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Do-It-Yourself Mediation Is For Suckers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before I continue — a few caveats.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This column ran previously.

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  • My STBX feigned contriteness until I asked for a post-nup… which was “against her principles”. Staying married to an unreformed cheater was against my principles, so I filed for divorce.

    She asked for mediation, then used it to string things out “to give us time”. When she said that, I instructed my lawyers to file for a financial order. Her lawyers convinced my lawyers to give her a few weeks to make a reasonable offer. 3 months later she offered to take 180% of our assets (she wanted me to borrow money to give her 80% more than what we currently owned – I would start divorced life with huge liabilities and she would have a free house) and then she filed the same day. Total power play / fuck you on her part.

    Best to just file and get on with it. If they’re serious about being reasonable, they can make an offer at any time. Mine refuses to as she won’t let go and wants to continue the mind fuck of being entangled with her. Only courts can bring it to an end. Let them do their job….

    • They can make an offer anytime. Yep. They could. But Match Girl won’t. I’m lucky. She waited out the 90 days (now nine months out). And she never was contrite, blissed-out, or even decent. Just full-on ostracism and obfuscation. How could I not see who she is?

      Just beware. Match Girl hasn’t even provided discovery or answered interrogatories. My lawyer is up her ass like a tick, but if they don’t wanna budge be prepared for unending agony.

      • exasshole didn’t answer either, judge slapped him with contempt of court. I had a settlement a couple of weeks later cos he didn’t want that charge. Good luck!

        • Dat,

          Thanks. I can count on you for a kind word.

          There is a hearing on Monday ruling on my petition for contempt She will (finally) be in violation of an order to produce discovery issued last month. Hope she’ll do something.

          She’s always been the bigger earner, and in our state she’s gonna have to pay alimony to me. When we last saw each other in November I said, “of course I won’t go after alimony.” Well, chumpy me wised up, and every day she drags this out just makes it harder on her.

          Your note was helpful today. Enjoy your Saturday, Dat!

  • I cant speak to mediation vs divorce as Im an oddball who never did either, but I will give a “PREACH IT SISTAH!!” to CL for her advise to give into the process quickly while they are willing to sign over anything and want to save their reputation at all costs.

    As warned here, I did the “I won’t give up my family!” pick me dance and it was a disaster. All my niceness and reasonable and supportive behavior got me nowhere but deeper in debt and losing years of my life to trying to get him to act like a decent person. What I couldn’t see and I implore newbies to try to see is that by the time they are bad enough for you to be here, they really DO SUCK and there is nothing worth winning. They ARE AS BAD as they are acting…no fog, no aliens, no crisis – just sucking.

    Mine offered me “everything” and planned to leave with only a suitcase and I stopped him. 7 years later he was almost as bad as before and had told me he was probably leaving. I prayed and told God that if there was a place where he would be happy then I released him to go. I really truly thought I was speaking of California and Im sure H1.0 thought the same, right up to the point where he saw the bright light. Go figure.

      • Yes, but bright light usually means Heaven and some of us are thinking he went somewhere a bit warmer with brimstone, etc.

          • If only it was a party of one–I suspect UNM’s dead H will have lots of company as the rest of our cheaters age.

              • I say NZ has had a very warm winter because they’ve been stoking the fires in hell waiting for the traitor, the pervert homewrecking whore and her grandma who helped them deceive me. She’s first in line being nearly 96. Never mind climate change, it’s just hell getting the warm welcome ready…

      • Lol! UNM, I’m sure in some ways your journey is more difficult than most of us could even imagine, but you can thank God you did no have to deal with lawyers trying to split everything. Ugh.

        • I have a very theological explanation why I think he is actually in heaven but I wont weigh this thread down with it. If people are really interested, I will write about it on the forum. It was 4 years ago tomorrow…Patsy was one of my homegirls even back then .

    • OMG, that’s an awesome line: “no fog, no aliens, no crisis – just sucking”. I love it!!!

      • yea, there was a crisis, but it was mine. I joined the ranks of those who were going to try any way possible to convince themselves that this person doing horrible things to them wasn’t really horrible but rather confused, lost, temporarily unbalanced or otherwise not responsible for the effects of their actions and decisions.

        They say so much stupid stuff that we start to ignore 100% of what they say when we really needed to hear the part where they communicate (verbally or otherwise) “I am out”.

  • My narc constanty makes agreements and then breaks them and renegotiates them as it suits him. This has been going on for 5 years.

    Every three months or so, I hear another sob story about how broke he is and I allow him to negotiate me down on his son’s maintenance agreement. I didn’t ask for anything for myself – he has always forced me to pay my own way (I was back at work 2 weeks after my son’s birth and ended up paying all of the medical bills myself) – as well as being his financial bridge whenever he can’t keep up with his part of things financially. This has been going on since I met him and still goes on 2 years after the divorce. We have a legal agreement, but he has never paid the correct amount and has gradually lessened it over time when it suits him.

    My point is : what is the point of spending money on a good lawyer when the narc just refuses to live up to the agreement. Mine never does as he has a huge sense of entitlement and it’s a power thing for him.

    I am on the verge of going to maintenance court to let the system handle things but I still feel sorry for him. Chumpville!

    • Maintenance enforcement if your state or province has it – best way to let them take the role of the heavy for implementing legally required support payments. IMO

      • Yes – think I’m going to go and talk to them tomorrow. This post has settled a one month long debate about it.


        • Do not feel sorry for your ex as that is what he counts on. He’s a selfish twit and needs to pay for his kid.

          • Amen! He helped bring the kid into this world and he’s the one whose actions blew up the family. What does he expect? It’s about time he support his own child.

        • I just filed yesterday!! Drac only paid for 14 months of child support before he said in June, “I think you got enough money from me, I’m going to use my money to fund my political campaign”. I had a 2nd house I had to sell this summer, so had to play nice with Drac so he’d sign the paperwork. Once that house closed 2 weeks ago, got all paperwork together to file for child support enforcement! I may never see a dime, but this ensures I don’t have IRS problems as I’m now taking both my kids for tax deductions. If I don’t make it official, he could (and would) screw me with taxes.

      • Exactly! Once the court garnishes his wages and attracts his assets you will have a different man.

    • Mine used to write on his online journal (which he thought I didn’t know about – it was the early days of the trend) about spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on his hobby items, then write me a plaintive email about how he couldn’t afford his payment this month and could I please grant him a reprieve.

      Liars lie. Cheaters cheat.

      • Mine was always whining about how our accounts were about to “crash” and how I needed to put everything on a credit card to prevent overdrafts or, better yet, cover things like the mortgage with the small inheritance I received from my parents. This was during the separation, I’d been here long enough to know to ignore him and call his bluff. We never did go into overdraft, though he was busy racking up credit card debt (on cards solely in his name by then) on other “purchases.”

    • My settlement states that if he fails to do as he has agreed, I can high a lawyer and sue his ass and he has to pay my lawyer fees!! No incentive for me to be understanding in the least!!

      • Dixie I have the same wording in mine however it works both ways.
        There is also a clause about hidden assets in either of their names.

        My feeling is that in five years as he’s nearing retirement living in a box under a bridge he will have a temper tantrum as I’m sipping margaritas at the pool.

    • Wow…I could have written this post! We have had all our assets appraised by third parties. We have bank statements that show all the liabilities we have. Our children are all grown. None of the financial numbers have changed in the year and a half since our date of separation. But he continues to send back minute discrepancies. I’ve told my lawyer that my ex will not pay any money until it goes in front of a judge. Ho hum. The battle continues where no war needed to exist.

    • Nicole – My X also played that card of agreeing and then changing his mind.

      There is a simple way to stop that quickly. At the end of every negotiation session, you ask the lawyers to put all the negotiated points together in an “agreement to be relied upon.” At the end of each session, your X and you sign and notarize these agreed upon points and have that notarized. This becomes a mini-post-nup, inching your way to a final divorce agreement.

      If you want to renegotiate a specific point that was included in a previous “agreement to be relied upon,” you create a new close in a new agreement that says that the previous agreement stands except for that particular clause.

      This approach allows me to stay out of court (which would just have been a massive playground for my X’s manipulative tendencies) and arrive at a divorce agreement that allowed me to regain my freedom and have a clear direction until we have to go to court to renegotiate things as our kiddo grows up.

      None of those steps are fair, easy, nor anything I ever wanted to go through, sending you massive hugs as you go through your proceedings Nicole, you will get your divorce finalized, keep going!

      • This is actually a clever idea. It’s very common that someone agrees to many points and then a week later goes back and dismantles a point agreed upon at the beginning— and then everything unravels. I know each states’ mediation laws are different but it’s worth inquiring about if your state will comply.

    • Yes– you get an attachment to his wages (garnishment) for the amount of the order. Once the court rules, you do not renegotiate unless something major changes. Stop feeling sorry for this jackass. Take the money you were awarded. That’s his consequence for nuking your family. And go NO CONTACT so he can’t whine about money to you. Be tough. Your kid(s) deserve what the law entitles them too.

      A word to the cheaters: If you can’t pay, don’t play.

  • Best thing I ever did was seek out the most experienced lawyer in my town. The next was to trust him. We went to mediation, in my state lawyers are required. We sat in two different rooms on two different floors and the mediator went between us.

    It took all day, but because my lawyer was well prepared and we submitted all the required paperwork in advance, I am happy to say I came out on top. My lawyer said he had never had a case settle with his client getting 57% of the assets. BUT we did it. It also helped that Prince Charming hired the worst law firm in the country. So if your STBX hires CORDELL AND CORDELL no worries!

    • This is my story too! Kept my house, my car, all my retirement (Narkles barely saved a dime for retirement), got screwed on the kids with 50/50 custody but I use that time to have fun for the first time in over a decade. My lawyer was amazing and cost me at least a grand under my $5000 retainer. Narkles the Clown spent $10,000 on his high conflict specialist attorney and then ran out of money. I used my extra $5,000 to update my house and get rid on any spare Narkles reminders. Loved the two separate rooms thing because I was not sitting at the table with that asshat!

      • Prince Charming was also required to pay $8500 of my legal fees. At the time of mediation he had racked up $8800 in credit card debt to his “lawyers”. I can only imagine how much more they charged him for mediation.

        I’m not sure how much the entire bill was for the long drawn out process but after a while I paid my lawyers bills out of the joint checking. I felt like he wanted the damn divorce he was going to pay for it.

    • My ex’s FIRST lawyer was Cordell and Cordell! Too funny, they sucked and so did the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth! He finally went pro se and he thinks he is a lawyer because he took one law class as an undergrad, so counting himself SEVEN lawyers! Still lost everything.

