In this week’s podcast, let’s have a chat about Divorce Mistakes 101. I thought it important for those of you considering a divorce to have an insight into the three mistakes l see clients make regularly. Especially people who contact me after spending up to 18 months of their life in the legal arena having got nowhere and wanted us to fix up the mess, they find themselves in.
If you have been listening to the podcast, you would know, I love a plan. Part of our success comes from our Divorce Roadmap sessions which all our clients must complete before even considering their next steps. I see no reason why someone should spend money unnecessarily on something they don’t need or make a situation more complicated if it can be simplified.
And most people don’t plan on a successful divorce or separation. They HOPE. That’s correct HOPE. To me, hope is not a strategy. Living in hope can cause stress and anxiety and that is not how l choose to live nor do l want my clients to live that way. I want certainty wherever possible. I want to know that my actions are getting me the desired outcome l strive to achieve.
So to prevent mistakes, do you have a plan to get what you are legally entitled to and financially able to achieve? This is the starting point of your next chapter.
To get there successfully and as quickly as possible, we need to prevent mistakes
So let’s get into it:
Having realistic goals [00:03:00]
Why no two divorces are the same and listening to other peoples stories are harmful to your outcome. [00:05:00]
Your decision-making process can be fraught with danger if you listening to other people’s divorce stories.[00:07:00]
Mistakes that people make in their last relationships that affect new relationships.[00:08:00]
It’s really important to get two sides of every story [00:11:00]
Expecting your lawyer to take control and guide you, is costly, inefficient and financially dangerous.[00:15:00]
Having plan B and C in case things don’t go as you wished. [00:20:00]
Using a divorce coach or counsellor can help you understand decisions that you’re making and save you money [00:24:00]
I discuss some of these actions in my book the Jelly Bean Jar and as a special offer to my listeners of this episode, I have a special gift which is 50% off my electronic copy of my book. So if you go to my website: www.tanyasomerton.com/shop. You can purchase an electronic copy which is normally $9.95 for $4.95 using the code E5.
My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce
Link to Podcast Episode #005 The dangers of listening to other people’s divorce stories
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Welcome to Divorce Angel Podcast and thank you for joining us. Get ready to uncover the strategies everyone can implement for a successful separation and divorce. This will save you valuable time, money, and emotions while learning the secrets to you happily ever after. Now, your host, my wife, Tanya Somerton.
Hello and welcome back to The Divorce Angel podcast. I’m your host, Tanya Somerton, and for those of you who don’t know me, I’m obsessed with helping clients chart a course through the complex process of divorce and starting a new life. I ran a boutique business both online and in-person helping clients simplify the process with a step-by-step plan. I also have an army of angels to help navigate save money, time, and emotions and we do courses online and we also project manage people’s divorces for them to try and make [00:01:00] everything so much easier and simplified.
In this week’s podcasts, I really want to have a chat to you about the divorce mistakes 101. I thought I’d give you an insight into the three mistakes I see with clients and especially people who ring or contact me after they’ve probably spent 18 months or so of their life in the legal arena having got nowhere and they really want me to fix up the mess that they find themselves in. There’s a few key mistakes that these people are continually making so I thought if I could explain them to you, they might save you some time, money, and emotions and help you succeed in life later on because the other thing I find is a lot of these people that have really had messy divorces, in a lot of cases, it’s been accumulation of bad mistakes and then after they’ve had a really bad divorce, they try and tell everyone else about what went wrong, why it went wrong, and [00:02:00] unfortunately, like to blame others.
We get people– We get men that become women haters and women that become men haters and there’s no need for it. If we can think differently and act differently, our outcome will be much better and that ultimately what I’m trying to achieve in my business. So if you’ve been listening, you would know that I love a plan and most people don’t plan on a successful divorce or separation. They hope. That’s right, they just hope and to me, hope’s not a strategy. Living in hope can cause stress and anxiety and that’s not how I choose to live. I want to know that my actions are getting me to a desired outcome and I strive to achieve that outcome.
