Seven Sins of Divorce

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Published by Mark Petersen

Divorce is one of the most emotional experiences people may contend with in their lives. With the exception of Ross Geller on Friends, most people may only experience divorce once or twice in their lifetime. With limited exposure to the process, it may be easy to get caught up in the moment and fall victim to one or more of the seven sins of divorce.

“It is going to be an amicable divorce, we are still friends.” With a healthy dose of pride, one may choose to avoid engaging an attorney. An attorney has the ability to help ensure all issues which need to be addressed, are addressed. Divorcees may still be friends, but dividing the property and wanting to get the advantage may lead to several other possibly sinful decisions.

Having a car of equal or greater value or wanting the keep the home may lead to envy and/or lust when considering divorce. Choosing the two-seat sports car when the mini-van or SUV may be a more practical choice or wanting to keep the big home, whether one needs the room or not may not be the responsible decision. A lot of time and energy are spent in the pursuit of accumulating material possessions and getting one’s home just right. The thought of having to start the process over or downsizing may be a daunting thought. However, gluttony may not be the best virtue in this process because ‘stuff’ does not pay the bills, financial assets do.

When considering the value of financial assets, greed may also enter the picture by focusing upon the absolute dollar value of an asset, without contemplating the tax cost. The big IRA comes to mind when thinking about funding one’s retirement, after all it is an ‘Individual Retirement Account’. However, the IRA also has a future tax liability upon withdrawal of the funds. In addition, there are rules on the timing and amount of withdrawals available while still avoiding potential penalties. A million dollars in a retirement account is not equal to a million dollars in a non-retirement account.

Slothful behavior by prolonging the inevitable does not make divorce easier. People often know what they should do before they are mentally prepared to do it. It is not easy to separate two lives during a divorce. The act of actually doing it may involve pain and anger. Wanting the painting because it is the soon-to-be, ex-spouse’s favorite possession may be a self-defeating choice. Especially if one doesn’t even like the painting. The passion which may surround the dissolution of a marriage often leads to vindictive behavior. We are misguided in believing that hurting the other party may somehow make us feel better.

Divorce is a difficult process. Decisions may be influenced by emotions, which can vary from day to day and week to week. The best decision in a divorce may be to surround oneself with competent professionals who have the ability to remove emotion from the process and guide one to make good decisions. It is possible to avoid the seven sins of divorce.

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