174 - Top Ways to Ruin Your Post Divorce Life
If you have had to go through the painful process of a divorce, the last thing you want is for that pain to increase or continue once it is finally over. You want to focus on healing and moving on with your life. In this show, Leh and Todd discuss actions or behaviors from certain folks that really prevent healing, or at least hinder that process. These actions can lead to misery and even result in you finding yourself right back in court with your ex-spouse. Those that are able to avoid these actions and behaviors drastically improve their chances at a positive post-divorce life.
Leh Meriwether: Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriwether, and with me is Todd Orston. We are your co-hosts for Divorce Team Radio. A show sponsored by: The divorce and family law firm of Meriwether and Tharp. Here you learn about divorce, family law, and from time to time, even tips on how to save your marriage if it's in the middle of a crisis. Well, I'm glad to be back, Todd. It's been a while.
Todd Orston: It has been a while. And Leh, I'm happy to be here with you as well.
Leh Meriwether: Okay, good. One day we'll be back in the studio together, hopefully.
Todd Orston: Hopefully. Hopefully. Hopefully. Let's put it this way, that is the least of everyone's problems. Whether or not you and I can get into a studio.
Leh Meriwether: Yeah.
Todd Orston: If I'm going to hope for anything, let's hope that this whole COVID thing gets resolved and people start getting healthy again.
Leh Meriwether: Yep. And we can get back to normal.
Todd Orston: That's right. Well, you're never going to ...
Leh Meriwether: I'm not normal.
Todd Orston: Come on. We may have to set the bar a little lower, Leh. Thank you.
Leh Meriwether: So today, we're talking about the top ways to ruin your post divorce life. The last show we did, we did a show about the things that would set off fireworks in your marriage ... in your marriage. In your divorce action. But today we want to go ... So after you've gotten the divorce, and it's time to move on with your life. But we see time and time again, people doing certain things that pretty much ruin your post divorce life because whether it's right or wrong, it doesn't matter. We see certain behaviors that will trigger the other side to get very upset. And sometimes result in the filing of a contempt action, sometimes result in just an inability to co-parent, which makes your life miserable. And sometimes it results in you being pulled back into court. Maybe not right away, but maybe in a few years. So we wanted to talk about those top ways that you can ruin your post divorce life, so you can avoid them.
Todd Orston: Yeah, yeah. The alternative is not good. Like you were saying. Additional court cases being filed. Even the undoing of your divorce. I mean, if you've done certain things or did certain things during the marriage, and during the divorce proceedings, if you were less than truthful, that could result in the set aside of a final order. Look, there are things you should do, things you shouldn't do. There are ways you should act, ways that I would prefer you not act, because unless you are just itching to call a divorce attorney, then you need to think that your actions carry consequences and it's that saying of, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." You do something, you better expect that the reaction, if it's a questionable act, that the reaction may not be good, and that could really cause you to have a lot of unnecessary stress in your life.
Leh Meriwether: And some of the things we're going to talk about aren't necessarily questionable acts. They may seem right to you, but they can trigger a response from the other side that often is not necessary. So we're going to get into that. We're going to talk about four areas that we tend to see this. One of them is money issues, another one involves splitting up your property, your personal property, a third one involves custody issues, and lastly we're going to talk about some personal things that if you do these things, it can set you up for failure, and we don't want that.
Leh Meriwether: If you've had to go through a divorce, we don't want you to have a miserable life. We want you to set yourself up for success. So we're going to talk about all those things you need, or at least the top things that you need to avoid. Obviously in an hour show we can't go through everything, we're going to talk about some of the things that we personally have seen throughout 20 plus years of practice. All right, let's get into the money issues.
Todd Orston: I just like how you say money. That was ... The money issues. Let me jump in then. Let me start, it's actually something that should be done before the divorce is granted. And if it's not done correctly, because a lot of what we're talking about is things that are truly post divorce. Actions, inactions that occur post divorce. But I really wanted to start with something that is actually pre divorce, meaning before you get your final order.
