SELF care-ISH Podcast : Surviving A No Good, Very Bad Divorce

Listen to our Lead Attorney, Padideh Jafari, discuss narcissistic and combative ex’s, how to survive a bad divorce and how to keep your marriage out of the courtroom on season 3 of the SELF care-ISH podcast by Meghan McTavish.

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I have looked the narcissists in the eye and seen their black eyes and I’ll tell you the truth, I just stare back, knowing that there is truth and justice at the end of the day. Welcome to season three of SELF care-ISH, a show about being selfish with care.

0:18

I’m Megan and each week we riff on different ways to re nourish yourself after a divorce or if you’re on a dating or self dating journey. Either way, I’m so happy we found each other. Let’s get into it. I’ve always tried to keep things pretty light on this show because Lord knows, the world is heavy enough right now.

0:38

And 80% of the people who listen to this now are probably going through a divorce, which is hard enough without having to listen to podcasts that drag your frequency completely down. I get it. But then I thought back to when I was first going through my divorce.

0:55

Alone in my apartment, wine in hand, absence of furniture, notable. Sense of optimism. Totally crushed. Actually, no, take that back. I was optimistic because being married made me depressed as hell.

1:12

So the future, whatever it may be, was definitely preferable to what was before. However, I was sad to put it lightly because as you know, divorce is not only financially draining, but hugely emotionally draining.

1:29

Every time you feel like you’ve finally stopped crying at the steering wheel while driving down the freeway, something happens in the mediation process. It makes you just feel exhausted and back to square 10.I get it. I see you. I feel you.

1:45

We’re in the same boat. I know no matter how many fun, happy, weird episodes I do on this show, I cannot take that feeling away from you. And I figured the best thing I can do is share from my own experience of thriving through the pain and also bringing on experts who definitely know their shit.

2:08

And I honestly, I feel like today’s guest is better than a therapist or a marriage counsellor. Because I don’t know about you, but I love and adore people who give tangible advice, not just focusing on my own feelings, but also giving real techniques to get over whatever issue I’m facing.

2:28

No shade, of course to therapy though. We love you too. But if I want divorce or marriage advice, I truly think the best person to speak to about that is someone who knows the institution of it inside and out. And yes, I am talking about a divorce lawyer.

2:45

And today, I’ve brought on one of social media’s favorite divorce lawyers, Padideh Jafari of Jafari Law and Mediation Office in California. Now Padideh’s resume is impressive not only for its matriculation credentials.

3:01

She’s a graduate from Southwestern. She was on the Dean’s list at Loyola Marymount University, but she also clerked at the LA District Attorney’s Office Special Victims Unit handling child rape and molestation cases, so she’s seen a lot.

3:17

She’s got extensive knowledge in the field of family law and when it comes to tackling complex and emotionally heavy divorces, she knows her shit and I found her like everyone does through her social media where she does this straight talk to the camera about narcissism, manipulation, and how to protect yourself before and after your marriage.

3:38

She’s the expert on this and I wanted to bring her on for all the people who have slid into my DMS with their stories of lies, cheating, hiding assets, and just the general frustration that comes with breaking up with someone who seems more interested in causing you pain than actually getting the divorce over with.

3:58

So enjoy and I hope this helps. If you’re listening to this episode then the chances are very high that you are getting divorced or separating.

4:16

So I know this is probably a good time to reveal that mid this year I am officially in a position to help you and make a difference to how you heal and thrive because some people never recover after a divorce, emotionally or financially.

4:32

It is truly one of the hardest things to do and I know this first hand. So in a few months, I’m launching my first exclusive program where you can hang out with me as well as a couple more experts, and we walk you through six weeks of divorce recovery.

4:50

The goal is to help you through manageable and fun steps that you take to fast tracking your post breakup or divorce. Glow up and you’ll also connect with other people going through exactly what you’re going through. It’s like a little inbuilt support community.

5:06

I love it. I’m calling it dynamic detachment and if you want to be the person everyone says wow, who are you and where did your name go then this is for you. It’s going to be a six week program. It’s going to consist of 6 live coaching sessions with me, live Q&A’s, guest speakers and access to a private dynamic detachment community so you can connect with other newly separated people.

