In today’s episode #5 we are going to discuss ‘The Dangers of Listening to Other People’s Divorce Stories and Why?’
I don’t know about you but when l was younger, no one talked divorce, all of our friends were happily married and then one day it seemed to happen, and one by one our friends started to break up, then other acquaintances and friends of friends. Wow, you start to feel like the last man standing. Everyone had a horror story and to be honest, it was all so negative. Now I know this sounds silly to say but, ’Where are all the good divorce stories?’
Then it happened to me and here l was after a 22-year married listening to others who had gone before me. Even people who had not been divorced but knew someone who had… gave advice.
All from a place of compassion and love but completely unsolicited and not necessary.
I also see this regularly with my clients and this is where things can get very dangerous, out of control and costly. In this podcast, I really want you to understand why listening to other people is sometimes not the best thing to do and if anything can cause greater animosity and be very unproductive.
When l originally started working on the divorce angel business and the concept, this very topic was one that needed to be addressed because I saw it as one of the major pillars in causing both timely and costly mistakes with separating and divorcing couples. Listening to other people at a time like this, when you are at your lowest point and looking for someone else to take control of the decisions, seems to be the answer. Surely, they’ve been through this, they know the rules of the game and hopefully have the answers l am looking for.
But in the majority of cases, this can be completely counterproductive and costly. You may ask but Tanya, Why?? Well, let me explain further…..
Why clients think my business is like chicken soup for the soul.[00:01:00]
Being careful of what is said in front of our children [00:05:00]
Some may think…for the men, its about the money and the women the kids, but the complete opposite is sometimes true.[00:07:00]
Why working together for the sake of the children is powerful[00:08:00]
What is your income entitlement?[00:16:00]
Different instruction will cause different outcomes for each party in the financial split.[00:17:00]
Preparation is the key to getting things done[00:20:00]
Knowing that no two divorces are the same no matter how similar.[00:24:00]
For more information check 5 steps to a seamless divorce program. [00:26:00]
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[00:00:00] Hello and welcome back to The Divorce Angel podcast. If you’re a first-time listener, I just like to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Tanya Somerton and I’m the host of this show. 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 run a boutique business both online and in-person where we help clients simplify the process with a step-by-step plan and an army of angels to help navigate the issues, saving our clients’ money time and emotions. One client once said to me I was like chicken soup for the soul. I loved that. I think it’s amazing being thought of like chicken soup when you’re sick.
So let’s get into this week’s podcast and I want to talk about the dangers of listening to other [00:01:00] people’s divorce stories. So you know when you first get married and all your friends are happy and everything’s going well and then all of a sudden, one day, bit by bit your friends and acquaintances start to sort of break up. Wow, and then you start to feel like you’re the last man standing. Everyone’s got a horror story and to be honest, they’re all so negative.
Now I know this sounds silly to say but there’s never any good divorce stories. I don’t know that you, I very rarely heard any. To be honest, maybe not even- wouldn’t even be .1% of the stories that I’ve listened to before I started this business we’re good divorce stories. Everyone had a horror story to tell.
Then, it happened to us and here I was after 22 years of marriage listening to others who had gone before me. Even people who hadn’t been divorced but knew someone who had [00:02:00] been or had a terrible experience wanted to give me advice. All from a place of compassion and love, I am sure, but completely unsolicited and not necessary when I look back. I also see this regularly with my clients and this is where things can really get dangerous. In this podcast, I want to want you to understand that why listening to other people is not always the best thing for you. You really need to make these decisions yourself and be in control of your destiny. The last thing I would want is for you to listen to someone and then think back later, “Wow, I had that sliding door moment when I could have gone to the left. Instead, I went to the right and now I’m living with those consequences.”
So listening to other people at a time like this, certainly when you’re at your lowest point and looking for someone else to take control of your decisions, it seems to be the [00:03:00] answer. Surely, they’ve been through this, they know the rules of the game and hopefully, have the answers that you’re looking for. But in the majority of cases, this can be completely counterproductive and costly. You may be asking, “But, Tanya, why?” Well, let me explain.
