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How the heck do people get divorced?


Separation and Divorce Considering ending your marriage? Going through a divorce? Let us know!

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Old 5th March 2018, 10:46 AM   #1
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How the heck do people get divorced?

Finally in process of divorce after 20 years of marriage- We are going thru mediation but I feel I am at a point of needing lawyer. I make about 4 times the salary as she does. We have the same education (both have college degrees)- I understand the way it works in NJ- it's not based on education and earning potential but your lifestyle over 20 years (we have 3 kids)-
I'm not debating paying her - the issue is that with the calculation sheet the mediator gave us it comes out to owing her almost $3000 a month! (mostly alimony)-- when I do my budget sheet (just what i need to survive)- I am around 4500/month (mortgage-expenses etc etc)-
That exceeds my net pay for the month- Is this normal?? this is all based just on all the calculations from W2- tax statements etc.... I would have -$500.00 every month..... someone help me
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Old 5th March 2018, 11:11 AM   #2
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Many years ago, I took my Dad to a divorce attorney to get some answers to questions I wasn't qualified to respond to. I purchased one hour of time from an attorney for my Dad to get all of his questions answered.

I tried to estimate his alimony payments and my Dad told me I was way off base and there was no way he would have to pay that much. After speaking with the attorney, my calculations were within $20/month of what the attorney told him he would have to pay. At that point he decided "It was cheaper to keep her"...

I never married and your scenario was one of the deciding factors in my decision making process.

Approximately, 23% of men will never marry.

That being said, I would get a second opinion from an attorney on the calculations.
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Old 5th March 2018, 11:14 AM   #3
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IMO, in your situation, a lawyer is a better bet. Unfortunately, in most jurisdictions the law is still stacked against men so it takes enriching a bulldog of a lawyer to combat anything other than an amicable spouse. At your apparently robust level of iifestyle, I'd consider a lawyer a basic necessity, and not just for divorce. I'd suggest a firm that includes family law, estate planning and tax/financial advice. All three will factor into an effective strategy.

Is your spouse amicable? Does she see the stuff the mediator is laying out as unfair to you? What are her suggestions for an equitable agreement? She's employable and employed and can easily waive alimony and split custody on the kids. Would she do that? If she demonstrates inflexibility or unwillingness to negotiate, then stop wasting money on a mediator and get a good lawyer. A top female lawyer
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Old 5th March 2018, 11:17 AM   #4
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Law is not a DIY field. Get a lawyer. Remain calm. Be good to your kids & just get this over with. If you are not fighting & bickering the legal bills won't be too bad.
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Old 5th March 2018, 11:20 AM   #5
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At the very least, you need to see a local divorce attorney for a hour meeting to get an assessment of your situation. The local attorney will not only know your state laws, but will also have experience with how the local judges apply the law.

I’m not familiar with NJ law, but I do know there is a wide variation between the states with respect to the amount of alimony spouses are able to obtain. Also, there is typically a lot of discretion for judges in awarding alimony, so even if there is a schedule or percentage baked into a statute, that doesn’t mean it will automatically be implemented at that rate.

But again, when you’re looking at possibly paying thousands a month in alimony, you should have already invested $300 and spoken to an attorney (or 2 attorneys just to be sure) just to know your rights.
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Old 5th March 2018, 12:20 PM   #6
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In many locations the law is actually designed to make divorce as hard as possible because the local culture wants to discourage it as much as possible.

If divorce is amazingly expensive, that prevents people from doing it on a whim and encourages them to work things out... even if "working things out" involves them living totally separate lives in a sham marriage. This keeps the divorce rate low and makes things look like old-fashioned values are holding true, and that's all that matters to some folks who make the rules.

In some countries divorce is extremely easy - you can just go online and say "hey we don't want to be married anymore" and in two weeks poof, it's gone. Naturally, the divorce rate is drastically higher there!

As for the original question of "is it normal"... yeah, it's normal that in a divorce both parties are going to see a hit in their quality of living. It's not unusual that the family home has to be sold and both sides have to settle for living somewhere more crap and giving up a lot of the luxuries they are used to, while at the same time both falling over themselves trying to pamper the kids and buy their love.


Of course, in a truly hostile marriage, it's still cheaper to divorce because as long as you're married your spouse has the legal right to take ALL your money and spend it!
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Old 5th March 2018, 12:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinut2234 View Post
Finally in process of divorce after 20 years of marriage- We are going thru mediation but I feel I am at a point of needing lawyer. I make about 4 times the salary as she does. We have the same education (both have college degrees)- I understand the way it works in NJ- it's not based on education and earning potential but your lifestyle over 20 years (we have 3 kids)-
I'm not debating paying her - the issue is that with the calculation sheet the mediator gave us it comes out to owing her almost $3000 a month! (mostly alimony)-- when I do my budget sheet (just what i need to survive)- I am around 4500/month (mortgage-expenses etc etc)-
That exceeds my net pay for the month- Is this normal?? this is all based just on all the calculations from W2- tax statements etc.... I would have -$500.00 every month..... someone help me
Just because that's what the calculations say, it doesn't mean she has to demand you give her that much.

