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Power and Control

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Power and Control

Power and Control by Daniel Burns{2:09 minutes to read} When I first met with Tricia* and Brian*, they informed me that they had decided to end their marriage. However, since they were unable to afford to live separately, they had decided to stay together in the marital residence until it was sold.

Tricia then expressed a concern that Brian was preventing her from having access to the money she felt she needed. She had lost her job several years ago and had not yet been able to find a new one. As a result, she did not have her “own” money to use and felt that Brian was not giving her enough. On the other hand, Brian felt that she was wasting their money on frivolous expenses.

As a result, I gave each of them a budget to complete before the next session. At that session, I reviewed their budget with them in order to help them determine how much, if anything, was left after all their expenses were paid.

When we did this, it quickly became clear that there was little left after the mortgage, utilities, taxes, food, and other required expenses were paid. We then began discussing what they would do with the small amount of money that was left over.

Not surprisingly, they each had different ideas on what to do with it. Brian was in favor of saving it for emergencies or unanticipated expense. Tricia, on the other hand, felt that this was just another way for Brian to try to control her and wanted the ability to use some of it as she saw fit.

When it became clear that this was more about Tricia’s need to have some control over her life and Brian’s need for some financial security, they were able to come to an arrangement.  

Tricia agreed to take less money than she originally wanted and agreed to a savings plan that met Brian’s need to put some money aside for emergencies. Though neither got just what he or she wanted, each felt that they could live with this arrangement, at least until they sold their house and could go their separate ways.

As was recently well-stated by my friend Clare Piro (4 Reasons You Need Budgets in Mediation), budgeting may not be fun, but it sure seems necessary when a couple is separating.

* Names changed  

Daniel R. Burns

Attorney & Mediator
1187 Troy Schenectady Road
Latham, NY 12110
Phone: (518) 529-5200

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2017-01-30T11:33:43+00:00 By |Dan Burns, Finances & Divorce|

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