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Episode 120 - How Attitude Can Be Your Secret Weapon in a Divorce

Episode 120 - How Attitude Can Be Your Secret Weapon in a Divorce Image

04/29/2019 9:39 am

Dealing with the emotions of a divorce and the anxiety associated with court is enough to put anyone in a bad place. When you can rise above that negativity, however, and maintain the right attitude during your divorce, it is like a secret weapon. In this show, we explain why it is so effective, who you should be mindful of, and how the right attitude can influence the right people in your case. We wrap the show up with some suggestions on how to develop and keep the right attitude when you feel trapped by negative emotions.


Leh Meriwether: Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether and Tharp and you're listening to Meriwether and Tharp radio on the new Talk 106.7. Here you'll 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'd like to learn more about us, you can always check us out online Atlanta Divorce Team dot com.

Todd Orston: I love that you still point at me. I mean I just ... And with me is Todd Orston.

Leh Meriwether: I talk with my hands.

Todd Orston: I know, alright alright. Well yeah well done. I mean-

Leh Meriwether: Well thank you.

Todd Orston: ... positive a lot of energy-

Leh Meriwether: Even though I'm not excited though.

Todd Orston: You're not excited?

Leh Meriwether: No.

Todd Orston: I would say why but I ... For all you listeners out there, I already know.

Leh Meriwether: Well yeah because this is our last show on 106.7.

Todd Orston: That's right, that's right.

Leh Meriwether: We had a lot of fun, talked about a lot of different things-

Todd Orston: And they kicked us off.

Leh Meriwether: And they kicked us-

Todd Orston: No they didn't. They didn't.

Leh Meriwether: They didn't.

Todd Orston: They have sold the station and-

Leh Meriwether: Yup.

Todd Orston: ... everyone associated, all the different shows have to find homes. So-

Leh Meriwether: New homes.

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: But you know I'm glad we were here. I'm glad we got to work with Porter and Al.

Todd Orston: Well at least Porter. I was right there. No wait a minute. He can hear us.

Leh Meriwether: But we are moving to a new station. We are moving to WSB which is on the dial here in Atlanta, is 95.5 FM and in AM. They broadcast in both AM on FM there on 750 AM. So a great station to be at. We liked this one too but-

Todd Orston: Double listening for double the pleasure.

Leh Meriwether: There you go.

Todd Orston: If you're quick you can go back and forth-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: ... and hear us on both channels.

Leh Meriwether: Or at least one weekend. Yeah but we're still going to be rebroadcasting it and all the podcast directories. We're still putting shows up although I haven't been able to get to the YouTube one in awhile. But we're putting them on an iTunes stitch or Spotify sound cloud, YouTube, our website. So you can go to Divorce Team Radio dot com and listen to old podcasts. You can listen to ongoing podcasts so if you're not necessarily a WSB listener, you can still listen to this show on our website or through iTunes or any podcast directory. The Google play store and so you can continue to hear this show as the show will continue past this station.

Todd Orston: Alright, that was a very long-winded way of saying we're going away but found another home so keep listening.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah talk to me.

Todd Orston: Nothing new about that but how about we talk now about today's show?

Leh Meriwether: Well today we're talking about attitude.

Todd Orston: Just how to be mean, just ornery, cantankerous, right? That's the word Al today? Cantankerous.

Leh Meriwether: Cantankerous. No actually we're going to talk about how attitude can make a huge ... The right attitude can make a huge different in your divorce. You know, going through a divorce, it is very difficult to have a positive attitude. It is probably for most people, it is one of the worst experiences they can go through as far as stress levels. It's right up there with the death of a spouse or death of a family member.

Todd Orston: Yeah there is really no way to make it fun.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: So it's not an enjoyable experience. It's a necessity. But your attitude can really affect the divorce.

Leh Meriwether: Yup.

Todd Orston: I mean, if you go in with a positive attitude, meaning I know I have to go through it but I'm not going to take my frustrations out on my family, on my friends. I'm not going to walk around with that sour cantankerous kind of attitude. Al, he's a in a mood. Oh he can hear me. So if you can change your attitude, we're not saying that it can or will necessarily change the outcome of the divorce. Meaning what assets you get, what child support looks like or anything but the experience can be a much less negative experience that carries with you for years to come.

Leh Meriwether: But you know in some cases it can impact the outcome of your divorce.

Todd Orston: I agree.

Leh Meriwether: We're going to talk about that this show. We're going to talk about what it means to have the right attitude, who you should apply that right attitude to, and what you can do to obtain the right attitude when it's really really hard. We're going to talk about the practical impacts of a bad attitude and how that can impact every phase of your case. Everything from settlement to trail. So we're going to go through all those and make sure that ... Try to give you the tools you need to have a better attitude, have a positive attitude.

