HOW DO WE SPLIT OUR STUFF?
The how-to video for a vicious, expensive divorce is still 1989’s War of the Roses. In a conversation with his attorney, the divorcing husband (played by Michael Douglass) is explaining how they will split the home and still live in it. "The red areas are hers. The yellow areas are mine." His attorney, played by Danny Devito, responds in a troubled voice, "This seems rational to you both?" The husband, "I’m going to win because I’ve got her to accept the ground rules." The Attorney firmly replies, "Oliver, there is no winning in this. It’s only degrees of losing." As if his attorney has said nothing, the husband smiles when he says, "I got more square footage."
Divorce today is move, counter-move, thrust, counter-thrust, every twisted, distorted, sick thing people could do they do to each other in a divorce. It gets as bad as human people could make it get.
--Raoul Felder, Prominent New York Attorney
Consider these very wise 10 tips from the Best Selling Book, Your Divorce Advisor, by Diana Mercer and Marsha Kline Pruitt.
1. Divide your personal property without the help of your lawyer or the court. Unless domestic violence is involved, it's not cost-effective to use lawyers or the court's time to divide your furniture and personal belongings. By the time you've fought about it, you could've purchased all new things!
2. Make an inventory of your household items, and decide what you'd like, listing each item's priority.
3. Speak with your spouse (again, provided domestic violence is not involved) about what he or she would like from the inventory. Are there items which you can agree upon? If so, that part is settled.
4. Try and divide things based on what you both actually need. Courts rarely award money in lieu of a share of personal property, so unless you and your spouse agree on a buy-out for a specific item (or even the whole house full of furniture), you will receive personal property, not cash.
5. If you can't agree on how to divide your list, try flipping a coin, or drawing straws. One person picks first, the other second, and so on.
6. Try and divide the items sensibly. If your spouse has the children 75% of the time, maybe he should get the Nintendo. If you need a computer for your business, that may take precedence over your child's desire to use the internet.
7. Gift items from family members ordinarily go back to the spouse to whom they were given. Grandma's hope chest goes to her grandchild, not her ex-grandchild-in-law.
8. Gift items between the two of you go to the original recipient of the gift. You don't get back the diamond Valentine's pendant from 1995 just because you're splitting up now.
9. If pets are involved, try and make your judgment based on where the pet will be better off. Does your spouse have a shorter workday, while you work 14 hours straight? Fido probably needs walks more often than you can realistically provide.
10. If it won't matter in 5 years, let it go. Are you too focused on a few specific items that won't change your life? Maybe each item is a symbol for something.
Divorce Mediation Institute of Utah
Helping clients in Salt Lake City, Cottonwood Heights, Sandy and all surrounding areas.