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Episode 51 - An Interview with Audrey Silcox about her online Divorce Tool Box

Episode 51 - An Interview with Audrey Silcox about her online Divorce Tool Box Image

11/20/2018 8:59 am

Audrey Silcox is the creator of Divorce Tool Box. Audrey is a counselor, Certified Divorce and Family Mediator, and divorce educator who has worked with divorcing couples since 1996. We interviewed her about her on line resource and how Divorce Tool Box helps people make good decisions during a stressful and complicated divorce process. She explains how it is designed to compliment the advice that your lawyer gives you.

Transcript

Todd:                    Over the last three shows, we've sort of hit on a theme, setting yourself up for success in a divorce. Now, I have to begin by, again, defining what we mean by success. First of all, success, true success would be somehow, some way, try and fix what's broken, try to stay married. But if that's not possible, and if you can't save the marriage, then success to us means getting a divorce without incurring significant monetary and emotional costs.

                                So this theme, we started three shows ago about preparing an exit strategy, things to think about as you're heading into a divorce. We then talked about, okay, if you're going to be going down that path, how are you going to discuss the divorce, the fact that you're going to go through this with your spouse? Then we also talked about what may be the most important, how to discuss a divorce with children, how to break that news to them. Well, we're going to continue with that theme, and today we're going to talk about a divorce toolbox. Leh, before you get all excited with all your woodworking talk, we're not talking about jointers and planers and all the other woodworking tools, right.

Leh:                       Aw, man.

Todd:                    We're talking about tools that you can use that will help you understand the process and navigate through the process.

Leh:                       Well, I can't wait to break this down. Hey everyone, welcome, I'm Leh Merryweather, and with em is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Merryweather and Tharp. You're listening to Merryweather and Tharp radio on News Radio 106.7. Here you will learn about divorce, family law, tips on how to save your marriage if it's in the middle of a crisis, and from time to time, even tips on how to take your marriage to the next level. If you want to learn more about us, you can always call or visit us online, Atlantadivorceteam.com.

                                Well Todd, you know, the nice thing about the internet is that there are more and more tools out there to help people. Now the scary thing is some of those tools aren't so good. I know one thing that we've used before is Our Family Wizard, it's just one example of a lot of co parenting tools that people are using now, it's a post divorce tool that they can use to set up calendars for the kids, and share information and medical information, and it's some sort of a neutral site. There's other products out there, that's just the one that pops to mind.

Todd:                    Yeah, hundreds of applications launch probably every day, if not even more than that. There are fantastic tools, there are not fantastic tools. We're constantly looking for tools that are helpful. You use, as an example, My Family Wizard, it's a great tool. It's a tool that helps parents in a divorce or after a divorce communicate and basically navigate this process and even co parent after the divorce is finalized. So these types of tools are out there, but sometimes people just don't know about them. That brings us to today's show.

Leh:                       Yes. So today, I was ... So I'm going to go back a few months, I got a call a few months from this lovely woman, her name is Audrey Silcox, and she had developed this amazing tool called Divorce Toolbox. She called because she thought that our philosophy at Merryweather and Tharp, very closely mirrored her philosophy, what she was trying to do. She was trying to create something that would compliment what lawyers are already doing, add to what we're already doing. So, I am so happy to have met her, we've had a chance to start looking at it, analyzing it, and when we really got into the nuts and bolts of what was in the toolbox, or the tools in the toolbox, we just decided that, hey look, we've got to talk about this on the show, especially during this time period when we're talking about the theme being setting yourself up for success.

Todd:                    Leh, this all sounds great, if only she was here to talk to us.

Leh:                       Well, I've got some good news for you. Today's your lucky day.

Todd:                    Oh, get out of here. Is it my birthday?

Leh:                       Is it your birthday? Well, surprise, for your birthday, I have Audrey Silcox on the phone.

Todd:                    You shouldn't have. No, you should have, actually.

Leh:                       I did.

Todd:                    Fantastic.

Leh:                       Audrey, are you there?

Audrey:                Hi Leh and Todd, how are you?