Now, let’s be clear. I’m talking about what’s fair and reasonable and also achievable. I’m not talking about what is impossible. So in other words, if we’re talking about a family breaking up, making [00:03:00] sure that the goals the client is trying to achieve is something that can happen. So for instance, if you wanted to keep the family home, but you have no income and there’s no equity in that property, but you have a million-dollar line that needs to be refinanced, that, my friends, is a dream. It’s not a reality and that’s a podcast for another day. Making sure that we don’t live in hope that I hope I can keep this house, I want to make sure and I want that for you too that you know for certain that you have the ability to keep that house. So that means, do I have enough income? Is there enough equity in the property? What will the property be valued at? It’s a mathematical formula.
If you don’t understand that formula, that’s where this all gets a little bit hard. If you’re sitting there and you’re hoping that everything is achievable but you don’t know how to get to the end equation, that’s where you need a team such as mine or someone [00:04:00] else that’s going to be able to work that out for you and we do those in our divorce roadmap sessions and I’ll give you clear guidance on what you need to do to achieve the outcome you want. So if you want to know more about those go to my website. Look under divorce roadmap and you can see what you actually get from that service.
But Let’s get into it. If you listen to last week’s podcast, episode number five, the dangers of listening to other people’s divorce stories, I’ll link that in the show notes, but this can be one of the biggest mistakes you’ll make. Just because someone else has got a certain outcome, it doesn’t mean that you’ll achieve that same outcome. So counting on financial split of assets and child support spousal maintenance because your friend received that is utterly ridiculous, but unfortunately, people think that it’s really basic like that, that this is possible for them and probably their reality.
Now as I continually say, no two divorces are the same. People’s [00:05:00] lives are different, their financial circumstances, and their future needs. Just because you have the same number of children and have been married for the same number of years as your friend, it does not mean that you will get the same financial split that your friend did. It also doesn’t mean that you have the same equity, the same debts and liabilities and just because you know someone closely, you really don’t know the ins and outs of what’s happened behind closed doors. You don’t know what their spouse has brought to the relationship, if any family members have provided additional assets. So to think that you would be entitled to the same sort of split, let’s say, for instance, they got 50/50 or they got 60% that you think that that’s what you’re going to get, it just doesn’t work like that. But often people will say, “Look my girlfriend in a very, very similar situation, this is what she achieved, so this is what you might get.”
The other thing, whilst I love Facebook. There’s certain groups which- and in my [00:06:00] community group where I live, there’s a mother’s group with probably about 20,000 women in it and quite often, someone will put up a post about, “I want to leave my husband, but I’m not sure what I should do. And this is my circumstances.” Then before you know it, all of these people are throwing in all of this advice saying to the person that’s looking for help and support, “Oh, yeah. Look, this is what you’ll get. There’s no doubt about it. I achieved this, you’ll get that as well,” and it just doesn’t work like that.
Letting other people’s divorced stories be yours is something to also be mindful of and letting a third-party encourage your decision-making process is fraught with danger. Now, what do I mean by this? As an example, imagine that you or your partner move on quite quickly. So before you know it, one of you has moved into a new relationship and how we like to describe that is it there then there’s three people that are really making the decisions because once you start a relationship with someone [00:07:00] new, they help to guide your decision making and in some cases, without you even knowing that that’s what’s happening, but we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with and this is why it’s something for me I really want my clients not to enter into a new relationship until they finish their old one for this very reason.
But if your new partner has had an experience, which has really caused them hurt and anguish, they will try and push those feelings onto you for two reasons. They want to prevent that from happening to you, so they think that they’re protecting you, but secondly, that’s their perception of what the process looks like. So without knowing, they’re trying to support your decision making in a way that probably isn’t the best for you. Being really mindful of entering into new relationships at a time like this is something to be mindful of because it is a big mistake that I see a lot of people [00:08:00] make. They also haven’t really addressed what went wrong in their last relationship to be able to make sure that the new relationship doesn’t have issues with it. And you’re also carrying all that emotional hurt and anguish that your new partner has to deal with so.
