Tag Archives: metropolitan

A Divorced Husband That Bitter? Really a Middle Finger Sculpture Next to Ex-Wife’s Home?

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/18/middle-finger-ex-wife_n_4296764.html

Recently in the news it was reported that a man purchases a sculpture and affixes it facing his ex-wife and new boyfriend’s house which just happens to be next door.  The man cites the issue is not with his former wife but with her boyfriend, whom she had an affair with while married to him. Can’t you just move on with your life and let her be? Actually, how about just moving away, so you don’t have to face their betrayal daily? Funny news. Had to share!

Duke It Out! Screw A Lawyer

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One of the sole reasons why I wanted to start this blog was to aid those who are in an unhappy marriage or separated from their spouse but cannot really move forward with their lives because of the fear of “divorce” itself. The word “divorce” has so many negative connotations. Movies highlight the divorce process as stressful, differences are escalated and all reasoning is removed. Hollywood sensationalize the gold digger wife aiming to take more than half of his spouses earnings…and the husband transferring assets to the Cayman Islands to avoid paying part of his wealth towards his kids.

Many of my peers are surprised when they learn that I am divorced from my former spouse. They are shocked because 1) this is the first time hearing that I am no longer married, as they think to themselves what the heck happen, and 2) stunned that I chose to end my marriage and it is already completed. They often have follow-up questions on how was I able to end my divorce quickly. My marriage was not a drive-through marriage, there were kids and assets that were involved….and we were married for about three-quarters of a decade.

However, I wanted a quick-ending and researched how the drive-through marriages were dissolved before their one year anniversary. I was terrified of the divorce process. I was trying to justify ways of annulling my marriage even though our marriage did not qualify for an annulment. I heard the stories from my now divorced friends about how much money they spent on lawyers. Ewwwww! I did not want to waste any additional funds, his or mine on any lawyers. I am already thinking of how I am going to afford my lifestyle solo…so if possible I am avoiding the lawyer route.

I also did not want nor have the time to take off of work to go back and forth to court. That seemed like an arduous process. Why would I want some judge who doesn’t even know me nor my kids lifestyle to determine what I should rightfully deserve a month? I know my bills intricately, way more than a judge that is not hip to the current parents generation costs of raising kids. Shoot, just birthday parties alone are 20x more than they were for the 70s, 80s or 90s babies. The cost per kid for a birthday party in New York City almost equates to the cost per person at a moderate wedding in the MidWest. Yeah, that judge would not understand, nor my son who attends these fabulous birthday bashes and wonder why he is not having a birthday celebration this year. So yes, I had to take all of that into account too.

Plus, more importantly I did not like nor wanted my status to be classified as “Separated”.  I wanted that title to be as short-lived as possible. No pun attended for those that are “separated” and are comfortable with their status. But for me, I loathed that label…..I felt being “separated” meant that I was not 100% my own woman. I “technically” still belong to someone. Matter-of-fact everyone I would meet while I was going through the divorce process felt the same way. The status “separate” means to me that she is unhappy in her marriage and is taking a break but not necessarily taking the steps to dissolve the marriage and move on with her life. When I was dating, if a gent said he was separated, that is exactly what I thought of him and moved on. And as expected, when a man met me while “status” is separated, that is exactly what they thought of me and I should expect the same. So I thought lets just eliminate all of those ambiguities as quickly as possible. I want to press forward with my life.

I will admit while my divorce process to my friends appeared seamless….we had our spouts. Boy, did we! But our spouts were between us, not with a third-party involved….and the major battles were handled before I filed the divorce papers.

Last fall, I came to the absolute decision that the divorce would be imminent. My pondering thoughts from the Spring and Summer reached a conclusion. So what did I do, I went online and read about the divorce process. Figured which way I would be filing…hmmm…”unreconcilable differences”.  I thought that was the best category and the quickest way in New Jersey to end a marriage. There was no “separated” for a year requirement. Six months were required, and the man and wife could “technically” be under the same roof but sleep in separate dwellings. The six months began from the time you started the paperwork, not when you filed. Hmmmm. Sign me up!

