Considering Divorce From Losing Love Feelings?

Considering divorce during a pandemic is not unusual.  Listen though, following-through with divorce this year is problematic especially if you have children.  Both marriage and divorce change the fabric of your life.  This pandemic IS NOT life; it’s been dreary to say the least.  This pandemic has been a life altering challenge for everyone.  Divorce is not a cheerful experience that will be the magic solution to your happiness – insulting your intelligence is not my goal here, my goal is to get you to stop and wait since the circumstances are unusual.  If your relationship is abusive you obviously cannot wait to separate; however, if the “love feelings” have disappeared and you feel like your spouse is just a “roommate” that excuse is not good enough.  See more about roommate syndrome from Nate Bagley (he has an interesting take on it).

“Losing those love feelings” doesn’t cut it and here’s why:

  1. After seven years or less of togetherness those “love” feelings simmer (the impossible to avoid feelings during the “in-love” phase) when your stomach turns upside down when you see your spouse glance at you from across the room; those passion-filled nights you look forward to after a grueling day at work; or maybe the flirtatious banter that always passed back and forth between you from the time your eyes locked.  You CAN GET THOSE FEELINGS back.  Losing these feelings doesn’t have to be permanent.  It just takes a little work and rewiring habits to feel that unbelievable connection that drew you together in the first place.  Can you do the work…?  THAT IS THE ULTIMATE QUESTION.
  2. If you have children “losing those love feelings” is part of the parenting package.  No one told you?  Well, now you know.  Children have an uncanny ability to redirect either spouses’ attention and when this happens the opportunity to follow-through with a bid of affection decreases.  Parents MUST be intentional with their time.  It’s hard these days.  Our phones (love interference) and life’s responsibilities weigh on the family heavily. “Losing those love feelings” when you have children is a natural progression.  Please please please don’t divorce when you have young children.  As in #1, you can restore what you have lost, but it does take WORK.  Your marriage and your spouse and your family are worth it!  Do the work and you will not regret it.
  3. Divorce impacts more than just you.  Divorce has a ripple effect that stretches further than your family tree.  Don’t believe me?  Friends will divorce you, extended family will be alienated and if you have children, their lives are forever changed afterwards.  The benefits do not outweigh the consequences.  This is the time to think about the big picture and not just your little self.  Salvage your marriage now, it can be done.  You guessed it; it just takes WORK.  Work that eventually becomes habit and fades into renewed love feelings that flow naturally without a second thought.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to reconsider divorce. You count. Your spouse counts. Your family counts. Don’t discount all the value your family holds in your life. Considering divorce at this very moment over “losing those love feelings” is a thought you need to discard immediately. Whatever is creating a rift between you and your spouse; address it, don’t avoid it. Put in the work that is required to reconnect those wires that were sparking uncontrollably when you tied the marriage knot. It’s time to get to work on your marriage relationship; it’s NOT the time to be considering divorce.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

Considering Divorce? Read this first!

Circling back through the divorce memories, reveals how unbelievable it truly is.  Divorce is an unknown entity by practically half the population.  Every divorce is unique and every divorce shatters relationships like removing a glass card from the glass house of cards.  If people knew better, they would divorce online, or they would use mediationLitigation requires deep pockets and although it looks official to the untrained eye; it is a theatrical play of attorneys playing puppeteer.  In fact, it could be described as the ultimate revenge tool.  Not only is it a revenge tool used by angry spouses, but it most likely is a revenge tool used by rich people as well, people who are not even directly involved in the relationship (this trajectory could develop into a story all on its own).  Oh, the tangled web just keeps getting more complicated.  Only certain people decide to litigate.

People who file for divorce and choose the litigation route can be defined as the following:

1. They have no idea what they are doing or they know the system intimately and choose to use the system for its many pain inflicting levers

2. They want their way no matter what

3. They are impulsive

4. They lack compassion

5. They have secrets they want to protect

6. They are not communicators

7. They do not care about the best interests of the children

8. They will be manipulated by the system whether they know it or not

9. They will use the system to punish their spouse

10. They will try to use every tactic they can to screw over the other spouse, to the extent of submitting false coerced testimony

Understanding divorce is somewhat corrupting in nature.  Innocence and ignorance is a blissful state that has long since died by going through the divorce process (which actually starts the moment the petitioner starts talking with attorneys) – consumers beware.  It is disheartening that the American government does not value its citizens enough to modify and/or do away with the litigation system that is in place.

If you have a heart, do not litigate.

If you have a soul, go to counseling consistently for at least 6 months (don’t settle on a counselor that only one of you likes, find one that is a good fit for both of you).

If you must divorce, do your research and put your broken family first as much as possible.

