Are you cool enough, yet?

Why do most states have a mandatory lag time between when you decide you want a divorce, and when the court is allowed to grant you a divorce?  Shouldn’t the fact that we are done being married to each other be a sufficient indication that we need a divorce?  I don’t remember a mandatory waiting period when we got married – which was a much bigger decision!

In fact, most states do not have any waiting period at all for marriages, and the longest waiting period by any state is Wisconsin, with a whopping 6 days.  By contrast, a few states have 18 month and two year waiting periods for divorce.  What happens during the divorce waiting periods (or “cooling off” periods, as they are sometimes called) differs widely.  This time period can be used for reconciliation counseling – which some states recommend, but none require; spontaneous reconciliation; preparing your litigation; testing the dating pool; working on the contents of your divorce agreement; or sometimes, just being separated.  Sometimes that waiting period is a good time to not interact with each other at all (or as little as possible).

Divorce frequently is – and has every right to be – an emotionally fraught process.  Two (or more) people are working to dismantle a life they dreamed of creating together.  We are literally dashing peoples’ hopes and dreams as we unpack each step of the divorce procedure.  In any single question we ask there is a legitimate opportunity for one or the other spouse to say “This is NOT what I wanted!” 

For example, when working on a visitation arrangement, a mediator might turn to the husband and ask, “You said you wanted to have dinner with the kids every Wednesday night, correct?”  Now, the husband could, and frequently does, answer, “Yes. That works for me.”  But wouldn’t he be more honest if he answered, “NO! I want to have dinner every night with my kids AND my wife in the house where I pay the mortgage and my dog has a bed!”   A fair expression of the emotional turmoil probably experienced by anyone who loves his or her family but cannot stay married anymore.

The person who answers politely is usually the one who has already gone through emotional turmoil.  I have met clients who are ready to file for divorce because they spend long nights crying alone and cannot be in a relationship where they feel so isolated anymore.  By the time those people get to the negotiation table, they are willing to accept Wednesday night dinner as a better reality than the one they already have.

Of course, I also have plenty of clients who thought that they were in a reasonably happy and stable marriage until someone served them divorce papers.  Those clients have a lot of work to do before they can see the Wednesday night dinner as a welcome compromise.  If we push these clients to the negotiation table, or the courthouse, too quickly, we frequently get non-optimal results.

By non-optimal I mean I have witnessed everything from temper tantrums, to name-calling, frivolous motions, threats of violence or abandonment, and worse.  And that, to me, is the true beauty of the cooling-off period.  When there is a partner who needs more time before they can talk about divorce, it is a good idea to give that person the space and time reasonably necessary to embrace the advantages of the coming changes.

This does not mean that one partner should be held eternally while the other pretends to get ready.  At some point, ready-or-not, the wheels of justice turn and the divorce can be granted with or without consent in almost every situation.  (The rules of Covenant Marriages in Louisiana and Arizona do not apply here.) But it is a wise person who uses the cooling off period to, well, cool off.  To talk to friends, family, therapists, or bar tenders who help shed perspective on why we are getting a divorce and best to do it and keep the rest of your life (jobs, relationships, bank accounts) intact for the post-divorce aspect of your life.

Then, head on over to the mediation table, take a deep breath, and say, “Yes.  Wednesday night dinners would be great for me, if that works for everyone else.”

What we love:  The life you lead after your divorce is largely determined by the actions you take during your divorce.  Most states have mandated sufficient time to help people think clearly about how to make smart choices.

What is the difference between a Guardian Ad Litem (“G-A-L”) and an Attorney For the Minor Children?

In cases involving the custody of minor children there are times when either one of the parties or a judge will suggest that the children need someone to represent their interests.  Sometimes, parents fail to recognize their own inherent conflict of interest with their children.  Frequently, this conflict of interest can result in disaster for the children.

I do not mean disaster necessarily in terms of the child being forced to visit, or live with, “the wrong parent,” that is usually something that can be re-addressed and re-decided within reason until the children reach the age of majority.  By disaster I refer to the long-lasting emotional and financial damage that a protracted custody battle can create.

So, enter the neutral third party.  A Guardian ad litem (“at law”), or an Attorney for the Minor Children.

The first question is: what’s the difference?

