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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 submission came through anonymously through my Contact Me form.
Can you provide a little background story about you, your marriage, and your former spouse?
I am a 43 year old female.
We met in college, dated for a few months, and then got engaged and married quickly.
Everything was super fast.
I graduated in May.
We bought a house in June.
Married in November of 1998.
I was just 22.
How many years were you married?
Describe your financial outlook during the marriage?
We were definitely not on the same financial page.
Ironically although we worked together, we didn’t plan well together because it was such an unhealthy relationship.
He would go spend money without talking to me.
Here are a few examples:
He took my car and sold it and bought a brand new vehicle for me.
My car was paid for and the new car had a loan.
I had money saved in my account to do some marketing initiatives and to pay taxes.
He took it and bought a boat and only told me about it after.
He was a spender.
But more so that he would spend money to try to and find happiness.
I’m the opposite.
I am motivated by money but it is more than that.
It is about happiness and living life to the fullest.
Stuff is just stuff to me.
For him stuff was showing off to others or to try to feel better or to one up the neighbors or family or whomever.
Were you both on track to become financially independent?
I was on track to financial independence but felt very held back.
I felt held back for the things I wanted to do I couldn’t.
The money that I would want to use for something would be gone.
Or when I was 8 months pregnant, with our first child, we bought a second home with the intent to rent out the first one (which I agree with).
Rental property and owning assets is important.
But the house we purchased was out of our ability and I wanted a house that was paid for.
He said we just needed $100k to remodel the home.
Nope…he spent over $350k fixing it.
During the remodel money would often go missing.
I was told that there was commercial grade insulation and it was $40k.
The money went out of our account.
Well, a few years ago I needed to fix the insulation as I was getting water in the house.
I called the company that put in this commercial grade insulation.
The guy said he never did and that my ex husband put it in himself.
So, where did that money go?
Can you elaborate on what the underlying cause for divorce was?
Unfortunately there was domestic violence involved which was the final straw.
How long has it has been since you got divorced?
We were separated in 2010 and officially divorced in 2012.
If possible describe how the marital properties were divided by the court
I took one house he took another.
I, however, got the short end of the stick.
I found out that my ex had failed to pay taxes and association dues on the commercial building that I ended up with which I was now found myself responsible for.
Because I was more of a saver I also had to give more.
I had to pay spousal maintenance which is “manimony” in my opinion and horrible.
This “manimony” was $5,000 a month from 2010 to November of 2017!
All this for a man was completely capable of working, college educated, and had the same licenses as me (except he was not a CDFA ). [Certified Divorce Financial Analyst]
I am so glad that financial weight is finally off!
What were the legal costs involved?
Hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Last year alone was over 150k.
The reason why is because he keeps me tied up in court proceedings.
Well at least until recently.
Our last court hearing was in Jan of 2017.
In my opinion this was initiated because the spousal maintenance was ending so he took me to court to try and get custody and then claim child support.
In the end he was denied custody but he was given more time with the kids (like 42% or somewhere around there).
He took his parenting time for a few weeks.
Then he basically disappeared.
He pays no child support.
He pays nothing for their health insurance, etc.
Never a dime.
Current state of financial recovery
In my professional world as a CDFA, I see it takes most individuals about 3-5 years to get back on their feet.
Some never do for they ended up with such a bad deal out of the divorce.
Personally I’m still dealing with financial recovery for I have to continue to pay maintenance and still subject to continuous court battles.
But I’m still much better off than in an unhealthy marriage.
Money isn’t everything.
Do you have an idea of how your ex is doing financially post divorce?
He is remarried.
I don’t think he chose to work on himself to gain assets.
His primary focus instead was more on getting money from me.
Would you consider getting married again and if so what would you do different and what protections would you need to have in place?
Only with a prenup and all my assets in trusts.
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?
Communication is key.
Having professionals and advisers that you both meet together and have a plan and work on that plan together.
Having a money date at least once a month.
Any unexpected surprises during or after the divorce proceedings?
How the court system can keep someone in court for years and years and years and destroys children’s abilities to be kids.
How unregulated and untrained parenting consultants are.
The amount of money that is wasted.
Knowing what you know now, would you have rather worked more to save your marriage or was the divorce the best option?
Divorce was my only option.
What impact did the marriage/divorce have on your overall financial journey and life in general?
Divorce was the only way I could be successful and happy.
I look at my life now.
We just moved into a new commercial building.
I bought it on my own.
I look at the growth of my business, the lifestyle I live, but most important, how happy I am every single day now.
I was beyond held back.
It previously felt like someone had a rope around my waist and was pulling on it behind me and it was attached to a 300 pound weight.
I was also held back because of the craziness.
I would try and go for an appointment and found out that he had changed things on me or even cancelled them.
My life was full of chaos and inconsistency.
It was beyond stressful and has taken me so long to get out of that mode.
I still work on that every day
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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