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    Hadit's Avatar
    Hadit Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Oct 21, 2008, 11:56 AM
    Divorce (long term marriage)-California
    I have been married to my husband for almost 26 years. He had an affair, a child by another woman (which the two of them kept secret from me for 10 years), and after 8 years of trying to deal with all of the pain, mistrust, etc, I have decided to stop spinning my wheels. I am nervous about starting proceedings and could use some advice, encouragement, etc. HAS ANYONE OUT THERE DISSOLVED A LONG TERM MARRIAGE IN CALIFORNIA, that could give me some information? Here is a run-down. We still have 2 children at home, an 18 year old, and a 16 year old. I have been the primary caregiver of the children, and homemaker for our entire marriage. I have worked part time most of the marriage also, to supplement my husband's income, and now I know to supplement child support that he was paying without my knowledge. My husband in the meantime worked on his career and earned a bachelor's and a master's degree. I have a little bit of college. He has about 5-6 times the earning capacity that I do.
    CAN ANYONE TELL ME IF I DO PURSUE A LEGEAL SEPARATION OR DIVORCE, WHAT TO EXPECT?? I have finally faced the fact that he manipulates me, after being told, ironically, by our older children. I don't want to give him a chance to manipulate me and not get everything I deserve from this marriage. I think, from what I have read, I could get up to half his income for at least half the length of the marriage and possibly, for the rest of my life. I also believe that I am entitled to half his retirement. I also think that he could be forced to keep the current life insurance policies he has, with me as the beneficiary.
    I know it sounds like a lot, but in the state of California, the spouse is expected to be able to maintain the same lifestyle established in the marriage. I just don't want to start things, and have him start making changes to hurt me, without knowing where I stand. He has built a great career while I did not, because the home and family were my primary focus. He also traveled a lot with his job, so I had to take up the slack at home. I don't want to feel stuck in this marriage, but I don't want to be left destitute, etither.
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,700, Reputation: 1438
    Internet Research Expert

    Oct 21, 2008, 02:12 PM

    Do you have a lawyer ? Because none of this I would do without one. One of the biggest decisions your going to have to make is over what's what and who's is who. Another thing you need to keep in mind is.. is it worth it ? For some things the value may be low and the emotional value may be high. Then your looking at.. is it worth it. Asking for too much can end up against you so be very careful with that and try not to be vendictive.
    Hadit's Avatar
    Hadit Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Oct 21, 2008, 04:23 PM
    Not trying to be vindictive at all. This all actually makes me very sad. But, I have always allowed my husband to make all the major decisions, because I trusted him completely. And now that I realize he has learned to manipulate me into doing things his way, I just want to be very careful. I have not gotten a lawyer because I am just trying to get as much info up front, so that I can spend as little money as possible on attorneys fees. I got married when I was 19, and so being on my own is rather scary. I have come to realize that I do deserve to be compensated for my part in the marriage. I never really wanted a career, because I thought that my husband and I had really figured out how to do the marriage/family thing right, so that didn't matter to me. I am just trying to be realistic with myself now. It has been 9 years of sticking it out. Neither of us is happy, and I don't think we ever will be. How many years do you let go by before you have to see it for what it is. Our marriage is not terrible. There are some good times, mostly good times. But there are deep, underlying issues that I don't think will ever be fixed. Having these issues between us keeps us from being close. I honestly, don't think I am ever going to be able to trust him again. There is more to it than what I have said here, but I am trying to keep it as short as possible. I have been hurt so many times in so many ways that I just don't think I will ever be able to have the relationship I want with him and going through the same stuff over and over is making me a wreck. I went to the doctor today and had high blood pressure for the first time ever. My blood pressure has always been on the low end of normal. I know that it is due to my constant worry and unhappiness over the reality of this situation. If I do get a lawyer, my husband will know about the money which will alert him to what I am doing. I am afraid he will start changing records, hiding things, etc. As I said, I am just trying to think about myself for once. A lot of reason for sticking this out so far is because of the kids, but they have let me know that they think I deserve better. Again, I appreciate any info anyone can give me so that I can have a plan in place before I make a move.
    cdad's Avatar
    cdad Posts: 12,700, Reputation: 1438
    Internet Research Expert

