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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.

Remembering Daisy Coleman – Suicide Awareness

Have you seen the Audrie & Daisy documentary online or on Netflix? Please watch it before reading this blog post.  If you have experienced law enforcement and the court ignoring victims, the documentary clearly shows how a community will go to no end to protect perpetrators rather than stand for justice for the victims.  I understand the implications of arresting teenagers on the brink of adulthood but ignoring the injustice with NO consequences sends a message to every single boy, young man, adult man, and old man that they are above the law.

This mentality infects all areas of law.  This mentality impacts family law daily.  The courts will not stand up for what is right because protecting the perpetrator and saving the reputation of the one at fault is more important which seriously degrades the human psyche exposed to such injustice (the victim, the person that is the perpetrator and the community in which they live).

Why can’t our justice system be dismantled and put back together again, so there’s justice for these families without destroying the community?

Why aren’t police officers on mandatory counseling for the situations they must deal with, so they are not desensitized by the filth they are exposed to? 

What about community service hours even if a court of law cannot charge a perpetrator with a crime because “evidence” was deleted?  Not that this consequence is even close to bringing justice to such a terrible crime, but at least it is something.  At least these men cannot go about their life like nothing happened.

Remember Daisy Coleman. Her life means something, but her passing means just as much. Stop protecting perpetrators and start standing up for what’s right. End sexual assault. It starts with us. #sucideawareness #sexualassualt

I do not know Daisy or the other victims, but I sobbed like I knew them after watching their story unfold.  I sobbed for my situation and other moms that have experienced what I have experienced in divorce court. My anger boiled at the sheriff in Maryville, Missouri.  The video footage shows the sheriff asking for the boy’s phone and the sheriff jokingly says he does not know how to turn it off.  Conveniently the video is deleted and “irretrievable,” and the phone mysteriously goes missing.  I certainly hope that sheriff is fired for screwing up a case…  I bet he is still sheriff in Maryville.  Judging by the sheriff’s suspicious demeanor, I bet he saw the video before the young man was arrested.  Daisy’s mom said when the charges were dropped by the District Attorney, she knew this was deeper than just one incident.  To make matters worse, the attorney representing Daisy Coleman, sided with the establishment.  There was no justice for Daisy.

Life is forever changed for these young women, because of the violence, technology and how fast information spreads.  The psychological harm done to victims who have experienced sexual assault is devastating and is almost worst than murder, because they must live with the pain each day.  Please support the organization that Daisy helped establish Safe Before Anyone Else.

Dating After Divorce – 5 Reasons for Matchmaking

Full disclosure, once the divorce was final on this side of town the first thing on the to-do list was dating apps!  Hurt was overwhelming the senses for so long – YEARS – (hurt caused by the one person vulnerability once seemed easy with, the father of my children, the person labeled ‘soulmate’); so in order to gain some confidence dating seemed like the right choice. Online dating didn’t exist in my prime, so why not try it now?  Diving in was not an option since the kids come first ALWAYS, so tip-toeing was the only stepping on the agenda.  Out of all the apps and websites I could have tried, guess which ones made the cut?  Definitely not Tinder, not Match, not Bumble, not OkCupid

I’ll let you keep guessing. It’s not important.  What is important is the conclusion online dating is not for everyone and quickly that statement rang true for moi.  Yes, the 6 month prospect was handsome, engaging and fun, but I NEVER felt comfortable introducing him to the kids.  Today folks I came across a marvelous dating idea, it is called Tawkify.

There are several interviews on Tawkify that come from men who were divorced (digging was necessary of course to find these spotlight interviews that gave the 411 male perspective).  Tawkify, please facilitate more of these interviews!!! One eligible bachelor  did not disclose the reason for his divorce and the other eligible bachelor did disclose the reason for his divorce.  Nonetheless, using a matchmaker makes so much sense to me (whether that matchmaker be family, friends or a data relationship business)!  This rediscovery of matchmaking is fresh off the press in my little world, so of course there is nothing in the works at this point for me with a matchmaker, but here is the immediate top 5 reasons why Tawkify or matchmaking seems like the best thing since chocolate met peanut-butter in a Reese’s.

