FULL TRANSCRIPT – SEASON 1, EPISODE 73
Jessica: Welcome everyone to today’s episode of the Divorce etc… podcast. We are doing something a little different today. We’re actually talking about the most listened-to episodes that we have had in seasons 1 and seasons 2, as a sort of celebratory end of the year and a look ahead to our next season of the Divorce etc… podcast. Season 3 is going to launch in January. In case you’ve been wondering what some of our best episodes were, or if you haven’t heard all of our episodes, if you haven’t been listening to the Divorce etc… podcast since the very beginning, then this is going to be your opportunity to go back and listen to some of the ones that might be most helpful and useful to you. Because here on the podcast, we help you navigate everything divorce, whether you’re thinking about it, whether you’re in the middle of it, or whether you’re done and moving on. We have resources, education, and support for you because we are the exEXPERTS, Jessica and T.H. So T.H., should we jump into it?
#5 – Custody and Parenting Rights You Need to Know
Featuring divorce attorney Sarah Corcoran (S1, Ep. 30)
T.H.: Let’s go. Our number five is with Sarah Corcoran. And what’s the title?
Jessica: The title was “Custody and Parenting Rights You Need to Know”. This was from season 1. It was episode 30, 3-0. All of this will be in the show notes. Sarah Corcoran is a rock-star lawyer in New Jersey and had a lot of amazing information to give us for this. I just love the way she explains things.
T.H.: She keeps it super simple. She acts like she’s your friend. I mean, that’s kind of how she communicates with you.
T.H.: But she happens to have just a wealth of knowledge. I would say when you’re talking about custody and parenting rights and visitation and whatever words they’re using now for all these negotiations of time and parenting and primary residence, all this stuff, but one thing that I pulled out, that maybe it’s because I’m looking back now 14 years, is I quote her saying “Agreements can’t provide for everything.” If you want a condition in there regarding that if your ex or soon-to-be ex is going to be away for the weekend, and it’s their weekend, you need almost a first right of refusal to have parenting time with your child before they go with their grandparents or anybody else. She said you should definitely put that into your agreement. But remember, agreements can’t provide for everything. So ultimately, you really, really, really want to try to be able to at least handle the business of everything going on with your kids, and be able to communicate in whatever way you can that’s not harmful as far as they are concerned, because stuffs just going to come up that you’re not going to know and be ready for.
Jessica: Yeah, I agree. I felt in that episode, she gave great specific tips on what to put into your parenting agreement and things to think about so you don’t get stuck in a situation where there’s any ambiguity. She has really practical, actionable advice on how to handle custody and the negotiation around it. What I also loved is she’s really no-nonsense. When we talked about what someone can do with if their ex isn’t paying child support. She gave her a really pragmatic script on getting the money through probate in a way that really didn’t sound scary. I felt she really puts you at ease with the way that she speaks and the advice that she gives. I also love that she’s such a strong advocate of equalizing parenting time.
T.H.: Right. Right, absolutely, and managing your expectations.
T.H.: I mean, if you’re going to go in there and say, “I want sole custody”, well, she explains what you’re going to have to prove, and you probably still won’t get it unless there’s an issue of safety. She’s going to help right-size your expectations around custody, and parenting, and parenting rights.
Jessica: Also, you really need to understand the difference of legal custody and physical custody. She gives us all of that information. Look, if you have kids and you’re getting divorced, or you are divorced, this is an episode to listen to because you’re going to get really good information, advice, and tips that you can use now. And then of course at the end, I love that she said that we are providing a great perspective for people here at exEXPERTS, and she hopes we’re educating a lot of people. So that was really nice to hear.
T.H.: All right, exEXPERTS.
#4 – How to Create a Budget and Pay for Your Divorce
Featuring Tracy Byrnes, CDFA, Divorce Budgeting (S1, Ep. 2)
Jessica: Exactly. All right, so let’s move on to our fourth best, most highest listened to episode of season 1 was “How to Create a Budget and Pay for Your Divorce” with Tracy Byrnes. That was season 1 episode 2. I will just start off by saying Tracy is literally just an all-around rockstar. I feel she has such a presence, but she’s so easy to talk to and real. I love everything about her. Full disclosure, Tracy and I worked together at the Fox Business Network years ago, which is where I first met her because she was an anchor on one of the shows. She’s that kind of a presence, and she has great stuff to say.
