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Posts tagged with: divorce

Small Goals Met – Emergency Fund, Credit Repair and more

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Just dropping in to share some exciting news…I’ve met one of my small financial goals on my road to getting back on my feet.  I now have $1,000 socked away in an emergency fund.  Woohoo!

With that goal met, my next goal is to clear up my credit a bit.  When I originally met with the mortgage company a few years ago regarding financing our build, they referred me to someone who came highly recommended.  At the time, I was able to qualify for the amount needed without it, my credit actually wasn’t too bad.  (Not good, but not too bad.) But now…yea, it’s in the pits.

Since I am able to pay my bills on time again and have relatively steady although fluctuating income, I decided it was time to get that going.  So I met with the company this past weekend, put down the non-refundable $400 deposit and now just have to wait.  Their work typically takes 2 months but can take up to 4 months.  So we will see.

Last small update…I am just a little over a month from having my ex-husband’s car paid off.  Sticking to him paying these last 2 payments.  I am looking forward to transferring the title and being rid of this last legal financial tie (excluding our kids but that is not at all the same thing.)

I haven’t forgotten about getting a real numbers update to you.  I will, I promise.  Thanks for your patience with me.

But I do have a question for you…have you ever used a credit repair service?  Experience?


The Next Step, Part II

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This is a follow up post to The Next Step. There was an over-whelming consensus that this should be my next debt tackled even though people didn’t agree on how.  So here is my plan…

Because I have eliminated all other consumer debt other than this car loan…I have two lines of credit open with no balance.  I called and asked if the introductory offer still stood that I used last December…any transferred balance 0% interest for 6 months.  Wonderful news…it does!

So I have transferred the balance of HIS car loan to my line of credit, effectively paying off the car and I should receive a clear title.  Yeah!

That gives me a balance of just at $3,000 at 0% for 6 months…$500 per month to pay it off with no new interest.  Seems like a good deal to me.  He will continue paying $246 per month to me until the balance is paid, but I will have cleared it off my credit by early 2016.

(We have also dealt with his moving the car out of state…after research done with the state’s DMV in question and insurance company.  All above board when that move actually happens which I have no ETA on that from him, but I’m prepared for when it does.)


Pretty Torn Down

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I truly appreciate the thought out comments on my last post (The Next Step.) I have read every single one of them. But frankly, this time, the “doormat” “enabling” etc. comments just tore at me. I realize that I signed up for this but more importantly, I realize that it’s a lot easier to stand on the sidelines and yell direction then it is to actually be in the middle of it where the action is actually happening. I wonder if some of you realize that…

I have contemplated not returning, but I’ve never been one to shy from a fight, so after a couple of weeks of licking my wounds.  I am back.

So to follow up on that last post…

1. I am not doing anything illegal nor am I committing insurance fraud.  The car has sat with occasional driving when I needed it or when he would visit the kids.  He has another car with one seat in it he uses on a daily basis.

2. While it may be in my name, etc. it is HIS car and HIS debt.  That is spelled out clearly in our divorce decree and I do not think it would be right to discuss HIS debt here.  Thus, no numbers were mentioned in that post.  I just wanted to get your feedback on that being the next course of action.  From the responses, I would say everyone overwhelmingly agreed with my desire to rid my name of that debt although many differed on how it should be done.

3. Hiring a lawyer to do this, that or the other.  No offense to the lawyers who may be reading this, but are you crazy?  Have you gone through a divorce where there are kids and property?  Well, I see/hear about it EVERY day from other of my single mom acquaintances…$20K and counting in legal fees, , chasing and waiting for child support, limited child support based on his income and it never stops until the kids reach 18.  I paid $75 and did my own divorce paperwork.  I got exactly what I wanted…full legal and physical custody of the kids.  He got the car to finish paying off.  I also got a relationship with him where I could say “the kids need” and he was willing to work with me on money without feeling like I was coming after him.  And I don’t have to go back to court  every time things change or chase him down for child support via more court appointments.  I have seen the results of that many times over and do not want it for me, my kids or even him.  Sorry if you don’t agree, but I KNOW this was the right decision.

4. You like reading Ashley…great!  I like reading Ashley too.  Life was definitely much more simple when I had two little kids and a husband helping pay the bills, and had a corporate job.  But that’s not my life anymore and frankly, despite the hardships of the last years I LOVE my life.  I love spending every day with kids, seeing them evolve and grow with every new experience and “lightbulb” learning experience.  I love my clients and the flexibility I have to work when and where I want and do work that challenges me.  The absolute only thing I am missing these days from life is having a couple more bedrooms…but you know what, that will come.