I thought what can a lawyer do that I cannot do for myself? I went to business school, am a Certified Public Accountant, I know how to complete my tax returns…yeah, who needs a lawyer. I created an Excel spreadsheet and itemized every cost associated with my kids. The basketball clinic, daycare, school tuition, dance classes, summer camp, clothing, hair cuts, food and sitter cost. Then I itemized housing costs, rent, electricity, cable, mortgages and etc. I looked at what each of our contributions were to all of these costs. I looked at the housing costs that I pay monthly and the entire amount that I would end up paying, sans any contribution from him. Okay…that might be a bit of a stretch….but I paid this rent before on my own when we were living in two states. I think I can make this work. I then had a larger contribution towards the kids expenses….so I thought maybe this is where I could balance the difference. So I came with a monthly figure of the entire cost and did a clean and fair allocation. There it was all of the costs of living and supporting his kids right in front of him. The details were there….I thought to myself, I wish he would say something! Easy, rational clean break, right? Ha! Oh boy, he said something all right.

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Round 1: The battle begins. He says that while the expenses somewhat appeared accurate, (thought I embellished a bit), he also has to think about getting his own place and other additional expenses. Yeah, I guess I did not quite factor that in. But my expenses would be higher too. Hello! This is not going to be easy for both of us, I said. We are both incurring additional costs. I am not asking alimony…just child support. Of course, his rebuttal was he could technically ask for alimony too and claim full custody. Whoa!! Wasn’t expecting that. I thought this would be relatively easy. Isn’t it natural that the mother gets full custody, especially when the kids are younger? Plus, I am better organized and if I left the kids with him…didn’t even want to think of that notion. Anyway, he travels for his job…so that option does not exist.

So I look at the numbers again, I knock a few hundred off. He should be good with this. I begin to research the filing process and required forms. There are so many forms needed, good grief! On the New Jersey website…. the types of forms are cited but I don’t see where you can download them. At this time, I feel that I am on a roll….yeah I went this far, who needs a lawyer to hand me forms and charge me an exorbitant fee. Found a website http://www.divorcewriter.com, my Savior. Essentially, it was an online questionnaire that ask all of the essential questions to complete all of the divorce filing forms. The website itemize your assets, childcare costs, division of property, delegates which parent has the kids on holidays, and whether it is every holiday or alternating holidays. Wow! So much I have to answer… not sure I knew all of these answers yet. I manage to complete it all and pay the nominal fee. The forms were sent to my email and printed versions were sent Federal Express the next day. Ah yes! Just in time for me to give to my spouse by the end of the day.

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Round 2: I deliver the forms to him for review before we file with the court. Well, talk about amnesia! I think it was the initial shock, that I was not playing games and serious about the dissolution of our marriage. I think the whole entire time, he thought I was just blowing steam and providing empty threats. His first blank question was “What the heck is this?” Well a bit more graphic than that. Then after accepting what the forms were, the game of 100 questions began.  The amount he would pay, how the child support contribution percentage was calculated and what is all of this amount in the “Other” category that magically boosts the child support total. Hey there! The ending balance is the same as was noted on my spreadsheet I showed you a week or two ago. Do you Remember? The “Other” amount is for all of the additional expenses we choose for our kids that is not necessary a line item on the form. The assets were laid out, you keep what you brought into the marriage and I do the same. I stay where I am at or another place in my building, and you find a place. Simple enough. Then he comes with an idea. He wants to alter the percentage of his contribution based on the hours the kids spend with each of us. He suggests joint custody. Joint legal custody, sure, physical??? Okay buddy….let’s think about that. So every other week you want our kids to have a different house to live under? Oh, what about the times when you are out-of-town for a project? Hmmmm. You are more than welcome to come by in the morning to take the kids to school or come over for visits in the evening and stop by extracurricular activities when they are not with you. I am not keeping them away. I encourage that. We can adjust the percentage for the time you think you will spend with them, that is feasible…but joint custody now. No way! I am not invoking all of that change on my kids right now. When my son becomes older, we can discuss further but not at their age now.

