A good cry on the train

Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 07:41 am
Then again, if Joe gets through the grief process more expeditiously by writing out his thoughts and knowing that there are those who hear and understand and care, that's okay too. I haven't picked up on a shred of hatefulness or malicious slander/libel or anything that could remotely be litigious. Any personal impressions of the recently departed have been essentially flattering.

Yes, prudence must always be exercised in what we express of ourselves and about others in public. But if we can't express anything of ourselves, I think the place would shut down.
Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 08:02 am
"...the recently departed..." Laughing

Oops...I wonder if Joe thinks that's as funny as I do.
Joe Nation
Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 07:00 pm
I am thinking about referring to her as my dear departed wife from now on. Heh heh heh.

Emailed the mediator today. Ahem:
" My wife and I recently separated and would like to avail ourselves of your services. How do we get started? Regards,"

I cc'd L.
(that is the oddest looking English sentence.)
No answer yet.

Many thank to Farmerman and Edgar and Foxfyre (told you she was funny) for their two cents. I would just like to emerge from this intact. Cracked but still whole.

Joe(is that the sound of all the king's horses?)Nation
Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 07:28 pm
@Joe Nation,
Joe, what do you intend to achieve from the mediation?
Joe Nation
Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 07:34 pm
Agreements regarding the shares in our co-op apartment and other financial issues regarding a trust, beneficiaries of life insurance policies and some other nits. An uncontested divorce and happiness for all.

Joe(I'll also call for a resolution of the conflicts in the Middle East, but that's iffy.)Nation
Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 07:55 pm
@Joe Nation,
I'm sorry. That was probably awfully blunt and sticky-beaky. I hope you realise that wasn't where I was coming from.
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Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 08:00 pm
@Joe Nation,
I wish we'd done that, mediation. We wanted to avoid sturm und drang and did, and may have come out the same way with mediation, but it seems an interesting move to me. I don't think I knew mediation existed (doh) when we were going through the process.
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Reply Tue 2 Sep, 2008 08:18 pm
@Joe Nation,

As Noddy would say, "Hold your dominion."

(And your nose, your wallet and your temper.)
Joe Nation
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 07:26 pm
I have a tasks list on my Treo.
One of the tasks is Study Divorce.
So today I bought Divorce for Dummies to use as a primer. I am also needling friends and relatives to provide names and contact information regarding a good divorce attorney. L wants to go to a mediator first. http://www.nyfamilymediation.com/

I emailed them yesterday and, so far, have heard nothing. The thing is, I am not the most powerful negotiatior in the world, that would be L. She knows, always, what she wants and she almost always gets it or makes who ever prevents her from getting it to PAY in some way. (ask me about vacations I did not want to go on.) I have my doubts that these two people can remain constantly neutral during the deliberations, but I intend to, at least, to give them a shot. (and $250 an hour)

Joe(Excuse me, I have to go study)Nation
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 07:34 pm
@Joe Nation,
Joe, may I call ya Joe...

At $250 an hour, you need to know what ya need to know.

(don't ya got an attorney friend you can tolerate, just for a short while?)

Stand your ground and growl...
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cicerone imposter
Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 07:38 pm
@Joe Nation,
Joe(in the midst of an important event)Nation, Good idea to study the issues of a divorce to make sure you are not taken advantage of. Good luck in your studies and mediation (if that happens), but above it all, keep you head high.
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Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 07:45 pm
@Joe Nation,
So now I'm moving away from cheerfully nodding about mediation. I don't think I'd rush into that without a lot of the studying you're doing (now she says, and maybe not ever). Consider non-vile attorneys - but I see you are. I might see one first, for a primer discussion.

Osso(pay no attention I'm no expert, just worried about you giving away the store)buco
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Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 08:51 pm
@Joe Nation,
The thing is, I am not the most powerful negotiatior in the world, that would be L.

Ooh. This worries me. Despite how fair-minded "mediation" may sound, L is setting this up to her advantage. I would be very wary.

You are not obligated to go along with this, you know. If your rights would be better protected by having your own advocate present at all discussions, you have every right to insist on it. And if L doesn't like that, tough.

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Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 08:53 pm
Joe, get your own counsel, Please...
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Reply Wed 3 Sep, 2008 08:56 pm
@Joe Nation,
You don't have to do anything quickly, Joe.

