Part one: Can you be too nice in divorce?

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C posted in Divorce on Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The question we ask in the first line of this blog post might make you laugh: can a person be too nice a divorce? Obviously, it’s not an area of concern for many people who are going through the end of their marriage, but in some cases, yes, they might be too nice for their own good.

A recent article illustrated the point with the story of a couple far from us here in St. Louis.

The Reno, Nevada, couple decided to divorce five years ago after a decade of marriage. The husband had come out of the closet, but both he and his wife were determined to have an amicable end to their marriage.

Because they have three children, it made a lot of sense for them to keep the proceedings from descending into bitter and protracted fighting.

After the decision to split had been made, the husband lost his job; bankruptcy and foreclosure followed. He suggested to his wife that they postpone their divorce until after he’d found a new job. In that way, the court would grant her more in child support and alimony.

His wife was nice in return. When their divorce became final in 2009, she opted to take just three years of alimony (at $1,245 per month) rather than the five she could have gotten under Nevada law.

She was getting her master’s degree in English and figured she’d been teaching by the end of the three years.

She didn’t figure on getting colon cancer, however. Her education and employment plans were sidetracked by the illness.

If her former husband had decided to hold her to the letter of their divorce settlement, she “would have been screwed,” she said succinctly.

We’ll have more on this subject in our next post.

Source: Reuters, “Divorce mistakes you can make by being too nice,” Geoff Williams, June 26, 2012

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