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Ashley’s Long Overdue Budget

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This post has been a long time coming. I mean, a LOOOOOOOOONG time coming. Am I right?

The problem is, it’s hard to write a budget when all the categories are moving targets. It’s hard to project ahead when things feel shaky and there’s no solid ground from which to start.

I hope this is a step forward in the right direction. This is hard for me to write. But hubs and I are separating. I’ve already signed a 12-month lease at a new place and am getting the keys on 9/1.  While I don’t feel comfortable talking about specifics of what has lead to this huge decision, I want to cover some of the basics as they pertain to my financial picture.

Right now we are seeking a legal separation. I don’t know if or when a divorce might occur down the line, but we’ll cross that bridge if/when we get there.

We want to fix a couple minor things in the house and then sell it. I’ve had many family and friends already try to convince me/us to keep the house but that’s really not an option either of us want to pursue. I’m moving out over Labor Day weekend. My long-term plan is to rent for 12-months to get my feet underneath myself and figure out some “life stuff.” Once the dust settles at the end of my rental lease, I plan to buy again.

Hubs will remain in the marital residence while doing some needed updates. The upstairs needs new carpet (it’s all literally the original 30-year-old carpet and it’s disgusting). And all of the cabinets (kitchen, kids’ bathroom, and master bathroom) need to be painted with some minor repair-work needing to be done. Our goal is for updates to be made during the month of September and for the house to be on the market by October 1st. We put a large down payment down for the house and had been paying toward the mortgage aggressively. Additionally, property values have risen steadily  in our area in the short time we’ve lived here, so we should stand to get a good chunk of money out of the house. We have not hired a realtor yet, so we don’t know exact $’s.

From the proceeds of the house, we will pay off a large amount of our joint debt. All of these numbers are up-in-the-air, as we don’t know what to expect from the sale yet and how much we’ll lose to commissions, etc.

Ashley’s New Monthly Budget

Housing

For the time being, I’ll be in a small rental house. Hubs will pay the housing costs for our owned home (mortgage, utilities, etc.) and I will pay the housing costs for the rental home. Currently, our cell phone bill is still together. Eventually that will be separated so we will each have our own account. Hubs and I will be sharing joint-custody of the kids. I will pay for the After-school care. I built in a “housing buffer” because the first couple months in my new place may likely include me also paying some bills at the old place (e.g., cable – I’m not planning to have cable at my new place, but will still have a bill from the old house.). This won’t last forever, but I’m trying to be conservative initially.

Housing
Rent1250
Housing Buffer150
Water150
Electricity300
Tmobile115
Garbage30
Childcare250

 

Medical

Separated, but not divorced, hubs will stay on our family insurance plan, which I will continue to pay.  I’ll also pay hubs’ monthly braces installment. I’ll pay for the girls’ medical care for the time being. Hubs will pay for his own co-pays and prescriptions.

Medical
Co-pays & Rx’s60
Braces116

Transportation

I’ll keep my vehicle, hubs will keep his.

Transportation
Auto gas150
Parking10
Car repair/maintenance75

Food

I don’t know what exactly to expect here. I anticipate the food budget going down dramatically, but I wanted to keep the estimate conservative. I’ve also wanted to include some money specifically for taking the girls out and for me to have money to have happy hour or brunch with friends. Having the social support now, more than ever, is incredibly important to me. Keep in mind, I have no family in the area, so my friends are the only form of direct support available in the area.

Food
Groceries400
Restaurants with kids100
Out with friends150

Lifestyle

For the time being, I’m expecting to pay for the majority of the girls’ direct needs, including clothing and kids activities (they’re currently in swim lessons, though that ends at the end of September). I’m building in some savings again – a semi-annual fee category (for car insurance, life insurance, etc.) and an emergency fund.

Lifestyle
Clothing75
Kid activities150
gift giving60
Houshold70
Entertainment50
Exercise (yoga, races)60
Semi-Annual Fees150
EF200

 

All combined, this comes to $4121. My monthly income is about $5,222 (after taxes, retirement, payroll deductions, and insurances are removed). That leaves $1101 for debt payments.

Our debts are all over the place. Again – we’re planning to pay off a lot with the sale of the house. In the meantime, I’m likely going to have to put the costs of a few things on my Home Depot credit card to get situated in the new place (e.g., I’ll need a washer and dryer, and I’m planning to pay for the home improvements to get the house ready for market on this credit line). Really, our debts are kind of a mess. I will reveal them all, in good time. But again, it’s tough to come up with a concrete plan when you have a moving target. I feel like step 1 is to get situated in my new place. It will be much easier to project ahead once the move is pulled off. I do have a budget for the move and moving-related expenses, too. I’ll share that (and my plan to pay for it) soon!

