Economic Divorces

8/14/2008:

A Hoboken411 reader wondered if this recent story in the NY Post applied to any couples in Hoboken.

It sure sounds like the women they profiled in this story were a bit money-hungry… what do you think?

“Economic Divorces” Up as Wall Street Slumps

Divorces surge as Wall St. woes hit couples’ shopping sprees and getaways

wall-street-layoffs-and-divorce.jpgTWENTY years of marriage – and it collapsed just like the Dow.

“Cindy” and “Tom” met at a high school in the city and stayed together through thick and thin – attending colleges in different states and then different graduate schools.

Cindy (not her real name) wanted to be the city’s best teacher; Tom set his sights on the lucrative investment-banking world.

A wedding was always in the cards for the seemingly perfect couple.

Tom became a bond trader at a household-name bank, working 60 hours a week and raking in as much as $1 million a year.

As Tom’s star rose and his income spiked, Cindy quit teaching and focused on raising the couple’s two young kids.

Then disaster struck.

The housing market collapsed. In December, Tom was laid off.

And Cindy simply turned to Tom and said, “Fix it.”

Refusing to scale back, she booked a house in the Hamptons for this summer, splurged on shopping trips and continued the posh interior redecoration of their city home.

When Tom discovered Cindy had begun cheating on him since he was laid off, their marriage was about as stable as a hedge fund.

Three months later, with Tom still out of work, Cindy packed her bags and hired a divorce lawyer.

“I lost my family, lost my kids, lost my income, lost my identity,” Tom told his divorce lawyer, Dawn Cardi, the founding partner at her Park Avenue firm.

So much for staying together through good times and bad.

City lawyers say “economic divorces” are skyrocketing as the stock market slumps, Wall Street jobs are cut and bonuses are banished.

More after the jump…

(Economic Divorces, continued…)

Manhattan divorce lawyer Joshua Forman, whose firm handles several hundred divorces a year with many clients who work on Wall Street, said he’s seen a 20 percent surge in divorce filings in the past six months.

“They have to cancel the country-club membership, no more expensive summer camps, cancel the three-week trip to Europe. It’s hard to keep up with the Joneses when your job’s in jeopardy. And it takes a toll on the marriage,” Forman explained.

One of Forman’s clients – who made more than $1 million a year at one of the city’s largest financial firms and shared a fabulous, multimillion-dollar Manhattan apartment with his wife and two children – was let go after the bank downsized in late January.

Fights started to escalate over finances. He began complaining about her spending habits and gave her an ultimatum: Stop wasting money or get back to the work force. She refused.

Things came to a head when they couldn’t afford to send their kids to their favorite, but exorbitantly priced, summer camp.

In June, they both approached attorneys and are taking steps toward divorce.

Similar stresses broke up Tom and Cindy. After five months of negotiations – with Cindy continuing to spend wildly and Tom’s severance package running dry – a divorce settlement seems far off.

Fights like these are common these days, according to Alton Abramowitz, vice president of the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a partner in a Manhattan firm, who said he’s so overburdened with caseloads that he’s had to hire a new lawyer.

When one Manhattan client’s bonus, which made up the vast percentage of his income, is cut in half, questions started pouring in.

“Keep the country-club membership? Vacation in Europe? Lease the BMW?” Abramowitz recalled from conversations with his client.

It became too much – his client started internalizing what was happening at work and “stopped functioning well at home,” he explained.

Divorce was the next step.

Peter Bodnar says his White Plains firm for divorces has seen a 20 to 25 percent “increase in interest,” mainly from clients who work in “hedge funds and large brokerage houses.”

Couples counselor Dr. DeAnsin Parker is so “extraordinarily busy” that she’s had to wait-list prospective clients and, for the first time in her career, turn people away.

“It’s the fault line that finally cracks,” said Parker of the worsening economy. “It’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Many of her clients are refugees of the Bear Stearns collapse – one of whom booked an appointment after he lost $50 million in 24 hours.

“He had to grieve – there was enormous grief,” Parker said. “He had problems figuring out how to explain it to his wife and children.”

But it’s not only the men who have to contend with the adjustment.

“These wives are accustomed to seeing [their husbands] as strong. But now they’re weak and vulnerable,” Parker said. “Women, typically, if they’ve lived one particular lifestyle, assume that their husband should just solve the problem.

“Many times women can’t cope with the fact that a man can be emotional and fragile,” she said.

Many times, these women will start comparing their husbands to other, more successful men, and adultery becomes an issue, Parker said.

“These people sincerely believe that their lives are over.”

34 Responses

  1. tiffany2288 says:

    oops mean no fault.

  2. thebinatwork2 says:

    I’m not joking when I say if a hypothetical spouse cheated on me and then tried to soak me in the divorce there’s a distinct liklihood I’d kill her. I’d try to do it in a manner that I would get away with it, but that would be a secondary concern.

