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  • Help on separation agreement proposal

    I've been visiting this forum frequently in the last two years, but this is my first post. I need advice on a separation agreement proposal from my STB ex. Here's some background information.

    Married for 18 years
    I'm 58, she's 46
    Two children, 12 and 15 years old
    Home valued at approximately $600k
    There is a large disparity in salaries between us:$105k difference (I have the higher salary)
    Equalization will result in me owing about $250k
    We each have a lawyer

    Here's what my STB ex proposed, with the help of her lawyer.

    For equalization settlement the STB wants the house
    The STB agreed on no spousal support
    50/50 child custody and set off child support

    My first impression was delight, since I hated the idea of spousal support. But later I started having mixed feelings about the proposal, once I realized that I will be walking away with only the shirt on my back. Also, if I would insist on the sale of the matrimonial house, I would walk away with about $50k, a nice sum of money that I can use towards the down payment for my next home. However, my STB insists on the transfer of the house to her or no deal (or she would ask for spousal support).

    What do you think? Should I consider myself lucky and take the deal, despite the initial financial difficulty that I would find myself in, or should I fight a little harder for the sale of the house?

  • #2
    You would be crazy to not take that deal - she is giving up a lot (indefinite spousal support as she pretty much meets the rule of 65). You would also more likely have a positive relationship with her and your kids going forward with her proposal (if you force the sale of ďtheirĒ house they would most likely blame you). If you get entrenched in your position to sell the house she most likely would switch to wanting (and getting) sole custody and full child support on top of the spousal - and she would get to keep the house for the kids sake.

    That $50,000 you plan on walking away with will be eaten up in legal fees in the first year of a multi-year battle, plus you may end up paying HER legal fees as well. Be grateful she is being reasonable.

    Donít create conflict where you donít need to. You have a good salary and can qualify for a mortgage, youíll only have the kids living at home for another decade so you donít need to buy a McMansion and instead get something you can retire in. You didnít mention pensions, but I assume you have figured them into your calculations. Paying spousal when you are on a pension sucks, this allows you to avoid that.

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    • #3
      Your ex needs a new lawyer...

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      • #4
        I think you should take the deal. As pointed out by other posters the money you think you may walk away from could easily be eaten up in legal fees. Sometimes you need to lose a battle to win the war.

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        • #5
          Thereís nothing stopping her from coming back five years later and demanding spousal though! Then he would spend the money in legal fees.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rockscan View Post
            Thereís nothing stopping her from coming back five years later and demanding spousal though! Then he would spend the money in legal fees.
            Of course there is: a waiver of SS with independent legal advice, plus an acknowledgement of the 50k as lump sum SS, plus 5 years of "no SS" status quo.

            I think this is a great deal. I'm with arabian, the ex needs a new lawyer.

            I would make sure the spousal support waiver is airtight. Neither disability, nor unemployment, nor flooding, nor recession, nor illness, nor criminal conviction, nor etc. etc. etc. List anything that could possibly go wrong.

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            • #7
              Thank you all for the quick replies. Yes, I do think her proposal is reasonable, and I do intend to accept it. As for the comment that she needs a new lawyer, because presumably she can get more, is not appropriate to our situation. There are good reasons why she's not asking for spousal support: she's highly educated (with a Ph.D.), and in the middle of our negotiation she opted to quit a highly paying job and took one that pays more than three time less. She soon realized that what she did can hurt her chances of getting spousal support at all. The other reason is ethical from her part, as she acknowledges the tremendous sacrifices I made on the expense of advancement in my career so she can pursue post graduate education during our marriage. I was almost the sole care taker of our kids and I alone paid off two mortgages on a single salary while she's completing her post graduate school, which took nearly 11 years. The other factor is child custody. Over the years due to my very close relationship with my kids, my kids grew very attached to me and me to them. As a result both my kids want me to have full custody, especially my oldest is very resistant to 50/50 custody. In other words, they want me to have full custody, but I thought it is in their best interest in the long run to have a closer relationship with their mother. My ex to be knows very well that the kids do not wish to be in a 50/50 arrangement and that is another reason why she's accepting of dropping spousal support. May be she's thinking I would ask and get full custody if she asks for SS, but the truth is I would never do that, I would never use our kids as a bargaining chip. I guess she still does not know me very well. I hope this gives a bit more clarification.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by arabian View Post
                Your ex needs a new lawyer...
                I would agree, if it wasn't for the reasons I mentioned in my second post. I'm sure she's already consulted with her lawyer, and I'm sure her lawyer advised her not to push the issue.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by standing on the sidelines View Post
                  I think you should take the deal. As pointed out by other posters the money you think you may walk away from could easily be eaten up in legal fees. Sometimes you need to lose a battle to win the war.
                  I agree. Thanks.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rockscan View Post
                    Thereís nothing stopping her from coming back five years later and demanding spousal though! Then he would spend the money in legal fees.
                    Is there a way to eliminate or reduce from the chance of that happening in the future once we sign the separation agreement? Please advise. Thank you.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Janus View Post
                      Of course there is: a waiver of SS with independent legal advice, plus an acknowledgement of the 50k as lump sum SS, plus 5 years of "no SS" status quo.

                      I think this is a great deal. I'm with arabian, the ex needs a new lawyer.

                      I would make sure the spousal support waiver is airtight. Neither disability, nor unemployment, nor flooding, nor recession, nor illness, nor criminal conviction, nor etc. etc. etc. List anything that could possibly go wrong.
                      I will take your advice and with the help of my lawyer, I will make sure to list all feasible situations I can think of to reduce from the chance of revisiting SS again, ever.

                      As for the "ex needs a new lawyer", my ex actually has a very good lawyer, but because of the reasons I mentioned in my second post, I think her lawyer advised her not to fuss too much over SS. Thanks.

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                      • #12
                        I wonder if you could use a clause that says she releases you from any claims of future SS due to forseen and/or unforseen circumstances including but not limited to job loss etc?

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                        • #13
                          Income differential is vague.
                          I have met many "highly-educated" people who drive taxis.... There could be a multitude of reasons for her changing employment. Perhaps she has her degree in mating habits of aboriginal tribes in South America? 11 years to complete post-grad studies? Perhaps child-raising got in the way?
                          You say she changed employment in the middle of your negotiations. Care to expand on that?
                          How many years did you cohab for prior to marriage?
                          If you paid off 2 mortgages and home is worth 600k, why would you only have 50 k for down payment on home? What sort of lifestyle did the two of you enjoy on the marital income?
                          You wouldn't be trying to twist things for child custody to kerfangle the child support that you would most definitely have to pay would you?
                          Have you explained to your children that "full custody" doesn't necessarily mean that they will not see their mother? Why are you even discussing this with your children at this point? (You kinda slip up when you say you aren't using your children as bargaining chips).

                          I'm just curious... Answer or don't answer.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tilt View Post
                            You would be crazy to not take that deal - she is giving up a lot (indefinite spousal support as she pretty much meets the rule of 65).
                            But entitlement isn't proven... she seemed to be in the workforce. And 46 + 18 = 64.. not 65. But I agree, 50k to be done with this seems to be worth it.

                            Comment

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