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Old 05-03-2014, 04:12 PM
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Default New to the forum - need some help

Here's my story - I'm sure you've heard many similar versions before...I'd love some insight and advice please!
After nearly 20 years of marriage, two boys aged 13 and 16, husband told me on April 1st he "wasn't happy". (this was a surprise - I had thought he was stressed with work but we were doing ok). He agreed to go to marriage counseling...by April 12th I discovered and confronted him about what looks like a year-long affair. He's a scout leader - very involved dad - and this was another scout leader that he was always always with. He denied and then told me I was to blame...blah, blah, whatever.
We continued in counseling over the past few weeks and on April 27th I asked him if he wanted to be forgiven and work on the marriage (he hasn't shown any remorse or apologized) and he promptly told me he felt the relationship has "run it's course" and he just wanted to be done. Yes - I am still in shock. Before he began the counseling he had already consulted a lawyer so I still can't understand why the farce...
He moved out on the 28th - says he's at his sister's place. And also, moved out all of his computer equipment and office equipment to continue working. Here's the issue - we work TOGETHER. We have a federally registered corporation - I do the accounts/bookkeeping, he does graphic design. He's moved into the offices of our main client.
The counselor had suggested we try to write our own requests to start a separate agreement and see where we can agree. I wrote one (with the help of the forums here) and sent it by email. He responded on friday with his changes. Our kids each have one more year in their schools - my suggestion was they live here with me for that year and then we can negotiate the sale of the house. He wants the house sold immediately. I suggested we continue our business until we could come to an agreement regarding hiring someone in my place or finding a way to work together. He wants the business dissolved - thereby reducing my income to $0 - while he goes to work for OUR client - doubling his income. This will not only not allow me to afford to stay in this home - but I will likely be moving myself and the boys to a more affordable city - taking them out of their schools, community, all scouting activities, friends
I suggested the visitation schedule (one night per week and every other weekend) and he reduced it to just the weekend plus his scout meetings with the boys (that will be canceled if I have to move anyways).
I'm freaking out! Can someone actually try to do this - with a deadline of June 30th!! I have called a lawyer and will be meeting with her this week but I feel so behind in his game.
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Old 05-03-2014, 04:19 PM
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Well, consulting a lawyer is a good thing.
Just a few things to consider-

1. You are entitled to 1/2 of the business's worth.
2. Double his salary? Perfect that will determine his CS.
3. Married 20 years! You maybe entitled to SS.
4. I would do everything in my power to keep the boys stable and not move.
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Old 05-03-2014, 05:31 PM
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Fact 1 he abandoned the marriage. (for whatever reason it's a no fault divorce world) but he abandoned it. So he lost a pile of rights

Fact 2 he has a responsibility to the kids

Fact 3 You now have sole custody because he abandoned the marriage

Fact 4 Your going after a 3 year average of the past year business salary he gave himself and 1/2 of profits ignore for now the new place he went to he could work as a contractor or whatever to hide income

Fact 5 definitely asking for spousal support with 1/2 pension plans

Fact 6 The house you want to keep because it's a stable place for the kids it's pretty much yours now anyways while your ex squirms to get out of the above items. He found his computers more valuable than his house which is too bad

Fact 7 He also drove away with half your car

Fact 8 get the FRO on him as soon as you get a Court Order on him .the faster you get money ordered from him before he establishes he's broke the better.

Fact 9 your soooo lucky you were his business partner nothing to hide there.

Fact 10 get another business partner and undercut your ex's new business plan

Fact 11 mediation you tried time to enforce the Law your youngest is 13 you don't want to be chatting with ex till the child's 18
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Old 05-03-2014, 05:38 PM
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I have indeed heard variations on your story, and experienced aspects of it myself. From observation, I would say that it is not an uncommon tendency for people to conceal their unhappiness in a stale marriage, find new love in an affair, and cheat for as long as possible. When they are found out, they try to soften the blow by appearing to be working on the marriage, but really they are just cowards afraid to tell their spouse it's over. I'm sure you are reeling right now, but the fact that all this happened over the course of a month for you is pretty good; a lot of people have it stretch the pain much longer. Now, you can begin to heal.

He had no right to take the equipment out of the house. It is half yours. Everything will be divided 50-50, so you should get a greater portion of another asset in return.

I do not recommend continuing to run a business with him. He's untrustworthy, which you certainly don't want in a business partner, and having to deal with him so much after separation will not help you in your healing process at all. Upon the surface, the best option seems to be agreeing that the business be dissolved, but insisting he must pay you spousal support the equivalent to your former salary while you hunt for new employment. You have a lot more skills and contacts than a stay-at-home parent would have, so the SS should be ended when you find a job.

You should not move the kids out of town! In fact, unless your ex permits it, you can't. Bad enough that their parents are splitting up, don't put additional upheaval into their lives by taking them from their school and friends. Can either you or your ex afford the house on your own? I'm guessing your ex can't or he wouldn't be suggesting selling it.

