Fancy Plans Guide to DivorceJuly 24, 2009
At some time in your life, odds are that you will get divorced. For some of you, that means you will need to get married. For others, you’ve been through this already and would do it again in a heartbeat. I myself just went through a painful one (Reality v. Lion Tamer), which has left me rudderless and discombobulated.
Why do so many people get divorced? Is it really the destruction of our family values and needless separation of church and state? Is it God laughing at us? Are that many of us getting knocked up under the bleachers?
Let’s take a look at some nice, calming statistics:
In a recent survey of nearly 1,000 formerly happily married couples, these were the main reasons given for their divorces:
51% – Because of the kids.
22% – “That thing they (their spouse) do when they sleep.”
10% – For the kids.
4% – Infidelity.
4% – Coin flip.
3% – Backfiring ultimatum.
3% – Jerry Springer Show appearance failed to reconcile differences.
3% – Ashton Kutcher.
Other (less than 1%):
Stockholm Syndrome wore off.
Found loophole in chosen religion.
She started fucking my brother, so I started fucking our sister.
Signed petition from friends and family.
Dr. Phil recommended it.
After 96 hours, we both realized it was time to move on.
Marriage license revoked by county.
Due to recent economic slowdown, we were forced to eliminate the partnership.
As our nation’s divorce rate reaches the tipping point (in which there are more divorced people than ever were married), there’s no time like the present to pick up some advice for the damn near inevitable, especially if you’re male. Statistics show that 98% of all divorces end with the man paying alimony and child support. This is considered “fair” by everyone involved (except the man) due to the male’s two undeniable advantages: higher earning power and the ability to pee while standing up.
Since any divorce is an incredibly messy affair (and they all are – show me someone with a “clean” divorce and I’ll show you someone whose marriage ceremony was presided over by a fifth-rate Elvis impersonator and came with buffet coupons), there really is no arbitrary starting point for the amount of advice you’ll need.
I’ll pick one. The kids.
Now, as will become readily apparent, you both are not going to be able to not take the kids. Someone will have to take one for the “team” (such as it were) and raise the little fuckers. Be cautious, though. If one of you has significantly more income or net worth than the other, this will turn into a pitched battle for custody, at this point now referred to as the “free ride” or the “money train.”
Let’s take a closer look at Scenario B. If you thought raising kids was expensive before, just wait until the other party’s lawyer and sympathetic judge are through with you. You will now be on the hook for everything imaginable.
Your children will be yanked out of the suddenly drug-and-gun infested public school and sent to the nearest/most expensive private school. Their wardrobe will now require constant updating. They’ll need bikes, cars, college funds, trust funds, Montessori schooling during the summer, all coming out of your paycheck.
They’ll drill you with, “Don’t you want what’s best for the kids?” Try not to answer, “I thought we had agreed on ‘adequate.'”
And while we’re speaking of the kids, let’s take a moment to consider their feelings. Any number of therapists and analysts, now billing you by the hour, will mention ad nauseum that the children are the most hurt by a divorce. Your response isn’t really needed here, but try not to let your spite and aching pocketbook convince you to say something witty like, “That would only be true if both me and my spouse beat them nonstop during their visits.” This will only garner you some contempt, additional billing and a possible visit from Social Services.
The therapists will also mention the childrens’ internalizing and over-willingness to shoulder the blame for the split. Perhaps now would be a good time to attempt to recall your childrens’ names and gather them around for a quick status check. They may ask you the most heartbreaking question of all: “Did you and mom/dad get a divorce because of us?”
Here are some responses which may aid in the healing process:
- “Oh. My. God. Are you aware that the world does not actually revolve around you?”
- “Well, I don’t think so, but your mom/dad certainly seems to.”
- “No. No. Of course not. I mean, you could have behaved better and been a little more helpful…”
- “If you take nothing else from this conversation, remember this: never stick your pen in company ink.”
- “Well, let me ask you something: did you know you’re adopted?”
- “Go ask your new mom/dad.”
- “Didn’t you read the poll results?”
Now, are the kids really the victims here? In a word, no. Not really. In three words. No, not really. There are, in fact, several benefits for the children of divorced parents:
Meeting new people.
These children will be fortunate to meet new and exciting potential parents, often unannounced. No longer will they be forced to deal with the same two boring parents for the rest of their lives. Former rules will now become guidelines or better yet, nostalgic memories, as the authorities in their lives shift constantly.
They’ll get to meet dad’s apparently endless supply of easy women whose lack of self-respect is only outdone by their social ineptitude. They’ll also meet mom’s revolving door of underemployed males, usually “between” wives or jobs, looking for a prepaid house and some easy-to-ignore children.
Two places to call home.
The children will also have a variety of living situations. There will, of course, be their home base, where 90% of their stuff is, with its convenient proximity to expensive private schools and malls. They now will also enjoy their “home away from home” where they can while away your work day drinking, doing drugs and having premarital sex.
More material wealth.
With two parents, four grandparents and some exponential temporary explosions due to on-again, off-again dating, every child will be showered with gifts, money and other purchased signs of love by competing parents.
Ground zero for gossip.
Being the middlemen for uncommunicative former spouses, the children will be quizzed endlessly about the goings-on in the unseen residences. Who’s doing whom. Where mom got the money for the plastic surgery. Where dad’s recent ex has herpes. How mom’s new stud got busted for workman’s comp fraud.
They will also be able to interact with both parents outside regular visiting hours via clandestine late night phone calls:
Whose car is that sitting outside our house?
Fine. Mom’s house.
Met him at the company softball game?
Does she work with him?
No. Not now. Jesus! Has he been over a lot?
‘Nearly nonstop’ is referring to what time frame?
‘Recently?’ What the hell does that mean?
No, I am not outside right now!
No. I was just driving by earlier—
Jesus Christ! Close your window and stop waving at me!
The pain=creativity bonus.
The tension and heartbreak of divorce will allow your child’s creativity to blossom, resulting in overwrought poetry, song lyrics and teacher-disturbing margin doodling.
I hope this has been enlightening for you. Take this advice and go boldly out into your shattered world. Don’t worry about the kids. They’ll be fine. Have fun looking for that second job/house/spouse!