T.H.: So I totally agree with you. By the way, she’s also a real-life expert. She’s lived through it. Some of her recommendations are really based on her own experience, not even what she learned as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, a CDFA. The big tip that stood out for me was, don’t forget about gifts. When you guys are planning your budget and how much you need to live, you are going to have your broad stroke items, like everything involved in keeping a roof over your head and food and health and car and stuff like that. But what about gifts for your kids to give to other people, gifts you have to give to other people, housewarming gifts, wedding gifts? That amounts to a lot of money, especially if you have kids who are like 12, 13, and 16 years old, with sweet six-teens and bar and bat mitzvahs and stuff. That takes a big toll. Just don’t forget that because you don’t want to be stuck with those bills when the time comes.
Jessica: Right, right. I just love that she’s so blunt about numbers. I feel we go into it thinking that divorce means that you’re left living on 50% of whatever you were used to living on with your spouse. But she explained very well that it’s actually less than that. You’ve got to take off 30% for your legal fees, and you have two homes and double everything, cable bills, electric bills, and everything. But I also love that she’s so motivating, like, put your big girl panties on. Let’s get going. We’re going to go deal with this. I feel even if it seems a little scary, she makes you feel you can handle it.
T.H.: And you can by the way.
Jessica: And you can.
T.H.: You totally can handle this. Don’t be afraid of the numbers. It’s a lot of big words that really don’t mean anything more than I can pay for this, and I can’t pay for that.
Jessica: Right. But she also had, as most of our exEXPERTS do, which is why we do the vetting process ourself, Tracy had very good practical advice and tips for things that you should do now. We’ve had a lot of financial experts talk about the importance of getting your passwords and access to all of your accounts. Tracy does too because it’s true that you need that. But one thing that Tracy pointed out was actually your last three years of your file tax returns are the most important. Then she even talked about the specific lines that you want to look for so that you can know more information about what you have, what you’re dealing with. I also loved her tip about taking screenshots of your account on a specific day so that you can go back and see if your ex is maybe moving money out if that’s something that you’re suspicious of. Also, for everyone who’s freaking out because maybe they don’t have online access to their accounts, she reminded us that we can all go to a branch and get those statements in person, which I feel somehow we’ve all forgotten about. So I felt really good about that episode because you have key takeaways from that that really will help you get your finances in order and know what you’re getting ready for.
T.H.: She also provides us with a worksheet that you will have a link to that’s on the exEXPERTS website. Before we get into our number three top episode of season 1, I just want to make note that it’s just very interesting the episode topics that resonated with people. We have one about divorce, we have one about self-care and empowerment, we have one about a guy’s perspective – two guys’ perspectives that need to be considered, one about money, and one about family. We really did touch on each of our exEXPERTS’ buckets of myDIVORCE, myWALLET, mySELF, mySTUFF, and myFAMILY. Each one will resonate with you at a different time in the process, but they all need to be heard.
#3 – What Men Really Think About Divorce and Getting Through It
Featuring Divorce Coach James Bastian and Divorce Mediator and Men’s Divorce Coach John Nachlinger (S1, Ep. 41)
Jessica: Yeah, agreed, agreed. I mean listen, there are so many different aspects of dealing with a divorce. You need this information and all of these areas. Lucky for you, we’ve put it all in one place. Moving on, our number three most listened-to episode of Divorce etc… in season 1 was episode 41, “What Men Really Think About Divorce and Getting Through It” with two guys that we love, James Bastian and John Nachlinger. We actually recently had them as featured experts in our monthly open house virtual event, talking about the men’s POV on divorce. James is a men’s divorce recovery coach. John is a family law attorney and mediator and male divorce coach. The two of them really opened up. I just remember being shocked to hear that so many men face the stigma and assumption that they cheated when they’re telling people that they’re getting divorced. I felt that episode was filled with aha moments for me.
