The 10 Little known SECRETS to DO DIVORCE BETTER
For the past three years, l have spent my time and money, watching, learning and instructing my clients on how to Do Divorce Better. The problems I witness seem to recur over and over. Maybe not to the same extent but certainly because people are ill-informed of the consequence and allow things which they think are out of their control to escalate. This problem does not discriminate. It does not matter whether you are wealthy or not. Male or female. If you want to succeed at your divorce then what is your plan? Do you have an outcome you want to achieve or like many others are you just walking around in the darkness, hoping to find the light. This epidemic is crushing to people’s lives and I am now teaching these tools in my Divorce Roadmap Course. The same way I help my clients form their strategy and then build their team.
There are so many things that can go wrong and unless you have a clear divorce strategy you will fall into the trap of allowing other people to guide your future. Now is the time to take control of your future.
The following 10 little known secrets to do divorce better are the top of my list for prolonging a person’s divorce settlement, spending more money than necessary and to be honest cause heartache, (when you are already heartbroken), which may have been preventable.
So let’s get into it:
The little known secrets that can change your divorce outcome:
1. People can be vindictive and want to see their partner pain and suffering.
2. They think about the now and not the later…
3. They are unprepared for all the paperwork and information required by their lawyer.
4. They expect their lawyer to make miracles happen even when the law says they are not entitled.
5. They pick the wrong lawyer
6. They have no understanding of what they want to achieve from their divorce.
7. They have no understanding of the legal process and the stages required to finalise their relationship
8. They delay and are full of inaction because it is easier to do nothing than to take steps to address their unhappiness.
9. They don’t get information back to their professionals straight away
10.Taking your eyes of the bigger picture
My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce
Link to Divorce Roadmap
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Hello and welcome back. This is the Divorce Angel Podcast and I’m your host Tanya Somerton. 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. You know how stressful and confusing it can be when you are extremely emotional and you need to make life-changing decisions and every decision has a consequence. I run a boutique business both online and in-person, helping clients simplify the process with a step by step plan any my army of angels to help navigate the issues saving money, time, and emotions.
In this week’s podcast, we’re going to talk about the 10 little known secrets to do divorce better.
For the past three years, I’ve been spending my time and money watching, learning, and instructing my clients on how to do divorce better. The problems I’ve witnessed seems to reoccur over and over again. Maybe not to the same extent, but certainly because people are ill-informed of the consequences and allow things to get completely out of hand or to escalate. This problem simply does not discriminate.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re wealthy or you’re not. The problem can happen to both male and female. If you want to succeed at your divorce, then you really truly need a plan. I’m such a believer in having a plan. Do you have an outcome that you want to achieve? Or like many others, are you just walking around in the darkness hoping to find the why. This is such an epidemic that people just turn up to a lawyer or to whoever and they have no idea what it is that they want to achieve. When you walk into someone’s office and you allow them to take the reins, you will end up going in the direction that they want, not the direction that you want. I teach these tools in my divorce roadmap strategies and because they are so critical to our client’s outcome, I’ve now put a course together, so the divorce roadmap course. It’s said that people, no matter where they are, can learn about what they need to think about, how they need to mitigate risks and what are really truly important to them in the divorce outcome so they’re not wasting their time and money and they can simplify the whole process. This is really, really important stuff. Make sure if you are going through a divorce that either you get on and have a look at my divorce roadmap course, or consider the things I’ve said. Really understand before you walk into the office of the lawyer what it is that you want to achieve.
Before we get into this topic, I thought it was really important to talk about failure and what failure means. Part of these secrets that I’m going to tell you about in helping you do divorce better come from the mistakes that other people make. If I can teach you the failures or what they’re doing incorrectly or wrong or what they could be doing better, then that will prevent you from making these same mistakes.