#1 Authenticity

Dating is superficial and temporary.  The stakes are too high.  There’s too much pressure and not enough exits.  Someone is always trying to make the connection work, so the date is not a bust or a complete failure.  Matchmaking seems like a more authentic experience.  It combines data, interpersonal relationships and a third party which is totally subjective.

#2 Commitment

Hiring a matchmaker in theory means someone is more committed to finding a mate and less interested in comparison shopping.  In the digital age, comparison is the greatest hindrance to finding the one.  If you have a roving eye, keep roving – please do not waste the precious time of loyal people looking for a life partner.

#3 Idea Sharing

Divorce means you’ve been off the market for awhile and you feel like a fish out of water in the dating world.  Having a matchmaker or someone committed to finding you “the one” seems so much more friendly than embarking on the hunt all by your lonesome.  This matchmaker can be an excellent source of ideas and feedback (in theory) – remember execution of an idea is only as good as the one running the show, so be sure your matchmaker is the right one.

#4 Connection

Tawkify matchmakers leverage their own contacts to find matches.  This third party social proof is very valuable in finding a connection.  Essentially you already have a witness to this person’s life, plus the matchmaker acts as an automatic liaison which provides additional intelligence on the dating situation that you wouldn’t otherwise be privy to.  In my lowly opinion, these facts should in theory increase the chance of connection.

#5 Chemistry

Chemistry cannot be manufactured.  The instant attraction that makes conversation endless is chemistry.  Chemistry is really difficult to have via a dating app venture.  It’s difficult because there are no pheromones involved and who wants a relationship with a screen conduit?  Only the people who watch porn frequently, that’s who. In theory, with a matchmaker at the helm there should be more of a chance for chemistry since the meeting is in person first rather than on a screen (don’t let COVID-19 scare you).  These days though, chemistry virtually and in person is almost equally important.

There’s something about authenticity, commitment, idea sharing, connection and chemistry that resonates with matchmaking, but fails miserably with dating apps/websites.  If you agree and have the time to try Tawkify, please send a message with a tell-all about your experience.  I need some outsider social proof to validate these theories and test the matchmaking waters!  Remember whenever you attempt relationship building on a romantic level, traditional courtesies still apply.

How Do I Find My Divorce Attorney? Follow These 5 Steps

Courts have been closed since this coronavirus pandemic started, but now the economy is open for business again and so is the court. Finding the right divorce attorney is a VERY challenging task.  It is better to start sooner rather than later. Family law operates on its own island and the only ones that know the ins and outs of it are the family law attorneys, clerks and judges.  Do not hire an attorney, because a friend tells you to hire a divorce lawyer.  You must assess your case and then seek advice from there.  Some cases are much more complicated, and some cases are simple.  If you have zero income and you feel you need an attorney or lawyer, you may qualify for a volunteer attorney or lawyer (check with your court facilitator on the options and/or fee waivers). If you have zero income and some assets, it is very likely you WILL NOT meet the qualifications for a free divorce attorney. Volunteer attorney organizations will be dependent on what’s available in your county where your local courthouse is located. 

As the respondent in any divorce there is no choice, but to go the traditional dissolution court route if the petitioner chooses litigation; however, if you are the petitioner and you once loved your soon to be ex (STBX) please consider mediation or an online divorce option (some restrictions apply).  Follow these 5 steps to hire a divorce attorney:

