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Welcome to FYI Divorce, real life divorce tips

Welcome to FYI Divorce, an unbiased resource that’s not tapping into the industry of divorce, but tapping into the heart of the matter; PEOPLE’s LIVES.

You’re reading this now, because you’re thinking about divorce, starting a divorce, going through a divorce or have already experienced the divorce process.  There are very few resources on divorce that are truly objective resources.   Almost every divorce online resource has the money strings attached, so the perspective of the article or website is skewed.  No longer, my friends!  Welcome to FYI Divorce, an unbiased resource that’s not tapping into the industry of divorce, but tapping into the heart of the matter; PEOPLE’s LIVES.  This is not a place to find legal advice.  This is a place to find the real deal; reveal what’s behind the divorce curtain for lack of a better analogy.

Hold onto your hats, because FYI Divorce will be taking you on a wild ride.  There will be insight garnered from personal experience (a perspective outside of family law), there will be interviews of divorcées, there will be interviews of industry workers and most of all there will be NO SUGARCOATING.  It’s time there is some real talk about what goes on in the courthouse and the courtroom and how the individuals’ experience can be drastically different depending on what state and county the divorce is filed.

There are many different types of divorce.  There are online divorces, uncontested divorces, contested divorces, only custody cases in non-marital situations, domestic violence divorces, irreconcilable differences divorces (which covers up the true reason for divorce), short term marriage divorces, long-term marriage divorces and the list goes on.  It’s time someone talks about the experience that unravels once you enter this tangled web of family law.  DO NOT ENTER the divorce lane without reading FYI Divorce first.

If divorce was simple, there would be no need for FYI Divorce.  Divorce is complicated.  The state government and attorneys make it even more complicated.  It’s not like you can file all the necessary paperwork with or without an attorney and go on your merry way as a singleton.  Once you go down this expensive path of family law there is no U-turn.  Do I have your attention?  Your life matters.  Family law does not consider your life.  Family law does not care about you, your family or even your kids.  Family law is there to accept your dollars, shuffle paperwork and do it all over again the next day.  There are those rare few in family law that do want to have a positive impact in the industry, but those people are extremely scarce and busy; good word travels fast.  Stay tuned for more real talk on divorce tips and family law.

Less Divorce Strategy and More Raw Emotions

It’s been almost 4 years and it still hurts. Don’t get me wrong. I am so much better off now that I am not in an abusive relationship, but I miss my dream of being with my soulmate no matter how delusional it turned out to be. I dreamed of having someone know me on all levels sharing a life walk as well as a spiritual walk, now I feel silly and childish even entertaining the thought. The emotions are still raw. The emotions will continue to be raw, because we share children. The ex’s abusive words are now flung at me from a distance. There are surface trimmers of what the children must endure while they are with him, but I am not forced to see it firsthand anymore. I am no longer in a state of being conditioned to accept his abusive ways towards me and the children. For that I am grateful. They are in God’s hands. I am a God-fearing woman, so I know this is a season. It is a season to learn from, grow from and gain strength from. I could not have survived everything up until this point by relying on myself. The burden was and is still too great to bear alone.

Some people isolate themselves when they are going through a divorce (do not do that!), I cling to the promises of Jesus (and if you do not know Him, seek Him and you will find rest); He supplies my every need. When divorce graced my path, I had no preconceived notions all that I grasped was that maybe I could live a normal life again without the abusive man my ex had become. Normalcy is ahead; however still out of reach. Divorce so far has been my darkest hour and unfortunately this dark hour is also shared by the children on both sides of the parental equation.

When divorce occurs, the messiness spills all over, it is so incredibly difficult to shelter the children from the turmoil. They do not understand. They have adult emotions in little bodies, and they do not understand the anger they feel. I imagine many children in divorce feel like my own; although maybe at a lesser extent considering my divorce felt so terribly abusive and wrong it could be a great piece of fiction based off a true story. Yes, it was that bad. People tell me it will get worse, but so far I feel like the worst abuse is over and I certainly hope I am right. I read the book, Between Two Worlds, the Inner Lives of Children of Divorce and truly every child responds to divorce differently. I pray that I respond the right way for my children for things I cannot even anticipate in the future that have to do with my ex, their dad.

