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Old 10/09/09, 04:51 PM
AR Cattails's Avatar  
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: NE Arkansas
Posts: 5,211
What Should I Expect From My Divorce

My husband left me about 4 months ago. We will have been married 25 years this December 29th. He told me divorce was not on the horizon anytime in the near future. He said he would support me and, except for a 3 week period in which I received nothing, he has done very well sending me most if not all of his paycheck. The only problem with that is that his paychecks are now about half of what they use to be. He told me he would keep me on his group insurance at work.

Yesterday he called and said he's ready to move on and wants to start the divorce process. He says he wants to keep it peaceful so he can remember the "good times" we had. This is about the first nice thing he has said to me since he called and said he wasn't coming home to me anymore. He has thrown out many accusations against me as to why this is all my fault and actually believes he has done no wrong. During all the begging I did trying to get him to come back to me he even told me that if he hadn't left when he did or if he came back to me like I was wanting him to, that we would have made the news because he would have killed me and then himself.

So I have been looking for work which has been a disaster. No one wants a 51-year-old, very overweight woman, who hasn't worked in 25 years. It was both our decision that I be a sahm. So I'm scared beyond scared about how I'm going to live. He wants to stop sending me support. He wants me to apply for disability, medicaid and food stamps. I don't want to have to do that. I want a job. I also asked about him keeping me on insurance and he now says "I don't know". I mentioned the 401K and he doesn't expect to get into that. I said how he would probably have to support me even into his SS retirement years because we were married for 25 years and he's only about 10 years away from retirement. Uh, no, he doesn't think so.

So I'm lost and very scared. I found a lawyer in the phone book that I will go consult with on Monday morning. Only $25 for the consultation. By being late paying the light bill I will be able to pay that. I have no money otherwise. I'm not even getting enough money every week to pay the bills so I don't know if I will be able to pay for a good lawyer and I'm afraid that my husband will run all over me and I will get nothing.

Does anyone know what a sahm, after a 25 year marriage and her husband up and leaving her can look forward to in the divorce process this day and time.

Oh, also husband has said that I can have the house (which is no good, ceiling has already fallen through in 3 rooms amongst other things) and the 5 2/3 acres and he also says he will pay off the remainder of the truck loan (about $6,900). He says he is getting a loan using his 401k as collateral. Now if our divorce gets difficult he may take back saying that and fight for half of it.

If anyone has read this far, I appreciate it and could use your advice. I honestly don't know what to do and what to expect. I never expected to be here at this stage of my life.

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Old 10/09/09, 04:59 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: NW Pa./NY Border.
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"His" 401K is "Your" 401K also. Don't let him do ANYTHING with the money.

Normally my advice is to try to work things out, but you need to protect yourself financially and physically first.

Get the lawyer pretty quickly.


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Old 10/09/09, 05:06 PM
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 140

To my knowledge half of his 401k belongs to you by law, and he cannot borrow against it without your signature. Do you own the house and land free and clear? Can it be sold? Can you put a trailer on it and move into it? Can you start a work from home business or job? Do you have any children or relatives that can help you out? Do you have a food stockpile? Your attorney will be able to tell you what you can expect.

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Old 10/09/09, 05:11 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: The Little Chicken Ranch
Posts: 1,340

Since he left you and wants the divorce, make him pay for your attorney as well. I left my first husband after 18 years. I wanted a divorce, because I was totally miserable living with him any longer. We had 15 rough years, and I just couldn't take it anymore. He signed the divorce, but I agreed to pay for it. Ask the lawyer about that on Monday. Also, don't agree to anything without discussing it with your attorney first and don't SIGN anything either. I would also discuss with the attorney that he wanted you to stay at home and he supported you for the past 25 years and that now you are looking for a job and can't find one. My thoughts and prayers will be with you during this difficult time in your life. Blessings, firegirl

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Old 10/09/09, 05:12 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Farm Country NY
Posts: 2,322

Yes..you need to speak and retain and attorney. If you cant afford one then call legal services and they can refer you to someone that does pro bono work or someone that does it very cheaply. You should not give up anything or move out until told so by your own attorney. And do not listen to his if he has one. His attorney is only out for your husband not you.

