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Separation Agreement question

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justjim posted 1/4/2014 07:22 AM

My STBX walked out 5 weeks ago due to being "unhappy" and gave me the ILYBINILWY anymore speech. She continues to deny involvement with another man, despite have been seen with him on several occasions.

A week after she left, she came back with a document that she herself had typed, titled "Separation Proposal" and "One Time Offer".

Most of the stuff on it was standard; splitting of the bills, etc. She is leaving me responsible for the house, which means I am going to have to jump through some hoops to figure out how to pay the mortgage.

Those aren't issues, though. 20 years in the Army taught me to "Soldier Up" and figure out how to make chicken salad out of chicken shit. I'll be OK in that department.

The thing is, although it was not in the document that she gave me, she keeps alluding to a clause that she is having the lawyer insert that will allow me to "date openly" without fear that she will come after me for adultery (a BIG no-no in my state). She says she is insisting on this out of a concern for me, because she wants me to be able to "move on" with my life.

Of course, I am sure this clause will cover both parties. Since I have no intention of dating anytime soon (I am only a few weeks removed from being suicidal over this mess), I'm pretty sure this is pure self interest on her part. This state has a mandatory one year separation except in cases of adultery, DV, or habitual drunk/drug abuse. I think her boyfriend is probably tired of sneaking around and looking over his shoulder when he is with her. If I prove adultery, it would change the entire situation in the final divorce.

So, my question is... should I refuse to sign an otherwise decent agreement?

On one hand, I could sign it and go on with my life and even perhaps meet someone to have dinner with without having to look over my own shoulder.

Or, I can refuse to sign and have the satisfaction of knowing that she and her boyfriend are nervously looking around whenever they are out. I also get the satisfaction of letting her know that I am not completely STUPID. But I run the risk of nullifying an otherwise decent agreement if she decides that that single clause is worth fighting over.

I feel like playing the lottery that sometime in the next year she and her boyfriend will let their guard down and get busted... then I own her ass at the final divorce hearing.

She wants to have her lawyer do the agreement and have me sign it next week.

Sorry this is so long and convoluted, but I wonder what y'all would do.


gahurts posted 1/4/2014 07:43 AM

Do you have kids together that you have to worry about? If not then what good reason could there be in protecting her against an adultery charge?

If I hadn't been trying to protect my children I would have nailed her ass to the wall with adultery. From reading your profile it sounds like this behavior is common for her and that she is totally unrepentant. I suspect that the employee who was going to tell you "lies" was actually threatening to reveal the truth.

Maybe its time for her to learn some consequences.

ImEnoughForMe posted 1/4/2014 07:50 AM

I'd play the lottery. Kind of like what she and her boyfriend did.

You are going to have to jump through hoops to keep the house. Why should things be easy for them?

I wouldn't sign.

littlefoggy posted 1/4/2014 08:03 AM

In my state, you cannot put any clause in any separation agreement protecting you against adultery.

So you can date. But no taking it all the way... nudge nudge wink wink.

I would imagine it is similar in your state based on what you said.

That said, why aren't you going for a divorce based on adultery? If you don't have proof, hire a pi. Sounds like she is being open enough it to get the proof needed.

trumanshow posted 1/4/2014 08:19 AM

Do you have a lawyer?

One-time Offer? Who the hell does she think she is?

On another note:

adultery (a BIG no-no in my state).

I would LOVE to know the state-that is awesome

devistatedmom posted 1/4/2014 09:25 AM

I'd file with adultery as the reason...that will get you protected even more since the divorce will be done quicker!!

I wouldn't sign that... and just promise that no matter what you won't sign anything without going to a lawyer to read it over. I'm sure there is something in there that's going to screw you over.

ruby44 posted 1/4/2014 09:58 AM

I just read your story as well as this post and all I have to say is HELL NO to signing that paper. It may be fairly equitable and you may be able to Soldier up but really why should you have to?
I would do one of 2 things:
1. draft my own settlement agreement, one time offer that takes her to the cleaners or that mirrors hers pretty much except for the "dating clause" which would be a "fidelity clause"( your state would like that). If either party is found to have sexual relationship prior to the divorce then the agreement is null and void or have some kind of punitive amendment.
2. Does not sound like you have kids together so Lottery baby, so cricket noises and hire a PI.
side note: The fact that she basically moved in on the first date and pushed it along before she had time to heal from her first divorce is a big red flag and sounds like her MO. Have you talked to her first husband at all? I bet she is a serial cheater or NPD.
second side note: the OM probably helped her draft this proposal, mine seems to send everything to the OW for her approval/input. (which I have to say she is as dumb as a rock!)

justjim posted 1/4/2014 10:43 AM

No kids.

Everything happened so fast.

