Don't give in to wife's out of line demands

            Posted on October 9, 2016 

Don’t give in to wife’s out-of-line demands

Q.   I’m a 48-year old Ph.D. tenured professor at a Massachusetts College. I earn $350,000 a year in salary and consulting fees. My wife is a 46-year-old with a master’s degree in business, earned 20 years ago. We have two children, ages 12 and 14.

My wife stopped working outside the house when our first child was born and refused to ever again seek employment.

After 18 years, our marriage is over. She wants me to move out right away so that her unemployed male friend can move right in. She wants me to agree, even if she doesn’t marry him, the alimony will continue until I retire.

About three years ago we bought our house for $1.1 million. We used $300,000 my mother had just given to me. My wife wants to live there until the children both graduate from college.

And she wants me to split the value of my retirement account as of the date I retire.
Is just me or are some or all of these requests out of whack?

A.   Make clear you’re not moving out until she agrees that no other adult can move in for the first two years after you leave. If she asks a judge to order you out, file a motion to appoint a Ph.D. psychologist as a Guardian ad litem. The GAL will evaluate the children and most probably suggest to the judge that no adult – other than parents, siblings, etc. - should be permitted to stay overnight or move in for about two years.

In the meantime, not that she’d do this, but be certain you never raise your voice and that you retreat from every verbal or physical assault. That way you’ll not give her any basis to seek an order that you vacate the house. If need be, tell her you’ll use your cell phone to record any nasty verbal interaction to use as proof that she, not you, was the aggressor.

Also hire a professional to assess your wife’s ability to work. Even an old MBA is a better-than-average credential. The amount of her probable earnings should reduce your child support and alimony payments.

She’s entitled to half the current value of your pensions. The plan administrator will move her share into her separate account. A court-approved roll-over may be necessary to avoid current taxation on the withdrawal from that plan.

Offer to sell the house when your youngest child goes to college or graduates from high school. Agree to use the first $300,000 to pay toward the children’s college education, with their personal college loans paying anything extra. The rest of the house’s net sale proceeds and the net value of all your other assets should be equally divided.

To paraphrase an old pun, if you agreed to your wife’s demands, it would be as if you jumped off a bridge in Paris, proving you were in Seine.