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To court or not to court?

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brightsidegirl posted 12/27/2013 20:57 PM

I don't know if I'll have a choice, but I am wondering how you know when it's time to stop the "negotiations" and just go to court? I know that the money I will spend to go to court is going to be huge (I've been quoted around $20,000 by my lawyer), but the potential reward is huge. There is a vacation property and big inheritance bank account at stake. I know that you can't predict what a judge will decide, but I was a SAHM for years (who is just getting back into the work world) and he has a steady high paying career that I supported him in.

He constantly pressures/guilt trips/snide comments to me about settling. However, he is not willing to make any compromises. I just don't see that he is leaving me much choice. My worry is the money for sure, but also my emotional state. I know that a court case will be hell on my stomach. Anyone been at this point before?

BTW, we tried mediation once and I refused to go back. It was a colossal waste of time and money as he hijacked the day with a crazy request for money to be repaid to his mother for a gift she gave us 12 years ago.

lisaloo posted 12/27/2013 21:15 PM

I dont have any answers for you, since I am facing the same thing, but I am certainly curious as to what others have to say!

I am thinking, from all that I have read here, that unless you are dealing with a rational human being (and you are HERE, so chances are that's not the case) that you might trust just a tiny bit (again, you're here... ), that trying to negotiate or mediate is often a waste of time...

That having been said, I dread going to court.

Nature_Girl posted 12/27/2013 21:57 PM

I speak from experience: The court doesn't give a shit that you were a SAHM for years & supported him in every way, nor that he makes a high salary. Do NOT count on a judge looking sympathetically on you AT ALL. They won't. Unless your STBX is making a seven-figure salary, you're not going to like what a judge decides for you, I can promise you that.

Mediation was never a possibility for us. That's how ugly this divorce was. However, court was also ugly. I survived it, though. It is survivable.

ItHappened2Me2 posted 12/27/2013 22:09 PM

What does your attorney tell you about the likely outcome of a court case? If you have an experienced attorney, they should have a clue about what the judges in your area generally do.

However, if he refuses to negotiate at all, you may not have a choice.

ButterflyGirl posted 12/27/2013 23:23 PM

I'm 14K in with lawyer fees. We tried 2 mediations. Second one failed within 5 minutes since neither of us were willing to budge on the visitation schedule and my lawyer and I walked out and said see you in court. He had wanted half the time with whore watching them while he worked. I just refused, refused, and refused some more when there weren't any rules, and then the court ruled in my favor at our temporary hearing last month that he can't take them during the week and I deserve weekend time, so he got EOW. I also got the house and garnished child support, but mostly because he made so many glaring mistakes like not paying.

I'm really not sure what to tell you, but my STBX has his tail between his legs now because the pretrial hearing went way in my favor, so he's scared the whole thing will go my way, and now he is willing to negotiate reasonably.. I actually offered him 75% of the weekend time in mediation, so he would have done better by negotiating with me instead of letting the judge decide.

I really do have a very stupid ex, though, so I'm not sure how would it would turn out for you. Court is very expensive, but it just can't be helped with someone of these delusional assholes.. I certainly had no choice but to fight for what I thought was best for the kids.

Just to say too, most of our issues are about the kids since neither of us make tons of money, have no big assets, and alimony isn't involved. I see a lot of people waste most of their assets fighting in court and losing what they had anyway, so you gotta weigh the costs..

Good luck..

PS- Look for a bargaining chip somewhere. It could be really useful for you to keep it out of court..

[This message edited by ButterflyGirl at 11:24 PM, December 27th (Friday)]

brightsidegirl posted 12/27/2013 23:24 PM

What does your attorney tell you about the likely outcome of a court case? If you have an experienced attorney, they should have a clue about what the judges in your area generally do.

She thinks our chances are very good. We proposed a settlement that is basically what we would get in our worst day of court if everything went his way. He rejected it loudly and rudely to me. He said he can't wait to go to court, I am overreaching, I am greedy and entitled. I was asking for no maintenance, no variable costs for the kids, and not touching his vacation home/inheritance. I was asking for a buyout for the marital home that we have yet to sell. BTW< he moved out into a condo a month ago even though he didn't have to. Just wanted to add more expenses, I guess.

Basically everything he has done will make him look like a big jerk in front of a judge. He is supposed to see them Tues and Thurs afternoons until 8 pm and every other weekend. There hasn't been one week that he has kept this schedule since I moved out in July. He has said through his lawyer that he will pay me full child support. He doesn't want any responsibility for parenting his children, which is pretty much how it's always been. He didn't want to pay me any temporary support this summer until we set a court date. He doesn't pay certain variable costs now even though our temporary orders say he has to pay 50%. He picks and chooses what he wants to pay.

I think that with the mountain of evidence I have and him being the NPD jerk that he is, I have pretty good chances. NG, you are making me really nervous. In retrospect, is there anything you would have done differently?

