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Update on Child Support

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Just a quick update on the loss of income in regards to my younger two child support that I wrote about in mid December. At the time, he was going to miss his car payment that is in my name and didn’t know when he’d be able to provide any support for our kids.  To be clear as I know this issue is dear to many people’s hearts due to their own history. Let me clarify a few points up front:

1. No, we do not have a formal child support agreement and no, I will not be pursuing one.  I chose this for two reasons, one, I wanted full legal and physical custody of the kids. Two, I didn’t ever want money to be a reason for him to bail on them or become just another issue in our already rocky relationship.  He has ALWAYS come through when they needed something and has voluntarily paid half of anything I asked, sometimes more.  From what I hear from other parents in my situation, the court ordered payments are 1) hard to get and 2) not close to the amount he has voluntarily provided through out the years since we split.

2. The car was purchased in my name for him while we were still living together. He has not been able to refinance it.  It IS in our divorce decree that he is solely responsible for the car financially, the debt, the maintenance, the insurance, the taxes, etc.  As soon as it is paid for, I will sign it over to him and be done.  Only one other time has he had trouble making payments on it, and then I asked for it back, sold my car (my dream car Honda Element that was paid off) and drove it and paid for it.  I did not want the car, and when he was able to take it back over, he did so.  If I had wanted to keep it, he would not have fought me on it.  But it was just too much car for me and the costs to drive it were high.  This was also a major bad decision area for me, because instead of buying a reasonable used car, I bought a new sedan (the twins were with us but supposed to be going home at this point.)  This is one lesson I have DEFINITIVELY learned now.

So now we are here, 6 weeks after the announcement that I would not have any support going forward while he got his new business off the ground.  He did catch up on the car payment, a week late, and I was able to refinance the loan to buy his a 6 week break from payments, get him a lower interest rate and a lower monthly payment.  All around a win in both our eyes.  The first payment on that loan was due yesterday…and he paid it on time!

So no, child support to date, but his new business is up and running and I know he’s working as hard as he can to catch up.  The kids call him regularly to see if he’s going to come see them…he hasn’t.  I took them to his new shop once and to hang out for a while with him.  (No, I don’t go out of my way to do this, but I had to be that way for the twins and then had a couple of hours to kill before picking them up and it wasn’t worth driving home, so this was a good compromise.)

Every one’s divorce, separation is different. I know mine is unusual but it works for us.  And I think for as unhealthy as our marriage was, our divorce is very healthy.  I am grateful for the tough love the last year.  As a result, I’m in a place that the missing funds don’t hurt so much.  I am now NOT dependent on the little kids child support.  Now to break that reliance on the twins adoption supplement.

 


The Book is Closed on our Old Home

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So I am closing the book on the old house and many wanted to know the final chapter.  There is not much to tell, and this will be the last time I will bring it up here, but I didn’t want to leave you wondering.  So to understand it all, especially if you have joined us in the last couple of months, here’s a recap of the posts regarding my housing debacle.

Three Years, Six Moves – When I wrote this back in April, 2014, I said we were home.  Little did I know how quickly that would change.

The Best Laid Plans

Why I Decided Not to Buy My Home

The Ultimatum

The Curse

The Next Step

The House is in Chaos

I Quit

Oh What a Feeling

The House Sold

Chapter Closed

So now that you are caught, I want to tell you how it ended.  As you know, in December, after several months on the market, I got what I thought would be the best offer on selling my van but the difference between my loan amount and the sales price was more than I had readily available so I had to make up the difference to make the sale happen. Needless to say, time was of the essence.

I had had several brief conversations with my dad without trying to pressure him, asking about the house, and he consistently said he didn’t have time to review it.  This time I called with a purpose.  I let him know the situation and asked if he had time to consider the house monies that he had said several times I would receive as this would be a big help at this point.

His words “well, if I was going to give you money, it wouldn’t be for a car.”  I was shocked speechless.  First, it was never my intent to ask for him to give me money.  I felt and he had indicated during several conversations that I would get some money from the sale of the house since I had paid all related expenses for four years, put the blinds in, paid for all the appliances (which were sold with the house,) added a patio, landscaping, etc. Essentially I treated the home as my own and incurred all relevant expenses including my own renters insurance and his owners insurance, etc.  Ok, you get my point, I was in no way asking for a handout.

He then went on in the same conversation to say that he had been thinking we could open a joint account, where we would both have to sign to get money out and he would match my savings toward a house with the money rather than give it to me.  If I wasn’t still speechless from the “give” suggestion, I was shaking in anger now.  Control.  He still wanted control.

