Friday, December 28
“HI (sic) Brenda,” JB emailed.
“I'd suggest you come up with a proposed monthly amount to live on for the next couple of months while the divorce is processed. I assume it might take that long. I promise you if the amount is fair I won't argue and I'll give you a check the day that I get paid. We're both going to have to cut back and budget and make sacrifces (sic). It's a reality of all divorces. I'll try to keep my living costs as low as possible in the meantime, but I am going to need to get a place sooner or later.
“Again, the check that will be deposited on Monday will be in the PNC account as normal. That gives us 2 weeks to adjust. Sorry if you think this is a passive agressive (sic) move on my part, but I was advised to do this right after you asked me to leave the house and I held off. Now that you've filed and are determined to get this done, there is no reason for me to wait any longer. There is more to separate, like car insurance etc. Also when the Exxon-Mobile account comes in, give it to me, I'll pay it and have the address changed.
“It would be helpful if you would make a list of all the direct withdrawals made from our checking account each month.
“I checked on health insurance. Once the divorce is final, I would go on employee + children. You would be eligible for COBRA at that point. If I could keep you on, I would, but I can't. I will find out what the premium would be. This will obviously be a factor in the settlement.
“I think you'll find I'll be pretty generous with assets and responsibility for debts and so on.
“What's important to me is keeping my mom's antiques and artwork, though if certain pieces are important to you I'm happy to discuss. I also want at least a standard or better custody agreement for Tom, and being able to keep enough of my income to live on. I'm not expecting a life of luxury but I do expect to be able to have a place to live within reasonable distance that is suitable for the boys to stay over.
“My understanding is I will need to pay maintenance to you for some period of time. I have no problem doing this. You are a very able and talented and energetic woman, but I know it will take some time to get a career going, and I do still want to see you finish your book. If you are going for permanent maintenance then I will need to get a lawyer. I think your/our lawyer would expect as much.
“I'm happy to let you keep the Tahoe and I'll keep the Caddie. It's up to you but I'd seriously consider downsizing the Tahoe. You could probably get a used Ford Escape for the net value and you'd save a ton on gas.
“I won't bring up the animals. They are your babies and I respect that. We've already settled Lakeside/Minoqua (sic) as far as I am concerned.
“The house and retirement accounts are the big assets and we'll have to work those out. Tax consenquences (sic), etc.
“Child support will always be sacrosanct as far as I am concerned. I believe the law has pretty clear guidelines on amounts.
“I am sorry it has come to this. But it has and I'm finally accepting it.
“You are in a big hurry, which I understand. I'm still beating myself up every day over what a cruel, needless mess I've made. Tables turned, I'd want a pound of your flesh, so I get it. But your urgency makes me feel like I'm being pressured to make decisions faster than I need to. That's not good for either of us and I'm not going to move any faster than I feel I need to move. I've come to realize you can't get any angrier with me than you already are so I need to start looking after myself. We'll get this done and it'll be fair, but we'll both feel a little poorer when it's over, because we will be.”
“Hi Brenda,” JB emailed again.
“My understanding is that the law gives me 28 days to respond. So I still have 18 days based on the Dec. 18 time stamp on the documents you handed to me.
“I seriously considered the shared attorney thing. It may save money in the short run, but all the research I have done recommends against it. I am sure your attorney is fair and ethical but I don't believe she can represent my interests as well as yours. The fact that Paul did it this way is not persuasive to me.
“I have made an appointment for an initial consultation on Jan 8 with a lawyer out this way. I was hoping for something sooner but the lawyer who was recommended to me is out next week. He has a reputation for being fair and not for dragging things out.
“As far as paying for the lawyer, I haven't figured that one out yet but I will.
“I am working on the disclosure form, but I don't plan to respond to anything until after my consultation.
“I again encourage you to come up with a budget for temporary maintenance until there is a settlement. We have 2 weeks to figure it out. I would like to get a place to live relatively soon.
“I suggest suspending all unnecessary auto-deductions from the checking account in the short term to free up cash. Things like IRAs, mutual funds, not sure what else is in there. I would not touch any college funds right now. As I said, I reduced the 401K to the minimum to still keep matching funds from work.
“I gathered from Blake that you are worried since I decided to take control of my income. I understand. Again, I want to assure you again that once we agree on a temporary maintenance amount, I will pay it regularly and without delay.”
Tracy and I went out for dinner.
“You and JB had an agreement,” Tracy said sternly. “You put your career on the sidelines and raised a family with the understanding you were going to grow old and retire together. You were married 21 years. The court knows that. You’re going to be okay.”
“The emails he sends,” I said. “His tone. Makes me ill. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. How are you?”
“I hate Amber, Ken’s new wife,” Tracy said. Her eyes glazed over, contempt twisted her pretty face. “Ken found her on the Internet. You should see her Facebook picture. She’s a skanky biker. A heroin addict. She got Ken on heroin, and now our son. I asked Scott if Amber gave him heroin. I’m sure that bitch wants to sleep with him, too. You know how handsome my son is. Scott didn’t answer. I asked him several times. He finally said yes. I hate that bitch Brenda. I want to kill her. I want to take her to court. Put her in jail. But I can’t prove anything. Maybe I can sue her in civil court. Take her for everything she has. Her family’s got money.”
“I’d feel like killing her, too.”
Tracy stared at me. “I want to kill her Brenda. I really do.”