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Financial Freedom from a FW

Dear Chump Lady,

I was sent to your blog during my horrible divorce from a cheating husband back in 2016. While he hadn’t been particularly engaged in family life during our marriage, when the divorce proceedings started he became outright abusive.

Even though we were married for 10 years, have two amazing kids and a lot of joint property, once he made it clear he wanted a divorce and nothing could stop him, I made sure he got his divorce. From D-Day to divorce was 6 months and 17 days. Exactly 200 days. I had always had control over our finances, even though he spent all of our money. So, I knew aside from the cars and the house, there was nothing of value. I just got him the heck out of here!

Due to the length of our marriage, and me being a stay-at-home mom since our oldest was born, I was entitled to spousal support. And as he moved nearly an hour away, the kids have been with me primarily, so there’s child support.

The three of us made do with that, as well as a part-time grocery store job for the first two years, as I tried to patch myself together. Then, in 2018, I decided to head to community college and get an associate’s degree in information technology. I graduated in December 2020, possibly the worst time to graduate. I also had two IT certifications.

The past 6 months, I’ve tried finding work-from home-positions, but I’ve seen the numbers on LinkedIn and I’m at the bottom of the pile. But Monday afternoon a job offer came in with a company I’ve fallen in love with as I’ve talked to their employees, who all tell me how great it is to work there. It’s a company that acknowledges that I’m an entry-level candidate and are willing to train me into the position they want me in. I expected a “entry level” salary, but they offered $25,000 over what I was hoping at the very best.

I cried all of Monday, tears of shock and joy. This position frees me 100 percent from the dependency of my ex and his child support. This position allows me to move out of the marital home, where I’ve been “stuck” for the past 5 years, with all the bad memories from my divorce. This position gives me freedom to finally live my life and move to wherever I want to live.

Thank you! ❤️


Dear CrazyDogLady,

Yea you!!!

(CN, the subject header of this email was “Tuesday and then some.”)

I love a good dose of Mighty in the morning! The story here for me is your tenacity. You had to step (plummet) into the scary unknown and field marshal your way to a new life. Success is very satisfying, but courage is persevering.

No one told you how this was going to end. You had to take those community college classes on faith. You had to face  rejection in the job market. You had to be the Sane Parent as cheating, abandoning ex bailed, raged, and moved away.

Your employer saw your worth (hurrah!) — but you saw your worth first. And it’s a hell of a thing to LIVE that when the world around you is rejecting you. I’m sure you’re inspiring a lot of chumps today to keep going.

A word about financial freedom from fuckwits. Child support enforcement in this country is a travesty.

A U.S. Census report estimates that just 43.5 percent of custodial parents get the full amount of support they’re entitled to. And more than 30 percent don’t receive anything at all.

Total arrearages in the U.S. are $113 billion with a B. (I once did a story on this for Washington Lawyer in 2017, and that was the figure then. I’m sure it’s grown. The numbers above are from a 2019 census study.)

I say this not to make anyone stay in a marriage with a fuckwit For The Children, but to help you PLAN and PROTECT YOURSELF.

Stay-at-home parenting is a very risky proposition, IMO. I understand the choices, the cost of childcare is insane, we don’t have enough paid family leave in this country. I could get on my soap box and go on. (VOTE, people! Care about this shit at the state level! Hold your representatives accountable! This is an access of justice issue for MILLIONS of people, mostly women!)

When the SAH commitment goes pear-shaped (thank you for being a good wife appliance, your services are no longer needed. Okay, well they are, but I don’t want to pay for them, let the children live on air, so I can fuck strange….) you are at a profound economic disadvantage.

So, let CrazyDogLady serve as an example.

Work job training and insurance into your divorce settlement. Consider a lump sum pay out for this, because as we see above, it’s difficult to enforce court orders if you have a uterus.

Always, ALWAYS enforce child support as best you can. Yes, the system sucks. However, the system can work if your ex has a steady job that can dock a paycheck. Self-employment, state skipping, gig life — very difficult to enforce. A job that requires a social security number is a job that can that collect support auto-deducted by the state. NEVER EVER hesitate to enforce child support. They may not collect, HOWEVER, this shit goes on their credit record and you may have options when they collect social security.

Child support is for the kids. It’s not a gift. It’s not a favor. It’s a bitch cookie. It’s the VERY LEAST THEY CAN DO. (Like, literally, it’s the least.) Oh, you paid $200 toward the dental bill? The actual bill is $1200. Oh, you pay $399 a month in support? That’s two weeks of groceries.

(I know there are chump dads out there who faithfully pay their support and get their kids half time if that, all because they got cheated on. Unjust. A shout out to the good guys.)

Consider a new career path. Nursing? IT? HVAC repair? Job security is a beautiful thing.

CrazyDogLady, congrats on your new job and enjoy never, ever having to dance for a fuckwit again. Enjoy the liberation of not needing anything from him. But please cash those support checks — they are yours and the kids’ and you earned them.

Happy Tuesday.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Oh, and if anyone is hiring out there? Shuffle those single-parent resumes to the top of the pile, okay? Do me a solid.

    • I always liked hiring single moms. They worked hard, showed up and had amazing attitudes. One woman I hired went on to finish college , get certified in her filed and is rocking life.

      • They make great renters too. Until their broken picker picks them another fuck wit. I have lost a lot of good single mom renters that way.

        • I was never a angle mom, as my son was fully emancipated before I hit my Dday.

          However, I never had a broken picker. I was married at 18 and my ex was 18. Young in love and there was no reason to think he was not a decent person. He turned out to be a cheater. I will never know the full truth.

          Did we marry too young, nope young marriage is no excuse. We both married at the same age. (18 almost 19) I never was dishonest and my love was real. Many many successful marriage start at a young age. Just as many start at a later age.

          I went on to remarry and have been married gong on 27 years now to a wonderful man and he is honest and loving as I am to him. I did take my time and get to know him really well, and of course I would recommend that to anyone, young or older.

          Just because the person you loved turns out to be not as trustworthy as you thought, does not always mean you have a faulty picker. You can’t know everything. Especially in the young years when there has been no time for a long history.

          • True! Every situation is different. The people I am talking about are not 19 they are late 20s early 30s.

      • I landed my first job in my profession BECAUSE I was a single Mum . My manager had cow from a single parent family and knew single mums were organised and reliable. I have been so grateful to him ever since. My (first non-cheater but abusive) ex always said I could never hold down a job or earn decent money and yet here I am 18 years later in a senior position in a great company earning 6 figures plus bonus. He’s now an Uber driver after thinking he was a hot shot day trader and lost all his money and his partners inheritance in the GFC. HA!

        • They don’t realize what a fire they light under us, when they mock our abilities (they are just insecure and jealous). My dumb FW made fun of everything I tried to do for 32 years. Especially my remodeling projects. He’d say ‘Oh no, she’s got a hammer, what’s she going to wreck now?’
          Well, since we parted ways, I’ve remodeled two houses, doing about 50% of the work myself, and sold both for a nice profit. Now I’m working on my own little bungalow, and it’s just fun for me! I also became a kitchen designer. LOL to his mocking!

    • How would you know the applicant is a single parent? That should never, ever appear on a resume.

      • Right? I would have no way of knowing. Also, single parenthood is just one facet of a person, it’s not a virtue. Former office manager was a single mom. She was passive-aggressive and bat-shit nuts (character traits that revealed themselves to us slowly, after she was hired). We were so happy when she was let go, even though it meant more work for the rest of us, the office was so much more peaceful and functional.

      • It shouldn’t appear on a resume, of course. But not every job applicant is anonymous and unknown to their employer either.

      • During the interview process there is usually some informal chit chat so personal stuff comes out. Also during the interview process most people are candid as it is no longer taboo to hire a single mother because businesses no longer have the misconception that single motherhood leads to taking excessive days off.

      • People we interview were referred to us so we know their family situation. We recently hired an awesome single mom, a married woman and a recent college grad. I don’t get to choose.

  • You just hit on something families need to happen in this country yesterday. We need state supported day care/night care to be paid exactly like we do schools. In other words tax supported. We set ourselves up as the great golden country but we treat our children as if they are after thoughts. Someone looking after your child should have at minimum two years of child development and a certificate showing they know what they are doing.
    No fault divorce has made it impossible for some parents to get an even break in a divorce.

    • That sounds real good unfortunately the unforeseen side effects would be more fatherlessness and subsidizing low paying jobs.  if you doubt this look up Thomas Sowell’s very thorough analysis of the affect of the welfare state on the black family. How about a society and economy where we don’t have to job out the raising of our children?

      Crazy Dog Lady really hit a lot of the boxes for me. I pay alimony to my ex who refused to work. Then was angry about the economizing necessary for her to be a stay-at-home mom for 10 years. How is that for an even break? I am not against alimony. My best friend a fellow Chump gets the max in alimony because his ex developed a lucrative business while he morphed into a stay-at-home dad and every time he wanted to get a job she said don’t worry about it. The courts should consider individual situations more. In support and custody the deck is definitely stacked against the man especially when it comes to custody.

        • This sounds ridiculous but the first four years of a child’s life make or break their inner sense of peace. It’s how they view the world, it’s how they view themselves, it’s whether they can trust people or not. When you place your child in someone else’s hands you hope that person has your child’s best interest at heart. Having people with two years minimum training on how to look after very young children is only going to be done through the school system. There’s no way that private daycare‘s can be monitored very well.