Todd Orston: Yeah and let me say this, for those of you listening, and anybody whose just eavesdropping. That was a ridiculous statement to make. We have seen, and I know we're going to go into more detail, I just want to impress on everyone that, the wrong attitude absolutely will have an impact direct and indirect on a divorce case. I've seen people walk into court. I've seen people just basically engaging with their children, with friends, and it has such a nasty, ugly, lasting impact on their lives as opposed to some of the other people where it's like, "You know what? I'm going to get through this. There is a light at the end of the tunnel." When they get to that end of the tunnel, their lives are better for it.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: And maybe they have accomplished more. So it really is a powerful message and I guess what I'm trying to do is say, keep listening because if you're going through this, think you're going to go through it, hopefully this will help re-wire you in a way so that you are better capable of dealing with the hurdles that are going to be coming at you as you deal with this situation.

Leh Meriwether: And you made it ... I liked one of the points you said was that-

Todd Orston: Just one?

Leh Meriwether: Well okay.

Todd Orston: Todd I liked everything you just said. I mean seriously beginning to end, fantastic.

Leh Meriwether: But having a negative attitude is contagious.

Todd Orston: Yes.

Leh Meriwether: So if you start and you attack your soon-to-be ex-spouse, and whether they deserve it or not, we're taking that aside for a moment, but you just lash out. That's going to create ... Often that bounces right back at you.

Todd Orston: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: Then that just spirals out of control because now both of you are in a terrible mood, a bad attitude. I mean on top of the fact that you're getting a divorce, that spills over to the children, and it also spills over to create impediments to sitting down and talking about how to resolve your divorce. I get that sometimes people on the other side, you may be the nicest, most positive person and you're not receiving that in return but that's okay. We're going to talk about how you doing that, regardless of their reaction or response, can make a big different in your case. We'll get into that a little bit later. I like what John Milton wrote in Paradise Lost. "The mind is it's own place and itself can make a heaven out of hell, and a hell out of heaven." So what you had said earlier, re-wiring your brain 'cause when you re-wire it to say, "There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I can get through this." You can get through it. I mean it's ... And come out the end okay.

Todd Orston: You're so cerebral. I mean with these quotes you know but I came with a quote of my own.

Leh Meriwether: Okay.

Todd Orston: Alright.

Leh Meriwether: Finally.

Todd Orston: You're not going to outdo me on the quotes.

Leh Meriwether: Finally.

Todd Orston: Alright yeah so I found one that I liked.

Leh Meriwether: Alright.

Todd Orston: "Your problem, isn't the problem. It's your attitude about the problem." Right?

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: Everybody has problems. What I really liked about that one and by the way-

Leh Meriwether: Who said that?

Todd Orston: ... that was Ann Brashares. She wrote Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants which I have not read but I always come with like Oprah and all that. I cry when I watch the shows during the day. It really did resonate with me because it really ... It's a statement. It's a comment that's been many many different times. That's what I find. You read some of these quotes. Different people over time have said things over and over again, but sometimes somebody will say it in a way that just resonates. You're right, everybody has problems but the problem isn't the problem. It's your attitude about the problem.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: It's how you're dealing with that problem. You may get angry. If you lose your mind, yelling, screaming, well the problem is no longer the problem. It's how you're dealing with it. Okay? Divorce is one big problem, right?

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: It's a multi-faceted problem. So it's not a matter of that being the problem anymore. It's about how you're now going to deal with it.

Leh Meriwether: Yup.

Todd Orston: How are you going to change your approach and your attitude in order to deal with that problem?

Leh Meriwether: And you may be listening going, "But you're not going through what I'm going through. You have no idea what I'm going through." While you and I have never been through a divorce ourselves, we have walked people through that divorce. We have personally observed that those that have the right attitude, a positive attitude, and I'm not talking about blind optimist. I'm just saying a positive attitude throughout. I'm going to get through this. I'm going to be nice but firm. Just walking through it we see them through this getting usually ... I mean nine times out of ten the case is settled. They get a good settlement and it's all because they have a positive attitude and they set themselves up for the rest of the relationship with their ex-spouse if there's children involved.

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: And so you may be struggling and hang on if you're struggling saying, "I don't want to hear this." Hang on because we're going to talk about what you can do to help change your attitude because it is a choice. We have interviewed people that have been through a divorce. They admitted they start off with a bad attitude and changed their attitude. It made all the difference like Bill Butterworth in his book, New Life After Divorce. Sarah Armstrong, we've interviewed her, The Mom's Guide to a Good Divorce. Now both of them made the choice to have the right attitude. They still said it was painful but it made a huge difference and we're going to get into that up next.

