Oh dear. Did I just drop off the radar for almost a month?
Hardly a good start for my blog is it, and a really kick in the ass for my monthly goals, which kills me to be perfectly honest.
It’s been a bit of a horrific month for me, with a number of issues requiring lots of attention in other areas of life, most notably my pocket.
If you’re drinking a hot beverage right now, I suggest you put it down for a second.
I mentioned before that I’m going through a divorce.
Well, here’s the low down on that situation, my legal fees have extended beyond $350,000 over the last three years.
On top of that, I’m contending with about $60,000 of debt with the Inland Revenue.
You’d think it stops there.
Yeah, I know!
But, we’ll leave it there; for now.
If you didn’t take my advice about putting the hot drink down I hope you didn’t spray it all over your screen.
Can’t say I didn’t warn you!
Those legal fees are a little astronomical aren’t they?
You see that reaction in the animated gif? That’s the reaction I’ve had from near on every lawyer I’ve discussed my level of legal fees with; and there has been more than a few.
I was told over and over again by experienced lawyers to have these fees queried with the Law Society, a governing body who monitors the conduct of lawyers, because they were not only horrendous but were beyond any benchmark of morals to charge a parent such fees for Family Court proceedings. One particular lawyer remarked that there is a line that extends beyond all moral and ethical boundaries to justify billing a client beyond $100,000.
I can see both sides of the argument around such fees, but I’d generally agree with it based on circumstances. Particularly as, looking back, some of the work I was billed for was not the best and it’s clear to me now the legal firm I engaged did not always act with my best interests, or those of my children, at all times. They often looked after their own interests first.
At the time, however, I was neck deep in proceedings and Family Court proceedings are normally emotional. I was afraid to lose momentum with the lawyer I had engaged and I really didn’t know better. I was easily talked into thinking there would be no one better. Despite this, under crippling debt, for a period of about 9 months, I self represented in court.
Despite having studied a great deal of law at University, it was a learning experience, but a strengthening one.
In the middle of 2015 my lawyer at the time resigned from her firm and I was left somewhat stranded, with no representation, with little to no progress on property proceedings.
I owed them $60,000 at the time she resigned, I potentially still do, having exhausted all cash I had saved away to pay income tax (hence the debt with with the Inland Revenue) and having borrowed my parents entire life savings from a family trust, I was well and truly in a pickle.
The firm had represented me until I completed court disclosure of my finances for property proceedings, which gave a very clear view that I had nothing left. I’d exhausted all options to borrow from family and I refused to ask friends for help. Putting it bluntly, they cut me loose, and they feel justified in doing so.
Again, I can see both sides of the coin on that one, but I can’t help but feel that’s all kinds of wrong.
To add insult to injury, in October last year, the firm decided to commence a civil action to enforce payment of the outstanding account, just months after leaving me stranded and weeks after I had informed them I would be seeking a fee review.
They were seeking to bankrupt me.
I had already told them I intended to ask for a fee review with the Law Society prior to my lawyer resigning and I had already begun to pull the complaint together, but this aggressive preemptive attack placed me firmly under the pump to lodge the complaint before the court date in January.
My complaint needed to be detailed and robust. I worked diligently each night to complete it in time. My document reached over 300 pages long with evidence.
Every moment outside of work and time with my son during the lead up to Christmas was spent working on it. It was exhausting, but essential.
At the end of February I received the law firm’s responses to my complaint and was given the opportunity to reply.
There were 400 pages of response, and I was initially given just two weeks, but fortunately granted four weeks, to match that which the lawyers had received.
Largely, this has been where my month was absorbed.
Every night I worked tirelessly on it, except for when I had my son, I let nothing get in the way of our time together.
Then there’s the tax debt. Conversations with the Inland Revenue have resulted in a real blow to the stomach this month.
The problem with debt is that everyone wants to be paid first, everyone wants paying now and very few are prepared to work with you to make it happen more quickly, most surprisingly the government.
But that’s a post for another day.
And so that was the bad in the horrible month that was.