  1. Consult with the largest divorce law firms in your city.  These firms have high net worth cases, have been around the block and can help you assess the type of divorce case you have.  You will have to pay for a consultation; but it is worth its weight in gold to have them assess your position.
  2. Look at divorce attorney reviews online you can filter by location but take them with a grain of salt.  There are some popular review sites like www.avvo.com and https://www.yelp.com/nearme/divorce-attorneys; however, pay special attention to the dates of the reviews.  Often these reviews will not be current and old reviews do not reflect the attorney’s current performance.  If you find an attorney you like; however, they are working on their own be sure to ask for references.  If they turn you down, move on.
  3. Direct referral, you can also ask your social circles if they know anyone.  A referral is not necessarily a guaranteed course of action, so you must follow the steps above.  If the person is referring from experience, divorce is an emotional jungle and truly the person giving the referral may not be a great source considering their state of mind while they had an attorney.  The divorce process is mind altering – this is not an exaggeration.  Depending on the timing, a divorce now is much different than a divorce that happened a decade ago.  Be very aware of the timeline and keep in mind the referral may be there to prepare you for the right attorney which you could find elsewhere.
  4. Discover which law firms are near the courthouse.  All attorneys go by the hour and most charge for travel time, file time and wait time.  The closer the attorney is to court, the less transit money you’ll be wasting, and the more money will be spent on court preparation and the hearings.  Some attorneys may not charge for travel or they will charge a travel rate; however, that is rare.  The more proficient attorneys are nearby the action, always go to court and know intimately how it is run.  Attorneys further away usually have smaller case loads (this means you will have their attention; however, they may have slow court response times as far as submitting paperwork or filing new orders).
  5. Finally, do not hire an attorney at all.  Avoid court and choose a mediation company.  A mediation company is great if you already agree on what should happen in your divorce.  They will sit down with both of you and help you figure everything out with as little arguing as possible.  Whatever you do, if you disagree be sure to mention it after the meeting so whenever you are in front of them you are united and get things done.  Find a mediation company that will file all your paperwork so you do not need an attorney and you avoid litigation.

Finding an attorney does not need to be a daunting task.  Do your homework and be sure you find someone that you can talk to and who does not talk over you.  Remember, an attorney is not a counselor nor are they qualified to tell you whether or not you should divorce; if you need a listening ear it is best to call a friend for that or a Life Coach.  Consult with established law firms, look at reviews online, setup meetings from direct referrals, interview attorneys near the courthouse or scratch everything prior and choose a mediation company.

Coronavirus Quarantine: Dreaming of Marriage in Divorce Loneliness, Here’s a Rose

The divorce isolation has never been so acute as it is now in quarantine life, but somehow roses make it better.  Longing for a spouse is greater now than it has ever been, because without “the person” all that thought time rests in the inadequate self and menial activities versus a stimulating connection with another human. The fact is, loneliness is the wrong motivation for a spouse entirely.  A spouse shouldn’t be there to pacify loneliness or act as a security blanket.  A spouse is there to be a partner in life, working with their partner in unison to accomplish life’s goals together in all quadrants (health, spirituality, intellect and community).  Satisfying the desire for a romantic touch or gesture does not satisfy all the quadrants essential for an “ideal” marriage relationship to thrive in the hard-cold world and the quadrant grid must be firmly drawn on character lines of course.

Somehow inspired by roses, meeting of the minds and hearts is a fantasy that occupies daydreams of marriage in divorce loneliness.

Divorce loneliness longs to watch a relationship fantasy launch with only a look making sparks fly after decades of familiarity.  A mere touch of the hand gives support that could be compared to the engineering stability of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Some words of encouragement that sustain like a 4-course meal.  A thoughtful act which warms your soul even when the outside temperature is below freezing.  After all this, chemistry collides with bodies, and the groundwork is laid for a heavenly intimate experience only possible because God designed it.  Does this exist for some marriages? It must or I am a hopeless romantic!  This has to be the definition of finding the one and only (the peanut butter to your jelly, the lock to your key, the cookie for your filling, etc.)

