...his wife said to him, after 19 years of marriage.

He is in shock and has not slept more than 3 hours a night for the past two weeks. 

"She's gonna take me for everything that I've got!," he said in a defeated voice.  

 

What Happened

They live in Holmdel with their 3 kids.

He commutes to New York City daily, boarding the ferry at 6 am and getting home at 8 pm. It's a very long day.

He and his wife disagree over many things, but especially money. 

Notwithstanding his six-figure income, living in an upscale community by the Jersey Shore is very expensive. 

Their credit card bills were increasing at an alarming rate.

He feels that she is overspending "like a drunken sailor."

As a result, he recently cancelled most of her credit cards, except for one American Express Green Card, and he put a $1500 spending limit on that card.

 

The Other Woman

One night his wife angrily told him that he has been seen drinking with a woman in the ferry's onboard bar. "You cheater! You Narcissist!" she yelled.

He felt that he had been unfairly attacked. He didn't cheat. He doesn't even know the woman's name. He said that she is just someone who he talks to during the long ferry ride home.

His wife screamed that he is a "hopeless alcoholic" and a "control freak"

He yelled back at her, "...you are a bi-polar, financially irresponsible nut job, just like your wacky mother".

It was a bad night, one of many bad nights that had been becoming more frequent. He slept in the guest room alone. Again.

 

The Last Straw

Over gin and tonics in the ferry's lounge the next evening, he shared his marital problems with the woman, learning for the first time that her name is "Veronica", and that she had recently gone through a divorce. She offered to help.

He and Veronica exchanged cellphone numbers.

He began texting her, and he found that when he texted Veronica about his marital problems she was quick to respond with good advice.

It made him feel better.

 

Until...

One night, his wife saw his texts with Veronica, again accused him of having an affair with her, and stopped speaking to him altogether.  

He tried talking to his wife but all she would do is curse at him for his texting with Veronica.

He tried doing something special by buying his wife a new necklace, but she would not even unwrap the box.

He increased her spending limit on the Am Ex card to $2000, but she just shook her head and laughed.

He tried to convince her to attend marriage counseling with him but that, too, failed.

He really feels that he has given it his all.

 

His Wife Files For Divorce

Yesterday after work, a man approached him as he and Veronica were exiting the ferry and served him with a Summons and Complaint for Divorce. 

He was stunned.

He really feels that he got blindsided by this situation.

He doesn't want to get divorced. He worked very hard to get to his position in life. After all of that, he is afraid that he will be left with no money, no assets, and screwed-up kids.

His goal was to patch things up. He wants to keep his life and the lives of his children intact.

So when he got home, he pleaded with his wife to withdraw the divorce complaint, and he again asked her to please attend marriage counseling with him, for the sake of their children.

She said, "I don't need counseling. If you want counseling, go get counseling. I want a divorce, and I'm gonna take you for everything that you've got!"

 

His Fears

"This is simply not going to work out", he said to himself.

"I can't fix our marriage alone, and my wife has no interest in trying to work things out with me. I think that I'll be better off working on trying to protect myself."

But he is scared.

And he doesn't know what to do or where to turn for good advice.

He has saved quite a bit in a 401(k), an IRA, a pension, and in cash during his 19 years of working in New York, and he doesn't want to lose it all to his wife. Nor does he want to give away all of the stock and RSU's that he has received.

In addition, he is frightened about his future and that of his kids. He's not sure that his wife can handle the kids alone based upon her emotional issues without him being there, and he is considering the possibility of seeking primary custody.

He's facing the thought of being alone again, of being broke, of having to start all over with the dating scene, and being a single father to 3 kids.

He is scared.

 

He Got Help Right Here

Veronica recommended this website to him, and in particular, she told him to start reading the articles

He did.

He learned quite a bit.

About Custody. And Alimony. And Mediation. And Litigation. And a whole lot more.

That information gave him courage, and his new-found courage helped him make better decisions.

He then retained me.

I helped him understand the law and various settlement options that could be pursued to protect his financial interests, and his rights regarding his children.

I also recommended several therapists and financial experts to him.

He hired a therapist and he got a first-rate financial advisor 

The therapist helped him deal with his anxiety. Gradually, his anxiety went away. He was sleeping much better.

The financial advisor helped him get a better grasp on his finances and helped him prepare his Case Information Statement.

He also attended a special custody mediation program at the Court House.

Counsel for the parties exchanged multiple settlement proposals, and both parties with their attorneys present participated in mediation of the economic issues.

 

They Settled

Ultimately, he settled the case in a way that met his needs and the needs of his children.

There was no need for a contested divorce trial. Custody and money was worked out fairly. 

He and his wife had a simple uncontested divorce hearing at the county courthouse in Freehold.

 

His Life Got Back On Track

His wife was not able to "take him for all that he's got." Not even close. It was a fair deal.

Today, he looks like a new man. He is sleeping well. No more dark black circles under his eyes.

He stopped drinking. He looks happy. He tells his friends that "life is good", and that he is feeling better and more confident.   

His relationship with his children has never been better.

He was surprised to find that he is not lonely. Rather, he's enjoying his freedom. He's dating.

He's able to afford to do what's important to him.

 

How You, Too, Can Get Help Here

The first step is to get your questions answered. There are three ways to do that here.

First, read my article called, "Introduction to the Monmouth County Divorce Process." 

Second, I offer you 84 more useful articles. Flip through the list and read those articles that interest you. They are all brief, easy to understand, and to the point.

Third, at the top of every page of this website on the right is a box called "Search Topics." Use this feature to search this website for any divorce-related topic that you want to learn more about.

And, when you are ready, if you would like some personal help from me, click here. I've specialized in providing legal assistance to people going through divorce in Monmouth County for 32 years.

 

--Steve Kaplan