      • Well, maybe, if you happen to be a Milton Friedman admirer. If you happen to believe that people will stay unmarried or get divorced just for the welfare payments. Or that parents should be coerced economically into staying together. (My parents stayed together because our SAHM was afraid of workplace re-entry and our Dad did not want to pay child support. Not good for the kids.)

        As for subsidizing low-paying jobs, a decent minimum wage would take care of that.

        • I am aware of Thomas Sowell’s biography. I thought maybe your link was to a cogent rebuttal of the evidence he has put forth I’m still looking for that as I do not agree with everything he says.

          “If you happen to believe that people will stay unmarried or get divorced just for the welfare payments”. No I don’t believe that but it will make single parenthood and divorce easier and more likely. This is what Sowell’s analysis indicates. I do have to say while living in a poor neighborhood in the mid-80s I did overhear a woman say that she needed another baby because her check wasn’t big enough. This is just ancedotal, as is your statement, and no longer possible as Bill Clinton eliminated most cash welfare payments with welfare reform in the 90s.

          This is the good professor’s point we need social policy based on evidence not feel good sounding programs backed up by seemingly logical but unproven statements.

          I agree with you on minimum wage.

          • Thanks for the detailed reply.

            But a question: do you really want to make divorce more difficult for chumps?

            Because that is NOT good for the kids OR the chump, I am here to tell you.

            I was raised by a fuckwit/chump couple who stayed together for an estimated–by me– 20 years after D-Day #1. It was a deeply unhappy household. Both of us kids, also gaslighted right along with the chump, as adults still are living with the effects.

            • Judith Wallerstein,who studied the effect of divorce on children (young and adult),was roundly criticized by feminists because she was somewhat against it.
              I read her book (Legacy of Divorce) and research years ago and don’t remember if and how she addressed spousal abuse in the form of cheating.

              A fellow child of a cheater/chump couple

      • But isn’t that precisely what family court does in divorce? Consider the individual case as submitted and apply the law according to the judge’s discretion?

        And being a stay at home parent IS work. If you dispatch the duties of SAH parenting even marginally, it’s like being he executive director of a non-profit corporation, but without pay. You’re doing facilities management, inventory management, housekeeping, child care, bookkeeping and more.

        • Not really. Just as infidelity plays no part in the final settlement the other person’s lack of responsibility in doing their fair share or their financial irresponsibility does not come into effect when allocating alimony. At least it didn’t in my case.

      • “How about a society and economy where we don’t have to job out the raising of our children?”

        What are you proposing?

        Job sharing? I doubt employers are going to embrace that idea. That’s 2 (or more) people they have to train and provide benefits for, which is huge loss to the bottom line. Not gonna happen.

        Remote work? We’ve seen that play out during the pandemic – people (mostly women) juggled lack of productivity, child neglect, and sheer exhaustion.

        Stay-at-home parents? We’ve already seen how that parent fares. Even if the marriage doesn’t tank, the one who stays home loses financial freedom, which is scary because it greatly affects the power dynamic in that relationship. If the marriage does tank, the loss of that financial freedom affects the divorce proceedings (try retaining a lawyer with no access to money) and its aftermath. Social Security, paltry as it already is, becomes an insult. Getting back into the job market is a bitch because people tend to equate ‘stay-at-home’ with ‘not working.’ So they think the person lacks meaningful skills. If, in addition, you’re middle aged or older, few employers are interested. (All that “we don’t discriminate” jabber is pure bullshit. You can’t hide your age on a resume when you’re required to list dates of graduation and employment. And how do prove that HR rejected you because of your age if you can’t even get an interview?)

        Welfare doesn’t work because, thanks to some well-run propaganda campaigns in 80’s, the “welfare queen” anecdote you shared has become a stereotype that people firmly believe. Hence, we have welfare “reform” that doesn’t work because working parents need affordable child care, which isn’t available.

        It’s a catch-22 that has a lot of people (mostly women) impoverished. They’re waiting tables, driving ubers, and getting minimum wage with no benefits at Walmart. Many of them are doing it in their retirement years. All because they wanted to raise their own children or couldn’t afford the cost of day care.

        So what’s your solution to this conundrum?

        My solution? I say that stay-at-home parents should receive a guaranteed living wage from the government, subsidized by large corporations, for the work of raising and replenishing the nation’s labor force. That would be a huge step toward eradicating poverty, decreasing abortion rates, and paving the way toward true equality between the sexes. More dads would be willing to stay home and more moms could climb the ladder to six-figure executive jobs.

        Just saying.

        • AMEN chumpqueen! Canada is pretty good with health care, and moving towards universal daycare. But it’s taken my life time to get there. Universal Basic Income would solve a lot of inequalities.

          • Yes, America lags behind Canada and Europe on issues of equality. Ironic, isn’t it?

            Legally, I’m a Canadian citizen because my mother was born and raised there. I’d have moved there long ago if America didn’t need my vote so desperately.

            • i’m guessing you voted Biden… hope the progressives stick together

      • Heck yeah. I pay alimony, and then take the kids 60% of the time and still pay child support to a fuckwit whom refuses to work full time because then she couldn’t ride her horses.

        But the courts are stacked against men. Every time I see the gals on here cheer about the judge bending over their ex, realize those same judges are bending over guy chumps who did nothing but bust their heiny for their family. The whole experience left me with such a negative view of the courts that never again will I legally marry – I might very well spend the rest of my life with the woman I’ve met and love, but sorry, no marriage.

        And sorry CL, this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen on your site:

        “it’s difficult to enforce court orders if you have a uterus.”

        • Our court system sucks. The reality of divorce though is that nobody wins. Financially, you are taking a family’s combined household income and dividing it. One for you, one for your x, one for the children, and often a great deal of money goes to the lawyers. My lawyer dragged her feet for two years, right along with x and his bullying, incompetent one. Every day I scrambled to pay bills. Every court date ate up money I needed. I went from having everything to having nothing. My house went into foreclosure, as x was too busy living it up with his new toy. He spent those two years during our divorce dissipating assets. Most courts are powerless, they can not control the disordered any more than you and I could. They are pushing through a great number of cases. Sadly we all know they are not done well. The belief though is to split everything fairly, as close to 50/50 on the marital assets (or what’s left), and to take care of the children under 18. Most parents are encouraged to split custody now unless someone is unsafe. Cheating is not part of the discussion. I think it factors into most divorces, don’t you?Did you go to trial? Agree to a settlement? My advice, such as it is, is to take your ex back to court to address spousal/alimony. Sit down and hammer out your own settlement. Do your homework though. There is a great deal of info online. There are formulas for support. Then get a lawyer to look at it.
          Approach it like solving a problem… if x loves horses she could get a job with them. Then you can plan your future.

          I was thankful Children’s Services went after x, my finances were screwed even with a full time job, and that little bit of money helped all three of my kids stay in school. I don’t know anyone who came out of a divorce financially able to live in the manner they did married. Not without a great deal of hard work.

          • Oh my ex came out of it with most everything. Which is fine because I got the one little property that was paid for. It wasn’t worth much, but I could live there pretty cheaply. (I sold it a few years later)

            He walked away with all the debt, but he also got the Lions share of the property, and kept his retirement intact. I could have forced the sale of everything, but after debts there wouldn’t have been much left. He still had his strong salary, and kept his retirement. He wouldn’t have accepted the settlement had it not be to his benefit.

            He was set to do really well with the investment properties, then a few years later he decided to start gambling big time, and lost it all. Still stuns me to this day that he did that.

            I worked at my minimum wage job, earned a promotion here and there and always put the top amount into my retirement account. So in the end I ended up better off than he did.

            Honestly I think if more folks could just look at what is actually available, such as a small property, paid off or mostly paid off, or maybe a savings account, or a buy out of a pension etc, and not get too wrapped up in the other spouse getting most of it; they might be better off.

            But, sometimes there isn’t any way to do that. Also, the price of legal assistance today is outrageous. Folks are always complaining about medical costs, I think also legal costs should be controlled.

            Yes I remarried a successful man too, but I did well on my own before that.

            I think with small children though, that is hard to do. Someone is going to get screwed over and it will usually long term be the primary care giver.

  • Unfortunately, for job interviews, it’s the better route not to highlight single parenthood or any parenthood at all for ladies.

    • Correct. And as an employer, you can’t ask, either. As a military spouse, I couldn’t even mention what my spouse did for a living or couldn’t get hired because they figured why bother when you could be moved again in 2 or 3 years. Employers always figured ways to make you talk, too. Interviews are such landmines.

  • CrazyDogLady, you made my day. Now THAT is what I call mighty!

    PS, I’m curious about FW: does he know of your victory? Maybe it’s best to let sleeping dogs lay.

    • I wouldn’t tell him. Never give an asshole a chance to sabotage you or try to swan back in the door. (“Oh hey, I haven’t tortured the ex in a while! Oh hey, she’s got money now!”)

  • Back in 1988 when I divorced my first husband who didn’t even bother to show up to court, the Judge ordered a whopping $22 per week in support. It was a joke and ex fw never bothered to pay a dime. Being in Illinois, the state with the worst record in the country for collecting support, I got nothing. I raised and financially supported my Daughter myself at first and later with the help of my current husband.
    Out of the blue in 2011 I got a tax notice for something I was unaware of and after calling the state I learned that I had received a lump sum of just over $18,000 in child support and that my case was now considered paid in full and closed. Wow! After all those years, somehow they had managed to squeeze blood from a stone! My Daughter just happened to be getting married in a few months so this windfall came in VERY handy!
    I just want to let everyone know that even if it’s a pittance and the Court Order languishes around with no enforcement, make sure you get it!!! You never know if that thing will come in handy one day, far, far into your future!!