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Old 10/09/09, 05:14 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Central California between Fresno & Bakersfield
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Originally Posted by seedspreader View Post
"His" 401K is "Your" 401K also. Don't let him do ANYTHING with the money.

Normally my advice is to try to work things out, but you need to protect yourself financially and physically first.

Get the lawyer pretty quickly.
I'd like to second getting that lawyer asap. State divorce laws do vary and I am not informed of Arkansas laws but generally speaking after 25 years of marriage you should get half of everything you have accumulated during the marriage, plus alimony until you should re-marry. Of course you are free to negotiate other terms if you are so inclined. Insist he pays for your lawyer too since he's the one wanting the divorce.

A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
--Thomas Jefferson

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Old 10/09/09, 05:16 PM
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Location: N. Alabama
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the Social Security - since you were married more than 10 years, you can file against his numbers and if more than yours - you get 1/2 (I think that's the amount) of what he gets. It has NO impact on his receiving his SS when time is right. (Unless government changes something between now and then).

He's telling you what he can to keep you down and away from his = YOUR's too, assets.

I hope your lawyer is very good, and you get strong - you may need the gumption or get ran over.



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Old 10/09/09, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: MN
Posts: 1,874

You will more then likely get half of everything and get alimony for a few years, at least until you can get on your feet. More then likely he will be forced to keep you on his insurance too. When you are old enought for social security, it will be based on his income because you were married to him more then 10 years. Check with some of your local job placement gov't agencies. They have training programs for women exactly in your situation. You can get through this, its just a bump in the road. Remember that the economy really sucks right now and getting into the work force might not happen right away. So if you need to use some type of assistance, just treat it as a temporary situation and realize the economy is taking its toll on everyone. I have a friend who has a lot of education, skills and experience who can not get a job and it does take awhile right now. I agree with the above poster, make sure you ask for attorney fees.

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Old 10/09/09, 05:34 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: MA
Posts: 274

Make sure you keep that appointment with the lawyer!
The 401K money is half yours and you need to talk to the lawyer right away about how to stop him from borrowing on it.
I'm sorry you are going thru this, really I am. But you do have to protect yourself financially.

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Old 10/09/09, 05:41 PM
Wasza polska matka
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: zone 4b-5a
Posts: 6,641

Could you work in a call center?? Can you walk a bit, and try to lose some weight? You will feel much better. Do you have a local community college that can train you for a job?? What about working with the elderly, like at the place that sets up the elderly in apts and gets them nursing care (Here it is county, "Agency on Aging")
Are you alone?? do you have an older son or daughter that can help you with some house repairs?
Can you sew? Alterations, or maybe even halloween costumes?
One year, a neighbor friend was having some tough times, and his wife made and sold buckeyes. She bought the little boxes fudge come in, used wax paper, and sold them for $6 a lb. Delish.
Another lady I used to work with when I worked at an insurance company used to make butter /sugar frosted cut out cookies, and sold them by the lb. She did them for holidays, initials and such for a wedding or birthday. Back then they were $6 a lb also, but thats a while back.
Are you good with people?? Do you prefer to be outdoors?? What about animals?
Can you volunteer someplace (Like a nursing home, or the SPCA), you will gain some experience and confidence, and meet people to network with for jobs.

Are the 5 acres fields?? Can you rent them out to a farmer to grow hay or corn, or for grazing?
Just trying to come up with some ideas.


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Old 10/09/09, 05:48 PM
Fae Fae is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Lower Alabama
Posts: 2,222

Get that lawyer and stop being sentimental as of now. My brother went through this a few years ago with his wife of 32 years. He had to pay her lawyer and she gets half his 401K and SS. He would not fight because he "LOVED" her and wanted her back. She really took advantage of him and he would not listen to any of us. Now, a few years downthe road, he wishes he had. You are going to have to fight for what is yours. After 25 years of marriage, half of everything is yours.

