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The Chemistry of Divorce

Even if that intense chemistry leads to what psychologist Erich Fromm inreferred to as conscious commitment, some of those couples will invariably end up dividing assets at an attorney's office.
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Chemistry. The scientifically inclined tend to think of carbon molecules and Bunsen burners while the rest of us think of that je ne sais quoi that might happen on a first date or these days, even a first Tinder meet. There's that intense physical attraction that might, if you play your cards right, continue through the first overnight, vacation, Thanksgiving with the parents, and walk down the aisle.

Even if that intense chemistry leads to what psychologist Erich Fromm in The Art of Loving referred to as conscious commitment, some of those couples will invariably end up dividing assets at an attorney's office.

Certified Family Law Specialist (California State Bar) Michele Sacks Lowenstein says,

Divorce is all chemistry. The way your marriage was going when you decided to get divorced will still be that relationship during the divorce process. What makes us expect the relationship to change in the process?

In over 30 years practicing family law, Lowenstein says she's seen many clients who don't seem to understand why the other spouse continues to behave the way he or she did during the marriage. Attorneys should be able to set boundaries to protect their client's best interests.

If the opposing client wants to do something the attorney does not see as in the client's best interest, the attorney needs to be able to say, 'No. We aren't going to do that.' In litigation or negotiation, the attorney needs to focus on meeting reasonable objectives.

The San Diego attorney says lawyers need to problem solve what can't be worked out by the couple before the issue even makes it to the judge's bench, assisting with resolution. "Lots of lawyers follow motions even if it's a lost cause," says Lowenstein.

As a problem solver, I try to understand the other side's challenges. If a client who makes a lot of money, for example, says he doesn't want to pay support after a 30 year marriage to a spouse who has hardly had a career, I try to find a way to make it work for both parties.

Divorcing a narcissist has its own challenges. Forbes Magazine and The Huffington Post contributor Jeff Landers of New York's Bedrock Divorce Advisors™, LLC, says for women with controlling husbands, especially coupled with emotional or physical abuse, the divorce is all about total control.

The author of Divorce: Think Financially, Not Emotionally, What Women Need to Know About Securing Their Financial Future Before, During, and After Divorce advises women divorcing narcissistic husbands to hire top a top notch attorney, a financial advisor, and a forensic accountant to find if husbands have hidden assets.

"Too many women play by the rules and get burned," he says.

Women may be afraid to ask questions. Though it may be somewhat controversial, should maintain a secret fund. Many husbands who make money clean out the bank account so she doesn't have access to private accounts. He can put his team together and she has no access to the money. A top attorney requires a $20-30,000 retainer fee.

"They are no longer a couple. Each party's best interest is his or her own interest. The husband wants to get away with paying as little as possible. With a narcissist, kids are another means to an end. The narcissist will have no problem using the kids as pawns and gets great pleasure out of the game and seeing how much he can get away with," says Landers.