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Deconstruct Divorce Expectations for Better Results


Broken Marriage and Family
"Expectations are resentments under construction." Anne Lamott

Expectations shape our experiences and influence how we navigate life's challenges, including divorce. Whether our expectations come from upbringing, societal influences, or self-concept, we must align them with reality. When we deconstruct and manage our expectations, we can navigate the divorce process with more confidence and less overwhelm. 


"We Will Be Amicable"

Many clients hope for an amicable separation, expecting civility even in conflict. However, conflict is inherent in divorce. It's normal to feel a range of emotions during this time. I help clients explore their beliefs, historical patterns, and potential areas of disagreement. By understanding these dynamics, we can work towards maintaining civility, even when emotions run high. 


Have you considered what specific behaviors might trigger conflict in your situation?


"I Need an Attorney to Protect My Rights"

While having legal representation was once seen as essential, you can now learn much of what you need online. I assist clients in understanding the legal process and addressing their fears. Additionally, today, there are divorce professionals in areas of finance (CDFA), real estate (CDRE), mortgage lending (DLP), parenting, and mental support.  


What specific concerns do you have about your rights and the legal process?


"I Won't Need to Make Lifestyle Changes"

Even the wealthiest clients often need to adjust their lifestyles post-divorce. Studies show that men's income typically drops by 23% and women's by 41%. I help clients with budget work and reality testing to prepare for these changes. 


What aspects of your lifestyle are you most concerned about preserving?


"I'll Get Primary Custody and the House Because I'm a Stay-at-Home Mom"

Let's separate these two "gets" and add some context. "I'll get" implies that someone is giving you these items. It isn't the case. Divorce is a negotiation you and your spouse enter with the help of mediators, lawyers, etc. The best possible division of property and children is based on how the two of you define priorities and set value-based goals. No matter how much you dislike your spouse, working together to find solutions for housing and co-parenting will yield higher returns in the long run. 


When you think of how you want your children to feel safe and loved, what are the best solutions for housing and co-parenting? 


"The Court Will Make My Spouse Behave Better"

Living with someone mean, nasty, or neglectful is exhausting and soul-crushing. Unfortunately, the legal system doesn't adjudicate personalities or behaviors. And there are ways for you to rise above this to move forward. Together, we can figure it out. 


How have you been coping with your spouse's challenging behaviors?


"My Partner Is Getting a Big Inheritance"

This expectation is tough to accept, especially if you've co-mingled previous inheritance. The law is concerned with what money and property you each came into the marriage with and where they are now. For example, you inherited $10,000 and kept it in an interest-yielding savings account that earned $5,000. Those earnings are often considered marital property. Future earnings and gifts are not considered in most agreements. Working with a mediator may have more favorable results than going to court or using lawyers.


How do you feel about the fairness of your current financial arrangements?


"I Don't Have Control; Everything Is the Law"

Societal beliefs about the law and courts can be misleading. Only about 5% of divorces go to court. There are many settlement options, and I help clients explore these. 


How do you feel about alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation and collaborative divorce?


"When the Judge Hears My Side"

Remember, only 5% of cases go to court. Judges will only hear your side if you are allowed to present it. Many states require couples to attend multiple mediation sessions to reach an agreement. I help clients prepare for the possibility of court while assisting them to develop skills to mediate and negotiate effectively. 


Are you ready for the emotional toll and expense a court case might take?


"My Partner Didn't Contribute or Spent Too Much"

Individual contributions and spending habits during marriage are often irrelevant in divorce proceedings. Unfortunately, we can't undo what has happened in the past. Your next step is to accept and focus on your financial future. 


What financial concerns are most pressing for you?


"The Kids Will Support Me"

Expecting children to choose sides is inappropriate and damaging. Children want to have relationships with both parents. It's incumbent on you and your spouse to become healthy co-parents. Together, we'll establish new boundaries and ways for you to set the stage for a re-imagined family. 


How can you support your children in maintaining healthy relationships with both parents?


Become Empowered 

Divorce is undoubtedly challenging but also presents an opportunity for growth and transformation. Learning how to manage your expectations requires self-reflection, effective communication, realistic goal-setting, and support. You'll become more positive, hopeful, and empowered when you practice these skills. With my support, you will create your own formula for success in managing expectations. This is a game changer for people going through divorce.

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