I'd like your advice. Sorry my background story is so long.
STBX & I are both 55, married 30 years, 4 grown children. We live in New York, way out in the boonies. I've been a SAHP mostly; since we moved to a rural area for his work, I've been unable to find anything approaching a real job. I make about $10K/year doing part-time stuff for which I have to drive up to 100 miles round trip -- once I put gas in the tank, it's minimum wage. I felt trapped -- kids live far away, few friends in town, no good job options & a husband who gradually became distant & deceitful.
He's a self-employed professional (I supported us while he earned his degree), he makes over $200K when he chooses to work full time. These days he prefers to pursue his hobbies instead of his career, works less than 30 hours/week by his own choice. Typical mid-life crisis, I believe. Last Xmas eve he got drunk, told me he'd found someone who appreciates him, & walked out. It was a relief, actually, since the man I loved & lived w/ had walked out on me about 5 years ago.
I had tried & tried to work on our marriage, but he wouldn't tell me why he always seemed miserable, why he no longer enjoyed the things we used to do together, why he wouldn't come to bed until past midnight.
For the last 6 months we've been unable to move forward toward divorce. He rarely opens my emails; he almost never answers them, so I have no idea why he's delaying (maybe he thinks I'll take him back, lol!) I could force the issue & have papers served on him, but I've had more urgent things to attend to: my mother was ill & then his mother was ill, I had to fix some messes he made with our joint finances, & I had to update my credentials in order to find a job now that I was finally free to relocate. I got a dream job that starts in Aug., but I'm an entry level worker at age 55 -- I'll be making about $35K.
During this time I earned less than $3000. He wouldn't send me a monthly check for household expenses. He did send checks at irregular intervals, but only because he knows I might come into the diner where he hangs out & ask for money in front of the neighbors. He lets me know that the money is a gift -- I only get it b/c he's such a great guy(!) He accuses me of all sorts of outlandish financial improprietys, w/o any basis in fact of course. He implies he can't afford to spend money on keeping up the house he walked away from, when he has already spend many thousands of $$$ on the OW. I don't think my stbx realizes that by NY law, our incomes are marital resources to be shared (I can hear yregna cussin' from way over here!)
Anyway, I'm going to insist on a financial settlement conference soon, whther he's ready or not. Here's where I'd like your advice:
1. We own a big house, free & clear. Since I put hubby through school, we own his professional practise together according to NY law. The practice is worth about $100K more than the house. I want to split this so I get the house & he gets the business.
I would ask for some of the equity in the business as well, since it is worth considerably more than the house.
2. In my mind, this division means I shouldn't accept spousal support, since to do so would be to keep a claim on his business. Am I correct on this?
No, alimony would not give you a claim on his business.
3. I hope to get more than 50% of our marital assets, since he earns about 5 times what I'll be earning. Can I get this? Say 60/40?
How much you get all depends on the judge. Ask for more than you want and settle for less.
4. If I could get this, would we split all assets 60/40? Assets include IRAs, mutual funds, checking/savings accounts, etc. No debts, I think, but we haven't done discovery yet.
It all depends on how a judge decides to split it if the two of you can't agree.
The judge could give you the house, him the business and then give you more of the other assets to make up for the fact that the business is worth more than the house.
Or he could split everything down the middle.
5. He has a large paid-up whole life policy. If I don't collect support, I shouldn't be the beneficiary of the policy, right? Could our 4 kids be the beneficiaries?
Since the children are adults, he gets to decide who the beneficiary is. Now, if you get alimony, you could have it put in the court order that he has to have you named as beneficiary during the duration of alimony. And with the length of your marriage and given the big disparity in your income, you will probably be able to get alimony for at least half of your marriage if not longer.
BTW, his working less is an attempt to show that he has lower income and shouldn't pay alimony. Don't let him get away with that nonsense. Make sure you have copies of all of your tax returns for the past 3 years to show that he is doing this deliberately.