As much as I’d love to publish a book with all of the “war” stories I’ve accumulated, I’d be much happier if none of these real-life horror stories had ever happened.
A good portion of my 26-year career has been spent trying to undo the messes people got themselves in by trying to do their own divorces or trying to take matters into their own hands that should have been left to professionals.
Rachel and her husband were in the middle of a contested divorce. They both had lawyers but decided they could agree on their own to sell their house and divide the profit. They decided that Rachel would get 2/3 of the profit so she could afford to buy another house without a mortgage because she had never worked outside the home and couldn’t qualify for a mortgage on her own. They were unable to settle the other issues and ended up going to trial. The judge decided that the profit from their house should have been divided equally and so he ordered Rachel to pay her husband $75,000.00 within thirty days and put a mortgage on her house in case she didn’t pay. Well of course Rachel couldn’t pay the money and her now ex-husband didn’t pursue it. Some years later, however, her ex-husband had to file bankruptcy and the bankruptcy trustee decided to collect that $75,000.00 debt. Rachel almost lost her house and, in the end, had to take out a mortgage to pay the money to her ex-husband’s creditors.
Dave and his spouse went to a local mediator to help them reach an agreement and file their joint petition. Dave agreed that he would provide the health insurance for the couple’s children. The mediator worded their agreement to provide that Dave will be responsible for all “health care” which has a very different meaning than “health insurance”. Now Dave is on the hook for co-payments, deductibles, braces…Yup. That’s what can go wrong.