Author Topic: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?  (Read 22124 times)

limeandpepper

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #50 on: July 03, 2013, 08:33:21 AM »
just don't get married.....shack up instead ;)

That's horrible advice.   Shacking up, especially with kids, is almost the risks of divorce (financial, child support, splitting of things to two households, pretty much everything except alimony), but with none of the stability of marriage.   Yes, marriages fail, but shacking up fails at a much much higher rate.

Did you miss the ;) in ace's post?

But anyway, many people who shack up probably didn't make a promise to each other to stay with each other forever (or until divorce, not that you'll hear that in the vows), so it's not a surprise that many of the relationships don't last. If they didn't promise to stay together forever, then the fact that they didn't stay together forever cannot be seen as a failure. Of course, if you shack up too long and the government decides to see you as a married couple for all legal purposes, then indeed, it becomes an issue.

A good marriage is wonderful, you are a team working together and have each others back.  A bad marriage is horrible, but don't write off all marriages because some are bad.

I would correct this to say: "A good relationship is wonderful, you are a team working together and have each others' back." I could also say, "A bad 'shacking up experience' is horrible, but don't write off all 'shacking up experiences" because some are bad." Goes both ways.

ace1224

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #51 on: July 03, 2013, 09:55:23 AM »
just don't get married.....shack up instead ;)

That's horrible advice.   Shacking up, especially with kids, is almost the risks of divorce (financial, child support, splitting of things to two households, pretty much everything except alimony), but with none of the stability of marriage.   Yes, marriages fail, but shacking up fails at a much much higher rate.

A good marriage is wonderful, you are a team working together and have each others back.  A bad marriage is horrible, but don't write off all marriages because some are bad.
there was a winky face there!  and while ymmv i don't think shacking up is bad, i've been doing it for 10 years and we have an 8 year old.  at the rate people are getting divorced nowadays i'd be saving some serious lawyer fees lol ;) (winky face again)

PKFFW

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #52 on: July 03, 2013, 10:03:11 PM »
just don't get married.....shack up instead ;)

I agree. Statistics show that 100% of the people who don't get married have a 0% rate of divorce. :D

But P.S. Shacking up may not work either, as in some places that seems to eventually lead you to a de facto status whether you like it or not, legally speaking.
Yes exactly.

Here in Australia, if you shack up together for 12 months you are legally de facto with all the same rights and responsibilities as a married couple.

In fact you don't really even need to be living together.  There was a recent case in which the secret girl friend of a married man was able to make a claim on his estate upon his death.

Only caveat being that this does not apply to same sex couples as yet.  Though that seems likely to change eventually.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2013, 10:07:30 PM by PKFFW »

cerberusss

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #53 on: July 04, 2013, 05:17:33 AM »
Shacking up, especially with kids, is almost the risks of divorce (financial, child support, splitting of things to two households, pretty much everything except alimony), but with none of the stability of marriage.
Your statement is colored by your culture. I bet you're American. I'm from The Netherlands, and about half of couples marry. Sometimes, it's even done as an afterthought, i.e. after the second child.

Also, the stability is something you control yourself. Of course you can point to statistics, but individuals are not statistics.

LowER

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #54 on: July 04, 2013, 08:47:52 AM »
More than half of couples in the US are not married.

After having been through a divorce, I can see why.

GuitarStv

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #55 on: July 04, 2013, 09:16:09 AM »
- Don't live together before marriage; while people like to claim it's a "practice period", statistics say that it increases your chances of divorce.  I know that when my husband and I moved in together the day after our wedding, it seemed magical.  I'm sure that if we'd lived together previously, some of that would've been gone -- to some extent, it would've been just another Monday.  I've known lots of couples who moved in together "on different pages"; in a typical situation, it seems that women who moved in with their boyfriends, see the arrangement as very temporary -- they anticipated that marriage will follow swiftly.  Often as not, their boyfriends had no such ideas.  All too often, these arrangements work well for a while, but then the women become demanding because they think the "trial period" has passed, and it's time for a ring, whereas the man had no idea that living together wasn't the goal.

As someone who lived together with my wife for about eight years before getting married, I don't agree with this advice.  I think it's more important to put your cards on the table and actually talk about what's important to each of you, so that you don't end up with situations where people are misunderstanding one another.  If you're in a committed relationship, the marriage certificate is just a piece of paper.  There's nothing magical about it that makes you more or less of a couple than you were the day before you got it.  The people who think that the bit of paper will make some life shattering revelation and difference are the ones who make me worried about their relationships. . .

Russ

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #56 on: July 04, 2013, 09:23:26 AM »
I've known lots of couples who moved in together "on different pages"; in a typical situation, it seems that women who moved in with their boyfriends, see the arrangement as very temporary -- they anticipated that marriage will follow swiftly.  Often as not, their boyfriends had no such ideas.  All too often, these arrangements work well for a while, but then the women become demanding because they think the "trial period" has passed, and it's time for a ring, whereas the man had no idea that living together wasn't the goal.

