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DIVORCE: THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILSPosted Thursday, May 27, 2010, at 2:50 PM
We all know them; you might even be one of them. They're the bitter divorced people who five years later are still seething with anger at their ex-spouse.
The question is, what causes the anger? The marriage, or the way they divorced?
It's ironic; people often divorce in the hopes of creating a better life. Yet many emerge from the process bitter, broken and broke. Instead of reducing drama and angst, they just create more. The only thing they wind up with less of is money.
I'm not going to speculate as to why people divorce. What bothers me is the way they divorce.
I've seen couple after couple go into a divorce saying it was going to be "friendly." Yet fighting over money and kids inflames every negative emotion they ever had about their spouse, and within weeks they're spewing venom and vitriol.
Otherwise kind and normal people find themselves hurling hurtful words and actions that create such bad feelings the residual effects last for years. (If you've ever been to a graduation or wedding for a child of divorce you know exactly what I'm talking about. The parents may have divorced a decade ago, but the tension is still simmering.)
The traditional divorce process brings out the worst in everyone. Both parties typically hire an attorney and, because they're both scared and angry, they instruct their attorneys to salvage what they can from the marriage, be it a home, boat, 401(k) or custody of the kids.
It's almost like people going through a divorce have a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. Unfortunately, lawyers make more money by poking the devil.
In the traditional divorce process, there's no one assigned to call upon the better angels.
No one to ask, "What effect is it going to have on your children, and your relationship with your children, if you fight over every nickel and your kids wind up spending every other weekend in a crummy apartment with a person who hates you?"
Enter Karen Stewart, the founder & CEO of Fairway Divorce Solutions, Ltd. and the author of "Clean Break: How to Divorce With Dignity and Move On With your Life."
Stewart was motivated to create an alternative divorce process after her own divorce became so contentious that she wound up spending half a million in legal fees and destroying the ability to co-parent with her now former spouse.
The Fairway Divorce process - www.FairwayDivorce.com - "is about saving your assets, not destroying them." The step-by-step process uses "Independently Negotiated Solution, a paradigm shifting way to achieve a win-win outcome in all areas of divorce."
Stewart says, "One of the biggest fallacies of divorce is that people think I need to take control, so they talk to family and friends, and they think the way to take control is to hire a lawyer." However, she says, "People don't realize that by hiring a lawyer, you are on a train wreck that you can't get off."
I know that there are plenty of nice attorneys out there; in fact, I come from a family of them. The problem in a divorce is that a win for the lawyers isn't always a win for the couple, and it's almost never a win for their kids.
Divorce is hard. But anger and venom only make it worse.
Don't listen to the devil; he'll only put you on the path to, well, you know
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I can't take any more. The economy is tanking, the election is endless, and now it looks like I might have to sell my blood if I want to keep my kids in mac 'n cheese. Oh, and did I mention that, thanks to falling house prices, I probably owe more on my home than it's actually worth? I want to go back to bed, pull the covers over my head and have somebody wake me up when my 401(k) bounces back. I don't know about you, but I'm finding myself so jittery about, well everything, that it's all I can do to surf the net. Kind of ironic, isn't it? I should be working more, but I'm so anxious about my finances that I'm actually working less. Alas, such is the world of grown-ups - stress, anxiety, depression. And to think that I wasted much of my childhood wishing I could be in charge of my own life. Why in the heck did I ever think that was a good idea? Give me a few cookies, a blankey and a nice place to lie down and I swear I'll never complain about an early bedtime again. These are tough times indeed. Even if you're still OK, you'd have to be one cold, hard, rich person to stay immune to all the angst in the air. So how do you cope? How do you get through today when you're so worried about tomorrow that you can't see straight? I overheard a news commentator say that people are thinking twice before they go out to eat or buy new clothes. I'm guessing that those are the people who still have jobs. Because the people without jobs aren't spending a nickel on anything except cheap carbs and keeping a roof over their heads. Yet as depressing as our collective and individual situations may be, the last thing we need to do is let our fear get the best of us. If you spend all day quaking and anxious, guess who wins? The fear. Yes, I know FDR had a roof over his head when he said "we have nothing to fear but fear itself," but he was right. Every moment you waste paralyzed with fear is a moment you could be doing something, or resting up so that you can do something tomorrow. It's been said that there are only two emotions, love and fear, and all the other emotions are derivatives of those. So I'd like to make a suggestion. Let's chose love. Let's decide to love each other and to love ourselves, no matter what happens. And if you're really a Pollyanna, perhaps you'll join me in deciding to love the fact that this crisis is serving as a call for us to become our better selves; a call for us to look within and rid ourselves of consumerism, greed and the need to keep up with the Jones; and a call for us to have more empathy for those who are struggling. Maybe this is a chance for all of us - and I include myself - to decide that we love our country and we love our fellow human beings more than we love our stuff. Yeah, I know it sounds hokey. But you don't change your circumstances until you change the thoughts that created them. Cowering under the covers in fear may feel safer. But in a crisis, the truly powerful response is love. (c) Copyright 2008, by Lisa Earle McLeod. All rights reserved. Lisa Earle McLeod is a keynote speaker, author and nationally syndicated columnist. Her books include "Forget Perfect" and "Finding Grace When You Can't Even Find Clean Underwear." Contact her at www.ForgetPerfect.com.
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