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Readers Respond: Share Advice Based on What You Learned During The Division of Marital Property

Responses: 13

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Dividing marital property can be a nightmare and the most litigious aspect of the divorce process. First it has to be decided what is and isn't marital property. Each spouse may have a differing opinion about this. None of us go through the process of dividing marital property without learning a few lessons. Do you have a story to share...a lesson you learned that will benefit those who are just beginning the arduous task of dividing marital property? What Did You Learn?

Best revenge

I was married to a really abusive man. I filed for divorce . Our divorce took 30 days and the property settlement took 4 years. He lied about everything. I learned that the best revenge is to be happy and make a success of your life. I didn't get what was rightfully mine but the last thing I said to him was" I felt sorry for him because when he died he was going to be a lonely old man that nobody loved." Guess what? that's what happened. When he died nobody was there for him. Not a wife, or any of his 5 children. He died in a home for alcoholics. This was a man that had been published in the Wall Street Journal,respected in the community, and then lost it all. It didn't happen right away, it took almost 30 yrs. But little by little. He lived with the scorn of his peers the last 20 yrs of his life. I moved away and for the most part have lived a good life. All things come in time.
—ajijac

Just Filed For Divorce

I had my husband removed for domestic violence; he then took his daughter out of the home. I’m her step mom and raised her for 9 years. I found out he put his bike in his oldest daughters name last month. There is so much to do and I can’t think. I have heart problems and get tired fast, I’m depressed and maybe I shouldn’t have done anything. I have lost all the way around. His oldest daughter said if I don’t get back with her dad then her sister can’t live with me...I said ok.
—darosteg1

Questions About Marital Property

I have been married 5 1/2 years and am filing for a divorce. I went through a hard one after 30 years of marriage and ended with nothing because I agreed to filing uncontested because of the expense. Now I find myself with a man who has promised me the world and is very selfish. In any case it has become violent and crude and abusive but I do not want to lose everything I have worked so hard for. Here's my question..... He owned the farm before we met, but has recently received $30000 from an oil lease which I had to sign the bank draft on also. It went into his account, but I am also a cosigner on the account also, although I have never used it,......am I entitled to any of the monies on the oil lease? This is in the state of Kansas, by the way..... Thanks for any help?
—Guest learning again

Listen to Your Attorney, Not Your Heart

I went through a divorce 4 years ago. My ex filed. She got a 4 BR 2 1/2 BTH house that was fully paid for. She also got 1/2 of my retirement and approximately 1/3 of my income until retirement. We had no debt at all and she had investments plus income from two businesses. I was trying to be a "nice guy" and didn't want my grown sons thinking I was mistreating their mother. BIG MISTAKE!!! Fight tooth and nail for everything and I mean everything. I had hoped we would remarry, but it didn't take long after the divorce for me to realize how controlling and self-centered she had been. Listen to your attorney, not your heart. After a few years, I met a woman who appreciates me and we married. Now I have to live with my financial mistakes of the past. I am unable to provide her with the standard of living I would like to and it appears I will never be able to retire. I am 63 now and see no light at the end of the tunnel. I wish I had a "Muilligan" on this one.
—Guest Learned My Lesson

He robbed my house

Even though our settlement entitled me to EVERYTHING in my house, when I was in the process of moving and selling the house (before he was paid his settlement), he broke into my house through a basement window. I called the police who sided with him because his name was still on the deed, even though the decree stated EVERYTHING in the house belonged to me (that was even his decision!). DON'T TRUST YOUR LAWYER! THEY AREN'T LOOKING OUT FOR YOU BUT FOR THEIR NEXT MERCEDES PAYMENT! I feel violated and there isn't anything I can do. But, I can GUARANTEE that if the situation was opposite (me breaking into and taking his things) the police would have had me arrested.
—Guest Will never be free

