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Divorce first steps?

So I just randomly checked my wife of 9 year's texts. She has them accessible through Chrome. I might check 3 or 4 times a year randomly, never found anything worrying at all. This time I found sexts with a coworker including pictures. Doesn't sound like they've done the deed, but seems headed that way.

This is the third time this kind of thing has happened. First time I asked to see her phone when she came home hours late and really drunk in the middle of the day, found sexting with the guy she was with. The second time she fessed up to getting drunk and kissing a guy at a bar. This time I think I'm really done. I didn't really check her texts at all until after the first incident, and even then it's been rare that I felt the need to look. The think that breaks my heart is that the sexting is the kind of thing I was trying to rekindle with us and failing, now I know why. I have a PDF and images of the sexts saved off from Chrome if I need them. The fact that I check her texts once in a while and suddenly only found sexting now makes me think she's just been deleting it when it happens, so who knows if there were other guys. These messages were just from yesterday.

I don't really know what to do? I don't want to end up with a shitty lawyer or asshole lawyer. We luckily have no kids, but own a house and dogs together. I don't want her to find out I know before I'm ready. We have plans to travel together for Thanksgiving, but I doubt I'm going to keep it to myself that long.

Anyway, my tentative plans are to
1) Live life normally for the next few days. She works a second job tonight and tomorrow night, so I won't have to be around her much.
2) talk to a friend who's been divorced
3) find a lawyer? No idea how to do that
4) confront her, let her know that I know

Should I confront her before getting a lawyer? Confront her first? Lawyer first? Pretty much all my friends I would talk to are also her friends, but I think I know a few guys that I can trust to keep quiet for a while. One of us will probably want to move out, but I'll want to hear a lawyers advice before making that decision.

Am I overreacting to sexting? I don't feel like it, but it's possible. I feel betrayed (again) and stupid (again) and frustrated that I spent 5 years of dating and 9 years married to this person. I don't feel like she loves me, I don't even feel like she's nice to me unless I'm doing something for her at that very moment. She's got some depression issues and has been on meds, which she has blamed for her moods and lack of interest in me, and I tried to be understanding about that. But it really feels like a lie at this point since the person she's being for this other guy is person she used to be for me but hasn't been in years. My goal isn't really to save the marriage at this point. I'm still in my early 30s, so if I'm going to end up single I think I would rather do it sooner than later.

Sorry if this is rambling but I trust advice from this community more than some reddit thread

Posts

  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    grab a lawyer and follow their advice. document EVERYTHING.

    that's about all you can do I'm afraid.

    Zilla360GnizmoJaysonFourHappylilElfMrVyngaarddispatch.oEncchromdomVishNubbowenCambiataI ZimbraRichyDevoutlyApatheticBroloNSDFRandLostNinjaspool32MichaelLCfurlionMoridin889TOGSolidwebguy20DarkewolfeSCREECH OF THE FARGKristmas KthulhukimeKwoaru
  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    You live in America? Click here. You're looking for lawyers that specialize in Family Law.

    Marty: The future, it's where you're going?
    Doc: That's right, twenty five years into the future. I've always dreamed on seeing the future, looking beyond my years, seeing the progress of mankind. I'll also be able to see who wins the next twenty-five world series.
    spool32
  • Yes, and...Yes, and... Registered User regular
    Depending on where you live, you may not really need a lawyer. Once there are kids in the mix things can get very contentious and complicated, but no kids means that you probably only have one major legal issue which is how to deal with the house. The dog will obviously have great personal significance but I wouldn't look to the law to sort that out.

    I'm not saying "don't get a lawyer" but you should do some research that starts with putting "family law [your location]" and "divorce [your location]" into your search engine of choice and seeing what information and resources are available. Watch out for resources that seem to be geared specifically towards men. A lot of anti-feminist activity online focuses on alleged unfairness towards men in divorce court and you could get pulled into a nasty vortex if you're not careful. If you live in a jurisdiction with a unified family court, and even if not, there will probably be court-developed resources that explain the divorce process. Even if legal aid where you live is poorly-funded and even if you don't qualify for legal aid representation, you can probably still access some information through them. Other organizations that help low-income people might make general information about family law available to the public as well. Any law school in the area might also have a family law clinic.

    Definitely talk to your friend with personal experience, but understand that it's more important for you to learn about the legal system where you live than your friend's specific experiences with that system (which will have been heavily influenced by the various personalities involved, including your friend, their ex, any lawyers, etc.).

  • BloodycowBloodycow Registered User regular
    edited October 2019
    Get a good lawyer ASAP and be the first to file.

    Best advice you can get right now.