When it comes to a separation or divorce, it doesn’t matter what road you start at, but at some stage, it all comes down to the legal process. What I mean by that is It doesn’t matter whether you start off as best friends. It doesn’t matter whether you are at war. At some stage, you have to get to a place where you negotiate with a lawyer or some people don’t do it with a lawyer, some people do it by themselves. But if you doing it from a place of love and compassion, the outcome for you guys will be so much different.
If you do it from a [00:04:00] place of hurt and anger, it will be very, very costly, time-consuming and you might even have ongoing issues for the rest of your life and I see that with some people who have previously been through a divorce and if they’ve had a terrible experience, women might be men haters, men might be women haters. Sometimes they throw away comments like, “They’re all after whatever they can get” or “All men are losers.” Those sorts of comments that just aren’t true.
But if you think about the person that’s saying the comment, they have a reason for saying it and that’s possibly something that they’ve been through. So whether it’s how they’ve grown up and maybe they’re from divorced parents and their father never paid child support, so therefore they grew up listening to their mum away saying that men are losers and useless and and then the woman’s grown up thinking, “Well, that’s just how [00:05:00] it is,” because that’s what they learnt from a really young age.
It’s what we’ve got to be really, really mindful of in society that when we say things especially in front of our children that it has ongoing life effects for them and it’s in our best interest to always consider the consequences of what we do. So while we’re hurt and struggling, by using them as a sounding board, we’re teaching them what we feel. That’s something that I’m trying to change in my clients. I make sure my clients go and seek the help of a counselor or a therapist because it’s really important not to be dealing with those issues into the rest of your life.
Now, please forgive me while I get off my high horse because I feel quite passionate about this, so please, I’m sorry. Let’s get back to what we were talking about. Men and women are so different and we already know that but having worked with both sexes, you start to see [00:06:00] patterns and this was confirmed when I was at the pub having dinner with my husband the other night. We were sitting close to the bar and at the bar was a group of men all supporting their mate whose relationship had obviously just broken down and the guys were buying their mate drinks and trying to help him drown his sorrows all freely giving advice to help him with his situation. As I approached the bar to buy a glass of wine, I overheard one guy say, “She’ll do everything to get your money. Just watch.” And then the chorus all agreed. “Yep. That’s what you’ll do. You need to make it as hard as possible.” Now the counter-argument to this is the girlfriends all sitting around supporting their friend telling her the complete opposite. “He’ll want the kids as much as possible. Then he won’t need to pay you any child support. So make sure the kids stay with you.” [00:07:00]
Now kid you not, in the majority of cases for the men, it is all about the money and for the women, it’s all about the kids, but the complete opposite is sometimes true. He’s just as good father as she is a mother and the kids to him are just as much a priority, but before you know it because they really are- they do mean so much to him, she knows that by preventing the kids from seeing their father that she will have more control over the situation and conversely, he knows that she’s struggling to pay the bills, so if he can control the finances, then she might do what he wants or that’s his way of hurting her a little bit more.
In these two conversations, what happens is the train starts to run down the track of no return. Women feel that they have this controlling power over the children and men feel it’s all about the money, but imagine working [00:08:00] together as you did as a couple at the start of your relationship and no one feels that they have a greater power. This is where listening to friends about what your action should be can sometimes have very dangerous consequences and we’ve got to stop and think, “Who is this advice coming from and how will it benefit me? Is this really where I want to be heading or not?” Acting impulsively can be the biggest thing that you will regret.
The other issue that I quite often see with people is they’ll turn up and we’ll have a roadmap session and they’ll say to me, “Well, I’m entitled to 75% of the asset pool.” and I’ll say to them, “How do you know that?” They’ll say “Because that’s what her girlfriend got or that’s what a colleague at work got and yeah, that’s pretty much what I deserve. So that’s what I’m hoping to get.” Now, I’m not a lawyer, so what happens is our legal [00:09:00] team will often get a copy of the roadmap and they will provide the feedback as to what a client is entitled to. Now in most cases, I never give that advice after the lawyer has reviewed it to the client because there’s other due diligence that needs to be carried out. The interesting thing is a lot of clients already have a preconceived idea as to what they think they’re entitled to.
