I asked my husband to file for divorce He has an attorney but refuses to give me his financial paperwork or file anything with the court. I did give him and his attorney all my required financial information. I’m 61 and we’ve been married for 25 years.
After receiving my information he passed my personal information on to his sister, who is not involved in the case. This bothers me that my information is just being emailed to his family. Then, I also found out he’s involved with an attorney in a different city.
My husband hasn’t worked for 10 years after hurting himself at work and retiring on disability. I have been the main form of support for the family. In California assets are divided 50%, but my husband is determined he will fight for the house and also half of my 401(k).
What are the chances that the judge will award him the house and also half all the other assets? He’s being really difficult and also I believe hiding part of his assets. This has me worried. What should have been an easy divorce, dividing the assets 50% is now becoming painful and full of deceit.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Concerned baby boomer in Northern Calif.
What you are experiencing now is a lot of fear — future experiences appearing real, to break a rule and quote a cliché — and very little actual reason to believe that you won’t be satisfied with the result. Hiding assets is usually frowned upon in divorce court. Take note of all names of financial institutions on current and old mail. (You can’t open it, but you can read the envelope.)
First off, you have already taken action. You are divorcing this man and, by his behavior since you asked him to file for divorce, it seems fairly clear that you made the right decision. Brava! The hardest part is getting the ball rolling.
Secondly, he can drag his feet and act in ways that you find irresponsible or reprehensible, so by all means document every email and phone call for your attorney. If he is seeking counsel from his sister, there’s very little control you have over that. Thirdly, soon he won’t be your problem. Keep your eye on the prize: Your freedom.
Under California law, your marital assets will be split 50/50. That, unfortunately, will likely include your 401(k). It’s frustrating, I know, given that he didn’t work. Just resist dipping into it for funds, as the tax penalties are punitive. As for your home, you husband can huff and puff, but he will only walk away with half if it was purchased during your marriage.
A divorce lawyer would tell you the same. In fact, here he is: “As for the sharing of sensitive information, you could fight about it, but it would probably cost you more in attorney’s fees than it is worth,” says Randy Kessler, an Atlanta-based lawyer. “Hopefully, your lawyer can write a strong letter instructing the other side to cease and desist from sharing such information.”
Social Security benefits may (or may not) be affected after divorce, and will likely be less if your soon-to-be former spouse dies. On retirement, a person can claim spousal social security benefits based on the earnings of an ex-spouse, provided that the couple was married for at least 10 years and the claimant remains unmarried.
Divorce is one of the most stressful and expensive times of a person’s life. For that reason, a I recommend a psychologist to help you make sure that you are making a clear-headed choice, a certified financial planner, and a divorce lawyer who can prepare you. If you can afford the former as well as the latter, I strongly suggest both.
There are lower-cost options including counseling through workplace insurance, training clinics based in universities that offer clients a sliding scale, community health centers and, if you decide to go through with the divorce, group therapy/support groups for newly divorced people through organizations like DivorceCare and the Action Family Foundation.
The rate of divorce among baby boomers doubled between 1990 and 2010, according to “The Gray Divorce Revolution,” a study by Susan Brown and I-Fen Lin at Bowling Green State University. Around 1-in-4 people aged 50 and older got divorced versus 1-in-8 two decades earlier. Many people wait until they’re more financially secure before saying “I don’t.”
Good luck with the divorce and let me know how it goes. It sounds like he wants a “War of the Roses.” Stick to the law, document everything, enlist emotional support and, as a parting gift, give him a proverbial bunch of wilted hydrangeas instead.
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