Why a Friendly Divorce is a Cheaper Divorce
When I founded the Millionaire Girls’ Movement I wanted to talk deeply about women and worth on all levels, which is why we talk about things like how divorce impacts your financial future. My ex-husband and I divorced over a decade ago. It was not a painless or perfect dissolution because divorce by nature is tough. Despite our decision to divorce we made some very wise personal and economic decisions as well. We’re divorced but we love our children so ferociously that we continue to love each other enough to share in the joy and challenges that parenting delivers upon us. When people ask me how we overcame our grief and anger I tell them that it was a choice much simpler than the complexities of marriage and divorce and the suffering of human relationships. I say, “We made people together.” This singular choice to bring children into the world uniquely binds us to one another, not for eighteen years, but for life.
No two people on the planet are as invested, devoted and in love with our sons as the two of us. No two people agonize over their pain or delight in their joy as we do. Leaving space to love one another expresses to our children how deeply we love them. Our sons remain and will always be the best of who we were.
This is great for our family and our happiness but it’s also great for our bank accounts. We elected to go through mediation rather than use attorneys. Because my ex-husband is an attorney himself, I did have an attorney review our marital settlement agreement. Over the years child support increases and expenses have been agreed upon based on our individual economic standing. We didn’t spend money on attorneys fighting over stuff. This meant that we had more money in our pocket and less stress in our lives.
In the early stages of divorce I was frustrated by my ex-husband’s forgetfulness that resulted in enough lost lunch pails and sweatshirts to fill the lost and found of an amusement park. I didn’t much money back then and these losses strained my small budget. Instead of going to war I simply bought cheaper sweatshirts and started packing lunches in paper bags or sometimes told him I needed more money for clothes that month. This kept us both sane. It would have been extremely easy to pander to my feelings of frustration but it would have served no one. It took enormous strength to let go of my anger.
Even during our darkest hours I didn’t allow people to talk negatively about my ex-husband. Well meaning family and friends who are angry by the imperfect behavior of your soon to be ex-spouse want to express their outrage as an act of love. It’s well intended but that sort of outrage leads to poor decisions that cost you emotionally and economically. Find a safe place to be heard but don’t nurture your anger or it will grow so large that it will devour you.
Everyone has different circumstances but it’s important to seek more peace and common ground when you’re raw with hurt and exhaustion. Defaulting to all those volatile emotions comes with a high emotional and financial price tag. In the early stages of our divorce when we were most fragile I reminded my ex-husband that we had walked into our marriage together and now we had to walk out of it together. That decision was the smartest emotional and financial decision I ever made.