High-Conflict Divorce: Here’s What To Expect (Ep. 3)

When a couple is going through a divorce or separation they can sometimes lose sight of the needs of their children. 

However, for a successful co-parenting, both parents must agree to consider their children’s position and mental health needs. 

In this episode, Justin Sisemore, Andrea Jones, and Mary Maloney discuss the landscape of co-parenting and where some parents go wrong. Justin, Andrea and Mary strive to educate you about a healthy co-parenting environment and how to keep your kids in mind when navigating this time in your life.

Justin, Andrea, and Mary discuss:

  • The importance of healthy co-parenting and what that entails  
  • The impact of poor co-parenting and how it can impact the child’s growth and development
  • How to navigate which parent makes what decisions for the child and how each decision must always put the child’s mental health first
  • How to avoid burdening a child with emotional stress during a divorce – the importance of not placing a child in the middle of the separation and making them ‘choose sides’
  • And more!

Read the Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Nobody wants to end up in family court. But if you do you want an honest, experienced family law attorney by your side, to help minimize the stress mental anguish and legal costs that divorce and custody matters. Bring welcome to In Your Best Interest. Texas divorce attorney and entrepreneur, Justin Sisemore of Sisemore Law Firm, entrepreneur, Andrea Jones, freelance writer, Mary Maloney, and guests share insight on what to expect and how to handle family law matters.

The changing landscape of family law and living the entrepreneur’s life. Now onto the show. It’s not unusual for emotions to run high during divorce, but acrimony between some couples can escalate from. Two major disagreements and a divorce wrought with conflict. During this podcast, we’ll discuss high conflict divorces.

Explain what qualifies as a high conflict divorce share steps you can take to protect yourself and children during a contentious divorce and what to expect during the divorce process. Good morning everybody. Hey, this is Mary Maloney and Justin, I have a introductory question for you. You know, that divorce obviously is never easy, but the tension and acrimony between couples can really heat up after awhile.

Can you explain to people listening what qualifies as a high conflict of worst and how often you see those cases in your practice? Kind of like a [00:01:30] percentage of which cases those are actually that are. Yeah. I th I think a lot of people, uh, when they go through the terms and deal with the question of high conflict divorce they, they tend to associate that with more of an angry tone.

Okay. So, and obviously there are the angry tone divorces. We try to minimize the emotional. Or the emotional side of a divorce, but a high conflict divorce can be really defined as one. In which two parties don’t see eye to eye as far as asset valuation or terms, uh, when it comes to agreements, uh, for the children or who has specific rights.

So just because it’s considered a high conflict divorce I, I think that misnomer it’s really a misnomer. It gets thrown around a little too much, and I would suggest that the best way to define a high conflict divorce is really to define what the underlying issues are. And fundamentally, uh, how far apart the parties are in getting to a resolution of those things.

So, um, I think that is a broad way of answering what the definition of a high conflict divorce case is, but we see a lot more of that now than we ever have with COVID and you know, all the changes in society. And you know, really it drives so many different things. You’d get things like supply chain things like business valuations, really moving the needle on.

Okay. And, and obviously when you have experts and other people to resolve these issues, uh, that are in high demand and highly sought after you run into a situation where, you know, just the time alone in a divorce process [00:03:00] can create a lot of conflict as far as resolution of the deal structure in the asset side.

And then, you know, obviously with all the differences of societal views of what’s going on, uh, with the kiddish. You know, and really needing the tiebreaker. You, you can create scenarios where, you know, parties just fundamentally disagree, even if it’s not super acrimonious, uh, they might disagree on an issue.

And that creates the definition of the term conflict or disagree. So as a followup to that in your experience, Justin what kind of follow-up do you see people experiencing during a high conflict divorce? And that could be potentially emotional. It could be, I mean, sometimes there’s domestic violence and we want to talk about how that affects kids as well.

Obviously. Yeah. I mean, I I’m, uh, preached from the pulpit a lot when it comes to getting divorces over with. Okay. I see a lot of people that drag cases on and on, and they just, they’re not very proactive with them. Okay. So even if you start out with this fundamental understanding of how you want to resolve conflict with your spouse what happens is over time, we’ve, we’ve said sometimes time heals things, and time does heal things in certain circumstances with respect to custody.