I don’t think Divorce will be in my past until the children are grown. Divorce is not an escape like most people think. If escaping is a potential motive of divorce, when there’s children it is nearly impossible to escape the other person. Even people who have children out of wedlock find it impossible to escape the other parent. If only I had hindsight before I got married. If only… Now I just hurt. I hurt that I cannot share experiences with my children in a family unit, I long for a supportive spouse that will cheer me up when things get hard or pray for me when I need it. I long to be held like I hold my children. Physical reassurance from someone stronger, someone that is better equipped at handling the blows that life inevitably brings. Fun too, I want the fun a spouse brings to the table, comic relief when things are hard (all husbandry concepts foreign to my ex unfortunately). Thankfully I have the Lord. He is my refuge and my help. He is always there. His words are always true. His faithfulness sustains me. His love is perfect. His words restore my soul. Oh Lord, my God do you have it in your plan for me to be married to a person that is genuinely in love with you or is my fate sealed as an unmarried woman who’s life’s purpose will be solely devoted to you… a heart undivided and hopefully a heart completely healed and restored one day. Still hurting, but hopeful.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Divorce emotions. Upside down world.

The person that believed in people now understands people.  The person that saw love in everyone now sees evil lurking.  The person that thought the best of strangers is now guessing.  The person that saw joy in life now sees suffering. The person that thought freedom of speech reigned now sees freedom ending.  The person that believed in country now wonders what soldiers still fight for. The person that looked up to authority now sees petty politics.  The person that honored the fallen realizes now their lives were lost in vain. The person that believed in good now is victimized by corruption.

The person that wasted hours now can’t find enough time to help others.  The person that was captivated by themselves now realizes giving up yourself is the only way.  The person that ignored devastating stories now prays for suffering citizens.  The person that filled their own stomach now feeds the hungry.  The person that cried out in pain now understands what embracing pain does.  The person that loved now sees love does not conquer all.  The person that trusted now sees the eternal father is the only one worthy of trust.

The person saw things right-side up now sees things upside down.

I’m Unhappy About [INSERT PROBLEM], I Want A Divorce

Full disclosure, this is not an expert article or legal advice; it is an opinion article founded on great convictions of the heart and the reality of what divorce actually is.  Yes, what you think divorce is and what it will do for you is not the truth.  It feels like the perfect escape route to your dreams that seem to be held captive by marriage.  Divorce is not an escape.  It is purgatory and I’m not Catholic.  It is wicked.  It is vile.  It is the worst option imaginable.  How can divorce be so horrible in a country that prides itself on an impeccable justice system?  There is no one watching.  Family Law operates on an island floating between politics and corruption.  There are a few decent human beings sprinkled here and there in the industry; however, the whole system is terribly and utterly broken.

If you find yourself contemplating divorce.  Think again!  The only justifiable reason for divorce is abuse; however, many courts do not care what reason you use (this is a no-fault philosophy).  You must consult an attorney to understand whether or not your court is following a fault or no-fault stance (fault is rare these days even if there is evidence). In fact, if you are in an abusive situation it could get worse whether you are filing or responding.  At this point you must be scratching your head.  That’s exactly what you should be doing.  Please think long and hard about your [INSERT PROBLEM] before you consider divorce.  Divorce use to be taboo; it use to be a matter that was kept as private as possible; it use to be avoided.

NEWSFLASH, the system was designed to punish those who enter it.

Once one person in the relationship decides to file divorce papers with the court or with an attorney, both people are stuck with litigation.  You found this content, so this article is for you. If you file for divorce from your spouse you will be called the petitioner.  The almighty one who cannot stand being united to a person that creates [INSERT PROBLEM]. Some people take this opportunity to make the problem spouse look completely unbearable and attorneys for the petitioner take this opportunity to embellish every crooked detail with their own prose.  The theory, if the story is more grand, the better off everyone is (at least that is the initial agreement by everyone involved for the first 6 months of your divorce).

Unless you are experiencing the four quadrants of abuse (physical, emotional, neglectful and psychological abuse) divorce may not be worth it for you.  Note: financial abuse falls under both emotional and psychological abuse and sexual abuse falls into every quadrant (in my opinion)Note: please call the authorities if you feel you are in physical danger at any point in your relationship.  Do not hesitate. 

It is very possible you have several things in each quadrant or only one thing in one quadrant.  Please list everything that your spouse is doing in each quadrant.  Get it all down on paper.  Then go see a therapist!  It will probably take you at least 3 months to find a good therapist that is a good fit for you.  Imagine how long it takes to find a good attorney!  There is no time to waste get started.  You may have to have several before you find the right one.

After you have been in therapy and you still decide divorce is your only option, please evaluate if litigation is what you really want.  Some people have no choice, but without evaluating your situation you could be stuck litigating when you could have done something entirely less stressful and less expensive.

Here is your checklist if you have too many things in each quadrant:

1. Is your marriage less than 5 years?

2. Do you have any assets (property, retirement, etc.)?

3. Do you have any children?

If your marriage is less than 5 years and you do not have any assets or children, you do not have to litigate!  You can file for divorce online.