Thank you for your support over the past 4+ years! Many of BAD’s readers have been around through all life’s up’s and down’s. It feels, at times, like an extended family. I appreciate your input and advice on my planned monthly budget. Is anything missing? Anything I’m not thinking of right now that needs to be added?

~Ashley

 

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59 Comments

  • Reply Laura |

    Oh Ashley I am so sorry to hear this. No matter the reasons this has to be hard.

    On a financial standpoint- don’t be in a rush to buy again until you are out of debt. Look at what happened when your AC broke and you didn’t have the money to fix it. When you rent that is the landlord’s problem.
    I agree it’s important to keep up your social connections. Just keep those nights out as cheap as possible. It’s about the company, not what you are spending.
    Is your husband working again? If you’ve got joint custody and your incomes have a large discrepancy you may end up having to pay child support. Just something to be prepared for.

  • Reply Jax |

    Oh Ashley, I am sending so many hugs and good thoughts your way. My long term partner and I dissolved our relationship last December. Luckily we didn’t have kids (just 4 animals), but we do own a house together.I totally understand about taking it one step at a time and moving targets. Spend the next couple months getting your bearings.

    It’s been 9 months and ex-partner and I are no closer to transferring the house to me than we were the day we broke up. My advice is that while you’re getting settled in your new place you’re also getting the martial house fixed up and sold. Do it as soon as you can-it will relieve so much stress at an already stressful time.

  • Reply Anon |

    Please, make sure you are seeking legal advice, even ‘casually.’ Your employer may have an EAP with some legal resources to refer you to. I am most concerned about the house–in some states I think there are weird legalities about ‘abandoning’ the residence, and you want to be sure that you are protected, at least until it’s time to decide everything.

    I’m sending all my good thoughts in this tough time.

  • Reply SCM1959 |

    I want to second the post from Anon about seeking legal advice. I have worked as a paralegal specializing in family law in SC. Even though the laws in Arizona are different, the most important thing you can do for both short-term and long-term financial health is to consult an attorney NOW with your proposed separation agreement.

    This is absolutely NOT the time to try to save funds, particularly with regard to hiring an attorney to oversee all of this. Some of the things you are agreeing to pay as listed in your post are setting off alarm bells to me.

    With such a complex financial situation, your IRS bill, your student loans, the equity in the home, the new debts plus new future debt for your new living situation — not to mention child costs, your retirement, etc., you absolutely need to be sure that what you are agreeing to do is not going to come back to bite you.

    The post above about the possibility of you paying child support to your husband could very well be accurate.

    Many people do not really understand what joint custody is. It is not necessarily a 50/50 split with each side taking care of the children equally. With a large income discrepancy, it is not 50/50. You really do need legal advice, the sooner, the better.

    You want to be fair, but you do not have to overdo being “nice”. I am NOT saying that you need to be spiteful in any way, but this is now somewhat of a business dissolution. As much as you can, you need to put your emotions aside and you need to be practical.

    You will NOT, I repeat, NOT, “save money” by working this out yourselves. Better to organize your legal separation correctly the first time, than to have to re-hash everything when it is time to finalize the divorce. Actually, the way you can save money is by spending the money now to be sure that the separation terms are correct, fair, equitable and legal under Arizona state law. Then when it is time to divorce, you will just put the Separation Agreement into the pleadings and ask that it be continued and made part of the final Decree of Divorce.

    I am so very sorry to learn this news and I wish you all the best.

    SCM1959

    • Reply Laura |

      I wondered about some of this empty expenses too. The most glaring is his braces. That should absolutely not be your responsibility. Don’t let yourself get taken advantage of in a quest to be nice.

    • Reply Kerry |

      Exactly. Look at how Hope is still dealing with the financial aftereffects of her DIY divorce. A decade on, and she is still dealing with his debts. That shouldn’t happen.

  • Reply Walnut |

    All the hugs and online support. Do what you need to do to make sure you’re in a good place. Are you in therapy? Your therapist and an attorney will be two of the most important line items in your next budget.

  • Reply Christopher |

    You seem so calm and composed as you write about your situation, both personal and financial.

    Not sure of your personal situation, but you need to have some cash set aside for legal fees. If you are fronting the costs, discuss the financial split sooner than later. You may want to consider a mediator instead of two attorneys, especially if you are in agreement.

