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  • Divorce vs Post nup

    I would like to start with 2 things first.

    1.If you are in a happy marriage or even a normal one, appreciate what you have. Peace of mind is priceless

    2.If you have made some financial mistakes, it is ok. Never too late to learn.

    I am in a tricky situation and would appreciate your advice.

    I'm married to a man who is charming, has external success but is a master manipulator. It took me several years to realize he married me for the money. He is controlling, impulsive, has high risk behavior regarding credit card debt and investments. The only thing  he has not done is buying whole life and has done every mistake mentioned in this forum, multiple times. I have tried reasoning, educating him about finances but no change. I initially thought he was bipolar, treatment only helped a little. I am now sure  he has borderline personality disorder. I have stayed too long in this marriage and take full responsibility for not acting sooner. We have 2 kids and have always wanted to avoid divorce.

    I educated myself over the years. I managed to separate my account against great resistance. I manage my 401 K, 457 b, have taxable account all in vanguard funds. I maintain a decent emergency fund. He continues to break my spirit by racking up credit card debt and making high risk real estate and angel investments in start ups.

    I'm worried we may be bankrupt one day due to his irresponsible behavior no matter how much I save.

    I'm done with this and ideally would like to get divorced. I'm ok with him getting half the assets, ok with taking liability for his debts. I'm prepared to start from zero after the divorce. He does not want it. He harmed himself ending up in ER when I threatened separation in the past. I'm contemplating a post nup agreement but doubt he will agree. Is there any way I can protect myself legally from spouse's risky behavior or is divorce the only option. Even divorce is going to be very expensive considering it will be a high conflict one, very likely to go to court.

    My self confidence and self worth has eroded over the years dealing with this trauma. We have 2 small kids who love the dad. Coparenting will be a nightmare and it is going to be 50-50 custody. I continue to work, manage to stay sane and still be a good physician. I seek solace in my kids, my work and prayer.

    There are a lot of psychiatrists here whose opinion may be helpful.

    My questions are how can I protect my assets, protect myself against spouse's debts and what financial things need to be planned before divorce.

    Thank you for reading this and appreciate advice.

  • #2
    You need a lawyer...today.

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    • #3
      Sounds like a nightmare.

      One thing I have learned from friends in similar situations, make it 100% clear that he will not control you with threats of self harm. If he threatens suicide call the police immediately and have him committed for intent to harm himself.

      Controlling a partner by threatening to harm yourself is abuse 101, if you don't read that phrase and say "************************ yes MPMD is spot on" then you need to find a good therapist who can get you to that point as quickly as possible.

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      • #4
        1. Get a lawyer
        2. Make sure you are safe physically/emotionally/mentally.

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        • #5
          Agree 100% with MPMD. Do not be held hostage by this person. Avoiding divorce is a great goal unless you are married to someone like your husband - then, getting a divorce is by far the best for you and your kids.

          Racking up debt and controlling money is also abuse. If you haven’t already, establish your own accounts and own credit card. Getting credit may be harder during and after a messy divorce and you should establish your own credit now.

          Get a lawyer ASAP. The sooner you do the sooner you start to protect yourself financially. Take a day off work and do it all at once so he can’t retaliate by racking up more debt that you will be responsible for.

          Good luck. You can do this.

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          • #6
            My heart goes out to you. Had a client that could have written your post - the ex even took 6-figure 529's from their kids. Just awful. She had to move back home and leave her practice to get away.

            I recommend you reach out and contact a CDFA (Certified Divorce Financial Analyst) in your area. They know all of the good family law attorneys and can help in many ways (coordinate with therapists, etc). I bet not many people on the forum have heard of this specialty because divorce doesn't come up much and we all immediately think of attorneys, but it can be difficult to find an attorney that is a good fit. (If you're in or near Nashville, I have a good recommendation for a CDFA.)

            Keep posting here and you will find a very supportive community. email me if you have any questions.
            Our passion is protecting clients and others from predatory and ignorant advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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            • #7
              The love is gone. No reason to stay in the relationship under the circumstances. Be prepared to part with 2/3 and be happy that you have time and talent to make it back. Best of luck.

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              • #8
                To add: what you are describing goes way past what a post-nup can accomplish. You need to get out.

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                • #9
                  I'm sorry this marriage didn't work out. You don't say how old your kids are, but they will also be happier after the divorce is finalized instead of living with parents in a dysfunctional marriage. Don't stay together for them. I've talked to many people whose parents got divorced after they moved out. They always talk about how much happier their parents were afterwards. And they don't know why they stayed together just for them even though they weren't happy.

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                  • #10
                    I wouldn't throw out the idea of a post-nup as quickly as those above have.  Virtually all of the problems you described seem like money disagreements.

                    If you could successfully separate your property, put him on some sort of strict allowance, no access to your money, would it work out?

                    Definitely consult a qualified attorney in your area as soon as you can.

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                    • #11
                      Thank you everyone for the prompt replies. Johanna, thank you very much for info about CDFA. Yes, it is very helpful to post here. It took me a long time to take that step.

                      I've been looking for lawyers and trying to get a good one.  I'm not able to judge divorce lawyers based on one interaction and still trying to reach out to people to find a good one. None of our friends are divorced and this would be a shock to them. My real good friends who have been extremely supportive are all in different states.

                      My kids are still young and I would not want them to witness what I have seen in the past. One is in elementary and the other is a toddler. My parents are old and dealing with health issues and are far away.  I'm trying to find support system to protect myself and the kids in case of need.

                      He is egoistic, popular in the community and very attached to his image. This will not go well. I know the answer is divorce but was considering post nup if that will avoid Psych drama and then go from there. Also, I'm concerned about coparenting with this vindictive person. Although my first thought is to protect myself, I really want to shield my kids from all this ugliness. It has been overwhelming for me juggling a job, trying to make decisions and stay calm.

                      I know there is no going back once I start the process. I also know its going to be a very tough and expensive battle.I have periods of doubt if I can pull it off, maintain my sanity and still work and maintain my job.

                       

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                      • #12
                        I’m so sorry. Talk to a counseller yesterday. I also wouldn’t be convinced that assets will be 50:50 when his harmful behavior is discussed in court.

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                        • #13
                          Sounds like you have a very clear and frankly honest view of it all. It doesnt make it suck any less. Agree there is nothing you can do and you've prolonged the pain much longer, thats what people trying to make it work do.

                          Agree with getting a lawyer and go about trying to extricate yourself from these bad decisions. Hopefully you do not have to evenly pay for all these things you wanted no part of.

                          I am sorry youre going through this, but I have a feeling in the end you'll do great. It still sucks, no way to help with that even when its the right decision.

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                          • #14
                            Oh I’m so sorry this sounds just awful.
                            Are you part of any of your local social media “physician moms” groups? It might have old posts for recommendations family law attorneys from others in similar situations.
                            Your state medical society may have a referral list for attorneys usually for practice issues but may be able to give you a family law referral if they work with other physicians who have divorced. Even local women’s groups and domestic violence groups - his abuse may not be physical but as MPMD mentioned threatening self harm is absolutely abusive and controlling.
                            Hope you’re able to take care of yourself during this time.

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                            • #15
                              Start documenting everything you can from these past experiences and any current issues. Make sure you and the kids are safe. See a psychiatrist if you need to. And find a lawyer to provide your documentation. It’s ridiculous to think that you’d have to part with half of anything here that’s yours.

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