Now, let me tell you a story of two Sisters both of similar age. These sisters fell in love with two brothers and both couples got married within two years of each other. One couple have been married for 22 years and the other couple of been married for 24 years. Both couples have to dependent children in their teenage years. They’re both 13 and 15 or somewhere around that now the brothers grew up in a European family of hard-working [00:10:00] parents and learned that having their own business was really the way to financial freedom and security. One brother owns a building company and the other brother owns a chain of some form of food outlets. Now the sisters have both worked on and off but have been able to stay at home for various periods of time to help bring up the children.12 months ago, one of the couple’s broke and are now separated. The other couple, unfortunately, broke up for months ago and are living in different properties as well. It’s all pretty set.
Now, let’s consider this. On face value, these couples are so similar we would think that the percentage financial split would be very similar. The four of them are all of very similar ages. Both couples have businesses and both couples have teenage dependent children. But while their DNA is very compatible and similar [00:11:00] and on face value both women will need greater financial support as the husband’s own and run the family businesses and also have the ability to continue to earn high incomes into the future, the similarities end there.
One couple or the couple who owned the food outlets, they have a lot of business debt, but they have also been able to build a profitable property portfolio. Now, this sister owned a property before she met her husband and she still has that to today. They get rental income from that. She’s also worked part-time in a school and five years ago, her husband got sick and had to climb on an insurance policy to help pay the couple’s debt. Now, this policy’s being paid out and as he explained, he can no longer get a policy due to that health issue. So if he was to get sick again, he [00:12:00] can’t get any income to help with the financial needs of the family.
Now the other couple has a child with greater future needs and because of that, the husband’s business and working hours, his wife has a far greater responsibility and bringing up the child. Their business also has a larger turnover and profit and therefore, their asset pool is greater to divide.
Now, let’s assume that the sisters have you gone to the same lawyer. The sisters are both using the same person and the brothers of both gone to a lawyer and they’re using the same business or the same lawyer as well. So we’ve taken out- we’re trying to eliminate the variables here. So they’re all of similar ages. Both couples have been married between 20 and 24 years respectively, so the time of the relationship is relevantly the same. Both husbands own their own businesses. Both families have children roughly the [00:13:00] same age and the clients are all using the same lawyers. So if you think about it, on face value and for the sake of the scenario, the women would be entitled to a greater percentage split of the family pool, but so much more needs to be considered.
So couple one who owns a restaurant and the wife entered the relationship with an asset being a home and the husband’s been sick and has greater future needs and the wife now works part-time. So these guys are in a position where they don’t have a child that needs a lot of care. She’s able to go out to work and earn an income. So she’s able to at the moment work part-time, but in the future she could possibly work full-time if she needed to get some extra money. Their children are getting to the age where they are not going to be relied upon for their parents for much longer [00:14:00] because they’re getting to that senior teenage years. The husband’s been ill and also because of his illness, his business carries a little bit of debt or a lot of debt.
Now, the other couple are in a completely different financial situation. Their business is booming, the husband has to work very long hours and because of that, they are unable to really share the parenting of one of their children who has got a slight disability and therefore needs care sometimes to take to doctors and doctor’s appointments and be picked up and various other things but the family are committed to helping and supporting the child, which is exactly what you want from a committed family. In regards to these guys, this wife didn’t come into the relationship with any assets like her sister who had a house, their business is in a completely [00:15:00] different financial position. They don’t have a great deal of debt and their future revenue looks amazing and the growth of the business looks really good.
