Finances change after divorce. Emily and Kevin talk about the changes and issues that come from divorce.
Emily: Divorce Talk Radio does not give therapeutic advice. The topics discussed are for informational purposes only. If you are in need of therapy or counseling please consult a licensed professional in our own state.
Welcome to Moving Forward. I am your host Emily McGrath here with my co-host, Kevin McCarthy. How are you doing today Kevin?
Kevin: Emily good Sunday evening to you. We’re doing fine and making it through a whole other week here and let’s see what the weekend holds in store for us.
Emily: Fantastic, the always go too quickly.
Kevin: They do, the older we get time just slips by.
Emily: I know. So were going to be talking about finances and divorce and all of that.
Emily: What comes with all the difficulty and trying to survive.
Kevin: That’s exactly it. But when you talk about especially divorce it’s usually the other person or one of the other one is just blindsided. When you’re blindsided, oh my gosh, there’s an even more so of a problem than you know if you both are going to separate.
Emily: Right if it’s a joint agreement. Yes, I don’t think that happen very often where it’s a joint agreement because it’s usually one sided like you said. So finances come with that because there’s change with divorce. There’s change with divorce with every aspect but with this you go from having a joint account. Usually couples have a joint account. For me I was a semi-stay at home mom. I only worked part time and income was not something that I had a lot of.
Kevin: So your husband at the time was working full time.
Emily: Full time.
Kevin: You had a little part time job and you pretty much took care of your son. You were taking care of the things at the home and handling the other part of it.
Emily: Right exactly.
Kevin: Because marriage is a partnership.
Emily: Right exactly. So when this comes up and the marriage is oh, what happens with the finances? Because I didn’t make a whole lot of money and how I’m I going to do it being a single mom and only having a part time job, where do you go from there?
Kevin: Did your husband handle all of the aspect of the business, the checking accounts, the banking the savings or did you have a little input?
Emily: I did most of it.
Kevin: Oh you did it, good okay.
Emily: I did. Yes but with the big stuff we would somewhat talk together. A lot of it was just him doing it. I paid the bills because I was home more. But I didn’t bring in a lot of money.
Kevin: At least you knew though what was coming in…
Emily: I did.
Kevin: . . . and what was coming out.
Emily: Yes and it was more coming out than coming in. It’s not like we had abundance of money…
Emily: …by any means and that’s why I was working to bring in some extra money for…because diapers and formula, that stuff is all expensive.
Kevin: Has nothing to do about the food and all that other care.
Emily: Gosh! It’s just the…
Kevin: That comes with having a child.
Emily: Yes, it’s just the iceberg.
Kevin: Which coast money?
Emily: Yes everything coast money and so at the time I was the one that was leaving. I wanted to find a way to try and save up money before I left, because it was just bad. So I actually called up one of the local banks and they were having a deal where if you put in 100 dollars in checking then you get a hundred dollars.
Emily: I was like oh my gosh. That’s like huge.
Kevin: Almost a no-brainer but that’s doubling.
Emily: Right but the catch was that you had to have a check. Like write out a check and deposit a check into the checking account. Which I did not want a trail.
Kevin: Right, just a paper trail.
Emily: Paper trail.
Kevin: Well you were just trying to plan ahead for you so when the divorce was going to happen…
Emily: Yes. Well when I left I didn’t …I wanted to be prepared and have some money of my own. I took my money, I didn’t take his money at all. I would take my checks and deposit them. Well let me track back. So I heard about this and I called when my husband at the time wasn’t home, and I said, “Hey, here is my sit-“. I actually told them my situation…
Emily: . . . that I was starting the divorce process and I didn’t want a paper trail this checking account because I am trying to leave. Can you help me with this? I can take out a hundred dollar bill or a 100 dollars and deposit cash. Can that work with this deal with getting a 100 from them. And they were wonderful. They worked with me on that. Luckily I am still with that bank. I will be forever grateful to that bank because you have no idea how that changed my life. Just that was huge in being able to open up my own account. It was almost like freedom.
Kevin: Was it scary for you?
Emily: It was very scary. I did not like that time at all. I felt like I was fleeting for my life.
Kevin: That’s too bad.
Emily: It was very scary. I didn’t know…this is kind of going off topic but I didn’t really know how he was going to react, my husband at the time. So we weren’t even home when we left. He was at work. Anyways I think establishing your own bank account is key because then you can kind of put some money in there to be ready and be on your own. Whether you are going to your parents’ house or you have to go on your own and get your own
apartment or whatever the case maybe because it is so different than being in a joint checking account or a joint account period because you don’t have that other check coming in. You just have what you have.
