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Episode 83 - Things That You Should NOT Do After Your Divorce.

Episode 83 - Things That You Should NOT Do After Your Divorce. Image

11/20/2018 9:33 am

Many people feel a sense of freedom after their divorce has been granted. Unfortunately, this sense of freedom can get them in financial trouble or back in Court, especially if the divorce involved children. In this show, Leh and Todd discuss what you should NOT do after your divorce. Some of the examples they break down sound outlandish, almost too crazy to even believe. Then there are those situations that sound very innocent or benign, but they have expensive and unforeseen consequences. Tune in to gain a healthy dose of cautionary tales to make sure your divorce is the last time you have to deal with our Court system.

Transcript

Leh Meriwether:             Okay. I'm ready.

Todd Orston:                   For what I'm scared to ask.

Leh Meriwether:             Let's talk about everything you should not do after a divorce.

Todd Orston:                   That's a long list and I think we're gonna need about 40 segments-

Leh Meriwether:             40 segments? Well we've got four.

Todd Orston:                   We have four. I think that's a great idea. I mean we've already done a how on things to do and a show on what not to do. I think it makes sense.

Leh Meriwether:             Welcome everyone. 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 wanna learn more about us, you can always call or visit us online at atlantadivorceteam.com. Hey Todd, do you mind if I give a quick announcement before we-

Todd Orston:                   You may.

Leh Meriwether:             Awesome.

Todd Orston:                   Hey, you were gonna do it anyway. So-

Leh Meriwether:             I was gonna do it anyway.

Todd Orston:                   So, I appreciate it.

Leh Meriwether:             Well we've been announcing this the last couple of weeks and I just wanna make sure I keep announcing. It's around the corner, Monday August sixth at Woodstock City Church, and this ... The church, it's not a church thing. It's more that's who's hosting this. It's called Co-parent Unscripted and there's no script for handling all of the challenges that single and step parents face, but there is a guide. So they have put together a thing called Co-parent Unscripted and they brought in an author by the name of Tammy Daughtry and she's gonna be presenting her book, 'Co-Parenting Works!'. The night's designed to offer insight for parents who are raising children between two homes and the great thing is you can discover how to implement effective strategies for co-parent communication, coping skills and more, and it's only $5.00. So if you wanna register, like I said all are welcome. It's Monday August 6, from seven to nine. You can find more about it and register online at woodstockcity.org and go to the section where is says adults and short term groups, and you'll find the section to register for Co-parent Unscripted. So I just wanted to share that, trying to give something out there for $5.00. Gosh, for two hours, for $5.00, you can get a lot of information that could save you thousands of dollars in attorneys fees and avoiding a contempt action or potential modification case.

Todd Orston:                   Now we've talked about this even when you've announced this in other shows, parenting is hard, co-parenting is equally if not more difficult. So absolutely any kind of programs, especially where it's only $5.00 that is dedicated to helping people figure out and come up with that formula on how to successfully co-parent is worthwhile.

Leh Meriwether:             So all right. Let's get into what not to do after your divorce.

Todd Orston:                   Like I said, I don't know if we have enough time to actually go into everything because we see a lot.

Leh Meriwether:             Yes.

Todd Orston:                   Part of our job is to make sure that our clients are doing what they're supposed to do when they're supposed to do it, and we see parties whether it's our clients ... Never our clients of course, but we see opposing parties acting in ways where I wish that there was someone there telling them, "Yeah, maybe that's not advisable. That's not how you should be acting." And so absolutely there is a big list and while we may joke about it, we may make some jokes and try to be funny unsuccessfully throughout this show. To make the point, don't lose sight of the points because this kinda behavior that we're gonna be talking about can get people into a lot of trouble.

Leh Meriwether:             And we're gonna talk about some serious things and some things that we've seen other parties do and we are gonna laugh about it, but I mean it's very serious. But we're gonna try to use satire to help illustrate things that we should not do. So all right. Let's talk about the first one. Let's talk about money issues first.

Todd Orston:                   You should not have money. Oh, wait. I'm [inaudible 00:04:40]. I'm sorry.

Leh Meriwether:             So what is one thing you shouldn't do right after you're divorced?

Todd Orston:                   Well how about spend money you don't really have. Ding, ding, ding. Do I win a prize? No. Yeah. We see people all the time that it's like the floodgate has been opened-

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   And they engage in this behavior where they've gone through the divorce and I'm not even saying it's one party normally or the other. We have seen ex-husbands, we've seen ex-wives engage in this kinda behavior where they should be on a budget, but I think what happens is they're like, "I'm done. I'm out. I'm free." And the next thing you know, that freedom opens up the wallet and people just start spending like crazy.

