monkeysauce878

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I am a resident who just started my PGY-4 (in a 5 year residency). I am thinking about getting a divorce. I am in a kind of weird situation and was hoping for some advice.

The situation:

I am a gay man and I'm married to a man. We have been together since before med school but got married during my intern year (2.5 years ago). We have had a pretty tumultuous relationship but got married during a "good" time. He finished school when I was in med school and has only worked part-time for 3 months during my residency. He hadn't been working in over a year so recently went back to school. We have joint finances and he supports himself with money from his parents (who are wealthy) and money from my salary. He is on my health insurance plan. He has not monetarily supported me or my education except possibly during our move to residency. Arguably, he has not emotionally supported me either - there were abusive behaviors during med school which have improved somewhat since getting married.

The reason we are likely going to be splitting is that we have grown apart and have essentially irreconcilable differences. We don't enjoy our time together anymore and we are both irritable when we are around each other. I have lost most of my respect for him because he's basically done nothing with his life and just sits around at home. I'm tired of dealing with his crap and want to get out of this marriage before things progress any further. We have both done things that are hurtful to each other, so he has plenty of "ammunition" to give to a lawyer and I'm afraid of him trying to take a large portion of my salary and potential future earnings. Of course I have a lot of crap on him too -- I could potentially see things getting really nasty. I stupidly did not ask for a pre-nup but I am planning on talking to a lawyer. We are also going to see a marriage counselor/mediator this week. He thinks that we can work things out, but I am really doubtful. I don't see myself recovering to the point where I want to stay in this relationship.

Any advice on how to prevent him from taking all of money? I'm fine with a small amount of transitional/temporary alimony but I'm not supporting his lazy ass while I work my tail off. We do care for each other and I am agreeable to an amicable split but he can be manipulative and entitled and I'm afraid of him taking advantage of me.
 
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monkeysauce878

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Get a lawyer...you may end up writing more checks than you expect
Yeah that totally sucks, especially since I have an insane amount of student debt and I'm planning on doing a fellowship for which I'll be underpaid.

Any advice other than getting a lawyer? I know a few of my attendings who've gotten a divorce when they were attendings. I'll have to ask for their advice on a good one in town.
 
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gutonc

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Yeah that totally sucks, especially since I have an insane amount of student debt and I'm planning on doing a fellowship for which I'll be underpaid.

Any advice other than getting a lawyer? I know a few of my attendings who've gotten a divorce when they were attendings. I'll have to ask for their advice on a good one in town.
There's no better advice than "get a lawyer".

I will add one thing that I learned from my divorce lawyer, which is that, depending on your jurisdiction, you may be able to include any student loan debt you incurred in med school as a mitigating factor in the "spousal support" decision.

But yeah...get a lawyer.
 

northernpsy

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I'm sorry that you are experiencing such a painful situation, but I also hope that this is the first step to having a better life. I definitely believe that "Divorce is always good news, because no GOOD marriage has ever ended in divorce" as Louis CK put it. If it makes you feel better, my understanding is that in many divorces the prenup agreement ends up getting thrown out by the court for one reason or another (for example, the spouse can argue they signed it under duress if the prenup was drafted right before the wedding), so it might not have ended up making any difference anyway.

In many cases, marriage counseling is not actually about making the relationship work but ends up REALLY being about helping both partners accept that it's really over and trying to help them make a clean break. I would suggest that once you feel out what the counselor is like and they seem like they will be a good fit, you may want to tell the counselor privately that you have already come to the realization that you don't want to stay in the relationship and would like the counselor's help in how to make a peaceful transition.
 

Crayola227

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I will say though, check out Al Turtle's Relationship Advice (google it)

If not useful for *this* marriage, I still found it very useful in examining what went wrong in prior relationships, and it's seen me out of at least one bad relationship sooner rather than later. I think the skills from it have been useful in a number of relationships from friends to colleagues to romantic. I expect it will help me on the next go round.
 
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lymphocyte

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Any advice on how to prevent him from taking all of money? I'm fine with a small amount of transitional/temporary alimony but I'm not supporting his lazy ass while I work my tail off. We do care for each other and I am agreeable to an amicable split but he can be manipulative and entitled and I'm afraid of him taking advantage of me.
Get a lawyer and don't tell anyone. Now is the time to document, document, document--and start building a financial wall. Especially with this nebulous "ammunition" that will likely be more injurious to your personal and professional life than your legal case.

Crayola makes a great point about doing some kind of relationship autopsy in the future to figure out where things went wrong. It shouldn't be normal for a relationship to be tumultuous or stressful or abusive--so why did you feel compelled to stay? That's not a judgment but maybe something worth thinking about next time around. And forget couple's counseling; what about seeing a therapist for yourself during this stressful and fraught time?

I'm actually really happy for you. Based solely on what you've written, it sounds like the right decision for you. But with all this potential bitterness and past history of abuse, you need to aggressively look out for yourself. Get a lawyer. Tell no one till all the ducks are lined up, ideally with the paperwork done, bags packed, and a safe place to go. I'm actually against making it "peaceful." Your partner frankly sounds like a very manipulative person, so why bother? Put the onus on him, especially with your lawyer's blessings. 2.5 years gets you bupkus in most states anyways (though there's always the issue of community property, etc.--that's why you need a lawyer.) I wish you the best of luck.
 
