably a bad ass given her pedigree. And she was. Very kind and VERY tough. Sometimes you just have to trust.

      But if someone is jerking you around, not returning calls, or whatever you find upsetting, don’t be afraid to shop around or have a very clear idea of your boundaries.

      I know unethical lawyers exist, they’re people. But things CAN take awhile. And if you’re dealing with a stone walling, disordered person, things will drag out and things can get expensive.

      Frankly, that’s why I recommend someone who knows how to play hardball and deals in high conflict situations. The people who cost a lot, are the people who try and mediate with the crazies, IMO.

      You want to save money? Find someone who will cut to the chase and hammer out a deal, and starts deposing affair partners when the cheater gets stroppy. JMHO.

      • I have to say that my divorce got real for my (now) ex when she and her shmoopie were deposed. Best money I spent in my divorce. Having them both on record as pleading the 5th when asked about each other was akin to an admission of guilt (according to my lawyer). Also was nice that my ex admitted to the many previous affairs since the statute of limitations had run out on those. Highly recommend depositions in high-conflict cases with fucktards. Not much fun for them. Of course, I was deposed too. But when asked about MY infidelity (projection don’t cha know), I could look her lawyer in the eye and tell the truth that I hadn’t been with anyone else since I met my (now) ex. That felt good.

      • I have what might be a stupid question…..but does anyone know if these “divorce financial planners” are only for high net worth individuals? (Wealthy?)

        • it’s about 60-40 in my practice 60 percent are women have been chumped or are just trying to figure out how to get through their divorce day by day and definitely are not flush w cash.

          I see them on a pay as you go basis– just paying for the time used each time we tackle something but w a big picture over view

          One thing to beware of is someone who wants to ‘help you free of charge with your divorce planning in lieu of managing assets or 401ks you might get later in the divorce’. This is a conflict of interest and could cause them to help you negotiate for a settlement that might later benefit them financially.

          Ive included a post that has a list of questions you can ask that will help you find a Legit planner w a clean record and experience. They should always have a letter of engagement and give you a written plan

          Look under the ‘association of divorce planners’for a list in your state as each state has different laws

          Good luck

    • or, DM, lawyers who drag things out because you’re not a high-conflict, going-to-court (and hence lucrative) client, and so other clients take up their time? I filed pro se (then hired a lawyer), had ALL the necessary documents for discovery, and opted for a 50/50 division of assets to get out of the marriage quickly. But I couldn’t get my lawyer to draw up the final decree until I informed her that if she didn’t hurry up, my X was at risk of a sexual harassment suit that could cost me those marital assets.

      Be assertive when it’s necessary.

  • Definitely get a lawyer! I didn’t have much money put aside when I decided to file for divorce in 2010. I found out that a large law firm in the area offered free seminars on divorce. Went to the seminar and learned a lot. That led to a free consult with someone at the law firm. I knew I didn’t have the money to retain them, but was able to gleen information from them. I interviewed three more firms. Most law firms offer free consultations, so I used those consultations to get more info and get an idea of what the lawyers were like. I went with the lawyer a friend had recommended. He had dealt with my special type of narc in the past and I knew he would fight for me. I gave him his retainer and asked if I could pay him monthly. He agreed. He helped with custody and child support the first go round. When I wanted more support, he suggested I do it myself to save some money which I did and I won. (Idiot’s lawyer was so impressed with the job that I did that she wanted to offer me a job in her firm.) When idiot took me back to court to get his payments lowered, I took my lawyer and ended up getting more support than he was originally paying. As my lawyer and therapist have said in the past, my stbx is the most stupid person either one has ever encountered. Although he knows how to play the game. Six years later we still don’t have the assets split. He refuses to turn over his 401K and pension information. So after years of trying to get the info from him we will be seeing him in court this summer. I hope the date is a Tuesday.

    • I met and had free consultation with FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY within 30 days of DDAY. It was hugely helpful as the attorney heard facts and gave me idea of what courts would typically do in our case. I DID NOT MOVE FORWARD ON POSTNUP FOR ANOTHER 9 mos but what I learned in THAT FIRST MEETING WAS CRITICAL TO HOW I LINED UP DUCKS.

  • CL has given excellent advice, as usual.

    As soon as I realized x was cheating, I told my friends, and I received an attorney recommendation from one of them. He specialized in divorce, had his office across from the county courthouse and had been in the business forever, knew everyone, was a ‘good old boy’.

    My x used an attorney who was from a different county (didn’t know the judges in our county) and he was not a specialist in divorce.

    Many times during the process, I had the sadz and told my therapist that my attorney was asking for too much. He said “You hired an attorney to represent you, stay out of it and let him represent you.” I ended up with a fabulous settlement.

    During the 6 weeks from D-Day until I found a place to live, x would come into the bedroom in the middle of the night to say to me “Please don’t leave me, the lawyers will get everything” alternating with “Please don’t leave me, we’ll lose everything we worked so hard for”. Nothing about “I’m sorry, I love you,etc”. All they care about is themselves.

    My advice is: get a lawyer with a reputation (one who is local MAY make a difference like mine did) and let them do their job, remain No Contact and take care of yourself.

  • Yes, you need a lawyer. Now.

    Another thing that was helpful for me and will be helpful for a lot of chumps is to buy TWO copies of the book “Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder”–one for you and one for your lawyer. I gave a copy to my attorney and told him it was a gift (but I wasn’t going to pay him for his time to read it). Chump Lady has it on the Resources page.

  • If you’re in the UK I recommend wikivorce if you think that your finances are straightforward and if you are in agreement.

    The one good thing about my husband was that he felt the same way as I did about spending our money on lawyers. I did my research, proved to him that generally speaking the parent who gets parental responsibility (which he was prepared to shrug off onto me) is the parent who gets 60 to 70 per cent of the marital assets. I kept the house so that our children would always have a home and would at least not have that part of their life disrupted. He kept the pension and some other property. On child maintenance I get a laughably small amount from him, but that’s because he chooses to do some badly paid work rather than getting a proper job. And we’ve used the CSA calculator and he pays me what the calculator says would be enforced on him.