Leh Meriwether: Welcome everyone. I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether and Tharp and you're listening to Meriwether and Tharp radio on the new Talk 106.7. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online Atlanta Divorce Team dot com. Well as a quick reminder, this is our last show unfortunately. But you will be able to continue to hear us on WSB which is the ... Th number on the FM dial is 95.5. On the AM dial it's 950 AM and you can always still here us on iTunes, Stitchur, Spotify, all those podcast directories, Google Play Store. So-

Todd Orston: So when you say it's the last show, lets just be clear here on this station-

Leh Meriwether: It's the last show at this station yes.

Todd Orston: ... we are moving the show to a new station at WSB. Our new station is at WSB so we are excited about the move. We're sad to go especially because we have grown so fond of Al and he has taken-

Al: You won't have me to kick around anymore-

Todd Orston: Yeah that's right. If anybody kicks anybody you're kicking us.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: So we're excited.

Leh Meriwether: I wish you hadn't given up that knife set for-

Todd Orston: I know right, exactly. Exactly he keeps throwing it.

Leh Meriwether: Well what did he say? If you can dodge a knife, you can dodge a dodge ball? Is that-

Todd Orston: So we're excited about the move. We're trying to have a positive attitude about it-

Leh Meriwether: Positive attitude, that's right.

Todd Orston: ... and that was horrible. But anyway, we are moving.

Leh Meriwether: Well let's be positive about it.

Todd Orston: We are trying to be positive. We are being positive. It'll be a good move and then of course the show will continue.

Leh Meriwether: Yup and today we're talking about how to have that ... Or talking about positive attitudes and how to have a positive attitude in your divorce even thought that's like one of the worst places to come up with a bad attitude and the most difficult place, I would think. But as we talked about earlier, we've seen, we've walked people through their divorce process. Those that have the right attitude came out on the other end in a good place, as good as you can come out in a divorce. Alright so let's talk about the different people that you need to be respectful to and have the right attitude to in order to set yourself up for success.

Todd Orston: Okay let's.

Leh Meriwether: So the first is even though your spouse may have done something wrong to you, may have cheated on you, maybe be attacking you in the process, you need to be respectful of your spouse and that doesn't mean you just give him or her everything they're asking for. I'm not saying that. I'm just saying have a positive attitude because ... Particularly if there's children. Because at the end of the day, they are the mother or father of your children.

Todd Orston: Yeah and also what we're not saying is, you don't need to be the punching bag.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: The verbal punching bag. We're not saying it is okay for you to just constantly be the consonant victim. Just take the barrage day-in day-out, that negativity-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: Just being thrust at you, alright? That's not what we're saying. Alright? What we're saying is you can't control other people. You are dealing with the problem. If they are abusing you verbally or god forbid physically, we're not saying be the victim. We're saying you can't control that but you can control, going back to that quote, you can control how you react.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: Okay and how you react can hopefully deescalate a problem or when there is a problem. It can also just put you into a different mindset so that maybe you can avoid those problems in the future. I got to tell this one story very quickly. My son was in elementary school. He will kill me for telling this story. I get to school and one of the teachers walks up and she has this look on her face like she's been crying but she's smiling. I'm like, "Is everything okay?" She's like, "I got to tell you something about your son." I'm like, "What's wrong? Is he okay?" "He's fine. Two girls were bullying him." Okay? Was it nursery? No I think he was in the first grade. So these two girls are bullying him. Actually he was younger than that.

Todd Orston: They're in his face yelling, just yelling yelling yelling. All the sudden, he sat down, crossed his legs, I don't know where he learned this, and he's meditating. He put his fingers out on his knees and starts to hum like he's meditating. These two girls started ... They were yelling yelling yelling but then they didn't know what to do and they just walked away. The teacher, 'cause they were about to intervene-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: ... but it was how he dealt with the situation, right? He was in a bad situation. There was a problem. They were screaming at him. He didn't do anything wrong but they were yelling at him and next thing you know, he does this and it totally deescalated what was going on. Actually from what we heard from the teacher, there were just no more problems between those two kids and my son. So again, I think he got lucky. I'm not saying he is the next Mahatma Gandhi or anything like that. But the bottom line is it worked. He deescalated and he dealt with the problem in a positive way.