But, um, when you’re in a situation where you’ve got, you know, property hanging over one party’s head, you know, it’s like, The parent that holds the property over their kid’s head until they really reached the point of death so that they can make sure that our kids take care of them. It’s the same thing, a divorce case.

If it drags on too long, it really creates that scenario where you know, the kids become involved. [00:04:30] You can feel the emotion, the tensions there. Um, and one side may be completely checked out. And the other side is really still in that emotional rollercoaster and, and the side that’s checked out, you know what we see often.

As the, you know, they appear cold. Okay. And that’s, that’s a tough feeling, especially when you’ve got a long marriage. A lot of kids are kids and assets going on. Uh, it’s a tough feeling to be in a scenario where one party is checked out and the other party. And therefore trying to make it a business transaction.

The other party is still trying to get over the emotional aspect. So that’s kind of that wedge that happens. And, you know, the scales, I always say the scales kind of tip back and forth about who wants to divorce, who doesn’t, who feels that they got, you know, unjustly enriched or unfair or unfairly treated in the process and who didn’t.

And so we see scenarios where that, that really is the fuel or gasoline on the brush fire, where, uh, especially when kids are involved. It creates a lot bigger wedge between the parties. So that’s one of the things we try to focus on is, is really getting people out of the way of the conflict and the stress of divorce and, and being proactive with the clients, like really talking to them, telling them the next step here’s, what’s going to happen.

Here’s what’s going to happen preparing their mindsets for what that looks like. And we weren’t always. We get, we just get better at it like you do in any business. Uh, but preparing them for the next step is the, is probably the most fundamental thing that avoids some of the stress. Because if you know, listen, [00:06:00] mediation is not coming up for three months and we’re sending some discovery documents back and forth, but client don’t worry about, we’re not going to have many calls or meetings between now.

And then, even though this is on your mind, the divorce case is on your mind, you have a roadmap and a plan. Mary, Mary we’re talking right before the podcast about the whole concept of building a house or remodeling the house. It’s the same process. If you know what’s happening and you know how it’s going to happen, there may be some budgets to get off and some things that happen.

Uh, but if you have a good plan, that conflict gets minimized at least on one side of the coin. And that’s all we can do is manage it or. You know, I’d really to get Andrea’s perspective on this also because she, as we all know, went through a high conflict, divorce and custody battle. Andrea, can you kind of explain from your perspective what that felt like and how you got through.

As I think the first thing you have to think about when you go through divorce that I think a lot of couples kind of forget I did too, is what was the marriage like? Right. So if the marriage in India has different personalities in a marriage, and I think everybody that Justin talks to nowadays says, oh my, my future ex husband on my future ex wife is a narcissist.

That’s the first word. That they use. And then he has to kind of like figure this out and talk to them about not every person or if every person that gets divorced is a narcissist. We have 50% of the population being narcissist. I think that’s not true, but, um, so I think it has a lot to do with your own personality.

And for me, I think the biggest thing. Um, my, uh, ex-husband was a high conflict person to start out with. Right. And I was a more [00:07:30] codependent person and I learned that over the process of divorce and going to counseling Cody Penn, meaning that, that my family was everything, everything so rounded about my family and in our relationship was kind of codependent to meaning he called the shots that I kind of like followed.

So when you then get divorced, you, I think the thing that I always wanted him to have is that epiphany. Um, how to really co-parent and how to really make this work. But again, if you didn’t get it in 18 years of relationship, he’s not going to get it during the divorce process and as a co-dependent person.

And again, I’m not a counselor. So if you feel like you are, then you need to talk to a counselor. But for me, it was, I want him to, to. I understand I wanted to. And then as a co-dependent person, you re-engage meaning if he sends me 10 emails a day, I felt I had to respond. I felt I had to explain.

And all those things lead to a lot of conflict because I cannot make him understand how to raise the kids or how to change his mind. And, and that’s why it’s so important to have a good divorce lawyer that kind of guides you because as the way I was, he did something. I mean, unbelievable things like I had kids.