Leh:                       Great, hey, thanks so much for coming on the show.

Audrey:                Well thank y'all so much for inviting me to be a part of your program today.

Leh:                       Well, you know, when we talked a couple of months ago, I think it was two months ago, you know, one of the things that really drew me in before I even saw the product was your, you know, your background and your story. Do you mind sharing with the listeners some of your background? Like, what sort of expertise do you have that put you in a place where you could develop this kind of tool?

Audrey:                Sure. I'd be glad to share with you a little bit about myself and more about Divorce Toolbox. A little bit about me, I have degrees in psychology and counseling. I'm a certified divorce and family mediator, a certified professional coach, and I've worked 20 years in the courts teaching co parenting classes. I have a huge passion for helping families who are facing divorce, and by using my degrees and my experience in psychology and counseling, I can help with the emotional and psychological aspects of divorce, I can assist with helping individuals identify what they need from their divorce, and learn the art of compromise from that of being a mediator, and most of all, with the years of working int he co parenting aspects in the courts, I've become the voice of the most innocent in the divorce, and that's the children. I can help parents learn what their children need now, and in the future, to minimize the negative effects of divorce.

Leh:                       Awesome. Hey, you know, one of the things that really made me interested in this product was your story. Sort of like, the why behind Divorce Toolbox. Do you mind sharing that with us?

Audrey:                Yeah. The why is very important. I've walked in your client's shoes personally. I've face divorce, and it was more challenging than anything I could have ever imagined. I divorced before I became a mediator, and this is the reason why I became one. I was faced with the need to make major life decisions with what seemed to be little information out there. I wondered where to start, and how to spend the little bit of money that I did have wisely, and how to make good decisions and insist on that, for me, it was very hard to understand. My emotions were just all over the place. Concentration, just being able to think through a decision, it became a difficult task. I knew that those decisions that I was making is going to affect my future. It was also going to affect my children's future.

                                So I recognized first hand, and then later, years of being a mediator and working with families, that without the right tools, that damage can occur in families. There needed to be a guide, some kind of tools, per se, to assist through this process, so people could learn what to expect through the divorce process. How do we understand what goes on in this process? Then therefore, make better and informed decisions. So, back in the day, when I was growing up, we called them kind of like [inaudible 00:07:58]. So, classmates explained something that was difficult, so I got better insight so I could make and understand the subject knowledgeably. So Divorce Toolbox is just like the classmates from back in the day, it's a solution. It offers tools for guidance throughout the divorce journey.

Todd:                    Absolutely. Going back, Leh, to what you said in terms of us having similar philosophies. We have done a tremendous amount on our website and other ways to try and give people information. But we also recognize that just because it's clear to us, doesn't mean that everybody who goes onto our website, or everyone who looks online to try to get information fully understand what it is they're reading. So again, finding tools that can really bring things down to a more basic level, is extremely powerful.

Leh:                       Yeah, Audrey, I know that, I mean, this is pretty powerful combination. You've got counseling, co parenting coordination, mediation, and you're a divorce survivor yourself, and you're able to bring all those things together to develop this divorce toolbox. How long did it take for you to build Divorce Toolbox?

Audrey:                I've been working on it for many years. I've started and then of course life happens, and I'd have to shelve the idea for a while. Bu that allowed me to get more experience under my belt. Personally, being able to, myself, learn what it takes to have children and be a co parent myself, and then working with other individuals and families to know what their struggles are. So it is a unique perspective and place format, because I'm able to see all angles of what a divorce brings, and then what do individuals need to be able to help with the stress that comes about with all of this? How to put it in perspective? How do I reasonably move forward through something that I've never been through before? So, it's taken a while, but it's okay. I've been able to gain experience and put more into Divorce Toolbox to where it's a really, like you said, a really great tool to be able to offer.

Leh:                       You know, I would be kind of worried if you said, well, I threw it together last weekend.

Todd:                    I don't know if I would be worried or incredibly impressed. No, it's fantastic, and I definitely, I'm happy on the show, I look forward to diving in and really talking about a lot of the content on the application.

