Divorced and Back in Debt

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This is by far the most difficult post I’ve ever written. I am divorced and back in debt. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but the simple fact is, my wife just didn’t picture herself growing old with me, so she left. Simple as that. Unfortunately for me, I live in the no-fault state of Michigan, so all she had to say was that we had “irreconcilable differences”. I refused to sign anything, but it didn’t matter – the divorce was made final.

Back in Debt

So, here I am. A 27 year old single man in a large, unfinished house. For those of you that are new to this site, my wife (I guess I have to say ex-wife now…) and I purchased this house as a foreclosure a little over a year ago. We renovated quite a few rooms (everything was very outdated and dirty), but were getting burnt out on projects as of late, so there is still some door trim to paint and quite a lot of baseboard trim to install.

Because I opted to keep the house, and since we paid off a large amount of the mortgage already, that means that I am mandated by the courts to pay her half of the equity – roughly $20,000. That’s no small chunk of change, and this situation has caused me to drastically change my lifestyle.

I hate debt, and I hate this situation I’m in. I wish that I had the resources to pay off the $20k today so I wouldn’t have to think about my failed marriage anymore… every debt payment is just another reminder that I didn’t measure up in my wife’s eyes. Naturally, I want to get rid of these debt payments as quickly as possible.

Digging My Way Back Out

Thankfully for me, I’ve been working at developing an extra income for years now. This website is obviously my main revenue source, but I had a few other sites that weren’t doing so shabby either. With the sale of those websites and through some late advertising dollars, I was able to raise about $1,500 in a single day.

To raise some more money, I quickly sold my red GMC truck and my beautiful 2007 Nissan Altima. Now I drive a 2001 Honda Civic with 192,000 miles – it may not have that new car smell, but it’s cheap and it gets great gas mileage. Through these transactions and through the continued income from my website and my daily job, I have been able to pay off $13,000 of the $20k. I hope to pay off the remaining $7k within the next 2 months… but even if I paid it off tomorrow, it wouldn’t feel soon enough…

Have you ever found yourself in a tough situation like this?


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77 comments to Divorced and Back in Debt

  • PJay

    Two things:

    1) Liquidate as much as possible to pay off your debt as quickly as possible

    2) Don’t ever, ever, ever get married again

    • Thanks for the comment PJay. I agree that I should pay this debt as quickly as possible, but as for never getting married again, I think that’s a little hasty. While I don’t plan to jump into another relationship anytime soon, I’ve always liked the idea of having a family. I guess I’ll just have to see what the future brings.

  • Derek,
    Sorry to hear about what you are going through. I have been in tough situations and can say that it does get better with time. Hang in there. I know you have a good head on your shoulders.
    JT recently posted..The Check is in the Mail!

  • I am sorry yo hear your news. I have been married 7 years and have learned that it is very challenging. She took the easy way out rather than to continue to work on your relationship. I am a consultant and we prepare for me to get laid off. We could never have prepared to not find another job or contract from 2009 to 2010. In August 2010 with our savings nearly gone we downsized and found no negotiating with our mortgage lender. We were only 3 months behind when we moved and thy continued foreclosure proceedings. Our smaller house and rent payment is much easier to make and is about 20 percent of our previous expenses. I took another job and then it ended. 4 months later, I found another contract. With all of these job changes life and my relationship have bee bumpy however I believe we are both in it for the long haul. It’s hard to preparer for the unexpected. Just keep positive and continue your plan.

    • Thanks for the comment Cathy. Sounds like you have had a rough ride yourself. Good job for sticking with the relationship through it all. Don’t you worry, I’ll continue to press forward as well. Things will get better I’m sure, for both of us. 🙂

  • Deanna

    At first I thought you must have had a guest blogger or something. But then I realized you were talking about yourself getting divorced. I’m so sorry. What a rough spot to be in 🙁

    • I sure wish it were a guest blogger…. but no, it’s me. It’s hard not to be embarassed about the whole situation, but it’s not something that I can easily hide, so I figured I just may as well face facts… I’m already comforted by all of the great comments from my readers though! Thanks!

