First post here.
I just have a whole lotta' questions and I'd like to just blurt them out. If folks could offer some insight, I would really appreciate it.
- Married for 14 yrs with 2 children.
- Wife has always earned more $ than I.
- I want a divorce, but I'll have to pay her allimony ??? (I've made significant sacrafices for her career and she's always made more $).
- I'm in Massachusetts. Will moving to another state offer me fair treatment.
- Do I have a prayer at child custody, and how do I go about this.
- This might be fairly amicable; is there a way to do this without lawyers?
Thanks so much!
"- Married for 14 yrs with 2 children.
- Wife has always earned more $ than I.
- I want a divorce, but I'll have to pay her allimony ??? (I've made significant sacrafices for her career and she's always made more $)."
** Prove it. If you can show that you sacraficed while she went to school and developed her career you might find yourself on the receiving end of spousal support, or at least not having to pay alimony. You cannot say... well, I did not take this job because she was in school. You need to show you extended yourself - worked TWO jobs so she could go to school.... or you were a stay at home Dad while she built her career and income to $220,000 / year. How did you sacrifice for the family to make her successful? A simple decision to do or not to do something does not count.
"- I'm in Massachusetts. Will moving to another state offer me fair treatment."
** You cannot just up and move to another state, file for divorce and hope for the best. This is called jurisdiction shopping and federal laws make this difficult. In order to file in another state, you will have to get your wife and children to move with you, live there for at least 6 months, then file.
"- Do I have a prayer at child custody, and how do I go about this."
** Maybe - but again, prove It. You must demonstrate that you have been the primary caregiver for the children. While your wife built her career, did you stay home with the kids, did you take them to school, who communicates with the teachers and doctors? You will need receipts and a ton of evidence that shows YOU were the primary caretaker.
Whatever you do - DO NOT MOVE OUT OF YOUR HOUSE when you file for divorce. Stay with the kids and the home if you truly want to fight for custody.
DO LOTS OF HOMEWORK. BUILD YOUR CASE OVER TIME. Do not make a rash decision to file today and have her served on Christmas Eve. You will need proof that you take care of the kids more than she does. Since you are a man - the burden is higher so take the time to put together information and store it away.
"- This might be fairly amicable; is there a way to do this without lawyers?"
** Depends on your wife. Since children are involved, a divorce without lawyers is rare. Everyone wants to fight for the kids and the child support. Never underestimate the value of a good lawyer either. If you wife lawyers up, you may get eaten alive with Child Support, Medical bills, debt and Alimony. Sometimes paying $10,000 to a good lawyer could save you $50,000 later.
When I say PROVE IT - I mean prove it to the standards of a court. Do not play the he said / she said game. You will need written evidence (telephone records, receipts, school documents, etc) and unbiased witnesses (teachers, doctors, coaches, baby sitters, etc) willing to testify on your behalf.
Other thoughts -
1) If you think she will tell the truth, you are WRONG. She will lie to win custody, alimony and child support.
2) If you think she will not hire a lawyer, you are WRONG.
3) Don't ever get angry in front of her and the kids, ever again. Don't yell, screen or use vulgarity.
4) Don't ever tell her what your plans for custody and alimony are. Lose lips sink ships - including yours.
5) GO CONSULT WITH A LAWYER - it doesn't mean you have to hire that lawyer, just get an explanation of the process and laws in Massachusetts. Learn before you act.
You never know someone until you divorce them.
I also live in Massachusetts and I can tell you this -- if your kids are under the age of 12 and your wife wants custody, she will most likely get it. What I would suggest you do is recommend to her mediation -- tell her that most mediators are lawyers and that paying for one is cheaper than paying for two. But I would also recommend having your own lawyer at the end to review your separation agreement, to make sure it's fair.
14 years is considered a long-term marriage, and splitting all assets 50/50 is reasonable.
And if she makes more than you, you will not have to pay her alimony.
The child support calculations are pretty straight forward and generally not negotiable, but if you do a 50/50 joint custody arrangement, you would be on the receiving end of CS because of the difference in your salaries.