Todd Orston: Failing to work up a correct post divorce budget and agree to terms that aren't going to create a financial hardship for you post divorce, that's a huge, huge problem. And you and I have talked about it, where we need to do a new show, and we will, about how to work up a correct and accurate budget. But the bottom line is if you fail to do that, time and time, and time again, we see people who didn't set up the right budget. They just said, "Oh, that term, I'll agree to that. That one? Sure why not." And then all of the sudden, they're getting calls, and they're like, "I don't have money for electricity. I don't know ... How did this happen?" The attorney, because clearly that wouldn't happen with us. The attorney you were working with, you didn't set a correct budget. And that could really cause problems.
Leh Meriwether: All right, so let's talk about something that we've seen some people do. We've seen some people spend money that they didn't necessarily have to, but it was because of a temporary pleasure, or something that they may have always wanted to do. An example might be, buy a brand new fancy car. Or buy a much more expensive house after your divorce. And what it often does, there's three things that can result.
Leh Meriwether: One, it could put you deeper in debt. Because we often see people coming out of a divorce, basically they've already split their assets. And depending on your case, it could've been 50/50 or 60/40 whatever it may be. So you already have less assets. Often people come out of a divorce further in debt because of attorneys fees. But buying something like a brand new fancy car that you don't necessarily need, that's just going to put you deeper in debt and create a challenge for you. Especially as you just said, Todd, if you haven't properly budgeted. If you didn't budget for a bigger car payment, you could be setting yourself up for failure. The second thing it could do, is trigger your ex to consider bringing you back to court because they think maybe you were hiding extra money.
Todd Orston: Oh yeah.
Leh Meriwether: Oh, all of the sudden ... You said you couldn't afford to pay me child support and alimony, and now you buy this?
Todd Orston: How many times have we seen that?
Leh Meriwether: Oh my gosh.
Todd Orston: Yeah, how many times have we seen that? It's, "No, I can't afford that, I need help. I need financial help. I need help." And then you drive up in a Porsche and you're handing out postcards of the new mansion you bought, and they're like, "Yeah, we'll be filing tomorrow."
Leh Meriwether: And we've gotten those calls, we get those calls.
Todd Orston: And again, fear of what the other party's going to do should not dictate how you live your life, but again, actions, consequences, all of that, you have to understand that if you start flaunting those things in the other party's face, you're asking to be brought back to court. If it's appropriate. If it's applicable. So just be very careful.
Leh Meriwether: The other thing on this topic is it can trigger your ex to consider bringing a modification. Because sometimes they think, "Well, you must've gotten a raise since we got a divorce." Yeah, going back to your point, Todd. We're not telling you to live in fear, but think through these things before you just run out and get something that's too expensive. Maybe pushing your budget. Because as soon as there's an emergency, you're going to have trouble.
Leh Meriwether: This is very data driven, this isn't just anecdotal evidence from what we've seen. It's very data driven. If you read financial planners' books like Dave Ramsey and similar people in that field, they all say a similar thing. That you should avoid these kinds of scenarios, things that could either put you in further financial trouble, or trigger someone trying to bring you back to court. Where you have to spend more money on attorneys fees. In that same realm, as far as spending money, what else have we seen, Todd? That people do that just trigger ...
Todd Orston: How about as you're finishing up a case during which you've complained about your finances, whether you're going to be able to financially survive, and then you're sending postcards to your ex from some wonderful European vacation that you're on, with sometimes a significant other. And it sort of flies in the face of "I can't afford." So fancy trips. That would be my next one.
Leh Meriwether: Yeah, not to say you can't have a nice vacation, but it's when you do it in such a way and post ... Because this is what we've seen. We've seen people take fancy trips within a year of the divorce, and they put it all over social media, and they put it as if ... This is definitely how we've had some of our clients call us. As if they were taunting them. It creates too much tension to do that. The kids are too important to do something like that.
Todd Orston: And again, if you want to go on a nice trip, that's your right. Just because you are now newly divorced doesn't mean that you can't live your life the way you want to live it. And if you want to spend a lot of your money on a trip, that's fine. Be careful. Be careful how you convey that information to your ex.
Leh Meriwether: Maybe just don't post it to social media?
