One issue that comes up in every marriage and every divorce is money. How to make it? How much to make? How to spend it? How much to spend? What to sacrifice in order to get money and what is not worth sacrificing for more money?
The different ways that spouses answer these questions in their own heads often reveal themselves in arguments, marriage counseling or, in a worst-case scenario, a divorce negotiation. Unfortunately, we are not very good at seeing, understanding, or talking about our own individual views of money. So, we don’t talk about it with our spouse, or, we only talk about it in the form of a fight.
Rather than wait until a fight or a divorce, you can get an insight into your views about money now, and start a conversation with your spouse about it while you’re both calm and nobody is worked up.
The best quick tool that I know of to help you understand your (and your spouse’s) views about money are the Klontz Money Script Inventory and the Klontz Money Behavior Inventory.
These were developed by two psychologists that are also Certified Financial Planners. The inventory is designed to help you gain insight into how you think about money. If you and your spouse both take it then you can see some areas where you think and behave differently regarding money. You can read more about it and what your results may mean as well.
There is no panacea for having different views of money. But, knowing how you differ as spouses is a huge first step to managing your differing views and not letting those differences negatively impact your marriage.
In a worst case scenario, taking these inventories in the early stages of your divorce process will help you and your attorney understand how you approach money issues. That, in turn, allows you to find a divorce solution that better fits your money values in terms of property division, alimony and child support.
There is no downside (that I can think of) to understanding more about how you as an individual and your spouse think about money. And, the upside is that it can head off unnecessary arguments, maybe save your marriage, and, at the very least, help you have a better divorce outcome.
If divorce is or may be an issue for you, this will be the most valuable 5 minutes of your week.
As I was driving home yesterday I heard this interview with two women going through divorce. One is in the very early stages, and one has recently finished up and is adjusting to her new life. Their perspectives and insight are really valuable and give you a really good idea of the kinds of issues that people have to wrestle with as they go through the divorce process.
In my experience, probably the single most important predictor of how happy a client will be after divorce is how well they get along with their ex. If they can’t communicate well, then every conversation makes both of them miserable. If they communicate well, then these conversations are at worst neutral, and at best strengthen the co-parenting relationship.
So, I advise clients to do whatever they can to communicate effectively after their divorce.
Fortunately, there are many great professionals that can help after the divorce. Dr. Katrina Kuzyszyn-Jones is one of them, and she holds workshops throughout the year. You still have time to catch the November and December sessions! Find out more at http://kkjpsych.com/.
Ever wonder how Collaborative Divorce feels different than going to court? This news story and interview with a South Carolina couple should give you a pretty good idea. Real people going through real divorces have used the process and come out on the other end to have great lives.
Technology is great. Information sharing and syncing across your devices is great. But, more than one problem has arisen when kids, spouses or ex-spouses see texts, emails or photos that were not intended for them due to technology.
Sometimes, this happens when kids have physical access to a parent’s device. That is easy enough to prevent. What is trickier is when the kids have their own device (iPad, iPhone, iTouch) that is synced to the parents iCloud or Apple ID. In that case, texts, messages, photos and other things that are intended for the parent can show up on the kid’s device.
In order to avoid that problem in your life, here’s an article that helps explain how to avoid your private messages ending up in front of other people: http://www.iphonejd.com/iphone_jd/2015/02/ipad-tip-turn-off-messages.html.
When it comes to this problem, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
This Tedx video by David Hoffman explains why I do what I do at least as well or better than I can. It is powerful for me and hopefully for others. And, I think it explains the intellectual, professional and emotional journey for those layers who have chosen to be peace makers. Enjoy.
I’ve got young kids and there are no books I enjoy reading to them more than Dr. Seuss. The lessons, philosophy and morality packed into each of his stories is truly genius.
I recently read the read The Zax again and was reminded how apropos it was for a divorce lawyer and my clients.
Here’s a refresher for you:
Just as the north going Zax and the south going Zax find themselves at odds and refuse to move, many divorce attorneys and their clients do the same in trying to resolve family disputes and divorces. And, just as the Zax waste their lives in intractable conflict while the world goes on around them, many clients are lead to waste time and money in intractable court battles or negotiations.
(A telling part of the story is when the South Going Zax boasts that he was taught to handle conflict this way in South Going (read, law) school!)
It is easy to see that the Zax are silly to act on their principles because their principles seem so inane to us. But, to the Zax, those principles are everything. Those principles mean as much to the Zax as our children, financial security and peace of mind mean to us.
So, the real lesson is that often in the world, even deeply held principle must give way to creative problem solving. Otherwise, we would all still be standing in front of the first Zax that we came across. And we would miss the opportunity to resolve the conflict so that we could again focus on our children, financial security and peace of mind.
If you are facing a divorce, or are in the middle of the divorce, think about whether you (or your attorney) are a Zax and what you are missing (or spending) while you stand there defending your principle. Perhaps refusing to budge is your best strategy, but perhaps altering course slightly will get you to your goal quicker.
Blame is a big dynamic in both marriage and divorce. And yet, it almost never moves clients towards their goals. Brené Brown (yes, I am a special fan of hers simply for the use of the accent in her name) does a great job of breaking blame down into what it is at it’s heart: an expression of pain or frustration:
What does it mean to be tough? In divorce, most people (including many lawyers) believe that it means “sticking to your guns”, never compromising, issuing the bigger threats, puffing more, “big talk”, using intimidation. In the name of toughness, people are frequently encouraged to be uncaring, to deny any empathy for their spouse, and to turn off all humane or positive feelings about their marriage and their spouse.
That’s one way to do it.