Leh Meriwether:             And sometimes you go through the emotional trauma of the divorce and spending money getting new things, shiny things can make you feel good short term. Because we've seen people that went out and did that and they wound up getting in horrible debt and then subsequently couldn't pay their child support or their alimony and the other side brought a contempt action against them for now doing it. I've seen a case where somebody went out and bought ... One case, it was a brand new ... like a really nice 100 plus thousand dollar car. In another case, it was a very, very expensive home and right after the divorce ... And so the first thing the other party did was, they thought about filing an action to set aside the decree, arguing that they had to have been hiding money to be able to go out and afford a car like this or a house like this. So that had to have been and so next thing you know, you go out and you do this and you get pulled right back into the divorce litigation.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. And of course, there's two messages there. Right? I mean first of all, don't overspend and then the other message obviously is even if you have the money to spend, be careful how you spend it because people are watching, and if you spend-

Leh Meriwether:             You don't wanna send the-

Todd Orston:                   I mean we've had cases. How many cases have we had where you spend months going back and forth about, "Well I can't pay this amount of alimony. My budget is this and I can't afford that." And then the ink is still drying on the divorce papers and you pull up in your new Porsche.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   And yeah-

Leh Meriwether:             Or a very nice vacation.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, or a very nice vacation with your significant other. And if you're looking for triggers, if you're looking to get dragged right back into court either on a motion to set aside based on fraud or if the case is all finalized and they don't go that route on some kind of a modification action where it's like, "Well child support was based on this level of income, but that level of spending means they must've been hiding something. So we're gonna go back in. We're gonna ... I want more alimony. I want more child support." All right.

Leh Meriwether:             And I had that ... We had that exact same case where the ex ... the mom brought the dad back to court because he actually went out and bought a number of things. They were all financed. So ... But the appearance that was given was that he was suddenly making a lot more money and the next thing you know, he's spending thousands of dollars in court fighting over trying to say, "Look, I don't have any more money. I shouldn't pay more child support." And not that he didn't wanna pay child support, it was one of those cases where it was a 50/50 custodial arrangement and he actually made more money than she did and he was paying child support, even thought it was a 50/50 custodial arrangement. So he wasn't somebody who was trying to avoid paying anything. It was just like, "I'm actually worse off financially because I went out and borrowed money to buy these things.", but there was a negative consequence for it.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. You have to be careful because I know you feel that you're enjoying that new sense of freedom because you've just been through a difficult process. Even if you've reached an agreement, it's a difficult process and you come out on that backend and you just start spending. But there are consequences to your own budget-

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   To your own finances, but also like we're talking about, being dragged back into court by somebody who thinks, "Well maybe they have more money than they let on."

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. So on the flip side, let's get a little ... So a little more serious here. So we see cases where people ... they ... the divorce is over, they're getting a nice support package, but then they become 100% dependent on that divorce package. So when I say package, child support and alimony and they don't try to work their way ... I mean obviously if you've been a stay at home parent and haven't been employed, there's gonna be a time period where you will be 100% dependent on that support, but you should be working to get away from that. And how many cases have we seen where the husband was supposed to pay a bunch of support, he did not pay his life insurance policy and then either got killed in a car wreck or committed suicide. There was one where he got life insurance during the course of the case. It was paid up but then like six months later after the divorce was over, he committed suicide and there was an exemption in the life insurance policy that said, "If you commit suicide within two years, there is nothing." And so this mom all of a sudden, she had no support.

Todd Orston:                   Well I appreciate you happy-ing up this show. You know? Yes, I don't know whether to keep talking or crawl under the desk, but you're a 100% right and things can happen. And when you are coming out of a divorce, we've seen too many people establish a budget that is not realistic and becoming ... your point is becoming too dependent on the support that you're getting pursuant to a divorce decree is very dangerous. Forget about death and suicide and all the fun stuff you were talking about. Jokes aside, what about just a loss of job? What about if you are getting child support and alimony, you go out and get a house and all these other things and then they lose their job? All that money is now dried up.

Leh Meriwether:             Yep. Hey up next, we're gonna talk about things you should not do after your divorce on social media. We'll be right back.

                                         Welcome back 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 wanna learn more about us, you can always call or visit us online, atlantadivorceteam.com. And today we're talking all about the things that you should not, emphasis on not, bold, caps, underline, not do after you're divorced. So we're using a little satire and humor to try to talk about things that you should avoid so that you don't wind up paying a lawyer even more money. All right. So another thing we were talking about in the last segment, talking about money issues, things you shouldn't do with money after your divorce. One of the things is not just doing things with your money, but letting everyone know what you're doing with your money. So how many times have we seen people get really upset because they were posting to social media, all these fancy vacations that you know cost a lot of money?

