As a divorce attorney, and psychologically-trained mediator, I hear all
kinds of diverse divorce stories. I have decided to share some of these
stories monthly with you.
Naturally, I will change the names and some of the details to protect my
clients. The purpose of sharing these divorce stories with you is to let
you know, you are not alone. There are peaceful, rational solutions available
to you. You really
can have a happily-ever-after.
I spoke with Aki four months ago who was calling me from her neighbor’s
apartment. She explained she was trapped in a very toxic marriage. She
had been unhappy for a long time and wanted to take the first step in
getting a divorce.
Aki’s husband was very abusive. He knew nothing else. His mom was
also a very abusive woman and had a lot of control over him. Aki and his
mom did not get along. She felt his mother was ruling their lives.
Her husband, Haitao, would belittle her, call her names, and remind her
daily she was useless. The irony is that she is a quite accomplished rheumatologist,
national speaker, and mom of two.
Aki’s biggest dilemma was how to approach her husband. She was clearly
afraid to confront him, but determined to move forward. She did share
with me that her husband had suffered from depression. His father had
died tragically in a car accident. He was an only child and raised by
a very controlling mother. Haitao had worked on and off all during their
marriage as a software engineer.
He refused to seek help from a therapist or psychiatrist or take medication.
Aki explained there were significant assets, mostly acquired as a result
of her career and an inheritance from her family.
She shared with me she didn’t want to hurt Haitao, after all he was
the father of her children. She wanted to be generous in their settlement,
and also wanted him to have liberal visitation with their two children
if he got some help for his depression. She also wanted her children to
spend limited time with their abusive grandmother.
I suggested that I write a letter to Haitao introducing mediation as an
option to address their marital issues and to process their divorce. Aki
agreed this would be a very helpful first step. In my letter to Haitao
I explained the mediation process and offered him a free consultation
to speak with me so I could hear what he wanted and needed.
When he received the letter, he wasn’t surprised; he knew that his
wife was unhappy in their marriage and that she had been keeping her distance
for a long time.
Haitao did call me. He was upset, but reasonable. We had a productive conversation
about mediation and some of the issues in the marriage including the issues
with his mom.
As a psychologically-trained divorce attorney and mediator, I have experience
with spouses dealing with mental illness. Haitao did mention his depression,
spoke of his abusive childhood with his mom, and the impact of his depression
on his life and marriage.
He at first hesitated to move forward, but then accepted the marriage was
over, and said he would try mediation.
Their mediation sessions were very emotional, but ultimately productive.
Aki did agree to a generous settlement. They agreed that she and the children
would remain in the marital residence. They also developed a fair parenting
and visitation schedule that included parameters for the children spending
time with his mother. Both agreed not to speak poorly about the other
parent to the children (something he did often). As part of the settlement,
Haitao agreed to go to therapy and take medication to treat his depression
so he could feel better and have a healthier relationship with his children.
I was able to provide Haitao with the names of a few psychiatrists/psychologists
from my team of experts. He did connect with one of them in particular,
and has been successfully working with him ever since.
If you would like to share your story with me, call me. I will give you
common sense answers to all your divorce questions. I will help you, as
I did with Aki and her family.
FREE CONSULTATIONS are still available virtually.
I look forward to hearing your story, and helping you find the best possible solution.
New York divorce attorney Lois Brenner is here to help you with all your
Please call to schedule your FREE consultation now.