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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Stbx and I are going to separate. He is not being very helpful or forthcoming, and I'm not sure whether he's being tricky, clueless, or if he's correct (and I'm the clueless one
).

Here's the thing: I can't afford to pay for our house (mortgage $1500/m, home equity loan, $450), so I'm looking for a cheap rental for me and our 2 dc. Stbx wanted to buy himself a cheap fixer-upper house, but apparently the banks don't want to give him a loan. Now he says he's going to stay in the house.

Even with a refi, I don't see how he can afford the house AND child support. The way we had divided the finances, he paid for the home, utilities, and insurance. I paid for groceries, gas, medical copays, and everything for the kids (clothes, gifts, toys, tuition, activities).

While paying only a bit over the minimums on his $20,000 (personal) credit card debts, stbx has, in theory, about $500 "left over" at the end of the month. In reality, he usually has nothing left, because if unexpected expenses don't use it up, he blows it on himself.

Let's assume for a moment that he will keep paying med insurance for the dc, but drop me. Let's also assume he gets a good refi on the house. I don't think he's planning on getting a boarder, btw, because he hates people. Once the dc and I leave, his utilities will go down, of course.

But, he'll be buying his own groceries and gas, plus cs, plus expenses for the kids not covered under cs. Seems to me he's going to be in the hole every month-- by around $1000. Can he make that up some way I'm not seeing?

I'm not thrilled about the idea of putting the house up for sale in a tanked market, but I don't see how he's going to afford it. Should I try to get him to agree to sell, or just let him do what he plans? Both our names are on the mortgage and the heloc. What makes the best sense/safest plan for me and the dc?
 

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Have him buy you out on your half of the house, and then let him do whatever he wants to do with the house. Once he does that, and your name is off the house, it's no longer your problem. I wouldn't agree to anything except for that, or at least to you signing over your half of the house, but personally I would make him buy you out.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by SquishyKitty View Post
Have him buy you out on your half of the house, and then let him do whatever he wants to do with the house. Once he does that, and your name is off the house, it's no longer your problem. I wouldn't agree to anything except for that, or at least to you signing over your half of the house, but personally I would make him buy you out.
he also needs to refi the house, so your name is off the mortgage. a quit-claim deed won't protect your credit score.


the worst case scenarios - he stays in the house and stops making mortgage payments, giving him 1-2 years free housing then foreclosure (your credit gets trashed too!) or he takes in roommates, and they trash the place, sell the appliances, etc
 

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Have the child support spelled out in the decree as well, established from the get-go with a wage garnishment in place so that his employer is withholding it and sending it in for him. That way you will/should get your child support first rather than him just constantly not being able to "make it this month" and leaving you and your dc's hanging. Your state should have a child support recovery service and if it's all set up through them if he loses his job or is self-employed and fails to make the required payments then they can intercept tax refunds and other means much easier than you can. Plus, it takes some of it out of your hands in terms of who he's accountable to and if there's a problem it let's them be the "bad guys" instead of you.
 

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Maybe his plan is to go backward every month?

He might be okay with a negative cash flow each month and taking on more credit card debt each month. Then either selling the house in a couple of years when the housing market would hopeful be better and "catching up" or filing for bankrupcy at a later date. I personally think both are pretty lame, shortsited "plans" but I know people have done it.

I also think this "plan" seem to be forgetting that he needs to give your something in exchange for existing equity you do have (If you have any). Does he have any retirement funds or pension that you can have in exchange for home equity?
 

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He will have to refi to buy you out. Now I don't know if you have any equity in the house and you will have to split the balance of the heloc before you get any money I imagine. You own half of the house value so he has to buy you out.

Again get EVERYTHING IN WRITING via a lawyer.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by darien View Post
Ok, I know I'm completely naive, but how does he buy me out? I have no idea how it works.

real estate attorney needed. there would be a bill of sale, transfer tax, a closing, etc. and a new mortgage. sometimes the ex is given a certain period of time to live in the house, make mortgage payments, and come up with financing. If the house is under water, you might get $1 from him in the transfer process, as payment for your half.
 

