Are You Getting A Divorce? Take Control And Don't Be Afraid To Find Out How To Survive A Divorce
Why you should never announce your intentions for divorce, and what could happen if you did
Why your divorce from a narcissistic spouse is really a war, and why you should never think that your spouse is going to be reasonable
The shocking truth about your attorney exposed and why you should never believe a word an attorney says on the first consultation
The male and female differences that matter in divorce and why you NEED to know them if you want to even stand a chance of winning
Why you MUST always maintain control in your divorce, if you give up control to your attorney be prepared for a nightmare!
How to choose the right attorney for your case
What The Lawyers Know and You May Not.
Family law attorneys know how expensive, difficult and traumatic divorce can be. Most other people do not. I was one of them. This divorce was nothing like the one many years before. A small town lawyer in Vermont was my only reference point of what a divorce lawyer was like. Divorce, circa 2002, in one of the wealthiest areas of the United States, Silicon Valley, was a world apart. My first divorce cost $400.00 total. Now, the average hourly rate is $200 to $600 per hour. Divorce can be a nervous breakdown in slow motion as finances dwindle while hostilities increase.
I had no idea divorce was an industry with greed, power and ego as its hallmark characteristics. Santa Clara County has so much wealth that most divorces take sophisticated financial planning. This money also fuels the divorce industry. Tactics are used in such adversarial ways that harm is inevitable. A short divorce is fueled by the money and becomes complex and lengthy. When a divorce attorney becomes greedy, entire estates are wiped out in the frenzy from a hostile divorce.
What Happened When The Lawyer Took Over
Reality became distorted. If I wanted to talk to my husband it was called harassment. When my husband removed my son’s belongings and put a woman in his room without telling him, I was accused of alienating son from father. His attorney said that he could read between the lines of what I wrote and he found sinister things there. (It must have been invisible ink because I looked but couldn’t see anything there.) I was confused, angry and felt the system was going to destroy all of us.
At one point one of my attorneys told me, “Your husband will negotiate soon, he will get tired of paying his attorney, he can’t possibly take this to trial.” He never negotiated, maybe he was tired of paying his attorney but he did so anyway, and we went to trial. It was a case that should have settled; that we went to trial is a red flag to those contemplating divorce that even a conflict free divorce can become a battleground when egos are allowed to run the divorce.
The consequences of the metamorphosis from negotiations to trial hit me like an avalanche gathering strength the longer it lasted. The cost was tremendous in every way. To find divorce so confrontational, whipped into a major war by a fighter attorney, was traumatic. There had to be a way to avoid a high conflict divorce. The emotionally fragile process of divorce is made worse by the adversarial nature of the legal system. Planning, preparation and empowerment from information can go a long way to avoid conflict.
Knowing the role the attorneys play is critical. Seeing them as a professional resource with no hidden agenda is naive. Divorcing women all over have found this out. The first section of this book analyzes the legal system’s responsibility for divorce proceedings filled with conflict and drama. Using my own divorce as an object lesson I show how quickly things can go wrong and why it didn’t have to happen. The second section has tactics and strategies to help avoid the high conflict divorce. Again I use examples from my own divorce.
Gender dynamics are inevitable when writing about divorce. I believe women are disadvantaged by their naivete; men tell me the system is biased in favor of women. I think no fault divorce and women’s socialization make them economically disadvantaged. Men tend to disagree. I think giving up years of income leads to income generating inequities and men have earning abilities much higher than their wives because of the wives. Men don’t want to discuss this with me. These differences of opinion should come as no surprise.
Divorce, The Way It Really Is
Marriage is about love. When it is no longer about love, you want to end the relationship. You are now in a complex web of money, control, adversarial relations, and winning. Perhaps your marriage had those elements to it also, but now you are in the public arena with someone to manage your fight. This manager is your attorney .The complex web is your divorce. You need information to empower yourself on this journey.
In her book, Fairshare Divorce for Women, Kathleen Miller, MBA, CPA says, “Women urgently need divorce advice because they dislike confrontation, shy away from conflict, and traditionally take a back seat to men in money management.” I was all of that and more. The day I became an educated consumer of divorce occurred in the office of one of my attorneys when a letter from opposing counsel arrived, full of outrageous statements, and as I became emotional over them, my attorney looked over my shoulder, read the letter and shrugged, “Lawyers lie. Get over it.”.