T.H.: Absolutely. I mean, I would never assume that, even though I totally jumped on it. As soon as I found out that my ex was cheating, I’m like, oh, okay, he’s bad. I’m out. People may have assumed that in advance, but it just happened to be true. But if it’s not true, then that’s really a shitty feeling that we never really thought about. Who is assuming that he cheated anyway? Is that a generation thing? Is it a guy thing? I mean, we also learned a lot about what guys think, and how guys are there for each other, and not there for each other. And by the way, these are very broad strokes statements. Not every guy feels this way. Not every guy responds this way. But this was their experience, and their opinion is that it’s like, “I heard. Let’s go get a beer.”
Jessica: Right, right, which is, I think, what we assume for guys.
T.H.: That’s right, like, “Toughen up”, or “You’ve got a hot chick now. Awesome. Awesome.” Meanwhile, the guy’s falling apart and just trying to keep it together and doesn’t want to be alone. So he’s got who he’s got next to him. I’m not saying women don’t do these things, and I’m not saying men are bad. We love good men. We’re all about it. So that’s why we really appreciated John and James opening our eyes up to common myths, common assumptions people make. I didn’t really think about it because I wasn’t really worried about it. But it’s good to know so you have sensitivity around other men who are going through it and how you treat them through the process.
Jessica: Right. Listen, these guys really were very vulnerable in this episode, which we so appreciate it. I was really sad for James when he was so open and honest about feeling devastated and lonely, and how this was the hardest thing he ever went through. I loved that he admitted that he wanted to talk about it. I feel he really opened my mind up to the vulnerable side of men when it comes to divorce. Because I think that we look at so many guys who seem to be moving on so quickly in so many ways, and we just don’t think it affects them emotionally the same way that it does for us. But I also thought it was so interesting that James talked about the fact that he had been married for so long, and he and his ex had had numerous discussions about the fact that they weren’t happy with where they were, and yet he was so blindsided. John concurred with that in terms of what he knows about from his own clients. Men are often blindsided and it’s almost like they aren’t hearing the women or their male spouses saying that they’re unhappy. They’re just cruising along in a lot of circumstances, assuming things are just going to be okay. Then they’re completely gobsmacked when their spouse says, “I really actually want a divorce.”
T.H.: But the piece is they were blindsided because they were doing the things that they thought they needed to do to make the marriage work. But there was really no communication about what do I need to do? He’s like, “Wait, we’re not happy? Okay, I’ll work harder. I’ll make more money. I’ll take the kids more. I’ll do this, that, and the other thing,” without having a conversation with her about what can we do to make this work. Well, it’s the communication piece that was missing. So he was chasing the wrong stuff.
Jessica: I don’t know if that’s entirely the case for James. I thought that James had said that she had told him what she wanted to change, and he was making steps in those directions. But the truth is, what you’re saying is 100% right in most situations anyway. I mean, couples come to a point where there’s a huge breakdown in communication. Oftentimes, 50% of the time, it will lead to divorce. It’s just such a dark place to be in. I actually can’t remember if it was John or James who said this, but I love the fact that one of them talks about how every day the way that you feel is a choice. You can choose to be bitter and resentful, or you can choose to be happier and have a better relationship with your kids, and aim to have a better relationship in the future. I’m a person who feels that happiness is a choice, so I just really related to all of that.
T.H.: Yeah, I think that everybody should really listen to this episode – men, women, however you identify, because he really does dig deep and is very revealing about suffering and how hard it is to move on and trying to be “a good person, a good father, a good husband”, the expectations, the disappointment. We all feel that no matter what role we play in our marriage. It’s worth a listen for everybody. We are going to take a quick pause here. Because we know it’s hard to get honest and reliable information about your divorce, so we’ve done the work for you. Be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to get exEXPERTS in your inbox. Join our virtual open house events where you can ask questions to top experts live, which include the two of us, by the way, and sign up for private sessions with us so you can move forward beyond divorce. You can get all of this information at www.exexperts.com. We’ve lived it, so we get it. So now, let’s get into drumroll...
Jessica: Yes, our top two, correct?
T.H.: Of season 1.
#2 – Rebound Relationship or Real Thing – How Do You Know?