What destroys the love fantasy experienced above?  When people turn into Jekyll and Hyde or emotions flare-up with no resolution or acknowledgement from the unresponsive spouse (this is divorce loneliness while married – unmet emotional needs and a lack of communication); however, a validating spouse loves the other through these turbulent moments like giving a rose to someone who is crying.  They do not make things worse with manipulative reaction abuse to somehow get the perceived upper hand in the situation.  In the imaginary romantic world of marriage, those tough hard times should create deeper intimacy and love, because that’s the outcome when disagreements turn into compromises and roses are given instead of ridicule. When marriage becomes a dictatorship or bulldozer with no resolution, the connection starts flickering slowly, oh so dreadfully slowly.

Connection with life is flickering slowly with this quarantine too.  It feels like a dying marriage lately. The pervasive Coronavirus has infected everything not just human bodies; marriage, divorce, family life, children, etc. Going to the grocery store is one place where there should be life; however instead, life is flickering.  Everyone has a mask on, everyone maintains some distance, and no one is making pleasant conversation or meaningful eye contact.  Now everyone gets to experience the courthouse at the grocery store. Even the happy couples are distant.  One man suggested to his wife, “do you want some roses?” and her answer was “no, I don’t think we need them.”  The words fell like a great weight to the bottom of his heart.  Couldn’t she have said, “what a lovely idea dear;” “roses sure would brighten the mood;” “roses smell so good, OK”?

They are simply roses and the lady could not make the leap, to “yes.” The quarantine made her response 10x drearier than any other day though, because it was mechanical and a rose is a symbol of life, love and happiness – something that everyone desires right now with this quarantine.  Divorce loneliness is better with roses than without.  I wish I could share my roses with him now and reverse the mechanical damage.  What a difference a correct response makes in creating love for the one you call LOVE. Dreaming of marriage in divorce loneliness is a reality check, the desire for marriage is still there, but loneliness cannot be the main reason.  Look for that special someone that says, I understand you’re lonely, here’s a rose.

Divorce Co-parenting During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Stress is high, the public is anxious and all that runs through the divorced brain is “MY KIDS.” A pandemic makes sharing time with children very challenging, but do not fear it can be done [best divorce tip ever] – keep following your custody ORDER.    When the pandemic started in November 2019, no one was talking about co-parenting schedules in China.  China said to infected people and carriers of the virus “you are quarantined,” end of story.  In the US, quarantine has not been as strict or structured.

Thankfully there have been very few deaths in my region of the country; however, when President Donald Trump announced a National Emergency the first thought that came to mind, “what are we going to do about the kids?”

There are so many concerns that turn into “what if” scenarios.  What if they get infected?  What if my ex is a carrier of the virus or an innocent host?  What if my ex infects me with the virus, because he hates me?  What if I get the virus and then I can’t have my kids and they are stuck with their Dr. Jekyll & Mr Hide dad for two weeks?  What if my immune compromised mom gets it because of the kids? What if, what if what if.  The disaster parenting scenarios seem endless.

STOP the divorce co-parenting mind chatter.  As a believing woman, I had to take my thoughts captive and give it to the Lord in prayer.  Thankfully, my ex was not as menacing as I thought he would be.  In the beginning, the schedule was altered slightly to stabilize things for the children with the drastic school closure.  He came up with the terms for the new arrangement and then I followed them.  If my ex is in control, and I do not rock the boat things have been working out (as a protective parent you must do this).  If you have a controlling ex, do not try to control them or make them do anything, that response only exasperates the situation (learned from experience). After the first week, the schedule resumed to the ORDER with one modification and then the next week the regular schedule and routine was in place once again.

