Because I was married to an entitled fuckwit once upon a time I figured I better know exactly what was allowed and what wasn’t. Could it really be that simple? I mean, it’s that simple when it comes to marriage vs. divorce. So, I’m not living with someone. I’m not remarried. I’m good, right? Oh no!
After inquiring what would constitute “living together” I was informed that pretty much everything constitutes living together! At least the courts have heard cases that involve pretty much everything.
Naturally, the first bit of advice is to not sign a lease or buy a house with someone. Well, duh! I think we would all consider that to be living with someone! Also fairly normal would be not sharing bills with someone, using the address of that other person as my own, and sharing a bank account.
Really? So when CF and Harley share a bank account while we are still married it’s no big deal. Certainly not proof of any wrongdoing on their parts. Can’t get me an immediate divorce granted based on adultery. But if I share a bank account with the mobster a few years down the road it’s now proof we are living together in a relationship analogous to marriage? I’m thinking these laws are a bit biased.
On the not so normal side? My attorney cautioned me against: grocery shopping together, doing the mobster’s laundry (oh, how could I resist?), going to church together, not leaving both toiletries and clothes over at the other’s house, naming one another as beneficiaries on each other’s insurance policies, taking too many vacations together, and giving each other a key to our separate homes. In addition to all of that she advised against spending too many nights at each other’s homes.
Seriously? Going to church together now conveys marital status on a couple? How can that be? I was married for 20+ years to CF. Aside from our children’s baptisms and maybe one Christmas Eve service he never went to church with me. If that is the standard then I’m already fucked because the mobster and I did attend church together. In a state that neither of us live.
I could say almost the same thing in regards to vacations. Twenty plus years together and if I think real hard I can think of 5 vacations he took with me. Six, if you count the one weekend we went away to Vegas for his birthday.
Holidays? We spent probably as many apart as we spent together.
If I give my best friend or neighbor or brother a key to my house (you know, in case I lock myself out) could someone argue that we are living together?
Back to that shared bank account…. when CF and Harley did it it wasn’t proof of adultery. If the mobster and I do it even while living in separate homes we can be considered living together. WTF? Disclaimer: I am in no rush to share a bank account with anyone. I am merely appalled that the courts could use that as proof to dismiss alimony because we could then be considered to be living in a relationship analogous to marriage.
In one particularly scary case the husband took his ex-wife back to court to try to get spousal support dismissed based on the fact that she and her boyfriend were in a long term monogamous relationship, basically. They both had their own homes. She stayed with her boyfriend when her kids were with their father, so about 4-5 days every two weeks, and he might spend the night at her house once a week when she had her kids. They didn’t have clothes at each other’s homes, although he did have a toothbrush over at her house, and I believe she had some toiletries at his. In fact, it was stated she brought a suitcase with her every time she stayed. He pointed out that when she went over there she took her dog along. I believe they went to church together and they tried to use the fact that they would cook meals and cleanup together. The vacations they took together were also scrutinized. Who paid for what? Did they pay separately or split the expenses? They even brought up him going to her mother’s funeral! I believe he went to the funeral but not the memorial, or the funeral but not the burial. They presented themselves as a monogamous couple who were sexually active and in love and that was enough for her ex-husband to try to take her back to court and get spousal support dismissed.
She took her dog with her when she spent the night! Oh no; she’s living with him! No, dumbass, the kids are with their father. If she didn’t take the dog with her who would take care of it?
They’re going to scrutinize if he comforted her when her mother died and attended the funeral? Are you shitting me? Can anyone else attend the funeral of my loved ones without being accused of being my “husband”, or are you only prohibited from going if you’re having sex?
This is a quandary for me because as I’ve mentioned before CF didn’t bother to attend either of my grandmothers’ funerals. I drove 2000 miles to bury my Mamaw and over 1500 to bury my grandma with just my kids. He didn’t even bother to send flowers. So, just to be sure everyone is on the same page: My actual husband did not attend my grandmothers’ funerals with me. However, if the mobster were to attend a family funeral with me that is proof that we are living together in a relationship analogous to marriage. Interesting.
Why are any of those things now the barometer of whether or not I’m living with someone in a relationship analogous to marriage? Actually being married didn’t guarantee me those things.