ChoosingHope posted 12/27/2013 23:24 PM

I've been told repeatedly by probably a dozen attorneys that court is always the last resort. But if you need to go there, you need to go there.

I'm headed there myself in two weeks for my divorce trial. I've been in court about six times for hearings, and I've had overwhelmingly good experiences there. The judge has consistently ruled against my STBX and even rewarded me attorney fees. But at the end of the day, you are putting your fate and future in someone else's hands in court.

I would do whatever you can do to settle unless you're dealing with a lunatic like my STBX.

ChoosingHope posted 12/27/2013 23:28 PM

I think that with the mountain of evidence I have and him being the NPD jerk that he is, I have pretty good chances.

I didn't see this before I wrote my reply. I have a mountain of evidence, and STBX is NPD.

You're probably going to end up in court. I'm so sorry. Get yourself the BEST attorney you can, and make sure he/she understands NPD behaviors. And please read the book Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It has predicted every single thing that my NPD STBX has done.

I'll report back after my trial.

ButterflyGirl posted 12/27/2013 23:40 PM

He is supposed to see them Tues and Thurs afternoons until 8 pm and every other weekend. There hasn't been one week that he has kept this schedule since I moved out in July.

DOCUMENT ALL OF THIS. I'm living proof that keeping a calendar of every time he contacts the children, phone calls, times, etc., helps with this. I was also advised long ago to NEVER speak to him in person or on the phone, which now I know why is absolutely fabulous advice since saving all the emails and text messages HAS mattered in our court case.

I would also caution you with your attorney. My first one was a puppy and cost me 5K for not a damn thing. He sucked, and I wouldn't be nearly where I am now if I hadn't changed. My new guy came recommended from 2 friends and a relative, and he's fabulous with me and a shark with the ex. I will admit that lawyers ARE greedy. You need them to be your confident and best ally in this fight, but some of them WILL drag things out to pad their own pocket. Make sure your lawyer is experienced, tough, strong, and truly understands the type of guy you are dealing with. Divorcing an NPD or other type of personality disorder is VASTLY different from divorcing someone who doesn't have these issues.

Sorry you are in this mess and having to deal with this guy. Try to deal with him as little as possible. And do NOT give him any emotions or defend yourself on anything. STRICTLY KIDS AND FINANCES. Anything else, any cursing, any going off topic, bringing up old issues, snarky remarks, etc., makes you look crazy to a judge.

I seriously have SI to thank for all this advice and what it has done for me, my healing, my children, and my future. Post here often. There are so many people that have been through what you have..

alienstookmyexH posted 12/28/2013 10:25 AM

I totally agree with Nature Girl, do not trust the judge to do the right thing.

I got royally screwed. Ex stalled divorce 17 months, moved across country with all valuables, been fighting for 4 years for what was awarded me 2 years ago.

The rules have changed. Depending on your judge, you could get alimony or property or get nothing. Even if you are awarded , you may have to spend years trying to get it.

I am disabled but had owned my own home & store since 21. I stopped working at 40 because of disability getting worse.

I married him at 35, he had never owned a home. He had terrible money habits.

I controlled the money, guided him in his career, saved his life 3 times ( heart attacks) and I have lost my home, my money, my credit, my trust, everything!

He is making over $100,00 dollars under the table on a federally funded job, you would think that that would be easy to prove, WRONG!

I have reported to IRS, and other government agencies, Nada. Taken him to court and he has told the judge, yes the laborers under me (I am a Sr. Project Manager on a multi-million dollar federally funded job) make $33 an hour, well actually about $66 an hour but I make $12 because i WORK FOR MY FRIEND AND IT IS FUN?????

It is completely insane that the US government allows him to get away with this and I get to exist (not live) on $800 disability a month.

If you are awarded anything, make sure that your attorney locks it in, no modifications at all. IF YOU ARE TO RECEIVE MONEY OR PROPERTY, MAKE SURE THERE IS A SHORT TIME SET, FOR RECEIVING.

alienstookmyexH posted 12/28/2013 10:32 AM

Forgot to say my ex demanded a court date and then did not show up, and yes the judge was pissed but in the long run, didn't help me whatsoever.

Oh, and when ordered to pay my attorney bills, took credit card and paid and 4 years later, I still get collection calls, because he never paid the card, nice!

Abbondad posted 12/28/2013 11:02 AM

I am sure I will be facing the same dilemma in a few weeks so I am very interested in this thread. First mediation failed due to STBX refusing to budge on anything.

Money is not the issue--that is, we have a simple financial situation. All I want is 60% with the kids and EOW. Thus far she is refusing this very reasonable request. I truly hope we don't go to trial, as it will get very ugly when I am forced to bring out my big guns.