  • Bobbi

    I am a long time reader, but don’t really comment that much. That said, I am so sorry to hear your news. You will get through this and it will get better one day. Just take everything one day at a time. :}

  • Yoshema Mockmed

    Praying for you big guy! I do a little contracting work on the side and can help you work on the house if you need it 😉

  • David

    Take care Derek. Im sorry to hear this. I too thought it was a guest blogger.

  • Sorry to hear about this 🙁 If I can help in anyway let me know. This is why sometimes I hesitate in getting married, because I never want to get divorced.
    Lance @ Money Life and More recently posted..Prepare Your Finances for Next Year – Know Your Net Worth

    • Hi Lance. Getting married is a big step, but even as I go through this, I’m still not cancelling out the possibility of getting married in the future. I believe that it can truly be a great thing with common beliefs and excellent communication. Don’t let my experience deter you from marrying a great girl!

  • Sorry to hear Derek, Divorce is never easy, you should feel pretty good about being able to pay off so much of the $20,000 so quickly though!

    Raising a toast for better times in 2013 for you!
    Poor to Rich a Day at a Time recently posted..A 2011 and 2012 Comparison

    • I’m definitely doing everything I can to get the full amount paid off as quickly as possible. I’m sure you can understand why. Once that’s taken care of, it’s back to paying down the house. Thanks for the toast. I hope you have a great 2013 as well!

  • Hunter

    Very sorry to hear this Derek. I’m sure you’ll nix the debt in no time. Your life is really just beginning. Stay positive, set exciting goals, and you’ll fly over this hump.

  • Financial Samurai

    Derek, this sucks. I know you’re going to find someone better man. Hang in there!!!

    You’re young, 6’8″, can hopefully still dunk and got your whole life ahead of you! Everything happens for the best. Use the divorce as motivation. And when you find someone else, you’ll be so glad!



  • A similar situation happened to my parents’ landlord. He decided to rent it out to pay off the mortgage. Now that it’s paid off, he is able to live off the rent in semi-retirement.
    Edward Antrobus recently posted..When there isn’t enough money at the end of the month

    • I’ve thought about renting out a room to add some dollars in my pocket, but I don’t think I’m quite ready for that yet. Once the mortgage is paid off, then I might move on to another residence and rent out this house.

  • Sorry to hear this Derek. Like another person said, I thought you had a guest post. Make sure to take time to recover and heal. This has got to be rough. Once the other $7k is paid off, you can start moving forward.
    Melissa recently posted..One of Our Goals for 2013: Catch Up on Retirement Contributions

  • Derek, I’m so sorry to hear that. You know how to reach me if you need anything at all – seriously!
    20’s Finances recently posted..Your Retirement Plan: Why It’s Important to Personalize it

  • Sorry to hear this piece of bad news, however it looks like you have control over it. It will look a lot better after you have it paid off.

  • Laura

    So sorry to hear about your marriage. I don’t know if this is of any consolation but you appear very handsome from your photo and with your financial saviness I think you will have no trouble meeting someone else.
    I wish you nothing but success.

  • I’m so sorry to hear about this heartbreaking situation you’re going through. And I’m super-impressed by how focused you are staying to take care of the debt so you can move forward with your life! It can’t be easy to stay so focused right now, but you’re right to get the debt out so you can take the rest of the steps to move forward. I’m sure you’ll have a much brighter and happier future ahead after you get through this period!

  • Hang in there. Relationships are tough.
    Debt is a downer, but be patient. It will work out. Like some others have said – you have a good head on your shoulders.
    Stay positive.

    • Thanks Kevin. Sometimes my head isn’t thinking straight, but most of the time I can straighten it out pretty quickly. I’m just trying to think about the future and not the past.

