Today we’re talking about divorce. It annoying your ex is a jerk, you don’t even know why you married them, the kids are a mess, the court systems ludicrous your attorney doesn’t have his head screwed on straight your credit cards are maxed out and it keeps going and going divorce ruins good people and it makes bad people even nastier. So how do you survive, how do you know where to fight and where to give in? Nobody knows the answer to those questions better than Jason Lavoie, a divorce attorney turned divorce coach who helps people navigate divorce with confidence and integrity. He’s the creator of divorce, a comprehensive and affordable program that helps you understand the process and get the best possible outcome.
So you actually used to work within the court system as an attorney and you turned your back and walked away from it tell us more, I know it sounds crazy when you hear the story but basically the short of it all is, I was working as a divorce attorney for a number of years. I was in the court system I noticed a lot of bad things happening and there were a lot of people didn’t have attorneys and they were representing themselves not knowing what they were doing and they needed help but there was one day where I just decided to get up and quit because I realized I wasn’t helping anybody anymore and that’s why I got into the business and so now you’re a divorce coach and how is the advice you give different from what you used to give as an attorney, it’s not that much different to be honest with you as a coach I got to be very careful because technically especially if you don’t live in New Jersey I’m not allowed to give you quote legal advice but what I do is I pretty much coach people and instill in them all my experience and knowledge as an attorney and try to give it to them.
So that they can use it in their divorce and so we talk well you know how to act in court how to talk to a judge how to negotiate what you should even be looking for and crafting an argument you know being persuasive just what to wear people you wouldn’t believe what people wear to court sometimes so it’s like little things from that all the way through you know how to deal with a trial it makes a lot of sense because for a lot of people the divorce is the first time they’ve ever stepped foot in a courtroom and you don’t have any idea what to expect you don’t have any idea where to sit when to stand up how to address the judge so that makes a lot of sense so you have had obviously you’ve seen a lot of couples divorcing over the years.
Why do you think these couples are at the point where they’ve chosen to divorce why have they decided to give up well I mean that’s a loaded question and everybody is different but I’ve seen some common themes over the years and like with one broad stroke what I can tell you is it’s really all about communication. The communication just breaks down and eventually one or both stop communicating with each other entirely and then that’s usually when the time for divorce you know arises and one has had it with the other and so it’s unfortunate but you see patterns you know and if you go back and you look at it, you know I like a fly on the wall through the relationship you can kind of see where the communication starts to break down nobody does anything to try to fix it and it just gets worse and worse and snowballs.
Do you think these couples were real about the divorce because there was no other option or do you think might have been a way they could have stopped it and saved their marriage before they got to this point. I always ask that question when I represented people directly in their divorce I don’t do that now but I would ask that question I said is it over or should we try counseling first because even though I was a divorce attorney and that was you know how I made my living I’d rather see a marriage kind of survive and people reconcile if it’s possible so I would push people towards that and a lot of times I think it is possible but they have to want to put in the work and it you know it takes work and it takes both of them , so you’ve seen a lot of different divorces play out you’ve seen smooth divorces and you’ve seen those epically terrible divorces that cost a fortune and go on for years and years and years have you seen any patterns that mean that made that maybe a divorce is going to be one of those smooth harmonious ones versus the terrible ones what distinguishes the good divorces from the bad divorces is it the attitude of the people that’s a big part of it and it’s the again it kind of goes back to the communication if you can still talk to your spouse throughout the divorce you know meaning you both agreed that the marriage didn’t work and you’re going to get divorced which is okay but you can still talk to each other like human beings and adults then those divorces go through the process much more smoother quicker and cheaper butts. The people who you know have kind of shut their ears off you know it kind of reminds me of like a little kid when they don’t want to listen.
There’s going to know that type of thing the adults do that unfortunately and those are the divorces that are the ugliest ones the longest ones and most expensive ones that makes so much sense because obviously if a couple can talk to each other and work some of these things out before going to their attorneys then a lot of the work is already done and it can go smoother but yes then there are couples who speak through their attorneys and it’s a great way of hurting the other person is simply going to their attorney for more and more and more stuff and driving up their costs and I think that’s one of the issues with the courts is that it’s so easy to use the legal system as a way to couch the other person rather than come to some sort of solution it really is and it’s unfortunate and that’s one of the biggest problems with litigating is that you know we were talking about it takes two. Well all you need is one side to drag it out and want to hurt the other side and there’s really not much you can do about it you know you can’t force somebody to come to an agreement or settle and so that’s the problem is that if you have one person who’s just hell-bent on making it the worst experience of frankly both their lives there’s not much you can do to stop it that I really appreciate you saying that because a lot of people and even the court system to a certain extent wants to put the blame on both parties they want to say well you know it wouldn’t have gotten this bad if both of you hadn’t contributed to the breakdown in some way but I on the other hand anecdotally have seen so many divorces where one person is you often the person with a stake in the kids whether that’s the male or female whoever has the highest stake and the kids tends to be more willing to negotiate and do what’s best for the kids whereas the person who wants to hurt seems to be able to do it very effectively yeah and there’s a disconnect there right because like you said the person who for whatever reason maybe they don’t want a stake in the children they don’t want to be as involved and so for them they’re more disconnected and so it’s easier for them to kind of you know turn the knife in there and make it harder than it really should be yeah so what if you are somebody who’s in a divorce right now with a partner who for whatever reason has decided to make this difficult what attitude can you bring to the process to make it easier on you and make it smoother even though it feels like nothing you can do can please this other person it’s hard I’ll be honest it’s very hard when you’re dealing with somebody who you know it’s kind of thinking the opposite way you are what I do when especially when I represented people was I would really push them to be in therapy and depending on the case and depending on the dynamics involved I would make it a requirement not because you know they need it so much in the sense that you know people have this, I think still us look at therapy as a stereo typical you know weakness but not because of that but because divorce is probably if not the most one of the most traumatic times of your life and it’s not normal when you think about it to go through all that and you need you need a sounding board you need people other than family and friends because they’re biased let’s be honest and they’re going to be on your side as they should be you need that objective voice in your ear to kind of keep you level and get you through the process so as an attorney I do have some psychology background and I always told the clients if you want to call me and have me play psychologist I’ll be happy to do so but I’m not a professional psychologist and don’t complain when you get the bill at the end of the month for all the time it takes but you know go to somebody who can really be objective and be there for you.