    • Wait wait, was this $18K just languishing somewhere until the tax department happened to write you? No one else in the government thought to give you a heads up?


  • CONGRATULATIONS, CrazyDogLady! All your hard work has paid off. Thanks for giving others a hopeful, happy Tuesday to look forward to. You rock!

  • Financial freedom is the best. When H and I were married we had only one bank account and it was a shared bank account; I didn’t have one of my own. This didn’t seem strange to me; I trusted him with everything, after all and thought “We’re a team! It’s our money. The household’s money.”

    I had coffee with a friend (during the happy, clueless, honeymoon days of my marriage) who was a nurse. She was married too with four kids and nursing was a big time sink for her. I still remember her telling me “I got my training in and became a nurse, even with a family at home, because a woman should always, always, ALWAYS have the ability to be independent. She should have her own career and her own bank account. You never know when life is going to go sideways.”

    I cringe when I recall my reaction to her. I scoffed. I thought “Well, that’s fine for her; she’s one of those Type A personality types. That’s not for me. Hubby and I are soulmates. Meant to be! We share everything including career paths (we partnered up on freelance jobs) and our bank account.”

    I look back now and think of how right my nurse friend was. Do not hitch your life to your spouse in such a way that you are dependent upon them. Do not undervalue the idea of your own independence. (I thought “I don’t need independence! I have a loving husband.” My perspective was, admittedly, very old fashioned.)

    Fast forward to two babies later. I’m a stay at home mom, the kids are still in diapers, and the only access to capital I have is a shared bank account that my soulmate husband is using to wine and dine his secret girlfriend with. The money wasn’t ours after all; it was his and he was using it to feather his new nest.

    And here I was with babies, no job, no money, no finances to my own name, and a husband telling me that he had just found his “real soulmate.” The breadwinner in my life had removed himself from my life.

    I had to move, with my babies, back into my parents home. When I managed to find a place for the kids and me to live in I was horribly economically disadvantaged. I used the food bank as often as I was allowed to and signed up for every single parent, low income welfare state program I could.

    Fast forward: My kids are busy teens and I’m on my 4th post divorce degree and my first PhD.

    I think of what my nurse friend said a lot and see the wisdom in her advice. Things can always go sideways; set up your life so you can live independently if you have to.

    And always have your own bank account.

    • Fourleaf, your story makes me feel lucky (and my lawyer always told me that and I agree) Congratulations! You are mighty too!

      • We were living in a no-fault state and I was so scared! Thank God for the decent judge. He ordered permanent alimony – it’s a life saver! There was also child support.

        I was a SAHM with 2 kids; our oldest was already 18, my youngest had some learning/behavior challenges.
        I didn’t know what I could do because I had been out of the job market for 20 years, had no degree, and felt certain I wasn’t smart enough to learn – I was wrong. I took a computer class and that was the beginning of doing well; I didn’t know computers AT ALL (it was many years ago!) Our community college was/is excellent, I had to take remedial math (what a shocker – NOT) but I aced the English and was placed in an advanced class (voracious reading really paid off). There were many “returning students” who were closer to middle age than their 20’s. The returning students did the best so often; we were there to learn and we studied and got good grades (I was certain I was too old to learn but I was wrong).

        To all the Chumps here, do what the wise people on this board advise. It’s frightening but you can and will make it. Be strong (for me, the situation got me back on my knees in prayer and God has taken care of us every step of the way – it isn’t always easy but it works out). We can survive and thrive (I was POSITIVE I was one person that would not/could not make it through a divorce). Wrong again. 🙂

        • “I took a computer class and that was the beginning of doing well.”

          That’s what happened to me to. I took a few classes at a community college to set myself up for some employment and found that I enjoyed being a student–really, really enjoyed it.

          Awful spouses really hold us back in life, don’t they?

    • This is exactly what I tell my daughter. She’s about to get her first job offer and is considering taking something less desirable to be near her boyfriend. I asked her why *he* couldn’t take something less desirable for *him* to be near *her* first choice. But he’s her first real boyfriend and she’s in love, and doesn’t want to hear it (“Dad, it’s my decision to make” – which is, of course, true).

      • One of my hometown mates (a few years younger) turned down the chance to attend the London School of Economics, waiting for then boyfriend/now jerky husband to finish his undergrad degree.
        I wish the best for your daughter. ????

        • I’ve always run my career around the disordered men I chose to be with. My father modelled that for me, holding his career back to satisfy my mother’s strong narcissistic traits and drama. I have been successful in my career, subject to defining success. But, oh, have I made life gruellingly hard for myself. I regret that at 61.

    • We shared a bank account for the first 18 years but early in wreckonciliation (once I realized that he was capable of treachery) I diverted my entire paycheck to a private acct. I also started a 401K. We were reshuffling our income/expenses with his military retirement and he barely noticed the change.

      I did have a huge lapse when I thought we were in a good place and I used like $7000 to pay off his debt for moving away (eek it stings to admit that). I also paid a lot of college tuition out of that act.

      I had $40,000 saved to leave and I was looking at apartments and cars (“my” was in his name alone) and told myself I was ready to leave with the net rage. He died suddenly and I experienced the double shock of being completely independent of his overbearing (financial and otherwise) ways and his life insurance allowed me to pay off everything.

      My now husband was financially abused (to a certain degree) in his first marriage and we have opted to keep a lot of our money separate. We did not put each others names on our houses, retirement funds or most of our investments. We have a smaller shared fund that would cover any emergency. My kids will inherit the remainder of their dads life insurance. I think we have been fair to each other and our kids and neither of us had to put ourselves in a precarious position

    • Four leaf, I was feeling down this morning. Then I read your life story. It is inspiring. Thank you. May your mighty continue to grow and flourish forever. May my mighty pick itself up and push on.

  • Just want to share a story of two women I know personally….

    One, a friend whose husband divorced her late in life, who had been a full-time parent (my preferred label) and housewife as was very common in her generation. She also had only one leg. As she described her reaction to her circumstances, “I got so mad I started my own business!” And it turned out to be a success.

    My dental hygienist, an immigrant from Persia who did not speak English or drive and had three little children, found out her husband was a cheating lying dog and became….my dental hygienist! Who told me early on, “Get away from him.”

    If they can, any of us can.

    There is NO UPSIDE to staying in a marriage with someone who betrays and abuses you and pushes you and your children off a cliff into a Tiger trap with the willing assistance of a low life conspirator they found under a rotting log in a swamp. You CAN get away.

    • There once was a one-legged lady
      Whose husband was shifty and shady
      When asked for divorce
      She said, “Eff you, of course.”
      And she kicked his ass soundly and ably!

  • I worked for Child Support Enforcement and I can tell you the case doesn’t start when you call in. It can take six weeks before it comes to an agents desk along side the thirty or more daily cases they work on throughout the day. These agents are hard working individuals who have too much to deal with. They get abuse from the absent parent and in some states they are carrying guns because it’s considered a dangerous job.
    I remember one day an agent got flowers for her handling of their case. It made her day!
    You have to plan things out if you are lucky enough to do so. I had to answer the phone during lunch one day and it was awful. I loved my job and I remember hoping I’d never be in that position. You have to really plan ahead. Even the shelters are full.

  • This is what the many pathways to mighty looks like . You are courageous and focused , you’ll never be pushed around and you have shown your children what courage grace and character becomes . When I read your post I teared a bit of prideful tears for you . My mind envisioned the photo of the U.S. Marines planting the flag on Mt.Serabachi . You have planted your flag and reclaimed the point of vantage .

  • Well, that GIF made me cry. Way to go, CrazyDogLady! I’ve been working overtime all summer and today’s post reminded me to pay off my car. Just got off the phone – paid in full, way ahead of schedule! If only I had the time for a celebration road trip!

  • Yes, that was my story too. Twenty years of mostly being SAHM, and I had two years where I made so little that I didn’t pay any taxes. Indeed being a SAHM was a risky choice that I truly didn’t grasp at the time. Interviewing in your late 50’s after years of part-time work was really, really discouraging. My attorney was very apologetic, but he said that there wasn’t a single judge in my area who would take my SAHM years into account. The last one who did that was retiring, and court dates for divorce trials were always booked 6-8 months in advance.

    We got by with an informal food bank and friends who helped us out. The kids were older, so no child support. The ex had to retire early, so I was to get part of his pension and no alimony. He stopped paying support during the divorce process in exchange for something that was significantly better for me long-term, but I had no idea what I was going to do without that money in the short-term. We removed sharing college expenses because his approach was cringy and rife with potential problems. I told the kids that they would have to borrow after the divorce was final. They were both several years in as commuter students, so it wouldn’t be unmanageable. Both were working as much as they could and had scholarships. After I paid their tuition one last time, I also had to pay off a car loan because I couldn’t refinance it on my income. Then I held my breath.

    “Of course” he fought closeout too, and then COVID hit and everything stopped. I had to charge my legal bills. It was clear that the pension money wasn’t going to come anytime soon, and indeed it took over a year after the divorce was final because of my ex’s games, COVID delays, and an administrative error.

    And then it all came together. I found work where my age and SAHM years were actually an asset. Both kids got more scholarships that nearly covered all their tuition, and I was able to help with the fees and the rest of their tuition. One graduated, and one is nearly there.