    Oct 21, 2008, 04:42 PM

    For one thing you might be able to get a lawyer and he might have to pay for it. To find a lawyer you can check with the local bar assc. You might even see if they have one for a conciltation fee that you can speak with ( like 20 or 50 dollars )for about 1 hour. Usually when 2 people divorce things are said or exaggerated so be prepared for that. Its no uncommon for lawyers to get their clients to lie if it helps their case. Maybe too you can seek some counciling for yourself.
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,301, Reputation: 7692

    Oct 21, 2008, 04:46 PM

    Without an attorney you have little chance of getting what you should be getting, I do not believe you will be getting all you have listed, but you should be able to get a fair amount.

    The issue is, that it may take months or years for this to get though court and before he starts paying you anything, so you will have to have a way to pay for things first, You may get an emergany child support order for the one child under 18 right away but the rest may be fought in court for a long time.
    seashell99's Avatar
    seashell99 Posts: 42, Reputation: 4
    Junior Member

    Oct 30, 2008, 03:09 PM
    Oh man do I feel for you! I ended a 22 year marriage In California let's just say, it is supposedly the 50/50 state... not even close baby... I took about 20% of our community property when I left (in my crisis move) I trusted the courts and everyone I talked with and THOUGHT that it would work itself out to be equalled... nothing so far from the truth. I got $30,000 for our home (which I put $11,000 of MY retirement down) and that was it...

    So my personal advice... 1) plan and save (hide) your money as much as you can... get a checking or savings account in your name only. 2) get a place to stay that has at least two bedrooms, for your 16 and/or 18 year old --- you don't want to be accused of abandoning them 3) get an attorney that you TRUST and expect to pay about $2500 up front for a retainer. 4) make sure you have some really good support by either family and/or friends. This is not an easy process and it will take some time for things to be settled.

    Yes, you are entitled to 1/2 of everything, including his retirement, but that doesn't mean you'll get it! ALWAYS keep that in mind. You should get spousal support until you either remarry or live with someone who supports more than 50% of your living expenses. Also, don't be mislead about your standard of living not changing... it will no matter what. Be prepared for some big, big changes in your life.

    I'm on my third year of court proceedings and have well over $12,000 and we are STILL not done. I've gone through two attorney's and the last $1200 I just gave them (which was a credit card advance) is the last I'll pay. I told them I will have to do it myself if they can't finish it up for that amount. This has been the wildest ride of my life.

    Good luck to you!
    cadillac59's Avatar
    cadillac59 Posts: 1,326, Reputation: 94
    Ultra Member

    Oct 31, 2008, 09:40 PM

    I'm an attorney in California and a Certified Family Law Specialist. I devote 100% of my practice to family law.

    What you need is a consultation with a family law attorney. Spend the $150 ot whatever it costs and have all your questions answered in detail. Some of what you said was simply NOT true (you mentioned the "half-the-length-of-the-marriage rule re: spousal support which doesn't apply in your case since yours is a long-term marriage; you mentioned being entitled to lifetime spousal support which is NOT the policy of the law in California- reasonable support to enable you to become self-supporting is). So, don't be penny wise and pound foolish. Get some good advice. I could spend an hour with you and explain everything and answer all your questions but it is too much to do here and you simply did not provide sufficient details to do any more than generalize.
    cadillac59's Avatar
    cadillac59 Posts: 1,326, Reputation: 94
    Ultra Member

    Oct 31, 2008, 09:57 PM

    One other thing I wanted to add: family law in California is EXTREMELY complicated, more so than probably any other area of law. Not only that, it is a very broad area of law and changes all the time. All the more reason to consult with a qualified attorney. I'd recommend you find one who is a Certified Family Law Specialist because in my experience the specialists know the field the best. And as a specialist myself, I can say it's even hard for us much of the time. And if it's hard for us, what sort of advice do you think you're going to get from a non-lawyer friend or from your hairdresser?

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