Often, when people consider divorce, their first goal is to distance themselves from their spouse. Not to see them every day. One of the first questions I’m asked by women who come to my office in connection with divorce is, “When can I get him out of the house”. And men ask, “Can I just rent an apartment somewhere and leave?” The answers to these questions can be complex and depend on individual circumstances so I won’t address them here. (Please feel free to call me about your personal situation – at 077-200-8161). In this article I’ll examine other stages during divorce and/or preparation for and/or evaluation of whether or not divorce is the answer.
At some point during the divorce proceedings everybody comes to the realization that it’s not just about getting away from their spouse. Divorce affects every aspect of their lives.
Each side’s financial situation is about to change.
When there are minor children (or adult children living at home) the parents’ relationship with them will change. Hopefully the changes will be time-based not quality-based.
The realization that they will have to deal with these issues as well, affects people differently, depending on the family dynamic up until the divorce was initiated.
One example I often see is the spouse who hasn’t been dealing with finances has no clue – no clue with regards to how much money is being spent and on what, no clue as to what assets are owned and in whose name, and most importantly and scary for them – no clue as to how they are going to be able to survive financially after the divorce. To be fair, on the other hand I see the person who has been managing the finances go into a state of fear and apprehension. They do the numbers and tell me, “There is no way that I will be able to survive financially after divorce.” By the way – on this issue – I have read some very interesting articles that speak of the high number of couples in Israel who stay together simply because they believe they would not survive financially if they got divorced.
Another example occurs regarding relationships with children. I cannot tell you how many fathers have an acute fear of their children being disconnected from them or of “losing” their relationship with their minor children after getting divorced. Now, it may be true that there are women who use their children as a tool to “abuse” their husbands (or soon to be ex-husbands) by initiating a disconnect between them and their children (this is called parental alienation syndrome or PAS). But it is also true that there are men who financially abuse their wives (or soon to be ex-wives) including but not exclusively via blackmail tactics for granting them the get – the Jewish writ of divorce. This is all due to a less than stellar system we have in Israel for family law – which in my opinion is inherently flawed.
All that being said however, the vast majority of spouses or soon to be ex-spouses don’t engage in such behavior. Nevertheless all of these issues are legitimate subjects which must be addressed at some point – sooner rather than later.
And the best way to address the issues is to consult seasoned professionals like therapists or counselors to help you deal with pressure and fears, and to help you with strategies for maintaining and improving your relationships. And accountants or financial planners help you build a financial plan going forward.
In point of fact, after having seen one of my clients get a large lump sum of money from the division of assets from her divorce and then “burning” through it in the course of three years – consequently, in my office I offer people the opportunity to take a package whereby they get a life coach for 16 to 32 meetings during the course of and/or after the divorce and a premier financial planner who builds a plan with them from the ground up (usually in 6-8 meetings) to help them figure out how to not only survive, but to thrive financially.