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Tele-Mediation: A Game Changer for Divorcing Couples

Tele-Mediation: A Game Changer for Divorcing Couples

While courts remain closed, is there a silver lining for divorcing couples during the pandemic? Absolutely! Alternative Dispute Resolution offers a variety of options and opportunities. In fact, for most couples, there are unexpected benefits. And that goes for their lawyers too!

The post Tele-Mediation: A Game Changer for Divorcing Couples appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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woman war narcissist

Divorcing a Narcissist Is Like Going To War: Here Is Your Battle Strategy

woman war narcissist

 

What fresh hell is this?

This was a recurring question I asked myself after filing for divorce from the man I had loved, devoted my life to, had children with, and who was also a diagnosed narcissist.

Looking back on my own experience, which was a brutal process that left me emotionally and financially battered, there were certain mistakes I made that could easily have been prevented had I known better. To be clear, divorcing a Narcissist is like going to war, and there are certain aspects to it that if you are aware of and wise to can make all the difference as to how you’ll come out on the other side.

Here is the advice that I wish I had had when going through it. Trust me when I say it could save yourself a lot of heartache, headaches, and potentially tens of thousands of dollars since narcissists aren’t just out to win the war, they’re out to annihilate to whatever degree they can.

For all of you preparing for that battle, or in the trenches of it, here are some tips that I would have given myself all those years ago and which would have made all the difference:

Divorcing a Narcissist Is Like Going To War: Here Is Your Battle Strategy

Find a fan-fucking-tastic attorney who is knowledgeable about abusers and personality disorders (warning: many lawyers are narcissists themselves).

Many attorneys are in this for the money and if you don’t have a good one, they will have no problem charging you for their services while the narcissist purposely creates situations that cost you money.

Make sure you and your attorney are both on the same page and never underestimate how a narcissist will lie, cheat, and steal in order to “win” the divorce. The more an attorney understands the below-the-belt tactics of a narcissist, the better she/he can protect you during the process.

Get rid of any and all illusions that your soon-to-be-ex is going to play nice or care about your well-being and best interests during the divorce or after.

This is where women can get into deep trouble while divorcing a narcissist. We want so badly to believe that our ex would never do anything on purpose to hurt us (especially if we are the mother of their children).

Unfortunately, this illusion will cost untold thousands of dollars in attorney fees because narcissists will mask their cruelty within the paperwork and hide their true intentions behind their lawyer (making it seem as if the lawyer was the one at fault).

Narcissists will do absolutely anything necessary to “win,” especially if you are the one who left them. They are punishers, and you can be sure that you’ll be the target of their punishment.

Stop being nice.

Another mistake that women often make in the divorce process is trying to be nice and playing fair. The problem is that while you are a good person and just trying to be considerate for the sake of everyone involved, a narcissist has no emotional attachment to your well-being and thus will have zero problem in taking everything he can from you (they are known to be particularly brutal during a divorce and step up their efforts to smear your name and drag you through the mud).

Though it may be difficult to step outside of your comfort zone and enter the icky world of a narcissist’s playbook, it’s imperative that you take your emotions out of the divorce process itself (the paperwork, the compromising, the wheeling and dealing) and look at it like a business deal, one that your future relies on. What’s “fair” in your eyes is not going to be even close to what a narcissist thinks is fair, because you’re relying on what’s fair to both of you, while a narcissist is only thinking what’s fair to him.

Navigate the divorce process as though your life depends on it…because it does.

One of the (many) mistakes I made when I divorced my ex was not demanding what I deserved regarding our finances. I had been a stay-at-home-and-work mom during much of our marriage (meaning that while raising our three children, I also helped manage our businesses, took care of our personal finances, went back to school for a Master’s degree, taught dance fitness classes, and built my practice as a board-certified holistic health coach) and was at my husband’s beck and call at all times.

The fact was, he could not have achieved any of our success (and likewise my success was dependent on our mutual participation in our joint ventures) without my valuable contribution. But at the time of the divorce, since I was emotionally and physically depleted after years of abuse, I neglected to stand up for my role in our financial success and therefore came out on the losing end (since I also had an attorney who neglected to stand up for my rights as co-contributor in marriage).

