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Episode 09: A Divorce Lawyer’s Valentine’s Day Gift

You can win with a more transparent, low cost, less stress divorce.

In this Episode, CEO Erin Levine Discusses:

  • A new, FREE gift – written just for you! Download our new ebook, Five Essentials To Win At Divorce, now!
  • How a solid understanding of the divorce process can keep you calm and focused – even in a heated divorce.
  • How the movie “Marriage Story” and the way lawyers hijacked their client’s narratives perfectly illustrates the reason Hello Divorce was created.
  • Divorce strategy and why you need one, and why it might need to change as your divorce progresses.

Actionable Steps You Can Take Right Now:

Do you need help developing a strategy for your divorce?
Book a *free* 15-minute call with a member of our legal team right now.

Read the Transcript: A Divorce Lawyer’s Valentine’s Day Gift

Welcome to the Hello Divorce podcast, I’m your host, Erin Levine. I’m super excited to share with you my top insider tips for divorce – including actionable steps in bite sized pieces to lowering the cost, conflict and confusion surrounding your divorce so that you can move on to that next awesome chapter.

Today’s topic has to do with a gift I have for you – a new ebook that we are offering at no cost. As most of you know, through Hello Divorce, we have so much content – all curated – some written and designed by me and my team at HD and Levine Family Law Group – and then we also pull in the experts to contribute. Experts in everything from financial planning to negotiation and life coaching b/c after all – lawyers are just one piece of a big divorce puzzle. The one thing that I felt we were missing was a comprehensive ebook. I hesitated to design one because I wanted it to be really meaningful – and do what I wanted it to do – which is give you the tools you need to get your divorce off to the best start possible. More on that in a second.

Then the other day, I was speaking to a colleague about her divorce. She wanted a second opinion which I always think is a good idea but at the same time – we have to be so careful because when speaking to someone about their case – you are only getting a very small snippet of the divorce – and hearing it from the client’s experience. Anyhow, she started to tell me about her divorce and man, it was ugly – throughout each step of the way, it was just hurting my heart so much to realize that had we been her guide from the beginning – things could have been so different. I mean, we likely wouldn’t have been able to change what her ex did – how he behaved or the choices he made – but we could have helped shape her experience – and as you know, mindset – well, that’s everything. Life can be spinning out of control and if you trust your path and have the resources and support you need, you can turn that obstacle – that saga – that struggle into a breakthrough. There’s an opportunity in there to change your course and we want to find that – and put our focus there, not on the actions or (in)actions of your ex. I know – it might feel like I’m simplifying things or that I’m overly optimistic or what’s the word you’re thinking of? Maybe “shut the f- up and get with reality.” Ok, I know. I am oversimplifying. When you are in a traumatic divorce or breakup that breakthrough doesn’t just show up and say ‘hi, everything is going to be ok now. You are stronger than ever and you’re life is going to be sunshine and rainbows.” But, I’m not talking about a particular moment in time. There are times in a heated, contested divorce that all you can find time and energy to do is prepare your strategy – where you have exposure and where you have leverage – and live in that. But overall, if you have the information and understanding you need about the divorce process – about where things are heading and how to get there – you will feel some peace of mind. You will make space to rise from this crappy experience. And you will feel in control – which let’s face it, feeling out of control is the worst feeling ever – feeling like you don’t know what’s going on and you don’t know how to change it or respond to it, is just awful.

As most of you know who have gone through or are going through a divorce, no matter how amicable or not – that it is, it’s grueling emotionally and we live in a culture where we’re so used to instant gratification, so it feels impossible to be stuck in a process – in a period of transition. That’s really hard on all of us.

