When a client walks into my office, saying she needs help leaving her marriage, I normally look for positives to help her move on and build a new life.
In this podcast, l am going to explain the strength, family support and willpower one client had to leave her marriage, start a new job, relocate her family and decide to go bankrupt. None of this was what she expected when marrying her husband or dreaming of a successful future.
Like many of us, she stayed in a marriage because she thought she was doing the right thing for everyone around her and did not want to let anyone down, especially her teenage children. Instead, she realised her husband had been lying for years and did not want to face up to his financial reality. Leaving her with phone calls from debt collectors and people he owed money too. This story is not uncommon, but thankfully, most people are able to move on with a little bit of financial equity from their relationship. But starting again in your late 40’s and having nothing to your name can certainly make you question, ‘What has it all been for?’
This client showed strength beyond words and in a short period of time has turned her life around. She amazes me, and her story will stay with me for a long time.
Life is what we make it.
How did life get this bad? [00:01:00]
Not having aligned values and goals with your partner. [00:02:00]
Understanding STD ( Sexual Transmitted Debt) and the consequences.[00:05:00]
Looking at the facts and evidence then deciding to go bankrupt.[00:07:00]
Starting a new life.[00:09:00]
Turning your whole life around.[00:11:00]
Why putting everyone before yourself can be dangerous. [00:14:00]
My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce
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[00:00:00] Hello everyone and welcome back to the Divorce Angel Podcast. I’m actually sitting here drinking my blood-red kombucha as a celebration. I wanted to bring this podcast to you today after just having a meeting with one of my clients. For all of those people out there that think that things just aren’t going to get any better and everything is, by far, the worst that life could throw at you, I’ve just been with one of my clients, and I remember her sitting on the couch in my office crying saying, “How did life this bad?” and what did she do to deserve how her life had turned out? So to give you some context to this whole story, let me paint you a picture.
This couple had been married for 23 years. They had two teenage children. [00:01:00] One 15 and one 17. He’d ran his own business for many years and she was a schoolteacher. He, even though he ran his own business, was not a very good businessman. Previously, he’d been bankrupt, and then he started a new business. The couple owned a house and because he was a builder, he thought that he could add value to the property by demolishing a lot of the internal walls and bathrooms to repair and add value. But over the last eight years, what had happened is the house was just a shell. He demolished things but never went back and repaired anything so they will living, 24/7, in a construction site. The two children, boy and girl, were in the same bedroom and had been for the past eight years because of the [00:02:00] renovations, and yet he continued just to go, “Yep. I’ll get around to it. I’ll get around to it or I’m going to.” and it never got done.
She continued to go to work, be promoted and do really well in her career, and she loved teaching children. Then one day, she came home early from work to see a whole lot of letters in the letter box. On getting the mail and then opening it she realized that there was all of these default letters, last Chance letters, and even a summons for court or a reminder of a summons for court.
As you could imagine you’ve just been going to work, thinking that your money is paying to go towards improving the family’s life, repairing the house, helping your husband build his business, and all of these things [00:03:00] to find out that it was all a lie. That he hadn’t been paying bills. Wherever he was going every day probably wasn’t to work because there was no money coming in and the more bill she went, or the all the more letters she went through, she realized that the debt had just mounted up and up. He’d even made her sign a document for a 30,000 business loan against the house.
She told me she knew at the time that she shouldn’t sign it, but what do you do when you’ve been in a relationship for so long and your husband begs you to sign something and says, “If you don’t sign it, then I’m not going to be able to build what I said. I was going to build. It’s only a short-term loan. Will be right and I’ll pay it back.” So she trusted him. It also turned out that he’d forged her signature on another one and a few other sort of associated things like that had occurred.
So we’ve all heard [00:04:00] the term sexually transmitted debt and that’s what had happened in this client’s circumstance. So she found herself in an absolute world of hurt and it come from coming home early one day, thinking that she was going to have a restful night, glass of wine, watch TV, cook dinner to all-out chaos occurring. On confronting her husband about all of these letters, he just denied, denied, and denied and said, “No, these aren’t correct. They’ve made a mistake.” That’s when she finally started working with me. Her financial adviser gave her my number and we started working together.
Before she left the relationship, it was really important to make sure she had as much paperwork and had done as much due diligence as possible to fully understand the debt position she was in. She was in so she went about [00:05:00] collating all that information, making phone calls, ringing people that were on the letters, finding out as best she could a clear Financial picture. Unfortunately for her, it was so devastating that she sat on the couch in my office crying her eyes out, and she had every reason to feel like that.
I remember when she left, I myself got really teary wondering how someone who was the salt of the earth that went to school and tried to bring up their children, and she paid back to society, she did as much as she could for the school environment, she loved her children– How could she find herself in this position? And why was her husband just not willing to confront the financial situation that they were in.
We got the house valued to find out exactly what the property [00:06:00] was worth. Now as I said before, he’d gone through and decided to renovate the property so he’d demolished a lot of internal walls. When I had that property valued, the actual value of the property come back at pretty much what the mortgage was worth for the couple because it was really only land value. The house needed so much work, it was really only land value. Sitting down with the team and the financial adviser and the lawyer and a debt consolidator, there was no choice, but for this beautiful client to go bankrupt.
Could you imagine? Put yourself in her position. Here she is, going to work every day, working really hard, thinking that their life was getting better to, in one moment, her whole life turning around. At this stage, I said to her, “This is happening for a reason. Right now is happening for a reason. It’s really hard for you to [00:07:00] see what that is and it’s probably hard for you to understand, but I promise you that things will get better.” But she just could not see the light. She was she was heartbroken and rightly so.
