I remember sitting at the financial mediation table. My body was tense and I had a warm, uncomfortable feeling. I was thinking “this is just a big waist of my time”. With my master’s degree in finance, I could cut through this crap faster than any mediator. I had already worked out a spreadsheet for splitting everything 50/50. I want’s out for blood, just wanted to be fair so I could be proud and hold my head high by taking the high road.
After the first 2 hour meeting, all we got accomplished was listing out all financial accounts – really? I did that in 15 minutes! The second meeting we got a lot more accomplished; I won a significant non-marital asset claim, we split the remaining assets and we finalized spousal maintenance! (Note that my attorney did not mention the concept of a “non-marital” assets – you’ve got to take the initiative and get educated, IT’S YOUR FUTURE.)
My marriage was length was only 7 years when my divorce started. I was thinking – no maintenance. But I did make 3 times her income (no, I did not make six figures, we just did not make that much overall).
As we were discussing spousal maintenance, the mediator turned to my wife and said: “Bruce is not going to support you for the rest of your life – you will have to work” (YES! I though no spousal maintenance!) Then she turned to me and said, “you’ll need to invest in your spousal to help her get back on her feet”. I actually bought into that and felt it was fair. My “financial sentence” – two years maintenance that stepped down: first six months was the highest, the next 18 months was 1/4th the payment.
Looking back, I wish I had a resource that would have told me what to expect. How does mediation work? Will I have to pay spousal maintenance? Who gets tax deductions? What is a non marital asset? I had so many questions and no where to go.
That’s why I founded The Divorce Men’s Network. We have meetings on a wide range of topics. Our November 22nd meetings was “Financial Aspects of Divorce”. We discussed topics ranging from:
- How does a bankruptcy proceeding affect divorce
- Trends in spousal maintenance
- What is the different between community property laws (like WI) versus equitable property (like MN)?
- How is my pension or disability income affected by divorce? Would my spouse get part of that?
- How much child support will I have to pay?
- Who will get to claim the kids as a tax exemption?
- How long will it take to financial recover from divorce?
Our meetings are powerful, informative and helpful. But meetings are not just about education. We help men connect. We support each other. We build community. WE help men realize you are not isolated in your thought, feeling or your situation.
I invite you to a meeting. Help yourself – when you do, we help each other and together we are building a strong and connected community!