Marriage is about compromise, and by nature, so is divorce. We want to get through a divorce as painlessly as possible, but what we find during divorce negotiations is that sometimes compromise is off the table.
In the Worthy Facebook group, we asked what the one thing was you could not compromise on during your divorce proceeding. Here’s how you answered.
Lisa M. confided to the group that her ex-husband tried making her sign legal documents before she even got a lawyer. She stood her ground, though, and she refused to sign. Lisa wrote that his insistence on signing those documents without speaking to a lawyer was not what was best for her and her family. It “was only for his benefit, not our children. Only him. I refused to allow him to put our children in a bad position.”
“Him trying to rush me and make me sign documents before I retained counsel. I refused and I would not just do what he was trying to make me do-it was only for his benefit, not our children. Only him. I refused to allow him to put our children in a bad position.”
Retaining a divorce lawyer is important. Equally as important is to retain the right divorce lawyer. Divorce lawyers are not one-size-fits-all: every divorce is unique and, therefore, those going through a divorce require a lawyer who has specific strengths. Finding the right lawyer takes time. Do not succumb to the pressure of signing documents before you have found the right lawyer for you.
A common source of strife during divorce financial negotiations is how much alimony and child support each party will pay or receive. When one spouse fails to offer enough money for the other spouse and children to live on, tensions rise.
“Spousal maintenance. Married 17 years and 11 years I was a SAHM because his career was more important than mine. He made more money so therefore it was more important. He couldn’t be bothered with needing to stay home with sick kids or school breaks or doctors appointments and my job couldn’t have me calling out every time a kid was sick. Anyways…I know the number I need (that will only cover my health insurance because my job does not offer it). I can’t go lower! I can’t get another job because we still have one in elementary school and my job is flexible with me getting her to and from school, staying with her when she is sick AND when school is on break I only have to pay $10/day for childcare for her at my work! He is thinking like $250/month for 3 years…???. I need $1000/month for at least 6 years (when our youngest will be old enough that I can get a different job). Spousal maintenance here typically goes for half the length of the marriage…at this point I could get it for 9 years…but I am only asking for 6.”
Kimberly L. explained to fellow Worthy Facebook group members that she was married to her husband for 17 years and that she was a stay-at-home-mom for 11 of those. During that time, Kimberly was responsible for the vast majority of the child-rearing. When she and her ex separated, he offered to pay her $250 each month for three years. She used laughing emojis in the Facebook post to convey how absurdly small this amount of support would have been and stood her ground, fighting for enough money to raise her child. “Spousal maintenance here typically goes for half the length of marriage… [A]t this point I could get it for nine years…but I am only asking for six.”
“The money he owed me! He tried to say I was crazy, I was not understanding how it works, my lawyer made a mistake….. I KNEW he owed me that money so I went to court again to get it. It cost me another $7000 in lawyer fees but it cost him too. And the judge ruled in my favor! Best Day Ever!! Winning (being right) was better than the check!”
In a similar vein, Rochelle Z. retells the story of taking her ex-husband to court and even paying an extra $7000 in legal fees to fight for the money she believed he owed her. Despite the legal fees, Rochelle emphasized how not compromising over money was worthwhile. The judge ruled in her favor. “Best Day Ever!” Rochelle wrote. “Winning (being right) was better than the check!”
During a divorce, we may feel compelled to fight for ourselves and our needs, but if there are children to consider, it is of utmost importance to make sure their needs are being met first. So, naturally, there are divorce battles over children. As Lisa C. succinctly stated to the Facebook group, “My kids!!”
“The main thing that mattered to me was my children. I wrote a very detailed custody plan where I had custody all but every other weekend and one night during each weeknight. He cares so much he didn’t even read that. He was just worried about money. Now he doesn’t come even have dinner with her. He sees her usually 4 days a month.”
Shannan G. explained her child custody issues, describing how she “wrote a very detailed custody plan” that called for her ex to have custody every other weekend and one night per week. Since then, her ex has not been holding up his end of the custody agreement. “Now he doesn’t [even come to] have dinner with [my daughter]. He sees her usually four days a month.”
“Keeping my house. There was no way I was losing my home to him or having to sell it. It’s been 3 years and I’m finally refinancing for a lower interest rate. Things are good!”
Gina D. shared the story of how she battled to keep the marital home and why. “There was no way I was losing my home to him or having to sell it. It’s been three years, and I’m finally refinancing for a lower interest rate. Things are good!”
“The house. I was trying to keep it as a stability in the chaos for my kids and insurance for after he went to prison and I could sell it, since I wouldn’t have an income. Eventually the judge made us sell it. He took $520,000 out of $600,000 before anyone could stop him and paid off his debts to the irs and attorneys. I’ve got $80,000, 5 years of school, and four kids, and no income after he’s gone. I wish I’d been able to keep the house.”
Unfortunately, not all stories of ex-wives fighting for the house have a happy ending like Gina’s. Julie W. fought to keep her home during her divorce because, at the time, her financial situation was precarious; she needed the proceeds from the house for income. Even so, the judge made Julie sell it. Julie’s husband took most of the money and used it to pay off his debts. “I’ve got $80,000, five years of school, and four kids, and no income after he’s gone,” she wrote. “I wish I’d been able to keep the house.”
The above stories about divorce disputes vary, but each has one common element: how you must pick your battles and then move on no matter what the outcome. Tammy S. is doing just that. She wrote, “Trying harder, trying again. Starting over.”
Your divorce community at Worthy is here to support you as you do.
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