An attorney for the minor children is an attorney who has the job of representing the children’s desires to the court.  Just like any other party’s attorney, the attorney for the minor child keeps his or her own beliefs out of the picture and merely reports (and id necessary, advocates for) a child’s preferences.

A G-A-L, on the other hand, is not always an attorney.  These can be therapists, counselors, and social workers (or, also attorneys) who are trained in identifying and advocating for the best interests of minor children, regardless of what a child, or a parent, claims to want.  A G-A-L will take a child’s preferences into consideration, but only as one component of a larger picture.  A G-A-L must take into consideration all of the factors that are in the child’s best interests; even if it is different than a child’s wishes.

So, not just that fact that all of her friends attend the same school she does; but whether the Father’s new house is in a more appropriate school district.

Not only whether siblings get along well with each other; but also the relative psychological damage of separating them at this point in their lives.

Not just whether Dad is the more fun parent; but whether Mom has been the one consistently helping with homework and enforcing chores.

The second question is:  if things have gotten so bad that we are hiring extra professionals to tell us what our kids want and need; how can we still love our divorce?

So far in the divorce process, you and your spouse may have hired lawyers who do not see the big picture, do not have a way of encouraging the two of you to complete the process, and have only helped increase the emotional and financial costs of the divorce.  Now we have a new set of eyes (or maybe two new sets), and it is a chance to re-boot the entire divorce.

Consider allowing your children’s attorney the right to tell you exactly what your children want; and consider receiving the news with an open mind.  Even if it is the opposite of what you might have hoped to hear.  Your children are sending you a message and this is your opportunity to let their voices be louder than your own, or your lawyer’s voice.

Remember that a Guardian Ad Litem did not have an opinion of you or your family before being hired.  Any information you are able to receive from this person is a gift of insight into you, your children, and your family dynamic.  While it might not be what you want to know or hear right now; it might be information that can have a positive influence on the way you parent, or even co-parent long after your divorce is over.  Picture yourself at your daughter’s wedding reception, congratulating her other parent, your ex-spouse, and being genuinely happy.  Getting to that moment might have been as simple as listening to a tip from a G-A-L when your daughter was still in elementary school.

What We Love:  Divorce is an opportunity.  No matter where in the process you are, it is never too late to bring the best part of yourself.

Which Costs More – Following or Ignoring Your Attorney’s Advice?

When your lawyer says, “Don’t take his calls for a while; let things cool off, first.”  If the next thing you do is answer an angry phone call from your divorcing husband you are likely to find yourself in the middle of an expensive issue that may not have even existed until you answered the phone.

Here is a pretty common example.

Husband (Harry) and Wife (Wilma) are living separately while they go through their divorce process.  The school-age kids spend most nights at home with Wilma, and have dinner with Harry one night per week. The parents alternate who gets the kids on the weekends.  Things are working pretty smoothly.  Wilma starts dating a new guy, and one night he is leaving her house as the kids are coming home from dinner at Dad’s.  So, a brief introduction is made:

Wilma:  “This is my new friend Rex.  These are my kids.”

Rex & Kids (simultaneous mumbles): “Nice to meet you. ‘Bye.”

Over and done. Rex leaves, kids get ready for bed.  Until the following weekend, when out of nowhere, one of the kids sitting in the back seat of Harry’s car, says, “Hey, dad.  Have you ever met Rex?”

Two possible scenarios are about to unfold.  Let’s stop and walk through each one for a glimpse into the ways a divorce can go up or down in price pretty quickly at a moment like that.

Option 1 – Follow your lawyer’s advice.

Wilma is home making dinner and her phone rings.  It is Harry.  He has the kids, so she has to answer it – just in case.

Wilma (answering phone):  “Hello?”

Harry (sputtering mad):  “They are hanging out with your new boyfriend? What the heck is that??!!”

W:  “Are the kids okay? Where are they?”

H: “The kids are fine, they are watching TV in the next room.”

W:  “Oh, okay, so long as they are safe.  Listen, my lawyer advised me not to speak with you directly about anything else right now.  Everything is too crazy.  Let’s talk in a few days, instead.”

H: “How dare you—“ …  Call ends.

Harry hangs up and immediately calls his lawyer.  He rants and rages about what a terrible mother Wilma is. The lawyer listens politely while the meter runs.  At the end of this call Harry’s lawyer advises him that if he wants to pursue sole custody he will need an additional $20,000 retainer.

