The Smart Divorce® Weblog

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Change Your Brain, Transform Relationships

What if you could change the negative thoughts and behaviors that have been detrimental to healthy relationships in the past? Have you ever had feelings of being blamed, unappreciated, rejected or even un-loved in a past or current relationship? Imagine what would happen if you were able to “rewire” your brain and eliminate your negative feelings and replace them with positive feelings that make you feel  accepted, appreciated valued, loved and successful.

David Folk

David Folk

On this episode of The Smart Divorce, recorded at The Family Support Expo in Toronto, co-founder of NEXT Integrative Mind Sciences, David Folk joins us to discuss the potential to changing our brain and transform relationships. (Neuroplasticity)

David’s NEXT program guides students through a series of exercises that teach you to utilize your brain’s own natural plasticity by creating new and lasting patterns of behavior.  Armed with new abilities for emotional behavioral regulation, graduates of the couples and families program consistently report radical improvements to their relationships compared to when they began the program.

Learn how developments in neuroscience can benefit your life in this exciting program.  For more information on David Folk and the NEXT program, visit: www.The

To listen click here

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Resolve Custody Conflicts in Divorce

New on The Smart Divorce – Resolve Custody Conflicts in Divorce

You can protect your kids through Divorce Without Dishonor, and our guest, Mike Mastracci tells us how to resolve custody conflicts in divorce.  Author and lawyer, Mike Mastracci is a nationally recognized family law attorney and mediator with over 20 years of professional experience. He is the author of STOP Fighting Over the Kids, Resolving Day-to-Day Conflict in Divorce Situations.  (To receive a FREE copy of Mike’s book, send your request to: and the E-book will be emailed to you.)

Stop fighting over the kidsIn addition to his legal, collaborative and mediation skills, Mastracci brings much more to the table: with an insightful, kind and helpful approach. He shares his personal child custody issues and challenges to better serve you in solving your legal, practical, parental, and situational problems.

Mr. Mastracci through his common sense approach provides insight, strategies and an invaluable understanding of Court, costly custody battles. Mastracci encourages divorcing couples to educate themselves in the Collaborative Divorce method whereby they can demonstrate by their words and actions that they love their children more than they may dislike their ex. Mike will frankly tell you that contested divorce and child custody litigation is more often than not a waste of time, money and emotional wear and tear.
Mastracci is committed to preserving parent-child relationships.

To hear this interview, click on the link


How to Be Smart About Mediation

Understanding what mediation is as a process, and finding the right mediator, are critical elements to developing  smart and long lasting parenting and financial agreements that are predicated on informed, thoughtful decision making.  A good mediator will discuss what your goals are for the process, what is important to each of you and will help you to craft a plan that addresses those goals and intentions.  This is important to understand, as all mediators are not created equal!

Our guest, Cara Raich, (  ( explores the specifics of mediation in this episode of The Smart Divorce, with Deborah Moskovitch and Steve Peck.   Cara is a mediator and attorney who specializes in helping people find non-adversarial resolutions to conflict. She mediates a wide range of cases including divorce, family conflicts, and organizational and civil disputes.

Cara is dedicated to helping her clients avoid the challenges and acrimony that frequently accompany adversarial proceedings. She does this by enabling her clients to come to realistic and informed agreements that work for them and their families. Cara believes that separation and divorce are family matters with a legal element, not a lawsuit that happens to be about a family.

To understand how these goals are accomplished in a fair and reasonable manner – and gain perspectives on alternative ways to view mediation and settlement we discuss:

  • What does neutrality really mean?
  • What are the process choices that people have when contemplating divorce?
  • How do we as a society view divorce?
  • What is a successful divorce?
  • What is the role the law will play in your divorce? Is the law relevant, determinative or something in between?

This interview will surely help you understand the many aspects of mediation.