I knew with no doubt that I was not ever going to consider that option and frankly, I let him know what I thought in no uncertain terms.  Now, I don’t want to seem ungrateful for what he did four years ago after our two rental homes fell through, BUT my dad has ALWAYS used money to control.  He would take away my car when he didn’t agree with my decisions, he would threaten to stop paying for school when he didn’t agree, and that’s just me.  I am not in any way trying to bash my dad, I love him, respect him, but this is fact.

You see four years ago, when the second rental house fell through I put all my stuff in a POD as we began to travel as I figured out what to do.  The POD would have allowed me to move anywhere, sending for my stuff when I figured it out.  That was my plan, travel around for a while and then decide.  That was when Dad stepped in and offered to help me buy a house here where he and my mom lived. I know he was doing what he thought was best for me and my two kids at the time but it was also a control move.

So back to the final conversation my dad and I had about the house…I told him in no uncertain terms that I would NEVER, EVER get into a financial relationship with him again. And based on our conversation I would assume that he never intended to give me any money from the house.  I also told him that I thought he took advantage of me.  If he had been honest about the house money from the beginning I would not have put EVERY SINGLE extra penny into the house to get it ready to sell as I really needed that money for my family.  I have now totaled the money I put into the house to get it ready for sale plus utilities for the two months after we moved out, and I spent $4000 on that alone.

So no, my dad has never given me a dime from the house and I don’t expect he will.  And you know what, that’s fine.  I learned a very, very hard lesson.  My children have learned some really hard lessons.  And what ever happens next, we did that.  No man will ever have that kind of control over me again.

I am in no way male bashing.  I know there are some great guys, husbands, fathers out there.  I see them all the time with their children, with my friends.  But after my marriage and my brothers and my dad, I’m done, completely and totally done.


Ashley’s January Debt Update

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I pre-wrote and scheduled a couple of posts for today because I’ll be doing my campus interview all day (my itinerary is from 9am-7pm)!!! I probably won’t have a chance to respond to any comments until tonight or tomorrow so I just wanted to give you a heads up on that. Please send me some good vibes, positive thoughts/energy, prayers, good juju, whatever works for you! I am trying to come off as confident (but not cocky), enthusiastic and likable (but not desperate), professional, and articulate. Remember – I’ve kinda got all my eggs in one basket on this one, so it feels like a BIG day for me! Wish me luck!!!

The numbers are in and here’s how my debt has been shaping up this month…

PlaceCurrent BalanceAPRLast Payment MadeLast Payment Date (original debt, March 2014)
Capital One CC-17.9%-Paid off in March ($413)
Mattress Firm-0%-Paid off in May ($1381)
Wells Fargo CC-13.65%-Paid off in May ($7697)
BoA CC-7.24%-Paid off in June ($2220)
License Fees$22082.5%250January ($5808)
PenFed Car Loan$159782.49%1000January ($24040)
Navient - Federal Student Loans$44448.25%16January ($4687)
Navient - Dept of Ed$722318.25-6.55%260January ($69191)
ACS Student Loans$210407.24%77December ($21035)
Medical Bills$64110%75January ($9000)
Totals$122,312 (Last month = 123,667)Total: $1,678Starting Debt = $145,472

Maybe it’s just because we’ve reached the 10-month mark so some of the newness and excitement has started to rub off a bit, but I’m just not as enthusiastic about my progress as I was early on in the debt-repayment process.

On one hand, we put over $1,600 toward debt this month! That’s great, right?!

On the other hand, my student loan balances went up. Again. (my minimum payments don’t cover the interest, so the balance keeps slooooowly growing).

And my total debt ($122,000+) is still so out-of-control. I cannot WAIT for the day that I break the $100,000 barrier and dip into the $99,999s.

Hubs ended up making an extra debt payment toward his license fees at the end of last month. So if you were to compare the balance this month to the one from last month, that’s why there’s a discrepancy (the table says $250 was applied this month, which is true, but hubs had made a payment of just over $250 at the end of last month, too, so it’s gone down by $500 compared to last month’s beginning balance).

Can I make a little confession that will become pretty apparent anyway real soon (when we talk about how the budget went this month)???

I ended up going a bit over on a couple categories this month. I think some of the holiday-spending spilled over into January and I was just a little too loosey-goosey on my spending. Nothing crazy or extravagant. Mostly just up to my old tricks again….spending too much on groceries and crap that we don’t really need because its oh-so-easy for me to justify grocery purchases as a necessity, even if they aren’t.

