Dont be manipulated

Protecting Yourself: How to Avoid Being Manipulated During a Divorce

Going through a divorce is akin to grieving the loss of a loved one. 

In most cases, the situation is beyond our control and impacts the family dynamic when children are involved. 

Divorce is neither quick nor easy. It demands courage, strength, and understanding from both parties. 

Robin Depies from Confidence & Clarity recently spoke with Lori Barkus from Barkus Law on removing fear and avoiding being manipulated during a divorce. 

Whether you are currently going through a marital separation or a legal professional helping individuals or couples who are going through a divorce, you will find some helpful advice that Lori and Robyn have to share. 

Here’s what’s been discussed;

Conscious uncoupling 

In an ideal world, we want divorce to happen as quickly and smoothly as possible. 

We want a fair and equal share of assets as well as sharing parental responsibilities. 

The reality is it’s not an easy process to go through. Emotionally detaching from your partner is extremely difficult, especially if your partner is divorcing you. 

Consciously removing emotions from the equation is impossible. Instead, we have to try to make decisions based on our logical mind. 

Believe it or not, successfully uncoupling from your spouse requires teamwork and a collaborative approach to finding a possible outcome for both parties. 

Things You Should Be Aware of When Your Partner is Divorcing You

You have just been handed divorce papers, and you don’t know where to begin. 

Naturally, you take the initial guidance from your partner. 

Unbeknownst to you, they have begun speaking to financial advisers, accountants, and lawyers to get the divorce proceedings started to work in his favor. 

In doing so, they have armed themselves with as many legal weapons as needed in preparation for the divorce battle you’re about to enter. 

Where does this leave you? 

No matter how attractive tapping out and agreeing to the terms set by your soon-to-be ex-husband for an easier life, it’s important to remain guarded and alert. 

After all, whatever agreement you sign will affect the rest of your life.

Be wary of a subtle hint of manipulation

Manipulation is not always obvious. 

You may think that your soon-to-be ex-husband is financially savvy by suggesting that hiring a lawyer is unnecessary and expensive. 

They may even suggest that doing so will mess up the whole process. 

They may also promise that they’ll give you a fair and just agreement if you were to go via a mediator instead. 

Should you believe them? 

Tap into your intuition. If you feel they’re showing signs of red flags, don’t do it. 

It’s crucial to find out your rights and seek legal professionals’ advice. 

By knowing where you stand in legal matters, you will be better equipped to understand the next steps forward that are right for you. 

Emotional blackmail

Being on the receiving end of divorce is the worst place to be in. Often you are the last person to find out about your partner’s decision. 

The first person to walk away from a marriage is usually the person who has taken the first initial steps in securing their own financial stability. 

They might even go as far as drafting an agreement that works in their favor, for example, an agreement that supports them in not paying for child support or sharing their retirement fund with you.

In truth, before you have a family, you would have decided as a couple who would be the breadwinner in the household. 

It isn’t unusual to have one person earning higher than the other person. In most cases, women tend to be a stay at home parent, while men tend to take on more demanding and high-paying roles to support the family. 

As is often the case, if you rely on your spouse’s income, you will likely have less control over your finances. 

Feeling like you have no access to any income can be intimidating and humiliating. 

The nail in the coffin is when they know how to pull your heartstrings and manipulate you into signing their agreement. 

It can feel like walking on eggshells in fear that you may walk away with nothing if you don’t play nice with them. 

This is why it is important to try to be proactive in our approach. 

The quicker you find out what your rights are, the more power you’ll have over your situation. 

Fear of walking away

Divorce is not only painful but emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting to have to go through. 

When you have spent a significant amount of time with someone you loved, cared for, and invested in, it’s difficult to walk away. 

Why? Because we become codependent with our partners, we fear being alone.

Fear is an illusion. It tricks you into thinking that you cannot survive without your partner. 

In reality, support comes from other people in our lives, not just from our partners but through our friends and families too. 

It is important during this time to have the right support and guidance in protecting your well-being. 

Don’t allow emotions to cloud your judgment. If your partner has decided to end your marriage, see it for what it is. It’s time to walk away. 

The quicker you accept the situation, the more control you’ll have in decision-making.

What Should I Look for in a Good Divorce Lawyer?

If you have reached this stage of the process, good for you. You’re on the right track.