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You need to get a really good, mean lawyer, lol. Really. You guys have WAY too much debt it sounds like to not have a professional involved in this situation. You really don't want to end up completely screwed because you don't handle things right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by bobandjess99 View Post
You need to get a really good, mean lawyer, lol. Really. You guys have WAY too much debt it sounds like to not have a professional involved in this situation. You really don't want to end up completely screwed because you don't handle things right.
I have the feeling I'm going to get screwed, no matter what. I don't have money for a divorce lawyer, let alone a real estate lawyer! I literally have no savings, and no one to borrow from. Stbx has no savings and is in cc debt. He spoke to a lawyer and to the bank, and we'd be lucky to break even if we could manage to sell the house (the real estate agent I spoke to says selling it at all is unlikely).


I don't want stbx to screw me and the dc over, but I'm afraid that paying a lawyer to help me would be an exercise in futility.
 

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On Today Show a week or two ago Jean Chatzky talked about a situation like this. Divorce and a house in the mix. Send her an email and or search her blog or the Today Show website. I don't remember what the advice was.

http://www.jeanchatzky.com/
 

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If you can swing it, you might want to go to a certified financial divorce planner. I went to one and she helped me out a lot on the financial side of things. It only cost $500.

I don't agree with the comment on get yourself a good lawyer. That could end up costing you alot of money that it sounds like you don't have. You really need a financial planner. most lawyers (and I saw a TON of them) aren't that great with the finances.

On the house - If there is no equity in the house, then just have him refi and let him keep the house. That takes your name off the mortgage and makes him financially responsible for the house. Whether he has enough money to support himself after shouldn't be your concern. Let him worry about that. If there is equity in the house, then you will need to see a professional to have it valued and assets given to you. If you are underwater in the house and he is willing to assume the mortgage/heloc, then that is a great deal for you. If you sell the house for less than the mortgage, you will both be responsible for coming up with the extra money to pay off the loans.

In my case, we were breakeven with the house, maybe even slightly underwater, so I just took it and he moved out. No money changed hands. I have 2 years to refi to get his name off the loan.

Regarding the debt - You say it is his debt. But in a marriage, all debt is shared unless it was acquired before you got married. If he is willing to take all the debt, and it is really marital debt, then take his offer and run. otherwise, you will get 1/2 of it.
 

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As a divorce lawyer, I hate the advice to let him keep the house and worry about making the monthly payments. You two need to sit down and write out all of your expenses (or better yet, fill out financial statements which you can pick up at your local probate court) and ask him to show you how he plans to pay child support and the mortgage. Because if he keeps the house, my bet is that mortgage payments are priority #1 to your detriment. It will be expensive for YOU to enforce a child support payment.

And you could always call a mortgage broker. We've refied a couple of times and it was KILLER to do so this fall, and we were told by our broker things were getting tighter in Dec. 2009. We're in a 30 year fixed which we expect to have for the duration. Appraisals are coming in really (probably unrealistically) low, ratios have changed, and the sheer amount of paperwork required has increased dramatically. It is a totally different ballgame than even a year ago. So that part of the plan may be a dead end for him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
OP here. Wonder of wonders, stbx brought the issue up today. He got back the appraisal for the refi. He said that it looked like we would be getting about $40,000 back-- so, $20,000 each.

Then he says, "But if I give you that much, I won't be able to pay the mortgage. I can maybe give you $10,000." I'm thinking, How is this MY problem? I said this, in slightly more diplomatic terms, and he was pissed. He reminded me that I "own" half his cc debt. Then I was pissed. I said, "Don't even go there-- you've admitted many times that you spent that money on yourself!"

He said "I'm not saying I'm going to try and make you pay it." So I asked him, why was he bringing it up? He reiterated that he would have to pay me $10,000 or less to buy me out, if he wanted to keep the house. I said, "You get the house, and what do I get out of this 'deal'?" He said, "You're the one who wanted to divorce, and you're keeping the car!"

It's so big of him
to "let" me keep the 9 year old minivan that I paid for in the first place. I reiterated that his "offer" didn't seem like a good deal for me. He reminded me that we might not be able to sell the house, or we might not make anything. I said, since it looked like I was going to get screwed either way, I was willing to take that chance.

He was really pissed and said he would call a realtor and put the house on the market. Have I screwed up?
What should be my next step?
 

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If selling the house is an option, then do that. Less worry for the both of you.

He's right about the cc debt thou, it is half yours as well, regardless of who actually spent the money.

In my divorce... I stuck with all the credit card debt, he walked free and clear of everything. So I paid for all the lawyer and court fees, and got $30K in debt. I did keep the car that I paid for as well... But you know what... it was so worth it in the long run.