      • That is fantastic! He went through 4 of their finest. They kept losing shit during the transfers. Ill-prepared for mediation, ask for crap at 4:45 the day before. My lawyer was so disgusted, but he had dealt with them before and likened them to a puppy mill. They managed to fuck up the QDROs.

        Never take legal advice from your whore and her brother!

  • I concur with sign as quickly as you can. Capitalize on their shame and desire to be with AP. My lawyer told me, the best deals are hammered out within 90 days of discovery. My ex was willing to sign over everything but his pension and giving me spousal support to be with the pink cow 1.0. Custody, the house, the vehicle, child support – I took the children and money up front . It’s far from ideal but most importantly, I have sole custody of the kids and a mortgage free living space. For me, win-win. I’ll likely never retire but That’s my price for marrying a fuckwad.

    • I do too! He is paying mortgage, insurance, and taxes until it is paid off. He also can’t change any beneficiaries until it is paid off as well.

    • Physicsgal – That is great what you stated that the best deals are achieved within 90 days of discovery. This is an awesome dynamic to be aware of. And you’re right, we can capitalize on that. One of the best advice I’ve heard. Even more reason to act quickly after discovery, rather than stick around smoking the hopium pipe. Loved your post!

      • Good point–90 days. I think I may have another good point… Any discovery may count, not necessarily just the first one. And the window of opportunity is open for as long as a couple of key feelings are held by the cheater: (1) guilt and (2) (misplaced) faith in chumpiness. It’s probably hard to maintain both of those elements beyond 90 days.

        I had my second D-day in 7-8 months after the first one. Within 60 days of #2, we were actively negotiating terms. And I got a Very Good Deal from my POV. The X hardly questioned anything I said (not that I actively lied or was >10% disingenuous). Furthermore, he didn’t even engage his own attorney until we were nearly finished with negotiations. The attorney he finally did hire for a last-minute second opinion was one of a few friendlies recommended to him by *my* attorney. And by that time, I was able to simply allow the approaching end-of-year deadline apply pressure on him to sign on the line. X believed *he* was the one in a hurry, not me… and he wanted to get his tax deduction for the current-year alimony payments. Ha.

        I wonder if he has ever stopped to consider *everyone* with whom we consulted–attorneys, CPAs, co-parenting counselor, marriage counselor… They ALL were divorced mothers of a certain age, just like me.

        • Yes, 90 days! Not sure if he felt guilty or just wanted out to be with OW. Don’t care.

          My advice is act quickly. I have friends in the same situation who are still negotiating 3 years out. That will not be me. I need an honest life away from this horrible person, like, yesterday.

          I kept wondering what the problem was. We were such a happy family, and I was his devoted, covenant wife. Reconciliation should have been working great by now. After DD4, I realized the truth and ran to the lawyer’s like my hair was on fire because HE WAS THE PROBLEM.

          My heart had not caught up to my head yet so I was scared and just following CL advice.

          He never thought I’d have the courage to file. He underestimated me. I got everything I wanted and then some. My lawyer said I was awesome. She really hurried to get in writing quickly.

    • That’s a great deal, Physics, because custody. #1 most important thing. And no mortgage! #2.

  • “Be as shrewed as snakes and as innocent as doves. ” X took my kindness as a weakness when he suggested meditation. As the post stated he wanted to hide assets and have me cosign. If you mediate, hire a lawyer.
    Great post!

  • Definately get a lawyer. Went the mediation self divorce route it ended up costing more than a divorce would have. Senor asswipe had to go the “cheaper” way and it caused nothing but problems. He sassed the mediator, the judge, everyone cause it wasnt going the way he wanted. Whore juice said oh listen paralegals can do this for you! He tried, it was bullshit and i finally filed. The divorce he wanted caused nothing but grief. Careful what you wish for asshole. Now hes thousands of dollars more in the hole. Lawyer would have been, faster, cheaper, easier. But no. Thats what happens when you only care about your dick and your wallet. Stupid fuck listened to his incrediably bright, not, ho not to me. Who am i but the scorned wife who wants to get away from him. And whore juice threw him out four times not moving along fast enough for her and damn it he still has feelings for me she cant replace herself with. Perish the thought! And shes still hoovering knowing he cheats. She told him shes yhe best woman in the world her three other husbands were assholes to cheat on her! And she would make sure asswipe never ever would cheat on her and he has many many times. Definately get a lawyer.

  • I so relate..we had a “kitchen table” agreement which he ignored then he wanted mediation which he lied at (amd when the mediator figured it out in the first meeting he withdrew–cue the narcissistic rage!). I had a lawyer the whole time but he has been difficult to say the least. I have stood more or less firm and we are finally a year later and $12000 in legal fees close to an agreement. is not a normal divorce that is for sure!!

  • I’m afraid I agree. Right after the disclosure early last year, my ex seemed to be willing to promise anything to maintain his “good guy” image — not just for the sake of the rest of the world, but for himself. He could not stand the possibility that he may not be a good person, or that he may be unwell. Several things — moves, deaths in the family, travel, etc. — got in the way of speeding up the divorce process, and so now I am dealing with someone hardened in his position that I deserve to be fought every way possible. Several things contributed to this: while we were still living under the same roof, he found a new chump who is stroking his ego; he continued therapy with someone on whose watch the cheating escalated to hilarious proportions and despite clear evidence that said therapist’s way of working did tremendous damage to our family; and somewhere along the way he decided that he is a “good guy” who made “one mistake” (over and over, for decades, with over 40 other women in more than 20 countries, but, you know, just “one” mistake…). He has now decided that I deserved all the 22 years of cheating and devaluing and that he does not owe me anything. Not even the “facts” — which, amusingly and symptomatically, he keeps putting in quotation marks. A friend advised to get a settlement right away after the disclosure. I tried, but I could not deal with him in mediation. Ended up switching to collaborative divorce. But time passed, and not in my favor. I really regret that.

    • I’m sorry that happened. I can totally understand unanticipated delays, and the legal system is so slow. Take heart and remember you will not have to deal with him forever. Your cheater-free life is just ahead.

      No one deserves to be cheated on! They suck.

  • I confirm too. While she put me in limbo she was still very much in her affair a little more than a year later. I had kitchen table divorce, no kids, debts, assets, or alimony. (We both worked at the time). Hand the cheater over
    to their prize!

    The feeling on the day your divorce is final is simply amazing –
    you can’t cheat on me or hurt me or fuck me over anymore.

    • This. I sobbed with relief the day I submitted the final paperwork and fee (we kitchen tabled a divorce in a week — I was lucky). I felt like I had gotten my soul back.

    • “you can’t cheat on me or hurt me or fuck me over anymore.
      Buh-Bye.” Yes, that’s exactly it. Very well said, Chumpman. As painful as this whole thing has been, he can’t cheat on me anymore. He can’t devalue me anymore. He can’t lie to me anymore, because I now truly KNOW he’s a pathological liar (always thought he lied a lot more than the average bear, but now I for sure know he lies A LOT) and now I’ll just assume that he’s probably lying to me, lying by omission or being the fake and phony person that I know he truly is. I’ve seen his evil side so many times and I know he’s evil cloaked in a “nice guy” persona. Goodbye Evil Liar Cheater. Good luck with you slutty ho-workers.

    • +1000 Chumpman!!! I can’t wait until I see that it is final with my own eyes, so I know I have absolutely no legal ties to that asshole anymore. I am already no contact with him and have tried to completely rid myself of him emotionally, mentally, and spiritually- but once it’s legal final it will be such a welcome relief!!!! (Especially since once he suggested I kill myself which came out of nowhere and another time right before I found out about OW during a wreck conciliation, he went out of his way to remind me that I am still listed as his beneficiary, hinting to find out about whether he’s still mine… very suspicious! It may be farfetched to think that he may be out to do me harm for financial gain, but with being the narc that he is, I don’t put anything past him. So, at least when I am finally legally free of him, I won’t have to keep looking over my shoulder so much. Like you said, “Buh-bye!” Lmao!!!

  • It is so true to get them while they just want to run away with schmoopie. Mine just wanted the proceedings over with and basically handed me everything. Before mediation, he was hiding accounts, etc and kept denying that he had them even though I knew it. I called him the Friday before and told him that if he went to mediation without the accounts I would walk out. My attorney said the emails started rolling in Monday morning. Because of his dishonesty he did not want to go before the judge so he settled in mediation. I ended up with 63% of our assets and my grandfather’s guns which he was refusing to give me.

      • I knew about them– they weren’t secrets, I guess he thought I was stupid or had forgotten. You can hire about a forensic accountant to find accounts.

    • Ok, but I did the math and 20% wasn’t that much money (they’re older so not too many more years before they are 18). I said ok to 30%, and he said ok to paying my car off. I let them see him as often as they want, and it’s no where near 30%. More time for me!

  • I was one of the lucky ones and did everything mostly myself. My kids are grown and I handled all the finances so I knew where everything was. I even knew about his “secret bank account” and what was in it (peanuts). Within 60 days of DD#1 he was happily signing over everything except his retirement account. I stipulated that we each keep our own. He had no idea what was in mine, but I know what is in his and again, he’s an idiot. The only advice I would say if you do it yourself is hire a paralegal to write up the settlement agreement and go over all the paperwork. If I had done this I would have been divorced about two months sooner as I made a few technical mistakes in the paperwork. Paralegals are 1/2 the cost of an attorney.

    The only things he got were his clothes, his tools, his retirement, his “secret” bank account, a joint credit card debt which was for flooring in my kitchen and my middle finger. I got the house and its contents, my dogs, all marital bank accounts (6x his secret account), my retirement (10% of my income x25 years), and my self respect.

    I believe that if you get them while they’re in their foggy romance you can smile while you pull the rug out from under them. Why not? They did it to you, but it more harmful ways.

    • Love your way of putting things, AnnieGetYourGuns! “Debt for flooring in my kitchen and my middle finger.” Yep, I “might have” put some things on the debt side of the ledger in the last days as soon as I knew he would be responsible for those CC’s.

      I have to agree with others in that if possible, act ASAP and move to action. My ex was so plagued with worry over his image and the possibility of my contacting his boss or the Ho-worker’s husband, or his family “judging” him that he was paralyzed by inaction. Thanks to learning about CL within a week of the final D-day, I followed the advice found in these posts and was divorced in record time with a decent settlement. I am in awe at the strength and perseverance so many Chumps demonstrate through the long months and even years of legal battles with these disordered cheaters. File on that cheater and get yourself free!

    • Awesome that you could do this Annie. You are amazing! And I agree with FindingBliss, Chumps have strength in spades.