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. I will take it a step farther to say not only have we seen many situations where someone has just online, Facebook, whatever, just published a whole bunch of pictures and things like that, but where that behavior and those pictures have then resulted in litigation. Okay. And so a thing not to do, absolutely ... I mean if you are looking for trouble, then go ahead and start posting those pictures. Show the fancy vacation you took and ooh, better yet-

Leh Meriwether:             I can't wait.

Todd Orston:                   Are you ready?

Leh Meriwether:             I'm ready.

Todd Orston:                   A fancy vacation with your new significant other.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, yes.

Todd Orston:                   Goes over so well.

Leh Meriwether:             So well.

Todd Orston:                   All right. And by the-

Leh Meriwether:             Especially where during the divorce you were saying, "I am not having an adulterous relationship."

Todd Orston:                   Oh, yeah. Yeah. And two weeks later, there's a ring on someone's finger and you're in wherever-

Leh Meriwether:             Yes.

Todd Orston:                   Having some ridiculous vacation. Okay. So that kind of behavior, sarcasm aside, it's going to create problems-

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   And I do understand there are some people who do it as a jab. Right?

Leh Meriwether:             And that's a big ... I think the creates the biggest rub is ... on both sides. So you'll see the husband has said like you said, "I can't afford this level of alimony.". And then divorce is over and then boom, he's going on these fancy trips and he puts it all over Facebook to rub it in or whatever social media it is, whether it's Twitter or whatnot. And then on the flip side the wife who's like, "I'm not gonna survive on this.", and then next thing you know, there are-

Todd Orston:                   And I don't know why she talks like this. But-

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   You're right.

Leh Meriwether:             She's going all over the world on all these ... And I'm ... We just see it all the time.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah.

Leh Meriwether:             And it actually is what causes a lot of repeat business for us.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. We had one case where ... It was basically a situation where the person was saying, "I can't pay child support.", and they were a promoter of musicians-

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, yes.

Todd Orston:                   And-

Leh Meriwether:             I remember this case.

Todd Orston:                   And there were pictures non stop at this concert, at that concert and it was ... And the story being told was basically, "I don't have enough money to eat, so I can't really support and I really pay anything." And yet we look at ... and it's at this bar and at this club and at this event and so on and so forth, and all the pictures were there. So we were to able ... "Well, really? You're that broke? Because it looks like you're working a heck of a lot."

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   "Oh, and I have the pictures to show it."

Leh Meriwether:             Yes. So definitely do not do that and we're not saying you can't go on a nice vacation, not saying that. It's just don't post it all over social media to the point where you're rubbing it in the face of the other spouse.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. And so that's focused on pictures and behavior relating to money, but since we're talking about online, I'm just gonna keep going.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   If you really wanna create problems, okay? Go ahead. Absolutely post pictures that are just rude, that ... I saw cases where let's say the father of a child all right, has video of his new girlfriend and they're convincing the children to call her mommy.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, boy.

Todd Orston:                   Okay.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, boy.

Todd Orston:                   So things like that, things that are just wrong on so many levels. That kind of behavior ... Hopefully that's not the kind of behavior that makes you feel good. If it's the kinda behavior that makes you feel good ... Anyway, you need to sort of find-

Leh Meriwether:             You need some counseling.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. Yeah.

Leh Meriwether:             You need counseling.

Todd Orston:                   You need some counseling, but on top of that, understand that the consequences which you may think it's just a little jab-

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   And then it's done, it's not done at that point. All right.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   Many of those people are then going to an attorney and saying, "I'm angry. I'm upset. I'm concerned about that behavior."

Leh Meriwether:             "We need to change the parenting plan."

Todd Orston:                   Yeah, "We need to now do something through the courts."

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. And along the same lines, just period don't taunt your ex through social media. Don't do things like, "I took him or her to the cleaners." I mean you're just setting yourself up-

Todd Orston:                   Unless you literally drove them to the cleaners.

Leh Meriwether:             Well that's ... Then to get their dry cleaning? Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   I mean that's what ... Sorry, that was bad.

Leh Meriwether:             "Today I drove ..."

Todd Orston:                   I recognize that was pretty horrible. But anyway.

Leh Meriwether:             So I mean I think the best motto to live by is living well is the best form of revenge. And when I say living well, I'm not talking about going out there and living it up, I'm just talking about just go on with your life, do not ... Apart from the interactions if you have children, being a great co-parent. Apart from that, you don't need to do anything to rub it in the other person's face.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. And we're also not saying you can't be happy with your life, that you can't-

Leh Meriwether:             Exactly.