I'm not sure where the June 30 deadline comes from? Did your ex's lawyer ask for you to respond by then or something? Never take any advice or orders from your ex's lawyer. If you can't prepare a counteroffer by then, simply ask for more time.

It sounds like your counselor is trying to help you guys handle the separation. Keep seeing that person if you can, and use their guidance to come up with arrangements you can both live with. If you and your ex can agree that making things go as smoothly and harmoniously as possible for the sake of your children, and leave the lawyers out of it as much as possible, things will go much better for everyone. Lawyers tend to want to ramp up conflict and drag things out.

Why are you and your ex not planning a 50-50 equal parenting access arrangement? You said he was a very involved dad, and kids need to know they are important to both their parents. Not to mention, teenagers may not want the schedule you pick, and end up going wherever they feel like. You might find that even if your ex permits you to move them out of town they'd rather move in with him than move away with you.
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
He had no right to take the equipment out of the house. It is half yours. Everything will be divided 50-50, so you should get a greater portion of another asset in return.
It's really the only asset at this point. $10,000 brand new computer/monitors etc. The only other asset is some built in furnishings that is over 5 years old so greatly depreciated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
I do not recommend continuing to run a business with him. He's untrustworthy, which you certainly don't want in a business partner, and having to deal with him so much after separation will not help you in your healing process at all. Upon the surface, the best option seems to be agreeing that the business be dissolved, but insisting he must pay you spousal support the equivalent to your former salary while you hunt for new employment. You have a lot more skills and contacts than a stay-at-home parent would have, so the SS should be ended when you find a job.
I don't disagree. I had suggested we try to run the business as usual (but remotely rather than in the same space) during the separation while we both sort out finances. He obviously has already lined up new work for himself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
You should not move the kids out of town! In fact, unless your ex permits it, you can't. Bad enough that their parents are splitting up, don't put additional upheaval into their lives by taking them from their school and friends. Can either you or your ex afford the house on your own? I'm guessing your ex can't or he wouldn't be suggesting selling it.
He has no interest in living here - wants to buy a place for himself in TO. I will not be able to afford it without my income - and even then it will be a stretch although I'll be willing to make sacrifices for the next year while the kids finish high school and elementary school. I've called a friend that is a real estate agent in the area and she says we will have no problem selling but there is NO INVENTORY. No rentals and nothing within my means to purchase so I would be left with no choice. This hurts more than anything else - I can't imagine putting my kids through that heartache.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
I'm not sure where the June 30 deadline comes from? Did your ex's lawyer ask for you to respond by then or something? Never take any advice or orders from your ex's lawyer. If you can't prepare a counteroffer by then, simply ask for more time.
He says his response did not come from a lawyer (but it really sounds just like lawyer-speak all over and I'm thinking a friend of his had a hand in it). The June 30th date was the date he gave to list the house by and dissolve the company by. Two months from separation - is this standard in any way. How long is average for listing and splitting the assets??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
It sounds like your counselor is trying to help you guys handle the separation. Keep seeing that person if you can, and use their guidance to come up with arrangements you can both live with. If you and your ex can agree that making things go as smoothly and harmoniously as possible for the sake of your children, and leave the lawyers out of it as much as possible, things will go much better for everyone. Lawyers tend to want to ramp up conflict and drag things out.
I agree - but now I'm getting nervous about saying anything that he can hold against me. Our next session is Monday afternoon and I know he'll want to talk about the separation agreement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
Why are you and your ex not planning a 50-50 equal parenting access arrangement? You said he was a very involved dad, and kids need to know they are important to both their parents. Not to mention, teenagers may not want the schedule you pick, and end up going wherever they feel like. You might find that even if your ex permits you to move them out of town they'd rather move in with him than move away with you.
He doesn't want them. As much as he has been involved in their activities, he prefers the idea to drop-in visit and leave. He wants to keep them and himself in scouts so he has an excuse to see his girlfriend.
My version of the agreement was worded that it would be open to the kids wants and needs (because of their ages) and that for the sake of having a regular schedule that one night and every other weekend would be a start but we would be flexible to change if the kids have a camp weekend away with him or would like to see him more during the week. He said he wanted a guarantee for access so I gave him that - then his version was scout meetings only and every other weekend. I really can't figure that one out...
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:20 PM
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He is ending your employment by ending the business partnership. Did your company do work for this 'client' for a lengthy period of time?

Talk to an attorney and discuss getting an Interim Order for SS and CS.

This is going to cost your ex quite a bit of money.

I made the mistake of going into business with person I was married to. It can be murky as most family lawyers do not know corporate law and vice versa. In my experience, family law trumped corporate law.

Hopefully you have copies of all business financial statements so when STBX starts to claim bogus business expenses (to reduce his income for the purpose of determining support) you will be able to protest with facts.

Sorry you're in this situation.