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AMEHigh

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Yeah that totally sucks, especially since I have an insane amount of student debt and I'm planning on doing a fellowship for which I'll be underpaid.

Any advice other than getting a lawyer? I know a few of my attendings who've gotten a divorce when they were attendings. I'll have to ask for their advice on a good one in town.
Other than getting a lawyer, which I'm sure they'd give you similar advice, but make sure you have copies of all finances and accounts. That way you can have proof if he tried to withdraw money. Also, in preparation you can also open an account in your name only if you don't already have one. I know that when I got divorced it was nice to know that I had an account that only I had access to in case **** hit the fan and he took "our" money. Good luck to you.
 
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monkeysauce878

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Thanks everyone for the thoughtful advice and encouragement. I appreciate hearing your takes on my situation. I'm on call all weekend so maybe I'll use some downtime at the hospital to try to find a lawyer. One of my siblings is an attorney (not in family law) but I'm sure will have some good insight on choosing a good lawyer.

I'm sorry that you are experiencing such a painful situation, but I also hope that this is the first step to having a better life. I definitely believe that "Divorce is always good news, because no GOOD marriage has ever ended in divorce" as Louis CK put it. If it makes you feel better, my understanding is that in many divorces the prenup agreement ends up getting thrown out by the court for one reason or another (for example, the spouse can argue they signed it under duress if the prenup was drafted right before the wedding), so it might not have ended up making any difference anyway.

In many cases, marriage counseling is not actually about making the relationship work but ends up REALLY being about helping both partners accept that it's really over and trying to help them make a clean break. I would suggest that once you feel out what the counselor is like and they seem like they will be a good fit, you may want to tell the counselor privately that you have already come to the realization that you don't want to stay in the relationship and would like the counselor's help in how to make a peaceful transition.
That's what I'm hoping. I have pretty much realized that it's over, but I need my husband to realize that neither of us are happy and we'd both best be served if we split. That's one of the reasons I picked a marriage counselor who is also a mediator - so that he can help us navigate this process while not ripping each other's throats out.

I will say though, check out Al Turtle's Relationship Advice (google it)

If not useful for *this* marriage, I still found it very useful in examining what went wrong in prior relationships, and it's seen me out of at least one bad relationship sooner rather than later. I think the skills from it have been useful in a number of relationships from friends to colleagues to romantic. I expect it will help me on the next go round.
I'll definitely look into it. Thanks for the tip.

Get a lawyer and don't tell anyone. Now is the time to document, document, document--and start building a financial wall. Especially with this nebulous "ammunition" that will likely be more injurious to your personal and professional life than your legal case.

Crayola makes a great point about doing some kind of relationship autopsy in the future to figure out where things went wrong. It shouldn't be normal for a relationship to be tumultuous or stressful or abusive--so why did you feel compelled to stay? That's not a judgment but maybe something worth thinking about next time around. And forget couple's counseling; what about seeing a therapist for yourself during this stressful and fraught time?

I'm actually really happy for you. Based solely on what you've written, it sounds like the right decision for you. But with all this potential bitterness and past history of abuse, you need to aggressively look out for yourself. Get a lawyer. Tell no one till all the ducks are lined up, ideally with the paperwork done, bags packed, and a safe place to go. I'm actually against making it "peaceful." Your partner frankly sounds like a very manipulative person, so why bother? Put the onus on him, especially with your lawyer's blessings. 2.5 years gets you bupkus in most states anyways (though there's always the issue of community property, etc.--that's why you need a lawyer.) I wish you the best of luck.
The reasons I felt compelled to stay are complex. I won't go into too much detail here, but basically we met when we were both really young and naive. We both had a lot of issues, and our relationship became very co-dependent very early on. I abandoned a lot of my friends and family and relied primarily on my partner as a source of support and extracurricular activities. It was really unhealthy to rely on each other so heavily and we enabled each other to not grow and mature as individuals. I also had major self-esteem issues and truly never thought I would find anyone else who would want to be with me. He reinforced those feelings and I stupidly allowed him to manipulate me into feeling that way so that I wouldn't want to leave him-- it hasn't been until recently that my self-esteem has recovered and I'm regaining the confidence as an individual to realize that I deserve better.

I do have my own therapist who I have been seeing for about the past year. He has helped me uncover a lot of my true feelings about myself as well as the relationship. I'm finally rediscovering what makes me happy; it's just that the relationship does not make me happy. Fortunately we don't really have any community property. We rent our place, I lease a vehicle and he owns his own vehicle. There's nothing really that valuable/sentimental that either of us own that I would want to fight for. So that helps keep things less complicated.

Other than getting a lawyer, which I'm sure they'd give you similar advice, but make sure you have copies of all finances and accounts. That way you can have proof if he tried to withdraw money. Also, in preparation you can also open an account in your name only if you don't already have one. I know that when I got divorced it was nice to know that I had an account that only I had access to in case **** hit the fan and he took "our" money. Good luck to you.
Good advice. Thanks for that. Yeah, I'll probably get my own checking account at some point soon and switch my direct deposit over to it.
 

keifernny2

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It sounds like you've made your mind up with divorce, and the idea that things are over. As this is a stressful time in your life ( and possibly a depressive time in his life) I would encourage you to at least keep an open mind during the relationship counseling, as you'll be paying a lot of money for it and you really have little to lose in the session if you're already planning for divorce.


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