The one thing I found interesting was how ugly the proceedings became during the division of marital property. Couples would quibble ad nauseam over the division of pictures, bank accounts, debts, real property, 401K savings plans, automobiles etc. It was typically during this stage of the divorce when attorney fees skyrocketed due to numerous unproductive meetings and hearings attempting to divide the marital property to the satisfaction of both parties. What I found lacking was how rare it was to see someone argue about saving the relationship.
I understand that there are some instances where saving the relationship is virtually impossible - numerous occurrences of infidelity, abuse, and the like. But often that simply wasn't the case. In some instances external drama began to negatively affect the marital relationship. In other instances, as one person began the journey of personal improvement - for example obtaining degrees in higher education or losing weight, that individual developed a new sense of independence. While increased self esteem is wonderful, it was odd to see those individuals no longer found a need for their spouse. In many cases, couples who initially were inseparable could no longer get along and chose to terminate the relationship. Citing excessive bickering and ultimately incompatibility.
Oddly enough, these were the couples that quibbled the most over their material possessions. So I began to ask myself..."When did the value of marital assets become more important than the value of the marriage?"
- $3000 - armour
- $20,000 - vehicle
- $15,000 - equity in real property
- $1,000 - oil painting hanging over the living room sofa
- $250 - stainless steel cookware
Our firm often obtained restraining orders not for individual protection or for the protection of the children, but for the protection of assets. Protection to ensure that one spouse did not vandalize the home or personal property. Protection to ensure that one spouse did not empty bank accounts leaving the other penniless. Protection to ensure that one spouse did not increase credit card debt to the detriment of the other.
I was simply amazed.