Divorce is scary. It can feel overwhelming. And, if you’ve never been here before – and, possibly, even if you have – it’s easy to not even know all the things that you don’t know. What are your rights? What are you entitled to receive? What responsibilities will you have? Will you receive child and/or spousal support? What types of custody arrangements exist in Virginia? Do good moms LOSE custody? The list goes on and on.
It’s also easy to ignore the things that you don’t feel like you have the bandwidth to face. If divorce is too scary, then put it off! Right? You can think about that tomorrow.
But that’s a risky attitude, even though it’s completely understandable, especially if it’s part of a trauma response that you’re experiencing. If you wait until you’ve been served with divorce papers, if there’s a looming court date, if he’s threatening you over signing an agreement, and if he has spent the last several months or year convincing you that you won’t get anything anyway, you’re in a pretty dangerous place.
Most husbands do that. I don’t know what it is about men, but they have a hard time admitting that they don’t know something, and an even harder time acknowledging that things might not go their way. So, they say things like, ‘You won’t get spousal support,’ or ‘You know the courts in Virginia favor dads in custody cases these days,’ just to scare you, to manipulate you, and to threaten you.
And you know what women do? They believe them. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s a long habit of feeling like, since he used to be your partner and you used to be on the same team, you can trust what he says? Maybe it’s because he’s speaking so clearly to your fear, that you can’t even logically process it – you just immediately jump to the worst possible conclusion. It doesn’t even matter why; it just matters that this puts you in a vulnerable position.
You have a responsibility, reader. You didn’t need to know about divorce before but, if it’s happening, you do now. For your sake, and for the sake of any children you have, it’s time to get the information you need to make the best possible choices moving forward. So, where should you start?
I may be biased, but our monthly divorce seminar – which we’ve been offering for over thirty years – is a great place to start.
Each seminar is taught by one of our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce and custody attorneys, so you know that the information you’re getting is up to date, accurate, Virginia-specific, and provided straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. You’ll see me, Sheera Herrell, Lori Michaud, Ashli Pack, Caitlin Walters, or Lorna Rhoades – we’re all practicing, Virginia licensed family law attorneys with experience representing women exclusively in divorce and custody cases.
There’s tons of information online, of course, but you have to wonder where it’s coming from, who’s providing it, when it was created, and whether it’s at all accurate. So many people are so jaded by their own personal experiences that they have trouble separating it from the truth of what’s happening. In fact, today, I had an entire conversation with the girlfriend of a dad who is going through a custody case – and she told me a million and one things wrong with the mother, with absolutely no attempt at reflection on dad’s case. To hear her tell it, mom is the devil incarnate, and dad is completely perfect. Ummmm, no.
I mean, I’ve seen a lot of things, but I’ve never seen one perfect parent. Not a single one. So, whether you’re listening to someone who is coming at your from the mom’s side or the father’s rights side, or something else entirely, you kind of have to wonder – how is this person’s bias showing, you know?
I mean, I have a bias; I’ve represented women exclusively for over a decade! But, at the same time, I see flaws everywhere I look. I see the good facts, I see the bad facts – and I try to counsel clients through them. Still, I’ve yet to have a perfect client. (Though, admittedly, I have had several completely delightful clients that I still keep in touch with!) Part of being a good attorney IS about seeing your client’s flaws, and trying to help make up for them – so, even though I have a bias in favor of a mom, I can see the things that a judge would identify as being problematic, too. And we all have experience in cases in Virginia, and can offer insight about specific cases we’ve seen.
One of the great things about a seminar – especially if you haven’t hired an attorney yet or are afraid that you can’t afford to – is its crazy low cost. Whereas you’d pay $300 for a one hour consultation with one of our attorneys, the cost to attend the seminar is just $40. The seminars are taught on a rotating basis by the same attorneys you’d meet with if you came in for a consultation, and you’re welcome to attend as many times as you like. So, if you wanted, you could watch each one of us present and then decide who would be the best fit for you.
Not only that, but you can ask your questions to the attorney live. It’s not confidential, technically, because when there’s a third person in the room a conversation is never technically privileged, but we do everything we can to protect your identity. Only we – as in, the attorneys presenting – can see your name. You do not appear on video. You’ll see our face, but we won’t see yours.
You can ask your questions either anonymously or using your name, but the attorney will read the question – not your name- and answer it live. In fact, we encourage questions, because it helps us tailor our presentation to the specific concerns that you have.
If you’re in the market for up to date, Virginia specific divorce and custody information presented to you by licensed, experienced, Virginia attorneys who represent women only, you should definitely make a point to attend.
For more information about the seminar, to register to attend, or to request a copy of our free divorce book for Virginia women (because it’s a great way to brush up on your information and generate a list of questions before you attend), visit our website or give us a call at 757-425-5200.