Intro & Game Plan

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Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Sat Apr 15, 2017 9:27 am

Fundamentals: Married 13 years, Georgia/Metro Atlanta, S11, S7, no fault, filed and in process of serving her, living in marital home. After a year of marriage counseling, STBX was completely surprised when I informed her we're divorcing. Bottom line: She prioritized our kids over everything, including herself and our relationship for many years, leaving no time for affection, companionship or intimacy. I'm lonely as hell but there's no cupcake because I don't have time for that. I'm laser focused on putting together the best divorce strategy I can because my kids are counting on me. Navigating my divorce is my second full time job.

Hill to die on: There is no universe in which I do not get 50/50 joint physical and joint legal custody (2/2/5/5 or 7/7 preferred). Everything else is a bargaining chip. I know joint physical custody isn't the norm in Georgia unless it's an agreement between the parents. If we go to trial over this, I will have to demonstrate to a GAL that we can communicate and cooperate well enough to co-parent for a judge to award joint custody (Urquhart v. Urquhart, 2000).

Goal: Geographic restriction to current school district.

Finances: We both work W2 careers, both have retirement accounts, one car each, one house. We've always managed separate checking/savings accounts. Equitable split means I owe her $150k between home equity and retirement after factoring in pre-marital assets (Thomas v. Thomas, 1989). Georgia has no requirements or guidelines for alimony, though I won't be surprised if she's awarded temp spousal support since she's unemployed. We will have no financial entanglements post-divorce.

Child Support: Income shares are 40% her/60% me ($240k total gross). I'm expecting to be ordered to pay her CS as the NCP. I've been an involved dad for years but wasn't superdad. My parenting journal is capturing day-to-day superdad details now, and I've reconstructed 100+ educational, social and extracurricular events over the past twenty-four months that can be validated by people other than me.

My List: Radio silence is engaged, my responses to her about the kids are BIFF, and my DGAF meter is pegged at 10 but some days it's a struggle to keep it there. My ICD-PX333 is running whenever I'm not at work, and is a constant reminder to be cool like Fonzie. I've implemented financial austerity. I'll be deleting all social media accounts except LinkedIn prior to discovery. I'm educating myself and doing my due diligence in order to better manage my attorney.

Game Plan: Everything is on the table except my hill to die on, and I will negotiate with whatever it takes. I am addressing custody first before any other details. I'm considering three scenarios.

Scenario 1: Early settlement in the land of rainbows and unicorns. She wants emotional justice because feels betrayed. She's pissed that I'm divorcing her (sunk cost fallacy mindset), that the house is pre-marital so she's getting a smaller amount of equity, she feels she's done no wrong in the marriage, and she thinks I've been planning the divorce for years including the thousands we've spent on marriage counseling. IDGAF.

Strategy:

1a. Offer her my premarital home equity as a 529 plan for the kids, which is an amount equivalent to what we would pay attorneys when this goes to trial. That way she sees it as winning: Taking money away from me, depriving me of the premarital asset, and establishing success for our kids. We had always prioritized our retirement over college savings since you can't take a loan out for retirement, so there's no college savings yet. We're going to spend the money anyway in the divorce, so I'd rather put our kids through college instead of our attorney's kids (or pay for their next Mercedes). If she goes for this, then I'll include a clause that the 529 can only be used for the kids college education. This will be a limited time offer to incentivize her. I'll give her until the first round of discovery is complete, then it's off the table.

1b. Boot to the throat: Early deposition, discovery, mediation, GAL, trial. Always be closing.

Scenario 2: Move-away to another state by STBX due to employment. She was terminated for cause in early 2017. STBX has a non-compete for several years within a radius of her former employer. On top of that, she has very few local employers left to choose from, as she's worked for most of them already with no desire to do so again. She told me she's looking for jobs outside the state.

Strategy:

2a. Obtain temp restraining order locking the kids to their current school district during pendancy of the case. I want to prevent a tug of war during the divorce if she accepts an offer out of the area.

2b. Negotiate geographical restriction clause based on at least one parent staying within the existing school system. Current wording from attorney: It is the intention of the parties that the Minor Children shall remain in their current school system which feeds into $HIGH_SCHOOL. So long as one parent remains in this school district, the Minor Children shall be enrolled in this district. If both parties relocate their residences outside of the school district then the parties agree that the Minor Children shall attend school in the district associated with Father’s residence.