    I have parents who lawyered up for their divorce. The lawyers made them even more combative than they would have been and they spent a fortune that they couldn’t afford divorcing each other. (About £100k in today’s money). I’m afraid that my experience of lawyers is very negative. In every encounter I’ve had with a lawyer, from writing a will to having them certify my identity for something or other, I have had to correct their sloppy work. When my husband rewrote his will I had the good sense to demand the lawyers amend the lines where he was leaving everything he had equally to his children. I told the lawyers that our 4 children had to be named on the will.

  • Great advice. Get a lawyer. Having seen some friends go through this I would also add the following advice:
    1. Don’t settle too soon. You might want him our of your life but this affects your future and your kids. Think of your future earnings and pension and get the best and longest lasting deal you can. If you lived together before getting married this can also count towards settlement.
    2. The family home – you might love it but it might be a money pit. It might be better for you to agree to sell it rather than stay in it. Don’t feel shame at having to move from the large family home into a small rental apartment in the short term. Even if you have kids. They just need somewhere where they are loved and can relax. You’re the parent and you have to make tough financial decisions sometimes for the future good. What’s good for you financially is good for them in the long run.
    3. A good lawyer will be worth every penny. You can always communicate just through the lawyer and they can help take the stress out of the situation.

  • I work in the courthouse, dealing with self-representing litigants. Every day, EVERY DAMN DAY, a woman stands before me crying. Heartbreaking stories: she signed a waiver because he told her he’d take care of her and the kids. Uh, no. That global waiver meant she didn’t receive notice of the hearing; when she didn’t show, he got custody. Or she agreed to a geographic restriction and now can’t move. Or she didn’t understand the QDRO, or the SPO, or the IWO, or the owlty lien or whatever.

    Not everyone can afford a private lawyer. Women and men who have no resources and no family support still deserve access to justice. If this is you, please call your county courthouse and ask about legal aid, volunteer attorney programs or at least, the local lawyer referral service. Most states also have an extremely helpful legal website. In Texas, it is, and their mission is “helping low-income individuals solve civil legal issues.”

    If you break your arm, you need a doctor. If your car engine blows up, you need a mechanic. If you have a legal problem, you need a lawyer.

    • Great advice Eve! Thanks for chiming in. I am taking this info directly to a friend.

    • The state web site in CA is informative. Special Narc planned his exit well. Neither lawyer wanted work so they just sat back and watched the circus. Ex knew the courthouse staff as he worked with them. I was a mess, worrying about the kids’ future while Dad was flying to visit his schmoopie out of state every weekend. New pussy is THAT good, lol. In the two years it took me to divorce Shithead he had forced our dream home and property into foreclosure (this while making 100k+/year), stole all the money from savings, disippated his 401k, bought and sold expensive toys to people in our community and handed out scholarships (from son’s trauma fund) to pad his narrative, and was doing everything he could to bully me. “Our” mortgage was one fifth of his pay but one and a half times mine. He walked out on all three of our kids’ college expenses and held their medical insurance ransom. Walked out on the joint household expenses. So much easier to ditch the family. A judge at one hearing granted me 70 dollars a month for alimony. This on a twenty year marriage. I wrote out most of the MSA but there was so much I didn’t address. His attorney basically copied it word for word. My lawyer was out of her league. I refused to pay one penny towards his whoring credit cards though. Looking back ex was on a roll probably two years well before he asked me for a divorce, lining up those ducks. Fucktard vandalized the home too right before I moved but I called the cops and had most of the fixtures returned to the realtor. Seven years out and the QDRO still needs to be completed. I am waiting for the judges to retire and am a miles away from disordered. I was very careful in those two years of separation as ex was unstable and have to this day saved all documentation. Would have met with a qualified divorce financial analyst if I could do it over and then taken it to trial. I would have gotten a better settlement. Or blatant evidence of wrongdoing in family court. I wasn’t the only woman in a long term marriage screwed over. Clearly there is no such thing as a fair settlement when you are divorcing a Cheater.

  • I know my situation is different because my X and I didn’t have kids together, but if you’re considering getting married or otherwise pooling your assets, what I advise is getting a pre-nup. We were together for 11 years (not married), then bought property together. THAT was the point where we signed the pre-nup, saying all property was separate property.

    Having the pre-nup made everything much easier 9 years later when she went off the rails and dumped me out of the blue! I was very grateful for that piece of paper because I could just walk away with all my assets intact – savings, pension, etc. I could even smile because I bought out her share of our property which has now appreciated 25% at least.

    • Blue, the more I read here the more I’m convinced that people need serious financial counseling before marriage. They need to learn about basic property law, about taxes and wills and estate, about credit card liability, about how divorce works, about Social Security, etc. That sounds pessimistic, I know, but if you want into a business deal, you would want to know about business law, including bankruptcy. Now, I will never, ever get married again. Ever. And protecting my finances isn’t the only reason for that decision but it’s a major one. Not knowing how these things work is part of living in the denial bubble–“It will never happen to me.” In my case, being in relationships was always connected to my fears of managing on my own economically, and it is indeed tough today for people to live on one income if they are anywhere near the average income in the U.S. But here I am at age 64 managing perfectly fine on my own, albeit chipping away at my meager retirement nest egg in order to meet unexpected house expenses. Because I know I’m on my own, and have left the bubble of denial, I have a plan that is well-thought-out and depends on nothing more than being able to work pretty much forever, which I don’t mind at all. But the best gift for those kids getting married? Financial Intelligence.

      • It’s definitely not pessimistic– it’s realistic. I call it the ‘no-nup’. Most of the problems arise because 1- not only did you marry an entititld her but 2- financial expectations were not discussed prior to the marriage

        Before the first stick of furniture is co-mingled, couples should have the talk. Expectations about work, savings, who does what in case of long term unemployment or illness. Know what your liability is in your state too. How many people write here — I had no idea I would be responsible for (fill in the blank)

        Is it unromantic? Not really. Bc if you can’t make these decisions prior to marriage when every one is on their best behavior, there is little chance you will be able to come to an agreement figure it out when things have degraded and you realize you’re with a cluster B

      • Lovedajackass, I am in awe of you. I am learning how to navigate this ‘alone’ life and greatly appreciate your knowledgeable posts…thank you!

