Friday, September 6, 2013
I write to congratulate Shellie Zimmerman for her decision to end her marriage to George Zimmerman and to remind my readers that judges and lawyers generally question the objectivity, accuracy and reliability of factual allegations in divorce petitions. They realize that emotions play a big role in decisions to end marriages. They know from experience, for example, that it takes two to tango, and in all but the most extreme cases, the urge to blame the other marriage partner for the failure of the marriage functions like a cloaking device effectively concealing one’s own contribution.
Assigning blame for the breakup of any marriage is generally a fool’s errand. Emotions are like water and marriages are rivers of emotions that resist classification according to cause and effect. Time is better spent acknowledging that the marriage is broken, regardless of fault. For this reason, we should take anything said by either SW or GW with a grain of salt.
I decided long ago that GZ is a narcissistic and pathological liar who cannot empathize or sympathize with other people. He uses people to get what he wants and his wants are unquenchable. Nothing Shellie says is likely to change my opinion. What she said yesterday confirms it.
As a general principle in most divorces, the lawyers should remind their clients to forget about fault and focus on answering two fundamental questions:
(1) who gets what, and
(2) what should they do to minimize the negative emotional consequences of the divorce on their children.
Shellie’s divorce should be relatively easy because she and George have little or no assets. They probably have no equity in their vehicles. They own a lot of debt and do not have any children.
Given the jury acquittal, the court administrator should pay the outstanding costs incurred by defense counsel. If the court administrator refuses to pay some or all of the costs and the decision is final, the trustee of the trust account created for the internet donations should pay those costs and windup the account. All of the debt remaining for any unpaid costs, after the trust account is closed, should be assigned to GW.
Debts incurred before the marriage usually remain with the partner who incurred the debt. Absent an agreement to the contrary, debts incurred during the marriage usually are divided equally, unless the benefit that created the debt was exclusively enjoyed by one party.
Bankruptcy is an obvious way to extinguish debt; however, not all debts can be extinguished in bankruptcy. Student loans are a good example.
Regardless of her motives, Shellie Zimmerman is headed in the right direction. GW is as toxic an individual as I have ever seen and the best advice that I can give anyone is to stay the hell away from him.
As always, we will be judged by what we do, not by what we say. Shellie Zimmerman is turning the page and that is a good beginning.
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Fred and Crane