Anyway, my plan at the beginning of the month was to pay extra toward my student loans (above the minimums) so I could pay the interest in full and not have a growing balance. *Sigh* Having gone over on my grocery budget (by a lot, I should add), I re-allocated those funds to cover my frivolous food expenses and, alas, the student loan balances continue to grow. Very discouraging.

I will do better next month!

Another confession, since we’re on that train now…

Hubs and I have fallen off the wagon with our monthly finance talks, too.

For long time readers, you’ll know that hubs and I have a unique financial relationship (I talked about it here when I first started blogging). Some of it is changing (e.g., we’re adding each other to all of our accounts this month), but one of the big things is that I’ve always been the one to sit down and actually pay the bills. When I first started blogging we started loosely following a Dave Ramsey-esque type program where hubs and I would have a monthly budget discussion to decide exactly how to allocate that months’ funds.

Over the holidays we’ve sort of slipped back into our old patterns where hubs has simply given me money and I’ve put it where I think it should go. To be clear, I really am doing what I believe to be best with the money (in terms of debt allocations, etc.), but I do think it’s important for hubs to actually be in on these decisions rather than simply letting me handle the funds how I see fit. Things seemed to be moving faster and progress seemed to be better when we were working together. So that’s coming back at the end of this month as we discuss our plans for February.

Hopefully in the coming months we’ll see some stronger progress!

How’ve you been doing with your debt payments? How do you and your significant other handle finances/bills/etc?


Vasectomy or Vasecto-nope???

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Can we talk about something a little more…errr, personal today???

If you’re a newer reader, my husband (32 yrs.) and I (31 yrs.) have twin 2.5 year old daughters. We love them oh so much and our roles as parents. Buuuuut, we don’t want to do it over again.

This is something that we’ve thought a LOT about in the past few years. From the beginning husband has always been fairly certain he does not want more children. I waivered a bit more. When the girls were infants I was firmly in the NO MORE KIDS camp. Then around their first birthday I thought….maybe we might try again at some point? Not soon, but someday? I love the idea of having a little boy. And what great helpers would two older sisters be?

Then the romance of those daydreams wore off. In the past year I’ve sold off and/or given away ALL of our baby stuff. The older the girls get the more I think I NEVER want to do the baby stage again. Over Christmas we held friends’ newborns and ooh’d and aww’d over them. When asked if we wanted another of our own I instantly (maybe a little too sharply) replied, “ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!”

The truth is I really don’t want to do it again. I like the idea of having a boy, but (1) you don’t just get to choose the gender, and (2) I like the idea….but I don’t think I’d like the reality.

I just can’t do it again. The sleepless nights, the endless diapers, the spit up, the breastfeeding woes (I was committed to breastfeeding and did so for 6 months but it was a struggle every single day). Not to mention I had a very difficult pregnancy and came down with HELLP syndrome toward the end. I ended up delivering the twins via emergency c-section when my blood count numbers were plummeting and the doctors were afraid they might lose me. It was traumatic to say the least.

Here’s a snippet I’ve copy/pasted from my personal blog about the experience:

Nurse: *walks into room* – Where’s hubby?

Me: He went to go get some lunch

Nurse: At the cafeteria?

Me: No…..at a fast food place.

Nurse: Will he be back soon?

Me: He should be……why???

Nurse: *nervous giggle* (there’s a pause as she turns away from me, busying herself with something; after a couple minutes she turns, sits on the side of the bed and says): Well…..remember how I drew that blood from you this morning? It turns out that some of your levels are extremely abnormal. In fact, they’re so abnormal that I’ve talked to the attending OB, and she wants to go ahead and deliver your babies today.

The rest was a bit of a blur.

I never want to do it again. Never. Ever. Ever.

So all that being said, I am currently on oral contraceptives. However, I do NOT want to be on birth control the rest of my child-bearing years. I really don’t like introducing hormones into my body at all but I haven’t wanted to risk a pregnancy so I’ve resigned myself to this as a solution for the time being. I’ve played around with various types of birth control options over the years and I really just don’t like any of them. None of them are great long-term options for me.

Know what is???

Chop, chop honey!!! (tee hee)

Yes. A vasectomy.

If I’d known that we were for sure done with children earlier, I would have just requested getting my tubes tied when I was already in for C-section surgery. I wasn’t sure at that time. I am now.

Husband obviously isn’t crazy about the idea of the old snip-snip, but he also knows he doesn’t want more kids.