Are they honestly trying to claim that having sex is something that only married couples do? Hell, according to the cheaters they never get any at home from their spouses. I would argue that having sex is proof positive that you aren’t married or living with someone in a relationship analogous to marriage!
I don’t feel like debating Virginia divorce law at $250 an hour but if I did I would be asking my lawyer if there is a limit on how many times a week I can actually see the mobster. If we have lunch together every day is that marriage? If we’re over at one another’s homes every night, but return to our own beds most nights, are we living as if married?
My daughter sees her boyfriend almost every day. Are they married? When I was younger and didn’t have kids or a husband I saw my best friend every day. Could someone argue we were in a lesbian relationship with one another?
If I help him pick out furniture or decorate his house is that married? God forbid I give him any advice or help!
Are we allowed to buy each other gifts?
Your Honor, he bought her chocolate covered strawberries for Mother’s Day and had them delivered to her at work! Why would he do that if they weren’t basically married? Don’t even get me started on her birthday or Christmas!
I bought him a water jug to replace the one that was leaking. Was that a dowry? The last year before CF moved us halfway across the country I put together cute little Christmas gifts for some of my best friends in Utah. They were adorable! Cute little socks, a homemade sugar foot scrub, and nail polish with a card that read: For Your Mistle Toes! Was I engaged in a polyamorous relationship with all of them? My best friend and I used to gift each other with calendar’s each year. Was that okay? Or were we basically married? I’m pretty sure lots of unmarried people give each other gifts, even ones that are in a relationship. If that’s not allowed then I understand why so many people break up right before a holiday.
And what about the trips we take together now? After all I did make a fucking omelette for him the last time we were together. Everyone knows that’s pretty much a signal to one and all that we are married! Granted, it’s been 3 weeks since we’ve seen each other and we’ve got another 2 weeks to go but I think they’ve got a great case!
Yes, Your Honor, they live 10.5 hours apart and see each other maybe 6 days out of the month if they’re lucky but she made him an omelette!
I also made him shrimp and mushroom fettucine and he washed the dishes afterwards. Holy crap- what’s next? Making babies? He made breakfast sandwiches for me and I cleaned up. Oh my!
Additionally, I’d like to know if all these weekend getaways are considered vacations which practically spells marriage, or do we get a pass since we don’t even live in the same fucking state?
I’m sure to the casual observer it would be easy enough to call me a greedy bitch who wants my poor ex-husband to subsidize my lifestyle with another man. The ultimate cake eater. No, I paid a lot of money for my divorce, mainly because of CF’s antics and his refusal to settle; I’m not willing to turn around and hand it all back over to him. I’m not willing to let him decimate my life and the lives of my children and not pay any kind of price for that.
The cold reality is I have two children I need to support. My job does not do that. Virginia will not order support for college aged kids if the payor is opposed. I have no doubt CF would have been opposed despite the fact that we never expected to cut our kids loose the minute they hit 18 and graduated from high school. So I need that spousal support to help support my kids once they are in college and child support is a mere memory. CF is way too busy reinventing himself as a wonderful father to children that aren’t his to actually parent his own, and he has an expensive, gold digging whore for a girlfriend so he won’t be offering up anything he doesn’t have to.
Sadly, it seems to me that Virginia is trying to corner me into three shitty options: 1. Stay single and collect spousal support; this is what I thought I would be dealing with. I really had no problem with that scenario when I thought that was my destiny. I don’t think there’s anything wrong or sad about living life as a single person. I would have been fine had I never met the mobster, although he has added so much to my life. 2. Have casual, short term relationships and collect spousal support; I don’t really see this as being feasible for me. I didn’t go looking for the mobster; I won’t be out there looking if anything should happen to us. 3. Be fortunate enough to get involved in a serious, long-term relationship and have spousal support yanked away despite not getting remarried or living with one another. Tell my kids they’re on their own because I barely have enough money to support myself, much less them. Let CF and Harley ride off into the sunset, counting their money and laughing about how they got away with everything.
It’s such bullshit. Who is anyone on the bench to tell me I have to get married? Or that my relationship, one where I’m not living with another person, is analogous to marriage? The basic theme seems to be shit or get off the pot. Get married or break up. A long term monogamous relationship is unacceptable. Everyone knows marriage is the pinnacle of a relationship. If you’re not married or living together then what are you doing? What kind of games are you playing? You can do casual. You can be alone. But if you’re going to date someone for any length of time then you must take the next step or you must end it! Marriage or bust!