Not married so take this or leave it I suppose, but to me this sounds like more of a communication problem than a moving-in problem

grantmeaname

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #57 on: July 04, 2013, 09:39:25 AM »
statistics say that it increases your chances of divorce.
That's the often-quoted but false conventional wisdom, by the way.

oldladystache

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #58 on: July 08, 2013, 09:41:14 AM »
My divorce was what made my comfortable retirement possible. After 35 years of marriage we split our assets down the middle. 10 years later my net worth is almost doubled, and his is less than half.

He believes a miracle will happen and he can live happily ever after. I don't believe in miracles so I've been living below my means and finding extra income here and there, while considering myself retired.


ace1224

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #59 on: July 08, 2013, 09:49:11 AM »
just don't get married.....shack up instead ;)

I agree. Statistics show that 100% of the people who don't get married have a 0% rate of divorce. :D

But P.S. Shacking up may not work either, as in some places that seems to eventually lead you to a de facto status whether you like it or not, legally speaking.
Yes exactly.

Here in Australia, if you shack up together for 12 months you are legally de facto with all the same rights and responsibilities as a married couple.

In fact you don't really even need to be living together.  There was a recent case in which the secret girl friend of a married man was able to make a claim on his estate upon his death.

Only caveat being that this does not apply to same sex couples as yet.  Though that seems likely to change eventually.
wow.  thank goodness my state is not a common law state then! my state is insane in that if you are married you have to be legally separated for a year and a day before you can file for divorce.  insane.  i can't tell you how many friends i have had that lied about separation dates just to get divorced, but then the other person is pissed off and contests the date.  ugh its a mess

Paul der Krake

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #60 on: July 08, 2013, 10:10:36 AM »
wow.  thank goodness my state is not a common law state then! my state is insane in that if you are married you have to be legally separated for a year and a day before you can file for divorce.  insane.  i can't tell you how many friends i have had that lied about separation dates just to get divorced, but then the other person is pissed off and contests the date.  ugh its a mess
A bill in the NC senate wanted to extend this period to two years, longer than every other state (Arkansas and Connecticut currently stand at 18 months). Between that and the latest BS abortion clinic restrictions added at the 11th hour in an unrelated bill last week, the NC legislature seems to have its priorities straight.

/rant

totoro

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #61 on: July 10, 2013, 10:20:28 AM »
My divorce was what made my comfortable retirement possible. After 35 years of marriage we split our assets down the middle. 10 years later my net worth is almost doubled, and his is less than half.

He believes a miracle will happen and he can live happily ever after. I don't believe in miracles so I've been living below my means and finding extra income here and there, while considering myself retired.

Good for you.  Sometimes a marriage does decrease wealth if you are with a partner who refuses to plan and has very spendy habits.

CanuckStache

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #62 on: July 10, 2013, 10:44:10 AM »
just don't get married.....shack up instead ;)

In most provinces in Canada if you live with someone for a year you're automatically considered common-law...and have almost all the same rights in the event of a split up.

Divorce hit me hard. Wiped out all my savings. I had to buy her out of the property I bought with 100% of my money and also buy her out of my business which she had a 'position' to help save on taxes.

The same year my business took a major downfall with a 90% loss in revenue. It's been an uphill battle but back in a better place now (though still practically zero savings compared to before).

Lesson? Get the prenup or something in writing. Nothing like losing half your stuff to someone who didn't contribute at all.

AJ

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #63 on: July 10, 2013, 12:09:46 PM »
Hmm...statistically 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese. Does that mean that since I live in the US that I have a 66% chance of being fat? Well, that's one way to look at it but it is misleading. I have a choice in how I conduct my life, and I can make choices that almost entirely eliminate the "chance" that I will be overweight. A 50% divorce rate doesn't mean marriage is a crapshoot.

A pre-nup is a bit like high blood pressure medication - you can be overweight and sedentary and take pills, or you can eat right and exercise and prevent the high blood pressure in the first place. Proper diet and exercise won't guarantee you won't develop high blood pressure, but they greatly reduce the risk. The problem is, diet and exercise are hard-ass work and most people would rather take the pill. Same with marriage - there are things you can do to keep it healthy, but most people don't want to do them because they're hard-ass work. They wait too long to resolve issues and by the time they try it is too late. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. There are hundreds of books available on how to make a happy, healthy marriage - it's not exactly esoteric information. Should those strategies fail, there are thousands of marriage and family counselors available to speak to. Anecdotes are not data, but of the divorcees I am close to, not a single one attended more than a handful therapy sessions before calling it quits - and most never even tried it.