Todd Orston: Yeah. Just don't rub that kind of stuff in the other party's face. Because it can actually result in a lot of unnecessary strife including, but not limited to court appearances.
Leh Meriwether: And up next, we're going to talk about more things that can ruin your post divorce life. I just wanted to let you know that if you've ever wanted to listen to this show live, you can listen at 1:00 a.m. on Monday mornings on WSB. So you can always check us out there as well.
Todd Orston: Better than counting sheep, I guess? Right?
Leh Meriwether: That's right.
Todd Orston: You can turn on the show and we'll help you fall asleep.
Leh Meriwether: There you go.
Todd Orston: I'll talk very softly.
Leh Meriwether: Welcome back to Divorce Team Radio. I'm Leh, and with me is Todd. If you want to read more about us by the way, you can always go to AtlantaDivorceTeam.com if you want to read more about the firm, Meriwether and Tharp, that is the firm that sponsors Divorce Team Radio, the divorce and family law firm. The largest divorce and family law firm in the state of Georgia, and they are also located in Florida. If you missed the first part of the show, you can always go back and listen to the show or read the transcript of the show at DivorceTeamRadio.com.
Leh Meriwether: Today we're talking about the top ways to ruin your post divorce life. So we're giving examples of things we have seen where something has happened after the divorce was granted. We get a call from our client or something along those lines, or we get a letter from the opposing attorney about something that our client may have allegedly done. And it just triggers either more litigation, or a very contentious co-parenting relationship that's just not necessary. So we're talking about things we've seen trigger the other side. Right or wrong, doesn't matter. We just want you to be aware that these things can trigger an adverse reaction that can cost you time and or money. So we almost finished up our money issues last time, and what were we talking about, Todd? Oh, fancy trips. That's where we left off.
Todd Orston: My bottom line, you want to go on a fancy trip, that's fine. But just be careful. There are too many people, we've seen too many people, I'm just going to say it like it is. And they'll just rub in the other party's face how happy they are. How well off they are. And they're, "Hey, look at me. Pictures at this place, and that place, and this country, and that country." Well, if you're that well off, then again. Maybe the door is open to a modification of support. Maybe alimony needs to be modified. Maybe child support needs to be modified.
Todd Orston: Or if you're taking all these trips and you're not exercising all of your court ordered parenting time, maybe that needs to be modified. Because clearly, that's more important than your children. So just be very careful. You have to ... You don't have to totally walk on eggshells, but you have to walk and tread carefully. Because your actions can result in a reaction.
Leh Meriwether: And we have seen pictures from social media used, of fancy vacations or stuff, or what not, used in subsequent modification cases. To say, "Judge, I hear them crying poor, but look at this fancy vacation that they were able to afford."
Todd Orston: I haven't seen it used. I've used it. I've used those photos as a grounds for modification. Where it's like, "No, I'm sorry. I'm unemployed." And then there's a picture on a cruise around the world. And it's like, "Yeah, I'm not buying that. Sorry. That's absolutely ridiculous." And oftentimes courts will agree.
Leh Meriwether: So here's sort of a practical thing. Don't become 100% dependent on the support of your spouse. Now, I understand when you first ... We're talking now to the person who is receiving child support and/or alimony. When you first get a divorce, especially if you were the stay at home parent, it takes time for you to get back out in the work force and generate money. But you should be working very quickly towards becoming independent of the support from your spouse.
Leh Meriwether: And the reason I say this, is some people will say, "Well, hey look, that could cost me alimony later on." And that sometimes is true, often it's not. But we have seen all too often someone be 100% dependent on the other party and that party either killed in a car accident, lose their job; which happened during COVID. It happened in 2009. They get arrested for something, or the worst case scenarios, I've seen where we'd given the client this advice, "Hey, do everything you can as fast as you can to get independent of your spouse."
Leh Meriwether: In this case the spouse was the payer. Was an alcoholic. And we were concerned that something may happen. He was a high income earner. Our client did everything she could to reduce her living expenses, and work to obtain gainful employment. And he subsequently killed himself. And unfortunately he had just gotten a life insurance policy and there was a two year exemption in it, so if you were to commit suicide any time in the next two years, they didn't have to pay out. So she literally went from receiving a significant amount of money every month in support, to receiving nothing. Fortunately, she set herself up so that that did not ruin her life. Well, made it uncomfortable, but didn't ruin her life.