  3. bradykp says:

    [quote comment=”99367″][quote comment=”99363″]Yes, the wives sound like gold diggers, but the husbands knew their personalities when they married them, so it’s also possible that the husbands still married the women because they were hotties, so they get superficiality points too. You reap what you sow.[/quote]

    more the point that they’d be stupid if they married the hottie without the prenup to go along with it. Honestly these days, with the divorce rate what it is, I really think anybody that gets married without a prenup is a fool.[/quote]

    i personally anyone who gets married that needs a prenup is a fool. sure, something could happen and I could get screwed, but if I made that poorly of a decision in choosing who I am going to spend the rest of my life with, then I deserve the punishment for being an idiot. sure, mistakes happen, sometimes you don’t fully know someone, but most states protect assets that you bring into the marriage, and most prenups are contested and rarely hold up anyways. if people didn’t look at families as disposable and actually attempted to work through the problems they WILL encounter (not might), then we wouldn’t have these issues.

  4. bradykp says:

    [quote comment=”99376″]That’s awful.

    I find it telling about Tom’s personality when he says: “I lost my family, lost my kids, lost my income, lost my identity,”

    Lost his identity because he lost his job? Damn, talk about having all your eggs in one basket.

    Good luck Tom.[/quote]

    when you make that much money at a job, the job IS your identity, sadly enough.

  5. MidnightRacer says:

    [quote comment=”99472″]I’m not joking when I say if a hypothetical spouse cheated on me and then tried to soak me in the divorce there’s a distinct liklihood I’d kill her. I’d try to do it in a manner that I would get away with it, but that would be a secondary concern.[/quote]

    Not any more. That likelyhood goes to zero once you post it in a public forum. Think before you submit.

  6. thebinatwork2 says:

    [quote comment=”99490″][quote comment=”99472″]I’m not joking when I say if a hypothetical spouse cheated on me and then tried to soak me in the divorce there’s a distinct liklihood I’d kill her. I’d try to do it in a manner that I would get away with it, but that would be a secondary concern.[/quote]

    Not any more. That likelyhood goes to zero once you post it in a public forum. Think before you submit.[/quote]

    Motive and intent isn’t enough to convict. Habeus Corpus.

  7. bradykp says:

    [quote comment=”99498″][quote comment=”99490″][quote comment=”99472″]I’m not joking when I say if a hypothetical spouse cheated on me and then tried to soak me in the divorce there’s a distinct liklihood I’d kill her. I’d try to do it in a manner that I would get away with it, but that would be a secondary concern.[/quote]

    Not any more. That likelyhood goes to zero once you post it in a public forum. Think before you submit.[/quote]

    Motive and intent isn’t enough to convict. Habeus Corpus.[/quote]

    it definitely helps get it to trial though.

  8. CreativeAngel says:

    Phew. In the midst of recent divorces and break-ups, I’m so grateful to have lucked out in my relationship. We have been together for almost 5 years and will marry in the Spring.

    Our income, I must say, has somewhat dwindled in the recent months. And the less we worried/stressed about that, the more opportunities flowed in to earn extra income. Not to mention that, throughout our time together, we’ve communicated openly and have released unnecessary things from our lives… and budget… in order to make everything function as smoothly as possible. In fact, to date, we are quite comfy and happy :).

    In coupledom, it’s not always money-related problems that rule the roost. Sometimes problems originate from a lack of honest communication and truthful expression of the self. Without these, a relationship eventually sours because a mutual understanding is not in the picture. So, then, why would a partner try to make such a relationship work?

    Maybe one shouldn’t marry simply because it looks great on paper. Instead, maybe one ought to respect and love oneself enough to attract a person who respects and loves him/her in the same way, if not more.

    If one truly desires to maintain a relationship alive, and if the relationship is founded in REAL love, no income can break it up. Love is a tricky thing to master, though. So, with that in mind, we should all be patient and cease attaining an illusion of happiness.

  9. elainetyger says:

    CA, please, you remind me of a person with toddlers who has opinions on how teenagers should be raised. Later on in life, that person gets a lot quieter about it. I predict that 15 years from now, regardless whether you are still with your mate, you will have a lot fewer opinions on how to have the perfect relationship.

  10. bri777 says:

    I like how they are all labeled “stay at home moms”. How many do you think have a nanny too?

  11. bri777 says:

    PS. It also shows that no matter how much money people make most of them find a way to live beyond their means.

  12. Friedupright says:

    I guess the whole “for richer or for poorer” doens’t really apply. Thank God Tom didn’t get sick because “in sickness and in health” probably wouldn’t have mattered either. When things fall apart you get to see in true color.

  13. Easy-E says:

    [quote comment=”99489″][quote comment=”99376″]when you make that much money at a job, the job IS your identity, sadly enough.[/quote]

    If you have the great fortune to be able to earn that much money per year, you really should be responsible enough to secure your future. You could still live very, very well on a fraction of that salary.

    I know a couple guys who make insane amounts of money, but they’re smart about it. They aren’t even 40 yet and could easily retire and live on what they’ve saved.

    Sucks that people are losing their jobs, but you’d think people who work in the financial sector would be a little bit more familiar with how to save and invest.

  14. Easy-E says:

    [quote comment=”99472″]I’m not joking when I say if a hypothetical spouse cheated on me and then tried to soak me in the divorce there’s a distinct liklihood I’d kill her. I’d try to do it in a manner that I would get away with it, but that would be a secondary concern.[/quote]

    You know bin… I see a pre-nup in your future.

    After all, approaching your future wife with a pre-nup will feel awkward, but a lot less awkward than your first night in prison with your new boyfriend. :)

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