    Without custody issues and nothing in agreement tying us to him, we are not at all in contact. It all took way longer than it should have, but it worked out.

  • Thanks for the shout out CL. We male chumps who fall into this category have a special flavor of shit sandwich as far as this goes (not better, not worse, just special — this ain’t a pain Olympics).

    As a ‘glimmer of hope’ for those of us in this situation — after getting nowhere with the Kunty Kibbler regarding our elder daughter’s upcoming first-year college expenses, I formally filed for a reduction in child support. After the attorneys ran the numbers on both ends, the state-mandated formulas determined that I am entitled to have my weekly support obligations lowered such that I’ll be paying half what I’m paying now starting in June of 2022 (with a lesser reduction starting immediately upon signing of the agreement, probably within the next few weeks).

    In addition, the agreement requires KK to pay a certain amount of tuition/fee expenses per child for they time they’re in college (she had previously refused to do this), she has to co-sign for a portion of their student loans (she previously had refused to do this), and we’ve established a firm date at which point my support will cease.

    It surprised me that KK was willing to accept these conditions, until I remembered a sentence that my attorney inserted in the initial proposal if we were forced to proceed with litigation: ” . . . we will also need to conduct discovery, including into (KK’s) spouse’s income, to determine how it impacts the availability of her income to contribute to the support of the children.” Smells like someone doesn’t want an snooping into the Chlorine Special’s finances.

    All of which is to say to my fellow male chump shit-eaters: be careful, be prudent, but there may be things you can do to make the shit go down a little easier.

    • When it comes to subsequent spouses, though, the law is often a sexist bitch.

      Here, the “all agreements are off upon remarriage” is still standard. If I were to remarry (and I absolutely wouldn’t, so this will never effect me, but the sexism of the law is still outrageously offensive), the settlement agreement would be off. Same deal if I were to cohabit (again, zero chance, but still sexist af).

      So, if there’s a man in my life in any documentable way, ex’s (fair and proper) obligations would end on the assumption that new guy’s income goes to support my needs. But ex can cohabit and remarry without new chick’s income being counted as part of the total that ex is working with. (And, in my case, new chick’s income is in no small part due to my efforts and sacrifices over many years.)

      So. Eh. I don’t actually think the new partners’ incomes should ever be pertinent. I have no right (or desire) to know a thing about the finances of ex’s assorted partners. And if I ever were to be partnered (and, to be clear, nothing could be less appealing), ex should have no right to to know a thing about new person’s financial life.

      Only exception I could imagine is if one of the parties to the divorce agreement were using their new partner to hide income, but that should be apparent from disclosures required by the agreement.

      The law doesn’t have to be a sexist bitch. Seems like a holdover from wife as chattel days.

      • Agreed. The law doesn’t have to be a sexist bitch. And to be clear, my attorney told me from the beginning that the presence of a KK’s new spouse had no impact on my support obligations — providing for them falls to me and KK alone. I’ve always accepted that.

        But after a certain number of years and major changes in living circumstances, to assert “I just can’t contribute financially in any way, and you have no right to question me on it” is patently unfair regardless of the genders of the parties involved.

        • Indeed, but (awful and undeserving of fairness as cheating partners often are) new partners’ financial doings should have nothing to do with that. If I suddenly decide to start having sex with a gazillionaire on the regular, that has no bearing on rightful dissolution obligations, except in the eyes of the law, which remains a sexist bitch on this score.

        • Okay, disregard my question in the post below. I misunderstood. My apologies.

          She can’t contribute in any way? Wtf? Can she actually get away with that shit legally, without any explanation?

        • Wow. Two of my children were over eighteen (in California), attending college, third headed there, and “not entitled to any support.” Nor was I entitled to permanent spousal support in my long term marriage. Makes sense, I am capable of work, doing what I love, even though the pay could be better. Thank God x’s pension was half mine though as it now helps with college expenses. The court couldn’t let that asset slip away.

      • cashmere: I’ve been saying this stuff for years! It’s in my settlement, as well. I cringe when I think of how much pleasure the FW derived from that, knowing that I’m feminist AF.

        A close analysis of laws involving women, marriage, and sex can be a shocking revelation of just how sexist we still are.

        Until last year in North Carolina, a woman could not withdraw sexual consent. So, if you said yes and then changed your mind… too bad. The man would be free to do with you what he wished. That law was just changed in January 2020.

        Many states, like Maryland, have legal loopholes for the crime of marital rape, such as incapacitation. So, if the woman is drunk or drugged, her husband can rape her with impunity.

        In a lot of states, a woman cannot terminate her rapist’s parental rights. Imagine that.

        The Equal Rights Amendment would end the legal distinctions between men and women in matters of divorce, property, employment, et cetera.

        But, of course, it remains stagnant.

        In the words of the inimitable Gloria Steinem, “The truth will set you free. But, first, it will piss you off.”

    • Help me out here because I don’t get this. Why should her spouse’s income matter when it comes to child support? They aren’t his kids. If you married again, and therefore had the benefit of your wife’s income, would you then have to pay more in child support? That would at least be consistent, but still unfair.

      The new spouse’s income is certainly relevant to spousal support, but not child support. If she has a husband, you shouldn’t have to help him support *her*. But child support is not for her.

      • There’s a difference between income that’s considered for child support and what’s considered for spousal support. I’m a woman and my ex (a well-payed white collar professional, btw), hit me up for both spousal and child support. However, he wanted to buy a new home w/sparkle tits right away. While negotiating our settlement, I made it known that I refused to pay spousal support if he was shacking up w/someone else. If you can afford to buy a new home w/someone, you don’t need me to help you “get back on your feet.” I still pay CS, as that’s based on the difference in our incomes and is meant to lessen the impact on the child of a difference in income between households.

        Also, I disagree about cohabitating affecting finances. If you are living with a partner and presumably sharing expenses, your need for support HAS decreased. I don’t believe an ex should pay for a person to play house with someone else.

        • I agree a man collecting alimony would loose it just like a woman if he remarried or cohabitated. How is that sexist?

          • If a spouse remarries, they lose alimony because the new spouse’s income is factored into alimony recieved.

            If a spouse remarries, they don’t pay more alimony because the new spouse’s income is not factored into alimony paid.

            Alimony should be based on the household income of both parties, not just one. But the law doesn’t do that. Why? ????

            1. Historically, men paid alimony to women to balance out the gendered income differential. That’s changed to reflect the reality that, today, some women make more money than some men.

            2. Historically, under the first circumstance, the new spouse was presumed to be a man. This doesn’t seem to have changed.

            3. Historically, under the second circumstance, the new spouse was presumed to be a woman. This doesn’t seem to have changed.

            Alimony law is sexist.

        • ITA. Spousal support should be reduced or eliminated if the spouse has other means of support, like a new spouse, including a common law one. I would have thought that would only kick in at the point the law in your area considers a cohabitating partner to be a common law spouse. Where I live it’s after a year of living together or immediately if they have a child. You were able to get spousal support eliminated as soon as they shacked up? That’s surprising and awesome.

          • We were working with a mediator. My line in the sand was no spousal support upon cohabitation. If he didn’t want to agree to that, I was happy to stop working with the mediator and take it to court. He wanted to avoid court, so he agreed to that. Also, the spousal support wasn’t much anyways. I think he realized fighting for it would cost him more than he would get from me.

    • Im so glad for you that there is some relief in the form of decreased support you will have to pay soon.

      I have shared that the refusal of my husbands XW to cover any college for their child has been a shit sandwich, but one we opted to put mayo on and eat. She graduated a few weeks ago and XW showed up to celebrate and take pictures. She again acted horrible to us…I can’t stand that woman.

      I hope you can navigate these waters in a way that reinforces to you that you are a great dad without feeling abused all over again.

  • Nice work, CrazyDogLady! You should be proud of yourself. Very, very proud.

    I willingly relinquished my personal bank accounts because I was asked to by my ex and believed it was a demonstration of love. In fact, this was simply another form of control. Plain and simple. After a while I was sick of justifying expenditures, of which the ex kept track in a separate spreadsheet. (Never saw it, didn’t know what was noted, have a good idea this side of the divorce.) I remember at one point being jealous of a friend who had her own account and didn’t explain her money choices to her husband! Looking back, I would have done everything differently – but that serves no one. 🙂

    Preaching to the choir on this one, but never relinquish a bank account or control of your own independence.

    • When we got married, klootzak set us up with 3 accounts – one shared into which we both contributed to pay the bills, and one separate one each into which we could put our leftover money and use to save or spend however we wanted. Over time, it changed to where it is now: we both put $ in the bills account. The “separate” accounts, he has all the log in information and monitors almost daily. If I save up money, I am accused of “stashing” money. If I spend, he scrutinizes every purchase and asks me why I bought each thing or criticizes me for it. He complained about how much I spent from my account for flowers and gifts for my mother for Mother’s Day. And then he takes the money from my account to pay on his credit card. Oh yes… our cards to be used are all in his name building his credit with the exception of two small store cards I have in my own name. He also wanted the sign in information for my work payroll website (“to make sure the tax withholding is right”) which I refused to give. If I had given him that, he would have been able to redirect my pay where ever he wanted and question any time I took time off to consult with an attorney. There isn’t a dime I earn that he doesn’t control so the idea that I have “my own separate account” is a joke. I have the phone numbers to every financial place on speed dial, waiting to call and lock him out the moment I file. He knows all my secret answers to recover passwords, too, so I will have to change all of them to nonsense answers only I will know to keep him out. Financial abuse is a real grind. I am paid decently enough but can’t save a dime for anything until I separate. It’s insane.