Todd Orston: Speaking of uncomfortable, that story made me incredibly uncomfortable. And thank you for such a happy anecdote. Look. Here's the way I hit it. Sort of the angle I take is first, if you start to rely on that spouse, and you fail to just go out and try and get a job and be self supporting and all that, the flaw in the argument that if you get a job, you won't be able to get alimony, is the fact that if you are not doing anything to improve your financial situation. If you sit there and go, "Nope, I'm still making nothing. I made nothing at the time of divorce, and a year later, I'm still making nothing." The court can impute income to you.
Todd Orston: We've talked about this before, but imputation, it's basically a fiction. It's the court saying, "Even though you're not making money, you have the ability to be out there working and the only reason you're not is not because you can't find a job, it's because you're not making the effort. And therefore, we're going to pretend that you're making that money, and we're going to set your income at that level. And set support based on your income level." So the court can impute income if you're just electing not to go out and work.
Todd Orston: Secondly, I always tell people that usually, unless you're talking about the other spouse having a very very high income level, usually the amount of money that you're going to make from working, unless it's minimum wage, and even then, that could be the case, the amount of money you'll make from working, usually will exceed the amount you would get from alimony. So I usually tell people, especially if you're starting a case, do you need to race out there and get a job? You don't need to race out there. But you need to be thinking about what your plan is, and especially post divorce, you need to be thinking in terms of, "How can I get financially on my feet?" Because usually financially speaking, it's going to benefit you more to have a job and have that income than just rely on the usually lesser amount of support that you're getting.
Leh Meriwether: And there's some states by the way that have a presumption if it's a short term marriage, there's a presumption against alimony. So you may not necessarily have to run out and get a job in certain circumstances, but there may be some circumstances that you really do need to rush out there and get a job. Because when the divorce is over, the court does not have to award any alimony. So something to keep in mind.
Leh Meriwether: All right, so the last thing in this section about money issues is missing deadlines that are set out in your final judgment or settlement agreement. You don't want to miss deadlines because that can cause you to be pulled back into court or let's say you have so many days to withdraw money from an IRA, or have someone withdraw money from an IRA, and they don't do it, and you don't follow up on it. Well, we've seen people like 20 years later realize, "Oh, I never got my money from my IRA." And so they bring the other person back to court, because they didn't give up that money. Just because they didn't exercise it within a certain time period didn't mean they gave it up.
Leh Meriwether: And they come after the person 20 years later, and they're like, "That retirement account's gone. I retired and I spent it." So both people are now in trouble. The person who doesn't have the money to pay it, so he or she could be thrown in jail for not doing that, but the other person's still not getting it because the money's gone.
Todd Orston: That's right. Often times courts will say, "I don't know what you want me to do. The money is gone. So I can punish, but getting you paid, getting the other party to make you whole, it's just not possible." Usually what I tell people is again, proactive versus reactive. And don't procrastinate. Get out there, if you have an obligation, get it taken care of. If you don't do it pretty quickly, whatever that obligation is, okay, there's a good chance you'll just put it to the side, you'll forget about it, and that causes major problems. If you have that obligation, get out there, take care of it.
Todd Orston: If you can't, if you find yourself in a position where you know you're going to miss a deadline, refinancing a house a good example. If you have six months to refinance, you better have evidence that you can then ahead of time pass onto the other party that you've tried. You've contacted banks, you've filled out applications and submitted them to the banks, and you've been rejected. Where it says, "You must do X." If you can't do that for some legitimate reason, don't just allow the deadline to pass. You need to be proactive and communicate that to the other party, hopefully to avoid any kind of a court action being filed against you.
Leh Meriwether: When we come back, we're going to talk about ... We've wrapped up this section. We're going to talk about custody issues, give an example of what happened with personal property. When somebody came over to pick up their stuff. There was a picture, life sized picture of them on the wall with bullet holes in the head of the person. We'll talk about that when we come back.
