My Divorce, Chapter Four, A Bump in the Road
This was the chapter that was going to describe what it was like to finally engage my attorney and file for divorce. To get it all started, the second or third step toward a new beginning. Click here to go to Chapter One and follow the story.
But … I am nowhere. Literally, at least. Figuratively, I’m in a place where I’m single, living alone (in my head), moving on, working at my leisure without worrying about an incoming cold front of negativity.
So, I’m there mentally. I’m nowhere near it in reality and don’t know when I can be.
Why? Because my wife came bopping into the house a week ago Thursday at 12:45 with the news she had been fired. Out of the blue, no warning (s), nothing, just a “can we see you for a minute” followed by “it’s not working out, take your stuff one week’s pay and 18 days’ vacation pay and leave. Now.”
- I read that wrong the first time. I thought she was telling you to take your stuff, one week’s pay, and leave 😉 I’m sorry, this is an unfortunate development for both of you.
She was understandably upset, shaken. She had started with a money management firm in June – good pay, health care paid for. She was solely responsible to the two owners. She was their practice manager. They loved her. In September they announced they were merging with another firm and she was integral to making the move.
She was. She did a good enough job to be get bonuses. A moment, here – this I heard for the first time at 12:55, she told me because she wanted my legal opinion, she wasn’t talking to the spouse she barely acknowledged in and out of public. So, first indication I had that she had extra money at any time. In her anger and hurt, she was oblivious to the fact she had pled poverty during Christmas and had me foot the bill for everything.
- That’s helpful, you should ask her to hand over the check stubs while she’s at it.
Anyway. turns out that the merger was more of a buy-out and the owners of the company they merged with were the ‘managing partners.’ They were the ones who got rid of her. Her guys were upset but said they “could do nothing” as they had ceded decisions on all personnel decisions to them.
So, out she went with their deep regrets. I was able to refer her to a good employment attorney. He said she had a case, but not one that really justified the time and expense of pursuing it.
A dramatic change in circumstances. True she did not contribute to any of the home expenses. House payment, utilities, cell phones, garbage, college, the works, then, no immediate impact. But, the car and health insurance had been taken out of her paycheck. And she has a healthy car payment she’s been paying.
- Does it make you wonder what she’s been saving her money up for? It does me (perhaps a retainer for her own attorney).
I was ready to file for divorce, work things out within the parameters of us both making decent money. Now, it seems as though I’ve just picked up another dependent. For now, to my mind, the situation has changed from divorcing and moving onto separate lives – which would, I’m convinced, be good for both of us – to abandoning someone at a critical time.
Yes, that is one way of looking at it. The vow was better or worse, correct? But I think they still make both of you say that. Legally this is not great, but it’s not the end of the world either. I assume she still has the capability to go out and find a decent job with comparable pay, but it could take some time and it’s not guaranteed. Remember now is not the time to encourage her to pursue that home-based business or that second career she’s always dreamed of…don’t even open that door.
Losing a job often plays out one of two ways. Either the “employed” spouse supports the other spouse through the transition, the spouse eventually gets employed, and situation normal resumes. Or the unemployed spouse spirals into depression, does not find employment, and eventually the financial strain on the household forces the other spouse to finally ask for a divorce. Losing a job doesn’t necessarily stop a divorce, often it triggers it. (Although keep in mind, most of the people I meet have self-selected into the latter category).
Let me play a little devil’s advocate here: Keep in mind your present situation can go from bad to better, but it can also go from bad to worse. A stitch in time saves nine. Do you want to wait and see if she gets a job, if so, how long do you want to wait? How much of your savings do you want to spend supporting her while you wait. The longer she’s unemployed, the more she’s dependent on you. (and the more likely it is to remain unemployed). If you file now, she could sandbag the job application process, but it could also trigger her to get out there and find something sooner. I highly doubt that you should expect you are the only one of the two who have been seriously considering divorce. If she has been expecting and preparing for it (i.e. stashing money), then she’s probably got a plan on how she’ll support herself post-divorce. You know her better than anyone, so what is it?
But it’s hard for me (or anyone else) to offer you any meaningful advice without understanding your priorities and your long-range goals for your life. All in all, honestly I don’t think you may be ready for this emotionally, so don’t put yourself through it. This is normal. I’ll often meet prospective clients’ multiple times over the course of months or years. It’s a big deal with major impacts on your life – emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually. Don’t force it – you’ll know when you’re ready. If you feel that the right thing to do is stand by and support her now, then that’s what you do. You probably already know what the right decision is for you. You have my respect and admiration either way you decide to go.