It takes a special sort of couple to be able to work through those and I think I’ve said before on the podcast here in Australia, anyway, the stats are 40% of first-time marriages, 70% of second-time, and 90% of third and I contribute those stats in a lot of cases to this very reason that people just move on from one relationship into another without actually addressing what went wrong in their first one and getting to know what it is that they really want out of life before they enter into a new relationship and become a couple, when really, they should be getting to know what they need and healing and just being comfortable in their own skin after being part of a couple or a family for an extended period of [00:09:00] time.
Now, every person who’d gone through a separation or divorce will tell you that you need a confidant. You need someone that you can talk to and rely on and I encourage you to choose that person carefully to make sure that they live a life that you want. Now don’t take advice from a person who hasn’t been able to turn their life around or you look at them and go, “Wow, I don’t want to have gone down that path.” That you’re taking advice from someone that you want to be like. If they’re bitter and twisted by their experience, please, do not listen to them. They’re not the sort of person that you want to be taking advice from because they already have a jaded perspective of what going through a divorce is like and it does not need to be like that. If you tackle it differently, you’ll have a different outcome.
In saying that, if they prepared to tell you what they did wrong and take ownership and say, “Look, my actions caused this or because of this, I [00:10:00] caused this heartache and I wouldn’t have done that again,” or “I don’t want you to suffer the same fate I did,” then this is different. But when you hear things like, “Just go hard and take him or her for everything they’ve got. Let’s break them and make them regret the day they did whatever.” That sort of language is not going to get you anywhere and I just want you to be mindful of that. You need someone who’s level headed, who thinks clearly and is not too emotional about the situation that you find yourself in.
To be completely safe, I suggest you get a divorce coach or a counselor to help you in this area and to get to the bottom of why you are making the decisions you are making. The money that you spend on this support can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make because of the time and the emotions of money that you can save in the long run by making better decisions. Just be mindful, listening to someone who has had a jaded experience [00:11:00] will cause you to think in a similar way. Always get the opinion of a few different people because it’s really important to get two sides of every story.
That’s my first point, listening to other people. We’ve talked about a few different ways in the last five minutes, but certainly, something to be really mindful of. Now the second mistake that I see quite often is people not being prepared. So with my clients, we do a divorce folder which includes the couple’s relationship history. It has everything that a lawyer will need to be able to gauge the length of a relationship, the assets incomes, any gifts that have been given, future needs and so on and this folder is made up of facts.
Now, I’ve seen a divorce folder be able to save a client anywhere between two and ten thousand dollars in legal bills. Why? Because the lawyers are able to [00:12:00] provide feedback straight away. So the first meeting isn’t a waste of time. They’re looking at all the evidence that you have in front of them and then they can provide instruction with a clear picture given your personal circumstances because you’ve been able to support the information that they have in front of them.
So, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a client say, “Look, I went to a lawyer and they told me that I was entitled to x amount after my divorce,” but the reality of the situation is once one of my lawyers then got involved and we’ve reviewed the file after I’ve completed the complete due diligence with the client, the split the original lawyer had told the client that they could get is actually not obtainable. The client gets a little bit upset and they go, “No, my previous lawyer told me that I was entitled to 85%,” but what had happened, the client when they went [00:13:00] for the free one-hour consultation did not provide all of the information that we’ve provided our lawyer and this is where I see a lot of issues as well because clients then get a little bit disgruntled because they go, “No, that other lawyer told me that I could get this amount. That’s what they said I was entitled to,” but the other lawyer just didn’t have all the facts in front of them.
So you need to be really careful. It’s got to be apples for apples, not apples and oranges because you will always get a different set of advice if you don’t provide the same fact. I don’t know about you, but time is of the essence and I don’t want to waste my time or anyone else’s time. I want to go. I want to know exactly what the situation might look like. I want to be prepared. I want to have all of the information in front of me and then I can know the steps to be able to fully make a better judgment call and guided decisions because that’s what you’re [00:14:00] paying a lawyer for. The lawyer is to some extent, an extension of your business of life. You are employing them to be part of your executive team to be able to help you guide your life. So make sure that you treat it like that. Do not just turn up to a lawyer and expect everything to go swimmingly because it won’t. You need to provide proper information and be fully prepared. No different if you were interviewing someone for a job or if you wanted to employ a nanny or someone for your children. You want to make sure that you are controlling the situation and to do that you need to be prepared. So you have to do some due diligence and make sure that you’ve got a relationship history ready to provide.
