Sunday, February 24, 2008

The latest...

So I finally got a reply from the ex to my letter stating that I intended to seek half of the value of the house.

Here follows:

You don't get half the house. It was purchased in my name, I owned it
before the marriage, It remained solely in my name for the entire
marriage, it's still solely in my name now. You made no monetary
contribution to upkeep and maintenance while we lived there.

Similarly, all the vehicles were purchased in my name, before the
marriage, so they were legally mine, too. I didn't have to sign one
of them over to you like I did. Having done so, that car is part of
the settlement.

Also, the $2500 I paid for the root canal and other dental work just
before you left could be considered part of the settlement.

So, how about this:

I'll give you $1500. I'll pay for the filing and a consultation with
a lawyer to make sure the paperwork gets filed right. All you have to
do is sign things when you get them and mail them back.

And my first reaction was...laughter.

Bitter laughter, mind you. And it was quickly succeeded by anger, if amused anger. I'm not surprised by his refusing to just give me my half, as he was always of the opinion that the money he earned was the only thing of any value compared to the money I earned or the work I put into maintaining the place. But I was surprised that he is, in fact, trying to scare me into just settling for the pittance he offers.

I shouldn't have been. It was always his way, when I argued, when I stood up for myself: yell, throw things, curse, threaten, do whatever was necessary to make me go along with what he wanted. Fortunately for me, it doesn't work any more. A year ago it might have, but I've gotten strong enough.

On my third or fourth reading it occurred to me that he must, in fact, be rather frightened -- hoping that I'll just cave, rather than fighting for my fair share. I could take him for a lot, especially if I gathered witnesses to the way he treated me.

I've been planning to go for a no-fault divorce, not ask for alimony, settle for no more than half. Right now? I'm angry enough that I'm tempted to pile up witnesses and depositions enough that any sane judge will concede that I'm owed a lot.

I don't know. I need to think, I need to talk to a lawyer. I need to talk to a bunch of other people, too. And I need to pray about what's the right thing. It's a conundrum: some might say turn the other cheek, but I know too much about the origin of that statement to interpret it to mean that I should just give in.

I need to prove to myself that I'm not afraid, too. If I just settle for what he wants...isn't that the old fear again?


In related news, a bunch of people have been talking about divorce lately. I've been struggling with the concept myself -- wondering, still, if perhaps I could have done more to salvage the relationship; telling myself that somehow I ought to have known what he'd turn into and should just have stayed away in the first place. Divorce isn't an easy thing and it's certainly not something I chose lightly. But the posts I'm pointing to say a lot about the topic, a lot more cogently than I could manage right now, so y'all go and read them:

Marriage, divorce, and "continuing concern"

Just in Time for Valentine's...

On divorce. (God bless you Doxy)

About the continuing concern question...I can't say I have a lot of concern for him. I have too much to be concerned about for me, and my ongoing fight to be free of the fear he instilled in me over so long. I don't wish him ill and (apart from weak moments, but that happens to everyone) I never did. I guess that's about all I can manage right now.


And I am angry. I'm angry that he's trying the same old tricks on me as he always did. I'm angry that not only is he trying to scare me out of my fair share, he probably really believes that he's doing the right thing. I'm angry that my contributions to our relationship meant and mean so little to him.

I'm angry that I'm probably gonna have to go to court. I'm angry for the worry this is going to cause my mother and sister, who even he can't claim ever did anything to him. I'm angry about the stress this is causing me when really, I'm under enough damn stress as it is.

But I'm angry...not afraid. I guess it's a step.


Mother Laura said...

Oh, good for you, Kate. Sorry you will have to fight for what you deserve, but glad you know you have right and Godde on your side.

Lots of prayers and (((Kate))).

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Be SURE you get a lawyer, Kate. I think you are right---he's scared that you will find out how much you are entitled to.

This will sound mean, I guess---but go for everything you are entitled to. You can always be magnanimous at the end and not take it, although I don't advise doing that.

You are "lucky" in that you don't have any children with this man. I settled for a *great* deal less than the law would have given me because I thought it would make our coparenting relationship better.

I was fooling myself. He is not grateful that I let him off the hook---he is furious that I got anything at all. Our relationship is chilly at best and hostile at worst (though we seem to manage to keep it from the children). I should have taken the alimony and child support I was entitled to---I compromised my future to try and keep the peace, and it was useless.

Get what you are legally entitled to. You will never have to have any contact with him again once it's over, and you will have some compensation for the misery you've endured. You don't have to be vindictive about it, either. The law is usually pretty cut and dried--all you have to do is invoke your legal rights. (Which is why you need an attorney who knows what they are...)

Good luck and prayers, my friend. The process can be frustrating and stressful---but post-divorce life can really be wonderful. :-)

Kate said...

Doxy, I am _so_ glad we never had children. I don't think that 'lucky' needed the quotes. I can't imagine how he would have twisted children; I worry about the two cats I left with him.

I've talked to my local SCA baron -- also a lawyer. In Colorado, not PA, and he doesn't do divorce, but he knows a guy who knows a guy and long story short he'll be able to get me set up. At the very least I want to know my options before I go doing anything.

I know he'll be naught but furious because I dared take what was 'his'. He was always very clear on that, even when everything else was (outwardly) all right. I find that that mostly doesn't bother me -- though I do sometimes still mourn the friendship we once had.

But that's long over and long since time to move on. I want to get to that post-divorce life. I want it over, done. I want him gone from my dreams. I know I'll never forget him and that's fine, I learned things I wouldn't want to lose, but it's time.

Mother Laura, thanks as always for the support and prayers. I think the fight will do a lot to heal me, tough as it's going to be.

(((you both)))

Jenne said...

The cats are fine. I saw them recently.

I'm glad you are talking to a lawyer; everyone I know who's gone through a divorce says that letting the two lawyers fight it out is best.

Kass McGann said...

Darling, you know I'm no lawyer, but I've been through a divorce. The Courts don't look at your taxes returns and weight what he made against what you made and give you a percentage according to how much you contributed monitarily. The rule is that everything in the marriage is owned by both partners EQUALLY. That means everything you brought into the marriage as long as what was bought during the marriage. It doesn't matter whose name it is in. It doesn't matter if you made no monitary contribution. Everything is divided 50/50.

Go for what you consider yours. Do not fear this man. Laugh at his naivete! And get a good lawyer. Do nothing without a lawyer.

And I am proud of you...

Kate said...

Oh, thank you, thank you for letting me know, Jenne! I've been worried, especially about Fuzzy Butt, he's getting old...

And, yeah...I'd rather let the lawyers do the hard work. That's why they get the big bucks, right?

Thanks for the info, Kass -- you've been there and done that and I'm glad to get that bit of backup on what I'd thought was the case.