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Get In-Stock Alert. Delivery not available. Pickup not available. Divorce Dollars is a complete guide to financial planning, before, during, and after divorce. The author demonstrates in a step-by-step manner how to overcome the financial challenges of divorce and lead a financially healthy life.
About This Item We aim to show you accurate product information. Manufacturers, suppliers and others provide what you see here, and we have not verified it. See our disclaimer. Mistakes made during separation and divorce can cause lifelong financial problems. Learn how to avoid them in the 3rd edition of this popular book.
Demonstrates how everyone can overcome the financial challenges of divorce Written by a financial planner At least 40 percent of all new marriages today will end in divorce. The financial consequences of divorce can be traumatic. Many people who get divorced are left with little money, no income, and no credit rating.
Divorce Dollars is a complete guide to financial planning, demonstrating in a step-by-step manner how to overcome the financial challenges of divorce and lead a financially healthy life. The book addresses everything from dividing the assets to retirement planning. By using examples of real people, Akeela Davis demonstrates how everyone can handle the financial challenges of divorce using careful planning and money smarts. Specifications Series Title Reference Series.
Customer Reviews. Write a review. See any care plans, options and policies that may be associated with this product. Feelings of self-doubt, of indecisiveness, of fear, and of loneliness still are present. Contact with the ex-spouse regarding sharing of the children may regularly bring up old bitter feelings, as, paradoxically, there is continued need for the parents to work together for the children even though they are apart as mates. If, for the most part, the divorce provides the intended relief, the spouses can move through the divorce process into a new stage in their lives with all the options open to them that their interests, skills, and opportunities provide.
Leaving the marriage brings similar or increased frustration, pain, and unhappiness. These feelings may occur as the person, living as a single, experiences deep loneliness and despair, or, as a remarried person, finds that the next marriage or marriages simple recreate the problems in the original one, with all the frustration, alienation, and anguish still present. Some spouses who are left after the mate chooses divorce never regain their composure. They sink into a chronic state of depression, laden with feelings of self-pity, worthlessness, and anxiety.
They feel permanently burned or afflicted with a broken heart, and they withdraw from most social contacts. They may become chronically physically ill, alcoholic, drug dependent, or suicidal. They may become chronically debilitated psychiatric patients. They may no longer have the capacity to function as adequate parent figures because of their depression. In some cases, unfortunately, they discontinue contact with their children because such contact all too painfully reminds them of the lost marriage.
These persons have popularly and validly been labeled "divorce flame-outs," having indeed lost their spark for life. Although the vast majority of divorcing couples somehow manages to get through these various stages, there is a small proportion that gets stuck in the process and fails to maneuver through the stages.
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Typically, these couples lodge in the transition stage and never get through it. These are the inveterate litigators. They will not detach from each other, but, as enemies, maintain "negative intimacy" Ricci, and are the scourge of family courts everywhere. It is during this period that the spouses contact attorneys and proceed, together, through the legal process. A number of psychological factors have major impact on the nature and quality of this process. Typically, as discussed in earlier in this chapter, one spouse is much further along in the process.
When this spouse retains an attorney, there is a hope that the attorney will be able to speedily move the case through the pragmatic issues which stand in the way of the future. In spite of the reality that the other spouse may need time to process the emotional impact of the decision to divorce, the attorney typically responds to the demands of the client and turns up the procedural heat by filing pleadings, serving interrogatories, requesting production of documents, requesting the setting of trial dates, subpoenaing records, noticing depositions, and utilizing other procedural devices available to move the action toward judicial resolution.
The responding spouse generally meets this pressure with resistance and, consciously or unconsciously, does everything possible to frustrate the process and delay the inevitable. The net result is a tremendous waste of time, resources, and emotions. Alternatively, with knowledge of the differential pace through the divorce process, the attorney can encourage the client to allow the responding party some time to come to terms with the emotional realities of the divorce.
This simple action can often result in substantial progress being made, as the responding party begins to let go of the relationship and accept the necessity of obtaining information and making good decisions about the issues which need to be resolved. The suggested appeal for patience need not depend on the client's compassion for the emotional plight of the spouse.