My only hope is that her attorney talks some sense into her; he must know he has a weak case. (But as everyone says, the judge is a wildcard.)

dmari posted 12/28/2013 12:05 PM

Thank you for bringing up this topic. I also am interested in the responses as I am heading to court ... eventually. If it is possible, mediation is the best solution but only if you are dealing with a rational human being. Most of us aren't and we don't have a choice but to go to court.

Who is the inheritance for? Inheritances are normally protected for whom it was intended for.

For my situation, it isn't about custody as he does not want custody. But he owes me a lot of money that is tied to the kids (he borrowed money from DS14 private tuition account, half of tuition, half of unpaid medical bills, etc). Even if it wasn't a big amount, I think I would still go to court because if I let it go, he will never be held financially accountable to his children. Stbx needs someone to force him to be responsible.

Nature_Girl posted 12/28/2013 14:34 PM

NG, you are making me really nervous. In retrospect, is there anything you would have done differently?

At the first sign of ex's attorney being a complete asshole (I don't mean just being a dick, I mean an asshole) and tearing down my character, repeating the utter lies ex told him about me, making me out to the judge in written correspondence as some paranoid helicopter freak parent, I would have insisted my attorney fire back just as outrageously. Because at the end of the day, while I did prevail in some things, my ex got away with a lot and continues to get away with stuff because his attorney was an absolute shark without mercy or decency, completely slandering me in court to the judge and on the stand, allowing his client (my ex) to lie, lie, and lie some more.

But instead my attorney, who is a judge pro temp and also a GAL for not just this county but several other counties in the area, comported himself with restraint. He didn't go for ex's jugular until really late in the game, and by that time the judge was poisoned in his opinion of me.

Again, I did prevail on what was the absolute most important to me, and that was sole legal & physical custody of the children. But even that is up for my loss when ex decides to take me to court again. And when he does? All the lies that his lawyer spewed about me and the lies ex told on the stand are in the court record, ready to crucify me.

I would have fought dirtier.

ChoosingHope posted 12/28/2013 16:23 PM

I would have fought dirtier.

I think the problem is that NPDs don't fight within any rules of law or common decency. So you have someone like me or NG following all the rules, and then you have a crazy NPD who thinks nothing of lying under oath, making up stories, and trying to smear the reputation of their innocent spouse to take attention off themselves and their behavior.

So it's not a fair or balanced playing field.

This is why you need to read the book Splitting. I've been in court with STBX now for two years. I could have written that book. It so accurately predicts their behavior.

brightsidegirl posted 12/28/2013 16:25 PM

I think I have a great attorney. She has been practicing for awhile and I find her to be a complete bitch during negotiations, which makes me fall in love with her a little bit.

His attorney seems to me like a Matlock type of guy - kind of doddering and old. However, I have heard that he can be pretty ruthless. So we are preparing for anything.

The inheritance is stocks from his grandmother. He was supposed to use these funds to pay for the property of his - paying taxes, upkeep, etc. He never did. We borrowed on our home equity line of credit, we used our marital money, we lived frugally to pay for the property that will never be mine. I'm not saying I want the property, but I do think I'm entitled to half of what we paid out of our marital money. I found about $80,000 in expenditures and there are plenty more that I could find if I dug a bit. We are asking that he pay $40,000. He refuses and says that I got to enjoy the property, so he doesn't owe me anything. My lawyer has said that individual inheritance and property are not necessarily safe in divorce proceedings, especially when you consider things like the total value of each person, salary, SAHM, etc. So she thinks we have a really good chance of getting a portion of that property, or just a payout.

In terms of NC, I am usually pretty good at crickets. Sometimes he knows just what to say to tick me off (calling me a bad mom) and I bite on the bait. Then I feel really crappy for days.

Right now the latest thing is the Wii. I have it and he wants it. I got my DS10 an xbox for his birthday, so we don't use the Wii. I told him he could pay me for it, as it is an asset of mine that I was going to sell. Big guilt trip ensues (its for the kids, etc) and I tell him that I'd be happy to send it, if he agrees to pay me. He tried to trade me a crappy couch of ours that he has that I have no place for. No thanks and by the way - it isn't worth $25, much less the $200 I was going to list the Wii for. I know I shouldn't go back and forth with him, but no contact is hard in situations like that.

I'm hoping that next week we'll hear something more from the lawyers and maybe come to an agreement. If nothing else, I'll know where I stand. I just so want this over with. There are moments where I just want to give up and be divorced from the douche. I guess that's what he wants. I just want to be sure I get the best settlement so that I can care for me kids - safe car, nice place to live, clothes for their backs, etc. He certainly is not going to help me out!

momentintime posted 12/28/2013 17:00 PM

On the inheritance, if he put the money in an account in his name only, then usually he gets to keep all of it. However, if he co-mingled the money into a joint account that is a new ball game and is fair game. (My son inherited, and co-mingled, ex took half and got paid for her half of the house, with the down payment coming from my son's grandparents).

If your lawyer thinks you have a shot, then go for it. You won't be worse off, and you might be better off in the end.

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