We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez

07-30-2023 What You Need To Know About Court
In this episode of We Need To Talk With Kris Godinez, Kris discusses the family court system and what questions to ask when you go to hire an attorney.

The court system is a whole culture unto itself! It has its own language and customs and procedures, and if you do not understand how the system works, that could hurt you in your divorce case. Kris breaks down what questions to ask when hiring an attorney all the way to what to do when in court.

In this episode of We Need To Talk With Kris Godinez, Kris discusses the family court system and what questions to ask when you go to hire an attorney.

Hello and welcome to We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez podcast. I’m your host Kris Godinez, licensed professional counselor. I help people get out of, and stay out of, toxic relationships. This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only the views and opinions stated herein are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the ACA, the APA or any other therapist for that matter.

I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the US or international. They will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.

Hi, everybody. So, okay, announcements. Um, let me think, let me think. So, the next meet and greet is going to be August 26. in Salt Lake City. If you wish to purchase tickets, go to Krisgodinez.com. Go to I think it’s appearances. Maybe events. Anyway, it’s on Krisgodinez.com. Go there, and you can get tickets for it. There are still some tickets available. So, I usually cut it off at 10. So, we have about six more tickets available. So yeah, because I want to keep it small.

Okay, so today’s topic is what you need to know about the court system, so here’s the deal. Court is not like anything you’ve ever experienced before in your life; it is truly a… it’s almost like entering a foreign country. There’s like languages that go with it. And there’s manners and things that you do and customs and, you know, that kind of thing. So, I think the thing that people get really confused with, and I forgot to do a current event.

Okay, current event. So, a couple of things are going on one, our air conditioner has officially given up the ghost, which is why I have no makeup on. Because if I had makeup on, it would run down my face and across the floor and out the door and find someplace cool. There is that. Two current events. So, what I see happening is people are dumping their animals like crazy. And it is it really makes me angry so, and the Town of Gilbert doesn’t help because they’re saying that you cannot trap them, because you feed them, and if you feed them that’s against their stupid laws. And so, none of the rescues will help trap the cats or dogs or whatever that needs to be trapped and taken to a vet and checked out and then gotten to a shelter or whatever. So, and because we live in an area where there are coyotes, the coyotes are eating the cats. And that is not something you want to wake up to on a Sunday morning. So anyway, it’s in here’s the thing, who does that, who dumps animals who dumps them who dumps them in a desert, who dumps them out in the Sonoran Desert and goes, Oh, they’ll find food, that would be a narcissist, that would be a psychopath. That would be somebody with absolutely zero empathy, zero ability to put themselves in another sentient being shoes, etc., etc., etc. So basically, watch how people treat animals. And this is all interconnected. So, the current event is Gilbert right now is having a huge issue with animals being dumped dogs, cats, whatever, they’re just being dumped, and they’re dumping them in public parks, or they’re dumping them in developments, or they’re, or they’re going driving them out to the desert, and I’m like, it’s 100 and frickin 18 outside, they’re not going to survive. And I think that’s their whole point is they don’t want them to survive. So, yeah, so it’s frustrating because like I said, I’ve been trying to contact cat rescues, and they’re like, oh, Town of Gilbert. Oh, no, they’ll sue us. They’ll arrest us. They’ll do whatever because they’ve made it illegal to feed the cats. And in order to catch the cat, you have to put food in the trap. So, they consider that feeding the cats.

Kris Godinez  04:36

Can I tell you what I think of the Town of Gilbert? It’s all four-letter words, and none of it is nice. Seriously, it’s like the people who run the town of Gilbert do not have the good sense that God gave lettuce. Don’t get me started anyway. So um, that is something to watch out for. How do they treat animals, and if the animal has to be given up now, things happen. Okay? It If the animal has to be given up, say, for example, there is a death, and you know, the cats need to be going somewhere, and nobody can take it. You take them to a rescue, or you take them to a shelter, or you try to find somebody that can adopt them. You don’t just dump them and go, Oh, go hunt. They’ll figure it out. No, they’re domesticated. Domesticated cats don’t stand the chance of an ice cube and Phoenix of surviving seriously. It just…. don’t get me started. I love all dogs, all cats, gerbils, hamsters, I’ll watch snakes from afar, but you know, it’s the reptiles. I’m not too cool with. But you know what I’m saying? So, but the point being is that you don’t just dump your animal. And that is a huge issue here. And Gilbert is just like, oh, what problem? We don’t see the problem. Oh, they’re just idiots. Don’t get me started.

Oh my god. Anyway, watch how people treat animals, watch how they care for them. Watch how they or not care for them, as the case may be. And if an animal needs to be given up, you go through the proper channels. You make sure that that animal is in a safe place, either a rescue, a shelter, your rehoming it, or whatever. And of course, be careful of the frickin what it is, the dog fighters, because they look for free, you know, free animals, and then they use them as the bait animals, and I just I hate people sometimes I really, I swear to God, and all that’s holy! Somedays, I just sit there, and I go other people; what a mistake! Seriously! The ones that do that, because I’m just like, anyway, if you see animals that are in need, basically, you can throw the middle finger at the town and Gilbert, if you want my personal opinion, give them water at the very least they need fresh water because it’s 118 out. Did I mention that? So, I’m, I’m probably a little irritated because it’s hot. And these people are heinous. So anyway, there is that. So, watch how people react to animal’s. Watch. You know if they give the Yeah, you can judge a man by how he treats animals absolutely said that was that Will Rogers, I think. But it’s true. How they treat animals tells you everything you need to know about them. How they treat animals, children, people that can do nothing for them tells you everything you need to know about them. 110% So if you’re afraid of getting arrested by the Town of Gilbert or whatever idiot town you happen to live in that’s got stupid rules, put out water, put out water for them freshwater because they’re going to need it because, like I said, 118, 117, 111, 113 is oh god. Anyway, there’s that.

