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Narcissism and Divorce: The Impossible 50/50 division of assets

In my last post, I explained how achieving a true 50/50 split in divorce is close to impossible, and I only discussed the costs of driving a divorce through the legal system. Now, we should bring support payments into the picture. Very few other conversations are as emotionally charged as that of support payments. In fact, very few lawyers are willing to elaborate deeply on this conversation. A notable fact is that “narcissism and divorce” is a description that is largely banned among divorce professionals.


division of assets in divorce
50/50 dvision of assets

I have read reports that men make over 90%  (some say it is around 97%) of all support payments, but I have been unable to find a statistical report that pinpoints the exact percentage.  Many divorce professionals and men groups do agree that men do pay the overwhelming majority of support payments. While some publications claim this is changing and more and more men are receiving support payments after divorce, this is just a marginal increment from the existing baseline, which hardly becomes a significant change in existing statistics.


When support payments come into the equation, the idea of an equal division of assets becomes more like a fantasy. In some cases, what appears to be a "fair" settlement can end up costing the payor infinitely more than imagined, transforming what appears to be a balanced split into a scenario where one party receives significantly more over time.

But remember, in the eyes of society and the system, a 50/50 split is great; it is "fair"; it appears fantastic. However, mentally, emotionally, ethically, and morally, everyone considers support payments completely out of the conversation, well outside the division of assets. It is a thing taken for granted and unquestioned. Let’s change this idea briefly. We can view support payments as “amortized payments on division of assets.”


Calculating 50/50 Split in Divorce over time

Let’s break down the numbers to illustrate this point. Suppose a couple has $100,000 in Net Worth. In a straightforward 50/50 split, each spouse would receive $50,000. However, if one spouse is required to pay $1,000 per month in support payments for 15 years, the financial landscape changes dramatically.

Duration of Payments: 15 years equates to 180 months.

Total Support Payments: $1,000 monthly for 180 months equals $180,000.

In this scenario, the payor initially received $50,000 from the division of assets and ends up paying an additional $180,000 over 15 years. This results in a net payment of $130,000 for him ($50k-$180k) and a total gain of $230,000 for the recipient spouse - $50k (from the division of assets) + $180k (from support payments).


New division of assets calculation after 15 years: The new 50/50

• He: -$130,000

• She: +$230,000


The Reality of Securing a "Fair" Divorce Settlement

Remember, the baseline equation for a “fair” divorce settlement is just the starting point. The system won't automatically grant a man this "fair" settlement simply because he deserves it. No, a man must advocate for himself and vigorously present a compelling case to convince professionals he is entitled to a "fair" share. In other words, he must work diligently, strategically, and seriously to secure a rightful portion of the separation. Divorce truly is serious business.


This financial baseline can look infinitely grimmer when divorcing a narcissist. 


I cannot stress enough the number of stories I've heard about men who didn't claim their "fair" share. They walked away to avoid conflict or additional fights, but this decision often leads to disastrous financial outcomes. I have seen interviews with men who ended up on the streets after a terrible divorce because they decided they did not want to cause any trouble and walked away with nothing and leaving everything behind. They didn't want to cause trouble and had no idea about the long-term consequences of their decisions.


As illustrated in a simple example, a man can easily be $130,000 underwater over 15 years due to support payments. Imagine if he does nothing to claim his "fair" share. It’s not hard to see how financial ruin can happen very fast. Beyond the financial devastation, there are also significant mental, emotional, and psychological damages. 


Walking away from a "fair" settlement doesn’t avoid problems; it creates bigger ones. It's crucial to approach divorce with the seriousness and strategic planning required to protect your future and well-being.


I can tell you from firsthand experience I faced the real possibility of ending up on the streets. I had to vigorously defend myself to avoid financial ruin. Although the ex didn’t ultimately put me on the streets, she came dangerously close and inflicted significant financial damage.


The Reality of Child Support Payments

So now we get to the all-consuming paradigm in divorce law and divorce court: “in the best interest of the children.”

“In the best interest of the children” is one of the most powerful legal arguments that reverberates divorce cases.  


At the outset, this phrase sure evokes very strong emotions and brings images of adults caring for the children of the marriage, but we should think of 1984 by George Orwell when he coins the term “doublespeak”  and suddenly “in the best interest of the children” takes on a completely different meaning, it is a perfect example of doublespeak in the legal world. This one sentence means money, and it can mean really big money. 