I actually had to go out and find a full time job because I couldn’t afford to pay for everything myself out of my pocket with my little measly part time job. So that was a whole different mindset because I was so used to being with my son for most of the time except for maybe 15 hours out of the week. I don’t even know if it was that much. So that was a mindset too is, “Okay, you got to do it, you got to go full time because you got to make the money, got to pay your bills, you got to pay your rent on time.” Because you don’t want to ruin your credit either.
Kevin: And with that also comes sacrifices.
Emily: Oh big time.
Kevin: So instead of maybe going out for lunch you brought dinner. Well that pretty much just had to stop.
Emily: Right, yep, I was a paper bagger for lunch. I brought my lunch every day. I would make dinner. I did not go out at all. I was a home body. I was not a gym member or anything. I would just walk for exercise. I would just take our son and walk. But you just got to do what you got to do in some sense. Then there’s also, sometimes with the divorce there’s also…sometimes there is alimony and sometimes there’s child support depending on what
the situation is. I didn’t get alimony but we actually owned a house together. That’s a whole other ball game. Anyway, I didn’t get alimony because I was supposed to get part…like more than half of the sales for the house. So that was technically my alimony.
Kevin: So during the in term then you did not get… because in the state of Illinois the term for alimony is maintenance.
Emily: Exactly I did not get any of that until the house sold and it was awhile. Actually his parents brought the house.
Emily: So I mean it’s a little different situation. I do and I have been receiving child support. I know that, that is a huge issue with people in their former spouses paying that. Well luckily you can actually have it withdrawn automatically from the check if they are working at a stable job.
Emily: I know that that’s an issue too. Another issue is when the former spouse says that they don’t have a job or they don’t work. That’s an issues too because then there’s not that income.
Emily: Is it what they were expecting?
Kevin: Well what you did Emily is that you just took the ball. You tried to plan for it. You pre-planned for it because you knew something was going to happen.
Emily: I was…
Kevin: I think if more people did that they wouldn’t be so shocked like, “Oh my god, I have no money, I have no job. What am I going to do?” Well you plan for it and you make those sacrifices.
Emily: Right, but I knew it was coming because I was leaving. So not everyone unfortunately has that ability because sometimes like you said earlier, “Boom comes” and it’s there. It’s like, “Oh crud what do I do now?”
Kevin: Is that my cue? Emily because that was it…
Kevin: . . . in my case. I was just you know one day an alright guy and the next day what the hell happened.
Emily: Right exactly and you cannot prepare for that.
Emily: You just can’t. Then it’s like, “Oh what just happened”.
Kevin: Well how we worked it out was that my ex she took care of the bills. By the way ladies and gents, all you who are listening, it may be more so with the guys here too. I think both spouses should really have and know when you’re married, what is coming in, what’s going out.
Kevin: How much this coast, how much this coast? Can we or can’t we do it? One person…and my fear was too because I traveled with my job a lot. I was always out, that if something were too happened to me, I always concerned about the wife. I want to make sure she knows what’s going on. She’s not going to have any type of surprises and all she’s going to do is make a call to the bank and then hash things out and take care of the business at hand. I was way upfront, open and honest about the whole thing, knew what I was making.
But it was one day then right when the divorce papers came. Again everything was unexpected on my end here so it was hit on the side of the head. So my attorney says, “Well why don’t you check out your accounts”. I go, “Well what do you mean?” “Well she might be doing something with it”, because we have joint accounts. Guess what lot of money there was now gone. Was now gone and what could I do? Absolutely nothing!
Kevin: Absolutely nothing, it wasn’t like we weren’t going to divide this. Or okay leave it there. Well what I had to do, I had to open up my own account.
Kevin: And then contact the utilities because beside maintenance that I was stock with thanks to the judge, which we can probably talk about for forever and ever and ever, where that judge didn’t care. You know you make so amount whatever I don’t care. Anyhow, I had to do all of that. I had to open up a bank account, I had to contact the utilities and now I had to get another check book. Again I trusted my wife with all of this to take care of. What was coming in and we discussed things and finding out later both people should not one because you see other things that take place.
Emily: Right, well exactly and yours was drawing out for quite awhile, wasn’t it? Is that correct?
Kevin: You mean the divorce? Two and a half years.
Emily: Yes, yeah that’s a long time.