So that is my current event is that usually the ones who dumped the animals and don’t care about what happens to them, or worse, tells the kids something like, Oh, you’re your dog went to a farm when in fact, they dumped him out in the desert. It just, oh my god. And then, Okay, one more thing. And then I swear I’ll get back on topic. So, I was going through, I should stop really subscribing to next door because all it does is piss me off. So, on next door, there was a story of a woman whose ex took the dogs and released them in the middle of the city, middle of the city, middle of the city so that they could get run over or, you know, taken in by one of these dog fighting idiots or, you know, coyotes or whatever. And I just…. Oh, God. Anyway. Yeah. And this is what abusers do.

So, in we’re going to talk about this in the talking about the court cases. If you are leaving an abuser, okay, and you’ve got animals, get them out, get them away, make up an excuse, and get them away from them. Because what they will do is they will use that pet to hurt you. So they will hurt the pet. They will release the pet on accident, and I put accident and ginormous bunny years. Because it’s not. I don’t believe in accidents. I don’t believe in coincidence, not with those mother Cluckers, you know what I’m saying? So they will hurt the pet. They will harm the pet; they will lose the pet. They will, you know, do heinous things to hurt you. So, if you realize you’re with an abuser and you do have an animal with them, get that pet away. Get it out. Give it to somebody that can hold on to it until you can get settled. Seriously, it’s not, trust me. Listen to me. Now, believe me later. These people and I use the term loosely, are heinous. They have no moral compunction whatsoever, no moral compass. They will think nothing of harming a dog, a cat, a gerbil snake, a reptile, whatever. Because remember, if you’re dealing with a dark triad, you’re dealing with a sadist, and they enjoy inflicting pain and they enjoy any way that they can get power and control over you. And that’s one way to do it. If you don’t have kids, they’ll do it through the pets. Anyway, that’s my current event is that people are stupid and stop dumping animals. Oh, seriously, I mean, okay, yeah, just Yeah. At least put water out for them.

So anyway, there is that. And if anybody knows of an animal rescue, they’d be willing to give the middle finger to Gilbert to help me get the cats. Please let me know. That would be very helpful. So anyway, there is that. Dumping of cats seems in dogs seems to be huge right now. And I’m not quite sure what’s going on. I don’t know if it’s the economy. I don’t know if it’s, I don’t know. But listen, dogs and cats, reptiles. Whatever pet you have is a lifelong commitment. It’s not just convenient. It is a lifelong commitment. The way I think about my dogs is since I don’t have children, they’re like my kids. I wouldn’t just kick my kids out into the desert and hope they survived. But I’ll tell you who does. Psychopaths, narcissists, evil, evil. Evil people do that. And they lie to the kids about how they went to the farm. And then the kid grows up the whole time thinking that their dog was safe and lived out a nice life. And then they realized, and oh, God, how damaging that is. So anyway, okay, that’s my current event is, you know, if you know that there are dogs and cats that are being dumped, get them to a shelter, get them to a rescue. At the very least, get water to them. If you can get food to them safely without anybody doing something stupid Town of Gilbert, then do that. So there that is. So yeah. All right. On to the topic

All right, the court system. So, court is not what you think it is. It’s not. So, if you’ve not dealt with what a family court is like, it is like entering a foreign country. It really is within its own language, its own customs, its own way of doing things. And what I see happening is that a lot of people going into the court system expect it to be instantaneous. Oh, Lord, I wish! No. The court system is glacially slow. I mean, it grinds. It really does go very, very slowly. So, you’ve got to be prepared divorcing, a narcissist. Okay. Best case scenario, they want out of the relationship, and they want the divorce. And it happens quickly. Best case. Worst case scenario is they use the court system to punish you, and to keep you stuck, and to financially ruin you and to do all of this.

Kris Godinez  13:16

So, the court is not that you think it’s not going to go fast. They’re not and they’re not always going to do lawyers don’t always do what you think they should do. And usually, if you have a good lawyer, there’s a reason why they’re not doing what you necessarily want them to do. Remember, it’s an end game, it’s an end game. So, all right. Basically, when I’m going to start from the beginning, when you realize that you want a divorce, you need to interview your attorney 10 ways to Sunday, and once you pick an attorney, make sure that they are they answer all the questions that we’re going to go through, and that you don’t start hopping from attorney to attorney to attorney to attorney because that’s going to lengthen out the divorce case. Every time you switch attorneys, they have to get up to speed on what’s going on. And then they have to do their thing. And then if you keep switching the judge is going to go Huh, huh? What are you doing? You know, so you don’t want to do that. So, some books that are going to help you if you decide to divorce your abuser, which I strongly encourage you to do just the life is too short get away from them.

Um, two books, Splitting by Bill Eddie and Randy Kreger and The No-Nonsense Guide to Divorce by Laurie Hellis. Lori’s book is phenomenal. It literally takes you through beginning to end how a divorce works. And it helps you understand why they do the seemingly nonsensical, really long time of getting a divorce and what’s going on and the judges and lawyers that this and that and it’s really good. So, I strongly recommend that book. So, all right, what we’re going to do is we’re going to dive into the questions that you need to be asking an attorney once you realize that’s it, I’m done. Peace out. Buh bye. Here we go.

