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An update... thoughts requested

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barcher144 posted 6/8/2020 10:10 AM

My divorce is still on COVID-19-impose hiatus.

In February/March/April, my attorney tried to negotiate a settlement with STBXW's attorney and the response was basically "we want to go to trial."

I think one of the main factors is that I am currently required to pay STBXW $3250 per month (temporary order), which is far more than she will be getting in alimony (likely none) and child support (somewhere in the range of $2000-$2500 per month).

I had my kids this weekend who revealed...

1. STBXW and her new guy are discussing him selling his house and moving in to my old house. I think this is an indication that she has given up hope on getting alimony. Thoughts?

2. STBXW got herself a new dog last Christmas... a Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy. He has been a handful, based on the stories that I have heard. The dog apparently likes to jump on people, in the way that I've been taught to knee the dog in the chest to get them to stop. My son (8 years old) told the story this weekend that boyfriend likes to tell the dog "as a joke" that he will slit the dog's throat if the dog doesn't stop. Boyfriend has 5 convictions on his record for alcohol related offenses, although all are older than 10 years. Boyfriend was initially awarded 50% physical custody of his kids in his divorce in 2015, but his ex has since gone back and gotten 75% physical custody. Should this concern me?

3. My kids are being told that boyfriend's ex-wife is an evil bitch who hates everyone. I have no knowledge of the woman, although I think this suggests that STBXW and boyfriend are trying to convince my kids that I am an asshole too.

I have sent my attorney an email with this information... but I'd like to get other opinions from you all.

Extra Information for those of you who like to quibble:

Although my state has a calculator to compute child support, the main issue is how to input each of our salaries. She has worked 30 hours per week for at least 10 years. I'd argue that she has been voluntarily underemployed, as defined by my state's statutes. Simultaneously, my job is a little wonky... I am guaranteed salary for only 9-months per year (like a school teacher, for example) but I can earn up to a full 12-month salary if I find and perform extra work. The judge ruled last summer that my salary for child support/alimony should be calculated based on my 9-month salary, but STBXW and her attorney refuse to capitulate (i.e., they ONLY negotiate based on my 12-month equivalent salary). Their argument is that I have earned a full 12-month salary for the past 5+ years. My argument is to cite the judge's ruling, the fact that I will not be getting a full 12-month salary this year, and the fact that overworking + wife's emotional abuse (a lot of her abuse was directed at cajoling me to work harder to get extra work) are the major causes of my depression.

My attorney has said that, if considered separately, it is very likely that a judge would rule that STBXW's salary should be calculated as her full-time equivalent. Similarly, the chance of the judge reversing his decision to compute my salary based on my 9-month contract is small. My attorney admitted, though, that it's 50-50 whether the judge would rule in my favor on BOTH questions. For this reason, we've offered child support somewhere in the middle of our salaries.

The arguments for/against alimony are similar but slightly different. Again, salaries are important. She first has to demonstrate that she cannot meet her budget based on her income and then she has to demonstrate that I can afford to pay alimony. This poses a problem for her, mathematically, because unless the judge rules that her salary should be computed based on BOTH her 30-hour per week salary and my 12-month salary (i.e., I lose on both of these questions), then either she can financially meet her budget or I cannot afford to pay alimony (i.e.., I cannot meet my budget).

In addition, the legal purpose of alimony, as stated in my state's statutes, is to compensate a spouse who sacrificed his/her career trajectory for the sake of the kids/marriage... to allow this spouse time to obtain additional training/education to become self-sustaining. The judge is required to also consider the duration of the marriage (15 years) as well as the financial resources that the spouse seeking alimony is awarded as part of the divorce. STBXW already has a college degree and about 20 years experience in her chosen field. She literally has the SAME JOB, today, that she had the day before we got married (her current boss came to our wedding!). She also has a trust fund that is worth $50-$75K and can only be spent on education for herself or for our kids (an inheritance from 2001). Finally, she is netting almost $500,000 in assets in this divorce (half my retirement plus home equity plus home furnishings plus cash). Ergo, I think that it's unlikely that she will receive alimony. In contrast, she is now asking for permanent alimony.

Finally, there is definitely some gamesmanship going on here. I have retained an accountant because STBXW, her attorney, and the judge don't seem to grasp basic math (i.e., I'll have an expert witness to explain who can afford what as far as alimony). Also, STBXW's budget is obviously inflated. Her grocery bill is double the actual amount... she includes car insurance for both of our vehicles... she lists the amount of her quarterly water/sewer bill as a monthly bill. Anyway, we have plenty of examples to hopefully convince the judge the STBXW is not credible.

