Divorce and FIRE: Dual Physician Couple
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Thank you for stopping by for another installment in my Divorce and FIRE series.
I have been thrilled with the support and comments shown by my readers to these individuals who have really opened up and shared with us a very traumatic time in their lives.
Every person who has submitted their story has told me that they were touched by the outpouring of comments.
I hope that this inspires others to continue this series by submitting their own tales of divorce.
This divorcee is a male physician who is currently 39 years old and submitted his story anonymously through my “Contact Me” form.
How did you and your former wife meet? How long was the courtship period before you got married?
My ex wife and I met when I was in college (we are both physicians).
I was admittedly socially naïve at the time I met my ex wife.
She was five years older than me.
We dated 6 years though we never lived together before marriage.
How old were you when you got married? How long were you married for? Do you have any kids from this marriage?
We married when I was 27.
We were married 9 years.
We have two children.
They were 1.5 and 3.5 at the time of the divorce.
I miss my children dearly, but I am far happier without her in my life.
Describe how you and your former spouse viewed finances.
I was in the military during the bulk of our marriage & financially savvy enough so I was carrying no debt and saving significantly even as a resident.
My ex wife accumulated debt through the natural course of civilian schooling and through pursuing a graduate degree (which she later abandoned without finishing) and being adamant on pursuing internal medicine even though it meant living in separate states for three years.
She had other wasteful habits such as paying for gym memberships with no real intention of ever going, etc.
She wasn’t a complete spendthrift, but we definitely had a different level of financial discipline.
In spite of that, we still were on a path of financial independence.
Can you elaborate on what the underlying cause for divorce was?
She and I were never compatible personality wise and politically, but I had [originally] thought we were because of some of the similarities we shared.
She comes from a family that hasn’t had a nuclear family in generations and I think that played a large part.
The relationship deteriorated over the years.
How long has it been since your divorce was finalized?
I have been divorced three years.
What were the legal costs for your divorce proceedings? What losses did you incur when the marital property was divided?
The financial proceedings weren’t contentious and we didn’t have significant material assets to divide.
I lost about $50,000 because as a spouse I funded her IRA’s for several years.
What stage are you currently in your financial recovery from the divorce?
Aside from the aforementioned $50,000, I was at my pre-divorce levels after the divorce.
Do you have an idea of how your ex is doing financially post divorce?
My ex is earning ~$180K in NYC.
She still has significant school debt.
She contributes some to her 401k, but is like many physicians and has no real knowledge of finances.
Would you consider getting married again and if so what would you do different and what protections would you need to have in place?
I am in a relationship now that has had ups and downs, but I believe this person and I are far more compatible.
I’m happier than I ever was with my ex wife.
If I do get remarried, I will have a prenuptial agreement in place.
Any pointers to readers to prevent a divorce from happening in the first place or any advice if someone is currently going through a divorce?
Definitely live with any potential spouse for 6 months or more before marriage.
Even if you and a potential spouse appear completely compatible, go through premarital counseling to talk through any potential issues.
Any unexpected surprises during or after the divorce proceedings?
Knowing what you know now, would you have rather worked more to save your marriage or was the divorce the best option?
I was willing to work on the marriage for the sake of my children, but she was not.
If it was not for [the situation with] my children, I would be very happy now.
What impact did the marriage/divorce have on your overall financial journey?
I recently hit $1 million net worth.
I will be fine financially.
The lasting financial impact of my divorce is I am stuck living in the east coast in a high cost of living area and where physician compensation is less in order to be with my children. [This is a great point and one I hadn’t considered. The non-custodial parent typically is relegated to a fixed geographic perimeter if he or she wishes to maintain as much contact with the child(ren) as possible. There is a drastic reduction in visitation time when one parent moves out of state for instance.]
Also, last year I contributed $30K to childcare costs including camps, after school programs etc.
I do not hesitate to do that, but if my children were living in another part of the country that would likely not be an expense I would have.
Anything else you would like to share that was not touched upon?
Thank you for this venue to anonymously share a bad experience.
It has been cathartic for me too
I appreciate your candor in discussing this painful period in your life.
Thank you for sharing your story and I am glad you had a similar cathartic feeling that I had by just putting thoughts to written words for others to see.
I hope my readers will show you as much love and support as they have had towards me in the comment section below.
I also hope you take solace knowing that your words have certainly helped some that are about to enter or are currently enduring this unfortunate situation.
If you, or someone you know, would like to submit a Divorce and FIRE story, I would love to hear from you.
You can remain anonymous unless you specifically give permission to reveal your identity.
I have created an outline of some of the topics you might want to consider elaborating on in your submission.
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