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The Economics of Divorce

Image result for heart break emojiEven in the most carefully run and financially independent of lives, there will be some wrenching twists and turns.

Friendships and businesses will fail. You or your loved ones will get sick and some of them will die. Kids will have plenty of trouble on their long road to adulthood – if they even make it. And all around you, there will be a sea of fighting and breakups and divorces and mismatched relationships that you wish would end, for your sake or that of your best friends.

With all of this happening, it’s a wonder that we can remain happy and productive and even thrive as humans. But we can. And we do. Because sometimes life just serves up a shit salad and we don’t have a choice in the matter, but we always have a choice of how to respond to it.

So if you haven’t already heard through the rumor mill, the former Mrs. Money Mustache and I are no longer married. Although we had been drifting this way for a while, the formal change of our status is still less than a year old, so it’s still a topic that deserves some quiet respect*.

The downfalls of our own relationship are personal and not something we choose to make public, but you’ve heard it all before anyway. Sometimes people just grow apart over the decades and no matter how much they work at the relationship, find that they want different things from life. And when this happens, not even the greatest advantages of a lifetime money surplus or a supportive network of great friends and family or living in a beautiful place can save you.

Update: Some of the negative speculators have assumed “your wife dumped you because you were too frugal.” This part may be necessary to address because of the money theme of this blog.

The answer is NO. I was the one who asked for the separation so you can blame me for it. And no, there were no frugality issues because earning and accumulating money was always extremely easy for us. We spent whatever we wanted, we just happened to have finite desires. Plus I was not the “boss” of the house. Mrs. MM has always been an independent-minded person who is good with money and decides on her own spending.

So that’s the bad news. The good news is that we have had about the most amicable separation that one could hope for, we all still spend plenty of time together and our son is still in the same loving environment he has always had. And I would venture to say that both of us parents are going to come out of the experience much better off than we were before.

See, even the harshest moments come with a little golden key taped secretly onto their side, which you can use to unlock personal growth and greater future happiness. But only if you choose to accept that key and put it to use.

I’m not going to sit here and pretend that there weren’t plenty of harsh moments for both of us, both before and during this experience, with plenty more still to come. Because divorce, especially with children and family and traditions involved, is really fucking hard. 

But guess what? There are a lot of things in life that are hard. Being born and going through childhood is hard. Having babies of your own is even harder. School and jobs are hard, and money is really hard for most people. Relationships and friendships and dealing with bossy or dysfunctional friends or family or parents, personal habits and addictions, and everything else. Life is full of hardships.

But throughout all of it, we always have a choice about how to deal with them.

We can choose to focus on how unfair the situation is, how we were right and we tried our best and the world still mistreated us. And we can fight back, chasing the unfair person or company or situation and get revenge. We can make sure they know exactly why they were wrong and every way in which they were flawed.

And we can collect bathtubs full of sympathetic tears from our friends. And burn years on reliving the past, with a mixture of regret and vengeful self-righteousness and self-pity.

– OR – 

We can get right back to work on positive things to rebuild our lives. Improving ourselves through better habits and health. Building new relationships and nurturing old ones, and making sure we put out only positive energy to every person in our lives, including our ex-spouse. Building everyone up and never, ever tearing anyone down. Because they already do that plenty to themselves.

Like almost everything else in life, human nature draws us to the easier but more destructive of these paths, and only self-knowledge and self-discipline can lift us out of that rut and place us onto the more productive one. And even then, our human nature will keep pulling us back and we’ll make mistakes. And then we’ll have to drag ourselves back out of that rut again. And put the happy face back on, and start behaving like an adult again.

As one friend puts it, “Being a divorced coparent is like being the co-owner of a business. Except it’s the most important company in the world and having it fail is not an option. So you have to treat your business partner accordingly.”

It has been a hard year. But at the same time, I feel we have both already learned so much, that it seems almost impossible that the experience won’t help both of us live better lives in the future. We are both doing well in forming new relationships and supportive of the other’s success in that important aspect of moving on.

But this is usually a personal finance blog. What does my romantic life have to do with your financial life? Not too much in the specifics, but quite a bit in general, because about half of all marriages end in divorce, and I have found it can be quite a tricky minefield to navigate.

