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Thank you for stopping by for another installment in my Divorce and FIRE series.
I have been thrilled with the support and comments shown by my readers to these individuals who have really opened up and shared with us a very traumatic time in their lives.
Every person who has submitted their story has told me that they were touched by the outpouring of comments.
I hope that this inspires others to continue this series by submitting their own tales of divorce.
This divorcee is a male physician who is currently 39 years old and submitted his story anonymously through my “Contact Me” form.
How did you and your former wife meet? How long was the courtship period before you got married?
My ex wife and I met when I was in college (we are both physicians).
I was admittedly socially naïve at the time I met my ex wife.
She was five years older than me.
We dated 6 years though we never lived together before marriage.
How old were you when you got married? How long were you married for? Do you have any kids from this marriage?
We married when I was 27.
We were married 9 years.
We have two children.
They were 1.5 and 3.5 at the time of the divorce.
I miss my children dearly, but I am far happier without her in my life.
Describe how you and your former spouse viewed finances.
I was in the military during the bulk of our marriage & financially savvy enough so I was carrying no debt and saving significantly even as a resident.
My ex wife accumulated debt through the natural course of civilian schooling and through pursuing a graduate degree (which she later abandoned without finishing) and being adamant on pursuing internal medicine even though it meant living in separate states for three years.
She had other wasteful habits such as paying for gym memberships with no real intention of ever going, etc.
She wasn’t a complete spendthrift, but we definitely had a different level of financial discipline.
In spite of that, we still were on a path of financial independence.
Can you elaborate on what the underlying cause for divorce was?
She and I were never compatible personality wise and politically, but I had [originally] thought we were because of some of the similarities we shared.
She comes from a family that hasn’t had a nuclear family in generations and I think that played a large part.
The relationship deteriorated over the years.
How long has it been since your divorce was finalized?
I have been divorced three years.
What were the legal costs for your divorce proceedings? What losses did you incur when the marital property was divided?
The financial proceedings weren’t contentious and we didn’t have significant material assets to divide.
I lost about $50,000 because as a spouse I funded her IRA’s for several years.
What stage are you currently in your financial recovery from the divorce?
Aside from the aforementioned $50,000, I was at my pre-divorce levels after the divorce.
Do you have an idea of how your ex is doing financially post divorce?
My ex is earning ~$180K in NYC.
She still has significant school debt.
She contributes some to her 401k, but is like many physicians and has no real knowledge of finances.
Would you consider getting married again and if so what would you do different and what protections would you need to have in place?
I am in a relationship now that has had ups and downs, but I believe this person and I are far more compatible.
I’m happier than I ever was with my ex wife.
If I do get remarried, I will have a prenuptial agreement in place.
Any pointers to readers to prevent a divorce from happening in the first place or any advice if someone is currently going through a divorce?
Definitely live with any potential spouse for 6 months or more before marriage.
Even if you and a potential spouse appear completely compatible, go through premarital counseling to talk through any potential issues.
Any unexpected surprises during or after the divorce proceedings?
Knowing what you know now, would you have rather worked more to save your marriage or was the divorce the best option?
I was willing to work on the marriage for the sake of my children, but she was not.
If it was not for [the situation with] my children, I would be very happy now.
What impact did the marriage/divorce have on your overall financial journey?
I recently hit $1 million net worth.
I will be fine financially.
The lasting financial impact of my divorce is I am stuck living in the east coast in a high cost of living area and where physician compensation is less in order to be with my children. [This is a great point and one I hadn’t considered. The non-custodial parent typically is relegated to a fixed geographic perimeter if he or she wishes to maintain as much contact with the child(ren) as possible. There is a drastic reduction in visitation time when one parent moves out of state for instance.]
Also, last year I contributed $30K to childcare costs including camps, after school programs etc.
I do not hesitate to do that, but if my children were living in another part of the country that would likely not be an expense I would have.
Anything else you would like to share that was not touched upon?
Thank you for this venue to anonymously share a bad experience.
It has been cathartic for me too
I appreciate your candor in discussing this painful period in your life.
Thank you for sharing your story and I am glad you had a similar cathartic feeling that I had by just putting thoughts to written words for others to see.
I hope my readers will show you as much love and support as they have had towards me in the comment section below.
I also hope you take solace knowing that your words have certainly helped some that are about to enter or are currently enduring this unfortunate situation.
If you, or someone you know, would like to submit a Divorce and FIRE story, I would love to hear from you.
You can remain anonymous unless you specifically give permission to reveal your identity.
I have created an outline of some of the topics you might want to consider elaborating on in your submission.
I would like to introduce the addition of a new sponsor to this blog, Lawrence B. Keller, CFP.
Lawrence B. Keller, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, RHU®, LUTCF has been in the insurance and financial services industry since 1990.