Whatever you do, do not deny visits to the other parent with “quarantine” excuses if neither of you have the virus.  The logic behind us staying sane during this time include the following: people are still working, people are still following through with essential business, the world has not shut-down completely; therefore, in the legal ORDER world, it is business as usual on paper.  That’s right folks, you need to still follow the custody ORDER especially if you cannot come to a temporary compromise or workaround to adjust to the new quarantine schedule.  Now, if both parents love their kids they obviously will want their kids to be cared for while they have to work.  If you are working from home while you have young children that is neglect, please do not attempt this (this goes for cohabiting parents too).  DO NOT neglect your children!!! Let one parent be the designated caretaker or even alternate so the children are cared for if you must work from home.  If alternating care-giving responsibilities during the week is impossible, you need to find a nanny that is willing to quarantine (hard to do, but not impossible) bite the bullet and budget the expense or find some relatives that can help.  It’s possible to co-parent or parallel parent during this pandemic if you follow your custody ORDER; or if you don’t, your actions will haunt you in court once this virus is tamed.

picture credit: Boy & Girl

Marriage & Divorce: Whatever you do, do not marry a male masturbator

Did you know that according to Psychology Today,  “In the 19th century, Jean-Etienne Esquirol, an eminent psychiatrist and physician-in-chief at the Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, declared in his classification of mental disorders (1838) that masturbation is ‘recognized in all countries as a cause of insanity.”  In the same article, the mental classification was only changed in 1968!  The article then explains there are “benefits” to masturbation.  Does anyone else see propaganda here?  There are few real benefits to masturbation especially while in a relationship.  This newfound idea in 1968 is false and most likely a movement towards preventing pregnancy or STDs in young people.

Whatever you do DO NOT marry a male masturbator (a.k.a the frog always on the toilet), because marriage is a union that is created for sexual intimacy, societal constructs, family and commitment.  If any of those four are not in a person’s plan, marriage simply is not for them and they may not even know it.

First and foremost, let’s dive into what a masturbator is.  It is not simply a person who masturbates.  It is so much more (10 years of experience with one). A masturbator masturbates frequently.  Masturbating is not an occasional occurrence that only happens when he cannot get satisfaction from his wife.  A masturbator typically learned to masturbate in his teens or earlier and it is part of his existence and something he engages in at least twice per week whether he is sexually active or not.  That means he regularly engaged in the practice before he met his sexual partner.  A female needs to be very careful of this type of male (females masturbate too; however, commenting on female masturbators is speculation without backing at least in this write-up); because, he appears like the perfect catch and preys upon religious or women of propriety (he assumes these women want less sex and typically are more submissive than the average).

A male masturbator will also be very respectful with sexual boundaries, because they will masturbate before an encounter with a woman or after an encounter with a woman (without fail).  Masturbators do not have self-control, they have “sex alternatives.”  Masturbators like using sex to manipulate their partner.  They use sex to punish their partner and they use sex to shame their partner.  A masturbator IS NOT someone who masturbates occasionally (let’s say roughly 12 times per year give or take 5), but I repeat someone who masturbates regularly is a “masturbator.”  Now that we are on the same page with what a “masturbator” is, let’s dive into why you do not marry a masturbator.

Now let’s get into the heart of the matter, you do not marry a masturbator because marriage was created for sexual intimacy.  Since the beginning of time marriage was created for a man and a woman to have monogamous sex.

A male masturbator will be happy with sex once a week and may even say sex is not important in a marriage.

Throughout history the definition of marriage has swayed from here to there because of cultural shifts; however, do not be fooled.  The original marriage construct is the most fulfilling no matter what people say and things only change to make people feel better about their habits or to prevent judgments.  It is amazing how deviancy is accepted the more widely people are convinced deviancy is normal. If you desire sexual intimacy in marriage you will not have sexual intimacy if you marry a masturbator.  A masturbator is a self-trained pleasure seeker.  The years and years of programming in place cannot be undone merely from a love encounter.  Additionally, a masturbator will be addicted to pornography on some level.

In a masturbator relationship, the other person is ALWAYS replaceable by masturbation and pornography.

This is also why it is impossible for a masturbator to be vulnerable and let himself need you.  It is a way for him to have COMPLETE CONTROL.  Someone that cannot be vulnerable will not fulfill the marriage vows in the sex department.  If he is upset, he will withhold sex.  If he wants to drive you crazy he will withhold sex.  If he wants to tout his dominance in the marriage, he will withhold sex.  While all along he will not withhold sex from himself. You heard the WARNING here first, because no one else seems to talk about it.

