I remember staring at a mountain of unpaid bills, quietly asking myself, how did I get here? Months before I lead what looked like an idyllic life.Married for 13 years with four wonderful children, I felt secure. We owned a beautiful 6 bedroom home in the New Jersey Suburbs. I worked part time running our business, a hair and nail salon, while my husband had a good job as a network analyst at a large company.
We went on vacations, remodeled our home and seemed to have it all.Then one day, after the salon had closed, an employee nervously pulled me aside. I could tell by the look on her face that something was bothering her. “It’s your husband,” she said. “There’s something you should know. Time seemed to stand still as she told me about the rumors she had heard. Apparently my husband was having an affair with one of our employees.
I confronted my husband and he denied it. But the evidence quickly began to mount against him. He was not acting like himself, he would
pick fights with me and then stay out all night. Things grew increasingly tenser by the day.
Then one bright, warm October day my world fell apart. During an argument, my husband twisted my arm and threatened my life. My marriage was over. What followed can only be described as a living hell. There was a restraining order issued. My husband moved out of the house and two weeks later, his girlfriend moved in with him.
I hired an attorney and filed for divorce. The situation became more grave when he drained our bank accounts. When he refused to pay spousal and child support, I was in deep financial trouble. Struggling to pay a substantial mortgage, the household bills and the mounting attorney fees, I resorted to using my credit cards to survive. Luckily I had good credit and had open lines of credit available.
My husband began to act completely irrational. He felt that I was not entitled to any support. He began to retaliate for the restraining order issued against him and fabricated a story of his own. He obtained a restraining order against me and then taking it one step further, made up a story that I had violated it.
Unfortunately his claims that I violated the restraining order resulted in my arrest. I was sickened to discover that I would be spending the weekend in the County Jail until a Judge could be assigned to the case. I remember calling my lawyers and pleading with them to help me. I felt as though I was stuck in a bad dream and couldn’t wake up. Luckily, by a twist of fate, a friend knew of a divorce attorney who was able to get me out of jail the same day.
All charges were dropped; my husband had no evidence to collaborate his lies. How could the man I once trusted and vowed to spend the rest of my life with do this to me? He was now my worst enemy.
Just when I thought the worst had passed. Tragedy struck. My 59 year old father died of a sudden heart attack on Christmas Eve. I felt as if I had hit rock bottom. When your life has fallen apart like mine did, you have to make a choice. Either you give up and sink into a depression or you muster up any slight glimmer of hope and forge on. I chose to fight back. I had four innonocent children who needed me. I gathered whatever little strength I had left inside me.
The months past and my husband violated several court orders to pay spousal and child support. My family became my strength and loaned me money so my home would not be forced into foreclosure.
Finally, my husband was arrested. He eventually spent one month in jail before he agreed to pay the back money he owed. Eventually we were able settle our divorce. Deeply in debt but feeling as though a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders; I began to rebuild my life both financially and emotionally. During this time I began to think about all of the other women who might be going through a similar situation. I wanted to help other women avoid the pitfalls of divorce and teach them the survival skills they needed to have a positive divorce outcome.
I began to take the knowledge I had learned during my divorce and decided to write a book about my experience. Seven Secrets to a Successful Divorce-what every woman needs to know was published almost three years to the day I separated from my husband.
I believe everything in life happens for a reason. Divorce taught me, and now it’s my turn to teach others. I made it through the storm. I discovered my inner strength and have become a stronger, happier woman.