Crossroads, Committment and Security

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by noone, Mar 15, 2005.

  1. noone

    noone New Member

    Feb 24, 2005
    I don't know what to do. To make a long story short, I have to go BK, due to some problems my spouse created. This is NOT a regular consumer BK, but a Chapter 12. It is similar to what a business would do, only tailored to the income schedule of a farm. In the end, all the debts will be paid, the remaining debt reorganized and hopefully a viable farm will remain. Please understand that the usual credit card type of debt is not an issue's very different.

    My spouse created this problem by lying to me about finances, a lack of planning and a great lack of following through on any plan that he ever agreed too. He's kind of passive/agressive about things like that...he'll agree to something he doesn't want to do, then not do it. No matter how I approach him, he will tell me what he thinks I want to hear. I don't think he is capable of being honest about his own wants/needs.

    For the BK to work, there has to be a plan, approved by the creditors and the court. The plan can be changed as circumstances warrant, but it has to make sense and result in creditors getting paid. It will take 3-5 years to accomplish this.

    My dilemma is that I don't have a lot of faith that my spouse will follow through on the plan, and the results are that the BK would be dismissed. If the BK is dismissed, the creditors are turned loose to do what they will. They will sell off what they want, take what they want, etc. We would lose it all.

    The other dilemma is deciding what plan to go with in the first place. There are several options, based on what we own. I keep trying to determin what my priorities ought to be, but it's hard to decide. My priorities could be "set up for old age security", "ensure my and my kids (two at home, youngest is 11) security", "keep farming". None of these are really compatible with each other in terms of what is to be done. In any case, the debts will get paid in full so no one is going to lose any money.

    One option is to end up with a farm, almost paid for, with no further debt. The downside to this is that this farm is NOT mine and I do not have an interest in it. It is my spouse's separate property. I do not have rights if inheritance of this property. I would have somewhere to live, somewhere to farm, life would be financially secure...until he dies. At that point, I know his family would do whatever they had to in order to kick me out. I'd end up with nothing, after working on that land for years. This option is best for my spouse. He is older than me and it would ensure he had an income in his old age and somewhere to live, whether I am still around or not.

    Another option is to keep the farm I do have an interest in. We would have significantly more debt as far as a mortgage, but no other. The farm would work, paying for itself, if all goes well. It would probably not get paid off within either of our lifetimes. The disadvantages here are that it is much more risky as this farm depends on livestock for income as opposed to crops. Livestock is always more risky. If it fails, we would have nowhere to live and nowhere to go. We would truly have to start over. The advantage is that I would be working on something that is mine and when I'm old, if I want to sell out and move to the city or something, I could. I would not be surrounded by his somewhat hostile family members. This could work, but it will take some ruthless action of making the place make money, something my spouse is not very good at. I can do it, if he'd just stay out of my way. I'd have to find a legal means to make him do so. Part of the reason why we are broke is that he has no business sense. We spent the last 3 years feeding cows that haven't calved in years, then die in the pasture over winter. He won't sell them. For this to work, that type of mismanagement can't be tolerated. He also likes new green things and that would be out. No more buying equipment on a whim, no more buying anything on a whim just because he thinks it makes him look good. I think he might have learned this lesson at least.

    The last option I have is to walk away. Just leave the whole situation, get a job, find a house somewhere and continue with my life. There would be no farming in this scenario. Just a regular life with a regular job. I'd still have to go BK, but I wouldn't have to worry about what the plan is, dragging him through the whole ordeal and just the stress of the whole thing. I do have money set aside that I could use to set myself up (yes he knows I have this money, I have never lied about it and it is legally untouchable in a BK). If the BK is dismissed, it would not matter to me as I would be off living my own life somewhere.

    I guess it is at this point that I must decide exactly what farming means to me. My future security is very much at risk here. If the farm goes well, I can farm as long as I want, sell it and use the proceeds to have a home and retire. If it does not go well, I'll be one of those old ladies working at wal-mart to pay the rent on my run-down apartment. I am in my early 40's, my spouse is in his late 50's.

    It's very scary. The decisions I make now could make or break me, but I'm not the only one I have to rely on and my spouse has proven himself to be pretty unreliable. Despite this, I do NOT want to get a divorce. I don't want to get into all that, but I don't want one. A divorce would not alter the financial situation at all (I did check with an attorney on that one). There would be no property settlement, just a clean break to walk away.