She left her husband, and we got her into a rental property and the reason that we had to do that is because if they both went bankrupt, which is he went bankrupt, which looked like that was what was eventually going to happen because of the amount of debt that he was in, that she wouldn’t be able to get a rental property. That question is asked. So we needed to get it out of the family home and get her in the kids set up as quickly as we possibly could so that she could start to try and rebuild her house and then worry about everything else after we did that.
We had a moved out. We got her into a townhouse, her in the kids, and got her settled and then we had to sit there and go through the rest of the mess that she found [00:08:00] herself in. There was no choice, after the team had looked at everything, that she had to go bankrupt. You might ask why should she go bankrupt when he was the one that was carrying their debt– It was his business. Well, if you think about it, the mortgage was 50/50 so the mortgage was in both their names. She’d already signed these $30,000 business loan to allow him to put that against the house so there was an additional 30,000. It also turned out that the lease on his car, she’d signed for that some three years earlier and didn’t realize that she’d actually done that until one day she got a phone call from Toyota saying that, “Look, you haven’t paid any car repayments back for x amount of time.” so that added to it. There was all of these other debts like, amenities and those sorts of things. Because the husband had always paid the bills– Her wage just went straight into the joint account. The mortgage came out and with the [00:09:00] rest of it are the bills got paid. Money was always tight, but she just thought it was because he was building his business.
The consensus from the team was that she had to go bankrupt so she went bankrupt. Personal liquidator was, given her file, that’s their job to let her know that she’s gone bankrupt and because they had separated, the ex-husband then got a letter that say that his wife had personally now filed for bankruptcy and he still, to that day, was still denying that they were in financial problems. He’s still, to that day said, “No, no. Everything’s going to be okay. I can sort this out.” He just continued to live in denial.
I’ve just come back today from having a to our coffee with these client, and I have to tell you, I’ve had one of the best weeks in business this week. I’ve had a joint venture proposed with a multinational company, which is great. [00:10:00] I’ve had a media interview done. I’m going to be on the radio in a few weeks. So a whole lot of really, really good stuff has happened to me this week, but I have to tell you hands down, my meeting with these client just now has topped it for me. Absolutely topped it.
So sitting there having a coffee and I was asking her, “How’s everything going? How’s your new life?” She started a new job at a new school because she had to break away from all of the community and everything and she want people talking about what was going on. They had to move their children from very expensive schools too much cheaper schools. So their whole life has been turned around. She went on to tell me about a new job and she told me about even though she’s now gone bankrupt that she’s really, you know, she can understand why it happened. She also, now that she’s away from their ex-husband, she can see all these things that she couldn’t see when she was living there, and she’s staring to understand [00:11:00] why it’ll happen like it had to happen at some stage. But she also said that can see all of the faults that he had that she couldn’t see before.
Then she went on to tell me, two months ago when she was out with some friends, she got introduced to another person and she said, “So we’ve been dating and I really, really like him. He’s a really nice guy.” She said, “He makes me feel protected and secured. He understands what I’m going through. When I tell him about how I can’t believe how my life has turned out, he just hugs me and says it’s going to be okay.” The day she sat on my couch crying, I remember her saying, ” No one will ever love me. I’m a 49-year-old woman and I find myself, at this age going bankrupt, moving out of my family home, leaving my husband. What [00:12:00] the hell has happened? Then today, watching her talk, listening to the love that she has for her life is simply amazing and it makes my heart sing and I’m so proud of her, and I said to her, “Remember when I told you that this would all happen for a reason. It is all stepping stones to something bigger and better.” and she said, “I should have trusted you.”
So for all of you out there that are going through something like this right now and think that there is no hope, that life is just awful and how did you find yourself in this position, like I say to all of my clients, you just do not know what tomorrow will bring. You have to get up every morning and think positive. There’s a lesson in everything that we go through and you just have to look for the lesson, and if you can be grateful for that lesson, you can turn your [00:13:00] life around.
She says to me today, she let it all go too long. She should have left earlier. She probably sensed that some things weren’t right, but ignored them and thought that she was just doing what society accepted off her. But then I said to her in return, “What is it that this journey that you’ve been on was meant to end right where it is right now and you were meant to stay with your ex-husband for that amount of time? You were meant to go through what you went through because there’s a bigger picture here for you.” And That’s what I want you to think about. Exactly that same thing.
Life wasn’t meant to be easy and we go in ups and downs, and for every up, at some stage we will have a down. Right now you might just be going through that, but tomorrow, who’s to say that things just don’t get so much better that your life is exactly what you dreamed of. Like my client, she can now [00:14:00] see that things were meant to happen, and that’s what I’m trying to say to you. Right now, everything that you’re dealing with might be meant to happen so just trust in what’s going on, trust in the journey, trust that you’re learning a lesson and know that everything will be okay. You must believe that everything will be okay, and it will.
So being bitter and twisted gets you nowhere. You need to think about what it is that you can do in your life to turn your life around. And for every action there’s a reaction. So if you’re just sitting there feeling sorry for yourself or wondering how you got to this position, like this client, think that it was meant to be, it was meant to happen and she put one step after the other, she took an action, and for every action she got a reaction and then she’s found herself in this position. It was the hardest thing she ever did going bankrupt, but by going bankrupt, [00:15:00] it’s got her to where she is today. She’s no longer living in a lie, she now has control of the money that she does have, and she’s so grateful to have worked with me and for that I am truly blessed to be able to change someone’s life like that.
Thank you for listening and I just want you to go away and think about all of the good things that have happened to you. It might be really bad right now, but tomorrow will be better. You just have to think it. if it’s not tomorrow, it will be the day after or the day after, but it will get better. I promise you. All right. Well, thanks for listening and I hope that you’ve got something out of this podcast. Bye for now.
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