Leh:                       Everyone, you don't want to go away. When we come back, we're going to dive into, give you just a sampling of what's in Divorce Toolbox, so that you can understand how it can help set you up for success. From our perspective, we can talk to you from the lawyer perspective. But from this, from Divorce Toolbox, it's going to get into a different perspective to set you up for success.

                                Todd, when I looked at Divorce Toolbox-

Todd:                    Let me guess, you got excited.

Leh:                       I got excited. I always get excited. Well, let's put it this way. If I don't get excited, it doesn't come on the show.

Todd:                    Well, there you go. All right. There.

Leh:                       Hey everyone, I'm Leh Merryweather, and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Merryweather and Tharp. You're listening to Merryweather and Tharp radio on News Radio 106.7. If you want to learn more about us, you can always call or visit us online at atlantadivorceteam.com. But today, you're not learning about us, you're learning about Divorce Toolbox, and something that Audrey Silcox has put together for anyone that's unfortunately confronted the situation where they're facing a divorce. In the last segment, we heard a little bit about Audrey's story, about the expertise that she's brought to the table to build this Divorce Toolbox, and her why. What drove her to put something like this together. I want to take a moment, you brought up when we were off air, Todd brought a good point that, Audrey, we need to ask you, what is Divorce Toolbox? Well, first off, let me say, how do people find Divorce Toolbox?

Audrey:                That's a good question. You can find Divorce Toolbox by going online to www.divorcetoolbox.com. You want em to share a little bit about Divorce Toolbox?

Todd:                    Yeah, I mean, let's start just by, paint a picture for listeners, what is it? If somebody goes to that website, and they are seeking the help that you offer, what's it going to look like? What kind of tools, before we get into the specific content, what kind of tools are there for people to use in order to educate themselves and hopefully get information they need as they go through this kind of a process?

Audrey:                Okay, Todd. Divorce Toolbox is a web based video series that's developed for those with children and those without. There's eight sessions for both families that do have children, and there's four sessions for those that do not have children. It's designed to help men and women navigate the emotional, financial, and child related challenges of divorce. I offered a 60 day subscription, so it helps an individual keep moving, so when you are, whoever their legal professional is ready, then they're ready to go. Since it's video series, it allows them to be able to use a lot of their sense. They can see, hear, what we're talking about, so it's auditory. That means a lot. I'm a person that, I need to listen to what you're saying, but I also need to see things. So it offers a lot of that for individuals, and how they best learn. The videos are designed to help individuals discover important topics to consider during divorce, while they're keeping the long term consequences of their decisions in focus. Then we offer a divorce action template, a divorce action plan template, per se.

                                So, it gives them topics, and then it helps them to be able to think about the long term consequences. Then at the very end, we give them an action plan template to record what they have identified as important to them, throughout the videos. So they'll learn about approaches to dividing their assets, liabilities, and personal property, what to expect through the divorce process, and how to manage the responsibilities of just everyday life. They also learn about decisions regarding their children's care, and crafting a co parenting plan that addresses their needs now, whether their child is five and then maybe ten years later down the road, what do I need to consider? But the most important, they can enter the legal arena with a lot of answers when they come to you guys, and they can kind of know what's important to them. They'll have that action plan ready to service a foundation for future decisions.

Todd:                    So, I had a good question for you, how much is the cost for that 60 day subscription service?

Audrey:                It's 129. It's $129. You know, that's, I think that's a pretty fair cost. What do you guys think?

Leh:                       I think it's fantastic. I've looked through the content-

Todd:                    Yeah, you're getting hours of video, basically it's almost like interviews ... It would be the equivalent of having hours and hours of face time with an attorney, asking questions, being able to get your questions answered. For 129, I can tell you, you're not going to meet with any attorney or therapist and get that many hours of information, for 129.

Leh:                       Right. What's great about it is it's telling you, here's the questions ... A lot of times, the information you get is only as good as the questions you ask. So one of the nice things I like about Divorce Toolbox is it asks a lot of, tells you to ask a lot of really good questions. So have you thought about this, have you thought about, we'll get into that in a little bit. I do want to touch base, give people a little taste of what's in there, so that they know that they're getting something great.

