1948

Dave Says: New Car in a Bad Situation?

Dear Dave,

My wife is divorcing me, and we just had our first baby boy. I feel it’s my responsibility to take care of her until the divorce is final, and to keep her in a safe vehicle. She’s driving a 1982 Honda Civic, and it’s so small any kind of wreck could be a disaster. I’m thinking about buying her a new car. What do you think?

Mike

Dear Mike,

I’m really sorry you guys are going through all this, especially with a brand new baby in the mix. I appreciate your nobility and attitude about the situation, but you need to realize that once you’re divorced, it’s no longer your responsibility to take care of her. Divorce carries a lot of emotional stress and worry for everyone involved, but I don’t think buying her a new car will solve anything. It may actually lead her to expect even more from you later on.

I’m going to take a wild guess that the truth of the matter is you’re worried about your child, and this whole thing is breaking your heart. That’s natural, Mike. It means you love your baby. But a “safe” car doesn’t have to mean a brand new car. You could put her in an old Suburban and she’d be safe, because those things are tanks!

If it were me, and the relationship couldn’t be salvaged, I’d find a large used car – one that either one of you can pay for with cash – and let her drive off into the sunset. But spend every second you can hugging and loving on your little boy, and make sure you’re a fixture in his life. He’s going to need someone like you.

—Dave

*For more financial advice, please visit daveramsey.com.
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