When you are married, your house can be that place where you feel the most comfortable. It can be that place where you enjoy watching television on your couch or working on your car inside of your garage. It is home.
This makes the prospect of divorce all the more devastating on many levels. Not only are you divorcing the person that you promised to spend the rest of your life with, but you also may lose many of the possessions and comforts that you hold near and dear.
The end of the marriage means taking your shared life and splitting into two separate lives, and while the challenges of an unhappy and dysfunctional marriage may make this sentiment sound great, it comes with complications surrounding the assets and possessions that both you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse value monetarily and emotionally.
This is why it is imperative that you partner with a family law attorney that understands the challenges that come with the divorce experience. You need to know that your family law attorney is focused on your unique situation and how important the outcome of the divorce process is for men and fathers, as they plan for the future.
Sources of comfort
When you find yourself in the midst of the divorce process, every aspect of your day-to-day life is under a microscope. If you are someone who enjoys spending time watching television on the couch, your television and your couch may be items you are attached to and would want in the divorce.
Your source of comfort during these difficult times is important. During a time of uncertainty, comfort provides a sense of security, and during a divorce, you need these sentiments to strengthen your resolve. The stress can be tough to take, and everyone can use an extra hand in processing it.
This means being able to rely on the people, places, and things that offer that level of comfort. Unfortunately, many of those things may no longer be yours, due to the division of property.
The division of property
Depending on your state, this process can vary. If you live in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin (Alaska could be included, due to the fact that a divorcing couple could opt to go by community property instead of equitable distribution), community property laws apply.
These laws state that both parties in a divorce are assumed to equally share all income, property and debts accumulated during the course of the marriage.
In every other state, equitable distribution laws apply. These laws have the court determine what constitutes marital property and what constitutes separate property owned prior to the marriage, attained through an individual’s inheritance, or a gift. These items need to be proven as separate property in court.
The courts will apply a monetary value to all of the marital assets, which can be a lengthy process. After everything has been broken down and evaluated, the court can determine a fair and equitable division based on the length of the marriage, the ages of both spouses, the standard of living during the marriage, each spouses’ entitlement to alimony or child support, how both spouses contributed to the marriage, each spouses’ earning potential, each spouses’ health status, and any other factors that the court deems relevant.
While the courts may have their own determining factors as to what should be given to whom, you may have your own feelings regarding the marital possessions. Whether it is keeping your car or keeping your dog, you have a certain attachment to your possessions that you would hope that the courts would respect.
At the same time, you have to understand how the concept of loss intersects with the divorce experience. From a financial perspective, losing assets deprives you of their potential monetary value, should you ever consider selling them.
However, from an emotional perspective, you and your ex-spouse both have built a library of personal experiences with your possessions and would not want to lose access to them in the divorce. Even though both of you know that someone will inevitably not receive something that they greatly desire, the realization when it occurs may not be something that either of you are emotionally prepared for.
Jealousy and anger
You may feel a sense of jealousy, given how the courts may look to assign certain assets or possessions to your ex-spouse. This jealousy is common for many men in the family court system. Due to the gender stereotypes that pervade the family court system, many courts find that men have an easier time of recovering financially. Thus, they will assign assets or possessions to the ex-wife, in order to help her financially cope. This is especially true if children are involved, and she was assigned primary custody.
Anger often can surface as well. Given the situation where you may be losing half of your possessions, half of your assets, aspects of the access that you have to your children, and the person that you promised to spend the rest of your life with, the anger is entirely understandable.
With all of the changes occurring at the same time, it can be overwhelming, and you can find yourself searching for an outlet. As great as the temptation is to seek an unhealthy outlet like drinking, drugs, or gambling, it is important to say no to these types of temptations.
Seeking a healthy outlet, like that of therapy, will give you an opportunity to piece yourself together and recover from the challenges that divorce can present. While you do not all of the comforts that you once enjoyed during the course of your marriage, you still have a change at moving on after your decree is finalized. You get a new opportunity to meet someone new, become emotionally healthier, and replace some of the possessions and assets that you lost in the divorce.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.