I am very, very sorry for your friend. I hope that this is a legit post because I am spending quite a bit of time posting a response because I have been abused in the court system and hope that no person has to go through what I did in Family Court. So here it goes. First of all, I am NOT a lawyer, your friend should get some legall advice immediately. I found that the first week post D-bomb is critically important in terms of the action steps you take set you on a trajectory that sets the tone of the whole divorce. She should stay calm and protect the interests of her and her daughter in EVERY SINGLE ACTION that she takes. If she puts the child’s best interest first, she will prevail in court eventually. Your friend will definitely lose some battles in court, especially at the beginning but if she acts with the best interest of her children, eventually she will win the war. Making EVERY decision with my CHILD’S best interest first was what saved me both in court and in my darkest hours of doubt. Immediately after lining up some attorneys to go interview, she should get a copy of ALL FINANCIAL statements – mortgage, college loans, car loans, cc debt, investments, retirement Accounts, everything. That will be the baseline for their financial separation. Is she deeded on the their house or listed on their lease? Is her car in her name? Does she have emergency funds in case she is not and gets locked out? She needs to consider safety, shelter, and food for herself and her children. My was-band swept and closed all of our accounts immediately. I did eventually get some money back, but 1/10 of what it was. I highly recommend that she read everything she can online about divorce laws specific to Kansas. There are great Kansas lawyer blogs and chat rooms. Spousal support or alimony is not guaranteed these days and the duration of it is usually only a % of how long they were married. So if they were married for 5 years, she may get 1.5 years of alimony. Child support is a straight calculation based on the income difference between the husband and wife and it is pitiful. Child support is definitely not enough to live on. My Was-band makes over half a million a year and I get, wait for it…less than $500 per month. Your friend will have to return to work, especially if she ever wants to be able to retire. I would recommend that she start updating her resume and job searching immediately. My best advice, the faster they can settle this, the better. Lawyers promise to get you this, and promise that and in the end they get huge fees and you end up with animosity and a much smaller bank account. Was-band and I spent over $500K in legal fees and at the end of the day, we were…divorced. We did it in the most litigious, painful, difficult way and basically bank rolled our respective lawyers. Disgusting. Absolutely disgusting on all parties involved and I include myself in that. When I finally realized that it takes 2 to fight and just cut my losses (unless it was something that my child needed, I would fight for him), I realized that the only thing that mattered was to move forward and heal, for myself and my child. NO ONE “wins” in court, no one. We all have TV inspired thoughts of “getting justice” in court with some dramatic sentencing by a judge. It is more like a pitiful and painful 3 minute debate where you don’t even get to speak, your lawyer does and then the judge, who doesn’t know your, your child or your situation all that well, issues an order that is a COMPROMISE for both parties. No one gets 100% of what they want in court. Stepping into a court house means that you will be compromised by a stranger, I would highly recommend that they settle as much as they can among themselves.
For any engaged Bees or anyone else reading this who is blissfully married and never dream that anything remotely close to this could happen to them, please, please, please, be actively involved in your marriage’s finances, know how to access investment accounts, retirement accounts, get yourself named on your house deed or apartment lease and have a plan to be financially independent. Hopefully, you will never need ANY of these things, but my heart breaks for women who are caught in unfortunate circumstances. Sending hugs to your friend, some day she will realize that this was incredibly difficult but that she is better without him.