    Do not let her know of your intentions, until you have filed. If not, she can take money out of your joint accounts, open new credit cards in both your names. Generally do a lot of damage.

    Once you file, the judge will put an injunction on your accounts. So if she does something, you can really nail her in court. You will only be able to pay your normal bills out of your joint accounts or use money for something like an emergency house repair that you both agree should be done.

    Get your own bank account now. Change all your direct deposits to said account. If you need to take her name off of things to have less hassle in court, do so before filing (like your car loan).



    Also, I know you are looking at her sexting through your husband eyes, but I'm 99% sure she has done more then just sexting. I mean yeah maybe there is a small chance that she just gets a kick out of flirting with other guys and not doing any more, but that has to be rare to not take it further then just texting.

    Start getting yourself emotionally ready to be divorced. It's going to FUCKING suck! But you are strong and life will move on and you will be happier for it.

    Bloodycow on
    " I am a warrior, so that my son may be a merchant, so that his son may be a poet.”
    ― John Quincy Adams
    SmrtnikNamrok
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    On the lawyer thing: Sure their job is to know the law and help guide you through it but divorce lawyers have a second portion to their job and it's to be your advocate. Having somebody who doesn't find this whole process new and strange is good. Having somebody whose life isn't being completely disrupted and changed to advise you is essential. You're going to be, quite naturally, emotionally involved in the process which can lead to less than great results. Get somebody who isn't all emotionally invested to help you make decisions you'll be happy with later.

    Zilla360Elvenshaespool32ceresJaysonFourdispatch.oMichaelLCXaquinSmrtnikMoridin889MysstJennerosekime
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Bloodycow wrote: »
    Also, I know you are looking at her sexting through your husband eyes, but I'm 99% sure she has done more then just sexting. I mean yeah maybe there is a small chance that she just gets a kick out of flirting with other guys and not doing any more, but that has to be rare to not take it further then just texting.

    I suggest we not escalate the situation beyond what we currently have evidence on, since we aren't this guys lawyer and certainly dont know anything about this dude or his wife beyond whats in this thread.

    Being smart about going out and getting a lawyer is the only relevant advice here and I wanna leave this thread open for follow up questions, so lets not speculate on the wife here.

    ceresHappylilElfZilla360tynicNightDragonMagic PinkKristmas Kthulhukime
  • unknown_kingsnakeunknown_kingsnake Registered User regular
    Update:

    I have an appointment for a consultation with a lawyer tomorrow. Hopefully I get enough advice there to get me through the weekend.

    The messages there were there last night have been deleted today, so that's something that's happening meaning what I saw was not everything, just what was sent in one day and hadn't been deleted yet.

    I am in South Carolina so the legal situation (as I understand it) is you can do no-fault after 1 year of separation, or fault with evidence of something like adultery. IDK if I have that, I just have sexts and nudes. Will ask the lawyer tomorrow. I had a coworker go through the 1 year separation and it was pretty miserable, so I would rather avoid that. I know this is gonna suck either way, but I would rather not have to remain technically married for a whole year before I can really restart my life.

    Question: Should I consult with multiple lawyers/firms? Or is it reasonable to just hire the first one if they aren't raging assholes?

  • unknown_kingsnakeunknown_kingsnake Registered User regular
    Oh also: We have separate finances already, so that's taken care of. We have one joint credit card for groceries and house stuff, but I feel like if I just cancel it now she'll know that I know. I'll cancel it when I'm ready to file.

  • LostNinjaLostNinja Registered User regular
    I am in South Carolina so the legal situation (as I understand it) is you can do no-fault after 1 year of separation, or fault with evidence of something like adultery. IDK if I have that, I just have sexts and nudes. Will ask the lawyer tomorrow. I had a coworker go through the 1 year separation and it was pretty miserable, so I would rather avoid that. I know this is gonna suck either way, but I would rather not have to remain technically married for a whole year before I can really restart my life.

    I second that this sucks and don’t know who it’s suppose to help. I’m currently going through a divorce as well in a state with a similar law (NC). Fortunately we were married and have standing in a separate state so should be able to avoid it.

    I wish I could give you attorney advice, but fortunately have a relative who specializes in family law and was able to avoid it. What I can say is this. You are not overreacting to it “just” being sexting. It’s a betrayal of trust and you have every right to feel betrayed and want to distance yourself. Speaking from experience, you might want to blame yourself, but what happened is on her.

    spool32dispatch.o
  • unknown_kingsnakeunknown_kingsnake Registered User regular
    Spoke with the lawyer yesterday and following his advice to not tell her that I know until I can act. The financial picture is really starting to hit home. Basically I have to establish that actual adultery is happening, which the texts don't do on their own. It would involve hiring a private investigator to get pictures of them meeting up, which is something I'm not sure is even happening right now. But it seems like it has a good chance of happening at some point, so I'm going to just keep watching and reach out to the PI if I see any signs of meet ups being planned. My text access is still good so I should be able to notice now that I know to check more often.