        Chump Lady and Chump Nation is an invaluable resource that NEEDS to be more accessible, more…OUT THERE…you know what I mean? …I used to work at the local Chamber of Commerce and we stocked local kiosks, etc. with pamphlets on local attractions, businesses, etc…TRACY WE NEED PAMPHLETS! …I really want giNORMOUS billboards (and Tempest’s stockades, and I think fire ants would be a plus!!! IAN! Where are you DUDE!!!!)…but realize that is not feasible…but pamphlets…that is doable…right? This INVALUABLE information needs to be OUT THERE.

        LET’S GET IT OUT THERE! I’m word of mouthin it…but…that is NOT ENOUGH! Chumps are LOSING…they NEED TRACY AND US!

        • Tracy, you give me the information you want on a pamphlet and I WILL create a pamphlet that we can all print and distribute. Is that doable???? Chumptitude, I will probably need your help posting it for all of us to use…K?

          …I just love all you people! WE ARE MIGHTY! 😀


          Let’s save lots and lots more!

      • I agree we all need to teach our children about these fucktards and financial intelligence. Mine managed to blow/steal half of our life savings and I am now fighting to get half of what remains. He also refuses to give me back my inheritance as i (stupidly) invested it in marital assets. Chumpiest of chumps?putting faith in my marriage and in a disordered POS! I figure my losses are right at about $350000 a huge sum when I am already 55. He is with ns/sugar mamma so has no worries… it sucks and I wish I knew more 5 years ago the first time I caught him cheating. Education matters.

    • Smart Blue. I only wish I did that before putting Saddam’s name on my deed and later marrying the asshole. each move was to get my shit, I should have stood strong on my desire not to marry since there were no kids. but no sad sausage would ask what would happen to him if i died. why in hell i didnt just write a will I’ll neve know….wait, he might have poisoned me. See, woulda, shoulda, coulda can often be wrong

      Jedi hugs to ya’ll

  • My advice…ask around. Get the most badass attorney. Luckily, I have a friend who is a court reporter. She told me which one she would use if divorcing. Don’t let your cheater make you feel guilty, buy the best. Mine thought of everything (things I would never imagine to put into the agreement). Worth every penny!

  • One of the HUGE problems in our marriage was X not working, quitting any good job, spending $$$ on stupid shit like booze and smoking- you get the picture! When I decided I’d had it with his cheating, of course we were broke. Luckily for me, my father offered to finance my exit out of this Funhouse. I said thank you! I don’t normally like this level of help (divorce ended up costing 10 K), but I felt like the dumbass was killing me.
    When I met with my attorney for the first time, I was suprised- she looked about 20 years old! But, as we talked, I could tell she was going to be great. A natural Pitbull. When I told her that X was saying I’d pay him alimony, as I had just started a new, better career, she laughed and said no, we’ll show his historical earnings. No alimony! All through the process, she was great, her office staff was great, and they got me what was fair. I didn’t want the house anymore, even though I completely renovated it, because X always brought his insane Ho there when I was working, to fucking play wifey in my kitchen (and bedroom). No thanks, I’ll start over! We forced the sale of the house against his massive objections, and I got most of the profit! I think he pictured me paying him alimony, so he could retire at 56, and chase women all day. What a loser.
    This – All.Day.Long –
    cheaters have a vested interest in a) cake b) no financial consequences and c) gaming the system to their benefit.
    So, get a lawyer, accept help from family if that’s what it takes, they offer because they love you! They want you to gain a life!

  • Thank God for at-fault divorce states.

    If you live in one of those, can prove fault and they have the financial means, ask that your soon-to-be ex to pay for your legal fees!

  • This is a great post today. CL should do another post about “post-divorce documenting EVERY mis-step The Cheater makes”, particularly of you have kids with the fuckwit, your settlement agreement is now your BIBLE. Memorize that fucker and adhere to it. That’s why it’s so important to have a great lawyer in divorce – you’ll be living by that document the next 20 years of your life (if you have kids). Cheaters will NOT adhere to it, so you’ll have to document every mis-step in case they take you back later for “post Divorce modifications”.

  • To repeat what has been said here, do not mediate. I tried that and the end result was only delays and more unnecessary contact with the cheater. She wanted a quickie and cheap divorce, it was obvious that the whole situation (affair, split-up, divorce) had been premeditated. My ex wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed but when she showed up at the house with shared parenting plans, division of asset worksheets, and dissolution paperwork that she wanted me to fill out; it was obvious that this had been on her mind for some time and I was being set up.

    At first, she didn’t want the house, my pension, alimony or child support, she only wanted out because she said I was “such a bad husband and father.” She literally said that she just wanted out. I thought we had reached a fair ‘mediated’ agreement that we could both live with. As time went on, she would try to change the agreement because her affair partner and others were coaching her. Eventually she wanted the house, my pension, and child support, but didn’t want custody of the kids. She was the one who cheated and she thought I was going to pay for her new lifestyle while I was also raising the kids. Fuck that…I got the best lawyer, who came with a great recommendation from others in my profession and we confronted her stupidity whenever it arose.

    I got a much better deal than I could have expected, and she showed her true colors by leaving town (and violating the court order) with a new boyfriend before the ink was even dry on the dissolution. I saved the house, 95% of my pension, and am moving toward getting my financial affairs in order. I will be able to retire 17 years from now and not have to eat dog food for every meal.

    You can not and should not craft your own divorce, leave the divorce to the experts and you work on healing.

    • This. This is good advice, thank-you. My cheating husband has an astonishing ability to charm others, especially on first meeting. After awhile, though, people start to see the chinks in his persona, and it all goes downhill. I realise now, that over the 20 years of our relationship, I have expended a lot of energy covering up and hiding his dark side from friends and family. (This is not working in my favour now as I watch, with and without surprise, friends who know about the affair (in some kind of deluded denial about the obvious: his true nature) trying to ‘support’ both of us…). This post and the comments here have confirmed that because of who he is, mediation will not work for me. I am scared to file for divorce, though, as I know what he is capable of, and that the system does not always give the innocent party what is fair and just. So hard.