To listen, click on the link 

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Find a Problem Solving Divorce Attorney, Not a Conflict Creator

Our guest  on The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source radio , Mark Baer ( is a family law attorney, mediator, and collaborative law practitioner in Pasadena, California and has been practicing for twenty years.  He received a great deal of media attention regarding his opinions that the family law system in the United States destroys families and his views on better and more constructive ways of handling such matters.  His articles have appeared in Forbes, The Los Angeles Daily Journal and Valley Lawyer Magazine.   Columnists from the Pasadena Star-News, the Los Angeles, Times and other newspapers use Mark as a resource for their columns.

Problem solving is a hallmark of a good lawyer.  We explore this outlook and learn what you need to consider when looking for a lawyer.  To learn more, Mark has written the must read article Things to Consider in Order to Select an Attorney Who is a Problem Solver and Not a Conflict Creator (

Topics in this program include:

  • What is a problem solving lawyer
  • What is a problem creator lawyer
  • Finding your problem-solving lawyer
  • How to look for a mediator that’s right for you
  • Problems with lawyers and the legal system

To listen in click on this link

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TV’s Divorce Court Celebrity Judge Lynn Toler with Thoughts on Divorce

Our guest, award winner and mentor, Judge Lynn Toler ( is smart, talented and creative – and judge on one of television’s most successful courtroom drama series: DIVORCE COURT.

Judge Lynn Toler is a former municipal court judge who now hosts the nationally syndicated show, Divorce Court. She is also a bi-monthly contributor to News and Notes on NPR and became host of the prime time TV show Decision House in 2007. In 2006, Judge Lynn published her book, My Mother’s Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius. Praised as an “awe-inspiring memoir” by Essence Magazine, it not only chronicles her life as a child raised in the shadow of her father’s mental illness but provides practical advice for anyone seeking more and better emotional control

Having completed more than two thousand episodes, on DIVORCE COURT, Judge Lynn Toler turns up the heat on court shows in this half-hour, relationship oriented series. Viewers experience the drama firsthand as husbands and wives square off in real-life courtroom battles.  Judge Lynn shares her wisdom and insight of the legal process, how to have a much smarter divorce…..or even save your marriage.  And, she speaks of her mission to gain awareness about teen violence.

Topics in this program include:

  • How communicating better might help you avoid divorce
  • What a judge can and cannot do
  • The emotions of court; what to do to get a better resolution
  • The inherent unfairness of no fault divorce
  • The surprising truth about teen violence and what parents should be aware of Domestic violence – an explanation, coping and managing
  • The limits of the legal system
  • Intelligent mediation
To hear this fascinating interview click on the link:

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Forgiveness: How to Let Go

The Power of Forgiveness

The forgiveness journey – how to make it happen

Our guest, Mark Rye is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Skidmore College. Mark’s research interests are in the field of positive psychology. He has studied the impact of forgiveness on post-divorce adjustment and has developed and evaluated interventions designed to help divorced individuals forgive their ex-spouse.  Recently, he has become interested in how forgiveness of an ex-spouse relates to parenting approach.

In this informative and thought provoking interview we discuss what is forgiveness, and how to achieve it – so that angry thoughts do not hold you back from moving on.  We explore how forgiveness is a journey and how your thoughts, feelings and behavior can transform you.

This is a very powerful and forgiving program! If you have any questions about this topic, please email Mark Rye at

More information and resources may also be found at the Fetzer Institute

  • Topics in this program include:
  • Strategies for letting go of your anger
  • What is forgiveness
  • Understanding the forgiveness journey
  • What does research show about the relationship between forgiveness of an ex-spouse and post-divorce adjustment?
  • Forgiveness interventions
  • What are some of the unique challenges that divorced individuals face with respect to forgiveness?
To listen in to this informative interview, click on the link below:

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Separation and Divorce: The ABC’s of Helping Your Family cope with change

Please click on the link to listen to my conversation with Sara Dimerman, a therapist and parenting coach who interviewed me about The Smart Divorce.

