So it's a done deal. Very long. Very.

CEFreemanMay 11, 2013

I am finally and irrevocably divorced as of this week.
My [ahem] ex-husband has walked away Scott free from $643, 892.00's worth of debt. See, although MD is a community property state, they can't divide anything except secured loans. i.e. property.

Well, the last he knew, both my pre-marriage condo and my home are well underwater. Way underwater. As in no equity, or the banks should come take them away. So, unless he was allowed to walk away, he wanted to sell the properties, putting me, our cats and dogs out on the street with no place to live, with still debt left over.

He demanded to know why he should take debt when he had nothing to show for it.
Even the mediator was shocked at his (what?) horrible-ness. "She didn't do this alone," he said.

Now, throughout these meetings, my lawyer sat with the discovery sitting in front of him on the table. 50 hours of scanning 20 years of financial documents, even those showing the debts excused or forgiven.
His lawyer never, ever, asked to see it. Didn't even glance at it. Nor did my scamming ex turn to me and ask for debt totals or if we actually owed the amount he had in writing from several years ago. He was so determined to get out of responsibility for a problem he was 1/2 of. He kept scornfully insisting the numbers continued to change. The mediator sarcastically asked him if he'd ever had the concept of interest explained to him.

But if he'd just asked, I would have told him. I'm very honest and far too open, I guess. No secrets here! My lawyer pinched my leg because he had essentially told me to keep my big mouth shut and do not VOLUNTEER anything. So, I didn't.

The separation agreement was signed. He signed off all claim to the houses. His lawyer demanded no mention of the debt claim was not in the agreement. ("Don't open that can of worms," he insisted.)

I went to court on Monday and was declared liberated. My sister and I went out and drank mimosas, then hours of Campari, then dinner and Irish beer. Yes, I was tanked. Paid for it all day Tuesday, I must say.

The thing is, without handling the disposition of our debts in the separation agreement, it left it open for me to sue him in civil court. If I decide to, and if I have the energy. The mediator set it up this way on purpose, I understand from later conversations. He didn't try to dissuade his lawyer.

The 2nd thing is that because of my 2nd mortgage on MY house being forgiven, I'm one of few people in the U.S. with only one mortgage. This gave me about $100,000 of equity in the house, just based upon our original purchase price.

He didn't know a $55,000 personal loan was dismissed by Bank of America. Gone. Not even BOA's lawyer knew why, but gone.

He didn't know $17,000 was past the statute of limitations in Maryland, and BOA couldn't collect, so they wrote it off.

Granted, if there were $100K in equity, splitting that still wouldn't have covered his half, but it would have satisfied his really slimy soul.

I am confident my lawyer did everything he could. I have no questions about whether or not something would work or not. This is a nice feeling. I also found out my lawyer is a former State's Attorney and apprenticed years ago under the mediator.... Can you say Good Old Boy's Club?

Altho I find my ex to be a major loser and a pretty good con artist, unlike him, I don't spend my time changing his girlfriend's poopy diapers and sitting around until she wants to go somewhere. And that includes the potty. I have freedom.

I'm still deep in doo-doo, but I have a wonderful, unexpected lightness on my shoulders that he can't force a sale for nothing. I have something for retirement, which to this point, I did not. I'll still work until I die. But I'll kill myself in my own home.

So there.
Thank you for celebrating with me.
The single, propertied Christine

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Good news! Congrats on losing that weight keeping you down. It may not be a glamourous life, but it's YOURS now, free and clear :-)

I'm glad he outsmarted himself with his weaseliness too! Great job keeping quiet, what a creep.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:12PM
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Thank you for posting. I have thought of you so often and I am delighted that the future is looking bright for you.

Working till we die is not so unusual - considering the possibility is an incentive to make sure we enjoy the work. I hope you do.

Hurray for a good outcome!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:13PM
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Christine-I don't know what to say except - don't even know if this is appropriate - but, congratulations.

And- you have demonstrated a lot of heart on this forum. Welcome back.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:17PM
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What's that saying? - You went on a diet and just lost 200 pounds of cr@p. No wonder you feel so much lighter in your shoulders. The noose is gone, the anvil is gone - well done.