If your marriage is less than 5 years and you have assets and no children, you should consider mediation.

If your answer is “yes” to all, you should consider mediation.

If your answer is “no” to #1 and “yes” for the rest OR “yes” to #2 OR #3, mediation and litigation are the only options (if you know of more options please be so kind and leave me a comment).

Hopefully your problem is not so big that you cannot reconcile it with your spouse and work through it to have a better and stronger relationship in the end.  Divorce is not for the unhappy, it is for the those that need to save their lives or protect their sanity.  Happiness is fixable.  Abuse unfortunately does not have a sustainable remedy.  Additionally, even after divorce the person who endured abuse can still be at risk.  Do not go back to your abuser or your abuser’s family at anytime.

Does divorce really have to be this way?

Divorce has to change.  The courtroom drama needs to stop.  Placing useless stress on families is having an unseen ripple effect in the community that is impossible to measure.  Divorce has not always been the way it is in the 21st Century.  The history of divorce goes all the way back to Biblical days; however, back then the only details surrounding a certificate of divorce was essentially a one-time send-off drawn up in one legal document.  There was no drawn out process or a specific time of separation.  There were no court dates.  There were no meetings with attorneys.  The certificate of divorce did EVERYTHING (Matthew 5:31).  It legally severed the marriage, it divided assets and outlined how both people are to move forward.  There is nothing in the Bible that shares how the children functioned in Bible times during a divorce.  Going beyond Biblical days, marriage and divorce in ancient Rome sounded like it favored the male ALWAYS.  According to Wikipedia, “Under Roman Law, the head of the family had absolute authority.”

Women in the Roman era could leave at any time, but they essentially left everything behind.  She left her wealth and her children.  I would say those situations were probably abusive situations.  No one in their right mind would leave their livelihood and relatives unless they felt forced to do so.  In some cases women could leave with their dowry, but still there is no indication how dowry allotment was enforced.  Divorce also was considered a private matter, so only family and close friends knew of the personal matter.  Divorce registration was not required until 449 CE.

The process as it is now has become a monstrosity for people in high conflict situations or people with a lot of assets.  If there is low conflict and you have assets, better get ready for a high conflict divorce.  The system as it is now is designed to twist the emotions of both parties so much that neither party recognizes who they are afterwards.  Divorce is not pretty and it surely does not solve all the marital issues that surface after children.  Why?  You have children!  If you have children, the other person does not fade into the background like a normal break-up; they are around for everything the children are involved in.  They will be at the school.  They will be at the children’s events.  They will be contacting you still via email or some sort of co-parenting application.  They will insist they are involved with the children and that means they are ALWAYS indirectly involved with YOU.

Additionally, if one person in the relationship was abusive divorce with children does not change their abusive tendencies it just morphs the abuse into a different form.  This abuse can surface as control and/or abusive words whenever the person is angry or misunderstands something in communication.  An extreme case is using the children in their abusive tactics.  Divorce court only gives one option for abusive situations…  A restraining order.  Also very rarely does a restraining order become permanent unless the person has a criminal record, or the abuse led to a crime.  Newsflash, if the abusive person is a “good” citizen on paper, the victim has no chance of justice. Please consult an attorney for any legal advice surrounding a restraining order.

Divorce must change.  The community needs to take more responsibility in the union and the separation if it comes to that.  The marriage and ceremony is designed to be the first public commitment the couple makes; however these days the people attending a wedding ceremony are never consulted if the happy couple all of the sudden decide to call it quits.  When people get married they should be given options up front.  Something like opt-in to family court or opt-out of family court; that way if a divorce becomes an inevitable solution the couple has a document to fall back on that they both originally agreed to.  I would vote for a community private divorce rather than a public family court divorce, because truthfully no one in public court really cares about the people involved and the court system only makes things worse for everyone involved.

Avoid Divorce Drama & Choose Mediation

Relief swept over me when the final documents for the divorce arrived in the mail.  It was over.  Finally.  No more court dates, witnesses and paperwork submissions.  Going to court puts stress on everyone involved.  Little did I know, I would be summoned to court almost a year later after it was finalized. If you have an ounce of good in you, go to mediation if you decide to be the petitioner in your divorce.  Settle everything in less than a year.  Divorce court is grueling and there is no end!  If you are in an abusive situation, court is the only choice unfortunately.  My heart goes out to you.  Here’s the plea, if you are set on divorcing your spouse for any reason and you have some love for them, go to counseling first and if divorce is still the only answer go to mediation.  If you are heartless and there is no abuse involved you will choose court; hardhearted or ill-informed always do.

