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Heart-Felt Thank You

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Thank you for all of your kind words, prayers, and offers of advice and support on my last post. Some of you commented on how my writing seemed very straight-forward and unemotional, so I must be handling it well.

As I’m sure you can imagine (especially those who have been through it), it’s a full roller coaster of emotions. And I never quite know when I wake up in the morning how I’ll be feeling by the time I go to sleep that night.

Hubs and I have been together for a long time. We started dating when I was 18 (he was 20). I’m turning 35 this year. That’s 17 years. Half my lifetime.

I wanted to find a pic of us in our first apartment, circa 2005, but my photo storage on my computer only goes back to 2011 and I wasn’t willing to dig up old jump drives to find an images so here’s a picture of us at the Rainbow Bridge in southern Utah, 2011.

It’s heart-breaking, really.

BUT, I SOOOOOOOOO appreciate all of your comments on my last post. It’s made me take the next step to seek legal counsel. I was planning to try to do a DIY separation agreement, but so many people commented on the legalities of moving out and “abandoning” the marital residence, etc. I don’t think hubs would try to screw me over in any way, but as some of you commented, “An amicable separation is amicable…until it’s not.” And others also pointed out that, during this difficult time, if I can hire an attorney to complete the legal paperwork and forms rather than putting myself through that emotional wringer on top of everything else….well then it’s probably money well spent.

So I’m calling around to set up an initial consultation with a lawyer or two sometime in the next week. I did already sign a lease and have an expected move-out day of 9/1, so I don’t have time to waste – I need to act fast.

In the meantime, I found some comfort in these words…

Nature can sure be beautiful. When something knocks you over, it’s not the end of the world. Get up, dust yourself off, and keep on going and growing.

Thanks again!

<3

~Ashley

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25 Comments

  • Reply SCM1959 |

    Ashley, I am so glad you are going to talk with an attorney. I have been looking at Arizona custody and alimony laws (now called legal decision making/parenting time and spousal support). The ins and outs of both are very complicated and you will definitely need an attorney to help you navigate this. So many times, parties to a divorce cannot see the long-range implications to what seems like a good/nice/fair decision now.

    Also, Arizona is a community property state, which can also be very complicated.

    You should bring the following to your appointment:
    Copies of the last few years’ tax returns
    Copy of the repayment agreement with the IRS
    A complete list of all debts with current balances (you may want to print out current credit card statements and you might want to include an itemized list of purchases to attach to each statement)
    A complete list of all bank accounts with current balances
    At least two recent salary printouts
    Copy of your house deed and mortgage
    A detailed month’s budget showing income (yours) and outgo (all)

    I started dating my husband when I was 17, so I can relate to how long you have been together. I am so, so very sorry about this and hope you can find some moments of peace in each day. Hiring an attorney to wade through all the stuff will help you so much.

    SCM1959

  • Reply Christopher |

    You are truly an adult and should be proud of yourself. Separation does not mean divorce and no matter what happens, you still have two great children. After you have handled the legalities, you can work on your own emotions and a long-term debt plan.

    As a runner myself, I’m glad you added a line item for races. This will be great for your mental health. Consider having a running goal, even a small one.

  • Reply Laura |

    So glad you are seeking legal advice. I hope this continues to be a friendly separation but it’s always best to prepare for the worst. Good luck to you.

  • Reply Anon |

    I’m glad you’re starting to talk with lawyers. Having a lawyer doesn’t mean you want a contentious divorce, or that you’ll have one. It’s just helping keep everything fair and on track. I really hope it is as straightforward and easy (well, not easy, but I think you understand), as it can be.
    Always pulling for you!

  • Reply Nicole |

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Ashley. It’s a brutal journey that nobody can understand unless they’ve been through it. And even then, everyone’s situation is different. Similar to your picture and quote, my favorite one shared by a friend, “Something will grow from all this, and it will be me.”