    • Ha. My ex also took control of the finances and kept a spreadsheet of every expense. I had to give him every receipt and tell him every time I put a quarter in a vending machine. He tracked it down to the penny, counting the change at the end of the month and questioning me on expenses if the numbers didn’t add up. I went along with all of this because before he started doing that I though “we” were spending too much and this would motivate “us” to spend less. I was the only one spending less though. He continued to spend away. Now I do the same for myself with my money and I am able to save and occasionally soend as I see fit without consulting anyone. ????

  • As a chumped dad, it is so good to hear this story. My ex fucktard has stayed intentionally under-employed since the divorce process started in order to get as much support from me as possible. She tried to get greater than 50% custody (and failed) for the same reason. I love my kids and wanted to be in their lives as much as possible. She tried to make me feel weird for that and told my kids it wasn’t normal for dad’s to have 50% custody. So it’s really good to hear a fellow chump mom succeed in getting a life without having to rely on her fucktard ex. Wish you and all in your situation the best.

    • What a asshole! She’s indoctrinating your kids with ridiculous sexist nonsense to try to make you look bad. I call that parental alienation.

    • You sound like you’re in a similar situation as my boyfriend. His XW thought she could just walk away with 100% custody of his daughter into the house of her exit AP. He fought tooth and nail to get not only his rightful time with his child, but also a schedule that benefited the daughter (not the convoluted bullshit the XW came up with that only seemed to benefit her). XW also lost her job when her employer retired and has not acquired another one since. AP makes a fine living and provides her with a house and seemingly cash enough to go on expensive trips, so why does she need to do a damn thing? One can only hope that the fact that she is “mysteriously” living on “nothing” will prevent her from being granted more child support that she clearly doesn’t need. She certainly hasn’t raised the issue yet, lest that make the legal system scratch its head (I guess stating she paid $300 in “rent” monthly wasn’t enough the first go around – what a fucking joke). Even when she was employed, my boyfriend still had to pay her a token amount of child support, and they made about the same. The system is still fairly sexist, as the mother is not necessarily the best place for a child, nor as helpless as they seem. My boyfriend could have gone for the jugular and served her for serial adultery, but just went the “amicable” route in order to just get it done and to not have to risk having to pay spousal support for that trollop to live in another man’s house in a well-to-do town (she may be a moron, but she knew enough to not push for that given all that she had done). Hoping in time, the system will look at the facts and not the gender of the parties, as XW is a soulless scam artist. My boyfriend is going from surviving to thriving though, both in his career and hopefully soon in his living situation (the housing market sucks so hard right now). There is hope! The first step is to removing the cheating leech from your life. Having kids together makes this tricky, but everything else will follow in time without a parasite dragging you down. Major props to the chump dads making it work. Your life will become yours again, and your kids will eventually know who the real parent was.

  • Like CL said…get and cash those support checks…don’t let Fuckwit off the hook.

  • If you are divorced and don’t have job security, don’t have a job, don’t have prospects, and are struggling, or know you will be struggling down the road, please know that there are other people in such a situation.

    It’s marvellous that one is able to get a job, congratulations to the letter writer!,
    yet it’s not a thing of shame, or to feel less than, if it does not happen.
    It’s life. It’s not you. You did, are doing your best. You are a fine person. Never forget that.

    • And furthermore one factor to consider is that society has gone the way of no-fault-divorce, instead of going the route of pushing for serious compensation for adultery damages.

      So as for “it’s life”, it’s how things have been intentionally set up over the many decades.

      So it’s not your fault if you cannot find a job, or you cannot go into debt to retrain, or you cannot set up your own business, or whatever. Don’t make it your own thing, when the issue is a larger societal thing.

  • Been divorced 5 years after being married over 17 years and having a kid with XAss. He refused to pay child support from the get go. Had to have his pay garnished. Then he ‘neglected’ to tell Child Support Services that he had increased his income significantly (probably because he hid things the first time around.) This year, our kid is an Honor Roll Sr. and who has been splitting his school year between two very different school districts, wants to spend his whole Sr. year with me and with his peers in one school – so important! Especially after this past year of tele-school and Covid! I had to spend $4k I don’t have and 4 months fighting XAss in Court who refused to give me full custody and wrangled for every single day he could get of custody in order to reduce his owed support as much as possible. At the same time XAss is whining to the Court that he misses his son and wants to spend as much time with him as possible, especially during his last year in HS. After months of asking for his tax returns and other docs, we proved that XAss should have been paying me MUCH more child support in the past years (water under the bridge, will never get it) and that he had retired last year, and dropped insurance coverage on our kid, none of which he had informed me or CSSD, and then purchased a really substandard policy when forced to do so.

    Well, I finally won the custody case, with him agreeing the basic proposal we had offered at the beginning. And 3 days after the Judge signed the new custody order, XAss call me up to tell me that he needs me to pick up our son from his summer holiday 2 weeks early because he’s “going on a trip”. See, it was never about the kid, it was always about the $.

    And I’ve not seen any CS payments since April. If I don’t have a payment by Aug 1 I can file with CS and they can garnish his retirement (?) Hopefully I will see this last year of substantially increased child support payments. But I’m not holding my breath. If I get it it will be a huge bonus. Otherwise, I trust XAss sucks majorly and is a cheap, lying, withholding, bastard. And life goes on.

  • From one Crazy Dog Lady to another, congratulations. You are amazing!

    I’m piggybacking on this to make some general comments on financial freedom; we have to remember that not all chumps are capable of it. Some have disabled or sick children who need them there, disabilites or llnesses of their own, parents they must provide full time care for, etc. Nor is it fair that a chump should have to leave the kids and go out and get a full time job if s/he was promised the opportunity to raise them full time. The law needs to reflect these realities and support needs to be generous and enforced. Also, the social safety net has to be there for people who cannot get support from the other parent. The health and welfare of children, and of all vulnerable people, should be a priority. So yes, it is absolutely crucial to vote for candidates who are the most progressive on these issues. Anybody who doesn’t do so can’t claim to care about kids, or about anybody in a vulnerable situation. No more excuses like “but taxes!”. It’s probably a small minority of chumps who are hypocrites like that, and you know who you are out there. Go ahead and get angry because you know it’s true. Say I’m a big meanie all you like. I know it’s an uncomfortable truth that people shy away from. All the more reason to tell it.

    Anyway, it’s all very well to prepare yourself, and you should, but life can throw you curve balls you cannot possibly prepare for.

  • Congrats on the career and being mighty, CDL! I was lucky enough to be born angry and with a stubborn streak so I vowed to myself as a child that no one would control me when I got older. I dug into an unexpected career in finance (I started as the receptionist) and ended up doing well. Obvs, marriage didn’t work out quite as hoped but because I always controlled my finances and had more time to focus on my estate because I wasn’t dating 6 other people, I was in the catbird seat during the marriage & divorce. I asked for a prenup and while I never thought it would have to be enforced, I am glad I had the experience and wisdom to see marriage for what it is, a legal contract, one of the most important I would ever sign. I have recently been counseling a number of my female friends in their 40’s and 50’s who are just starting to dip their toes into managing their own finances, buying property, & investing in the stock market (I have owned my own homes since I was 28 and was a licensed stockbroker and supervisor for 20 years). They are a bit overwhelmed but if I can learn this stuff, anyone can and I am happy to provide guidance. Crazy Dog Lady, make sure you take advantage of any 401k matching or pension plan your company offers as soon as you can. It’s never too late to start investing!

    • Is it really never too late to start investing? I am 47, a WOC with a job and a mortgage, and every time I’ve talked to someone about finances I get a young person who sticks to the bank’s lines about risk and tries to sell me their institution’s products. I’ve bought some GICs and have an RRSP but that’s it; it’s a tiny bit of savings. The stock market looks like gambling to me. I’m in Canada: any recommendations on where to start / how to start educating myself would be great.

      I read all these posts and hope like heck that my sister has one of the good ones. She is a SAHM with a hubby who has always has months away from home for his work. He met her at work, and she went along with hiding their relationship initially from other team members until it was official. I always thought, man, if you see that your husband can pick you up at work and hide it from people without batting an eye (though not from everyone; he’s high up and people close to him would consider it not their business), doesn’t that make you nervous? He’s my BIL now and I keep all that to myself; I feel like it would be disrespectful to suggest my sis is in a risky situation. But yeah, he makes all the $ and my sis is like, it’s our family $, no worries.

      • Nope, never too late. My training is in US markets but my brief read on RRSPs just now, sounds a lot like our 401k product which is a tax deferred savings plan. Yes, I’ve always said the market is legalized gambling to a degree. But that’s where analyzing your personal risk tolerance vs your goals comes into play. I would look into target date funds and index or exchange traded funds if you’re interested in the stock market.* I’m not sure if Canada has similar deposit products but for the risk averse, a money market fund still provides limited liquidity at a higher interest rate than a savings account and if you don’t need to touch the $$$ for a while, a certificate of deposit is about as safe as you can get here in the US. I recommend Morningstar for info & research on markets and products. Best of luck! And I’ll keep my fingers and toes crossed that your sister has one of the good ones!
        *I wouldn’t be a former broker (I’m retired now) if I didn’t trot out the line, past performance is no guarantee of future results, do your research & your risk tolerance should always dictate your investment choices

      • Hi Magnolia,

        These are two blogs/websites I really like whose authors are Canadian: (about investing) (about financial freedom, retiring early, etc., but some good info on money-related topics in general)

        And I’m a fan of Index funds. My favorite financial book is J. L. Collins’s The Simple Path to Wealth. He is not based in Canada. but the ideas on investing in index funds translate.