The other part of this is not having a complete understanding of what is important and what is not important. This is also [00:15:00] part of the preparation. So if you don’t actually understand what it is that you want or what you’re really fighting for, how can you guide your lawyer in doing that? So you need to understand your finances and living within your means, having a budget but making sure that you can provide clear instructions lawyer because this is one of the biggest mistakes I see. People just turn up to a lawyer and they expect the lawyer to control everything for them, to tell them what to do and how to get it done and this is how legal bills just get out of control because you’re allowing them to control the situation where if you’ve got the guidelines and you know what it is that you want, you understand what your finances look like, how much you can afford, if you can refinance the house, for instance, then you know for certain you can instruct your lawyer and you can go, “Yes, I know that I can keep the house. So let’s [00:16:00] fight for that and if we can’t, it looks like we’re going to have to sell the house or my partner’s going to have to keep the house.” But if you have to sell it, then you’re going to share the costs which ultimately will save you money in the long run. You’ve got to have a plan to be able to execute.
Then there’s also having a plan B. So in an ideal world, everyone would go with plan A, wouldn’t we? But it doesn’t always happen like that. So let me tell you a story, this happens in a lot of cases with women. We, women, have gone to so much effort to have our children, given birth to them, so we feel that they are our property, let’s say. When it comes to a relationship breakup like we’ve spoken about in previous podcast, the men worry in a lot of cases about the money while the woman stayed at home and had the child. Quite often you hear women say, “No, I’m not giving 50/50 access to my husband. No, I’m looking after the children. They’re my responsibility. [00:17:00] I’ve been the stay-at-home parent or I’ve been the primary carer. I’m more worried about their future. I going to control what happens with the children.”
Not long ago, I remember having a conversation with a woman that spoke this way and said, “No, I’m going to have the children 75% of the time and my husband can just work in around it, so he can have them a few days during the week and maybe every second weekend.” and I said to her, “Okay. Well, why don’t you want him to have them more often?” and she said, “Well, I want to make sure they go to school. I want to make sure that they get into a routine. I want to make sure that they’re doing everything that they should be doing. I’m more of the disciplinarian, so it’s more important that I bring the children up.” I said to her, “So what do you want out of the rest of your life? What are you hoping to achieve?” And so she went through a list of all the things that she wanted to achieve and they were amazing. [00:18:00]
If that’s the case, how are you going to achieve all that if you are going to look after the children 75% of the time? The next point is, if he is such a good father, why would you not want your children to spend time? She had this lightbulb moment and she realized that if she went in really hard over the kids with her ex-husband, what would happen is it would really limit what she could do with her life because she just wouldn’t have the time. But secondly, she was acting this way from a place of real hurt. She thought she was looking after the children’s best interest, but really what she was doing was trying to control the little bits that she could in regards to their separation divorce proceedings and that was the children. But when she sat back and she thought, “Oh, actually, if I share them with my ex-husband fifty percent of the time, it means that I can [00:19:00] start to build the life that I ultimately want,” because let’s be honest, one day the kids get up and they leave and what are you going to do after that? You see this quite often women fight for the children and then they get them and they struggle to survive financially and made her life really hard.
Not having a plan B could have caused this mother, in particular, really emotional distress. She hadn’t even contemplated any other options and having a plan A is certainly the goal, but having a plan B just in case things don’t go to plan can ease a lot of the pain and sorrow and it should be something that we all contemplate because sometimes plan B coming together is just as good as plan A. Sometimes the universe works in the weirdest ways and things that we thought we really want don’t happen and when the plan B comes to [00:20:00] fruition, later on, we look back and go, “Wow, actually that was the better option, but I didn’t see it at the time.”