First of all, there is the effect on your child raising, which is a parent’s most important job in life. In the best scenario, the end of a marriage is just a change to your love life, and you can continue to collaborate with your former spouse in a wonderful and open way. But the more conflict you have with that ex, the harder it is to cooperate, which leads to a worse experience for everyone – especially your children.

Then there is the social shame attached to divorce in our culture. While it could be looked at as the natural and peaceful end of an arrangement that has just run its course, other people will see it as a failure or a betrayal or a sin. In fact, when rumour of our separation got out, multiple gossipy and negative and downright distasteful discussions formed around the Internet – on Reddit, other bloggers’ websites, even right here on my own forum. People who don’t even know you, will speculate on your character and your motives. It adds pain to an already difficult situation. The only way to survive this is to ignore it and focus on your own internal compass.

And finally there is the famed financial cost of divorce. It is legendary for destroying lives and fortunes, and indeed this is sometimes accurate. This is because conflict is a form of war, and war is the most expensive thing humans have ever invented. And if you hire lawyers and other specialists to fight on your behalf, you just multiply the damage and the cost and stretch out the timeline.

But fortunately, like everything else, going to war is almost always a choice.

And if you don’t choose to fight, a divorce doesn’t have to cost much at all. Two people can peacefully collect up their financial and physical belongings and go their separate ways, and the only cost is in any duplication of possessions you choose to do, to replace things you formerly shared.

So the former Mrs. MM and I (mostly under her guidance!) worked through the do-it-yourself paperwork and paid a $265 fee to the county court for the divorce. I bought the lowest-cost house in the neighborhood, just a 2.5 minute bike ride down the hill from the family house, and I’ve already fixed it up and started hosting Airbnb rentals to help make it carry its own weight. I left the Nissan Leaf behind and chose not to buy a car of my own because I already have bikes.

We share plenty of time with our son and he is doing amazingly well – because we are choosing to make this new life about growth rather than conflict.

And most notably from the perspective of early retirement and financial independence, having enough money in advance has made this part of the split much less painful. Both of us can remain retired and continue to live in mortgage-free houses with investments easily covering our living expenses, while sharing child raising expenses. Although I chose to buy a house, nobody had to compromise on quality of life or sell the expensive family house.

Because I enjoy moderate living for its own sake, my own cost of living will go way down. And because I continue to enjoy writing and working, my income may continue to stay high through this next stage of my life. I’ll continue to use the surplus for projects and philanthropy just as before, but the point here is that one’s relationship status does not have to affect their financial status.

As a long-time reader said to me in a recent email as we discussed our shared fate, having a solid financial cushion and low expenses and lifestyle flexibility, has made the best of an otherwise difficult situation – especially in not having to disrupt the lives of our kids.

Still, having been through it, I would not recommend divorce as a decision to be taken lightly. If you’re still married and there is even a chance that you want it to last, you might consider the following steps.

How to Stay Married

Read about how to stay married – early and often. Peruse the bountiful relationship advice section at Amazon and definitely check out the 5 Love Languages book that resonates strongly with so many people.

Most of us (myself included) drift through the years, assuming we are doing a perfectly good job at being married, while unintentionally making all the same mistakes that everyone else makes.

Bad idea.

You need to proactively nurture a close, loving relationship before things get too dire, and never take it for granted. Because many bits of damage you do to a relationship are permanent. You cannot nag or criticize your partner for years and expect them to forgive you when you eventually see the light. And for those being nagged: you cannot ignore the requests of your partner for years, and expect them to forgive you for that either.

There are so many things, like being on each other’s team in times of hardship, and being genuinely excited and greeting your partner warmly at the door if they’ve been away, that fall to the side in marriages as they get stale. Every time you let this slide, you do a bit of permanent damage. The effects are cumulative like erosion, not temporary like moods or weather.

So the bad news is that there is definitely such thing as “too late.” At some point, the idea of “working on” a marriage sounds like hell because you have been waiting for so long to be able to escape it.

