Therapy Thursday

Dear TT
I left my ex husband two years after being together for 10 years, and married for 5. There are lots of reasons as to why things fell apart. We both worked a lot, never spent any time together as a couple, it was always about the kids. I didn’t work near as much as he did, so it was every day that i would be the one to grab the kids, come home, cook dinner, do laundry, and yada yada whatever else needed to be done. I wouldn’t have changed anything for the world, but it was the lack of gratitude on his end that left me very self-conscious, depressed and discouraged. Not to mention exhausted, and in need of “companionship.” I understand there are two sides to every story, but after 2 years of living in a sexless marriage, I had enough. I needed out, so I left.

So everything in the house was split in half, i took the basic things like lamps, dishes, some furniture, etc. Just enough to set up a little place of my own.The assets we shared are a different story though. And that’s where my issue lies…. We had the mortgage and a brand new truck. And a lot of financial difficulty. We were severely in debt. So we drew up a separation agreement, and the deal was, if he released me of all debt, including removing my name off the mortgage, the truck title, any loans, I was not to try and get any money from him in the way of child support, or anything else. And he wasn’t to try and get any money from me. I was fine with that. I was to have the children a couple days throughout the week and every other weekend, until I was back on my feet.

So I should mention, I was receiving the child tax credit, and the child care benefit each month which was sent to me anyways, because it was mailed to me because I’m the mother of the children, and that’s just the way it works in Ontario. I would, on occasion, but not every month, give him a portion of the amount from the checks. Not too long after I had left and been on my own, I received a letter from the government stating he had applied for the benefits, and had also told the government that he should have been receiving them for months. He also receives a child care subsidy for the kids as well. So now, the government tells me I owe them thousands of dollars, at least 8 months worth, in back pay.We also had a line of credit, that for some reason, my name could not be removed from, but that he agreed to pay as well.

 

Well, not to long ago, a lady shows up at my door with a big brown envelope. They were papers from the Ontario court of Justice, stating that the bank we held the line of credit with, is holding us in default. He had not made any payments on it since I left.So I don’t know where to go from here. Did I make the right decision by leaving the house and the equity behind? Should I feel bad for leaving him with the debt, even though he is receiving almost a thousand dollars a month for the kids?
I have so many people telling me I’m crazy for leaving everything behind, especially now because of the situation I am in. What would you have done in this situation?

 

Sincerely,
Broke in Brooklyn

Dear Broke,
This is probably the toughest Therapy Thursday I have ever been a part of.  I am not an actual therapist, as we all know, so please remember that what I have to say might be as relevant as a winter jacket in the tropics.  HOWEVER, on I press….I am going to assume that you drew up this agreement together, without a lawyer or any sort of binding arbitration.  I’m not a lawyer, and this is where we run into our first hurdle.  Is your agreement legally recognized?  Is it binding?  If you both agreed to it, and one of you is reneging on his or her responsibilities, what recourse do you have?  I don’t have these answers, unfortunately.  My best advice would be for you to see a lawyer, or perhaps a mediation expert to see what constitutes a binding agreement, and if you can proceed with legal action against your ex-husband.  This path isn’t going to make you any friends, and it isn’t going to save you any money.  In the end, you may also find out that your divorce agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Another huge problem is that while you are attempting to sort out the financial responsibilities of your ex-spouse, the bank, mortgage company, and everyone else who wants a piece of the pie is waiting with their hand outstretched.  While this mess is being cleaned up, your credit will continue to fall further and further into the toilet.  What’s the answer?  I honestly don’t know.  If it were my situation, I think I might consider getting information on filing for bankruptcy.  If you find yourself in a terrible financial situation, and you cannot see a way out, it may be an option to start over again, and leave your debt and marriage behind you.

I realize these aren’t answers, and to be clear, I think you have some tough decisions ahead of you.  One thing you can be sure of, is that your children must be taken care of for the future.  When you find out what is necessary to obtain a binding agreement between your husband and yourself, you can attempt to close the gap that your current agreement has cause you to fall into.  Any future discussions should clearly spell out yours and your ex’s financial responsibilities, and the consequences of defaulting on them.  Be certain that the agreement is witnessed by someone whose authority has weight in court in the event that there are problems.You can’t change the past, but you can be far more proactive in dealing with the future.

You asked me what I would have done if I had been in the same situation, and to be frank, I did the same thing.  When my ex-husband and I separated, we divided up our assets, worked out a financial agreement and tried to do things in a way that would be least damaging for our children.  I believe we succeeded.  The difference is, my ex-husband upheld his financial responsibilities.  You did what you could to keep your separation amicable and to save both of you the time, heartache, and wasted money that a lengthy courtroom battle would guarantee.    Be proud in the knowledge that you did your best for your kids, and that even if it didn’t work out the way you had hoped, you conducted yourself in an honest, and fair way.  Good things are coming your way, I am sure of it.  Hang in there.  :)

Just drop off the key, Lee, and get yourself free,

Mrs. B.