5:33

You can swap stories with share tips. I love it. The link for the wait list is in the show notes or you can head directly to selfcare-ish.com dot AU slash Dynamic detachment. Padideh, hi.

5:48

Now I just want to say you are fast becoming one of the Internet’s favorite divorce lawyers. Like, I know you so well through your social media post, but I would love to start by just getting a little bit of your own story and your background and what made you decide to focus on divorce and family law just for the people who haven’t seen your amazing social media?

6:10

Sure. And thank you for having me. I, you know, I follow your podcast and I listen to to, to some of your interviews. You know, for me, I don’t think anybody goes to law school actually thinking, Oh my goodness, I want to be a divorce attorney.

6:30

But you know, I kind of fell into that that area, which is really a niche area. Very early on in my career, I was awaiting bar results and, you know, working for a divorce attorney in Woodland Hills, CA.

6:48

And, you know, I just thought, you know, she can do it. I can do it. And really, I wanted to work for the district attorney’s office and I had taken the exam, scored 98 out of 100. But there was a hiring freeze at the time.

7:04

So I thought, OK, well, I’ll open up my own practice. And, you know, that was, you know, over 20 years ago. So really I fell into it. But right now, I can tell you that I love it. You know, family law is an area where you really can make a different difference in people’s lives and with people’s children.

7:26

So I love what I do, and I wake up every morning really excited to take on the day. So that’s sort of how I fell into being a divorce attorney. Well, you know, let’s just start on the good stuff because I know we’re going to go into some heavier stuff.

7:43

But I actually think you are probably the best person to speak to about how to create a successful relationship in marriage because you’ve seen everyone at their worst after things breakdown. Like, what are some of the things that you suggest people do to fortify their marriages so they don’t have to see you?

8:04

Well, I mean, this is a great question. And I will tell you the truth. Most people assume that divorce lawyers could not possibly have successful marriages themselves. We do deal with a lot of high conflict, obviously as divorce attorneys, but smart divorce attorneys will tell you that they learn, they adapt and they strengthen their own marriage, right?

8:28

Because they don’t ever want to become a client. As someone who has has a successful marriage and relationship with my 3 stepsons, I would say this commitment, communication and trust are the foundation of every marriage.

8:46

So let me say that again. Commitment, communication and trust are the foundation of every marriage. When one of these things breaks, the foundation becomes wobbly in the marriage. People who have a successful long term marriage will tell you that communication is very important.

9:07

How you express yourself, how you are heard by the other person, really listening to understand rather than respond is all a part of communicating effectively with your spouse.

9:23

Also, I want to throw in here your tone of voice when you are speaking to your significant other is very important. Obviously, you know, the way that I speak to clients, opposing counsel, the judge is not how I come home and speak to my husband, right.

9:44

So the tone is really important. I think that, you know, we underestimate. It’s not what you say, but it’s sort of how you say it. And so that becomes very important. And then you know the commitment, right.

9:59

I actually researched this a little bit in anticipation of our podcast. You know, people are saying that they’re divorcing because the commitment isn’t there. And so you know, when you stand before your priest, your rabbi, you know, and you say your vows, you’re really committing to this person for better, for worse.

10:23

And that’s why you say, you know, in sickness and in health, for richer or and for poor. So you saying all these vows, but really it’s a commitment to stay with this person. And so you know, Google was saying like people just lack commitment.

10:39

They they maybe see something better. And you know, obviously you and I are both on social media. Social media is taken over, right? And so they’ll see something better and they’ll like DM the person and you know, slowly it’s an emotional affair. And then just spiral so that commitment is is not there.

10:59

And then you know obviously trust. Once the trust is broken, you’re pretty much you know on a 11 way St. to to divorce court. So all of this becomes really important. So those are the three that I thought, you know, I wanted to share with your audience as things that are important to to just always keep in the forefront of your mind.

