Carl and Paula have been married for 20 years, with two children, now ages 16 and 17. Carl has a great job, a beautiful wife, and wonderful children. He has saved a lot of money over the years, and has invested wisely. Paula has never worked, nor has she had to work. The house is paid off, and the only debt is credit cards…typically not paid off every month….but he’s not worried about them.
Carl appears to have it all. The neighbors all adore him, well actually EVERYONE adores him. And he is very successful as an executive in a fortune 500 company. Well done, Carl.
But appearances can be deceiving. Over the past 18 or so months, Carl wakes up every morning very depressed. He can’t seem to shake it. He can’t seem to find the same feelings that he used to have for Paula.
He eats breakfast with her every morning, and then slips into his car and starts to feel the weight of the depression slip away as he gets closer to work and farther from the house. And at the end of the day, he dreads heading back home. He says nothing to Paula. Each day he leads a life of quiet desperation.
And then finally he can’t take it anymore. He finds reasons to stay later and later at the office, yet his work is done for the day, and he just sits at his desk reading trade magazines. And as the weeks and months go by, Gloria in the office two down from his is starting to look more interesting to him. But, he believes in playing by the book. He won’t cheat.
But…he will plan. I mean, that’s what he does. He’s a planner. He’s an excellent business man for a reason. Yes, he will plan his exit.
So, he comes home one night and tells Paula that the house is just too big. It’s time to downsize. She agrees. Then, when the house sells he tells her that they need to use much of the proceeds to pay off any and all credit card debt, and to pay off the loan on her car (his car is paid) She agrees.
Then he quietly goes to see an attorney. The tough attorney that everyone knows that has the fancy office by the courthouse. And they go over tax returns, investments, they run support calculations, and Carl quickly learns that if he has the patience to stay in the marriage until the last child graduates from high school, he will save a TON of money. Does Carl have the patience? Oh, yes. Carl is a very patient man. He marks his calendar for the last child’s graduation day. Of course, he marks it on his OFFICE calendar. You can’t be too careful, right Carl?
And the next evening after the graduation, almost 2 years after Carl started planning, he informs Paula that he is leaving. He shows her spreadsheets of their assets, and debts, and a spreadsheet showing her what she will receive in spousal support, which is no longer going to be taxed to her (isn’t the government wonderful…). Spreadsheets are such a clean way of explaining everything, but Paula only hears ringing in her ears. She is shocked. This came out of the blue for her. She will never know that almost two years of planning went into Carl’s decision.
The attorneys at Joseph & Joseph & Hanna, Co. LPA see this scenario regularly. While the names are of course fictitious, the scenario happens in every Ohio county and city. We, as the attorneys in the Joseph firm, welcome you to come to us and discuss your matter. We are here for you. Contact Us
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