Leh Meriwether: Right and so it's ... Let's say you've got a situation where someone has been the victim of some kind of abuse, verbal or just ... And I've seen it on both sides, both genders attack the other. So when we say, don't take it, when you react to the person yelling at you, which you're not saying, "Well screw you. I'll see you in court." You're not saying that's the kind of response because that's actually empowering the other side. If you play into the attacks, the verbal attacks-

Todd Orston: They often want that. They're looking for that negative reaction from you.

Leh Meriwether: Right. So one of the ways to have the right attitude when dealing with that, like a difficult spouse in that situation, is remain nice but firm. I do like, we had Bill Eddy on the show. He's an author, a lawyer, and a counselor. He's written several books on how to deal with that situation. One is called Splitting. That's dealing with high conflict personality disorders and a divorce case. We had him on our show previously to talk about his book, Five Types of People that Will Ruin Your Life. He also has a book where he talks about a step-by-step process and how to respond to someone that's attacking you, like what your son did, to deescalate the situation.

Leh Meriwether: So it's the Biff Method is what he calls it which stands for brief, informative, friendly and firm. So you're still maintaining a position but you're being brief, informative, friendly and firm. You keep emotion out of the equation.

Todd Orston: Which is sort of funny. Isn't that the name of the bully in Weird Science? Wasn't it Biff?

Leh Meriwether: No no, Back to the Future.

Todd Orston: Oh Back to the Future. Got it.

Leh Meriwether: Yes. I think that's who, yeah Biff.

Todd Orston: Yeah. Yup alright anyway.

Leh Meriwether: So if you're struggling with that, that is a practical place to go. Pick up one of his books, read it, learn and apply it because that will help you keep that positive attitude. It'll be sort of systematic. Alright so let's talk about the next person. Obviously you want to have the right attitude with your kids. If you're struggling with that for whatever reason then we'll talk about what to do there. Try to have, even if you're upset with your spouse, don't take it out on your kids. Have a positive attitude there. Alright-

Todd Orston: And I will say if you can be introspective, if you can step back and really think about how you've dealt with issues in the past, how you've dealt with your kids in the past, without fail if you are under stress usually the way you deal with additional stress that's thrown at you is not good.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: Or it's not as good as maybe it could be if you weren't already experiencing stress. You have that level of ego depletion, right?

Leh Meriwether: Yup.

Todd Orston: That basically you're like, "I'm already up to here and now you're throwing more at me?" You end up not handling it the best way possible but yet when times are okay, your kids may do or say something but you're not experiencing that other stress. I know I can recognize it in my behavior and I've been able to just sort of say, "Okay, you know what, I'm going to deal with this. I'm going to deal with it calmly." But in times of stress, for some reason the same ... My reaction is not the same.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: That same behavior is eliciting a more stressful kind of negative response and when I step back afterwards I'm like, "Yeah that was not helpful at all."

Leh Meriwether: I think you bring up a ... The point you just made made me think of something just to make it clear. If you're having a bad attitude, you're having a negative reaction to all this that's going on, that doesn't make you a bad person.

Todd Orston: Right.

Leh Meriwether: That makes you a human being.

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: So we're not trying to say you're bad or you have no self control. It is natural to lose it in a divorce. But what we're trying to do is help you identify that, be aware of it ahead of time to take steps to do things that create a positive attitude and allow you to make that choice to have a positive attitude.

Todd Orston: Or at the very least to allow you to step back before you plunge off the cliff.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: Before you take it to a point where it's now going to hurt your relationship with your children, damage forever your relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse but you have to co-parent with them, or even create evidence that can be used against you in court.

Leh Meriwether: That's the big thing and that's what you should remember that in the middle of the divorce, if someone is being aggressive and attacking you or ... I'm speaking verbally speaking, and you're responding with the right attitude, a respectful attitude, a positive attitude, that's going to play out in front of the judge. I mean that evidence will come out in front of the judge. You know what, in our last seminars where we've had guardian ad litem and custody evaluators come to court, their number one thing that they said that makes a huge impact ... I mean not number one that makes their ultimate evaluation but they said, "Be nice."

Todd Orston: Attitude.

Leh Meriwether: Be nice. Attitude. They were ... All of them talked about how attitude in the middle of the divorce, makes an enormous difference, when they're trying to make a decision. Now they're still being analytical. I'm not saying they're not doing that but-

Todd Orston: Yeah but if you are able to maintain a positive attitude while going through a divorce, then the assumption is, wow if in a stressful time you have a good attitude-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: ... then during the normal times, you're going to be a great co-parent.

Leh Meriwether: Exactly. So up next we're going to talk about how to have a positive attitude to your spouses attorney.

