Erica’s Story.

I am a single mother of a wonderful 8 year boy, Travis. He is the light in my life and the biggest reason I strive to be a better person. Travis was 4 years old when I decided to leave his father after 5 years of marriage. When I was married to his father he was a decent man, he didn’t cheat, gamble, drink too much. He didn’t do much of anything actually and I decided I need more out of life. Unfortunately my ex didn’t keep his ‘decent’ status and became a bitter, angry man blaming me for all his shortcomings.  This was the hardest thing to face for me-our marriage was loveless and this man still blamed me for everything and had no problems expressing his issues to his best friend, who also happens to be our little boy. It was very hard taking the high road and not lashing back to my ex, and fuel his fire, but also to stay neutral with my son who was caught in the middle of it all.  I pray he grows up and knows that I have always loved him, have not lied to him and some of the things said about me where lies. I pray a lot and I think my prayers are answered.

When I left him I was managing a mortgage office and financially was doing well, very well. Being able to support myself and my son was the reason I pulled the trigger and took off.  In the past 4 years a lot has happened in the mortgage industry and my income decreased to a third of my original income at one point. My ex decided paying child support was unfair and stopped working, or worked part-time and at one point went 10 months without paying child support.  It was at that point I realized the legal system was brutally slow.  I did take him to court and he was forced to start catching up and making regular payments within 3 months or face jail time-this helped him catch up with his payments.

I thought I was fairly educated in the legal system when you divorce.  For me I decided to be fair rather than make sure I was taken care of with our joint obligations.  My credit has always been excellent and well over 700.  Because of this, the first house we purchased was in my name only.  My excellent credit was also the reason I co-signed on his auto loan.  We bought a second home and turned our first home into our ‘retirement plan’ and it became a rental property.  During the divorce it was only fair to me that he get the rental house, I keep our existing home.   It took about 5 months for him to kick the renters out and move in and not make one mortgage payment.  After 11 months of occupying this house the bank foreclosed on it, the downfall being it affected my credit.  Around that time his car was also repo’ed for non-payment which also affected my credit, this time adding a judgement on me (the bank tried to go after him for the funds, but he filed bankruptcy and they were not able to contact him after his BK).  Being in the mortgage industry for almost 10 years I saw things like this happen all the time.  If you are on the loan you are responsible for the payment, the bank doesn’t care what your divorce decree states, you are responsible for the note.   In my case I could have paid a few thousands more and taken him back to court to take away his house and car, but I couldn’t afford the lawyer or the mortgage on the 2nd home or an additional car note.  If I had the chance to do things differently I would keep all property in my name or sell it.  Divorce does bitter things to some people and even the best intentions don’t last.  The damage he has done to my credit makes it so I am not able to buy a home, get a good rate on a car loan or even have a credit card for a rainy day.

It’s very difficult to get the information you need.  My divorce attorney, who practiced family law for over 20 years wasn’t able to help me resolve or more importantly give me the knowledge ahead of time to prevent these things.  I thought if I would be fair in the divorce my ex would reciprocate and that just isn’t how it works.  The best info I have received has been talking with others who have been in my shoes, and that was cleaning up the mess.  I would recommend getting as much upfront knowledge on as much as possible to know what needs to be done to ensure you are taken care of-do you need to sell your house?  Appraise it and find out how much equity you have in your home?  Do you have joint credit that either you or he needs to be removed from?  Do you know how much you have in assets?  Checking?  Savings?  Retirement?  Jewelry?  How much debt do you have?  Who’s name is the debt in?  It’s overwhelming, but I feel the more upfront knowledge the easier the financial aspect of a divorce can be.

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We empower, encourage, and assist single mothers make meaningful decisions that will help sustain and secure their families financial freedom, health and well-being.


Our goal is to increase advocacy for single mothers with focused, practical, easy-to-understand.

This project is designed to strengthen and support local programs in order to build a comprehensive campaign to support low-income families.

3 Easy Steps

Single mothers will learn how to become financially self-sufficient in three easy steps by:

01 | Taking Stock of Their Situations
02 | Regaining Control of Their Lives
03 | Improving Their Financial Health


October 2012
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