Sign on the Line: Bobby and Darlene

Is He Setting Her Up?

"My husband, Bobby, is the cheapest, most selfish person I have ever met," says Darlene, who has been married to Bobby for 3-and-a-half years. "I work seven days a week, 24 hours a day taking care of his businesses. For two years, no salary. Now that we are

living separately, he wants me to sign a legal document that quits my claim to any of his investment property. I'm not willing to do that." She says that Bobby has seven horses, five or six boats, a collection of vintage duck decoys, $50,000 in guns, a camper, a $13,000 horse trailer, and that he spends extravagant amounts of money traveling. "This is certainly not a man who's financially strapped."

 

"I don't feel that someone who I've been married to for three years deserves to have half of what I've worked all my life for," Bobby says. "Darlene and I do love each other, but she has no right to my stuff."

 

Darlene and Bobby met online and had a whirlwind courtship. After knowing each other for four weeks, they got married. "I totally trusted Bobby," Darlene shares. She sold her house in Canada and moved with her children to Idaho to be with him. "I t

hought we would be together forever."

 

When Darlene first moved to Idaho, Bobby traveled frequently. "I was running his business and working with my own business many hours a week. I was paying for half of all the bills. He wanted me to pay for three quarters of the bills because he said my children and I equaled three people," she explains. She and Bobby opened a joint checking account, and she says she was depositing all of her income into it, but that Bobby wasn't contributing to it. "When I confronted him about it, he said I was mooching off of him. I was living rent-free," she says. "I was starting to ask myself, if I stay married to this man, and I get some terrible illness, what's he going to do if I can't pay for my half of the mortgage?"

"She likes to cry that she's destitute, but she's not. She has a good business. She makes a lot of money," Bobby says. "She doesn't mention anything about her $600 Jimmy Choo shoes, Louis Vuitton purses, fancy sports car, going to t

he day spa. She spent a lot of money."

 

Darlene left Bobby and served him with divorce papers. "Once I was served with the divorce papers, I thought, man, I wish I had a prenup," Bobby shares. "I still love Darlene. I'm willing to prorate the payments, pay for more things, pay the mortgage if I'm making more money, take up some slack."

 

Darlene says that Bobby wants to reconcile. "I don't trust his motives at all," she says. "I know that if he offers something, he wants something bigger back. He gives with one hand and takes back more with the other." She points out that within three weeks of being served with divorce papers, Bobby was on the Internet

contacting successful women who seem to have money. "I wondered if his motive in being married to me at all was because perhaps he thought I had more money than I did have."

 

Bobby wants to come to an agreement with Darlene before they get back together. "If Darlene won't file a quitclaim and give me total control of my assets, then that's a deal-breaker," he says.

 

Darlene says, "If Bobby says to me, ‘My way or the highway,' at this point, I'm taking the highway."

Bobby and Darlene have been separated and haven't seen each other in two months. "Have you missed her?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Sure," Bobby says, noting, "we talk every day on the telephone."


"Have you talked about this quitclaim?" Dr. Phil asks.

Bobby says they spoke of it once. "I really don't feel that somebody who I've been married to for three years deserves half of what I've worked for over a 30-year period," he says.

 

Darlene interjects her thoughts. "He purchased his business two months before he married me, and I married him and left my country in the understanding that we would have a marriage and a partnership," she points out. "He was quite happy to have me helping him with the business as he traveled and hunted and played. I was there seven days a week working in his business " unpaid " and if he wanted to keep it all to himself, I really think that maybe we

should have had a prenup, but maybe he shouldn't have used my free services for two solid years."

"It's not true at all," Bobby says, noting that helping his business is a minimal job. "It doesn't take very much time."

 

"You're saying you're not going to sign it," Dr. Phil says to Darlene.

"I won't sign it," she agrees.

"Is therefore the marriage over?" Dr. Phil asks Bobby.

"I think I'm better off cutting my losses now, than I am to wait 15 years down the road," he says.

"Do you think that marriage is a partnership?" Dr. Phil asks Bobby. He says yes. "But yet you've kept things really separate." He points out that Darlene has said that she paid for 90 percent of the food, and that if she or her children ate something of Bobby's, they were expected to replace it. Bobby disagrees. "Because you feel like you make the money, do you feel like you're entitled to make decisions about the money?" he asks Bobby.