This is why it’s crucial to demand to receive what you’re worth and recognize that worth (such as raising your kids or helping build a business) even if you don’t have paycheck stubs to show for all your work. Again, if you concentrate on being fair and nice, you’ll end up with far less than what’s actually fair since a narcissist is anything but nice. This will require you to step up, make demands, and not be run over by the other party, which may be contrary to your very nature, but your future – especially your financial future – depends on every single decision you make during the divorce process. So give yourself one decision less to regret later on.

Don’t let the narcissist wear you down.

This is a tough one because by nature we victims of narcissistic abuse are empaths to our core. We are sensitive and caring beings. We are thoughtful, compassionate, and believe in the essential goodness of others. Add to that our fragile emotional state and vulnerability, and we are no better off than the target of an opportunistic wolf that is successful only through a tactic of relentlessly pursuing and wearing down their prey of choice.

A narcissist will doggedly harass, annoy, bother, and frustrate you in the hope that you’ll throw your hands up in the air and give them what they want. Don’t let them be successful because you will regret it later once you’ve recovered. Stick to your guns and go with your gut. And see it through to the end without sacrificing your integrity and without having to face a world of regret later on.

Never lose sight of your future (and your children’s future if you have them).

The most expensive mistake I made in my divorce, and the mistake that cost me not only tens of thousands of dollars but left me in enormous debt afterward was that I didn’t look into my future and prepare for it.

Honestly, my brain at the time felt like scrambled eggs, plus every time I saw my lawyer’s name pop up in my email or on my phone I got a stomachache that laid me up for the rest of the day, so I was not only easy prey for the wolf to devour, but afterward didn’t have the backup plan to put myself back together.

Especially if you are financially well-off (as I was) in the marriage, plan your future during the divorce as though you were planning your retirement, meaning that it’s crucial to figure out exactly what you’ll come away with after it’s final, where that will put you financially, and what your financial life will look like in the following several years (Will you be buying a new house? Will you move? Will you be able to support yourself? Are you changing jobs? Are you getting back into the workforce after a significant period of time? Are your kids’ education/savings/etc. taken care of? Will you be going to school?)

If you don’t have this foresight for yourself, you’re taking a huge gamble that everything will work out for the best. And if you’re divorcing a narcissist, that’s a gamble you don’t want to take.

I realize this list seems cynical and depressing. But trust me, you don’t want to learn the hard way like I did and which I’m still dealing with the fallout from nearly five years later.

Before I filed for divorce, my then-husband promised over and over again that he would always take care of me and our children for the rest of our lives. He swore that I would always be his family and he would make sure I was set up financially so I’d never had to worry about money again.

These promises of his only set me up for failure because I believed him, so when the shit hit the fan I could do nothing but stand there open-mouthed and dumbfounded when he launched his full-scale attack.

Believing him disarmed me, which was his intent. Had I known the destruction and lies a narcissist was capable of, I am certain I would have fared so much better because I would have at least been prepared.

Instead, this is how I actually fared: Once I filed for divorce, the letters from his attorney started, as did the lies and the cheating and the deliberate attempt to strip me of everything we had worked so hard together to create.

Flash forward to the present and my ex continues to live with his young and imported Russian girlfriend in our 10,000 square foot house that we built together. He continues to profit from the businesses we started as a couple and is reaping the rewards of an income that only increased once he got me out of the picture.

I’m not a religious person, but I’ve seen the devil and what he’s capable of.

There is no line a narcissist won’t cross.

There is no boundary a narcissist won’t breach.

There is nothing so low or unspeakable that a narcissist won’t attempt if it means casting you as the terrible one and him as the victim.

They will use their own children as collateral to get to you. And/or they will discard and/or punish their own children to get to you.

Because of this, it’s imperative that you prepare yourself for this war. You can do this with the right attorney, with the right mindset (no illusions, remember?), and with the understanding that you are facing a brutal enemy who will sweet talk you to your face while smearing your name and cheating you out of what’s yours behind your back.

And a narcissist will sleep well at night having no conscience to keep him awake.

The attorney I made the mistake of using during my divorce once said to me, “There are no winners in a divorce, Suzanna.” This is total bullshit. The divorce process is a game to a narcissist. And in my case, my ex won bigtime because he succeeded in his attempt to lie, cheat, and steal his way out of his obligations and responsibilities to me and our children.

This is why you have to stop playing nice and instead play as if your life depended on it. This doesn’t make you a terrible person. This doesn’t make you the narcissist. What it does is make you stronger, wiser, and better off at the end when you can look back on your divorce experience and know that you handled it like a boss, like the person that the narcissist always knew you were but tried to convince you otherwise.