Click here to listen –

Over the course of this seminar you will learn more about:

  • The normal range of mixed emotion you will experience after the separation.
  • The most common mistakes that parents unintentionally make with their children after the separation.
  • The most important factors to keep in mind in order for your children to be least affected by the changes to your family.
  • The best ways to respond to your children’s most common questions such as “will daddy ever come live with us again?” and “do you still love mommy?”
  • How to cope with the changes to your social life: what’s there to do when you’re feeling lonely on a Saturday night.
  • The domino effect: how to deal with friends and family who are feeling the impact of the changes too.
  • When, where and how to introduce your children to a new partner.
  • Resources and supports available to you.
To hear other topics and interviews by Sara Dimerman, click on the link

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Mistakes We Make During Divorce and How to Avoid Them

This time the spots are switched, I’m interviewed by my c o-host Steve Peck on his show, Divorce Source Radio. Tune in to hear the mistakes often made during divorce.

Divorce is an extremely emotional time in our life and under stress, we don’t always make the right choices.

The legal system is confusing and frightening and we sometimes let our anger get the best of us creating a battle with our soon to be ex that can last a lifetime and affect the lives of our children and our finances.

In this episode, DSR host Steve Peck, speaks with Divorce Consultant and author of The Smart Divorce, Deborah Moskovitch on how to avoid costly mistakes during divorce.

Listening to this show if you are new to the process of divorce can save you thousands of dollars in legal expenses, the relationship with your children and your sanity.

Click on the link below to hear the interview, to save time, money– and your sanity.

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Divorce Pranks: You Might Think its Funny, Will the Judge?

Divorce pranks: You might think it’s funny, but the judge won’t laugh

A boulder topped with a pink ribbon and covered in a spray-painted message: "Happy birthday, Isa." sits in the driveway of Isabelle Prevost, Monday, August 15, 2011, in Acton Vale, Que. - A boulder topped with a pink ribbon and covered in a spray-painted message: "Happy birthday, Isa." sits in the driveway of Isabelle Prevost, Monday, August 15, 2011, in Acton Vale, Que. | THE CANADIAN PRESS

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Divorce pranks: You might think it’s funny, but the judge won’t laugh


From Friday’s Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011 5:24PM EDT

It was with great reluctance that Dany Larivière hauled away the boulder he’d gleefully dumped on his ex-wife’s driveway just a day earlier.

Plucked from a quarry and lugged by front-end loader in the dead of night Monday, the 20-ton rock was spray-painted with fluorescent orange birthday wishes for “Isa,” then topped with a pink bow.

“She never had a rock big enough for her tastes, now she has one,” Mr. Larivière quipped to the local paper in St-Théodore-d’Acton, Que., where he is also mayor.

The prank got international attention and earned Mr. Larivière possible mischief and harassment charges – another ugly turn in his lengthy, acrimonious split from former wife Isabelle Prévost.

“I thought of Sisyphus as I read the story,” said Harold Niman, a family lawyer with Niman Zemans Gelgoot. “It’s part of the ongoing struggle that one of the people is having with their perceived wrongs, within the marriage or within the judicial system or otherwise. This is them acting out in the only way they know how to, and it’s not something they’re going to be contrite about later.”

While boulder dumping may be a unique tactic (Mr. Larivière owns an excavation company), divorce “pranks” are all too common.

“Couples who are going through a divorce process are quite often temporarily insane,” says family lawyer Phil Epstein of Epstein Cole. “It’s the worst time in their lives and sometimes the pressure gets to them and they do things they wouldn’t normally do.”

Like taking hammers and screwdrivers to a spouse’s car when it is discovered “in a compromising position,” parked in front of the mistress’s house, Mr. Epstein says.

“People have taken chainsaws to inanimate objects,” the lawyer offers casually, adding that others prefer to strew their exes’ lawns with garbage or play hide-and-seek with precious items.