When you look at the two on face value, the sisters probably sit there and go, “Yup, we’re both going to get the same amount when you look at a lot of the factors.” But unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. And so there’s a formula that your lawyer will use to be able to work out what it is that you are entitled to and they will go through a lot of questions and ask a lot of information about things such as future needs, income capacity, what you bought into the relationship, how long you worked for and the list of questions go on and on. No two divorces are the same and what I’m trying to illustrate for you here, is that even though you think that I’m entitled to such and such because that’s what my friend got all my sister got or a [00:16:00] relative got or a colleague at work got, it doesn’t work like that. There’s so much more that needs to go into this and it also has a lot to do with the lawyer on the other side and the give and take that is allowed to happen and if some person wants to work amicably and then someone else might not want to be.
Let’s take the brothers, for instance. Let’s assume that one of them is- it was his choice to leave the marriage. Because it’s his choice to leave the marriage, he’s more likely to give into a lot of stuff because he just wants to get on with his life. Let’s assume that the other brother, he was left and he’s really bitter and twisted by the whole thing and he’s hurt by the situation and therefore he or he’s acting angry and therefore the two brothers will act completely differently. They will give different instructions to their lawyer and that difference in instruction will cause [00:17:00] different outcomes for each party.
So I don’t want you to get your hopes up. I don’t want you to think just because a friend of mine got this financial split that that’s what I’m entitled to because it doesn’t work like that. I want you to make sure that you’ve done complete and utter due diligence and you know before you even leave your relationship what it is that you’re entitled to so that way before you leave, you know what you need to do, what risk you need to mitigate and how you can survive moving forward. Does that mean you need to get a new job? Does it mean you need to sell the house? What does it actually mean? So just jumping ship without thinking about the consequences is silly and we need to be a little bit more prepared. Taking full consideration into the sort of lawyer that we’re using will also affect the outcome so that something else to be mindful of.
So I’ve tried to explain to you the difference in a legal scenario, we’re using pretty [00:18:00] much very similar common denominators such as the sisters and the brothers and just so you know, that is semi-true, that story. So two sisters did marry two brothers and they did break up roughly the same time. If we think about taking advice from other people, it’s no different to when you were in a job or you’re starting a new sport or something like that. You’re not going to take advice from someone who is not who you want to be. The silliest thing any of us can do is to sit there and listen to someone else that is not living the life that we want to live.So why would you take separation or divorce advice from someone that is not having the relationship that you truly want?
So for instance, let’s say the guys at the bar the other night when my husband and I were having dinner, he’s sitting there listening to all his mates, but none of his mates have the [00:19:00] relationship that he truly wants anyway. They’re all struggling in that area of finding the right person and how to treat someone properly, but here they are all telling him what he should do, how he should act and behave and how he should retaliate at what’s going on. Imagine the world that we would have if couples today sat down across the table and said, “Okay this isn’t working, but now how do we do this together? How do the two of us sit down and work at this together?” Because at some stage, you loved each other. You loved each other enough to get married. You loved each other to be financially committed to each other. You loved each other to have children and to think of this amazing future.
And now you just want to fight and tear each other apart, but imagine if you could just sit down and say, “Right, what is it that the two of us need to do to get this sorted and get it done?” [00:20:00] And then the need for a lawyer is so limited that it’s going to save you money. It’s going to save you emotions and then there you will be telling your friend in years to come, “This is my experience. This works so well for me,” and they can sit there and choose. Do they want the bad one or do they want the good one? I can tell you, every day of the week, everyone will want the good outcome.
Whilst perception is not everyone’s reality, it’s how you perceive something that actually makes you feel the way you do. So you can sit there and if someone will have had an experience, you could be having that very same experience, but feel different emotions and that what also cater this. Someone else might be in your shoes and tackle it completely differently. So let me explain what I mean.
Our oldest son has got this amazing pain threshold. [00:21:00] When he was a child, he and I were hanging upside down on the monkey bars and unfortunately, he fell and broke his arm. Now I felt so terrible and here he was with a compound fracture. Both his radius and ulna sticking out of his arm. Now, he was three years old and did not even cry and it was at that stage that I realized that he had a pain threshold like no one else and it was something that I needed to manage throughout his childhood.
