In The Divorce Hacker’s Guide to Untying the Knot: What Every Woman Needs to Know about Finances, Child Custody, Lawyers, and Planning Ahead, family law attorney Ann Grant presents the practical information every woman needs to protect herself as she navigates through a divorce. Feelings of loss, grief, and rage are common during this time. But one of the most debilitating feelings experienced by women going through divorce is paralyzing impotence. Readers learn how to take back their power and rights concerning finances, home, children, and work life. With compassion, insight, and tough-minded realism, Grant breaks down the divorce process and provides step-by-step assessments and checklists, as well as inspiring stories of successful lives post-divorce. Her goal is to give readers insider information that will not only make their divorce “successful” but also establish their life firmly and confidently on a positive, fresh new standing.
We hope the following excerpt from the introduction of The Divorcer Hacker’s Guide will be helpful to you or someone in your life who might be going through a divorce. Please feel free to share it with anyone who might need it.
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Not long ago, I was in your shoes. I experienced the demise of my marriage, and it felt as though my life was over. Everything that I had dreamed of came to an abrupt end, and on the worst days, I literally didn’t know how I was going to make it through. I was sick, scared, and felt constantly under attack from my soon-to-be ex-husband and overwhelmed by the divorce proceedings as our marriage unraveled. I didn’t know where to turn.
In time, I learned that life could be better — much, much better. By combining my practical skills as a lawyer and an empowering healing practice, I found a way out of the chaos to take back my power and create a new and better life. In this book, I share what I learned with you, so that you, too, can create the life of your dreams. Divorce does not have to be the end of your life, and it does not have to be an endless, complicated undertaking. It is an opportunity for a new and better life, and I am here to show you how to make that a reality.
The First Essential Truth
Let’s start first with an essential truth: You cannot depend on your husband anymore to look out for your best interests. It is astounding how many women walk through the doors of my legal practice believing that, even as they are going through divorce, their husband can be trusted to “do the right thing” for them. These women assume that, since they are trying to “do the right thing,” their husband will do so as well. Every woman I have represented has experienced that “aha” moment of awareness — that he’s no longer looking out for you. This isn’t “man-bashing.” There are plenty of good and honest fellows out there. But it is a fact that, during a divorce, the man who once promised to put you first is no longer doing that. The sooner you accept this inconvenient truth, the sooner you will be on your way to regaining your power and building a better life.
Like so many women, I gave up a lot of power to my husband during our marriage. I let him handle the finances and trusted him to look out for the family’s best interest, including mine and that of our three children. In my twenties and thirties, I worked as a litigator at a big corporate law firm, but I gave up my career to raise the kids. My husband — also a lawyer — did very well, and we had a good life. We lived in a beautiful beachside town, belonged to a private country club, and took vacations to Hawaii and ski trips with our friends. After sixteen years of marriage, however, things began to change — and I chose to ignore the signs because I wanted everything to continue just as it was. As things worsened, I did what most women do: took my husband to a marriage counselor, hoped for the best, and let him continue to handle our finances the way he always had.
I want you to know that virtually every woman who has walked through the doors of my office has had some version of this same story: “We just didn’t want to see the truth about what was happening, and then one day it was too late.” In the legal world this is called “willful blindness.”
In my case, my willful blindness ended late one Tuesday night in April, a few weeks after our son’s baseball team, coached by my husband, won the Little League championship, and we hosted a wonderful party for all the kids and team parents. Late that Tuesday night, I learned that my marriage was broken beyond repair. After two years in marriage counseling, I finally came to the realization that we could no longer remain married, although I loved him deeply and wanted nothing more than to save our marriage.
I tell this story to let you know that if you are in the same place — going to weekly meetings with a therapist, holding on to the hope of saving your marriage, carrying on life as usual but knowing in your heart that your husband is not fully committed — you are putting yourself and your family at risk. It’s time to pull off the Band-Aid, face the truth, and take proactive steps to protect yourself and move forward. There is a way out, and I will show you how in this book.
The Second Essential Truth
The second essential truth is that you cannot blindly depend on divorce “professionals” to look out for your best interest. Many lawyers, accountants, and even some therapists make the divorce process a lot more complicated and drawn out than it needs to be. This is no accident, because they get paid by the hour. These people have zero incentive for you to quickly wrap things up and move on with your life. The longer you are tied up with your divorce and the more you fight, the longer and more you will be paying them. A divorce can drag on for years and cost thousands of dollars more than it should while the “professionals” line their pockets.
Of course, there are divorce professionals with high standards and integrity, and I will show you how to find them. Armed with the knowledge of how the system really works, you will be positioned to know who has your best interests in mind and who doesn’t. The fact is that most divorces are not that complex. If you can make a human in nine months, you can untie the knot in less time.
The Third Essential Truth
The third essential truth is that you cannot rely for advice on Aunt Martha from Chicago who got divorced back in 1983 or on your friend from college whose husband is a patent attorney. Although well intentioned, friends and family members can steer you in the wrong direction, and the unintended consequences can be emotionally and financially devastating.
Who can you trust? Where can you turn? The Divorce Hacker’s Guide to Untying the Knot. In these pages, I show you how to take action so that you can create a new and better life with your sanity intact and your money in the bank. I’ve created a program that works. I offer up the same insider information I deliver to my clients every day: truthful advice about legal, financial, custody, real estate, and career issues, plus compassionate guidance for caring for children, healing emotional wounds, and regaining your power.
Wellness is an essential part of my program for getting through your divorce with your sanity intact, and it is absolutely indispensable to creating a new and better future. My divorce was nastier and messier than Kramer vs. Kramer. In spite of that, I learned how to access the power within in order to move forward and eventually coparent with my ex. If I could do it, I assure you that you can, too. In this book, as I walk through each step in the legal process, I also walk you through some simple yet powerful strategies for healing your emotional wounds, so that when the divorce decree is entered, you are ready to start your new life from a place of strength and self-worth.
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Ann E. Grant, JD, began her career as a corporate litigator specializing in unfair business practices and consumer fraud. After her divorce she created her own firm, focusing on family law and a holistic approach to this life transition. She lives and practices in Manhattan Beach, CA. Find out more about her work at www.thedivorcehacker.com.
Excerpted from the book The Divorce Hacker’s Guide to Untying the Knot. Copyright © 2018 by Ann E. Grant, JD.