Todd Orston:                   Go online and if you did take a nice trip, we're not saying don't post something. Be tactful.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   Just understand that there's a big difference between posting something that shows a happy day, where you're holding a baby on some beach because you went with your new child post divorce on some lovely vacation. And pictures that I've seen where your girlfriend is holding the baby and you're standing behind her giving two middle fingers.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   So that kind of stuff ...

Leh Meriwether:             It's not worth it.

Todd Orston:                   It's not worth it on any level. All right. And it will result in problems.

Leh Meriwether:             And so talking about not worth it, we had a whole show about stuff, about personal property and how often lawyers don't like to get into that because you can easily spend more money on legal fees than if just buying new stuff. But often when you get a divorce, somebody's moved out and the stuff, maybe it be furniture or personal items is remaining in the other home. One of the things I've just seen people just get ... this is a new legal term, silly stupid. Just get silly stupid, is just-

Todd Orston:                   I think it's the [inaudible 00:18:39]. Right. Actually.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah, it is. Yeah. So trashing their exes things that are in the house. So the ex has left and their stuff is still there and they just trash it or maybe ... Or the other person says, "I keep saying, 'Oh, I'll get it next week. I'll get my stuff next week. I'll get my stuff next week.'" Those ... On either side, don't do it. If you have stuff ... your things at your spouse's ... ex-spouse's place, don't wait to go get them. Go get them. If you have to put them in a storage unit, put them in a storage unit. I mean I would say if you ... maybe take it to a consignment shop and get some money for it, but don't leave it over there. All you're doing is in some ways taunting them 'cause they know it's your stuff and it's gonna cause them ... You could lead to the potential where it gets damaged.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. You are assuming that the other party is going to do the responsible and correct thing, which is maybe box it up, put it into a corner, be upset with the fact that you are now forcing that person to act as a storage facility for the items you really should've removed already. But you are assuming that they are not gonna do something improper with that stuff and because this is what we do, we can tell you from experience, oftentimes people don't do the right thing.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   That's why we do shows about what to do, what not to do because unfortunately, we see people unfortunately make the wrong choice and do the wrong thing, and property goes missing, property gets destroyed. "Oops, I'm sorry. I put it in a box in the garage. Was that your tuxedo? I'm sorry the moths got it. There was a leak in the garage. I'm sorry. The rats made a lovely home out of it, but I didn't know." So there are things that ... They might sell it, they might burn it.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   But sometimes it's not that simple. You think that it's sitting in a closet, but it's in a box getting destroyed in the heat of moisture of-

Leh Meriwether:             In a garage.

Todd Orston:                   [crosstalk 00:20:40] summer.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   So just if you have property and you need to get it, get it.

Leh Meriwether:             Take care of it. Take care of it.

Todd Orston:                   Yep.

Leh Meriwether:             Don't ... So this is you don't do, don't procrastinate.

Todd Orston:                   Don't procrastinate.

Leh Meriwether:             And the other thing, don't ... When you know your spouse is coming over to pick up their stuff, don't put up on the wall a life sized picture of them with a bullseye on their head and bullet holes in it.

Todd Orston:                   Wow.

Leh Meriwether:             Yes.

Todd Orston:                   That's kinda specific, but-

Leh Meriwether:             There may or not have been a family violence action that arose out of that.

Todd Orston:                   Wow. Well I'm very quickly also building on it 'cause we mentioned it already. If you are on the side of this equation where the items are left in the home that you now have control of, don't do anything silly with the stuff.

Leh Meriwether:             No.

Todd Orston:                   It can come back and bite you. So don't destroy it, don't sell it. There are things that you can do. You can contact your lawyer, you can write letters. You can do other things to make them ... force them to come over, but don't do something that unfortunately will then put a negative light or paint you in a negative light, make you look like the bad guy.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. And up next, we're gonna talk about the things you should not do after your divorce when it comes to custody issues, when it comes to the children. And we're actually gonna talk about some things that you shouldn't do when it comes to you personally that could impact your emotional well being. We're gonna get into that up next.

                                         Todd, I love getting into these cases or situations where we talk about what not to do 'cause often we can provide some people with some ... well all the advice is good advice. But we can sort of splice in the very serious stuff with some of the funny stuff that we've seen over the course of time, the crazy stuff that the other side ... 'cause our clients, they're all ... We don't have ... Our clients, they're really good.

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether:             They don't do this.

Todd Orston:                   They don't make those mistakes.

Leh Meriwether:             No.

Todd Orston:                   But so much of what we do is really people calling us going, "Can I? Should I?" Whatever. And it's like, "No. No."

