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Old 06-24-2014, 04:27 AM
 
273 posts, read 414,906 times
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Hello CD,

I'm looking for recommendations for a good divorce attorney in VA. If someone has gone through divorce and alimony "spousal support" procedures please provide some insight. My wife and I are married for six years; 30s, no children, no shared assets, no debts. During the marriage my wife did not work for most of the marriage. My income is $200K. My wife's income as a freelancer is shy of $20K.

I had my first consultation with a local attorney and I was pretty unhappy. Basically I was told that I'd be paying 30% of my income for the next 2-3 years. I was also advised that my wife would be entitled to 50% of my 401K and any personal assets attained during the marriage. I feel I'm at a huge disadvantage and will be taken to slaughter, which is pretty much what my attorney explained to me what will happen. Though she used the term "taken to the cleaners". She even said to me "You're my favorite type of person to go after, cause it's so easy to take your money". (the attorney actually said this to me)...

The only thing we share is a checking account, which she uses mostly to shop with. I'm okay with splitting my retirement account, but I don't want monthly alimony payments. I'm not sure how you're suppose to move on while paying out 30% of your GROSS INCOME as a monthly reminder of your failed relationship. My attorney smiled and said it's tax deductible but this doesn't give me any relief.

Though my wife and I are splitting amicably and there is no malice I can't help but think I've been taken. It really seems like the legal system is against me. Having a consultation with a smug attorney didn't help either...
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Old 06-24-2014, 05:17 AM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,557 posts, read 10,848,555 times
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I'm afraid the attorney is likely correct. Would help to know what area you are in.
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:21 AM
 
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I don't see how 20-30% of your income for only 2-3 years is that bad. What did you think was going to happen? She's in her 30's, presumably with little to no work experience, and you have been enabling this permanent state of unemployment for 6 years. If you had kids, it would make sense, but I can't understand why you both thought it was ok for her to do nothing all this time. She should also have foreseen that she might need a career or something. Marriages don't always (or even usually) last forever. So I think 2-3 years is not that bad. Hopefully she'll get a job and stop taking your money before that. It's probably in your best interests to do whatever you can to help her get into a decent career (or introduce her to all your rich friends and hope someone else wants her).
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Old 06-24-2014, 06:59 AM
 
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A few things, $200K is not rich by any means. My wife has more education than me, but couldn't find work in her field. She was able to freelance, but couldn't find full-time employment.
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Old 06-24-2014, 07:16 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,428,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exhibit_B View Post
A few things, $200K is not rich by any means. My wife has more education than me, but couldn't find work in her field. She was able to freelance, but couldn't find full-time employment.
Whether you think $200k is rich and whether your wife has more education than you is really irrelevant. What is relevant is that over a 6 year time span, the expectation was created that your wife was able to depend upon you for support. By virtue of her not working (or working very little), the law is going to presume that your income was used to support her and that things like retirement accounts were being accumulated to support your joint retirement. Now that you're parting ways, she cannot just be expected to be thrown out into the world and fend for herself - that support you have allowed her to rely upon for better or worse has to be transitioned away. The longer you're married with only one spouse working, the stronger that expectation becomes, and the longer you're going to be expected to provide spousal support. Unfortunately, the cold hard reality is that, while weddings can be quite expensive, divorces are usually even more expensive.

That said, the lawyer you have consulted doesn't exactly sound like he of she has the best client handling skills. The lawyer may be telling you the truth, but they sort of sound like a jerk. If you're not already out too much money with this particular lawyer, I don't think it would hurt to consult with another.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:28 AM
 
273 posts, read 414,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airjay75 View Post
The longer you're married with only one spouse working, the stronger that expectation becomes, and the longer you're going to be expected to provide spousal support. Unfortunately, the cold hard reality is that, while weddings can be quite expensive, divorces are usually even more expensive.

That said, the lawyer you have consulted doesn't exactly sound like he of she has the best client handling skills. The lawyer may be telling you the truth, but they sort of sound like a jerk. If you're not already out too much money with this particular lawyer, I don't think it would hurt to consult with another.
Definitely will consult with another attorney. I'm devastated about this process. During the marriage I never spent any money on myself, so to finally be so close to being free and now having to adjust my lifestyle is a tough blow. My wife was a British citizen, so a lot of times she was denied jobs due to her immigration status. Hopefully, she can get work to augment my support, but with the legal system forcing me to give about $60K of my income I can't see why anyone would have an incentive to work.
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Old 06-24-2014, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,428,077 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exhibit_B View Post
Definitely will consult with another attorney. I'm devastated about this process. During the marriage I never spent any money on myself, so to finally be so close to being free and now having to adjust my lifestyle is a tough blow. My wife was a British citizen, so a lot of times she was denied jobs due to her immigration status. Hopefully, she can get work to augment my support, but with the legal system forcing me to give about $60K of my income I can't see why anyone would have an incentive to work.
I'm sure it is difficult. I hope you're able to successfully move on. While your soon to be ex-wife may not have an immediate incentive to go find a job, the spousal support is not going to continue indefinitely, and she is eventually going to need to support herself or find someone else to support her. The flip side of this situation is that the law is also going to recognize that you're both young and fully able to work and, so, your ex-wife will not be entitled to this support indefinitely. If the situation were reversed, and she had been the breadwinner, think about being faced with the prospect of now finding gainful employment when, for the past 6 years, you hadn't really done much. It can be hard to re-enter the workforce after an absence of that length. In that situation, even knowing that you will have 2-3 years of income coming in, you might not feel exactly like you could just kick back and relax. But, I realize it is much easier said than done is this sort of situation to put yourself in the other person's shoes. Best of luck.
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:16 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,557 posts, read 10,848,555 times
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Ok, don't answer. Can't recommend a good attorney without knowing which court system.
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:43 PM
 
5,121 posts, read 5,534,783 times
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If your wife and you are splitting amicably, I highly recommend you look into mediation. You and your wife can negotiate the terms in a way that works good for both of you. I can recommend a good mediator in Fairfax (at least, my ex and I were both pleased with the results). Even if you have a mediator, it's good to still have a consulting attorney as well just to review and double check everything. I'll send info in a PM.
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:49 PM
 
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I am certainly no expert; however, I would probably get a second opinion. It was different state; however, my sister-in-law, who did not work for 15 years of the marriage (and had three children), was told by a judge that, yes, she would get some support from her ex-husband but she was required to be employed within 6 months and that the support would not last for long no matter what type of job she got. She was probably around 40 at the time and definitely had skills from prior years in the workforce.

I was actually surprised how hard they were on her, but part of that was due to my brother-in-law's lower income.

This was Massachussets, though.

The lawyers here will have the experience on how the NoVA judges handle this type of situation but I guess it couldn't hurt to get a second opinion.
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