The Smart Split
Successful divorce doesn’t have to be an oxymoron
I will be in Calgary this week, speaking with a panel of experts about divorce. The seminar is entitled Taking Charge of your Separation/Divorce. Lisa Kadane of the Calgary Herald interviewed the panel, which I’ve copied below. Please note the helpful tips.
By Lisa Kadane, Calgary Herald February 22, 2010
Taking Charge of Your Separation/Divorce takes place Thursday at Deer Park United Church (777 Deer Point Rd. S.E.) from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Pre-register for the $30 seminar at 403-205-5244. Or pay $40 at the door.
Divorce is everywhere. It screams at us from tabloid headlines at the grocery store checkout. It touches us personally when, as adults, our parents finally call it quits, or our own starter marriage fizzles.
It’s also universally ugly. Between custody battles, money squabbles and bitterness, divorce usually leaves one party on the short end of the fair stick.
And divorce is always heartbreaking — the final chapter in a book we never wanted to read in the first place.
So, to talk about having a “successful divorce” sounds unrealistic: a pie-in-the-sky idea plucked from some smarmy self-help book.
It’s not, says Deborah Moskovitch, who weathered a seven-year divorce and went on to write The Smart Divorce: A Team Approach to Managing the Issues of Divorce.
“Being smart about divorce really means moving forward with hope and confidence.”
Moskovitch will be in town Thursday as part of a seminar to help divorcing couples understand the resources available to help them through separation and divorce. Hiring a good attorney is a no-brainer, but head’s up: getting your legal house in order is only part of it.
“You’ve got to rebuild your life,” she says.
“Divorce is so common today that people underestimate how powerful it is; how powerful those emotions are.”
Estimates from Statistics Canada in 2008 suggest that 39 per cent of marriages in Canada will end by the couple’s 30th wedding anniversary.
The percentage is higher in the United States — at 44 per cent — but still short of the “half of all marriages end in divorce” stat that gets bandied about.
Still, it means more than one-third of married Canadian couples will eventually go their separate ways. Since that’s reality, those starting down the rocky road to divorce should become informed about this life-altering event before emotions take over.
The Herald spoke with three divorce experts who will be speaking at the seminar, to gather tips for a successful divorce.
– Sandy Shuler is a Calgary based family and life educator whose workshop Effective Coparenting teaches separating parents to put the kids first and understand their needs during separation and divorce.
“Often what happens is, in the process, (parents) are remiss in understanding what the experience is like for kids.”
1. Parents need to love their children more than they dislike their parenting partner. Put aside differences for the kids’ sake.
2. Shield children as best you can from parental conflict. No fighting or name-calling in front of the kids.
3. Give children permission to love and connect with both parents and extended family (unless there is abuse happening).
4. Understand that children will experience loss and grief, too, and that their feelings will be different from your own.
– Sharon Numerow is a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) based in Calgary. She worries that people in the midst of divorce make emotional decisions instead of educated ones, and she counsels men and women about splitting up property in their best interests.
“Educate yourself and be prepared. People spend more time researching a car,” says Numerow.
“A 50-50 property split is not always equal, so understand the decisions you’re going to make.”
1. Seek out professional, expert support in every area. Finding a therapist or tax consultant is just as important as hiring a good divorce attorney.
2. Money is always an issue, even when both parties claim it isn’t.
3. When it comes to splitting up investments, understand the scope of them — the risks, outlook, tax implications, costs or fees involved — and make an informed decision.
“It’s a lot of work,” Numerow admits. “I would say it’s really overwhelming for people.”
4. Women need to get on the ball with their financial situation.
“In my experience, way more women have a lack of understanding of, not just finances in divorce, but finances in general.”
– Toronto-based Deborah Moskovitch talked to more than 100 divorce experts when researching her book The Smart Divorce. She recommends people put together a team of professionals to help them navigate the split.
“I noticed so many people were bitter and angry after divorce,” says Moskovitch.
“I realized people are really unprepared for the divorce process.”
1. Realize that many of your divorce beefs are outside of the legal arena. For example, the law does not care if you don’t like your soon-to-beex’s parenting style. So don’t waste your lawyer’s time (and your money) by ranting about it.
2. A good divorce lawyer is gold, but he or she can’t give you parenting or financial advice.
“Bringing in the right people can save you money,” says Moskovitch. A parenting education class and even a therapist cost less per hour than a lawyer.
3. Try to keep your emotions outside of the process. When emotions take over, you end up with massive legal bills.
4. Work on rebuilding your post-divorce outlook. You will get through divorce and get on with your life.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
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