Featuring Julie Wein, Psychotherapist (S1, Ep. 61)
Jessica: Right, so our second highest-rated episode of Divorce etc… in season 1 was episode 61. The title is “Rebound Relationship or Real Thing – How Do You Know?”
T.H.: This was with Julie Wein, right?
Jessica: Abby Wein. Is it Julie Wein?
T.H.: Julie Wein.
Jessica: Okay, I’m sorry. I’m having a brain fart. Yes, Julie Wein.
T.H.: Right, so how do you know?
Jessica: I mean we recorded this episode early on when we had started the Divorce etc… podcast. At one point, I had been in a rebound relationship, and so the whole topic really resonated with me. I feel it was really about how you feel. If you really feel happy and settled with the relationship, or if there’s some kind of underlying anxiety or discomfort that you might be trying to ignore, if that’s something that repeatedly comes up, then you have to pay attention to it and trust your gut. This was an episode that, like I said, it really had a big impact on me, because I feel I’ve been there before and been wondering. I think that sometimes you realize pretty quickly that something was a rebound. I think sometimes it could be four years, five years later, and you could look back and be like, “Wow, that was a rebound.” That’s why it was either you were so hurt by it, or things happened the way that they happened.
T.H.: Right, so a rebound doesn’t mean it happens the next day. It can be triggered and happen like you said, a while later. Also, repeating bad patterns. I mean, I was in a long-term relationship before the one I’m in now. I had a few little relationships here and there in between, but it was the same thing again. I was just so excited. I’m like, “He checks all the boxes. I’m good to go. Let’s go. I’m done here.” Meanwhile, he was so not checking any of the right boxes. I was still checking the wrong boxes. Rebounding and thinking I was in a good place, then this guy looks different. It’s actually the same and you jump into it.
Jessica: And then in addition to that, when you get out of it, it’s also like, okay, that was not good at the end. So how do you avoid getting into something that isn’t just another rebound? I mean, I also love that one of the things that Julie talked about was like, how do you feel when you’re not with the person? Do you want to be with them more? Or is it more out of sight out of mind, in a sense? That really hit home for me because I feel in general, I’m really not a clingy person.
T.H.: But clingy and thinking about the person are different.
Jessica: No, no, no, I know. But what I was going to say is I’m really not a clingy person. And so I have always been a little bit out of sight out of mind. Listen, even when it relates to my kids sometimes, I missed my son desperately when he went away to sleepaway camp over the summer, but after a couple of weeks, it’s like, okay, you’re used to life without them, in the sense that you don’t have all the same responsibilities every day. You don’t have to run around doing all the activities and stuff every day. Now my son’s in college and I miss him desperately. I love the fact that he’s willing to accept my FaceTime calls when I call him. But I’ve learned to sort of adapt to it. So I just felt when it comes to a relationship when you’re thinking about that person, that is really a telltale sign. She also, as our exEXPERTS are always giving very practical advice and actionable tips, Julie recommended a book. It’s called “10% Happier” by Dan Harris. I think the full title was “How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works”. It’s definitely worth picking up a copy. We may have it in the exRATED section on our website. If we don’t, we will–
T.H.: We’ll add it right now.
Jessica: We’ll add it, exactly.
T.H.: So by the time you hear this, it’ll be there.
Jessica: That’s right. That’s right. But listen, when you come out of a divorce, the bottom line is most of us have a guard up after that. It’s a scary place to go. You’re so traumatized in many ways, after being divorced, that the idea of getting into a relationship that is then not going to be the real thing or end, and you aren’t sure how to be able to tell if that’s what you’re doing or not. This is an episode that everybody should listen to because it’s a situation that everyone goes through, not in terms of necessarily going into a rebound relationship, but everyone is worried about how do I tell whether or not something new is actually real or not? I highly recommend it. There’s a reason why it was our second-highest-rated episode.
BONUS Divorce Etc… Episode “Empowering Women – Creating Your Girl Gang”
Featuring Tara Gilvar, Founder of B.I.G. Believe, Inspire, Grow (S1, Ep. 6)
T.H.: Yes. I want to mention a quick bonus episode that I went back to and I really, really enjoyed. It was with Tara Gilvar, “Empowering Women – Creating Your Girl Gang” from B.I.G, which is Believe Inspire Grow.
