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Divorce after 20 years - what to expect

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Obvious Observer
He can't take a loan or any other type of in-service distribution of the 401(k) without her signature. Can't speak for other assets.
People have been known to falsify signatures...

More commonly, and very legally, people have been known to get a signature without the signer fully understanding the consequences of what they are signing.


Under the Radar Member
He doesn't want the divorce and says that our problems are mostly due to my emotional and anger issues. I'll admit...I haven't been perfect, but I'm much better than I was. My friends all love him and can't understand why I want a divorce. When I tell them we're total opposites and that I want more out of life than this completely unfulfilling relationship, they tell me I'm being unrealistic.

Yes, he has a 401K, but I don't know how much is in it.
Well.... We all have to make decisions in life. You *could* choose to stay married until your daughter is finished with college. You *could* choose to find a job in your field wherever you can. You *could* choose any number of things. If you choose to bail? Okay. But understand that you don't get all of your terms.

Frankly, if I were so miserable? I'd walk w/o all the"stuff"..... Oh. Wait...


Senior Member
We've been together since we were teenagers. As soon as I graduated high school, my parents moved out of state and we moved in together. He was never supportive to me for most of our marriage. We have very different personalities and our differences have only gotten worse over the years. I stayed only so our daughter could have some stability and because he's a good father. A lousy husband, but a good father. I would be really angry if he forced the sale of our house just so I didn't get it.
Its the circumstances that would force you to sell, not him. You admittedly cannot qualify for a refinance to take him off the mortgage, and it is not proper to expect to keep his credit tied up for years and years in order for you to keep the house. Even if you had enough income of your own to qualify, you couldn't do it now because you are under water on the mortgage.

He won't be able to finance another mortgage when his credit is tied up in that house. If you can convince him to give you a few years before you have to refinance you might get out from being underwater, but you will still need to have the income to qualify.


She's going for a degree that takes longer than three years, which is why she's still in school.

We have no assets besides the house. We lease our cars and have a good amount of credit card debt.
So you as a couple have a history of living beyond your means.


I live in NY and have been married to my husband for 23 years. We have one daughter who will be 21 in September and is currently starting her 3rd year of college. We own a house together that we're underwater on. When our daughter was born, I went to school while working part time because I have no family here and had no one to rely on to help with childcare, etc. I have since received my degree, but positions in my field in this area are very difficult to get (you have to know someone) and the salary is less than half what my husband makes. He also has a degree and has been at his job for 20 years.


You made a poor choice - likely what you wanted to do and not after analyzing what would support youself if need be.


OP, IMO, you need a complete physical (including psychiatric) exam and serious therapy before you make any decisions regarding a divorce. Your posts here are not completely logical or rational.. You have unrealistic expectations. I suspect you are regretting your early marriage and your loss of the lifestyle that is now promoted for 20somethings. I am also concerned that you may have a physical condition that is affecting your thought processes. After therapy, you are likely to have a better idea of what you need to do; then you will know what to do legally. If you are really so unhappy with your situation, you would be willing to walk with just the clothes on your back and not be worrying about a house you cannot afford.

Not to be mean - just realistic, what you you do if you no longer had your daughter? Your concerns seem to center on what she might want. Are you missing that she is becoming less dependent on you? What if ...? Please do not make such a life changing decision in haste. Certainly consult and attorney, but also see your physician to see if there is a phyusical reason for your mid-life crisis..


Queen Bee
Our daughter goes away to college, but is home during breaks and the summer. I'm just trying to look out for what's best for her. She shouldn't have to be deprived of her stability. I'm sorry, but I don't think that's irrational.

I can afford it if I rent out the basement. We've been paying for this house for 16 years and I would feel like all that money was just thrown away if we had to sell it at a loss.

How is my degree an asset? I earned it on my own. I'm not sure I follow what you're saying?
YOu earned it during the marriage. You could be working with that degree if you chose to do so but apparently you don't choose to do so. That money spent on you earning the degree was marital.

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