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Old 10/09/09, 05:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 564
Originally Posted by rose2005 View Post
I'm sorry this has happened, and will be praying that you find the right lawyer to help you.

From what I know from friends divorces, do not talk to him about it. Talk to you lawyer instead. Hope you can both come out of this with what you both need.

Rose has given you great advice. Let the lawyers handle it. As far as the 401k, half is yours. I have no advice, just be strong and don't let him upset you anymore. Good Luck.
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Old 10/09/09, 05:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 6,028

I would also recommend a restraining order to keep him from calling, writing or contacting you in any way, shape or form, or keep him from approaching you at home or in public. He sounds like he is potentially dangerous. All communication from him should go through your lawyer, at least until everything is settled, signed, and ordered.

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Old 10/09/09, 05:57 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Southern NH
Posts: 94

He can take a loan out of his 401k without your signature unless you are an owner (as opposed to a beneficiary). He would have to pay it back with the interest rate. If he defaults the loan counts as an early distribution and is subject to taxes to the IRS and usually a 10% early Withdrawal penalty. We did this from my husband's 401k and I NEVER SIGNED ANYTHING but we made the choice together. Since I'm not an owner of the 401k my signature is not needed. This would directly impact your taxes if he defaults on the loan depending on how you file for that year.

Sadly you cannot go through a divorce thinking "he would never do that" about anything. I've seen the nicest couples have the ugliest divorces and I would have bet money "he/she would never do that" and guess what....they did that or worse.

Hugs to you, I'm so sorry you will be going through this.


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Old 10/09/09, 06:02 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: SWMO-Springfield area
Posts: 122

You might look and see if the state has a Displaced Homemaker Program for ladies just in your situation(or widowed). They provide money for learning a new trade. While you're going to school, start walking or something to take the weight off. Missouri used to have one, I haven't looked for in the last few years.....
I also suggest Legal services and listen to what they say. I had a friend who divorced a couple years ago and she seemed determined to give that so and so everything he wanted even if it left her and the kids with nothing. Your husband is trying to bluff you out of what's rightfully yours in the SS, child support and insurance. Make sure you talk to your lawyer about him paying for school if the state doesn't have a DHM program or if you just want to make him pay

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Old 10/09/09, 06:57 PM
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Location: Ohio
Posts: 2,637

I don't have any legal advice, but I truly feel for you and will pray for you.


Only by His merciful grace,

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Old 10/09/09, 07:20 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posts: 4,765

Hugs and Prayers, I am so sorry you are going through this. I second Rose, stop talking to him and start talking to a lawyer, like someone else said since he wants the divorce make him pay for YOUR lawyer as well as his own. My Grandmother was a sahm and my grandfather left her for a younger woman after 25 years of marriage, he paid her alimony until the day he died, literally, she outlived him by about a year, and that last year after he passed she got his entire SS (his new wife also got the full amount, neither effected the other one), so you aren't totally desolate, you legally own half of *everything* and will most likely get alimony as well. My friend just divorced after 20 years of marriage and she also got half of his pension (military).

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Old 10/09/09, 07:24 PM
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,820

You've been given what I think is very good advice. I just wanted to give you a hug ((((AR Cattails)))). I'm so sorry you are going through this, and I hope you find the strength to stand your ground and do what you need to do to come out standing on the "other side." Please take care.

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Old 10/09/09, 07:44 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 317

#1 -- Go see the lawyer. If you don't like him or her, find another. It's important that you "click" with your lawyer, because he or she is going to be the most important person in your life until the divorce is final.
#2 -- Stop listening to your husband. I'd bet you $1000 bucks that he's been to see a lawyer already. "He wants to keep it peaceful, so he can remember the good times we had." Bull. He wants to keep it peaceful so he can bully you in how you split up your stuff.

