Right now, I am in “surprised mode” after my wife suddenly filed for divorce without even talking to me. Even my mother-in-law, who is living with us, did not talk about it with me before my wife filed. Our relationship has been rocky since around 2015.
A little background: I came to the U.S. on a working visa in 2005, working day and night to earn an honest living and achieve the American dream. During that time, my wife was my girlfriend. I supported her with everything, including a house, car, allowances, etc., to get her second degree in our homeland so that she could also thrive in the U.S.
‘We got our civil marriage in 2007 in our foreign country, but it was invalidated by the U.S. embassy due to some anomalous issues.’
We got our civil marriage in 2007 in our foreign country, but it was invalidated by the U.S. embassy due to some anomalous issues. We had a church wedding, but still did not correct the defect of the civil marriage. So we had it annulled and did another civil wedding. We had our valid marriage in 2010. Yes, you got it right — I married my wife THRICE to get her to the U.S.
Soon after, my wife got pregnant, and had our first child in 2011. She had a miscarriage in 2014 that almost killed her. When I arrived home from work she was already unconscious, and I was able to bring her to the emergency room. We eventually had a second child.
‘I feel betrayed‘
It was still smooth sailing until 2015, when she started looking for trouble. My brother and his family were temporarily living with us to save money, as they had just moved from another state to here in Georgia. We were able to patch things up that year, but soon after she started again so my brother and his family just moved out.
That year, she started working in low-paying jobs in healthcare, as she was still not able to get her medical license. In 2017, we were able to bring her mother to the U.S. I thought it would be a start to a better family life, but the opposite happened.
After getting a good job in the medical field, she still chose not to contribute financially. I already explained to her to pay it forward for the betterment of the family. I was financially responsible from 2005 until now.
She only pays the car insurance for two cars and groceries, while I pay everything else, including house payments since 2013 and all bills. I paid off all of our cars and pay our children’s college funds, etc., and I contribute to anything and everything in between.
‘I paid off all of our cars and pay our children’s college funds, etc., and I contribute to anything and everything in between.’
I feel betrayed, having sacrificed my life since 2005 for the betterment of the family, and now my wife wants out and wants to cash in all the assets that I have accumulated all these years. Above all, I am so sorry for my two kids for being the innocent victims, but I vow to fight for full custody.
It’s hard to ponder the thought of losing everything like the house, retirement savings and other assets to somebody who did not contribute even a single cent. My greatest fear is losing my kids. If you have suggestions and ideas for me on how to handle my financials now in the midst of this divorce, please let me know.
The law is the law, but all I can say is not all law is right. It’s very unfair that I have been a good provider and saver for someone to just swipe it. Right now, I am still crying hard just thinking about my kids, and I still couldn’t think straight. Any advice you can share, please let me know.
Mr. Very Sad
Going through a divorce is like going through a recession. In fact, the divorce rate fell during the Great Recession, likely because filing for divorce would be a double whammy to a couple’s finances. It appears to be doing the same thing to couples during the coronavirus crisis, at least in this latest stage of the pandemic. Divorcing during a pandemic can’t be any easier, especially when there are children involved.
Georgia is an equitable-distribution state. The judge should take into consideration your respective financial contributions. In equitable-distribution states, assets are divided based on a variety of factors, including the income of each party at the time of marriage, duration of the marriage, loss of benefits, needs of the custodial parent and future financial circumstances. In community-property states, assets acquired during the marriage are divided equally.
‘If your wife is a good mother, shared custody should be the solution because that’s what will serve your children.’
Put your emotions aside for now, and do what you believe is best for your kids. If your wife is a good mother, shared custody should be the solution because that’s what will serve your children. They, after all, are the real riches from your marriage. Honor them, and I believe the rest will take care of itself. Additionally, a judge will see if you are acting from a place of anger, and will not look kindly on your petitioning for full custody. You would need a solid reason.
Your wife has been through a lot physically and emotionally, as you say, and you have been there for her. If you could do it all again, would you do the same thing? I believe you would, because you would not have your children otherwise. It’s not a zero-sum game. It’s life. People change. They are unreasonable. They give a lot until they can give no more and, yes, sometimes they take a lot too. In time, you will see this is just one chapter in your journey.
There’s a lot missing from your letter, of course, and it’s your version as you remember and experienced it. There are often three versions: yours, your spouse’s and the version as witnessed by the gods. No one, without exception, is a perfect partner — and challenges like this are better met with soul searching than with finger pointing. You will never change other people, but looking at your own words and deeds will provide the real path to healing.
‘There are often three versions: yours, your spouse’s and the version as witnessed by the gods. No one is a perfect partner.’
Of course, you should ask your wife why she filed, if you have not done so, and suggest marriage counseling if there is a glimmer of hope. The answers may surprise you. You may learn you are better off apart. But whatever you learn will stand you in good stead in the future. Proceed with questions rather than accusations. Humility is a more welcoming starting point than confusion and anger, even if those are the emotions consuming you right now.
You did not sacrifice your life. You lived your life with the expectation that you would be together forever, but life does not always turn out as we plan. Your wife bore you two children, and lost one. We may be able to gather mountains of evidence to hold others responsible for their actions, but what works in a divorce court does not always work in life. And, remember, you will be co-parenting together in one form or another.
Without looking at our own choices, and why we made them, we are doomed to repeat them. If your wife is a villain in this piece, which I doubt, there will likely have been red flags and reasons you overlooked them. You must take responsibility for that. Heroes and villains are typically only found in comic books. My suspicion is the truth is far more complicated, and there are no heroes or villains.
Just two people trying to figure out what they want from this life, and who they want to spend it with.