[This message edited by DepressedDaddy at 12:36 PM, April 8th (Tuesday)]
“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so."
When children are involved, it's best to consult an attorney.
The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that everything after that looks fucking fabulous
[This message edited by DepressedDaddy at 1:29 PM, April 8th (Tuesday)]
You may want to call some of the mediation centers in your area and get their advice--they may also have packets of information to help you work through. Especially since you have a child and have had so many years together, I really would not recommend trying to do this without professional help. There are simply too many details that are easy to overlook. And what may be OK today will become a nightmare when your daughter gets older and her needs/expenses/etc change.
I also wouldn't recommend going to one attorney. If you do come up with an agreement, each of you should have your own attorney to review. Spending some money now can save you a ton of headaches and dollars in the future if you have to make modifications.
You can stipulate not moving the child out of a certain area. It can be challenged in court later, however. And every state and every court (and sometimes every judge) is different. Still critical to address.
My TBX is an attorney so he wrote up our "agreement"...which was so one-sided and crazy (not to mention parts weren't even legal), that there was no reason to go forward with that. When we went to mediation, he told the mediator he would pay "zero"...so that didn't go well either We're now going into our fifth hearing just on basic issues--spending thousands to save hundreds. So if you can do this an easier way, it's certainly worth the try.
The problem you haven't thought of is that infidelity is already a serious breach of trust, and KISA syndrome notwithstanding, the hurt party needs to be protected more than the predator. Someone wise here in SI said to me "You being here means she didn't give you a fair M, what makes you think she'll give you a fair D?". That's the best argument for being protected I've heard.
There's also collaborative divorce, where the Ls are less adversarial. Like my L said, "just pretend you're both just winding down a business so you can close it - it's really just assets, income and expenses."
I moved out of my house. My mental health was worth it, and it's better for the children not to see the fighting. As a man, you need to be very aware of the very real possibility of her accusing you of DV, particularly if she has no leg to stand on (sure, uncontested D and all, but if there's conflict and God forbid it ends up in front of a judge, the judge is going to want to know fault anyway and will only have a few minutes to make a decision for or against a party). Staying in the house makes this type of accusation more, not less, likely to happen. That's why you want to talk to a L first, regardless of what you do. I don't know what the deal is with nesting, but DD8 and DD10 have adapted very well to the two houses situation (if you're both good, involved parents, it shouldn't be an issue).
Moving out in my opinion also helps on the budget - how can you possibly know how much you can afford in alimony and support if you don't know your living expenses, your rent, your utilities, etc? Remember these orders can be hard to change once they become permanent - judges love something called the "status quo". You want to set the status quo to something you can live with long term as early in this game as you can.
Many Ls will give you an hour consult for free to get a feel for them. Make sure you take advantage of that. Talk to more than one.
Remember, even if it's uncontested, even if it's mediated, you have a right to legal representation. The L can be as involved or as uninvolved as you want him to. For example, it can be as simple as you draft everything yourself together (if you get along so well) and then send it to the L to "red-line" before signing. If you're the main wage-earner, you need legal representation.
If STBX balks at you getting a L for reviewing paperwork, be very aware that the reason could have been that she was intending to control the whole process (of all these D discussions, who was the originator of the idea?). This happened to me, as soon as she found out I paid a retainer, she freaked and wanted a full blown D, and got a more expensive L herself, a clear sign that her intent was to railroad me since I have been way too nice for 18+ years. As the first batch of bills after I moved out came up, she sent me a nastygram regarding "the mother of your children being taken care of". But since I mostly didn't engage, the Ls restored civility fairly quickly.
Hope this helps. We're all learning stuff we never wanted to know here in SI.
STBXWW and I agreed on how to split everything. CS is a state formula and custody was 50/50. We both agreed to joint physical and legal custody. I kept all my debt and she kept hers. I kept my pension and she kept hers. Legally we had to split the brokerage account because it was in both of our names. We kept our own bank accounts etc. I retained a L. I went to the L and told her what WW and I agreed to and asked her a few questions. The L drafted the property settlement agreement which had everything we agreed to in it along with all the legal language. WW came in, lawyer advised her that she had a right to get her own legal counsel and she could only represent me but could at my direction answer any questions WW had about the agreement. WW asked some questions we made some changes on dates adn L sent a copy of the revised document to both WW and myself. I set a time with L and WW and I came in and signed the document which the L filed with the courts. We have to live apart for 1 year then I call the L back and tell her to send the paperwork to the judge and the judge signs and I am officially D.
[This message edited by 7yrsflushed at 1:53 PM, April 8th (Tuesday)]
The cost was minimal--$2500 total (for both of us) which included the court costs.