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Revisions are again made, and let’s say they were made 3 or 4 more times afterwards. So I had DivorceWriter re-send revised papers at least a few more times. However, we did it amongst ourselves. We did not need a lawyer to come help us to decide. Yes there were threats and blows from each of us. Accusations of how I was not fair with my terms and he was going to have a lawyer to review and defend his behalf. I thought fine, do that but here are the itemize expenses. So now go pay thousands of dollars for them to review but still pay my agreed upon amount. He eventually caved in and a final agreement was made. Can I file these papers now? Sheesh!

Round 3: The battle of selecting a date to get the papers notarize. Finding an agreed upon time just to stop by a bank for a notary was a hassle in itself. Maybe he was avoiding it, who knows. But the dates were re-scheduled a few times. I was finally able to file the divorce papers in January 2013. This followed a few months of us duking it out.  I can now say my divorce is filed. I feel relaxed. I accomplished a milestone…and did it without the consult of lawyers. I share the filing information to my then husband. I guess this was another blow. He is thinking….Wow! This woman is serious! She is not joking! Twenty questions are asked again. How long is the process? How will the child support be handled? Will it be taking from my check? He begins to think my child support number is again too high. Really???? I have bitten the bullet and modified the numbers to now barely covering the costs to raise my kids. I am not compromising anymore. So I think if you have a problem, go ahead and bring on the lawyers, cause my foot is down. I make steps to move to another unit in my building, planning for space that can accommodate myself and the kids. He begins to look for a place to live nearby. The process is smooth, he begins to pay his designated amount before our court hearing. This agreed upon process is slowly but surely working. We duked it out and said screw the lawyers!

Any delays are now self-inflicted, delaying in serving the papers, getting notaries on subsequent papers that are required for divorce completion. This is expected, I am a novice, I don’t file divorce papers for a living…and I hope I don’t have to ever go through this again.  Finally, we receive a confirmed court date. Yes! The process is almost over. I share the news with my kids father ….Uh oh! He wants the date postponed. Now the uncertain decision of what school my son will attend in the fall is weighing largely on what he is agreeing to pay monthly. Here we go again! I have to re-do the math of all the costs that are entailed in raising our children….and how he actually received the discount “Super Dad” package. I explain to him how he can keep that title of “Super Dad” by acknowledging whatever difference in amounts could be used for other perks and necessities for the children…like a larger contribution in the college fund. Or don’t see it my way,  I am ready to duke it out some more. Let Round 4 begin!

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In the end there was no delay in our date and the duking out we did months before paid off. We both saved on lawyer fees and were able to come up with an agreement that was in the best interest of our kids. I do not have nightmares or grief of my divorce process. The decision and having a divorce, are stressful enough in itself. Divorce is an emotional undertaking. Why add more anxiety by going into further debt with lawyers when you can use that money towards your children’s future.  Duke it Out! Come to an Agreement! And Screw a Lawyer!

Co-Parenting Dating Conflict #2

Ok this really precedes the dating conflict #1 I posted about a week in a half ago….but will call it #2 anyway. I was sharing the story with my girlfriend recently, and thought I share. Continue reading Co-Parenting Dating Conflict #2

Bullied By The In-Laws? Stay Out of It!

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When going through marital problems and a divorce with your spouse….is it fair for the In-Laws to put their two-cents into your affair? If so, should they take sides and threaten you from your children or attempt to make your life more miserable than what it is?

Two Different Scenarios:

(Disclaimer: these are fictitious and are loosely based on experiences shared by others)
Scenario 1:

Wife is upset that some of the bills are falling behind, she becomes frustrated, maybe she has been the main person holding a steady job while the husband has been spending frivously. She and her husband have conversed about this many times. She doesn’t know whom else to turn to but her father. The wife’s father becomes upset with this situation….he loves her daughter and gives her a loan.

Should the father-in-law approach the husband at all? If so, should it be a man-to-man talk or provide threats ?

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Scenario 2:

Husband finds out his wife has been having an extramarital affair. The two have argued and discussed the situation. He still is injured by this knowledge and shares what he learned with his family. His family is well-to-do and has political and social influence. The family begins to threaten the wife for full custody in another state and sends other spiteful messages. Meanwhile, they begins organizing family trips with the children sans the mother.

