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What’s So Smart About Divorce?

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I had a great time appearing on the lifestyle show Steven and Chris.  You may be asking, why’s a lifestyle show talking about divorce? Well, when you look at both separation and divorce combined at over 40%, the ripple affect across society is huge. That’s why you want to be smart about divorce.  In case you missed the segment, this is what we discussed…….

Going through a divorce during the holidays can be emotionally draining, which is why many people don’t do it – they put it off until January. People don’t want to upset the status quo, rituals or routines over the holiday season; they want a peaceful Christmas, Hanukkah, festive season or happy New Year’s. They also don’t want their children to associate the holidays with their parents’ divorce – that certainly is putting their children’s best interest first.  And then after soul searching and reflection during this time, many realize that they don’t want to spend another year with their spouse, as soon as the holidays are over they make this life changing decision, and file.

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S&C: What are your tips to approaching divorce?

DM: I have an acronym I like to tell my clients… be “SMART”

If you’re thinking about divorce, you need information!

Be SMART about your divorce:

S – start with realistic goals and objectives. State them.

S&C: What are some unrealistic goals you’ve heard?

DM: There are two sides of divorce – the emotional divorce and the legal divorce. When people feel wronged they want vindication, and then want their partner to “pay” for the divorce. So for instance, I’m sure you have heard…I’m going to make him pay for this, I’ll take him for every penny, or he’s not going to see the kids. The reality is there are rules and guidelines as to how matrimonial property is divided. And – it’s no fault divorce, which means for the most part, the reasons behind the divorce doesn’t matter

M – maximize your knowledge and information.

S&C: What’s the most important information to find out?

DM: The best way to arrive at your separation agreement.

For example, do you negotiate through the lawyers, mediate, use collaborative family law….or do you need take a more acrimonious route such as arbitration or Court?

Why would you do this? If you’re not getting financial disclosure, or one parent wants to move away with the kids.

Understanding dispute resolutions is critical. Understand your rights and obligations. What’s fair and reasonable? It’s critical that you understand

The reasons behind your decisions within the separation agreement. For example, you’ve settled on selling the matrimonial home and so on. The last thing you want to do is look back on your decisions with regret. The goal is to move forward with confidence, and not look back.

Metaphor – why is the front windshield larger than the rear view mirror? Because you want to spend more time looking forward than looking back.

What are the many considerations behind a parenting plan – time sharing, decision making, how are extraordinary expenses divided – such as braces, extra-curricular activities, the really expense child costs that are incurred on top of the everyday child related expenses.

A – avoid being emotionally reactive.

S&C: How can you avoid this?

DM: Understand you’re grieving and deal with it see a therapist, talk to a divorce coach, take the time to do the emotional healing. If you’re having a really difficult time managing emotionally, talk to your lawyer. There are more amicable resolutions to work through; you don’t have to go to Court, which are emotionally draining.

Take good care of yourself physically too…..good health habits, sleep, exercise…..the occasional tub of hagen dazs is ok, we all need it at times, but not every day!

R – retain the best divorce team you can afford.

S&C:  How can you tell is a team is the best team for you?

DM: Don’t just hire a lawyer because he or she was good for your friend or found someone in the yellow pages. Do you own research. Set up a consultation and ask lots of questions. I have these questions and considerations detailed in my books.

T – treat your divorce as a business transaction.

S&C: How do you do this?

DM: It might sound cold, but do a cost benefit analysis for some of your decisions. For example, how much is it going to cost to go after how much. I’ve seen people spend $10,000 fighting over a $5,000 grand piano. Keep the money in your family. Pay for your child’s education, not your lawyers!

Again, it’s keeping in mind the legal divorce, and removing the emotions out of it….if you’re having trouble best to work with a professional to keep you grounded cost effectively.

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S&C: What’s the biggest mistake you see people make when they’re going through their divorces?

DM: Making decisions without understanding the long-term implications. For example, a client who was about to buy a home before settlement. She thought she might end up with a certain amount of money….but there is no crystal ball, so wait until the money is in the bank.

S&C: What’s on of the most common things you hear your clients say after their divorce?

DM: If I had known how hard divorce is, I may have worked harder at my marriage

– I wish I would have asked more questions and understood the process better.

– A few clients have said, I want this over with quickly, I don’t want anything. But when the dust settles, they realize they don’t have anything, and have no money to pay the rent.

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Contact Deborah at 905-695-0270 or complete an inquiry form to get help specific to your situation.

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