This is my first blog! I hope to provide some insight into how my experiences through my separation and pending divorce has affected me.
After 20 years, it was time to call it quits. We were doing okay financially but struggling in our marriage. It all ended one night while we were out walking the dog. Things had been building up for quite some time. I had moved out four times previous for short periods, but never for longer than a month. We began a conversation, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what we were talking about. I really don’t remember anything except her telling me that I had no spine or balls! I turned to her and said, “It’s over.” I had had enough! It wasn’t only those few comments that pushed me over the edge, they were merely the straw that broke the camel’s back. To sit here and post that it was entirely her that caused the end of our relationship would be a lie. I shared the responsibility (although not equally).
What I later discovered was that she had been planning for this day to come. An off-handed comment she made a few months ago (post separation) when I asked her directly if she had been siphoning money from the bank account prior to our split, would speak volumes. I believe the response was, “Yeah, so, try and prove it.” I wasn’t sure if she was baiting me, or if realized that I knew what had been done. There was no way of telling from the bank records. I later found out that the easiest way to accomplish this task is through your local department store, or any store that offers cash back when you pay with your debit card. It appears on your statement as money spent and not cash back. Who knew?!
After attending the Case Conference, it was clear that this wasn’t going to be an easy divorce. We had debt, like most married couples. Ours was close to $40,000 (not including mortgages). We owned three homes including our matrimonial home, of which I still have possession. She was offered the matrimonial home, but she said there were too many memories in that house, so she chose to move into one of our other homes. The home she moved into is a small semi-detached house that had just been upgraded (newer hardwood floors and ceramic-tiled kitchen), and I had just renovated the second bath. Since moving into this house, she had a $25,000 renovation that was complete with tearing down walls and installing a huge island with built-in appliances. She has a less than part-time job with her annual income being approximately $20,000. Where is she getting the money to pay for this? I’ve been wondering that myself.
Our first date in front of the judge was in December of 2014; it was a day I won’t soon forget. In less than 15 minutes, I left the courtroom with a bill for $6000. I had been paying child support all along, but the judge ordered that I pay two months arrears in spousal support. In addition to this, I was required to pay her lawyer’s court costs of $3000 and only given 30 days to pay. To add insult to injury, I received my lawyer’s invoice for $4000 the same day. To date, I have still not paid it all off.
As background, my ex had a small business that she was running, earning approximately $100/hour as a consultant. On the date of separation, that all stopped. In fact, in the near 27 months since our separation, she has not worked a single hour in that business. I pay her almost $1300/month in spousal support and almost $600/month in child support. She is flat-out refusing to help pay down our debt, and I am on the brink of bankruptcy.
We sold one of our properties and the money was held in trust. The deal that we made when we agreed to sell the property was that the proceeds from the sale of the property would be used to pay off the debt. She is now refusing to release the money, and since the date of sale, the interest on our matrimonial debt adds up to the tune of $18.00 a day. That’s about $540.00 a month.
I could no longer pay down on the debt and maintain my home and bills, so I stopped paying down on the matrimonial debt and my credit rating has been decimated. At this point, I wouldn’t qualify for a library card. I no longer have a lawyer, as I have not been able to pay him, so I am facing this on my own. Google Law 101!
I filed a motion with the court only to have it adjourned. I took this opportunity to request that her lawyer meet with me to see if we could hammer out a deal, and I felt optimistic that a deal could be reached. The numbers were clear in my head as to what the equalization payment would be. During our meeting it became evident in a hurry that she was not there to negotiate, but moreso to try and take me for everything that was left. The more I tried to explain what the financial situation was, the more she shook her head in disagreement.
A few months earlier, her lawyer had proposed a settlement. The proposed settlement would have me paying her: arrears spousal support from the date of separation (approximately $19,500 – this was not court ordered); half of my pension (her share being approximately $300,000); half of a small savings account held with my employer (her half approximately $15,000); and the equalization of the matrimonial home. From this, she could pay off her portion of the debt, or I would assume all of the debt which would be subtracted from the equalization payment. Her one issue was that she felt that she was not responsible for any of the accumulating interest on the debt. Beyond this, there was an outstanding loan to my family that she needed to repay. She claims that my family “forgave” the debt and she shouldn’t be responsible for it. Here’s the problem with this debt: In an email to me she states, “Your family forgave the debt. Besides, I took all the paperwork we signed with me when I left, so good luck proving it.” Is it me, or is she admitting that she destroyed evidence?
In my next post, I will let you in on what happened in court on July 8th. I didn’t fair well, but I did find a piece of correspondence that may help my cause.