Raise your hand high if you got married with the intention of getting a divorce? You can’t right, neither can I. Truth be told most persons getting married never envisioned divorce. However, life is dynamic and one day you wake to the realization that your happy ever after has now ended in divorce.
Getting a divorce was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. No matter who was at fault, In the end, it leaves you feeling crushed and broken and to pick up the pieces of the puzzle in order to put your life back together.
Although getting a divorce is not easy there are many life lessons that you can learn. Some lessons are learned in a very hard way. Today I want to share with you 3 hard lessons learned from my divorce.
3 Hard Lessons Learned From Divorce
Sharing these hard lessons learned will have me exposing personal details but nevertheless, I am sharing with the hope that you will be inspired.
1. Never pay the mortgage by yourself
When you are young and in love, you tend not to think too rationally and you are most focused and excited about the process of living your happily ever after.
I got married at the age of 22. In preparation for the marriage and being the go-getter that I am, I went ahead to secure a mortgage so that we could own our home. Due to the fact that I went ahead, I became the primary borrower. Since I knew that we were getting married I allowed the bank to add his name as the co-borrower. We verbally agreed that since I was getting my salary on a monthly basis I would make the mortgage payments and he would take care of the other bills. BIG MISTAKE!
Fast forward, things got rocky financial and I was unable to meet all the obligations to the bank. Read How I regained control of my Finances to learn more about that. He refused to help make any payments to the bank. The bank could not do anything about it. Why? The answer I got was that he never signed anything to have his monies deducted or promise of payment. This means that although his name was there as a co-borrower, they couldn’t go after him for any payment instead they came after me.
Hard lessons learned from divorce #1
When you are getting a mortgage and both names are on the loan account ensure that the payments are split evenly between the two of you. Never agree to make the payments all by yourself. That way in the event of separation and divorce you are not stuck making the payments by yourself until a decision is made about who gets the property.
2. Always read the fine print
After the house was built, we decided to secure a loan from the bank to purchase the land we were leasing. All this occurred prior to marriage. Since the mortgage was already in both names the bank went ahead and prepared the documents for the land purchase and land title. We had to go to the lawyer’s office to sign the documents and of course I signed without reading the fine prints. I never thought anything would go wrong. Remember I am thinking of my happily ever after. Again BIG MISTAKE!
Fast forward, after we were separated and because the bank was still after me, I decided to refinance the mortgage. I was stonewalled by the bank because they told me since his name was on the land title their hands were tied without him coming to sign. I had to resort to paying him off to remove his name from the land title and then went to another institution to get the refinancing done. I was able to get the refinancing done.
However, I discovered that on the land title we were listed as joint tenants in common which means that there is no half share. This means that the tax that I had to pay on the transfer of the property was calculated on the entire value of the property even though technically I had already owned half of the land. Had I taken the time to read the fine print and understand what it means I would not have had to spend thousands of dollars in taxes.
Hard Lessons Learned from divorce #2
Always take time out to read the fine print on any document that you have to sign leading up to marriage or even during marriage. If in doubt ask for clarification of what it all means. It could save you a ton of money at the end of the day.
3. Have a savings account of your own
When couples get married the most natural thing to do is to open a joint account whether it be savings or checking. It is often used by both parties. Since I was the one making the mortgage payments I was barely had anything left from my salary to save. While he had a savings account of his own, I didn’t have one. I had to depend on him for any extra thing that I needed.
Fast forward, at the end of a divorce, I was left with financial debt and not a penny to my name. I had no savings. Had I been thinking differently I would have had a savings account in place in order for me to fall back on after divorce.
Hard lessons learned from divorce #3
Maintain a personal savings account for yourself separate and apart from your joint account. Ensure that you save consistently. That way you will have something to sustain you in the event of a rainy day which may just be a divorce.
Looking back, I often wondered how no one warned me or shared with me any of these tips so that I wouldn’t have to learn the hard way. But then I thought if they did I would not have been in the position to share with you today. Every disappointment is indeed a blessing.
I hope that the lessons I learned the hard way becomes your teacher so that you would not have to make the same mistakes that I did.
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