When I speak to someone and I ask them about their financial cost and how much they want to spend or what sort of outlook on life do they have and what does it look like, do they honestly understand what it takes to succeed, most of them just had no idea. I thought that was why it was so important to have this information in your hand. I really want this episode to be a lesson for those who are currently heading in the direction of separation or even if you’re in the middle a divorce. I want you to learn from the mistakes of others and to try and really prevent your own. So if I can help you reevaluate your decisions and help you learn from other people’s mistakes, then maybe you won’t finish this whole divorce process being bitter and angry and instead, lead a life that you really will be happy with.
Because whether you like it or not, fighting over separation and divorce is so exhausting and it’s all areas of your life at a time when it seemed like the right thing to do, but you’ve made mistakes because you’ve made the decisions on emotion, not on the end goal or where it is that you actually want to get to.
What if we look at the definition of fail? Google says to be unsuccessful in achieving one’s goals and herein lies the problem. I would say from my time working with separated people, couples, my own experience, my friends, work colleagues, the lawyers, financial advisors and the accountants who look after the people going through their separation, 99.9% of people do not have a plan or a goal. It’s just as simple as that. That is why ultimately, they do not succeed because they have no idea what it is that they’re trying to be successful at. Why do most people fail when getting a divorce? Let’s get started.
A lot of people at certain times throughout the process can be vindictive. They do, at some time or another, want to see their partner in pain and suffer. I’m lucky enough that I can pick and choose my clients. I don’t work with too many people like this, but you do see moments throughout the whole process, where there’s no doubt that people get a little bit like this. At certain changes, it’s understandable because partners can sometimes be really nasty and you’ve got to react to that. The major issue with thinking in this way so that you can try and hurt them is that it helps no one. If anything, all your energy goes into anger rather than trying to have a better life.
The reason for people acting this way can vary and let’s be honest, as I said, I’m not a therapist or even pretend to be one, but operating in this mindset is also a cry for help. People who are hurting act out of vengeance. These individuals make decisions sometimes to just prolong the pain for their partner and have nearly no intention for getting things finalized. It’s okay to move in and out of these sort of feelings, but when you’re stuck in them all the time, that’s not healthy and that’s not good. The opposite can also be true when people underestimate how nasty and angry their partner can be. They just are not reasonable when it comes to any form of negotiation. If you’re dealing with someone like that, you’re really, really going to struggle to come to any sort of agreement. That can be tiring and frustrating.
The next one is they think about now and not later. This is where a plan is critical. If you do not have a plan, you are only just thinking of today. Try and actually illustrate this point. When we talk to a client, we try and have facts and figures and what’s going on in the market to try and help with everyone’s decision making. It’s not just made because it’s how you feel, it’s made because we sit there and we look at what the budget looks like, we look at how much the house is worth, how much the mortgage is worth, what your future goals are, how old your children are. There’s a whole lot of things that sort of come into play.
Recently, I had a client who even with this evidence in front of her, she decided to make the contrary decision. Whilst it went against everything that the evidence said, she just felt like, “No, I want to keep my house.”
Here, in Australia, we currently have a declining property market which adds to the frustration for a lot of people here, but this client wanted to be able to say to her friends and family that she got the house no matter what. That was her driver, you could just see it. The house was in need of quite a bit of work and it was obvious that in the coming years, further work would be required because it was deteriorating. She didn’t have the ability to fix the issues that were happening right now, so I don’t know how she was going to have the ability in the future to be able to fix it either. The property was priced at the top of the market by her valuer. We had quite a few real estate agents go through the property who said that it was simply overpriced and the market would not– She had to put it on the market and try and sell it. She just would not get the price that the valuer had valued it at.
With all of this information and also the ages of their children, it was a silly decision and it was a costly decision, but the house was also large, so they thought the amenities to run the run were expensive and the client was only working part-time, so the majority of her wage, 75% of it, was probably going to go to just the mortgage, the upkeep, and paying the amenities and all the rest of it. It really leaves her any money, time, or satisfaction in living a life that could be improved. She’s going to sit in this house that was the family home. She’s going to feel all the emotions that she’s always felt. She’s going to look around and see how it was when they were as a family as well as all of that negative emotion, she’s also going to have to deal with all the consequences financially that are going to occur in the future.
