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justmeinsd

Need help. Filing for divorce...it's okay...but I don't know what to do.

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So I know this is a credit repair forum, but I trust the advice I receive here and I'm hoping you wise, life-experienced people might know of a similar forum for people considering divorce, or maybe those who have been through it might be kind enough to share some helpful advice. I could really use some direction.

 

Please understand that this has been coming for a long time and while I don't love the idea, I'm tired of the one-sided fight.

 

Is there a better time of year to file? I understand the whole process takes about six months when you're doing mediation. We're trying to be civil and not punish each other. Are there tax ramifications, or does it not really matter?

 

We owe $14,000 on my car, $5,000 on my Visa. He has a couple of cards, too, but he pays them off every month.

 

His credit score is in the mid-high 700s. Mine is in the high 600s. I have a couple of old medical collections (and yes, I'm going to use Psychdoc's method to try to get them off). Other than that, we don't own any real estate and our only child is 18 and out of the house.

 

The city we live in has very high rent and I'm not sure how I'm going to afford living on my own, even with alimony. I haven't worked in years, and then it was a patchwork of part-time jobs. I've mostly been a mom. My husband thinks I am grossly under-earning and that I don't take care of myself and he doesn't want to watch me eat myself to death. He's fighting a weight issue and I've been a hundred pounds overweight for a really long time.

 

There haven't been any of the unforgivables. No infidelity. No alcohol or drug problems. No physical abuse. Some emotional abuse, but we've both been through a lot. I can forgive that.

 

I grew up in a very abusive household. So did he. It's not like either of us have had any kind of positive marital/parental modeling. It's amazing we got this far, to be honest.

 

Sorry. I know this site isn't for therapy, either. I'm just swimming here, trying to figure out what to do next.

 

JustmeinSD

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Hi.

 

I have two potentially conflicting pieces of advice.

 

My sister got divorced for about $500. If you can remain civil and be reasonable, you can avoid spending tens of thousands of dollars on lawyers. I also have friends who spent over $50k fighting, and the net return was basically what they would have gotten anyway (CA is a community property state, so each person gets half), except $25k/person lighter. And it seemed to me basically like their divorce lawyers somewhat inflamed things -- though my friends did plenty of that too! -- and turned the divorce into a very ugly and expensive fight.

 

However, my sister was only married 3 years and worked outside the home. You've been a stay-at-home mother for a couple decades, and it sounds like your partner made the majority of your combined income, you're simply going to need alimony. So maybe it's worth checking with a lawyer to make sure you're getting what you're owed and need.

 

I don't know how you all manage your finances, but my guess is that $19k is marital debt that will have to be split, but that depends on the values of the (presumably two) cars.

 

Good luck.

Edited by earlh

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Thank you very much for that, earth.

 

We're working toward mediation to save money. I'm not one to fight for anything. He has a lot of computer gear, monitors, games and all that. I couldn't care less about it all. Keep it and enjoy yourself, you know?

 

I think this will be pretty easy on paper. We don't own anything of value, really. The truck he drives is 22 years old and we own it outright. He can keep it. I get the car. He'll pay half of the amount owed, as you suggested. That makes sense. The hard part is dismantling twenty-two years of marriage and all that entails emotionally. My heart is broken. I have battled a deep depression for over a decade and it's taken its toll on our relationship. I can't expect him to spend the next twenty-odd years dealing with me and my mood swings and all of it. Yes, I'm in therapy.

 

I'm trying to work out whether I should stay here in SD or move to live with my mother in Florida (she's 70, and her much older husband is not doing well, but I don't want to live with him...it's complicated) but the town where she lives is really, really small and I don't know that I could work there, or move to another city in Florida close to a cousin and her kids and an aunt and uncle and in a city where I might be able to restart my business (portrait photographer).

Alimony is considered taxable income, and I thought it might not be in Florida because Florida doesn't have personal income tax, but the research of law sites I've looked at in the state say alimony is taxable. I found it on two lawyer sites, so I guess that's true.

 

JM

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Thank you very much for that, earth.

 

We're working toward mediation to save money. I'm not one to fight for anything. He has a lot of computer gear, monitors, games and all that. I couldn't care less about it all. Keep it and enjoy yourself, you know?

 

I think this will be pretty easy on paper. We don't own anything of value, really. The truck he drives is 22 years old and we own it outright. He can keep it. I get the car. He'll pay half of the amount owed, as you suggested. That makes sense. The hard part is dismantling twenty-two years of marriage and all that entails emotionally. My heart is broken. I have battled a deep depression for over a decade and it's taken its toll on our relationship. I can't expect him to spend the next twenty-odd years dealing with me and my mood swings and all of it. Yes, I'm in therapy.

 

I'm trying to work out whether I should stay here in SD or move to live with my mother in Florida (she's 70, and her much older husband is not doing well, but I don't want to live with him...it's complicated) but the town where she lives is really, really small and I don't know that I could work there, or move to another city in Florida close to a cousin and her kids and an aunt and uncle and in a city where I might be able to restart my business (portrait photographer).

 

Alimony is considered taxable income, and I thought it might not be in Florida because Florida doesn't have personal income tax, but the research of law sites I've looked at in the state say alimony is taxable. I found it on two lawyer sites, so I guess that's true.

 

JM

 

 

There is still no state income tax nor any kind of state tax return to file. In this case, it would just be considered taxable income on your Federal return.

 

But, seek a consult with a tax attorney just to be sure. :)

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While I share no life experiences here to offer sound advice, I will say that it at least sounds positive in terms of the situation surrounding this. Child is older, mutual debts seems low and relatively easily dividable.

