Have you noticed that everything successful has a process that is followed? It is how as a society we survive. In my previous corporate role, everything had a process or a procedure and there was no area for doubt, we mitigated every risk. The safety and protection of staff, contractors, visitors and customers relied on it.
It was a highly volatile environment and critical for everyone to follow the rules. It was at this stage that I was going through my separation and getting divorced. The frustration I felt about the lack of information or process to follow infuriated me and highlighted the need for the legal and court process to be visible to those going through it. Rather than a cloak of secrecy.
So this podcast is to help you understand the need for a Divorce Roadmap and how we carry them out with our clients.
With this information, you can put a plan in place and mitigate the risks in your personal situation. This is the biggest issue I see and hear about in hindsight from people.
If only I had………
If only I knew……..
If only I was aware of your business.
Don’t be one of those people have a plan and be prepared.
So let’s get into it:
There was nothing out there to help people going through a divorce to mitigate risks and to also uncover their greatest struggles.[00:01:00]
At the end of the day, a separation or a divorce is a trauma. [00:03:00]
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and what it teaches us.[00:05:00]
Why living above our needs impedes our survival.[00:07:00]
How being clever can make you $5,000.00 [00:09:00]
Why two loving parents both have the right to spend time with their children.
[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the divorce Angel podcast. I’m your host Tanya Somerton. I’m a divorce Angel and my job is to help streamline the process of divorce for my clients and I do this with a step-by-step strategy. A bit of my history has come from me working in a very auditory environment. Where I came from, in my corporate role, everything had a formula behind it. Everything had a process and there was really no area for doubt. The reason was is because we try to mitigate every risk and we had to do that because of the safety for not only the clients and the visitors to the environment that I worked in, but also for the heavy machinery and their oils and gases, petrels– You name it. It was a highly volatile environment.
It was also [00:01:00] critical that I looked after the staff. My staff, my subcontractors, and other people that worked in my precinct. When I went and got divorced, or when I was trying to get divorced, you wouldn’t believe how much it frustrated me that there was nothing out there to help people going through a divorce to mitigate those risks and to also uncover their greatest struggles so that planes could be put in place to try and make everything better. I could not understand why, in a lot of our working environments, these KPIs, and procedures, and risk mitigators were all put in place, but we didn’t do it when we were going through a divorce. So to me it was a simple truth that someone had to go out and do that for people who were going through the process of getting divorced and that’s pretty much what I did.
Today [00:02:00] I wanted to talk to you about when I do a divorce roadmap with clients, and we sit there and we go through the legal information– As you know, I’m not a lawyer but what we do is we put together the information required for our lawyers to be able to give our clients the best possible chance of getting a really good outcome and that’s by putting together factual information, supporting documents, and making sure that we have all of our i’s dotted and your t’s crossed to make sure that our lawyers can look after the clients best interest right from the word go.
In the roadmap, something else that I make sure that we do is we try and uncover our clients greatest struggles. The reason that we do that, and it’s really important to me, is because if I can understand what a client is struggling with, and we can put some steps in place to try and help them get through it, it will make [00:03:00] everything a little bit easier for them. Isn’t that what we want? Because at the end of the day, a separation or a divorce, is a trauma and I’ve spoken about this before where psychologists have studied and said that divorce is the second most stressful time in anyone’s life. That’s second to the death of a loved spouse because we never ever thought that our life would end up like this.
When we got married, we envisage that we would be married to that person forever. We loved them more than anything else and because of that, when it comes to the end, we are heartbroken. There’s so many other emotions that go with that such as failure. What did I do wrong? Especially if there’s issues of trust that have been involved and you sit there and you wonder, “Can I trust myself to make a proper decision again because maybe. Everyone is lying to [00:04:00] me.” and it’s something that I hear quite often, especially if a spouse has had an affair or they’ve been hiding something for a long period of time, the other party will say, “How can I trust myself to make a decision?”
What I try and do in our divorce roadmap session is we try and uncover those struggles and I thought what we might do today is just go through some of those categories so you can understand what you need to be looking at because you could be doing this yourself if you really wanted to. First, we’re going to uncover the number one struggle, and if you know anything about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, safety is Paramount. Since we’ve been born, our brain is there to try and protect us and highlight danger, and our first struggle is safety.