This was a turning point for me. What was drama and trauma to me was ordinary for her. During the last year of my divorce I read divorce books. Before I began writing I looked through them again. With one or two exceptions, I was struck by how little they meant to me although the information was good. I realized what made those one or two books stand out was how well I could relate to the author. If an attorney writes a book on divorce it can be an invaluable resource, particularly if you live in the same state as that attorney. But state laws vary dramatically so vigilance is necessary to determine what is relevant or not for your case. I often found those books too general and vague. Bias is another issue. If the attorney/writer makes no mention of a topic such as mediation, you get a picture of divorce through litigation only. Mediation might be an alternative, but if you don’t know about it, or if it is presented in a prejudicial light, you lose an opportunity that might have worked for you. And if the author has not been divorced, the words, though true, did not have the same power as those from someone who experienced the process. I liked true life examples.
Here is divorce the way I wish someone had presented it to me. I had no more idea of how to get a divorce than I knew how to fly a jet plane. But soon I found myself at the controls of an enormous machine, spiraling out of control, heading for a crash landing and I had to find a way to stop it. What I really wanted was to not be in this situation at all. Keeping the process on course means taking control.
Divorce as a Gift? You’ve Got to Be Kidding!
Events will take their course, it is no good our being angry at them; he is happiest who wisely turns them to the best account. Euripides
I tell my friends my high conflict millennium spanning divorce has been a gift. Sometimes I say it to make myself believe it to be true. Sometimes I say it because I need to find life lessons in this experience. But during the divorce I said it to keep from going crazy.
Often I would wake up, shaking, mind racing, burdened with sorrow, sadness and rage at how the divorce was taking on a destructive, cruel life of its own. I felt as if it had found its way into my DNA, replicating with vigor at every new tactic and maneuver. . Cut me and no, I did not bleed, but declarations, objections, orders to show cause, interrogatories, responsive declarations, more interrogatories, settlement conference statements, and pre trial briefs poured forth. I thought a nervous breakdown was only a heartbeat away. I would lie in bed and talk to my neurons, “Fire, engage, kick in for god’s sake.” I’d wonder if I could talk myself into not going insane. Could I hard wire my brain back to normal? Could I live through this waking nightmare?
I could and I did, though someone watching me crush my vitamins between my teeth instead of swallowing them might detect a woman with enormous stress overload. I made it through. Or I think I did. According to the American Heart Association the rate of heart attacks in divorced women is 30% higher than average. I certainly understand that. When the stress first hit I ended up in the emergency room with crushing chest pain. After a year and a half of dealing with my husband’s attorney who slept through Ethics and How to Negotiate, I sometimes have pain in my chest and the statistics from the Heart Association stick in my mind.
Divorce as a gift? I’d rather have cash or a shopping spree at Nordstrom’s. But then again, maybe not. I like the person who arrived on the other side of this divorce. The cash and clothes are used and gone But the transformation remains. In his book, Waking the Tiger, Peter Wren says: “Every trauma provides an opportunity for authentic transformation. Trauma amplifies and evokes the expansion and contraction of psyche, body and soul….If we let it, trauma has the power to rob our lives of vitality and destroy it. However we can also use it for powerful self-renewal and transformation. Trauma, resolved, is a blessing from a greater power.”
I don’t know if I will ever resolve all of the trauma, but I try. My doctor, who has seen the physical results of the verbal abuse and harassment, told me, “Leave town, change your name, get away, this person, this divorce is toxic to you.” She’s trying to lessen the burden of stress I deal with, but leaving town is not the answer.
Learn to find the gift in every situation. It will help you through. If the divorce makes you more compassionate, stronger and less afraid of life, that is a gift. If it makes you bitter, evil and you hate the world and everyone in it, you have to find a way to change the perception. It won’t happen all at once, and don’t berate yourself for being angry when you want to be calm. If you’ve been battered, harassed, ignored, lied about, stolen from and thrown to the wolves, and then your spouse BLAMES YOU for all that is wrong in his life, it is only natural to feel anger. The goal is victim to survivor. It may be a bumpy road. I know the bumps well, but as time goes by I learn to feel anger less and less and learn to laugh again.
“The first act of freedom is to choose it.” William James.
