When going through my divorce I had a very intense affair with my iPhone calculator. I would run numbers day and night, figuring how much child support I would receive, how much he owed me for his share of the hospital bills and health insurance. How much I would have to pay him to buy out the house? How much would he transfer from his IRA to mine? I was committed to demanding what the kids and I were entitled to, to what was fair, and what the law allowed for.
I got some of it, but not nearly all. At some point I stopped fighting, and not because I was weak or lazy. I gave up because it was the right thing to do.
Money is often cited as the No. 1 thing divorcing couples fight over. Financial disagreements clog the courts and wrack up attorney bills — not to mention burn untold units of stress and misery for each party, their children and anyone within earshot.
Historically, women do not fight hard enough for their share of the marital property, and take their baby daddies to court for child support less than half the time. That is wrong. Ladies, fight for everything that you are owed.
Then stop fighting.
Here are 6 signs you should stop fighting your ex for finances:
1. It’s costing you more money than you stand to receive in a settlement. Life is not fair. There are laws designed to protect women and children in divorce, and there is also the universal law of what is just. But there is also the legal system, and it is messed up, unfair and is designed to support mainly the right. Unless you’re Elin Nordegren and Tiger Woods, there is often a very low threshold to cross before it stops making sense to spend money on lawyers to get what you are owed. Do the math. Then take a deep breath.
2. He doesn’t have the money. You can’t get blood from a stone, as the old adage goes. Sure, he may owe you tens of thousands of dollars in back child support. You could have the courts take his car and send him to jail. But if you honestly know that he doesn’t have that cash, do you really want to do that? Maybe. But what do you get in return?
3. You’re fighting out of spite. Anger and spite are normal. God knows I’ve spent a lot of time being pissed at my ex! But exuding all that negative energy to take revenge is not a good reason to fight for money — even if you’re entitled to it. Good reasons include providing a better life for yourself and your kids and/or because the money is genuinely yours.
4. He needs it more than you do. Maybe each of your financial situations have changed. Maybe you have indeed moved on and are now killing it financially. Maybe he lost his job and is struggling. Maybe you’re both stable, but you see that the money in question could help him out a whole lot more than it could help you. And now that you’ve moved forward, and you are no longer spiteful and angry, you have the energy to do the right thing.
5. You’re exhausted. Divorce is one of the most stressful, draining crises a person can go through. In many cases — especially if there are children and significant assets involved — it is worth taking your time with a good lawyer to negotiate a fair settlement. But until the mailman delivers the manilla envelope containing your sighed divorce decree, you will likely feel that your whole world is in limbo. Letting some stuff go moves everyone forward.
6. You’re holding yourself back. Deepak Chopra tells us that human beings have infinite energy, and I accept that to be true. But we are also physical beings living in the real world, and a girl only has so much to go around. You have a choice: Spend your time, energy and power to fight with a dickhead, or invest those resources in yourself to earn far more money than he owes you from his 401(k). My mantra: The best revenge is living well.
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