 

CB is certainly for credit but it's also for the things you've mentioned as well. We have a huge assortment of life backgrounds here and a plethora of knowledge for similar situations, including in some cases examples of what not to do.

 

Good luck with the tough moments and getting through this in a personal aspect before that of credit.

 

 

It sounds like you have a basic plan for your credit recovery, at least to get things off the ground. Did you work previously in any skilled area?

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I don't think there's any better time to file. Tax wise, you probably already know this but whether you get divorced officially on first day of January or last day of December, your status becomes divorced/single for the year so do take that in account when you file for tax return the following year so you don't end up owing.

 

It's very good to hear that you guys are being civil. I went through a divorce beginning of this year and we pretty much filed, agreed on paper (which was also filed) and had the judge approve it. The process took few months only because we have two small children and had to go through court mandated class for parents but the rest was quick as we did not fight for any assets, I gave her the second vehicle and I didn't make her pay any of the debts. I'm sure every state is different but as long as there are no court battles you can get it done very quickly.

 

My g/f when she had her first divorce only took three weeks with her ex filing together. Nothing was split asset wise (he just gave her some money & she moved for a job out of state). When she moved out of state after the divorce she did move for her job but also was in a state that had cheaper rent not to mention the mild weather (even though summer can be stupid hot) most of the year. If moving is an option for you it's definitely worth looking into until you're back on your feet and start a new life in a different state.

 

Best of luck to you.

Edited by whipped

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Oh, Roland, thank you. That makes sense. I hadn't even thought of having to file State and Federal. God, I really am going to need a coach here.

 

Big Bear, I used to teach, but the college I worked for went out of business (and I wouldn't want to go back to them anyway). I've had a mishmash of part-time teaching, writing, and photography jobs for the last fifteen years or so.

 

Thank you, whipped, for the good wishes. I think once we file it will be fast because we're not fighting over anything. At least, I hope that's how it works out. No drama. I've had enough of drama.

 

 

justme

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I don't have personal experience with this, but something in your initial post troubles me. Don't let the idea that you're "under-earning" take root. Going back to the job market after many years is going to be tough. I don't know what your husband does for a living, but the earning potential of having steadily worked for decades is vastly larger than yours at the moment. You need to make sure you get alimony, and don't let him or anyone else talk you out of it. If it takes a lawyer, so be it.

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Don't ever think it's amicable because that's what screwed me. It may end up that way, which would be awesome. Take half your money out of all accounts and open new ones. Change direct deposit immediately.

 

Those are first steps. The rest can be figured out as you go along. Look up collaborative divorce if you think you two can be amicable. Look up an attorney that specializes in divorce litigation if you think division of assets is going to be an issue.

 

Are you in an alimony state?

 

And you absolutely need an attorney. Do not try to do this without one. You don't know the laws. They do. Find a family lawyer. If they aren't cutting it fire them and find another one. AVVO has reviews on attorneys.

Edited by garcias06

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I haven't gone through a divorce, but an ugly expensive custody dispute (the financial outcome is part of the reason I'm reading this board).

Honestly, get a lawyer as soon as you can. Don't wait. Don't trust. Be very careful about sharing any information about your divorce with any family or friends.

The separation I went through had none of the major "unforgivable" aspects, either, but naively thinking he would behave like an adult and not fight dirty burned me very badly. I can't put into words the depth of emotional and financial pain my ignorance and innocence cost me. Thankfully we get along now, but *please do not assume he will be thoughtful or kind in any way shape or form during this legal process*. I'm going to go out on a limb and warn you, he will likely try to get your friends and family to dislike you. He will likely try to ruin you financially or at least leave you badly crippled.

If he has more access to funds, he will get a good lawyer and make sure you get as little as humanly possible in the end. Telling you that you're "grossly under-earning" while he found it perfectly acceptable to support you while you were at home raising his children and keeping his home is a major red flag. He wants you to earn an income ASAP in order to reduce whatever alimony he might ultimately be forced to pay you. Although I was never a homemaker, I respect that role since my mother was one herself. Don't allow anyone to belittle the role you took in raising your children.

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So I know this is a credit repair forum, but I trust the advice I receive here and I'm hoping you wise, life-experienced people might know of a similar forum for people considering divorce, or maybe those who have been through it might be kind enough to share some helpful advice. I could really use some direction.

 

Does it matter when? No.
If you are talking about taxes, the IRS considers you divorced if have a final decree by the last day of the year. In which case you should either file Single or HoH.

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Thank you, garcias06 and Habersnicht. Rakuri, too. These are good warnings and I appreciate your words more than I can tell you. Cruelty is a choice and he does slip into that every now and then. He doesn't see it as abusive. He sees it as being honest with me to help me improve myself.

 

We're in California. I think that's an alimony state. I'm not really sure what that means. Obviously I need to seek a professional for guidance, as you've all suggested. I'll start making inquiries.

 

I'm not worried about him turning my friends against me. He doesn't really know any of them. I don't have that many. Maybe three or four people. I don't have any family here, either. They're all his, so I know very well whose side they'll take. They have been for 22 years.

 

Again, thank you all for your help and advice.

 

justme

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Go to your local public library or Barnes and Noble. There should be a whole section on divorce support books. NOLO Press might have a book walking people through the process of splitting up assets. Someone else might have self-help books that warn of the types of landmines you might encounter with former in-laws, etc.

 

It's complex. People rarely do it more than once, so everyone is a newbie. So there's a big market for "introduction to divorce" or "Divorce for beginners" resources. Spend a couple hours and go see what is out there that might be helpful to you.

 

MP

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