Jessica: Tara created this community of out of nothing. She had moved somewhere in New Jersey–
T.H.: To the suburbs.
Jessica: Right, and wasn’t working anymore. She had a master’s degree in business and had a really good job.
T.H.: A marketing career.
Jessica: Yeah. Then she was getting together with some women around her. These were smart, well-educated women who now we’re raising their kids and doing “Mommy and Me” classes and loving their lives as stay-at-home moms, but feeling there was a little bit of something missing, and how could they harness all of their brainpower and all of their education and knowledge and create something that could be beneficial to women everywhere. B.I.G sprung out of that. The fact that her whole mission is all about empowering women, look, T.H. and I are all about that in general for exEXPERTS, we want to give this information and support and these resources to men as well, but we know that most of our followers and listeners are female. We just love the messaging.
T.H.: These are the three questions I’m just going to leave you with. You’re going to have to go and listen to season 1 episode 6. But the questions that she wants you to ask yourself are, including number one, who are you, and who do you want to be, and how do you want to get there? Do not answer those questions in terms of you serving other people. I’m not their mother. I’m not their wife. I’m not their friend. Who are you as a standalone, human being? Focus on that, and focus on building relationships, not transactions. That is how we build on each other and grow and learn and become limitless. That’s all I’m leaving you with on this bonus episode from season 1, because it’s really good for everybody to listen to. It is female-centric, but really, we should all be asking ourselves those questions so that we can really grow and discover ourselves, especially after a divorce.
Jessica: Yeah, totally. I mean it is about knowing who you are and being able to feel fulfilled in all areas of your life. I know T.H. already mentioned it, but the importance of staying connected with your friends and your girl gang is huge. For anybody going through divorce, guy or girl, you quickly understand the importance of that because you want people to rally around you and not just say, “Are you okay?” You want people to reach out and initiate meeting up for a drink, for dinner, for a walk in the neighborhood, whatever it is. It really is important to nurture your relationships, even when you’re married and you think that you’re too busy, and you are busy taking care of the kids and working and you have all these other things. If you don’t maintain those relationships, then if and when it comes time that you find yourself divorced, it’s just harder to get people back in a sense. Were you going to say something? I can’t hear you anymore T.H. Your audio just dropped out somehow.
T.H.: One of the lawyers who we spoke to, and we’re going to mention her for the season 2 recap, did say when new clients come in, she has them check in with “Who’s your support group?” “Yeah, okay, you’re here, this is the problem, where are your people? Do you have people?” Because that’s the number one thing you need in that. Anyway, I just wanted to mention that. Okay, so Tara Gilvar. All right, number one episode–
#1 – What Your Divorce Lawyer Doesn’t Want You to Know
Featuring Divorce Attorney Gabriella Formosa (S1, Ep. 4)
Jessica: Most rated episode of season 1 was episode 4, “What Your Divorce Lawyer Doesn’t Want You to Know with Gabriella Formosa”. This topic was very interesting to a lot of people, primarily because when you’re getting divorced and you choose who your lawyer is going to be, you often don’t have a lot of information. You’re scared, you feel like you really need their guidance, and you just blindly follow. Gabriella gave us some great tips on things that you have the right and the power to do, regardless of who your lawyer is.
T.H.: She reminds all of us men, women, everybody that you are the one hiring. It is your money. It is your life. You need to own that. Don’t hand over the reins to somebody else. She gives you different scenarios if you’re not happy with your lawyer if you feel you’re not being heard by your lawyer, if you want to double check things that your lawyer is telling you, all of it, negotiating your fees, all of it. This is the most important relationship you’re going to have as far as a team for your divorce process. You want to do this no more than once. Nobody even wants to do it once. But you sure as hell don’t want to go back again in two years and go, “Oops, I made a mistake. Oops, I should have done this.” “Should” is not a good word anyway, and certainly doesn’t play a role in your divorce agreement and who you hire as your attorney.