A stronger motivating factor may be the financial cost-effectiveness of moving ahead with genuine progress when the obstacles are withdrawn. ANXIETY Another factor which heavily contributes to the quality of the negotiations is the degree of anxiety and fear manifested by the parties.
It is common for each spouse to have anxieties about the unknown throughout the complex and ambiguous process of divorce and to fear the partner. As discussed above, anger is most often a secondary emotion, covering up fears and insecurities. However, not knowing this fact, each spouse tends to perceive the other's anger as real threat, rather than as an expression of insecurity. They each subsequently believe that they need attorneys to protect them from the spouse. The irony is that each spouse is seeking protection from the other.
Each side retreats from the other and develops a siege mentality. As they feel less and less in control of the forces and issues in their lives, they move deeper and deeper into a legal process which, by its nature and design, moves them further away from that very control. The net result is increased anxiety in a self-perpetuating, destructive, and downward cycle. For example, a husband who has been the breadwinner may become possessive about the assets which he has accumulated and now sees being divided in a manner that seems wholly inequitable.
The wife, who has been fulfilling the role of homemaker and mother, may feel totally unprepared to make decisions regarding the division of basic assets of the marriage. The husband, after expressing a commitment to support his children, has his attorney describe to him his support obligations under the law. On hearing just what these are, he feels resentful about being shackled to an obligation to support a spouse who appears to him to be unwilling to contribute to the financial needs of the family in a meaningful way. The wife realizes that she can no longer count on the support of the breadwinning spouse and wrestles with the emotional paradox of needing support and resenting her dependency on it at the same time.
Depending on her age and parenting status, she looks to an uncertain future which requires her to enter the job market and perhaps develop a career in order to enhance her future earning capabilities. This new responsibility may conflict with the commitment she has made to being home for her family as the children grow up. She sees her husband proceeding without interruption in his career development, a process which will continue to be financially rewarding for him. The husband, on the other hand, sees the majority of his net income being turned over to a family unit in which he no longer has the right to participate in any meaningful fashion, since he has been assigned the role of weekend parent.
These dilemmas which confront divorcing couples are among the most frustrating and painful in the divorce process.
Consider, for example, the following scenario: Two couples live on the same street in the same housing development. The husbands both work at the same company, and both their wives are mothers and homemakers caring for two children. With one couple, the husband has told his wife that he wants a divorce, and he reveals to her for the first time that he has another woman in his life.
With the second couple, the husband is told by his wife that she is no longer happy in the marriage and that she wishes to get a divorce, go back to school, and start a new career. In a state with no-fault divorce, such as California, with all else being equal, both husbands will be ordered to pay the same amount of child and spousal support and, most likely, both husbands will leave the family residence and obtain new living quarters.
With the first couple, this will be done by desire; with the second couple, this will be done by demand. Although the laws of support will be applied with blind equality to each of the husband breadwinners, the leaver will most likely experience the support obligation as a balm to his guilt at leaving the family, and the husband who is left will suffer that identical order as a monthly dose of salt in his gaping emotional wound.
TRUST The breakdown of trust in a divorce starts as a small crack, expands as an ever-widening fissure on the marital landscape, and becomes a canyon of disbelief between the spouses which cannot be bridged. In this psychological state, the parties are expected to make monumental decisions affecting all that they hold dear. And within this state of affairs, the professional practitioners representing these parties must have their trust in order to work most effectively with and on behalf of the client. However, the traditional legal divorce proceedings themselves generate a climate of distrust.
For example, it is commonplace in a divorce proceeding to avoid an actual trial by settling the case on the courthouse steps or in the courthouse coffee shop at the eleventh hour. In these circumstances, the client often feels as if he were in an emotional pressure cooker created by a number of converging forces. These may include the reality of the divorce date's arrival; the intimidation of the courtroom, the lawyers, and the judge; the feeling of powerlessness at the loss of control; and the feeling of panic at having to make agreements on major issues or else face the judge's decision at trial.