Kevin: Two and a half years felt like maybe 100 years
Emily: Right and so you were having to keep up with your house payments along with renting, correct?
Kevin: Everything, here I had a home and couple miles away from an apartment that I’m renting. Well how does that make sense? It doesn’t. But that’s what I had to do to survive and get by things suddenly.
Emily: Exactly and so how did you manage that. I mean that seems like a lot to take on. I now you didn’t have a choice…
Kevin: That was it.
Emily: . . . but how did you do that?
Kevin: Well I must have some good friends and people watching me from above because that’s what really helped me was staying close to my faith and my friends. I had to watch what I was spending, what was coming in and the position that I had was in sales so it was base plus commission. The judge says I needed to pay her this amount of money for the so called maintenance.
Emily: So you were paying for the house and you had to do maintenance?
Kevin: Everything, Emily.
Kevin: Everything and I had to pay for the utilities and everything else. You know it was like there was a no win for little Kevin and not that I was looking to win anything.
Kevin: I just think …
Emily: Give me a break.
Kevin: . . . if somebody’s going to go through a divorce well than fine do it. Don’t be taking advantage…well she knew and again how to manipulate the courts. Attorneys have that way too. But there are a lot of honest Attorney’s there that really want to help the person and really want to get through the process. Again you are always going to have that other side trying to take and steal from it. You get a judge and then a judge has to
figure this all out.
But finances were tight. I had to give things up and again through my friends and through everything I been blessed with all of my friends but still it doesn’t take back any of the pain. Just stick with the topic Emily finances change your life and you have to adapt to it.
Emily: Absolutely, that is so true. It’s life changing because you have to really look at what’s important to you. Would you rather go out and drink or would you rather put food on the table and a roof over your head and clothes on your body.
Kevin: Especially when you’re going through a…well you want something to make you feel good when you’re going through a divorce. Of course you want to go for a bear or go for a drink. Unfortunately some people take to the alcoholic side and that’s the wrong thing to do ladies and gents. You don’t want to go that route. Okay to have a drink here but I wanted food, I needed to pay my rent and I needed to pay these bills. I did never want to be delinquent on anything. So as other people don’t, care I care. I got through it.
Emily: Yeah, I think it is important to stay on top of that so that it doesn’t get overwhelming because that can be overwhelming to someone who isn’t used to budgeting.
Emily: Especially having children because we know how children are and they want things and sometimes it’s not in the budget. You just have to be very…you have to look at it from their situation.
Kevin: You know Emily what I found and other people I’m sure had discovered this. I never used to go to Dollar Stores. I liked going there for bargains here and there. My ex didn’t much care for it she was looking down on it. To me it’s like I don’t care I just want to go out and try to get myself…Dollar Stores are fantastic.
Emily: They are. You can find some really…
Kevin: A lot of good stuff.
Emily: Yeah but you have to be careful.
Kevin: But you’re on a budget though so you have to live within your budget and that is a give and take. Instead of going for the three dollar can of something will guess what I’m going to go for the dollar can of it. But of course I can eat anything else but it was just a great way. I really discovered the dollar store as a good resource to find my…would it be the toiletries to food. It’s like okay a buck here, a buck there, a buck here. I could handle that.
Emily: Absolutely, good thing to find out.
Kevin: Absolutely, I recommend them. I love those dollar stores. And there’s some nice employees tend to work in them too, it’s always nice to chat with them.
Emily: Yes you are quite the chatter.
Kevin: Oh yeah there we go. So but finances is a tough thing Emily, I’m glad that were discussing this because I’m sure are listeners out there with DivorceTalkRadio.com are going through the same problems and hopefully were bouncing stuff off between the both of us. They’re saying. “Hey, I agree with her, him and I had this problem.” We’re just not alone out there.
Emily: Right, and it such a difficult topic because with the economy especially now not being very good but it seems like it’s picking up quite a bit but it’s hard to find a job.
Kevin: And decent job.
Emily: A steady job with good benefits and actually like a typical full time job is really hard to find. It’s important to find out what work and what doesn’t work. Stay on track with these finances because you don’t want to into a downward slope and missing payments. It’s just not a good thing and you have the creditors call. It’s not good.
Kevin: Well there were sometimes where I just did…I never forget to pay bills but because of what was happening. I’m juggling, I’m traveling, I’m living in an apartment, and again you have a lot on your mind. I did forget to pay a couple of bills. I was mostly one probably still from quote the old school where I still wrote a check and sent it in. Well it was way easier for me to keep track believe it or not people okay. But winch I did forget to pay a bill. I was a week late. I go, “Oh I forgot to pay the electric or gas, whatever it was”. Of course with that
of course are the extra fees, those late fees.