And I just want to example, I have kids in a house, um, in September babies and he would turn the electricity off, would turn the power off or turn the phone off or turn the water off. And I’m sitting there with kids that had no food, right. He wouldn’t pay child support. He wouldn’t pay. Uh, he wouldn’t pay disposals portal time.

They have so many things and the kids and I had to go through, put a, [00:09:00] put a thing on my coat at my cock wouldn’t move. I was just vicious, but the conflict mostly came from me trying to make it work and it didn’t work. And that’s a. That’s one thing. That’s why I said, do you have to have a good divorce attorney that kind of guides you whatever the other person is saying is not a fact.

They know as much about divorce as you do means nothing. Unless they’ve been divorced five times, the divorce attorney knows how the process that Justin was mentioning and works and what can, and what cannot happen. I was threatened with he’s going to take my kids away and he’s going to deport me to Germany.

I mean, all those things he said and being codependent, I took everything he said. For face value, everything he said was effect. And I found I had to constantly re-engage and set the record straight and make it work and that didn’t work. And then when Justin told me let’s just D engaged, let us handle the process that us handled all of this.

And you talk to me and not talk to him. When we started doing that, the whole conflict was. Um, w got better. I can own, again, like I said, last time I can only keep my street and my side of the street clean, meaning if I do the right thing. And if I do not engage in conflict, and if I try to do everything right, the other person kind of like runs against the wall and that’s how we started doing this.

And then over the over time, I got better and better in disengaging and just letting the law firm handle everything. And I just worried about the kids and me and not what he said or what he. That’s that’s what got me through this. So on that point too, like, you know, one of the things that she brought up, Mary that’s [00:10:30] important is you need to be able to trust a professional, but I see a lot of cases too, where, you know, professionals or people that call themselves professionals don’t handle their job.

Right? So there is a balance between laying out a roadmap and a plan and sticking to that. Okay, because I I’ve, I’ve seen cases where, and I’ve, I’ve been a part of them where the other side doesn’t do anything for literally eight months. We’re sending letters and their non-responsiveness, they’re not calling their clients back.

That I think it’s really important for the clients to go into. I understand the plan, understand when these things are supposed to happen. And literally put that on their calendar. Okay. He said about three to four months, there’s going to be a mediation. It’s been six months. Why don’t we have mediation?

He said that a couple of months later, there’s going to be discovery in between the temporary orders and the mediation. Why has nothing been sent yet? How come nobody’s reached out to me? And that’s an okay question to ask. And, you know, I will tell, I will be the first to fall on the sword, you know, w and thankfully, Andrea and I, you know, gotten so close over these years because she’s seen the evolution of our practice, and she knows, you know, when you start a business, you’re learning a lot of things and you’re creating who you are and how you are as an individual, how you are as a business.

And then how you conduct yourself, how you conduct your business. Most importantly. So long-winded way of saying that it’s okay for clients to have questions. [00:12:00] Okay. But when lawyers charge by the hour, don’t pick up the phone and have 38 questions in 38 different phone calls and 38 different emails that need 38 different responses.

Because what Andrea was talking about too, is having those questions answered in real time. Is mission critical. So if you have one question and you don’t get an answer for four days, and then you have two more and then it’s four more days, you’re going to drive yourself crazy through the process and, and you shouldn’t feel that way.

Anyway, the lawyer should do a good job of setting that out in the beginning, but, but it’s really important that that roadmap is laid out so that Andrea doesn’t have those feelings, like it’s driving her crazy. Right. And, and we preach that a lot and I’ll tell you, I’ve got seven lawyers here.

You know, you have to push the reset. Each individual person and let them know this is a service-based organization, right? We, the clients are expected to treat us with respect. We’re expected to treat them with respect and serve them through the process. But that being said, I don’t want to wait and not know what’s happening next.

If you’re a professional, pick up the phone, look at your calendar, talk to the client, let them know and engage what the next step is. And I don’t care what business that is. It doesn’t matter whether it’s law, contractors, or whatever you got to engage. And you’ve got to set that out. So I just wanted to pick up on that point.