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   "Definitely not." So a lot of what we do is not ... It's not just what can you do and should you do.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   Sometimes it is don't do that.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. And like the example we gave earlier of the posting to social media, some vacations and we've had people that were very innocently publishing it. The guy that I was telling you about that had ... He had bought like a cabin, he bought a few things and put it on ... unfortunately, financed it all and it gave the impression ... He didn't do it to flaunt the other side. He didn't post that to social media, but she took it to mean he was ... suddenly he'd come into a lot of cash. So-

Todd Orston:                   Well and you can't help that because sometimes people are going to take it the wrong way-

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   And it doesn't mean that because you've gone through a divorce you should live in a cave and-

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   Not be happy with your life and happy how you're moving forward with your life, but there is ... I mean anyone listening, you know. There's a line where it's yeah, you're just out there, you're happy. You're posting things that you should be happy about that normal people post on Facebook and other places and then there's the, "Yay." Clearly I didn't need to see the second Porsche you bought.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   Or I didn't need to see this and that. Clearly it's directed at one person.

Leh Meriwether:             Or maybe I didn't need to see five or 50 pictures from your vacation.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah.

Leh Meriwether:             So it's more of like how did your divorce ... Think about how your divorce went and how do you think your spouse ... or ex-spouse I should say. How do you think your ex-spouse might interpret or misinterpret what you're doing and just sort of use that ... Take a moment before you immediately just hit share or upload that photo. Take a moment, just think about how it might look, especially if it's right after your divorce because my gosh, the wounds are still healing. So this advice, we're really focusing like the first six months to a year. So keep that in mind as the wounds heal over time, then it may be okay to do those other things, but-

Todd Orston:                   Then your third and fourth cars, all the pictures you want and the ... Yeah.

Leh Meriwether:             Well maybe there's still some things you need to be cautionary about-

Todd Orston:                   Right.

Leh Meriwether:             Like don't have your boyfriend or girlfriends sleep over at the house when the kids are there.

Todd Orston:                   Oh, God. You know what? It goes over so well every time. All right. That was sarcasm. We unfortunately see that happen all the time. Now a lot of agreements are gonna have morality clauses-

Leh Meriwether:             We'll probably share what a morality clause is.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. And that's basically where an agreement and an order, more importantly the court order that prohibits certain behavior like ... And in this case, a morality clause ... it's a term that relates to you should not have someone of the opposite sex or somebody that you're in a sexual relationship with spending the night while the children are present.

Leh Meriwether:             Right. We have to avoid now the opposite sex because-

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. Right.

Leh Meriwether:             We have situations where people of the same sex-

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

Leh Meriwether:             Are sleeping over, but it's of a romantic nature.

Todd Orston:                   Of romantic nature, that you're in some kind of a sexual relationship with that person and the kids are present.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   And putting aside the legality of it, putting aside whether or not it violates the terms of an order, whether or not morally ... And I'm not making this judgment, whether you think it's right or wrong, if you're looking to create problems, then engage in that behavior.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   I mean if that's your goal, then hey, A+. You are accomplishing your goal.

Leh Meriwether:             If you wanna increase the likelihood that you're gonna be back in court, go right to it.

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely, because I can almost say without fail when that behavior occurs ... And there are some situations where post divorce the parties get along and they've both moved on and they've both looked at each other and said, "You know what? I sort of like your new person." "I like your new person." Okay, fine. Be responsible and-

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   All right. Okay. But that's the rarity. That's not the norm.

Leh Meriwether:             That's not the ... Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   And so we see so many times people bringing their significant others over, letting them sleep over and-

Leh Meriwether:             Or having them move in.

Todd Orston:                   And talk about creating problems. These things create huge problems.

Leh Meriwether:             And I wanna add to that, what you were saying like if you ... I'm not taking aside any sort of moral judgment at all on these issues, I can ... You can ... There is evidence out there that it negatively impacts your children. They may say it's okay, they may act like it's okay. But there are ... I have met I don't know how many people, that they talk about ... They struggle in their current marriage, whether it's in a sexual way or not, I'm talking about sexual intimacy because there's ... the parent they lived with after the divorce had a revolving door of men or women or people just sleeping over and it just created all kinds of angst for the children. And it may not be ... You may not observe it at the time, but it comes out in therapy later.

Todd Orston:                   I gotta tell you, I've always wanted to put a revolving door in my house. Not for anything ... any improper purpose, but I think they're so convenient and ... All right. How about hooking up with a high school sweetheart you reunited with on Facebook recently? That's gonna go over well.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah, that's not gonna-

Todd Orston:                   No?