Being divorced is very expensive.
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Old 5th March 2018, 2:28 PM   #8
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thanks- it's been amicable but I don't see her willing to take less.... it's not a matter of paying her (I am fine with that)- it's a question of it being reasonable to live.... We have been living separately for 6 months and we both have been managing to live without me paying her anything- (I still pay car insurance and give her $$$ when she asks)- 650 a week alimony- she could buy a new BMW!!!
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Old 5th March 2018, 2:38 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by skinut2234 View Post
thanks- it's been amicable but I don't see her willing to take less.... it's not a matter of paying her (I am fine with that)- it's a question of it being reasonable to live.... We have been living separately for 6 months and we both have been managing to live without me paying her anything- (I still pay car insurance and give her $$$ when she asks)- 650 a week alimony- she could buy a new BMW!!!
In NJ? You have 3 kids. At a minimum that requires a 2 bedroom apartment, assuming all 3 kids are the same gender. You will need a 3 bedroom apartment. I can't imagine you can get one in NJ for less than $1500 per month. If you are paying her $650 per week which is less than $3,000 per month exactly where are they living & what are they eating? No she can't afford a new BMW. Kids need shelter, clothes, medical care, fees for school, cable / internet, etc. That doesn't leave money for luxuries. If your wife does return to work you will have child care costs.

Things are expensive.
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Old 5th March 2018, 3:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by skinut2234 View Post
thanks- it's been amicable but I don't see her willing to take less.... it's not a matter of paying her (I am fine with that)- it's a question of it being reasonable to live.... We have been living separately for 6 months and we both have been managing to live without me paying her anything- (I still pay car insurance and give her $$$ when she asks)- 650 a week alimony- she could buy a new BMW!!!
I'm not sure what the law is in NJ but in my jurisdiction that formula is just a recommendation or starting point.

Further, at least in my jurisdiction, alimony can't put you in debt. Child support can but not alimony or spousal support. Now, that does mean that the court or the attorneys will take a hard look at your monthly expenses to see what is justified.

As others have said - get an attorney. Also, don't feel that bad - I pay $4K/month for spousal support.
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Old 5th March 2018, 6:02 PM   #11
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There are plenty of stories around my neck of the woods were guys are working two jobs to pay the child support because the legal system is whack.
I'm one of them. When the judge asked me if I had a penis and I replied "I do indeed" the hammer came down.

I have my kids 6/14 days and pay half the daycare, half the health insurance, and half of the medical/school supplies.

I don't get a say in what school they go too, what daycare they go too, what health insurance they have so their mom buys the most expensive everything she can find just because it's only costing her 1/2 the price tag. She makes twice my salary and lives with another guy so it's pretty easy for her. I work two jobs just to stay out of jail.

It's still better than being married. I'll never do it again. Divorce is expensive because it's worth it.
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Old 6th March 2018, 5:36 AM   #12
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Hi skinut, why are you divorcing? Infidelity on either side or plain incompatibility? Would add context to your thread. Thanks.
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Old 6th March 2018, 6:25 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by d0nnivain View Post
In NJ? You have 3 kids. At a minimum that requires a 2 bedroom apartment, assuming all 3 kids are the same gender. You will need a 3 bedroom apartment. I can't imagine you can get one in NJ for less than $1500 per month. If you are paying her $650 per week which is less than $3,000 per month exactly where are they living & what are they eating? No she can't afford a new BMW. Kids need shelter, clothes, medical care, fees for school, cable / internet, etc. That doesn't leave money for luxuries. If your wife does return to work you will have child care costs.

Things are expensive.
Hahaha, if it was as simple as cutting the check. I'm pretty confident he will still be on the hook for health insurance, 1/2 of other expenses along with whatever he spends on them while in his care.

Alimony is such a 60's things. I'm curious why NOW doesn't attack the idea? It's not in line with women rights, unless the right is taking advantage of men.

OP your best bet is reducing you balance sheet. I single man should be able to live comfortably on slightly less than $4500/mo
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Old 6th March 2018, 9:03 AM   #14
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Alimony is such a 60's things. I'm curious why NOW doesn't attack the idea? It's not in line with women rights, unless the right is taking advantage of men.
The term 'alimony' is largely out of fashion in a lot of places, in favor of 'spousal support'. And it is NOT just paid by men to women. There are women paying it to men as well.

The women having to pay support tend to be just as cranky about it as the men

The concept of spousal support has also changed a lot since the old days. It used to be that a woman's income was expected to come solely from her husband, and that she would probably only be able to marry once (because who would want used goods?) so if her husband set her aside, he had to pay her for life, otherwise she'd starve. Nowadays in most cases spousal support is expected to be only temporary, to give the dependent spouse time to find another source of income.

The exceptions are usually if you were married for a very long time to a stay-at-home spouse. If you had a housewife for 20+ years, you are likely on the hook. But of course it varies by location as well.

This forum doesn't have a large number of divorce cases on it, if you go to some larger divorce-specific forums you'll find a wider range of outcomes. I can't say I know everything, but I've seen a lot of different stories play out. And a lot of dads with primary custody, for that matter.
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Old 6th March 2018, 10:25 AM   #15
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There are ways to get away with it otherwise courts wouldn’t be full of cases where the ex isn’t paying according to the court order.

Signing a settlement , making it an order of the court does not mean enforcement.

Speak to an attorney. They’ll tell you ways around without getting into trouble.
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