There are lots of rentals available, realtors generally don't know about most of them because they tend to only steer you to the ones where they are paid a commission. I wouldn't be rushing to move out of the home. Let your STBX worry about it. He's dreaming if he thinks he can neatly have everything tied up in a few months. Very naive, and controlling of him IMO.
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Old 05-03-2014, 06:49 PM
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Quote:
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He is ending your employment by ending the business partnership. Did your company do work for this 'client' for a lengthy period of time?
6 years.
We each have received dividends from our company since 2008 (equally divided 50/50) of $70,000 each annually plus he works part-time teaching adding $35,000 to his annual earnings. Financially we were stable - and then boom!

Quote:
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Talk to an attorney and discuss getting an Interim Order for SS and CS.

This is going to cost your ex quite a bit of money.
Will do - luckily I had a little rainy day fund and that will be paying for my lawyer. But it looks like having to go the legal route rather than doing it ourselves may be the best for me in the long run even if it costs me now.


Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Hopefully you have copies of all business financial statements so when STBX starts to claim bogus business expenses (to reduce his income for the purpose of determining support) you will be able to protest with facts.
I have everything - and an extra set copied just in case the originals disappear. He still has access to the house - I haven't changed the locks and don't plan to.
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Old 05-03-2014, 07:16 PM
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Throughout your marriage did you work outside of the home (aside from doing the books for your business)? Have you done any academic upgrading throughout your marriage? Do you have a post-secondary degree from a recognized university?

These, and many other factors, will be examined in determining whether or not your marriage is considered a long term traditional marriageand to determine whether or not you are eligible for spousal support (SS) and if so, for what duration.

Something to have ready to present to your lawyer is a detailed and accurate budget of your current financial situation. Your lawyer would need this to proceed to file an Order for Interim Spousal Support (you might as well be prepared for this prior to your first meeting). Of course there are many other documents which your lawyer will require from you.

You indicated that you have been reading this forum for a while. You will know that the process is painstakingly slow.

I am glad to hear that you were smart enough to keep copy of financials. This will help you. Knowledge is power.

Your STBX obviously has a game plan and is anxious to move on with his life. He has a head start and will simply have to wait till you get up to speed on your end. He very well might have a new nesting arrangement pending upon the sale of your current home. Do not do anything you are uncomfortable with. He just ripped the rug out from underneath you. You need time to weigh your options. Probably a good idea to talk to more than one lawyer. People on this forum can give you excellent advice on selecting a lawyer based upon their own personal experiences. The cost is horrendous. So keep that in mind as well. Don't be lulled into false security by a lawyer telling you your STBX will be picking up the lawyer's tab. That simply isn't true.

Having good financial records is a very good thing!
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Old 05-03-2014, 07:56 PM
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Quote:
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Throughout your marriage did you work outside of the home (aside from doing the books for your business)? Have you done any academic upgrading throughout your marriage? Do you have a post-secondary degree from a recognized university?
We met at college - both studied graphic design. I left the workforce nearly 17 years ago so my qualifications are very out-of-date. That's the reason for me doing the books for the business (for the past 9 years). No upgrading as I've always been the main caregiver while he worked longer hours (traveling and evenings too). To do my upgrading now would mean having him as a teacher (so ironic really)


Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Something to have ready to present to your lawyer is a detailed and accurate budget of your current financial situation. Your lawyer would need this to proceed to file an Order for Interim Spousal Support (you might as well be prepared for this prior to your first meeting). Of course there are many other documents which your lawyer will require from you.
I'll get to work on it. So much of this seems out of my hands, and a lot of waiting so having something to do helps to keep my mind busy.


Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Your STBX obviously has a game plan and is anxious to move on with his life. He has a head start and will simply have to wait till you get up to speed on your end. He very well might have a new nesting arrangement pending upon the sale of your current home. Do not do anything you are uncomfortable with. He just ripped the rug out from underneath you. You need time to weigh your options. Probably a good idea to talk to more than one lawyer. People on this forum can give you excellent advice on selecting a lawyer based upon their own personal experiences. The cost is horrendous. So keep that in mind as well. Don't be lulled into false security by a lawyer telling you your STBX will be picking up the lawyer's tab. That simply isn't true.

Having good financial records is a very good thing!
I'm glad I was the bookkeeper - it was done right!
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Old 05-03-2014, 08:34 PM
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I don't have much to add to the excellent advice from Rioe and Arabian, except that - there is no reason why you should feel pressured to wrap this up by June 30. Your ex is clearly itching to move on with his new life, but that doesn't mean you're obligated to accommodate him. There is no "standard" amount of time from separation to final agreement, and you should take as much time as you need to put together an arrangement which works for you for the long term.

I suspect he may be getting pressure from his new flame to be "really divorced", or he wants to be able to move ahead into some sort of partnership with her. If so, you can expect him to become more desperate and thus even more of a jerk as time moves forward - but again, this is not your problem.

Given what you've outlined, it sounds like the odds of this new romance being anything more than a pathetic midlife crisis are pretty small. In a few months, I predict he's going to be sitting on his posterior wondering what happened to his whole world, just at the same time as you are moving ahead and discovering how much happier you are without him. Karma is generally not kind to people who take the coward's way of dealing with their difficulties.
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