Legal Blog

A Poker Player’s Guide to Divorce

divorceMarriage – a notoriously volatile institution to begin with – often grows downright incendiary when confronted with the lifestyle of a professional bettor. While a privileged few may find palpable sex appeal in their spouse emerging at all hours of night, wreaking of a casino’s tobacco and stale liquor-infused air supply, many domestic unions simply cannot withstand the de facto graveyard shift of a professional grinder. Throw in the hefty travel that accompanies a career spent chasing tournament purses alongside the inevitable bankroll fluctuations, and it is easy to see why poker is, to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emmerson, a jealous mistress.

Adding insult to injury, many courts and domestic relations attorneys are sincerely naïve to the economic realities of a hold’em-derived income. It is not merely that they regard “professional gambler” as a stigmatized term of ill repute – it is, too, that the judiciary tends to regard with the gravest of skepticism the economic claims of any spouse (and, more starkly, parent) who cannot readily produce a W-2 or 1099 commensurate with his or her lifestyle.

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