I am thrilled for you and so glad you have resurfaced. I have missed hearing about the deals that you find. You are a breath of fresh air here, hope you'll stay.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:43PM
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You're baaaack! Yeah! You have been put through a wringer but you are still standing strong. Your attitude and resilience is amazing. You could probably write a book though it wouldn't be a novel.
Looking forward to reading posts from you once again. I think I can speak for many other GWers and say that we have missed you. Welcome back.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 10:49PM
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Yes, congratulations is an appropriate word! So, many congratulations!
Nearly 26 years ago, when my partner walked out on me and our 2 year old, it was both the worst thing and the best thing -- because I shortly discovered his financial shenanigans that put our home in danger and besmirched my financial reputation, neither tolerable to me! Thank heavens I was able to get him to sign a quitclaim!
The emotional pain (of loss) went on for some time, but in my head I knew that I was far better off --- and it sounds like you do too, good for you!

Nice to hear also that there are good guys out there in the world looking out for folks...

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:21PM
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Oh, Christine -- so happy that you are happy. Honestly, I am too dim-witted to have followed that exactly, but I get a lot of the drift. Good for you! And way to keep it clammed when that was the right thing to do. NOW you can sing it! :-)

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:34PM
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Congratulations, Christine! I've thought of you many times since you first posted about some of your tribulations and have always been amazed and inspired by your strength of character and convictions. I'm so happy for you that your ex is finally out of your life for good. I'm sure you do feel lighter and are probably sleeping better, and the future must certainly look much rosier. We've missed your wonderful contributions and weekly finds--so glad you're back!!!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:46PM
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Thank you all so much for your kind words. Warms the cockles of my snotty little heart. :)

Raee, it has been a hard situation to move past, since I live in this house that will not be finished for probably years. It's in my face.

Occasionally I still have moments of grief. But I know it's grief for the complete betrayal of what had been unshakeable faith, not grief for him. (Altho I do feel sorry for him!) But it hits me hard at unexpected times.

Angie, it is confusing. Let it be condensed into the scam artist who is never wrong, and who knows all things financial, scammed himself. Even if he'd forced a sale, he would have had no money out of it. Just me on the street. But he figured that was what he had to do to get what he wanted. I watched him not finish, yet rationalize then justify this kind of behavior for years. Hindsight is...

And now I have something for retirement and he has poopy diapers. (Oh, that's just so mean!)

But done! I'm thinking of having my wedding rings reset into something fun. That would be a splurge!

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 11:49PM
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So happy to hear this is behind you. Now you can really move forward, even if the path is not always a straight one.

One word of advice about charged off debt. There are companies out there (known as Factoring companies) that buy charged off debt for pennies on the dollar. They begin to report those debts as "trades" on your credit report and tell you you can clear them by paying. Ignore their calls. While their relationships may show up on your credit file, they show the original opening and activity dates. So let them age since the debt is already charged off.

I look forward to hear about your shopping trips and finished work!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 12:07AM
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Putting an official end to the cr@p must be a huge relief. It's a nice bonus that you didn't come out of this totally impoverished. Break out the peanut butter cups!

On a philosophical note: it's always so hard to tell how a marriage will work out. Some people who seem like good matches turn out not to be. I think your ex falls into this category. My nephew married the cutest little thing from a devout GA family who just wanted a big family. While he was away on his 1 year tour of duty, she discovered her true calling was being a Wild Thang! and met him at the dock with a divorce decree. Jeez. Good thing they hadn't started on that family yet. My sister married a solid, upstanding young man. A few years in, he attended some self realization courses, came home and said, "I like you, but I don't want to be married to you." Nobody saw that one coming. She was devastated. At least neither of them had the financial complications that you did. And then there's my friend whose husband of 30 years announced that he was gay. They're still married; they're fond of each other and they have kids, but her sex life ended a good time before she was ready. His didn't.

