By the time Kirstie decided enough was enough, her stockbroker husband had drained all their financial resources. Kirstie, who had always been financially responsible, couldn’t believe the extent of the losses or the debt her husband had incurred. It has been less than a year since her divorce was final and Kirstie sees getting through divorce as her biggest accomplishment.
I basically had to do the whole divorce on my own with my ex fighting my every single move trying to make it not happen. I was trying to sell two homes, take care of two kids full-time and do all the financial discovery all at the same time and it was hard, especially when you have no money. Even the court didn’t hold him accountable. They didn’t make him show or document where all the money went. He was in contempt of court and he got away with it. It didn’t mean anything. The judges didn’t do anything. I just could not believe the magnitude of everything – that he kept it all from me until I filed for divorce.
I’m adjusting to our new financial reality the best I can. I did get a job, even in this horrible economy but it’s hard to go from living in a million dollar house and having extra money and savings to having nothing. I am so grateful to have this house – it was a rental house we had – I hope I can keep it. Even the kids say ‘I wish we could go out and eat every now and then’ and I’m like, ‘I know.’ It’s just tough not having any expendable income or savings.
My only regret is that I didn’t leave him years ago when I started thinking about it. I didn’t want to give up on the family idea and I’m not a quitter. I thought if I just kept working hard enough I could make it work. But you can’t have a one-way relationship. It’s an impossible battle. He’s a pathological liar. He has no empathy for other people and is very narcissistic. Anytime he was upset he would turn and project it on us and the kids didn’t understand that. They know their dad has issues.
One of the reasons I didn’t leave him sooner was because I knew it was going to be harder on my own. I knew he would do everything in his power to fight anything I ever did. He doesn’t see what’s in the best interests of the kids. He only sees his ego being hurt. He doesn’t see that whatever he’s doing to hurt me is hurting his own children and that’s hard for them too.
However, I’ve made it through and I feel like a better person for it even though I feel terrified, I’m scared of the future. And as far as being on my own goes, I am so much happier.
Kirstie’s financial hardship is a common result for divorced women the world over. The United Nations has a group that’s studying the problem – the name of the group is a mouthful but here it is is – the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women or CEDAW, for short. In the U.S. the median income of women drops 20 percent following divorce. In other countries, the consequences can be much more severe. Read more about this in this Women’s eNews report.