But the good news is that it might not be too late for you, if you do want to stay married. And the benefits begin immediately – if both people are working at it, every positive gesture from one side will be met with a positive one from the other, and they can reinforce each other into a beautiful upward spiral.

But if You’d Rather Not Stay Married

The flipside of all this is that many, many people are currently married, who should not be and don’t want to be.

You may be two perfectly great people with irreconcilable differences, or there might be one great person stuck with an abusive user or loser, or any other combination in the grand spectrum of possible humans. And it is important for these people to hear that although divorce is always difficult, sometimes it really is the best choice and there should not be shame or blame associated with this choice.

Every human needs and deserves to be accepted and loved – even the people who drive us crazy and even those who treat us poorly. They are who they are and while you can’t change them, you can’t make the world any better by spitting venom back at them. So your best strategy is to carve them out of your life, while keeping your words as kind and respectful as you possibly can.

And heed the wise words of my own relationship and coparenting counselor, who noted that the first months after any divorce are the times of greatest conflict. And then it gets easier. And easier. And mellower and friendlier. And after a few years, many former divorcees have moved on so happily that can’t even believe that they were ever angry at each other. That’s entirely possible, and it should be your goal.

So lean on friends, talk to a relationship counselor even if it is just by yourself (yes, it’s really worth it!), read books, laugh, cry, learn mindfulness and meditation, eat salads, get outside and exercise, write more new things and build new things and new businesses and new relationships, and you will come through it better than ever.

That’s what I’ll be up to in 2019.  I hope your new year is even better!


In the Comments: I have found it so helpful over this past year to share with others and realize that I am not alone in this. Feel free to share your own experiences and hopes and fears anonymously.

My comment form allows you to use a pseudonym so you can be anonymous while you let out the truth. And read the other comments, to see what other people around you are feeling.

And for those who have been through this and gotten through the other side and found happiness, go ahead and share your message of hope.


* A bit of social approrpriateness that seems to be lost on certain forum participants and even other bloggers, who we won’t call out here. Please don’t be like them – using the Internet to publicly gossip about strangers helps nobody.

 

 

  • SiberianFur February 1, 2019, 9:27 am

    I have always respected your blog; although, I have been a part-time follower. This post was well written and only makes my respect for you increase. I went through a divorce that shattered my world but not my finances almost 10 years ago. We also printed our paperwork from an online legal provider and were adults about splitting assets. We actually had a prenuptial and chose not to use it. Would have cost us more money to enforce the prenup, was not necessary since this was the only area we could be adults about. Divorce has been the worse thing I have yet to face in life. BUT there is hope. I am now remarried. My second marriage is better because of lessons I learned from the first failure. My ex is not a bad person. The relationship just didn’t have the right balance for long term potential. I wish my ex the best in the future; although, we have no need to establish any contact today. I am a testament that there is Hope beyond the darkness of divorce. Just take it one day at a time.

    Reply
  • Dan February 3, 2019, 1:10 pm

    MMM, I’m very sorry to hear about your divorce. I am really proud of you for being amicable with your spouse and focusing on your son. Hang in there.

    Reply
  • Jonathan February 5, 2019, 2:21 pm

    I’ve been in some relationships but never married (almost did a few years back cause I really fell in love ( and spent $15K if 6 months courting) but she was flat broke and eventually ran off with a guy with more money cause I did not want to move to the most expensive area of the US without a plan or anywhere to live. I’m feeling the most content of my life living with a cat in a small comfy space. All my previous relationships I was expected to carry all the financial weight even while dealing with an injury. I find that living in a cozy small (even tiny) house to be a really great answer for being single as most houses are built for families and there is no empty space at all. I own my own home now and it is 600 square feet. The only way I will lose my home again is if I get into a relationship (50% chance I’ll have to give it away) I’m not sure it’s worth it at this point in life.