  • Not even married 2 years. My exH was the one that filed. In the petition he asked for 10k cash (of our 30k savings account, 29k of which was mine from before the marriage) his car, his personal items (which he had already collected when he showed up unannounced with a moving truck) and that was it. I would get the house (mine from before the marriage), my business ( also mine from before), and all the furniture. My attorney said to take it and run. I emailed him and asked how he arrived at 10k, he was so eager to run off with the whore he said $2500 was all he really needed. I offered to cut him a check that day.
    He must have realized I was done with the pick me dance (after 4 months of it, I was) because HE refused to settle for HIS terms HE offered. He wanted me to pay off the 20k in debt he created with whore after he filed (he didn’t see that little part about debt being his own that his attorney did to protect him) and he was custody of our dog. At this point, he didn’t know that I knew about the whore and I kept that little piece of info in my pocket. After another 3.5 months of him stalling he sent an email saying he would see me in court. I wrote back, “sounds good. You go ahead and do that and I’ll be at your commander’s office with your emails to whore” (he was Air Force and cheating is an Article 13 violation-and the commander was a friend to me). Needless to say, he took his owner offer but of course I was the abuser that beat him into submission by verbally attacking him. He always thought I sucked at poker…the jokes on him.
    So chump run as fast as you can!

  • Three months from D Day, my lawyer arranged a four-way mediation (with lawyers). It was a costly process as I had to prepare all financials etc. and it turned into a forum for Fuckwad and his lawyer to demand that I get a job, stop being an angry bitch, fully look after my children who were shattered, support my children and myself and allow Fuckwad to retire and live a life of leisure with prostitutes as he so evidently always intended to do. Price tag: $15,000. Outcome: Nada. Fuckwad approached me directly a month later, full of contrition and offered to make good with full spousal and child support, generous division of assets etc. On my lawyer’s advice (meter running), his lawyer drafted the agreement which was sent to me just before Christmas. I was insanely crazy with Christmas preparations, child care, work etc and did not sign it the second it arrived. A week later, two days after my Christmas (on my birthday, natch), Fuckwad sent me an email, indicating that he was reneging on the deal – “too expensive”. Price tag: $3,000. I fired that lawyer. Got a new lawyer who filed for divorce and arranged a “case conference” which I was told is mandatory in Ontario, Canada. “Case conference” is a bullshit term for appearing in front of a judge who has no authority to make a decision but tells respective parties to meet down the hall and come back with a proposal. Basically, it is a mediation process, without the mediator. Fuckwit’s bottom line? He would commit to two months support. Price tag for that funfest?: $7,000. Two months later, I sought additional support through a settlement conference – same kind of useless process. Fuckwit and his lawyer listened patiently to the judge’s preamble, made one feeble attempt to negotiate and then got up and walked out of the court, which they can do, because it was not a divorce trial, but a “conference”. Price tag: $7000. Are you following this? Now, many months later, awaiting another costly $20,000 child assessment process in which a child psychologist will opine on whether it is appropriate that a dirtbag father who uses young female prostitutes several times a week should be left alone overnight with his two beautiful, vulnerable pre-teen daughters. With that behind me later this month (desperately hoping for a supportive outcome), I will proceed to a divorce trial which I should have done from the get-go. Moral of this sad story? Listen to Chump Lady and do NOT in any way try to negotiate with a manipulative, narcissistic liar who has a proven track record of bringing significant harm to you and would continue to do so at any opportunity. You wouldn’t buy a car from someone you knew to have these tendencies so why would you negotiate with someone when there is ever-so-much more at stake? They know your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, have time on their hands and nothing to lose by screwing you around. In fact, it saves them money and wears you down. Save your money, save your time and save your sanity and get in front of a judge who has the authority to order support. If you later decide that the judge ordered too much spousal / child support, you can elect to give it back but something makes me think that that won’t happen.

    • Indomitable,
      I don’t know where you are in Ontario, Canada but one of my VERY WORST experiences was with a child psychologist who specializes in child assessment for custody cases. I told him about my husband’s use of pornography, prostitutes, paraphilias, pathological lying and deceit, and I was pretty much written off as being angry and bitter. I hope you do not use the services of this particular fellow. He isn’t going to care one iota about your beautiful, vulnerable, pre-teen daughters being left with a sexually deranged moron. My STBXH has almost every parental characteristic associated with child sexual abuse and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. I wish you the best.

      • You are making my blood run cold at the very prospect of such an experience – I have read about a number of such cases on-line. My lawyer advised that the only resolution in a dispute about custody that could not be resolved prior to a divorce proceeding was to have the Office of the Children’s Lawyer (income test required) engaged or a private child assessment. My lawyer said that judges do not weigh in on what is in the best interests of the child as they are in no position top know, do not specialize in children’s needs and don’t have the time to figure it all out in a courtroom. BTW, why wouldn’t a wife be bitter and angry about an unfaithful husband who had unprotected sex with prostitutes and then had sex with his wife? I can think of lots of good reasons why anger and bitterness would be appropriate in this situation. Believe me, I am plenty angry and bitter. Does the last name of your child assessor rhyme with button? That one was recommended to me (by my own lawyer!!) but when I googled his name, I came across a number of terrible reviews from mothers about his approach, noting that he is pro-fathers. The child assessor that has been engaged in my case is a woman and, despite extensive searching, I could not find one negative thing about her. All the same, I do not trust a stranger to have my interests at heart. She has spent exactly three hours with me and the same with my STBXH; she spent one hour in my home with the children, and one hour in Fuckwit’s rented condo with rented furniture (same place he brings hookers) with the children. After that, she spent two hours alone with each of them in her office in one-hour appts. Based on these brief encounters, she will make a recommendation that will either protect my girls or leave them exposed to risk. I amassed a boatload of email evidence of his infidelity with prostitutes and sugar babies that took place prior to DDay and then another even bigger pile of evidence (thank you iCloud) and got photos of him dining with young prostitutes after D Day. There is no denying his interest in young women – some looked well below legal drinking age. I handed this all over to the assessor. Believe me, if I was a prostitute, the child protection authorities would have swooped in long ago to protect my children. I need the same standard applied to their 62 year old dirtbag father.

        • Rhymes with scoff – which is what I should have done when listening to him tell me that by pointing out the risk factors, it would become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like if I told someone that smoking might give them lung cancer, then it would be my fault for pointing it out.

          • Was this said during interviews or at the delivery of his recommendation? Was your lawyer present when this was said? What was the outcome of the assessor’s recommendation?

            • This was actually said in a meeting I had with him (just the two of us). I was interviewing potential psychologists to see if I could find one who was familiar with this type of behaviour (sexually promiscuous and more than slightly deviant). I reported his comments to my lawyer who was surprised because this psychologist is one of the “go to” guys here in town. The psychologist also suggested that my concern for my children was because I was sexually abused as a child. Not – but I’m not sure the psychologist was convinced of my childhood innocence.
              Thankfully, we have not had to have a full blown assessment – we’re aiming for joint custody but I have a heap of restrictions about what the children can be exposed to while in their father’s care. It seemed like the best I could settle for without a miserable battle in court.

              • It has been a horrible process, very painful. I remain very anxious pending the outcome later this month.

  • I finally did agree to mediation that he requested because his Schmoopie, who had him convinced she was so smart, thought for sure that my lawyer was a pushover and so was I! Well, my lawyer was a lovely unassuming grandmother looking woman who was tough as nails! Not only was she smart, but we got to choose the mediation lawyer. So she chose a woman who was equally tough, but also likable enough to to my Ex and his attorney. It also helped that my Ex’s attorney was over priced, over worked and unprepared! I walked out of mediation with nearly 80% of everything and what I didn’t get outright, I had the option of control! My attorney, the mediator and little old me had him sign his life away in about three hours! He and his attorney barely whimpered! My attorney and the mediator said they hadn’t seen such a great settlement like this in years! My attorney has been practicing law for 33 years and the mediator some 20 years! It left my Ex broke for all intents and purposes. I was opposed to mediation at first, but I had already sunk over 10,000.00 into a divorce that was going nowhere. My Ex would CC Schmoopie on all his correspondence and offers I made and she was pulling the strings! I figured the only way to get her nose out of all this was to get to mediation where she couldn’t sway anything! It worked. Schmoopie was holed up in the local hotel he was living in and I am positive I could have heard her howl when she read the copy of the agreement! He was screwed! If he didn’t know it going into mediation, his lawyer certainly did and he barely lifted a finger to object or help the cheater! I also threw in a clause that prevented him from ever taking me back to court over our settlement. It is ironclad!
    Truthfully, I don’t really know if mediation is for everyone. But it certainly worked for me in a super positive result! All I know is my divorce, for various reasons, was not moving along at all. It went on a good two years and it seemed his Schmoopie was going to bring me down financially through attorney costs. So he kept banging the drum for mediation and on my attorneys advice, we proceeded with it. We let his attorney know that we wanted a fair settlement, but if we couldn’t get it done in a reasonable amount of time in mediation then we were fully prepared to go to court! Of course my Ex didn’t want that because I let him and Schmoopie know that I was going to pull out her and him and anyone connected to this affair in public! We still have “open” courts here and I was going to be sure if his “fans” didn’t get a subpoena then they would get an invite to his hidden affair. He did not want to be exposed and neither did Schmoopie! Worked like a charm!

    • Roberta – You are MIGHTY!! You walked away with 80% of everything. That is one awesome settlement, lol! The cheater isn’t very bright and associated himself with someone even dumber than him. Dumb and dumber. That’s what you get when birds of a feather flock together, a win-win for Roberta! Go girl!

    • Roberta, isn’t your cheater the one who was going to have a Whipple surgery? Did he ever have that done? Man, that procedure is the ultimate revenge… a nightmare surgery for sure.

  • My state requires a one year seperation before divorce during which time we had a “kitchen table agreement” for our joint bills. For 6 months of that year, I attempted what turned out to be fake wreakonciliation. A few months before the one year mark, cheater informed me he would no longer help with the joint bills (after I tracked him down and asked him for that month’s money). I think he was hoping to control me by withholding money. I filed when the one year mark was up. He raged and told me if I wanted a fight, I would get one.

    I lucked out and had an awesome attorney. He hired a cheap asshole attorney who tried to play games. My attorney scheduled a court date 4 months after filing. I met all the paperwork deadlines and they met none of them. They were provided several mediation dates to choose from and of course declined all of them. My attorney told them we would see them in court on our scheduled date. All of a sudden one of the mediation dates worked for them! I knew cheater didn’t want any of this to be public. His attorney unsuccessfully tried to negotiate child support before mediation even though they had provided no paperwork and my attorney refused. I was confused on all the back and forth but it turned out that the amount they were offering was about $250/mo less than the required amount. Asshole. Mediation day was a lon and expensive day but in the end, things worked out in my favor.

