Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Posts tagged “her house

Can Things Get Worse? Yes, Easy!

trying to make magic happen after divorce[When we last checked in, back in late August the ex-y had just filed her grievances with the Attorney General’s office.
Here is Part 1: Tell Me Again, Why You Think This Is a Good Idea?]

My email to her was short and … Well, it was short and with as little vitriol as I could manage. I edited for clarity. Essentially, I told her I wished she had accepted my offer to talk before taking this action. (We have a mutual friend who actually works for the AG’s office.) But she hadn’t, and now she was going to put us both through some unnecessary process and procedure. I tried to explain, the AG’s office really is a way of accounting for the payments made or not made. They had limited enforcement capacity. And I was not disagreeing with the amount owed nor the fact that I owed it.

You can’t extract money from a person who is filing bankruptcy. There’s no money here. That’s the point.

She was clear and consistent in her message, the same message I got today as the closer on a round of emails about child support and AG’s cluster.

 “I’m not contesting that you asked for us to meet and talk, and that I said no unless we could talk about child support $. It’s in our parenting plan that we use email; it was a unilateral decision on your part that you’d only talk with me about certain things face to face.”

Her refrain at that point, every single time I brought up talking in person, was “How Much” and “When.” SRSLY? That’s it? That’s all you have for me? That’s all the care you have for planning and strategizing about our kid’s future?

I’m jumping ahead and skipping the the throat punch again. Sorry.

So, here I go, heading into bankruptcy trying to figure out how to keep Wells Fargo from taking my one asset and my ex-y has nothing but more process and procedure to throw at me. Let me slow down and take it step-by-painful-step.

In discussing the options with my new bankruptcy attorney, who extracts his $1,000+ fee at that first meeting, it’s clear we need a strategy for dealing with my ex-y. And let’s get this straight. Not a tactic, not a way to hide the truth or tuck away some assets for protection. If she’s so hopping mad at me, thinking I’m spending all her child support on strippers and blow, this should clear things up.

I can’t imagine being in the reverse situation and doing anything that would damage her chances of keeping her house.

In that first meeting we decided that I should ask my ex-y to accept a lean on a small piece of property my family still owns, thereby securing her “debt” to an asset. The plan was for me to agree to all of her financial grievances to-date, sign a document giving her first-blood on any sale of this family asset, and… AND for the privilege of me doing this I could then free up some money and begin paying her child support ASAP.

I said to the attorney. “I think she’ll go for that. It’s a win-win for her. And we’re cordial. I should be able to get that over the weekend.” I left feeling like I had a plan to keep my shelter. (Back down to the base of Maslow’s damn hierarchy again — Dammit.)

When I asked, via email of course, I thought my proposition would put me back in the good-guy champ. I was agreeing to sign any accounting she had (and you can bet she had them) and begin the process of getting payments to her again. Her response floored me.

“I appreciate your kind offer. But I signed an agreement with the AG’s office that I would not negotiate with you about child support.”

BOOM.

10-days later, I was in the attorney’s office again. Turns out, without her cooperation I don’t qualify for my chapter 13 bankruptcy.

“So what, we’re going to burn the place to the ground now?” I asked.

“Not that bad,” the attorney said.

So get this. I withdrew my bankruptcy filing, telling the court that I would probably be filing in the future when I get my income levels to an amount that would allow me to qualify for the plan.

GET THIS: I’m trying to file for bankruptcy literally to keep the roof over my head, to get caught back up on everyone’s payments, and move forward. And I didn’t qualify. WTF?

I’m not sure what the next bold moves might be from the ex-y. I got the letter today from the AG’s office that they were prepared to file a mark against my credit report showing my back payments as past due. Oh boy. I guess that’ll foul up my grim options on the bankruptcy even further.

You walk away from the marriage, but you can’t walk away from the financial enmeshment. Like it or not, we’re still dependant on the other’s earning power.

The silver lining, if there is one, is this. Wells Fargo now has to go through the process of resetting my account and restarting the foreclosure process on me again. (Boy, this is not fun.) And I have a couple months to increase my income by about 20% or lose everything. I guess my sister’s spare room is still an option if I lose my house.

Again, I can’t imagine being in the reverse situation and doing anything that would damage her chances of keeping her house. I wrote that to my ex-y yesterday as part of the exchange that ended with her email above.  She’s complaining about the cost of violin private lessons and I’m talking about trying to keep a house over my head. A place, BTW, where her kids spend 33.5% of their time.

Scratching my head, all I think is she’s still hoppin mad. So mad she’d like to see me fail in the biggest way. Meanwhile she’s living in a house, that was afforded by my downpayment and my corporate jobs, and that is almost double the value of mine. Oh well.

You walk away from the marriage, but you can’t walk away from the financial enmeshment. Like it or not, we’re still dependant on the other’s earning power. I’ve been doing everything I can to find the next opportunity for my work. And I would tell you that I’m not worried. But again, I might have delusions of grandeur. I’ve been working on replacing this income since June.

But again, unless she has me arrested, going for contempt or whatever those charges might be, I think I’m safe for a few months. I think my kids and I have a place to sleep and play and be a smaller family.

NOTE: I was really enjoying the part where this blog was becoming less about divorce and the ex-y and more about aspirations and seeking love. Ho hum. And yes, I know, I’m the asshole man/dad who’s behind on his child support. So in my assessment, the dead-beat dad is a man who is doing things to prevent his ex-wife and family from thriving. A dad-having-trouble is simply a dad who cannot afford a place to live and the court-ordered payments to his ex-wife. It might be a semantic distinction, but it gives me some comfort. Forgive me, but I’m trying.

After chatting with several women friends, who are also divorced, they all shared their own outrage at how I am being treated. A couple books come to mind.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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A Once and Future King

a king's crown, losing the divorceThe loss of my kingdom. I don’t think it’s a particularly man thing, imagining your house and neighborhood as a kingdom. I think we all feel a sense of protection and pride around our homesteads. We invest a lot of time and energy in providing a comfortable existence for ourselves and our families.

It is not a happy thing to be exiled from your kingdom. Everything that goes with it. Kids, pets, comfortable bed, study areas, entertainment, warmth, yards, play. Everything comes to an end.

What once was a WE provide is now a ME provide. And I have not been so lucky in terms of the next chapter in my working life. I’ve made money. I’ve worked. But I am essentially homeless at the moment. Being shut out of my house meant that I could either afford a completely new residence in our neighborhood, OR… leave.

The blessing is that I have a sister in the city who has a mother-in-law plan that was available. And I even had built in kids, with her twin boy and girl who are 12 years old. And for that I am glad.

But I have no privacy. The TV is a constant irritation, as the largest one sits directly on the other side of my bedroom door. And of course, 90% of my stuff is still in my ex-wife’s house. I don’t have a place to put it. And I get to be thankful that she’s not insisting that I get a storage unit.

I know that I will return to a kingdom of my own. And I will make a way again in the world of empowered work, but for now it is difficult. As the Fall is now moving in and the weather is changing I long for a place to relax and be alone. And an opportunity to begin the rebuilding process.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

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