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  • Darlene February 10, 2019, 4:39 pm

    So sorry to hear about your divorce and really appreciate all your advice, mostly because I believe everything you write is geared toward making this world a better place and the only way to do that is to make people better. . My hubby and I will be married 30 years in August, together 37 years, we have 4 kids and for many years it was just the job of raising our kids that overwhelmed our relationship and caused us to “forget about each other.” Our youngest left for college six months ago and it has finally been time for us, changed us from just mom and dad, back to Craig and Darlene. We are both loving that part of our relationship, reading your how to stay married has really kick-started our relationship renewal for me. Thanks for your insight, sometimes you can’t learn something till you live it and I thank you for sharing! Just so you know, this 54 year old, received your face- punching and is working to make her life better and the world better in numerous ways, including her relationship and is planning to get a bike!! Sending best wishes for your family- marriage status doesn’t matter one bit!!!

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  • Curious February 11, 2019, 6:58 pm

    I’m asking this anonymously. But I wonder if MMM would do a blog post – or if the other commenters could enlighten me – about what the benefit of marriage is in the first place? I’ve heard all the usual reasons: it’s a life-long commitment, it’s a declaration of our love, it’s good for the kids, it’s a tax break, etc. But to me it just seems like a binding legal contract with no enforceable terms or conditions up front, and potentially awful consequences at the end. Tons of people have asked me “why aren’t you married?” or “why haven’t you ever been married?” (I’m not, and I never have been) but none of those people have ever been able to lay out a strong, coherent, logical case in favor of marriage in the first place, or even tell me what it actually is. And when I ask those same people “why did you get married?” the answer is usually vague or something like “I wouldn’t do it again.” I’d love to hear MMM’s perspective on this puzzling question, because it seems like I’m in the tiny minority regarding the subject of marriage. Thanks!

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    • Mr. Money Mustache February 12, 2019, 9:06 am

      Yes! I now agree with this puzzlement, Curious.

      I guess if you are going to have kids, it’s a weird legal lockdown that shows you are willing to make it difficult to bolt at the first sign of trouble. And for some, there are strong romantic and/or religious implications to the bond.

      But aside from immigration/citizenship stuff (which was definitely a factor for us), there aren’t really many true practical benefits since taxes and employer benefits can work the same with unmarried couples as well.

      Especially with my kid-producing years definitely done, I don’t think I would ever consider a formal marriage again. But if I’m wrong someday, you can look at this public statement on the internet and laugh at me :-)

      Reply
  • Charlotte February 12, 2019, 2:53 pm

    So sorry to hear this. There were a lot of divorces in my family (including three between my parents and their exes) and it left a lot of wreckage. The only thing I have to say is that you can’t assume a child is doing well after a divorce just because they aren’t crying, aren’t constantly angry, or tell you they’re “fine.” This is especially true while you’re still in the first post-divorce months and the reality and finality of their new situation is still sinking in. Divorced parents love to tell themselves that as long as their divorce is amicable and they learn to coparent peacefully, their child will be just fine. Maybe even better off! It’s a time of growth for all, and everything in life is going to be hard anyway. Don’t fall for it. Refusing to acknowledge the impact on them only makes it worse. Unless the marriage was significantly abusive or chaotic, kids are hurt worse by a divorce than by remaining in an intact family.

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  • Bonnie February 13, 2019, 6:00 am

    Divorce sucks no matter the reason and I’m sorry to hear you both are going through this. Sometimes however it is necessary and it sounds like you are both going working through this That is good to hear. I know it’s not easy.

    I went through one fifteen years ago. The stress can take a toll and outsiders with negative opinions just have to be ignored. None of it is easy so I wish you both the best.

    Personally for me life got so much better time did help heal. Many others have reported this as well. I hope the same for you

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  • Jim February 14, 2019, 3:22 am

