Survival Tip #8 : Money Dayz

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Take heart! The world is new to us each day, so there is another chance for renewal!
I took this photo from our tiny patio at 7 am last week. I love the dawn!

Money is the often the last  power struggle in divorce. In my case, my husband went bankrupt with our family business and was able to convince the court he was destitute and did not have to pay alimony for one year. Of course, by the time we were divorced, he was already living with wife #2-to-be, so he wasn’t destitute, but I had no way to prove otherwise.

Every older woman has her money story, and usually it isn’t pretty. I received a response from one reader who has written a book about this subject and I will post an excerpt next week.  Too often, divorce means that the women (and children) need to change their money habits and make their sights considerably lower.  Here are some tips that might help. (I may have written some of these in a previous tip, but I think they are worth reiterating.)

“You can’t be brave if you’ve only had wonderful things happen to you.”
quote by Mary Tyler Moore in Believing in Ourselves: The Wisdom of Women, Edited by Susan Feuer, Ariel Books

1. Open a separate checking account  and savings account without your husband’s name as soon as you smell trouble.  Use a different bank as well.

2. Take your name off any joint credit card accounts, NOW!

3. Be frugal with your spending; save what you can for your future without your current spouse.

4. If you are earning money separately from your husband and chip in for household expenses, consider a new arrangement if you or your husband have filed for divorce.

5. Shop around for a lawyer who will take payments over time, if the fee is more than your monthly budget can handle. My lawyer was very fair about doing this.

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This winter grass seems to survive even in the cold. So can you!

6. Pay off as many debts as you can, so that when you separate, you are not in debt, unless it is a college loan or another loan that cannot be paid off all at once. Make arrangements with the company for time payments.

7. Consider taking unwanted clothes, costume  jewelry, accessories, etc. to a consignment shop to sell.  It may not be a lot of money, but it is one way to unload what you don’t want to keep and any extra cash is helpful.

8. If you have any valuables in a safety deposit box, remove them and place them in another box in another bank.

9. Don’t count on your husband’s promise to “take care of you” financially. If you settle out of court, get everything in writing. I didn’t and I lost more than I could have.

10. If you earn more than your husband and believe you will be required to pay alimony, hire a financial person to help you with this dilemma. My friend’s husband wanted half his wife’s eventual retirement money, but with help she was able to avoid this trap. As she said, “He had my past; he won’t take away my future!”

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On my walk with my neighbor last week, we spotted this lovely bush with bright red berries, holding its own in the cold.

Please feel free to send me any survival tips that worked for you. I can print them anonymously or with your name….your choice.

Note: Last posting I used some quotes from a book called Eat, Drink & Remarry.  The editor, Rosalind, told me the book can be purchased directly from her. Her address is: www.rosalindwarren.com. This little book would make a good gift to someone going through divorce, because it offers comic relief.

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