    If the adultery does not end up happening or I can't get evidence, then I'm kind of in a bind. I could go for no fault and be a lot worse off financially than I would be with an at-fault divorce. I could try to repair the marriage, but then I'm at risk of her just filing for a no fault on her own. She could end up breaking it off and confessing on her own. Best option seems to be to keep quiet and see what she does.

    I appreciate all the advice and support. I can't really talk to friends or family yet because I don't really trust their poker faces, and I don't trust them to not gossip or get emotional and confront her themselves.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Do you want to repair the marriage? I'm not sure "divorce expensive" is the best reason to keep one going, and it sounds like that's what you're looking at if you can't prove adultery. Have you guys done the couples counseling thing?

    I also wouldn't call deleting her texts whenever she can hard evidence that anything else is happening or has been for however long. I would if I felt like I had to even if nothing was or ever had been going on.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    Zilla360JaysonFourchromdomGnizmo
  • unknown_kingsnakeunknown_kingsnake Registered User regular
    Yeah we have not done couples counseling. There are a lot of ways this could end up. I could discover that the sexting is happening multiple times a week and has been going on for months including physical stuff, in which case I feel like it's not repairable. Or I could have seen the 2nd or 3rd instance and she could be about to end it on her own, which we might be able to work through. She has been pretty depressed and in bad moods starting on the day the sexting happened, so she might be feeling some guilt, meaning this might be relatively new and not some long term regular thing. Her being extremely down and not telling me why is the whole reason I checked the texts. I'm going to wait for a bit and see if I can get a feel for how often she's doing this, where it's headed, etc. Right now I have seen one conversation, so I just want more info before I make a decision.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Okay, do not do this by continuing to read her texts. Right now you're using one thing you've read and a whole lot of baggage to try to piece together what she is or isn't thinking, and figure out what she will or won't do next.

    You're really at the point where, if you think there's a chance you might want to stick it out, you need to talk to her. You can mention about the texts or not, but talk to her. If you won't even talk to her at this point, you're probably done. If you would talk to her but won't bother trusting anything about the conversation, you should either try for couple's counseling or admit that you're done. Bring up the texts with her or don't, but there is very, very little point in continuing to spy on them unless you're actively looking for how to proceed with your divorce, and if that's the case there's no point in worrying about working things through.

    You looked through her texts which arguably isn't great, but it happened and you saw something you didn't like so now if you want to repair anything the best thing is to stop doing it and talk to her. That's my opinion. If you're just looking to CYA in preparation for a divorce that's one thing, but if you have any interest in rebuilding that trust you need to stop breaking it, talk to her, and try to figure out how you both feel.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    BloodySlothSerpentdispatch.oDaenristynicUsagiJaysonFourPeenCelestialBadgerchromdomSiskaKristmas Kthulhu
  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    I think the issue here is in part that even though she is sexting other people, if she's not actually sleeping with the guy, then OP will be forced to no-fault and pay alimony to the cheater.

    Trying to resolve could result in no more evidence being available and still getting a no-fault. Even if OP wants to fix things, trying causes dramatic financial exposure.

    It's a hard place to be in. I think, if there's a shot at reconciliation, you should put cards on the table and see what she says. If that sounds too risky, prepare and get what evidence you need to protect yourself.

    :(:(

    LostNinjadispatch.oHappylilElfNamrokKristmas Kthulhu
  • LostNinjaLostNinja Registered User regular
    spool32 wrote: »
    I think the issue here is in part that even though she is sexting other people, if she's not actually sleeping with the guy, then OP will be forced to no-fault and pay alimony to the cheater.

    Trying to resolve could result in no more evidence being available and still getting a no-fault. Even if OP wants to fix things, trying causes dramatic financial exposure.

    It's a hard place to be in. I think, if there's a shot at reconciliation, you should put cards on the table and see what she says. If that sounds too risky, prepare and get what evidence you need to protect yourself.

    :(:(

    Which makes the real question for the OP, if they assume there’s nothing else and it was a one time thing this time (which is a big “if” as they mentioned its happened three other times that they know of). Is that something they can forgive? And just as importantly are they willing to trust her moving forward?

    If the answer to both of those isn’t “yes” I think putting all cards on the table is a bad idea and they need to focus on protecting themself in the upcoming divorce because if they can’t trust her moving forward (I’m not making a judgement call of whether they should or shouldn’t as I obviously don’t know the whole background) then there isn’t a lot left to save.