So, this is Top 10 questions to ask before hiring a divorce attorney, and this is from divorce net. Okay, divorce net top 10 questions to ask before hiring a divorce attorney. Okay. All right. Okay, when you’re going through a divorce and looking for an attorney, remember you don’t have to hire the first attorney you meet. In fact, don’t! You want to talk to at least three or four different attorneys and see what their way of going about things is? So, it’s really good to meet with each one, at least a minimum of three. You want to see which one, then you know which one you mesh with. Because remember, it’s going to be a rapport thing. You’re going to be working with this person for at least probably a year, God willing, and the creek don’t rise if caveat, the aggressor, the narcissist wants the divorce, then it’ll be faster. But if they don’t want the divorce, they want to use the judge system, the judicial system, to punish you. It can drag on for frickin years, I had one where the guy dragged them back into court every two years for 12 years. before a judge finally got in there that was like, huh, this doesn’t seem right and then put a stop to it. 12 freakin years later… anybody else see a problem with this. Dear God in heaven, I see a huge problem with this family court system needs to be reformed. That’s a topic for a different day.

So back on topic. Okay, so 10 questions to ask. All right. All right. Um, you don’t go with the first one, you want to have at least three or four. And you want to make sure that you mesh well with them and that they know what they’re doing. Even if you’ve received a referral, a referral from a family law attorney from a friend or another lawyer, you should still do your due diligence, your homework, check the attorney’s qualifications, make sure that he or she has enough experience to handle your case. There are lots of lawyers out there, and many many advertise themselves as family law or divorce attorneys. However, family law is a subspecialty that involves complex legal principles, which take time and experience to master within the area of family law. There are even further subspecialties such as custody law, international custody law, guardianship, etc. all areas of all areas of the law involving qualified domestic relations orders, which are special orders required to divide certain types of retirement benefits. So, there’s lots of stuff to think about. In addition, there are various financial aspects of divorce, including financial disclosure requirements between spouses, so when you go to get divorced, you’re going to have to give them a disclosure of what you make, etc, etc, etc. Especially if there’s child custody and spousal support and all of that fun stuff involved. Restraining orders prohibiting spouses from changing beneficiary designations or transferring assets before or during the divorce. Things you need to think about alimony, how to calculate income available for alimony, and the special factors courts consider when determining settled settlement payments. Child support how to calculate child support in your state, the division of property and assets, including real property collectibles, venture capital, interest, stock options, portfolios, or other business interests, and the division of retirement benefits. So, you need somebody who knows there a hole from a hole in the ground, basically.

10 Questions to Ask a divorce attorney. Do you specialize in divorces, or are divorces just a part of your practice? So, remember, just like with counselors, there are counselors that do not specialize in trauma. It’s just part of their practice. Okay. You can transfer these questions to counselors too. So, when you’re talking to an attorney, you got to make sure that this is specific. Like this is what they do. They’re not doing divorces and wills and civil suits. And this, that and the other thing, no, family law is their is their jam. That’s what they do. And they are well versed and well respected in high-conflict divorces because this is what that is going to be. Okay. So back to the questions. Do you specialize? Or is this just part of your, part of your practice? How long have you been practicing family law? How many family law cases have you handled? Are you a certified family law specialist? So that’s all-in question one. Actually, this is more than 10 questions. That’s okay.

Second question. What is your strategy for my case? How long do you think it will take to resolve my case now, they may or may not be able to give you an exact answer but going into an attorney and being honest with them, letting them know what kind of person they’re up against, you know, they can kind of give you an idea. And I’m telling you, right? If it’s a nope, if it’s a non-contested divorce, it can be done within a year. Overdone finito, bye-bye out here. If they are going to use the court system to punish you, if they are going to continually fight you on everything, if they’re going to file motion after motion, you’re looking at a good three years, seriously. So yes, it can go on for that long and or longer if you’ve got judges that are unwilling to acknowledge, hey, dragging the person back into court over every little thing is not helping the kid. Thank you very much. You know what I’m saying and that they’re using the court system as a way to financially abuse. So yeah, so there is that? Okay, um, what is your strategy? How long will it take to resolve, but they can give you a general idea. And I think that’s important because I think a lot of people go into divorce cases thinking, well, I want out, so why should it take a long time? Well, unfortunately, when you’re dealing with custody, and you’re dealing with money, and you’re dealing with assets, and you’re dealing with property, and you’re dealing with a disordered jackwagon, that may possibly be your attorney and or your judge, got to be careful of that. Don’t pick a narcissistic attorney. Be super careful of that. Because there are a lot of narcissists in law, just like there’s a lot of narcissists in the psychiatric psychiatry, and counseling, and psychology, there are a lot of narcissists in the in the law area. So be careful of that. You don’t want a narcissist as your attorney, and you certainly don’t want one as your judge, but you don’t have that much control over the judge. So, all right.

Okay, how long do you take to return phone calls? Hugely important. I have had clients in tears, telling me that they have called their attorney and never hear from them. Like they just dropped off the face of the planet, or like a month later, they return the call or whatever. Now I realize, and you’ve got to realize, the attorney is not emotionally invested like you are. They’re not. They’re not your therapist, okay? They’re not emotionally invested. It’s a job. Seriously, it’s a job. So, they don’t think sometimes they, especially the narcissistic ones, don’t get involved with one of those. But they don’t get the emotional toll that divorcing a narcissist divorcing a psychopath divorcing, a dark triad takes on the client. And part of our issue is, is the stonewalling that we got from our family of origin or from our abuser. And so, when an attorney does that, it’s like adding insult to injury. So yes, it is really important to talk to them. It’s like, what how long do you take to return phone calls? What can I expect? What do you think an emergency is? Because what I think is an emergency and what you think is an emergency may be two entirely different things, realize you’ve got to talk through this.

