Divorce sucks. Sorry, no soft sell today. Regardless of what is in your divorce settlement agreement and despite having a great divorce consultant and attorney, if the other side is unwilling to comply you may find yourself in a tight spot.
You go to court, spending $5 – 15 K in legal fees in the process, and get a settlement that you think will let you pay the bills and then, your X just doesn’t give you any money.
The family court system, at least in NJ, allows this financial abuse to occur for months without any real penalties for the non-paying party. If the other side doesn’t pay you have to go back to court to get enforcement or to have the probate division collect the funds for you. Then probate will not enforce late payment for months wanting yet another trip to court before they will act. The legal fees to get what is owed to you will likely be more than the amount that is due. The system is broken but that is another discussion.
Your reality, in this situation, is that you cannot rely on your X for support. The more you sit back and wait the worse it will be. You can get lost in the world of “My X gets to do anything and there are no consequence” or the other really good one “My X wins every time and I lose” or my favorite, “It’s not fair”.
See your situation for what it is and control what you can. Living your life waiting for money that might never come will leave you stressed and paralyzed. Divorce is a transition and it will be shorter if you take control.
Take an inventory of the areas that are within your control; perhaps it is how you spend your time or the job you are doing or your parenting schedule. If you are the full time parent bearing the bulk of the child care responsibilities and that is preventing you from looking for work or worse, actually getting a job then perhaps you need to change the parenting agreement. Drop the kids off with your spouse and tell him that you need the next two days to look for work. Let your spouse feel the reality of your situation. Find a baby sitter and tell your spouse that you need extra funds to pay for it. (OK I know your X is not paying but it will be a bit of a reality check.).
Once you have your own income there will be a subtle shift in the balance of your divorce. Your X will not have the same power over you and your negotiating position will shift, ever so slightly.
The take away:
- Find the areas in your life where you have some control.
- Make changes in those areas to make your life better
Do what you can to take control over your life. Even a small step will make you feel better and will move you forward.