2c. Become custodial parent. Depose her to confirm/deny she is moving out of state for personal economic gain instead of best interest of the children (Bodne v. Bodne, 2003). If she denies, use audio evidence/subpoena witness to support. Factors: Kids are invested in local clubs and want to continue that involvement. Both kids also have an IEP and are on-track academically. I know this is an uphill battle to win.

2d. If she moves away, then I'm fully prepared to follow my kids anywhere. I suspect she'll move 800+ miles away to the northeast to her family support network. I hate the northeast but I love my kids more.

Scenario 3: She gains employment locally and seeks to own the home. She's already let it slip that she doesn't want me to keep the house because it will make my custodial position stronger. She's also said she can't afford to buy a house in this area, which is why she's looking outside the state for a job.

Strategy:

3a. Since the house was my premarital asset, I'll argue that I should get to keep the house and pay out her equity portion. Unfortunately there's no Georgia case law I can cite to support this argument. I've crunched the numbers, and I can afford to keep the house and pay CS at the cost of any future retirement contributions. Unless I specifically give her the house as a bargaining chip in a settlement, I expect the judge to order the home sold.

3b. Even if I gave her the home as a bargaining chip, she would struggle with being able to get a mortgage. She's intelligent but is unable to think longterm about how her employment lapse, ignorance of the mortgage approval process, and cluelessness of the true cost of the home (utilities, taxes/insurance, maintenance, etc) are barriers she needs to overcome.

3b. If she stays in the home, or it's ordered to be sold, then I will rent an apartment in the same school district.

Before you guys do what you do best, I just want to say thanks for all of the tough love you've thanklessly provided here for years. This is hands down the best community for men seeking pragmatic and actionable divorce advice. As I have experiences to share, I will help shovel the gravel around here.

My question to you: Do you see any red flags or unreasonable expectations with the above?
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby Tom Kirkpatrick » Sat Apr 15, 2017 11:40 am

Route all mail to a PO Box that's in your name only.

Put all important documents, medical info, and ID's in a safe deposit box, in a bank she's not familiar with: use a different bank, not a different branch.

Make her get a job. Implement financial austerity down to the bone.

No matter what comes down, lock in parenting plan (50/50) first and foremost. Everything else is bargaining chips. BTW, your kids are old enough for 7/7.

Rule of thumb = Never surrender a bargaining chip without getting something of significance in return.

HaltAndCatchFire wrote:She was terminated for cause in early 2017.
Cause not withstanding, this may have been part of her game plan all along. And the court will likely be sympathetic to her plight, poor dear. With this in mind, it's incumbent upon you to orchestrate a counter-measure to what might have been her "well-orchestrated termination." For example:

Research California case law Gavron vs Gavron (aka, Gavron Warning).

If you end up paying (temp) alimony, do not rely solely upon statute in the order. You're gonna want strict terms and conditions including, but not limited to: termination date certain; non-modification clause; alimony provision is modifiable only if you lose your job or if you hafta take a pay cut. You don't want her coming back and having alimony modified or revisited.

HaltAndCatchFire wrote:She prioritized our kids over everything.....
She's locked in status quo. She's locked in status as a SAHM. In your quest for 50/50, this is a huge hurdle to overcome, especially if a GAL gets involved. To counter this, you've gotta become Superdad.

As long as she remains in the house, whether it be pre-divorce or post divorce, you've got a financial entanglement. You need to level the playing field in this regard. The sooner she moves out, the better. You must never be the one to move out. Remember this Rule of Thumb: He who gets the house also gets the kids.

Q: Whose name is on the mortgage?? Whose name is on the deed??

Have you read The List?? http://forum.dadsdivorce.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=13374

You should be keeping a well-written journal and parenting time tracker. Your digital recorder must be up and running any time you're around her. It'll be your only defense against phony DV charges.

Tom
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:30 pm

Tom Kirkpatrick wrote:If you end up paying (temp) alimony, do not rely solely upon statute in the order. You're gonna want strict terms and conditions including, but not limited to: termination date certain; non-modification clause; alimony provision is modifiable only if you lose your job or if you hafta take a pay cut. You don't want her coming back and having alimony modified or revisited.

I will pay out more upfront in order to avoid having alimony included in the MSA, if it comes to that.

Tom Kirkpatrick wrote:She's locked in status quo. She's locked in status as a SAHM.

To clarify: She's worked her entire life, and there's no issue establishing her excellent capacity to earn (note the 40% her/60% income shares in my Child Support note above). The only time she was a SAHM was 12 weeks for each kid when they were born.