                                But, I just want people to understand it forces you to answer certain questions that maybe you didn't know you should be asking. That is very powerful in and of itself because, here's the other thing, if you go meet with a lawyer, this is the reason, this is going back to the mirroring our same philosophy. The reason we built out a website that's like 5,000 pages, is so that people had information to come to our office and ask us really good questions, so that we could give them the best, get the best bang for their buck, we give them the best information we possibly can in those meetings with them. So this is what Divorce Toolbox does. It's almost like it asks really good questions for people to process, so when they come to talk to their lawyer, they're like, hey, let's talk about these things.

Todd:                    Hold on one second. It gives people the tools they need to be successful? I just picked up on that. That is, that's clever. And helpful. Clever and helpful. So, that's ... All right. So why don't we jump in, and let's start talking about the actual content.

Leh:                       Okay.

Todd:                    Short show, and a lot of information. So I really want, I know we really want people to understand what Divorce Toolbox can offer, and the best way to do that is now that we understand, sort of, the backstory, let's talk about the actual content. So sessions, you said that it's divided into separate sessions. So let's start with what I'll refer to as session one. Okay, what is session one in the program?

Audrey:                You want me to jump in right there, Todd?

Todd:                    Absolutely, that was for you. Tag, you're it.

Audrey:                I'm it. Session one, you know, being a counselor, wearing that hat and that particular thing, and when I developed Divorce Toolbox, basically, you need to focus on yourself before you move forward, because until you kind of normalize your situation, until everything starts making sense for yourself, and you get yourself kind of under control, it's hard to move forward, logically, and to make sense out of things until we can normalize our situation. So, I felt like the first thing we needed to do in Divorce Toolbox is to talk about you, focus on you, the individual who is contemplating or facing going through divorce. So that's the name and the topic of session one, is focus on you.

Leh:                       You know, what I liked starting off there, because, what I really got out of this session, and people need to watch it, because there's a lot of details. I'm just going to give a broad overview. But, the two things that jumped out of this is a reminder that emotion will take over, and so you've got to be aware that this is the most, second most stressful thing that anybody can experience, followed by number one, I think, is the death of a loved one. So because this is a death of your marriage. So you have to sort of recognize that, and understand your emotional state, or the states that you could be going through.

                                'Cause Audrey, one of the things I liked about it was talking about the different stages of grief, 'cause a lot of people don't think about that they might be grieving a death. Well, I'm just getting a divorce, well, no, that's a death of your marriage, and understanding, not only your own personal stages of grief you could be going through, but understanding your spouse's stages of grief, because that's one of the things we talked about a couple of weeks ago with a counselor. When you go sit down with your spouse for the first time to talk to them about the divorce, they may get upset, they may get angry, 'cause you may have been thinking about a divorce for a while, but they haven't.

Todd:                    Yeah, you may take offense by their behavior, but if you just stop for a minute and sort of try and put yourself in their shoes and think of it from their point of view, it may explain some behavior, it may explain why they're doing what they're doing, or saying what they're saying. Hopefully that can ratchet down the emotion that can really turn what should be a simple case into a much more complicated one.

Leh:                       Yeah. So Audrey, I love that part about breaking that down. Then the second thing I really loved about that was, and this is something people lose sight of too, is your performance at work. That there's a segment in here talking about how you should set up some ground rules on how you deal with divorce, so it doesn't impact your work and you get fired. So Audrey, that was great.

Audrey:                Yeah, the biggest thing is, you know, stress is stress. So what we take from our home, we take it into our workplace. If we're not careful, we allow that to take part, take over, and we become less productive at work. It impedes the ability for us to be able to be a functional employee. So we have to be mindful to put divorce in its place at an appropriate time, and that's not at work, not during our work hours.

Leh:                       I love that. You know, the other component of that too was that it gave me a different perspective, because I think about people being organized and prepared to meet with their lawyer, because they don't want to spend a whole lot of money in attorney's fees. But you gave it a different perspective that I really liked was, it's not only you're paying your lawyer, but you're losing time from work. So, it's important to get organized and follow, use the tools in the toolbox. Hey, and up next, we are going to continue to dive into these tools that can really help set you up for success.