Be Proactive

It is not a very easy task.It takes a lot of mental strain.Divorce is one of the most difficult and stressful events in a person's life. Divorce Procedure should be carefully understood before taking any decision.
—laxman7m

do not trust close friends

My husband lent his girlfriend all of our savings and most of my overtime for a downpayment on a house across the street from us. He took everything that was not nailed down including a table that has been in my family for a 100 years, threw away all my family pictures and even took my charger for my disability scooter since I am disabled from two back surgeries. At least I got the table back after I called the police and threatened them with theft, but I will never get my pictures back that included 5 generations of family. He has lied about everything and I believed him for 17 years. Your right do not trust your attorney, he does not have your back because my x husband is a very smooth talker and a very good lier and he just smoothed talked my attorney. I had to call into my mediation because I had a staph infection in my knee and the doctors were ready to amputate my leg. So I was on the phone for about 5 minutes and they finished up and he got away with everything.
—Guest free at last

Don't Depend on Your Lawyer

It's is such an emotional time it is easy to hand everything to your lawyer. But even though so many of our physical and financial assets are spelled out, nothing has been enforced. Do not tolerate a lack of action from your attorney. www.ChroniclesofaDivorcedWoman.com
—Guest still fighting

Garage Sale Value for the most part

My divorce and custody challenges have drug out for 3+ years...divorce is final, but custody was separated from the divorce and our struggles drag on. There have been many reasons for conflict during this 3 year period. Early in the process I received good advice, virtually none of your material things are worth more than garage sale prices. Each of us needed to live, set up a household, and support our kids - we lived rotating out of the same household for nearly a year while we were trying to sell the hosue. As I decluttered and consolidated, I sorted and split as fairly as I could. He still cleaned out the garage and left me with a single screwdriver, hid the ATV, garden tractor, dirt bike, and a car...but at least I was free of him and had what I needed to start over setting up a household with the important, practical things...including my sanity.
—Guest Chili

Keep Track of Everything

Make sure you keep track of every asset. A lot of things walked from my property when he decided to move out. Thousands in tools that he believed were his, items he bought when he moved out the first time, etc. What he didn't realize was that these things were marital assets that belonged to both of us. He walked with everything he wanted and left the junk behind and I had no way of proving the value. Keep logs, take pictures, change locks. Whatever you need to do to protect the assets, make sure it's done.
—Guest Almost Over

CSG

I was burned in splittling marital assets...and thought my attorney had my back. WRONG. Do your own homework and be sure to have your bases covered when it comes to splitting real estate. REfinance, bankruptcy and short sale clauses need to be addressed in full....I gave the property to my husband for a cash settlement....that he didn't pay....and now he owns all the titles to the real estate....and is not paying the mortgages that I am still on. He now is filing bankruptcy 5 months after signing the divorce agreement....and i will be going down with him...SO I learned the hard and expensive way...not to trust the attorneys....and should have developed my own plan some how to protect me better. Live and Learn...let go...and move on
—Guest CSG

Took awhile

My ex-wife and I lived in the same house for a few months after I filed. One day when I came home from work, she'd taken my younger son and adult daughter and what she wanted, leaving me hip-deep in clutter. Our attorneys had agreed that she wasn't to come to my house when I wasn't there. While I was at work, she showed up with a U-Haul truck and took what she wanted. She bamboozled me into letting her take the dresser I'd had as a child "for our son." (Subsequently, I learned that he'd never used it; she just wanted it because it had been mine before we married and was just one more way of taking something that I might care about.) The expensive stuff was less stressful- she took two cars, I took my truck and a car. We split the equity in the house via appraisal, so no one got "screwed" there. A year before, she'd taken $100,000 from our checking account and that got resolved in court- she *intended* that to be her separate property. It was ugly and it's ove It's almost over.
—riesdad

Do it right away

I found it wasn't a matter of both of us wanting everything. He left without much, leaving behind much junk and clutter. I knew he had limited space for the things so I didn't press the issue for him to get rid of it right away. Well, you guessed it - years later he was still coming around when he needed something he left behind. I tried trashing it after letting him know I was tired of storing it and of course that led to WWIII. I thought I was being kind, understanding and patient, but it's trying my patience having it drag out like this. It turns out he was keeping one foot in the door and hoping for a reconciliation and thus, the problem would be solved.
—Guest Finally Free

What Did You Learn?

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