Part of a Now 5 Week Series:
Week 5: Divorce and Aftermath Part B
Divorce and Aftermath Part B
Now that I knew the business was indeed going bankrupt, I had to make a decision. I knew by this time the only way to get what I needed was to make him think that he was getting what he wanted. I knew that he would not stop the fighting in this divorce if he did not get what he wanted. He would not care how much money we spent on attorney’s fees and court. Having someone to fight with was actually a bonus for him. He liked the chaos and strife; he thrived off of it.
Money was what drove him. He also wanted the business. I wanted my daughter safe. Now that I knew the business had turned upside down, there was no point in trying to negociate for it’s worth since no one would buy it in the state it was in. After my calculations, there was enough to pay off all the debt that we both had including attorney’s fees, and pay me a one time alimony payment. In addition, he would have plenty left over for himself to start it up again or do whatever he wanted with it.
I decided to strategize my plan around the fact that he wanted money. I wanted to go in the office and write the check for the amount owed on all the debts and force the debt pay off so it could be done with. But my office manager was afraid of tipping the spath off. I should have just done it myself and forced it, but I didn’t. My office manager had a way with words and was able to persuade the spath of my plan with paying off the debts, paying me, ending the divorce and starting up again. Well that’s what the spath said. I had major reservations about not just doing it myself, because I did not trust my ex what so ever to fulfill his word.
Weeks went by when checks that came into the business were supposed to be used to pay off the debt, and weeks went by that those checks did not pay off the debt. I still did not have access to the funds, only through my office manager and my ex, so the only way I could get access to funds were to go and write a check in the office when my ex was not there and have my office manager use my ex’s stamp signature, since my name had been removed for all the bank accounts. I should have just done that and got it over with. But once again I was trying to play nice.
Almost a month went by of false promises of starting to pay the debts which included tax debt, my attorney’s fees, a loan from my Dad and my medical bills. Nothing was happenening, just the same lies. I started to get ancy because every day that went by was another day that funds were being depleted from the account and being used on everything else except paying these debts. I was still responsible for the debts but I could not have access to my funds to be able to pay them.
Then something fun happened. I realized that a credit card I still had in my possession I had opened for the business years ago, had our business account registered online to pay off the credit card. So I thought I would spice things up a bit and get things moving along by using that card to pay some of my attorney’s fees online, and then pay off the card with every purchase using the business bank account. I was able to force payment to my attorney’s. That definitely got his attention. I was able to pay almost 2k to my attorneys before he locked that account as well, but at least I could show my attorneys that part of the debt was being tended to.
By doing this, it opened up the opportunity for me to slip my ex a Rule 69 that I drafted up. I did not include talk of alimony in the Rule 69 because I knew he was never going to go for that. I had to stick with what I knew he would settle for, which is what he wanted from the beginning. He thought he should have the entire business, and that I could take the house and equity and we should be even. However, back at that time, the business was worth exponentially more than the equity of our house, so that wasn’t anything close to 50/50. Now the equity of the house was worth more than the business, but he didn’t know that. This might sound a bit devious, but it’s not, it’s strategic. I deserved alimony, half of our equities and child support. Since he wasn’t interested in participating in any alimony, I just didn’t call it alimony, however I knew I could use what I got from the equity in our home as a nest egg.
My proposition was that he take the entire business including all of it’s receivables and that he sign the house over to me free and clear including all the equity of the house. Also, that he be responsible for paying all the debts. The way I wrote that was general and fague so it wasn’t the main visual in the settlement offer. I was banking on the first part that I wrote in the offer which was he got the business and all the receivables, and hopefully he would gloss over the rest of the agreement. I got my office manager to convince him that this was a great deal, because it was, and had the spath sign it. I’m not really sure if he knew that as soon as he signed that agreement it would be binding by law or not, but that wasn’t my problem.
Talk of settlement was in view shortly after and in a strange twist of events, he ended up with a bankrupt business, making monthly payments to my Dad for a loan, paying all of the tax debt, paying all of my attorney’s fees in payments, child support, settlement to me to fulfill temporary orders payment, and absorbing all of the community debt which was from the business. I walked away with all the equity of the house. That I don’t believe its anything short of a miracle from God. It was brilliant.