Leh Meriwether: Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether and Tharp and you're listening to Meriwether and Tharp radio on the new Talk 106.7. If you want to read more about us, you can always check us out online Atlanta Divorce Team dot com. Well we're back for our last episode on this station. We are, if you're just tuning in, we are moving to WSB 95.5 FM and 750 AM and we will remain on all the different podcast directories. So the show is not going away but we're just moving, at least radio stations.

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: Alright so we're just keeping a positive attitude throughout this show even though we're bummed that we're leaving. We'll miss Al and Porter. We've bene talking about having a positive attitude. Having the right attitude going through your divorce talking about how difficult it is but at the same time, how important it is. We're about to talk ... I would think that a lot of people struggle having the right attitude when dealing with opposing counsel.

Todd Orston: You and I'm sure, have both experienced walking into mediation. I put out my hand, "Hi I'm Todd Orston." They look at my hand, look at me, and walk away.

Leh Meriwether: Yup.

Todd Orston: It's like, you know what, sometimes at the very beginning when it happened, it doesn't happen all the time but when it first happened I remember I probably snickered a little bit. But then afterwards I said, "You know what, they're already in enough pain and I know this is difficult enough for them that it doesn't hurt me. It doesn't hurt my feelings." But now that, years later and now that we're doing this show on attitude and how we can see how attitude can really affect people as they're going through this process I feel bad. I wish I could say, "Hey listen to this show. I know you don't like me."

Leh Meriwether: Yeah right.

Todd Orston: "And you're angry at me, but listen to the show because ... Just change your attitude." I'm not your enemy. I want to get you through this and get my client through this as quickly and efficiently as possible and it's misplaced anger. If you can just change, if you can re-wire the way you're thinking, and if you can start to treat everybody including opposing counsel with respect, right? Just, "How are you?" Doesn't mean we're going to go break bread and be besties afterwards-

Leh Meriwether: Right, although I've seen it happen.

Todd Orston: Yeah yeah right. Well we've gotten referrals right from the opposing party after.

Leh Meriwether: From the opposing party yeah.

Todd Orston: But the bottom line is you walk away in a much healthier place.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: It's basically it's sort of like the, if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Just have that positive attitude. If you can't have the positive attitude, don't have a negative attitude. Just walk away.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: I'd rather you be quiet than treat people with a level of disrespect because all you're really doing is you're affecting yourself more than the others.

Leh Meriwether: And there's also a practical reason. So let's say you're in a contested divorce case and let me take a step back before I get into that. Lawyers, we're just performing a job. I mean I don't want to say we're just performing. It's a very difficult job. We're doing our best to keep it professional. We're doing our best to help. Just like you said, at first, when you were younger you took offense but as you got older you realized okay these parties are hurting. This is painful. This is just part of the job [crosstalk 00:26:20]-

Todd Orston: They see me as the enemy.

Leh Meriwether: Right but you know that that's not ... They're probably good people. They're just in a bad situation. Alright so we do realize that. Let's say you've got a situation where the husband has told his lawyer that his wife is crazy and that she's nuts. She is going to be a terrible mom and he's just saying all these things. Then you get to mediation and the wife is nothing but nice, nothing but professional, not only to the opposing attorney, but to the mediator. So when the mediator goes back and forth, the mediator comes in and the husband says, "Well didn't she get real mad when I made that offer?" She said actually no she didn't. She seriously processed it and she thought about it and she agreed with you on these two points.

Leh Meriwether: She didn't agree with you on everything but she accepted your position. Now all the sudden, that lawyer is going, "Maybe my client is the troubled one here." So it can create a situation where you're positive attitude can set it up where there becomes sort of a tension between opposing counsel and their client. We've seen that happen before. I've had a lawyer call me and just maybe got a little overzealous and was just saying my client was this horrible monster. I think this case she represented the wife. So my client was this monster and this horrible person and I said, "Well you know if she said to you what I think she said, I wouldn't blame you for thinking that but wait till you get to mediation and meet my client."

Leh Meriwether: So they get to mediation and sure enough, our client is nothing but respectful and kind and processed opposing parties offers, didn't get mad at them, made counters and then next thing you know, that lawyer ends up withdrawing from the case. Realizes that their client is not going to listen to them and that case wound up ... We wound up resolving it after three mediations later and two more lawyers. I mean it helped set the stage.

Todd Orston: Sure.

Leh Meriwether: It created a rift between opposing counsel and their client.

