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Author: Patzer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 2746  
Subject: Re: getting "divorced" Date: 2/10/2012 4:48 PM
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Not legally married, so not a divorce, but together over 5 years, living together for 4. This certainly feels like it...

There are two major parts to any divorce. The first part is the emotional turmoil of ending a relationship. You have that part in full measure. Take time to grieve, and don't make irrevocable decisions in a hurry. It could be a while before you figure out how you want to structure your life on a go forward basis.

The second major part of a divorce is the legal stuff. It can be complex, but it mostly comes down to custody, visitation, and money. It sounds like you have it pretty easy on this stuff, which gives you the luxury of being able to focus most of your attention on dealing with the emotional turmoil.

I infer from the fact that you didn't mention children that there aren't any. Assuming this to be the case, and assuming that she is not pregnant, that simplifies the split up a great deal. Some other stuff that jumps out at me:

Currently what I've put into "us", financially anyway, is far-far more than she has.

A sad fact is that this would not matter if you were legally married, and probably doesn't matter in your specific case.

The house is in my name because it was all my money and credit used to buy it.

This really simplifies the split up. She leaves, you decide what you want to do about the house - keep it, sell it, move and rent it out, whatever. You need no ongoing cooperation from her.

She has said she wants to give me money to make up for all the choices I made for her, things like the ring purchase ($4k), but I know she doesn't have much money or earn much, she will be having a hard enough time just making it on her own as-is.

I'd regard that as a pleasant sentiment on her part, unconnected to reality. In a formal divorce, either you'd get nothing from her or you'd be settling assets on her and maybe (depending on laws in your jurisdiction) paying alimony. Since you never formally married, letting her walk with what's legally in her name while you keep what's legally in your name is very easy, and the best possible outcome you could have got in a divorce if you were legally married.

Probably the only stuff that you have that is like a legal divorce is splitting up the household goods. There will be stuff that's obviously hers, stuff that's obviously yours, and stuff that was jointly used. My advice (worth what you paid for it) is to quickly settle with her what she's taking and what you're keeping. If practical, get her stuff to her as soon as she has somewhere else to live. If she's temporarily short on space and leaving stuff that is hers in your house for a while, identify what is hers so you don't have to revisit the issue of who gets what pieces of common property. Dragging the decisions out will hurt more than being able to box up the stuff that's hers and have it sitting ready for when she can take it away.

The good part of me says "let's not do that, money is water under the bridge, we loved each other, but that is over, just give me back the thing, let's amicably split the household goods and go our separate ways"... the bad part of me says, this was very sudden, and she's acting very guilty... is it just guilt from dumping me, or is something sinister is afoot?

Listen to your good part. That's the way to get on with your life and have a future. It is natural, and perhaps unavoidable to have doubts about whether she's seeing someone else; but don't let those doubts affect your actions. The path to ongoing life without pain is to make a complete split and not have to revisit the issues every few months.

I'm not really expecting great advice from anonymous internet folks... just looking to spill my guts to some anonymous and potentially bored forum readers who might have some tips for me... I have been quiet about my situation to people I know "IRL" (in real life), as I don't want to drag them down, I'd rather just lay low for a couple of months until I'm feeling better about myself and can pick up the pieces.

That's a pretty good plan. I don't know that you'll get great advice from us, but I like the idea of laying low and not making major decisions unrelated to splitting the household until you have time to process the emotions that come with the split. Life will look different a year from now, and right now you can't predict *how* it will look different.

Patzer
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