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Old 10/09/09, 07:46 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: ND close to the MonDak border
Posts: 453

It happened to me at 44, I was married for 24 years when the divorce was final--yep all my fault, I ruined his life, blah, blah, blah. You will get 1/2 of everything he has by law. Be sure you get spousal support and health insurance. In ND, it is unheard of to get spousal support, but I got it for 3 years, go for more if you can and I found out that if I would have had a clause to have him pay me $1 a month after the time for spousal support was done so I could have reopened the case and I would have gone for medical insurance. SSI helps, but meager living, I did it until I got a small inheritance from my mother which ended my SSI. From the man at the SS office--when you turn 62, bring in your marriage certificate and your divorce decree and you do get half of his SS unless you remarry. I haven't looked any further than that because I have 10 yrs to wait, so I don't know if waiting until I am 65 will make a difference in the amount I will get. I agree with the others, get the best lawyer you can afford--keep your head held high and remember that you held everything together for 25 years, a SAHM is a very important job often not seen as such, but it is very important. You can do this--don't be scared, fear is what might take you down. You don't realize how strong you are and what talents are hidden in you--YOU CAN DO IT!! Don't let the lies he will come up with intimidate you. OH by the way--my ex's divorce to the second wife is final today--hmm he left for the love of his life, the only woman in the world that understood him--okkk the woman that drilled holes in the hood of his car and smashed his windshield when he hid in the mens room in a convience store while the store clerk called the police? Or the love of his life who tried to burn down his mobile home and had 2 loaded guns waiting for him when he came home mmm, the love of his life who had to put in the psych ward time after time and rehab while she went back to her first husband that she married and divorce twice. She waited until she hit the 10 yr mark, he filed, but she is cleaning house on him. Poetic justice. Hold that head up!! oh and my ex has come to family meals and to my house-because we have children together and he puts them in a bad situation--I won't make my children chose between him and I, its not fair to them, so even if he has a new girlfriend, they can come to my home and my family's homes for hollidays and birthdays.


Last edited by Carolyn; 10/09/09 at 07:49 PM. Reason: clarifying ex
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Old 10/09/09, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 280

in Ohio, the income that you have made during marriage is split half and half.

and as far as I know, any loans or credit cards are in the holders name. If you cosigned, you are both liable.

Good luck to you, and I hope you figure out a safe, decent solution


Practice makes... well, better.
Gardening, seed saving, sewing, cooking, raising Cal x NZW rabbits, RIR chickens, thrift store shopping

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Old 10/09/09, 08:07 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 257

Boy, I Got Fired Up Tonight When I Read Your Message. Been There, Done It.
Rule #1 Don't Beg Him To Come Back, Don't Try To Bargain,don't Tell Him You Still Love Him, Don't Ask Him If He Still Loves You, Don't Call Him. Don't Beg Him For Anything. It Might Seem To Be The Thing To Do Right Now, But Looking Back 10 Or 15 Years Later, You Will Realize How Needy And Desperate You Sounded. Don't Be Wimpy! (this Is One Of My Biggest Regrets) Call Your Local Woman's Shelter And Ask Them If They Can Recommend A Lawyer. Be Sure You Have The Right One For The Job, Get One Who Specializes In Family Law.
By The Way, After All My Carnage Was Over, I Met A Real Nice Guy.

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Old 10/09/09, 08:14 PM
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Location: N. E. TX
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Cattails, I'm so sorry. Prayers & good thoughts.
Listen to the great advice here.
Many of us have been there too. I went to college & got RN degree after divorcing. Was HARD! We'll be here for support.


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Old 10/09/09, 08:27 PM
AR Cattails's Avatar  
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: NE Arkansas
Posts: 5,211

Thank you to everyone. I've seen wonderful answers to the questions I've been having. It's very reassuring and I'll take it all with me to discuss with this lawyer Monday morning. I hope he is a good lawyer. He works just about every type of case from divorce to bankruptcy to criminal law to SS to family law. I think he might be the lawyer my husband and I went to a few years ago to give me power of attorney over him because he was always gone on the road so much and wasn't around if something needed to be signed.