Todd Orston: Yeah our job as attorneys is to advise and the facts, factors, and evidence that we think about when giving advice to clients about whether a deal is a good deal or a bad deal. It's based on a number of factors, number of things. So we're looking at numbers. We're looking at evidence, what other people are going to say. But you know what else we do look at? Attitude because if we go to mediation and the opposing party won't shake a hand, is clearly angry, and by the way all the while our client has painted the picture that this person is angry and yells at him and yells at the kids and yells at everybody. One of the things we're going to be looking at our client and saying is, "Look, if we have a trial, more than likely that anger is going to come out and if that anger comes out, and if I ask certain questions and that anger comes out, the courts going to see the anger and it will be more believable when you're telling your story about how angry that person is."

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: It absolutely can and often times will impact, or have an impact on the divorce.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah on the judge's verdict and I've seen it-

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: ... we've seen the same thing at ... Georgia actually is one of the few states that allows a jury trial for divorces. We have seen jury trials where the opposing party was just ... There was this level of hatred towards the lawyer on our side that was representing our client. There was this level of vitriol that was ... It was just present in the room and the jury was ... They did not like her. The result, our client got a great verdict from the jury.

Todd Orston: Yeah.

Leh Meriwether: You know and our client had done some things that weren't good but that persons negative attitude in the courtroom worked against them.

Todd Orston: Yeah and sometimes I will say this to my kids sometimes. They'll be in an argument. Let's say my son, and they're older now but when they were younger, my son pokes my ... You know just sort of does something to my daughter. Then my daughter loses her mind and it could have been the opposite way. So if you're listening, I love you both. Then I'm more upset with the reaction than the original action. They're yelling and screaming and "Why aren't you yelling at?" Because what they did was wrong and if you had stayed calm I would be able to deal with that but now I have to deal with your horrible reaction-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: ... to it. Okay so we are looking and that's the main point. We are looking at attitude constantly. Attitude is important. It's important when we're looking at it as attorneys we're looking at how you can deal with these stresses because often times, especially when we're dealing, most of the time when we're dealing with parent issues. If you can't stay calm and you can't stay calm when just being asked a simple question. If you can't stay calm or you get angry just because I put my hand out to shake your hand to say, "Hey I'm Todd Orston. I hope we can settle things today." And you just go off on a rant, my advice to my client is, "I look forward to court." 'Cause I really think that the court is going to see, the judge is going to see it and it's going to impact and result in a better result for you in the case. We might be able to get more because the courts going to recognize, this is not somebody who is going to be able to co-parent well or whatever.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: So you're reaction can sometimes overshadow what the original behavior is. So whatever you're angry about, that's not what's being seen. It's the way you're reacting.

Leh Meriwether: You can see it on the football field sometimes. Somebody does something that's a penalty but the ref doesn't catch it-

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: ... but the other player reacts to it-

Todd Orston: And knocks him out. You know like throws him to the ground, right.

Leh Meriwether: And shoves him and they get the penalty, the personal foul. Then you go back and watch the video and you're like, "Oh I would have been ticked off too, but the ref didn't catch it."

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: I mean, you can see it on the football field. We see it in the courtroom. We see it at mediation. It impacts the guardian ad litem investigation if there's a guardian or psychological evaluator. You're attitude will be examined by whoever is involved in the case. Whether it's the opposing counsel, your lawyer, the judge, the jury, the guardian ad litem, the experts involved in the case.

Todd Orston: And unless it's the team that I'm rooting for, I agree refs. If it's the team I'm rooting for, you should have just let them. I mean I think it was appropriate-

Leh Meriwether: He had it coming.

Todd Orston: It was he had it coming. That's right.

Leh Meriwether: Well up next, we're going to finish up and we're going to talk about how to have the right attitude when dealing with the court, and the judge and the personnel there. Also, what can you do to help get this good attitude if you have a current bad attitude.

Leh Meriwether: Todd while we're on a break. Let's take a moment to speak just with our podcast listeners.

Todd Orston: Great idea Leh. First, thank you for listening. If you're a client of ours, thank you for taking the time to educate yourself. It really helps us help you.

Leh Meriwether: And I want to thank those that recently took a moment to review our podcast. We really appreciate it. If you feel like you're gaining a value from this show, please take a moment to post a review. The reviews help others find the show which allows us to help even more people.

Todd Orston: And if you're not sure how to post a review, our webmasters put together a simple explanation on our webpage. You can find it at MT Law Office dot com, forward slash review it. That's M as in Mary, T as in Tom, law office dot com, slash review it.

Leh Meriwether: Welcome everyone, I'm Leh Meriwether and with me is Todd Orston. Todd and I are partners at the law firm of Meriwether and Tharp and you're listening to Meriwether and Tharp radio on the new Talk 106.7. If you want to read more about us you can always check us out online, Atlanta Divorce Team dot com.