“Another favourite of course is what we call death by credit card,” Mr. Epstein says. “Right after separation, somebody hasn’t cancelled the

credit card and the other spouse goes on a tear, so you’ll see [bills from] European Jewellery, Chanel.” Then there’s the spousal-support cheque: Many spouses will scribble vulgarities on the cheque, which the ex must then endorse to get the money. Some are more inventive: “I’ve seen people staple spiders to a support cheque – a tarantula,” says Mr. Epstein.Wine is another tool in spousal warfare, especially since the wine lover may have been forced to move out, leaving the cellar behind temporarily.

“I’ve heard of people with such rage that they go downstairs to the cellar, steam off all the labels and then mix up the bottles,” says McCarthy Tétrault family lawyer Stephen Grant. “If you think you’re drinking a $30 bottle of Côtes du Rhône and it turns out you’re drinking a $300 Château Lafite with hamburgers one night instead of filet, it’s quite upsetting.”

Mr. Niman recalls a wine-collecting husband who returned from a tryst to find his wife in the street, emptying his bottles down a sewer grate. “Not quite as bad as cutting off his penis, I suppose, but I guess it’s figuratively doing that, isn’t it?” says Mr. Niman.

While Mr. Larivière’s boulder stunt has been widely treated as a gag, the recipient rarely sees it that way.

“They see this as an invasion of privacy, that their spouse is unhinged,” says Mr. Epstein. “It makes them … ask the question: ‘If you dump a rock on my property, what else are you capable of doing?’ ”

Mr. Larivière’s three-year split from his wife has seethed with animosity: Ms. Prévost had harassed him, threatening to report him to tax authorities unless he gave her cash payments and real estate, he said. She, meanwhile, accused the mayor of physical and verbal abuse and said she feared for her two children when Mr. Larivière won joint custody after the couple finally divorced last year.

“This story is a powerful example of how family litigation can leave an enduring legacy of bitterness, despite the outcome,” says Victoria Smith, a collaborative lawyer and mediator. “This is not a joke – this was retribution, this was a public humiliation of the wife, despite the fact that the court case ended last year and the husband won joint custody.”

As for the couple’s children, a 12-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl, “Imagine them waking up to find a boulder in their mother’s driveway, their driveway,” says Ms. Smith.

So why do spouses do it?

“The party that is pranking really feels like they are the victim. They’re not getting the vindication they’re looking for,” particularly in the division of assets, says Deborah Moskovitch, divorce consultant and author of The Smart Divorce.

According to mediator and divorce coach Deborah Mecklinger, betrayal is the main motivator, “whether that’s having done away with all of the family’s funds or absconding for another person.” She says the mayor’s much-celebrated ruse was the “ultimate power play.”

“It represented what a person who has a sense of limits may fantasize about but not put into action,” she says, adding: “Clearly it touches a place that many people imagine and wish that they could go to with their ex.”

But while pranks can bring temporary euphoria to the mischievous spouse, they can also have dire consequences for litigation and spousal support.

“All these things typically backfire. They’ll look very bad to a judge,” says Mr. Grant, who urges his clients to take the high road.

Ms. Mecklinger agrees, saying: “When somebody ups the ante, get out of the ring.”

So which is the more vindictive of the sexes? None of the experts wants to say.

“I don’t think anybody has the monopoly on that,” Mr. Niman offers. “The saying ‘hell hath no fury like a woman scorned’ is probably no longer accurate. It’s hell hath no fury like a spouse scorned.”

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One Man’s Exploration into His Multiple Divorces

Digging Deep……and interview with Boyd Lemon on The Smart Divorce

In this episode of The Smart Divorce, our guest is Boyd Lemon, a retired lawyer, who reinvented himself as a writer, discusses his memoir Digging Deep:  A Writer Uncovers His Marriages.  This memoir is written with brutal honesty about the process of coming to understand himself and the failure of his marriages.  Boyd’s coming of age as a highly paid lawyer provides insight  into the Mad Man like excesses of the seventies. 

Topics in this program include:

  • Mistakes and lessons learned from each marriage and three divorces
  • How the children were affected by each divorce
  • Sex, drink and rock n’ roll – the impact on marriage and divorce
  • The importance of introspection
  • Exploring the relationships of ex wives

To listen, click on the link