11:24

You know what? There are so many people online doing dating advice and marriage advice. I really do think the best person to give marriage advice would be a lawyer. You should. You should do this. And you know what? You know what’s so funny about that? I I’m always, like, really, really shocked that people don’t want to know the advice of how to keep a marriage from a divorce attorney.

11:49

Actually Speaking of that, I did put the call out to my followers to see if they had any questions for you had heaps of answers, but one of them was from Dewey B Bruce and he said would you say it’s still women initiating the majority of divorces?

12:07

And if so, can you share maybe some of the reasons why or what reasons they’re citing for leaving? Yeah. Well, in California, I can just speak to California law because that’s where we practice. Divorces are initiated 70% by women.

12:26

So that is a huge number if you think about it. So women are initiating the divorce. And really in California you can only get divorced for two reasons. Like there is a form that you fill out when you want to file for a petition for divorce.

12:45

And really it’s the insanity, which I’m sure most people want to check that off, but you really can’t. And then the second one is, you know, irreconcilable differences, which you know, I’ve always had a problem saying that word.

13:03

But that’s, you know, sometimes when you hear about Hollywood divorces, you see that cited because. And people are like, what is that? That just means that, you know, there’s a difference in the way that you want to move forward in your marriage and you want to get a divorce and you don’t have to state exactly what that is.

13:22

And really, California courts don’t care about, you know, cheating and things of that nature. So those are the only two things that you can mark off. But again, I would go back to what I said originally and I think it’s just lack of commitment, lack of really acting out your vows till death do you part, right?

13:44

That’s interesting. And I guess I want to flag for listeners, I assume you mean for both parties because these women who are leaving their husbands, maybe they’re leaving because he’s not holding up his vows or his end of the bargain and vice versa. So I think that’s what you mean, not just stick it out if they’re abusive or anything like that.

14:04

Another question is Sandy Gain asked what’s the best way to protect yourself pre divorce? So I think she means say you’ve made the decision and now what? Right. So, well, pre marriage is a different topic, right.

14:23

So before you get married, you can obviously have you know a prenup or ask for a prenup. Anything in California that you have prior to the marriage is considered separate property. But a lot of times people will Co mingle or let’s say like for an example they have a house and they’ll get married and they’ll put their new spouse’s name on the House and so they’ll Co mingle and that’s where it gets really difficult, right.

14:53

So if you don’t have a prenup, you have to make sure that you keep everything separate. But if you are contemplating getting a divorce, we offer pre divorce strategy at the firm. We want to speak to you early on before you file in order to prepare you for what’s coming.

15:15

I can’t tell you how this has helped our potential clients. Some come back a week, a month, or years later to actually file for the divorce because they needed that time to get their ducks in a row or get their ducks in order.

15:34

Or sometimes they say that they want to wait until their child becomes 18 years old and is, you know, off to college before they file for divorce. But they make these decisions in an informed way because we have that pre divorce strategy with them.

15:51

So the pre divorce strategy I highly recommend. We advise also during that call what to gather like tax returns, credit reports, you know, bank account information, 4O1K information, and all of those things while they have access to them.

16:13

Because obviously once you know you file for divorce, your spouse might not give you access to that. And so then you have to go through the process of discovery. But if you’re with your spouse still and you’re thinking about, you know, filing at some later point, you might as well get all those documentation together, why you have access or the passcode or whatever it is.

16:37

So we really, really have found that potential clients, they call them potential clients because they’re not clients yet benefit from the pre divorce strategy session with us. Oh. That is absolutely a great idea.

16:53

Do a lot of lawyers have that? I think that most law firms would do it. Maybe they don’t call it pre divorce strategy, but they call it a consultation. So you know you could call, they’ll give you, you know some law firms in California, Southern California where we practice in Los Angeles and Orange County, they’ll give you know 15 minute or 30 minute.

17:19

We do an hour and we do charge a consultation fee because basically you have access to me for a whole hour and we’ll I’ll go through the different steps. And you know, some people have multiple children, some people don’t have children.

17:37

If you don’t have children, obviously the divorce should be a little bit easier. But it depends also on how many assets you have, what are your debts like, how long have you been married? So all of that comes into play and we really do give you a holistic look of what to expect when you are ready to file.

