It is time to think differently. It is time to act differently. It is time to completely re-write the legacy of divorce. In fact, we hate the word divorce. Instead, we call it a dtour. Actually, we call it dtour.life.
I used to sit in the courtroom and watch couples. They would sit on opposite sides of the room - body language fully contracted. Tight lipped men and women with anger and rage emanating from every pore. In some cases, it was more grief than anger. In other cases you could feel the tremendous sadness- and a lot of fear. I used to try to imagine these same two people holding hands, laughing, enjoying a candlelight dinner, even saying “I love you.”
So how did they get here? In a courtroom full of cold process and procedure with professionals strategizing over how to succeed while the other fails.
We believe this is partly due to the lack of a framework for how to think about it, along with a lack of access to information, guidance, and tools. Please read on for the dtour.life philosophy and recommendations for moving forward.
1. Let’s start with a framework for how to think about divorce - a dtour that maybe you hoped for, or maybe you never saw coming and do not want it to happen.
Old Thought: I am so angry. I am devastated. I am scared. This is going to be a fight. I need a shark. I am so afraid of what I am going to have to give away or that I won’t get enough. What do I do? How am I going to survive it? (Complete and utter chaos of the mind.)
New Thought: I am so angry. I am devastated. I am scared. I need to learn as much as I can about all of my options. I want to prepare so that I can participate in this process and make really smart, informed decisions about how to move forward and effectively complete the process. I am just going to take this one day at at a time. We will always have a past together and now we have to chart a new future for both of us.
Old Thought: He/she met with a lawyer! Oh no! That means he/she is going to file and take advantage of me; he/she is going to manipulate the situation and hurt me.
New Thought: He/she met with a lawyer. Oh good. I am so glad he/she is learning about the process, how the law applies and how we should move forward as a family. I will get some advice, too and then we will both be able to deal with all of this at the same level and with the help of professionals.
Old Thought: I have been completely in charge of all our money and it is going to stay that way. He/she will never really understand it, so I am going to just give him/her what they need because they will never really know and even if they had some of the money, they will not manage it well.
New Thought: I have been completely in charge of all our money and when the lawyers evaluate the situation, my spouse will never understand the decisions I made so then it will evolve into a protracted mess that will cost our family a lot of money. I will either encourage my spouse to hire a financial expert to help them understand the situation, or I will provide clarity. If I try to confuse everyone he/she will never agree to a settlement. It is important that he/she make good financial decisions after the divorce.
Old Thought: I despise my spouse and intend to cause them as much emotional pain as possible. They will pay for what they have done.
New Thought I despise my spouse and I want them to pay for what they have done, but I am smart enough to know that every single ounce of time, energy and the financial cost to do so just ruins my own life and affects my children. My triumph will be to deprive them of my friendship and my company and to be free. And, I would rather keep the money in the family.
Old Thought: I know he/she has been hiding money. She’ll pay for this, I will take him for everything he has got, He’ll never stay in that house if I can help it, she’ll be lucky to see the children if I can help it, I don’t care if I spend everything on lawyers, I will make sure he/she gets nothing.
New Thought: How can we move forward and both be successful? How can we take our financial situation, our unique family attributes and creatively separate and allow enough space? I will never be truly successful if my spouse fails. My children will be greatly affected if one of us prevents the other from being able to survive.
2. Now let’s understand the framework of how to think about the role of the court
We tend to project onto the judge the idea that they are an authority figure who will recognize the injustice of our situation, slap our spouse on the wrist for being so unfair and mete out justice accordingly. We also tend to believe that the just or fair outcome is based on the behavior and the narrative of our relationship.
In reality, the court is a finder of financial fact. Family law applies to the facts. The characterization of assets, the strength of financial claims, and not the fact that you have been unhappy for 10 years. (Many custody matters and cases with domestic violence do rely on more of the narrative – supported by fact.)
In most cases, the transactional aspect of the divorce is less about the past, and more about your future. The financial history will certainly affect the facts surrounding the assets, debts and income, but the court is focused on applying the law to the facts and establishing what you will have for your future. Whenever possible, we always suggest that you and your spouse structure your own future, with the assistance of experts, rather than allowing a judge to do it for you.
We know that dtour.life cannot take the pain away, cannot change your day-to-day reality, cannot cure a personality disorder and cannot minimize the gut wrenching child-related issues. But we can inform you, give you ways to be more efficient and more empowered to make better decisions, give you a place to go to feel supported, and maybe even save you a little money and reduce some stress so that you can focus on yourself and your children.
The materials available at this web site are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. Use of, and access to, this Web site or any of the e-mail links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between Dtour, Inc., dtour.life or any affiliate of Dtour, Inc. and the user or browser. Any opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of Dtour, Inc. or dtour.life.