As my colleague was sharing her story, I also started to think about Marriage Story, the Oscar-nominated film, that is really not about marriage at all. It’s about a divorce. I was reminded of how quickly the divorce lawyers manipulated the clients’ narratives, their personal stories, to create a nightmare for this family. I mean, it illustrates perfectly one of the biggest reasons why I started Hello Divorce – to help my community to understand that when you are in crisis (or feel like that) – and when you are dealing with the legal system (which most of us thankfully have never had to deal with before – or at least not in this context) – there’s so much unknown. Leaving our fate to a lawyer or the legal system is the absolute worst thing we can do. Even a well-intentioned lawyer can real screw things up. Here’s an example – my first employer. Nicest guy – true empath, who loved the law. He is the biggest champion for his clients – I mean, he’d walk through fire for them – and that is precisely what his problem is. He isn’t motivated by his ego, or money, he truly feels in his heart of hearts, that fighting for every last thing his clients legally deserve is how they find closure, peace, and power. I don’t know about you – but the last thing I want to do is fight over everything. So leaving the legal stuff to him – if you are his client – could put an otherwise fairly easy divorce into a tailspin or worse, all-out war. Lawyers like this one – actually feel like they’re doing good by advocating for their client’s best result and being zealous. But that legal strategy is not right for most people. Instead of educating the client on what their best and worst result could be – or how to walk through the process without being taken advantage of – they lead a divorce into a messy, expensive, awful war. But this isn’t going to be your experience. So relax your shoulders and take a deep breath. Pause. Really. Even if you just came to that realization that that is your divorce experience, it can be changed. It will be changed.

When I think of what we could have provided these clients in Marriage Story, what type of resources and support that they could have had to turn them into a team – fighting against the problem, the divorce – not each other, I feel energized. As many of you have heard me say before, when you have a move away case, when you have one parent who wants to move away, with both parents who love a child, those can be one of the messiest, most heart wrenching cases. They’re very hard to settle. How do you settle when either somebody wants to move or not move? It’s really, really, really challenging and takes a really skilled, amazing support system, mediator, therapist, lawyer, to be able to help navigate that situation.

But taking the ‘move away’ from the East Coast to California out of the picture and just focusing on divorce itself, what could have been done to avoid that escalation in communication problems, triggers, hurt feelings and so on.

 The way the lawyers behaved in Marriage Story is precisely on of the major factors in why the average divorce costs $20,000 plus. Another is because of the inefficient system and don’t get me started on how the legal system unintentionally, but does, in fact, pit spouse against spouse by the very nature of the case, filing a lawsuit, X versus Y, hearings, contested hearings to resolve basic family issues and so on.

Anyways, I totally digressed and I want to get back to this ebook that we’re releasing. What I did was bring together the most important resources that you can have to get organized, to feel confident, to be able to take care of yourself, to be able to ask for the support you need, to understand the information and documents that you need to have when the divorce is just beginning, and tips for keeping your costs under control and the divorce moving forward instead of being stuck.

If California is your jam and you’re getting divorced in here, there’s an added bonus, a flow chart that explains the entire legal process start to finish, so you can literally just check it off as you move through it. If you’re not in California, you’re still going to get, I hope, a tremendous amount of value from this ebook because you will see that most of the information that we’re providing is not state specific. Some has to do with law, but for the most part, it just has to do with how you approach and how you prepare for divorce. I wanted to reach a wider audience because I want to help as many people as possible and as we move into other states, I wanted to make sure we are providing resources of value to people outside of CA. Again, how you approach and prepare can really shape the experience that you have. And in some situations – ok, not most I admit, divorce can become an act of love – a reorganization of a family in a way that meets everyone’s needs – instead of a zero sum game, a win-win.

The point of this ebook is also to change the conversation around divorce and start talking about it in a real and meaningful way instead of hiding behind it and feeling shame or feeling like a failure when you’re not. Relationships don’t always work and a vow can be broken if you’re hurting. That’s okay. That’s powerful.

I want you to use this opportunity, this obstacle, this breakup, as an opportunity to break through and to put yourself first, to move through the divorce process with your integrity intact and where you are advocating for your rights and, to the extent that your ex is just going to push and push out of revenge or bitterness, for you to have a strategy in place that is really about damage control and protecting you and your kids if you have them.

If you have any questions or you’re unable to find it, email me at Erin [at] hellodivorce.com and I will get you this resource. If you have questions about any other issues pertaining to divorce, throw it in the email because I likely have several more resources that, hopefully, you’ll find helpful. Let this be my Valentine’s gift to you, your brand new ebook, Five Essentials To Win At Divorce.

Ok, that’s all I have for you today. Remember, if you are in CA, schedule your 15 minute strategy session by clicking here or on the link accessible from Hello Divorce.com’s home page. And, keep listening to this podcast for actionable tips to keep your divorce amicable and affordable. And of course, to cover all of your legal bases so you are ready for your fresh start.

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