17:58

But to answer your question, I do think that most law firms, most divorce and family law firms would offer it as a consultation. I think it’s a great idea. And actually one of the things you often hear people say when it comes to divorces is try to avoid lawyers completely.

18:20

And you often hear about like partners starting off really friendly, like they’re all both happy to be out of the marriage, but then things usually go bad for some reason or another, or people become antagonistic as time goes on. Why do you think that is? You know, I don’t know exactly.

18:40

I I think one of the reasons that I’ve seen in in my 20 years is things are going OK in the divorce process and then one spouse or divorcing spouse gets a boyfriend or girlfriend.

18:58

And now you have a third party that is added to this mix of, you know, divorce, which you know is a used divorce, used to be a really bad naughty word. It’s not so much anymore because you know, the divorce rate is 60% on the first marriage and really 60, I believe it’s 65% the second marriage and 73% at the third marriage.

19:26

So divorce isn’t such a bad word anymore. But I feel that when you bring in that third party, right. And they don’t know, right. They don’t know the history, they don’t know the history of the children. They’re just and so they’re now opining on everything.

19:43

And now you have a situation where what seemed to be an easy, you know, sort of like well, Co parent and everything will be fine and we’ll just separate and still be friends becomes very, very difficult to manage. And that’s where I find that clients come to to us and say I’ve already filed for the divorce.

20:04

You know, she agreed to XY and Z, but now I have a girlfriend and and now she’s not agreeing. And so unless it’s, you know, documented A stipulation and the judges signed it, it’s not a court order. So we have to sort of go back to the beginning.

20:22

So I think that’s one of the reasons to be honest with you is. The introduction of the new the new party, girlfriend or boyfriend? That is a really good point. I’m just sitting here going through my own personal rolodex of experiences right now, but one thing well, something you often get asked about on your socials is divorcing A inverted commas narcissist or someone who seems intent to inflict pain on the other person, even if it’s to their own detriment.

20:58

And I’m so curious about what you think is going through the malicious party’s mind during those moments because it just seems so painful and counter intuitive to moving on. Do you have any insights on that? Well, I can’t really. I can’t really understand narcissism unless you know, you can’t really understand narcissism unless you’re a narcissist.

21:22

Because narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder, right? It’s a mental illness. So nobody really can explain it. And but I will tell you that you cannot fathom what a narcissist is capable of doing and how they not only manipulate during the marriage at the time of divorce and post divorce now sometimes we have clients come to us and they just say my, my, my ex-spouse was toxic and abusive.

22:02

But really this person has signs or a personality, you know, trait of narcissism, but they’re not a textbook narcissist. So I have witnessed narcissists their tactics, and it never ceases to amaze me to this day, over 20 years of practice.

22:25

You know what they’re capable of. I have told judges in family court before that what you see in court, your honor, is not the person that we see outside of court because especially with covert narcissists, they have a great persona while in court.

22:43

They either like, look like the victim or they look like the hero. I have seen them con judges, clerks, experts, minors, counsel evaluators and their own lawyers.

22:59

But because I have a psychology background and believe my clients, they haven’t been able to fool me yet. I have looked the narcissist in the eye and seen their black eyes and I’ll tell you the truth. I just stare back knowing that there is truth and justice.

23:19

At the end of the day, even if you don’t win in family court, someday your child will grow up to know the truth. I have experienced this and see it with my own eyes. As the innocent spouse, you have to keep your side of the street clean, knowing that anything you do or say will be used against you by the narcissist in family court against you.

23:45

So really, I’m always advising my clients to keep, you know, their side of the street clean, not to retaliate. I’d give my clients books about written about narcissism, what that looks like.

24:01

You know, sometimes when it’s the first time they’ve heard of it, they’re like, what are you talking about, You know? And so that’s when I send them to therapy and I say you have to in be in therapy to kind of understand what you’re, what you went through, what this is going to look like in the divorce process.