Kris Godinez  23:13

Okay. How long will it take to return phone calls? How do I get a hold of you if there is an emergency? Super important. Well, anyone else, this is number four. Now, will anyone else in your office be working on my case? And this is a hugely important question to ask. So, in some of the mega firms, they hand off the cases they’ll, you know, there’ll be the face of the firm… And oh, yes, well, I can handle your case. And this, that, and the other thing, and then the next thing, you know, they’re turning it over to a junior partner, or they’re turning it over to a paralegal, or they’re turning it over to somebody else in the firm. No, no, no, no, no! You don’t want your case going from around the firm. You need somebody who’s the point of contact, who knows what’s going on, who you can talk to, who you trust, etc., etc., etc. So, I don’t recommend going with one of these, you know, mega-firms that has advertising in six different states, I think, you know, the ones I’m talking about. So yeah, you want to be really careful of that. Okay, who will be working in my case? That’s really important to know. And if he has, usually he or she will have a paralegal; they’re the ones that do a lot of the legwork. You want to talk to the paralegal as well; you want to make sure to meet them. So, you know that the whole thing is a good experience and that you guys have got rapport. This is no different than making sure you’ve got good rapport with your therapist. Super important. You got to; you got to meet the paralegal. Do you like them? Do you trust them? It’s, and we don’t have a whole lot of trust. So, it’s really important to meet them and make sure you know who is going to be working on your case.

Okay, how will you charge me? What is your hourly rate? hugely important. Do you charge for the time I spend with other lawyers, with paralegals, and or with secretaries? And if so, at what rate? What is your retainer up front? So, most attorneys, not all, but most good attorneys, tell you all this. They’ll tell you what the rate is. They’ll tell you how they charge. Do they charge every 15 minutes? Do they charge by the hour? Do they charge, you know, what is their retainer fee? A lot of attorneys charge at least a $5,000 retainer fee to be used as the court case goes on. Which again, this is how abusers abuse. Is that they know that there is charging every single time an attorney has to get involved, which is why they file frivolous motion after frivolous motion. If you have a good attorney that’s worth their salt, they’re going to counter file and put it back on them and force them to pay for it. So, talk about this stuff with your attorney. They need to be willing to be aggressive, be aggressive; seriously, they’ve got to be aggressive. They cannot be one of these wallflowers. Oh don’t want to offend anybody. No! When you’re dealing with a jackwagon that’s willing to bankrupt you. You’ve got to have an attorney that’s willing to go nose to nose with those mother Cluckers. You see where I’m going with that. So, you’ve got to get a good attorney that is willing to stand up to them and some attorneys are intimidated and terrified by the narcissist and realize the narcissist will go out and find an attorney that is exactly like them, unethical, loud, confrontational, constantly sending stuff, constantly trying to run the, the money out etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

So, yeah. Okay, back to the questions. Okay, how will you charge me… did that? What is your retainer? What is your retainer upfront? What costs other than your own do you expect will be involved, for example, private investigators, forensic accountants, physicians, and or psychologists, and how will you charge me for them? So, if you’re having to do a psych eval on the whole family, like if your ex is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, dark triad abusive, has beat the kids as beat you, etc. And you need to show the court that they are personality disordered, etc., etc., etc. You’re going to have to have a psych eval done, and they’re going to, at least in Arizona. My understanding of it is that they make the entire family have a psych eval. And it’s a crapshoot. I’ve had it work for my client. I’ve had it work against my client, depending on who is doing the evaluation and what their expertise is, how long they’ve been doing it, and do they understand narcissistic abuse? Oh, god, okay. All right.

So, you want to know what the other costs are going to be? So, you can start saving up for them. Okay. What is your estimate? Do not be alarmed that most divorce attorneys will resist answering this question, as the cost of the divorce depends greatly upon the level of conflict in your case. However, the way attorneys answer this question may help you to size them up. An honest attorney will often answer that it is difficult to estimate the costs in advance. An attorney that gives you an unrealistically low ball amount may just be trying to get your business; I think this is hugely important. And you know, you don’t, you don’t want to go with a lowball amount because you’ve got to realize, if you’re in a high conflict, divorce, it can last three years. And depending on how crazy they are and how much money they’re willing to spend to bankrupt you. They will just keep demanding that their attorney file motion after motion after motion, which is why I’m saying you need a good attorney to go nose to nose to go Oh, yeah, well, I’m counter-filing. And we’re asking attorney’s fees. If I could throw a middle finger right now in that direction I would. So do you see where I’m going with that? So that is hugely important. And it does help you size them up.  A good attorney is just going to be like, well, I can’t give you an exact amount. You know, it depends on how much conflict there is, how many motions they file, how much frivolous stuff they’re doing. So, watch their answer. If they give you a lowball amount. Do not go with them. Do not go with them.

Do you allow me to negotiate directly with my spouse? Some attorneys do some attorneys don’t. How can I keep the cost of my divorce down? Are there tasks that I can do myself to cut the amount that you will charge me, and this is an important question because some of the stuff you can do yourself. Like for example, if you’re having to get like bank accounts and this, that and the other thing, you could probably do a lot of that yourself. And frankly, a lot of the clients that I work with do a lot of the running around and almost paralegal work themselves, you know, like getting information and gathering stuff and printing stuff up and things like that. So, you do what you can excuse me, you do what you can to cut down on the cost. Now something that some attorneys will do not all, some of them will barter. So, some of them will be like, Okay, well, you know, you’ve got this gun collection, I would love to have that gun collection, and we’ll you know, let’s get an estimate. And we’ll put that towards the cost of the divorce. So, you can do that as well. If you have stuff that you want to barter with them, you can ask. The worst they can say is now the best they can say is yeah, let’s barter, which is excellent.