        And definitely look at a TFSA:

        If you have savings that will be gaining interest, you’ll want to put them there since there tax-free even when you withdraw. From the site above: “Any amount contributed as well as any income earned in the account (for example, investment income and capital gains) is generally tax-free, even when it is withdrawn.”

        And it’s never too late to start saving. Collins’s book covers info about risk and age, and his take on things. And at your age (and I’m about the same age as you), you have decades of time to let compounded interest do its thing and increase your investments.

        But I don’t personally think those pre-packaged investments a bank offers are the best because they almost always have very high management fees. Collins’s book talks about this too, and that’s why I’m going the DIY route with index funds and a DIY platform (Questrade, it’s based in Toronto). But the fully DIY approach is perhaps too intense for many, so there are other options with target-date funds managed by robo-advisors. A happy medium option for many, I think. They have slightly higher fees but are still much less costly than having a human do it. (Again, Collins’ covers this in his book, including how financial advisors are statistically not any better than chance.)

        Good luck!

  • When FW left me in 2015, I was terrified. Prior to our son being born (he was 9 at the time FW walked out and moved straight in with his idiot coworker and her 2 sons – aged 8 and 10)… I had a great sales job. I was earning as much as FW and about to surpass him. But that angered FW! He wanted to be the high earner! He was hoping to be mister wonderful of the finance world…. yet somehow, he was fired from every CFO type opportunity within a year (2 years max). He was usually out of work for a year+ while I paid the bills.

    Finally we both had great jobs and we decided to have a baby. And for me to be a SAHM mom. And he had a Masters in Finance so he took over the big bills and account management. And he ran us into the ground. He double paid (he literally paid for twice the healthcare — by accident — for YEARS) or didn’t pay loads of bills. We lost soooo much money because he’s a useless sack of sh**.

    But guess what?? I had NO IDEA! I TRUSTED him. I believed he was a great finance guy. He was on his way to getting a bigger position at his company and I thought all was well.

    Then after 3 months of solid red flags, I figured out he was cheating on me with AP …confronted him… and he left me that day and never looked back. And I was suddenly in financial distress. I hadn’t worked in 10 years. I had a kid that needed me and I was falling apart. And FW? He laughed at me and said “YOU’LL NEVER GET A JOB! NO ONE WILL HIRE YOU AFTER TEN YEARS!”

    On top of this… my first attorney took advantage of me and it’s embarrassing how much I lost with that monster.

    But I pulled on my big girl pants and fought. I reached out to friends, cousins, anyone that might point me in the right direction. I brought my kid to a dinner with a Rabbi during a snowstorm, and that Rabbi got me in contact with a guy who owned his own business and needed an assistant. I got a part time job to get started thanks to the Rabbi.

    Then I reached out to others and within a year, I got contacted by a former coworker who needed me back in the business I was in 10 years prior. They hired me on the spot and I rose to the top again as a senior sales person.

    A friend helped me find coverage to help my son at home and get him to school every morning and home at night.

    I got recommendations from family for a new attorney and closed that loop and got fully divorced (almost one year to the day after DDay). And the new attorney got me the support I needed … because FW is in finance, he can’t risk not paying 🙂

    I borrowed a lot of money during that year period… my credit was a mess… FW continued to wreak havoc… but I just kept fighting. I sold my house (completely alone — FW didn’t even pack his sh**) and then paid off all the loans and got my stuff back in order.

    It’s all so scary. It seems impossible. But keep fighting. I kept thinking; “I have to do this for my son. He needs to see that his mom is strong.” And he sees it. We ate a lot of $3 Red Baron pizzas… but we got through it.

    As for FW? I have no idea what he thought of all this. And I don’t care. 😉

    No matter what — have faith in yourself. I know this is all tough as H*ll. Sending love and strength to all of you.

    • Inspirational story. Thank you for sharing it. So glad things are working out.

      I’m considering taking a 401k loan to cover my legal expenses. It will end with me working a few years longer (or picking up a side hustle), but it’s pretty much my only option. Hopefully I don’t choose an attorney out to fleece me. ????

      • MrWonderful’sEx – see if you can get some recommendations for an attorney. Meet a few. I was dealing with so much trauma and just not in the right frame of mine to hire the right lawyer. It was a shit show. Lesson learned (the hard way 🙁

        If you haven’t hired anyone yet — extend the credit on your credit cards now in case you need it. Once you hire an attorney — credit cards shut you down and won’t let you. (also learned that the hard way).

        Whatever you do — get all the advice you can and support from friends and family. You will get through this! As CL says — this is finite. It’s such a relief to break free from a FW and come out the other side!

      • Did another chump post that they took out a divorce loan ? If so, I wonder what the interest rate is.

  • Well done CDL! Amazing!

    As a male chump I can tell you the court system works against us. At the time I busted my ex wife for the umpteenth time she made almost 3 times as much as I did. We were married for 18 years at the time and she had very little to do with our kids. So when I filed we went for child support and maintenance. We even hired a financial expert to show what her earning potential was and could be. Well she and her sparkle dick got themselves fired or resigned from their positions to try and avoid paying. She prolonged the divorce for 28 months and for the past three years she works only 20-30 hours a week to keep her income the same as mine. She has also become supermom by being there for the kids now. In the end my lawyer fought like crazy to get the support for my kids and myself but the judge saw differently. She pays nothing in support whatsoever. I’m able to get by working 50 + hours a week on a solo income while she barely works and has her sparkle dicks income as well. Hopefully one day the courts will even things out.

    • Well, I got screwed, and I was a mostly SAHM, working what part-time jobs I could do while we lived in a remote community with little job opportunities. I had to leave that community in order to find a place to live, a job, and a better school and social opportunities for my son. The judge did not see fit to give me any alimony and the child support I was ‘awarded’ is a joke. And I had to have the State garnish his pay check in order to get it. So….while I think there may some entrenched old-fashioned thinking in the family court system, it can also go totally the other way. I live in a very conservative state, no fault divorce, and the judge was a never married, no kids, man. He totally fell for every line my X gave him, including telling the court that I was ‘intentionally under employed’. This after I gave up my career to support his and be the SAHM that he wanted me to be. I made a few mistakes in divorcing my X, and one of the biggest was not asking to change venues and get a different judge that was more up on family court.

  • I’m glad CrazyDogLady is thriving post-divorce. As others have mentioned, no fault divorce can lead to some other outcomes. My cheating wife got the house, all the things, the tax deduction for the kids which is now going to net her $750 per month under the new law, and I pay a substantial amount of child support even with 50/50 parenting time. That she broke up the family doesn’t matter. That I did all the housework, paid all the bills and household expenses, and her paycheck disappeared into a black hole doesn’t matter. She demanded ‘custody’ which in my state means the ability to make legal decisions like medical and schooling, but I end up having to do all those things because she won’t. I had gotten an advanced degree, and was looking for work to take advantage of it. This would have required relocation. Now I have to live in the same town to be a parent to my children, and have a student loan payment with no opportunity to advance my career with a relocation. If I move, then I lose access to my kids. No fault divorce is a bitch. A cruel bitch. And alienation of affection laws were repealed at the time it was instituted. The only thing that matters in my state is who makes more money. The person who makes less money is treated as the victim, and the person who makes more money pays. And so a deadbeat ex who doesn’t bother to work or advance their career can profit off of blowing up the family.

  • This was exactly what I needed to read today!! Congrats to you!! It’s a long haul but we are strong and persevere.

  • Here’s one thought for anyone lurking here who is still living with a cheater who wants to reconcile. We often talk here about getting a post-nuptial agreement if a cheater wants to stay (and I think a year of separation and counseling before anyone moved back in). But for the stay-at-home parent, how about INSISTING on going back to school to update or gain credentials? If you start to school after a D-Day, that will show the judge in a divorce trial that you were taking pro-active steps to be able to pay your share of support, and you can argue for spousal support or tuition payments, etc., until you finish.

    Just a thought.

  • Yay you! You are a great example to your kids of how you can remake yourself.

    As SAHM, my EXH lost all respect for me because I no longer brought in a paycheck, even though he WANTED me to be SAHM. Getting a job after 12 years as a SAHM meant I lost earning power. I finally make a living wage, but I need the spousal support, which luckily is automatically deducted from his pay.

    And as far as child support: In Illinois they expect 50/50 shared custody, which means child support is not a lot because you only have them half the time. After spousal support, he still makes double my salary. Yet for one child I get a whopping $25 PER MONTH for a teen daughter. He buys NOTHING but food for her. I have to bill him for school fees, music lessons, etc. But I buy all her clothes, shoes, a car, hygiene, etc. As if $25/month even covers food for her is a joke. Yet that is the formula.

    • I’m in Illinois as well. He started demanding 50-50 split. But I quickly squished that, pointing out that he’d be moving 45 minutes from the kids homes and school district. He, of course, moved into OW’s old marital home. So the split is now 80-20 in my favor.

      • Sounds like that works out for the best! Your kids will benefit from your badassery. You are modeling all the right things for them.

  • This is when hiring a PI (or a friend with a camera) could provide the pressure for a swift financial settlement which includes job training, etc. The cheaters who have young children and a stay at home spouse usually do not want their AP confronted or deposed.

