An ex-model brought a weather vane into a Manhattan courtroom to settle a divorce dispute with her former husband.
Mr Benson, a 64 year-old investment banker, claimed his former wife had damaged the roof of their home when removing the vane at the end of their three year marriage in 2009.
So she brought the copper ornament into court, the paper reports. She showed the four screws used to detach the vane from the roof and claimed her former husband’s claims of damage to the roof were ‘nonsense’.
Mr Benson, meanwhile, insisted the weather vane was his and said he wanted it back before he would pay the settlement.
But Justice Matthew Cooper was brisk. The judge told Benson’s lawyer:
“Your client owes $365,000. That doesn’t get offset by a weather vane.”
Charlton’s lawyer, meanwhile, insisted:
“This wasn’t about the weather vane It was about him using it as a defence. It was hers. She bought it before the marriage.”
The ex-model said he had come to court willing to hand over the vane to extract her settlement and was pleased to instead leave with both.
I’ve seen this kind of thing time and time again: a marriage ends and the former couple turns the energy and enthusiasm which once fuelled their relationship into wrangling.
It’s just easier, I suppose, to argue about money or the the details of your divorce settlement than it is to confront your emotions about the end of the marriage. A fair settlement is crucial but who gains from seemingly pointless arguments?
Of course we can’t know the truth of the matter here or exactly what each party’s motivations were. But there is little like a divorce for feeling out of control, especially if it has been foisted upon you by your spouse. Even if you are the one who initiated the split, you still have to contend with your partner’s response. Will they cooperate – or make life difficult?
Winning an argument about some element of the divorce – or even just starting one – can give an angry ex-spouse a fleeting sense of satisfaction and a control in a situation that all too often seems chaotic.
Photo of Manhattan by Dschwen via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence