• What happens to my pension? Cottage? Business?
  • How am I going to get through this?
  • When will I stop feeling sad? Ashamed?
  • How will we split everything?
  • How will we tell the children?
  • What will everyone think?
  • What about the kids?
  • Does it have to be a big court battle?
  • Do we have to sell the house?
  • How am I going to pay the bills?
  • Categories

  • ” I earned all of the money, and built the wealth for this family, so it should be mine….”

    This is a common lament I often hear when working with the high income earners in a traditional relationship (primary wage earner and a homemaker that does not work or earns much less), irrespective if they initiate the separation or not. They believe this so strongly that this often clouds their judgement and does not enable them to hear the reality check that the Financial Specialist or even their own lawyer has to deliver. I have seen many separation agreement negotiations break down because they believe so strongly that they are being persecuted and that the system cannot really work that way. In their minds they create a reality that sees themselves in the ‘right’ and that any judge or rational person would support them in their argument that the assets and income should be all theirs- since they earned or created it.

    Family law views family assets and income as family property – irrespective of who earned the income or built the wealth. This property and income is to be shared in the separation. The system recognizes that the primary wage earner is often allowed to focus on their career or business while the other spouse takes primary care of the home or the children. The primary wage earner is often not called on to take the children to their dentist appointments, be home for the repair person, or other obligations during otherwise ‘work hours’. This is often taken for granted by the higher wage earner and they do not often appreciate the sacrifice the other spouse has made.

    We have termed this person a naïve realist. Either you might be reading this and it is sounding familiar to your perspective, or this could describe your spouse that you are trying to negotiate with. Either way, there are ways to assist the naïve realist to gain a better understanding of how the system works.

    While this naïve realist is often well educated and quite logical, it is challenging for one professional to assist them in seeing reality. Working within a collaborative team of professionals is very helpful for this person to hear the same message from all of the professionals. When each of the lawyers, the financial specialist and the family specialist are consistently giving the same message, then this helps them to suddenly ‘hear’ the reality of their situation- they have to share. Working as a team, we also use other methods of helping the naïve realist to gain insight and understanding so that they can move forward with realistic expectations. The last thing we want to see is for the naïve realist to not get the reality message and try to go off to court for a solution- where they will be sadly disappointed and it will cost them considerably.

    If you know a naïve realist and need help with strategies in how to work with them, give a collaborative professional a call today.

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