Getting Divorced.

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HSpencer
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Post by HSpencer » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:47 am

Divorce. AKA: Split the sheet. The "D" word, etc.
I read about several posters on the forum who have talked about divorce in their lives. I have been married 45 years, gotten good at it, and don't ever want to see her gone. But that is not the point of the post.
When a couple says the "D" word loud and long enough, it seems to have a way of happening. Affairs, out of control spending excesses, and the financial stress of day to day life are the most frequent causes of divorce. With no regard for family financial problems, the "blame game" shows up and it is soon a lost cause, or so it seems to the couple.
Actually, the elements of a divorce don't help anything between the couple, it only worsens them. When most couples divorce, they are consigning themselves to lives of poverty. They are taking their financial statements before a middle aged guy or gal in a black robe and saying effectively: "Here is our wallet, we are way too stupid to make the decisions necessary to provide for ourselves either together, or apart" "Please take our wallet and divide it up somehow". This is madness.

Why let a black robe determine the rest of your lives? Wouldn't you rather do it yourselves? What about the lawyer fees? Isn't the stress of the divorce enough? Why not go for an uncontested divorce, no financial determination involved?
Even if you are at the point you cannot stand to look your spouse in the eyes, at least take the smart way and divide up your assets without interference. Before you go black robe, have an agreement written on debt payments, income for each of you, and child custody plan. The point here is that it's still your life, and you want to be the decision maker. And, maybe by the time you get the list made, you will decide not to go through with it.
Now there will be tons of other involvements about the divorce. Many other factors could be there. What I am saying is you don't in every case need a Judge to break you up. Yes if there are children they must be protected with Custody and Child Support payments, enforced by a court.
Just remember the old saying "It's cheaper to keep her".

You have the control of your own lives--not a black robe in a way too high paid position.


AlexOliver
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Post by AlexOliver » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:07 am

Sometimes it's not possible to divide the assets without interference.
I think it's odd you're talking about people "consigning themselves to lives of poverty" when many of the people on this board seem to live below or close to the poverty line ($10k per person) anyway.


BennKar
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Post by BennKar » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:16 am

This almost sounds like you are discussing pre-nups, which unfortunately can be thrown out by judges for no reason if they want (But this is not what you are discussing). Thankfully when I got a divorce my to-be-ex agreed that there was no reason to lose tons of money with a divorce case and agreed to an amicable uncontested divorce with the financial arrangements all worked out. I paid all legal fees - less than $1,000. And we had no children, which helped tremendously.
As for how to make an agreement without getting the courts involved, as the fiscally responsible side (as ERE readers I think this is a safe assumption) try to go beyond truely equitable. Try to get your soon-to-be ex feeling you really care (and hopefully you "do" still care - I know I did) so they will go along with you and not fight. Because if you get in front of a judge with a disagreement, they almost always will side with the irresponsible one. They don't care about what is fair, they care about the viablity of both sides going forward. And lawyers don't care about you (much), they care about fees (mostly).
By taking this approach, I was able (after three long years of constant payments to my ex after the divorce) to begin to thrive again. I understand why the saying exists, but in my case it was certainly *NOT* cheaper to keep her, even after all I paid out.


JoeNCA
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Post by JoeNCA » Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:20 am

Perhaps another important factor is the marriage itself - unless one can absolutely be certain of conditions of lasting marriage, it's probably best not to marry.
Life is easier and cheaper to live as a single person.
A casual approach to marriage may end up in real misery for everyone involved, both sides of the family included.
Once kids are born, the marriage is forever.


AlexOliver
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Post by AlexOliver » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:25 am

"Once kids are born, the marriage is forever."
What? Why?


aquadump
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Post by aquadump » Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:36 am

I like Harry Browne's solution to avoid divorce: don't get married. Different strokes for different folks, though.
It is quite silly, in the grand scheme of things, that it costs money to end a marriage. You don't have to pay money to stop being someone's friend or employee.


DividendGuy
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Post by DividendGuy » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:09 am

I'll never have to hear or utter the "D-Word", because I made a vow to myself to never get married. I hate to be crass, but I prefer early retirement to having to worry about someone having a claim to any of my assets. I don't ever want to be standing in front of some judge while they divide my wealth in half. NO THANK YOU.


JoeNCA
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Post by JoeNCA » Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:19 am

@AlexOliver
Because one can not "undo" a child. A marriage is a union between a mother and a father and their children, if born.
Your child will always be a part of you and a part of your spouse for a lifetime. No one can substitute a mother and a father.
I've had many single parent friends growing up and all of them suffered emotionally one way or the other. It wasn't until they had found a family of their own that they seemed to stabilize and find peace.
A divorce after having a child is essentially an abandonment. Until the kid reaches independence, i.e., mid to late 20's, a divorce will have a negative impact in their lives. So that means essentially a 30 year commitment which resets anytime if there is a newborn.
Since many people enter marriage in their twenties, adding 30 years means divorce in their 50's or 60's - essentially a life time.
So once kids are born, the marriage is forever - if one wants to do the right thing.
Or, I suppose, one could discard them and move on.


