Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. It is one of those marketing opportunities for businesses to encourage us to show our love and affection for the special person in our life by buying gifts, going out to dinner, or doing something celebratory. It usually involves a couple. I don’t think Valentine’s Day was designed for singles. In fact, lots of folks find Valentine’s Day to be less than fun and charming. Relationships evolve and change, marriage is not as popular as it once was, and for those who do marry, the divorce rate remains high.
I wasn’t thinking much about Valentine’s Day when I read the article Divorcing Women, Five Signs You Might Need a New Attorney. Please click here. The article reminds us about the importance of shifting from seeing a divorce purely from an emotional aspect to a practical one. We need to be conscious and focused when working on the details of how things will work and be settled.
Thinking about how Valentine’s Day isn’t fun for many who are going through divorce and reading the article reminded me of a woman who called me asking for help. I had a listing in the phone book under financial services and women. This had an unexpected result. I often received phone calls from women looking for social services (such as battered women’s shelters), wanting counseling about family matters, looking for help in starting businesses, and a variety of other topics. This woman was concerned about how her marriage was ending and she couldn’t understand why someone didn’t make her husband stay. She and her husband had children. He had business interests and had been quietly moving the assets with the intent of hiding them from her. She didn’t work outside the home. It seemed to her that there was someone else in his life, but she was only guessing. When I explained to her that she needed to seek legal advice, she told me it wasn’t a problem, her husband had a lawyer and she could talk to him. I explained that she needed a lawyer to represent her, someone whose interest was in protecting her, not in protecting her husband who seemed to be doing a good job of that already. It was a heartbreaking conversation. She wondered why nobody seemed to care about keeping families together and was there someone who could help fix this. I suggested seeking out counseling from clergy or a licensed therapist.. That option was rejected. I took a deep breath and told her that she should talk to a lawyer because he or she would understand the situation without emotion and help her to negotiate as an equal in the situation. Separating emotions from finances is always difficult, but really challenging when it involves the dissolution of a marriage, children, and denial.
It has been many years since that telephone conversation. I am hoping the caller found an attorney who could help her navigate the circumstances of the end of her marriage and move on to a happier time. It would have been hard for her to see a better future on that day we talked, but I am hoping that tomorrow she will be having a wonderful Valentine’s Day celebration with someone special.
Until next time
To order my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition, please click here.