Why does the legal culture create such abuses and how can we avoid them?
Buy Now $29.95
Ignorance is NOT bliss when it comes to divorce. This is about to be one of the most important events to ever take place in your life and you want to be prepared for it.
Information is power…having the right strategy and knowing what to expect can and will make your divorce go smoother and help you avoid some of the more hellish aspects of a difficult divorce. In my book, Divorce: The Real Truth And Hidden Dangers, I not only reveal details of my horrible divorce but I also give you real life tactics, tips, and techniques that you can use in your own divorce to be able to save yourself heartache, headache, money, time, and most importantly, your sanity. This is a powerful fact-filled resource on divorce. It is not a physical book so you get access immediately over the internet.
Prepare for the lies. Have an answer. Be bold. You may have the truth on your side but your spouse has no empathy and has no problem proceeding with untruths. Find a way to get the truth out that will show the lies up. There is always a lie you can build on. Take his lie and show how it leads to another and another.
Your life could become a nightmare,. I know, because for several years mine was. But I won my case, at trial and on appeal. You don’t have to go down that road. Here is your opportunity to get the tools you need to successfully divorce your husband and get everything you deserve.
I’m confident that Divorce: Real Truths And Hidden Dangers is the resource you need to get what YOU deserve out of your divorce and still be able to avoid the pitfalls that can make it a nightmare. Read the book, and put some of my tactics, tips, and techniques to work in your divorce. And if you don’t get the results you’re looking for, I’ll refund every dime of your money. No questions asked.
Immediate download in PDF format. Works on any computer and device. Remember, these are not theoretical divorce tips that were pulled out of some book somewhere. I’ve been through the ringer with divorce and want you to avoid this and knowing what can happen can help you do this. Whatever your decision is, I wish you best of luck in whatever you do in life.
Dear Ann, Thank you so much for writing "Divorce: The Real Truth and Hidden Dangers." Although our cases are different, I identified with you on so many levels, and you helped me give a name to the abuse and harassment I have been subject to from my ex-husband's fighter lawyer, as well as my own passive attorney.
Just wanted you to know that after reading countless divorce books, your book has resonated with me to a degree that astonishes. I now realize that my husband is truly a narcissist. I had often read about this characteristic but thought that he was simply an abusive type, but no longer.
What you are describing is giving me wings. You found a voice. You stuck to education. You spoke out and gave change a chance.
Thanks for writing your book. I found that I have been using the same terminology that you use in discussing what a narcissist does to a person - I called it stalking, too. Using the courts to harass and prey upon me.
Thank you for writing an inspiring book. I read it when I need extra strength.
Dear Ann: Thank you for writing the book 'Divorcing a Narcissist' which was an extremely helpful resource book for me throughout my divorce, which was finalized in August 2010.
I tried to settle, they took me to trial. They lost. Took me to the appeals court. They lost again. His lawyer wanted to go to the Supreme Court. At that point, my ex had followed him down too many dead-ends and took us into Collaborative Law! Not as bad as the Supreme Court but extremely stupid to do at this juncture. This is my story and your guide. I tried to bring you the lessons learned so you can avoid the harshness and pain. Try.
Divorce is always difficult for everyone involved, and its especially hard on the children if there are any. If marriage is about love, divorce is about money, power, control, and the manipulation of an unethical legal system. For most people divorce is one of the only times they’ve probably ever had to stand up for themselves in life, and many are unprepared. Many men fall into that category too. Divorce is for the lawyers…everyone pays. I discuss men as victims in this book also.
I was no different. I went through a complicated divorce, most of it spurred on by his lawyer.
From hiding income to withholding child support to trying to “starve me out” my ex-husband did everything he could to make the divorce a nightmare. He even took me to the Court of Appeals. I had to write my own brief – and I won.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to know that I’ve been where you’re about to go.
I’ve traveled the same road, and its full of turmoil, conflict, lies, deception, and worse.
I ‘ve taken my experience of divorce and turned it into a case study that will help you avoid the common pitfalls that will turn a peaceful split into a living hell. After spending four years battling a corrupt lawyer hell bent on winning in a trial and an uncooperative husband …I’ve created a resource for ANY ONE about to go through a divorce. Or in the middle of one. (It’s never too late. NEVER!)