Financial Discovery in Divorce – 5 Questions to Ask

It’s been so long since discovering evidence that the petitioner had at least one hidden account; almost a year ago now.  After being forced to sell my home with an affordable mortgage (more affordable than rent), I lost my footing.  Everything had a place, and everything was in its place before the move.  After the move, not so much. Because I had to figure things out in 15 days, while caring for two young children and trying to achieve some form of normalcy during the holidays I inadvertently selected movers from a sponsored search ad on Google.  The movers were good at first; however, as the day wore on it became very evident I chose the wrong company.  The end result was chaos and important things went missing.

One important thing that went missing was financial documentation; several bank statements from 4 years ago show transfers between unidentified accounts, accounts the petitioner never identified in his financial disclosure to the court and myself.  (It was no easy task obtaining those statements!  Navy Federal shows partiality to the person who served in the military, so I went to several different branches).  I asked and I asked and I asked for the account numbers to no avail from the bank and petitioner.  Petitioner gave me every excuse in the book of excuses and the bank played dumb.  Once again, having to deal with this lying person that I loved once and other people enabling him in his lying.  Exasperating to say the least! In multiple declarations the mystery account was spoken of; however, going Pro Se or Pro Per means no one cares for the truth if you are unrepresented.  No financial discovery was made at the time.

Before the divorce, our family income was stable and high compared to Census Bureau numbers.  After reflecting on the possible balance of that account today after finding good information on how to perform financial discovery, this is the first time admitting defeat sounds good.  Letting it go must be the best decision.  Over 2 years of petitioner siphoning money there is no possible way the balance of that mystery account is more than $50,000.  Asking these questions helped the decision process:

1. Will opposing counsel or petitioner cooperate without litigation?

2. Do I want further litigation in my case?

3. Is this mystery account worth all the stress that comes from contacting opposing counsel?

4. Will recovering the money give me any satisfaction?

5. Do I need the money to survive?

The answer to all the above questions in my situation is a resounding “NO!”

Decision made.

White flag raised.

It is finished.

No financial discovery needed.

Marrying A Military Man Is A Risk

Something needs to be done about family education in society and the military.  Every immediate family member that is exposed to military personnel with traumatic experiences in their history is at risk for abuse.  The government is taking no responsibility, the military branch is taking no responsibility and schools are taking no responsibility.  This is not only a PTSD issue, this is a human issue.  It is a lack of concern for another human being from the start of their military service.  It begins when young men/women are recruited, it continues when they are serving their country and it continues still when they come home and try to integrate back into civilian life.  Family law profits off this discord that military service cultivates in families.  It is a chain reaction and I wish I knew about it before I got married.

Before you start a relationship know the history of the person you are marrying, because as I have experienced, it can come back to haunt you especially if abuse was not acknowledged and/or identified in the nuclear family that served in the military.  Even a person who wasn’t in the military, but exposed to military parents can suffer in adulthood.  Be fully aware of the indicators by asking a few questions:

1. Did siblings have any developmental issues growing up or unusual behavior?

2. Has the family faced any government authority before?

3. What is the history of the parents and their experiences?

Only recently have people become more acquainted with PTSD.  I have heard that admitting any mental flaw or struggle in the military can set the person up for failure instead of success, this was especially true I assume in the 1970s after the Vietnam war which lasted from 1955 to 1975.  See History.com for more on the Vietnam War timeline.  Soldiers who served in Iraq from 2003 – 2011 will hopefully have a better chance now that counseling is becoming more accepted.

Counseling should be mandatory for every military person that has served during wartime or who has been exposed to someone who has served during wartime.  When these courageous men and women come home they need support and their families need emotional support, not for a year for the life of the retired soldier.  Every person is impacted by their overseas and wartime experiences whether it is acknowledged or not.

Signs to look out for if your spouse is triggered:

1. Nightmares

2. Sudden change in character

3. Sudden change in friends

4. Withdrawing and/or stonewalling

5. Increase in alcohol consumption or marijuana use

6. Strange behavior with children and/or defensiveness

7. Absent and/or not coming home

8. Mood swings

9. Depression

10. Gas-lighting

Note: I am not a psychologist or therapist.  Signs are purely from experience and online research.

The person who divorced me did not want to own up to the trigger list.  He preferred to keep everything buried and locked away (similar to his parents who are still married to this day).  He divorced me, because I was not afraid to point out the abuse that was festering and for some reason he couldn’t make it stop.  He would try on his own, but then fall right back into the same patterns. The abuse to this day remains cyclical.  He divorced me to save face and protect himself from jail, so far his strategy has worked.

Confronting a jaded past is difficult for anyone, confronting the past when there is abuse is almost impossible unless the person who was abused is strong enough to face it and heal; however, if you have children you must stand up for what is right and stop the crazy cycle.  I made the mistake of confronting him before recording the behavior on tape or video.  Do not make my same mistake if there is abuse in your home get it on video. Turning a blind eye is not what is best for your family.  Do what you can to educate yourself on abuse and raising a family with the right parenting style, an authoritative approach from both parents.  Remember, marrying into a military family is a risk especially if someone served during wartime; please understand the possible consequences.