Harry decides not to pursue any further legal action at this time and calms down by the time he returns the kids to Wilma on Sunday.

TOTAL COST OPTION 1:  One 30 minute call between Harry and his lawyer.


Option 2 – Ignore your lawyer’s advice.

Wilma is home making dinner and her phone rings.  It is Harry.  He has the kids, so she has to answer it – just in case.

Wilma (answering phone):  “Hello?”

Harry (sputtering mad):  “They are hanging out with your new boyfriend? What the heck is that??!!”

W:  “You are over-reacting they only met for a minute, and you cannot tell me who I let into this house anymore.”

H:  “You do whatever you want when you do not have my kids there, but it is irresponsible of you to introduce them to your new boyfriend when we are not even divorced yet.”

W:  “How dare you call me irresponsible? I am the one who is taking care of them all week long, while you are doing who-knows-what in your new bachelor pad.”

H: “You don’t understand how much I hate being away from them.  If you hate having custody so much, why don’t we just see what a judge says about them living with me, instead?”

W: “Fine! I’ll tell my lawyer!”

H: “Fine!”

They hang up & call their lawyers.  Even if one lawyer tries to stop this run-away train, the other might not.  Custody frequently begins with a request of the court that someone from the court’s family relations office meet with the kids, and each parent, and see each kid interact with each parent in each parent’s home.  (This is called a “Custody Study.”)

The lawyers write and file motions for a custody study, which they must then argue before a judge.  If the judge approves it, there is another 3 – 6 months worth of attorney billing and interaction with the family services division of your local courthouse.

At the end, even if the recommendation is to continue with joint custody, a neutral party might recommend a parenting plan that is inconvenient for all of you. But, because you have left it to relative strangers to decide, they may be the ones determining the next several years of your relationship with your children.  (Or, worse, the custody study could give one parent exclusive rights to the children.)

TOTAL COST OPTION 2:  Two lawyers working a total of about 15 hours each, on this one question.  Plus, your own time off from work and child care costs. Plus there is the possibility of a devastating outcome.


The longer and more attentively you retain control over the emotions and discussions surrounding your own divorce, the greater your potential of keeping down the costs.

What We Love:  Clients who diligently follow good advice from their informed lawyers and themselves to a more cost-effective and calm divorce and post-divorce life.

Great Divorces begin with Great Break-ups

The best break-up I ever heard about was a couple I knew in law school.  “Ken” and “Sarah” had been dating for 5 years.   They had moved out West and bought a house together after college graduation.  Both far from their families, they were each other’s best friends and surrogate family.  In time, they began growing apart from each other.  The idea of breaking up and losing their connection to each other probably terrified them both. So, they stayed together as though they were still “in a relationship,” when they really were not anymore.  Over time, it began to deteriorate even the friendship.

One weekend they were on a camping trip back East with a large group of old friends.  It was as much fun as they had had together in months.  Early that Sunday morning, they woke up in their tent together, both in a good mood knowing they were going to step out of the tent to share breakfast over a fire with dear friends.  Just before stepping out, Sarah stopped Ken.  They held hands for a moment, and smiled together. She said, “right now – while we are happy and still friends – let’s break up.”

And they did.  They didn’t tell anyone that moment; everyone enjoyed the rest of the trip together.  As soon as they got back home they started dividing assets and personal belongings, and carefully, gently, dismantling their  lives.  Sarah finished school the following year and moved out of the house.  A year or two after that, Ken sold the house and sent Sarah her share of the profit.  They were fortunate to each dance at each other’s weddings in the years that followed.

I have clients who have told me they decided on a divorce while hiking the Appalachian Trail together. I have had clients who cried and held each other’s hands on the witness stand during their divorce hearing, because they wanted to take care of each other and just not be married anymore.

Frequently, partners get into a pattern in which they only think about divorce while there is high drama.  Fighting, yelling, or even just ignoring each other, can make spouses say, “That’s it! I need a divorce!”  In fact, that is probably when they least need a divorce.  What they need at that moment is a time out and a deep breath.

A divorce is what you need when you can sanely, calmly, and rationally look at your marriage and know that you will both be better off when it is over.  As soon as you can envision a better life for yourself, your spouse, and your children post-divorce.  Then you know it is time to begin that process.  And that is the process which will include everyone taking care of each other’s needs, not just their own.