Should the husband just have kept this issue between the two of them and deal with their marriage dissolvement without family input? Could he have spared the disgrace of his wife’s name to his family for the sake of their kids? If poor judgment was made by the husband…should the family still maintain an arms length distance from their marital affairs?

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My Personal Experience:

When reflecting on my marriage….we had our issues. Some of those issues were so hurtful that as a woman I did need to lean on someone. I remember sharing my decision to get a divorce with my father. He did not nudge me in either direction, just listened and said I will come up with the right answer and do what makes me happy and put your children’s wellbeing first. That’s it period. No calling my ex, having a man-to-man talk or providing any threats. In fact, he pretty much stayed out of my decision to marry, my parenting choices and when visiting did his best to stay out of my husband’s way in handling the household….despite his differing views.  When I did have trouble with finances…they were not discussed. He had a good sense when we were living on the hog or when we were just treading water. When he did have a sense, a modest check addressed to me would be in the mail and when I spoke with him, he would just give me personal financing advice to protect myself, not family finance advice nor did he have a talk with my husband.

My husband’s family were not dumbfounded and knew I was not always happy. His father from time to time would ask me if I was alright and if everything was going okay, during our family visits. Afterall, there were various adjustments throughout my marriage which would test any marital couple. I would quickly smile and say we are adjusting and the situation is improving. Matter-of-fact I remember they had to get on him when they saw me moping around the house because again…there were no anniversary plans. His sister began explaining the importance of incorporating a monthly date night to foster a healthy relationship. But that was the extent….. they never knew too much. I actually felt distressed that they knew that much…because I couldn’t maintain a poker face for a couple of days.

My husband has endured pain by me and I have by him….but he never shared his frustrations about me to his family. He kept them out of our affairs. In-fact when his mother and father were probing why we were getting a divorce….his answer was vague that “I wasn’t happy”. Now mind you…..that was not the excuse I wanted him to give. I huffed and puffed as I felt that answer did not show me in the best light. Why couldn’t he tell them that we just couldn’t reconcile our differences? Just say that….Gees!  So my in-laws; the marital couple that have been married for over 40 years, see me as the woman that just wanted to deliberately end my marriage and family because I am not happy at the moment….which in their translation because they did not know much else….Oh he missed their wedding anniversary last year….so I guess she wants a divorce. Um No!!!!! Not it!! But I also bit my tongue….because no matter what the true reason is….I aim to foster an amicable relationship with the in-laws for my children’s sake. So no matter what it was….my fault, his fault would it really provide a positive outcome and healthy environment for my kids if we had a debate about it over our last supper?

While maybe my in-laws did disapprove of my choice….who knows? I really haven’t had that conversation. They never reached out to me and provided threats and their opinion on how I should work at the marriage. I know their number one priority is their son and their grandchildren. So once they knew the divorce was imminent…they just advised their son on the financial aspect of divorce to make sure he was aware to look out for himself as well as the kids. Make sure I wasn’t emptying his wallet. They also assisted him in getting his new place together.

So at present, I have dialogue with the in-laws, well via email and text. I share with them upcoming events and pictures of their grandchildren. No issues….well as of yet.

Now have I shared my marriage frustrations with my girlfriends? Yes! That is what us women do. There has been lessons learned there….but that is another blog topic.

My Viewpoint Going Forward:

When you are married, all discussions and issues should be between the husband and wife. Period. Only exception is a marriage counselor or your Pastor. Getting family involved is like “War of the Roses” multiplied by 2. There is no need to air your marital dirty laundry to your family. In-laws become vested in your spouse as well. So they not only become hurt because their son or daughter is distraught. They are also wounded because their daughter-in-law or son-in-law that they grew to love and become part of the family has indirectly turned their back on them. Not all in-laws are poised so some backlash is to be expected. However, any form of bullying that makes the grief of ending your marriage even harder, is not acceptable.

My Separation From The “Ring”

 

During the intense period in determining to get a divorce from my ex -husband…..there was another separation that I had to consider. The removal of my wedding band from my left index finger. This decision triggered me to take a deep pause….matter-of-fact I had to sleep a few Continue reading My Separation From The “Ring”

Damaged Goods…Ruined or Fixable?

