It’s not a typo, the deathtails (or details) of divorce, at least in this post, are about what dies in divorce. It’s a tough thing to think about but maybe by saying it out loud, we can spare others from a similar experience. The marriage is over, but that isn’t necessarily what kids think about. I am sharing only my own personal experience here, the experiences of some family members who were kind enough to share their thoughts, and the experiences of some others that generously told us what died for them when their parents divorced. The really good news is that from these things, not only can we learn, we can grow and work to see that these don’t get repeated in our own children’s lives.
What dies in divorce?
What happens to a boy, age 10, when told to “go stand at the corner and your dad will be round to pick you up?” And that boy waits most Sundays on that corner for a pick-up that never comes. After an hour or so of kicking the curb (literally) he heads home to tell his mom that dad never came.
What happens to a 12 year old boy whose dad rarely comes back into town and rarely sees the exceptional sports accomplishments of his son? Well, both boys, when they become men, might drink too much (having started young without 2 parents around), they might make a poor spouse choice (having had poor examples of a marriage), and for them, security in their world died each time hopes of seeing their dad were dashed.
What happens to a girl, age 6 when dad left the first time, and at age 10, when mom and dad divorced, but it was never made clear that dad wasn’t actually coming back? When she figures out that he is not coming back and mom confirms, she feels her world physically shift as she collapses in mom’s arms and cries without relief. Fifty years after this day, remembering it still brings sadness for the child that grew up quick. So, innocence died a little that day.
What happens to a girl, age 9 when dad left the first time, and at age 13 when mom and dad divorced, received flowery hand written notes that he’d come back but he rarely did? Well, she might decide not to trust the world too much anymore and she might drink too early and hang out with the wrong boys because no one is home. One parent left and the other works – a lot – because it’s expensive to raise three kids with little financial help. So, trust in others died a little that day.
Parents might promise to each other that they will remain wedded until death parts them and sometimes the marriage dies anyway. But the kids aren’t usually in that conversation. Divorce is not death but sometimes a little bit of us dies with the promise that the parents broke.
Bonnie A. Sewell, CFP®, CDFA™, AIF® is NOT AN ATTORNEY AND DOES NOT PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE. All information he provides is financial in nature and should not be construed or relied upon as legal or tax advice. Individuals seeking legal or tax advice should solicit the counsel of competent legal professionals knowledgeable about the divorce laws in their own geographical areas or CPAs qualified to provide tax advice.
DISCLOSURE: All of the above is believed to be accurate but should be considered informational only and should not be considered financial, tax, or legal advice. Seek advice from a paid professional under contract to you.
Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved. American Capital Planning LLC.