I’ve had no time to sit and write for this blog this month, and as I mentioned, that leaves me feeling a little sore because it’s taken a bite out of my enthusiasm, hopefully just because I’m exhausted.
Sometimes something has got to give I guess!
I’m still determined, and that’s not to say I’ve not been doing something.
I’m a big believer that you should always be moving forward, even just a little bit, but I’ll leave those details for my income and traffic report at the end week.
Always look for the positives
Life has dealt me some bad cards in the last decade. In particular, the last three years have been something of a challenge and I’m unfortunately still contending with the uphill struggle.
This is, in part, why I started this blog, so that you can realise through adversity, with the right attitude, you can come through anything. That no circumstances can allow you to fail, unless you quit.
I want to prove that against all odds, with very little time on your hands you can generate extra income sources and make you way out of debt to financial freedom.
There’s a quote from one of the world’s best MMA fighters, Conor McGregor, he said:
There’s only one thing that’s impossible and that’s to beat a man that doesn’t give up.
I’m determined to succeed.
I’m determined to show you that all you need is a cold hard determination to reach your goal, whatever it is.
One of the most essential lessons I’ve carried out from dealing with difficult days, particularly over the last three years, is that you have to look for the positives in each day and use those to lift you up.
That can be a challenge in itself at times, I know!
But if you search, you’ll always have something to be thankful for. Whether it’s realising you have food in your belly, when so many in the world do not, or a roof over your head as you go to sleep at night, you should be able to find something to be grateful for and hold it in your heart for at least a short moment in time.
Trust me, those moments of gratitude will help carry you through any challenge.
I look to my pitiful month of progress on my blog and I have so much to be grateful for.
I have a job, a good income, a roof over my head, food on the table. I have a fantastic partner, my children and I are healthy, I have amazing parents, a brother I wouldn’t swap for the world and I’m surrounded by amazing friends at home and at work.
My inability to make the time to research and write any posts this month is even more exasperating for me by one of the most awesome things that has happened this month.
I was featured in a bloggers income report roundup post by one of my favourite bloggers, and someone I have followed for over four years, Michelle Schroeder-Gardner.
I was blissfully stunned when I saw a spike in blog traffic as I climbed into bed one night this week, only to find I had been included in this income roundup. I am humbled, no, wait, I’m in an absolute state of awe, to have been included, albeit at the bottom, of a roundup that includes the likes of Patt Flynn (my favourite podcaster), Holly at Club Thrifty and Pinch of Yum.
I’m right there at the bottom, with my measly little 4 cents of income from my first month.
Crazy or what?!
Not only that, but I’ve had overwhelming support in my comments from the people who visited here from Michelle’s blog. Not only is Michelle such a wonderful person to include me but she’s clearly got an amazing audience. I’m so happy to have you guys following along for this journey.
Truly, I’m just like, WOW!
Where there are challenges there are opportunities
I look at the events I’ve been contending with this month and the background stories they are attached too and I have some incredible posts to write about, in time.
One of the comments written on a post this week was a keenness to know about my level of debt and the background of those debt. There are unimaginable tales to tell for sure, but you will have to wait for a moment whilst I figure the best way to tell them.
As for my debt, I’ve decided it would be a good idea to do a monthly debt progress report, much like the monthly income and traffic reports I’ve begun. I’m coming from both sides of the candle on this one and I think it would be so inspiring for anyone in debt to see how it can be tackled.
At first I thought I needed a line in the sand, to be able to solidify my debts, because they have been so much of a moving target. But then it dawned on me, debt is always a moving target, particularly if you are not tending to it!
If you’re keen to follow along, and hear those tales when they are ready to tell, please sign up to my mailing list using the form to the right and I’ll let you know when I publish posts.
And, if you’re facing challenges in life, keep you chin up, focus on the positives as much as you can, no matter how small they are. Keep your dreams in your heart, your eyes firmly fixed on your goals and make sure you have a plan and your pain and challenged will be temporary.
Have a great day my friends!