My oldest son was a little bit Huck Finn and a little bit Dennis the Menace as a child. I remember one day he was out roaming in the woods around our home with his friend. They drug back a ratty old chair and he wanted to put it in his room. I told him that he could not put that filthy, musty, junk in the house. He replied in all seriousness “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”. The treasure was cleaned up and relegated to the back patio.
Married couples amass treasures during their marriage. In some cases each treasure represents a story or a memory of how the item was acquired. Some of those memories are happy ones that the couple share together. Some can represent bitterness especially if one of the partners did not condone the purchase. In still other cases, it is all about the money. When a couple is divorcing, they have to decide how to divide their treasures. It is a very emotional time and many decisions have to be made. I have seen people dig their feet in and fight about everything. I have also had cases where they did not fight about any personal property, just the big items such as cash, homes, investments, retirement plans, businesses, and debt.
Some of my friends told me about a TV show that I was not familiar with called Untying the Knot. It is a series on BRAVO. Each episode features Vikki Ziegler, who is a lawyer and a mediator, and a couple that are going through a divorce. The couple is working to divide their assets and have reached an impasse on four items. Vikki comes in to meet the couple and hear about the items that are in dispute, she sends in appraisers and then determines how the items should be divided. I have not seen an episode where the couple does not agree with Vikki’s decision. You do see a lot of people that just dig their heels in and fight because they are hurt, angry, or bitter. In many cases, they don’t really want what they are fighting for, they just do not want their partner to have the “treasure”. People often need someone who is an unbiased third party to come in and make the decision for them and explain the rationale behind it. Ms. Ziegler does a good job of that.
Divorce is division of your marriage and the treasures that were a part of your lives. Finding ways to honor your spouse while “untying the knot” can set the tone for the relationship that you will have in the future. The biggest treasures we have are our family and friends. If we can part friends with our spouse it is a gift to our extended family and friends that will facilitate a revised happily ever after.
As a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, I am here to help. I would be happy to help guide those in need to an amicable financial resolution.
© 2015 Mitchell Hayes