Wow. I’m afraid to even send this to Smarty, but I don’t think he ever made it back from visiting Mo in Texas. The last I heard was that Seth and Kari had let him crash for a night at their place, but he took off before they got up, left a big shit smear on one of their good towels, and stole/borrowed all of Seth’s Testors glue. I’m sure if they looked hard enough, they’d notice a bag or two missing as well. Hey, Mo, if you’re reading this, please don’t let him go to Juarez. He’s into some weird shit, and they probably provide it there.

We never said he was normal.

Anyhow, back to your problem:

I really don’t think that there is much that I can say to you. Life fucking sucks sometimes, but it’s how you handle it that will define who you are. I’m a little different than my wife in the fact that I still stayed a bit shady after we got married, whereas she is pure of heart and soul. You will know if you were truly wronged in this breakup. Not the “crazy person, trying to make up reasons for your situation”, type of wronged, but the “I can’t believe that motherfucker did this to me” type of wronged.

You seem like a level headed woman from your extremely long letter, and I’m going to try to finish reading it today, but until then I will tell you to feed your kids all kinds of Mexican food before you send them back to their dad’s. If there is any other foods that make them deathly gassy, try those. Also create a couple of Facebook profiles of really dirty women, and start fucking with him every time he meets a new girl. Write shit about how he should come back to you, because you just got some insurance money, and how this crack ain’t gonna smoke itself. Make sure there are scabs in the pictures. Start threatening the girl too. Tell her that if he doesn’t give her herpes, you will.

If he’s been on the up and up, and is treating you fairly, then maybe just do the gassy kids, because fuck him. You need some satisfaction in this shitty world.

One more note:

Have you seen a trend in divorces that wasn’t as prevalent in the past?

It’s the huge debt load.

Let’s smarten up, people. No one wins this game except the banks. Maybe we could try doing without, until we can afford it. Save up for things. That’s how they used to do it.

Banks love money.                                                          (source: money.msn.com)

Our little boy is four years old and quite a little man, so we spell out the words we don’t want him to understand,

Birdman

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3 thoughts on “Therapy Thursday

  1. Funny thing about credit is when you need it, you can’t get it. When you don’t need it, is when you can have the most of it. Then we all usually partake in keeping up with the Jones’s and the next thing you know life throws you a big fucking curve ball. Swing and a miss…

    Dear Broke, regardless of your circumstances, you are now smackdab in the middle of a shitstorm that is going to take some finesse to manouver through. First of all, find out how bad your credit score is now. If it’s below 600, you will have a hard time getting any kind of loan by yourself. Also look at the credit score and see who all has made claims on it. Then work to clean it all up. If your separation agreement was done by a lawyer, you may have some legal standing. If your separation agreement was done on a napkin, you might be swimming in it. If it’s somewhere in between, and you both signed and dated it, you might, might, have a leg to stand on.

    FYI, it costs nothing to talk to a lawyer for 30 minutes to see if you have a case. I recommend you to seek that out.

    You want to try to avoid bankruptcy. It takes seven years to get over and then you have to start all over again rebuilding you credit rating. You are far better off working with your creditors and rebuilding your credit than writing it off totally. It might not seem like it now, but in the long run… Then again, bankruptcy might not be avoidable for some situations.

    Go talk to a lawyer a see what your options are. Good Luck to you and God Bless.

  2. This actually hit really close to home when I read it, although when I got divorced there were no children involved – Thank God, as I am sure it makes it 10 times more difficult! I agree with Mrs. Birdman…If you don’t already have a lawyer,get one TODAY! Everything from here on out should be strictly through lawyers. Don’t give him any angles or allow him an opportunity to find “loopholes” in your agreement.
    First – Any joint accounts – shared line of credit etc. need to be FROZEN! This only requires one of your signatures, but both signatures to “unfreeze”. This way he can’t accumulate more debt, that you (and he) can’t afford.
    Second -My advice is to sell any and all shared assets ie: truck,house etc. and use these funds (assuming that there is some equity) to pay off the shared debt and then split whatever cash is left 50\50.

    Separation and Divorce can make people desperate and vindictive… my ex went after me for spousal support – rediculous! …Especially since he made twice as much (or more) as I did in my cashiers position.
    I feel for you and what you are going through.

    Good Luck to you.

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