One minute, everything was fine. The next, "I'm not happy. In fact, I never have been happy with you. I was considering leaving you within two months of our marriage. You don't give me enough attention. I am so incredibly miserable that I cannot live here with you anymore. I want a divorce as soon as our one year separation is up, and I want you off of all bank accounts, car insurance, etc. immediately. I want the house refinanced within six months, or placed on the market. Goodbye."

It seems like she intentionally ambushed me, then keeps pressing with demands to keep me off balance. Unfortunately, if I am to meet all of the financial obligations that just got dropped in my lap, I cannot afford a lawyer or a PI.

I tried talking to an attorney for a consultation. She assured me that I need a lawyer and a PI. Said she wouldn't give me any legal advice during a consultation... I'd have to pony up a $2,500 retainer to receive legal advice. Then, she surprised me and charged me $100 (that I can ill afford)for the 30 minute consultation. Screw lawyers.

That's why I am asking my question here. No one here is looking to screw me out of money I don't have.

badmedicine posted 1/4/2014 12:20 PM

Here is some (free) legal advice: SCREW HER!

WTF she thinks she can just up and leave you and then slam you with a "one-time" agreement? If you live in a fault state I think you stand to gain something by proving fault. A 1-year separation should be plenty of time to find evidence of this. If she is repeating history and overly-committed to a new man (like she did with you) then she won't want to sneak around and neither will he. Are you sure she was divorcing when y'all met?? Make her keep the house; she insisted on having it and bought it. Get a new place to live, free of her, and make your chicken salad there.

I know it's tempting to get out quickly but please be careful; you could really screw yourself here. She had an unfair headstart since she sprung this on you a few weeks ago. I agree that she is trying to keep you off balance so that she has the advantage. Stall for time, get your ducks in a row, and go after her. As part of my settlement (no-fault state) I'm asking that he pay my legal fees since it's his fault he had an affair and still married me under false pretenses. Now he is stuck with the choice to hire his own attorney to try to fight back or just pony up and pay.

But, back to you....SCREW HER. As hard as you can. Well, at least in the next year. Then, eat your chicken salad with someone who isn't crazy.

littlefoggy posted 1/4/2014 14:06 PM

If she is being a PITA, get the lawyer.

You can skip the PI and get a friend to take pictures of them being lovey dovey and the friend can be the third party witness.

Dreamboat posted 1/4/2014 14:09 PM

You need a L. The one you consulted was a con artist so I understand why you feel burned.

Call several L and interview on the phone. DO NOT ask for a free consultation, instead say you are trying to find a best L for your circumstances. If a L refuses to allow you to interview them then they do not want your business. Think of it this way -- you would not get a major repair on your home without asking for several bids from contractors.

If you get a L then the L will prevent you from getting all of the financial obligations dumped on your lap. You should not be left responsible for the house if her name is on the mortgage or the deed. That is not fair and you should not sign an agreement that asks for that.

The previous L advised that you get a PI because the burden of proof for A is quite high in most states. If you can prove A, how would that affect the settlement? If it will not affect it much then it is not worth the cost of a PI. Regardless, you could have your L file a fault D based on A and then use that to negotiate a better settlement.

The bottom line is that you DO NOT have to accept the crumbs that your WW has thrown at you. She is looking out for herself so you need to look out for yourself. And if she gets a L (it should like she has) then you 100% need to get a L. Otherwise you will be screwed in the settlement.

letmeout posted 1/4/2014 16:47 PM

I would not sign any agreement with a provision like that inserted for the simple fact you loose leverage in the divorce proceedings. If you can speed up the process by filing adultery and its in your favor by all means do so.

Frankly I wouldnt even agree to you paying the mortgage solely unless you know for certain you want to keep the house. She is a 50% owner currently and whether she likes it or not she is liable.

In a state where you can file for at fault stuff is rare and puts you in the drivers seat, she is trying to ramrod an agreement down your throat. Find a way to hire a lawyer, your a former military man, go on the offensive, this is a case of fighting for ground makes better sense than defending your position. Dont get too caught up in hiring a PI at the moment, she will give you enough evidence as time goes by and again an attorney will know for sure how and what is truly needed.

Phoenix1 posted 1/4/2014 17:41 PM

I also live in a state where I could have filed at fault, but the burden of proof is very high in court. I was told that I would literally need video/pics of them in a sexually compromising situation, or explicit written communication between them. I had neither, but XPOS didn't know that (of course, finding there was an OC pretty much clinched it). I still used the threat of filing for adultery to my advantage to get an agreement that I wanted. I wrote the agreement and he signed and we ended up going thru dissolution for irreconcilable differences quickly with no attorneys (I absolutely did my homework first and am fairly savvy with legal documents). I was willing to trade filing for adultery in exchange for a separation agreement I wanted.

Use your legal ability for filing for adultery to your advantage! She's the only one that has something to lose! Do NOT let her drive the divorce train with her ridiculous "open dating" clause. She is purely trying to take your legal leverage away from you!

Oh, and not all areas have attorneys that provide free consults. In my area they run from $125 to $300...

