Divorce & the Fair Division of Property

divorce - division of property & Gospel

Divorce is a combination of lies – so many big, ugly, hard-hearted lies, so many glorious carrots dangled in front of the face of any jackass who believes divorce solves problems.

Pardon my language. I almost never cuss, but I’m angry and disappointed and stopping just short of stamping my feet, balling my fists, and throwing a world class toddler’s temper tantrum.

I’ve seen too many friends throwing away their marriages lately and have heard too much talk of the Synod Bishops making annulments even more like Catholic divorce, easier to obtain, not necessarily easier to live with!

Perhaps one of the biggest lies told by the court system is that division of property is meant to maintain, “the same quality of life,” for all. This is a crock of bull.

I teach high school math, but it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that you cannot take one lifestyle, divide it into two separate houses, and have the same quality of life enjoyed – yes, enjoyed – that was enjoyed as a married couple.

And don’t tell me you didn’t enjoy the quality of life living with your spouse provided. If you didn’t enjoy the quality of life, you would hand everything over to your spouse and be happy with whatever is left, but we aren’t happy with what is left. We fight for the lifestyle we enjoyed pre-divorce. We fight for what we assume is rightfully ours.

Division & Child Support

The deserting man balks at living off of 83% of his salary while his wife and child live off 17% ignoring the fact that her salary ceiling is much lower even if she is able to find quality employment. For 5 or more children, that child support tops out at 35% given to the wife and children while an absentee dad keeps 65%. According to US Labor Statistics, the typical salary runs men’s salary about $46,000/year while according to CNN it costs approximately $245,000 to raise a child to 18 years old.

Do you see the gap there or notice why so many single mothers and children end up in poverty while so many single fathers end off better after divorce while still complaining about the amount they “provide”?

The father often refuses to face the fact that his wife gave up her career to raise their child or to help her husband get ahead. He refuses to admit that his children are such wonderful human beings because of the time his now-adversary put into Loving them.

This is because he bit into the lie of fools that told him he would maintain the same quality of life as promised. Admitting he was a sucker is too painful a choice and so he chooses to cast blame rather than look in the mirror.

I use this scenario because it is often men who walk away with more money while complaining about the injustice, but men are not the only ones guilty of falling for the lie that there can be a fair division after divorce. Women abandoners often think they will be able to survive on alimony and then are shocked to discover alimony no longer exists in many parts of the country. What is sadder still is the skyrocketing rates of women who are abandoning their vows.

The Division of Human Beings: The Worst Division of All

Maybe you think sharing children is okay. Maybe you think it’s okay to split weekends and birthday parties and holidays and sporting events. Maybe you’ve fallen for the lie that you do whatever is best for the children when if you really cared for your children you’d Love your spouse and not make a child choose between two people he Loves.

Maybe you’re falling for the family court accepted lie that, in a perfect world, children are split 50-50. What kind of perfect world is this referring to? What have we done to our Hope for a perfect world? What message does this give to our children and the Hope they have for their world?

A child is not a possession;

dividing the child or his time is never fair.

Attitudes involved with divorce are often disgusting and wrong. Possessions do not belong to us and can never be fairly divided in divorce. Children are even less our possessions. They are gifts, precious, innocent gifts scarred by adult choices, actions, words, and decisions they have no control over. Believing they can be fairly divided is part of the lie we buy into and they pay for when adults choose divorce for their children.

In truth, by choosing divorce, you are choosing to steal treasures from your spouse and your children. You are not taking what is rightfully yours. You are taking what is ours and denying others rightful access. This includes divisible things like salary and retirement but more so it involves priceless, nonmaterial gifts like lifestyle and time and children and Love.

In divorce, the lie is that you can maintain the same quality of life with a fair division of property but what is divided most painfully is what can never be referred to as property and can never be replaced.

Sunday’s Gospel shows us a rich man willing to follow the Lord in every way except in giving up possessions. He can follow Jesus’ other commands but cannot give up that to which he clings.