If any of us had fallen and had the same injury, we probably would have been screaming and had to have got an ambulance and whatever but here, we were in the emergency department. He was sitting there in no pain whatsoever and the doctors were treating me because I was so stressed and felt so bad by what he’d gone through and I felt responsible that they were treating me and he was going off for an x-ray and not even crying.
So [00:22:00] what I’m trying to say here is that. You could be in one position and your friends could have another position and they could be giving you advice, but the advice for you could be completely wrong because they don’t know your circumstances. They don’t know your partner like you do. They don’t know the ins and outs of the relationship.
They don’t know what made everything deteriorate. They don’t know any of that. So just be very, very mindful when you listen to other people because perception is not reality. So what someone perceives your relationship to be, might not actually be at all what the relationship is. It could be so much worse. It could be so much better. So before active impulsively, sit on your actions and your answers for at least 24 hours. That’s the key to a lot of these. Don’t react quickly. So if a friend says to you, “Go and do this. If I was you, I’d prevent the children from [00:23:00] seeing their father.” Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Now, people might think that I am being so ridiculous here giving this advice, but I’ve seen it time and time again make such a difference to not only that person’s future, but to the future of their partner, to the outcome of the process, and to the children. It’s the most emotional time that you will ever go through and the last thing I want is for you to leave in regret. So when listening to friends just be mindful. Just because one of your friends got a certain split doesn’t mean that you’re going to get the same. Don’t live in this hope that that’s what you’re going to be able to get. You need to really have a plan. You need to have spoken to someone who can give you some advice on this so you know for a fact and then you put a plan in place to be able to move forward.
The other thing [00:24:00] is knowing that no two divorces are the same. They just aren’t. It doesn’t matter how similar are just like the sisters and the brothers. It doesn’t matter how similar everything is, there’s stuff behind the scenes that maybe you’re not aware of that you didn’t take into consideration that your legal team will be able to advise you on.
Then the last thing is that taking advice from friends and families and colleagues really can cause you greater harm because they don’t know what you’re going through. They don’t know your partner. They don’t know your circumstances and if they aren’t the person that you really want to be, because I’m a big advocate of you are the five people that you spend the most time with, and if you’ve never heard that, what that means is that you associate with the people that you want to be like. So if you’re associating with people that are negative and that a nasty, you could start to [00:25:00] take on some of their traits and if you’re dealing or you’re spending a lot of time with people that really empowering and want to change their lives and have got a big outlook on life, then you will start to feel that energy and emotion as well. You’ve got to be really, really mindful of the people you’re around with or spending time with because it seriously makes such a difference to your life, how you act, how you react to emotions and I’ve said this before, but our thoughts are an illusion and we are the thinker of our thoughts. So if you sit there and you are with someone that’s negative, you will be thinking negative thoughts and then feeling that as well, but if you’re with people that are uplifting and say to you that everything’s going to be all right, then you will start to feel- because you’ll be thinking positively.
Thank you for joining me today. I hope that this has been informative to you. It is something that is really close to my heart because [00:26:00] that’s why in our 5 steps to a seamless divorce program, I give my clients the ability to talk to me or to talk to whoever it is that they’re working with because we take all of the emotion out of the decision-making. We help you to make the decision without having someone that’s already got a preconceived idea of your partner and this comes into play certainly when you’re talking to family members and they’re giving you advice on how you should act. They’ll tell you maybe what to do because they think they’re looking after your best interest, but they don’t realize the consequence of what you do. So from working with a professional such as our business. What we do is we make sure that you are aware of if you’re going to end this track, this is what could happen. So please be aware of it and then you can sit there and you can choose which road you go down. This track, this will be the consequence or do I take the [00:27:00] opposing track and I’ve got a different outcome. Being fully informed like that will help you get through this so much better, and the other thing is it means that your friends and family don’t always have to listen to you because a lot of clients have said, ” My girlfriends are just sick of listening to me. They don’t want to hear me talk about this anymore.”
Please, let us know because there are 5 steps to a seamless divorce or our Somerton method are exactly what you might need, and we can help you get through this and guide you clearly. So until next time, I look forward to talking to you again on next week’s podcast. Bye for now.
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