Fifty Shades of Reasonableness During Divorce

 

Your “shade” of reasonableness during divorce is one of the top factors that will make or break your case:

 

It can mean that you finish your divorce quickly. Or not.

 

It can mean that you spend tens and tens of thousands of dollars on your case. Or not.

 

It can mean the difference between things with your ex devolving into a total bloodbath. Or not.

Not only that, but if at the end of your case, your judge finds that you have acted completely unreasonably, you might be ordered to pay your ex’s attorney’s fees and costs. Do you really want that?

 

Uh huh. I didn’t think so.

 

So, as you head to divorce court, make sure you know the law on the key issues in your case. Hold a position that is supported by the law. By holding a position NOT supported by the law, you are being unreasonable.

 

The “best” divorces are born of compromise. Pick your battles. Stand your ground on only the most important things. If you are unwilling to budge on every single issue, you are being unreasonable.

 

Are you wondering what shade of reasonableness YOU are? Take our Fifty Shades of Reasonableness During Divorce quiz to find out. There are two sections (one on Child Custody/Legal Decision-Making Issues and one on Property and Money Issues). Feel free to take that part of the quiz that applies to you or both parts if they both apply!

 

 

Child Custody (Legal Decision-Making) Issues

 

1. You and your ex have been exercising week on/week off parenting time with your children while you are waiting for your divorce to be finalized. During your week, your mother watches the kids while you work. You have just been told you must travel out of state for a week for your job during your normal parenting time. Your ex wants the kids to stay with her during that week. You want the kids to stay with your new live-in girlfriend. Your gal pal is fun, young, hot AND the kids will have a blast with her.

 

You decide to do the following:

 

A. Leave the kids with your mother.
B. Leave with your kids with your girlfriend.
C. Leave the kids with their mother.

 

A. = 5 points
B. = 7 points
C. = 3 points

 

2. You and your soon-to-be-ex fight like cats and dogs over all things related to the kids. In the past, you have asked to swap parenting time days so you could attend special events and take trips with the kids. Your ex has always refused to swap days, insisting you follow the court’s temporary orders regarding parenting time. Now, your ex’s oldest son (from a different relationship) is returning home after a tour in Afghanistan during your week with the kids. She wants to swap a day so your kids can welcome their half-brother at the airport and celebrate at dinner afterwards.

 

You do the following:

 

A. Bite your tongue and switch days.
B. Say “hell no, they won’t go.”
C. Let them go to the airport, but insist they return to your care as soon as they leave the airport.

A. = 3 points
B. = 7 points
C. = 5 points

 

3. Your temporary parenting plan orders you to pick the children up from your soon-to-be ex at the beginning of your parenting time at your ex’s place of employment. Your ex is off work on the first Friday of every month. On those Fridays that she is off work, she has asked that you pick the children up from her home, which is 2 miles from her workplace. You do the following:

 

A. Call your lawyer so he can call your ex’s lawyer and tattle on your ex for not following the court’s order.
B. Agree to pick the kids up from her house.
C. Insist that she meet you at her workplace so you can retrieve the kids.

 

A. = 5 points
B. = 3 points
C. = 7 points

 

4. While your divorce is pending, your soon-to-be ex’s mother passes away in Chicago. There is a court order in place which says that neither of you can remove the children from the state of Arizona without written permission of the other parent or court order. Your soon-to-be ex wants to take the children out of school for 4 days to attend the memorial services in Illinois. You do the following:

 

A. Simply say “No, thank you.”
B. Tell your ex to file a motion with the court so the judge can make the decision.
C. Send your ex an e-mail giving your permission for the children to go, but requesting an itinerary, contact information and that you work together to make sure the children do not fall behind in school.

 

A. = 7 points
B. = 5 points
C. = 3 points

 

5. Your ex recently moved out of the home you once shared because you obtained an order of protection against him for alleged domestic violence. Despite the order of protection, your ex still has parenting time with the children. The home in which YOU are living is fully furnished with multiple beds, several nice TVs, and several sets of dishes and silverware. Your ex (who you think is the biggest jerk to walk the planet) has asked that you share some of those beds, TVs, and sets of dishes/silverware so he can furnish his new apartment with these items. You don’t trust your ex and are afraid he might destroy any items you give him.

 

You do the following:

 

A. Offer him an air mattress, a few junky cups and plates, and the smallest TV in the house.
B. Generously offer him enough furnishings to make sure the kids do not have to “go without” when they are at his home.
C. Tell him that you do not trust him and that he will have to file a motion with the court before you give him a single metal fork.

 

A. = 7 points
B. = 3 points
C. = 5 points

 

 

Results of Child Custody (Legal Decision-Making) Portion of Quiz:

 

If you scored between 15-19 points, you have nothing to worry about. You are a reasonable person who knows what is best for your kids. Rock on with your bad self!

 

If you scored between 20-27 points, you are middle of the road when it comes to reasonableness during divorce. You are picking your battles, but might want to take a closer look at some of your positions before you head to court. If you can find it deep within yourself to compromise a little more, your children will be better off in the long run.