    Namrok
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    I understand the issue here and that it's a difficult place to be in, but there are two different things being brought up right now: the drive to repair the relationship and the drive to find evidence for a less expensive divorce. My point is that under the circumstances, the two may be mutually exclusive because the latter course of action further erodes the chances of the former.

    It's difficult to repair a relationship when you go into the effort assuming the other person is just going to fuck it all up anyway. In this case because reading her texts as a priority from here on out involves viewing her as inherently untrustworthy rather than someone you can work together with, doing so essentially indicates that you are uninterested in doing so. Treating her as someone you can talk to in earnest when you have a concern may mean opening yourself up to the risk with a big consequence, but is definitely the safer option financially. What you do next should heavily depend on which you value more.

    Personally, I feel like someone reading my texts for a solid period of time for evidence of wrongdoing makes the decision for me, but that might be softened by them telling me that they happened to see one text and wanted to talk to me about what is going on before drawing conclusions about what's happening because they really want to understand where I'm coming from. Personally, I think reading them at all is the wrong thing to do. But this isn't about that, it's about whether or not the talk about repairing the relationship is genuine.

    My advice is specifically geared toward an interest in making their marriage work. If that interest isn't there... I'm not comfortable with saying sure, go ahead and stalk her for as long as you need to even if that takes months so you can avoid an expensive divorce, meanwhile keeping her in a relationship you actively don't want while trying not to let her know you think she's a criminal you just haven't caught yet. That is not advice I'm ever going to give, or at least not at this point in my life. I do recognize the reality of at-fault vs no-fault divorces, but there's no dancing around the kind of invasion of privacy that in itself makes reconcile pretty unlikely.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    Daenris
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    I interpreted the OPs initial mentioning of this as the access was a condition agreed upon after the first drinking/sexting occurrence, and that the wife has since forgotten about it or something similar. Re-reading it, I'm not sure thats the case (also, not saying its a reasonable agreement in the first place). Still, Ceres advice is totally accurate if saving the relationship is on the agenda.

    I'm relatively down on treating infidelity as sole evidence of disparaged moral character, and I so I think its totally reasonable to consider couples counselling if thats something the OP expressed they are willing to look past. From what little context we have for the relationship overall, it sounds like the break down in communication is vast and has been present for a long time. It seems like the option to reconcile isn't being brought up in earnest, but maybe a reluctance to accept a painful reality.

    I would consider at the very least, therapy for yourself. It'll be helpful in dealing with some of the emotional weight, and maybe give you more tools to communicate this clearly to your wife as you try to break things off. If she's depressed, you might also feel considerable guilt as you do this. You might also gain tools to look for better relationships after this is all said and done, which is an important next step when a relationship fails.

    Kristmas Kthulhu
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    My read was that he was only told it was okay the first time, if he has standing permission I mean.. weird, but okay I guess, if it was a genuinely mutual agreement. I'm surprised there were any texts to read if that was the case though. :P

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    Yeah, when I looked again before posting, I realized that she potentially just relinquished her phone once while drunk, and not given this blanket permission, which is more deceptive.

  • unknown_kingsnakeunknown_kingsnake Registered User regular
    The situation is that she uses my PC a lot and leaves her Chrome and Gmail and other things logged in, as do I. She uses Hangouts so all of her texts are viewable from Gmail. I occasionally open her Chrome instance to use her login for a specific site, which she knows about and is OK with, but it's rare that I even do that. I have occasionally checked her texts in the past, which I know is not great. I never found anything remotely worrying and checked them less and less as time went on. So I would say she is aware I have access if I wanted it, but also probably trusts that I don't look, which I realize I violated. She's also probably deleting the messages because she knows I have the ability to look.

    I haven't talked to her because a) the lawyer specifically said not to and b) even if she promised to end it and never do it again, I'm not sure I can trust that. Maybe counseling can help me/us get over that, but I'm not there yet. I'm obviously not a big fan of her right now and leaning toward ending the marriage, but I've also never tried counseling so who knows what is possible.

    What I want right now is to know what this is with the other guy and where it's headed. I don't trust her to tell me the truth if I ask her, I feel like she will just play the part of the crying guilty party, wait a while, and do something like this again but more carefully. I feel like when I see the texts, I see who she really is. To her credit it does seem to be a sexting-only relationship right now, but who knows if that's always been the case or what it might be headed toward. I just want more information before I make a life changing decision.

    I will totally get counseling for myself after this is all over either way, that is a good idea.

    Kristmas Kthulhu
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    That's less bad. Not hero-of-our-time, but less bad.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
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