The "post-nup" we agreed to is this: if ever in the future one or both of us wants a divorce we will attend 24 months of couples and individual counseling prior to the dissolution. If either refuses, the other gets 100% of the assets (excluding personal effects and individual retirement accounts). If both refuse, our estate is to be liquidated and donated to charity.

I don't know what the divorce rate is of couples that have completed 24 months of therapy sessions, but I suspect it is much lower than 50% (though it is undoubtedly not 0%, nothing is a guarantee). Plus, rather than a standard pre-nup that sends the message "Hey, we might divorce someday, so let's prepare for it now", our version sends the message "Hey, we might have a rough time someday, so let's prepare to weather that storm together and give ourselves the best chance we can of succeeding as a couple."

It's not a perfect solution by any means, but I believe it is more conducive to developing a healthy partnership than a standard what's-mine-is-mine pre-nup. "You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war'" and all that...

matchewed

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #64 on: July 10, 2013, 12:14:10 PM »
I can agree to much of what you say AJ. The only point that I'd probably toss in there is that (mind you this is only from speaking with people who are marriage counselors by profession, no real data to back this up) more often than not by the time the couple has agreed to go to counseling the relationship is heavily damaged. But I would also state that 24 months of counseling may help repair that.

CanuckStache

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #65 on: July 10, 2013, 01:44:28 PM »
Yeah - the thing with diet and exercise is it's a choice I can make for me. I can't force someone to come to couples counselling if they didn't want to (though she did, for awhile). I did the best I could and have to assume she did too. I have a satisfied mind I did everything I could - she was the one who one day out of the blue decided 'I want to move out' without any kind of warning.

So with all due respect, I understand your analogy...but you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

Anyways what I'm saying is - protect your ASSets. Especially if when you go into the marriage, you are already established and have property, savings, etc etc that you earned well before the marriage.

DoubleDown

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #66 on: July 10, 2013, 03:28:28 PM »
Yeah - the thing with diet and exercise is it's a choice I can make for me. I can't force someone to come to couples counselling if they didn't want to (though she did, for awhile). I did the best I could and have to assume she did too. I have a satisfied mind I did everything I could - she was the one who one day out of the blue decided 'I want to move out' without any kind of warning.

So with all due respect, I understand your analogy...but you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

Anyways what I'm saying is - protect your ASSets. Especially if when you go into the marriage, you are already established and have property, savings, etc etc that you earned well before the marriage.

+1

Yeah the analogy really breaks down because it assumes two people are on the same page, not one person who is able to control their own weight. You might have all the greatest intentions in the world for your marriage, then discover your spouse is cheating on you; or they have a midlife crisis and declare they're done with the marriage, period; or they've been embezzling at work, cheating on your joint taxes, and leave you for someone half your age (true story, not mine); or one or both changes to the point of incompatibility; or any other reasons out of your control.

Probably no one goes into marriage thinking they'll be one of the 40-50% that fails. Everyone thinks they can control it and prevent divorce. You're better off protecting yourself legally to the extent you can lest you find you actually did fall into the 40-50%.

Marital counseling has a very low rate of success (success defined as preventing divorce). Even many (or most?) marriage counselors will tell you it rarely works, and many of them honestly don't even feel they have any real clue what to do, or tried and true methods that will help.

LDoon

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #67 on: July 12, 2013, 06:17:29 PM »
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The "post-nup" we agreed to is this: if ever in the future one or both of us wants a divorce we will attend 24 months of couples and individual counseling prior to the dissolution. If either refuses, the other gets 100% of the assets (excluding personal effects and individual retirement accounts). If both refuse, our estate is to be liquidated and donated to charity.

Hopefully that works out if ever needed, but is nothing I'd ever advise putting in a post-nup.  What if one person really wants out of the marriage (already moved on to new person) and then you'd have to sit through 2 years of counseling with him/her? That would drive me nuts.  Counseling only works if both parties desire to give it any honest try.  Otherwise you're just watching that 2 year clock count down (and then have to go through the long divorce process).

Couple points to add (lawyer here, your specific laws may vary):

1. If headed to divorce but want to salvage, legally separate.  In most U.S. states, the separation of assets begins on the separation date.  I.e., your income is yours, spouse's income is the spouses.  Same with spending of assets (big advantage to Mustachians b/c can begin saving, minimizing expenses).  If marriage survives, great.  If not, at least you're not responsible for partner's spending.

2. Pre-nups work.  Post-nups are even better.  In both cases, both parties need to be represented by legal counsel.  Yes, it costs $ but if you ever want that pre-nup enforced to protect assets, it's worth it (at least provide the opportunity for your spouse to seek counsel).  Post-nups are better b/c there isn't the duress from the implied threat that the person wanting the pre-nup will call off the wedding.  You're already married and just simply reinforcing both parties desires.

