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Author: Patzer Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 308882  
Subject: Re: Poll: Should Child Support Be Used For Court Date: 2/24/2011 11:29 AM
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So one parent typically gets 50% of the real and personal property

+ 100% of the value of raising the children

+ A generous slice of the income of the other spouse.


This is called "an equitable division of property."



SP, consider this statement: "Stocks rise an average of 11% per year."

Now, the trick question: What does that statement about stocks have in common with your statement about divorce? Think about it a bit.

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Answer: The general statement that stocks go up 11% per year is as relevant to investing as your characterization of divorce is to what goes on in divorce negotiations and divorce courts. IOW, it could be true for some people; but the variations in results make it untrue for many, perhaps most, people's actual experience.

I went through a painful 2 year divorce process ending in 2004. I had to give up some assets. I had to pay alimony. I got custody. I didn't get child support. I was able to live and support my daughter on what I got to keep. It really didn't look much like your description at all. In fact, the alimony I pay is less than what my ex was wasting every month when we were together.

My observation is that the results of going to divorce court, like investing results, can be improved by education about how the process works; careful attention to details; a healthy dose of realism instead of wishful thinking; and a bit of luck in getting a favorable situation to work with.

A "favorable situation to work with" might mean that the two parties can rationally discuss things and plan for the best results for the children. (Didn't happen in my case, but I know a couple that did things that way.) It could mean that the facts of the situation are so simple that there's no controversy. (Such as having no assets, no kids, and no fight.) It could mean that your soon to be ex spouse goes off into fantasy land on his/her demands and as a result the judge gives you more than you could have negotiated if if the stbx were reasonable.

I think that the man going off into fantasy land and being unrealistic about what he can expect or negotiate is the common case for the scenario you describe. If he won't negotiate, the court will see him as unreasonable and give her more than she would get if he were willing to work toward something equitable. Because he is in fantasy land, he doesn't realize that his own conduct made things worse than they had to be. Yeah, divorce pretty much sucks all around; but like many bad situations, it can easily be made worse through mismanagement.

Patzer
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