What I did, I called up and this is when having a good record helps. “Hey, I’m sorry”. You level with them. I just forgot. I was traveling. I was sick whatever but I’m only a week late can you wave this coast and if you have that good track record 99% they’re going to say, “Okay fine” and wave on just enough the bill for the 52 dollars and eight cents whatever it is and just be done about it, okay. So I always suggest too just give it a try just to avoid some of those late costs. Just not plead with the person but just [show] them.
Emily: Right and on the other side of that it’s almost…well for me it was empowering to know that I have a full time job and that I can support myself and my child with my money.
Kevin: Wasn’t that nice.
Emily: I mean that’s the other side of it in a positive light. Sometimes it’s like I don’t really want his money. I know I am saying this on air but I would give up the child support in order that he gives up his parental rights. In order…that was very empowering to me to know that I didn’t need that. Yes its nice because then it’s that much more in my pocket. For me how empowering is that to have money from your former spouse, like seriously. For some people they don’t care but for me is like my goal is to be able to not need that it’s just extra.
Kevin: And more people should be like that. Don’t rely on that other person. Some take advantage like my ex and I’ll say it, and I don’t care because the truth is the truth and you can’t hide it. Were that if you have a brain which you do you can go out and do a number of things. If you really wanted to go out and support yourself now if you have any handicaps totally different story but I am saying just for the average person who wants to rip of the guy or the gal and the divorce will claim anything for that person to pay. He or she is going to owe me, well nobody owes you anything. If anything you owe yourself to be a better person to be a good person and take care of yourself.
Emily: Right, well yeah. Exactly, you need to take care of number one and that’s yourself or your child.
Emily: You want to make sure that you have enough income to support the two of you or how many kids. That is the main key and when you are able to do that it’s so empowering. I know when I was working full time it was a hard transition because I had to put my son into a full time day care when I had him.
Emily: So that was a huge change from going to be working part time and being home with most of the time to working full time and having him in day care. That was a huge transition and a mindset and you know what you do what you have to do.
Kevin: Exactly, and you’re not jeopardizing the child’s wellbeing because it is in a nice safe environment and fun for the kid.
Emily: No and then they learn…my son is the only child so he learned how to share and how to get along with other kids. So in another sense it’s also a social outing.
Kevin: Outing for him, right you know I can see that.
Emily: Right, so it’s a good thing but it’s hard on the parents. I’m not just going to say moms because I am sure it’s hard on dads too. It’s still the same thing, there are some good dads out there who really care about their children and have a huge interest in what their wellbeing is. I can’t speak on that aspect because I’m not a dad. I’m a mom.
Kevin: It’s all right.
Emily: Yes if you can reach that part of you that you can get that empowerment from it and not think of the negatives. Like, “oh my gosh, my son or my daughter, my children have to go to day care and blah, blah, blah.” No don’t think of it like that, think of being empowered. You’re able to pay for your bills yourself.
Kevin: And you can always buy your son, daughter a gift. Or maybe having you two or you three or you four could go out to dinner.
Emily: Right I was just about to say that.
Kevin: And you can go out to dinner why because you have a job and now you are making some money to do so instead of staying at home opening up a can of ravioli or something, right.
Emily: Or go to the movies.
Kevin: Right whatever the thing is.
Emily: Do something fun with your money that you’re making. Take that goodness of that money that you’re making that you weren’t making before and use it. Don’t just…Hey, I believe in savings but you also need to indulge a little but when you can because sometimes you can’t always do that.
Emily: So that’s a little suggestion from me to kind of help get through that and then you will have that memory with your child or children of having that fun time with that money spent in a good way.
Kevin: What’s also very helpful and you are a part of this and many are if you have a family member where maybe instead of the daycare maybe there’s a grandma or your mother, father able to watch the kids for three or four hours or part of the day or a whole day. Right there you are actually sticking with the finances.
Emily: Saving money.
Kevin: Right. You’re saving money and the kids is in a nice safe environment and you’re out working full time to help support the whole thing because that’s what you should be doing.
