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Fri Feb 9 6:12 pm  #1

Tips on Navigating the Divorce Process (GID Spouse)! U Can Do It!

I am not yet finished my divorce, but have learned a great deal from the process so far.   A few thoughts and ideas to help others.   These are applicable to a divorce being driven by a straight spouse with a GID partner who is unstable, abusive or otherwise in denial:

1.   Do At Least Some of the Personal Work First - your divorce lawyer's job is not to support you emotionally.   Seek personal support and build a support network that you can rely upon outside of that lawyer-client relationship.  You may not even want to start the divorce process until you have done several months of personal work to process your personal situation; 

2.   Don't Go with the First Lawyer You Meet and/or The Cheapest - take the time to do at least 3 consults and set aside the funds to do that.   You may save money in the long run by finding a lawyer who is right for you;

3.   Online Reviews of Lawyers - are not always reliable!   Sometimes the bad lawyers have their friends put up fake reviews to bring them business.   This is true!  Lawyers are like any other professional - there are excellent ones and incompetent ones and you have to sift through them to find the right one. 

4.   Get your Financials in Order - your divorce will bog down if you haven't filed your taxes in three years and don't have a copy of the deed for your house.   Get this paperwork organized and ready and you will save time and money. 

5.   Divorce is Not About TGT - I went to a couple of lawyers and cried in the consults about how unfair this situation was and - guess what - they didn't really care.   A divorce lawyer is there to help you separate your assets and make arrangements for your children so that you can move on with your life.   The court also doesn't care about whether or not he or she is confused about his/her sexuality except to the extent that any instability may impact the children.   

6.   Try to Put the Kids First - as hard as it is, I do believe that as parents we need to be present for our children as much as possible during a divorce so that the trauma to the children is minimized.    Parental alienation is a real thing and it's important that straight spouses not be accused of it - despite the fact that it is very tempting to lay it all on the table! 

7.   Litigation vs. Mediation Track -  when children are involved, a mediative approach is preferable to a court room process as the parties have more of a voice.   Ask your lawyer or prospective lawyer about their feelings on mediation vs. litigation in matrimonial disputes.   Read up on this and know where you stand on it. 

8.  Try Very Hard to Not Move Out of the Matrimonial Home - unless you are advised to do so by legal counsel.  To leave without the kids could jeopardize your rights in the settlement. 

9.   If there is Physical Abuse and/or Psychological Coercion and/or A Lack Of Boundary Setting (i.e. not letting you out of a room)- call the police and get a report filed.   Chances are you'll still end up in the same situation, but it is best that the police have a record of the call.   

10.   Detach, detach, detach - Often our divorces are stalled because we refuse to detach ourselves and our spouse can hook us emotionally and wants to hook us emotionally!  Once you detach, you take back your power.   A lot of us feel very powerLESS on this board - and there are reasons for that.   Take back your power consciously, simplify your life, and you are rock solid!

11.   Consider your Will  - particularly if you have children and a will, your decisions around estate planning may change and you should give some thought to whether your will needs updating.  

12.   This Board is AMAZING and a place to gather strength - but it's not where we are supposed to stay forever.  Remember your talents, your old self (pre disclosure), your children, your pets, your dreams - whatever it takes to get you back on track.   Put the focus on you and take steps every day towards self care.     

13.   Take A Step - you don't need to figure out the entire game plan today, but you can set a course and take a step.   If you try to figure it all out, you'll get immobilized.   

I think that I will add to this list in the coming months.   If I can do this than any of you can!  I was in an abusive relationship for 20 plus years to a closeted gay man who remains highly manipulative and in staunch denial and I am getting OUT!!  I am stronger for it.  



Last edited by JenS (Fri Feb 9 6:17 pm)


Fri Feb 9 6:38 pm  #2

Re: Tips on Navigating the Divorce Process (GID Spouse)! U Can Do It!

Thank You Jen. I am at Step 13. You speak words of wisdom. I have been married 43 years.....

I wish you the very best.


Fri Feb 9 8:47 pm  #3

Re: Tips on Navigating the Divorce Process (GID Spouse)! U Can Do It!

JenS - Excellent post, and you would have had to put a lot of time into writing it.  It should be very helpful to many.  I would add that when looking for a lawyer, look for one who does "family law" and divorces in particular on a routine basis.  Some lawyers whose main practice is in an area outside of family/divorce matters will often "throw in" a divorce or fill in their practice by doing a divorce here and there.  The problem with using those lawyers is that they are often learning on your dime.  They are usually not well versed in divorce and think they can do them, because they are pretty routine and relatively standardized.  That is not really the case and the ones experienced in family/divorce law can oftentimes save you both time and money.  They have seen everything and they are familiar with the way the court in your area works things, and also with the judges/commissioners that hear such cases.  In my state someone who does not do divorce law on a regular basis, has not necessarily ever even been in the court that hears divorces and they are not familiar with common practices and people in that court.  That can be very important to your case.

The other thing I would add is about Parental Alienation:  As JenS noted, be careful, no matter how tempted you might be, to not do or say anything that could be construed as alienating.  The other thing, though, is that you need to watch out that you do not become the alienated one!  These manipulative, selfish spouses, who do not want their secret out, will often blame you for the problems, make-up or negatively twist and exaggerate things you have said or done, and you become the villain.  They will tell those things to your children - yes your children - and it might well be believed.  They will also tell those things to lawyers, judges, and your friends and family.  Anything to keep hiding their secret and to make the divorce look like it is not their fault.  Watch out that you are not the targeted parent who winds up being alienated, by not just your children, but friends and family, and anyone your gay in denial spouse thinks he or she can manipulate into thinking the problems all stem from you.

Last edited by Lake Breeze (Sat Feb 10 7:46 pm)

"Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" - Sir Walter Scott

Sat Feb 10 7:06 pm  #4

Re: Tips on Navigating the Divorce Process (GID Spouse)! U Can Do It!


-Formerly "Lostdad" - I now embrace the username "phoenix" because my former life ended in flames, but my new life will be spectacular. 


Mon Feb 12 12:50 pm  #5

Re: Tips on Navigating the Divorce Process (GID Spouse)! U Can Do It!

cindys, that fact my post could resonate with you at all is amazing, given how long you have been married and how short a period of time since disclosure.   I think that posting the acknowledgment that you did was a step, right there!  Try to take another step this week - even if it is booking with a therapist to sort through your feelings.

     Thread Starter

Thu Feb 15 8:20 pm  #6

Re: Tips on Navigating the Divorce Process (GID Spouse)! U Can Do It!

Jen, thanks again for your kind response. I have always been a take action person, I hate being in limbo.....but I always need to pause.......but it is baby steps right now......


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