Okay, got that. Based on what you know about my case? How would you predict a judge would rule on it? Well, now that’s kind of a hard question because it depends on the judge. Some judges are with it some, believe it or not. They’re out there. Some judges get it. Some judges are like, Oh, no, not going to put up with the abuse. Thanks for playing bye. Other judge’s narcissistic POS is that, yeah, that would rule for the abuser. And it’s happened, and I’ve had several cases where it escalated to the point where there was involving the bar because it was clear that there was a lot of unethical stuff going on. So, it just I… It makes my head hurt. Okay. All right.

Um, what can you do to help me understand the tax effects of the decisions I will have to make. So that is something a lot of people don’t think about. They don’t think about taxes. They don’t think about, you know, having to redo their will, etc., etc., etc. So, a good attorney will answer your questions, and we’ll be kind about it now, um, you know that I love my guy, Brett Bryson’s my dude. And he is a poker player, man, when he’s in attorney mode. I can’t read him at all. So, he does come across as kind of distant, but that’s a good thing. You want an attorney who is poker face gray rock because that will do two things that doesn’t give away what you’re doing. And it riles up the opposition, and when the opposition gets riled up. I know if I told you the story, I’m pretty sure I did. We had a court case once where we had to go against this attorney. That was just… there’s no nice way to say it. Bat Shimomo crazy. I mean, the attorney was nuts as nuts as the other person. Do you see where I’m going with that?

Kris Godinez  32:28

And the calmer we got, the more wound up the other guy got, and the more the judge sided with us. So that’s what you want. All right. Okay. All right. So, let’s see. Okay. All right. So, we’ve got the whole getting the attorney thing. So, I’m going to go a little longer on the explanation, I will get to the questions and if I don’t get to all of them, I will get to them on Wednesday. Okay, so let me back it up.

So this one is called the divorce process, a step-by-step guide, and this is on Forbes, advisor, Forbes advisor, the divorce process a step-by-step guide. Okay. Um, all right. Okay, there are different types of divorce, and there’s separation, as well. If you decide to separate and you do a formal separation, it can help stop with the financial abuse. So, in other words, if they are using your credit cards, running up debt, etc., etc. and you file for a formal separation, all financial obligations stops at that point, and you’re only responsible for your stuff. So that is one reason you would do that. I personally would just go straight for the divorce if you’re with an abuser, but that’s just me. There are different types of divorce, including fault and no-fault most places have no-fault divorce, and I really don’t want to see fault divorce coming back because then you have to prove to the judge why you have to get divorced, and the judge gets to decide whether you get divorced or not. And that’s exactly what narcissists want. All right, there’s separation.

Divorce cannot happen overnight. And that is the biggest mistake I see most people make is that they think it should be quick. Now, in an uncontested divorce. Yeah, it can be done in as little as three months, you bet. With a contested divorce, you can be looking at years, so and there’s a waiting period. So, in Arizona, they force you to wait, I think it’s 60 days. It’s like a cooling off period, which to me just says ability for the abuser to continue to abuse period, stalk, etc. Don’t get me started it. It blows my mind that the state is unwilling to allow adults to go Yeah, we’re done. Yeah, we’re finished. Yeah, let’s get it done. You know, it’s like, oh, well, you need a cooling off period, according to who. All that does is give the dark triad a chance to abuse, stalk, harass, intimidate, etc., etc., etc. So that’s just my opinion. I’m just on a roll here. Okay. There’s a waiting period, it could range from as few little as few weeks to as long as a year depending on the state, although there are some locations that don’t impose a waiting period at all, which I wish none of them had waiting periods. During the waiting period, you may be formally or informally separated from your spouse if you are informally separated, you live apart. In some states, you can do this in the same house. If you are legally separated, you have a written agreement, or order about money Custody and Support. This can be helpful if your spouse is not being cooperative, which I don’t think a lot of abusers are… no none are. For example, by not allowing you access to your home your children or denying you financial help that you need. It is very important you understand whether your state requires a period of separation before your marriage ends and how your state defines separation. Otherwise, you could end up delaying your own divorce. An experienced divorce attorney can explain this aspect of the divorce process where you live. That’s why it’s so important to get an attorney even if you cannot have one represent you because I know they’re expensive, and I know not everybody’s got the money to do the retainer fee, go in and speaking to a retired attorney, you’re going to need their help. You’re going to need help filling out the paperwork you need. You’re going to need somebody to explain to you how the system works, you’re going to need somebody to explain to you what’s in your best interest, what’s in the children’s best interest, etc., etc., etc.

So, look at places like Catholic Charities Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center. You know, ask around universities. A lot of times, retired attorneys will do seminars and help people fill out paperwork and things like that they cannot represent them in court, but they can at least cut some of the costs by doing the paperwork and showing you how to do a filing showing you how to get it served etcetera. Okay. Doo doo.

Okay, grounds for divorce. All states allow all states allowed no-fault divorce, which is good. You don’t have to prove wrong doing or justification. It’s just based on the fact that you and your spouse have irreconcilable differences, and no-fault divorce is granted even if your spouse does not want the divorce. So that’s good. Some states allow for fault divorces. This means there are specific grounds for divorce, such as abuse, abandonment, or adultery. But then I’ve seen abusers use that to get to the target. Fault divorces can be more complicated and expensive. But you may request a fault divorce for several reasons. You may want it on record that you believe the other party was to blame for your breakup. Or you may think it can influence the court’s decision about issues such as asset division custody, proving your spouse wronged you. Here’s what you need to know. The courts really and truly give zero clucks. Zero, they don’t care. At any one point in time. All of the judges, at least here in Maricopa County, have got 800 Plus cases on their dockets 800 Plus. They don’t give a click who did what they really truly don’t, I do not recommend doing that. So, all they want, and if you want to get on the good the judge’s good side, they just want you off their docket, they want you off their docket, just be reasonable. That’s really what they’re looking for is reasonable. You know, everything here is 50/50 custody 50/50 Everything. So, you want to be reasonable, you want to show that you are the reasonable one, you do not want to bring in the emotion, okay, judges don’t care. They want you off their docket. Let’s be real. Okay. So, there is that, um.