                                This is really good stuff, Todd, that we're going through. What a way to sort of cap this series that we've had, really, about getting yourself ready for your divorce, is talking about this online tool, Divorce Toolbox. Hey everyone, I'm Leh Merryweather, and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Merryweather and Tharp. You're listening to Merryweather and Tharp radio on News Radio 106.7. If you want to learn more about us, you can always call or visit us online at atlantadivorceteam.com. But today, you're learning all about divorcetoolbox.com, which has been created by Audrey Silcox, who is a licensed counselor, co parenting coordinator, co parenting counselor, a registered mediator, and she is ... I'm sure I'm leaving some stuff out. She has put together, from her 20 years of experience and her own divorce story, put together this amazing tool called Divorce Toolbox. Audrey, thanks so much for coming on the show, again.

Audrey:                Thank you so much for inviting me. I've enjoyed it so far.

Leh:                       Great. Well, we've been going through the different segments, and well, we just started with session one.

Todd:                    Yeah, so we're going to try to speed things up a little bit. So, Audrey, session two, obviously, as attorneys, this is very important to us because when you really get down to the nuts and bolts of it, there's the emotional side, but then there's the non emotional business side, what I'm going to refer to, business side of a divorce, assets and liabilities. That's what session two is about, I love it, because it really hits a lot of the things that we've done shows on. We've talked at length, not just with clients and also on the radio, but checking your bank statements, figuring out your budget, creating an inventory with pictures and videos, things like that. Most important for me is, it's something that I tell people all the time, that you have to treat the divorce like, or the marriage at that point, like a business. You have to remove the emotion. Emotion is what will take a simple matter and make it extremely complex, and make you spend way more money than you want to. So, session two really resonates with me.

Audrey:                Yeah, you're right. You've got to be able to place your emotions at bay, you have to put them aside and just get down to the nuts and bolts of what do we have, what do we owe, how do we divide things in an appropriate manner, and take the emotions out, because it can really, like you said, prolong things, and really add up in expensive legal fees.

Leh:                       You know, the other thing, I know we're trying to move quick, but I want to point out that in this session, what's so nice about it is you go into some detail that we can't always go into when you're meeting with a lawyer, maybe for cost reasons. I know that a lot of times for time reasons you only set up an hour with them, a lot of times, that's how long the meetings are unless you're preparing for a big trial or mediation. But, there's a lot of detail here that you put in this session so that you get people thinking again, making sure they're correctly planning their budget.

Todd:                    Yeah, very quickly, what I'm going to say, the way I think of it is it's concentrated information.

Leh:                       Yeah.

Todd:                    It may take countless meetings with a therapist, countless meetings with an attorney to get all of this concentrated information as it relates to your case. What's great about the toolbox is that it takes all those important topics, and all that great information, and it concentrates it. So within these videos, it's a tremendous amount of information.

Leh:                       Yeah. Audrey, do you remember, is there any specific thing you wanted to add into this?

Audrey:                As far as the assets and liabilities?

Leh:                       Yeah.

Audrey:                Yeah. The biggest thing is like you said, treating it as a business. You're right, there's just so much information when people are trying to gather their information so they can correctly give you, you know, what do they have and what do they owe. It takes a lot of gathering of information that you guys need for them. So, it's hard to do on your own. So Divorce Toolbox helps them to identify what they need to gather, and how do they need to start thinking so that they can decide what they would like to propose for a solution for the assets and liabilities. So it is a wealth of information, and we just give you a step by step guide to help you to assimilate that information so that when they're ready to meet with you, they're ready to work.

Leh:                       Yeah. The other thing I like about it is that each session, it was so long as far as if you looked at the actual time on it. But it took me longer to go through it, because I found myself pausing to take notes. So that, you nailed it, Todd, that it's this concentrated information. Not only do you give these specific tips, Audrey, in here, like, hey, make sure you're thinking about what is the potential maintenance issues on the house? That's a really good example that jumped out at me that some people don't think about. All they look is, what do my bills this month on the house? They don't think about, is the roof, does it need to be replaced? Is the HVAC about to go out? Is the dryer about to go out? It's fresh in my mind because mine died a few months ago. So-

Todd:                    We'll save that for another show.