I have read Blogging Away Debt since the very beginning.  I would check back daily for new posts and was sad when there were days or weeks between them.  But I was most interested in reading about the different bloggers life – challenges, successes and yes, sometimes even failures.  It inspired me.  So that’s how I write.  While the blog updates with charts and numbers are great, they are not my style.  If you don’t like it…that’s okay, there are two other bloggers.  I can’t/won’t be everyone’s style.  But I would like to share a quote my parents taught me growing up “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything” and always “Silence is golden.”

More to come this afternoon…


Temporary Credit Issued

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USAA has issued me a temporary credit while the investigation moves forward on the ATM.  I am thankful.  I enjoyed tips from the readers and will definitely use some of them in the future.  Thanks!

Now to a personal issue.  This one has the potential to impact finances and I’m pretty sad about it too.  It feels like just as I get myself feeling pretty good about things something else comes my way.  That’s life I suppose and I know I have many, many blessings but it is still tough.

My first ex-husband–the father of my children–has met and become engaged to a woman we’ll call NW for “New Wife.”  They met in December, he confided in me in early January that she broke up with him because she had never dated a divorced man with children (oh how I wish he had never told me that and even as he did I tried to cut him off–I did not need to know that but he has always struggled with boundaries) and then about ten days later she called him back and all I know is that it was back “on.”   Last weekend they became engaged.  She is 41, never married and no children.

This is challenging to talk about because I don’t know that I can convey how our relationship worked via blogging and I imagine there will be readers who jump to the conclusion that I am jealous.  Some of you regular readers know it has been a friendly divorce with the children’s time split 50/50 and no child support exchanged.  I have been told by countless teachers and professionals that my children are as well adjusted as they are BECAUSE of the unique way in which their father and I are divorced.  Friends and family have warned me for years that the potential for this good thing to go bad rested in my ex finding NW.  Everyone around me has recognized for years that I am the reason we are divorced well.  That I do the lion’s share of the parenting and Dad gets credit for a lot of what I do but that didn’t bother me b/c I focused on the kids.  If anyone should be made to experience unpleasant situations, it is the adults in the situation. 

Over the last 3 months the relationship with my ex-husband has deteriorated dramatically.  I do not want to jump to conclusions and assume this was a directive from NW for their relationship to continue but boy am I struggling with that!  It feels like since her return he has done all he can to be a man that was not married before and without children.  I no longer get responses to my inquiries regarding the kids.  The texts go unanswered.  I’m given excuses such as the phone was charging, he was driving, he was in a meeting.  These are logistical questions that I am texting or emailing about that simply do not receive a response.  As we enter summer we’ve had a lot of end of school and summer activity things to discuss and pay for. I am left to chase him down or just make decisions on my own and yes, pay for things too.

It hit a low point earlier this week and for now he is checked out.  He has left the kids with me for the majority of the month of May and that part is great for me–but not great for the kids.  I don’t know where this will go but I’m not looking forward to dealing with it if things don’t correct soon.  Thankfully the activities they are doing this summer are few and inexpensive so I’ve been able to pay the deposits on my own.  I do see the potential for having to escalate things to the courthouse and the very thought of that makes me ill.


Totally Irrelevant Post!

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Sometimes ya just gotta go random on the blog and share something that struck you and made you say “I gotta share this!”  This is that post.  Now don’t freak out by the name of the blog because it is a blog I have followed for awhile.  I discovered it as I was struggling in my marriage.  I grew to really enjoy the relationship info on it and that is why I still follow it.

I’ll also issue the disclaimer that I am not suggesting that marriages should end.  I am not saying that marriage is bad.  I truly believe in marriage–even after two divorces!  I value marriage.  I celebrate marriage.  I know some of you will be irritated that I don’t have a purely money post today but that’s okay.  I ask that you indulge me and remember that relationships and money are oh-so-very-tied-together-for-better-for-worse-but-seemingly-more-often-for worse so I’m not COMPLETELY irrelevant here. PLUS, my divorce has pretty quickly led to at least a little good news on my own financial journey!

This post hit so close to home as it perfectly describes much of my thought process through my not quite 3 year marriage to my second husband.  ESPECIALLY the “when I get sick…” part! Take a look at it and do with it what you will!  For some of you it may ring true and for most of you (I hope) it will make no sense at all.  And my wish for ALL of us is that we are in that latter group!