I really like that because one of the things couples often think is they go to counseling before the divorce but then once the counseling has failed not only are they stuck with nothing but they have are left with a bad taste in their mouth because the counseling didn’t work and they think well if it didn’t work for the marriage how in the world could it work for me but I think one of the problems is that your friends and family can only cope with so much of your pain and so much of your hurt and what you need is somebody who can absorb the worst thoughts and feelings you’re having and that’s where the therapist comes in absolutely and there’s a difference between going to you know marriage couples counseling to try to save the marriage together and individual counseling where it’s just you, kind of whatever you need to dump on the professional therapist and they can professionally you know respond so that’s a huge difference in my opinion and that individual counseling is so important that it and it gets so overlooked more fit or not so what is the biggest tip do you think you have aside from the therapy is that it worries that the biggest tip to help people cope with the emotional trauma of a divorce other than therapy.
I always kind of counsel people look at the big picture. You keep the big picture in mind and what I mean by big picture is eventually your divorce is going to be over and you’re going to have your hosts divorce life. So what is that going to look like, what do you want that to look like and start putting the blocks in place to create whatever that image is so you know we cannot it’s so easy to get kind of stuck in the mud of the divorce itself especially on a daily day-to-day basis. You got to drag yourself out of that mud and that’s where therapy can help but you got to get yourself up and you got to keep the big picture in mind yeah because it gives you something to look forward to afterwards because when you’re stuck in the divorce all you can see is the destruction of all of your hopes and dreams but that’s going to be in the past yeah right that’s why you’re getting divorced because you want better you want happier and so those times will come and so you got to start preparing for that, that’s fantastic so I have a question that I am so excited to hear your answer to because it’s something that I thought about quite a bit if we could start from scratch and we could rebuild the system and create a way to dissolve marriages that reduce the trauma and reduce the suffering what would your recommendations be oh that is so hard and I wish I had such a great answer for you because that’s what divorce reform is all about and if it was that easy then we would already be done. So the only thing I can come up with is the problem with going through a divorce is you’re dealing with children in custody, everything else is financial and I always counsel people divorce is nothing more than a business transaction it really is and it’s the emotions that kind of get you stuck it’s reliving the past that gets you stuck but when you’re dealing with children, that’s the hard part because you’re going from a family setting you know one unit into two and you only have one trial or if you have multiple children, you can’t split them up physically and that’s the hard part and people have a hard time wrapping my head around what that life is going to look like post divorce and trust me courts hate dealing with it. They don’t want to deal with it but when you have two people who disagree on how to deal with it that’s the problem because you can’t be held in limbo for the rest of your life right something has to be done the divorce has to be finalized at some point and both parties have to move on but you have children that you share and you’re going to share for the rest of your lives and so I wish I had an easy answer for how to deal with that part of it but that is to me the biggest problem is how do you deal with custody issues when you have two people who don’t agree on how to deal with it yes and you have actually created a free gift for our viewers for parents who are finding it difficult to co-parent tell us a little bit about that sure it’s just a little thank you for all your listeners.
it’s a co-parenting tips and it’s just some things to think about to help you if you’re dealing with custody issues and to kind of you know spark the little spark plugs in your mind there if you’re having some trouble trying to figure out how to work on some things fantastic and in just a moment I’ll give you guys out there listening the link but I also want to ask you about divorce you this is a program you’ve created it and it’s out there to help people who have all these questions about divorce tell us a little bit more about that, I created it from the ground up especially to help people who didn’t have thousands of dollars to retain an attorney or who had an attorney and the money ran out from what I researched it’s the most affordable comprehensive divorce resource that’s available out there right now and basically it’s personal divorce coaching provided by me then there’s three separate programs bachelor’s, master’s, PhD program and depending on which program you choose, you get access to the courses and take you through each step of the divorce process and tell you know how to prepare, what you need to do, how do you know present evidence, everything that you can think of that you need to do in your divorce is in this course.
There’s divorce forums where you can post questions I answer the questions you can see the questions other people ask me see my answers to those questions so it’s kind of a nice little community and so on it’s a divorce resource so that I created really to help those in need fantastic and what I would leave you with is you know divorce is hard we all know that but understand no matter how hard your situation is you’re not alone there’s many other people going through similar situations.