Although I have no personal experience with mediation, an acquaintance of mine was the respondent in his mediation divorce.  He cheated on his wife with someone in his office.  They had one child under the age of 5.  After listening to his experience and how merciful his ex-wife was in the whole ordeal, mediation sounds so much better for the following reasons:

  1. Mediation is less stressful.  If you find the right mediation group, they will walk you through the divorce process and counsel you on your decisions for both parties.
  2. Mediation is less costly.  A court case has no end in sight if one spouse cannot handle stress.  Court becomes costly quickly and the judge does not hold the attorneys accountable even though the parties involved are under such emotional stress from their lives being ripped apart. Every minute counts towards your invoice.  EVERY MINUTE.
  3. Mediation is more fair.  Both sides are heard equally.  In court, there is no guarantee of fairness or equality.  The judge must listen to many court cases a day and depending on the judge’s mood your court case could go one way or another.
  4. Mediation is more private.  Court is a public affair.  Anyone can sit in on the hearings.  The documents submitted can be accessed by anyone with a driver license.
  5. Mediation is more family friendly.  All court documents are signed in an office and no one must go to court.  This is helpful especially if you have young children, because there are no delays.  No delays mean, you do not have to take advantage of your child care options thereby burning bridges because you could not set appropriate expectations with your family, friends, babysitter, or nanny.  Also mediation is more flexible with the custody schedule.  The court will give standard options; however, these options have not been monitored nor tested to find out whether the schedule was good for the children.  There is absolutely NO ACCOUNTABILITY.  Parents, you know what is best.  If one parent is more active in the children’s lives, let that parent decide or come to a happy compromise.

Mediation is less stressful, less costly, more fair, more private and more family friendly than court; therefore mediation in theory is so much better than court.  Do not take your spouse to court if you do not have to.  If you do not have children and you do not have assets, you don’t even need an attorney.  Many states will allow you to divorce online.  Divorce is so difficult.  Do not make it more difficult than it needs to be.  Follow your agreements with your co-parent and always do what’s best for the children.

Finalize your divorce through mediation, it is better for everyone.

First Step to Healing Emotions After Divorce: Letter to self, Refuse to Be with People like Version 1.0

Your memories of your former spouse and the divorce are not a figment of your imagination.  Refuse to be with people like Version 1.0.  The person you married evolved into a stranger.  A stranger seriously troubled by his past which is evident in his actions, words and deeds.  A stranger who tried to destroy your sanity while under the same roof (either learned military tactics or another personality altogether).  A stranger who can’t recite your favorite color, dislikes, hopes and dreams and someone who never saw you perform your passion even though there was tape after tape from the past recording it.  The person he pretended to be before marriage and before children was a perfect example of behavior modification.  God never changed him, he was changing himself to better suite your ideal image of him to capture you.  You were very accepting of his advances.  He seemed like the soulmate you daydreamed about.  He showered you with attention.  He surprised you at work.  He insisted on holding your hand in public.  He would not let a side-by-side opportunity go by if located in the same room.  He sent you flowers.  He took your laundry to the cleaners.  He raved about you to his mom and dad. He planned trips, bought practical gifts and even insisted that he drive and open your car door. He wrote you love letters, made you music compilations and ran half-marathons with you. He even signed a purity contract before marriage (amazing self-control).  He attended church with you every Sunday for 6 years straight after the nuptials without fail (sickness and travel being the exception). He was your running partner, sexual partner and best friend wrapped up in one husbandry package.  There was really no way you could avoid a marriage proposal or turn him down.  He made himself irresistible.  You were his prey and he knew exactly what to do to capture you in this throng.  You succumbed to Version 1.0 bait.  Your marriage reality didn’t sink in until the first pregnancy.

The first time you noticed something was off was when the pregnancy indicator showed up red the night before your wine tasting party and you shared the information with him.  It shouldn’t have been a surprise, you were not taking birth control pills or using other contraceptives.  He seemed excited about the news.  The night of the party, lots of friends came to explore the different wine flavors.  While you were extremely conscientious to spit out all the tastings, he used the tastings to get belligerently drunk. He was jovial all evening and interacting with mutual friends.  However, this was the first evening he could have died in your presence.  He drank so much he started vomiting and you found him upstairs.  Everyone went home after the tasting, no one saw him like this but you. He could have suffocated on his vomit.  He could have died right then and there. That’s how awful it was.  At that moment, you knew you something was terribly wrong.  The gradual change started that night.  He avoided all discussion of the drunken mess.  He said he felt comfortable to let go around friends (so, for 6 years he didn’t feel comfortable letting go?).  He wasn’t telling you everything.   You were sad but after giving yourself a pep talk you quickly brushed it off in place of baby preparations the following days, weeks and months.  After the baby arrived, you were thrilled even though caring for another human being seemed like a huge undertaking.  After going back to work, things began to spiral downhill with all the added stress.  To be real, some stress was self-induced; however, other stress was externally inflicted both at work and at home.  Thankfully he did not drink like that around you again, but saved the alcohol consumption for outside the home.