Cause I think Andrea hit the nail on the head there. And I think w what, what you do well now over the years and having so many lawyers because. I, that was very important for me too, in the process to have a lawyer that, that matches [00:13:30] your personality, because I was like, because I was in this country with four little kids and no family here and felt kind of lost with all the stuff going on and I needed somebody kind of like to hold my hand, but then there’s, opt-out other people out there that rather want a bullet point.

Dennis want bullet points, leave me alone until the next hearing is, and I want bullet points. Yeah. And then there’s everything in between. And I think that makes a big difference in a law firm in, in, uh, in picking a law. When you pick it up. And again, I was lucky back then to work with Justin’s mom back then, and then with Justin that I had a lawyer that, that, that matched my personality.

And then Justin is very straightforward and we’ll put you in your place and said, okay, now no need to shut up now. And we’ll talk about this later. I mean, but that’s the kind of tough love you need because the emotions go so high. And then another thing that I want to. Re-emphasize is yes, your lawyer is not your psychologist and not your counselor, nothing like that.

So you need other people outside the law firm to help you with your emotions to talk to. I’m a big fan of counseling, because again, you find out stuff about yourself and you can only fix yourself. Can’t fix the other person. And in going to counseling and seeking a counselor for yourself and often for the kids, you can help yourself and then you help your lawyer.

Help you get through the process. It’s a, it’s a team effort, I think. And Deloitte is not the person to call for every little detail, because again, they’re charged by the hour but call them and contact them with the things that you need to have. And as a followup to that, you guys, you know, one thing that people are searching for online is how they can protect [00:15:00] themselves during divorce, especially during a contentious high conflict divorce.

And obviously it depends on the case, as we all know. But Justin, can you kind of weigh in on some steps that people can take to protect themselves? Of course, um, with the help of an attorney you know, legally, physically, if there’s domestic violence emotionally, perhaps you want to see a counselor and things like.

Yeah. Um, and I’m actually going through this right now with a close friend of mine, his younger sister. Uh, it’s a great question. I want to follow up on one quick thing. Andrea said before we get to that, when we talk about multiple attorneys, Andrea pointed out this question about multiple attorneys and putting the right personality points together, and that’s going to really segue into your next question, Mary but people need to understand that when they’re selecting a lawyer, Um, or a law firm that person’s name that they attached to the case or to the assignment of, of what happens in that case is, is very critical.

The passion that they have to make sure that the client is taken care of in that process and the dedication they have of their brand is, is also critical. And the reason I wanted to bring that up is because I get the question a lot. Well, Justin, I want you. And I’m like, you’re going to get me, but there’s steps in between.

Well that I don’t need to deal with every issue on, so segwaying into the family violence part and the advice and, and how we handle those situations. Um, I just want to give this by way of example, on, on Friday, I, I went for my brother’s birthday down in Mexico [00:16:30] and I get a call on Sunday on Saturday that the client basically had, you know, past issues of family violence with this person that this person, you know, she was afraid of them.

Wouldn’t move out. And, and, one of the stay in the question in the equation and I’m sitting here going. I have to tell a judge that you’re afraid for your safety and fear of family violence, but you won’t leave and you’re trying to reconcile the marriage, right? And, and you won’t take steps to, to move away from that.

And I’m not discounting the fact that battered women’s syndrome is not real because it is or battered spouse syndrome. Um, it, it is real. You get stuck in situations. I mean, we all know how human trafficking happens. Right. People literally get moved from one place to another cutoff from ties cut off from family, cut off from finances, you know, made to feel inadequate left in a situation.

You know, we know how that happens. It’s the same thing, you know, in an emotionally abusive relationship or a physically abusive relationship. And the reason I bring the, all of the firm and the team into this equation is because on Saturday you know, one of my lawyers is reaching out to this person and trying to really help them, but let them know we can’t do anything until the court’s open.

Right. And I get a call on Sunday. That’s basically like law firm. You’re the devil because you didn’t do anything on a Saturday. Right? And so the reason I want people to understand how to think through this process and plan for this is lawyers are not miracle workers. Your psychologists are not miracle [00:18:00] workers.