    Dear MMM: I read this with sadness. Thanks for sharing. I’ve been through a contentious divorce that involved lawyers. The lawyers made lots of money and we burned through our entire retirement savings and college for the kids savings. During the battle I was willing to spend any amount just to insure that I have my children in my life and they have me. The options seemed either never see your children again or pay the family court system and associated lawyers and child therapists. I spent tons of money with little progress until I ran out of money. Once I ran out of money and went to court without a lawyer I was able to procure a fair 50/50 custody. My big epiphany came one day when I was using credit cards to pay my lawyer…I was in the court house speaking with lawyers from both sides and both lawyers turned to me with the same greedy look in their eyes and said at the same time “of course you are going to sell the house?” I realized that even my own lawyer was not acting like perry mason ( in my interest). I could tell that all that was on their mind was secure a large payment from me. Right then I decided to give my house and the business to my ex and continue without a lawyer. ( I did find a lawyer who would act as my coach for much lower fees). Any how. Hindsight divorce is a terrible thing I never wanted to get divorced in the first place. I admire you for your post and for the maturity that you and your ex are showing in continuing to get along and work together. It’s very painful for children to know that their parents are fighting. The fact that you are working together will mean much to your children.. After the ravages of divorce I have had to hone all my skills of DIY and living lean and saving. I was grateful to find the MMM website and it has been inspirational.. Keep up the great work. Keep a forgiving and loving heart. and many blessings to you and your family.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache February 14, 2019, 6:46 am

      That’s an amazing story Jim and I’m so sorry to hear it – although it sounds like you are going to come out of it all right.

      Stories like this are making me realize why divorce carries such a stigma: it is so often associated with massive interpersonal conflict (and of course lawyers, which I still think are usually being used for the wrong reasons: for theft or as weapons rather than just enforcing real contracts.)

      When you really think about it, at the core, divorce should be a GOOD thing: if BOTH parties to a relationship don’t want to be in it, then why the hell should that relationship continue? So it’s allowing one or both people to set things right, which is obviously a win in the long run.

      I think our society should consider the divorce part to be neutral, but our behavior to the former partner AFTER divorce should be the part that’s measured. I am always shocked when people stop treating each other kindly – in any situation, really. We need to be nicer to each other!

      Reply
  • Tim February 14, 2019, 9:09 am

    “I am always shocked when people stop treating each other kindly – in any situation, really. We need to be nicer to each other!”

    These are the most intelligent words I have seen written in a long time. At the core, all it really takes is to be kind. If you don’t agree with someone – fine. You don’t have to agree. But why be unkind?

    I do enjoy your site and your writing. Best wishes in all of your future endeavors.

    Reply
  • LS February 17, 2019, 2:53 pm

    There are more and more amicable divorces. Mine was too. You just picked a good-hearted person through thick and thin. Some are health or distance related (raising my hand). Life is a journey and you make it the best you can.

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  • anon2389 February 18, 2019, 9:27 am

    Best wishes to you MMM, and to the former Mrs. MM, and to your child. Thank you for sharing your story. The most difficult stories are often the most helpful for others. I commend you both for your example of amicable parting when parting is the only choice. I wish you two didn’t have the opportunity to model the adroit navigation of such challenges, as hard as they may be. The manner of your parting is an appreciated and rarely shared lesson for us all. Your choice to share may truly lift others up. You two have made great gains in educating the masses (myself included) on frugality and good living. Perhaps as you and the former Mrs. MM carefully curate your manifested lives, your joint insights shared will bring others new expanded purpose and meaning. We are all in this together. Please continue your work in the manner you see fit. Thank you, and my very best wishes to you all.

    Reply
  • Janus February 18, 2019, 10:34 am

    I’ve really enjoyed reading a number of the blog posts here (I particularly like the spirited debate that often ensues because I think with healthy debate comes real growth). I decided to dive in on this one, probably because I too went through a divorce. First a comment: having been through a divorce, I can say that it is difficult (especially with children), but that it does get better over time and can open you up to many new opportunities. My question, however, is a little more broad-sweeping for the Mustache community, and I really could never figure out where to post this question: how would you advise someone at mid-life who has basically made every possible mistake you can make, according to the ethos of this website? I’m talking: didn’t save enough when I was younger (or lost much of what I had saved in the internet bubble, the housing crash, the great recession, the divorce), live in an expensive area (complicated reasons why I cannot just “move out” involving my new relationship, my shared custody, etc..,) have a big mortgage, correct that, a h-u-g-e mortgage, have an expensive commute into this quaint little island some of you may have heard of called Manhattan…the list goes on and on. You name it, I’ve probably done it the wrong way. So, is there any advice that might help me? I can continue my long slow slide into retirement that is built on my past choices, or I can try to change course. But so many things seem set in stone now. My business is located in Manhattan where I have a business partner who will not want to move the location. My family is located in the ‘burbs where I have a new mate, and an ex, and where my children live with me half of the time. I want to make changes but I’ve dug myself so deep! Is there a long mustache I can grab onto to pull myself out of this one?