    Looking back on it now, I can see that cheater is one the best covert narc assholes there is but is simply too lazy to back up his threats. The phrase “all talk, no action” fits him to a tee except with his cheating where he was the opposite – “all action, no talk”.

    I will also share that I completely fell apart the day after mediation likely from exhaustion, years of narc conditioning and my codependent tendencies. I called my attorney and told them I felt that I got too much (crazy, huh?) and should alter the agreement to give him more. Forunately, my attorney was smart enough to tell me to take a week to think about it and if I still wanted to change things, they would. Needless to say, I didn’t.

  • We didn’t have kids or own anything (other than his stupid truck, which was in my name), so he was trying to get me go down the mediation route.

    I’m so glad that my family pressed for me to get a lawyer anyway for the simple fact that I simply didn’t have the backbone or emotional fortitude to advocate for myself. It took what little courage I had at the time to walk away from him.

  • PLEASE, please, please get the best lawyer you can find!!!!
    NOT the best you can afford.
    Get the best out there! Beg, borrow or negotiate a payment but a great lawyer is worth every penny.

    DONT discuss your lawyer or what you are paying with the cheater. A cheater will give you so may reasons why the above is wrong. Listen to CHump Lady and get a great lawyer.

    Educate yourself! There is NO excuse for not working on your own case. Dig through as many documents you can dig up – shared credit cards, previous tax returns, computers, phone records, old emails – anything and everything that may be useful. Keep reading everything over and over again so nothing is missed. Google needs to be your best friend. “First name and last name”, “last name, “first name”, “name of cheater’s partner” – learn how to dig the Internet! This is a must – why pay someone to do what you. An learn to do yourself? Run a credit check on the cheater ASAP. Learn how to do your own cost of living analysis and do it for several years. Different years will show different needs for alimony/child care costs. Be your own advocate, do this yourself and you will save money and be knowledgable about what you need (or how little your spouse may need).

    No matter how great your lawyer is, they have multiple clients. You need to be the EXPERT on your case, your financial issues and what the cheater has done. Yes, YOU!

    I’m not a fan of mediation for anyone who has children or a cheater who makes more than the chump. There is too much at stake.

    Dont forget that once you sign an agreement, it will cost money and be painful to have to go back to court. Nail them from the start and you may never have to go back to court.

    The specifics of my own divorce are not relevant here, other than the fact that I won BIG TIME financially!

    It sucks to be a chump but it sucks a whole lot less with a great settlement and not having to worry about money.

    • Yes! You are your own best advocate and find anyway you can to get a great attorney!

  • “The only success stories I know of quick and relatively painless divorce settlements are when the chump lets go so the cheater can run off with Schmoopie. ”

    I am another example of a quick divorce working out in my favor. My situation was a little different because we had no kids and a pre-nup (I am the higher wage earner and wanted to protect myself after I saw my father go through 4! divorces while I was growing up… but that’s another story). The pre-nup gave us nothing to argue about, and X was so eager to run off with Schmoopie that she even agreed to pay all the court fees. Talking to her during that phase was like talking to someone on drugs – she was so out of touch with reality that I could only compare her to a heroin addict. Scary!

    I told a co-worker about my easy divorce and she was stunned – she has a story that will be familiar to everyone who has been reading here for a while. She had a serial cheater husband, found out, went to counseling, tried to reconcile. The husband told the MC that he wanted things to stay exactly as they were – his wife taking care of him at home while he cheated whenever he wanted to. Pretty blatant cake eating! Finally she divorced him. Needless to say, it was extremely contentious. Then he declared bankruptcy to get out of paying child support. Cheater handbook.

    • They are so out of touch! Good analogy, SnowyEgret. My ex was so delusional he waived his right to an attorney, “lost” and likely never read the divorce papers he was served, passed all deadlines without bothering to respond, and I doubt has even read the final decree. He thinks he has to pay alimony until I reach age 67 1/2. It doesn’t say that. My pit bull lawyer, a petite, pale, size zero female, wrote it up to say that alimony continue until I CHOOSE to draw full social security benefits. I have no intention of EVER retiring!!! Have fun working until you are very, very old, Cheater. There is also the ironclad clause that nothing can ever be changed by any court. Maybe Schmoopie can support him in his old age? I told my lawyer it lent new meaning to the phrase, “laughing all the way to the bank.”

      • Finding Bliss – high 5 on the language your attorney pitt bull lawyer got done.
        Mine did a similar thing and slipped in language that alimony goes for the rest of my life, whether I marry or not.
        He and his very high priced-high-faluting attorney must have missed that detail.
        My attorney was a small town, feisty little gal like yours!

        Yep, he’ll have to work the rest of his life. Just what he wished for.

  • My ex tried to tell me that we could work things out between ourselves. He had everything already divided up on paper. He’d already thought things through while I, in contrast, was reeling. I told him no, and hired a lawyer. Best thing I ever did. I was too devastated and shell shocked at that point to have negotiated a decent settlement. I needed someone who had my back. Even his own lawyer admonished him for trying to push things through so quickly and told him he needed to give me some time to think.

    When D-day happened one of my friends called her pit pull lawyer and asked for a recommendation. She told my friend that I should hire a younger lawyer in her office, that way it would cost less but she would be supervised by the pit bull lawyer. That seemed to work well for me, but our case wasn’t very complicated.

    My ex tried to come up with some pretty crazy schemes later on, such as requesting that I contribute to our house payments after I’d moved out in order to “get some equity after it sold.” But my lawyer called him out on his shenanigans and he backed down.

    • Unbelievable, how these cheaters screw us over by cheating on us, and then try to screw us even more afterwards. They are the enemy and that’s how we should see them.

  • My big advice here is if you can do it, find the lawyer before you confront. I did because I wanted to check my options and in the end it meant I knew the score before Narkles the Clown could try to lie, blameshift,and obfuscate his way out of things.

    • This is what I did. Before I filed, I had taken meetings with two lawyers and an accountant. I had read a book and carefully reviewed all of the forms for filing. When I actually filed, I had a complete plan down to the words I was going to say to tell him. I sat in the mediators office (a third lawyer I picked at random), and nodded with interest while she explained mediation vs litigation, how spousal is decided, how a business is valued … like I had never heard it before. I asked questions that I knew the answers to so that it seemed like I hadn’t really thought about it. Meanwhile I was steering that ship exactly as I wanted it.

      I told my dad that I felt a little foolish going to all those appointment and having all these contingency plans in place for various scenarios, when everything went so smoothly. He said “It probably went so smoothly because you were really prepared and knew exactly what to do make sure things happened like you wanted them to.”

  • Timely. Our mandatory mediation is coming up. We are preparing for trial. I have no expectation that douche will act in “good faith” anywhere, let alone voluntarily at a mediation where his dirty laundry will be aired — tune in to the Rage channel at 6 and the Self-Pity channel at 7 folks. The soap operas playing will feature these episodes: “She’s an insane bitter bitch who ruined my life and made my kids hate me and my much-younger schmoopie” and “She never accepted me, made me feel inferior, and my small limp ED dick had no choice but to fall into those dark hairy gold digging cumbuckets….waaahhhh ?????….poor me, poor me, POUR me another drink, and hand me a some meth mother fuckers, can’t you see wittle me me needs my escape from these horrors SHE caused?”

  • I insisted on mediation overseen by both of our legal representatives. I made the mistake of mentioning to the mediator in front of my ex that he had upheld his verbal agreement to cover half of the bills after he left. The following month he cut that payment in half. So, for thanking him, I got punished. After 18 months of no contact by that point, I never doubted his character again. He sucks. And 5 years later he’s done nothing to reverse that opinion.

  • THIS is exactly what I need to hear right now. Thank you for your wisdom, Chump Nation! (Mediation, with lawyers, October 5.)

  • I’ve struggled with something. I read here that if these guys want out than leave and give a fair settlement. I got one, it was signed without mediation…..we settled. He IS a cheater, and he only signed because schmoopie put the doomsday clock on getting it done so she could “feel secure” ( yep….that happened) and because I had an awesome atty who would of eaten him for lunch.So, I don’t feel he GAVE me a good settlement because it was the proper thing, he had to. There’s a difference.
    We did breed together so I settled taking into account that I would still have to look at this asshole at graduations, weddings…
    My kids have abandoned him so that’s not an issue( for now anyway, he says one day they will see he’s changed and want a relationship with him. D19, S25)
    I negotiated myself but ran everything by my atty who said it was good. Could I get more? Maybe. Could I get less? Maybe. Wasn’t willing to risk my future on the mood of a Florida judge that day and it was going to cost thousands more to fight in front of a judge.
    I got him to agree to everything before things got bad. CL is right. Cash in on the period where they feel bad( it’s short and all impression management, but it does exist).
    My ex and I are very limited contact now and he agreed to shit he never would of had he known we would end up like this.
    Hes shacked up with the AP and I have alimony till the pension, his holiday check, a new car, the house…..
    I took just enough to make him not want to make it his mission in life not to make me miserable ( more miserable I should say)
    Enjoy the love of your life asshole, I’ll take cash, the house and being rid of your ass in exchange for that any day.

    • Your situation and outcome sound very much like mine. That is another tip for fellow chumps … in addition to moving quickly, do your best to be civil and imply that the two of you will go on to be fabulous friends … yes, it is a huge lie and No Contact awaits just as soon as the deal is safely signed and certified by the courts. If they knew (crickets) are their only future interaction with you, they would NOT be so amenable. So take a few antacids and “nice” them if you can. It’s temporary and pays off nicely.

    • I am glad for you that you got a great settlement Paintwidow. Fingers crossed for the same outcome for me. I do caution, however, that ALL chumps should get legal advice…from a lawyer. It is not clear if, in your case, you had legal advice. Paralegals and do-it-yourselfers do not know family law and it is complicated. As well, lawyers are up to date with case law that changes and have an awareness of unique clauses that they have come across in other agreements that may be helpful to your situation.

      I would have loved a quick and permanent settlement but my STBXH was not even remotely remorseful about the uncovering of his long term double life and detailed written plans to continue to do so while he retired and I continued working. He was, and remains incensed that I should have discovered what he was doing, dumped him on the spot without further contact after 21 years together (18 married) and went no contact. Thus, it makes for an ugly divorce. I keep repeating “this WILL come to an end, “this WILL come to an end… and it will.

    • Lol, Paint widow, I got news for the schmoopie whore; she will never “feel secure” with that ex of yours. She knows deep in her heart that his ass will always be looking for the next new crotch to chase.

  • I’m in the early stage of divorce in CA; no fault 50/50 state.