Todd Orston: Al almost changed my attitude. I am blaming you.

Al: Not me.

Todd Orston: He says, last segment of the last show on this channel.

Leh Meriwether: On this station.

Todd Orston: I promised I wouldn't cry.

Leh Meriwether: Alright. So we're wrapping up this last show on this station. We are moving to WSB 95.5 and 750 AM, 95.5 on FM station channel. We're still going to be in all the podcast directories.

Todd Orston: Yup.

Leh Meriwether: Alright we've got a lot to go through in this last eleven minutes.

Todd Orston: Well then you just spent four minutes talking about the numbers of the new channel so don't look at me. Let's move on to the content.

Leh Meriwether: Alright, so well there's actually two more but be respectful to the court. When I say the court, anyone in that courthouse.

Todd Orston: Yup.

Leh Meriwether: When you walk into the courthouse, the first person you might encounter is a sheriffs deputy at the metal detector. You're going to encounter a bailiff in the courtroom. You may encounter the law clerk, the staff attorney working for the judge.

Todd Orston: Or sometimes they're in the courtroom. Court has not started yet but the staff attorney or the case manager might be in the courtroom. If you are acting out, if you are exhibiting really just hostile behavior-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: ... they're watching.

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: They have communications with the judge all the time. They work together and if you think that it's impossible that you're behavior or a description of your behavior might now make it's way back into chambers and the judge might hear about it-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: ... you're wrong.

Leh Meriwether: And not only that, but a lot of ... Since that incident that happened years ago where a judge and his law clerk was killed in the courthouse, all the courthouses have mic in them. At least in our courthouses.

Todd Orston: Yup.

Leh Meriwether: Not all of them, but most of them in the metro area have mics, microphones throughout the courtroom. So the judge may be back in chambers and hearing you getting upset. So just be aware. When you walk into that courtroom, be nice to everyone. Even if the judge gives you ... Let's say you were there for just a hearing. It's not a final and the judge gives you a bad verdict. Thank you your honor because the judges have a hard job. You just thank them and move on because if you have a bad attitude and response to the judges order, the judge will remember you at a final.

Todd Orston: Yeah and also remember it may not apply in your case but there are potentially things that you can do after a verdict that you don't like-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: ... a motion for reconsideration.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: That goes back in front of the same judge. So now if you've acted out, if you have huffed and puffed and you stormed out of court-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: ... and the judge watches this, and then three weeks later you're speaking with and working with your attorney it's like, "Yeah, I think there's a mistake here. Let's file a motion for reconsideration to see if the court won't reconsider that decision." Well now it's going in front of the same judge that watched you have a tantrum and they're probably going to be less likely to change their mind.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: So you always need to be aware that they're watching you. They are basically, not judging you well I guess the judge is judging you but-

Leh Meriwether: Yeah.

Todd Orston: ... they are analyzing and watching your behavior and it can impact judgements.

Leh Meriwether: So let's talk about, in our time remaining, things that you can do to help set yourself up for success.

Todd Orston: Unicorns.

Leh Meriwether: What? Unicorns?

Todd Orston: I didn't say that. Unicorns and rainbows.

Leh Meriwether: Oh boy. Okay. Some practical stuff-

Todd Orston: Oh okay got it.

Leh Meriwether: But first, I want to tell a quick, like a real true story from Victor Frankle. If you've never heard of him he wrote the book Man's Search for Meaning. He's a psychologist. He is a Holocaust survivor and in his book he explains his experience. It was rough. I mean I remember reading it and I'm tearing up. I can't imagine what he went through but he was in the middle of being tortured by the Germans, and he started to laugh. No matter what they did, he kept laughing at them 'cause in his head, he realized. They can do whatever they want to his physical body, but he has ultimate control over his mind. So he survived that Holocaust not because of his physical attributes but because he set himself up with an attitude that I'm getting through this.

Leh Meriwether: He said that some of the most physically strong people that were in the camp that he was in, died. It was the ones that had the right attitude that got through it. I'm maybe oversimplifying his attitude but if you struggle with it read that book because my worst day is not anything compared to his bad day in that concentration camp.

Todd Orston: Well my takeaway from that story is that by putting yourself ... Having the right attitude allowed him to deal with what I would define as the most horrible of situations-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: ... any person could ever experience. So the power of the mind, you know mind over matter kind of thing-

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: The ability to adopt a positive attitude and then deal with stressful situations, absolutely and we see it all the time. We have had clients who have had incredibly stressful, incredibly difficult cases where I would not have blamed them if they had just gone off the deep end yelling, screaming, carrying on. But they went the opposite direction and they came out so much better for it because they were just in a different mental state and they were able just to sort of distance themselves and say, "You know what, it's a bad situation."