I sit with a client and I first need to understand do they feel safe and what does [00:05:00] safe actually mean. Is safe mean making sure that knowing is physically going to attack you? Does it mean that you’ve got a roof over your head? Does it mean that you feel you’re mentally not safe that something needs to be done to try and put steps in place to protect you from, possibly, even your own thoughts? When I sit with a client we work through those areas. If they say, “Look. No, I’m fine. Safety is not an issue for me.” Then that’s great. We will move on. If I think that safety is an issue, we will then put steps in place to try and protect them from whatever it is that they are struggling with. If it’s from a spouse that might be putting them onto someone that can help them with domestic violence. It can even be things like, iCloud information. Safety such as someone has access to their email or to their Dropbox that sort of thing. It can be that sort of safety as [00:06:00] well. Safety just is not making sure personally that no one is attacking you. It can be a large range of issues that we’re trying to keep someone safe from. If you’re doing this alone consider safety. What is it that really is holding you back or preventing you from feeling safe and what steps can you put in place to change that around and make sure that you do feel safe.
The next one is money and that comes down to day-to-day survival. Are you living from day to day or are you able to think a little bit further down the track? When it comes to money, you want to make sure firstly that you can pay for the roof over your head, you can put food on the table for yourself and your children, that health-wise that you can pay for any health issues or medicine that is required? There’s a thing that a lot of people do today and we live above [00:07:00] our means. What we want to do is make sure that when we’re talking about money from a day-to-day perspective, we’re talking about the money that you need for basic survival. I’m not talking about going out and buying the latest handbag or purchasing a car or going on an overseas holiday. I’m talking about roof over your head, food on the table, and a warm environment, being able to pay their gas and electricity bills. If you’ve got money to be able to do those things, well then it’s just a short period of time is what we’re hoping for until you get a settlement. Money is very, very important.
If you do not have enough money, what can you do to help you in that area. Does it mean that you need to get another job? Does it mean that you need to move in with someone? A family member, a friend. Does it mean that you’ve got things around your house? This is something quite often that I talk to my clients [00:08:00] about. If you’ve got asset sitting around the house, maybe a bike or a bed or a couch or a fridge, something that you no longer use, it could be jewelry, it could be artwork, that is of no longer any use to you, why don’t you sell it? Because money is more important than an asset sitting in the wall and you freezing or not paying for a roof over your head or not being able to feed your children. I once had a client who went through the garage of their partner and found all of these things that still had stickers on them from Bunnings. Took all those things back to Bunnings and was able to get $5,000, and I kid you not, that’s truthful. They took back paint cans that hadn’t been opened, garden tools, a whole array of things, took it back and was able to get $5,000. That $5,000 helped towards the legal bill for that client.
The next one is employment. In a lot of cases, [00:09:00] depending on where you’ve come from, do you need assistance for any employment? Is it may be a good time to have someone professional write your CV and make sure that it really stands out in a crowd? Are you not getting paid enough because you think you’re not good enough when actually you are good enough? You just need to go out and feel like you’re empowered and it’s very hard to feel like this when you’re going through a separation because you think that, “Well, if I failed at my marriage then who’s going to employ me?” because all of those negative thoughts go through your head. Employment is another issue that you should be considering and looking for. Just because you’ve been comfortable where you are, you’ll now have to stand on your own two feet. Is it time to start looking at where you’re working? Is it actually putting more stress on you that you don’t need at the moment? It [00:10:00] might mean that you need to change employment because you just not happy where you are because this is the turning point right now in your life. This is the time when you can write a whole new chapter if you really wanted to. If you’re not happy, don’t sit there and blame it on someone else. What can you do right now to make your life better?
The next point that we look at when I’m uncovering clients greatest struggles is around the children and this can be a very, very difficult and touchy subject. When it comes to children, and what I like to do when I’m talking to a parent, is understand why they think that the child is actually a possession because it’s not. This is not about you and it’s not about your ex. This is about your child. And what does your child really, really want and they don’t want to be a pawn. They don’t want to be part of a fight. [00:11:00] They want to share their time equally with both parents, if that’s truly what they want, and we’re not talking about issues where the children are at risk in those circumstances, were talking about where you’ve got two loving parents that both have the right to spend time with their children.