      • Hard, but much better than staying with a liar and cheater for the rest of your life!

  • I look at it this way: a doctor (when needed, and the best possible) for my personal health. An attorney (when needed, and the best possible) for my personal business. There have been times in my life when both of these types of people have been the most important person in my life, as far as my future was concerned. I have never regretted putting max effort into finding (and paying for) the best, in either case…even when I didn’t think I could afford it (or didn’t want to afford it) or was tempted to try to get by without it. Look, I’m pretty smart…and smart enough to know that what I don’t know could hurt me (and those I love).

  • As a lawyer with arguably greater access to other lawyers, I made the mistake of hiring a women lawyer who did NOTHING but give my stbx and his gf ample time to build us their war chest and steal my money. At the first (and last) four way, my lawyer didn’t want to ‘make him’ angry by trying to get him to agree on a certain amount to pay for the stuff he charged and the money he owed me. She made ME pay his car loan, car insurance, medical bills and the amex charge in my name that he charged up!!! He didn’t even pay his part of the mortgage! Before the four way, I kept calling and emailing my lawyer because I wanted to meet with her before hand to discuss the issues. She never answered until the day before and then said she was too busy to meet with me! So i fired her ass and hired a lawyer highly recommended to me by two other lawyers. He was just amazing. He was really an advocate for me. He pushed to to serve the dirtbag. He pushed me to file for temporary relief (and had me draft the papers so I could save money). I heard him yelling at the dirtbag’s lawyer in the hallway of the courthouse: “ASK ELLEN. GO TALK TO ELLEN.” (I am Ellen) when his lawyer said it was all my fault, I spent all the money, he couldn’t retire because of me, I earned more money than him (a HUGE lie). He got me a temporary order for support, which was done solely as a tactic to make the dirtbag give up, which he did. My lawyer, who is the past president of the county matrimonial bar association and practicing more than 39 years, had my back. We did not do a forensic evaluation because dirtbag had a cash business and the lawyer’s ‘gut feeling’ was that we would find nothing there. I agreed. The lawyer said: I will give you the same advice I would give my sister (except you will pay for it). Get done with this guy. He’s spiraling down. I’ve seen it a thousand times. Get done with him. And I did. I would text my lawyer at night and on weekends, thinking he wouldn’t answer until the next day or on a workday. But he always answered me. I cried in his office and he comforted me. Yes, he billed me but he gave me professional courtesy and didn’t even bill me for other things. And guess what? He was chumped thirty years ago. His wife abandoned him and his 18 month old daughter for someone she met in a bar! He has been remarried a long time now, happily, but his ex remarried three times after. He said that he could go back to ‘that’ feeling in a minute, but he chooses not to. He said so many hurt people going through divorce want revenge and spend all their money chasing it. But I gave up and I am glad I did. Yes, I can support myself. Yes, I lost 2/3 of the marital income. But now I can focus on rebuilding. The moral of the story: GET A LAWYER IN THE COUNTY WHERE YOUR DIVORCE IS PENDING (really, really important) and GET A LAWYER EXPERIENCED IN DIVORCE!!!! I have sent two people to him (including one who got a really confusing and ambiguous agreement through mediation) and they are really happy. And one more thing- really important- IMO mediation is not appropriate for chumps like us- not only because we are chumps and will give away the store- but also because our exes are disordered and will play the system to screw you. LAWYER THE FUCK UP.

    • This advice, here, was worth every penny you paid this man: “The lawyer said: I will give you the same advice I would give my sister (except you will pay for it). Get done with this guy. He’s spiraling down. I’ve seen it a thousand times. Get done with him.”

  • Sorry for the typos. I also want to say that NY is a no fault state so all the shit he pulled meant nothing in the divorce. Nonetheless, I felt great pleasure detailing it in my application for temporary relief. I think the reason I did get an order for money (for 6 weeks- really?) was because my attorney knew the judge and law clerk really well, and dirtbag’s lawyer, who did not practice frequently in the county, yelled at the law clerk and said shit about me (that wasn’t true)

  • I don’t want to be a downer, but sometimes it just doesn’t matter in the end. My divorce cost $30K in attorney fees. Ex didn’t even hire an attorney, that was all on my side. He eventually agreed to a very fair settlement, then did not honor ANY of it. He owes me $43k in support arrears, has never contributed towards son’s medical expenses, never paid me the settlement owed on our marital home (which he got to keep, never paid the mortgage and foreclosed), I never got my half of his 401K (which he withdrew and then doled out to me as support money then used the rest to pay his living expenses.)

    As he has remained mostly unemployed for the six years since then, with occasional stints at temporary, part-time, minimum wage jobs, and has become more and more delusional over the years, I know I am never going to get the money he owes me. It would have been a lot cheaper, and the end result the same, to have simply used divorce software instead of the pit bull attorney. But my ex is an extreme case, and for those of you with more-or-less sane cheaters — those who actually remain employed — it’s definitely worth paying for an attorney.

    • GIO, I agree. I’ve had a couple of friends whose husbands didn’t do anything the courts asked them to, moved to another state, drained retirement funds before anyone knew what was happening, and work on a cash basis. Apparently it can be pretty hard to make someone comply if they really don’t want to. The only thing one of my friends can hope for is getting some of his social security when she’s 62. To make matters worse, he left right after he discovered she had a terminal neurological disease, after 35 years of marriage. So she can’t even work. She lives on $700/mo disability and the kindness of friends. She’s constantly having to fight arbitrary reductions in her food stamps.

      A local lawyer basically represented her and had the judge assign her charges and all debts to my friends’ ex, so at least she didn’t get stuck paying all her ex’s debts. The lawyer did this knowing she’d probably never see a dime from the guy. It’s truly amazing what people can get away with.

    • I’m playing the same game with mine. They promise you the moon so they can get free and then do nothing to honor their agreement. And where is the court in all of this? All he has to do is cry “I’m poor” and they fold like a dishtowel. Where is the fairness? My X had enough to buy two businesses, remodel his house from top to bottom, build a party room, a pool house/gym and install and inground heated pool. And, now he can’t pay me??? Believe me, I feel your pain.

