I was divorced in 2009 after a marriage of 18 years. My situation disadvantaged me from the start as I was ordered to pay for my ex-wife’s attorney (with no cap on how much she could spend) as well as my own and pay temporary support until the divorce was settled. Of course I was outgunned legally from the start. My ex was awarded permanent alimony in the amount of $64,000/yr. At the time I was earning $140,000/yr. Since that time my income has gone down, and I have had periods of unemployment, the longest of which was 4 months due to me having surgery on my eyes. I’m a software engineer so I need to be able to see to work. I was making about $110,000 per year and filed for a modification. This is infuriating, I don’t have enough money to pay my alimony so I have to come up with more money to pay for an attorney to file for modification. The whole system is rife with catch 22’s. I did get my alimony reduced to $44,000/year but it cost me $30,000 in lawyers fees to do it. In addition I have to pay back my arrears from when I was sick and unemployed and couldn’t pay. On top of this, my ex has cited me for contempt for non payment. The judge has said he will drop the contempt motion if I pay my arrears by September 15. If I did that, and paid my other bills as well as my attorney I’d be in the red for $200 per month. Lest you think I’m living lavishly I’m not. I currently live with my parents having lost my house and trashed my credit, and I owe back taxes because, out of desperation I payed alimony instead of taxes. I’m 57 years old, I have nothing to look forward to. I earn a good income but I don’t get to keep any of it. I have no retirement savings. In the meantime my ex lives in a nice apartment in Minneapolis, has another job and is doing pretty well for herself. In addition she has a masters degree that she earned while we were married. I do not have a degree. My situation is outrageously unjust. At this point I feel like I’d be better off in jail.
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