You will come out of this experience with more than a few bumps and bruises, but at least you won’t be saddled with regret or put into a position of powerlessness that prevents you from diving into that great future waiting for you.

You’ve got this, baby. It will be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do in life, but one of the best because you are owning your power and taking back control of your life from the one who controlled it for so long. This war, this game, isn’t pretty. It isn’t easy. And it certainly isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy. But if you are prepared and go into it with your eyes wide open and your armor on, you’ll have a much better chance of coming out of it with your spirit and soul intact.

And the best part of all? You’ll be finally free to leave the narcissist in your dust as you drive forward into your fantastic future. And that, my love, is the biggest win of all.

The post Divorcing a Narcissist Is Like Going To War: Here Is Your Battle Strategy appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Marriage Story : 4 Lessons for Divorcing Couples

Marriage Story : 4 Lessons for Divorcing Couples

From the outset of a divorce, parents should be vigilant in thinking about how their actions impact the children.

The post Marriage Story : 4 Lessons for Divorcing Couples appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

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Making the tough decision to divorce a mentally ill husband

Divorcing a Mentally Ill Husband

Making the decision to divorce is difficult, but it is even more challenging when your spouse suffers from a mental illness.

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older couples are divorcing more

Gray Divorce: Why Older Couples Are Divorcing More?

older couples are divorcing more

 

The term “gray divorce” was first used to refer to those who are getting a divorce after 40 or more years of marriage and is a reference to the gray hair you likely have after so many years.

However, recently the term has been more often used to describe the latest rise in divorce rates among baby boomers. These individuals are currently between the ages of 55 and 75 and have likely been married for 20 to 50 years.

While divorce rates have declined overall in the United States, the rate of divorce in those over the age of 50 has doubled.

If you are one of these individuals and are looking for a divorce lawyer, we suggest finding an experienced family law attorney to speak with. This will ensure you are getting the best legal counsel to help you get through your divorce as quickly and easily as possible.

Why Older Couples are Divorcing More?

There are a wide variety of reasons that there has been an increase in divorce in baby boomers. Here are some of the reasons why they would want a divorce:

  • Delayed divorce: Often couples choose to remain married until their children are old enough to be on their own or can further understand and be less affected by the divorce.
  • They’re now empty nesters: Older couples often find that once their adult children are all officially moved out, there isn’t enough holding the marriage together.
  • Retirement: When one or both of the individuals start retirement, there are a lot of lifestyle changes and can cause issues within the marriage.
  • Longer life expectancies: With life expectancies being higher than in the past, the idea of remaining in an unfulfilling and unhappy relationship forever is causing more couples to turn to divorce.
  • Women being more economically stable: With women being more financially stable today, women are no longer in need of a marriage to be able to support themselves.
  • The stigma of divorce is dissipating: Especially within religion, the stigma and negativity surrounding divorce are not as prevalent as it was in the past.
  • Prevalence of online dating: The ease of online dating has given hope to baby boomers that they can more easily find a new and better relationship.

What Happens After the Divorce:

Sometimes getting a divorce later in life can be very unnerving and a lot of questions will leave you feeling uncertain and confused about what to do next.

  • Where will I live?  You will likely move out of your home you shared with your soon-to-be-ex and maybe consider finding an apartment, a condo, or a small house. Maybe consider moving in with a friend or family member if you want some company. Just make sure that you end up living in an area that you are comfortable and happy.
  • Who do you turn to?  Don’t be afraid to turn to any friends or family to talk to or just spend time with.  Use this opportunity to connect with anyone you may not have seen in a while and have been meaning to see.
  • Splitting of assets: Speak with a divorce lawyer to discuss the best option when splitting your assets such as social security, 401(k), and pensions.
  • Child custody: With gray divorce, it is more likely that your kids are grown and moved out; meaning child custody or child support won’t play a factor in the divorce. If your kids are still young though, keep in mind that sometimes child support to help pay for the child’s college is required and can impact your retirement savings.

How a Divorce Lawyer Can Help You:

We suggest speaking with a divorce lawyer to ensure that you are receiving the best help in getting through your divorce at any age.  They can assist and provide you with high-quality and attentive legal counsel. They’ll make sure you get the best and most informed help when it comes to your divorce.