The 401K is just in his name as it goes through his work. I don't remember ever signing anything to do with that. I don't know how much is in the 401k because I don't have access to it but I don't believe it's too much. I don't believe he was planning on drawing money out of it, just using it for collateral to get the loan. I thought it was a good thing for him to offer to do that because that takes away one of the bills that I was having to pay every month saving me $354 a month. The truck is in my name.

The house and land is ours free and clear but really isn't worth anything. The house was never kept up. We either never had the money for the repairs and/or he was never around to fix anything. So everything just kept getting worse and the house started literally falling apart. Of course he always blamed me for that and in the last couple of years started not even trying to pretend like he wanted to fix anything. He just told me to fix it and I have no skill for that. The land is half wooded and half open and lots of big rocks in it. Along the length of our land is a row of those big power lines. There is no fences and it's a big mess but that could be fixed with money and over time. He's been trying to get me to sell it for whatever I can get out of it and move from it. I am living away from it right now, at his insistence after he left me, because it is in such bad shape but I can't afford the rent at this apartment and will go ahead and move back into it pretty soon. Maybe I can eventually buy a cheap, used mobile home and park it there and finally become a real homesteader instead of always waiting for him to join me.

No I have no job, no skills, my children are both grown and my oldest and I live together in the apartment at present. There is no stockpile of food, barely enough to get by from one week to another. I will discuss with the lawyer about getting my husband to pay for the divorce since he is the one that wanted it.

I had contacted legal aid services and they couldn't help me. I asked them if they could refer me to someone because I knew nothing about the attorneys in the phone book. But the lady told me she couldn't give me a referral.

The SS thing worries me the most since that's the only thing I can fall back on to get me through my old age. I will get nothing based on my own record because I hadn't earned enough credits up until the time I became a sahm. I think some of you think I will be elegible for half his SS even if he remarries so that comforts me. I will make it a point to ask the lawyer about this.

Thanks Beaglebiz for your list of employment suggestions. There were some good ones in the list. I live in a small town and have looked just about everywhere but will look more. I don't have any special skills but liked the idea of making the fudge and cookies. I'll look into that.

Fae, I agree that I have to stop being so sentimental. I'm almost positive that he is counting on the fact that I still love him and will give into everything he wants. When we talked yesterday and he threw in that comment about how he hopes we can do this friendly so he can keep the good memories of our marriage I wanted to throw up. That's when I knew that I had to grow a backbone and fight because he was just looking out for himself.

Farmmom, I don't know about a restraining order but I will talk to my lawyer about it. Since he told me that, I have been looking over my shoulder a lot. I'd never dream that he could ever think of doing that to me but he opened my eyes. This past Christmas he also threatened to kill my nephew who was 19 and had made a smart remark to him. Before then and now what he said to me, I never saw that side of him in all our 25 years together.

I just checked and see so many other great responses and great advice since I started answering this thread. I thank you all for your experience, advice, support and prayers.

I did do a lot of begging him to come back to me, almost daily, for about the first month until he just insisted I stop. I did but texted him after that usually about money issues. I will not take any calls from him this weekend (not that I expect him to call) until I check with my lawyer to see what he says about that.

Oh, and seedspreader, I really did try to talk him into talking about it, to see if we can work it out. I wanted so bad to talk to him, to defend myself against all the charges he made against me. But he would have none of it. He just called one day and said he wasn't coming home to me anymore and over the next few days started accusing me of things, saying it was all my fault and I couldn't get a word in edgewise. I never got to talk to him about it. It just doesn't seem right. I don't think it'll ever feel complete and done with because I never got my chance to reply back to him, to talk to him.

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Old 10/09/09, 08:30 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 257

I Hope I Did Not Sound Too Bossy In My Last Post. I Didn't Mean To. It's Just That When You Beg, It Makes -them- Feel Like -they- Are In Control. There Is No Reason To Stroke His Ego. If There Is Another Woman, There Is No Reason To Stroke -their- Ego. If This Was Premeditated, He Has A Jump On You Already, So You Need To Move Carefully.
I Really Feel For You. I Have Been There. I Did Not See Mine Coming. I Thought It Was The End Of The World, But Instead It Was A Wonderful New Beginning. I Know That May Sound Like Bull, But Have Faith. Things Will Get Better. It Takes Awhile.