  • Reply amy |

    Having been through a divorce, i agree the very first thing you should do right now is hire an attorney. Don’t wait, your future security as well as that of the girls is on the line. Please dont let hopes of reconciliation give you pause, it really is better to have everything legal, fair and in writing!

  • Reply Sue |

    I’m so sorry Ashley – all the best wishes to you that things go smoothly for you all!!! My only advice would be try not to make any major decisions right away – divorce is life changing and many things don’t sink in until later on.

  • Reply Erika W. |

    Dear Ashley,
    I may have sounded mean in the past, didn’t mean to. I am whole heartedly behind you in the rough decision you and your husband have come to. I was expecting it for quite a while–life between you two was obviously coming apart.

    I second the advice of get a divorce lawyer right now, even if just separating. Don’t run out and spend more money, please. Make decisions very carefully. You have carried your husband for so long. It is time for him to man up and stand on his own two feet. Look to your friends and family for support right now. It has always sounded as if you are there for them in their times of need. You are a very nice person. This comes right through in your writings here.

    My very best wishes to you and a big hug.

    • Reply Kili |

      I might not remember it correctly,but as far as I thought, hubs was not responsible for the biggest part of the debt and it seemed from what Ashley shared that he was also working super hard with the flooring business.

      • Reply Laura |

        I agree with this. The problem that I saw was they have not seemed like a team with regards to finances for a long time. When he started getting some personal training gigs Ashely made the comment he could pay for his own bills now, and included things like lunches out in that. Both their incomes should have been family money, not money for him to do with as he wanted.

    • Reply Angel |

      On behalf of all divorced people, can I just say that someone saying “I saw this coming” or “I expected this” is probably the MOST unhelpful comment ever?? It’s right up there with “God has a plan” as far as doing nothing but making you feel worse.

      People who saw your demise coming and inform you of that are jerks.

      • Reply scarr |

        AGREE!

        Sorry that you are going through this time, Ashley.
        Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

  • Reply Stephanie |

    I am so sorry to read your news. Send warm thoughts and hugs your way.
    I must say I consider you very brave, for whatever reason you are separating from Hubs. I have contemplated leaving my husband but when I start to figure it all out I become scared at how much I will lose (I am the primary earner and retirement saver). You sound so logical about all this but I am sure somewhere there is a trashcan of used tissues. It will be tough times ahead but The BAD community is here to support you. Make thoughtful decisions while you look out for yourself and your daughters. That’s the family to worry about and plan for.

    We are here for you!

  • Reply Carina |

    I didn’t really see this coming..unless I missed a few key indicating posts or something. I knew that financially there was a strain again and I know that alone can cause so much tension and resentments in a relationship. I am dealing with these these tensions myself. Nonetheless, I’m very sorry to hear of this and I wish nothing but the best and positive vibes. Life is such a whirlwind and nothing is ever certain because it’s always ever changing and I don’t want you to feel alone or unimportant, at all. Just know that you are a good person, with good intentions, and you can get through whatever as long as you believe you can. Just keep your head up and if you need any advice or encouragement, you know this community will be here.

  • Reply SCM1959 |

    Another thought — you have a washer and dryer in your home, correct? You need to bring those with you when you move. You will have primary physical custody of the girls and you need to have these items more than your husband does. A man living alone can go to the laundromat every few weeks.

    Do NOT go out and spend $1,000+++ on a new washer & dryer. Most of the times houses do not come with washer/dryer, so don’t put yourself into more debt about this issue.

    SCM1959

    • Reply Megan |

      I’m so sorry to hear this, Ashley. I was going to suggest looking on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace for a used washer and dryer, but SCM makes a great point.

      He can go find a used washer and dryer if he’s opposed to the laundromat.

    • Reply Ashley |

      One of the agreements we made was that gifts from his family he would keep, gifts from my family I would keep. Joint purchases are being divided up. The washer/dryer were a “new house” gift from his mom when we bought our home. That’s why I made the comment about needing to buy a washer/dryer. But it’s true I can likely find some used for significantly cheaper than new.

      • Reply SCM1959 |

        And the down payment for the house was a gift from your mother.

        Ashley, please, please, please tell us that you have consulted an attorney about this. I know it sounds “fair” to do what you have decided, but there could be serious financial ramifications if you do not get legal advice.

        SCM1959

        • Reply Laura |

          I second this. Many attorneys will do a free consultation, and your EAP may give you some discounts on legal bills. Please at least talk to someone.

