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Collector Conservatism, Part Five: Divorce Debt – The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Posted By John Nampion On February 14, 2010 @ 4:15 pm In NewsReal Blog | No Comments

To read episodes 1-4 in the Collector Conservatism series, click here.

OK, OK, my buddy Steve’s ex-wife (the marriage was officially dissolved yesterday) isn’t nearly as goofy as the woman in the following YouTube video, who complains about eviction from a luxury apartment and the measly 750k settlement  her husband is offering to settle their, um, relationship.

But the erstwhile Mrs. Steve is making out pretty darn good down here in Sunny AZ.

Not only does she have a guaranteed place to live (as long as Steve can hold a job) but she is making sure, through the Maricopa County Courts, that he doesn’t impede her financial future by continuing to make payments on anything as silly as a mortgage.

Child support is a given.  Spousal support is de rigueur. But property ownership or a 401k?

Fuggedaboutit. The loopy lady in the video calls herself an “idiot”. Steve knows where she’s coming from:

Marital dissolution is a fiscal minefield, no matter what sex you are. Here are the factors (besides “love”) that got Steve started on his road to ruin. Make sure you pay close attention so that it doesn’t potentially happen to you:

One year into the marriage, my friend had to liquidate an IRA account due to his wife’s profligate shopping sprees. Instead of taking her off his credit cards as an authorized user, he went along with her plan to co-sign another card, her own credit card, which she of course would be very responsible with, (“promise”) and due to his earning power, she got a high-end limit that she immediately began to chase with all the passion and vigor of Luciano Pavarotti digging into a prosciutto sandwich.

Of course this scenario repeated itself multiple times over the course of the betrothal, and each time Steve capitulated to his little honey’s desires, hoping beyond hope that things would “get better” and that it would “all work out”. Houses were refinanced, unneeded cars were purchased and leased, and, finally, with his move to AZ from a northern state, he capped it all off with the purchase of his wife’s “dream home”, which he bought before they sold their home in Frostbite Falls wherever.

Of course, although that house was scheduled to sell, it didn’t for over a year, due to the Barney Frank-engineered Sub-Prime Debacle of 2007-Infinity.

And the residence that Steve bought in the Grand Canyon State?

Worth less than a Yurt right now. It may escalate in value to the level of a Nissan Sentra some day, but not anytime soon.

Not that Steve gets to live there very much longer. The judge has already admonished him to not make any mortgage payments if they’re going to jeopardize his wife’s lifestyle in her new deluxe rental home that Steve’s wage garnishment is financing right now.

The last remaining retirement account, the mythical 401k, that Steve toiled to contribute to for longer than the length of his marriage?

Ha. Ha. Ha ha ha ha ha.

I recently asked Steve why he’s such a Godforsaken Schmuck. He didn’t get offended by the question. His eyes got misty and he stared directly into the sun for several minutes before bothering to answer:

“I dunno, man. I think it’s the blond hair. And the blue eyes. And the peaches-and-cream complexion. Money doesn’t seem so very important next to that.

“Besides, look what happened to this poor sap!”

He gave me a web address, which I immediately accessed on my All-Global Blackberry Pro-Tem. It was a Divorce-advice column run by a gentleman named Dean Hughson. The query and reply of the moment was the following:

You must hear a lot of sad stories on divorce. Can you share some of the worst stories you have heard?

Answer:

All stories are sad. When you lose access to your family or your spouse, it hurts. Here are a couple of stories from the thousands I have heard.

A friend of mine, a dentist, built a unique type of dental practice up…worth $8 million. One day his wife announced that she was not finding their sex life particularly fulfilling and she had decided that they should start ’swinging’ with other couples. The friend told her that his morality wouldn’t allow that type of behavior. The wife said “Well, tell you what I am going to take a boyfriend and you will pay for the apartment and expenses..If you don’t I will divorce you, take the kids, and your money.”‘ He said no and she did exactly what she said she would do. The courts ordered him to split the assets 75%/25% and then ordered him to pay $10,000/month in alimony and $5,000 a month in child support, all other legal bills, and provide medical insurance for her and the kids plus give them the family home. The stress of losing his kids and wife were great on him and the business community was changing and he didn’t catch it. Soon his business went down the tubes. However, the courts said that he could afford to pay the money ordered, even though he was in bankruptcy and put him in jail when he couldn’t. When he went to jail, his ex’s boyfriend knew someone and they had him marked as a child abuser (it is signified by the color of the documents) even though he was not and thus he found himself facing people in jail who wanted to kill him, thinking he was a child abuser when actually he was there for not paying alimony.

With a first story like that, who needs a second? All I know is I’m going to need to watch my pal like a hawk. One more blonde in his life and he’s gonna be down at Tent City makin’ big boulders into little teeny pebbles.

Which even a weeny like him doesn’t deserve.


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