1. A Note from the Doctor

Two and a half years ago, she married her high school sweetheart, who had been her boyfriend since 11th grade, and five months ago they had a baby. When she was five months pregnant, he started going out at night with friends, going to have a beer and catch a break, according to him. At first on Thursdays, then on Saturdays as well, and towards the expected delivery – almost every evening. When she begged him not to go out, he said he could not look at her disgruntled face and left. When the baby was born, she found all kinds of pictures on his phone and he gave her some far-fetched explanations claiming to check the quality of the camera. He had explanation for his controversial texts with her best friend, explanation I found far-fetched as well.

Throughout that period, she continued to manage her tax consulting firm, pay salaries to 8 employees and provide excellent service to her many clients. At the same time, during their quarrels, whose frequency increased in proportion to his renunciation of the family unit, he made sure to explain to her that she was crazy, paranoid and had postpartum depression. He said he was worried about her, that he wasn’t sure she could be a mother in her present state and that if it continued, she would have to be hospitalized. Just as she believed his far-fetched explanations, she was getting convinced that she was depressed and needed psychiatric treatment for depression and paranoia, or else she would have to be hospitalized and have her baby taken away. In short, he got into her head and messed with it. I explained to her that the fact that she was immaculate in the wonderful business she had established and taking care of a small baby almost single handedly, indicated that she was not clinically depressed and that her reactions had been appropriate to the situation. Then she said she might go to the psychiatrist to get her husband a confirmation that she was normal, I started suspecting things.

It turned out that for many years he had been messing with her head and manipulating her until she believed that without him she was worth nothing, that all her achievements were thanks to his support, love and wise advice, and that if they separate her world would collapse. She told me that until she had conclusive evidence to the contrary, she would believe her husband and love him still.

Only towards the end of the conversation did she say that she received an envelope from the Rabbinical Court yesterday with a motion to settle a dispute that had been filed on his behalf, and that this was the reason she actually came to the meeting. Granted he messed with her head but dumb she was not and she understood money. She accepted my assertion that if it looked like a duck and quacked like a duck, it might mean that it was a duck, i.e. an infidelity, and that by obtaining evidence of his cheating there was a chance she would get the amounts promised to her in the Ketubah (Jewish marriage contract). She hired a private detective, and two days later she received a distinct video clip of him and her best friend together. Only then did she really understand how much he was messing with her head, and realized that she did not need a note from the doctor.

The moral of the story – never let anyone mess with your head and convince you that you are crazy after discovering evidence of infidelity. First of all, believe in yourself and investigate. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it’s probably a duck and not your hallucinations.


2. The Costly Savings

For years her husband couldn’t stand her parents. Much of their quarrels revolved around his dislike of her mother’s intrusiveness and his efforts to avoid visiting her parents as much as possible. However, he liked her parents’ money very much, and every time their bank account was in overdraft he asked her to ask her parents for help. Her parents had already realized that he didn’t like them and the pain they felt from her absence did not leave her indifferent, slowly dimming her love for him.

It turns out that upon their marriage nine years ago, her parents gave them money to buy an apartment. It turned out that there was another apartment in her name that her parents had purchased when she was a child, the rent from which had served them for years. The registration of the childhood apartment in her name resulted in having the purchase tax on the couple’s apartment, which was considered a second apartment, higher by tens of thousands of dollars. A considerable amount that would be a pity to ignore and even more, a pity to pay. “I couldn’t bear to lose that money” she explained to me, and so they decided to register the second apartment in his name only. It did not occur to anyone to sign any agreement, he was a good guy and they trusted him 100% and were naive. So naïve.

At some point, she incidentally ran into her best friend’s husband at the bank, which led to an affair between them that excited her but also gave her great distress. Soon her husband discovered her correspondence, hired an investigator and filed a divorce claim with the Rabbinical Court. He asked for a divorce, custody of their kids and her removal from the apartment, which he claimed was a gift to him from her parents and, as everybody knows, you don’t return gifts. He claimed that since she already had an apartment, her parents wanted to buy an apartment for him as well due to their excellent relationship.

The legal fees in the war regarding the apartment were much higher than the tax savings from a few years ago. Only when he realized that his claim was inconsistent with the sheer amount of texts slandering her parents did he agree to sign a divorce agreement, sell the apartment and divide the proceeds with her in equal parts.

The moral of the story – even if you are convinced that you have a brilliant tax plan, check all the implications so that you do not find yourself losing much more than you save and never ever underestimate the value of a financial agreement.