Your family can help. These people can help you, but you really have to lay out this plan of the process. And if there is a high conflict or a family violence situation, think for. Okay, get safe. First call the police first, make a report. Okay. Get a police officer out there to protect your safety. Get a few of your things.

Leave the house, go with your family members and look, I’m not sure. I mean like high back then didn’t have family here. I went to a hotel. I was afraid there was police called the police didn’t, which is bad, but the police didn’t do anything. Cause I wasn’t bleeding. That was like very, every time. Cause I went, I had a concussion and then I, the next morning when he went to work, I packed a few things, put stuff that was valuable to me in a friend’s house.

Per pictures and stuff like that. And I left the house with the kids and then I contacted a lawyer and then we went from there, but you have to, you have to leave if it is dangerous for you or for your kids, you have to leave. And there’s enough places out there. If you don’t have family that you can go enough to.

Yeah. And please understand what I say when I say this. I’m not meaning to sound condescending at all. What happens when you’re in a highly emotional state, right? You literally feel like every time you have to lift your hand to do anything, your mind can sometimes completely shut down. And, you know, we’ve all been overwhelmed with work or stress or whatever it is, think about that.

And then you add. Family violence in the equation or divorce into the equation. I mean, things that just keep piling on your plate. And I, you [00:19:30] know, I hear a thousand times, God never gives you more than you can handle, you can always get out of it. It was sometimes he pushes you right. To the point where you’re like, I don’t know if I can do this.

Right. And so point being, the questions I get a lot of times and I used to kind of chuckle at him cause I’m like, why is a client asking me how to change their electricity? Right. Why is the client asking me what they should do in the event that somebody hits? Call the police call your electric company.

But, but it’s it’s a mindset and it, and when you shut that mindset down, the only person, sometimes in your mind, that’s there to save. The day is the attorney and the attorney may be on vacation. Maybe they have something go really wrong in their life. Right. And you call them. Saturday night at two o’clock in the morning.

And because they didn’t send a response to you all of a sudden they don’t care. Okay. And I think that it’s important to, for, for parties listening to this, to lay that out, like really understand the attorney’s job is to be compassionate. The attorney’s job is to address these. But with respect to minimizing conflict, when you have a high conflict individual or somebody that is, is abusive.

Uh, I don’t, I don’t hold back as an attorney. I go in, I file a protective order. I expect an affidavit to come immediately. I set that within 21 days, it’s a kick-out order, uh, request, no access to the children, no access to the residents. I don’t care whether you think you may. Back together in the future, or whether you think you, you [00:21:00] guys may be amicable in the future.

I’m interested in protecting your safety now. And if you tell me that the family violence has occurred in the past and is likely to occur in the future, I push gas pedal and. Okay, because I’ve had clients get killed. I’ve had clients that people didn’t take seriously and, and very terrible things happen to them.

And I used to go, well, it’s a protective order. It’s a piece of paper. What does it do? What it does is when someone is a creeping around the corner and stalking your house and within a thousand feet of your residence or place of business, or calling you hundreds of times and texting you and starting to escalate, because they’re not getting that rise out of you, that they actually.

What that document does. It says police officer, this person needs to be taken out of this situation so that the person on the receiving end of this is at least protected for a second longer than we could have without this document. And so I don’t take these family violence stuff lightly. You go do what I do for 15 years and you watch children and people be beaten and abused and all this stuff.

And you tell me that you can sit back and wait. Okay. So I, I, family violence is very serious to me, but when it comes to, you know, things that, that aren’t as serious and we go all over the spectrum with this. And when I say aren’t as serious, when things don’t need to be. Immediately remedied have some understanding and patience of that because that’s going to make the case go smoother and it’s going to make you live a [00:22:30] better life throughout the case and keep them on when you got kids, this case isn’t over with until they’re 18 or graduated.

Right. So the fact that I’m here today and I can help you do these equations at random hours and different times, and I’m always on my phone. So I’ll answer the phone real time. Anytime doesn’t change the fact that when the case is over with, you’ve got to deal with this. And if us, as the law firm and you know, people like Andrea that we work with in business and make our process better, if we don’t help you do that on your own.