Todd Orston: Hey everyone, you're listening to our podcast. But you have alternatives. You have choices. You can listen to us live also at 1:00 a.m. on Monday morning, on WSB.
Leh Meriwether: If you're enjoying the show, we would love it if you could go rate us in iTunes or wherever you may be listening to it. Give us a five star rating and tell us why you like the show.
Leh Meriwether: Welcome back to Divorce Team Radio, this is Leh and Todd. And today we're talking about the top ways to ruin your post divorce life. If you want to go back and listen to this episode or previous episodes, please check out DivorceTeamRadio.com. Okay, we're halfway through the show and we still have more stuff to get to, so let's get into it. Quit talking Todd.
Todd Orston: I'm sorry. I apologize.
Leh Meriwether: All right, so getting that, in the last segment I left off with a story about a personal property ... If you want to avoid ruining your post divorce life, don't put up a life sized picture of your spouse in the garage and fill it full of bullet holes for them to see when they come over to your house. To pick up their stuff.
Todd Orston: To be clear, even if it's not a life sized picture, any size picture with bullet holes is probably frowned upon. I would say. Yeah.
Leh Meriwether: Oh my goodness, gracious. There were no kids, and that really caused the whole case to just keep getting dragged out and everybody spent a lot of money on attorneys fees and it wasn't necessary. But we don't want to spend too much time on personal property. I just wanted to hit a couple points.
Leh Meriwether: If you're the one moving out of the house, don't leave your stuff over there. Just get it out. Set up a time that you mutually agree to. It really should be in the settlement agreement. That you'll go get your stuff out. If you don't have a new house yet, I really don't like the storage spaces that much, but I think it's worth it to get all your personal items, go ahead and get them out of the home. The ones you've agreed to, and put them in a storage space to have your own place. It just avoids conflict.
Todd Orston: We've seen so much conflict, post divorce conflict based on that. Sometimes the property that you left over there disappears and obviously you're angry about that. And that could result in court action. Or, the property left over there gets destroyed or damaged. And that creates problems. The bottom line is get it out of there. And that way, very quickly after the case is finalized, if there's a problem, it's not something that was six months ago where it's like, "Judge, something is missing." Then the judge is like, "Well, if it was that important to you ... Really? Six months later you're coming?" Get in there, get the property out, and that way if there's a problem, you can deal with it.
Leh Meriwether: And here's the other thing. If you're the one staying in the home, don't trash your ex's personal items before they pick them up. If you had a contentious divorce, I might even recommend, like if you were to move them to a room of the house for them to get, videotape it. Get evidence. Because they may accuse you of damaging it. But at the end of the day, do everything in your power to avoid trashing somebody else's personal items. Because that's just going to lead to problems down the road. Especially if you have children. And speaking of children.
Todd Orston: We're going to jump into custody now.
Leh Meriwether: Yeah.
Todd Orston: I was just going to say yeah. Very quickly, if you think that damaging someone's personal property or the house isn't going to result in a case, I've brought those cases before. Attorneys bring those cases all the time. And the outcome often times if the proof is there, if the evidence is there to show you've damaged something, get ready to write a check. Get ready to basically ... If you damaged a wardrobe belonging to your ex, they're going to go in with pictures of all the damaged clothes, and guess what? You're going to be writing a check to replace that wardrobe. So just understand when you're that angry and you're thinking, I'm going to do this, just understand that very likely, it's going to cost you. Okay, now we can get into custody.
Leh Meriwether: All right, we have a bunch that are pretty self explanatory. But you would think that ... What we have learned is common sense does not always equal common action. So we're going to go through the custody issues we see that can ruin your post divorce life and set you up for failure and misery. Let's go through, I don't want to say too quickly, but number one.
Todd Orston: Oh wait, now hold on. Let me jump in with a few that I added, okay? Or at least I moved them around. So the numbering you have may not be the same as mine. But let's deal first with the interference with visitation and contact. Okay?
Leh Meriwether: Okay.