At a time when the loss of trust between the parties reaches its nadir, they are made to confront each other and negotiate or to cast their fates to the judicial winds. It is extremely important for the attorney to prevent a client from later feeling betrayed by his own ignorance of the issues being negotiated. By regularly assessing the client's mental and emotional state throughout the proceedings, the attorney can make certain that the client is capable of giving knowing consent to the issues and to the process. Because trust is so necessary for providing full service to a client, it is the obligation of the attorney to be more than an advocate for the client.
Given the volatile emotional state of the client, it is the duty of the practitioner to go beyond the mere function of representation and to counsel, advise, support, comfort, chide, and encourage the client. Doing so early in the proceedings can ensure the attorney of the much needed trust. Even the decision to seek the advice or representation of counsel involves more than simply locating a skilled attorney.
Depending on need, the client may make a conscious decision to choose a male or female attorney, an aggressive attorney, a strong attorney, or a friendly attorney, on the assumptions that these are the most important qualities that are needed and that these qualities will make a difference. An appropriate function of the attorney at this stage of the proceeding is to suggest to the client those qualities which may serve her better; for example, thoroughness, competence, experience, and judgment.
Each spouse will both influence and be influenced by the many necessary and critical decisions of the other. Considerations such as "Should I file papers with the court? For example, an attorney may routinely suggest obtaining a restraining order to freeze cash assets in a bank account without giving proper consideration to the very real fear that might be experienced by the wife who has never gone against the wishes of her husband.
Should the attorney advise her to wait to file such an order until her husband has hired an attorney who can explain the standard use of these types of orders? Indeed, the husband may have a significant emotional reaction to the insinuation that he has manifested, or is likely to manifest, any of these behaviors. After the initial stage of the legal process, the more significant substantive decisions must be reckoned with. Although the attorney organizes the issues which confront the client, the client may still see only chaos and disorder.
Because of the necessity for the client to become informed about the choices which must be made, the timing of this phase ideally should coincide with the individual's emotional progress. Good timing allows the development of the issues and information relating to those issues to meet an open and accepting mind which is ready to process the information into choices.
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If the parties are to avoid surrendering control of these issues in their lives, which is the inevitable product of resolution by court trial, then they will have to begin to negotiate with each other sooner or later. Again, depending on psychological needs, the client may be able to interact actively and directly with the spouse or may be able, psychologically, to allow the attorney to act as the authorized negotiator on his or her behalf.
Active clients may relish the opportunity to take on responsibilities which might otherwise be handled by the attorney, such as obtaining advice from accountants, real estate agents, psychologists, appraisers, or financial planners. The financial impact of a passive willingness to leave these responsibilities to the attorney will result in a substantially different accumulation of fees and costs than might otherwise be the Case.
The attorney must consider and respond to the different needs of different clients. For example, a husband who has controlled the family finances and has a good grasp of the issues of the divorce might welcome the opportunity to keep fees and costs down by becoming actively involved in the process: contacting an accountant to analyze the tax consequences of property division and support; arranging for appraisal of the family residence, the sole-proprietor- family business, and the pension benefits; organizing the documentation of postseparation payments of marital debts which will be reimbursed upon the sale of the house.
Or a wife who has devoted her time to domestic duties and has not had exposure to the overall finances of the marriage may still be able to participate actively with tasks such as reviewing the household checking account for the previous twelve months to determine the actual family expenses; preparing for managing her own postdivorce budget; interviewing real estate agents to explore options regarding selling or keeping the family residence; utilizing a vocational rehabilitation counselor to explore her skills job opportunities, or career options. These types of tasks can help clients move from a passive to an active role, providing them a sense of control and direction which not only helps them proceed through the process but prepares them for the future as well.
Clients may choose to be passive for a variety of reasons. Frequently, the pain of ending the relationship particularly for the party being left is so great that the client wants the attorney to shield him or her from having to deal directly with the other spouse. Or a spouse may simply lack the experience or education to deal with the many financial decisions that have to be made.
