Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Joel Dovev: The 10 Plagues Of Divorce


Like the Israelites in Egypt, sometimes during the divorce process you need to deal with some pestilence and eat more than your fair share of affliction-flavored bread before Pharaoh signs off on your dissolution of marriage papers. With that said, here are the 10 Plagues of divorce that will make the process so miserable it will make wandering the desert for 40 years feel like a much needed vacation. Dayenu.

1. The Plague of Awkward Cohabitation

The Israelites really understood the concept of a 'shitty' living situation. Enslavement, though probably available in some Craigslist subcategory, isn't really the best way to go about your daily business. When the Israelites had the chance, they left as soon as possible because they realized that it was only going to get worse if they stick around. This principle should also be applied to divorces. If you don't leave, and I really don't care how nice those kitchen countertops are, it is going to only get worse. Cohabitating with someone you are in litigation with, or are soon to be in litigation with, might be the most uncomfortable of all the plagues. You don't want to leave the house you built? I hope you can see where I'm about to go because yes, it is another pyramid analogy. They built the pyramids but they weren't going to stick around and fight it out. They left, and so should you. Get out, start anew, and don't worry about the bread.

2. The Plague of The Parting of The Friendship Sea

It's inevitable that some people are going to take sides. They made a choice and their decision is out of your control. But these probably weren't the type of friends you really want anyway (consider yourself lucky for finding out now rather than when you need a kidney). My Grandfather once said to me, "Everyone will go to a wedding, but friends will go to a funeral." I think the same principal applies here. Everyone wants an invite to your wedding, but only your true friends will stick around during your divorce.

3. The Plague of Sleazy Attorneys

The hair gel, cufflinks, over-the-top suit and some sort of personal hobby that involves a martial art or cigars are just two of the warning signs that you are dealing with a sleazy attorney. I really wish each would get a personal visit from the Angel of Death. Actually, never mind. I wouldn't wish that upon anyone, even the Angel of Death.

4. The Plague of Mark Zuckerberg

We all love Facebook. It has shown us that social networking really is just a way to legally behave like Sandra Bernhard's character in The King of Comedy while making 'friends' with people you can't stand in real life. With that said, sometimes one shouldn't see, or show, the details of one's personal life, especially when one might be scrutinized. You don't want to give anyone ammunition, even if said ammunition might be wearing a sequen jump suit and can quote Blue Hawaii in its entirety. Log off and think about what could be used against you.

5. The Plague of Too Much Celebrating

Ending a marriage can feel like ending a generations-long pyramid-based construction project; you're tired, there was a lot of yelling, and you kind of had a bad feeling about it from the beginning. It's healthy to celebrate. Throw yourself a party. But, like Pharaoh's rule, the party needs to end sometime. People seem to lose all sense of perspective when they get divorced, myself included. I went out a lot, got crunk fairly often and 14 months later I found myself flipping off tourists with a "miniature" Elvis impersonator sitting on my lap somewhere near the Bellagio (I'm not kidding, find me on Facebook, there's a photo of it.) The point is you should celebrate, but too much "celebrating" is often indicative of some underlying issues that need to be addressed.

6. The Plague of Communicating Through The Kids

Moses was a messenger, your kids aren't. Don't ever use your kids to communicate anything to your soon-to-be-ex. No kid ever wants to hear the phrase "Tell your mother this" or "Tell your father that." All you are doing is selling your kids a one-way ticket to I-Hate-You City, which is kind of like ancient Egypt but with more therapy bills and a lot more art school tuition.

7. The Plague of Holding on to your Chametz

It's customary to rid your house of all chametz--non-Kosher for Passover items. You search the house high and low, in nooks and crannies and everywhere in between for those last bits of crumbs. Then you set them on fire. In this case chametz is all that emotional baggage we have lugged, at one point or another. Your divorce will be a thousand times worse if you just sweep it under the rug instead of picking it up and setting it ablaze. Interesting side note: some chametz can be sold. If you think you can sell your emotional baggage to a friend, I would strongly advise you to keep this thought to yourself because instead of just sounding miserable, you will now sound miserable and insane.

8. The Plague of Revenge

Revenge is a dish best served in a restaurant that you never go to. Avoid it. Take the high road. Let it go. It won't change anything but your attorney's billable hours.

9. The Plague of A Protective Order

At one point or another in the divorce process, we all feel like angry lunatics. But there is a clear line in the sand where on one side you feel like a deranged nutjob and where on the other side you are a deranged nut job. Be aware of this line and do not, under any circumstances, cross it. There are healthy ways to deal with anger and it is a vital part of the healing process. It will make your life and your divorce exponentially easier if you deal with this in the appropriate manner and tone down the Lisa-Nowak-inner-voice that compels some of us to strap on an adult dipper, drive 1,000 miles and get our crazy on. Love is strange and divorce is crazy but the last thing you need is a court issued order of protection. I'm being totally serious. Arguments can get heated and if you're aware of what is appropriate discourse then life will be much simpler. Just remember, if you are asked to leave, don't stay and argue, because you might not be asked twice. It will make everything in the world exponentially more difficult. Though the stigma of divorce might be fading in the eyes of the public, the stigma of a restraining order is here to stay.

10. The Plague of Moving on too Fast

Good for you, you've found someone new. Oh, you're moving in together? Not only is the ink not dry from your divorce, but also I can still see the farmers tan your wedding band left. Do not do this. Take a break from Relationship Island and, dare I say, take things slowly? You don't want to be known as one of those people who just jumps from relationship to relationship. Serial Monogamist, killer, sweater wearer; anything with the prefix serial attached to it is never a good thing. So slow down killer, what's the rush?


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