Filing for divorce filing is one of the most crucial steps in the divorce. In this process part of the process, you actually file paperwork with the court to begin the process of formally dissolving your marriage. If your state imposes a waiting period, make sure you have been separated for the required length of time before filing for divorce so you don’t have to start the process all over again. You may also need to make sure you file your petition for divorce in the appropriate court. This is usually the family or divorce court in the county in which you reside. You or your spouse reside as there are residency requirements in most locations, you will need to provide some crucial information in your petition, including names and contact information for you and your spouse, the grounds for the divorce, whether you have children, if so personally identifying information, ages and locations and what you desire with regards to the division of property and child custody, as well as whether you were asking for alimony or child support. Then you’re going to have to have it served when you file for divorce; your spouse must be formally served. Now what I’ve seen abusers do is they hide; they know the divorce is coming. They don’t want to end it. Remember, they would have rather have a messed-up connection to somebody than no connection at all. So, they’ll hide it. It’s a very immature way of operating. It’s kind of like, oh, well, if they can’t get a hold of me, they can’t divorce me. Oh, contraire. So, there’s other ways of getting that served. So, if you cannot find them, let’s see where that goes. Okay, if you don’t know the location of your spouse, you still need to attempt to ensure that they have received notice of the divorce filing. You can do this by publishing notices in local newspapers if the court gives you permission. And I don’t even know how that works anymore because who reads the newspapers seriously? Before you can move forward with the divorce process, you must be able to provide proof to the court that your spouse was served, or that you attempted to serve the papers. So, you can have the sheriff serve the papers, or you can hire a processor to do it. And basically, they keep a record of how many times they attempted to serve the papers, etc., etc., etc. So that’s probably a good way to go.

Kris Godinez  41:14

Response or default divorce. In most cases, when you serve your partner the divorce papers, they have a set period of times to respond. If your partner does not do so, you can petition the court and request a default divorce, also sometimes called an uncontested divorce. Now this does sometimes happen. And if that happens, that’s when you throw yourself down on the ground, and you praise Jesus or Buddha or Buddha Baba, or I don’t care, because that is unusual with the abuser, sometimes it does happen because they can’t be bothered, or they don’t want to spend the money or whatever. So, but if you get that, you’re thank your lucky stars because that’s what you want. So typically, however, your spouse will respond after you have filed the petition for divorce. This means your spouse will have to submit an answer to your initial petition. Your spouse might agree with you in the answer or may disagree with your assertations. Your spouse can also file a counter-complaint and introduce new allegations or information for the court to consider. If your spouse responds, they typically must serve you with a copy of that response and provide proof of this service to the court in order for proceedings to continue.

So, something I have seen abusers do is they don’t make sure that the other person has got the response or whatever. And then the other person has to continually watch the docket the court docket, so you do want to keep your eye on the court docket to make sure that they’re not pushing something through that you don’t know anything about. Because they’re looking for the no fault on your part. Did I mention they are sneaky little… Yeah. So, you want to keep an eye on the court docket, you want to make sure that nothing involving you is coming up that you don’t know about. I’ve seen them do that too.

Temporary hearings. In some cases, a temporary hearing will be held after the petition for divorce is filed. But before the official court proceedings begin to develop dissolve the marriage. This is typically likely in states where there’s a long waiting period between the time the couple separates and the time the divorce can take place. In the temporary hearing the court can address issues that are that are unable to wait until the full trial. So temporary custody agreement awarding temporary financial support for spouses or children, putting a domestic violence restraining order in place putting restrictions on the sale of joint assets or bring in appropriate division of expenses during the divorce proceedings.

All right, and then you have discovery and preparation. Once the case begins, your attorney will gather evidence they may subpoena documentation hold disposition, depositions, not dispositions depositions, or send questions to the opposing counsel. Then you have the settlement or the trial. That final step before your marriage is dissolved involves either negotiating a divorce settlement divorce the court can sign off on or going to trial to decide how support, custody and division of assets will work. It is generally best if you can move forward with an uncontested divorce in which you and your spouse come to an agreement on the issues involved in ending your marriage. Now, I do want to have a caveat here. What I have seen survivors of abuse do is they give up literally everything. I do not recommend that. Because that’s a bad idea. Because they keep thinking, Oh, if I just give them everything they want, they’ll leave me alone. What ends up happening is they go, Oh, I got everything I wanted. And I’m going to continue to abuse them. So don’t give them everything. It 50/50 fair. You want to be fair. You want to be according to the state laws or the state rules. You want to show that you’re being reasonable. So, if they come back and you’re offering 50/50, and they come back and they’re like I want it all, the judge is going to look at them and go, Ah, no, we’re not doing that. So anyway. Oh god, I’m okay.

Okay, you may wish to work with a mediator if you can’t come to an agreement on your own.

Sometimes mediation works most of the time; with an abuser, it doesn’t. Negotiating an out-of-court settlement can save you money and help you come up with a settlement. If you cannot come to a consensus on the issues raised near divorce, you will need to proceed to trial. During the trial, each party can argue their case, including presenting witnesses and evidence. The court will consider the details as well as the state laws governing the division of custody and property when deciding contested issues during divorce.