      • Family court does nothing to true deadbeats. Nothing. If the deadbeat is willing to go from a $100K stable career to basically homeless to get out of paying support, the court does nothing and the deadbeat is not punished in any way because all the judge cares about is how much money the deadbeat makes at that moment, not about the fact that s/he intentionally THREW EVERYTHING AWAY to end up destitute.

        Don’t even get me started on the state child support agency, completely worthless. Mine occasionally gets me money when ex works one of his temporary jobs that isn’t under the table, but beyond that, they do nothing whatsoever to go after him.

        The reality is, if your ex doesn’t feel like paying what the court orders, even what S/HE AGREED TO, and s/he is willing to go to extremes to avoid cooperating, they are going to get away with it and the court is not going to care or help.

        I am pretty much “meh” over the staggering level of adultery, lying and general sociopathy my ex pulled during our marriage and afterwards, but I will never entirely lose the rage over the financial rape he pulled on me and how easily he has gotten away with it.

        • My situation is a lot like GIO’s. I have spent over $80k in legal fees in court and still am not done with the divorce that my STBX demanded nearly two years ago. (I asked to settle out of court, but he consistently has refused to do so. Most of this money I have spent has been used toward my defense from STBX’s false allegations of violent crimes against our children and him. According to STBX’s false testimony under oath, I molested one of our children, attempted to rape STBX, and stole several of his documents while living with him). Although I think that the money I have spent on the retention of my THREE legal teams is probably mostly wasted, some of it may have been wisely used. If I had not hired my first legal team when I did, three days before my STBX took me to court on false allegations, I may have lost a very large portion of physical custody of my young children. Now, I have almost all of physical custody. I cannot put a price tag on time with my children. I will be forever grateful to one judge, who has not been on my case for 1.5 years as he was moved out of the circuit, for seeing through the BS my STBX uttered in court 1.5 years ago. One piece of advice for chumps seeking legal counsel–the rate advertised by an attorney does not necessarily correlate with quality of representation. I surmise that sometimes a cheaper attorney will do a better job than one that charges a very high rate. I often think that my current attorney, who charges $300/hour, does a better job than the ones that charged me $450/hour and $500/hour. I surmise that conscientiousness and concern for one’s client often trump experience in law (and probably in other fields).

      • Annie can you put alien on his house? If he sells you get the cash he owes?

  • Another thing. Take all that the law allows you to. Don’t think they will appreciate any kindness you do. They will tell everyone you are a bitch/prick who took everything they had. If you’re going to get blamed for it you might as well do it.

  • My theory: The narcissistic cheater asks for a divorce (or precipitates one) because he or she wants out the relationship to be in a new relationship. However, the outcome, namely that you will NO LONGER BE IN THE RELATIONSHIP, does not register until you are dividing assets and custody. Bizarrely, the assumption is that s/he will have all of the old supports (dual income, childcare, dinner on the table) without any of the required inputs (fidelity, respect, legal marriage). The nastiness of the divorce stems from trying to preserve the part of the relationship s/he liked and feels entitled too. Because they feel it should be so, they behave as if it will be. Only an external force, i.e. the weight of the legal system, will show them otherwise. And the legal system will only give you what you ask for. So get a lawyer to ask.

    My problem: Getting my overburdened lawyer to follow through.

    • Please get rid of the overburdened lawyer. Shop/interview for an attorney that can take your case and follow through. There is no problem with changing if you’re not getting results. You would not retain/keep any other professional you hired if they couldn’t follow through. Think plumber. You want the s..t gone!

    • @NHG Mom , you nailed it.

      I see my STBXW in the exact same light :

      ” Bizarrely, the assumption is that s/he will have all of the old supports (dual income, childcare, dinner on the table) without any of the required inputs (fidelity, respect, legal marriage”

      She wants to live like she did (dual income) but without me.

  • I’m wondering if any of you have any guidance or advice about what to do when your ex won’t respond to attempts at reaching a divorce settlement agreement? My ex (who basically left me for a twat he works with) filed for divorce last January and sent his “offer” in August, and my attorney and I have not heard from him since then (we sent over a counteroffer in October or November). I have a feeling that he is purposely stalling but I’m not exactly sure why. My attorney doesn’t respond to my emails or phone calls and instead communicates through her secretary, likely bc nothing is happening and she doesn’t want to waste my money. But I would like to be informed about what is likely to happen and what recourse I can/should take. I feel so trapped and wish I could just get him out of my life! Any guidance would be appreciated!

      • My lawyer had to threaten a “motion to compel” numerous times. XW would still miss the deadlines, but they did get action.

        • 3 motions to compel and a motion for sanctions over 18 mos in my case. Get it rollin’. All the while it doesn’t, I promise you, he’s shifting assets, hiding and or buying – pretty much doing as he pleases. And. you. will. suffer. for. it. Go, girl, go and get it done

      • Crapweasel’s attorney took a lot of vacations, had to cancel for funerals (plural), and generally held up the process in a ‘friendly’ way. I was having none of it. Told crapweasel to ‘get his fat girl’s ass in gear before she vacays again’. I was so fucking done with their bs.

    • My ex was flaking out entirely and took months to get a lawyer and only when I actually served him with divorce papers. How we got this thing to end- quickly- was to file for temporary ($) relief, and even though I only got a court order for 6 weeks, with leave to renew, my lawyer was right in thinking this would push dirtbag to settle. He was right. Ex showed up in court on day we were going to renew the order and he signed the settlement agreement. This tactic worked- fastest divorce ever- filed in September, signed agreement in January. Ex would NEVER has served me, hired a lawyer or signed the agreement if I didn’t have a smart lawyer who made me push him. File papers against the MF and see how quick he signs. It’s just another thing they are not good at- details- so use that advantage to get done.

    • If you have not filed for divorce already, do it. Never wait for negotiation of aAny kind, file fast, file first. You get a court date and the fucker has to settle or go to court. yes, they can get a continuance so make sure your atty is good arguing against that shit. If your lawyer doesn’t respond to you fire the atty, period. If your atty is telling you it’s cheaper to mediate, fire them

  • If The Coward had had his way, we’d have mediated. I’d have full custody of the kids, and would beg him to cover half of all their bills, and maybe he’d throw a couple bucks my way if his shriveled little cheapskate heart agreed with the expenses. You know, or not, just because he could. I would itemize it all, and then he would say he never agreeeeeed to buy them new clothes or let them drive a car.