That’s point two. Now, let’s get into point three, letting emotions rule your decision making rather than facts. Perception is a person’s reality and you and I have a completely different perception given our childhood, how we’ve grown up, the environment that we lived in, so such as a city or country, for instance, our schooling our family life, including all the good and the bad. So you could experience something and perceive it to be X. I could experience that same thing and perceive it to be Y. Given how we’ve been brought up will have a bearing on how we both deal with the same situation.
For this reason, I recommend that you put yourself in the shoes of your ex-partner and think about why they did what they did. Why they reacted the [00:21:00] way they did, was it meant to come across the way it has, or did you take it to mean something completely different? Did he or she say one thing and you took it to mean something completely different? This is such an important time to just take a deep breath firstly before you talk and really contemplate what has been told to you or the actions that you’ve witnessed. Dealing with highly emotional things such as children and money, they can just get out of hand. This is where you have a choice. You can be emotional or you can be factual. Take it from a place of calm or take it from a place of chaos. Without me telling you, I’m sure you understand the difference in your decision-making and overall outcome.
Now, this is easier said than done, especially if your partner’s throwing grenades left, right, and center but isn’t that why you are both no longer together? Isn’t that why you [00:22:00] guys no longer work? Do you want to follow in their footsteps or be the bigger person? I choose to be the bigger person. You don’t want to live with regret about how you’ve handled things, things that you’ve said. Don’t you want to hold your head high? Easy to come look back and know that you are a good role model to your children. Now, this is– I’ve been there it’s so hard. But in the long run, you will benefit. I promise you.
A tool that I like to teach my clients when dealing with this is to make sure that you sit on any important decisions for 24 hours before you answer them. Every action has a reaction and think about the consequences to all of those involved. Consider the plan B and are you happy to live with the outcome if plan A doesn’t come off? Taking a deep breath before getting into the [00:23:00] crap is really the best thing that you can do.
In my book, The Jellybean Jar, I talk about some of this. As a special offer to my listeners of this episode, I have a special gift and that’s to give you 50% off a copy of my book off my website. If you go to www.tanyasomerton.com/shop, you can purchase an electronic copy, which is normally $9.95 and you can get it for, $4.95 using the code E5. That’s right, use the code E5.
Now, let’s recap on what we’ve spoken about in today’s episode. One, not to listen to other people’s divorce stories. Just because it happened to them, it does not mean it will happen to you. No two divorces are the same and you can have a good experience if you think differently. Consider using a divorce coach or a counselor because in the [00:24:00] long run, they can help you understand why you’re making the decisions that you’re making and in the long run, save you quite a lot of money.
Point two, that’s being prepared. Not letting the process get away from you, having controlled both financially, legally, and emotionally and putting together history of your relationship to help your lawyer be able to help you. Then to have a plan B. Always having a plan B because if plan A doesn’t pay off, then emotionally, you will have considered the consequences and be able to deal and cope. If you only think there’s no other option but A and it doesn’t work, it can really cause quite an emotional and ongoing issues for you.
Then, three, and that’s controlling your emotions and thinking about the reasons your partner has acted or said what they have said. Put yourself in [00:25:00] their shoes, which will help you understand their thinking and why they react the way they have. This is certainly, something that over history, people that are talking about their enemies will always try and consider what is my enemy going to do? What’s their next move? By putting yourself in the shoes of your ex-partner and I’m not saying that they’re your enemy, I’m just saying that this is how we’re looking at this, could make you think differently and hopefully, get this all over and done with as quickly as possible.
Thanks for listening and I would for you to like, subscribe, or to leave a comment or a five-star review. Each of these episodes is really time-consuming and while I love doing them, I want to make sure that I’m providing content that is relevant and helpful to my audience. If you’d like to know more about my Divorce Angel business and the programs we offer our clients, please visit my website at [00:26:00] www.tanyasomerton.com or you can go to www.divorceangel.com.au. Until next week, thanks for joining me. Don’t forget the code E5, the check out when you are getting the book, and I look forward to talking to you again next week. Bye for now.
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