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Old 10/09/09, 08:33 PM
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,267

Get your own bank accounts and close credit cards! Pull whatever cash you have in any accounts that you can. See the lawyer and a few more! He has probably been stringing you along telling you one thing and doing another. He probably has had a lawyer for awhile now. Don't believe anythinng he says. Let your lawyer be your message taker.
And most of all; remember you are a beautiful person and no one can take that away! Things will work out; so don't give up. Be strong; even if you have to pretend to be strong. There will be plenty of time for tears, but time will heal all wounds. Big hug for you and will keep you in my prayers.


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Once a Marine; always a Marine

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Old 10/09/09, 08:39 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: NE Arkansas
Posts: 5,211

No problem Budsmom. You are right. I did do a lot of begging in the beginning. He was crying a lot back then at the beginning. I think he felt guilty over what he was doing to me because I was hurting like I never knew it was possible to hurt (and still am). I'm not begging any longer. There may be another woman. He told me there wasn't when I asked him about a month ago if that's why he left me. But now I know he's capable of lying to me so who knows. He definitely has a jump on me. I'm sure he's either seen or talked by phone to a lawyer. I didn't understand exactly what he said but I think he said I would be getting something in the mail or someone would be coming down here to give me something. I'm not sure.

I do feel like it is the end of my world. Like I've said somewhere before, I feel like I'm an old lady now who's been thrown away and I'm so alone and so lonely and I'm just to sit here day after day waiting to die. There is no joy in my life anymore at all. I have no friends, he was my everything...my whole world.

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Old 10/09/09, 08:42 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: WI
Posts: 1,910

Stay tough and don't let him walk all over you!
Get what is yours (alimony plus half of everything) and let him walk off alone....

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Old 10/09/09, 08:44 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,905

first, sorry to hear about your situation.

second, talk to the lawyer. state laws vary a great deal. some states it's very fair, other states it's not. anyone's comment here about what you're entitled too is only specific to their state, not to you. hopefully you're i a fair state. however, given that he's called and "made nice" a bit, chances are you live in a state that the laws are equitable. make sure you find out what rights you have to your husbands money now, when you need it for retaining a good lawyer.

third, you mention sahm, but don't mention kids -- are they now living on their own?

fourth, if you don't like the house, and can do better with the money rather than owning the house, you should be able to negotiate that, and take your portion of the value of the house instead. or given the current real estate market, you can negotiate a very low value for the house, and hence get more in cash from the 401k or other assets. depending on your ties to the community, where jobs for you might be, it might be easier to be able to move elsewhere to look for work and not be tied to a house.

from watching my brother go thru a divorce 10 year ago -- it's a marathon, not a sprint. adjust your mental attitude for a long haul. get a lawyer who's a tough negotiator, and let him/her handle that part, and don't let your own positive/negative swings in mood about your marriage derail your lawyers negotiating strategy. at the same time, at certain points you'll have to determine what you want -- lawyers charge by the hour, and if you're indecisive they're happy to stall the process.

you might investigate various support groups for divorcing women. this is one of the most stressfull events you can go thru, and you'll probably do better if you get help from people that understand what you're going thru, and can give you the landmarks you're likely to see.

once again, i'm truly sorry for your situation, and i hope you and your lawyer can find an equitable financial agreement, even tho nothing is likely to balance the emotional impact.


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Old 10/09/09, 08:52 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: N.E. Oklahoma
Posts: 3,528

I would opt for school! What's your passion? Find something you want to do and go for it. At your age in life you would be surprised what is available out there for you.

What a jerkface of a person to do this. But you can overcome this. As for the SS, that is a federal law, if you've been married for 10 years whether he remarries or not, you get a share of his SS.

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