If she wants to put the property back on the market, firstly, the price isn’t going to be the same that’s she’s paid her ex-husband for. Secondly, we’re in a declining market, so if she has to sell it in the next few years, she could get less than what she’s paid for it. Her mortgage is taking out the majority of her pay and if her children leave which is very likely, she’s going to be living in this house all by herself. She’s thinking about now and not thinking of the future. When you make decisions like that, unfortunately, they will come back and probably bite you. It’s not something that we like to see, but we hand that evidence over to our clients and it’s up to them to make the decisions at the end of the day. It’s certainly something that I don’t like to see happening, but some people will just go against the evidence and do what they want to do anyway. That’s why I have to be honest. In her divorce map when we did it, her goal was always to keep her house, but when we started and then by the time we finished it, everything, the economy had changed, the housing market had changed, what she thought she was going to get out of her separation with her husband didn’t happen because of some other reasons with some other assets that declined in value at the time. As well as having a plan, you need to make sure that you’ve got a plan B as well.
The next one is they are unprepared for all the paperwork and the information required by their lawyer. Some clients just think that the lawyer is a superhero and able to make anything happen. Just because you’re paying a lawyer does not mean that your work is over and done. A lawyer is simply a tool, and that tool is to help you finalize your past and help you set up your future. As the client, you must support by providing whatever evidence and means and that means probably bank statements or titles, whatever the case may be that your lawyer requests to be able to support the evidence that they are putting up is being factual and truthful.
If you’re not prepared to provide supporting documentation in a timely manner, then this can cost you money because it just prolongs everything, and secondly, your lawyers going to be following you up asking, “Where’s this paperwork? Why haven’t you got it to me?” and it just adds to the expense.
Number four, clients expect their lawyers to make miracles happen when the law says that they’re not entitled to it. Some people expect an outcome because– That’s right, I hear people say, “But I deserve it. That’s not fair. I should be entitled to it. I did this or I did that.” Unfortunately, the courts may not consider the reasons as one, which can be legally supported. I know it can be frustrating. Expecting your lawyer to be able make something happen that they just can’t is– It’s unproductive, and unfortunately, it’s where you come falling down because you’re going to spend so much time emotionally worrying about why you can’t get what you think you deserve when, overall, the courts don’t see it the same way you do.
Now, we’re up to number five and that’s picking the wrong lawyer. Walking into a lawyers office without fully understanding if they are the right person for the job can be costly, and not only can it cost you in a financial sense, but it can also cost you in as far a reasonable outcome on other assets that you think are really important.
I’m very critical of a lot of lawyers, and fortunately, there’s a lot of very, very good lawyers out there as well. I encourage my clients to make sure that they try and interview three before they actually choose the right one. Even if you’ve got a referral from a friend or a family member or a colleague, I still recommend that you go and see that person. You could always go back to them, but make sure that you go and interview two other people.
Lawyers aren’t always critical to certain couples’ separation or divorces so not everyone actually needs a lawyer. If you need a lawyer to have a formal arrangement that is upheld by the law, then you will need to hire a lawyer. For instance, say a transfer of homeownership or business ownership or writing up a partnership agreement if you’re going to stay in business together, going through and working out family assets and liabilities. All of those things do require the assistance of a lawyer because you need to get a legal document drawn up. But if you don’t need to deal with all of those things, you should probably revisit the need for a lawyer and is there another way to get what you need finalized.
If you were going to hire a lawyer, go to my homepage at www.tanyasomerton.com, and at the bottom, there’s a free book on how to choose the right lawyer. If you download that, that’s actually got some questions and some things that you should consider when you’re looking at hiring someone to be on your team.
The key to picking the right lawyer is finding a person who you feel understands your needs. Finding a lawyer who practices in family law and not across all different areas of law. So in other words, they’re a specialist, not a generalist. Lawyers are business owners and like other successful business, they need to be profitable and not have massive overheads. Just because you think you need the best does not always mean that it needs to be the most expensive. It’s more around the profit that the business makes. There’s so much to weigh up when considering a lawyer. I really want you to take a lot of that on board and consider because that person in your team is critical to your outcome.