Leh Meriwether:             Not only is it not only a good idea because then you have this, "Oh, this must've happened during the divorce." I mean but this is what really caused the divorce 'cause we've seen that happen. We've seen where it was an amicable divorce, but then all of a sudden you reunite with your high school sweetheart and then other person gets very upset. We've had those calls where they say, "Can I undo this settlement agreement because I found out later they were really having an affair?" So it creates problems and I mean how many cases have we also seen where someone hooks up with their high school sweetheart right after the divorce. Okay? So they haven't even had time to figure out their contribution to the marriage and divorce, they hook up with their high school sweetheart, "Oh, I should've been with them all along.", only to get divorced from them later. So it's not a good idea to hook up ... I mean-

Todd Orston:                   Well look, I think the point that we're making is if you get a divorce and suddenly you spark up a relationship with somebody, whether it's your high school sweetheart, your former spouse, a former boyfriend/girlfriend. Whatever the case might be, far be it for me to say that you shouldn't move on with your life. Really what we're getting to is there's a way to go about it.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   And there's a way you flaunt it and throw it into the other party's face where you're asking for trouble. All right? And then there's the other way where it's just, "Look, I'm gonna sort of do this more respectfully." Okay. Whether you think that your former spouse deserves respect or not, you're doing it in a respectful way that hopefully is gonna avoid problems. So don't even think of it as an altruistic kind of behavior. You're doing it selfishly because you don't wanna have to get dragged into a mess, some kind of post divorce litigation simply because you wanted to post eight and ... 900 pictures of you and your former spouse. That all the fun vacations that you took when ... Hey by the way, you hadn't taken a vacation with your former spouse ... your most recent former spouse-

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   For like seven years and I've had that.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   "Like we haven't gone on a vacation in seven years. Oh look, this past year he took the girlfriend on four different vacations."

Leh Meriwether:             Exactly.

Todd Orston:                   That doesn't go over well.

Leh Meriwether:             Well maybe you don't get pulled back into court, maybe that doesn't happen, but here's what happens especially ... And we're mainly focused on situations where there's children involved. But then what you have is at the exchanges, "I saw your Facebook post. Really?" So it just creates this-

Todd Orston:                   Stress.

Leh Meriwether:             Stress. It makes the exchanges of the children very stressful. You run the risk of them talking badly about you not intentionally in front of the kids, but the kids overhear it. Perhaps they start spreading rumors at school and it's all in their perception of what they've seen and all of a sudden you go to a school event and people are looking at you funny.

Todd Orston:                   It's a short term gain, long term strain-

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   For lack of a better way of putting it, that you may feel good because you poked your ex a little bit. All right? But you're gonna pay for it.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   And that strain, that stress that you've now created, the gap that you've widened just a little bit more that may have already existed between you and your ex, it's now more pronounced. It's now a bigger gap and that stress, that strain is gonna haunt you in one way or another. So again, just use common sense, be happy about your life and move on with your life, but do it in a respectful way because I think that's gonna pay off in dividends for you.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. And one thing that if you really wanna guarantee a little bit of strife and you're like, "Well I'll avoid the whole morality clause and I will get remarried within one month of our divorce."

Todd Orston:                   Especially if there were allegations of adultery and you denied, denied, denied and you just happened to ... the yoga instructor-

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   Or whatever it was that, "No, nothing was happening between us." And four days later, it's like, "Oh, yeah. We're getting married." All right. Great. At least you didn't lie throughout the divorce. That's ... High five.

Leh Meriwether:             But there are situations where the parties were separated for like three or four years-

Todd Orston:                   Yeah.

Leh Meriwether:             Before they finally filed an actual divorce action. They moved out, they just for whatever reason procrastinated. And so in many ways the relationship had ended several years prior to an actual piece of paper saying the final judgment. So those situations ... We're not talking about those situations. We're not talking about that because you can sort of understand someone a month later after they get the divorce, they get remarried. In fact, that's actually what stimulates the divorce is, "Oh, gosh. I'm still married. I need to get rid of this." But up next, we're gonna talk ... we're gonna go into a little bit more about things not to do after your divorce.

                                         Welcome back 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 wanna learn more about us, you can always call or visit us online, atlantadivorceteam.com. And today we've been getting into all the things that you should not do right after your divorce. We're talking about things that ... I mean some serious things, some kinda funny things. Well when you look at them in retrospect or when we talk about it after we dealt with the case, they sound funny, but the things that-

Todd Orston:                   At the time, not so much.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. At the time not so much and definitely the person that was on the receiving end of those things didn't feel like it was very funny, and both parties wound up back in court. So now we're gonna get a little bit more serious. I know you love that Todd.

Todd Orston:                   I like getting serious.

Leh Meriwether:             [inaudible 00:34:32].

Todd Orston:                   That was my serious voice.

Leh Meriwether:             Oh, [inaudible 00:34:35].

Todd Orston:                   Very close to Batman. Batman.