Enjoy.

Taken from www.apracticalwedding.com

Posts from APW moms are among my favorite (there is some wisdom there, y’all). But today’s post is extra special because it comes from my mom. My mother (who goes by Jennifer when it’s not me) often jokes that she doesn’t know where I learned about relationships, but that she thinks some of it might have to do with learning from her mistakes. But the reality is, what she calls mistakes actually look a lot like successes to me. Because if my mom has taught me anything about marriage and divorce, it’s that self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your relationship. And sometimes self-care looks like getting out of a relationship that isn’t making you happy and never will. As I get older, I’ve witnessed many friends stay in unhappy marriages out of fear. Fear of failure, fear of being alone, you name it. And it kills me. So for today, I asked her to write a post about leaving a marriage when it’s just not working. Because sometimes all it takes is knowing you can do something to give you the courage to go ahead and do it. And now I’ll give the floor to my mom, with some of the smartest words I’ve ever seen grace these pages. Not that I’m biased.  -Maddie Eisenhart

Starting over from scratch. No one sees this coming when they’re marching down the aisle—whether the aisle is church stone, beach sand, or hardwood in a local VFW club—till death do us part is embedded deep in our hearts on that wedding march, and in our partner who’s waiting at the end, face beaming at the thought of you growing old together and retiring to a porch swing, sipping fresh lemonade.

Fast forward to the day you’re sitting on a beach in Mexico on a “girl’s trip” realizing how short life is, and that death-do-us part is a really, really long time when you’re married to a guy who prefers watching ESPN over viewing any part of you…even when you’re rocking lingerie. Or a guy who isn’t who you thought he was when you said yes.

This was me at thirty-one years old. Life had recently taught me I controlled nothing. I learned I could attempt to protect everything in my life—my family, friends, relationships, and my heart—but bad things happen despite efforts to prevent them. That trip to Mexico was an escape. Everything about me was broken. I had just lost my nine-year-old daughter to brain cancer, and during the time she was sick, had gradually discovered that my husband didn’t have the emotional capacity to help my dying heart survive the process of losing her. He wasn’t cruel or apathetic. He just didn’t get it. The day before I left for Mexico, my friend and neighbor Ray died of a heart attack alone in a hotel on a business trip. I was devastated by his death, as much for losing him as for losing any belief that life would be there waiting for me to live again if I ever healed. I learned the hard way that life is too short. I knew then there were things I needed to think about. Big things.

So there I sat at thirty-one years old—five kids, a cat, two dogs, and a husband I needed to decide on. Sitting there on that white, sandy beach at 6:45am, while my intentionally childfree girlfriends slept till noon, I thought about things. A lot. On that beach—day four of thinking—I finally decided. It was over. I was indeed—done. I could not come up with one reason to stay with my husband that had anything to do with my own happiness or comfort, just those around me. My husband was a great guy, I thought no one would understand my choice. My kids would be crushed. My family might be disappointed in me. My financial stability would be suddenly unstable. People would talk.

On that beach, none of it mattered. I would always take care of my kids. My family would get over it. I could make my own money. And who gives a sh*t what people say. The final decision came down to a crude, possible future reality—some day I may not have teeth or control of my bladder. I may get sick. Really sick. Would I feel loved and cared for no matter what? I didn’t think I would. Would he cry with me and for me if I did get really sick? I didn’t think he would. I thought a lot about this in particular. I shouldn’t have had to. This was not how I was going to live the rest of my life.

Over doesn’t always happen like mine did. It happens in many ways—getting dumped out of the blue, cheated on, or just realizing you plain old made a mistake in choosing your life partner and need to end it. No matter how the end happens, it sucks. Those first two scenarios are full of shock and awe. They’re rugged. Everything you thought was—wasn’t. Everything happening to you is out of your control. You can’t sleep or eat, and friends worry. It’s the making of a Carrie Underwood song. In these situations, you are forced to survive. You don’t weigh options, such as financial independence, who gets the kids, house, friends, dog, or cat, or what it will be like with way too much time alone. You successfully wing it all and make it because you have to. This is important to remember as you look at scenario number three—you will always survive the end and be better on the other side.

