When people decide to divorce it is usually in the whirlwind of heightened
emotion. People are not always thinking rationally in this mindset. I
often caution clients not to be reactive when thinking about divorcing.
I suggest they stop, think and plan. When you make decisions based on
pain and heated emotions you can make mistakes that will negatively affect
the outcome of your divorce.
Here is the story of my client Jill (not her real name), a celebrity stylist
and young mother of two children. She had just found out that her husband
was having an affair with her “best” friend. She found some
suspicious conversations on Facebook, caught one side of some unusual
late night phone conversations, and after months of this she decided to
confront her husband. He admitted to the infidelity, said he didn’t
love her anymore, and moved out of the house. She was devastated and extremely
angry. She was about to make every mistake in the book. Thankfully, she
came to see me first.
During our consultation she angrily shared with me she wanted to remove
the entire $260,000 from the joint savings account with her husband. Since
he had moved out of the house, she did not want to let him see their children.
She wanted to threaten that she was going to get sole custody of their
children. After being blindsided by both her husband and best friend,
Jill was entitled to be angry and needless to say, she wanted revenge.
This reaction to cheating is something I hear frequently from clients.
But if Jill did what she wanted to do, her behavior was all but guaranteed
to have the following results.
Her Husband would hire a lawyer who would immediately go to court to seek:
- the return of the savings;
- custody of the children;
- and Jill would spend, along with her husband, over $100,000 of the family
money on attorney fees.
I was glad Jill had come to see me before making these mistakes.
There was a way Jill could change the outcome for the future. I explained
that she should leave the savings in their joint account or, if she was
concerned that her husband would remove the money, she could have the
bank put a hold on the account until they worked out their divorce. I
told her to let her husband see the children and not use them as pawns
in her pain. I suggested she not push her husband into hiring a lawyer
but suggest they work out their divorce arrangements in mediation to obtain
a divorce in a non-adversarial fashion. In changing her approach and managing
her behavior, Jill was able to act in a non self-destructive way and avoid
a protracted adversarial process. She could deal with her anger in therapy
instead of in the divorce process.
Jill’s husband did agree to mediation. It was tearful, painful,
therapeutic and legally effective. The results were fair to both parties,
healthy for the children and cost-effective for the family.
If you are thinking about divorce, think before you do something that
could hurt you.
Come and see me so I can educate you, explain what you are entitled to,
and give you some suggestions on how to successfully move forward.
Call me now to schedule your free consultation (which we have extended
through the end of February) before you make any mistakes. 212.734.1551.
I promise to listen, and I will give you good advice.