Todd Orston: Because post divorce, understand that at that point, you're catching your breath, you've gone through the case. Interfering with the other party's ability to have contact with, and that could be telephone contact, video contact, or in person contact, meaning visitation of parenting time. You have to try and avoid that at all costs. Because obviously. I don't even need to say this. Anyone listening probably already recognizes many of the contempt cases that are filed, that are related to custody have to do with some level or some type of interference with a court ordered contact provision.
Leh Meriwether: Mm-hmm.
Todd Orston: And here's this, as a VID sort of approach to this conversation, be very careful also. There are a lot of people out there concerned about COVID, understandably. But COVID does not become and should never become just a blanket excuse for interfering with the other parties to have contact, all right? In other words, if the other party is a recluse, is in their home, not having contact, very concerned, taking precautions, and you're like, "Nope, COVID. You don't get to see the kids." That's not going to go over well, and ultimately you'll get brought before a judge and the judge is probably going to recognize that. And could sanction you.
Todd Orston: If the other party's out partying and having barbecues at their house every other weekend, and engaging in what one could deem to be dangerous or potentially reckless behavior when it comes to COVID, then fine. Meaning, I'm not saying it's okay to interfere, but at least you have a justification. So be very careful. Understand, I guess this is my point, if you're going to interfere with the other party's ability to have contact, you better have a really really good reason. Because that's the kind of case that will very quickly get you brought back before a judge and you better be able to explain to the judge why you did what you did.
Leh Meriwether: And if you can't, you risk losing custody. If you're the primary custodian. If this is not a case of ... Well, even in a case of 50/50 custody.
Todd Orston: right.
Leh Meriwether: If you do something to interfere with the other person, you could lose that 50/50 custody and the other person could obtain primary custody. I was going to say rapid fire some of these.
Todd Orston: Yeah, let's do it.
Leh Meriwether: All right. Number one, were there any other that you had added to the list?
Todd Orston: Two. Two. So encouraging the child to not have contact with the other parent. It's the line of, what am I supposed to do? Force my child? Force my child to call? Force my child to go on a visit? I had a case once where it was so egregious that the mother at the beginning of a parenting time would get in her car and leave the three kids home alone and the three kids would just not come to the door. They would literally be in a window, looking out at the father, ringing the doorbell, and they would not come out. And her defense was, "Well, I wasn't there. What am I supposed to do? Force them to come out? They didn't want to go, and I didn't want to force them?" Obviously that's not appropriate.
Todd Orston: The other one that I would throw into the mix, would be inviting a significant other that you may or may not have committed adultery with during the divorce, or prior to the divorce, to children's activities.
Leh Meriwether: If you said, "Oh, they're just a friend."
Todd Orston: Yeah, either you're crazy, I have been faithful, I have no idea who that person is. And the next thing you know, two days later they're at a ballet recital for your daughter.
Leh Meriwether: Oh.
Todd Orston: Yeah. Yep. I've seen that and it's ... I don't know why, but it's created some problems. That was sarcasm by the way.
Leh Meriwether: Okay. Did you hit them all.
Todd Orston: Yep.
Leh Meriwether: And for the audience, just so you know, as we said at the very beginning of the show, we're not in the same room. So Todd added some to the list, and he didn't have a chance to get them to me.
Todd Orston: My fault.
Leh Meriwether: If it sounds like we don't know what we're talking about, [inaudible 00:31:58] no, I'm just kidding. All right, here's one. Have your boyfriend or girlfriend sleep over at the house when the kids are there. We've seen that.
Todd Orston: They love it. They absolutely ... perfect. Perfect. If you want to go to court.
Leh Meriwether: And along the same lines, have your boyfriend or girlfriend move into your home right away, right after the divorce. Those things trigger. And even with the other person ... Because we've seen things where the other person knew about the significant other and so they thought it was okay to have them move in. But they were just keeping calm to keep the costs of the divorce low. And then you do that and have them move in. You made an assumption, and it just sets off the other side. And makes the co-parenting extremely difficult.
Todd Orston: And that may be where you are in your life. And in that relationship with that new person, and I don't think either of us is saying, "Don't move on with your life." But again, it's not just what you do, it's how you do it.