    I am so, so happy that you are consulting a lawyer. It is very difficult to accept those costs, but it is so important. A single misstep can cost you tens of thousands of dollars and time or decisions with your girls. Leaving the house (as people pointed out). There are rules of thumb they follow in many cases (percentages of time with children, years/amount of support, etc). Precedent has huge weight – who’s been spending time with the kids, making decisions, taking care of things. An expert is crucial to guide you through these things and make sure your future – and especially that of the girls – is what you want it to be.

    Big hugs.

  • Reply Anonymous |

    I read recently that student is a prominent factor in divorce among younger people today. In 2008, my husband and I hit a perfect storm (after putting four kids through college debt-free) of losing our business and home in a wild and volatile market at the time. We were also in a real estate market in which you could not GIVE away a home! I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. We burned through all our savings trying to stay afloat, especially with medical bills. Employment opportunities were almost nil for my husband, in his 50’s at the time. (even with an MBA). You couldn’t even find a job at Home Depot in those days. If you were not living in it, you have no idea how difficult employment was then. But there we were, broke and eventually homeless.

    Divorce was not an option for us. We made that vow years ago to face everything together, good or bad. Our abiding faith was a big part of this! Now, all these years later, we are back on our feet, with God’s help, and doing much better, healthwise too. That does not mean it was not extremely stressful to start over at that age. It certainly was!

    Ashley, you may find that some time apart for reflection may help heal some wounds. Do not rule out reconciliation. Marriage is hard work. Love is often a decision. Of course, we do not know your reasons, and that is a private matter. But if you feel, after some time apart, that those 18 years with Hubby were worth it, then fight for your marriage as a couple and for your girls too.

    • Reply Jessica |

      Since we have no idea what the circumstances of her separation are, let’s not make comments like this. Acting like you not getting divorce because you take your vows more seriously than people who do get divorced is…ridiculous. Obviously, this was a difficult decision to come to and acting like just “fighting” for it would correct the situation we know very, very little about is unhelpful and sort of demeaning.

      • Reply Laura |

        Thank you. Anyone who says divorce isn’t an option just hasn’t hit a situation bad enough to leave, or hasn’t had a partner walk out on them. It doesn’t sound like Ashley and her husband came to this decision lightly, let’s truat that it is he best one for them at the moment.

        • Reply Anonymous |

          If you read what I wrote, I said that divorce was not an option for US. That’s a big difference. There are many, many situations in which people NEED to be divorced. Do you think I’m that naive? Even though life threw us a big curve ball, we still loved each other and wanted to soldier through a bad situation together.

          • Laura |

            I read what you wrote, and found it pretty rude and condescending. Divorce was not an option for YOU, as if anybody really thinks it’s an option until they are facing it. Implying they just need to work harder or fight for it is not helpful.

      • Reply W |

        I agree with Jessica, it is very condescending to imply that they’re not working hard enough, or making this decision lightly. Nobody outside any marriage really knows what’s going on inside it, and Ashley should be trusted to make the best decision for herself and her girls.

        • Reply scarr |

          Agree.

          And love is not a choice. I do not choose to love my parents, my cats, Star Wars or my husband. I can’t explain why I love these things – I just do.

          Staying together is a choice, separating is a choice – both are difficult and legitimate choices that families make.

  • Reply Cheryl |

    I personally think it is rude for a poster to look into Arizona law and tell Ashley about it. I am thinking Ashley is a smart woman who will take care of her children and decide to do what is best for her family. I am also thinking the poster who talked about how hard marriage is wasn’t being condescending.

    • Reply W |

      If Ashley announced she and her husband were reconciling, and THEN someone posted about Arizona divorce law, I’d agree with you.

    • Reply SCM1959 |

      @Cheryl, the reason I looked at Arizona Family Law is that my profession is a Family Law Paralegal, albeit in another state. Ashley has already told us that she is on a very short deadline to move out of her house. If she brings the suggested paperwork to her initial appointment, she will save some time. The attorney is going to need a full understanding of her financial situation before he can advise her of the most prudent way to proceed.