"I don't just make the money. Darlene makes a lot of money," Bobby says. "She bought a $15,000 horse. It has a $650 board and training bill every month. She wanted a fancy sports car, which she abandoned. Darlene's not destitute."

Darlene disagrees.

Bobby continues, explaining that he put the down payment on their house and has paid for many of the repairs to it. "Darlene says she pays 50 percent of everything. That's not even close to being true," he says.

"He's talking about the things that I couldn't contribute 50 percent of because I couldn't afford to, and he really is bitter and angry about that. He's not talking about how I paid for half of an expensive snow blower, how I paid for half of the expensive fireplace we installed downstairs and the continual demand for money," she says.

"Why didn't you get a prenup before?" Dr. Phil asks Bobby.

"Because I looked at her business. She has high integrity on the things that she makes and she sells. She's very good at what she does. She told me she had a house," he explains. "I didn't marry Darlene for her money."

 

Darlene says that Bobby is lying.

"Did you put up a dating profile three weeks after [receiving divorce papers]?" Dr. Phil asks.



"No, I didn't. Absolutely not. She knows I didn't," Bobby says.

"When you were in Africa," Darlene reminds him.

"Oh, that time. Yeah, you bet," he says. "And you know what? She did too."

"Were you honest on the profile?" Dr. Phil asks.

"No, I said I was 40 years old," Bobby admits.

"You said you were 40 and divorced, and you're 50 and married," Dr. Phil observes.

"When I read the papers that Darlene filed against me, I figured this was a dead-in-the-water deal," he says.

 

Dr. Phil introduces Judge Penny Brown-Reynolds, a judge who does not serve in the jurisdiction where Darlene and Bobby live. "In t

heir jurisdiction, with those rules, what happens if she does what he's asking her to do?" he asks.

"If you sign any document waiving away your rights, no judge, not even me, nothing can happen. You're not going to get anything," she says. "Is this a marriage or a business transaction? You're keeping score on everything … Marriage is about sacrifice, not about keeping score about how many purses she has or how many horses you bought!"

Bobby bickers with Darlene, at one point calling her a liar.

"Are you willing to sign away your rights, as a way of reconciling this, given what you know now?" Dr. Phil asks Darlene.

"As much as I love him, I'm not willing to do that," she says.

"Do you think that he respects you, not as a businesswoman, just as a human being?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I'm really not sure if he respects me," Darlene says. "Sometimes I do think he does, but the way that he's treating me in this marriage, I'm feeling more like I'm really not sure what it is he wants to be married to me for."


"The thing is, everything has to be on Darlene's schedule," Bobby says. He explains that they went to Las Vegas for Darlene's birthday, because that's what she wanted to do.

"I bought my own plane ticket, and we split the hotel and all the meals," Darlene says about their Vegas trip.

"That just doesn't sound like a marriage," Dr. Phil says.

"It's not," Bobby agrees. "She's not only selfish with her money, she's selfish with her time." He points out that she backed out at the last minute from a visit to his parents, and she didn't even make time to go with her daughter to look for a prom dress.

At the end of the show, Dr. Phil addresses Bobby and Darlene. "Does anything that y'all have heard here today have any impact on your thinking?" he asks.



"It would be nice to be able to work as a team, but I get accused of things, and I get score kept all the time," Bobby says.

"You realize this isn't about money?" Dr. Phil asks. "You two have resentments and bitterness and problems that go way beyond the money situation."

Bobby and Darlene agree.

"If you fixed the money situation, if you dropped your demands or signed, that wouldn't fix this situation, would it?" Dr. Phil asks.

"I think the money is a big part of it, actually," Bobby says, noting that he doesn't think they have too many other problems.


"We just need to disagree on that," Dr. Phil says. He reminds Bobby that he has called Darlene a liar, selfish and a user, and Darlene has called him selfish. "Those are resentments that really can undermine a marriage, and that has to be dealt with. This isn't about the money. It's about how you define marriage."

Dr. Phil tells Darlene, "You would be a fool to sign this thing. If you can negotiate something to stay together, do, and if you can't, don't."