Drawing the Map Through Divorce Preparation

While the climb may be uphill, drawing one map for all divorcing couples invites problems. A map for a young couple who are mutually agreed to divorce, who are without children and significant property, will be very different from a middle aged couple where a jilted wife who raised the children of a powerhouse corporate chief and who now battles her husband for the division of a considerable marital estate.

When both parties agree to the divorce, the map may seem more of a checklist rather than a depiction of a route. Make no mistake, the rutted road and uphill climb remains a tough set of marching orders. Emotional divorce, even when it is inescapable, lacerates the heart and soul. No marriage where once there was love ends in divorce without pain and suffering. However, preparation - map or checklist (figurative or literal) - makes the best of a bad situation.

Divorce demands that the spouses make good short- and long-term decisions. For example, taking a low-mileage $50,000 Mercedes roadster may tempt someone to take a pass on $50,000 mutual fund, but five years from now, when that snappy auto heads for the crusher, the mutual fund may seem -- too late -- like a much better choice.

Put another way, the rutted, uphill climb, which seems enervating and endless, impairs the judgment.

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