Leh:                       Oh, okay. So those kind of things, it's all these points that are in there that are really helpful. Well, let's keep going. All right, so session three, what's session three about, Audrey?

Audrey:                Session three is putting together a divorce team. A lot of times, you know, individuals just look at one person to be able to give them all the answers. So they come to you and they expect you to be able to advise them on everything that surrounds their divorce. That's a lot to put on any professional. So with session three, with creating a divorce team, we give you some people that might be helpful, some professionals that might be helpful to you through the divorce process. That might be as mental health counselor, and we offer some things of ways that they may be helpful. A financial advisor, why they may be helpful. Even with stress, your local physician, a lot of people don't think about that, but divorce is so stressful, might you need to go and speak with them about that, and help you through this process, even if it is for a period of time. Then we go on and talk about other professionals that you may want to include as creating a divorce team to help you through the process.

Leh:                       You know, one thing I noticed about this one thought, that ... Well, first off, Divorce Toolbox is a national product. It's not something that's focused on any specific state, which is really nice about it too. But, the one thing, Audrey, if I had a little criticism, it should be in there on this session, like, if you're in Georgia, you should hire Merryweather and Tharp. No favoritism.

Audrey:                Of course, that is correct. That's true, if you're in Georgia listening to this, you need to hire Merryweather and Tharp.

Todd:                    Oh, you're only saying that 'cause you're on our show. So, I'm seeing through. All right. So, that's session three. You want to jump to session four?

Leh:                       Yeah, what's session four all about?

Audrey:                Session four is about child custody and co parenting. We start the whole gamut of when you've got a child and you're divorcing, you may have a three year old today, he's not going to stay three. You're going to have to co parent from ages three to the age of majority. So, you're going to go through a lot of years that you've got to be able to think about how do you want to raise the child between two homes? What's important to you? What are the goals? When you have children, you plan and you plan about, you make plans for them before they're even here. Then, but now, the divorce comes about, what happens to the dreams that you had for your family? So Divorce Toolbox helps you to think about ways that you can keep those dreams alive, and keep your dreams that you have for your children and your family alive, even though it might be through two separate homes.

Leh:                       Yeah, I do want to comment about the, I love how you started the session. You started talking about asking the person to reflect on sort of their dreams and hopes when they got married, or when they decided to have children, because I think that puts someone in the might frame of mind, rather than going, it's all over, you know, this is war. Hang on a minute, we had a plan for our children, and that plan, we may have a bump right now, and there may be a detour, but it doesn't mean that our end goal for our children can't remain the way we want it to. We can still sort of strive for what we wanted for our kids, even if we're not husband and wife anymore. So I, that, that was ... That's how you started it, and so that was a great way to put someone in the right frame of mind and the mindset starting this, thinking about this. Then, y'all got into, again, get into the specifics of things you really should be thinking about. I just, mm.

Todd:                    Yeah, look, the, a lot of times, and in many cases, where a case goes off the rails, if you will, it's custody. One thing that we found, that I'm not trying to play therapist here, Audrey, that's your job. That's not what I do. It's not what we do. But, really, understanding what is right, what is reasonable, being able to put emotion aside, all the things that you talk about are the things we, probably not so well, but we try to talk about with our clients, because we see the ugly side. We see what happens when someone doesn't control emotion. We see where that takes the case, and how much it costs, and all those things. Really, the only person that it helps, we always hear the joke, right? Is the attorneys, because it's not helping the family at all.

Audrey:                That's right. Well, with child custody, I mean, that's ... If anything, it's one of the most emotional challenges of divorce. When you divorce, assets, or financial things, that's one thing. We've divided them, we're done. But when you have children, you have to be able to be with your ex spouse for, and every other weekend. I mean, you have to see them, unless you make changes otherwise with your children, you're going to have to be in contact with them. You're going to have to be a part of there, and so what we try to do is-

Leh:                       Hey Audrey? Can you hold that thought? We're up against a break, but we're going to be right back and continue to dive right into the Divorce Toolbox.