Leh Meriwether:             Okay. But we're gonna talk about some more personal things, not necessarily actions, but just more from a ... We've got to have a psychologist or a counselor come on the show to talk about this stuff, but we're just gonna touch on it.

Todd Orston:                   Sure.

Leh Meriwether:             And then I'm sure some counselor's gonna listen and call in and say, "Boy, [inaudible 00:34:57]-"

Todd Orston:                   You.

Leh Meriwether:             "I need to come in and really explain what you.-"

Todd Orston:                   You missed the mark there.

Leh Meriwether:             But these are things that we've noticed just from being divorce lawyers for years and years 'cause you do ... Experience can be a great teacher and so we're gonna share some things that we've identified over the years from people after they've gone through a divorce 'cause some of these people we ... I mean when you get in a slug fest if ... We're always trying to resolve cases, but there are some cases that it's just ... it becomes a knock down, drag out battle unfortunately. In many cases, you get to know the people so well. I mean I've got people that I've represented them 12, 14, 15 years ago, I still stay in touch with, I still talk to. We run into each other all the time and so you kinda become friends with them, and you talk to them and they share how they worked through after the divorce and everything. So we've had the opportunity to learn a lot from these things. So one thing that we've noticed is sometimes people as soon as the divorce is over, they're like, "Ooh, the guard's down. I don't have to be this perfect person anymore because I was under the microscope of the court."

                                         So then they make ... They run out and make an emotional decision that has long lasting effects like, "Well she would never let me get that tattoo. So I'm getting that tattoo now." And you run out and you get a tattoo and-

Todd Orston:                   Unless it's like a full face tattoo. Then-

Leh Meriwether:             Then it's okay.

Todd Orston:                   Send us a picture and yeah. We've seen that with piercings. We've seen that with-

Leh Meriwether:             Plastic surgery.

Todd Orston:                   Tattoos and plastic surgeries and ... Look, you wanna express yourself, you feel a sense of freedom that you may not have felt for a long time. Be smart.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   That's all I can say, be smart. I'm not saying tattoos are bad.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   If that's something-

Leh Meriwether:             Well I'm just saying wait a year.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. If you want to do something, just understand that whether you recognize it or not, you went through a lot.

Leh Meriwether:             Yes.

Todd Orston:                   Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful life events you could encounter. So take a deep breath. Maybe today you want the tattoo, but a year from now, maybe not. Okay.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah. And the key thing is you may want it for the wrong reason.

Todd Orston:                   That's right.

Leh Meriwether:             You want it because you went through this divorce and you just wanna make a statement or maybe you're wanting to rub it in your ... Going back to that taunting thing, the rub it in the other person's face, "Ha. See I'm not under your thumb anymore. I can do this." But then a year later, you regret it and we see that happen all the time. We hear stories about it all the time. So we're not saying you can't do it. We're not ... Or there's obviously nothing illegal against, but ... And we're not making any judgment on it. We're just saying wait a year before you make that kinda decision.

Todd Orston:                   Whatever time it is, whether it's a year, longer, shorter, just take a deep breath. Just appreciate the fact that you are through the divorce. Appreciate the fact that you are now moving on with your life, come to understand all the nuances, all the ins and outs of what that actually means financially, emotionally, all of that before you make big, potentially life changing or permanent decisions.

Leh Meriwether:             And talking about working through this process, don't avoid counseling.

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether:             So many people, they just wanna avoid it. They're like, "I'm done with it. I don't need counseling. The divorce, the stressful part is over." Well a lot of times the ... Going to counseling even after divorce, it's a time to grow and figure out your part of the marriage in the divorce. You hear this same thing ... You've heard this joke where Mable's at a meeting with a bunch of women and she tells them about her ex-husband Joe and her ex-husband Billy and her ex-husband Jeff and her ex-husband Mark. And everybody says, "Mable, you've married the same guy. He just has six different names." So what you don't wanna do is you don't wanna marry the same person and then all of a sudden you're in a relationship you hated before that wound up getting you in a divorce. So-

Todd Orston:                   I mean some of the more obvious examples that people sometimes see are abusive relationships.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   Right? I mean but sometimes it's not as blatant as that. You'll see some people ... We will see clients where they go from one abusive spouse to another and so all I'm saying is you need to grow. You need to understand yourself, you need to move on with your life in a healthy way. Counseling absolutely can and sometimes if not oftentimes, should be a part of that. And we're not getting paid by counselors to say this.

Leh Meriwether:             No, we're not.

Todd Orston:                   Okay. We are saying this because it is the truth. You need to just help yourself and even just having that sounding board. It's funny, I actually took my son to a concert recently. We went to Imagine Dragons and-

Leh Meriwether:             You're so hip.