What We Love:  Smart timing and common courtesy can help people preserve the respect and admiration that brought them together in the first place while carefully dismantling the pieces which no longer work.

How much should your divorce cost you?

Smiley Face
Smiley Face (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Getting along during the divorce process is a key factor to the rest of your life. By deciding not to fight during this critical juncture you can make long-term decisions based not on factors such as revenge, annoyance, hostility, or bankruptcy. Instead, amicable dissolutions afford participants the opportunity to envision a productive and happy future and create mutual decisions designed to lead to that future.

Our firm recently represented the Wife (call her Jane) in a contested divorce in which the parties depleted their savings account and had not reached any agreements. The Husband (Jerry) was reluctant to show Jane his bank and credit card statements, so we had to keep dragging everyone to court to demand more discovery. Jerry refused to relocate until Jane would agree to give him more than half of the value of the house.  They continued to live together and aggravate each other. Months went by and the only progress being made was how frequently the lawyers found themselves back in court. Eventually, their money spent, their anger with each other at an all-time high, and the lawyers’ fees continuing to grow, their house went into foreclosure.

Jerry and Jane continued to blame each other for the unfortunate turn of events and lost their house. They lost their home – a beautifully decorated 3 bedroom 2 bath house in the suburbs with a half acre of land  – to the bank.  Not because they could not work, but because they could not work together. Once the house was gone and the parties were living separately, there was not much left for them to fight about and the divorce resolved rather quickly after that – with each party taking a share of the mutual debts away with them.

It drives me crazy to see this outcome. Those people invested more money in their anger than in their future. By using whatever resources they had to fuel a divorce that did not need to be contested they each gave up on their own long-term happiness.

Picture a different scenario. One in which the parties realize that the house needs to be sold before they can each move on. They work together to put it on the market in as

House for sale - one of many in the district

good condition as they can get it; and then sell the house for a profit. The profit can then be divided between them. Much more simple.  And frugal!

A divorce like this can go from costing $40,000 for the contested version down to $5000 in an amicable split. What happens to the remaining $35,000? They pay off some debts and split the rest. They can each start their new lives with a nest egg and a smile; instead of the dual burdens of financial debt and emotional resentment.

How much should your divorce cost you? Two answers:

Financially: A little less than you can reasonably afford.

Emotionally: Absolutely nothing.

What We Love: Deciding in advance to control your own finances during a difficult transition.

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What are the Different Types of Custody in a Divorce?

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Custody is usually divided into legal and physical custody; each of which can be either joint (both parents together) or sole (one parent alone).  For as long as the biological parents and their child are all living together, the parents share joint physical and legal custody.  Once a parent re-locates; the custody questions need to be addressed individually.

Legal custody is the right to participate in the big decisions that affect a child’s life.  These are the questions such as religious upbringing, major medical decisions, which schools to attend, and where to live.  Almost every parent is entitled to joint legal custody of the minor children, no matter what the circumstances of the change in living situation.  So, if Mom moves out and leaves the kids with Dad; that does not give Dad the right to sign the kids up for boarding school and convert their religion.  Both parents are still involved in making these decisions for the children’s be interests.

Sole legal custody applies in extreme cases, such as a parent who is incarcerated may not be expected to participate legal guardianship decisions.

Physical custody is the set of responsibilities that go with a child’s day-to-day care and maintenance.  Physical custody is determined by where the child sleeps most nights, who drives her to school most mornings, and who is responsible for making sure that teeth and hair get brushed; homework gets done, and breakfast gets eaten.

Courts look to replicate what is already the truth of a child’s parenting situation when fashioning orders regarding physical custody.  Just because one parent is staying in the marital residence does not necessarily mean that is the parent who should retain sole physical custody.  A child staying in his own room is not the same as a child being parented in the manner to which he is accustomed.  Who rally takes the majority of the responsibilities for your child’s day-to-day maintenance?  If it is you; you should expect to be awarded custody.

If, it is really your spouse; please consider the value of letting that continue unabated.  You can find plenty of other ways to show your child how much you love her.  It does not need to be by changing the rules during a period of transition.

If both parents really do share all parenting responsibilities, consider joint physical custody.  It can be accomplished many ways.  Some families sell the marital residence and use the proceeds to buy two small homes (such as condominiums) near each other. It gives the children autonomy to move freely between the two homes without having to worry that they left a book or glove across town.

