July 19th, 2012
Should you stay friends with your ex spouse? In the wake of the Tom/Kat divorce, they appear to be still speaking.
Divorce American style. Big bad ass divorces used to be all the rage. You get a lawyer. She gets a lawyer. Both lawyers start tearing up the terrain like a couple of water buffalos. Pretty soon there’s not much left. Pretty soon, the estate/house/double wide has gone to the lawyers and what you have left is the fence, the truck, the playpen, the flatbed, the water hose. The lawyers encouraged the spouse to “fight for what’s yours,” ignoring the fact that the problem is that it used to be “ours,” and the point of contention is that now “ours” is being divided into his and hers. Or his and his. Or hers and hers. Any way, the slicing can be brutal. Pretty soon the lawyer’s got his/her piece and there is not a whole lot left. But where the slicing gets dicey is splitting the kids down the middle. Our kids have now become back and forth kids.
Now, American divorces lean toward the amicable. Even with celebrity divorces. The Tom/Kat divorce only took 11 days. Katie Holmes is getting what she wants. Her daughter starts school in the fall. Tom’s other two kids didn’t get to go to school. Scientology doesn’t encourage school. Kids might learn something. If you home school kids, you can control what information goes into their little heads. I’ve known a lot of home school kids, most of them were quite odd and antisocial and like Beetlejuice “did not play well with others.”
The amicable divorce requires each spouse to do the following:
1. Let go of something.
2. Whatever you’re mad about, just let it go for a minute. You’re getting a divorce. Soon you won’t have to put up with his cheating ways, her squirrelly friends, his drinking, her late night parties. Just shut up and move on.
3. Money doesn’t matter. You can make more of it.
4. Kids matter. Try to focus on that. Ten years from now, the money will not be important but whether or not you have a good relationship with your kids is going to matter as long as you live. More than anything else in your life, it will define you.
5. Give the house to whoever wants it the most. And figure out the difference.
It’s almost over. Anything you do now to hold the process up is just making your freedom further away. Keep walking.
Vultures hover around divorces like they do around train wrecks. I’m a fan of letting people figure these things out. Don’t tell the woman to get everything she can. That’s destructive. She should do what she thinks is right. I’m a big fan of women being able to work and make their own money.
Then the question becomes should you stay friends with your ex. I’m at the stage now where staying friends to make things easier for the kids is no longer relevant. I know some people would say, why don’t you stop inviting him to family stuff? You don’t need to any more? But eventually, you can’t kick someone out of your family, they’re in.
Families are strange arrangements of humans. Why do we hang together? Love and craziness. What drives us apart? Craziness. I like our family even with the craziness.
Now I am in Nebraska, still recovering from the stomach flu in the green hot wet air.