I get asked by many people why I want to work in the divorce field, so I thought I'd share my personal experience with divorce. This is a tale about my grandmother and her two divorces. It is a true story and nothing has been exaggerated.
It all started when my grandmother got a call from the ER in Bethesda Maryland, asking if her husband does this often. She asked what the nurse meant by this, and she explained her husband was dropped off in a pink nightgown with pink toe nails and fingernails.
Now that I have your attention, let's rewind a bit to show you the whole picture. My mother was four when her parents divorced, and she remembers being asked by the judge who she wants to live with. Already we know how far we've come with the divorce process, and hopefully no children are asked this question in front of a judge and both parents. Anyway, the judge decided my mother and her brothers will live with both parents during their childhood. My grandmother had a very successful children's television show, Claire and Coco and later a women's talk show, Women Talk, in the DC area. So my mother was raised more by nannies and housekeepers than by her mother. My grandmother was a strong and successful woman back when these types of careers had very few women in them.
A few years after the divorce, my grandmother remarries a man named John, who was a lawyer in Washington DC. My grandmother retires to the Outer Banks in North Carolina while John continued to work in DC and visit her only a few times a year. Now John had an alcohol problem, and told us he was going to alcoholic anonymous conventions throughout the year to speak (don't forget this little tidbit). So let's fast forward 34 years of a marriage like this, and my grandmother gets the legendary call from the ER because of his stroke.
My mother and grandmother found out that John was a cross dressing, alcoholic lawyer in DC. He had two mistresses he was putting through college, paying their rents, and buying Mercedes for both of them. This was very confusing to my family since John was always extremely cheap with us, and even cheated when he played poker with my brother and me (we were 4 and 6 years old). Anyway, the one mistress is the one who left him at the hospital, telling my grandmother he is her problem now.
When my mother and grandmother went to his apartment while he was recovering from a stroke, they found his whole other life. Those alcohol conventions were cross dressing conventions, and boy did he have a fabulous wardrobe. They also found out he had put my grandmother’s two houses all in his name, being the savvy and sneaky lawyer that he was. Needless to say, my grandmother immediately filed for a divorce. She also canceled any joint credit cards and took him off her bank accounts. He had three attorneys fighting for him in the divorce, spending a ridiculous amount of my grandmother's money.
My grandmother got her share back in the divorce including the houses and their equity, but the divorce put a drain on both her finances and emotions. There is a lot more to this story such as John pushing my grandmother on a cruise ship and breaking her neck, but we won’t get into all the nitty gritty. The point of this posting is more why I am so passionate about helping people during a divorce and what we can learn from what happened to my grandmother.
Here are some points to be made from this tale:
1.Do not drag your children into your divorce battles, like my grandmother and grandfather did during the first divorce,
2.Always keep track of your credit cards and bank accounts,
3.Review the titles to your house, car, and any other personal property,
4.Once you know you are getting a divorce, get all your financial information together and organized, and
5.And please do not marry a cross dressing alcoholic with two mistresses!
Unfortunately, sometimes we have to learn lessons the hard way, especially when it comes to someone we love. Check in next week for part two of this story, which is about what happened when my grandfather remarries a much younger woman (so typical!).
Jessica Weaver, CFP®, CDFA™, CFS®
The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Jessica Weaver and not necessarily those of Raymond James.
Raymond James financial advisors may only conduct business with residents of the states and/or jurisdictions for which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to request for information may be delayed. Please note that not all of the investments and services mentioned are available in every state. Investors outside of the United States are subject to securities and tax regulations within their applicable jurisdictions that are not addressed on this site. Contact your local Raymond James office for information and availability.
Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC.
Foran Financial Group and Not Your Father's Advisor are not affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services.
Raymond James Corporate Privacy Notice