Parents’ Divorce May Forge Stronger Bonds Between Brothers and Sisters

Divorce can shake up familial relationships. It’s easy to leap to the conclusion that that is all bad.

But there may be a silver lining. One child of divorce, now an author, shares how her parents’ divorce actually bound her and her brothers together … forever.

To the point of earning the envy of parents of siblings who were not close.

Read more in this New York Times Style piece: The Secret to Sibling Success.


Shades of Domestic Violence … Aftermath …

Husband and Wife have four year old Daughter.

Unbeknownst to Wife, Husband and Wife’s marriage has hit the skids.

Husband allegedly sends text messages intended for a contract killer, instructing him to murder not only Wife but also Daughter.

Luckily, the text messages are misdirected to Husband’s former work Supervisor.

Supervisor takes the messages seriously, and reports them to law enforcement.

As a result, Wife and Daughter remain safe, and Husband is arrested on charges of criminal solicitation for first-degree murder., two counts.

Husband’s apparent motive is collecting on Wife’s $500K life insurance policy. Husband has reportedly been unemployed for a while.

Husband contends that he wrote the text message some time ago, in a moment of anger, but that he never sent it. Husband speculates that Daughter found the message on his phone and sent it.

The only marital strife Wife is aware of in her marriage is financial, due to Husband’s unemployment.

The above may have been a first episode of domestic violence in a family, seemingly completely out of the blue.

But further along the domestic violence spectrum, is this couple.

Boyfriend allegedly breaks into Girlfriend’s home, and viciously beats and rapes her.

When finished, Boyfriend warns Girlfriend that if the legal system punishes him, upon his release, he will find and kill her.

Boyfriend is indeed tried and convicted. He is serving a fifteen year plus sentence.

Girlfriends takes his threat to heart though.

She legally purchases a gun and applies herself to target practice.

She intends to be prepared for Boyfriend’s release from prison.

Ironically, she’s rather be prepared with a taser gun that would merely incapacitate Boyfriend.

But taser guns are illegal where she lives and conventional guns aren’t.

So she target practices. And files lawsuits mounting constitutional challenges to the taser gun bans drawing support from a recent Supreme Court decision.



Custody of the Family Pet Is Closer to Becoming a Thing

Husband and Wife are divorcing.

Miscellaneous property.

No kids.

Just Fido.

Adopted during the marriage.

Both adore him.

Neither can bear not to see him again.

Any animal lover can relate.

Other than American family court judges.

Who have stubbornly rejected treating pets as anything besides personal property, a thing to be distributed based solely on their monetary value.

That has been the divorce law of the land.

Until now.

Alaska has broken the ice. Finally.

From now on, Alaska family court judges will decide the “ownership or joint ownership” of family pets following divorce, based on the “well-being of the animal”.

This is a significant paradigm shift.

Consistent with cultural changes in recent years.

And numbers of private divorce settlement agreements.

And perhaps the occasional rogue divorce court ruling.

It remains to be seen though whether or, more likely, when, other states will follow in Alaska’s footsteps.


  1. this Washington Post article: In a first, Alaska divorce courts will now treat pets more like children and
  2. this [UK] Daily Mail article: Alaska divorce courts will now treat pets more like children – giving judges the power to determine custody .

The Right Way and the Wrong Way to Divide Retirement Benefits in Divorce

Husband and Wife divorce.

As part of their property division, or equitable distribution, Wife is awarded half of Husband’s 401(k).

Wife chases Husband for her share.

Then Wife chases the administrator of Husband’s 401(k) plan.

All to no avail.

What’s wrong with this picture?

Wife failed to obtain a QDRO, a qualified domestic relations order.

Prepared properly and entered at or before the final judgment of divorce, a QDRO is the key to the kingdom that is the ex’s retirement plan. A key that can be turned without having to tear out your hair or throw yourself on the mercy of your ex.

But there is a price tag associated with this key. Two actually.

The first is for proper preparation, often by an attorney who specializes in nothing but QDRO preparation..

The second is for administration by the ex’s retirement benefits administrator.

These fees may run roughly $1,000 to $2,000. Not a trivial sum.

But the retirement benefit to be shared is likely a substantial sum of money.

And the red tape involved in getting to it without a properly prepared QDRO is … substantial. Very.

Sure, it would be better if QDROs didn’t cost as much as they do.

But paying for them is a lot less expensive than having to go back to court to try to collect by other means.

Read more about QDROs in this Bloomberg Personal Finance article: The Divorce Penalty: This 401(k) Fee Can Add Insult to Injury .