The Upper Hand

Friday I went to see M (Indy). She’s having a tough January – she got laid off after a merger, and she’s been dealing with stress from her family. After I arrived she said her husband had contacted her and needed his second pair of work boots, due to having discovered a hole in the first pair, thanks to the rain. We drove to meet him, dropped off the boots and then went to get lunch. We then went back to her house and talked for several hours about all sorts of things, which is of course one of the fun things about visiting M.

As I was getting ready to leave, I noticed that my husband had texted me. He was saying he felt that a post-nuptial agreement would be a temporary solution to our disagreements as we transitioned through the divorce. I looked that up and found that they’re primarily used to determine asset division in the event of a death or divorce.

Asset division? Did he discover a valuable magic: the gathering card in his collection? Is he worried I might want to take 5-7.5k in cash? We’d have to have something worth dividing for it to be worth it to pay a lawyer 1-3k to put together a post-nuptial agreement.

M’s suggestion was that I sent him a text saying it might be a useful idea and ask him to draft something and send it to me for review. That way we’d find out what he wanted.

That night after my husband and sons had left to play magic: the gathering I mentioned the texts and M’s idea to A and H, and they agreed it was a good idea. I told them I suspected he was just fishing for information from me, and his subsequent response proved that to be correct. He couldn’t draft something and send it to me, we would have to discuss what we wanted together and then send it to a lawyer. I said in that case, we could just go to a mediator with a background in family law.

(Mediation is not legally binding, it’s just a less expensive way for people that are being more or less cooperative to come to an amicable agreement for how to file for divorce. A post-nuptial, on the other hand, is legally binding unless found to be ‘unconscionable.’)

He kept pushing for getting together and drafting a post-nuptial agreement. He said it would reduce his stress. (Funny how he’s always asking me to reduce HIS stress in a way that means MY stress goes up.)

I decided now that I’d revealed he was, in fact, trying to ferret information out of me that I’d be taking a stronger line. I told him if he expected me to sign legal documents pertaining to the division of assets, that he’d need to have property and assets valued and have financial statements available, and that we could then discuss it in the presence of a 3rd party such as a lawyer or mediator.

His response?

“This really has nothing to do with assets.”

What? I was so confused. I was sharing screen shots of the conversation with A and H and they were both as confused as I was.

My husband went on to say that a post-nuptial would only address what we wanted it to address, and if I didn’t want it to address assets, that was fine.

My response was to tell him that if it didn’t involve assets, to write up what he wanted, send it to me, and I’d get back to him.

To be honest, I was kind of surprised he actually finally said what he wanted. He wanted the post-nuptial to say he got custodial parent, to have a time listed when we would file, and when I’d be moving out/an assurance I wouldn’t be renewing the lease.

Okay, honestly, at this point I was both annoyed and finding this utterly hilarious. Did he think he could be forced to sign a lease with me against his will? Is the man that saw me putting distance between him and I as fast as I could by moving to the other side of the apartment really thinking I want to extend my stay beyond the 6 months left on the lease?

I told him this had turned into a conversation in which I’m asked to repeat myself to reassure him. I told him as long as he didn’t file early without my consent and cooperation, we’d be proceeding as originally planned, or close to it.

His response was that the post-nuptial would address that. He wouldn’t file early, I’d keep health care, he’d have assurance of what he wanted in writing. It would confirm it for both of us! (So helpful of him!)

I’d had enough of his bullshit at that point. I told him he’d simply have to accept that the agreement proceeds according to plan, or becomes a legal battle. I told him I would not be signing a post-nuptial agreement involving anything other than assets.

Really, the fucking nerve of that man.

M had been saying something I found illuminating, though. She said he wouldn’t be trying so hard to control me and gain the upper hand, if he didn’t perceive me as having the upper hand. That was bizarre to think about, but I’m pretty sure she’s right. It doesn’t matter what the facts and evidence are. My husband thinks I have the upper hand and he’s afraid of what I’ll do.

After that conversation had gone down, H asked if I was planning on applying for jobs right now – I said I was, I was just behind due to having spent December in survival mode. He linked a job opening where he works that didn’t require prior experience. It did require a degree, though H assured me he knew people that had worked the position without degrees or pertinent experience. He said to list him as a reference and he’d pass my name on to the appropriate person, so I wouldn’t have to worry about my application being halted by applicant tracking software.

While H has been fine with providing a listening ear alongside A, he is not the kind of person that likes to involve himself in other people’s business. Finding a way to be able to help me that requires action on his part was unexpected and I was really touched by that.

I’m now trying to use that as motivation to get this wretched resume written. I think I’m starting to wrap my brain around what’s expected, but it is still an incredibly tedious chore. And of course there’s no guarantee that having a contact and reference already working there will be enough to get me an interview, but here’s hoping!

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