In any divorce, it’s natural to assume that there will be a distinct division of physical assets; however, what happens when those assets aren’t physical, but biological? What happens when those assets have hearts and feelings and minds that are extremely impressionable? What happens when those assets stop being polite and start getting real?
No, I’m not referencing puppies or Real World cast members (although both puppies and Real World cast members do have hearts and feelings and minds that are extremely impressionable) – I’m referencing children.
Contrary to popular belief, children aren’t that easy to splice and dice: they’re not a Giordano’s deep dish pizza (then again, what is?) or a delicious piece of pear tart. And in case I wasn’t clear earlier with my excessive abundance of non-child metaphors-let’s be Cristal (like the champagne) clear: a child is not a 1932 Tudor-style home above Sunset or a classic Warhol piece.
Although, in all fairness to aforementioned assets, generally children don’t appreciate in value the way a 1932 Tudor or classic Warhol would (especially teenagers). Children (mostly) are living, breathing, precious human organisms with complex emotions (mostly). So how do the division of biological assets affect the biological assets themselves-the children who are impacted by the often conflictual dissolution of a marriage?
Let’s review the sad case of Miss Britney Spears and Mr. Britney “Kevin Federline” Spears:
Britney was deemed unfit due to “accusations that she’s a drug and alcohol abuser who frequently puts her kids in danger” and lost custody of her children, Sean Preston and Jayden James. To add some relevant context, let us recall the image of a bald-headed Britney smashing a paparazzi’s car with a green umbrella and rationalize that this decision to award primary custody to K-Fed may have been logically appropriate at the time, definitely in the best interest of Britney’s children.
Or how about the custody battle of 30 Rock intellectual-dreamboat, Alec Baldwin and the gorgeous, talented Kim Basinger?
They were the portrait of American family-perfection, until they split up and their custody dispute got very, very ugly: “She said he was emotionally abusive, and he claimed she was mentally unstable.”
Notoriously, a tape recording leaked of Alec Baldwin calling his pre-teen daughter, Ireland, a “rude thoughtless little pig”, which seriously hurt his custody standing (to say the least) but also seriously made me LOL (to say the most). Thankfully, Alec seems to be managing his anger lot better and has channeled this hilarious hostility into Twitter rants.
Lastly, let us consider the case of me, Edward Hansen, an O.G. biological asset whose parents divorced when I was barely walking. Since we lived with my father (he held primary custody), at times it was difficult for my mother to get access to us. Nonetheless, she fought diligently to be in our lives legally, physically and emotionally. I suppose one positive way to look at that is: my parents both cared about their children, their biological assets, so profoundly that they fought for us (emotionally and legally, not physically).
Still, it was a very sad period in my life, watching my parents fight over my siblings and me, and I always carried this overarching sense of guilt about potentially making one of my parents feel less loved or more loved than the other. Magically, I found a way to channel that guilt into actual, tangible, material assets (for myself) during my teenage years (cha ching!).
Fortunately, after some counseling and realistic self-evaluation, my parents both learned how to equitably “split” their biological assets – my siblings and me. Although there were some hiccups over the years (holidays have always been especially difficult in my family), my parents eventually learned how to divide their biological assets in such a way that didn’t gravely affect their children emotionally, intellectually or otherwise.
What’s most mind-boggling is: after so many years of contentious, vitriolic anger and not being able to tolerate one another, my parents finally learned how to unite and get along with each other just recently. The Huxtables we are not; however, after 20 years of strained interactions, things have gotten so good between my parents that we recently started sharing holidays together like one big, happy, un-divorced family.
And to think: it only took a paltry 20 years! Frankly, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that it’s warmed my heart to spend time with both my parents as one big, (albeit dysfunctional) cohesive unit – and all it took was a lot of fighting and lawyers and pain and hardship to get to the place we are in now. To quote Bethenny Frankel, we are finally in “A Place of Yes,” as in, “Yes, we can celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving or birthdays together as one big happy family.”
It’s noteworthy to mention that not every family struggles in quite the same way as mine did. Take J-Lo and Marc Anthony, for instance: Jenny from the Block and Marc Anthony have found an amicable way to successfully split their twins, Emmy and Max-promoting a very healthy custody example for all parents alike.
According to the New York Daily News, J-Lo and Marc Anthony are working together to make sure that things are as easy as possible on their children during their divorce: “This is about trying to figure out how best for two very busy parents to share their children.” As opposed to dividing their biological assets, Marc and J-Lo are sharing them, with love and mutual respect.
As we all know, sharing is caring, and as we can see: sharing doesn’t just to apply to snacks- it applies to the most precious biological assets on the planet: the children. So parents, please remember: you are setting the example for your children; they are watching you and they have feelings and emotions and deserve to be considered first, even when the circumstances are less than ideal.
If anything can be learned from Jennifer Lopez, besides how to look amazing post-40, how to dance the night away and “live your life and stay young on the floor,” it’s that love and mutual respect can trump any hostility or acrimony brought on by divorce- and you must divide your biological assets with care.