It’s the same thing as a country, just walking in and, and fighting the war for somebody else and then leaving and expecting everything to be okay. Because it doesn’t work that way. I think that’s really huge is that I, when you’re in that situation that you have to get to the point where. Not going to do anything.

And where you decide that you are going to do something, especially if you have kids, because those kids could get hurt as well as you. I mean, that’s, it’s a big jump to take, but that’s what it’s going to take to. And it’s a, to me, it was a weird thing to do. Why? Because you think like you think of, of, of, uh, family violence being more than what you potentially endured, but again, you never know what it can go to, what it can escalate to.

And if you are afraid, like I was, if you are afraid, Then you need to take the next steps. Said you can always go back. You can backpack in and again, and then the other thing I think is important to understand a protective order is not protecting you a hundred percent, so you still need to be safe. [00:24:00] And even if you move to a friend’s house again, talk to your lawyer.

What’s good. What’s not good, but safe to move to a friend’s house or be somewhere where you feel safe, you have to feel safe. Cause he. The divorce itself is emotionally. So, so, um, draining and does, like I said, last time in the last podcast does black tunnel. You go through, no matter how positive you are as a person before you go into this.

Um, and if you didn’t put the fee on top of that, besides the emotional, uh, heartache, then it’s, it’s even, I mean, it’s unbearable. So you need to protect yourself. True. Emotional abusers, true narcissists to true physical abusers. They learn this behavior over time, right. So if they don’t get the rise out of you this time, they might escalate, they escalate and then they are more physically violent.

You’re terrified they pull back. And then all of a sudden, I love you. This will never happen again. The embarrassment, all those things come into play. Okay. And I really do get it, uh, as much as I say, I don’t really. Victims. I know I represent victims. I don’t like to represent a mentality of a person that feels like they can never get themselves out of the equation and maybe they can’t do it themselves.

Right. They, they may need their church or their family or their friends, uh, they’re professionals. So I don’t represent people that have. Eric negative at all costs. Right. And no matter what I say, well, no, you don’t understand, you can’t get this. You can’t possibly understand this. I’m like, listen, I’ve done over 2000 divorces.

I’ve heard your story many, many, many times, okay. You have a different face, a different name. We have to [00:25:30] address these issues, but your story is been heard and been litigated and dealt with over and over again, unfortunately. And so if you’ll trust the people that have done this a whole lot, and they’re doing their job, uh, you know, we can get through this.

So as a final question for you, Justin, you often say you’re not a proponent of divorce, which is ironic coming from a divorce attorney, but you’ve told us that a million times, but when conflict is high in a divorce, when is divorce generally a better option for the parties involved, especially kids versus hanging in there and sticking.

Yeah. So, as far as, as far as why I, don’t, why I’m not a proponent for divorce, obviously, you know, people have their spiritual beliefs. I happened to be a Christian. Uh, I love all races, all religions, all, anything. Right. But I happened to be a Christian. I happen to understand the Bible very well.

Um, and I separate a lot of. My personal and spiritual beliefs from the practice of law. Okay. Um, and that is not because I don’t want to provide my beliefs and help people it’s because, uh, I want to make sure that people know that they’re in a comfortable space. Okay. I remember I represented every single possible denomination of faith.

Ever imagined and I’ve seen all different aspects of it. Um, and when I say I’m not a proponent of divorce, um, I know people who are like, well, you do this for a living. Yeah. But, but on the human, right. Um, I don’t like people to shoot people and be beat people and be bad to kids. And I, [00:27:00] I don’t think divorce is good for our system.

And my, my mission really in the last five years, um, it should have been all the way through, but in the last five years is to change the perception from, well, let me just get this case. Cause I heard a set of facts. I went to law school and learn how to pair up the facts with the law, right.

To do you really need. To hire a lawyer. Okay. That’s why we do paid consults. Uh, Andrea and I talked about this a lot. She would, there was a big debate. When do you do paid consults? Should you meet in person? Should you be on the phone? What we try to do is provide a service. Okay. And that service involves for me being able to help and touch as many people as I can with it being me, giving the advice, setting up the team, because at the end of the day, when you say Sisemore is terrible or Sisemore is all affirmed, didn’t do what I expect them to do.