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: "But that doesn't define me. It doesn't define my entire existence. I'm dealing with the negative situation and I'm going to get better and through it."

Leh Meriwether: So one of the things you can do is avoid certain people and situations that create those negative feelings. Unfortunately sometimes it could be your own family members because they're hurting for you and then, "I'll him or her to the cleaners." That negative attitude, sometimes you have to distance yourself from your own family, at least to get through it. If you're having trouble maintaining a good attitude, and some people do, find a good counselor. I mean we heard from Sarah Armastrong in episode one ... What is it? 117 and Bill Butterworth in episode 102, they had to get into counseling in order to get that right attitude and maintain that right attitude.

Leh Meriwether: Maybe you can't afford counseling. Maybe times are tough or money is tight. Look for divorce support groups. You can Google it for those in your area, they're often very very helpful. A lot are provided through local churches. They also have groups that are ... They're not related to any church. They're non-religious, they're secular in base but they both are very very helpful. So reach out to them and just Google that. Get into a local divorce support group and make sure, 'cause you may have to leave one, if they start badmouthing the spouses in your group, that's not a group you want to be in. 'Cause all the good groups that I'm aware of, they talk about having the positive attitude, focusing on how to get through it. Now you may ask for help 'cause the struggles you're having, but as soon as the people in the group start slamming their spouse-

Todd Orston: Well then you just ... That's negative energy-

Leh Meriwether: Right and you need to get out [crosstalk 00:42:37]-

Todd Orston: You're trying to get away from that, right?

Leh Meriwether: So look for that. Maybe find a friend of the same sex, 'cause you don't want an accusation of adultery going against you, that you can talk to and to vent. Sometimes you just got to vent. Then let that person ... Make sure that person is someone whose not afraid to tell you the truth and they have nothing to lose by telling you the truth because sometimes they're going to have to say, "You know what, you need to calm down."

Todd Orston: Yeah but somebody whose not going to get caught up in the negativity.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: A friend whose trying to support you by saying, "You're right. He's a jerk."

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: "You're right. She's horrible." Whatever the case is, that's not helping you.

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: What's helping you is, "Alright, I know this is tough. How can I ... I'm your friend. I'm here for you. How can I help you get through this?"

Leh Meriwether: Right.

Todd Orston: Alright yeah that's really difficult. Maybe you should try this. Maybe you should try that. Maybe you should try sitting down with your spouse, soon-to-be ex and try and work it out.

Leh Meriwether: Yup.

Todd Orston: I mean you know-

Leh Meriwether: Or maybe say, "I think you're being unreasonable here."

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: You need someone whose not afraid, they have nothing to lose by telling you the truth.

Todd Orston: That's right.

Leh Meriwether: That's the person.

Todd Orston: And you need to be open to that.

Leh Meriwether: Yes.

Todd Orston: Yup.

Leh Meriwether: And so sometimes education, sometimes bad attitude is a result of anxiety that's come out of the divorce 'cause you don't know what's going to happen. Educate yourself, read books, listen to this podcast, read our website. Speaking of books, one of the books that I think can be very helpful 'cause it has a lot of the research about having that positive attitude. Shawn Achor wrote an amazing book called The Happiness Advantage. I know it sounds hard to think about happiness in the middle of a divorce but, his book talks about ... He actually has practical tips on, "Here's things that you can do when you're in a really really bad place, that can help move you to a good place." So he talks about the research behind how that attitude can make all the difference and then he talks about things you can do.

Leh Meriwether: You know there is one thing I can't do-

Todd Orston: Another segment?

Leh Meriwether: That's right.

Todd Orston: Are we done?

Leh Meriwether: We have run out of time. It's okay Todd, you don't have to cry.

Todd Orston: I'm going to work through this. No we are going to miss being here, having our show on this channel. I mean we've had a great time here but unfortunately, it is time to move on.

Leh Meriwether: It is and hey everyone for all those that have been listening on this station for all this time, we appreciate you and-

Todd Orston: Very much.

Leh Meriwether: ... hope that you got a lot out of this show.

Todd Orston: And we're going to keep going. We're going to keep putting great content. We have some great shows planned and we hope you stay tuned and listen and learn.

Leh Meriwether: Yup, exactly. Thanks so much.

Speaker 4: This audio programmed does not establish an attorney-client relationship with Meriwether and Tharp-