When reading a blog yesterday I saw mention of the 800 pound Gorillas in the room – divorce and money. I wrote a brief (well, maybe not exactly brief) comment because it struck a chord – actually a few chords. There are things that I have mentioned tangentially but need to be out on the table if I am to write from my heart – the only place I know.
I have long been a member of the divorced fathers’ club. My divorce occurred when my sons were young – so young that seventeen years down life’s road I am still embarrassed to write of it. They were three and one when I made a life decision – a decision that I would be happy and fulfilled, that I would be with the love of my life - KA.
Ex and I were living a nice life style – upscale suburban – and the system is loathe to reduce the lifestyle of the children, something I do understand. So a number was negotiated: no alimony but child support. A check was owed, a check every month for seventeen years: a check large enough to impact on our lives.
When we think of supporting our children we think of food and shoes, some clothing and toys. That would have been fine. Even those pesky children wanting a bedroom would have been fine – one less than I needed: Wait – they still needed one for my weekends. And the house they ended up living in had a kitchen and bathrooms and …. You can see the problem.
I am a financial professional relatively facile with numbers and I can tell you unequivocally that one plus one really does equal two. If you have a spouse who works currently there may be some mitigation. If you support a stay at home mom (a good thing if you can afford it) there is really very little play.
Unless you are currently in a position that you are banking money for savings, there will be a shortfall in your lives. It may mean different vacations, not buying that CD, more dinners at home.
This is all of particular interest to me because I sat with my ex on Sunday morning and we settled on the final payment. Fini. I will still have costs – they are my children – but they will be direct costs as opposed to paying someone else’s mortgage. My ex gives me good reviews – 9 out of 10 for doing the right thing. I may be economically ravaged but I am strangely proud - I did the right thing, the honorable thing.
Knowing what I do of the finances I still would have divorced. Ultimately money should never trump the heart in these matters.
No, I am not finished. There are children. I admittedly made one huge mistake in an attempt to be civilized and as homage to my guilt. Ex wanted to move eighty miles away – in my urban area anywhere from a 90 minute to a 3 hour drive depending on the gods of traffic. She had good reasons – family proximity, her family. I agreed.
It cost me my children and more importantly it cost my children me. It is hard not to have the weekend I just had – putting a son in a detox center – and not question my choices: the divorce, the distance. So while I can say that I would endure the economic hardships again, I am not sure as to the rest.
Usually I write for me: the fact that so many of you – those I know and am coming to cherish and those who are just clicks on my counter – give up your time to read continues to humble me. However today I write for you – not to depress you, not to scare you – but to share with you a road that I have traveled.
I am happy with my choices – realizing I am bi-sexual has no bearing on today’s post – but as someone told me recently: all stories have the same moral: actions have consequences.