Tom Kirkpatrick wrote:Q: Whose name is on the mortgage?? Whose name is on the deed??

Only my name is on the mortgage and deed.

Tom Kirkpatrick wrote:Have you read The List?? http://forum.dadsdivorce.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=13374

Yes, many times. I've adapted it to my situation. (See "My List" above.)
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby InAlcatraz » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:30 am

I'm no expert, as I'm on the cusp of filing - but your plan seems very well thought and well researched!

Your situation is very much like mine in earnings and % earned by each spouse. You have a stronger position by the house being premarital property. Please keep us posted on how things progress - I can glean a lot from your excellent planning and research! Thanks for sharing and best of luck.
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby dofb » Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:01 pm

HaltAndCatchFire wrote:Fundamentals: Married 13 years, Georgia/Metro Atlanta, S11, S7, no fault, filed and in process of serving her, living in marital home. After a year of marriage counseling, STBX was completely surprised when I informed her we're divorcing. Bottom line: She prioritized our kids over everything, including herself and our relationship for many years, leaving no time for affection, companionship or intimacy. I'm lonely as hell but there's no cupcake because I don't have time for that. I'm laser focused on putting together the best divorce strategy I can because my kids are counting on me. Navigating my divorce is my second full time job.


While I can understand the loneliness (which I have also experienced), have you considered the damage you are going to do to the people around you? My STBX is similar to you, no regard for anyone but themselves. That's one.

Secondly, what an ironic statement: my kids are counting on me... counting on you to do what? Destroy the family that they know?

Third, has your STBX cheated on you? It certainly seems that you have considered it. There are many recipients of cheaters on this forum and I am not sure you will get any sympathy from them. Certainly not from me.
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:16 am

dofb wrote:While I can understand the loneliness (which I have also experienced), have you considered the damage you are going to do to the people around you? My STBX is similar to you, no regard for anyone but themselves.

Secondly, what an ironic statement: my kids are counting on me... counting on you to do what? Destroy the family that they know?

My kids are counting on me to set the behavior they should model in their adult life. The first romantic relationship a kid witnesses is the relationship between their parents. I do not want them to see criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling as acceptable marital behavior. Staying together for the kids creates a toxic environment which I argue is worse than divorce. I want my kids to learn to prioritize personal happiness. It's like when oxygen masks drop during a flight: You need to put your own mask on first before you help those around you.

Third, has your STBX cheated on you? It certainly seems that you have considered it. There are many recipients of cheaters on this forum and I am not sure you will get any sympathy from them. Certainly not from me.

Neither I nor my STBX have a paramour, but she failed to keep the vows we made to each other. I repeatedly told her for years that I was lonely, ignored and felt more like a roommate rather than a companion. We went to marriage counseling to address these issues, but she didn't show up to sessions, didn't complete 'homework' and otherwise didn't give it the attention it warranted.
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby InAlcatraz » Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:29 am

[/quote]

While I can understand the loneliness (which I have also experienced), have you considered the damage you are going to do to the people around you? My STBX is similar to you, no regard for anyone but themselves. That's one.

Secondly, what an ironic statement: my kids are counting on me... counting on you to do what? Destroy the family that they know?

Third, has your STBX cheated on you? It certainly seems that you have considered it. There are many recipients of cheaters on this forum and I am not sure you will get any sympathy from them. Certainly not from me.[/quote]


Are you kidding me? You are slamming this guy who has tried to work on things through communication and MC (She didn't show up)??

She sounds self centered and selfish to me. Living with an unaffectionate wife who puts you last in her pecking order of importance is not a life worth living. GET OUT.

- Totally agree that kids model their parents' behavior and you don't want them modeling the relationship they are seeing.

Best of Luck - keep us posted!
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby BartSimpson » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:17 am

The first romantic relationship a kid witnesses is the relationship between their parents.
Did you read that in Cosmo?
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby HaltAndCatchFire » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:37 am

If my observation is incorrect, then please help educate me. I don't pretend to have all the answers. I only know what I know, and I'm always seeking to be better educated.

When my wife asked me why I wanted a divorce, I told her: I can't make you happy, and I can't be the husband you want. She responded similarly.
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Re: Intro & Game Plan

Unread postby BartSimpson » Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:42 am

Romance is a very recent, 20th century, concept as an element of marriage. It's emphasis has come about with the transition from economic marriage to consumer marriage.

Did you consider your parents having sex when you were a child?
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