Emily: If that’s available that’s wonderful. I know a few friends that do that. If there’s a different relationship between the child and that family member which is awesome and they know them and they’re comfortable with them so that’s even better but if that’s not an option…
Kevin: An option then day care is…
Emily: Day care is good. I use an in-home daycare. She’s wonderful I got references. That’s what I would suggest for anyone who has to transfer into a day care from being at home is getting those references. Finding out a little bit more this person who is possibly will be caring for your child. What do they do for discipline you know because that’s a huge one? I don’t tend to spank. That’s not one of my ways of dealing with my child. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing but sometimes they need it.
Kevin: Just a little side…I’m sorry.
Emily: No go ahead.
Kevin: But okay just a little side bar here and not that were going to switch the subject but to go off it for just a second. You mention about the day care…
Kevin: . . . and the references…
Kevin: Would you suggest someone who never dealt with day care to go and maybe visit two, three four or maybe five daycare centers?
Emily: Yes if you’re able to do that. Like where I live there’s not a lot there so I was kind of limited but yes I would suggest visiting a couple of different centers or in home daycares and seeing what they are like and what there are all about. Some of them even have a mission statement. Find out what that is. Do they have a routine, do they have a discipline process. What do they do? Do they teach the kids anything or is it just they are there.
Kevin: So I guess by doing this you are educating yourself. I guess the tying the finances because if you come across three places and if you feel all three are exactly the same. Okay how do I pick one, well alright maybe that this person is 300 dollars less per month, all right then I’ll go this route because they are all the same and yet this was less expensive so you still saved 300.
Kevin: Or whatever it is.
Emily: A little side note from that this should be an agreement with your former spouse that they have to pay half.
Kevin: All right, that’s fair enough.
Emily: That was something that we agreed upon that any extra activities any medical expensive, daycare included, school when they are going to school it has to be half because that’s only fair. Because you’re both parents of this child, this individual and it’s only fair to do half of everything.
Kevin: I’m glad you said…that’s exactly correct. You’re right and I know a lot of people can’t go to work, some do not, some choose to do not because again they want the alimony, they want the maintenance or whatever the reason is but you are half responsible for the kid. So take the responsibility for crying out loud.
Emily: Well with our agreement I have to provide a coat and shoes for my child and that just something that is known that I know I have to provide. Okay well that just has to be in the budget. I mean kids grow like crazy. Buying shoes…well I wouldn’t say I am buying coats all the time but luckily I have friends who down…they give me their hand me downs. I am willing to take hand me downs because clothes, coats and shoes are expensive
especially when they are growing. And so that’s another way to save money.
Kevin: You know you just tapped on something or two which is really prominent especially during the spring and summer months, garage sales. Some of those could be pretty good.
Emily: Garage sales…You know I’m not a big garage sales goer.
Emily: I’ve never been but I just never have been.
Kevin: Maybe just not for…
Emily: I just don’t think it’s a good idea.
Kevin: I think it is because you know it doesn’t have to be clothes maybe you need some furniture.
Kevin: Odds and end items, garden tools or whatever else where you know geez you can get them for pennies on a dollar here instead of going to some store. So it’s those ways to that I’ve done.
Emily: Yeah I have done but it’s just not a big thing that I do.
Emily: Or there’s the thrift shores…stores.
Kevin: Oh there’s another option. Right.
Emily: You know Salvation Army, Goodwill sometimes they have really great stuff.
Kevin: Yeah for only two or three dollars you can get yourself shirt, you can get a pair of pants and then you can get yourself a suit. You can get a lot and that’s what those stores are there for.
Emily: Right, especially kids clothes because like I said they go through them so quickly and they are not worn out, well sometimes if they are favorites, but beside the point they are usually in pretty good shapes and they are a good deal. So those are another couple of ideas of saving some money.
Emily: If you’re going…because who’s not going check to check though seriously.
Kevin: No, I think between the dollar stores, some of the hand me downs to the garage sales to certain retail shops and all of that you can still get a lot of good things for not a lot of money.
Kevin: That’s what this one particular show is here is about the finances. So I think we covered that and topped that Emily. I hope our listeners really take advantage of something we said here.
Emily: I do as well because I think we covered a lot today. Well thank you Kevin for being here with me. I always enjoy chatting with you…
Kevin: It’s always a pleasure. I know.
Emily: …and talking about the topics. And to all of our listeners thank you for being here. If you have any questions and or want to contact me or have a topic that you want to have discussed you can email me at E.McGrath@freedomfromheartache.com or you can contact me at my website Freedomfromheartache.com. This is Divorce Talk Radio. Thank you and have a great evening.