Unlike medicine, which has a standardized path that physicians must take to gain the education, training and experience requirements necessary to obtain board certification, the insurance and financial services industry does not.
Working with an agent that is familiar with the underwriting of both disability and life insurance policies for physicians can all but guarantee a smooth underwriting process in which the desired outcome is likely.
While he might not be a doctor’s first phone call regarding their insurance needs, he is often their last.
I appreciate you showing support to any sponsors on this website (please mention Xrayvsn when doing so) and I welcome any feedback on the experience.
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The advice about living together for 6 months before getting married is not a good idea. I dug into this a few years ago and found studies showing the divorce rate is higher if you live together first. A test run is not the same as being totally committed.
Dr. Cory S. Fawcett
Prescription for Financial Success
Thanks Cory for the information.
That is interesting about the study showing a higher divorce rate after living together.
Before you mentioned that I would have thought the opposite like our submitter. Granted it is not the same as a marriage but would think it would show if two people were compatible living in normal day to day situations.
Did the study indicate the reason they believed it had this opposite effect?
I thought that study was refuted, but nonetheless, I think it’s situation-dependent. I have a few friends who lived together before marriage and now are divorced, and they both told me they sensed something was wrong before getting married but went through with it anyway. Maybe it was the pressure to go through with the marriage after all the expenses incurred with the wedding, I don’t know. But I’m sure you can go through 6 months of cohabitation without honest communication. My husband and I did not live together before marriage and honestly I don’t think it would have made… Read more »
Thank you for the wonderful comment and great insight. I am glad you found a great match for you in a partner. That in my opinion is the most significant you can do for your long term financial and emotional well being. I do hope this series can continue (its tough because it is reliant on volunteers). I have one more scheduled and one that is pretty solid for another post. After that some minor leads. Everyone so far who has shared. Has gotten back and said how beneficial it was to get the ordeal written down and the subsequent… Read more »
It’s definitely interesting hearing different experiences. I just went through an extremely costly divorce after just four years of marriage that impacts my financial outlook to the point I will be working full time as an anesthesiologist much longer than anticipated and then at least part time into 60’s. I have an upcoming meeting with my financial advisor to get a less emotional look at the reality pf situation. I desired a pre nup but he adamantly refused. I ended up dropping topic when I discovered how likely it was to not hold up well in certain regards on the… Read more »
Thanks Michelle for the informative comment. That is very interesting about community property states having postnuptial agreements carry more weight than prenuptial agreements. That sounds like a topic that is definitely worth exploring.
If you are willing I would love for you to elaborate your story for another post in this series (you can choose to be anonymous or not).
If there are any lawyers reading this, would love to hear your thoughts on what Michelle just mentioned on community property states.
I’ll be meeting with that attorney tomorrow. I can explore more. As getting married again has a very slim to no chance of occurring I didn’t ask further questions. State is Washington.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. Divorce sucks. There is no way around it. I agree with Dr. Fawcett some about not living together prior to marriage. Honestly, I don’t think it helps or hurts. I lived with my ex for a year before we got married and I saw all the signs and chose to ignore them. Had we not been living together and taken things so seriously in the beginning, it might have been easier for me to walk away before I made the mistake of marriage. I was a fool no matter how you look… Read more »
Thanks Liz for stopping by and again giving some more insight. I definitely do not think you should consider yourself a fool at all. Half the population has made similar mistakes in marriage and file for divorce. We all go into it thinking it will succeed and our mind tries to perceive things to try and make it come true sometimes fooling the best of us until it can’t be ignored any longer
Great post. My advice is to keep things as separate as possible. I even filed taxes separately
Interesting point on filing separate taxes.
Thanks for sharing your story. I’m glad to hear you’re in a better place now that you’ve gone through with your divorce and hadn’t lost too much financial ground as a result. I’ve recently made a year with my wife and things between us have never been stronger. We merged our finances after 3-6 months of marriage and I feel like it’s a lot easier to track. Luckily, we have similar financial goals so money conversations largely go swimmingly. I grew up in a house where all finances were merged and separate accounts were only to allow for secrecy come… Read more »
Thanks Young & The Invested for the well wishes. That is awesome that you found a partner that is on the same financial page as you. That makes all the difference. Congratulations on making your first year and here’s to many more. Looks like you guys have a great future financial and otherwise ahead of you.
This is almost like a warning haha. Thank you for the post. I have promised myself that I will be getting a prenuptial agreement no matter who I marry (assuming that even happens). Divorces are not good for anyone involved. Thank you for sharing.
In case you didn’t read my own personal divorce story here is the link:
Also the the last post in the series of mistakes is a real doozy as well:
Yeah prenuptials are a touchy subject but it is important to consider because of the high stakes involved.
Thanks for the comment