24:21

And also post divorce, most of the lawyers will not talk about the psychology of the divorce, but that’s one of the great things about our law firm. We educate our clients and say this is what this looks like.

24:38

And even when you’re done and you sign on the dotted line and you’re divorced, a lot of times the narcissist will up their game, so to speak, because now they know they don’t have control over you in family court. So and they know you don’t have an attorney advocating for you.

24:56

So then they will, post divorce, start the abuse even more. I sort of say they turn up the volume of abuse. So it doesn’t just go away. So yes, you’re divorced from them. Great. You don’t have to, you know, go to family court.

25:11

You don’t have the expense of a lawyer. But we found that some of these clients come back later on to say, you know, the, the narcissist is not in compliance, hasn’t paid child support, has, you know, abused them, and now they’re ready to get a restraining order or modification or contempt order.

25:32

So yeah, they are very, very complex cases and unless you have an attorney with a a psychology background, they just won’t understand it. They won’t get it. I’m I’m just sitting here thinking that it’s just it’s so exhausting.

25:50

The idea that the innocent party has to try and work extra hard to keep calm and act well like like when you all you want to do is just fight back. Yes, it’s exhausting. But you know what? Because we represent the innocent. I like to call the innocent spouse just I tell them just to be themselves.

26:11

You know, when they read something like a document and you know that narcissists lie and manipulate and gaslight and project, they do all of that, right? I just tell them, look, you need to breathe through this. Like I’ll sit in court and I’ll literally do breathing exercises with my client.

26:27

I’ll say you know, you need to breathe. Not everything that they’re saying in this document is true. You know the truth. Your child knows the truth, and I know the truth. And so you don’t really want to go down that rabbit hole, right, to, like, try to, you know, disprove everything the narcissist says.

26:50

Because that’s almost like a red herring, right. And so you want to just keep your side of the street clean, You know, sometimes we’ll bring in evaluators, minors counsel, therapist. I mean, I’ve put therapists on the stand before saying, trying to prove to the judge, your honor, this is not at all the way that it seems, because the narcissist looks like either the hero or the victim, like I said earlier.

27:16

So it is very difficult. These cases take a long time. I would say they take triple the amount of time. I will tell you I have a case right now where they were married for seven months.

27:33

We are on month 13 with the divorce and there’s it’s nowhere close to being done. And so the divorce with narcissists usually takes longer than the marriage.

27:50

So you know, if you’ve been married three years, expect a longer divorce process. They also won’t mediate. So you know, somebody sometimes we will say, well can’t we mediate? Of course, but they’re not going to sign anything.

28:07

And if they mediate, it’s really in bad faith because at the end of the day, they’re going to change their mind. So that’s why you can see that This is why it becomes important to get a therapist that is trauma informed, that understands CPTSD and can walk you through the emotional side of the divorce.

28:30

Because as divorce attorneys, we don’t want to get involved intimately with our clients and giving them emotional advice or psychological advice, that’s a bad use of their money. So we work hand in hand with other professionals to really, you know, do what’s in the best interest of our client and their child.

28:52

OK, you really freaked me out with the divorces that take double the time that people were married. But is there? Do you have a worse divorce story? Like can you share an example a divorce you’ve worked on or seen where a person has had to successfully navigate around a malicious ex and then come out on top?

29:10

I would say and I I’ve done a TikTok about this and everybody wants to know more and more and more. So I’ll talk about this one divorce. The couple was married for less than two years. During the divorce, the wife comes in and we’re in court and she comes in with a big belly like she’s pregnant And and she, I looked at my client and I’m like, OK, she’s pregnant.

29:38

She’s clearly pregnant. And I I’m like really upset at this point And I’m like, is this your kid? Right. And she’s like, I swear it’s not my child. And he was as shocked as I was. So the judge comes to the bench and we have to wait.

29:55

And and then I said your honor, you know, so and so wife appears to be right. You know how judges lawyers speak like appears to be pregnant. And so the judge says OK, well is is her client the father.

30:12

And of course she says yes. And so the judge says, well, I have to stop the case now. We have to wait for the child to be born, do ADNA test and that takes, you know, like four or five months. I think we waited.