Don't let anyone else set the time frame for when you're ready to do whatever it is you have to do.
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Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 01:56 am
@Joe Nation,
Dear Joe, may I make a suggestion without being too intrusive or presumptuous? Before mediation, divorce, division of the assets: may I suggest some personal counselling for you (meaning you, on your own). To sort out your own understanding & reactions to what has happened. You are moving so fast, Joe, & you may have some regrets about being so hasty, later on ....
Me, when I went through something similar to what you're going through .. well, I went through the whole gamit (!!) of (quite extreme!) reactions to the situation, in quite a short time. Roller coaster.Then I figured I needed some assistance on getting some dispassionate clarity on the situation. (It was driving me nuts, the barrage of emotions! Kept changing all the time.) And that assistance helped. Heaps.
You may end up, down the track, at the point where you are now ... but, believe me, you'll feel a damn sight more at ease with your decision after getting a clearer understanding of what has happened & why.
I just don't want you to have any regrets, later on. Or to find, months or years down the track, that your curent perceptions have changed dramatically.
In the meantime, living a life quite separate from your wife (no chats or phone calls, etc) is probably pretty wise.
Please excuse or ignore this post if you think it's out of line, OK? (I mean well! Smile )
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Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 02:09 am
@Joe Nation,
Hey Joe (do what you think is best) Nation..

cr*p... wish PM's were back....

Ex-hub and I went through mediation - it was much better than lawyers (apologies to our resident lawyers) - though we both have a lawyer (legal must with kids involved).

Our divorce had other issues... including decisions about our eldest child who is disabled and in care, and our other child, plus a large house, grounds, cars, pensions (all his) and various other cr*p. We were advised that going thru mediation would be a better option than lawyers - UNLESS we couldn't agree. The mediators do NOT take sides. They are IMPARTIAL. The only time they "sided" with me was when ex starting raising his voice and flinging his arms around - they asked him to leave to calm down and be less aggressive - a couple of times actually. We had 5 sessions - due to the child difficulties... (very, very complicated)..... THEN... they sent us the agreements to sign to put thru the courts (legal obligation here for Child Protection issues). At times it was difficult.... but even with the mediators.... there were some things ex and I thought... "nah...." we're not going to do that".... so... we got a chocolate cake, 2 cups of tea, sat at the old and long gone kitchen table, in the old and long house on the hill, altered a few things... went to our prospective lawyers and said "this is what we have agreed, we will not deviate from it" (lawyers where both pushing us in opposite directions and wishing to ring up the tab).... and.... now the papers are with the lawyers/courts. Shortly to be divorced but NOT £20K down each in lawyers fees.

If you don't like mediators...you can request others, if you don't like them, there is no obligation. A court (here) looks favourably on mediation - saves a lot of money and court time.... and actually angst.

Ex and I did NOT agree on everything.... we both wrote down everything we could think of on lists..... put the lists together.... negotiated 16 years of marriage....(ugh) - but it was compromise all round. I got "house" money..... so called "instant income" (so settlement made in a new little property as I am the primary caretaker and dont have earning potential due to illhealth. He's the high flyer earning the big bucks, he has "future income" and kept pensions, stocks, shares blah blah blah.

Now... we are about to be divorced (formality) - lawyers did what they were "told" (apologies again to legal beagles), and ......... we start again in separate lives (this has taken 2.5 years - and we are friends). If you want it done quick and expensive, lawyer up.... I'd recommend time to get your head around everything.... protect what you need to right now e.g. savings/bank accounts etc.... then deep breaths - maybe it's done different in the US, I dunno.

Would recommend giving mediation a shot...really - if you don't like - don't do it. Mediators are not interested in how the break up came apart, mediation = no responsibility for break up - it cannot be discussed - .... just a fair resolution to ensure both parties can live without having to "do each other over" and both are "able" to live equally (if not children are involved) - they should be impartial, they should get the best deal for BOTH parties. Primarily mediators are concerned with the rights of children... if this applicable - they legally have to ensure the children from any marriage will be taken care of. If you felt as tho you were being given a raw deal .... then you reserve the right to just walk away... but you lose a packet in legal expenses. They will also advise you to change your "will" accordingly, if you felt the need to do that (yep).

(In saying all that... the UK and US may be completely different).

It can work, it does work... it's better than fighting when you have had all the defences knocked out of you and the anger starts to rear it's ugly head. Pain, pain and more pain.

It doesn't have to be painful paperwork... hard enough to deal with everything else.