I can say you’re right. I didn’t like the way that this was done. Um, and so what we’ve, what we’ve accomplished, um, in the process of the console is really steering away from divorce. If need be okay, or steering away from the case, if need be on a modification or a custody case. And I, I think that the, the value for me is, look, I still get paid to do a consult.

I’m not like sitting here, you know, just churning and burning. And every one of my employees are losing money and we’re not going to be able to feed each other the next day. But, but by the same token, you know, we were very engaged and invested in the whole process. Uh, and Kaylee, one of the hardest thing [00:28:30] that I do now, Mary is like, when I know that the person’s not the right fit, I know that the party is like, Uh, a really bad apple and I don’t want to represent them.

And they really want us to, the hardest thing we do as a lawyer at the, at the inception stages is to say, Hey, we’re not the right fit. And they’re like, wait a minute. I just paid you for a console. I’m the client. You’re going to do what I say. I’m like, well, it doesn’t really work that way. And, and I’m not being rude or arrogant.

I really want people to pair up with the right fit. Yeah. So, so, and Mary, I may be bouncing on around this question, but some attorneys, if you say the world is flat, they will agree with you just because they’re your client. And they’re like, literally in the case with you, like, they feel like they live with you.

And some clients love that. Like, my attorney is fighting for me. My attorney is emotionally charged. Uh, the problem with that is what happens when you disagree with you. And you’ve gotten on their page for everything, except for a couple of things. How do you advocate that? If you are emotionally engaged with clients and you don’t set boundaries and expectations for them, how do you tell them to do the right thing to have clean hands?

Like Andrea was talking about how do you have that level of trust? I mean, I don’t want. Any of my top employees in any of my businesses to tell me all the smooth sailing stuff I like to give the, get the meat. And if you disagree with me, let’s sit down. You tell me why let’s, let’s go through facts and let’s get it out there and let’s solve the.

And so, you know, with respect to avoiding divorce, um, and [00:30:00] how we get away from it. Um, you know, there’s a lot of aspects there. We can touch on that later, but, but I just wanted, I just really wanted fundamentally people to understand where my head’s at, when it comes to the preliminary questions of whether you should file for divorce, whether you should file for a custody case.

And my mindset is the lawyer, how I approach that. And toward the end of that, a part of that question to Justin is that sometimes divorce really is the better option, especially if there is a lot of conflict, especially if it’s a dangerous environment for the party and that parties children. Yeah. And, and that’s, that’s exactly, where, where I’ve separated, personal beliefs.

You know, I really do fundamentally understand. You know, different people are equipped to handle different stuff. Right? Navy seals can do a lot of different things than you and I could. And you know, so when it comes to endurance and, and driving this, stay in that marriage, it’s not that you’re a weak person because you can’t handle the situation.

It’s not that, you know, you’re not as strong as the next person who stayed married. Marriage is very, very challenging in general. Right? It’s challenging for me. I love my wife so dearly and we have a great marriage. We got great kids, business people, all that stuff. Uh, but it’s very challenging.

And when it gets to the point where challenge becomes you don’t exist, you don’t matter what you say. Doesn’t matter. There’s no intimacy. There’s physical violence, there’s substance abuse where you’re [00:31:30] ignored. Uh, when you are belittled constantly, uh, when you don’t have someone rowing alongside of you the same direction to achieve your goals.

When you can’t see eye to eye on co-parenting decisions and or everything you do is dumb, and it’s undermining your ability to parent your. When you’ve taken the steps and they may be different steps that I would take, or you would take when you’ve taken the steps in and, or the party party won’t correspond.

And won’t try to work with you and you feel it getting worse, you feel the finances being secret or hidden from you. Uh, you, you, your spouse tells you, you can’t go get that job or you can’t go be an independent mother or father. Or, or do things that can better your family because it, it’s, it’s undermining the family situation.

Um, and, and all that. I mean, that’s where you got to sit down and think is this really the person that, that we can make a life. I want to be right. Like when I think about myself, when you meet, when you are codependent and you have your life surrounded about your family, is that really the person that I want to be moving forward, living in the city, Asian and being more than 50% unhappy.

