When Marriage is Financially Devastating, Divorce Can be a Solution; A Case Study

So many people in marriages that are horrible end up staying in their marriage because of finances. Especially if finances are terrible together, you may be afraid that divorce will only make your situation worse.

I reached out to friends to share their stories with you, if divorce improved their financial situation. I shared my friend Deb's story, and I got lots of flack about it, that Deb was only able to succeed financially without her ex because she ruined him financially (which isn't the case, but there were details in the story that couldn't be shared publicly). But in short, the consensus seemed that... you can succeed financially in divorce only by ruining your ex's finances. 

This story by my friend Val, another case study, shows a completely different situation. One in which she not only did not ruin her ex financially, but ended up providing for him financially, and still ended up better off financially post divorce. Here's her story.

When Marriage is Financially Devastating, Divorce Can be a Solution.

When I was 30, I had perfect credit. I bought a house all by myself with no help from parents or anyone else. Then I eloped with my boyfriend, and 10 months later we had our daughter.

1997 perfect credit, 1998 baby, 2001 declared bankruptcy. 2003 divorce was final. 2007 he went after me for child support which I paid until she turned 18.

2019 I'm co-signing her college loans after already contributing more than $60,000.
I'm going to stick with facts, and then I can also write about how I felt going through it.

She just turned 21.

Before I got married I was a Salesperson in the IT staffing business. My first year there I made $51,000 and had an income of almost $1000 a month beyond my bills of rent, car payment, etc. I had always worked, as a salesperson or in marketing/customer care, but this was my first great job.
I was on my way! I knew that I could soon break that $100,000 a year mark. I had done some traveling to Scotland, bought myself a full kit of scuba equipment, a new fancy bicycle, and was happy and successful. I rode my bicycle a lot after work, that was when I discovered the wonderful old overgrown house a few streets away…that was for sale.

My boyfriend at the time was a Producer at an Industrial Video house. We had met at his work and he later asked me out. We started dating. It was kind of off an on, I was busy doing things with my family and friends, all of whom were local. I was spending a lot of my weekends scuba diving.
At the time he was making about $35,000. And I didn’t know it, just too naive – but he was in debt on his credit cards, student loans and etc.

Oh I feel so stupid writing this.

He was handsome, dressed well, spoke well. My mother met him and totally flipped he was so gorgeous.

My friends didn’t like him though. Lisa and Janet were both like nope. He interrupted our visits to show off about whatever he was doing.

That summer, I decided to buy a house. Meanwhile S. had been fired from the corporate video house for a variety of things including mis-using the company credit card. He had used it to have a broken window on his car repaired while he was in upstate New York visiting his best friend. Red flags…he didn’t have glass coverage on his car? He never bothered to tell his company until the bill came in?
He found another job, for $28,000. As a teacher at a start up “charter school.” Which was also going to require him to get a Masters Degree – which he would need to pay for.

S. asked me to marry him. At a chain pizza restaurant. Totally unromantic. No ring. Silly me, I said yes.

My husband was financially abusive. Not only did he take out credit cards and put us into $40,000 worth of debt, but I never got anything I wanted.

I made the bulk of the money in the house, but I did not feel like I spent an equal amount.

I cut my own hair, he got $100 haircuts. I bought clothes at the large retailers like Target. He went to Nordstrom. I bought clothes at the Salvation Army. He went to Lord & Taylor.

At the end of the week, my paycheck would go to the mortgage, the electric, the oil, and the phone. His paycheck would go to the cable TV and internet bill and then whatever he wanted. Beer? Clothes? He refused to say or to work together.

He also got fired from his job several times and insisted on suing. And he'd taken a check from someone for computers we sold, that turned out to have been stolen from the guys mother. His sister pressed charges. There was another $10,000 I got to pay.

After 4 years I couldn’t take it anymore…between the bills, the crazy, the consulting psychics at $400 a pop to see if maybe our marriage could be saved….the 911 tragedy had caused my employer to close, I was going through my 401K and my dad was helping to pay the bills since Mr. Wonderful refused to partner up and change his spending habits.

My first year of divorce was financially difficult as I had finally found a new job. But yay! I made it and started to do ok again…and was finally able to have quiet. Peace in my home. All my bills were paid.

16 years later. All my bills are paid. I have a second, rental property bringing in money. And every August (he is a teacher) I get collection calls for him.

Do you know anyone in a similar situation that is afraid to get divorced because of financial situations? Do you know anyone with a similar story of divorce improving their financial situation?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

Post a Comment

Thank you for leaving a comment on your blog. Comments are moderated- please be patient to allow time for them to go through. Opposing opinions are permitted, discussion and disagreements are encouraged, but nasty comments for the sole purpose of being nasty without constructive criticisms will be deleted.
Just a note- I take my privacy seriously, and comments giving away my location or religion are automatically deleted too.

Previous Post Next Post