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11 Women Share the Costly Money Mistakes They Made During Divorce

Money Wendy Robinson Aug 8, 2016

unhappy coupleFor most couples, the decision to get a divorce is an emotionally difficult one. It is also one that can have serious financial consequences, as some research suggests that one in five women fall into poverty after a divorce and both men and women may experience a decline in their standard of living. 

We talked to women who've gone through or are going through the divorce process to see what the financial aspect has been like for them and what lessons they've learned along the way.

If the thought of a divorce or a separation has ever crossed your mind, this is a must read! Read on to find out what these women, who asked to remain anonymous, had to learn the hard way. 


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1Should Have Had a Pre-Nup

"My dad is a financial planner and he strongly advised me to get a pre-nup before I got married, even though neither of us had much money. He said, 'You should think about how you want to treat the other one now, while you are happy, rather than fight about money when you are angry.'

That was really good advice and I didn't take it. Money ended up being one of the biggest things we fought about and it broke my heart even wider open." 

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2Be Specific

"I would have pushed for the divorce decree to be more specific on breaking down who pays for what. For example, ours states 50 percent of medical expenses and 'other factors.' This is too confusing and I have been unable to get it changed.  

We argue, even the attorneys argue what that term means. Make sure it is specific to meet your needs."

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3Debt Drama

"I would have pushed harder for him to pay off the debt he accumulated. It was ordered by the court, but he couldn't be bothered to refinance it so I ended up just paying it off.

I also think I would have required the support payments through the friend of the court rather than just between the two of us. I would have required him to have the case reviewed in order to get a reduction rather than just to cry poor to me. I don't think the court would have had the same pity on him as I did."

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4My Own Money

"When I got divorced after 27 years of marriage, I had no money in my own name, no credit score, and not even a credit card of my own. It made untangling our finances really hard. It is also made it harder than it should have been to get on my feet financially. I tell all women I know that you have to have your own credit cards, own checking account, something."

More from CafeMom: 11 Texts That Reveal the Messy Truth About Life After Divorce (PHOTOS)

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5Let It Go

"I hate to say it, but I fought for too long to try to stay in our house. I didn't want the kids to have to move after having to deal with parents who were splitting up. But the truth was that I couldn't really afford that house and I blew through my savings and we ended up getting foreclosed on. It would have been a lot smarter to downsize right away. Now my credit is wrecked." 

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6Work, Don't Stay Home

"I piss people off when I say this, but it's my truth: Being a stay-at-home mom is a HUGE financial risk. I quit my good job when we had kids and always planned to work part-time when the kids got older. Then I found out my ex was cheating. After we got divorced, I had to get a job, but I wasn't as employable as I had been when I left my career. My skills were out of date. 

Now I'm back in community college getting a nursing degree and living on spousal support and student loans. It sucks. I wish I had kept working when I had kids." 

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7Kid Expenses

"The thing we've fought most about since the divorce is kid stuff. Our decree states we are to share the cost of 'normal expenses' related to the kids. But we have really different ideas of what a normal expense is. Is summer camp normal? Is a school trip that costs $500 normal? He has more money than I do, so what he can easily pay half of is a struggle for me. We fight a lot about things like this and I wish we had better language in our settlement stuff."

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8F You Account

"I stayed married in an abusive situation for way too long because of money stuff. I think every woman needs to have a 'f*ck you' account -- money that he doesn't know about that is your escape plan in case you need it. If you never need it, great! But $1,000 would have made a huge difference for me." 

More from CafeMom: Here's How Much a Divorce REALLY Costs

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9Money Battles

"I think the biggest lesson I learned was to really fight for what you want and need before the divorce is settled. I gave in on some things just because I wanted to be DONE. It is harder to get things changed after the fact than I realized, and I wish I had stood my ground more."


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10Plan Ahead

"When my husband and I split up 15 years ago, our daughter was a toddler so we didn't really plan for how we'd handle her college expenses. He is done paying support when she is 18, but she'll still be in high school, still living with me, still a dependent. We should have done a better job of thinking about her needs over the long term."

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11House Battle

"Yes, there are things I would have done differently. I was way too nice with him upon selling the family home, when came time to split the money. 

I would have forced him to pay off the furniture (that he kept and promised to pay off) that was still financed under both our names. He instead cashed in the money and burnt through it all in a few months, then declared bankruptcy, and the collection agency came after me, and damaged my credit because of him. It was part of the divorce judgment and all but apparently financial institutions trump court judgment when it comes to debts."

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