And It Just Keeps Going
So of course I knew that all of the debts he was supposed to be making payments on were not going to be paid unless he was forced to pay them. A court order for him meant nothing. After the divorce was finalized, the first due date for payments came around…and nothing. Expected. I needed the settlement from him to help me to pay bills since I can’t work while taking care of my daughter. I broke my “no contact” to try and get a speedy payment. As always, it turns into an immediate PTSD trigger.
Here is an email version of how these conversations go, this is not necessarily a word for word email transcript since I tried to only capture the business side of things.
Me: Where is the deposit that is due today?
Him: What deposit?
Me: Read the divorce decree.
10 Days Later
Me: Where is the payment?
Him: Sorry I have no idea what you are talking about?
Me: Just as in the same email two weeks ago in the divorce decree, you’d better pay attention, you owe me now, you are past due. It would be better for you to pay it than for me to force you to pay it, because you will pay it one way or the other since it is court ordered. I will look for the deposit tomorrow.
Him: Do the best for you. No money at this time. I am not your bank anymore .
Me: You answer to the court and the court has ordered you to pay it. Pay what the court has told you to pay. This is business, pay what you owe.
Him: Everybody make mistakes so I forgot that you are miss perfection.
Me: This is a great example of how after all that was just discussed in previous email, you completely dismiss the entire responsibility of making the payment and offer nothing, and then make some random comment. You cannot escape the judge in making your temporary order payment. Every time you go against the judge’s ruling, you are making yourself look bad. You owe me in order to satisfy the temporary ruling prior to the divorce and you are late on your payment. The fact you are late will be notated to the courts. I suggest you make the payment today. Deposit the payment and get it over with.
Him: Ok, I get that. I do not have the money at this point time what you want me to do? Go and find a rich guy now.
Me: You could make some partial payments to show you are abiding by the court order. Some here, some there until it gets paid. The courts don’t care if you have it, the courts care that you make the payment. You made agreements that you were going to pay debts. The first step in proving everything you say isn’t a lie. This is what you owe and I will make sure it gets paid. It is now communicated for you to make payments weekly to satisfy the debt. It will be notated to the court if you make attempts to pay something. I expect monies in that account tomorrow.
Him: Ok, wait then. You know the I have court all because your greatest idea. This thing it supposed to be friendly as possible and look how you transform everything.
Me: You pay the money it is already late. I have already waited and I will not continue to wait. What’s friendly is you pay. I will expect some type of payment tomorrow. No one believes your lies. Same as it has always been and the courts will not believe your lies nor have they done in the past nor will they do in the future. The courts will see that you pay what you owe. The courts don’t care
about your excuses.
Him: What part do you not understand I do not have the money? At this moment.
Me: You have been saying the same thing for the last year so no one believes it. Make it happen.
Him: I will work on something for you ok.
Me: I don’t want an open ended response like that. I will look for some kind of deposit tomorrow and track how many times I have to remind you.
Debts and Debts
The next day he made a partial payment to the debt. So all of that back and forth just to enforce what he should already do. I am assuming it will be just like this for every dollar that I have to collect. I’m sure it’s clear to see the manipulation or attempt to manipulate in this conversation. This conversation is exactly how my marriage went, just like this but insert a different subject, ie. infidelity, money, you name it. Namely when he says that he is not my bank anymore, which is insane, since he was never my bank, but actually the complete opposite. Telling me to go find a rich guy, like I am some type of gold digger which was actually the exact opposite. Saying that this was supposed to be friendly when in fact all the “unfriendly” things came from his end and so much more. I quickly reminded myself why I was exercising “no contact” with this person, because he makes me want to go insane.
So now on my journey forward I am having to file court documents for each debt that he owes and bring each item to the courts. I have to file motions for him to appear and orders for him to appear to court for him to explain why he hasn’t made his payments. I also have to subpoena his banking records for him to bring to court, while knowing that he will probably only bring half or not bring them at all. I also have to either hire a tax attorney or do it myself and go to the IRS office to file paperwork to get from under the tax debt that he still owes. The tax debt is from the business, and even if it’s in the divorce decree he pays it, which he isn’t, then I am liable unless I claim innocent and or injured spouse. Same with all of my medical bills that should be paid.
So these are all the avenues I still have to pursue to try and clear my name. Maybe most of the fight is over, but there is still a fight left. I suppose I will have to tell myself that the fight will exist for a very long time.