    My question is about spousal support. I gave up my career to raise daughter, so my STBX could focus on his career which required extensive travel and flexibility to have multiple affairs. From what I hear, 40% of gross is typical for spousal support, but my cost of living will be significantly higher than his. He’s relocated to inherited vacation home, travels 50%, has company health insurance, etc.

    • Hi–a former CA resident here–keep in mind that spousal support is taxable to YOU as income. You don’t have to pay taxes on child support.

      Go for higher child support and with the District Attorney as the entity which does the collection and distribution; it’s amazing how much more attention the Cheater will pay when the DA’s office is the address! Also, make sure they pay health insurance and college fees, etc. The last thing you want is for any child to have to forego college because of lack of funds.

      Go for it!

      • Cali resident here. Just want to correct the information on spousal support. It is only taxable if it is written as such in the final agreement. You can get tax free spousal support if negotiated, And…the 50/50 asset division while the norm can be worked around.

        You need a good lawyer and you need to be a shark yourself. My divorce was horrendous, what saved me was locking in a legal separation early on that was iron clad. The horrendous part came into play when hubbie and schmoopie decided they wanted to change the terms and not pay spousal support. In the end the legal fees were huge, but the agreement stood the test and I ended up with more spousal support than what we had originally agreed upon and it is tax free.

        Strike early and hard is definitely my motto.

      • I agree that child support is more attractive than spousal support for tax efficiency reasons. Consider however, that child support runs out when the child finishes school whereas spousal support can until the spouse draws a pension or even until death. Do the math.

    • I was in a similar situation in a no-fault community property state. A tactic we used in drawing up each of our “ledgers” was to price out all of the things I would have to pay for after the settlement that X received tax-free as part of his benefit package–in my case that included my mortgage, property taxes, utilities, and home maintenance (the house he lives in is part of his employment package, he pays no rent, utilities, property taxes or maintenance costs); health insurance; retirement benefits (100% employer match for him each month); car (also provided by his employer); cell phone (employer offers to pay cell phone but X won’t let them because he’s afraid they’ll see his log of calls and texts–we still counted it as a benefit); travel and other job perks (he has an unlimited travel/entertainment budget); and general standard of living–his life of luxury and freebie perks vs. my “downgrade” to a much more modest home and lifestyle.

      We had two ways of using this–one was to hire an accountant to put an estimate on the value of his various benefits and use that to “gross up” his income, the other was to use a ledger that showed he basically is on the hook for spending under $1000 a month of his high six-figure salary, whereas my expenses would now be over $5000 a month, plus the downgrade in lifestyle, after having given up my career to support his. We ended up using the latter strategy because when the accountant “grossed up” his benefits, they were so ridiculously high (he lives in a multi-million dollar house, for starters) that X would have had to go into debt to pay me 40% of their value each month.

      We had to go into state-mandated mediation before we could proceed to trial, and my bulldog attorney (always go with your attorney) used these figures and descriptions of X’s lavish lifestyle and endless freebies to give his attorney a taste of how appalling the discrepancy would look to any judge who was even remotely fair-minded.

      This tactic also triggered X’s image-management fears, which helped (he would make lame claims, such as that he didn’t actually drive the car his employer provided for him “all that much), and I got a very good settlement in the end. In my case, once we went to mediation it became clear that X would try to drag the process out, so I simply said no to each offer he presented, had my attorney reiterate the reasons why, and walked out. I did this at two mediations and one in-office negotiation before X realized I wasn’t going to fold and gave his attorney the ok to negotiate in good faith. So, just one strategy to consider for those whose STBXs are dragging shit out.

        • I’ve mentioned a little about it on previous threads but am hesitant to pair any more details with the information above on the off-chance that he or someone he knows might see it and figure out who I am. But he has a very cushy job that pays him quite well. My attorney said he’d never seen a benefit package like his in all of his 30+ years of practice, which also helped on the image-management front since X prefers that not to be so well known.

  • Yeah mediation! Ha, I had my ex who at the start of mediation admitted to sleeping with a married man with a young daughter for 7 months at the START of mediation. And then she had the stones to say “let’s just part as friends, you take your debit (joint debit in my name), I will take my 401k (I had to dip into mine just to make ends meet as she left the state to be with her “boy” friend (she sent me an email to know that she was leaving… yes an email after 10 years of marriage) and I had to pay all of the housing, car, cable, everything bills while she moved intro her married prince charming’s house in the Colorado mountains and paid nothing in rent). Oh and the car she left with is the one I paid cash for with a loan from my 401k a few years before. She also took my dog which she then gave away. Yeah after all of this I was going to calmly go over making sure things were fair for her as she continued her affair with daddy whorebucks. I was even accused of being “mean” during the process…. And to add to the craziness in one of the divorce declarations she said “I have no reasonability for the marriage failing”….. for real. Guess she just fell on his old man Viagra riddled ding dong. My advice go to court let the judge decide, even in a no fault state, no one like a cheater even subconsciously.

    • Mathew,

      Your story is so aggravating. She gave away your dog? She admitted to adultery and then denied culpability. Most of the guy cheaters in this post seem more reasonable than the women. Gotta say, I’m not optimistic about my chances of getting out of this any time soon.

      • I thought my ex-husband was pretty unreasonable, but this takes the cake. Glad you are rid of her.

  • I left the “fantasy second life” intact and unchallenged, have yet to confront her about it. I had a “nuclear” option drawn up in case the shit hit the fan. Tough to do but I just said “we need to seperate”, ex ran for the door and I pushed an uncontested divorce through and got what I needed. If possible keep your mouth shut, go stealth mode, document and get a GOOD lawyer. Line up every duck you can before dropping the hammer. You CAN out think and out plan them, if you have the discipline. Make it all about them, keep it amicable, even though it isn’t …..rotten fucktards. Success is the best revenge.

  • Anyone who will screw you over in a marriage, will definitely try to screw you out of it. Ex tried to insist on mediation, but gave me his wish list and then told me,” We can split the $150 dollar mediation fee 50/50 since we already agree on what you are going to give me”. He was purposefully underpaying me in child support and said “So, we agree that I will just pay this, right?” HUH? I didn’t even respond, told him I was busy and didn’t have time. I knew I could do better with a pitbull lawyer. So I borrowed money from my retirement, filed and had him served. We finally had the divorce finalized–26 months in court, I got full custody of the kids, exclusive use of the marital home (I pay the mortgage anyway) and I don’t have to pay him any money from the house until my daughter is 21 ( she just turned 9, lol). He and whoretress has been dreaming of the money that he was going to siphon off from me in the divorce to ride into the sunset. But I got the last laugh. To offset the money from the house and the retirement money he got from me, I asked for money for the kids for college…he has to pay 1/2 of all expenses….Lets just say that was money well spent……

  • I am one of those minority cases that I hope offers hope but that in no way indicates you don’t need a lawyer. The advice to strike fast while they are filled with shame and remorse is spot on. I kicked my cheater out on a Saturday morning and he was back at our kitchen table the following Thursday listening to me tell him what was going into the settlement agreement. He was terrified that anyone would know the details of his 30 years of gay cheating, so he was pretty “amicable.” I was pretty honest with him too … I didn’t try to hide that I was taking far more than 50 percent. In particular, I told him I was taking the fully paid for house not only to allow our child some continuity but because I felt he owed me the house given his shitty behavior. I then split up most of the remaining assets 50/50 although he was not paying attention to the difference between taxable and tax free assets. (insert evil accountant’s laugh here) My training is in accounting and finance, plus I knew down to the last nickel exactly what we owned, for how long, etc. He didn’t have a clue and chose to trust a very angry woman without even hiring his own attorney to review the document. We planned to go the mediation route, but he chickened out when he found out we were required to have lawyers. He was adamant about “no lawyers!!!” again, because he did not want to explain the facts to another adult. So instead we paid $1,200 for an uncontested no fault divorce … the one lawyer technically represented me but just took the settlement I wrote and make sure it had the appropriate legalese in it. It is all signed and the lawyer is supposed to file for us this week. Cheater has no real idea that he signed away 60 percent of the assets, 70 percent of his income for the next 4 years (thanks to child support and temporary alimony), and 80 percent of the custody of his child. Part of the reason is that he is a moron, and the other part is because he is just excited to be free to be with his schmoopies. Plural. Which is just another way to call him a moron!

    Bottom line … MOVE FAST, know exactly what you own, don’t give even one thought to being “fair” to someone who was never fair to you, and get legal help unless you are really sure you know what you’re doing.

    • Same happened with me, I was very lucky that XH hates lawyers and was so delirious with infatuation (with a transient dose of guilt) that he signed my proposal without legal advice. Within 6 weeks of him leaving it was approved by the family court, thank god, because by that time OW hit the roof and wanted him to back out of it.

  • I also took advantage of the guilt period and got him to a Paralegal within six weeks to draw up our Settlement Agreement, telling him that we could save tens of thousands of dollars that neither of us could spare. He kept his business…I kept mine. I offered to take no Spousal Support either way (he really liked that idea since he thought that God would bless his business and destroy mine once he left…being that I am unworthy of God’s help and that he has Him in his back pocket). Our children are grown and gone. No savings to divide since he could never bear to see a pile of cash without finding something stupid and expensive to spend it on. I dangled $25K (green cash) in front of his face and told him that I would give him that amount annually for 8 years if he would sign the house over to me. I told him that I got it from my mom and it was actually a very timely free gift from her (and God) to “sweeten the deal” and help me to get rid of him. It is a fair and equitable deal since we owned the house outright and that offer represented his half of the true value. I could not get a home loan due to our Bankruptcy several years back…so he had to TRUST that I could pay him instead. It is apparently easy for a cheater to trust a Chump rather than the other way around. His business was cash poor for the last year, so he went for it.

    We had no bills since we had no good credit left to run up after the Bankruptcy that he drove us into several years back. He is a financial disaster and dreamer. Now, I hear that he has regrets about signing the Agreement…but too late since he had already signed the Interspousal Transfer Deed and it is already recorded solely in my name and signed off by a Judge. I also got everything in the house…telling him that I wanted to “preserve” it just like it is in case he ever had a change of heart and wanted to come back (haha). It is packed with the most beautiful antique quarter sawn oak furniture imaginable. He got his business, his old truck, his clothes and left. Easy Peasy.

    My business is doing very very well…his is doing shitty, but poor sausage, he cant come after ME for any Support since he signed it away not foreseeing his Karma by thinking that it was me who needed to be “punished”. I’d say that I too had a soft landing by taking advantage of his image management and guilt right away. No Lawyers, no “mediation” other than my dangling cash in front of him, nothing but a Paralegal and a total cost of $900 which he paid from the first installment that I gave him and it was a done deal.