Now we’ve got number six. This is when they have no one understanding of what they want to achieve from their divorce. We sort of touched on this a little bit already but most people when asking what they want from their divorce will normally say to me, “I want to be free. I want to be free from pain, free from the fight, the animosity, and I want to be free to make my own decisions.” Freedom is great and we all deserve it but you don’t want it to cost everything that you’ve worked for today. In other words, walking away from a fair outcome or your divorce cost more than necessary both financially and emotionally because you’ve been too busy dealing with everything else and did not take the time to prioritize what you really wanted, and in that case, freedom can be costly.
The thing I want to get across to you is that at the end of the day, if you have a really, once again, solid plan, you can live this amazing life and your freedom can be anything you want it to be but you need to make sure that you just don’t go off in a day and worry about everything else that’s going on around you and you stick to the case in point and make sure that the divorce proceedings are what you actually want to achieve. You’ve got to spend some time really thinking about what it is you want out of life and what you need to take out of your previous relationship to succeeding your next. Hopefully, that makes sense.
Number seven. They have no understanding of the legal process and the stages required to finalize their relationship. This one sometimes makes me laugh because most people I spoke to think that they just have to wait 12 months and then get divorced. Other think that everyone has to go to court to sort out their financial circumstances and the majority think that a lawyer is the only way forward, that the partner that stays at home keeps the house as long as they make the mortgage repayments. The list just goes on. But the reason that it makes me laugh is most of this stuff comes from TV shows that we watch. When I ask them, “Where did you hear that?” they’ll recite some sort of Law and Order or some show that they’ve watched and it doesn’t work like that. Around the world, we’ve all got different laws, different provinces, different states. Every jurisdiction has a different way to work with your specific case so you need to make sure that the information that you have at hand is correct and that you’re not just guessing because if you don’t understand the legal process, it could actually harm you in the long run and it’s really important to take control of your life and understand the legal ramifications to every decision and what you are doing.
Then we have number eight. They delay and are full of inaction because it’s easier to do nothing than to take steps to address the unhappiness. Unfortunately, there are some people who prefer to ignore their situation. The reasons can vary and, in many cases, they are justified but they can range from “They can’t be bothered because I have nothing to lose. Because I’ve got nothing to lose, why even put any steps in place.” to finalize their relationship. Then they have never had to deal with the financial matters through their relationship so they have no idea even where to start. That’s where a business like mine comes in because they’re the sort of clients that we would really love helping. Or they’re paralyzed by inaction in making the decision so they’re too scared to do anything because they don’t want to get into any further hurt than they’re already in now. But no matter what the reasons, there are associated risk by not doing anything.
What comes to mind is a related case recently where we had a lovely client and her husband, and they were really amicable. They were actually quite good friends. They’ve been separated for four years but had continued to co-parent together. They lived in separate houses, and unfortunately, for our client, her ex-husband had some mental health problems that she probably wasn’t aware of. He became addicted to a substance and he took his eye off his business. So cash flow became a real problem for him and, unfortunately, the bank foreclosed and she wasn’t aware of it.
In hindsight, because she’s such a wonderful person, she didn’t want to rock the boat. She wanted to be nice to him and she was still surviving and he’s helping with the cost of the kids but he wasn’t actually looking after his own, let’s say, backyard. The house that got foreclosed on was the family home that they had for quite a while and they have quite a bit of equity in it. She actually lost around $400,000 by delaying finalizing her relationship. The husband ended up going bankrupt and she ended up losing.
It’s important to understand your situation and the consequences. If you decide to then still do nothing but you’re aware of what might happen and you’ve weighed it all up, that’s fair enough, but make sure you are fully aware of your inaction and by not doing something, what that might do to your financial circumstances later on and weigh up the risk.