But I think that’s what Justin said earlier. Dick, the consultation or meeting with a lawyer is a good, is a good first step to see. Cause this is a somebody that you do not know that listens to the facts and can give you a total neutral, um, opinion about what you’re [00:33:00] talking about compared to going to your friends, your girlfriends, or your male friends.

Uh, guys, don’t talk that much about it, but we, women would go to a girlfriend and they stay, tell us what we want to hear. But if you go to somebody, when you contemplate with divorce, you go to somebody that has experience. And there are so many things you can do before you get divorced. And unfortunately, sometimes it is, it is necessary.

I went through it, but, but there’s oftentimes ways and steps you can take to get back on the same path. Cause there’s reasons why. At some point you loved each other when you got married. And then it’s easy to forget in this busy world and all this noise out there listening to others and the grass is always greener on the other site.

I mean, if you look at, we talked about social media, we’ll talk about social media in general, you look at all your friends on social media, their point, their posts, their. Yeah, cool stuff about their marriage or their relationship. They’re on post, all the nasty stuff out there. So it’s, it’s a hard decision, but I think that’s my, the first step.

If you think about it, contact the lawyer, talk to them and then based on that neutral input, then make a decision whether you should, I have to. Yeah. And I married, I love when I get called. Yeah, it sounds crazy. But I really do, like when I get a call about a prenup. Okay. Not because it’s still sore.

Can we, I don’t like drafting prenups because you know, there’s all kinds of stuff that goes in and I don’t like putting a prenup in front of somebody else’s face. I, I kind of try to do that with my wife. And she was like, uh, so, you know, when you’re starting the life together, you know, especially younger people and when you’re out there trying to figure out Is this the person I need to marry.

Okay. I mean, obviously you’ve got spiritual advisers [00:34:30] and in other aspects, they’re family, friends that we’ve talked about, but I do think it’s important, um, to, to reach out to an attorney, um, to just talk about all right, in a good one, won’t just go, well, you need a prenup because dah, dah, dah. I mean, I tell people, I like, dude, you don’t have anything or ma’am, you don’t have anything y’all are going to get a prenup now.

And it, you know, maybe it can help you in the future, but. You all are both on equal footing. The Texas laws are probably where you’re going to want them any way other than, you know, attorney’s fees or interim support, something like that. So I, I don’t, I don’t steer them into the prenuptial conversation, but I do steer them into, Hey, have you, have you really understood each other’s values here?

Okay. Well, how are you going to look at the kid issues here? Or have you thought about, if you start a business or you buy a house? Uh, or you refinance it and your mom is on the deed and, uh, you know, have you thought through those questions and I will tell you I never get well, yeah, we talk about. No you don’t.

And so really the first year of marriage for a lot of, especially young people and probably anybody I hate to use with young people. But, uh, you know, I get these questions a lot from younger people, uh, that are there. Well, we’ve only been married a year and this is crazy. We’re going through the, he wants me to put me on the life insurance.

I don’t want life insurance or she wants to do this. I mean, there’s this stuff that’s like, wait, did y’all talk about that? Okay. And it’s just like, that’s a really good thing to go through. And before you get to the divorce attorney cons concept, right. I, I like to say we’re, we’re, you [00:36:00] know, we’re truly advocates for good relationships and, and assisters of co-parenting when relationships go sour or south.

And so I think the preliminary side of that can be great to, to, to reach out to as well. Well, I think that is a good wrap for today. You guys. So, um, if anybody wants to get more information about how to deal with high conflict relationship or divorced situation, you can certainly contact Sisemore Law Firm in Fort worth at (817) 336-4444 or you can check out the website at https://www.thetxattorneys.com/ . And we also appreciate if you would follow this podcast. So you get alerts. If you want to listen to what we have to say and our next conversation, our next podcast, and appreciate any questions you guys have, if you want to learn about other topics.

So. Have a great day. And thanks for listening. Thank you for listening to In Your Best Interest with Texas divorce attorney and entrepreneur, Justin Sisemore, the content presented here is provided for information only and should not be construed as legal tax or financial advice. Click the follow button to be notified when new episodes become available.