Plus, many insurance companies pay huge portions of the vasectomy surgery now (many pay the full thing, minus a copay). Alternatively, the cost of a child from birth to 18 is nearly a quarter of a million dollars (according to CNN money)

I’d love to get your opinions on this. Please, please keep your opinions to more financially-based (rather than religiously-based). I’d also love to hear if you have any personal experiences. I have one girlfriend whose husband had a vasectomy after their third child (7 years ago) and now she is LONGING for a fourth child. A vasectomy-reversal is much more costly than a vasectomy and it is more invasive, difficult to recover from, and is not always a guarantee of success. She regrets the vasectomy and has urged me to wait longer until making a final decision. When is the right time for this type of decision (especially since I’ve wavered in the past…I’m firmly in the NO MORE BABIES camp right now, but could I change my mind again in another year???)

Thoughts??? Opinions? Personal experiences??


Year of Becoming an Adult: January

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This year one of our resolutions (for hubs & me) was to do a lot of not-so-fun things that we’ve been putting off for far too long in the name of finally growing up and becoming adults.

We’ve planned things out so we have at least one or two big items to knock off our list every month. Hopefully by the time December 2015 roles around we’ll feel much more settled into our “adulthood” and many of these important items will be distant memories, having been taken care of months prior.

For the month of January we have a couple big things on our “Becoming an Adult” list:

  • Make wills for myself and hubs
  • Fill out power of attorney forms for myself and hubs
  • Add each other to our savings/checking accounts

I wanted to give a little mid-month update on how these things are going.

We used Legal Zoom to make wills and fill out power of attorney forms. It was so, so easy and painless! I really thought there would be a lot more emotion wrapped up in it (it just seems so morbid to be making decisions about who will raise your kids if you and spouse die, etc.), but it really wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d expected. And it was quick! Only about 10 or 15 minutes total! This is not an advertisement (I’m not being paid by them, nor did I receive any discounts or anything), but I really would recommend the website for simple wills (if your estate is super complicated you may need an actual attorney).

Buuuuut (there’s always a but), when the documents arrived at our house I realized things would be a bit more complicated. Apparently in the state of Arizona wills have to be notarized PLUS have a witness signature, and the witness cannot be the notary, nor can they be anyone related by blood or marriage (so hubs and I cannot be each others’ witnesses). So we’ve reached a bit of a hangup. It’s not a big deal to get a friend to go with us to have the documents notarized and serve as a witness, but it takes more arranging of schedules and whatnot. It WILL happen this month, but its not done yet.

The checking/savings accounts are not complete yet either. I called and talked to my bank(s) to see if this could be done online and no, it cannot. I have to go to the banks in person with husband to have him added to my accounts (and have me added to his). Not huge, but just another annoying hurdle to getting everything in place.

But at least we’re in the process of working on this month’s goals. I’m sure glad we broke things down into bite-size chunks because it seems like everything is just a little bit more annoying/time-consuming/difficult than expected. It’s nice that we’re not trying to do everything all at once. If you want to see some of our other goals for this year (the year of becoming an adult), see the post I wrote about here. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as the year moves along.

Do you have any big financially-relevant goals this year? What are you working on?


Chapter Closed

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Well, almost…our house sold today. It’s officially over. As a result of the finishing touches I had to complete this week, it’s been extremely emotional for me, lots of crying. The new owners even moved in early, paying a per diem rate to take possession last Friday rather than waiting for today’s closing.

My parents will come for a week long visit in one week, and my dad said that he will tell me at that time what, if anything I will receive from the sale. I’m not going to rehash this, I’m not holding out any hope, what I am going to do is do my best to forgive and forget this house debacle even happened. Time heals all wounds, but I have a week to get my game face on and soften my heart. The wounds are fresh and the reality of our home being gone, well it’s really sad to me.

I just wanted you to know that this chapter of my life is closed…well, except for the remaining utility bills I must pay.


The House

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My house sold!  The signed contract isn’t in hand yet, but we got the offer on Monday and on Thursday we came to terms.  It will close next month.

What a total and complete blessing!

For those of you into numbers, this means the house sold in 1 week and we got almost what we asking for it.  I have no idea what this means for me monetarily, and am not ready to ask my dad that question but in terms of psychology and stress, this has lifted a huge burden off my shoulders.  Now I can look forward without worrying about how my decisions affect anyone but me and my kids.

Thank you for all your support and encouragement and even gentle nudges to do better as I walk this path.

I will be posting a new budget this week, but in reality it won’t really take affect until December since I need to finish paying bills from getting the house ready, etc.  More on that later…just wanted to share this exciting news.


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