See, in the divorce universe, a large and significant part of the well-being of the children is narrowly defined by the amount of support money the recipient gets after the divorce; yes, there are other angles, but support payment amounts are at the forefront of the argument. In the eyes of the system and society, money is the primary measuring stick that counts for taking care of children. Therefore, the more dad pays in support payments, the better off children will be, right?.. Right?

Okay, let’s go with that for a moment and say that money is all that matters.


Support payment accountability

Did you know there is no such thing as support payment accountability? That is right; payment accountability is not a thing; it's a nothing burger.. Nobody is allowed to talk about this elephant in the divorce room. Child support payments can be spent in any manner the recipient desires, with no oversight or accountability regarding how the money is utilized. 


This means the money could be spent on anything, like drinking, partying, gambling, traveling, etc. The sky is the limit; there is no mechanism to ensure the money is being spent on the children. And if the money is being diverted from the children, there’s Nothing Dad can do about it. Any additional litigation will only be costly and will likely end up nowhere.


But a parent would never dare divert funds away from the children or be abusive, would day? Singer-songwriter Jewel explains how her mother stole 100 million from her. How about the story of Sinead O'Connor? There are countless other stories, but the question remains. What is the true argument for implementing support payments?   


FYI. The rationale behind child support is to ensure children enjoy the same standard of living post-divorce as they did during the marriage. The focus is on financial support without specifying how the funds should be allocated.


Implications for Payors

For men who pay large amounts in support, thinking it directly benefits their children, it’s crucial to understand that they have no right to demand financial accountability.


It doesn't stop there! The recipient could ask the children to go to the paying parent to cover additional expenses over and above what should have been covered with the existing child support payments (yes, this happens quite frequently). In other words, the story of the extraction of money and the methods of doing so go on and on. 


Hopefully, we all are getting the picture of why divorce is a serious business.


narcissism and divorce: Key Points to Consider:

1. Advocate for Yourself: You need to present a strong case to ensure you get a "fair" settlement.

2. Strategic Planning: Approach your divorce with the same dedication and strategy as a full-time job.

3. Avoiding Conflict Isn’t Worth It: Walking away to avoid trouble can lead to severe financial and emotional consequences. In reality, they are making things worse.

4. Understand the Long-Term Impact: Realize that the decisions made during the divorce process will affect your financial stability for years to come.


Treat your divorce seriously, plan diligently, and don’t hesitate to claim what is rightfully yours. Your future well-being depends on it.


There are so many stories of men passively contemplating divorce as if looking at cars driving by, only to feel the pain for years to come.  It does not have to go that way.


Historical Background

Support payments, also known as alimony or spousal support, have a long history dating back to ancient civilizations. They were created to address the financial disparity that often arises when a marriage ends, ensuring that the lower-earning spouse could maintain a reasonable standard of living post-divorce.


1. Ancient Rome and England:

In ancient Rome, support payments were part of the divorce settlements. Roman law required the husband to provide financial support to his former wife if she was not at fault for the divorce.


English common law later adopted similar principles. During the Middle Ages, English courts began to grant alimony as a continuation of a husband’s duty to support his wife, even after separation or divorce.


2. Evolution in the United States:

The concept of alimony was carried over to the United States from English common law. Initially, it was primarily awarded in cases where the divorce was granted due to the husband’s misconduct, reflecting the patriarchal norms of the time.


Over the 20th century, the purpose and nature of alimony evolved to reflect changing social norms. The focus shifted towards providing support based on economic need rather than as a punishment for marital misconduct.  In theory, that is.


Conclusion

To be clear, I am NOT against support payments; there are countless cases where they are more than justified. I am, however, proposing to open up the conversation about the weaponization of our divorce system  to punish “The Criminal.”


Navigating a divorce, particularly one involving a narcissist, requires serious and strategic planning. The notion of a 50/50 split hardly resembles a 50/50


Walking away to avoid conflict may seem easier in the short term but can lead to disastrous financial and emotional outcomes in the long run. Understand that your decisions will impact your financial stability and well-being for years to come.


Plan diligently, and claim what is rightfully yours to protect your future.


Remember, your well-being and financial security depend on taking the necessary steps to ensure a fair settlement. Don't let the challenges deter you from fighting for what you deserve. By approaching your divorce strategically, you can avoid the long-term regrets many men face when they fail to secure a fair outcome.



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