Westway posted 6/8/2020 16:25 PM

What can yo0u do to keep her from moving into the old house?

You may need to hire a CPA to audit your combined budgets.

Catwoman posted 6/8/2020 17:07 PM

1. STBXW and her new guy are discussing him selling his house and moving in to my old house. I think this is an indication that she has given up hope on getting alimony. Thoughts?

This one is a tossup. Who knows what she is thinking?

STBXW got herself a new dog last Christmas... a Chesapeake Bay Retriever puppy. He has been a handful, based on the stories that I have heard. The dog apparently likes to jump on people, in the way that I've been taught to knee the dog in the chest to get them to stop. My son (8 years old) told the story this weekend that boyfriend likes to tell the dog "as a joke" that he will slit the dog's throat if the dog doesn't stop.

I am active with Chesapeake Bay Retriever rescue. If they need to rehome the dog, I will be happy to help. Chessies aren't easy dogs in the least.

Boyfriend has 5 convictions on his record for alcohol related offenses, although all are older than 10 years.

This isn't likely to have an impact.

Boyfriend was initially awarded 50% physical custody of his kids in his divorce in 2015, but his ex has since gone back and gotten 75% physical custody. Should this concern me?

Depends. Since divorce records are public, you can look at the file and see if there was a petition for modification and under what circumstances. That will give you the information you're looking for.

3. My kids are being told that boyfriend's ex-wife is an evil bitch who hates everyone. I have no knowledge of the woman, although I think this suggests that STBXW and boyfriend are trying to convince my kids that I am an asshole too.

Something else you cannot control, unfortunately.

Was the accountant retained on the advice of counsel? I've not ever heard of this.

Cat

nekonamida posted 6/9/2020 07:53 AM

I think you're right to send everything to your lawyer and let them choose what they can work with. I do think your STBX's new BF is a huge concern but unfortunately there's not much you can do until he poses a bigger threat. Try to dig into his convictions. Look for anything DV related and child endangerment related. Keep talking to your kids about it and let them know that they can tell you anything.

tushnurse posted 6/9/2020 11:57 AM

I am active with Chesapeake Bay Retriever rescue. If they need to rehome the dog, I will be happy to help. Chessies aren't easy dogs in the least.

I remember asking Barcher if he was going to take this dog when his wife decided it was "untrainable" As someone who actively does HRC/AKC hunt test trials, I know any working breed is a challenge, but Chessies, can make chocolate labs look like lazy dummies. And that is saying a LOT. What a chessie needs is strong dominant person that knows how to train, along w/ a method of daily exercise, this is not like taking a dog for a 2 mile walk 2 times a day. This is fetch to the point of exhaustion, or swimming to retrieve. They are made to work and they are happiest doing that work. When they are bored and have lots of unspent energy they become "bad dogs" because they have no way to get it out.

That said.... No your wife hasn't given up on Alimony. She is NPD, and she is just thinking she deserves whatever she wants, and if she want alimony she is going to get it, but in the same breath she deserves to have have her boyfriend living with her. So don't fool yourself there.

Hang in there Barcher. I know this sucks tremendously for you. I hope that everything starts back up soon for your state, and that the clock can get restarted on the countdown to your freedom.

((((And Strength)))

Catwoman posted 6/9/2020 12:34 PM

Would your obligation for spousal support end if she is co-habiting?

If that is the case, I'd be very careful not to tip your hand. It is certainly possible that he keeps some sort of pied a terre or uses a friend's or relative's address and indicates that this is where he is living. You may need to either hire a PI or do some digging on your own to see how the utilities are paid, if they have a joint bank account linked to that address, if he is registered to vote from her address, etc. You may be able to subpoena his pay stubs (provided he isn't using another address). I wouldn't let the other side know you are prepared to do this, either.

Ten-year-old convictions probably don't mean anything, unless they are a felony and/or were violent (and even then, the current view is that everyone deserves a chance to do better, and no issues for at least 10 years is pretty compelling). Again, this is public record, so you could likely find this out, just like you can likely access his divorce file and see why the custody scenario changed.

Since you have time until the courts will be able to reconvene, you might be able to do a lot of this digging, particularly that where there is public record, saving yourself some attorney time (and expense) in the process.

Cat

squid posted 6/10/2020 00:15 AM

She's fishing.

In my experience and in my state (no-fault), alimony is based on gross income of the spouse receiving alimony and what monthly expenses she/he can prove are essential.

If your STBXWW is relatively established in her job then the latter part of the above should not factor much.

Is she negotiating the amounts? Let the lawyers handle it.

I know my experience is different. I essentially let my XWW know that I was going to cite infidelity as my grounds for D if she persisted in trying to go for non-marital assets. She backed off real quick, probably trying to save face.