    He also had NO Schmoopie to “guide” him since I had managed to confront her and run her off upon discovery…but I guess that part was easy since she had already moved in with his SON behind my Ex’s back and was having sex with him too! Yep. She was afraid of me since she was told that I carried a weapon and was also informed that “he had no idea what I was capable of doing if pushed too far”. I let them think that, but in all truth, I was already finished with the marriage and would do nothing to land myself in prison for the likes of them. I would be damned if I was going to let another woman determine and be part of making decisions for MY life going forward. I was fair and he knew it.

    KNOW who your enemy is! Then move quickly to cut them off at the knees in spite of your emotions. This 63yr old man only lives for the moment and grabs at whatever brass ring is presently in front of his face…he is an emotional/morally stunted adolescent. I knew that.

  • “This person isn’t your friend. They demonstrated that they can lie to your face and blithely take advantage of you — why would you let that continue? Why would you think such a person has your (or your children’s) best interests at heart?”

    Kunty Kibbler was simply and angrily FLABBERGASTED that the filing paperwork came back as contested. In her mind, this divorce was a simple matter of working out a 50/50 split of the estate and perhaps a few minor issues. And why not? She was used to UXworld being an understanding, accommodating man who just wants things to move forward with as little ugliness, and as much accommodation, as possible.

    So what changed? Mainly, my lucidity about what was going on and the type of person that she’s always been but for whom I’d been spackling for 20 years.

    I had yet to find the CL book or this website (eternal thanks to 4a.m. 4ever), but I instinctively knew that if she allowed her selfishness to destroy the most basic elements of respect towards our marriage, our family, and the life we’d built together, it would certainly carry over in a legal settlement. She actually said out loud, ” You know, I never dreamed that we’d need attorneys to get this settled. I guess I misjudged you.”


    The severe downsides (apart from her remaining in the house, on the advice of her attorney) is that in taking this approach, she fangs and claws come out on her end. She’s had moments of the other two channels of mindfuckery (self-pity and charm) but has definitely settled on rage as her point of origin. But that’s ok — at least I know what I’m dealing with and can manage it. There is a school of thought (noted in item C) that it might have been better to simply go along in order to get separation and heal faster, but that’s not something I was willing to compromise on. As 4a.m. 4ever again counseled, and as CL reiterated here: “Let the LAW tell you what’s fair — not a cheater.”

    • “You know, I never dreamed that we’d need attorneys to get this settled. I guess I misjudged you.”

      I got the same thing! but it was “We can just do a $100 divorce and use the same attorney!” of course this was before I found out the married guy she was stepping out with was a serial cheater and that put my health at risk. Then I got really angry.

      • Thank God he is so fucking Limited. First my therspist said he was ‘dumb’ and my lawyer said he was an ‘idiot’.

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

        There were few assets, mainly my retirement and a pile of debts in his name. You know how they LOVE to move those goalposts? He was shocked when I hired a kick ass attorney with years of experience. He found the least expensive newbe lawyer imaginable. She withdrew because of abuse from him and his whore.

        He valued his car and work vehicles at 5000 each. They were worth 500 each. He wanted nothing but two junk cars, his drums, and a 7,000 Roth. That is what he walked away with in the settlement. And his entitlement led him to believe I would always love him. I kept all the household items, my car and retirement. The man never fought for a thing in his life.

      • I wrote the settlement for my XH the substance abuser (not a cheater). I gave him 3 versions of a 50/50 split. He took them to his lawyer and they decided on one. They didn’t even change any of the language. But you can only do that with people who are not disordered Cluster-B type cheaters. I would never, ever negotiate with a narcissist.

    • UXworld – I am so sorry for your experience. I would go out of my mind if my cheater husband were still under my roof; blood would have been spilled, for sure. It was hard to get him out, but I did. In your case, can you not seek a court order for the sale of the home? I am sure that you don’t want to move but the toll on your mental and emotional health must be considerable. You cannot start your new life until you get rid of that “toxic waste”.

      • Yes, I understand the concern, and your point has been raised to me more than once.

        My attorney advised me form the get-go that a court order to have her removed would be extremely difficult to get, absent objective physical or verbal abuse directed at me or at my daughters. Her new ‘lifestyle’ and absence from the home is indeed selfish and shitty, but there’s no law against that. 🙁

        But I am trying to model for my daughters. With everything else they have been and are curretnly dealing with having their parents’ marriage break up, I wanted some semblance of consistency and sanity to count on to help get them through it. That means a safe, sane, stable and attentive parental influence (me) in the place they regard as home.

        If, god forbid, they are ever in my situation someday, I want them to have a reference of strength and resolve, so that they do not just roll over for the sake of ‘moving on’ from an entitled narc asshole more quickly.

        • I agree that a court order to have her removed might be costly and possibly unsuccessful but you can seek an order to have the house sold so that assets can be divided. Such orders are commonly granted and then she cannot get in the way. Sadly, you and your children will have to relocate but maybe that’s in the cards anyway.

    • Not for anything, but I always get angry when I hear good guys getting screwed over. None of you deserve it. Wish there were more like you out there in the world. Keep your heads up and glad you’re here in CN to show us that you exist…

    • I know people have said this to you before, UXWorld. But Kunty Kibbler sounds like a real mouth-breathing moron.

      • And I never tire of hearing it. Keeps me grounded in truth and makes it infinitely easier to not slip on being gray rock. So, thank you for saying so.

  • You have to realize you are dealing with a cheater and often a starry eyed Schmoopie who have already shown you that they have no sense of “fairness” when it comes to you or your kids! If they cared about anyone but themselves then they wouldn’t have been so selfish as to cheat! Divorce is a business transaction, a contract that decides how well you will live your life long after the cheater and Schmoopie are serving their millionth “customer”. Get your ducks in a row and look at how you want your future and the future of your children to look like. It’s time to get mad and dig your heels in. I know there is an inclination to cut and run and I know these cheaters and their side pieces will make you want to scream, but remember this is for all the marbles and you owe it to yourself to get the best settlement you can for you and your kids if you have any.
    I also went through a period of wanting to be super fair and worrying about how hard he had worked for all the assets that were at stake. Then I realized that if he had really cared about all his money and belongings then he never should have put them at risk by sleeping with a cheap slut! Just a thought I wanted to share. Hope it helps someone.

    • Yes, division of assets is a consequence for cheating. We chumps pay for the cheater’s choices as well. What was fair about that? So I say fight for the assets to begin again and secure the future.

  • I made these mistakes….. I only wish I had all the wisdom here before….:(

    At least I don’t have to deal with her anymore… free from her for the most part. Child Support and College for my daughter still to go.

    She took advantage of my good nature and my hopium…. what a fool I was.

    NEW Chumps: Follow Chump Lady and Chump Nation advice here…..!!!!!

    • +1 on making the mistakes and +1 on “NEW Chumps: Follow Chump Lady and Chump Nation advice here…..!!!!!”

  • Item C 1000%!!
    –“Guilt has a shelf-life,” a family attorney-friend of mine recently observed.

    Even though I didn’t entirely realize I was doing it at the time, I did manage to cultivate that window of guilt into a pretty favorable divorce settlement. And I gotta say, now that the X seems to be having some significant regrets over our financial terms, the sweet, sweet scent of that karma is a significant added value on top of the money. (But sometimes I do wonder about gloating… Perhaps it is not very “meh”–even if done privately. Oh well, I guess that’s a good problem to have.)

    So strike (sweetly) while the iron is hot, dearest chumps! Even if–especially if!!–you are actively trying to reconcile, you should still select a divorce attorney and have an initial meeting or two. (And taking a meeting or two with a divorce-certified CPA and co-parenting coach wouldn’t hurt, either.) There is a massive amount of mental health to be gained by doing so. Think of it this way… For the sake of your short-term mental health, you should try to visualize what you would like your life to be like just in case the marriage can’t be saved. When the worst-case outcome becomes just a little less mysterious, it won’t seem quite so disastrously scary and dark; and therefore, you will be somewhat better able to manage your depression, sleep at night; and function in daily life.

  • As a former chump, and now a divorce/family lawyer in Colorado, I’m very familiar with the mediation game. Colorado courts require every divorce/family law case to go to mediation. Often, I get clients who have done the mediation without attorneys who end up with no result (ie, cheater refuses to pay any maintenance and child support), or with a bad result.

    My favorite story is the client whose cheater sat her down at the kitchen table, and proceeded to tell her he was divorcing her, and had a PowerPoint presentation to show her exactly how their assets should be divided (house w/mortgage to her, all the cash to him), and why there should be no attorneys. Thankfully, she called me and showed me the PowerPoint. (Lots of laughing on my part.)

    While I think mediation can be good, unless the mediator has a background in the emotionally abusive dynamic, or the chump has a lawyer who gets it, the mediation could be another abusive situation.

    So, get a lawyer, as ChumpLady says. Interview several lawyers to see if they understand the chump/cheater dynamic and you feel a connection and trust with that lawyer. You have the right to have a lawyer who understands and clearly supports you. It’s not necessary to go with the first lawyer you talk to, or the one your neighbor referred you to. Ask questions about their experience with the narc personality type, and the kibbles/pick me dance/ etc. Many lawyers will work with you on affording their services, and some states (like Colorado) have statutes in family law cases to allow for the low-income spouse to have their attorneys’ fees paid by the higher income spouse.

    My mediation was difficult and demeaning to me, and I wish I had known what I know now as an attorney. Everyone should be able to come out feeling that they can start a new life empowered with “Meh”.

  • I have absolutely no regrets about my do it myself settlement. I did not want my children to suffer any more than they had so I thought it was crucial that I kept our house (which was our biggest asset) so they were not further traumatised by moving to another school, another home etc. I also saw my parents throw away thousands of pounds on lawyers who encouraged an adversarial divorce, so I am not a fan of divorce lawyers.

    So knowing that my husband also didn’t like wasting money on lawyers I did the research which showed that judges in the UK usually allocate between 60% to 75% of marital assets to the parent who cares for and provides a home for the children. I went into mother tiger mode and cajoled my husband (while he was in shock at having been found out ) to sign over his share of our home to me while he kept my share of the pension and other assets. I now own about 65% of the marital assets and it is all tied up in a legal separation agreement which I had carried out by (with online lawyers advising on both sides) for a fraction of the cost of going to a high street lawyer.

    I have been fair to my husband, I have taken care of my children’s stability as much as possible, I have avoided protracted legal battles and I have saved thousands of pounds which can be spent on caring for my children.

    • Your outcome sounds like it worked well for you. In the US, 50/50 is not uncommon and without legal representation, the lower income spouse may end up with very little or the higher income spouse may lose far more than is fair.

