Divorce isn’t just about the money – yet the money represents many underlying issues related to the significant transition from being married to establishing a good relationship with the world outside of the marriage.
Many of the people who talk to a lawyer about divorce have concerns about many issues. However, money is not usually at the top of their list. The conflict over money is often a representation of other underlying issues such as:
Control – they want to have control over their lives;
Self-esteem – having less money has an effect on their self-esteem;
Worthiness – giving up money feels like they are giving up a piece of their worth as human beings;
Appreciation – they want to be appreciated for their contribution to the marriage;
End of a dream – money issues feel like the end of a dream they had in mind when they walked down the aisle;
Creation of a new dream – money and financial settlement feel like the creation of a new dream.
Often, money is the representative of the issues that were encountered in the marriage. It reflects the dynamics that existed therein. People have a relationship to the marriage itself, not just the other person, and coming out of the marriage, they feel the need to relate to the world outside of the marriage. Money is the representative of this transition in the relationship.
People frequently come into the divorce process worrying about spending money. When they are married, they spent thousands of dollars on the wedding and the party that followed. They valued the marriage process. But when they want to limit how much money they spend on the divorce, they show that they don’t value it.
The divorce is something they don’t want. They don’t want to give it a lot of attention. But, of course, a divorce always needs attention.
It is an interesting dichotomy. Therefore the challenge for lawyers is to convey to clients that they are worth paying attention to, and that they should value the transition in order to get to a better place in their lives.