                                Well Todd, this has been another good show, it's great information. I almost wish we had a whole 'nother show to talk about this. But unfortunately, we don't. Hey everyone, I'm Leh Merryweather, and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Merryweather and Tharp. You're listening to Merryweather and Tharp radio on News Radio 106.7. If you want to learn more about us, you can always call or visit us online at atlantadivorceteam.com. But today, we've been talking for the last three segments about the Divorce Toolbox, it's divorcetoolbox.com. We have on the line, she hasn't left us yet, thankfully, Audrey Silcox, and we have been going through some of the content of the show. Obviously we're not going to give away everything, because, well, it's a subscription based service. But it is so worth it. It's $129, right Audrey?

Audrey:                That's right.

Leh:                       You get 60 days access to it. It's eight session for couples with children, and it's packed full of information, and some of the information is things to think about, questions you should be asking yourself, questions you should be asking your lawyer, how to pick a lawyer, all those things and how to pick, you know, what should be made up of your divorce team, and those kinds of things. So really good stuff. We left off, we touched a little bit about session four, I mean, we barely scratched the surface on it. 'Cause I have a page of notes about it, but we don't have time to get into it. So let's keep going, 'cause I still want to touch on some other really good things that you have in these other sessions. What's session five about?

Audrey:                Well, four, like you said, it's just so much information. So it's hard to just stop at, four and five just kind of goes right on into more things to think about with child custody, and then the additional co parenting issues that you need to consider. The biggest thing, you know, when couples divorce, a lot of times they'll ask the professional, you know, what do most people do? Well, you know, that's the wrong thing. Divorce is so personal, and it affects your families. So Divorce Toolbox tries to help you come up with a plan that personalizes and meets the needs of your children, and your family.

                                So through custody and on things like that, we try to help you think about what's important. In five, we talk about divorce communication strategies. It's so important, you've still got to communicate with the other spouse. Then when the other spouse has your children, you know, it's emotionally and psychologically healthy to know that my mom, dad didn't leave me just because I went to visit the other parent at the other parent's house. So, we talk about communication strategies, whether it's parent child or parent to parent. So that's a big emphasis on this particular session, as well as division of the holidays and special occasions and things like that.

Leh:                       One of the things that jumped out at me on this, Todd, was one thing that, you know, a lot of people don't think about. Okay, let's say both parents have to go to work, because that happens. We just talked about in the budget section, sometimes people, when you got married, one person stayed home, stayed with the kids. But you get married, and you have two households, both people gotta' work. Well, who loses a day of work when their children get sick?

Todd:                    We deal with that all the time.

Leh:                       I know. A lot of people don't think about it ahead of time.

Todd:                    If you don't deal with it, if you don't work it out with your former spouse in this situation, it creates a lot of stress, a lot of anger because sometimes if there's no agreement, then one party feels like, well, it's always me that has to take off work, it's always me that goes to the doctor and does X, and Y, and Z. So, talking about it, communicating, understanding or having a plan, it's so important.

Leh:                       Yeah, and Audrey, I liked how, again, this is, some people put together parenting plans, but they don't think of ... Let me take a step back. Not every parenting plan can include every situation. It's just not possible. But what I like about this is you say, you know what, don't let one offs be surprises, or don't let situations like your son gets sick and who's taking the day off to have him at home, because they can't stay in daycare while they're sick. Thinking about that ahead of times so when that unfortunate event occurs, it's not a surprise.

Todd:                    So Audrey, let's keep going, session six moves away from the custody issues and the child related issues. What's sessions six about?

Audrey:                Well, it stays with the child, but it's more of the money matters that we need to think about ahead of time when we have children. I mean, when you have children, it's just, like we said, once you divide your assets and liabilities, you're kind of done. But when you have children, you still got to stay together. Your marriage may have died, but the other person stays alive. You've got to be able to have a working relationship with them so that the children can thrive through the divorce and afterwards. So six talks about money matters through the maturation of the children. Now I had a couple in the office one time that had a three year old child.