          • Sarah |

            I second the used washer/dryer. We have been pretty lucky buying used.

  • Reply Mary |

    Ashley, I’m so sorry to hear such news. The high food budget in the past definitely makes more sense now. It’s understandable how one can easily slip into a mindset of convenience when life gets chaotic. It’s one less thing to worry about.

    I hope this BAD community offers you the support you need to gain solid financial footing. Hopefully you can use it as an outlet to move on, or at least to gain strength.

  • Reply Lori |

    So sorry to hear about your separation. As for the financial aspect, I agree with the posters above that the washer/dryer should stay with you and your husband should cover his own brace expenses. Additionally, just because he is paying the mortgage on the current home does not absolve him of paying some child support while you are separated. Also, not mentioned was his tuition which is covered because he is your spouse. he will no doubt need to make other arrangements.

    As others have mentioned, it is imperative you find a divorce attorney and create a separation agreement that spells all of this out. Whatever feelings you may have for him, it is now time to look out for your own, and your daughters’, best financial interests.

  • Reply Honey Smith |

    I got a divorce in AZ this year. Talk to an attorney! A lot of my first instincts would have made things harder down the line.

  • Reply Erin |

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. Hopefully you have consulted an attorney on the new living situation and how you are splitting the expenses. If not, please please start making calls tomorrow. Things may be very amicable right now, but I’ve seen so many friends try to be nice and expect the same in return and be screwed over. Just from reading over the years it seem that you have always been the organizer, the financially responsible one, the one who was expected to make sacrifices, the grownup in the relationship. (It’s a dynamic I understand well!) When he realizes he doesn’t have that fallback anymore, he might stop being as “fair.” See a lawyer and find out what your rights are.

    I hope the house sells quickly and you are able to apply the profit to debt in an equitable way. One thing to consider—what if the house doesn’t sell right away and he can’t afford to make the house payment?

  • Reply Kili |

    Dear Ashley,
    Sorry to hear about your separation.
    I wish you and your daughters all the best.
    Make sure to get the support you need – be it from Friends, a therapist, a lawyer and this community.

    I am a bit surprised that no comment suggests reconciliation. But none of us is in your shoes, none of us sees the whole picture. Do what’s best for you.

  • Reply Louise |

    Just wanted to chime in and say I went through a two year separation then divorce, five years ago. My son was 2.5 when we separated. It was tough financially, but also a relief, because I had certainty. All my money was mine and I was no longer getting upset about what my ex was not earning, or the debt he was accruing. I know you will get through this. I also had no family support, and you are right, you need your friends.

  • Reply Louise |

    I endorse the advice above to get legal advice. I did my financial separation through mediation, and then at divorce had to get a lawyer and redo the whole thing, because it turned out that I had unwittingly agreed to such a small proportion of the assets that the court would not sign off on it. I didn’t understand what I was doing. My lawyer helped me understand that the financial separation took into account a lot more than I had been thinking about, and that what looked good on paper (because I was feeling guilty and being generous although I shouldn’t have as we separated because my ex was coercive and controlling) was actually really unfair. I would not have realised if I hadn’t had it explained to me.

  • Reply Jay |

    So very sorry to hear this news. I don’t know about all the legal things but the trial separation seems like a good idea versus divorce. I have no idea what your situation is, but I can’t help but think that the AC issue, as well as all the financial problems may have contributed. Maybe some time and healing will lead to you working things out. Again, I have no idea your circumstances but wishing you the best either way. Marriage is up and down under most circumstances but sometimes time heals.

  • Reply Erika W. |

    Separating fact from fiction can be a problem in your writing. Didn’t you buy a new house? Now it appears that it is at least 30 years old with a lot of repairs pending. You haven’t the time or inclination to present an honest budget right now and I can fully understand this but how can readers give advice when we don’ know your problems?
    Many of Those of us who have hung in with you have given really really good advice– do try to think hard about it. We do care for you so much.

    • Reply Ashley |

      I never at any time said the house was new – we bought it from a flipper who never occupied the home. We’ve had to do updates and repairs, etc. So no. Not new. The A/C was new when we moved in (part of our negotiations to buy the house)…maybe that’s why you thought the house was new? But I never represented that the house was brand new.

  • Reply Erika W. |

    Very good advice from Anon, August 19 th.

    Do not leave the house–it could leave you with no claim on the profit made.

    This is very, very important.

    More good wishes to you and keep your mind clear. This is an important time for you.