You started to change too, but only after the baby arrived and he started to mistreat you. You were not yourself. You were a ghost of a person you used to know especially after working so much with an infant at home, losing hours and hours of sleep.  His caring self, evaporated. His curious self became static. His friendship with you dwindled to roommate status.  Occasionally, there would be makeup sessions, but he couldn’t shake his new found self.  This new found self made him a horrible husband according to his own analysis.  You felt like you were in prison, but on the outside holding it together for friends and family and praying on your knees that something would give.  Amazingly enough, he kept his social commitments to friends and family (that part of him was the same).  Layers upon layers of hurt were inflicted each year after your first child.  Then came forgiveness from you, but not from him.  He could do no wrong.  You were to blame. He kept inflicting hurt the same way and rarely apologized.  The atheist year was the most difficult and it was the last year.

You were in a living nightmare, suffering quietly and prayed desperately for relief.  It came.  It came during the day. A stranger knocked on the door, you opened it and he handed you an envelope with divorce papers.  The divorce saga began.

Please stay away from people like Version 1.0.  You want people in your life that are rich in love, slow to speak and slow to become angry.  You need to be around people that can laugh at a clean joke but are also deep thought-provoking conversationalists who know the art of listening.  If you can’t find these qualities in one person, surround yourself with a variety of friendships.  You need people in your life who love God more than anything, die to pride daily and encourage you on your spiritual journey while you encourage them too.  Do not settle.  You have children that need good examples.  You are not enough.  Do not believe in yourself but believe in the one who made you.  Do not rely on the next version…  Rely on the only version that matters, Jesus.

Dating After Divorce – Traditional Methods Still Apply

Dating after divorce is difficult enough; however, now almost half of dating Americans are finding their soulmates online instead of in person according to eHarmony.  There are many websites and phone applications dedicated to finding you the perfect match, but traditional methods and courtesies still apply.  For some people, online dating is an opportunity full of surprises; however, the reality is the more people you date the less enthusiastic you become about real prospects.  Relationships do not develop overnight like online dating suggests.  If you’re looking for the one, you are not going to find him or her by dating multiple people at once. Additionally, if people date multiple people at the same time there is a split connection because some people have chemistry in some areas more than others; therefore, when the relationship need arises instead of reaching out to your potential true match to develop the bond you reach out to the person that has the strongest connection in that area of need you have for the moment at least that’s been my experience with others who date more than one person at a time (same problem occurs in marriages with affairs).

If its been awhile since you have hit the dating scene, you must know the traditional methods of dating before jumping into online dating.

  1. Keep conversation light and generally informative. Do not share too much information when you first meet online or in person. It is very tempting to divulge everything about yourself from the start; however, by doing this you are setting yourself up for failure because a connection has not been established.  Without a connection, the person receiving the information will make rash judgments which could result in instant rejection.
  2. Date with integrity. Do not use a burner phone number. Giving someone a burner phone number is disingenuous especially if you like the person you gave it to.  It indicates you lack trust and trust is a cornerstone to every relationship. If you are not looking for anything serious mention it abstractly, directly or creatively – mention it somehow.
  3. Set proper expectations. If you are constantly on the go and are not ready for a weekly dating relationship, say that up front or let the other person know your schedule.  Communication is important especially when there are two working individuals.  Even married people have a hard time managing communication and expectations and they live together.  If you cannot properly manage expectations you may not be ready for a serious relationship.
  4. Keep a lid on your divorce woes. Dating is not a therapy session. The person hanging out with you doesn’t need to hear the latest scenario that you confronted with your past partner (new scenarios surface especially if there are children).
  5. Practice the gentle letdown. If you’ve had 3 or more dates and there is no chemistry, gently tell the other person your feelings.  By prolonging the relationship you are setting up the person to get hurt and/or stringing them along, because you refuse to be an adult about the situation.

Online dating does not absolve traditional dating methods or common courtesies that should be utilized while dating.  If you want to get to know someone you must meet them face to face and you cannot ignore the top 5 courtesies.  Keep conversation light, date with integrity, set expectations, avoid past relationship discussions and practice the gentle letdown.  Dating was difficult before marriage and it is still difficult after divorce.  Ease the discomfort by remembering traditional dating methods.