It’s your job as a parent to that child to make sure that you’re able to work out something amicable and put everything aside for what is best for your child. When you do that, the life of the child can be so much better and you and your eggs can talk on a level that will help you for the rest of your life. You’re going to have birthday parties, graduations weddings, grandchildren, so much is going to happen in your future, so many great and wonderful things and isn’t it better to be amicable [00:12:00] and for you to turn up with your new partner and them to turn up with their new partner and you have a life that way than the alternative? So making sure that your children come first is so important at a time like this.
The next one is understanding your situation. This might sound very, very silly but it is true. A lot of people do not understand the consequences across the board of their decisions. They don’t understand that leaving or wanting to keep a house that it means that they have to refinance that loan into their name. They don’t realize that they will need to be updated. They don’t realize that life insurance policies and all of those things need to be changed. It’s not as simple as getting up and leaving a relationship. There’s such a lot of [00:13:00] work that needs to be done to finalize it properly. So understanding the consequences of the decision and everything that must be done to get it finalized is something else that we do when we’re uncovering a client’s greatest struggles. You need to understand, out of everything that you’ve got, your insurance policies, your properties, your loans, your titles, your businesses, whatever the case may be, you need to understand the consequences of what needs to be done to protect yourself.
Then the next one is legal risks and vulnerabilities. They also refer back to understanding the situation. In some cases, legal risks come back to do with things like the assets that people have bought into a relationship, and in a lot of cases people don’t understand how the formula is worked out to get the actual split that they want. They’ve just heard that “Because of the ages of my [00:14:00] children, because of how old we are, because of whatever the case may be in your scenario, I think I’m entitled to X them out.” when that might not be true at all. So understanding the legal risks and vulnerabilities are extremely important and you need to do that and put together a holistic approach to your divorce and separation.
The next one is housing. Whilst we’ve had a conversation about a roof over your head, what does that look like? Do you want to stay in the family home? Do you want to sell the family home? Do you need to rent? Do you need to rent for just 12 months while you consider the location of where you’re going to move to? Because that’s some of the biggest mistakes that I see where people want to either stay in their house because they think, “Well, this is the family home.” but they don’t think of the consequences of staying in the house. It [00:15:00] could be that the house is falling down– It needs a lot of work. It could be large so you can’t afford to pay the gas and electricity bills anymore. It could be that there’s a massive garden and you never did the garden, that your ex did the garden. It might be that your ex did all the cleaning and you can’t up keep it anymore.
There’s so much to weight up and housing is really, really important. We all need to have a roof over our head like we talked about at the start with safety, and we need to think about things like close to kids’ schools and close to work, and where do we want to live in the future? Someone like me I consider– am I buying an asset that’s going to go up in price or you know, would I prefer to put my money into a long-term investment rather than put it into something in a declining market. There’s so much that needs to be uncovered when it comes to housing.
The same is the about [00:16:00] finances. Can you afford to pay your bills? Do you have credit cards? What are the consequences of not paying your financial commitments on time? Does it mean in poor credit rating? How can we address that? Can we ring up a bank and put a hold on something? That’s what you need to do. So if you’ve got some bills, then you’re struggling to pay them, you need to make sure that you ring the hardship departments, especially in a bank and explain to them what’s going on, if you’re late for a mortgage because the consequences of a bad credit rating can certainly halter your future. That is part of what we do in a divorce road map so you can see that it’s quite comprehensive, but I’ll just go over them again.
We talked about safety. Money from a day-to-day perspective, employment, children, understanding of the situation and the consequences, the legal risks, where you’re [00:17:00] going to live– Housing, and obviously finances, and making sure that you are being protected with your finances because I’m trying to uncover your greatest struggles. Once we’ve uncovered them, we put risk mitigators or we put strategies in place to help get you through the next stages.
If you’re going through a separation right now, I recommend you think about those categories that I just spoke about make sure that you’ve addressed them and that you’ve got a plan B in place because that’s really important, and making sure that you have something to fall back on.
If you’d like to know more about a divorce roadmap, please, you can contact me at Tanya at tanyasomerton.com. I’d be more than interested to run you through what it is and how we do it. The outcomes of those strategy sessions [00:18:00] are Priceless. They really are. They can make a complete and utter difference to your divorce journey.
That’s it for this week. I hope that you got something out of it. Please send me an e-mail, give me some comments. Let me know what you are thinking if there’s anything I can do to help you and I look forward to catching up with you again next week. Bye for now.
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