Do you need an attorney? I would say yes because I’ve seen them hire just nasty, awful, horrible attorneys that will take advantage of the fact that the spouse doesn’t know the court system. That’s why I would say yes. Although you can learn about the divorce process step by step, it can still be challenging to complete all of the legal requirements, and there are a lot an experienced divorce attorneys there for you during all steps of the divorce. Your lawyer helps you understand the requirements, files the right paperwork in a timely, timely manner negotiates a fair settlement, and maximizes the chance that you end up with a divorce judgment that you are okay with. Um, all right. So, there is that that is Forbes advisor, one last one and then we’ll get to the questions. No, that’s it No, yes.

Six strategies for surviving a high conflict divorce. So, when we’re dealing with a disordered person, they’re going to demonize the other person; they’re going to have a destructive communication pattern. This is on divorce net six strategies for surviving a high-conflict divorce. They’re going to constantly argue about the divorce issues with no end in sight. The needs of the children in the backburner; they don’t give a damn, they just want to get you. They want the divorce drama. And they want to make you feel powerless. So, the person that you’re up against has got rigid demands and thinking black and white thinking blaming others playing the victim, unmanaged emotions, and extreme behaviors or threats. A high conflict person will often escalate small disagreements into major battles. They may feel under attack or like they are being put down or controlled. Bill Eddie, one of the founders of the high conflict Institute, estimates that about 10% of the US population has a high-conflict personality. Honestly, it’s higher than that!

High-conflict person or high-conflict personality disorder. So, most of the high conflict flicked divorce cases you will see. And this is according to Eddie, they have either antisocial, borderline, histrionic or narcissistic, which are all cluster B’s big surprise there. You want to be careful when you are filing for divorce. If you have been with an abuser, they are likely if they’re the dark triad type and they’re the harassing type. And they’re the stalking type; they’re going to be checking your phone, they’re going to be checking your iPad, your computer, etc. So, when you decide to file for divorce, don’t use your own stuff or use stuff that they’ve had no access to, I cannot emphasize that enough. Because they’ve been known to put tracking devices, they’ve been known to put things that will turn on the microphone or the camera or whatever. So just be aware of that.

Strict six strategies from a high-conflict divorce coach, do not broadcast your high-conflict divorce story that is for your therapist. Basically, the abuser will use it against you. So, you don’t want to be running around telling everybody how horrible they are. Now you can tell the truth, for sure. But you don’t. You don’t want to be telling this to everybody because you don’t know what they’re going to use against you. So, you’ve got to be a little careful about that. Don’t disparage your spouse to your children. We’ve talked about that you can talk about behaviors, contrasting behaviors, healthy behavior versus unhealthy behavior, do not name call, do not put them down, you know, etc., etc., etc. Don’t respond immediately to every text or email. What narcissists do is they want you to respond immediately. They want you to be in a heightened emotional state so that you say or do something that is going to make you look bad or that you say or do something that they can then use against you at a later date. So, everything you say is going to be used against you at a later date. Don’t respond. Give it a cooling-off period, 24 hours 24 hours. That’s reasonable. It’s like you get their text unless it’s an emergency. If it’s an emergency about the kid, then yeah, you got to respond to that. But if they are baiting you and they’re taunting you, and they’re throwing out, you know you did this, you did that, you guns, etc., etc., etc. Don’t respond ever, period. It has to be directly related to either the divorce or to the kid if it’s related to the divorce sort of the kid, then you can respond. But give yourself a cooling-off period. Let yourself chill out, write it out a few times and then respond, do not immediately respond because that’s what they’re doing. They’re poking the bear, trying to get you to respond immediately and say or do something that will make you look bad in the court. Keep communications and neutral, brief, informative. Only provide necessary information, do not overshare, do not overshare, do not overshare. Did I mention don’t overshare, do not explain yourself. You don’t have to explain yourself. Stick to the topic at hand. And if it’s irrelevant, you don’t even respond. Keep it civil, don’t get snarky, don’t get passive-aggressive, don’t get anything. It’s not going to do any good. Keep it civil but be very firm. So firm. No, we’re not talking about this. No, I’m not going to respond to that. No, you’re going to have to talk to my attorney. Okay, no emotion, no emotion.

Shift from blaming to problem-solving. So, when they love to do the whole, well, this is a problem. And this is a problem. And this is a problem. One thing you can do is you can say, Okay, well what’s your idea of the solution?

Kris Godinez  51:12

And nine times out of 10, they blow up because that’s not what they want. They don’t want it back in their court. They wanted to use this as a way to upset you. And so, they can’t come up with a solution because they don’t want a solution, which then works in your favor. Because remember, all communication. Listen to me. Now, believe me, later, all communication is going to be written. You’re not going to do phone calls, ever. Why? Because they can say XY and Z on the phone. And then when you go to honor that, oh, I never said that. That never happened. Or you said this, that, and the other thing. And then, of course, that didn’t happen. So, everything is going to be written either text or email. Our family wizard excellent. Make sure that’s in your divorce decree. Everything has to be through our family wizard. And you’re going to keep a record of it. They keep a record of it. It’s Yeah. So do that. No verbal, no verbal communication at all, period. All right. And you put it back on them? How do you have any ideas? How can we solve that? What do you suggest we do? And, of course, they’ll blow up, and you just kind of smile and know that they’re going to blow up and know that that’s going to be seen by the judge. So that’s good. And then if they come back and go, Well, what would you do? You can offer your suggestion, and of course, they’ll have a fit with it. And you just go, okay, well, let’s table it for now. You know, there, because that wasn’t, that’s not the reason they got a hold of you, they got a hold of you to make you upset. So just realize it’s a game, it’s a game for them.

