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Sue's Story: How She Won Her Support Hearing

by Laura Johnson

Sue handled the family finances during her marriage. When her husband filed for divorce and moved out of the house he emptied all the bank accounts and took her box of "budget envelopes". He left her with bills to pay and no money other than what she had in her purse and coming in her next paycheck.

Her attorney immediately filed a Motion for Temporary Support which was set for hearing within a couple of weeks.

At the hearing, Sue astounded the lawyers, her husband and even the judge with her testimony about how she managed her family's money. She was very confident about how much it cost her to live each month. Her confidence persuaded the judge to listen closely.

Here is what she said when her husband's lawyer interrogated her about her expenses shown on the financial statement she had filed with the court, not to mention the cash withdrawals she had been making for years from the joint bank account and all the money she had stashed in envelopes "all over the house".

"There isn't any hidden money. I know specifically how much money it takes every month to run our household and that my listed expenses are correct.

Every month I deposited our paychecks into our joint bank account and then withdrew a budgeted amount of money for the expenses coming up in the next month. Then, I'd take the money, divide it up according to my budget and then put each amount into its own envelope. When a bill came due, I'd take the money out of the envelope for that expense, deposit the money into a household bank account and then write a check for the payment.

If there was money left over in the envelope after paying the bill, I left it there adding the budgeted amount for the next month's pay periods. Then, after a while, if there was any money that had built up as a reserve in the envelope, I'd take that money and save it.

I used this system because my husband never paid attention to running the household and paying the household bills. He would always take more money out of the account than he should have so when it came time to pay bills, there wasn't enough money in the account to pay them.

I read about living a cash-based lifestyle and managing your money using the envelope system and decided to give it a try. It worked for us. I was able to pay all our bills each month, on time, and even managed to save some money, too."

She wasn't kidding about that! She had been using her envelope system for several years and during that time had saved close to $10,000 in an investment account titled in joint names, but which her husband claimed he knew nothing about and had "frozen" when he filed for divorce.

At the end of the hearing, the judge commended her on her money management. Following her budgeted numbers, he ordered her husband to return her envelopes to her, pay her enough money to cover his share of the bills for that month, and enough money each month thereafter for his share of the household bills during the pendency of the divorce.

Sue has continued with her money management program. Today, she has financially recovered from the divorce, has purchased a home, a car and is contributing to her son's college education. And, she goes on at least one nice vacation a year, all the while paying her way with cash saved up in envelopes stored in a box.

You can learn more about the cash based lifestyle by reading the same book as Sue. It's True Prosperity, a classic personal finance book written by K.C. Knouse.

© 2003 Laura Johnson


The author and publisher of this article have done their best to give you useful and accurate information. This article does not replace the advice you should get from a lawyer, accountant or other professional if the content of the article involves an issue you are facing. Divorce laws vary from state-to-state and change from time-to-time. In addition, it is a very fact-specific area of the law, meaning that the particular facts of your marriage and divorce, as well as other external factors may determine how the law is applied in your situation. Always consult with a qualified professional before making any decisions about the issues described in this article. Thank you.

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