Whether or not your STBXWW is working part-time prior to divorce should not factor much into alimony. She needs to step up and get full-time status. Otherwise the courts will decide what she is entitled to based on her gross income.

As for the he-said/she-said stuff regarding your kids and AP's ex - your kids will figure out who the bad players are in all of this. Trust me. I know this from experience. My dad was serial cheater. On his death bed last year, my
siblings(half) and I would chuckle at what a fuck up he was. We still loved him. But we looked down on him with disappointment when we kissed him and said our goodbyes.

Continue being the consistent, stable parent. Your kids will figure the rest out. Whether you like it or not, they need to love their mom in some way.

barcher144 posted 6/10/2020 09:07 AM

No your wife hasn't given up on Alimony. She is NPD, and she is just thinking she deserves whatever she wants, and if she want alimony she is going to get it, but in the same breath she deserves to have have her boyfriend living with her. So don't fool yourself there.

Good point.

I am rational. She is not. I need to stop thinking that she uses logic like a normal person.

barcher144 posted 6/10/2020 09:28 AM

In my experience and in my state (no-fault), alimony is based on gross income of the spouse receiving alimony and what monthly expenses she/he can prove are essential.

In my state, alimony is no-fault but it is based on many factors well beyond income but income is also important (also: in my state, it is NET INCOME... hence the need for an accountant as an expert witness). To be honest, the law is written to give the judge a lot of latitude in making his/her decision. However, there are a few iron-clad rules. I described most of them in my original post.

One additional rule is that if she co-habitates, then she is ineligible for alimony (I forgot to mention this in the original post). This law is relatively new in my state and it is intended to keep ex-spouses from entering a long-term, "unofficial" marriage simply to keep alimony flowing. For example, a friend's ex got "married" (big celebration, ring exchange, etc) but it was not a legal wedding.

Co-habitation with a romantic partner is pretty iron-clad as a disqualifying factor for alimony. Come to think of it, STBXW is not very smart, so she might not know this.

Is she negotiating the amounts? Let the lawyers handle it.

Nope. STBXW and her attorney refuse to negotiate. The reason for this is either she thinks that she can win at trial... or, more likely, the judge's temporary order is so favorable to her that she wants to delay a settlement until the last possible moment.

Whether or not your STBXWW is working part-time prior to divorce should not factor much into alimony. She needs to step up and get full-time status. Otherwise the courts will decide what she is entitled to based on her gross income.

This is my logic too. However, she has refused (past tense... because she refuses to negotiate in the present tense) to negotiate based on anything other than her current (part-time) salary. This is critically important for computing alimony because she can afford her current budget if she goes back to work full time.

Continue being the consistent, stable parent. Your kids will figure the rest out. Whether you like it or not, they need to love their mom in some way.

As much as possible, STBXW is never criticized in front of my kids, either by me or by anyone else in the room (I enforce this strictly). The only time that I got anywhere near criticizing STBXW in front of my kids is when she lies to them about something and I need to inform them of the truth.

For example, I took a work-trip to Florida last year around new year's day. She told them that I was on vacation and if I could a vacation for myself, then I could afford something that they wanted at that time (details are irrelevant). I informed them that it was a work trip (and showed them the financial reimbursements from work) and even then... I am allowed to enjoy myself when they are not around.

barcher144 posted 6/10/2020 09:32 AM

What can yo0u do to keep her from moving into the old house?

My divorce is 2/3 complete. We have agreed to a custody plan for the kids (first 1/3) and to who gets which assets/liabilities/possessions (second 1/3). The judge has even signed these agreements.

The remaining portion of the divorce that has yet to be determined is the amount of child support and the amount of alimony, if any.

She gets the house. It's hers. This discussion is not about preventing the boyfriend from moving. One part is that the dude might be violent and, if so, I don't want him around my kids. The other part is about alimony... co-habitation is a disqualifying factor for alimony.

[This message edited by barcher144 at 7:23 PM, June 11th (Thursday)]

barcher144 posted 6/10/2020 09:42 AM

Would your obligation for spousal support end if she is co-habiting?

Yes

If that is the case, I'd be very careful not to tip your hand... I wouldn't let the other side know you are prepared to do this, either.

I don't discuss anything with STBXW other than the kids. I also don't say anything about the divorce in front of the kids. I understand that if the kids are telling me what hear from STBXW... then the kids are telling STBXW about what I say.

Since divorce records are public, you can look at the file and see if there was a petition for modification and under what circumstances. That will give you the information you're looking for.

