People’s divorces offer all kind of stories. You may find agreement on huge items of a divorce settlement, like selling properties or even valuation of business. And at the same time, they cannot reach an understanding over small things. 

This can happen for many reasons. You may know why you want to fight over this particular item. But you should ask yourself is it worth the energy, the time, and the money you will spend to get it.

In this podcast, Tanya talks about how and why the little issues cost the most. Looking back over her own experience and that of two recent clients, she wants you to ask yourself is it worth the cost and stress?

So let’s get into it:


One of the reasons why I became a Divorce Angel.[00:01:00]

Know the 80 20 rule. [00:03:00]

First case of study: The photo album.[00:05:00]

What happened to me. [00:08:00]

How my story ended up. [00:10:00]

What I have learnt after what happened to me. [00:13:00]

Do you need this stress? [00:15:00]


My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce

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Divorce Roadmap Session:

[00:00:00] Hi there, and welcome to the divorce angel podcast. For those of you that haven’t listened before, my name is Tanya Somerton and I’m the divorce angel. Now, the reason I started my business is that I went through a divorce nearly nine years ago. And the experience was so awful.

It was awful. And I sat there and thought about it from a common-sense perspective and wondered why it was that everything seemed so hard. Everything at that particular time in my life, to be honest, was completely hard. And I look back now and think it was a time to rewrite what I was put on this earth to do.


It was my chance to look at everything that had happened in my previous chapter and take a deep dive into what I did well, what I didn’t do very well at all, and what came [00:01:00] naturally to me. Even when I was in my corporate role, even when my kids were little at school, people would tell me things that they probably shouldn’t have been telling me.

And I remember when I was in my corporate CEO role and executive members would tell me personal things. At the time, were a little bit shocking, but they felt that they could confide in me. And I suppose I was trustworthy enough for them to tell me things that meant a lot to them, not only about their life, their jobs, but what was happening in their relationships.

So I felt very privileged to always be able to lend an ear to those people and help them when I suppose they thought that no one else could help. When I look back over my life, it’s something that’s happened since I was a little girl. I was always told things that probably I shouldn’t have been.

[00:02:00] And now, fast forward to where I am today it’s my job. People are telling me their deepest secrets and things that mean so much to them and their greatest struggles. Some of my clients are dealing with things that it’s turning their life upside down, and it does break my heart to see people so deep in issues. And when I look at it, I can see how it could be simplified.

But that’s my gift I suppose. When my clients and I are talking about certain situations, I can get rid of the stories and I can get rid of all the fluff around a certain incident to bring it back to the basic truth or the facts of the situation. And that brings me to what I wanted [00:03:00] to talk to you about today. It’s all-around focusing too much on the small details.

Do you know the 80 20 rule? We can get to the end of a negotiation over a couple, whether it be financial or whether it be about the children, but is always 20% in most cases of things that just seem to be hard.

I’ve gone back through certain clients and done some pros and cons and looked at why this is happening, to try and figure out what it is that we can do to help our clients get past that 20% that just seems to be the biggest hurdle now.Why is it 20% the biggest hurdle? When I went back and looked at some of the issues that were causing 20%, to be honest, I had [00:04:00] to deep dive back into my history and have a look at what I went through when I was getting divorced.

I’m no different from anyone else. Let me tell you. And there was a light bulb moment for me.I can now see that there is this thing happening over and over again, and how do we help our clients get through these hurdles. Let me just give you an idea of what I’m talking about.

Recently, some clients that we have been working with, we had to deal with the sale of houses, valuations of businesses, all of those big things they have been sorted out.And the interesting thing is the little things just cannot get an agreement across the line. For instance, with one couple recently, it was over photo albums. “No, I’m not signing those orders until I get handed over the photo albums” Now, let’s be honest. [00:05:00] In this day and age, do we still really use photo albums?

There’s this so many ways we can get around this issue. We can scan the photos, we can email them to a Dropbox. We can have them in a cloud. The couple could share them. Even if it was cloud-based, they could both have their access in to see the photos. But I realized that the issue wasn’t the photos.

There was such a bigger driver behind the photos and it was that it represented. It represented to this couple, the children and the life that they’d led, and the husband was saying to the wife, no, I am not signing any of this. Even though he was the instigator of a lot of the negotiation when it comes to signing the documents, he wasn’t prepared to until she handed over the photo albums of their children.

Now their children were adults. I’m talking late twenties and into their thirties. So it wasn’t [00:06:00] like we’re talking about little children. These girls had their own lives. It was like the last thing that the husband could fight over and he didn’t want to sign the orders. And I thought to myself, is it really about the photo or is it just that he can’t let go and this is the last tick on the box. And he just has to keep this going for longer than necessary.

And then another client, the biggest issue was Flybuys Points and Qantas Frequent Flyer Points, so they’d organized and sorted at everything else, but simply had not agreed on who was getting the Flybuys Points and the Qantas Frequent Flyer Points.

