Surviving Your Divorce

Yes, January is Divorce Filing Month and thankfully it only comes once a year.  So let’s give you some basic guidance to surviving this soul rattling experience.

First we need to lower your expectations; Perry Mason will not cross examine your lying, cheating spouse on a stand and break them down into confessing that they ruined your life.  Nobody cares about the “he said, she said” high school rumors; you are now in the “Show me the money” world of adults.

Second by January you should have been stashing small amounts of money away for life after the divorce, the longer you’ve been stashing the money the more you have.  In a normal divorce expect to pay at least $2,000 to $5,000 in lawyer, legal and other fees.  You can do the divorce yourself, but those normally don’t involve kids or any major assets like houses or any major joint debts like credit cards and foreclosures.

Third if you pick up a phone and call your lawyer for one minute, you normally get billed for an hour and most lawyers are in the $125 to $275 hourly rate, so ask your questions during the normally free consultation hour where you and the lawyer meet and decide if you like each other.  After that save up your questions so you get your money’s worth. 

Fourth and this is the REALLY HARD ONE!  Don’t tell everybody your “story”, the more people you tell about the divorce, the more information there is to get back to your spouse.  Normally one in four people will tell your spouse everything!  Just because someone is patting you on the shoulder and telling you everything will be alright, that doesn’t make them your best and most trusted friend.

Fifth the more emotionally mature the spouses are the easier the divorce is.  For example:

If your spouse likes computer games expect them to play “divorce games” with you. 

If your spouse gets angry easily and throws “temper tantrums”, expect to get beat up, so be prepared to call 911 and go stay with friends.  (Having a “Go” bag with some money stashed at a very trusted family member’s or friend’s house is always a good thing.)

If your spouse has threatened you in the past, then believe they will do it and go hide out in a secure location, preferably with trusted family and friends!  Remember the fewer people that know where you are the safer you and your children are.  If you work, warn your boss about him showing up at work and look for his car in the parking lot as parking lots are great places to start tailing people to see where they go or to ambush and attack people.

Choking is the number one predictor of domestic homicide, if your spouse has choked you in the past, do not be alone with them, ever!

If your spouse is a drinker, drug user, gambler, cheater or extreme shopper expect them to get crazy as these all point to addictive personality issues and you are disturbing their “reality”.  So prepare beforehand for extreme crazy!

Divorce War Stories from Danny:

Best Planned out Divorce-The Pearl Harbor:  Guy comes home after work and finds his house empty, kids and wife missing and most of the money gone from their bank accounts.  Her lawyer calls him as he’s walking through the door and informs him that his wife has just filed for divorce.  Pre-Plan time on her part is one year, with extensive planning for the movers, school system and the lawyer to work together.

Worst Divorce Mediation:  After two months of extreme prep-work, counseling, goal setting, profiling and background investigations, the guy calls the girl 30 minutes before the mediation meeting and begs her to take him back.  Mediation is a total disaster and lawyer quits his case.

Most Bullied Spouse:  Guy hides considerable wealth and buys a house around the corner and pays spouse a total of $800 a month for child support for three kids.  She was “un-coachable” because she knew “How to Handle Him”.  Update: He got her fired from her job, she lost her home and is living with her parents now. 

When Children “help” daddy:  A daddy talks his 13 year old daughter into leaving a door unlocked.  Daddy then fixes his wife’s computer for remote access and also bugs her house to hear what she says.  Then one night in a fit of rage, he surprises his wife in the middle of the night and beats her up bad!  The woman was warned that her daughter was working with her husband, she was warned to get a dog, she was warned to get her computer checked out, but of course….she knew better! 

I want my husband to suffer:  Here’s the problem, if he is busy suffering that means someone has to spend time punishing him.  In these situations someone always ends up in jail for going too far and getting “felony stupid”, you know… like hiring a hit man or burning down his trailer.  Move on with your life and keep the law on your side!

I want him to pay me money every month:  Child support normally runs out at 18 or upon high school graduation, now with special needs children it’s normally for life, but one day the checks will stop coming in.

I want him to lose his job:  Here’s the problem, if he loses his job then the child support/alimony money stops coming in, sure the State can throw him in jail for not paying child support, but why risk the money.  Now if he’s not paying child support then it’s just a couple of forms filed with DHS and the State will jack his world up.

I want full access to his bank account in case I need extra money:  Nope those days are over, if you want more money get a lawyer and prove that you need more money from him to raise his kids.  Gone are the days of “open access”.

I just found out my best friend was having an affair with him:  Yup and you wondered why he was always a step ahead of you during the divorce. 

I just found out my kids were spying on me and telling him everything:  Yup, kids make awesome spies!

I know how to handle my husband:  If that were true you wouldn’t be getting a divorce!  The biggest mistake you can make is thinking you and only you can be “right”.  Control is an illusion reserved for bullies and co-dependents, which happen to marry each other often.