By Nathan A. Hacker
Divorce is likely one of the most stressful times in your life.
The picture to the right lists the 25 most stressful events in a person’s life, according to StressAffect.com.
It’s probable that you are currently experiencing at least one of, if not several of, these events currently.
If you are going through a divorce (#2) in all likelihood you are also going through a separation (#3), there is a change in your financial state (#16), an increase in arguments with your wife (#19) and presumably trouble with the in-laws (#24).
If you add up the scores associated with the stressful event, that’s 240 stress points.
Notice that the second most stressful event is going through a divorce. Divorce can cause you to contemplate getting rid of the everyday stress of work and do what you always wanted.
After all, the real reason that you wanted the big job was to impress the girls so one of them would marry you, right?
Don’t lie. Most of you reading this now, like myself, have dreamed of doing the "Man Vs. Wild" thing and surviving out in the wilderness with your Rambo knife and a book of matches.
If you are having these thoughts of taking advantage of your newfound freedom by quitting your job and leaving your worries behind, then believe me when I say you are not the first and will not be the last man to do so.
This has happened enough times that there are actually laws regarding such activities. These laws are designed to prevent people from quitting a good-paying job in order to pursue a fantasy life of sleeping outdoors and eating what they kill.
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And, while I am sure that you would be quite comfortable sitting on a warm beach somewhere with a few changes of clothes and a fishing boat, the laws have been designed to afford your children - and to some degree your spouse - the lifestyle they had become accustomed to.
The way this is done is courts impute income whether or not it actually exists. For example, a dentist who was making $200,000 a year prior to his divorce with two kids in elementary school and wife who is not working, would have to pay around $400 per week in child support depending on the state. That’s roughly $20,000 annually.
If you fall behind on these payments you begin to accrue an arrearage that must be paid off. Most states, in keeping with federal mandates, have enacted criminal penalties for those who fall behind in their child support payments.
So now let’s look back at that stress score of 240 points for the guy going through a divorce. If the man is also planning on going off the grid and moving to paradise, then whether he has been fired (#8), retired (#10), or just changed his line of work (#36) there is additional stress.
Going off the grid is going to lead to some sexual difficulties (#13) whether it is desire, performance, or frequency for an additional 39 stress points. If you have gone off the grid, numbers 20 and 21 relating to the mortgage are also going to be an issue unless she gets the house. In either case, it’s at least an additional 30 stress points.
Then there’s the kicker. When Johnny Law eventually catches up to the “Man Vs. Wild” wannabe there’s a whole new “wild” to be conquered: see number 4 (jail) for an additional 63 points.
Now, none of this is meant to scare you or frighten you or stress you out. I hope it actually made you chuckle at how ridiculous things have gotten for some poor souls who fancy themselves Bear Grylls.
Having said that, it is important that you not cause yourself to lose your job or just quit outright. Things are stressful enough for you right now anyways. If you get laid off or if your job gets moved and you have to take lower paying jobs to stay near your kids, then that is not the same. Talk to your divorce lawyer and work out your best option.
But if you are getting divorced and your wife wants alimony or rehabilitative maintenance as well as child support, you will be better off drudging through that no-good, soul-killing, salt mine called your day job than to quit.