Friday, September 9, 2011

The Pain of Divorce

Last night I was working at a pro bono clinic.   Slow night due to all the rain we have had.   Another attorney -- who does not do family law -- and I were talking.   He mentioned some scene in Entourage (a show I have not scene) where the agent says he would murder his wife rather than go through the pain of divorce.

Now, I get it.   Divorce is horribly painful -- both emotionally and financially.    It is basically saying that the people once in love now can't stand to live together.  All that warm fuzzy love turns to cold prickly hate.   It can get messy, even for the most calm, mature person.

Then there is the financial aspect.   You gotta decide who gets what and how much.    If you worked hard to develop your skills to advance in your chosen profession, it really sucks to hand half of it to someone else.   (Of course most people ignore the help the other spouse provided so that you could develop the skills to advance in your chosen profession).  

But murder?   Really?   That is the better choice?

Let's compare for a moment the two options.


Dividing up the stuff.   Sure your spouse gets half  (for the sake of simplicity, we are going with a straight division of property, MMV in each particular case).   But only the half that was earned up to the date of the divorce.   After that, you got all the rest of your life to accumulate more -- that your ex can't have.   If you do remarry -- Prenup is a really good idea to protect your new stuff.

Alimony.   Maryland has moved away from permanent alimony, and I believe so have most states.   Permanent alimony was a check to the spouse for the rest of the spouse's life or until the spouse remarried.   Not a lot of incentive to move on with one's life there.   Now, the courts favor something called rehabilitative alimony.   Rehabilitative alimony is only for a limited time until the spouse can get back on his/her feet and become self-supporting.   Incentive to get off one's butt and work, because the checks won't keep coming forever.   There are a lot of factors to consider in determining rehabilitative alimony:  length of marriage, age of kids if any, skills of the spouse, time needed to acquire a job or skills to become self-supporting.   But, the key here is that it ends at a definite date.   It is over eventually.   Then you never have to pay the spouse again.   Your ex can't come back and say "Oh I know I was supposed to be self-supporting by now, but I'm not, keep paying."  

In summary:   After a painful period of time, the divorce is over and you get to go on with your life, accumulating more stuff and keeping the money you earn.


You will get caught.   You will go to jail for the rest of your life.   You will not have the opportunity to enjoy all the stuff you managed to keep your spouse from having, you will not have any money to spend because you lost your job because you went to jail.   You will have no opportunity to recover from this because you will most likely die in jail.

In summary:   You never get a chance to recover from being an idiot for thinking murder was a good option.

Did I make that clear for everyone?  

One final note:   bet a family law lawyer is cheaper than a criminal lawyer in the long run too.

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