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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Stupid Divorce Mistakes

I swear some people float through life in an Altered State of Reality, a disease I will refer to as ASR. ASR is a mass-murderer; it kills our morale, our children, ourselves.

People with ASR don't understand what they are doing have consequences.  Their reality is unchecked, and their lives are wrecked.  

Having ASR will most definitely kill your marriage.  It will also severely damage you in your divorce. 

Having an altered state of reality does not automatically make you stupid.  No.  It's not recognizing you have it, and making decisions while in this altered state that makes you stupid.  

 This post deals with people who go through Divorce Altered State of Reality (DASR).  

If you are going through a divorce, please read this list - and don't DASR destroy you.

1.  Divorced Altered State of Reality: Stupid Reliance on Soon To Be Ex-Spouse

Some people think it's their soon to be ex-spouse's court-ordered/God-given obligation to provide them with everything.  And they wait for it.

Even if you have served 7 million sub poenas, do NOT rely on your soon to be ex-spouse to provide you with tax returns, credit card statements, or vaccination or school records.  Get them yourself.

Always know your spouse's social security number.

Most banks provide on-line services where you can download up to the most recent 12 months of statements.  If you need more, go visit a branch.  

If you have children together, you should always have copies of the children's medical and school records.  It's as easy as a telephone call or a simple visit to the school.  Make sure you are listed as the mother/father on all of the kids' medical and school records.

I have had several clients that FREAK out when they discover the mom/dad hasn't listed them as a parent at the kids' schools.  Instead of calling/visiting the school to take care of it, they call me and immediately want to go to court to "punish" the other parent.  

DASR: Judge "sides" with them, forces the other parent to comply on the spot, sends the other parent to jail, with Vangelis "Chariots of Fire" playing in the courtroom.

Reality: Judge asks why they haven't taken care of this themselves, and yells at them for wasting the court's time.

2.  Divorced Altered State of Reality: Stupid Reliance on Google.com

Getting a divorce is not like replacing a water filter, cooking steamed clams, or cutting your own bangs (all of which I have successfully learned by simply watching Youtube.)

Do NOT rely on google to answer your questions about alimony or community property.  As much as I love Sergey and Larry, they are not divorce specialists, and their company will mislead you.

There are 50 states, with different laws.  California happens to be a community property state (there are only 9 of us).  Do NOT rely on what you read on-line to navigate you through your own divorce.

DASR: Google.com will save the day - it will provide you with forms for prenups and divorce settlements, even appeals!  Why pay when it's free?

Reality: The forms you used to finalize your divorce were from Alaska, in 1982.  You are engaged to be married next month, and you are still married to your husband/wife, who has since left the country.

3.  Divorced Altered State of Reality: Stupid Reliance on Friends/Family Advice

 I belong to several mom's groups all over California.  Being a new mom is tough - I think as high as 80% of my clients just had children within the last 3 years.  In any case, divorce rates amongst new parents are high and bad advice runs rampant on these forums.

The other day, some woman in a mom's group told the other mom that as long as the father (who is married to another woman) doesn't pay child support, he will never have custody of that woman's baby.  I've also read another long thread where some moms were advising the "victim" to run away with the baby while the paternity case was pending.  (Can you say kidnapping?)

Your friends and family are not divorce/custody specialists.  They have no idea what they are talking about.  

DASR: Joining all the mom's groups in the world will get you the best friends and legal advice around.  You can all sit around happily, with sole custody.

Reality: The "mom" that is helping you is in a vastly different situation, and her advice will hurt you.

4.  Divorced Altered State of Reality: Stupid Reliance on Lawyer

Hire your divorce lawyer for one thing: knowing the law and how to best apply it to your situation.

Do not abuse your relationship with your attorney.  People who exclusively rely on their divorce lawyers to tell them whether they should stay married, what to feed their kids, and how to treat their ex'es suffer from DASR.

Don't get me wrong - I am a counselor at heart.  I love giving what I think is the best advice in the current situation.  Honestly, if you have children, I will always think working on the marriage is the right answer.  

Assume responsibility for your role in our relationship.  DO review all documents I send you.  DO ask me questions for the paragraphs you don't understand.  DO ask me questions using hypotheticals.

DON'T expect me to be your eyes.  (I am legally blind).  You still have a duty to read everything. Computers get hacked.  Dropboxes are synced without my permission.  Sometimes the case number - your children's names and birth dates, are wrong.  This is YOUR job to tell me your child's name and birth date is wrong.  

I recently had a client who came to me to terminate his alimony.  His marriage lasted 8 years, and he had been paying alimony for 25 years.  I told him to bring his Judgment.  Within 10 minutes, I found the clause that said bi-monthly alimony was to be terminated (along with jurisdiction) on January 15, 1999.  He had overpaid 360 months of alimony!!!


shirlsw12 said...

I liked the theme you had going about people putting too much trust in other people and things. If you're in this situation you undoubtedly need help and support. It shouldn't be considered a bad thing to trust those support systems and methods of receiving help. with that being said though, you need to have a balance, and learn to rely on yourself. I hope that people are able to figure that out. Going through a divorce would never be easy, but when you're prepared it's a lot easier to figure out for sure.

Sergio Freddson said...

Divorce is tough. People think that they would never make these mistakes if they got divorced, but it's very difficult to think rationally when you're in the heat of such an emotional situation. It's important to understand these mistakes ahead of time so that you don't make them! Thanks for sharing your tips with us. http://www.robertelong.com/divorce-family-law.html

Sophia Henry said...

Yes sometimes mistakes happens tough people think the would never make these mistakes. But sometimes in the heat of emotional situation people make mistakes and then divorce .
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