  • Addicted2Debt


    Sorry to hear about the unfortunate end of your relationship. Divorce is tough and relationships are tough. Your attitude towards paying off you debt is sound and from the look of things you are already well on the way to financial freedom.

  • Hi Derek, Read the post in your email newsletter feed. Life is tough, and you never know where the next punch is coming from. I’m impressed with how fast you are adjusting and coping. Her loss. You will be fine!! Warm regards, Barb
    Barbara Friedberg recently posted..ROLLOVER YOUR 401K INTO AN IRA

    • Thanks Barb! It’s so great to hear from all of my readers through this difficult time. It wasn’t easy to write about, but I’m glad I did. I think you’re right though – things will get better in the future. I just need to pick myself up and make the most of life. After all, there are people out there that are much worse off than me. Thanks again Barb.

  • Derek, you must realize that you have accomplished a very big thing by eradicating all the previous debt that you had.
    While loss of your ex-wife’s income and additional debt will hurt, it is never as bad as the sting brought on by the ending of a relationship that you had committed yourself to.
    I am sure that you’ll maintain the razor sharp focus on getting rid of the other $7k of debt, and will be quite glad when that happens. You should plan an enjoyable time out with some good friends to celebrate once that is paid.
    Good luck and chin up lad!!!
    Chris recently posted..Work overtime if possible, and is it worth it to max 401k

    • You’re right Chris. I should plan a little something once this debt is paid off, just as if I were paying off a school debt or a car loan. It will seem odd to celebrate… but it will be good to look ahead to the future and stop thinking about the past.

  • Derek-

    I gotten to witness both your personality and your drive just by following through email updates. It sucks for sure, but if anyone can handle it – I’m confident it’s you.

    1. It could always be worse.
    2. It’s better to have crappy things happen sooner rather than later (kind of like our much needed recession).

    Best of luck-
    funancials recently posted..Do You Agree With Bank of America’s CEO, Brian Moynihan?

    • True. I would rather that this whole ordeal happen early in life instead of later. At least now I have a chance to meet someone else and start a family if we choose. Thanks for the support A.

  • Sorry to read this update. All the best Derek. You’re just getting started, and life will be great again. Life can have its ups and downs, but when we survive the down times, we really can come out stronger, more resiient, and wiser in the long run.
    Squirrelers recently posted..Why Do People Blame Presidents for Their Money Problems?

  • Derek,
    I’m sorry to hear this news… and sorry that you have to go through this. But I want you to know that I admire your approach to solving problems (debt chief among them)and know that you will not only survive… but thrive. My best wishes to you…

    • Thanks for the support Karen! It really means a lot. I’ll do my best to survive and thrive in the upcoming months and years. You know I’ll keep everyone updated through this site! Thanks again.

  • So sorry to hear about this. It’s never easy. What I can say is that you’ve got a great attitude, and you’ll get this debt taken care of and then be able to put this difficult time behind you.
    If it helps, I didn’t get married until I was 28. And one good friend who did get married and divorced young has since met the most amazing and perfect for him person. He’s technically on his second marriage, but the two of them are so perfect together that most of us forget the first one even happened.
    He doesn’t, though, and has been able to take what he learned about relationships from it to make this current relationship better.
    shanendoah@the dog ate my wallet recently posted..Sunday Evening Post #74

  • Derek,

    Better have your ex-wife wake up now rather than years later with kids in the house. You’re young, don’t give up on life and marriage. This is just a bump in the road…
    InvestitWisely recently posted..How to Fight the Blues This Winter by Giving to the Causes That You Believe In

  • Boris

    First time reader.. wow what a post to get introduced to your blog. Very sorry to hear about your divorce. Let me know if you got any good websites to sell, maybe I can help you out.

  • Derek, so sorry to hear your news. You have become one of my favorite bloggers, and I always look forward to your posts, especially about the house. I wish you the best in getting through this.
    Christa recently posted..The Easiest Christmas Cookies Ever

  • As Julie said in the Sound of Music, when God closes one door, he opens a window on something else.