Leh Meriwether: Yep. And up next, we'll continue to break down the custody issues that when you do these things, they can ruin your post divorce life. I just wanted to let you know that if you ever wanted to listen to this show live, you can listen at 1:00 a.m. on Monday mornings on WSB. So you can always check us out there as well.
Todd Orston: Better than counting sheep, I guess, right?
Leh Meriwether: That's right.
Todd Orston: You can turn on the show and we'll help you fall asleep.
Leh Meriwether: There you go.
Todd Orston: I'll talk very softly.
Leh Meriwether: Welcome back to Divorce Team Radio, this is Leh and Todd from Divorce Team. We are your co-hosts. And we are talking about top ways to ruin your post divorce life. If you want to read more about this show, you can always go to DivorceTeamRadio.com. Well, this is the last segment, Todd. And we've got a bunch more ways that you can ruin your post divorce life that we need to hit real quick.
Todd Orston: Yes. I was practicing being very short and to the point. Yes. Let's go. Let's do it. Let's hit it.
Leh Meriwether: Let's do it. So we're going to go rapid fire. Hook up with your high school sweetheart you reunited with on Facebook during your divorce.
Todd Orston: And text your ex spouse to propose a double date.
Leh Meriwether: You think we're kidding. Having a revolving door of men or women or both.
Todd Orston: I've got to tell you, I think putting a double door on your house, or a revolving door is sort of ingenious. I think the commitment to non commitment there is epic. Yeah, engaging in that behavior it's going to create some problems.
Leh Meriwether: Right.
Todd Orston: How about getting remarried right away.
Leh Meriwether: Oh yeah. And there's actually a lot of data, so go way beyond, and I'm going to be real quick here. Going beyond just the upsetting the other side, there's actually a lot of data out there that if you rush into another marriage, that you are setting yourself up for that marriage to fail as well. There is a lot of data out there. Some people have researched this issue. The divorce rates for those type of marriages are very high. Higher than the first divorce.
Leh Meriwether: And the problem is, if you don't take the time to analyze what got you to where you were in your previous marriage, because everybody has a certain level of contribution. Sometimes it's 50%, sometimes it's 60%. It could be as low as 10%. But if you don't analyze that 10%, maybe you never should've married the person to begin with. And you were a perfect spouse during the ... Which we've seen happen. You were a perfect spouse, you were everything you could possibly be, but you just never should've married this person in the beginning.
Leh Meriwether: If you jump into that next relationship without determining, "How did I miss this?" We've seen it where you just wind up marrying the same person again. So take your time, we'll get into this a little bit later too. Take your time, to analyze what got you to where you are. Because then you will have a higher likelihood of the next spouse you marry, will truly be till death do you part.
Todd Orston: And if you do believe you've made the right choice, and all of that. Again, it's not what you do, it's how you do it. Incorporating children into the process of getting remarried and all that. Understand, and most people already know this. It's going to trigger the other party. So communicating in a healthy way about it, as opposed to lying about the marriage, and saying, "Yeah, we need the kids this weekend, can we have them?" And then all of the sudden there's all sorts of posts of the children at a wedding and all that. I've seen that trigger people and it becomes a real real problem. And it's not contemptible. That's not a contemptible act. But it's definitely an act that's going to make your post divorce life more difficult.
Leh Meriwether: Yep. All right. And along that same lines, refusing to communicate with your ex. About all kinds of issues. Particularly about the kids though.
Todd Orston: And that could be contemptible. Or if not contemptible, it could open the door to a modification. That failure to cooperate. Let's say it's a failure to cooperate on property division. And like we were talking about before, removing stuff from the house. That could rise to the level of contemptible behavior. When it comes to children and failure to communicate, that shows a lack of good co-parenting skills. And that could result, if it's egregious enough, and regular enough, it could result in a modification being filed.
