My wife moved out this weekend

Well, she’s gone - sort of.

A plea for hope
Lost Hope
False Hope

Saturday she rented a truck and me (her legal husband) and her boyfriend loaded it twice and hauled a bunch of stuff to her new apartment. There’s still lots of stuff left in the house with her name on it.

Boyfriend? Yup - my diametric opposite, little when I’m big, 8 yrs younger while I’m 7 years older, country when I’m urban. She’s been seeing him for three or four weeks, they use the word “love” with each other. He’s, basically, living with her now, sleeping over the two nights it took us to move and now the three nights she’s been living in the new place. I alternate between thinking he’s using her for free room and board and thinking he genuinely cares for her.

The kids went with her. There was two choices in the break-up as I saw it. 50/50 custody, with her receiving 50% child support or 100/0 custody with her getting 100% child-support. The idea of the kids living with me 100% was denounced thoroughly by her. Sometimes I think all the I’ll-never-give-up-my-kids attitude just face-saving, trying to avoid looking like a poor parent.

If we went 50/50 on custody, she’d have to require alimony ('scuse me, “spousal maintenance”) beyond the mandated child-support since her initial job’s pay isn’t sufficient. Giving her 100% “residency” allows her more child support to live on and lets me get a smaller place to afford that additional payment to her.

Confused? Sorry. Just trust that it’s pretty much necessary at first for her to have the kids 100% of the time from a dollar point of view (or give the kids up to me which she refuses to even consider).

In a couple months, her new boss has promised her another $4 per hour, allowing her to accept less help and allow me to get a larger place to have the kids 50% of the time. My goal for this is roughly six months to pull it together.

This is all supposed to be laid out in our divorce agreement, that custody is 100/0% at first with a goal to 50/50%.

Well, that sucks great big vacuum balls. Nothing to say here, really. Just hang in there. Feel free to dump when you need it.

Hmm. Pressed “Submit” too early.

Well - to sum up, I move this weekend to my own 1-bedroom place. We’re going to have to stiff my landlord for the January rent. I hate to do that but there’s really no choice. I’ll just have to forfet my deposit. I’ll try to make it right when the tax return comes in.

I’m paying her first month’s rent on the new place, as well as mine, of course. This is in addition to her normal “allowance” of nearly $1500 per month. Starting Feb, though, she’s on her own. I’ll pay her the court mandated child support amount and she’ll have to live on it with her own income.

I’ve got an excel spreadsheet that suggests that I’ll be financially OK, skin of the teeth OK, but OK. Not much left in the kitty mid Jan after paying two bills.

The house is eerily quiet at the end of the day now.

  1. Can you get joint custody, with her having daily care and control and you having access?

  2. Are there any differences in the tax implications depending on whether what you pay is for child support or is for spousal support?

  3. Do you have a good family lawyer to protect your interests?

Colorado law makes a distinction between residency and custody. One is where the kids live, the other is who can make decisions. The current plan is for her to have residency (allowing me a smaller/cheaper apartment) and for her to have residency. The plan is supposed to include that we’ll have 50/50 residency by the end of summer. Meanwhile I’m supposed to get liberal visitation.

Unfortunately, child-support cannot be deducted from my earnings. Spousal support can be, but not child support. So, no, there’s no tax implications other than I pay taxes on a bunch of income that I don’t get to use.

No lawyers yet - I’ve called a few for advice but we’re trying to do this ourselves, keeping friendly. So far, actually, it’s shaping up nicely as something we’re going to get through. There’s a lot of calls for blood from both side’s families. We seem to be the only ones not trying to screw the other royally.

My point to her is that she wanted out of the marriage and she should accept the results, which means no alimony. The kids, however, are joint responsiblitiy and I"ll pay every penny of what the state formula says I should.

Duh! this should be "she has residency and I have liberal visitation.

I should learn to preview.

You’re doing well.

My advise to you is to choose your battles wisely. Give in on all of the stupid little things that don’t matter much in the long term. This psychological strategy will help you to win the more important big battles to come.

Sorry to hear your news. I hope it all works out for you.

That makes sense to me. I’ve never understood the concept of alimony for a healthy, able-bodied person. Child support, yeah, alimony, not so much. Especially if you are aiming for a 50/50 arrangement with the kids.

Best wishes for you, Belrix. In some ways I’m sure you’ll start to feel better soon, just from finally having a decision made.

(But please, go see a lawyer for yourself. It’s better to have one and not need it than need one and not have it.)