Then number nine. They don’t give back information to the professionals in time. If someone in your team is asking for something, you need to get it back to them as quickly as possible. What you got to remember is you’re paying these people so you want to get the information back to them as quickly as you can so they can give you advice so that you can move forward in your life. Every time you prolong getting something to them, you’re actually stalling your own experience, advice, case, and the only person you’re hurting is yourself. So if someone asked you for something, get it back to them in a timely manner,
The last one is taking your eyes off the big picture. Recently, I was talking to one of the financial advisers that I work with and he was telling me about a mate of his who has been going through a separation and a divorce with his wife. He owns a business himself, and what’s happened is he’s being so bitter just like, I suppose a bit like number one where we talked about being vindictive and that sort of thing, he’s being so bitter about everything that’s been going on in his life. He sort of taken his eye off his business and what’s happened to this poor fellow is staff had started to leave, he’s lost clients and everything is just snowballing. Not only is his personal life a mess, now his business life is really starting to suffer.
When you take your eyes off the big picture, which to be honest is, at certain times, it is natural because when you’re going through this emotionally, you do feel like everything is just coming down on top of you but this is when you really need to get some professional help either from a life coach or from a therapist or a counselor, a psychologist, but you need to work through your feelings because what this poor fellow has ended up losing is not only his wife and his children, but it looks like he’s gone from having 10 staff down to two staff, he has lost some really good long-term clients that have been with him for quite a long period. The ramifications for him have been massive. I hate hearing stories like that because it’s just not worth it. From what I understand, the reason that this has all happened is because he just hasn’t wanted to let her go. He’s done everything possible to try and prolong the divorce experience for her and it’s actually come at his own detriment.
In conclusion, let’s just go back over them again. We had number one: People can be vindictive and want to see their partner in pain or suffer. Number two: They think about the now and not the later. Like I explained to you about my client who’s not thinking about big picture. Number three: They are unprepared for all the paperwork and information required for their lawyer; don’t understand how much they need to supply to the lawyer to help themselves. Number four: They expect their lawyer to make miracles happen even when the law says that they’re not entitled to it. Thinking that you are entitled to something when you really aren’t, getting upset because you’re not getting the outcome that you want. Five: Picking the wrong lawyer. Something that I talk about quite a lot. Making sure that you pick the right person for your team.
Six: They have no understanding of what they want to achieve from their divorce. Once again, something I talk about quite often. Making sure you have a solid plan. That’s what are divorce roadmap is all about. Understanding what it is you want to achieve and then how you go about getting that. Number seven: Understanding of the legal process and the stages required to finalize your relationship. Wherever you live, understanding what you really need to put in place to get everything finished and finalized. Eight: Delay and are full of inaction because it’s easier to ignore it and do nothing than to take steps to address their own happiness. Making sure, like my poor client that thought she was doing the right thing by leaving everything with her husband and, unfortunately, they ended up going- or he went into bankruptcy and she lost close to half a million dollars that would really set her up quite well for the rest of her life.
Number nine: They don’t get information back to their professional straight away. That could be anyone. I’m not actually talking about a lawyer. If you are talking about the settlement of a property or selling your businesses or tax implications or whatever the case may be, and the accountant might be waiting for you to get something to them that the lawyer is asking for so it’s important. It doesn’t matter who it is to make sure you get the information back on time.
Then taking your eyes off the big picture. My friend, the financial adviser and his colleague who looks like now, not only lost quite a lot of his business revenue and his really long-term staff, but his life really is a bit of a mess now and I don’t want anyone to go through any of these things.
Hopefully, you’ve learned from some of the big mistakes that I see people make quite regularly and these are the 10 little-known secrets when you want to do divorce better. If you can remember all of those, put some steps in place to make sure that they don’t happen to you then, hopefully, you’ll have a really, really good outcome.
Don’t forget to get the free 28:47 I spoke about on my website on how to pick the right lawyer. Thanks for listening. I’d really like you to subscribe and leave a comment if you can. Each of these episodes is so time-consuming but I love doing them and I want to make sure that I provide content that is relevant and helpful to everyone so if there’s anything that you would like to know or there’s something that you’d like me to talk about, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to my website, www.tanyasomerton.com, go to the contact form and leave me a message. I’d love to hear from you. Thanks, everyone and I’ll talk to you next week.
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