  • Reply SMS |

    Longtime reader, only very occasional commenter …I concur with all the posters above about getting an attorney. If there is still a large difference in earnings, could he not request alimony? As others have said re washer & dryer and braces, please don’t be TOO nice. Wishing you the very best in this difficult time.

  • Reply SHanna |

    100% agree on the braces and the washer/dryer, you should take the appliances and he should pay for his own braces, you are carrying far too much of the financial load. AND please consult an atty. You could be considered “abandoning” the home and that can cause you untold issues. Best wishes, I hope things go smoothly.

  • Reply angie |

    On the house sale… Looks like you need the closing date to land after November to avoid paying capital gains. Does hubs have enough cash on hand and income to pay the mortgage that long?

    Definitely try to pay for all house sale repairs out of cash. Don’t put anything more on credit than you have to! After commissions I doubt you’ll have much money leftover to pay off your debt as you hoped. Please be realistic. Also, since most of the new debt was house related make sure you assert your influence on any purchases and renovations.

  • Reply angie |

    On the house sale… Looks like you need the closing date to land after November to avoid paying capital gains. Does hubs have enough cash on hand and income to pay the mortgage that long?

    Definitely try to pay for all h
    ouse sale repairs out of cash. Don’t put anything more on credit than you have to! After commissions I doubt you’ll have much money leftover to pay off your debt as you hoped. Please be realistic. Also, since most of the new debt was house related make sure you assert your influence on any purchases and renovations.

  • Reply Reece |

    First, *hugs* because this is hard and we’re all sorry to hear about the separation.
    Second, you know the BAD community really cares and they’re trying to give you good advice; in many instances firsthand experience. Please consult with an attorney, payoff and close as many open lines of joint credit as you can (remember Hope’s issues? It doesn’t matter what a divorce court says sometimes, they will come after you if hubs stops paying on things he’s supposed to pay), stockpile cash because this is going to be hard and expensive. If you absolutely have to move out, have you considered renting a 2br apartment with a built in washer/dryer? You wouldn’t have to worry about exterior maintenance and/or buying more appliances. I’m also curious how the finances of the separation are going to work because you already pay 95% of the bills, so who is going to be responsible for the mortgage vs. the rental house or apartment? Given your financial investment in the home and the fact that you’re essentially the breadwinner but you’re leaving the house……I’d have so much anxiety about that. For what its worth, I would agree you and the girls should stay in the house until it sells even if hubs is doing the work on it. Your Mom gave you the down payment for it and I’d hate to see you lose out on any potential returns because you abandoned the home.

    • Reply Walnut |

      I sort of disagree about paying off as many joint accounts as possible. I would pay the minimums on all debts, stockpile cash and just wait until the waters calm. Fixing up and selling the house is likely to take until the end of the year (or longer) and all expenses are likely to increase in the meantime as two households will likely be expensive.

      Best case scenario is there is a little cash left over after selling the house and it is enough to pay off the credit cards used for the house, but the worst case scenario is that they will need to come up with cash to bring a check to closing.

      • Reply Laura |

        I would also advise not paying them off and stockpile cash, but if you do have any joint credit cards close the account! I had an issue similar to Hope when I got divorced, the judge told him to pay the credit card, he didn’t, and they came after me. He also tried to use the card again after we separated and I canceled it.

  • Reply Cheryl |

    I am sorry you and your girls are going through this. No advice about lawyers, just was a child of divorce. I would definitely lower your food budget unless here you live the cost of food is real high.

  • Reply C@thesingledollar |

    I’m very sorry to hear this. I didn’t “see it coming” exactly — I pretty much never do — but over the years it has often seemed like you were not on the same financial page as your husband. It’s a lot of stress for a marriage. In any case, it’s obviously a very hard thing and I hope you feel supported by your friends and family.

    In practical terms, I would agree that you should both get legal representation. Some things may turn out to be unnecessary if you eventually get back together with your husband, but that’s ok. It’s a good precaution to take. Better to have a very clear idea of the situation legally now, rather than a year from now if you are in the middle of a divorce.

  • Reply debtor |

    Ashley.

    This made me so sad. Wishing you all the best in this tough tough time. And best of wishes to the girls too. It seems like you guys are amicable at this point so hopefully it’s not TOO rough on them (i know it will still affect them).

    I will beat this dead horse – but, please please please CONSULT AN ATTORNEY before you leave the house. The whole “abandoning” the home is a thing and I have a friend that got screwed over by it. She lost physical custody of her kids during the week and has to pay child support (and in your case you might have to pay alimony – lucky for her she earned less). You also need to pay attention to which school district wherever you move is located.

