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March 16, 2010 12:21 PM   Subscribe

[DivorceFilter] How do you go about revising the financial terms of a divorce agreement, particularly when both parties are now in a different state than the one in which the divorce took place?

(First off: yes, this was not an ideal settlement, and yes, lawyers have been contacted in both states. We're waiting to hear back.)

My partner and his ex divorced in Iowa in 2008. No kids, no real estate, no investments or similar. They are not adversarial, but she has always been less than forthcoming about things hence the cheating, divorce and her upcoming marriage (which we heard about through a third party).

The bulk of the financial terms involved him paying off the balance on certain credit cards, in her name, because a) they had incurred those expenses together and b) she hadn't been employed for a good two or three years.

Now they're both living in Wisconsin. She's been fully employed for a while now, and getting hitched to a guy who makes a lot of money, so she should pay for her own bills.

Mainly, he just wants to send her a letter saying that he doesn't want to pay for it anymore. He could just stop paying it, but he is worried that it could somehow affect his credit (and backing out of the agreement is not okay). She is probably not fully clear on her own affairs; she had no idea when he had started paying for it. Of course, we have to prepare for the possibility that she will hire someone who knows what they're doing, even if she doesn't.

There are many other details here, mainly involving me wanting to kick her, but is this the kind of thing that can be renegotiated? And does it have to be in the state where the divorce took place, or can we do it up here?
posted by sheena is a sock puppet to Human Relations (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
....backing out of the agreement is not okay). .... There are many other details here, mainly involving me wanting to kick her, but is this the kind of thing that can be renegotiated?

Anything can be renegotiated, but only if both parties are open to it, and it'll cost you. I don't get it though. They agreed on the terms of divorce. Why should the new guy have to take on a responsibility that your partner incurred with his ex, and then agreed to become fully responsible for?

Maybe look into why you want to kick her, and why you care that she didn't tell you she was getting married? If there are no kids involved then why in the world would an ex's remarriage be anyone's business at all?
posted by headnsouth at 12:31 PM on March 16, 2010 [3 favorites]


The new guy shouldn't have to take on the expense himself; it's her responsibility. My partner entered into the agreement because his ex basically had no money or job history and couldn't provide for herself. Now she has a home and a job and a history, and because her fiance pays for their living expenses, she's got a lot of money that goes towards fun things instead of the bills she racked up. The reasons for the agreement to be in place no longer apply.

I completely agree that it's nobody's business who does what and when, but she's dragging us into it. She's calling us up every couple of weeks and asking him for financial information (that she should be paying attention to) so she and her new guy can buy a house together -- because she has good credit, because my partner has paid her bills.

If she is moving on with her life, we should be able to move on with ours, but this entanglement needs to end.
posted by sheena is a sock puppet at 12:46 PM on March 16, 2010


The only person who can answer your legal/financial question is your partner's attorney. However, I'd advise you to stay out of it. I realize that it affects you insofar as you and your partner share income and his income is reduced by these payments. But this is between the two of them, and you and the new husband are not parties to the settlement. The involvement of new partners and spouses make equitable divorce negotiations harder, not easier, and the fact that you're clearly angry at his ex is likely to make matters worse if you're involved. Support your partner emotionally in whatever way he needs, but don't involve yourself in any of the legal issues.
posted by decathecting at 12:58 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe look into why you want to kick her, and why you care that she didn't tell you she was getting married? If there are no kids involved then why in the world would an ex's remarriage be anyone's business at all?

Because of course, what affects her partner affects her. She has a direct financial stake in the outcome, let alone her emotional stake.

More importantly, just wait for the lawyers to handle this. Especially in family law. Especially in interstate issues.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:11 PM on March 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another way to think about these kinds of issues is "how much would I be willing to pay to have this person out of my life?". Your ex made that decision and, what a relief, it worked! Now you want to drag his ex back into your lives.

Take my advice and stick to the original bargain. I'm sure whatever it cost (and is costing) is still worth having the ex out of your lives. Plus, you'll be happier moving on and actually, really, letting go.
posted by qwip at 4:38 PM on March 16, 2010


My experience watching a couple of other divorces go bad is that whatever was agreed to in the divorce settlement is what will happen. The ex has no reason to agree to a change. A court is unlikely (I believe) to change the terms of a settlement that was already agreed to by the partners. I'm guessing that if the terms of the settlement allowed for a renegotiation after she got on her feet your partner would know (but maybe not). The real lawyers may have better news for you but you may need to let go of "what is fair" and come to terms with "what is real".
posted by metahawk at 7:23 PM on March 16, 2010


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