      With divorce attorneys are always good, and sometimes the costs are astounding, in general chumps/co-dependents need someone to protect them. Often the cheater has planned to leave for a while, which the person chumped has been blindsided.

    • My separation agreement with XH worked that way, too. I bought him out of the house by having an appraisal and then refinancing to pull out his share of the equity. He could have kept the house if he had chosen that and I would have looked to downsize a bit, but the mortgage here was too high. I did the refi on a home loan and so no closing costs, etc. I wrote the settlement, offered him choice of 3 scenarios that were 50/50, and had him check it with his lawyer, who drinks with him at the bar. So free for me. We essentially still get along well; it was a cheater scenario but rather a big lifestyle difference.

  • I did mediation but my kids were grown, my 401K was pretty good and was earning more money than his. My salary was also equal to his so I didn’t want alimony.

    During our fake wreckconcilaition we put on a new roof, upgraded our kitchen and added a deck. Though the money came from our savings it increased the value of the house which helped me in the settlement. He “forgot” to add the value of motorcycle to the list of our assets but I forgot to mention that any debt incurred during our marriage would be considered both our responsibility so his new boat and new truck were all his in mediation. I only took the debt of my car with me and got my name off the boat and car.

    He could have had hidden assets but I just wanted out, no looking back, no ties. It worked for me but if I had small children I wouldn’t have gone that route. I think in the end I actually made out a little better because I stayed silent about the joint debt thing. He didn’t want a lawyer though so it’s hard for me to have any sympathy.

  • Since my mediation was complete bullshit and nothing more than financing two lawyers next Hawaiin vacation I’m a little jaded. I was the blindsided chump when I got divorced, but by the time mediation rolled around I wouldn’t have pissed on her if she was on fire. We got nothing accomplished in mediation that didn’t need lawyers. Her plan from day one was to bleed me out of money and tie me up in court on anything. I played right along thinking common sense would win out with a judge and lawyers. Of course you quickly find out fair is a what your local county 4-H has once a year.

  • Mediation didn’t work out for me because CheaterX was so lost in the fog that he completely disregarded any communication from the court regarding mediation. In fact, he cancelled mediation the day before it was scheduled because he finally realized that he’d have to pay half the mediator’s fee, which he couldn’t afford.

    I’m glad that I didn’t waste tens of thousands on fruitless mediation, but it would have been nice to have been dealing with a saner person.

    This was yet another lesson in how cheaters tend to live disordered lives.

  • My divorce cost a fortune, thanks to tough attorney who worked hard to get me a good settlement. But low and behold, ex quit his job within eight weeks of our separation and remains unemployed to this day, thus never paying me anything close to the full amount of what he agreed to, and racking up over $40K in arrears that I will never see. If your cheater is willing to go as far as mine, it really doesn’t matter how you reach divorce agreement…. you’re screwed regardless. Might as well save your money.

    Nice Guy, on the other hand, did the DIY mediation with his ex (there was no adultery involved in his marriage/divorce.) Man, he got screwed. She worked him over big time. A tough attorney would have likely reached a far fairer agreement, but of course, a tough attorney would have cost a lot more than the cheapie mediator, so perhaps it would have worked out the same in the long run. I don’t think so, though.

    I’m sure there are situations where the DIY mediation works well, but I suspect they are few and far between. Maybe when it’s been a short marriage with no children and both partners making fairly equal incomes. Beyond that, buyer beware.

  • Just a bit of advice for anyone currently in the process of working out divorce agreement….. I had my attorney insert a clause specifically prohibiting ex from ever coming after me for alimony. I am soooooo glad I thought to do that, because absolutely, positively, 100% sure that was his plan. He was angry about the clause, but signed the settlement, then never bothered to honor his agreement. What a surprise…. NOT.

  • My ex told me he wanted a divorce and was already booking mediation the next day. I never even had a chance to breath. He wouldn’t leave the house so I moved out and hired a lawyer. Best thing I ever did! My lawyer said that abusive men/women love to use mediation because the weaker person usually loses. Sadly, my ex is angry because he wanted to walk away with all his money. He doesn’t care two shits about what happens to me or our children.

  • I’m a bit lost right now. I’m currently not working as I stayed home with my only son. He’s almost 6 and has non-verbal autism. I graduated from college in December of 2015, but I’ve been unable to find a job since. I’m applying like crazy and nothing is happening.

    So STBX started a thing with a coworker, I caught him two weeks ago. He told me it was an EA. He loved me but he’s not in love with me, all that BS. Wanted to work it out and be with me, but na, one week later he’s pining for hoebag again. I’m seeing a lawyer tomorrow, but I haven’t said a thing about it to him. I’m mostly frightened for my kid. I can take losing the asshole, but will my kid be homeless and out on the street? He’s promised to pay the bills until I get a job, but he’s staying here while this all goes down. He’s out with hoebag ATM. I’m so mad, I wouldn’t give two shits if he got hit by a bus.

    Yea, it’s terrible. I said it, I don’t care anymore. I lawyered up because of you guys, thanks so much, but I feel trapped.

    • ARGHDEMHOEZ – you have been served up a tray of shit sandwiches for sure. I am so sorry. That must hurt like hell. Since the pain will last for some considerable time, try to set aside for a moment and get down to business. Time is of the essence and what you do not will have a material impact on the rest of your life and kiddo’s entire future. Congratulations on lawyering up. It is the first right step. Second step is to use this time when he is out of the house with the hoe to rifle through any and all documents and photocopy them, go through his computer as well. Use the history to log onto any financial sites that he has accessed and hopefully he will have saved his password. You are looking for documentation of bank balances, financial statements, payroll stubs, account numbers for any accounts, pension statements etc. These fuckers can turn on you in a moment and they can make all the financial records disappear. I nearly caused a brownout in my neighbourhood when I was scanning everything before I kicked him out for good. I had that machine scanning paper around the clock. I even copied his divorce file from his first wife which had important intelligence on his negotiating style. Then you should make a second copy of these documents and store it somewhere safe, offsite – with your lawyer perhaps. Stay cool until you have a plan. Get some money in your own name and in a safe place – not a joint account. Once he knows that you have lawyered up, expect his demeanor to change. It is a frightening experience but once you are into it, you will be surprised that indeed, you can get through it, especially with the support of the Chump Nation.

  • As always the advice is spot on. Though I will throw up my hand as someone who actually had a very successful mediation. It was successful because:

    1) I am in CA, which is lovingly referred to as “brutally no fault”. Everything is split 50/50. Now certainly you can get into arguments about 50/50 of what… but there is really no negotiating the actual split.
    2) No children, no significant debts (except the mortgage).
    3) I had a lawyer who I had spoken with in advance of filing so I knew exactly what to expect. Back to point #1, it was clear that we did not a split that would really benefit from sending it into litigation. I pretty much had a game plan mapped out and just subtle steered the ship the way I wanted it to go.
    4) We had two major assets – a business and a house. I wanted the house and could afford it. He loved that business more than he loved me. We quickly agreed on the division. We both had jobs, so no issues about spousal support.
    5) My personal lawyer helped me keep my eyes on the prize. In regards to all the crazy shit I found when I was in “prepare to file” mode (howorker, financial shenanigans, etc.)… her advice was “your goal is to get out of this without mentioning any of it.” That advice was excellent. When I had to make the decision to fight for another $10K to $20K because I knew he was hiding assets… she was like CL and was like “just get a signed settlement and get out.”
    6) He definitely wanted it over fast as well. I did not have the particular brand of Narc who dragged things out just to keep up the kibble supply.

    So in my case, mediation was a great option and may be for some people, but probably a lot of people have a much more complicated situation.

  • I’m divorcing a lawyer. So yeah, I’m trying to punish her in the divorce. Bitch had it coming.

  • For me, mediation worked. With lawyers.
    It was the surest, shortest route.
    You see, when you are stranded in a foreign country, which language you don’t speak, you are all alone (no friends), your family is far away, and you have a small child to take care of (husband left and paid zero) as well as a full time job, you’re desperate. I could afford a nanny, but then I could not afford the bills and lawyer.
    Yeah, I could see how my savings would run out within a few short months.
    I could not even file for divorce without having sorted the issue of custody first.
    So we mediated. He dragged and delayed. Everything cost us double: mediator and lawyer.
    But I got it. I got custody, permission to relocate to my home country, 2/3 of the apartment (by law you get 1/2) and divorce within 6 months. He got more time with the child than he deserves, especially that he will leave him in the care of a prostitute, babysitter by day. Far from perfect, but it’s a win. I’m free and my child will have limited contact with the freaks. Long term, it’s gonna be a HUGE win (consequences).
    And I’m free. Free to start from zero.
    He continues with minus – he had to take a loan to pay the mediation, lawyer, as he had no savings. He’s been a parasite, driving my car, vacationing on my money, paying for her services with my money…
    He’s a meal ticket. That’s all he is now.

    In retrospect, there were a sum of factors that somehow worked in my son’s favour (it’s all been for him, you see).
    To have a junior lawyer, but a public person. That sped up things (I did not pick her, she was assigned to my case).
    The fact that the mediator has been in my shoes some 20 years ago. She divorced while pregnant. So she understood first hand my state of soul. It’s something my lawyer did not get it, despite being a woman.
    The fact that my son did not speak at 2, as he was exposed to 4 languages . That was a strong argument with the lawyers. So cheater pants had to give up and let us go.

    CL is right: work on the deal ASAP. His only goal is to skip into sunset with his OW. Let them go, don’t fight it.
    I could not pretend that I did not know, I was f-ing enraged! And so he fought, first to deny it. Then, after I told a few key ppl in her life, it all became about protecting her. He fought. Fight costs time and money. I should have kept my mouth shut as my lawyer has instructed me. But a good thing came out of this: he started paying alimony, on his own initiative. It was to keep his image of a good father. Never mind that he left and didn’t care if I had money to feed his son, for about 3 months.

    My advise is: let go. Let him go on his way, don’t oppose it. File straight away and strike a deal asap. This person is not your friend, not your partner. No! He has been your enemy, treat him as one. Disengage. Make getting rid of him your mission. Limit contact, establish boundaries. Go no contact or grey rock. Meanwhile, think of your future and act on it!

    • By contrast, I met a mother stuck in limbo for 2 years and a half.
      Her children told her there is another woman. Bastard had a small baby with OW.
      They did the state offered mediation, the DIY version without lawyers. Either the mediator was useless, either the bastard has manipulated the mediator so well, the fact is they got nowhere! She’s stuck: in a foreign country, no job, no prospects. She survives with what the state obliged him to pay. Her children never saw their grandparents.
      She asked to go home for vacation (after many years) and take the children with her. She offered to sign an agreement that she will return. Do you know what the bastard did? He demanded that her parents put their house as warranty! To cover the costs of tracking her, in case she doesn’t come back. THIS is psychopathy at work.