The opposite also happens; marriages that seems doubtful turn out very well. I have one of those. We were 19 and 21 when we got married and still in college. We've never regretted it. We had great times in the years before the kids were born, we loved raising them, now they're all out on their own, and we're still happy to see each other every day. I'm pretty sure my parents thought this wasn't going to work. I came from money and he didn't. Good thing we were too young to think it made a difference. It took them years to figure out that choosing a partner by the quality of his character was a really good idea. DH spent half his working life teaching 5th grade and the other half in elementary admin. I stayed home with the kids, did the usual kid volunteer things (Girl Scout leader, etc.), and then taught middle school when we needed the income to pay for college tuitions. It's worked for us.

Marriages are a funny thing, great when they work and best left behind when they don't. I'm glad for you that you are now free and clear to steer your own boat.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 12:48AM
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suzannel said it! Break out the PB cups!

They say revenge is a meal best served cold. Glad you were able to stay silent as requested by your lawyer.

Restore here we come! Congratulations!


    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 6:25AM
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Oh Yeah!!! Breathe.... when you wake up and the sun is shining, one BIG cloud less to block it.


    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 7:43AM
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Just as I was reading Suzanne's note, I was opening a Reese's to have with my espresso. I laughed out loud.

My SIL had the same thing happen to her. Her 30 year marriage dissolved when her DH decided he'd always been gay, which was why they had no sex life pretty much since they were married. He'd always put it off on her.

Yes, My ex and I weren't supposed to make it, either. We did for 16 years together, 2 with him back and forth, and 3 just not divorced. Who knows. We're also from extremely different backgrounds. Either it does or it doesn't, right?

I'm gonna mow the lawn. I really hate that, but it makes my 3 acres (of 6 that I mow) look really lush and beautiful. Oh. Not "the" lawn. MY lawn. ROTFL w/ evil cackles!!!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 9:45AM
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My mother always told me that ladies NEVER mow lawns. Funny thing, I've pretty much done everything else in this world (including DIY the kitchen), but I've never mowed the lawn.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:58AM
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"My mother always told me that ladies NEVER mow lawns." suzannes - our mothers must have been brought up together. But I had a dad and two brothers and now I have a Dh and two sons so I've never had to mow a lawn. BUT, I have a number of girlfriends who love mowing the lawn - they love the solitude of it, the nice orderly lines of the back and forth of it, the obvious accomplishment of a job that people notice and the resultant beauty of the job.

Christine- Have fun mowing the grass that is yours.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Christine, I'm sorry that this road has turned out to be a dead end for you. But you are a compassionate and intelligent woman, and I expect you find beauty along whatever path you're on. I'm happy for you that you're on a good, new path.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 8:50PM
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I almost missed your post on the discussions side. Glad I found it .

Glad to hear that that part of your life is done and you can move on.

Best wishes and don't disappear again, lol!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 9:15PM
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Christine, glad you're finally through a long, painful event. I understand the grief about the betrayal, as my own Ex left due to a pregnant girlfriend. Decades later, I'm married to a wonderful man, but occasionally that little doubt knocks to see if I will listen. I hope one day it will go away forever.

After her second divorce, my mother took her wedding rings from both husbands and had them melted down and cast into a beautiful heart pendant. It's mine now, and is a lovely reminder of her spirit.

Hoping for an upturn in your life now that you have been relieved of some excess baggage. We've missed your posts.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 1:56AM
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I had to laugh about the lawn mowing thing.
I am the eldest of 3 girls. I had never, ever even dreamed of mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. The latter remains unexperienced. Mow!? Shovel!? "I don't think so," she replied disdainfully.

However, never say never. When we moved out here, DH was still working 7 days a week, sometimes 16 hours a day. Waiting for him to mow was just plain (crazy) rude. We didn't have the $$ to pay someone for 3 hours' worth of mowing, so.....

He once said that he had to call my mom with the weirdest thing he'd ever heard me say: "I'm going to mow the lawn, then I'm going to Wal-Mart." O. M. G.

But my lawn's mowed, I have my seasonal bummy poision ivy, and it looks purty. My lawn, not my bummy.