Are we not the same in our marital disputes? Do we not fight for what is “rightfully ours” when we should be handing our gifts over to the Lord and thanking Him for the time we have been able to enjoy them?

Oh how hard this is to do,

but oh how necessary too!!

When faced with fears of housing loss, hunger, empty Christmas trees, and lost friendships, how do we hand over the little we have to a God we cannot see? How do we not fight for what is “rightfully ours”?

The Bible tells us, in the Parable of the Tenant, Luke 20: 9-19, that we must use our gifts wisely. It says to whom much has been given, much will be expected. We are called upon to protect, not throw away, misuse, or squander gifts, but we are also called to realize that everything we are given is due to the Grace of God the Father and we are called to turn all over to Him.

It is a fine line between standing up for what you and your children need to survive, to grow, and to give and fighting for what is “rightfully yours,” between fighting for that lie that tells you there will be a fair division of property, the lie that tells you you will maintain the same quality of life.

Whether you lose material wealth or priceless gifts, like time and respect of children and others, you will experience loss after divorce.

Hand it all over to the Lord. Remember those possessions are His, always have been, always will be, and be thankful for what you have and who you are. Embrace each intangible Blessing and material possession for what it is, a gift from your Father. Don’t gripe over foolishly falling for the idea that you will maintain the same quality of life after divorce.

Pray that you discover new more precious qualities of life such as Wisdom to see lies for what they are, for Peace in however much or little you possess, and in Love of Truth which fulfills in a manner greater than any earthly gift ever could.

photo credit

God Bless…

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7 thoughts on “Divorce & the Fair Division of Property”

  1. Pingback: What is Your Role in the Lie of Divorce? - Single Mom Smiling

  2. You hit many nails on their heads!

    There are no winners in a divorce and most certainly, unless you are exceedingly wealthy, no one wins the financial security award. I was obligated to pay child support and spousal maintenance of $3600/month that did not even cover the basic house payment, utilities, food and normal day-to-day bills. That fell amount fell short by more than $500/ month, at times. I would have had to pay almost $5,000 a month for my wife to have some money for herself. As it were, she missed house payments, my kids missed birthday and Christmas presents, she defaulted on bills, etc, etc. My/our credit ratings fell out the bottom because of this, which mine is now only just beginning to recover after almost 6 years of this tragic comedy of errors.

    Two-thirds of my salary was comprised of fluctuating income of overtime and sales bonus and the seven years of plenty we had before her divorce is what all of her monies were based upon. The seven years of famine followed shortly thereafter because of the normal business cycles associated with sales/supply and demand, etc.

    She was trying to support herself, 8 minor children and a $1,000 house payment on an amount that proved to be insufficient for the task needed. And of which divorce both of our original attorneys said neither of us could afford. (DUH!!)

    I’ve said before that divorce is an emotional decision that relies on the lower passions for validity…and to which, I might add, is also akin to what amounts to a business decision that no businessman, whether large or small, would ever make because the ROE is not worth the inherent risk – whether to the company (the family), the employees (the children) or the officers (the Spouses).

    Unfortunately, as also with some businessmen, my dear spouse failed to see reason, refused my pleadings of financial insecurity, as well as my Love, and barreled onward towards her goal, unconcerned with the devastation that had already begun to accumulate in the wake swelling behind her.

    1. Divorce is financially devastating in any circumstance I’ve ever heard of; even the truly wealthy end up losing. You’re right, $3600/month, while it seems like a lot, is not enough to support 8 children. We must stop believing lies of divorce that tell us everything will be fine after.

      You begged your wife to not leave and tried reasoning with her. People aren’t always swayed by reason. Did you also look long and hard in the mirror? What hard changes have you made to yourself to be more the Man God intended you to be? Whether she comes back or not, I hope you will be more at peace softening your heart and knowing you are on the right path.

      1. No… people aren’t always swayed by reason, but nor should they be swayed by their emotions. We Catholics are taught that the Passions must be subdued by Reason and this teaching is still extant even in the current Catechism (see #1767). Part 3, Article’s 5 & 6 in the CCC are an indictment against divorce by any Catholic, IMHO.