    Reply
    • Married to a Swabian February 24, 2019, 6:31 am

      Janus, since death and taxes are the only things that aren’t optional, it’s still possible to start inching your way towards Mustachianism! I would look at the huge mortgage first. Why not downsize to something more affordable? Can you find a place to live with lower property taxes? Those are a real budget killer. Just look at your monthly costs are start asking yourself, “Am I truly getting this much happiness from each of these areas of spending?” Many of the burbs close to Manhattan are going to be filled with Drone people stuck in the rat race and hell bent on impressing each other with Lexi, BMWs and fancy vacations and fashions. Don’t know if that’s the case in your situation, but it’ll be hard to go Mustachian in a neighborhood like that. You may also want to ask yourself if the gig in Manhattan is really the only game in town and worth it?

      Reply
  • Frosty February 22, 2019, 7:09 pm

    Great article, and many helpful comments.  I’ve now been divorced as long as I was married (4 yrs).  My marriage was not a great experience.

    Relatively easy split, no lawyers, around $175 in county court costs.  I had much higher salary than him but he taught me to be a saver.  I left behind the rentals (he did all the work, seemed fair), which let him afford to keep our house for him and my stepson.  I moved into a small furnished apartment on a small lake, enjoying a clean slate and peaceful retreat.  Still there, shoveling money I would have spent on a house into investments.  I travel a lot for work so having a landlord do all the yardwork, snow removal, etc. is perfect.

    While I still believe in the institution of marriage, I struggle with the idea of second marriages (till death do us part, trust me I really mean it this time?).  But I probably would be a better wife if I tried it again.  For now I have a great relationship with a great guy and it’s working as-is.

    For me the fresh start after divorce was a tremendous gift. Sure, some tough days, of course.  Other days were so happy I felt guilty for being so happy.  And 4 yrs later I am better off financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually than ever. I try to manage my own attitude and choose to focus energy and attention positively.  Yesterday is gone, let it go and move forward being the best me I can possibly be. 
     

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  • Miss Kris February 24, 2019, 2:13 pm

    I found your blog many years ago when I was still married and managing my family’s finances on a single income with two kids. My ex and I divorced in 2012 and while the divorce itself wasn’t expensive, it’s been so tough getting to the financial place I’d like to be. Having joint custody of our kiddos means we will continue to live close to each other…in the city of Seattle. After leaving the workforce for 5 years, I couldn’t even come close to making the income I was making when I left after my first son was born. Now my ex and I make very close to the same amount, but holy hell cost of living is expensive in this city. Supporting a household of three on a modest single income in an expensive city makes financial independence seem more and more like a fantasy. Moving to a less expensive city isn’t an option since my ex has no interest in moving. I’m working hard to increase my income but it’ll take years before I make what the typical Amazonian/Microsoftee who can actually afford the crazy cost of living here.

    Enough of the pity-party from me. I’d love more ideas on how to gain financial independence as a single parent after divorce. My 900-square-foot rental is way below market and it’s in a really accessible area of the city. We’re still needing to pay for before-school care and camps during spring break which is a good chunk of change.

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  • Trip March 1, 2019, 6:24 am

    This is an excellent post and it’s a message that our youth desperately need to hear — divorce need not always be financially costly. This line is simply beautiful: “This is because conflict is a form of war, and war is the most expensive thing humans have ever invented.”

    What makes you one of the best bloggers in the FIRE space isn’t just how you write (your zingers ROCK), but also the topics you choose to write about.

    Another one of your best posts is the one where you share candidly about the loss of your father. You wrote it in such an emotionally moving way.