I personally was just thankful to be out.

best of luck to you, I know it's far for easy, but this too will pass and you and your kids will be able to be stable again.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by darien View Post
OP here. Wonder of wonders, stbx brought the issue up today. He got back the appraisal for the refi. He said that it looked like we would be getting about $40,000 back-- so, $20,000 each.

Then he says, "But if I give you that much, I won't be able to pay the mortgage. I can maybe give you $10,000." I'm thinking, How is this MY problem? I said this, in slightly more diplomatic terms, and he was pissed. He reminded me that I "own" half his cc debt. Then I was pissed. I said, "Don't even go there-- you've admitted many times that you spent that money on yourself!"

He said "I'm not saying I'm going to try and make you pay it." So I asked him, why was he bringing it up? He reiterated that he would have to pay me $10,000 or less to buy me out, if he wanted to keep the house. I said, "You get the house, and what do I get out of this 'deal'?" He said, "You're the one who wanted to divorce, and you're keeping the car!"

It's so big of him
to "let" me keep the 9 year old minivan that I paid for in the first place. I reiterated that his "offer" didn't seem like a good deal for me. He reminded me that we might not be able to sell the house, or we might not make anything. I said, since it looked like I was going to get screwed either way, I was willing to take that chance.

He was really pissed and said he would call a realtor and put the house on the market. Have I screwed up?
What should be my next step?
Our STBX needs to give you way more than $10,000 if he is going to keep/truly afford this house. What was the appraised value? If it's $200,000 he needs to give you $100,000 minus what ever other assess you are keeping (so $98,000 if you keep the crappy van
) not $10,000. I think in lots of situations if one partner keeps the house the other partner either borrows a bunch of new money against the house (this requires disposible income after SC and good credit), or the couple has money elsewhere in either taxable or retirement account which the moving out partner takes in leui of the house. It doesn't sound like you collectively have that money elsewhere.

Man if worse case senario happened around here and DH and I would split there is no way Dh even conceive of suggesting such an unfair plan.

It is good that appraiser thought you had some positive equity though.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by mnnice View Post
If it's $200,000 he needs to give you $100,000 minus what ever other assess you are keeping (so $98,000 if you keep the crappy van
) not $10,000.
Not unless the house is paid off.

If you only have $40k equity in the house, then you only get $20k each. The bank owns the rest so there is no more profit.

So for example, if the house is valued at $200k but you owe the bank$160k, there is only $40k.

Keep in imind that you will have to pay realtor fees and closing costs to sell the house so make sure you put that into the equation to see if it is really worth it. And even though a house appraises at that rate doesn't mean you will actually get that if there are a lot of houses for sale in your area. it really is a buyers market right now and you don't have a lot of time to wait for multilpe offers.

To be quite honest, if this were me and I was going to walk away from the house and STBX were offering me $10k plus he was willing to assume all the debt, I would take the deal. Adding the lawyers fees to fight this plus the costs to sell the house could make this a worse deal for you. You need to do the numbers. You are basically giving up $10k, but it could cost you way more than that to fight. Plus, you WILL get 1/2 the debt if this goes to court. It doesn't matter who it was used for, it is considered marital debt if it was all accumulated while you were married.
 

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I think this is one of those situations where it really depends on your personality. Are you the type of person that will spend the next few years wondering if you should have gotten more or are you the type of person who will shrug and just be glad its over with? Nothing wrong with being either type of person but I think it does make a difference in how you handle this.

That being said, make sure you walk away from this with some of the cash from the house. You will need the money to establish your own household.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quote:

Originally Posted by MtBikeLover View Post
To be quite honest, if this were me and I was going to walk away from the house and STBX were offering me $10k plus he was willing to assume all the debt, I would take the deal. Adding the lawyers fees to fight this plus the costs to sell the house could make this a worse deal for you. You need to do the numbers. You are basically giving up $10k, but it could cost you way more than that to fight. Plus, you WILL get 1/2 the debt if this goes to court. It doesn't matter who it was used for, it is considered marital debt if it was all accumulated while you were married.
Sigh. That's what I was afraid of.

I'm really hating my life right now. I've been living like a monk for years, while he was acting like a teenager with Daddy's credit card, and now I have to let him screw me over to avoid getting hosed even worse.


Okay, pity party over. Let's move on.
 
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