        Separation only when necessary; divorce only under more grave circumstances. Preservation of the nuclear family always the first choice, even at the expense of the “happiness” of one or both spouses. Are our vows not meaningless if we allow “irreconcilable differences” to overshadow them? Even if only one spouse does so, does it follow necessarily that the other must also “follow along”, post-divorce? We are powerless to stop the civil and legal effects of divorce once initiated by a petitioner; what we do have, however, is the power to live our vows as Christ intended; to resist the civil and live the Divine.

        I have been told I was an inattentive and weak husband by more than one priest, something which I cannot deny. I have also looked into the mirror and know the errors made, but also the errors corrected, all within the confines of the Sacramental marital vows. You and I live in the reality our respective spouses have placed us. I simply have chosen not to let my future be defined by that and continue to honor my first vows and the woman they were spoken to. I owe as much to her and to Christ, as well as to our children, who will understand the seriousness of their own vows when they approach by the hopefully good example I try to give.

        If I have any hardness of heart, it is for divorce and the evils emanating therefrom, something which I hope never to soften. For my former spouse – continued love and forgiveness for her unnecessary actions; for the other man, forgiveness always, as preached by Our Lord.

        Blessings to you and your family!

  3. Hi Strahlen! A friend directed me to your post. I’m thankfully married, but my husband and I have suffered from four divorces between our parents. I’m in complete agreement with you, complete!! Hopefully, thanks to people like you who tell the truth about this, things will change. I heard Jennifer Roback Morse on Catholic Answers last night speaking about no fault divorce. I didn’t realize that prior to it, the ones seeking divorce were looked down upon (as it should be-except for situations of abuse I suppose?), but now, a cheating spouse who is confused and wants a divorce is no longer guilty. So very sad… Praying for you and hoping for miracles!! One thing I can tell you is that NONE of my siblings or in laws have gotten divorced, and we’ve all been married between 8 and 18 years. I think it’s due to us knowing what happened with our parents and knowing how important it is to work through the difficulties. Thank you again for your courageous and honest post. God bless you and your beautiful children!! I love the photo!

    1. Oh my goodness Sally! Thank you so much for this! What encouragement you’re offering my readers and ME! 🙂

      Yes, I think no-fault divorce caused many issues here. Unfortunately, once things have changed, it’s hard to get them back. In 2009, when my ex filed, I do not believe our state had no-fault divorce (although I did not, at the time, have the mental or emotional ability that would have let me research this for sure). My ex couldn’t claim separation (I forget the official wording) or whatever other possible causes allowed since I was pregnant. The only thing he could file was “cruel and inhumane treatment” of him by me. I was blown away by this. How could he say such a thing??? When I asked him why he was leaving, he said he didn’t want THIS anymore looking around. He said we were really good friends but he wanted more. He also said other things which would hurt my children so I do not write them herehat phrase was hurtful and wrong.

      The lawyers for both sides said no one cared about the wording. It’s just something people said. To me though it meant so much. I hadn’t treated him cruelly or inhumanely. I was a woman, not perfect. I wish I hadn’t said things I’d said. I wished I hadn’t done things I’d done, but cruel and inhumane treatment??? That almost killed me. It was another lie in divorce, and another thing I could do nothing about. To this day, all documents state that he filed because I made him suffer years of cruel and inhumane treatment.

      Thank you for understanding about divorce. I hate to say it, but I do think we need to, maybe not look down on exactly, the person pursuing divorce, but we need to separate from them somehow. Otherwise, divorce is just going to continue and destroy families. We have forgotten that there really can be a wrong and a wronged person in divorce, that both sides are not necessarily equally guilty. As it is now, our children see those leaving the marriage as getting ahead faster than those staying loyal and raising children etc, and divorce cycles continue.

      I will definitely check out Jennifer Roback Morse too.

      Thank you so much for being such an inspiration! You have done my heart Good.

      God Bless…

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