BennKar
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Post by BennKar » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:33 am

"I've had many single parent friends growing up and all of them suffered emotionally one way or the other. It wasn't until they had found a family of their own that they seemed to stabilize and find peace."
Just my personal take on this as a child of a divorce.... I may have suffered emotionally, but it had nothing to do with the divorce. I was never upset they divorced. It was their (or *her*) choice. What did give me issues was her insistance on demonizing my father for years and the jerk she married after the divorce and I had to live with. If she had been an adult and married a good man, I would have been just fine. So I would say if they would behave like adults, the kids can be just fine. (My opinion anyway)


AlexOliver
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Post by AlexOliver » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:45 am

Marriage has nothing to do with children. They can occur both inside and outside of a marriage. Making the choice to have a child is a commitment to that child; making a choice to get married is a commitment to the spouse; they are mutually exclusive.
I think it's more damaging to a child to live in a house where the parents don't love each other than to live in a house with one parent who is secure in him/herself, or two parents of the same sex that love each other.
"Or, I suppose, one could discard them and move on."
Are you fucking mental?! Taking care of one's mental health and standing up for one's right to be happy does NOT mean discarding their children.
I'm a product of a single mother (although there was no marriage or divorce). I have qualms about certain parts of it--daycare, for instance--but that wouldn't have changed if my father had been in the picture. I still would have been in day care. But I never doubted that she loved me. I didn't blame myself for my parents being unhappy.
I think staying together "for the children" is a lie and does more harm than good.


dpmorel
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Post by dpmorel » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:06 am

Alex - you are pretty dead wrong about marriage and having children being mutually exclusive.
Bearing children within "marriage" is a universal concept, a core trait of humanity shared across all cultures. It is as human as walking upright and using your opposable thumbs.
I too was raised by a single mother but to quote Chris Rock "it doesn't mean its a good f'n idea". And now as a father and husband I agree even more, it's insane for us to think our society would be better off if we started separating the concepts of marriage and raising families.
More so, I think the whole concept that you should divorce if you are not showing your children some sort of perfect, Leave-it-to-Beaver-esque marriage (the don't stay together for the sake of your children theory), is based on a very short modern history of extreme economic prosperity where it has been possible for a woman to make enough money to support a family, raise a family via paying for daycare/nannies/etc, have enough time to get supplies/groceries and provide food via new processed food/cheap gas/cars/etc...
Generally for most of humanity (and even in most countries right now), it has taken more than two people to provide food & shelter & care for a family. We should not go dick around with how we raise families and the societal structures behind it, because we had a good run for 50 years. And yes, providing food & shelter for your family is worth "staying together for the children".


AlexOliver
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Post by AlexOliver » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:33 am

I was wrong in saying "mutually exclusive" because that's not what I meant. I meant one can be married without kids or unmarried with kids, and the situation might be better for all involved than if they were married with kids.
I didn't mean a "leave it to beaver"-esque marriage, but I think you should divorce if you're constantly fighting, especially if it's in front of the kids, creating a stressful environment, and generally making the home a place to escape from.
If the parents hate each other, how is that preferable to divorce?
Obviously the most preferable situation (for kids) would be two parents who love each other.


AlexK
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Post by AlexK » Sun Jan 02, 2011 10:51 am

DividendGuy, I have made the same vow but it does get tough when a great girlfriend decides she needs to be married to be happy.


JoeNCA
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Post by JoeNCA » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:54 pm

@AlexOliver
The responsibility of raising children lies with the parents.
I can not imagine a world where parents would place their own interests before that of their children's.
Even the lowly animals risk their lives in front of predators for their young.
That would be a sad world to live in, indeed.
Note: My viewpoint is a general view point and is not directed at anyone's particular situation. Please do not confuse a general discussion with private matters as I have no interest nor desire to discuss private matters in a public forum setting - i.e. my opinions are not meant to be "personal" but "public". Thanks.


Marius
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Post by Marius » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:32 pm

Once you have children, the consequences of divorce tend to become much more painful.

You'll probably pay child support. And if you have shared custody of the child, you'll have to regularly intereact with your ex and have to negotiate when you can go on vacation, who keeps it during which holiday, etc. If your ex wants to make your life hell, (s)he can.
Anyway. It's a choice.

I've chosen not to marry and not to have children.

I want to have as few liabilities and obligations as possible.


Bakari
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Post by Bakari » Sun Jan 02, 2011 5:48 pm

When I got divorced, we tried working out the financials ourselves, but emotional tensions interfered.
My ex suggested my mother as mediator, and we got an agreement signed within about an hour.
Uncontested divorce, never went before a judge, no complications.
We even managed to keep a decent friendship going.
I would never sign a prenup. Why marry someone you feel you can't trust?


Marius
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Post by Marius » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:03 pm

"I would never sign a prenup. Why marry someone you feel you can't trust?"
Sorry to sound like a sourpuss, but the world is full of divorced people who thought they would remain married and could trust their partner.


DividendGuy
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Post by DividendGuy » Sun Jan 02, 2011 7:40 pm

@AlexK
Personally, I just remind myself of the 50% divorce rate we have going on in this country. I feel that if a woman thinks that the only way to solidify a relationship and commitment is to purchase a ring and sign a piece of paper...well, then it's really not worth it to me. If my undying devotion and love is not enough, then the relationship has run it's course. Just my .02. Different strokes for different folks.


AlexOliver
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Post by AlexOliver » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:13 pm

"I can not imagine a world where parents would place their own interests before that of their children's."
It's in the children's interest to divorce if you're going to fight in front of them.


HSpencer
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Post by HSpencer » Sun Jan 02, 2011 8:54 pm

You all raise very interesting (and sometimes heated) points.

My original intent in the post was simply not to feel locked in to the stereotypical methodology society presents you with on a divorce case. You want a divorce so you hire a lawyer and lay yourself bare against the "courts". This is what we are taught to do. Just remember there could be a better way, where you are the decision makers and you have a say about your life in the future, instead of some authority who has no real interest in you.
As I pointed out in my OP, children do make things more difficult, as their best interest must be taken into consideration.
In life, we often take the accepted way of society. We get the five year car loan. We get the 30 year mortgage, or even an Adjustable Rate Mortgage. We have the surgery without looking further into it. We go before the judge. Often our choices are few to none. Other times we can say "wait a minute here", and do something which is better for ourselves.
Let's run our own lives as much as possible. That was my bottom line.


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