  • Thank you everyone for your kind comments and thoughts on the matter. There were moments where I did question if I was smart enough to be able to do this. There were moments when I wondered if my ex husband was right in calling me a frigid ice queen bitch. It wasn’t a walk in the park these past 5 years. And had you asked me 5 years ago if I’d be in this position, I’d say: Nope! Not a chance. I’ve been fortunate that he has paid all the money he was supposed to, I know not everyone is that lucky. And once I had myself reassembled mentally, I realized I NEVER want to rely on another human for my financial security again. And I’m thankful I can now do that.

    Though I’m still taking his child support checks! Fuck that! I have retirement to catch up on!

  • Well done Crazydoglady – you were in it for the long haul and you did it! I would have given anything to be a SAHM but I earned more than FW and I had excellent expat benefits so I had to keep working. Moreover I had to keep working full-time because he could spend BOTH of our incomes (which were excellent) faster than we could make it. But in the end I’m so, so glad I never got to be a SAHM because I had my job when he f…..d off with the slut leaving me with all the expenses of our two boys. I’m now retired and no longer digging us back out of a hole that he got us into with his ridiculous spending. His pension is twice mine and Schmoopie had to go back to work and he STILL blows through money like water! Anyway, not my circus any more – and I’m so damn glad!

  • CDL! I remember your story from the old forum. So happy to hear life is happy and sunny – well done you!

  • CrazyDogLady…crying tears of happiness for you!! Yesterday, which also happened to be a Monday, my supervisor suprised me with a promotion & a $2000 raise. I cried all day too.

    Ex made 6 figures & I had a part time job for years because of the flexibility it gave it gave us with me running the household as well as frequent vacations. I had fabulous support during separation & 5 yrs post divorce. Being mid 50s I struggled to find a full time job while working part time in retail & bartending. Finally 3 years ago I was hired by a large hospital system. Can’t beat the benefits. I thank my original supervisor often for seeing past my age & giving me the a foot in the door.

  • I worked when my kids were babies but daycare was cost prohibitive as they BOTH had special needs. I was never a stay at home Mom but I worked in the service industry a few nights a week and I was with our kids daily. About 10 years ago my ex cheated for the first time and I felt stuck as my family of origin is a hot mess and so is my exes family. He was better for a number of years but eventually he just got nastier and nastier. I started blogging the story of my kids special needs which were very different. Under his nose I built a business and started freelancing and working more and more in digital marketing which can be done at sports practices and the car waiting for kids at stuff. We just never talked about it which was fine. I then started working at a start up that got bought out by a bigger company and now I have a full time job with benefits and stuff. I still work from sports and parking lots!!! I do not regret the time with my kids. I now have 90% custody and we are all good. I guess I was always subconsciously planning to leave.

    • Also I am in my 50’s working a career that 20 somethings drool over!

      • I Count,
        That’s so cool that you did it on the side from car parks and while at sports practice. Right under his nose – extra points for being so creative and just for your sheer mightiness!

  • I worked full time and weekends when my cheating ex only worked part time despite our kids being in childcare and school .

    Now we have a 50/50 custody arrangement- and I have to pay her child support.
    I’m in Australia .
    She still only works 2 -3 days a week. If she would work more, I would be entitled to pay her less, so she remains underemployed.
    I also have to pay 80% of all school costs and every medical bill above $75. I pay for the kids health insurance.
    I have been lucky, I was able to take on more work- so now I often work 7 days a week.
    It’s not the cheating ex’s fault, it’s the system here. But this system was clearly constructed to support the single parent who has full or near full custody after the divorce . In my case and many other cases it motivates one parent to work less and it forces one parent to work more . As it’s basis is the thought of a combined household income and how it should be split . That is crazy – a divorce is a clear sign that there is no combined household anymore . Don’t get me wrong . I want my kids to grow up well, I don’t want them to be in poverty when they are at the ex’s place .
    But I pay her more in child support than what I spend on the children in my time with them.
    And would cover the above mentioned extras .
    The system here needs review . I am lucky that I can manage the costs , many other single parents can’t . That is the Australian rant , now over . I know that it is different in other countries .

    • I’m in the US and had a similar outcome. When I consulted with an attorney, he told me if my ex were his client he would advise her to immediately quit her job, and any attorney worth his salt would advise that as well. It’s crazy how the law doesn’t look at all of the circumstances, punishes people who work hard, and rewards those who do not. I was worried I might become homeless given what my ex initially demanded. And the law would have been okay with that.

    • Fellow Aussie here and I concur. The system here is punitive and unrealistic in terms of actual lived experience. Binding Financial Agreements (division of marital assets etc) are all seen in terms of “contributions” but there are so many ways that can be interpreted and skewed.
      I have a friend who was just tipped into “arbitration” for what should be a simple division of assets case (no children to the union) where her NarcCheater is lying about how long they actually lived together. And the court is entertaining his petition. It’s insane.
      Very few people on either side of litigation are happy about the present family law court state of affairs. No pun!

      • Right or wrong, whenever I see or hear any adult bitching about paying child support – CHILD SUPPORT – I hear “I would starve my child to spite their mother/father.”

  • I think it is largely the cheating spouse’s fault, because support wouldn’t be neccessary if she hadn’t cheated, and they least she should do to compensate you for treating you so horribly is to voluntarily work more to reduce your contribution. The system obviously sucks, but it wouldn’t even have to exist if these assholes didn’t ruin their marriages and then refuse to be financially accountable for it.

    • Oh she doesn’t see it that way .
      She talks about her ‘entitlements ‘
      All the money and energy I spent on the relationship and in the end divorce , doesn’t entitle me on anything.
      I paid for her lawyers , I paid for the mediator , I paid for the accountants who created the assets statement presented to the mediator.
      I paid upfront and fast to get the divorce settled as quickly as possible . There was no need to pay for her lawyer – but she all of a sudden was unable to actively contribute to the proceedings, that this had to be done .
      It took her 6 weeks to sign a document .
      So I got her to chose a lawyer – whoever she wanted , paid this lawyer upfront which was crazy- just to move her along .
      And thank goodness I did .
      Australia’s house prices currently boomed – but only after our divorce was settled . If she would have dragged things out and the house would have been reevaluated now , I would have had to pay her so much more that I would never been able to keep it.
      But yes – a decent person would have not asked for all this cash .
      But she is not a decent person . And she is now the victim of course , sitting in an apartment whilst I kept the house .
      The poor single mum , with the wealthy ex- at least that is the image she now portrays and which her flying monkeys believe

      • AFS, I gave up my house and ended up filing for bankruptcy. Now I’m afraid I may be priced out of another house due to skyrocketing property values. I’m in a nice apartment, but in a very bad neighborhood. There have been five fatal shootings so far this year within a mile of where I now live, some just a couple of blocks away. There are homeless drug addicts everywhere. I can qualify for a VA (Veterans Affairs) loan in nine months and I can’t wait to get out of here. But with home prices going upwards I’m very concerned. Prices are up 18% over last year, and the rate of increase is accelerating.

        • Yup. I thought with my little property settlement I’d be able to find a cozy little place. Nope, housing here is limited and the prices are astronomical for a tiny place that would need renovations.

          It has always been my dream to have my own place. I thought I had it when I got married and we bought a HUD home in a tiny remote community. Turns out he decided that was HIS house and I had little to no say on how it was to be kept, decorated or cleaned. He got the house (fully paid off) in the divorce. I moved out of the community – both by choice and necessity – and ended up renting. And probably will be renting for the foreseeable future unless some long estranged relative dies and leaves me a sizable amount of $! So – that dream may never be realized. However, I don’t have any debt. My apt. is lovely and I have a good landlord that keeps everything working. When I work out the costs of renting vs owning, right now it makes sense for my income level to rent. Maybe one day I’ll have my little place, but right now, at least I’m not carrying a mortgage I’m worried about paying off.

          • Except for a few minor details, I could have written this, Skunkcabbage. I too am renting a sweet little place that I’m thankful for and making the most of. I hang on and keep moving forward, hoping I’ll feel hopeful someday soon. I won’t minimize the struggle. The disappointment and injustice of it overcome me at times. Thinking about the theft of my home and the daunting quest for a new one still causes anxiety and feelings of despair to bubble up, so I try not to.

            Anyway, “my” home was never really mine, in name or spirits; my new space, while temporary and tiny, is more me than what I left. Spending the rest of my life there would have been a nightmare, and I wouldn’t go back there for anything. Sounds like same for you! Just wanted to say that I think I can relate to what you’re going through.

          • After the kids are out of the house, my options will be more open. I can relocate to a community with lower housing costs and telecommute from there. But that’s another six years away. Houses where my sister lives in the Eastern side of the state are about half what they cost where I live.

          • I sold my house recently in this housing boom because it was way too big for me. Plus the yard work in the summer and the cost of the sprinkler system to keep the grass alive was expensive and hard work. Plus a lot of house repairs are thousands of dollars. I just decided it wasn’t worth it to me anymore so I rent now. Yes, I know I’m not building equity, but I have a lot less expenses and more free time.

  • I have a question for English (or any) chumps that relates to today’s topic of financial abuse and a comment yesterday about running credit checks on suspected fuckwits to find hidden cards and charges.

    The question: How long does it take to be able to accrue credit/get a credit card/run a credit check when one relocates to England (from the US, in this case)?