(Apologies for overstepping here if I have... bring back PM's...)

Good Luck

Iz (chocolate cake is nice)zie
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Joe Nation
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 02:52 am
Wonderful, thoughtful replies from all, thank you so much. Luckily, my son is 36 years old and living in Dallas. All of this will be about the division of twenty years of living.
Hm. I guess I could take longer than two breaths to accomplish this complex task. SO, I am definately sloooowing it down. Going to go see a couple of lawyers. Going to try the mediators, but now I think we need to wait awhile before moving forward (mostly so I can make a complete list of everything I can possibly think of. (alimony from her for a year or two??)

Izzie: My very best to you and your family. May your future be full of love and sweet sweet happiness.

Joe(this is just like having a hundred really nice sisters and brothers.)Nation
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 04:27 am
@Joe Nation,
Make a list. And check it twice.

Sorry to be flip about that.

Seriously, though, sit down with paper and in fact walk around your place with a pad and a pen and take notes as you walk. As in, I need to keep the fridge, I want to keep the dresser, I need $X for whatever, etc.

List everything you can think of, and go over the list a few times. I suggest the walking around bit because I think it helps to look in the kitchen (I want to keep the cookware), the bedroom (she can have that lamp) etc. Plus you might realize that she (accidentally, I trust) may have taken some things that are yours.

Once you're list is ready and perhaps even while you're making it, divvy it up in the following ways:
  1. things that are yours and yours alone, e. g. your clothes and other purely personal items, plus things you brought into the marriage and things you received as gifts, even from her.
  2. these are items that are L's and L's alone that she might have forgotten. This includes gifts you gave her. Gifts are, after all, gifts.
  3. junk that no one cares about, or should care about. List it because maybe she does want it but this is essentially stuff you can jettison without another thought. She may feel the same. That's stuff for Goodwill.
  4. out of the remainder, stuff that you really need (fridge, etc.).
  5. out of the remainder, stuff that you really want but isn't a need
  6. the remainder, if anything is left.

#1 are yours. Do not negotiate them away under any circumstances.
#2 are hers. Give of them freely if you wish. If you want to be a hard case, hold them back, but I personally think that engenders bad feelings. Give her her earrings back or whatever she may have forgotten when she left.
#3 are to be offered, but chances are that they'll just be sent to Goodwill.
#4 hold your ground on these, or get fair market value for them if you can. This is where people divide up houses, cars and condo deeds.
#5 hold your ground on these but be willing to compromise if there are any items that can be replaced. The Mets season tickets can be replaced, albeit expensively. The one-of-a-kind bowl from a trip to China cannot. If you really want the bowl, go to the mat for it. Otherwise, see if you can get fair market value.
#6 offer these.

When I say offer, I mean, do it piecemeal. Don't offer the entire kitchen's worth of stuff. Start small. Offer the glassware. Then offer the cookware or whatever. Work your way up so that your bigger bargaining chips remain with you as long as possible. Offer #2 items first, then #3, then #6, then #4, then #5. Don't offer #1 items at all.

Me -- because I really respond to list-making -- I would go over my #4 and #5 lists a few times because those are where the disagreements will be. Plus I'd be seeing if there was anything I could take out of those areas and put into any of the other four.

Then I would go to a mediator or a lawyer, I'd lay out my lists on the table and say, "Here is a list of the assets from my marriage, in order of whether I wish to keep them." And I'd go from there. I do advise getting a lawyer but not everyone does. If it is amicable, there are no kids (already established) and there are no major disagreements or monetary inequalities, a mediator can be fine. Otherwise, though, I'd recommend getting the advice of counsel.

Note: this is advice as a friend and not as a lawyer (I never did domestic relations work). Others with more experience will undoubtedly have their own ideas.
Reply Thu 4 Sep, 2008 08:30 am
Great advice is given here already! In addition to jespah's list I would include things that she has taken already (if you can remember) . Has she taken all of them with your consent?

Aside from personal property, you seem to own your co-op together(?) or
perhaps other properties, joint bank accounts, savings, pension plans
etc. etc. For all these financial assets I definitely would consult with a lawyer
prior to mediation. These are usually major financial decisions that will
affect the rest of your life, and Id' rather spend an extra $$ for attorney fees
then getting the short end of the stick.

Considering the real estate crisis, it would be wise to have a buy-out agreement instead of selling properties, should there be any.


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