    I wish you and your family prosperous, long lives and all the best as you navigate this time of transition.
    Trip Seibold

    Reply
  • Ms Trish March 4, 2019, 5:46 am

    Just saw this today. The one thing that stuck out for me is your involvement in your son’s life.
    I divorced just over 12 years ago. It was hard, but even though my kids were 6 & 9, I had always been a single mom. I was always alone and even though another adult lived with us, I didn’t have a partner. I realized I would be less frustrated and unhappy being single, as I was already “alone.” I struggled with this decision for over a year and tried to fix things because I didn’t want to scar my kids. But I was with someone who didn’t want to put in the effort. My psychologist made me realize though that a loveless, non partner marriage isn’t a great example to give your kids. Leaving amicably when you need to is a much better lesson.

    But it was very hard. I had trouble getting child support because we had an “amicable” agreement and I then couldn’t afford a lawyer. They almost never see their father. I made sure they spent alot of time with strong male role models like their two grandpas, but they were with me 24/7. The first time I was seperated from them for more than a few hours was in 2013!

    What I would say to anyone out there going through a divorce is to put your kids first. I raised mine alone, and today they are sweet, handsome and hardworking young men with strong relationships. But they needed their dad, as we all do.

    Kuddos to you for being a good dad. You will be fine, so will your son, just keep him close.
    All the best!

    Reply
  • Nomads With a Vision March 19, 2019, 9:54 am

    Pete,

    Obviously I’m quite the latecomer to this post. I’m so sorry to hear about your divorce. I’m glad that things are working out amicably, but I know even an amicable divorce is super tough. I really appreciate you sharing and your advice. I’ve been married almost 20 years and it’s always great to get a reminder to treat my wife like the wonderful friend and partner that she is. I’ve always enjoyed hearing your perspective on life and enjoyed the hot tub discussions down in Ecuador.

    Take care, my friend, and hope to see you at FinCon in September. I’m bringing my wife this time to introduce her to the amazing community.

    Reply
  • Christine April 1, 2019, 12:57 pm

    Hey Mr. MM,

    I’m so sorry to hear the news. As a long-time reader, it saddens me similarly to hearing that an old friend has gotten divorced. I’m happy to hear that you are handling it in the most mature and respectful way possible. My parents also divorced in this manner. A few discussions and a 300$ court fee. done and done. For me, it has remained a great source of respect for their ability to maneuver difficult situations in relationships and in general. I think your son will learn quite a bit from this and will look up to the both of your for a long time to come. mad props.

    Best of luck with everything!

    Christine

    Reply
  • Curtis April 19, 2019, 4:32 pm

    After reading your story, I wonder what would your retirement story would have been like if you only lived off of your income. Your ex-wife had a lot to do with the success you’ve had by contributing her income and not spending everything up. $100k+ income for years put you in a high tax bracket and gave you a lot of options with what to do with your money. How would this have worked if you were in a one income household at 60k?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache April 19, 2019, 11:09 pm

      A couple or family that separates with less wealth has to make bigger adjustments – to live more frugally or go out and find new jobs. It’s often a big stress and makes a bad situation even worse. Which is sort of one of the reasons I felt this article has a place on a financial independence blog: by not having a shortage of money, at least we didn’t have to fight (much) over that side of it.

      Reply
  • Jean April 19, 2019, 11:19 pm

    Tonight, I was dining on a delicious meal highlighted by MMM salad dressing. Realized I had never thanked you for this gem and signed on tonight to do just that. Your recipe has made my favorite salad dressing for years — never tire of it, always delightful.

    As I began to indulge in a binge reading session of MMM posts, I felt saddened for both you and the former Mrs. MM when landing on this report of the divorce. I’m deeply moved at how you both have handled this heavy life change. As I continued reading, I began to feel a real sense of hope and enthusiasm for you guys — as individuals and as parents. Money is nice yet nothing surpasses the freedom of a life lived in truth. One of the most loving actions we can offer another being. Admire the courage it took to respond to each other with honesty and perserverance. The results are worth it and only increase in value. You know you’re on the right track after having faced up to the hard work, bravely moving through the hurt and finding a life lived with grace, kindness and strength. Your words are healing, and I’m grateful.

    Reply
  • Leah Hadley April 23, 2019, 6:38 pm

    I absolutely love the quote about co-parenting being like co-owners of the most important business in the world. I am going to try to work this into my discussion when I am mediating parenting plans.

    Wishing you the very best in this next chapter of your life. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Reply

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