Limit contact after the divorce if you don’t have kids. If your former partner has a high-conflict personality, and you don’t have children, you don’t ever need to contact them again once the divorce is settled. And it is tempting, I know, for people to go, Oh, but I want closure; there is no such thing as closure, guys, there is no such thing as closure, Count yourself lucky that you got out and run, run to the nearest exit as far and as fast as you can and don’t ever look back. Don’t ever look back. You don’t need to contact them. You don’t. If you have children, only contact them if it’s an emergency. And if it has to do with a child. That’s it. That is the only time you are to contact them as if it has to do with the child. And it’s an emergency. If it’s something that can be settled without having the other partner involved, settle it without them, you know, they can piss and whine and moan as much as they want. Hire a high-conflict divorce attorney or mediator that understands these type of personality disorders.

So essentially, when you’re with them, you’re going to gray rock. When you’re on the stand, you’re going to carry a bottle of water with you. And every single time the opposing attorney asks you a question, you’re going to unscrew it; just take a sip of water. And then you give your answer, and you’re doing this because this is going to buy you time to think. And if you’ve got an attorney, that work is worth their payment; they’re going to prep you before the case; they’re going to prep you before the court because they need to get you ready for how to deal with a really aggressive attorney that’s trying to rattle you. And if you really want to piss them off, get that water bottle and take a sip before you answer every question now, what the attorney is going to do. If they’re unethical, and they’re not good people, they’re going to do the whole two-part question. So, one part of the answer could be yes; the other part could be No. If you get a two-part question, you’re going to play dumb. I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question. Can you rephrase that? And you keep doing that until those sons of beetches get it down to a yes or no? And then you can answer yes or no. You want to keep your answers yes or no, no explanation. And how I see people hanging themselves is they start trying the inner child, inner child starts coming out and trying to appease trying to find to that aggressive attorney absofreakinglutely not! This is why you got to get your inner child handled before you go into court because otherwise, you’re going to sabotage yourself. So, there is that good lord I have talked the entire time.

Alright, let me get to some of the questions. I don’t think I’m going to be able to answer all of them. Okay, how to stop or reduce contact with an ill abusive parent? Doctors told me to avoid stressing my mother as it would worsen her condition. So, I fear pulling away will negatively affect her health, not your problem. If they’re abusive and they’re ill. You pull away. It’s not your problem. Get with a good trauma therapist get with a good trauma therapist. You don’t need to take care of them. She’s ill. She’s abusive. If she wanted somebody to be around her, how about she not be a jackwagon? So, you have to do what you can live with. But if she’s abusive, and she’s continuing to be abusive, even though she’s on her deathbed, there is nothing on the face of the planet that says you have to stick around and put up with that. So, get with a good trauma therapist and start working on that.

Okay, what if I’m doing techniques and even the thinking the right things, but still stressed out? I’m okay, hourly, but my mind is doing flips, if that makes sense. Okay, so sometimes we have been under such duress for so long. those neural pathways are super wired to be like high alert; you may want to look into anti-anxiety meds seriously if you’re having repetitive thoughts, you’re ruminating, it keeps coming back. It keeps coming back it keeps coming back no matter how many times you do the thought, stopping and replacing with the positive, it may be time to look at anti-anxiety meds. So that would be my suggestion. Okay, let me get to this last one. Because I’m running out of time.

Are flying monkeys? Whoa, are flying monkeys brainwashed by the narc and then become narcs themselves? Flying monkeys are one of two things. They are either ignorant. They just don’t understand that there can be this level of evil in the world. And they don’t understand that the abuser is really truly abusive; they can’t wrap their head around it; they’re ignorant they don’t get narcissistic abuse, or they are minor narcissists themselves attracted to the major narcissist, so that’s what flying monkeys are. If after you’ve explained to them that this person is abusive, and they’re still in contact with them, then you’re dealing with a minor narcissist. Absolutely. If they stop contact with them, and they realize, oh my god, I didn’t know you went through all of that. Holy crap. I’m so sorry. And they have nothing more to do with that person than they were just ignorant. And there are those are the two types. It says either ignorance the ignorancey wow, I just made a new word. It’s either ignorant or it’s there are minor narcissists themselves. Okay, kids, I think that is it. I will get to the questions that I didn’t get to. I know there were other ones. So, I will get to that on Wednesday.

So, on Sunday, next Sunday, I’m going to be talking about flim-flam artists, Grifters, con men con women. We’re going to talk about all of that because, guess what, they are all cluster B’s. So, we’re going to be talking about how to watch out for that because I have noticed a huge increase in all of the scams coming through on the email and things like that. Also, if you guys could do me a huge favor. I don’t know what YouTube is doing. I’m losing subscribers, I’m losing listeners. I’m losing likes, I’m losing everything because they’ve. I don’t know what they’re doing. If you could please share these videos with people, that would be great. Like, Subscribe, etc. That would be awesome. So anyway, that’s it. All right kids. I will talk to you on Wednesday, and the next Sunday is going to be flim-flam con artists grifters. All right, talk to you, then you guys be good to yourselves and each other. Drink plenty of water, and I will talk to you later.

Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. You can always listen live on YouTube every week Sunday at noon, Arizona Mountain Standard Time. And if you want to find out more or listen to other episodes, you can go to Krisgodinez.com and if you have a chance, subscribe to this show on whatever podcast app you use and let other people know about. I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the US or international. They will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.

You’ve been listening to the podcast version of We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez.

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