Leh Meriwether: Yep. So the next thing is playing the blame game. So if you ... And I'm going to tie this with the other one, a refusal to forgive. Forgiveness is often more for you, than it is for the other side. And forgiveness isn't about the other side. Forgiveness is never something that someone can earn, or even deserves, but if you continue to blame the other person, and can't forgive them, you're going to be miserable. And we see it. How many times have we met someone that they explain their divorce, they're like, "Wow, so was your divorce just ... Did you just get divorced like last month?" They're like, "Oh no, it was 20 years ago."
Todd Orston: Yeah, it's like, "Time to move on." But sometimes it's hard for people to move on. And that's not going to help you. It's only going to create more problems.
Leh Meriwether: All right. So badmouthing your ex on social media or in public.
Todd Orston: My previous clients love when that happens. Again, more sarcasm. Sorry.
Leh Meriwether: It hurts your kids on multiple fronts. It not only will cause you to be dragged back in court sometimes, but it gets back to the kids.
Todd Orston: I've seen, as listeners can probably imagine, you and I have seen and heard of many situations. I mean, I had some where it was so bad, I mean literally videos of the dad with his girlfriend trying to convince a child to call the girlfriend, mommy. Just stuff where it's like, "You've got to be kidding me." I couldn't have scripted something more horrible. And so understand, by doing that kind of stuff, I don't know how, but let's say it's making you feel better inside that you are somehow retaliating. But what you're doing is just basically making sure that that relationship, that co-parenting relationship is going to be a sour one.
Leh Meriwether: And along those lines, another thing that can ruin your post divorce life is disregarding or ignoring your childrens' feelings about the situation or your ex. Maybe you are very upset with your ex, and you may have every reason to be so, but your children, they look at your ex as either their mother or their father, and they're more likely to forgive them. Because it didn't happen to them. And if you ignore their feelings, what can happen is later on they start to resent you. And that can either result in a change in custody, where the other party gets primary custody.
Leh Meriwether: Or, when you get older, when they get older, I should say and it's time for the grandkids to come visit you, they may not come visit you. And we've seen that time and time again. Don't disregard your childrens' feelings.
Todd Orston: And also, don't refuse to spend time with and visit with your kids out of some sense of anger you have with the other parent. Your children need you, all right? We've seen sometimes where it's like people distance themselves because they're so caught up in their own anger, and the only ones that are really being hurt at that point are the kids.
Leh Meriwether: Yep.
Todd Orston: So you need to put that anger aside. The last one I would say, regarding custody, a failure to be flexible with the other parent. It can't be a one way road. If the other party is always asking for accommodations and you say okay, and you ask for one, and they're like, "Go fly a kite." Well, then obviously that's a problem, and I'm not saying you should still keep giving, giving, giving, without getting something in return. But be open to accommodating. And be reasonable. And that's going to create a better co-parenting relationship.
Leh Meriwether: Yep. And so lastly, is a personal section. I wish we had a little more time for this, because it's just as important. But there's several points we're not going to have a chance to get to, so I'm going to focus on I think some of the most important parts. Don't avoid counseling. You've just been through a really ... for everybody I know that's been through a divorce, it's a trauma. And counseling is so powerful. It can help you get through the trauma. It can help check you, to make sure you're not doing any of these other things we've been talking about on the custody side. Because it's really easy to slip into the blame game. Especially if the other person, there's a lot of blame to go around on the other side. But your children don't need to hear that.
Leh Meriwether: So by you getting into counseling, it can help you with your co-parenting relationship. It can help to make sure you have a long lasting relationship with your children. It can help you avoid making poor decisions. Because this all ties into all the other ones, that's why it's last. Sometimes we rush out and we buy something that we really don't need, because we want it, because we think it will make us feel better. And it doesn't. And then it winds up having other long term negative impacts. Because now you're financially struggling because you got into further debt. Don't isolate yourself from positive married friends. And don't compare your divorce to everyone else without knowing the background.
Todd Orston: That's a mistake during the divorce, after the divorce, because usually it's not an apples to apples comparison. The other party, there's different circumstances that resulted in a different outcome in the divorce. And so comparing yourself and your situation, it just doesn't work.
Leh Meriwether: Hey everyone, that pretty much wraps up this show, we hope that you can get some great takeaways from this, so you don't ruin your post divorce life. Thanks so much for listening.