    Context: My friend’s confirmed fuckwit husband, a college professor in his early 50’s who’s had “inappropriate relationships” with at least two students, has been living and working overseas, in England, for the past two years. Meanwhile, my friend has been holding down the fort at their home in the US (teenage son, two dogs, wood stove, pandemic, stressful job, etc.). She is a chump, but she can’t/won’t own it for more reasons than I can get into here.

    Anyway, hubby is very fishy and very spendy and irresponsible with money. Lots of gaslighting, and he gets very “sensitive,” evasive and downright childish when she tries to communicate and plan with him about finances. In preparation for joining him this fall in England, my friend needs to do something with credit so they can secure a rental. She’s also very concerned about finances and has been working closely with a financial advisor to get all their ducks in a row.

    She told me that her husband claims potential landlords can’t run a credit check on him because he’s only been living in England for about two years. Is this true?

    • Two years is enough time to establish some credit, isn’t it ? Even in a foreign country.

      • At the least, she should keep her credit score active with an American credit card paid in full every month from an American account. I lived abroad during my twenties and didn’t do this so it was hard to even get a phone line in my own name even though I worked full time.

    • More questions.
      He’s been living somewhere during his last two years in England, hasn’t he ? A flat or uni housing or has he been subletting illegally ?
      What is the plan with the dogs ? Leaving them behind in the US or quarantining them for how many months in the UK, for rabies ?

      • Good questions/points. No point problem solving/reasoning with a narcissistic cheater, though. It’s all very convoluted, as you can imagine. She’s going through the same mindfuck and word salad as the rest of us. She’ll never have security or love as long as she’s with this guy.

  • American here. It sounds like your friend needs to consult a British family law solicitor (?), asking about her rights if she makes the big move and is drop kicked by the pissy professor. I hope she’s not planning on selling their home and retiring to GB.
    Best of luck to her;she doesn’t want to see the writing on the wall. ????

    • No, she doesn’t. I offered her a copy of LACGAL, but she graciously declined. She’s been with this creep since she was a teenager. She confided that the “situation” with the students (emotional affairs at worst – sure, because he said so???) was harder than anything she’s ever dealt with. Including cancer and a terrible car accident. Yet she’s still spackling. Still accepting a fuckwit’s devaluation of her.

      • She’s trauma bonded to her abuser.
        I’m glad she has you for a friend.
        It’s hard to watch someone you care about treated with such disrespect.

  • No, it isn’t true. He may not have much of a credit history but if he has any credit cards, pay monthly mobile phone bill, utilities bills etc he will show up on a credit check. Also, depending on where you are from originally, he may be registered to vote ( not if us but yes if commonwealth).
    I would definitely be advising your friend to have a back up plan.

    • Thanks for weighing in. That’s what I suspected.

      I’ve supported my friend the best I can and encourage her to trust her instincts (so much gaslighting) and believe in her mightiness, but it’s a delicate balance. I also encouraged her to check her credit because of some red flags before the rental credit check issue, and I have told her how dangerous I think it would be if she sold her home; fortunately, she decided to rent it out for the year instead. Doing my best to help a chumpy friend with an abusive partner, but I don’t think there’s a whole lot I can do. It’s hard to witness, especially from where I now stand.

  • This. So much this.

    “you saw your worth first. And it’s a hell of a thing to LIVE that when the world around you is rejecting you.”

  • That’s an awesome ending to a tragic story. I applaud you for you’re tenacity and for being a great mom. That takes a LOT. Sadly, I think there’s so much entitlement in this world now that most people wouldn’t have the capacity to accomplish such a feat, and what the world tells them now is that it’s not their responsibility to do so. You got dealt a shitty hand and chose not to throw a drink in the dealers face, because what’s that gonna do. Make you feel good for a second? You didn’t say, well the system is stacked against me. Instead you DID something about it. That’s book worthy nowadays. I’m a guy on the other end in a state that is NOT friendly to the father. Nevertheless I think I got a decent court decision……for here. Unfortunately, the flaws in our court system come from simple lack of time to truly evaluate a situation. Which then falls on how good you’re lawyer is, or evil. Let’s evaluate 13 or 20 or 30 years of marriage in a few hours and then decide whats best. Most divorces are decided in court in less time that it takes to READ an actual story or novel. My X stayed home with kids for about 3 years of 13. The part, that falls to the side is the 4 years she spent in med school, with me paying all the bills, including the school. Then she went back to work after 3 years because she didn’t wanna be stay at home. I was totally fine with that. 10 years later after Dday, Oh I’m a stay at home mom, I need alimony because I only make 150k a year. Thankfully, that did not happen but my child support is still significant considering I have them 50/50. You make 150k in a small midwestern town and still get 2k from me a month. Yes, I do make twice what she does, but still…….. No, I’m not crying about it, My lifestyle is fine. But I know some other guys who make much less with wives who live FAR better, and they’re still paying with 50/50 custody. If the general idea is to make the kids lives somewhat equal living situations, I’m not seeing it. My best friend got FULL custody of his son and he makes about twice what she makes, and yes she has to pay……$62 dollars a month. In two years he’s recieved exactly $7 a month because they garnish her wage. I’m not trying to make this a man against woman thing, because I know that most cheaters are men and most of the time it’s the man that is the fuckbag when it comes to support. It’s just disheartening to the guys that actually are decent dads.

  • Breaking news ! A top Manhattan spine surgeon divorced his cheating wife who had a side hustle as a high end call girl ????
    Dr. Han Jo Kim married his younger wife Regina Turner (9 year difference) Miss Connecticut USA from 2011, unaware she was a prostitute. She conned the Miss USA organization too. She didn’t even graduate high school, let alone study chemistry for three years at uni before dropping out.
    Bitch be ????

  • Bravo, CrazyDogLady! So happy for you!

    We met at a Chicago area chump meet-up and I’m smiling as I write this because I love hearing this wonderful news! You are SO mighty!!


  • I felt happy reading this but also a bit sad but the trauma that child support causes. My ex left us in a horrible, shitty way while I was homeschooling and working 20 hours/week. He wouldn’t say what he would do to support us and I only got word salad BS so I had no idea if he would give me any money. So he agreed to pay for our daughter to go into a private school midyear so I could work full-time. I made this decision myself. In spite of the trauma, I did all of the enrolment and got her settled into school. Fuckwit didn’t lift a finger – he was mostly concerned with going on dates with the OW – I kid you not. I was half dead and he did nothing to help me. Then, he stopped paying for school so I had to put her into another school, which turned out to be better. Then I asked him for a bit of money for her expenses, again, word salad. So I applied for child support. In this country, it comes via the tax dept. The calculations are a combo of the nights of care and the two parents’ income. So I’m entitled to about $900/month. However, he generally only pays about half of that. When I bitch to the child support people, they just say, “He knows what he has to pay, and we can only pay you what we collect from him. We recommend you don’t count on the money.” WTF? So my child can’t count on her father to pay for her basic needs? Of all the things he’s done, and believe me, the list is hideous and long, this one hurts me the absolute most. I never in a million years dreamed he wouldn’t offer to help pay for his child and it cuts me to the core. To add to that, he grew up in poverty because his own father took off and never paid support. So what is he doing? Thank god I have a good job and can get by nicely on my own. However, our child is entitled to that money to help her out in life. I get eaten up inside by the fact that he won’t pay his fair share. This, on top of everything else is way, way too much to comprehend.

    • My sister’s ex bitched about child support (his children from his first marriage). He sd his house to his parents for $1 and moved into their much smaller house and deliberately decreased his employment to change his income.

      He also turned out to be a serial cheater and a dirty cop, which we only found out when the state assigned a $700,000 penalty against him for violating a man’s civil rights. (He had a guy incarcerated so that he could fuck the man’s girlfriend without him being in the way.) Imagine finding out that your sister’s boyfriend is a cheater and dangerous via the associated press wire.

      • Holy ???? ! Glad he wasn’t your sister’s husband.
        Bitching about paying child support ? ????

  • One more broken thing about the USA system, the only real penalty for not paying child support is they take you’re drivers license. “Face meet palm”, ok that just makes it even harder for them to actually find a job. There’s help wanted signs everywhere. If you wanna be a dead beat and not pay then you can go to jail with work release. Guarantee, they get a job then.

  • Three cheers for you, CrazyDogLady! After 6 years of marriage to a cheating, abusive psychopath, I escaped to the open arms of my family home until I was able to support myself and my two young daughters. I’d married, pregnant, at 17 years of age, to the sexy, leather-jacketed, Harley driving, bad boy that all the girls wanted. Yup, I got the booby prize.
    I was a stay-at-home mom who hadn’t worked, apart from summer jobs as a young teen, but refused child support because Mr. Psychopath was also a pedophile. I would rather have starved than to have shared custody with a man who ‘liked little girls’.
    With only a high school education, I started working for the Canadian government in 1971 @ $1.71 per hour yet, over the next 6 years, worked and studied my butt off, gaining 6 promotions and a comfortable salary. Terrified that he might, eventually, be badgered for support payments, the ex took himself across the country, a satisfactory, safe distance.
    Like so many dedicated cheaters, my ex had no values, no ethics. He is a bigot, a racist and a misogynist. His daughters, educated and discerning, want nothing to do with him. At 78 years of age, the ex is a lonely, bitter, unhealthy hoarder.
    As an empath, I have difficulty in shelving the pity that I feel for the asshole although ‘meh’ happened decades ago.
    Girl, you knew your worth! Reading your post got this oldster on her arthritic feet, punching the air and yelling, “You go!” Ha!

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