                                So we were talking, and they were asking me, well, what do you think about this? What do you think about that? I take that back, he wasn't three, I think he was four. I was like, well, you know, next year he's going to start school, and what are you going to do then. You could just see the blank stare on their face. That's really, really sad, because a lot of times, we don't take the time to think about, they are three or four years old now, but what's going to happen when they're eight, and ten, and 15? What are they going to need from me as their parent? Then what things are going to change in their lives that I need to consider now os that they don't do without because I don't plan effectively on the outset? So Divorce Toolbox helps on this session, on session six, to think about what some of those things are, so you can plan effectively so they don't do without.

Leh:                       Wow, that's really good. We've seen some things like that happen too, where people come in and, they modify their parenting plan, and you look at, why did you put this together knowing your son, daughter, we're going to start school in a year and a half? 50/50 doesn't make sense when you live two states away int hat situation.

Todd:                    It makes sense if your goal is to get back into court.

Leh:                       Yeah, this is true.

Todd:                    Alright, session seven is how to put your parenting plan into action. What's that about?

Audrey:                Well, you know, I can give you a lot of great skills and a lot of tools to be able to use. But unless you take that information and apply it by using good co parenting, then all of the other sessions were pointless. So, I can give you those tools, but we've got to have a commitment from both parents to be able to put that parenting plan into action, taking responsibilities for your actions and what you do. So we look at that, and giving co parenting skills. We reflect in this session, we talk about how do kids see divorce and some of the grief aspects that they may have from that. Then we reflect upon children, once you're divorced and then how as an adult, how they reflect back, and how the co parenting efforts that both their mom and dad, the efforts that they put forth, often, are reflected in their adult decisions lives, because one day, you're going to have adult children, and they're going to have grandkids.

                                So how well did you co parent all those years of divorce so that you're able to spend time with your grandkids? Was it stressful? Was life very stressful? So you kind of push your kids away? Or were you an active part in their life. So now that the family has extended and you have grandkids, are both grandma and grandpa going to be able to be a part of it? Or was it so full of strife that we can only invite one or the other to the birthday parties? So you have to be able to think long term. On the outset of divorce, what's it going to take to raise these children and then apply all the information that I've learned so that I could actively be a part all the way throughout my kid's lives, my grandkid's lives, because divorce is a one time action, but the consequences last for a lifetime.

Leh:                       Well, we've got two minutes left, Audrey. We actually have a timer in our studio, so we know. But I know you're on the phone, so you can't see it. We've got two minutes. Can you give, in 60 seconds, a quick rundown of what session eight is about?

Audrey:                Session eight is compiling all the information that you've learned in the previous sessions, we give you a divorce action plan template, and with that template, we just kind of hit the high spots of what has occurred, and what we've talked about, and the tools that we've given you in the prior sessions. Then we expect you, at that point, to be able to go in and identify what you have seen, and what you've learned, what is important to you, so when you meet with your divorce professional, you can say, hey, this is important to me. This is where I need you to know about my family. So as you're going through, you have goals, you've identified your needs, and so now you can convey that to your divorce professional.

Leh:                       I can tell you, as the attorney, when a client comes in with that information, it makes my job so much easier. Well, hey Audrey, how can people, we're pretty much at the end of the show. But before I let you go, first off, I want to say, thank you so much for coming on the show today, and thank you for developing Divorce Toolbox. Where can people find you online?

Audrey:                They can visit at www.divorcetoolbox.com, that's the website. We're on, of course, Instagram, Facebook, and all the social media sites. You can usually find some helpful tips, things that can help you throughout the process, and then even afterwards.

Leh:                       Awesome. Well, hey everyone, thanks so much for listening, and definitely check out divorcetoolbox.com. You can always read more about us and find more information about us at atlantadivorceteam.com. You can also email us at [email protected] if you have specific questions that you would like for us to answer on the air.

Speaker 4:           This audio program does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Merryweather and Tharp.