However, the attorney's responsibility goes beyond helping the client through the divorce proceedings per se. The legal divorce process, with its inherent structure and support system, eventually will come to an end for the client. Anticipating this transition, the practitioner can play an extremely important role by helping to prepare the passive client for the inevitable time when he or she will have to deal directly with the other party over parenting issues and for the time when the client will have to handle the family budget and finances alone.
The professional practitioner needs to be mindful of the possibility that a dependent spouse may smoothly and subtly transfer his or her dependence from the soon to be ex-marital partner to the attorney. While this occurrence might allow the person to function with an appearance of normality during the prolonged strain of this life crisis, the client may remain ill-prepared for the dependency vacuum which often accompanies the termination of the attorney-client relationship when the legal divorce is complete.
The attorney may, through the legal process, unwittingly become the new psychological partner. The pressure of advocacy can easily blind even a skilled professional to the validity of the opposing party's viewpoint, and it is not unusual for attorneys to become tenaciously attached to positions on issues which the individual clients may no longer deem important. Long after the client has relinquished a particular position, the attorney, serving as an ego extension of the client, may continue fighting a meaningless battle, becoming blindly embroiled in personality clashes with opposing counsel over issues that are once removed from the client's current needs or wishes.
During this time of crisis, the client may not willingly accept the fact that the objective justice of a judicial decision may bare no resemblance whatsoever to the subjective justice to which he or she clings with a desperate hope. From the area in which the parties feel most vulnerable and wounded there grows an uncompromising faith that the system i.
The notion that our laws are fair and that, therefore, contact with the law will produce a fair result dies a hard death when such a result does not come to be. The husband who hears for the first time that his spouse, who was unemployed throughout the marriage, owns one-half of his pension as a matter-of-fact property right, and the wife who is told that her child support will terminate when her daughter turns eighteen, even though the daughter will continue to live with her at home while attending junior college, share a common outrage that the law can be so unfair.
Can it really be true, in a no-fault divorce state, that the judge will not make a different decision if he knows that John or Mary has been unfaithful in the marriage? And, surely the court will not let the children visit with their father when his new girlfriend is at his apartment! Saposnek, The reality is that the law is at best a canonization of public policy statements by the legislature or the appellate courts, made as generalizations which cannot anticipate the specific application to the unique circumstances of each individual's marriage.
Compounding the problem is the reality that the ability of an attorney to predict the courts' application of the law to any given set of specific facts is made more remote by each additional issue which will be placed before the court. A delicate balancing of objective equities from the bench cannot realistically be anticipated given the complexity that comes with each additional layer of issues. A key to a client's willingness to enter into meaningful negotiations with a spouse is the ability of that client to let go of these myths regarding the legal system.
Motivated by emotional considerations, parties are quick to choose form over substance. The idea that the matter will be over with if simply placed before a judge for a decision has tremendous appeal when the psychological impact of the litigation process itself seems unendurable. Clients are generally far too close to the trees to see the forest. Only with the passage of time are they able to measure the real cost of the process in which they have participated and to evaluate the real gains which were made.
Unlike litigation, mediation creates a positive negotiation environment in which anxiety is significantly reduced and is replaced by a healthy concern for the issues which confront both parties and for the decisions which each must make. Moreover, legal fees and expenses are reduced as the parties cease to use procedures as weapons or defenses against one another. The sharing of information that comes from a common sense regarding the respective rights and obligations of the parties creates a uniform vocabulary which enhances the likelihood that future agreements will narrow the range of disagreements.
The focus on substance over form puts the parties in touch with the real issues that will affect their future lives. At the same time, allowing the clients to express their emotions while keeping those emotions separate from their rights at law keeps the focus on the business side of the marital issues.
In this framework, a client can be helped to see how it is in his or her interest to make financial decisions while, as much as possible, remaining free from the influence of emotions. The opportunity for clients to express their feelings in a manner that provides acknowledgment of those feelings if only from the mediator without derailing substantive discussions can provide a certain therapeutic benefit not available in the litigation process.