(You forget that ladies also don't spit, pick their noses [or bottoms] or teeth, have gas, burp, use the word "cheap" [unless in relation to another's look or behavior], swear, wear curlers in public, and many other elements of deportment. I guess admitting to mowing the lawn is something my mom has gotten over. Or, being a lady, is just chosing to ignore it. Out of sight...)

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 8:05AM
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Ha! Having owned my own home for 20+ years, I have been mowing, weeding, cleaning the gutters...
My mother never did any of those things, but she wanted her daughters to be capable of being independent, so we were assigned those chores along with our brothers.
I have noticed in my neighborhood, that I never see any other women operating a lawn mower other than the other single parent who lives down the block.

Yes, Christine, that pain of loss is often the disappointment, betrayal, whatever that makes us feel badly about ourselves as much as missing the person, I think! but it goes on, I was advised to expect to feel it for 2-3 years! And I did (not continuously, but as you said, there were spells). But,at the same time, I realized that I couldn't love someone that I didn't respect, and I no longer respected him once I saw this aspect of his character. If he hadn't walked out first, I am sure it would have been only a matter of time before I did. (at least, I like to think so!)

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 9:31PM
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fwiw, my DF ex was a $%#$# too. They had BoA, and also forgave the rest of the note - but their house was sold. She "got it" in the divorce, but was underwater. She burst into tears during the closing when BoA told her she no longer owed them anything.

She recently lost both of her parents and inherited enough to buy a small home outright, and joined the No Mortgage Club that is so wonderful.
Anyway, she hasn't received a call from anyone (mentioned above). I hope you don't either.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 2:20PM
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Thanks all, as always.
I haven't had a moment's doubt since I decided to save up the money to file. I had hopes Ex would be a stand-up guy and put his money where his promises were. But everyone's gotta have a dream, right?

In the meanwhile, I'm still doing little things around here. I'm in somewhat of a rut/lull where I don't want to do anything, but that passes.

When I get my lawyer paid off, it's back to the reuse centers! :)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 1:20PM
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Thanks all, as always.
I haven't had a moment's doubt since I decided to save up the money to file. I had hopes Ex would be a stand-up guy and put his money where his promises were. But everyone's gotta have a dream, right?

In the meanwhile, I'm still doing little things around here. I'm in somewhat of a rut/lull where I don't want to do anything, but that passes.

When I get my lawyer paid off, it's back to the reuse centers! :)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 1:21PM
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I'm coming late to the party, but I wanted to add my congratulations and warmest wishes for the happiness that you surely deserve.

I love mowing the lawn; it's much more satisfying than dusting and vacuuming. In my family, we fight (genteelly) over who gets to do it. DD has claimed it this summer.

Now that this ordeal is behind you, I'm looking forward to seeing what you do in your house. Your knowledge and skills awe me.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 5:19PM
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Well this was a wonderful thread to read, good things do happen to good people! I am delighted to hear you are divorced and the great news about your home.

Are you still doing your yoga? Exercise is what keeps me sane and grounded so if by any chance you've let this slip, try to get started again. I do boot camp at 5:30 am 4 days a week and love to bike too. Right now I'm on the stationary bike, great to catch up on GW and the news. (I actually used to knit on the stationary bike too, but stopped knitting when we started renovating).

I too have an ex. We are on fairly amicable terms and he gets along very well with DH. He's an excellent father. Still, it doesn't take much for us to be furious at each other. Sigh. Divorce, I call it the gift that keeps on giving.

What a great lawyer you had. I wondered while I read your thread whether it was safe to post the details of what you have... In case of future litigation?

I always look forward to your posts! Will smile every time I think of your good news. Best, oldbat2be

    Bookmark   June 28, 2013 at 6:25AM
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Many years ago I was working in a very small office - 2 "gals" and my male boss, when I finalized my divorce from a very yucky marriage. I came back from court to find a wrapped gift on my desk from my boss. It was a necklace with a seagull, wings stretched as far as they could go. The note simply said... "Now you can soar".

I will never forget it, and how wonderful it made me feel. Hoping things are continuing to go your way. Only one way to go when you hit bottom and it sounds like you are already climbing up that ladder.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2013 at 12:42AM
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