Do not marry a masturbator, because marriage was created for societal constructs not for “show.”   What does this mean exactly?  A societal construct helps people thrive in community, because everyone lends a helping hand especially when there are children.  A masturbator’s number one concern is HIMSELF.  Masturbators like to look good and most likely all are narcissists. Someone who is selfish above all things like the masturbator is incapable of fulfilling the responsibility that a societal construct requires.  They like to look like they are doing work, but they do not actually enjoy doing the work.  If they are working, their internal dialogue is constant grumbling (text messaging, behavioral analysis & response, emails…  are all a good way to measure internal dialogue projections).  They will grumble and they will feel like they are being made to do whatever they are doing.  It could be as simple as washing the dishes for the family or something more time consuming like participating in community events.  A negative internal dialogue is detrimental to marriage and will most definitely occur when societal construct responsibilities surface during the relationship with a masturbator.

Do not marry a masturbator, because marriage was created for family.  Family can include children or not.  Family means the family unit comes first before people outside the family unit.  This is a fundamental quality in someone that is good marriage material, they put immediate family before all others to secure the bond, build trust and keep things stable.  A male masturbator does not put family first.  The foundation of this person’s makeup is himself and then next his is extended family; so self-preservation is priority number one!  If the masturbator is making waves at home, he will disappear, he will vent to others and he will make sure that others are on his side by embellishing stories or making things up from scratch.  It all ties in with masturbation (sex by yourself), because sex is the bond between husband and wife and without it that bond is non-existent especially if there is no physical impairment preventing sex other than masturbation.  Masturbation helps minimize any conscience he has, because he is king of the hill and no one else really matters (the physical bond is replaceable). This type of behavior is not productive or loving in a marriage.  This type of behavior is a perfect storm for divorce or an unhappy sexless marriage.

Do not marry a masturbator, because marriage was created for commitment.  Once a masturbator has secured his catch or mate, there is less challenge and mystery.  Throw in children and voilà; this immediately gives the masturbator reason to replace the missing spice with his wife with other relationships.  It could be co-workers or friends but getting away from his wife appears to be the answer to all his problems and he can physically do so for some time, because he masturbates and basically does not need her.  A masturbator will always resort to masturbating if he has struggles in any area of his life.  Masturbating is a coping mechanism.  His commitment on his wedding day is long forgotten.  In sickness and in health, becomes trivial and intimacy with his wife is labeled “just sex” in his brain.  Commitment in the long-term has no meaning to a masturbator, because the only bond he is comfortable having is the bond with himself (me, myself & I).

Do not settle for a masturbator’s excuses like convenience, arousal, endurance or better sleep.  No wife can compete with a pro male masturbator, why?  A wife has less practice and cannot comprehensibly know how to arouse her husband the same way he knows how to arouse himself.  In a masturbator’s world, sex has always been an isolated event and the programming in place is practically impossible to re-circuit without the masturbator being fully on board.  Whatever you do, do not marry a masturbator.  Ladies, staying away from these men in marriage will save you from a lot of heartache and discontent.  Ask the right questions during the courtship and/or friendship, because long-lasting marriage includes, sexual intimacy, societal constructs, family and commitment. Make sure your future husband has the qualities for the duration, not just for the first mile.

Divorce Life: KNOW WHAT TO EXPECT FROM FRIENDS

When you get divorced after you’ve been married for a long time the fabric of your life looks and feels completely different. It’s like putting a cream cashmere sweater in the washing machine with red socks, a bra and sneakers. If you were to wear that cashmere sweater with the same friends after that dreadful treatment of cashmere, they would give you the stink eye and think you’re from a different planet. In fact, anyone that knows anything about washing clothes might just think you’re completely inept for looking the way you do which means you can’t find your way in life especially in your thirties, forties, fifties, etc. Even if half your friends are forgiving about the cashmere, you yourself feel extremely self-conscience because at one time you were wearing an admirable sweater and now what you’re wearing makes you stand out for the wrong reasons (discolored, snagged and wrinkled) and perhaps it is only perceived, but it feels so real. This small little analogy sums up the divorce life with friends. Friendships change at the microscopic level when divorce occurs! Let’s look at the process at each step.