Finding a good divorce attorney is like finding your perfect running shoes. You need the right support that is not too restrictive and has room for flexibility. 

After all, dividing assets and finances should be treated with a great magnitude of care and due diligence. 

It is advisable to seek consultation from one or two reputable law firms rather than 20-minute free advice. A consultation will give you more detailed and knowledgable advice than free generic advice. 

Communication is a two-way street

The key to finding the right person to represent your case is finding someone you can trust.

They will need to build rapport with you just as much as you do with them. 

Therefore, you want to work with someone you feel comfortable with. 

Before hiring a lawyer, you may want to know whether they have the capacity to take on your case. You don’t want your case to be at the bottom of their list of priorities. 

The more open and honest you are with your divorce attorney, the better and more efficient your and your lawyer’s time will be. 

Retainers should not be excessive

Many family law attorneys require a retainer to formalize your agreement with them. 

It will be utilized to compensate them for their time and effort in fighting your case. To stay on top of things, ask for an itemized bill. 

Most retainers are refundable unless it says otherwise. 

It is important to note that different states have different rules about retainers. 

Do your due diligence and ensure you understand the firm’s billing policies before partnering with them. 

Right skill set

Hiring a lawyer based purely on their personality is not always the right approach. 

For example, partnering with an aggressive lawyer, thinking they could win the case based on their assertiveness, is not a wise decision. 

They may have this no-nonsense attitude which is good in a courtroom, but they may also be unapproachable and brash to their clients.

Ultimately what you want is someone with the right skills and background to get the job done in the most honest, fair, and collaborative manner.

You want to ensure that your lawyer’s ambition matches your own. Besides, you are paying them to make sure they have your back. 

You know you have found the right one when they make sure that all parties, including you, understand what you’re agreeing to. Nobody should sign any document that they did not read or understand. 

Hiring someone that’s not the right fit may cost you time and money. 

Whether the divorce is an amicable decision or not, it is a traumatic experience to endure, but staying in an unstable marriage is torture. 

Surrounding yourself with the right support from friends and family can help alleviate any stress relating to divorce. 

At the end of the day, we all want quick fixes; If we could press Ctrl + Alt + Delete, we would. 

One way to deal with divorce is to deal with it head-on. Don’t be wishy-washy in your approach, or it might bite you where it hurts in the future. 

For more information, you can listen to the original discussion right here

I may need a divorce.
Hi, I’m Lori Barkus, a family law attorney. My Colorado and Florida-based law firm helps women have a successful divorce by achieving the fairest resolution in the most efficient manner possible. And today, I’d like to talk to you about the what-ifs of divorce. Let’s say you’re thinking about divorce, or maybe your spouse has shared some shocking and devastating news about a betrayal or told you that they’re thinking about divorce, and you’re completely caught off guard by this. You’re still determining what you want at this point. You might still be thinking, maybe I can still save my marriage, or it might be unavoidable and the process is moving forward. Your friends and family are telling you that you should go forward. They’re telling you, you should talk to an attorney. You have so much going on. You know you need help but you’re trying to figure out where to go.

We can help with this situation, because it’s something that my firm and I have faced many times over the years. In fact, we’ve seen cases like this so often that we’ve created an offering specifically for you. We do what’s called a strategy session, and the purpose of this session is to answer all of those what-ifs? We’re here to help you, not just tell you that you should go forward with divorce. We want you to understand what would happen if this goes forward. We want you to know what the process looks like. We want to answer your question about mediation. What is it? Is it right for you? What can you expect in terms of custody of your kids? Would you get alimony? Would you pay alimony? How does child support work? What if you want to keep your house? Maybe you’re concerned that your partner is hiding money.

We can answer all of these questions and more. We can also provide resources to help you understand your financial picture and help support you in making the decision. That’s what we’re here to do. We want you to determine if the marriage can be saved and if divorce is the right step for you, and if it is, we want to make your divorce a successful one. If you have any questions, please get in touch.
Divorce FAQs

A divorce mediator is a neutral party who does not represent either person in a divorce. They can help you and your spouse reach an agreement on all divorce-related issues such as child support, parenting plans, dividing property and spousal support. Divorce mediation usually works best when both parties generally agree on how they want to resolve the various issues and are on amicable terms. At Barkus law, we provide a service that includes both mediation time to discuss and work out the details of your divorce as well as the preparation of all divorce-related documents you will need to file with the court. Although she is a family law attorney, in her role as a mediator, Lori Barkus cannot file paperwork on your behalf, nor can she provide you with legal advice. However, she can prepare all of the documents for you and give you detailed step-by-step instructions about how to file your paperwork. Should you have legal questions or require that paperwork filed on your behalf, you should speak with a qualified attorney about your rights and obligations before and even during the mediation process. Mediation is a low-cost and less stressful way to “untie the knot.” Sustainable Family Solutions offers a flat fee for the mediation process and an additional fee for preparing the documents you need to file with the court. Please call us for details.