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Since entering the dating scene as a fresh divorcee….I have become perplexed with some of the men I have encountered. To be specific a certain demographic….the late 30’s to mid 40’s single metropolitan professional men. These gents at their root are wonderful individuals. These men are the backbone within their community, successful in Continue reading Damaged Goods…Ruined or Fixable?

Ready, Set, Mingle!

Ready, Set, Mingle!.

For all my single mommies out there that plan to enjoy the adult Halloween festivities and were lucky to get a sitter lined up after you finish trick-or-treating with the sprouts! Get your mingle on! Happy Halloween!

The “Adjuster”

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Call me the “Adjuster”. My middle name should be “accomodate”. Heck, many of my girlfriends should change their middle name too. Us as women, that is what we do….”adjust”….when we are in a relationship or marriage. We adjust our lives, interests, schedules to accomodate that gent who is important to us.

I have considered myself one of the coolest girlfriends and wives out there. I will rock out to Dave Matthews, Jimmy Buffett and any garage band, groove with Prince and get my gangsta lean on with Snoop Dog. I love sporting events and can hold my own when the topic of discussion turns to Fantasy Football while sipping a nice cold one.  I can put bait on my fishing rod. I chuckle at my colleagues male watercooler jokes….I get the alpha male humor. Not afraid to mess up my hair because of my motorcycle helmet, a swim in the ocean, a 10K run, a bike ride or cruising with the convertible top down. I get crazy with the kids and relish in the opportunity to re-live my childhood.  I can and don’t mind “adjusting” to whomever my significant other’s interests are. I am open-minded and revel in new experiences…. my motto in life has always been Carpe Diem!

What also exists, are my core interests in life that include….my love for dance, theater, musicals, travel and romantic comedies. I recollect through my love life experiences….there has always been some reluctance from my other half to join me in my zests for life. Many times, in the past….I placed my wants and desires aside….supporting my other half’s interests. Sacrificing my time and adjusting my schedule to make sure that person was getting their “boo time” with me by being involved in their life pursuits. There were times that I would get so caught up….when the relationship ended….I would have to re-discover my independence, my interests and desires without that person in my life. I realized from my long-term post-college relationship….that you can support their hobbies and interests, but also do what makes you happy with or without them. That includes your time spent with your girlfriends.

It is often cited from my wedded and un-wedded male friends….”Tonight I am out with the boys”  or its “Boys night out”. Men look forward to their male-bonding time. There is nothing that can pry them away from their appointment to huddle with the dudes and discuss like-minded interests. Many women have tried to find many distractors…but I will tell you the only thing that will make your man pause is if you are about to go into labor. Otherwise, kids birthday, your birthday, anniversary…that will be celebrated the following day. That is their way of “accomodating”.  Humor aside…..I applaud my men in realizing that male bonding is an important part of their being and sanity to attain their balance. Their spouse or significant other doesn’t always have like-minded interests and sharing these interests with their boys is imperative. That is okay, matter-of-fact it is great. However, over-indulging in your male bonding time where your wife, significant other and family are neglected I do not applaud.

I aim to achieve the same bonding time with my women…however, in my experience it has not always been that easy. I remember through my marriage, it would be my turn to spend with my girls…as my then husband had his time out the night before. So I would reach out to my girlfriends to see if they have time to hang…..and many of them were in relationships (not yet married), “adjusting” to their man….I term it “working on the ring”. So their man was home….they were home. Nothing planned…. but was cherishing their “boo” time. I got it….and let them be. So while my girlfriends were “adjusting” what do I do with my free pass to enjoy myself? I learned to pursue some of my other interests, whether going to a seminar, taking a dance class, going to a play, or expanding my education. Anything that was fulfilling to me. The following day, my girlfriends would often ask what I did… and I would share and hear a 20 minute earful of how she wish she did more and yadayadayada. Matter-of-fact the only time my attached girlfriends would be available was only when they knew their man had something planned too.

