Letter: My Divorce Settlement Doesn’t Cover My Expenses

Letters From Readers

Dear Susan,

I have been divorced for three years and I am drowning in debt and expenses.  When we went through our divorce, I told my lawyer of all of my expenses and I thought I got a good settlement but now that is not the case. Should I go back to court?  Help!!!! I am one step away from the poorhouse and possibly losing my home. I have four children ages 4-13.

Please advise

Shelb

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Dear Shelb,

Believe it or not, this happens with all too frequency. While we are going through the divorce, we just want the whole thing to be over. Lawyers are very quick on the draw to iron out the money part of the settlement and more times than not things get forgotten.

One of the exercises in my workbook addresses this very issue. Sadly, it won’t help your situation.  So let me give you the bad and good news with the bad news first. Everything in your divorce decree, except for child support and child custody, is non-modifiable which means you cannot go back and ask for more money from your ex-spouse because you forgot to mention it during the divorce.

Now for the better news.  If you believe your ex-spouse hid marital assets from you during the divorce process  – meaning bank accounts, stock/bond accounts, IRA’s,  pensions, jewelry, boats, cars, real estate – you are entitled to half of those assets and you may ask to reopen the case for such disclosure. If your ex-spouse has had an increase in salary and it has been over three years since your last child support calculation, you may have his salary reassessed for more child support.

Shelb, you did not say whether or not your were working outside of the home.  Four kids is enough of a job and I know child care can be outrageously expensive so you may have to look for employment that has flexibility or start something out of your home.

Financial health is something that almost always suffers through a contentious divorce and the person who begins as the disadvantaged spouse, in your case you, always has more to lose.  Please look into the possibility of hidden assets and see if child support can be re-evaluated so that more money can land in your pocket.

Susan