Because then there’s the third scenario: Deciding you’re done. This path allows for way too much contemplation. In this case, knowing you’re done is the real done, not the temporary, annoyed, “I hate the way he or she chews cereal” kind of done. I’m talking about the done when your smart-brain knows your relationship is unhealthy or awful, but your excuse-making, crowd-pleasing, desperate-for-it-to-work brain takes over and wrecks everything. This part of the brain allows for fear to creep in and trump your gut instincts and smart-brain knowledge that you are in the wrong place with the wrong person. If your brain is functioning in this manner, you may need an intervention. By me. Right now. So please pay attention.

If you read my first APW post, you’ll know I love lists. If you didn’t read it, then know this—I love lists. If you are in need of an I’m done intervention right now, I am going to offer you scenarios (some I’ve been through, some I’ve watched others endure) in list form, that will help you know that no matter what you’re afraid of, or don’t know how to do, everything will be okay. For real.

Scenario One: You’ve never lived alone. You know who you are—you lived with your parents, then a roommate in college, and now your current partner. You have no idea how to be alone. That’s okay. Alone, at first, is terrifying. Time drags. The phone never rings. Notifications don’t come. I’ll be honest. It’s tough. Don’t tackle this on your own at first if you don’t think you can handle it. Most can’t. Stay with anyone who will take you—temporarily. I stayed with my good friends Kate and Joel. Three or four days. Maybe twenty-five. It’s a blur. Joel asked me to surrender my phone so I wouldn’t torture myself through the night waiting for calls or notifications—even though I was the one who was done. He wanted to be sure, more than anything, that I didn’t make any calls or send messages I would regret based on my fear of being done and alone. I gave him the phone. It worked. I made it over that initial panic-filled hump. You will, too. Lean on the people who love you. They want to help. Doing this will help you stay true to your decision to be done and your decision to be where you need to be.

Scenario Two: You don’t know how to do anything—like pump your own gas. While this may sound extreme, it happened to a friend of mine. She had decided to leave her husband for another man—gasp! She didn’t mean to, but she fell in love with a close family friend. Her teenaged daughters took the side of her husband, her husband was destroyed, and her new lover’s wife was set on revenge. She could work through all of that, and rebuild, but could not get past what she didn’t know how to do—pump gas. Her dad had done it for her when she was young, and her husband had picked up where he left off after they were married. As she sat in my classroom crying about pumping gas, I offered to take her to the 7-Eleven to teach her. She learned. There are teachers everywhere. Look to them to teach you how to do what you don’t know how to do—the things that make you stay where you don’t belong.

Scenario Three: You don’t know how to start the conversation. Don’t over think this. Just say it. Be kind, empathetic, and gentle, but say it. I remember riding in the car on the way home to Portland from Boston after that Mexico trip. It was Valentine’s Day, by chance. My husband offered up a diamond bracelet, which made it tough to spit out the words. It wasn’t the bling biting my tongue, it was the thought and effort. Finally. It was weird. And nice. And confusing. But not enough to change my mind. I told him that things were not what I needed. I didn’t know what I needed, but I knew it wasn’t stuff. He knew what I meant. We drove the rest of the way home in silence, both beginning the end. For the next few years, we rode the stages of grief—the loss of our daughter and the end of our marriage—trying to figure out how to keep our kids stable and healing. He’d leave to stay with a friend four days a week, and I’d leave for three. We focused on keeping the kids in one place to give them a shot at normalcy. It worked for a while. We split accounts, talked to lawyers, and went to grief counseling together. I bought an apartment building, he and Joel moved me in, and it was done. I was alone. And I was okay. Alone let me learn more about me and what I wanted and needed. At times it was lonely and quiet, but I was okay. I called on Kate and Joel often. I stayed with my brother and his wife here and there to get through the quiet. I said yes to every invitation to do just about anything because it took my mind off of my doubts. I made it.

Weighing all of your options—reasons to stay, reasons to go—is a great way to convince yourself that staying in a shitty relationship is the best way to go. Do not do this.

Do this:

Be loved. Know that you will feel loved when sh*t unexpectedly hits the fan in life. Accept nothing less than living your life with your one great love—the one who has your back—thick and thin—sickness and health—your best friend— even if it means being alone long enough to figure out what that means to you. Don’t be bought out to stay. Don’t stay for the kids, or the dog, or the cat—they will all see right through you. Go. It’s worth the leap. You will figure it out and find your way to the real thing.