30:28

And at that point, you know, the DNA test came back negative. My client was not the father and she didn’t even bother to appear at that trial. And so I asked for attorneys fees as part of sanctions because my client had to, you know, obviously he’s paying me.

30:50

And so the judge was really upset and and gave $10,000 in attorneys fees from her side and it ended up I had to send her her wedding ring back in the mail. And it was just, you know, one of those things that my client was just this great, great, great guy and you know, he, he literally told me, he said you know what I’m I’m moving to Canada.

31:17

Like I I just, I can’t even fathom that this has happened. I mean he was just like I’m not dating like you know in America anymore even though they were both. They were both European of European descent.

31:33

But he was like I’m moving. I got to get out of it And I told him I said you know what I don’t blame you maybe that is maybe being here is triggering for you and but it was it was just one of those things where but I’ve seen it you know I’ve seen really ugly divorces where people just you know thinking like you vowed to love this person and you know now you’re just like it’s just a drag out fight with every little thing.

32:02

Actually I’ve got court tomorrow on on one of those cases, so I’m I’m gearing up for the fight tomorrow morning. How do people stay sane? Like how do you advise your clients to what do you say to them to help them stay calm when dealing with an ex partner that might be pulling something like that or looking to get a rise out of them or trigger them to a reaction?

32:25

Yeah, I mean it’s called reactive abuse in psychology. So I don’t, I have a psychology background, I’m not a psychologist. I think that question is really a good question to ask the psychologists that come on on your podcast.

32:41

But I would say that we know about reactive abuse and we know that the narcissist is really good at hitting those points in their spouse that they know is going to trigger the innocent spouse.

32:56

And so that’s when they take out their camera and their, you know, their video because everyone has one now right on their phone and they start videoing you. And that’s what they show the judge. They don’t say the part that they caused this.

33:12

They just say look how look how insane my spouse is, right. And so I tell my clients to be very careful not to react. A a lot of the high conflict cases, obviously with children, the pickups and drop offs are at police stations and you know people go, oh I I don’t want to do that with with my child.

33:35

But children like police officers, they don’t have a bias about about them, right. And the police station, especially in Southern California, they’re used to it. So you take your child in the police station, you that’s a safe place where you can videotape if you need to, you, if you need to make a report, you’re right there.

33:55

And usually the narcissist, even the narcissist is like, OK, my hands are tight behind my back. I better act, you know, appropriately. And so that gives our client just their reassurance that someone has their back because you have to remember something a lot of times with these innocent spouses, people don’t believe them, OK?

34:18

They they, you know, it’s like the narcissist is the covert narcissist is the mother that makes cookies for the child school, right? Like PTA moms or the father is the successful father.

34:35

And so people are like, well, I’ve never been abused. And so these victims walk around and that now they’re in family court, they’re like, nobody believes me, nobody has my back. And so if you can do it at the exchanges at the police station, at least they feel safe in that environment of the exchange.

34:57

Otherwise, if you don’t do it at the police station, the narcissist will come, you know, and evade your space and give you a couple insults as they’re taking their kid and it just gets ugly. And then that’s where you have restraining orders and things of that nature.

35:14

So we try to avoid that as much as possible by telling our clients, like, you know, this is going to get ugly and once it’s done, it might get uglier. So you have to prepare yourself and you know, I think I’m, I’m going to tell you at the end, but I’m writing a book called From Captivity to Survivor because a lot of times these people that are in these abusive, toxic, narcissistic marriages are captive to the narcissist and their mental disorder.

35:51

So what happens is I believe that our clients are not victims, but they’re actually survivors because they’ve gone through a process that has tried to destroy their character, their mental health, their emotional well-being, maybe some alienation of the child.

36:11

And so now they are a survivor. So it’s really important for me to empower my clients because I don’t want the client that’s going to come to court and cry like that’s that doesn’t benefit anyone.

36:27

I want them to come to court and say I can face this person because I know what’s happened to me and I’m an educated empath or an educated, you know, ex-wife, soon to be ex-wife. This is a bit of a sidebar question.

