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Hello, Since my last correspondence my wife did file for divorce

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Hello,
Since my last correspondence my wife did file for divorce on 5-12-10. She sights irreconcilable differences.
She has hired a lawyer, although she first went to a mediator to have the paper work drawn up. I believe she filed them herself. I think her first thought was to save as much money as she could, but then as she realized that I was not as stunned or stupid as she hoped, she got the lawyer. She has since asked me what it would take for me to walk away without a fight, and offered me $20,000 that I believe she plans to borrow from her mother. Her fear is that she will be forced to sell the house we own together. That is what I want her to think. The property is in a preferred county in Northern California (Marin). The house is, like most houses, in a negative equity situation. She uses this fact to discourage me from seeking any part in the property. I know however through research that this house will break even in a few years, and then gradually rise again faster than most other areas. Also this house was remodeled 4years ago and this has not been factored in the appraisal value. She has $37,000 in her 401k, and a company stock plan. She doesn’t know I’m aware of that. Fact is I’m ready to move on, and she can have the house, but $20,000 will not cover one year’s rent in a half way decent apartment, which I don’t see why I should be forced to seek, and allow her to stay in a newly remodeled 4 bedroom 2 ½ bath house with the woman she dumping me for. We very recently had a mortgage remodification and the payments went from $3,200 per month to $1900. I have lived in this house for 17 years; my wife owned it with her first husband for 8 years before she divorced him. I have been on the title for 6 or 7 years, we have been married for 16 years. I lost my job as an automobile salesman about two years ago when the economy went bad and most dealerships in this area closed. My benefits have run out, and minimum wage jobs go to Non English speaking guest. Also, in her disclosure that I managed to get a hold of, she states she has about $38,000 in unsecured debt which she cheerfully reminds me that in California I own half of. The business that I started is about $80,000 in the red which she owns half of. The business is not profitable right now and is worth 0. She doesn’t know about mine, I plan to let her know at the appropriate time. I am in dept negotiations. She doesn’t know that either. I know she will have to pay to approx, $1,750 per month in spousal support as things stand now. She is one pissed of lady right now. I would settle for about $40,000 cash; let her keep the house and 401k, and her stock. Is this a wise or feasible idea? Because of the mortgage remod, my credit is less than good right now, so I will be forced to pay rent a year in advance.
Rod

Linda Roch :

Hello and welcome! If you have any other questions, please let me know or please click Accept.

Linda Roch :

If you really think the house will be worth more in the future, this may not be a good decision.

Linda Roch :

However, you have to also think about the debt as you will also be on the hook for it and you can be sued over it as you live in a community property state.

Linda Roch :

If you can get the 40k and just walk away and get her to assume the debt, this may be a good deal because that house may not turn around economically for some time.

Linda Roch :

The other issue is your business and if you owe 80k from that, your wife may be on the hook for that as well so you may be in the red anyway.

Linda Roch :

At this point, you need to think of your long-term and short-term situation.

Linda Roch :

If you can just walk away from the debt, 40k may be a good idea. I would even say 20k may be okay if she agrees to assume all the debt, otherwise you're still just breaking even. The other option if you cannot agree is not that great as the Judge may make you sell the house and you won't get anything from it as the economy stands right now so it is in your best interest to settle.

Linda Roch :

The best option is 40k and her assume the debt, but if you can get 20k and her assumming the debt, that's almost as good as getting 40k net as well.

Customer:

I would think that she would be OK with keeping her dept and the house

Customer:

She has a 401k and company stock I can leverage against her if it comes to that. Also take monthly spousal support. I don't care anymore about the house, but I don't want to walk away with little or nothing. I don't hate her. I don't want to hurt her, but she is trying to take advantage of me.

Linda Roch :

Then I would try for the 40k and she takes her own debt and holds you clear.

Linda Roch :

Please press Accept if this has helped.

Customer:

If I'm forced to hire an attorney, which I can't afford, can or will she be obligated to pay for the service to me?

Linda Roch :

No she will not

Linda Roch :

She can if it is agreed to in the divorce degree but she would not be obligated to pay for the service otherwise

Linda Roch :

There is a chance that the Judge can order if you cannot come to an agreement but the chances are extremely low.

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