Common Blackbird (Turdus merula), Austin's Fer...
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Another method of joint physical custody is called “bird-nesting” in which the children stay home and the parents take turns living there with them; each parent might have a three or four night rotation.  Or, less convenient, but much more common, is the cross-town schlep, in which the relocated parent drives the kids back and forth to school on the days they live in the new home.

What We Love:  There is no single mold for how parents and children divide their time.  The goal is to have post-divorce life be an accurate (and more viable) reflection of what the kids already enjoy and expect.


When Every Dollar Was a Hand Grenade

Hand grenade 002
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I finalized a matter this month between two of the most civilized and gentle people I have ever divorced.  As we went through the final papers and documents that needed to be reviewed and signed, they were patient and kind with each other.  The wife’s older brother drove 6 hours to be at the court with us by 9 am, to be a support for his sister.  During a break the husband and the big brother sat in the courthouse coffee shop together chatting about football and children.

No animosity or malcontent at all.

The judge interviewed both parties from the bench after I had presented my case-in-chief because the Judge wanted to make sure that the parties understood what they were signing.  The Judge even had us leave the courtroom at one point, to make sure the parties each really wanted to be that generous with each other.  They did.  We returned with a basically unmodified agreement.

So, is the secret that they never fought?  Do these two parties still secretly want to be married, and therefore can be so considerate of each other’s needs?  No. Not at all.  The secret is that they have been separated for almost three years.

When the husband first moved out, to hear the stories, there was nothing but animosity between the parties – both towards each other, and from their 3 minor children towards each of them.  The father refused to pay for things he thought were frivolous; and the mother was constantly running out of money for things she believed were necessities. The children were caught in the middle and furious at everyone.

Once when their youngest child got sick, the mother took her to the doctor and then found out that the father had canceled their medical insurance to save money.   The father took it upon himself to sign the son up for an expensive football camp; but refused to pay the fees when the invoices arrived.

For years, every time either party needed to discuss money, their entire world blew up – like tossing hand grenades into their lives.  A question of who is going to camp this summer turned into a fight about money, and priorities, and parenting.  A utility bill could lead to a dispute ending in the children refusing to speak to their father for weeks.

They fought until they separated.  And then they fought until they had fought their way through every possible fight.  In the meantime, both parties got jobs, and the father rented a house where the kids could comfortably spend a night with him.  Over time, the overnight visits became a weekend here and there, until the current situation in which all three children love equally in both parent’s houses.

AND THEN – they filed for divorce.  When there are no more fights left to have, no one has to pay lawyers to do their fighting.  There is now only mutual respect and relief that those days are over. The parties each look forward to moving on with their lives. Since neither of them spent a fortune to have lawyers fight their battles, they each have a decent nest egg with which to begin their new lives.

What We Love:  Doctors call it the “Tincture of Time.”  Some lawyers call it fewer billable hours.  I call it civilized adults having an amicable divorce.

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Quick Tip for an Easier Divorce Process: Divide and Conquer


I am working with a woman whose divorce seems to keep getting crazier instead of calmer.  When the process began, they had two small children, a mountain of debt, and no jobs.

Now, the kids are a bit older; the parents both have good jobs, and they have been paying down their debt.  Things should be getting better for them.

But, the Husband keeps changing what he wants in a parenting plan; neither of them has presented a complete financial affidavit, so they are still fighting about money; and now the Husband has hired a bankruptcy attorney into the mix!  What is going on?? 

First of all, the Wife has stopped hiding her boyfriend.  That almost always makes matters worse.  Spouses who feel cheated-upon tend to be angry.  No matter how long the parties have been in complete breakdown; no matter how many prior affairs have gone on by either party.  If you are seeing someone else – THAT PERSON becomes the reason for all of our problems.  I have seen it happen time and time again.

Here’s what I suggest:  Divide and Conquer.  Like a General on an Army field – view your divorce as a series of small skirmishes to be negotiated and completed; not just one overwhelming pile of potential litigation.  I suggested that they make a few different appointments, and have each appointment’s goal be an individual written and signed agreement.

They should have one meeting with the bankruptcy attorney and decide what is the most advantageous way to handle a bankruptcy for all concerned.  Should the Husband file after the divorce? How will that impact the Wife? Should they both file before the divorce?  With an expert in the room, they can look at the big picture and choose a strategy to result in the best possible outcome for the adults and their children.  They can put the plan in writing and sign it between the two of them.  Just the bankruptcy. Nothing else at that moment.