Now in this couple’s relationship, as they always had a lot of holidays and family holidays, and [00:07:00] holidays represented really happy memories for them. Holidays and using these frequent flyer points. It represented something within the relationship.

And for me, my personal story was when I was divorcing, my ex-husband and I, and I can’t even believe that this is what I’m about to say. But we were fighting over sports memorabilia.I had bought my husband for his 40th birthday a genuine Don Bradman. At the time it was quite a few thousand dollars. My ex-husband loved it. It meant so much to him. And yet we had everything sorted out except for the sports [00:08:00] memorabilia.

Even today on my consent orders, it says that I own that Don Bradman and some other sporting memorabilia. Did I ever take it from him? No. He still has it in his house. Do I care? Not one bit. But at the moment when we were going through the negotiations and signing the contracts that Don Bradman bat, I knew it would hurt him if I kept it, so I did everything I possibly could to make sure I got it. Appalling when I look back now.What I’m trying to say is what we do is when we’re in this negotiation stage, we try and pick something, or the biggest struggle to get a signed agreement or get something across the line is what represents the most to us in our relationship.

So in the first couple, their children were very important to them. And unfortunately for the husband, his [00:09:00] girls alienated him a bit since the family broke up. He sees that the photo albums are what represents for him, the children’s history and good times.The second couple, it was all around holidays and family holidays and using the work credit card to get Qantas Frequent Flyer Points. It took them away and represented happy memories.

For me, my boys and my ex-husband spent such a lot of time at cricket like we were always at the cricket club or the tennis club, or football club.Because that’s where we had a lot of our happy memories. And I knew if I got, or if I owned those things, then hopefully I would hurt him. Well, when I’m looking back now, I think that’s what it was all about. I suppose getting stuck in, in the little things or getting stuck in the weeds is what seems to take so long to [00:10:00] get everything done and dusted.

So I was there. I know what it is like. The details that come along with splitting finances and everything relating to a divorce. Many couples just get caught up in small things. Does it matter? Looking back now, does it matter? No. My husband still has that cricket bat.He kept it. He could sell it tomorrow if he wanted to because he got it in his house. And would I want it in my house? No, not really. I fought over something that at the time I thought was going to get me a win.

I thought it was going to hurt him by having it. And I’ve noticed the same things with some of my other clients. So when it comes to arguing over the little things, [00:11:00] all it does is increase the stress of the situation, and it just creates larger legal bills and it prolongs the outcome.

So learning from what I went through and learning from what I’m seeing from my other clients, how do you prevent this from happening to you? I would get you to look over what in your relationship or your marriage represents the greatest thing. I’m talking to clients and we’re trying to work out a strategy.

I will often say, now what will your partner’s primary driver be? What is the most important thing to them? Because we know if we can accommodate and make them happy. We can get it over and done with quite quickly and amicably. And isn’t that what everyone wants at the time? Depending on how the relationship’s [00:12:00] broken up at the time, you might want to hurt them or you might want to just somehow retaliate or letting them know how unhappy and hurt you feel.

And to do that, you take what you think represents the greatest achievement or greatest happiness or pain point. That’s what you use against them and does it make it any better? Does it get you where you want to get to? No.Look at me, we had two lawyers in mediation. It was probably going for three hours debating over these sports and this Don Bradman bat. In the end, my ex-husband just gave up and I got it. Yeah. So I won. You rip out. I won, but what do I get for it? Nothing. He still got in his [00:13:00] house and it means nothing to me and I never really wanted it.

And it’s painful for me to say this to you, but I’m telling you this because I’m teaching you the lessons from what I learnt, it got me nowhere and all it did, it prolonged the legal bills, and it didn’t make me any happier. No happier whatsoever because that’s what I’ve got on my written consent orders.

It means nothing. Learn from what happened to me and what I can see with my clients. If there’s a struggle going on about something that is little in this scheme of the whole relationship, ask yourself, is it worth the fight? Is it worth spending the money?And why are you so attached to that one particular item?

What does it mean to you and what does it represent? Do you need it in your life? So with this [00:14:00] client, with the frequent flyer points, she’s starting a new business. She’ll be able to get those frequent flyer points back very quickly.

The client with the photo albums, as I said, we could scan them all and pop them up into a cloud. We can be given to him on a memory stick. We could even handle over the photo albums and just keep the scan photos ourselves. Because photos unless you’re into some sort of scrapbooking, just seem to deteriorate anyway.

There’s an answer and an outcome behind each of these issues and I don’t want you to waste your time fighting over something that in the scheme of things is tiny. Have a look, see what it is in your life or it is in your relationship. You can use this to help you move on because you don’t need this stress.

You don’t need to be spending money over something like this. And to be honest, I think the lawyers loved that argument about these tiny things. [00:15:00] Because the truth is the 80 20 rule, they get 80% of their income over 20% of the argument. So don’t let that happen to you, be different. Look and learn from what I am seeing in the majority of my clients and don’t be that person. That’s it for this podcast. I am so happy to serve you and to provide you as much information as I possibly can.


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