That is also true here. I have to say from personal experience that the S agreement was instrumental in helping take some of the fear based emotions out of my interactions with my XH. We didn't file for legal S, as it's not necessary in my state. But we used a mediator who helped us set up a Memorandum of Understanding that he knew would be honored by the courts if we pulled the trigger.
I was definitely a person whose fear was so crippling that I'd mentally play chess to make sure that I didn't go without. My XH makes good money and since we both grew up without much, he's very, very frugal. I'm frugal, but not to the point where I'd screw people to save a buck. At that point in time, I'd have initiated something hostile that he would punish me for financially. Ugh.
So the MOU was our rules of engagement. We used it to set up parenting time, got the child support order in place and had clear rules of how we had to operate, although our pool of money was definitely considered a marital asset. I know it gave me the peace of mind I desperately needed to work on my fears and take care of the girls and figure out my crap.
Put me down as a fan of establishing guidelines that benefit everyone... which means "do no harm" or at least minimize it. Especially where the kids are concerned.
The pluses: when we set up the MOU, my XH steadfastly argued about removing any requirement of him to pay for our D20's college. He was a real a*hole about it. (I have NO idea why.) I think I surprised him by saying, "Okay, whatever. I feel a college education is important so if this is my responsibility, take it off the table for discussion." Fast forward 2 years, when we converted it to a D. He asked, "Why does this thing say that Betsey is on the hook for D20's education?" The mediator and I remained completely silent. He then said, "Well, we need to make that a shared responsibility. I don't know why we wrote it that way."
Time actually worked in my favor. I think 2 years of peaceful interactions softened his heart and he totally stepped up to make sure that things were good for the girls. Every now and then, miracles do happen.
"There are only 2 ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
Maybell, legal S is not an option in my state. Either you are M or you are not. However, when a D is filed in my county, an injunction goes into immediate effect that prohibits substantial changes to the financial situation. That means H cannot clean out the bank accounts and refuse to pay the light bill on the house. IF I file. Until then, I'm trusting him to be a good guy. I know your state is different, but.....it boils down to, do you trust him to be a good guy? If you have real doubts, then consider filing the S. You don't have legal protection with out a legal document.
I understand the years and the kids and the vows. I really do. But be careful, K?
In my state, there's technically no legal separation. There's limited divorce and absolute divorce. The settlement you arrive at for the limited divorce is meant to be rolled into the absolute divorce, which only deals with the actual marriage.
Based on the draft legal separation my attorney put together last summer (which was VERY draft, and didn't have ANYTHING filled in), I think I can ask for everything to be divided (including the retirement accounts) now, and leave the house to be dealt with as part of the absolute divorce. I also think my attorney wasn't nearly as aggressive as she could have been with the settlement and since my H makes so much more than I ever will I think it's important not to leave those things on the table AT THIS POINT just for the sake of being nice or hoping he'll think better of me if I'm gentle with my settlement requests.
He won't. I think raliced said he needed to feel the truth of what separation and divorce actually are like, and that has absolutely been the consensus of my friends and family IRL. So far, it's just been him living in his sweet little place downtown, parenting when it's convenient, relying on me to make financial decisions that will not harm the two of us jointly. What does he care about my worries? He's had all the control. But I matter too.
BTW, Labug, when you asked why the ambivalence, I thought you meant about legal separation. But I think I've moved closer to needing that security. So I'm less ambivalent now. Plus, I was terrified at the idea of handling the responsibility before. Now, I feel excited at the possibility. So a LOT has changed for me in the last eight months.
I think also the terminology of limited vs. absolute divorce freaked me out for a long, long time, and I feared getting lawyers involved because I was sure that would be the death knell of the whole marriage. Well, most likely the marriage will not resuscitate. Why fear it? I'm already dead. I'd might as well pick out my own resting place. (you all know that's an extended metaphor, right? I think having more control over my financial future will be a HUGE weight off my shoulders.)
I didn't write about it, but I had an interaction with H last night at Scouts that was probably the exact sort of interaction MWD had in mind when she wrote DR. I saw him, he apologized about the Christmas tantrum, I said I was sorry too, we moved on and had a friendly interaction. Then I left him and dealt with some business that amounted to me kind of "working the room" full of all these dads, with lots of smiles and confidence -- but it really was stuff I was doing for S6. We walked out together, I took the kids and left.
Then this afternoon the thing about the bank and my paycheck.
Between standing up for myself for Christmas and the confident interaction last night, I kind of turned a bit of a corner. I don't know how long it will last, but I feel OK. I feel better than my old self. So the fear of legal separation/limited divorce is a LOT less than the fear of being at the mercy of someone I've been relying on to be a good guy.
I asked one of my close friends who's a really good lawyer to pass on a contact she recommended to me. I think January will be the start of very good things for this lady. I'm going to have a Very Merry Christmas and a WONDERFUL New Year.
Me42, H40 D12, S8, S7 A revealed: 7/13 Sep 4/14; Agreed to D 1/15