Divorce In These Difficult Economic Times

| March 16, 2009 | 3 Comments

DivorceIf you asked me a year ago what my life would look like today, I wouldn’t have even been close. Perhaps most of us can say that though. Five years ago, this past January, I remarried. For reasons too complicated and unrelated to this story, I shouldn’t have done it – at least not with this man. I know it’s easier to say after the fact, but deep down,  I think I knew it then as well.

To give you a little background, my first marriage ended after ten years and three children. My ex-husband and I split custody of the children – week with me, week with him etc. He and I get along better than many ex spouses. Yes, we have our garbage, but we get past it. Three years after that divorce, I was remarried. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, my new husband never really connected with the children – didn’t seem to even have an interest.

When the children’s father and I divorced, we’ll call him Mark, I bought a house. When I remarried, we’ll call this husband Joe, we refinanced the house to pay off all his debt, including his car. This I find out was a big mistake.

Fast forward to June 1, 2008. Joe and I decided to separate. While we had discussed this on numerous occasions prior to this; this was the final time we would have this discussion. Now comes the explanation of my problem, and the current situation. I can’t afford the mortgage on my own. And the reason is, part of this debt belongs to Joe. He can’t afford to pay the portion of the mortgage that is his in a lump sum and he can’t afford to pay rent somewhere and a portion of the mortgage payment.

We created our own separation agreement, couldn’t afford a lawyer. In it, we separated credit cards and “stuff”. As far as household expenses, including the mortgage, we agreed he would pay 38% of all those expenses as 38% of the mortgage debt was his. This meant he’d pay me 38% of the mortgage, BGE bill, and any other household related expenses. We sectioned off half of the downstairs family room for him – using furniture for walls. We only have two bathrooms, so he shares the one with the children. Obviously we only have one kitchen, so we share. We have separate shelves in the pantry and refrigerator for our food.

It’s now been nine months living like this and I hate it. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to affect the kids. They barely notice anything different; he didn’t engage us before and he certainly doesn’t now. Joe makes under $20K and it seems to shrink as time goes by. He’s generally late in paying the shared expenses.

It is an uncomfortable feeling to be around someone that you once connected with on one level, and now have no connection. He wants to share what he does everyday with me–and I don’t. I lost trust in him when he shared information I told him, in confidence, with someone else. Therefore, I don’t tell him anything. I told him he didn’t need to explain to me where he was going and when he was coming home. We are separated and really it’s none of my business.

I’ve seen this same situation over and over in the news lately. I wish Joe would have listened to me back in June. I told him we needed to sell the house and cut our losses.The market was a little better back then. For my own emotional stability, I’ve told Joe over and over that I need him to find his own place and we can sell the house. He’s dragging on this.

I need to move on – not into a new relationship, but in what I perceive is a real separation – living in separate homes. I don’t have the energy for another relationship and want to focus more on my job and my children. The oldest will be off to college in less than two years and I want to appreciate every minute with him and the younger two.

A friend told me of a story she saw on one of the morning talk shows. It was Obama’s plan for helping people in financial crisis with their homes. With so many people losing their homes in foreclosure, Obama put together a plan. I don’t want to get into the politics behind this plan as for me personally, the politics of it doesn’t matter. What matters is will this help me in my situation?

I need to talk with my bank to see if they can help me save my home for the children and me. Check back and see how I did!

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