    Fuck that.

    Get a lawyer.

  • All this reminded me of a funny tidbit . . . my X was such a cheap ass, he didn’t want to pay the $40 to have me served. He actually texted me telling me I had to drive to his lawyers office across town and pick up the papers.

    What a fucking tool. My lawyer got a huge chuckle out of that one.

    • You sound like you were married to my brother. When he opened his wallet moths would fly out. It was a running joke in our family. As my mother used to say, he was as tight as a fishes bum and that is water tight !! 🙂

    • Ex, a peace officer no less, himself tried to serve me the divorce papers at home. Uh, WTF! Legally he could not serve them but that’s entitled for you. Rules don’t have to be followed. He was a bully during court proceedings as well, a fantastic actor though. He had tampered with my car earlier in the year so I was hyper vigilant those two years, afraid he’d get rid of me sooner than divorce me…so I did my best, balancing it all. Do be careful Chumps. Pay attention to your gut. NC protects you.

  • My X wanted us to use the same lawyer, so I went along. He left it to me to find the lawyer and do the leg work. So, I did. I found a lawyer and paid him the fee that he wanted to retain him for myself. He had my X served with the papers at his work. SURPRISE!

    I would like to say that it worked out in my favor, but my lawyer was too busy and never had time to do the leg work for me. So I ended up sifting through all of the financials that we had to subpoena to get because my X never once turned over a piece of paper that the court ordered him to do and never got in trouble for it. He had a shyster for a lawyer who lied at every turn.

    My X at one time, to delay proceedings, charged my lawyer with a “conflict of interest” and wanted to start the proceedings over again saying that I couldn’t have the lawyer because he had discussed “things” with him before he knew he was my lawyer. The judge threw that one out the window, but we had to have a “trial” to clear it up … more money wasted.

    We finally came to an agreement almost 2 years later. Part of the agreement was a settlement that would take him 5 years to pay. We are within a year of it being done and now he is saying he doesn’t have the money to pay me so off we go to court again (we have done this so many times, I am sick of it.) He bought a house, refinished it top to bottom, built a Party room, a Pool House/gym and an inground pool. He has purchased two businesses and redone them top to bottom (a hardware store and a restaurant). He is getting married to snookums in July, but he can’t pay me.

    When does a judge say enough is enough? I’m not convinced that any lawyer, any judge will ever do the right thing by a chumped person. It seems to me that they are just in it for a paycheck and if you want anything done, you have to do it yourself. Then throw yourself at the mercy of the court. I just have visions of going to court in June and having him plead “I’m so broke I have to represent myself” and get away with it. I am within $12,000 of being free of him and I can’t get there. And, no, I’m not going to walk away. He owes me and he made the agreement with me. I’m going to do all I can to see that he lives up to it. HA! He’s a liar and a cheat. Live up to an agreement? He couldn’t live up to the first agreement that we had (marriage vows).

  • My divorce cost 17k and that was for under a year of work and two lawyers. I got 100% of the debt, he got his business, I got the house and my 401k. How that shook out in the end, I don’t know. But I am free. Our son was grown so, thankfully, that wasn’t an issue. I do feel that my lawyer was unusual because he took a personal interest in my case. I really think that he believed I didn’t deserve what I got and he just wanted me to be done. If the lawyer is not advocating for you (as my first lawyer wasn’t) then it’s the wrong lawyer. The two people I know who went to mediation with their cheaters ended up screwed.

  • Sorry, this is a hot topic for me. The courts are so overloaded, they just don’t care. It’s not like any other practice of law. The end of no-fault (here in NY) ended whatever sense of fairness there was in dividing assets and maintaining status quo during the divorce since courts no longer consider the situation that ended in the divorce. All these cheaters get rewarded for hiding their assets and burying them in schmoopie’s ass (among other places).

  • Sorry, I meant the end of fault divorces and the new no fault law, ended accountability for the dirtbag spouse.

    • No-fault should be for couples who mutually decide to divorce and can work out their problems in mediation. Cases involving Infidelity, financial fraud, crime or addiction, abuse or abandonment should go through a different process in order for the victims to be compensated. No fault removed the stigma from divorce, whereby people who just made a mistake could dissolve a marriage without having to make up “fault” and then testify in court, exaggerating the problems in the marriage so some “master” could say yes or no about the divorce. That system in PA at least was also a horror show. But the “reforms” went too far.

    • no fault divorce has gotten twisted. the reason it was put in place is that women were unable to get out of abusive marriages. Certain types of men found a way to change the laws into the crap we have today…

    • We did have fault divorces when we divorced (Il has since abolished it). My lawyer, however, told me not to file under adultery because the judges look at women who file that way as “feel sorry for me” and tend to side with the men. So we filed under Mental Cruelty instead because that is somehow more acceptable. Still kicking myself. I wanted it on the record that he committed adultery and should have been willing to look a judge in the eye and say, “Bring it on!”

  • I assume every state requires both parties in a divorce to provide a financial disclosure. In my state, it’s a multi-page form that asks for every detail of your income, job, education, earning ability, assets and liabilities. My ex literally waited until the last day possible to turn it in, and even then, brought it to my attorney at 2:00 in the afternoon. Instead of the legal form, he provided a sheet of paper with handwritten notes:

    “I wrote a book, income $0”
    “Occupation is actor, income $0”
    “I have a website, no income”

    He pulled similar stunts every step of the way. At one point, he was ordered by the judge to pay my attorney $3K as a penalty for obstruction. Of course, he never paid it.

  • I went to mediation, as is required in my Cali county, and it was a total waste! The absolutely useless mediator couldn’t even get my name right! I had my lawyer demand we wouldn’t use any of his useless crap report. Judge complied.