To us women…we “adjust” and we should to a certain extent. But don’t loose sight for your zest in life. Maybe you will succeed in getting that “ring” or keeping it on your finger for now….but I believe a sustainable, healthy and happy marriage or relationship is built from two people who both have separately fulfilling lives of their own. When the two come together and “adjust” to each other, there is something new to discuss and appreciate.

Now divorced….. I have much more time on my hands to fulfill my zests in life. I understand that many of my girlfriends are in different stages in life…some have new family additions, some are “working on the ring”, some are just settling in marriage and some are just enjoying single-life like myself. Despite which stage you are in…..make it a priority to alot time to  indulge in your interests and don’t just “adjust” for someone else.  I enjoy my girl time and hobbies, where they are just as much of a priority as my fellow gents time is with the boys and watching the game. So while I still consider myself the “Adjuster” and you can easily insert “accomodate” in my John Hancock…. I am adjusting and accomodating for myself as well as the next potential mate. So girlfriends place me on your calendar so we can embrace our “girl time”!

Taming of the Shrew/ Bugaboo

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Nagging

The number one complaint I hear from men about existing and past relationships and marriages. How it drives or drove them away…all that nagging and complaining.

Checking In

Another popular complaint, why do I have to check in? I don’t even check in with my mother!

The Root

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As a woman, as much as a man hates their woman nagging them to death, we also equally hate being considered a “brat” and having to pester, remind you of your worth and ours. Nagging derives from the origination of a dislike, concern, or care for a person’s wellbeing. This dislike or concern at best was a derivative (maybe the 4th, 5th or 6th) from a soothing expression of our care for you. Our “care” for you reaching your potential of being the best husband, boyfriend, father, professional, friend you can be. We want you to thrive and are your number one cheerleaders. Our initial good intentions have been elevated, as we view the man has disregarded our concern and care for them as a being and their care for us. Thus the initial calming expression of our concern has transformed into frustration.

When you are or attaining to become a significant part of  a woman’s life, we like to let you into our world by sharing what goes on when you are not around. We also expect that same reciprocity. We like to know if you are going away and made it safely. Not because there is distrust or we are trying to map all of your whereabouts…But because we care for your well-being and have an interest in what goes on in your life when we are not around. Reaching adulthood, attaining your own place, having financial independence…you are now beating to your own drum. Willing to share your life with someone, by way of marriage or attempting to achieve exclusivity, adjustments should be made. Pursuing a relationship and being in one……you should want to let that person know your whereabouts and share what makes you being who you are. So why not check-in?

The Tamer

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The examples of successful marriages and relationships that I have seen in my life, are those where there is an understanding between two people of their expectations and each other’s limitations. While there is disagreement, there is respect for each other’s feelings that the two are willing to come up with a solution. During my travel days with my business colleagues that were married…..I always remember them excusing themselves for 5 minutes to check in with their spouse that they arrived safely, making sure the kids had a normal day and etc. Through several interactions with my married male friends, whom I view have a successful marriage….there was always references of them accomodating their wives “reasonable” expectations. They wanted to avoid the “nag”…..they eventually got it and realized that they are loved and their significant other just wants them to thrive in the best way that he can. Similarily my married lady friends would state the same….maybe it wasn’t the “nag” they were avoiding…in their case the “silent treatment”.

Taming Alternative 1)

Avoiding the “nag” and accepting the “check-in”

  • Listen to your woman
  • Realize her intentions are from the heart and are not ill-willed
  • Adjust and accomodate to her needs
  • Or reconcile an understanding

Taming Alternative 2)

  • Ignore the “nag”
  • Disregard the “Check-in”

The “nag” does not continue in perpetuity. Us as women become tired of hearing our own thoughts knowing they’re not acknowledged. We are not as long-winded as men think. Eventually the “nag”  and inquiry of our significant other whereabouts dwindles……we have reached an understanding that our expectations and theirs are not correlated. We stop loving, caring and thinking of your well-being. We become “tamed”…that person whom we thought was significant in our life…..loses his “shrew” and “bugaboo” and often reluctantly regrets as that “shrew”  moves on and eventually transforms into someone elses queen. Thus goal accomplished we are “tamed” but you as the man who decided to ignore and disregard are now alone.