36:44

Don’t tears work in a courtroom? Because I love to cry. I would have assumed that crying would would empathize, would create empathy, I guess. I don’t know. My instinct would be to cry is what I’m saying. Listen, we want you to be authentic, obviously, but I was actually having a consultation with a client, a potential client yesterday and she told me, she said, you know, I was not represented.

37:13

I had to represent myself and I would cry and I thought that OK, if the judge saw my tears that the judge would understand that, you know, I’ve been emotionally abused. And I said, I said I’m going to tell you something that you’re not going to want to hear.

37:29

But most judicial officers, they don’t have the time, the patience, you know, they don’t have usually a background in psychology to understand why you’re crying and really you end up looking like you are not a fit parent.

37:51

You look like you base decisions on emotion rather than logic, and judges are very logical. So you know, what I say that we do is we take the facts of the case and hopefully the truth, and we tie that into rules and laws and things of that nature.

38:16

And judges only deal with the law, the rules. So what do the rules say in, In California, there are no juries for in family court. So really, the judge has some ability to make subjective decisions, but really they’re not.

38:39

Looking for someone that’s weak. Like weakness is not going to get you very far. Now, if you’re on this stand and it’s a domestic violence restraining order and you happen to cry, OK, the judge might understand it in that context.

38:56

But if you’re crying and saying, I need to see my kids, I want to see my kids, and you’re like emotional. The judge is going to look at you and go like get it together, like, you know, so. And if you’re this emotional in court, they’re thinking, what do you like outside of court?

39:12

You must be, you know, a basket case. And so you have to be very strategic when you’re in court. That is really good Intel because I love to cry. But anyway, I’m curious after being in your line of work for so long.

39:33

Simple question, or maybe a hard question. Are you optimistic about marriage as a tradition or a concept in today’s world? So I am, but that’s just my personal belief in my personal life.

39:49

I’m a bit of a hopeful romantic. Not hopeless romantic because we never want to be hopeless, but hopeful, romantic and. I’m, you know, I’ve not allowed the last 20 years of my practice and what I’ve seen tarnish that hopefulness in romance and love and you know, all those great things that when we stand, you know, and and say our vows, you know, I’m hopeful.

40:21

I’m hopeful that, you know, yes, there are great marriages. There are people that stay together. And you know, we’ve even seen that in Hollywood. Our office is, you know, 20 minutes away from Hollywood Blvd. So we’ve seen that also in Hollywood.

40:37

So we’ve seen that with the celebrity celebrities. And so I think that being optimistic about marriage and you know, wanting to remarry after after one divorce, I think everyone has to make that decision on their own.

40:56

It’s not something that I have an opinion on for other people, but I am definitely, and my husband would tell you I am a hopeful romantic. And so I think, you know, I just think everyone has to make that decision on their own.

41:12

I love that. OK, we’re getting to the pointy end, but something I’m doing now is asking each interviewee what their favorite selfish self-care activity is. So for example, I always say mine is to cancel plans if I don’t feel like going out or it doesn’t serve me to go out.

41:29

Do you have something you love to do that’s just for you, even if it might seem selfish from the outside? I think as far as the firm goes, I’m very selective on the cases we take on at the firm. There have been potential clients that have literally begged me or my case coordinator to represent them and we have graciously declined.

41:54

Like they found us on social media and they come and they’re like we really, really want her to take our case and you know, do the initial consultation with them. And I’m like, you know, it’s just not the right fit for our firm. I have a good instinct and I only want to take clients whose cases I believe in are truthful and who put their child’s best interests first.

42:19

We are a child focused firm and we have stayed true to that over 20 years. But in my personal life, I’m often saying no to events and staying home with my husband. Most people would be shocked to know that I am an introvert because I do so much talking, right as I have been on this podcast.

42:43

We do so much videos and social media. We talking in court, you know, always on the phone with opposing counsel. But in my personal world, I need this quiet and peaceful time at home with the one that I love. OK, I know you have to prep for court tomorrow, so just rounding out what’s next for you in the firm?