The willingness of the spouses to disclose the feelings that each experiences can create a limited but necessary reservoir of trust that allows them to communicate sufficiently to reach an agreement. Having exchanged the destructive aspects of diffused and excessive anxiety for the focused concern of self-interest, the spouses are in a better position to absorb the necessary information about their respective rights and responsibilities regarding general financial matters, property and debt division, parenting issues, and support obligations. In negotiating directly with each other, they can choose their own standards of fairness.
Rights at law, which are the sole bases for justifying a position taken in the judicial format, may give way to consideration of moral rights, as the parties agree to adopt a different currency of exchange in their bargaining with each other. The negotiation phase of the process begins only when the parties have been informed sufficiently and are rational and ready to discuss their matters of common concern.
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In general, the more information provided and shared with the clients, the more they will realize that there are no preprogrammed answers to their particular divorce issues. Notwithstanding the general rules which may be enforced in any given jurisdiction regarding custody, support, or property division, the issues in each particular marriage are as unique as the thumb prints of the parties. Reducing the likely results to the parties, if they litigated these matters, to a series of issues placed on the table, the mediator can help the parties to negotiate from self-interest--to trade assets and to balance issues with each other.
By combining in one offer or proposal various issues which are of unequal weight or value but which are designed to appeal to the wants and needs of the other spouse, the parties produce productive negotiations that generate momentum. Among the many factors which the spouses share in common, the most significant and meaningful is the fact that each holds an interest in something the other wants. As long as each party feels that he or she is receiving consideration for whatever he or she is being asked to give up, the parties move closer to overall agreement.
The major psychological consequence of a mediated approach is the empowerment of the parties. Control which would ordinarily be surrendered in the litigation process is returned to the clients. The ability of the parties to respect each other for the manner in which they are negotiating can become significant cornerstone for their ongoing relationship. The establishment of a successful communication model provides a more optimistic outlook for their future contact. The benefits to any children of the marriage when their parents choose this type of conflict resolution process can only be seen as a positive and hopeful event, during a period of time when little else seems positive.
For most, it certainly is a time of tremendous stress, disruption, chaos, uncertainty, and craziness. With appropriate help from understanding and knowledgeable professionals, the process of divorce can be navigated successfully. However, without an understanding of the powerful dynamics of divorce, the helping professional can become a misnomer, contributing unnecessarily to the escalation of negative emotions and negative interactions.
In choosing to respond to the client's stated needs e. To allow for the ever-changing emotional and psychological state of the client ranging from runaway guilt to abject despair , the professional must be more than just an advocate for the client. He must play also the role of devil's advocate, counselor, financial adviser, protector, motivator, and handholder. The generic requirements that define the role of a lawyer must give way to the unique demands of the lawyer's role in this very specific and special area of human relationships.
In light of the critical significance of the many psychological factors involved in divorce settlements, it is of real concern that, along with their considerable training in substantive law and litigation, attorneys have so little preparation or training in psychology. Perhaps it is time to institute more rigorous psychological training for legal professionals involved in the very difficult area of divorce. On the more optimistic side, the exposure that therapists and attorneys have had to each other, as a result of the merging of the disciplines in cases of court-ordered custody mediation, has created an interdisciplinary dialogue that has enhanced the knowledge and understanding of practitioners of both disciplines.
The mental health professionals have brought a new understanding of the psychology of divorce to the legal professionals who practice in this area. At the same time, therapists have gained greater knowledge of the complex legal and practical problems which compound divorcing clients' psychological and emotional needs. This represents a most positive development in the evolution of these professional disciplines. The ripple effect that will inevitably result will reach other professional practitioners whose clients are in the process of separation and divorce, hopefully sensitizing them to the very influential and unavoidable psychological aspects of divorce.
Ahrons, C. Divorced Families: A multidisciplinary Developmental View. New York: W. Bohannan, P. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. Federico, J. Divorce Mediation: Theory and Practice. New York: Guilford. Folberg, J. New York: McGraw-Hill. Haynes, J. New York: Springer.