    Nevertheless, lawyers in no-fault states like CA are pretty resigned to the fact that you’re going to plug figures into the dissomaster and then argue about the little crap. I stuck to my guns and got most of what I wanted, including child support of $1000 per month. But I did have to manage the lawyer somewhat and tell her I wouldn’t give in. I found some websites that had some advice that I used to frame conversations with the lawyer and give me ideas like ask for legal fees when then-STBX asks for something to go to trial. He backed down immediately when we pushed back like that.

    And this is so timely because just yesterday, he was apparently having a hard day at work (awwww, poor sausage) and decided to take it out on me. Because, you know, it’s all my fault he lives in a shitty apartment, has no girlfriend and I have the absolute nerve to take $1000 of his dollars every month. Stooopid fucker has never paid a single medical bill (two surgeries plus braces plus daily prescription meds for Jr.), a day of camp, an hour of after school activity or a thread of clothing. And that same $1000 has not changed one red cent since our divorce 12 years ago. I figure if I went back to court now, it would be doubled and I could get back payments for activities/medical bills. So, when he started in on the you-bitch-you-got-your-money song and dance, I said, “I’m hanging up now” and did. Moron. /end vent

    • Yes in CA the Dissomaster can only be used for the initial spousal support calculation. Permanent spousal support orders are not supposed to be based on the disso. It IS used as the basis for child support. Child support is not negotiable. Some can pay more but never less than the formulaic calculation. That’s why 50-50 time share is so popular.

      You do have the right to review each other’s tax returns each year and go back and modify support orders if they remain the jurisdiction of the court which child support normally is. Again, another time and money suck of Our no fault community property court system here in CA. But do the math and if you think you would get double, I might try it, if I could make my expenses back in a responsible period of time. There are disomasters on line where you can do the math without consulting an Atty to see if it’s worth while.

      • The dissomaster drove me bananas. My attorney ran it based on one county and his ran it based on another. They act like it’s almighty, but each tried to tweak it in their favor.

        BTW, I won. Not much, but still worth not caving on.

    • Hi Blondeness. Can you recall what websites you used to help you frame your conversations with your lawyer?

  • My cheater ex tried to go the mediation route with someone who wasn’t even a mediator! She was just a paralegal, and had even “worked” on a number of his fellow police officers divorces. Did he think I was a friggin idiot?! He even had her draw up a settlement where it basically said he walks away without us splitting anything, other than proceeds from our house (after almost 14 years of marriage). I ran to an attorney! No way was that cheating, lying mother f***er going to get away with that. Leaving his wife and kids with no repercussions, hell no. Basically, I paid out the yin-yang but it was worth it! I got half of his retirement and his thrift saving accounts. He got half of mine too, but he has a heck of a lot more. I feel I deserve it for being married to him and having our children. ANYONE READING THIS, GET AN ATTORNEY! Yes, he will get mad. Yes, he will try to buy you off. Yes, he will try to intimidate you. But stand your ground like I did and don’t communicate with him other than through e-mail or your attorney.

  • Hey, just a heads up – do not fall for a “COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE” or engage a “COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE ATTORNEY”. If your spouse is a narc-cheater, you will have just given them keys to the kingdom.
    There is nothing to ‘collaborate’ about with a liar and cheater, though they’d just love the attention. Get on with it and retain a pit bull or she bitch.

  • My x-hole, after devastating me even more with false reconciliation and a DDay 2, thought we would just download some official papers from the internet, sign on the dotted line, and be forever friends. He texted me after he moved his shit to the married OW’s house with the text that “we would get together soon and discuss our next step.”

    Little did he know that the next step was for me to contact an attorney and to serve divorce papers on his ass. He was furious and texted me some bullshit about “how could I do this to him?” I didn’t see him that day, but from the text I am sure his blood vessels were bulging out and he was about to blow a gasket. Best. Day. Ever.

    He wanted to pretend that he was going to be fair and equal…but when push came to shove, he turned quickly and showed more of his true colors. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

    I am so thankful for my friend (before I discovered Chump Lady), who took my hand and said to me, “Get an attorney, NOW!” Listen to my friend and the all knowing CL…get a lawyer!!!

  • I’m jealous of all of you who can use the affair in court! They don’t allow it in Florida. (I won’t make any Florida jokes, but yeah, these people cheat a lot, moved from another state and my STBX cheater cheated with a REAL TRASH Florida slut SKANK. Yuck. I’ve got video, photo’s of the whole thing. Worthless.

    • WonderNoMore, if the slit skank is also married then give her husband the proof. In Florida if you cheat you get zero alimony! Help out a fellow chump! My ex had an affair with a married woman from Florida. Seems that state is just loaded with cheaters! Her husband negotiated a divorce in record time and inserted a codicile that stops her alimony even if she has a roommate who buys a can of beans for dinner! Once my Ex moved in with her the alimony stopped!

      • ”Slit Skank’, I love the nick name! She is divorced. I do plan after my D is final to let her Ex know she broke up my marriage and is now involved with him, so he can keep an eye out if he stays over her place. Waiting though cause I don’t want to piss him off while we are negotiating.

  • I’m with Chump Lady on this one, Chumps!!!

    When the Evil One said he was “done” with our marriage and refused any attempt or even suggestion of marriage counseling, trial separation, etc. I didn’t confront. I remained silent and before we even had that conversation, I had had my D-Day– again, remained silent — on a Saturday, that Monday, I contacted HR and changed beneficiaries, contact insurance, etc. and changed everything…a month after the talk, he moved out.

    He had already had several OW’s (2 I can prove) and was already dating the current OWhore for a few months– again, I remained silent and never suggested a lawyer, divorce, though he did– he was adamant that he A) wanted 50-50 custody/visitation and B) pay me nothing, but did not speak of hiring an attorney or filing for divorce.

    For those few months, he was dating OWhore, and was an outright bastard piece-of-shit Evil Fuck, again, I never challenged, confronted or threatened to do a damn thing (I’ve watched wayyy too many Dateline’s, 48 Hours, Snapped, etc and knew better than to threaten anything)…and just like I figured, he finally realized I wasn’t going to do a fuckin thing but live my life without him, and raise our daughter and went to a fucking lawyer, had the papers drawn up and told me I would have primary(full) custody of DD and he would pay me child support. In short, I waited him out— I knew he figured that I would get sick of waiting for him and file against him so he could look like a victim of crazy ole me, dumb-ass!!!