    Sorry about your divorce, but maybe something wonderful will happen as a result!
    Marie at Family Money Values recently posted..Hiring Domestic Help

    • I trust that something wonderful will happen, but it sure is tough to think about the future and not the past. I hope to truly be able to look to the future soon. Thanks for the comment Marie.

  • So sorry to hear this Derek! I loved reading your responses to comments. I see you still have optimism about the future and haven’t ruled out good things happening to you. That’s awesome and I’m sure in a few months you will have the debt gone and will be on your way to much better things. I’m wishing you all the best.
    Fig recently posted..What Dave Ramsey Is Good For

  • Grams

    Derek – I’m sorry about the divorce also — but–there is a saying that you should really think about, it is: “MONEY IN THE ROOT OF ALL EVIL”! This was not evil but it took over everything you thought about. I wish you the best with your job (and hope you can have another change for advancing), your schooling etc. Maybe the next relationship you will not just think of blogging, money. This is not the nicest response but I do think very true. Wish you the best

    • Hi Grams. Of course, you have only heard one side of the story, so you should be careful what you say, especially in a public setting like this…. I have written this next part of my comment over and over again, trying to explain my side, but none of the responses were friendly or edifying to anyone, so I’ve decided to just leave it out entirely. I’m sorry you feel the way you do, and I’m sad that you were never interested in hearing both sides of the story. I thank you for always treating me well Grams. I’m going to miss you and the rest of the family.

  • I’m so sorry to hear about this, but it sounds like you are being proactive. This will probably be a hard holiday season, but it will get better with time. My husband had a similar thing happen with his first wife. They got married very young and she left and never paid anything on shared debts. It pretty much ruined his credit for many years. We’ve been married now for over 10 years and have a beautiful daughter, so your Ms. Right will come along.
    Kim@EyesontheDollar recently posted..Can’t Take My Eyes Off These Blogs #18-Toy Pony Edition

    • Thank you for the encouraging story Kim! I haven’t started to look for Ms. Right quite yet (still trying to get back onto my feet), but I think you’re right. She’s out there.

  • Sorry to hear about the situation Derek. Is the 20K all you owe her? If so, that is a win. No alimony (maintenance)? No future earning which I think will be substantial? No child payments? etc.
    Evan recently posted..Paid Off One of My Student Loans Early! Calculating The Interest I Saved

    • $20k is it. We never had kids, so that makes things a lot less complicated at least. I can’t even imagine how difficult life would be if we had to share the kids and pay alimony, etc etc. I really feel for people in that situation now.

  • For some reason I always thought you were older than me.

    I’m literally floored to hear about your divorce 🙁 I am trying to think of something to say and I just have no words. I have a ring that has the verse of Matthew 11:28 that’s always helped and encouraged me, perhaps that is of help to you. I know your blog is about the money but this situation isn’t about the money, please take time to heal and as others have said.. you want to vent the email is always open.

    • Thank you for the compassion Renee. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” – this is a great verse to remember – thank you so much for that. It actually reminds me of one of my favorite songs –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObyOYaGwv7g. This divorce was defintiely a shock to me as well. I still think back to what I could have done differently…. but I’m trying my best to look toward the future instead of the past.

  • Somehow I missed this update. I’m sorry to hear about what happened, and want to tell you that I hope you’re not continuing to beat yourself up about not “measuring up” in your wife’s eyes. As a person who got divorced years ago myself (I’m since remarried) I can tell you that it’s a complicated thing and can turn out to be for the best. In a way, it’s like a death, so give yourself time to grieve. Picture me bringing over a casserole… And I’m sure you’ll be out of debt again in no time!
    Jackie recently posted..Tackling Consumer Debt – The Journey

  • Diane

    So sorry, Derek…..

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