Divorce is messy.
Posted by: Sue Atkins
Here is a recent Case Study:
Sandra came to see me when she was 3 years into building her new life after her divorce but she was still traumatised by the financial meltdown her husband had left her in.
She was still proving to herself that Mrs. Coker, her Maths teacher, was wrong when she told Sandra at 13 that she was hopeless at maths and couldn’t add up, take away or work out a spreadsheet.
In fact she was coming to terms with a rather cruel twist of fate that led her to once again evaluating her life, her values, her trust and her resilience to handling challenging circumstances.
She was still swirling in the mire of the repercussions of delegating all of the financial decisions and responsibilities to her husband, who was a Chartered Accountant.
They were married 22 years.
Sandra is intelligent, savvy, well respected in her field, fun to be with, empathetic and generous.
On paper they had the perfect lifestyle.
Her husband earnt, and still earns, a good salary as a Chartered Accountant in a large global firm in London. She worked as a Deputy Head teacher, well respected, well liked and perceived as successful with two beautiful and bright children at private school.
After the death of both of her parents within a year of each other she inherited a considerable amount of money as an only child. She thought it wise to invest in ‘Buy to Let’ properties, slightly overlooking the warnings of financial advisors in the newspapers to ‘be careful’ around property but Sandra heard her father’s words saying that property was always a good investment long term and that she needed to build her capital base.
Her ex had always dreamt of running a property portfolio and fantasied about playing golf while living off the passive steams of income.
He was the logical one, the steady if rather mundane, chartered accountant, she was the creative, empathetic, bigger picture, enthusiastic one.
She decided to leave her well paid job as a Deputy Head and start her own business.
It was 2007.
The mortgages they took out where easy to acquire. No one read the small print.
The clauses went unnoticed and of course she trusted her husband implicitly.
Then he had a nervous breakdown followed by a mid life crisis with a woman 20 years his junior but he also continued to put his head in the sand, and as his County Court Judgements accrued unfortunately so did Sandra’s, as they were still linked together despite her indemnity clauses and divorce settlement and her impeccable record of paying everything up front without credit cards or debt.
Sandra called me in a state of enormous distress as after moving home a year earlier and leaving her beautiful 7 acre Tudor Farmhouse in the country, and watching her daughter leave her private school to attend a local failing 6th Form College due to the financial maelstrom swirling around them all, she discovered things were not as they seemed.
She was struggling financially, working hard but getting nowhere as she was unable to save and she was feeling incredibly frustrated, embarrassed, and devastated to learn that her 2 properties that she owned in her own name had a unique clause that was linked to ‘Consolidation of Funds’ which meant she had no control of the equity and that the Bank were in control of the mortgages and her ‘Buy To Let’ properties were a rope around her neck not a key to financial , emotional and true freedom that she believed them to be.
I put her in touch with a financial advisor who held her hand through exploring the ‘joys’ of the tribulations of exploring her Credit Rating on Experian, held her hand exploring her options both good and bad within the re mortgaging market while I held her hand emotionally through the challenges of this traumatic, stressful and challenging time.
It was not easy.
It was not enjoyable.
But slowly, very, very slowly she began to see how brave, how courageous , how noble, and how competent she was in surviving the traumas of debt and rising very, very slowly from the ashes of despair to gently becoming a Phoenix.
Her kids, now grown, didn’t understand and simply worried about boyfriends and where they were going for the weekend but Sandra thought that was probably best as they were young. But she resolved to try and teach them about financial independence, saving, relying on themselves and not delegating the task, or the responsibility, to another – EVER.
She has surrounded herself with friends, lives for the moment, hopes for the future but is less trustful, less open and more bruised than she likes to admit.
Sandra told me that this was not how her ducks were supposed to line up but she is learning to make peace with what’s happened to her and is learning to read the small print in documents, take responsibility for her own happiness and I’m working on helping her to forgive herself for trusting her husband who let her down rather dramatically through incompetence and inadequacy rather than deliberately.
If you would like to work with me untangling your emotional, financial and legal situation do call me on 01883 818329 or 07740 622769 as I have been there, done that and am wearing the T Shirt and can help you move forward with clarity, direction and confidence into a new you – empowered with knowledge, stronger in resilience and confident in the new small steps that you’ll now take to a brighter, happier future.
It’s not good for you to stay angry, so use that energy to break free and get empowered and knowledgeable and I’ll help you to take the small steps that, over time, will make a big difference to your life.