As an aside, post-nups can be useful for different things.  E.g., one spouse returns to school, other spouse pays for it.  Or, one spouse begins a new business with high initial costs, and it's funded by the other spouse's pre-marital assets. 

Zamboni

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #68 on: July 12, 2013, 09:29:24 PM »
Quote
if you are married you have to be legally separated for a year and a day before you can file for divorce.  insane.

 . . . and you are not divorced on the day that you file; it still has to go to court, so probably a couple of more months.

NC legislature is doing damage at an incomprehensible rate.  Separation requirements going from 1 to 2 years is the least of it.  The latest was introducing a bill that would have welfare/food stamps recipients pay $100 for a drug test, which they must then take and pass to receive benefits.  Not only is it completely absurd to ask a person seeking this type of assistance to shell out $100, such a drug test without probable cause is an unreasonable search and a clear violation of Constitutional rights.  This primarily affects poor single mothers (like that lady in the Frontline documentary if you watched that) and poor working-class families.  The assertion that these folks are just a bunch of dopers is discriminatory and, frankly and let's get right down to the bottom of it, thinly veiled racism disguised as fiscal responsibility.  Do they think that $100 will even cover the costs?  Because I ASSURE you it will NOT.  Florida already passed a similar law which the Supreme Court stuck down, so why would NC try it?  Why would they waste tax payer money passing it, then starting to implement it, then on legal defense of it all the way to the federal Supreme Court, where it is CERTAIN to be struck down?  Besides, aren't these idiots claiming to be against BIG govt, whereas this would increase the size of govt?  Aren't they FOR personal rights and liberties?  That's what they claim over and over, but I guess they only mean for rich white men, as clearly women, poor people, and minorities should have their rights restricted whenever possible. And I used to have respect for this state.  /rant

Rural

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #69 on: July 12, 2013, 10:46:41 PM »

The "post-nup" we agreed to is this: if ever in the future one or both of us wants a divorce we will attend 24 months of couples and individual counseling prior to the dissolution. If either refuses, the other gets 100% of the assets (excluding personal effects and individual retirement accounts). If both refuse, our estate is to be liquidated and donated to charity.

I appreciate the sentiment in this idea, but I'd say it should not be commonly implemented. Note: this is not in any way a reflection on you. But in those all-too-common cases where one partner is abusive, this is one more thing to keep the abused partner tied to the relationship.

EMP

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #70 on: July 12, 2013, 10:53:23 PM »
50% of all marriages end in divorce.

The other half end in death.

You could be one of the lucky ones.

I guess I missed all the fireworks with the new baby, but I think this wins the thread.

Rural

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #71 on: July 12, 2013, 11:02:53 PM »
50% of all marriages end in divorce.

The other half end in death.

You could be one of the lucky ones.

I guess I missed all the fireworks with the new baby, but I think this wins the thread.

I know it was meant as a joke, and it's actually a very funny one, but sometimes it all works out:

In our community, a couple had been married over 60 years. Her health started to truly fail, and he ended up becoming her caretaker for about six months, fairly heavy-duty. In the end she passed, and he just followed along a few hours later, soon enough that they shared a single funeral. Their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were of course upset, but it just seemed so right that after so many years, they would do this together, too, that few of them could find it in themselves to be truly distraught.

It can work, and when it does, it's so very, very good that it's worth all the risk and struggle.

ace1224

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Re: the biggest threat to FIRE? what about divorce?
« Reply #72 on: July 18, 2013, 12:23:05 PM »
wow.  thank goodness my state is not a common law state then! my state is insane in that if you are married you have to be legally separated for a year and a day before you can file for divorce.  insane.  i can't tell you how many friends i have had that lied about separation dates just to get divorced, but then the other person is pissed off and contests the date.  ugh its a mess
A bill in the NC senate wanted to extend this period to two years, longer than every other state (Arkansas and Connecticut currently stand at 18 months). Between that and the latest BS abortion clinic restrictions added at the 11th hour in an unrelated bill last week, the NC legislature seems to have its priorities straight.

/rant

uh i know.  remember that whole amendment 1 bullshit?? i was yelling at my co workers that it wasn't just about gay marriage (which should totally be legal, why is it even an issue).  there were domestic violence clauses in there that affected those shacking up.  since that shit passed, if i read it correctly if my partner beats me up since we are an unmarried couple i can't get a protection order from him for my child.  i can get one for me but not my kid since our union isn't "recognized"  In addition to restricting benefits to couples in domestic partnerships, the amendment could also strip protections for unmarried couples such as domestic violence and stalking protections.[12][13] If the courts determine that the language used in the amendment invalidates protections for unmarried couples it could harm domestic-violence protections for that population.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Carolina_Amendment_1