    There’s likely so many emotions you are feeling right now and I don’t think sorting through all these mundane and depressing legal stuff is something you’re going to want to dedicate energy to – so have a lawyer do it.

    Best, best of luck and if it’s meant to be, i hope you are able to work it out. You guys have supported each other through lots of ups and downs and that’s not easy.

  • Reply Holly S |

    Very sorry to hear this. I have family members going through this now. They have 5 kids and really can’t afford to pay their bills together in one house let alone support two households so I’ve been housing one of them while they try to figure out how to make the money work.
    Hang in there. I pray everything works out for you and your family. Marriage is tough in the best of times and financial stress added on top of it can cripple things quickly.

  • Reply debthaven |

    Been there, done that. Divorce is hard, very hard. My ex left me with an older model, with 3 kids under 6 (6, 4 and 1 mo). I fought very hard to keep the house for a while because I felt it would provide my kids with stability. I was VERY lucky, my second husband bought my ex out of his half of the house.

    I’m American, but I live in France now. Where I live too, “abandoning the marital home” is definitely a thing. I would second/third/fourth/tenth the others’ advice on consulting a lawyer before you move out, lest you lose primary custody of your girls and have to pay alimony to your ex.

    A friendly separation is friendly until it’s not.

    • Reply drmaddog2020 |

      This. I had an amicable divorce, but had a friend who didn’t, and she was bewildered at how nasty her ex got during their divorce. She wondered once how could he be like that. I told her ‘because the person you marry is not the person you divorce” I was very fortunate, but even in my ultimately amicable situation, my ex had plans to go after lifelong alimony. I was very lucky that the state i was in at the time (Maryland) only very rarely allowed for alimony beyond 3 years, and often none at all if both parties were able to support themselves, and we were. plus no kids. He came around after some sulking and consulting the law. Be careful.

  • Reply Kate |

    I am so very sorry to hear this. I hope things work out in whatever way is for the best.

  • Reply Been There Done That |

    Many amicable separations become a bitter divorce. Do not move out of your home or make any major decisions until you have consulted a lawyer.

  • Reply Angel |

    Ugh I am so sorry!! Separation is so hard, I’ve been divorced 5 years and the emotional scars last far longer than any budgetary discussion. Continue to work with your counselor and do your best to take care of yourself. The whole process will be a complete gutting of your life so be gentle on yourself.

    I made some financial mistakes and you will too. That’s okay, no one gets this stuff perfect. It’s a messy process so don’t worry if you make some missteps, everyone does. Seek legal counsel and I would hold off on any debt repayment until you have IN WRITING AND AGREED UPON what you will pay and what he will pay. They say you never really know a man until you’ve divorced him and take it from me, they can become very nasty. My ex cheated and wanted out of the marriage and still acted like I was screwing him over when I left. Don’t underestimate a personal ability to make you feel guilty for his decisions.

    Stockpile cash for the moment, this is an emergency situation. Be flexible with your decisions, you may want to sell the house today and keep it tomorrow. It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to insist on what’s fair . It’s also okay to be pissed and to hurt and to not be the nicest ex you could be. You’re only human.

    No one wins in divorce. Just do what you can live with with. And remember that while you both lose, no one loses more than your girls. Do what you can to love them and put their needs first.

    All my love to your family.

  • Reply Katie |

    I’m sorry to see you go through this, I can see how the stress of finances, an ill parent, moves, debt, etc. can pile up. There is plenty of good advice here, and I hope that you also have plenty of in-person support. But, sending you virtual support and prayers.

  • Reply Judi |

    I just wanted to say I’m sending you hugs, prayers, and warm thoughts. The last few years have been very hard with handling your fathers diagnosis, the passing of family members, and of course carrying the debt. Through all of this I’ve seen that you are resilient, capable, and intelligent. Take care of yourself Ashley, there is some great advice here (as well as some not as good ;). We are here to support you on all of your journeys!

  • Reply Malady |

    Oh Ashley. I’m so sorry to hear this.

    I’ve been a single mum most of my daughters life. Can I second the poster above who suggested a two bedroom unit / flat instead of a house? As a single woman, I’ve always lived in houses until my current place. The yard and home maintenance killed me – and the houses were all far too big for me and my child.
    Take the expense and the stress off your shoulders and find yourself a nice townhouse or unit somewhere convenient with no yard to bother with, or a communal yard with maintenance included. You can always go to the park for free to play!! The hours you’ll get back in maintenance, cleaning and lawn care will be precious.

So, what do you think ?