    I feel like sticking with our farm through all this is like jumping off a cliff. I feel like sticking with his farm is cutting my own throat. Yet, walking away from all of it would break my heart....both in terms of the marriage and losing the opportunity to farm. No easy choices.

    No matter what happens, I will lose the house I live in. That is hard too as I thought I would never have to move again. I will go from a nice house to a very small, old house. I'll have to get rid of many things, including antiques from my grandmother, etc.

    This freaking hurts and I wish it would all go away, but it's not going too. Buck up and keep moving.

    Insight would be appreciated.
  2. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 24, 2003
    You have discussed this on the family forum 3 other times....

    The answer is still the same...whatever you are comfortable with..

    This is a situation of addict ( tractors lies) and enabler/victim.

    Your children are the real victims...they have no choice but to suffer thru your choices and/or learn to live in a state of fantasy.

    This is a homesteading website which means we primarily seek to provide for our families thru small scale farming (including butchering) and gardening. Most of us have jobs to pay the bills...most farmers here in Maine have one person in the regular workforce from the family....its just not possible any other way.

    Ask him to go to counseling, to your preacher and discuss this weekly.

    File for legal separation if you dont want to divorce him but want to protect your assets....

    Its a shame what you are going thru but life is a series of choices and you have to live with the choices you being singular or plural.

    If you have to put the pants on for the family and crack a whip to shape things up.....or lose it all including your self-respect and the respect of your children and extended family.

    This is meant to be DIRECT, INformational and MOTIVATIONAL....not rude.

    God helps those who help themselves.

  3. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jun 6, 2004
    Michigan's thumb
    Are you asking for permission to leave this man?

    Okay, leave him. You can show your children how to gracefully get on with your life while still showing respect to their father. Or, you can show them how two people come to resent and hate each other. Many couples go through diffecult financial times, sometimes more than once. It's not the financial bind you are in that I think bothers you the most. It is the lying.

    As for your children's security, they will make their own security. It doesn't matter what size house they grow up in, they need a home where people love and respect each other.
  4. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    I would not farm or enter into any business arrangement with a partner who was bent on running the business into the ground. From what I read, that's what your husband does and will continue to do.

    I certainly wouldn't put any time or money into the farm I had absolutely no stake in. You have to take care of yourself and your children, now and in the future.

    Given the scenario you've laid out, I personally would make a clean break. Get a regular house and a regular job so I could take care of myself. You can always get yourself a couple of acres again a couple of years down the line when all of the financial chaos has been dealt with.
  5. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

    Dec 7, 2002
    Dysfunction Junction
    Yeah, what Jen said! :)

    It's pretty apparent from your post that you no longer trust or respect your husband. (That is not knocking you; perhaps he doesn't deserve it!) But a marriage is almost guaranteed to fail under such circumstances ... might as well bail and start over!

    And who knows? Perhaps a few years down the road, you'll be farming again, under different circumstances ...Life has a way of working out.
  6. Wolf mom

    Wolf mom Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    Appalachian Foothills
    Your letter reminded me of me some time ago. I finally realized I was trying to make fear driven decisions. I ended up being paralized and unable to make a decision. After bottom lining it, I realized personal happiness was my bottom line. If I wasn't content within myself no one (children) or anything would be OK. Try a pro/con list, it sometimes simplifies things. Go for it! I'm amazed how things come to people who open themselves to life. I'm nobody special, I did it and I love my life now.
  7. PonderosaQ

    PonderosaQ Well-Known Member Supporter

    Jan 12, 2004
    SW VA
    If you decide to work out a plan with the court insist that your husband goes to counselling return for your agreeing to the plan. Some personal growth might help him make what he promises actually happen. As most therapists seem to ask "what is stopping him from whatever?" It's a challenge to answer that.Since you don't want a divorce it would help you marriage too.

    Good luck,

  8. Barb

    Barb Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    West River SD
    Why are would you get nothing in terms of the farm when your husband dies if he owns it? Is there a pre-nup agreement? I don't understand that part.
    If this is so ask yourself why you would want to work your behind off for the next 20 or so years and have nothing to show for it in the end?

    They say you are never too old to change. But if he hasn't changed by this time he isn't going to. He's not a kid making mistakes and learning from them. Bad family relations rarely change either.

    Is he willing for you to take over things? Or is he just saying so to appease you? If everything is in his name you may find you are over-ruled on everything behind your back, especially if his family is against you.

    Hard to make decisions when none of them seem to have a happy solution. Do what is best for you and the kids.