I finally figured it out. I have my real thing. He’s sitting behind me in the recliner waiting for me to turn around and watch The Voice with him while the Bruins play the Canadiens on another channel—because he knows I love me some Adam Levine. Now that’s great love.

 


Where To Begin?

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I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed with where to begin now that the divorce is final.  I feel like I’ve been a racehorse in the starting gate just dying for the shot to fire and the gate to open so that I can return to my open, candid self.  I have so much I want to share and I need to be patient with myself and ask that you continue your patient reading as well.

The first thing I want to share is information about my vehicle.  Through a series of events I am currently driving a 2008 Toyota RAV with just 25,000 miles on it.  It is a long, drawn out story but the most important thing to share is that I am currently not paying a car payment.  This may be temporary until my higher interest debt is paid off, but for now I am trying to gracefully receive the help.  Right after the separation as I was about to take a hit on the minivan and get into something smaller with a smaller loan and smaller payment, my parents were kind enough to bridge a gap for me with a car they were not using.  I was successful in getting out from under the van relatively unscathed considering that we had just purchased it in November 2010.  I intially began the process to trade in my van but thanks to a series of events, I ended up selling it directly for what I owed before signing on the dotted line for the trade in.  It was a stroke of being at the right place at the right time (and it helped that it was a very nice, low mileage Honda Odyssey) and a number of individuals simply looking out for me and getting me the best deal possible.  In that sense, Steve’s poor handling of his departure paid off.  I did not ask for people to help in this way, but I do believe strongly in doing good deeds and that when you do, the blessings come back tenfold.  They came back in the form of my ending up without a car loan payment.  I could not have done this without my parents and it has been a humbling experience.  They did not want to take any money from me and I thought about insisting they take something.  After putting some thought into things and looking at my debt–I humbly accepted their generosity and vowed to tackle the debt even more aggressively.

It is humbling to share this with you and part of me just wants to continue hiding in the shadows on the car info but as someone wise told me, the readers will be persistent.  You do deserve to know if I am keeping this real.  I’m sure many of you will scoff at the fact that I am receiving this kind of help from my parents and I’ll just have to take the lumps.  It does REALLY suck but I am relieved to know that I have the help available and I will do everything in my power to both pay my parents back and pay it forward.

More to come this week but I am tired!  I had a very busy weekend with the kids!  One last thought to share:  My divorce was final on Friday but in light of the events in Connecticut, I couldn’t bring myself to “celebrate” via any social media.  I was reminded by that tragic event that  no matter what we are each going through in life, we don’t have to look far to see others facing much bigger challenges. Perspective. So I got duped by a man. I and my children are stronger for the experience and most importantly, I forgive myself.  Failure would have been to stay in an abusive relationship. There are far worse things than divorce. Remember there is always someone out there facing a much steeper climb than you.   Here’s to a great week!


Wait…his lawyer is back!

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No debt reduction info in this post, so avert your eyes if you are here only for debt reduction tips. 

Who needs bad reality television, when you can just pop into my blog and get the latest in my divorce saga?  Let me preface this post with everything I write here is factual except for the parts that aren’t–and those parts are my opinion.

I received an email from Steve’s former lawyer, now lawyer again.  He’s been rehired to finalize the divorce.  The changes I snail mailed to Steve have been incorporated and while he cannot tell me a date certain, the divorce should be final before my final hearing date setting of December 19.  The lawyer may have suggested I drop that December 19 setting but that isn’t happening.  He could be fired tomorrow and I’ve got to have that date certain.

Enter My Opinion:  Is this not insanity?!  This is what living with this man was like! 

‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
You’re yes then you’re no
You’re in then you’re out
You’re up and you’re down
You’re wrong when it’s right
It’s black and it’s white
We fight, we break up 
 
Thank you Katy Perry for that quick synopsis!
 
Talk about ongoing confirmation and clarity!  You just do not know how crazy things are until you have some time and distance but this utterly absurd handling of a completely and totally truly SIMPLE divorce says it ALL!  All in the name of him holding the control (or at least in his mind he has the control!) and thinking he’s getting back at me by doing so.  I can’t even muster up anger about any of this b/c the sheer lunacy of it all is enough for me to recognize any time spent in anger is time wasted.  There never was and never will be a way to stop this behavior and I have no delusional thoughts that there would be but instead welcome and embrace this entire divorce experience.  I do not think validation could happen in a more obvious way. 
 
I have signed the decree and a courier is delivering it to the lawyer’s office this afternoon. 


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