Jessica: Totally. Also, look, she was saying, you’re going to a lawyer, there is an element of them that wants your business, so they may tell you that they can get you the results that you want, even if it’s unrealistic, which is why it’s important to look at the information and the articles that we have on the exEXPERTS website and to listen to our podcast so that you have an idea of what is realistic. Because if you go into a lawyer’s office and they’re just telling you yes, yes, yes, yes, yes for everything, the chances are you’re going to end up being disappointed because you’re not going to get everything that you’re wanting. I loved that she said you don’t have to sign the retainer document right away. Even if you’re feeling stressed about the divorce and the prospects of where that is going, you can take a minute to think about it. You don’t have to sign it while you’re in their office. In fact, I think she may have said don’t sign it while you’re in their office. Have the meeting with them, take the paperwork or have them send it to you, and give yourself a night to think about it and whether or not you really felt you vibed with them. The second opinion thing that I loved, I mean, I don’t think a lot of people know or think that if you are getting a divorce, and you’re working with a divorce lawyer that you’re paying, that if they’re telling you something that you don’t love, you can actually go and meet with another lawyer to get a second opinion the same way that you would with a doctor. I had never heard that before. I love the fact that she was saying that a respectable lawyer should be honest if they think your current lawyer is right. If you go for that second opinion and they say to you, “That’s what I would do”, that’ll give you peace of mind. I thought that was so interesting.
T.H.: Yeah, I mean, the whole process is so overwhelming. You’re always going to second-guess yourself. My father was right alongside me the whole time. We were both fooled I would say, or sucked in by the process and not speaking up probably nearly enough. You need someone to stand by your side and hold your hand and be like “Okay, you can speak up. Okay, you can go and talk to somebody else,” and of validate the way you’re feeling. Listen, if you have an illness, you’re not going to your first doctor who says, “This is your diagnosis.” You’re going to go to somebody else and be like, “Can you check me out because this doctor says this, and I want to make sure this.” It’s the same thing. It’s your life. It’s your life and your divorce. So she gives you the tips and direction to take control of your life, especially when it comes to your lawyer. That’s again, the most important relationship through the divorce process.
Jessica: Totally. Then just lastly, I’ll just add in, look, getting a lawyer is expensive. The way that most divorce lawyers work is you walk in and they want a retainer. Depending on where you live, that amount can vary. You can walk in and have to give them a retainer of $20,000 right off the top. You may think initially that you just can’t hire that lawyer because you can’t afford it. One thing that she did talk about was the idea of asking if you can structure the payment or the retainer differently if you can’t afford it all upfront. There are really good nuggets in this episode that are definitely worth listening to. Again, it’s episode 4 of season 1, “What Your Divorce Lawyer Does Not Want You to Know”, a little inside information in there courtesy of the exEXPERTS. Those are our highest-rated episodes of season 1 of the Divorce etc… podcast. If you haven’t heard them, it’s definitely worth going back. You can check out the show notes. We’ll have all of these episodes listed there as well. Any last-minute notes, T.H.?
T.H.: No, listen, we’ve done over 140 episodes of Divorce etc… and they’re all out there for you. Not every subject and every conversation is relevant to where you are right now, but don’t be afraid to scroll back because we have so much many different topics. Just because they’re not the most listened to doesn’t mean they’re not equally great.
T.H.: I mean we have episodes with Susan Guthrie and Kate Anthony, and real-life experts like us who are telling you what they wish they knew that you can learn from. We encourage you to go back through season 1, scroll through, and just listen. And some are lighthearted about dating and first dates and mistakes and all of that. No matter where you are in the process, we have an episode for you.
Jessica: That’s right.
T.H.: These are the top listened-to episodes, but they’re all really fantastic.
Jessica: That’s right. So if you are enjoying the Divorce etc… podcast, if you’ve heard things that you’re able to use and that have been helpful for you in your process, please can you help us out? Because when you subscribe, rate, and review the Divorce etc… podcast, it actually helps us get the word out so we can support more people like you going through divorce and beyond. So like I said, check out the show notes. You’ll see this list of episodes that we’re talking about. And of course, share with anyone you know who can benefit from listening. Have a great day!