 

If you scored between 28-35 points, GO DIRECTLY TO JAIL. Now. You need to take a serious look at your positions and possibly have a “come to Jesus” pow-wow with someone who knows family law. Holding fast to your positions could lose you the case…and your kids.

 

 

Property and Money Issues

 

1. You and your ex have been married 20+ years. He is an avid hunter. You hate hunting and camping. A few years ago, you and he bought a pop up travel trailer for him to take on his trips. You have never used the pop up trailer, but think it is worth several thousand dollars. He wants the trailer so he can continue to use it. If you are awarded the trailer, you will never use it. In asking the court to divide property between the two of you, with respect to that trailer, you ask the judge to do the following:

 

A. Award YOU the trailer.
B. Award your soon-to-be ex the trailer, but insist you be given reimbursement for your share of its value.
C. Order the trailer be sold and the proceeds split evenly between you and your soon-to-be-ex.

 

A. = 7 points
B. = 3 points
C. = 5 points

 

2. You have an Arizona divorce pending. Your spouse is the worst of the worst. He has cheated on you multiple times. When you and he argue, he cusses and screams at you. On more than one occasion, he has broken property within your home because he was angry about something you said or did. On one occasion, he even shoved you to the floor and slapped you.

 

The good news is that you and he own a home that retains $200,000 in equity. You want to keep the home as part of the divorce. Your ex keeps waffling on whether HE wants to keep the home or not. The home is titled AND financed in BOTH your names.

 

You ask the judge to do the following:

 

A. Allow you to be awarded the home, NOT require you to refinance the home in your name alone, but require you to pay your ex $100,000 for his share of the equity.
B. Allow you to be awarded the home, NOT require you to refinance and ask that you NOT be required to pay your ex a dime for his share of the equity.
C. Allow you to be awarded the home, require you to refinance, and require you to buy your ex out of his share of the equity.

 

A. = 5 points
B. = 7 points
C. = 3 points

 

3. You and your spouse have been married for 2 years. During those 2 years, you have worked at the same job you have always done (even before you were married). You earn one half of what your soon-to-be-ex earns. You are covered by your ex’s health insurance.

 

You have met someone else and fallen in love. You are pregnant with your new boyfriend’s baby. You are living with your new boyfriend. You file for divorce.

 

You think it is fair to ask the judge to do the following:

 

A. To order your soon-to-be-ex to pay you spousal maintenance while the case is pending and through the period that you will be out on maternity leave.
B. To equitably split the property and debt, then send you both on your way without awarding anyone spousal maintenance.
C. To order your soon-to-be-ex to continue to cover your pre-natal visits (under his insurance plan), as well as your unreimbursed medical expenses (co-pays, etc.) only while the divorce is pending.

 

A. = 7 points
B. = 3 points
C. = 5 points

 

4. You find out your spouse has been cheating on you. You snap and destroy the inside of the house in a fit of rage. This is the first and only time you have ever done something like this.

 

Your spouse immediately hires a very reasonable attorney, files for divorce AND gets an order of protection against you. The judge who issues the order of protection ousts you from the home which YOU owned as sole and separate property before marriage and which is titled AND financed in your name only.

 

Your next step is to do the following:

 

A. Commence with an eviction proceeding against your spouse.
B. Request the court modify the order of protection allowing you access to YOUR sole and separate home.
C. Get a lawyer and try to have her work it out with your spouse’s attorney.

 

A. = 7 points
B. = 5 points
C. = 3 points

 

5. You and your spouse were married for 30 years. You have A LOT of personal property: TVs, cameras, dishes, furniture, boats, cars, and so on. You are fighting like crazy over who gets what. You have spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying to divvy up Tupperware. You are running out of money. You don’t want to argue about this anymore.

 

You ask the judge to do the following:

 

A. Order that you and your soon-to-be-ex make a list of ALL the property, flip a coin (to see who goes first), then take turns selecting pieces of property from the list.
B. Order EVERYTHING to be sold at an auction, splitting all proceeds equally.
C. Enter an order that gives you every single item that you want, paying no attention to what it is your ex wants.

 

A. = 3 points
B. = 5 points
C. = 7 points

 

 

Results of Property and Money Issues Portion of Quiz:

 

If you scored between 15-19 points, you are as solid as a rock. Not only would a judge applaud you for your reasonableness during divorce, but chances are you will never, ever have to appear in front of a judge. Why? Because you are so dang reasonable!

 

If you scored between 20-27 points, take a look at the return on investment you MIGHT gain by sticking to your demands. Chances are, the amount of money and energy you are expending probably does not outweigh the benefits that you will receive if everything goes exactly your way. See where you can give a little. It will serve you well.

 

If you scored between 28-35 points, you are going to spend way more emotion, energy, time and money than you might possibly ever gain during your divorce. If you want to end up in the poor house and to destroy your own peace, keep on chugging. If you want to get this done and over with, back up and ask yourself what would be fair if the roles were reversed.

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