Taking Control of Your Divorce

Taking Control Your Life And Your Divorce


Most of my work as a divorce attorney is with mature couples who are working cooperatively and respectfully to divorce.  Every now and then I get a divorce case where I know I am going to make a true difference in a person’s life.  This is chapter one, in what I think will be a heartwarming story of divorce and personal empowerment.

Let’s call her “Sandy.”  A sweet looking woman in her early 40′s who still has a childlike appearance despite the fact that she looks like she is carrying the weight of the world.  It was apparent that coming to my office to talk about a the possibility of a divorce was a huge step and she was very nervous.  She had told her husband a number of times that she wanted a divorce.  He simply ignored her, usually walking away angrily and returning later to ask  ”what’s for dinner?” I won’t get into too many of her personal details but here are some facts that came out that I see as red flags and a good reason to seek a divorce.


Take Control of Your Money In Divorce

Sandy always turned her paycheck over to her husband and he paid all the bills, giving her sufficient money for what he deemed necessities.  She had no money of her own to file for a divorce.  She had a vague idea of what he made (more than double her income) but had no idea of the family finances.  Husband told her that if she divorced him she would continue to be responsible for half the mortgage payments and she would have to pay all her own rent.

Take control Of Your Interest In Divorce

When I asked her if she had done any research on line about divorce she told me that she couldn’t because he checked the history on the computer to see what sites she had been to.  He checked the odometer on the car to see how many miles she had driven and even tracked her video rentals.  She had to be careful of calls she made on her cell phone to possible divorce attorneys because he checked that too.

Take Control Of Your Life In Divorce

Husband does not like Sandy’s parent’s, especially her father and they never have family events.  Similarly husband does not like Sandy’s friends and discourages her from spending time with them.  Sandy’s life consists of work and taking care of the home and children.

Sandy was surprised when I told her that she was showing classic signs of being in an abusive relationship.  Her answer was a very typical: ”But, he has never hit me.” Further discussion revealed that while he may never have hit her, she does tiptoe around him to avoid his anger.  She said he was a good man and a good provider but he did have an anger problem which was why she was contemplating a divorce.  He is suspicious of other people and does not interact socially very much.

Sandy was ready to make a change and pursue a divorce.  Fortunately she had the help of her family and they were in favor of her filing for divorce.  Her father gave her a credit card for rent on an apartment, moving expenses and her divorce attorney fees.  In this she is luckier than many controlled women.  Also in her favor, Sandy is very  smart and her husband had not yet totally destroyed her self esteem.   Together with my paralegal, a former domestic violence counselor, we developed a plan.

I am really looking forward to working with Sandy.  I know she has a great future ahead of her.  She already looked brighter and was stepping livelier when she left my office.  I know enough about her to know she will leave this marriage with some assets and she will receive child support and spousal maintenance.  She is looking forward to her new life.

What was the clue that helped her decide it was time for a divorce?  Her husband went away for a week and she realized how happy she was to be alone.  She did not have to tip toe around and she told me that for the first time she could eat pizza and have junk food.

Take Control of Your Divorce

Take Control of Your Divorce

The next few weeks will be challenging but Sandy has a plan and she will do OK.    Sandy has already gotten her own cell phone and I showed her how to set up her own private e mail account and use it on a library computer so she can research divorce issues.  She may even buy her own little netbook.   She is putting her treasured items such as grandmother’s antiques into storage and will move out while husband is out of town.  We will file divorce papers and serve husband when we know she is in the safety of her parent’s home along with her children.

This will also be a challenging divorce case for me.  It can be emotionally draining and my office will have to act strategically.  But I know Sandy will grow and flourish as she builds her own life post-divorce.  That will make it worthwhile for me.

Stay tuned.

About The Author

Karin E. Quirk
Attorney at Law

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