The public records reveal that there was a petition for modification (and that it was successful), but it provides no detail beyond that (i.e., no circumstances are described).

homewrecked2011 posted 6/10/2020 09:51 AM

Ask your atty if you need to hire the PI now, to show they are living together, or get the final hearing, THEN get the PI to show she’s cohabitating and the alimony would end.

Catwoman posted 6/10/2020 10:17 AM

The public records reveal that there was a petition for modification (and that it was successful), but it provides no detail beyond that (i.e., no circumstances are described).

In most jurisdictions, there is either a judgement issued by the court or a joint petition indicating agreement between the parties.

It's not always someone's fault that parenting time allocations would change. Perhaps he got a different job, or one plant closed and he has a longer commute to another, or he's working strange hours and can't consistently take parenting time. Any of these would possibly result in some sort of re-allocation of parenting time without indicating any wrongdoing. I would look at the file to find the judgement or agreement. If it is an agreement, that means that the parties and/or attorneys came to a compromise; if it is a judgement, it likely went to court. I am assuming that the wife filed for the modification?

Cat

barcher144 posted 6/10/2020 10:37 AM

Ask your atty if you need to hire the PI now, to show they are living together, or get the final hearing, THEN get the PI to show she’s cohabitating and the alimony would end.

They are probably *mostly* co-habitating at the present time, now that I think about it.

The question that I am asking about, though, would be definitive... he is talking about selling his house and moving into her house full-time. They are talking about distributing the bedrooms in her house to the six children (3 of hers/mine, 3 of his).

barcher144 posted 6/10/2020 10:42 AM

It's not always someone's fault that parenting time allocations would change. Perhaps he got a different job, or one plant closed and he has a longer commute to another, or he's working strange hours and can't consistently take parenting time. Any of these would possibly result in some sort of re-allocation of parenting time without indicating any wrongdoing. I would look at the file to find the judgement or agreement. If it is an agreement, that means that the parties and/or attorneys came to a compromise; if it is a judgement, it likely went to court. I am assuming that the wife filed for the modification?

It went to court but the associated paperwork is not publicly available. This came up tangentially during the custody evaluation because STBXW claimed that her BF had 50% custody but the online information is clear that he now has only 25% custody (i.e., this was one of many lies that STBXW told during the custody evaluation).

As far as I know, there were no life-changes that you are suggesting that could have been the reason behind the change in custody. They live within 10-15 minutes of each other and STBXW's BF has regular working hours.

According to my kids, he is going to back to court soon to try and regain equal custody of his kids.

Catwoman posted 6/10/2020 11:02 AM

Another point to consider (ask your attorney) is if she can re-petition to reinstate spousal support if they no longer cohabitate. You want to be prepared. I'm thinking once that door shuts, it is shut, but every jurisdiction is different.

Cat

Phoenix1 posted 6/10/2020 15:40 PM

Barcher, I just wanted to chime in that I am so sorry you have to continue to deal with your STBX-wackadoodle as this gets dragged out (probably very intentionally by her to reap the temporary support rewards, not counting the virus court delays). For you and your kids' sake I hope it gets resolved sooner than later!

((barcher))

barcher144 posted 6/10/2020 16:07 PM

Thanks Phoenix1... your support is very much appreciated.

barcher144 posted 6/10/2020 17:37 PM

My GF reached our to STBXW's BF's... ex wife (this sounds like something from Spaceballs). We shall see where this goes.

Catwoman posted 6/10/2020 18:35 PM

My GF reached our to STBXW's BF's... ex wife (this sounds like something from Spaceballs). We shall see where this goes.

Why?

You know that his arrest record for alcohol related issues indicate that all of the arrests were more than 10 years ago. If he was a danger, that likely would have been reflected in several things, including continued arrests, perhaps a spotty employment record. It might have been in the court record as a restraining order. Does your attorney think there is something more there that might sway your case? If so, there are better and more legitimate ways of getting to that information.

If it's the custody you're worried about, you yourself have 25% custody, if I'm not mistaken. Please correct me if I am wrong--we do have a large community here (sad commentary on today's world).

I think continuing to poke and pry (don't think it won't get back to him, and hence to your STBXW) in such a personal way could continue to amp up the contentiousness of your current case, which is already pretty contentious. There's a huge difference between doing professional research at the courthouse and having your girlfriend call your STBXW's BF's ex. What does your attorney say about this? If you felt the ex-wife had valuable info that would have a major bearing on your case, she could be deposed or called as a witness, correct? We subpoenaed the OW for a deposition. It's not uncommon.

If my SO asked me to participate in something like this, he'd get a flat no way. His ex-wife has nothing to do with me, I wish her no harm and I have no desire to get involved with her in any way.

Cat

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