  • The ex was a cheap bastard when we got married, and was trying to be an even cheaper bastard in the divorce.

    Watch these guys. Mine had consulted an online divorce site, and most of the other cheaters have probably researched online as well. I’m sure that’s where this guy got the idea for 50/50 custody he claimed to want. He’d been around about 5% of the time before, and all that time was spent with his ass on the phone texting, or emailing the whore I’m sure.

    In my state, child support is set at 21% of the non custodial parent’s income. Standard visitation is every other weekend, plus one week night every two weeks. So really, he would not have had the child any more on the weekend, just four or five evenings a week every other week. So he thought he could screw me out of the 21% of $60,000/year by having his own child an extra 9 or 10 evenings a month. Sweet deal for him. Especially since she would be at day care all day, and go to sleep a few hours after they got home. Do the math on cheaters who want 50/50 custody and you will see what I mean.

    • They’re sneaky! My ex wanted it to say 50/50 in the separation agreement but then said we could work out the schedule afterwards. Now, he takes our kids 2 nights a month. I would have been screwed out of child support if I had gone along with his shenanigans.

      • Cricket, I’m sure that’s what ex had in mind for me too. No support, and me do full time childcare, in addition to my full time job. Business as usual. I know how lazy he is. I did everything when he wasn’t around, and when he was around. And the whore didn’t parent her own kid, so I can’t imagine her lazy nasty ass helping either, although luckily it never came to that.

        • At first, my ex had his mom looking after ours kids on his weekends. Now, he has the woman that he swore he wasn’t having an affair with helping him. On top of everything, he complains that he has to pay to feed them when they are with him. I so wish my kids had a different Dad!

  • “Their need for instant gratification and obliviousness to long-term consequences can work to your favor.” Do it fast, get a great attorney, and take advantage of what my lawyer told me, “guilt is a powerful emotion, but he won’t feel like this forever. Cease the moment.”

    This worked for me 100%. We had no children, he agreed to let me keep both dogs, and never hired an attorney because he is one (narcissism, amirite?) He had never been in a courtroom in his life, which totally helped me as someone who was often for a previous career. My attorney was amazing and suggested that I have him make a list of what he wanted to keep as an addendum to the settlement. He asked for all of the stupid things I didn’t care about (the big screen tv, the Playstation, our king-sized marital bed-eww). He also asked for things I wanted to keep, which I talked him out of. My lawyer explained that anything that was not on that list was legally mine. So, anything that wasn’t on the list, I either kept, sold, or threw away. I just wish I could have seen his face when he reentered HIS condo-almost completely empty. We were divorced a little over a month from D-Day.

    A few days after I moved out, he threatened to withhold my maintenance until I returned things that I had months previously agreed to leave (in a text message, not a legally binding contract-worst attorney ever on his part). My attorney POUNCED and threatened to haul his ass back into court! She told him that “as a lawyer, he should know that a text message isn’t a contract.” Cue narcissistic rage. Apparently, that made me pathetic, I should have been ashamed of myself, and “actions have consequences.” Seriously. The next day after his outburst, he paid up. And, he sent a note that he “prays for me daily.” These people truly are disordered…But, I am SO glad that I acted swiftly and was out of there faster than you can say “Leave a cheater, gain a life.”

  • Uggggh. I came to a Starbucks this evening, and I am watching a couple of cheaters flirt. It’s obviously a ho-worker and a married man. He’s got a ring on and she is ring-free and at least 10 years younger. They kissed when she got here, and he had a wine waiting for her when she arrived 10 minutes after him. She’s wearing scrubs and they are gossiping about the office. I so want to do something. I think I am going to be sick. I want to ask him if that is his wife. Fucking cheaters.

  • Wow, I just saw Breaking News that Elizabeth Slutpants Gilbert has come out of the closet and is “in love” with a female. Also, she admitted that the “intensity” of the new relationship caused the end of the old one. Once a whore, always a whore. Good grief, what a nasty cheating waste of human skin this slut is. Disgusting

    • Nothing grosser than a blazing narcissist who has achieved some level of success/notoriety. I’ll bet you dollars to donuts she is only “gay” all of a sudden because that is giving her a LOT more attention/kibble than if she simply cheated on her husband with yet another dude. I doubt this latest “love story” will last long.

    • AAAAAND the new lady friend is terminally ill and likely to die soon, which is very sad.

      AAAAAND they’ve been together, by the looks of things, since at least February this year.

      AAAAAND would I be a cynical old bag if I thought E Gilbert wouldn’t hesitate to write a moving book about her newfound gayness / tragic love with wonderful deathbed scenes / grief described, which may well restore her ailing fortunes and be made into a terrific movie? Query: would Julia Roberts reprise her role in this one?

      Oh, I am a bad person. But I will try to be better in the future.

      • If you are a bad person, so am I.
        My thought was “how convenient that she entered a relationship with a terminally ill person.” She can look like she is selfless to the public. But it is finite – no long term commitment.

        • Yeah, it’s convenient in a lot of ways. Her husband knows EG is a notorious dick chaser but he probably thought it was safe for her to have female friends. Wrong.

          I got her Eat, Pray, Love book at the thrift store after last CL column about EG. I was curious about it. But I’m afraid if i read it I might like it and find out I’m actually a covert whore or something…

          • Her power is in making herself likable. Who wouldn’t love to travel around the world, eat delicious food and get laid? Buying it at a thrift store is perfect. She gets no royalties and you get to choose what you take away from it without a big investment. And then you can toss it in the recycling.

      • Too funny, Lola. She’s a piece of work, that’s for sure. I can’t see how anyone likes, respects, etc. but the comments in her Facebook posting were about how brave she is, follows her heart, blah blah blah when actually her main accomplishment is being a cheating whore and bragging about it. No crotch is safe around her.

  • Brilliant post, CL, and one that should be repeated once or twice a year. Vickie’s original post is also very important reading.

    Here’s what it boils down to: cheating is all about maintaining an unfair advantage over a spouse. The cheater has knowledge the chump doesn’t have. The cheater has control of decision making because of that knowledge. The cheater can start hiding assets well before DDay and prepare for separation or divorce (or just more cheating) by hiding, controlling and appropriating income and assets, while the chump is clueless. The best chance any chump has for a positive outcome (whether reconciliation or divorce) is to take major action to shift the power imbalance in the relationship. The best means to do that is to see a lawyer and file. Right there it tells the cheater that the chump is no longer under control, and that the law, in the form of the state, is going to take the decision-making about home and money out of the cheater’s hands. Even if the couple eventually reconciles (if the unicorn makes an unlikely appearance), the chump is no longer being chumpy, and any reconciliation can proceed with a post-nup that protects chumps and kids and with (one hopes) the chump taking a much more pro-active role in the relationship. Filing for divorce is one way to begin (and it’s just a beginning) establishing a power dynamic that does not entirely favor the cheater.

  • Also always double check the numbers on everything. I caught two mistakes (one with the amount of child support and the other with the amount I was to get from the house equity). My attorney had just put an approximate number down and I went back and found the actual numbers and got more money on both.

  • Heading into year 6 of litigation on a 9 year marriage. First trial (baseless but possible in today’s legal world) next week.

    Legal fees approximately 5x likely settlement amount.

    I’ll be paying my lawyer and his lawyer for decades. Unbelievable mess wherein attorneys win everything and our child loses everything because his father is a weak and shamed man. It’s Groundhog Day… Every day.

    Act fast While you act dumb and be willing to pay a lot to get it over. I’ll never be able to buy back the years of my life wasted on this disgusting person.

  • #3 certainly worked for me. I spoke to a lawyer who advised me to file for a Simple Dissolution of Marriage since I owned my property way prior to my marriage and we didn’t have any investments together. I filed within 2 weeks of the d-day and my ex was quick to sign everything in the 64 page document. She didn’t even read it really. Most important part was the section that says we had divided all assets privately and cannot sue each other post-divorce. It took 2 more months before we went before a judge, during which time I was on the edge of me seat hoping she wouldn’t figure out a way to sue me – which she didn’t.

  • I was one of the lucky ones who used his guilt to get it done in 90 days. Biggest piece of advice? You don’t have to do mediation or go to court and you can waive mandatory waiting periods. My ex didn’t get a lawyer and I said we could agree to terms and my lawyer would draw up the papers for him to sign. It then goes to the judge to sign off. And is a hell of a lot cheaper.
    We met and it sucked, but sucked a lot less then a drawn out court proceedings. Moron gave up the kids, the house, the car, and I moved 1500 miles away for a new job. I am by far the winner (if there is such a thing in divorce). I also kept my 401k and didn’t have to pay him alimony despit making much more then him. Moral of the story: don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer and soon to be ex to just agree to some terms and get it over with. And ask early! Use their guilt if they have it. You won’t regret it. Until I did some Google research after filing I didn’t even know that was an option! So hooray for the Internet.

  • To the really great info above I’d like to add this, find out how long you need to reside in a state before you can be considered a resident, and what the state laws are concerning child support and custody, in my case I was pregnant when I left, I had moved down South to join the ex,when I realized it wasn’t going to work I moved back to where I could get my job back,one child in tow, pregnant with the other. In retrospect I had a very lucky escape, I didn’t bother to do anything about a divorce, I just stayed low key until the six months required to re establish residence where I lived , was up, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck down south where he was connected to the good ol’ boy network , trying to fight to get custody of my kids knowing that a judge could insist that I stay there for God knows how many years, ugh, I went grey rock , he did the filing but by that time both me and the kids were settled and it would have been disruptive to move them back.Second, GET A PRENUP, I can’t stress it enough, especially if you have assets before the marriage, again in my case I was lucky, we were both employed,a decade after the divorce and I have real estate and a substantial IRA to lose, if I ever lost my mind and decided to get married again I would get an airtight prenup,would I have done better with an attorney? , maybe, maybe not, he sent money for child support for two years and then left the country,if I wasn’t working me and the kids would have been eating -cat-food-broke and screwed.Which brings me to my last point, think long and hard before you give up your career to stay home and raise the kids, if things go pearshaped,and you have to depend on the ex, you might found yourself drowning in quicksand, a lot of women are pressured to sign awful settlements simply because the ex stops paying the bills, and uses the money as leverage. My dad was a complete narc, and my sister is married to another sociopath, she’s in the process of getting a divorce I found this website while I was looking for info to try and guide her. Keep up the good work CL

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