[This message edited by Phoenix1 at 5:44 PM, January 4th (Saturday)]

justjim posted 1/4/2014 20:39 PM

I want to keep the house, if possible.

My reason is probably going to sound stupid, but it's my reason.

She left one of the (2) dogs with me. This house is the only home he has ever known. Every other part of his world has been turned upside down. The only stability he has is his home.

He spends most of the time staring at the back door, waiting for her and his buddy to come home. Due to a great interest rate and the good sense to not buy too much house, I think we'll be okay.

Mostly, I just want her to own responsibility for the destruction of this marriage. I am tempted to offer to sign the agreement with the "dating" clause in return for full disclosure of the details of her affair(s).

It would be worth it to watch that whore squirm.

IrishLass518 posted 1/4/2014 20:46 PM

JJ, your reason doesn't sound stupid at all and you're right, it's your reason. Don't sign the agreement without speaking with an attorney. In a fault state, if you can prove the adultery, she may be responsible for all attorneys fees. Just some food for thought. Take care and remember to never take legal advice from someone who is divorcing you. They do not have your best interests in the forefront of their minds.
PS. The "one time offer" game, means she knows she doesn't stand a chance and that you actually hold all of the cards in this game. She is trying to bluff you into thinking that she is looking out for you. The truth is, you are in the power position and she knows it.

[This message edited by IrishLass518 at 8:49 PM, January 4th (Saturday)]

justjim posted 1/4/2014 20:53 PM

The "one time offer" game, means she knows she doesn't stand a chance and that you actually hold all of the cards in this game. She is trying to bluff you into thinking that she is looking out for you. The truth is, you are in the power position and she knows it.

This makes a LOT of sense.

persevere posted 1/4/2014 20:54 PM

Totally understand your motivation, believe me. But, in the end, the BEST deal for you is all that matters.

Please re-read Dreamboat's post, especially this:

The previous L advised that you get a PI because the burden of proof for A is quite high in most states. If you can prove A, how would that affect the settlement? If it will not affect it much then it is not worth the cost of a PI. Regardless, you could have your L file a fault D based on A and then use that to negotiate a better settlement.

Even if you know you will agree to no fault in the end for the right deal, your X doesn't have to know that, it can be your bluff until she's willing to negotiate.

She's obviously a piece of work, and one day you will realize how much better off you are without her. ((justjim))

Dreamboat posted 1/4/2014 23:14 PM

I want to keep the house, if possible.

Then you should strive for that. But until you have a signed agreement where she states she will sign a quit claim deed, then she shares 1/2 responsibility for the house.

There are some things to consider, such as how much equity there currently is in the house, either positive or negative. If there is positive equity in the house then you and she will need to negotiate how to split that. Will you buy her out? Do you trade something else of equal value (assets or debts)? If there is negative equity, then you owe her nothing and you may be able to use that to negotiate something else from her. Some people also decide that one person will stay in the house for a certain amount of time and then you will sell and split the proceeds at a predetermined percentage at that time.

Then there is the mortgage. If you keep the house then you will likely need to refi in your name only. Will you qualify for the mortgage on your own? What will happen if you don't? And how will you pay for the refi? Even the "no closing cost" ones cost $1-2K in fees up front.

I am not trying to scare you, but you do need to think everything thru. I think you said that in your state you have to be separated for 1 year before you can D. In states like that, typically the separation agreement sets the standard for the D settlement, so you need to get to right the first time. Take the time you need to process everything and to make solid decisions that are right for YOU.

Stay strong. Take care of yourself. Do not allow her to bully you or push you faster than you are ready to go. She has everything to lose and you have everything to gain if you take your time to do what is right for YOU.

persevere posted 1/4/2014 23:26 PM

She has everything to lose and you have everything to gain if you take your time to do what is right for YOU.

VERY TRUE!!! It's hard, but you have to keep the emotion out of it as much as possible. Take your time to do what makes the most sense.

letmeout posted 1/5/2014 01:14 AM

You wont get the truth out of her by agreeing to the clause and it gives you too much potential leverage to give it up just to hear what you already know or highly suspect. You will get enough info during the next couple of months whether you want it or not to know the truth. The rumor mill is a wonderful thing.

Whether you can ever satisfy the burden of proof in court is a different argument and being able to hold that power over her will drive her nuts. Its worth it to keep it. As far as house, have in the agreement that all payments after a certain date you keep 100% equity forward. Divorce can drag out longer than anyone expects the payments while separated are in theory and half her equity. Itís a reasonable request.

Watch for little things in any agreement, even something as the cars, have it laid out who gets which one, who is responsible for insurance. My stbx totaled her car and had cancelled the insurance for the cash and then didnít have any money to pay for the damages to the other car. They tried to go after me for the damages. My temp order had it laid out she was soley responsible so I was not liable.

I have never once taken a one time offer and the moment someone says that to me I know itís a bluff. I have always gotten a better offer later.

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