I think it’s nice that you’re trying to work it out all friendly-like, but I would still advise you to talk to a lawyer. I don’t know the law in CO (never having lived there or practiced there), but in many jurisdictions, once custody is initially determined, if the parties cannot agree to a change in custody, it will only be changed if you, the petitioner (person asking that custody be changed) can demonstrate a “substantial change in circumstances” warranting the change. The same goes for changing (reducing) your child support obligation. “Substantial change in circumstances” is the specific applicable standard, which is why it’s in quotes, and you can find out more about it by Googling it. (Google it and Colorado and you’ll probably see if that’s the standard where you live.)

Under this standard, the original agreed-upon custody arrangments will be the default arrangements going forward. Make sure you are willing to live with them, because they may not be as easy to change as you think they will be, if your currently friendly relationship with your soon-to-be ex deteriorates. Just a word of warning.

Good luck with all of this. Next year at this time may it all seem a distant memory and you in a much happier, contented place and may your kids never pick up on any of the ill feelings.

I have checked with a lawyer, I’m a member of a pre-paid legal service that can answer all sorts of questions like this. It’s the lawyers opinion that if we note in the initial agreement that this custody arrangement is a temporary arrangment subject to change in the future, that we’ll be OK in changing the custody later.

The formula for child-support includes a overnights-per-year adjustment that should be able to change the dollars paid to her based on the changed custody arrangement.

That said, I realized the enormous power I gave her when I verbally agreed to allowing her 100% custody. (An article I read recently said that three-quarters of divorced men surveyed said their ex-wife interfered with their visitation, 40% of mothers admitted they had done so and they had generally acted out of spite or to punish the fathers.) So, as of yesterday, we’ve changed the verbal agreement so that during this transition period, I still have the kids every other weekend at my apartment. I’ll, of course, write this into the separation paperwork. I’ll have to squeeze the kids into my apartment, it’s a one-bedroom, but I’ll get a pop-out couch to help out. It’s only two nights out of fourteen as I see it. Kids are resilient.

Googling “substantial change in circumstances” for Colorado shows that this state does use this standard. There’s few state-specific details other than a general notation that says when the custodial parent is petitioning for an increase, it’s often granted and when the non-custodial parent is the petitioner, asking for a reduction, it’s often declined.

Another Colorado lawyer’s website says that courts generally honor the agreements that divorcing couples agree to themselves. Perhaps, then, simply writing a clause to the temporary nature of our agreement will be sufficient.

I’m no fan of divorce but my first reaction when I saw the thread’s title was a heartfelt “oh, good!”

I truly hope it’s for the best.

I know this is something you probably know already, but better speak too much than too little (as my mother says whenever she informs us of something like “you have to add salt to the pasta, you know”). Feel free to throw a law book or two at me, please aim to miss… In that clause about the custody arrangements, make sure to put specific dates and specific changes. Make everything as specific as possible.

Best wishes for you and all your family.

Bitter experience tells me to advise you to retain the services of a rabid believer in husband’s rights attorney and the sooner, the better. Whatever you want, need, or expect in a divorce settlement now and forever had best be cast in stone before the ball opens. There is no such thing as a friendly divorce when children, child support, and spousal maintenance are at stake.

The person with the lawyer first, wins.

The person with the kids first, wins.

There is a difference between reserving a right to re-open custody, and actually having a chance once it is reopened. Have you discussed with your lawyer (who I hope has strong experience in family law) how you will deal with the “status quo / primary caregiver knows best” argument that your ex would raise if and when you re-open custody?

I just wanted to wish you best of luck, Belrix.

I wish you the best of luck, and I’m going to second getting an attorney - even if you just keep him around on retainer, it’s better to have a strong family-court lawyer, hopefully one that knows about fathers’ rights, on hand. I know it’s expensive but it’ll keep you from getting screwed because you have a penis. If you value your children, please, get a lawyer.

My father and my boyfriend have both been screwed over more than I can believe by the family courts here. Both have been denied visitation for really no reason, and pay an assload of child support and never get to see their kids. I really don’t want that to happen to you. I understand that you’re trying to be civil, and that’s good, believe me - but just in case. You know?

At the very least, shop around. Good luck, man.


Yes, best of luck to you on making it all work out Belrix. I know it’s been tough for you but it’ll get better.

Please get yourself a lawyer. Even when it’s all amicable and you’re both in agreement on things it’s a good idea to have a lawyer on your side to check things out. It’ll be worth the money. [sub](I’ve been divorced twice so I have a some experience with these things) [/sub]