Separately, I recommend that they meet with their financial planner. They should bring all of their banking statements and bills and other financial paperwork, and sit together the three of them and get two accurate financial affidavits. No lingering questions, no confusion.

I recommend an additional meeting with a neutral third party – or just the two of them – in which the only agenda item is their parenting plan. They can address questions about the best interests of the children; the children’s needs and desires, and the children’s schedules without having to mention anything about debts, money, or blame.  Once they agree on a fair and healthy parenting plan, they should write it up and sign it.  It is not relevant to any of the other issues and should not be muddles together with them.

But- my strongest recommendation for a way to divide the problems from each other and solve for them in as calm a manner as possible, is to begin with a dating stipulation, also called a “Stipulation of Irretrievable Breakdown.”  In English, this is what it would say: 

“Our marriage is over. We are incapable of, or uninterested in, fixing it. We both need to move on with our lives. You can date and I can date and neither one of us will use that as a reason to fight.  We understand that our dates are not the reason our marriage is ending.”

Signing a dating stipulation might take hours and days and weeks of crying, blaming, yelling, screaming.  But if that is what you need in order to get past the awful truth, then it is better to do so without bringing collateral damage to your parenting plan and finances. 

Once it has been acknowledged, accepted, and signed, the other pieces will probably come together much more easily. The anger about dating/fidelity/commitment will no longer have to hide behind questions about who gets the kids on Thursday nights; or how much money is in the joint account.

What We Love:  Find the parts of the divorce that you can own and conquer.  Get each small skirmish out of the way as quickly and cleanly as possible, so they don’t muddle the rest of the issues.









The High Costs of Non-Compliance

Day 150: And that's that.
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Recently, I was sitting in the conference room at my office, meeting with a husband and a wife who were signing their final agreement, we’ll call them Mr. and Mrs. Phillips.  We were reviewing terms, crossing Ts and dotting Is, and getting ready to go before the Judge for our hearing.  The hearing will be known in the courthouse as an “Uncontested Dissolution Hearing.” 

I will go to court with both parties and their signed paperwork.  I will call the Wife to witness stand and she will explain to the judge that the terms of the agreement make sense to her and are fair and reasonable given the totality of the circumstances.  Then, the judge will ask the husband what he thinks of all this, and he will basically say the same things.

Including waiting our turn to be heard by the judge, we should be in the courthouse a total of one hour.  Then, the parties will leave having determined their own set of circumstances – not what a judge who doesn’t know them or their children might have ordered.  It is not ideal; I think most people would prefer never to have to be divorced at all.  But, it is an ideal way to divorce.

Just as we were walking out of the conference room, another client walked in — a man who is in the middle of a battle with his wife.  She asks for bank account statements; and he produces half of what she requests.   He asks if they can speak to each other, and she has her attorney call him back.  These people are spending most of their life savings on attorneys, when they have hardly any assets worth disputing.  They don’t even have minor children to divvy up.  We’ll call this client Steven.

Steven has been to court 4 times already.  Every time he goes, he and his wife both go, and each one brings a lawyer. He has met 2 different judges and spends an average of 3 hours per visit in the courthouse, waiting in various offices to meet with various court personnel.  Just about every time he goes to court he ends up with an order or an agreement commanding him to produce the paperwork his wife has been requesting.

So, if every party were paying their attorneys $100 per hour to go to court, the Philips’ divorce would cost their family $100, and Steven’s divorce would cost his family $2400. No matter what papers his wife wants to see; showing them to her would probably end up costing him a lot less than the $2400 he is spending to hide them.

Plus, the court has the right to compel any party to show any relevant document to the other side in a disputed matter. This is called the right to Discovery, and parties who do not comply with court orders could find themselves in contempt of court; a finding frequently accompanied by fines, incarceration or both.

As proud as I am of Mr. and Mrs. Philips for working out their differences together; I am even more concerned for Steven that he is creating a bad foundation to his entire divorce.  The problems, and costs, he creates now, could follow him for the rest of his life.

What We Love:  Recognizing that each party to a divorce has the opportunity at every single moment to improve the way things are going.  It is never too late to love your divorce.

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