43:03

Well, in 2024, my goal is to finish the book I’ve been writing, which I mentioned earlier. The title is From Captivity to Survivor, based on real life stories of some of my clients, and it’s an educational book on how to survive divorcing A narcissist.

43:24

I’m also launching a podcast with a good friend of mine. So that’s very exciting about narcissistic abuse and all that entails. I actually want it to be about love, marriage and divorce and beyond divorce.

43:42

So, you know, I want to bring on people that talk about love. Like you just asked me here, Like, do you believe in marriage? Like, I want to talk about that. We want to be a beacon of hope to innocent spouses who are suffering and helped captive by their abusive access.

44:01

So you know, there’s a lot going on at the firm on a day-to-day basis, but we definitely have goals. And my one main goal I want to end with is, you know, we love to educate the public.

44:17

Not every client can obviously afford our legal services. But if I could put a book in someone’s hand or they could listen to a podcast like this one to educate themselves and really empower themselves.

44:33

Because, you know, narcissists thrive on weakness and they thrive on good people who have good hearts, which that’s not a weakness. But you know, sort of like, you know, when you’re vulnerable, right, when you’re in love with someone, that’s a weakness in a way, right?

44:52

You’re like, I don’t want to guard myself. I don’t want to guard my heart because I’m vulnerable with you. And so that’s actually a strength. And you know, I just, I would just keep saying that the community that people like yourself have created on social media through the videos, the educational things, the podcast, the Youtubes are so important.

45:20

And when I first started practice 20 years ago, obviously we didn’t have this. So I’m hoping that our community sort of understands that we have to, we’re all in this together and we can help each other. And you know, obviously if any of your audience wants a consultation, we do them in all 50 states.

45:42

Obviously we don’t give advice necessarily, but I can give them a pattern of what this looks like. And sometimes I’ll also vet attorneys for them if they’re in a different state. But you were all about educating the public and the community at large.

45:59

I love you, you’re amazing and you are perfect for podcast. I can’t and I also can’t wait to read your book. So, What are the first one? All right. Well, I’m going to release you. Thank you so much Padideh and have an amazing day in court tomorrow. Oh, sure. And then I accidentally pressed End before she got to say thanks and goodbye.

46:18

But trust me, Padideh is super lovely. So if you’re in Cali and you need a divorce lawyer or just advice, hit her up or check out her socials. They’re so interesting to watch. I will link to it in the show notes, but what do you guys think?

46:33

You can leave me a voicemail at selfcare-ish.com dot AU because it’s cool. I get to like hear your voice. Or you could slide into my DMS on Instagram at Megan Lonrigan and on TikTok at Megan Mctavish. I know it is really confusing.

46:50

I’m changing my name back to Megan McTavish at the moment and it is a whole fucking thing anyway, so I’ll leave the links in the show notes to make it easier. And also just another reminder, if you want to get in on the Dynamic Detachment program that’s opening this year, head to the link in the show notes and you’ll be put on the wait list.

47:12

And I cannot wait to connect with you because I think it’s going to be powerful. Anyway, I will see you next week and take care.

FAQ

Coping with the emotional turmoil requires a support system, whether it’s friends, family, or a professional therapist. Engaging in self-care activities, establishing a routine, and giving yourself time to heal are crucial. Remember, it’s okay to seek help and to acknowledge your feelings during this challenging time.

Protecting your interests starts with hiring a competent divorce attorney who understands your goals and can advocate on your behalf. Document all assets, liabilities, and important interactions. Stay informed about your rights and the divorce process, and make decisions based on rational thought rather than emotion

Set clear boundaries and use written communication whenever possible. This provides a record of your interactions and can help avoid misunderstandings. Consider using a third-party communication service if direct interaction becomes too hostile or unproductive. Always keep conversations focused on the issue at hand, not personal grievances.

Shield your children from conflict and refrain from speaking negatively about your ex-spouse in their presence. Maintain consistency in their daily routines and be honest with them in an age-appropriate manner. Encourage them to express their feelings and consider professional counseling to help them cope with the changes in their family structure.

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