      I did not look at Arizona Family Law to be nosy or pushy, but to get a little understanding myself as to how things work in Arizona. We do not have community property in my state, but they do in a neighboring state, and we have found that our clients are usually very surprised at what this actually means. Most people do not know the ins and outs of child custody and spousal support and the things that are done at the beginning, even with the best of intentions and most of the time “to be nice” will sometimes really backfire. That is why I advised her to see an attorney in my replies to her first post.

      I am sorry that you think I was rude. That was absolutely not my intention. I definitely think Ashley is smart; I think we all know that. And because she is so smart, I feel like she appreciates information and knows that knowledge (and understanding) is vitally important.

      I really am so very sorry about this news. Even after thirty years of working with Family Law, it still makes me so sad when people have marital issues.

      SCM1959

      • Reply Cwaltz |

        I personally thought your post was awesome. The decision to divorce is hard enough emotionally having someone help you navigate the legalities of it is a blessing when you are bound to be experiencing a whole roller coaster ride of emotions. I’m pretty sure that if I were experiencing what Ashley is there would be days I would want to pull the blankets up over my head and make the world go away. Unfortunately, the world does not work that way and all that would do is complicate things for her. Your checklist was a way for her to be prepared to do what she has to for her sake and her girls sake. If I ever am unfortunate enough to find myself in an unhappy relationship that no longer works for whatever reason this is a good primer on what is needed to head into a divorce attorney’s office.

      • Reply Ashley |

        I appreciated all of the info. This is totally uncharted water for me, so I thank you for your help and support! <3

  • Reply Ashley |

    I truly appreciate all the support! For what it’s worth, I didn’t read the “Anonymous” post as condescending. If anything, in my real life (not comments on the blog), I think the thing I’ve struggled with most is comments from friends or family who are dismayed that we’re separating but NOT divorcing (at least right now). I think so many people have seen or experienced marriage or divorce, but not necessarily separation. At this point, I don’t know if we’ll be able to reconcile. But I’m not ruling it out as a 100% impossibility. I think hubs’ and my family and friends have struggled to understand that. People want to pick sides and throw hate at the other side. But this is not an easy “black” or “white” thing. And we’ve truly built this entire life together. Again….it’s just a heart-breaking thing all the way around. BUT – I appreciate al the kind words and sentiments. Now more than ever. Calling and dealing with lawyers has been brutal. But I’ve got an appointment on the books for next week. To be continued…

  • Reply Been There Done That |

    Money problems are one of the top three reasons for divorce. Just sayin’. It can create so much stress in anyone’s life. I have no idea if that is part of the problem for Ashley (and do not need to know) but kudos to “Anonymous” for hanging in there when times were tough. Cancer too. Best wishes, Ashley, during this time and give those little girls lot of hugs!

  • Reply amy |

    Hang in there. I truly believe that if you both want a reconciliation, it can happen. If it doesn’t…you at least know that you tried. Please consider therapy for yourselves individually as well as together. it is amazing how a third party can see things in a relationship that you cant see yourself ( ask me how i know, lol).

  • Reply Erin |

    I’m so glad you are going to see an attorney! You really don’t want to do something (like leave the house) that could have serious unintended consequences down the road for custody and division of assets. (And I thought the post telling you what to bring was awesome! Researching all that stuff is draining.)

    Lawyers don’t have to mean a contentious situation. Really, I think having a lawyer made us fight less because there were neutral third parties saying, “this is a reasonable division of assets, this is standard child support, etc.” It took our feelings and guilt and anger and sadness out of it. Having someone else do the legwork was a little peace of mind during a really difficult time.

    You have had a really hard few years. If you want to reconcile, I really do hope that works out for you. Being a single mom is tough. My marriage was way beyond salvageable, so for me there was really no other option and my kid and I have an awesome life. But those first few years were brutal. (Lean on your friends!) If you are both willing to put the effort in, I think reconciliation is a great thing to work towards.

    • Reply Been There Done That |

      Yes, I also thought that the list of things to bring to the attorney was so helpful! I don’t know why that got knocked down. Any help at all during a stressful time is appreciated by most of us. Less to think about!

So, what do you think ?