The post Gray Divorce: Why Older Couples Are Divorcing More? appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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divorcing a control freak

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

divorcing a control freak

 

I had never considered my husband a control freak. But as we were ending our marriage, I saw his need to control blossom into something ugly.

At that point, I reflected back over our marriage (for the millionth time?) and realized it had been there all along. I think I had largely overlooked it because I just wanted to get along.

Plus there were other hurtful behaviors that actually trumped this one.

Our divorce kicked off with some controlling behavior. What I had hoped would be a dissolution upgraded to a divorce when my husband sent the Sheriff to our home to serve me with divorce papers.

In those papers were restraining orders. He was trying to prevent me from accepting a job in my hometown. It was the best job opportunity that I could’ve received at that time. Many years ago, we had jointly decided that he would financially support our family while I basically stayed home with our four children.

But when the divorce started, he shut down all of my access to our finances. Then he tried to block my ability to provide for myself and the children. I was in an impossible spot, and needed solutions. Eventually, I came up with six strategies to handle divorcing a control freak.

6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak

1. Limit his opportunities to control. I created an email account just for him and refused to communicate with him in any other way. I informed him that I would no longer speak with him in person, nor would I answer his texts. If he needed to give me information quickly (maybe running late to pick up the kids), he could text someone in my support system and they would immediately let me know. The email account was actually my attorney’s idea. It limited my ex’s ability to control me and made a permanent record out of everything he said.

Along that same vein…

2. Create witnesses. After I made an email account just for him, I realized I could improve upon the idea even further. I made sure he knew that I would not be reading his emails. The people who supported me took turns reading emails from my ex. They only passed along the information that I actually needed to know, usually details about the kids.

I was never made aware of the drama, threats or speeches. My ex was intensely upset about this, but I stuck with it. I cannot even express how much stress this lifted from me. And yes, I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have such a wonderful support system!

3. Move, if you can. This was a tricky situation because my attorney and I decided that I would drop all of the kids off at their father’s new place, and then I’d move to my hometown. Their father had never wanted to be involved in parenting, and I knew that among other issues, the children would get really upset by his parenting and personality.

Within two weeks, all four of the children had found a way to move out of their dad’s home. Thankfully, the courts later interviewed all of them and allowed the children to move so they could live with me. The kids had been so understanding, but this calculated risk frightened me and filled me with guilt. The move was for a job opportunity and creating a better life for the kids and me. But it also ended up playing a significant role in my healing and creating boundaries. I believe it saved me.

4. Document. It felt like I would be stooping so low to record or videotape my ex, even though he was consistently doing that to me. But one day he called the police on me because our son rode the school bus to where his Pappaw was instead of where his father lived.

Once the officer understood how upset the children were, he explained that it could really help the kids and me if I were to record them being forced to visit their dad. Once my ex understood that I would be openly recording, he backed off on forcing visits. (Disclaimer: If children can be/feel healthy in their relationships with BOTH parents, I believe this is best. I don’t want to sound anti-dad. I’ve met some men that are amazing dads!)

5. Neutral territory. Two of our children visit with their father, and whenever we exchanged the children I insisted that we do so in a very public location. I had noticed that my ex’s controlling behavior was always bolder when we were at our homes or another private place. I’m very lucky because my father usually offers to do pick-ups/drop-offs. Pappaw has clocked in some major hours driving the 90-minute trek to my ex’s house with some very precious cargo.

6. My life is no longer his business. I stopped posting on social media for a few years. When I returned, I thinned down my friend count to remove anyone who was also a friend of my ex’s. As far as I know, the children feel pretty protective of me and never mention me or details of my life to their dad. He has tried to come into my home to use the bathroom, but I’m not comfortable with this (there is a nice Subway and gas station just two blocks away). In the past, he has gone through my belongings, and he’s been known to take pictures. I believe the less he knows about me, the less opportunity he has to control me.

There are almost always better ways to handle relationship issues than with control and force. Where’s the finesse, patience, compromise, and understanding? We have the right to be treated with respect. Plus, when we do stand up for ourselves, the other person has an opportunity to self-correct – if they are able. If they are allowed to treat us unfairly, they aren’t going to have an impetus to change. But if this best-case scenario doesn’t work out, and they still remain control-freaks, at least you’ve established some healthy boundaries for yourself.

The post 6 Strategies To Use When Divorcing A Control Freak appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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