In a collaborative divorce, both parties are represented by separate attorneys. The parties and their lawyers sign an agreement not to go to court and instead work together to create an agreement that is best for the parties and their children. The parties can end the process if it does not work, but, if they go to court to have a judge decide, they will each need to hire another lawyer. This keeps the lawyers and parties invested in reaching an agreement. Collaborative divorce can cost far less than a traditional or litigated divorce and can help preserve the family and keep children out of the process. If you are interested in a consultation or have questions, do not hesitate to contact Sustainable Family Solutions. Simply click here and send us a message and we’ll get right back to you.

In order to obtain a divorce, one party needs to state that he or she has lived in Florida for six months and that the marriage is irretrievably broken.
A divorce can be granted over one party’s objection. As long as one party meets residency requirements and states that the marriage is irretrievably broken, there is no way to object to or to stop the divorce process from moving forward.

While you are not required to have a lawyer represent you, not having a lawyer can put you at a disadvantage. It is very important that you understand your rights and obligations before you reach any settlement or go to court. You may decide to seek legal advice or representation if you have questions about your rights in the divorce process.

While alimony can be modified, requesting a modification doesn’t mean you’ll get one. It’s not a matter of simply going before a judge and telling them that you no longer can pay what you have been paying your ex-spouse. These cases must be prepared carefully and those seeking a modification must be able to state a legal basis for the change. Under Florida statute 61.13, the trial court judge has the discretion as to whether alimony will be modified. It provides that when “the circumstances or the financial ability of either party changes” either party may apply for an order decreasing or increasing the amount of alimony and the court has jurisdiction to make orders as equity requires, with “due regard to the changed circumstances of the financial ability of the parties.” The party seeking the modification carries the burden to justify the reduction by having to prove a substantial change in circumstances since the original alimony order and that the change in circumstances was not contemplated at the time of the final order of dissolution. The change also has to be “sufficient, material, involuntary and permanent in nature.” In other words, the party seeking a reduction can’t quit a job that paid them $100,000 a year and accept a job that pays significantly less. When it comes to being permanent in nature, this depends on the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Should the spouse paying alimony choose to retire, the court can take that into consideration. However, that doesn’t mean there will be an automatic reduction or termination of alimony. The court has to consider the age of the payor, his or her health, and the reason for their decision to retire as well as the financial circumstances of the recipient. There are many scenarios that can be contemplated when seeking modification of alimony. Modifications require the consultation and assistance of an attorney who understands the process, the risks and the likelihood of success. If you are interested in a consultation or have questions do not hesitate to contact Sustainable Family Solutions. Simply click here and send us a message and we will get right back to you.

The goal of shared parenting is for parents to collaborate and to remain actively involved in their child’s life, not just on weekends or holidays. In most cases, parents share parental responsibility and make decisions together regarding education, health, and other important matters. Timesharing refers to the time each parent is allowed to spend with the child or children. In more and more cases, parents have equal or nearly equal timesharing with the children. Historically, most children whose parents divorce have spent a majority of their time living with one parent — usually the mother — with the other parent getting visitation rights. However, there has been a big push in recent years to balance the amount of time children spend with both parents, giving parents the opportunity to be actively involved in the raising of their children. In most states, including Florida, judges make custody decisions based on a”best interest of the child” standard. However, judges need not explain the reason(s) for their decisions. Several states have gone so far as to pass shared parenting legislation. In 2013, Florida lawmakers approved an alimony reform law that included a provision for shared parenting. However, Gov. Rick Scott vetoed the bill. Equal timesharing isn’t for everyone and works best for those who are ready, willing and able to take on responsibilities for their child. If you are interested in a consultation or have questions do not hesitate to contact Sustainable Family Solutions. Simply click here and send us a message and we will get right back to you.

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