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While we’ve been separated for close to 2 years, my ex and I are not close to being divorced.  We own a business together, so our finances are not transparent, making divorce very complicated.

I intended to file taxes single this year.  My original intent was to make sure my son received the  maximum amount of grants and student loans for college, and filing single with my disability income only, allowed for that.  My son. though, dropped out of college.  He might go back, he might not.

Given that, I foolishly emailed my ex and said I might be willing to file married, and suggested he run the numbers.  He said great, he’d get back to me.  Within an hour of sending that email I knew there was no way  I could file with him.  I know for a fact that the amount he claims as his income is a lie, and I’ve made it my  mission to maintain my integrity, regardless of the cost.

I almost sent an email saying never mind, don’t run the numbers, but for some reason I didn’t.  This morning I got the following email from him:

In full disclosure, I withdrew $6,000 from my IRA this summer.  I was having problems paying my monthly expenses, and also found out our 2013 taxes were wrong and we actually owed $2,345. which I paid.  My proposal to you is that we file jointly and I will give you the amount you would have received filing single plus $500.

Where should I start?

Perhaps I should start with the week long vacation he took our son and his GF on this summer.  They probably didn’t pay rent, because they stayed with some friends, however, each day was full of expensive adventures and meals out.  Hmmm…….do you think that led to an increase in his monthly expenses?

How about the fact that he spends 6 nights a week at his GF’s house, yet he still keeps his 1 bedroom apartment, which he stays in the 1 night a week he has our son.  This would be fine with me if he was doing it to protect our son from awareness of the GF, but he is not.  He introduced the GF to all 3 of our boys a month after he moved out.  From that time forward, she has been with him all the time.  Our youngest, who has to spend time with him, asked him why she is always with them.  He responded “because I’m lonely”.  Bless his heart, my son said “how can you be lonely?  I’m sitting right next to you”.   Out of the mouths of babes, yes?  Anyway, the GF was introduced to his extended family on July  4th (he moved out 4/13) and has been to every family event since then.  Her children also attend his families events.  Yet he pays $1200/month for that apartment.

How about the fact that 90% of the  Monday nights he has the boys he takes them, the GF, and often the GF’s children, out to dinner.  In addition to dinner they go to events, like the opening week of Star Wars in 3D, Escape a Room, plays, etc.  For a bit of reference, I took my boys to Star Wars at 10 in the morning, when it costs $6/ticket.  We did not see it  in 3D because that was too expensive.  I do not take  my boys out to dinner.  Ever.  About 2x/month we order out from a cheap take out place, but we never, ever get to eat out.

So where do his money problems come from?  They come from his thinking.  They come from his attitude, that he should be able to do what he wants to do, whenever he wants.  This went on throughout our 25 years together, as well as during his 1st marriage.  I helped him  pay off $40,000 worth of debt from his first marriage, which only last 2.5 years.

This is what happens in his brain:

I work like a peasant.  Any money the business makes is mine, and I should get to do what I want to do.  I’m not pinching pennies like a miser because I deserve better then that.   I won’t be held to a budget because I deserve more then that.

Here’s how my brain works:

Lots of people work hard.  He works hard, I work hard, our children work hard.   Unfortunately, there is no correlation between the difficulty of one’s job and their income.  It is imperative that you keep money on hand for those unexpected events, like an unexpected IRS bill.  If this means I can’t go out to dinner, so be it.  I’d rather have a safety net than a  weekly dinner out.

Approximately 2 weeks before Valentine’s day I got an email from him saying he couldn’t take our son the one night he normally has him, because he’d be in Jamaica [with the GF].  Two weeks after Valentine’s day he spent the weekend with his GF at her son’s college.  Isn’t it fascinating how much money he has when he wants to do something?  Yet when it comes to paying his basic monthly expenses, and a mistake on our taxes, he has to dive into his IRA, which he obviously has not paid back.

And, for the record, he did not offer to let me see the taxes.  He told me how much money I would get, and on what date.  He also said I’d need to provide him with all of my financial documents, but at no time did he offer that I’d have access to his.

FYI for anyone in a similar situation, your ex can go online and file taxes without you ever seeing or agreeing to them.  Since it is done via computer there is no need for you to sign, or verify in any way, the information supplied.  I have not filed a tax return in years.

 Now that my rant is done, I pose my dilemna.  His and my finances are, unfortunately, linked.  They will remain so until our divorce is done, which could be years from now.  Ultimate, I pay for his financial digressions.  Every time he takes money out of his IRA, I have less of a long term financial cushion.  I’ve watched him overspend for 27 years now, and it’s reached an all time high now that he has to impress his new girl.  Whether I like it or not, it makes financial sense for us to file taxes jointly.

I can’t stop what he does with money.  I couldn’t stop it at any time during our  marriage, I certainly won’t be able to stop it now.  The boys and I are paying for each poor decision he  makes, and will continue to do so for the rest of our lives.  So, should I drop my quest for integrity and file with him?  Do I allow him to merge our finances, knowing his are a lie, to minimize the losses we’ll bear as a unit?

I don’t think I can.  I decided a year ago that there is nothing more important then honesty.  That is what I want to teach my boys.  If you have to lie, it is not worth it.  There should be no amount of money worth a lie.