Maybe I don’t ever want to get married again after what happened to me. I lost everything when CF left. My entire life was torn apart and I have had to dig my way back to the surface. I can’t even say that I’m there yet. I still live with my mom. My job, thanks to insurance and 401ks, still doesn’t pay me much more than what it takes to cover my bills. I’m still at CF’s mercy and whims. Why would a judge or anyone else think that I would ever trust someone enough to remarry and lose guaranteed spousal support? I was discarded after twenty years of marriage. After moving all over the country for CF’s career. After giving birth to his two children that he has also abandoned. If CF could discard me so casually after twenty years together why would I give up what I’ve fought so hard to be awarded for someone I’ve known for a year? It’s not about pulling the wool over someone’s eyes, or trying to play games. I’m being asked to trust this new relationship enough to say, “Sure! I’ll trust you not to do to me what he did; I’ll trust you with my heart, my life, and my finances even though we haven’t been together long, we aren’t going to have children together, and I won’t be moving around the country for the sake of your career. I can give up spousal support because I know that you and I are a team, despite meeting later on in life, despite not having children together, and despite not building up our careers together. With you working your job and me working mine we’ll make up for the spousal support I’m giving up. I trust you’ll do right by me and my kids, even though you’ve only known me a few months and even though their father didn’t despite being married to me for twenty years!” Why would anyone ever think I would be willing to give up what I fought so hard for so that I could once again combine my money with someone else and believe that the lifestyle we created together is mine? I learned that lesson the hard way. If I can’t afford the house on my own, it’s not mine. If I can’t afford to take vacations or buy an RV and travel in retirement or buy a boat or put a pool in or buy a hot tub… all on my own… it’s not mine. If I can’t afford it on my own it’s not mine.
What if I’m not even the one who is dragging my feet on marriage? What if I would love to get married but my significant other doesn’t want to? What if he says, “No thanks. I’ve already had to sell the house and split the proceeds. I’ve already had to split my 401k. I’ve already paid thousands of dollars to end a relationship. I’m not going through that again. I love you but I want my own space. I want the peace of mind that not being married grants me. I want to be protected in case this doesn’t work out.”
Then what? Do I end the relationship because he won’t commit and I could be considered married even if I’m not married? Who knows- we may be sharing one too many meals together and going to church together.
Hmmmm…. doesn’t not getting married protect him from having to share anything with me? Will a judge in Virginia grant me spousal support from this person I’m “living with in a relationship analogous to marriage”? If he buys a house and I’m not on the deed, can I refuse to move out? Is he not allowed to change the locks on me? Must he name me as his beneficiary on his 401k unless I sign off? Do I get to make medical decisions for him or would that responsibility go to his parents or children? If, after thirty years together, he dies, do I automatically inherit everything? What do you think?
I find it an ironic twist that Virginia has no legal separation. You are either married or divorced. There is nothing in between. Not even if your STBX is living in another state over 6 hours away with another woman. A woman he calls his fiancé and who is wearing a big ol’ diamond engagement ring while sharing a bank account with him. A woman who knew where he was when he checked himself into the VA clinic after losing his job, while his actual wife had no clue what was going on even though it would change the course of her life. I’m still married. Still not allowed to have sex with anyone else because that’s adultery! You are either married, or you are divorced, says Virginia. Unless your ex is looking to get spousal support dismissed. In that situation you might not actually be married but you may possibly potentially act like you’re married based upon arbitrary standards set by the same people who tell you that you are still married to your lying, cheating, co-habitating with another person spouse, and can be sued for adultery if you move on before the final divorce. When you are married and wishing to divorce, Virginia is focused on what the reality is; if you are not divorced, then you are married. Once you are divorced and your spouse wishes to discontinue paying support Virginia is focused on what the reality could be; now they want to try to judge based upon appearance. How many nights do you spend together? How often do you see one another? Do you go to church together? Do you ride in the same car? Do you share meals? Do you say “I love you,” or let it be known you’re not out fucking other people?
In more concise terms: In Virginia you are married until you are divorced. Once you are divorced, however, you might be living together in a relationship analogous to marriage, even if you’re not living together. What a load of crap.