Money: For better or worse off

My biggest mistake: James Munro split everything 50/50 with his wife - three times
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The Independent Online
James Munro, 65, is an educational consultant

"In the early 1960s I founded a group of homes for children with multiple handicaps. It was then that I met my wife. We got married and I bought a house. We had two wonderful children, but by 1972 the marriage had broken down. It was entirely my fault and we split the property 50/50.

My wife and I were still in contact because of the children and after three years apart she suggested that we get back together. We got married again bought a big new house and had two more children.

In 1984, I was offered my first job as headmaster, but unfortunately it meant moving. My wife was half-way through a new training course, so we agreed that the best thing to do was to sell the house, split everything 50/50 again and buy two smaller properties.

In the event I was given a flat to use at the school.

After I moved, a paying-in book for a new bank account came through the post. Apparently I was supposed to put money into it, but since the account was in the name of "Ms Munro", I sent it back and said I didn't know who this person was.

It was only by chance that I later found out my wife had told the local authority she was separated.

When she told me I wasn't welcome back, I moved in with my mother. It was around 1988 when I was invited to renew the relationship. The house was too small for all of us, so we bought a bigger one.

But three years ago, shortly before our 25th anniversary, and apropos of nothing at all my wife handed me a note saying she was leaving. She had already rented another house.

Inevitably she asked for a divorce, and both sets of lawyers said that all our belongings should be divided 50/50 - again.

Aside from that, the divorce went through fairly smoothly.

I'm not bitter, just broke. I was a complete twerp for letting it happen to me three times. Last year she said she wanted to renew the relationship `at least on a friendly basis'..."

James Munro, not his real name, was talking to Corinne Simcock.

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