Todd Orston:                   You have no idea. Yeah. Pretty much everyone was looking at me like, "You do not belong here." I thought security was gonna remove me.

Leh Meriwether:             "Old man, what are you doing here?"

Todd Orston:                   "Too much gray here to be here. I'm sorry." But the lead singer's name is Dan Reynolds and he's known for doing this, but I watched him do it at this concert where he stopped and he talked about counseling. And with no shame or embarrassment he said, "Look. I've been going to therapists for years. I struggle with depression. Do not wait. If you think you need to talk to somebody, go talk to somebody. There's nothing to be embarrassed about." And we say the same thing.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   Because even if you're not struggling with depression, even if it doesn't rise to that kind of a serious level, you need to be heard. You need someone that you can bounce ideas off of.

Leh Meriwether:             And here's the other thing, that often people come out of the divorce process depressed and they don't realize it or-

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely.

Leh Meriwether:             They don't deal with some issues that came out of it, underlying issues whether from the divorce or prior to the divorce, and then they be ... If you go to counseling ahead of time, you avoid getting depressed. So ... And there's often that whole some people will wallow in self pity, "Oh, woe is me. I got divorced." I'm saying that from the standpoint that when you wallow in the self pity, it's okay to grieve. There's a difference between grieving and wallowing in self pity. So when it happens it hurts you mentally, it hurts you financially 'cause what'll happen is you're at work and you go up to someone and say, "Hey, can I tell you about my divorce?" And they're like, "You've been telling me about your divorce for the last two years. I'm kinda tired of it. I'm gonna go to lunch with someone else." They actually won't tell you that.

Todd Orston:                   Right.

Leh Meriwether:             What they'll do is they just ... Next thing you know, they're gone and half the office is gone and you're in there by yourself and then that adds to the self pity. But if you got to the counselor, you work through that and then you're somebody at the office everyone wants to be around because you're able to process the divorce.

Todd Orston:                   Well you have ... And you have the other outlet.

Leh Meriwether:             Yes.

Todd Orston:                   You're not utilizing those friends and/or work acquaintances as your outlet for just unloading your frustration.

Leh Meriwether:             Yep.

Todd Orston:                   So the other thing would be ... And ... Don't isolate yourself.

Leh Meriwether:             Yes.

Todd Orston:                   Don't isolate yourself from anyone. I mean obviously if you don't feel that you can be friends with somebody, I'm not saying be friends with them.

Leh Meriwether:             Right.

Todd Orston:                   But don't isolate yourself from friends, even if you're now single, "Well married friends don't wanna interact with me or socialize with me because that's awkward." Okay. Don't make those types of assumptions.

Leh Meriwether:             Yeah.

Todd Orston:                   If you're looking to really put yourself into a bad, emotional position, then isolate yourself. But I mean you don't need to be a professional therapist to say that isolation does not help. That's not helping you grow, that's not helping you grieve, that's not helping you heal.

Leh Meriwether:             And it's okay to be around married friends, I mean because maybe they're ... they can be the role model for what you want to look for for the next spouse.

Todd Orston:                   That's why I hang out with you. I'm your role model. It's-

Leh Meriwether:             I'm so glad you're there for me.

Todd Orston:                   Absolutely. Listen.

Leh Meriwether:             If I'd been through a divorce, you would help me through it.

Todd Orston:                   Keep the checks coming and I am here for you.

Leh Meriwether:             So here's another big thing. Don't compare divorces. There are so many times when people will look at a divorce paper and they're like, "Oh, I got this. But they got that." No two divorces are the same.

Todd Orston:                   Yeah. Do not assume that when you hear about the facts of somebody else's divorce that that's going to apply to you because so many times people will call and they'll be like, "Well they got the plane and the yacht and the ..." and it's like well-

Leh Meriwether:             "And they got child support through college."

Todd Orston:                   Right. And it's like, "Well hold on one second. Did they go to court? Was that a court order? Was that an agreement?" "I'm not sure." Or, "Oh, no. They agreed." "Well okay. I don't know all the facts and circumstances, but in that situation there was just a generous spouse who was willing to give more than a court would order."

Leh Meriwether:             And although I don't know all the facts and circumstances, what I do know is unfortunately we're out of time. Gosh, we could keep talking for several more shows about-

Todd Orston:                   I know I don't wanna hear that.

Leh Meriwether:             Everyone, that about wraps up this show. Thanks so much for listening. If you wanna read more about us or read more about this topic, always check us out at atlantadivorceteam.com. That's atlantadivorceteam.com.

Speaker 3:                        This audio program does not establish an attorney client relationship with Meriwether and Tharp.