    Papers were drawn up and I read them over and told the lawyer I wanted X, Y, and Z added or I wasn’t signing shit, and I wanted exactly how much the Child Support calculator on Alabama’s Child Support website I was entitled to. He blew up, but as I remained calm and stable, he did a 180 an hour or so later and agreed to my terms. The papers were drawn up the following day with my corrections and they were filed the next day. Forty days later we were divorced on MY terms and HE paid for it and 60 days later he married OWhore —hahhaahaha, dumb-ass fuck.

    Stay mighty Chumps!!! As a free consultation lawyer told me, “You don’t have to sign shit unless it’s everything you want because that stupid asshole does NOT want to go to court!!!”

  • That’s right! They don’t want to go to court! I told my Ex that I would have no problem at all marching his Schmoopie into court and having her deposed for the record! He was in a panic and so was she! I fully intended to also have her Ex husband subpoenaed to attest to the fact that he divorced her because she was a serial cheater but he finally was able to prove it and divorce her in record time. I fully intended to nail his and her ass to a cross because I was so pissed. He wanted mediation and I didn’t, but in the end my attorney assured me that she would get him to fold and boy did he! I got the house, the car, all the investments, 80% of his TSP, his life insurance policies and, well, I got basically everything! He had zip. Last nail in the coffin was a “no downward modification EVER clause.” He signed it and my mediation went quickly. My lawyer and the mediator were so ecstatic, they said that each of them had been practicing family law for over 30 years and had never seen such a sweet settlement. My Ex walked out of the attorney’s office looking like a beaten dog. He had to make his way back to the hotel room where Schmoopie was waiting to show her his finalized settlement. I only wish I had been a fly on that wall, but I was out enjoying lunch with my attorney and celebrating! Schmoopie had tried over the course of their affair to basically strip me of everything and I have all the settlement offers with her writing in the margins. She was a ballsy little Ho! According to my Ex all she talked about was getting our settlement back into court so he could get more assets. He had to repeatedly show her the no downward modification he signed. I guess it made for some epic fights between them.

  • Not sure what differences are between English and American processes but I wanted to go for collaborative law. Here in England that’s when you land your lawyer thrash out the agreement with them and their lawyer. My lawyer was expensive but good. She saved me far more money than she cost. Shel looked sweet but was ruthless when she needed to be. Getting good legal advice and a smart advocated was really really important. I didn’t want mediation as I didn’t think it was a balanced discussion.. She had planned. She had divorced before. Not an equal contest.

  • It’s all fine to negotiate AFTER you file for divorce. Once you do that there is a court date, that means the asshole has to settle or pay for at least one day in court. Your call but over and over again horror stories of trying to negotiate whether it is mediation or collaboration. BTW, Saddam refused to put down a retainer on his attorney so she sent a letter to the court explaining she was not his lawyer. The reason they need the retainer is because they are legally bound to represent you once they agree to do so.

    Also, Saddam used the lawyer that wrote this book called . The book sucks and she is no collaborator, she is a vicious person though. Go look at the reviews and see if you can figure out which one is mine. LOL. Maybe you’d like to leave your own review….make my day! heh

  • I foolishly gave my ex a few thousand dollars during the pick-me dancing stage after D-Day, which he used to go overseas to fuck shmoopie some more. Be ruthless, chumps. I could have really used that $3000 to move cross-country and rebuild my life, but hey… you live you learn. I recognise that the emotional pain at the time was crippling, my world was imploding and I was yet to process the cold, hard fact that my life-partner was essentially a completely different purpose. A cruel, selfish, immature narc who was endangering my life in order to embody his idea of being “vibrant person” with shomoopie. Learn from other chumps chump-nation, LAWYER UP AND GET AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. We’re here for you. You can do this.

    • Corrections: ex-life partner (AMEN!)
      Completely different person (not purpose, although that too 🙂 )

  • “Better get a lawyer son, better get a real good one.”
    Even if you are not sure you need one, sit down with a really great lawyer. You will know they are great because you will want to be him/her when you grow up. You are looking for no nonsense, get the cards on the table, known to be a biter.
    If you are in Melbourne Australia- I have the contact you need. 🙂

    In all seriousness, a sitting down with a capable lawyer before you do anything else gives you some clarity at a really crappy time and you will already have traction if you need it.
    I am of the opinion that you should save counselling for yourself, if your POS wanted counselling they would have used their words instead of their zipper..

  • Sooo, here is what I did, formerly having done divorces myself: I quietly gathered every single bit of evidence. Hard drives, financial, pictures, everything, and gave it to my mediator lawyer. You see, I also had a high conflict lawyer, salivating to eviserate the () former hubby. I gave H a choice: sign the Agreement giving me everything I want, or I am going to PUBLISH every single bit of evidence I have, and sue your ass from here to hell. Meet Mr. Bulldog, here. He signed it. He could not have his kids and business associates knowing the truth, which BTW, was really really embarrassingly, reputation ending bad. Then the mediator stepped in and got me divorced hippy hoppy.

    You cannot be wishy washy with these people.
    If you are in Mid Atlantic, I have some names for you.

  • denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I’m teetering between the last two, but OH MY F’ING GOD – the truckload of crap my previous lawyer and her and her lawyer almost made me choke on the rest of my life.

    I don’t know which was better – the original article or the comments which followed – I love all of you for making me laugh hard…the first time in a long time…at the truth behind everything each of your contributed.

    It’s f’ing “go time” and my God – you’d think she’d have *some* inkling having been married to me, right?? – there is no middle ground. there is no “optimal outcome.” there is only kill or be killed.

    And, not to be a total dick, but this is “family law” as was pointed out – it takes a certain type of person to become a lawyer in the first place, but a real creep to go into family law. Time to find my kind of creep;) A flesh eating zombie crossed with a rabid alien type of creep. If there’s no winning, then I want a small bit of satisfaction at the blood left on the floors;)

    If you’re like me – keep looking for sites like this and groups like this – don’t keep trying to be a “good person” and hold it all in. It’s more than normal to have your daydreams a la…

    Go to town!

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