Step one: The big divorce reveal – When the divorce is looming, there are a handful of friends that want the “scoop.” When the divorce is looming, “scoop” people hastily gather around, giving you the attention and conversation, you craved when things were going well with your ex-spouse. The thoughts that enter the brain include, “wow, I never knew how much this person cared” or “I always knew they would have my back” or “I bet we will be lifelong friends” or “This divorce is not so bad when I have friends like this.” DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME & ENERGY WITH THESE PEOPLE. These people are only in it for the “information.” Once you need someone to talk to (1 year in), they are nowhere to be found. These people think of you as competition. Now that you’re out of the game, they have won and need to find competition elsewhere. Others who are single, will show their grave disappointment in the falling apart of your marriage and will disown you, because you did not live up to their “expectations.” It is sad and depressing that this happens, but don’t you want to know versus being blindsided like me?!

Step two: The divorce saga – Most separating couples that have lawyers on one or both sides are not amicable. That means one or both people will be engaging in unbelievable behavior. On the non-abusive side, this person is barely able to cope with all the mudslinging, threats, gaslighting, stealing and so on that the other commits during the actual divorce process. The non-abusive person needs a lot of support, so the heavy lifting “first responder” friends will most definitely come through at this time. They will bring food, go to court with you, be a listening ear and even invite you to their family gatherings. Bless the sweet hearts of these friends. After you lick your wounds from the friendship exodus that happens after a year in step one, a wave of gratefulness is restored by the pure kindness of the “first responders” in step two of the process. The abusive spouse loses all their friends at this point, except maybe one.

Step three: The divorce lull – After a few years, time makes the divorce abuse seem less terrible, but one person is still dragging the other person to court (divorce finalized or not). The “first responders” are no longer needed for dire situations, so they gradually go back to their life before they were needed so frequently. They don’t call and ask you to go to tea or seek you out for friendship/companionship. They were solely there to “get you through.” Now that survival has been achieved, new friendship acquisition begins. This is one of the most challenging steps. Making good friends later in life after a divorce is hard. It is hard for several reasons. You are still getting to know yourself in a, single state, so pinpointing who will jive with this new you is like throwing a dart at a moving target. To be completely candid, people in their thirties and beyond are busy with their own lives, so it is even more challenging to find moments that solidify your friendship. Overall, you must be satisfied with less friends or no friends for a period. Yes, I said NO good friends. Good friends are people you talk to everyday and truly, less people are interested in frequent regular interaction especially if they have families of their own (it is a hard pill to swallow). The abusive spouse will latch on to co-workers for support at this time and possibly change jobs.

Step four – The divorce homestretch (occurs if you have children). Once your children are school aged, there is a slight friend revival. You are hurled into new social engagements, so you are forced to engage. Some people will stick and some won’t. This stage is ongoing until the children graduate high school. At this stage, friends that remained dormant will come out of hiding and there will be renewed interest in doing things together and possibly, exploring life with singles as friends as well. Friends at this stage are “fluid friends” it is uncertain if they will be lifers or those just passing through.

The desire for friendship after divorce is a longing that I did not expect. The deep connection I expected from my ex-spouse almost transfers to others in the form of friendship. It is still missing on some level for me. I cannot seem to grasp it. Friends now, seem temporary or platonic. Do not be blind sided by life after divorce. Remember to avoid the “scoop” friends, treasure the “first responder” friends, stay strong during “no good friends,” and be grateful for those “fluid friends” that have the potential to last a lifetime. I am grateful I have more genuine people in my life now, but I still miss those friends I thought I had.  You will too.

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.