Don’t let money and emotions sabotage your divorce

This is an imagined conversation between Jane, a client
and Deborah, a family consultant or coach.   

 

Jane:
I’d like to know the way finances can influence my divorce.  Perhaps I mean how my feelings can affect the outcome of my divorce.

 

Deborah:
That’s a good starting point: discussing the impact our emotions can have on the negotiations, how we might feel during the process, and of course the final settlement.   Will our emotions around this subject affect the final settlement and how we will feel at the end of the process, perhaps even several years later?

 

Jane:

Do you mean my emotions around wanting to divorce? Well I feel so guilty even though I realise it is the best thing for us all.

 

Deborah:

Yes, that is certainly one aspect. You might want to process those feelings with a therapist.  I was referring to emotions and feelings around the subject of money.

 

Jane:

Well, Ed my partner deals with the financial side of our marriage. At the moment he is the one who is earning much more than me and so he pays the bills and mortgage….well and everything I suppose. He doesn’t talk to me much about all that, but I know he is worried at the moment.

 

Deborah:

So he might want to talk more about his financial worries. Talking “from the same page” will help you both agree and feel easier about a settlement. If you agree on Collaboration as the way forward for your divorce, understanding the impact your emotions will have on any negotiations will affect how you both feel through the process. It will affect the final settlement, and how you will both feel on reflection several years later. This is where a family consultant, therapist or financial coach comes in.

 

Jane:

When it’s about mortgage payments or pensions, I understand so little of what it really involves –  and certainly not in the long term.  I’m worried about how to get by now, let alone the future. I can’t even bear to think of that. Besides I feel guilty I want this divorce and he doesn’t. It makes me feel I’m taking the children away from him. I know that’s not quite how it will be, but it’s a bad feeling.

 

Deborah:

Yes, I can understand that. (Pause)

Deborah continues: It could be the other way round. For example if one partner had an affair and felt guilty. Then the other person could be hurt, might be angry and want to make him pay. One person’s guilty feelings could affect the negotiations.

 

Jane:

Yes I see what you mean now. But it still doesn’t help me to know how I’ll be able to cope on less money. That’s what I’m frightened about.

 

Deborah:

And I think it’s very important you have the help you need now. I think Ed would like to know you felt more able to understand the part he has been dealing with up until now, and it would probably feel better for him to share his anxieties. That is what I had in mind about reading from the same page. Through our collaborative process these matters will be addressed.

 

Jane:

I think problems around money for me started when our first child was born and I gave up my job. As he is the one with a salary, it always seems like his money, not ours. I’m frightened of losing the house, it’s my home, but his money provided the down payment. Where will I be with the children, how will I manage, and will I ever find someone else? – I’ll be so busy managing children and money. Our relationship has never felt equal; we have contributed differently both before the children and since.

 

Deborah:

This may not be connected directly with divorce but now you’ve touched on another component. It may not even be conscious, certainly not logical: Your money memories, your memories from childhood that influence how you behave and think about money now. Those memories have guided your life so far. Understanding a bit about those fears of financial inequality could help you both towards a fair settlement.

 

Jane:

I’ve never talked about that with Ed. We know about each other’s childhood, but I never talked about ..(pause).. well, for example, about my mother not having money. I remember she was always frightened of being left without.

 

Deborah:

Ed will probably appreciate knowing about all that. It will help to bring more equality into the future relationship with him. It will assist the two of you together working out the settlement for your future. Collaboration looks for a win/win situation where two people are equally empowered so a settlement can be arranged.

 

Top tips:

• Name the emotions you feel around the prospect of divorce

• Consider how they may come to influence the negotiations and final financial settlement

• List your own beliefs around money and finances. You can use some of the questions we’ve talked about.

• Consider talking to your partner about your and their beliefs.

• Identify your own and your partners gaps in knowledge and understanding of anything financial.

Written in participation with financial coach Simonne Gnessen at Wise Monkey Financial Coaching www.www.financial-coaching.co.uk

This entry was posted in alternatives to court, Behavioural Therapy, Collaboration, Counselling, Dispute resolution, Divorce, Life coaching, Loss, Options for divorce, Parents, Positive thinking, Psychotherapy, Relationship break-down, Relationships, Self Help, Separation. Bookmark the permalink.