The Cost of Anger: Guest post by Tara Eisenhard


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By Jackie Pilossoph, Divorced Girl Smiling Editor-in-Chief

I absolutely loved this blog and had to share it. It is so very accurate, and spells out so clearly how money is thrown away on attorneys, and it all stems from anger. So, next time your ex pisses you off, think about it. You have a couple choices: A. Deal with it by going to the gym or doing something else that is productive. B. Call your attorney, which is the same as taking money and flushing it down the toilet.

The Cost of Anger, by Tara Eisenhard

True story (minor details have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved)…

Janie and Joe had been separated for nearly a year. The paperwork was filed, the support amount was determined and the custody arrangements were made. That said, they were still struggling to find some sense of normalcy in their new lives.

One Sunday night toward the end of the month, the kids returned from a visit with Joe and were ecstatic to tell their mother about the great weekend they had. Janie bit her tongue while she listened patiently, then sent the girls to bed and seethed until the wee hours of the morning. The following day, she did what nearly every divorcing person does when they feel defeated: she called her lawyer.

A few days later, Joe got a letter in the mail. Actually, it was a photocopy of a letter that his attorney had received from Janie’s attorney. Joe read the text which amounted to: “Dear Counselor, As of today my client has only $24 in her checking account and she needs to purchase groceries for her children. I have been informed that your client recently purchased a 30 foot boat and am wondering if perhaps the support agreement should be recalculated.”

Joe flew into a rage and picked up the phone to call his own bulldog, who was unavailable. Next he turned to his computer and fired off an email: “Excuse me?!? The last time I checked, I was already paying her thousands of dollars per month in support. It’s not my fault she doesn’t know how to budget appropriately. And as for the boat, it’s far from 30 ft long… try 30 years old! And it’s a sailboat. I can’t afford something that’s going to be a gas-guzzler. Geez, I was so excited that I found a low-cost activity for me and the kids and now she pulls this! Who does she think she is?? Tell her lawyer to pound sand. If anything, I’m paying too much support- the girls told me she’s planning a big party next weekend with a professional caterer. And I had fast food for breakfast this morning!”

Joe was feeling quite smug as he hit the send button and he felt even better when he received a copy of the letter his lawyer sent to Opposing Counsel: “Dear Counselor: Again, you have incorrectly accused my client. The boat you mentioned was not an expensive purchase and it was one made in the interest of our parties’ children. As per the support schedule, your client will receive a disbursement within a few days. I understand she has a social affair to fund.”

Janie’s reaction to the copy of the letter from Joe’s attorney was quite similar to Joe’s reaction to the initial letter from Janie’s attorney. This time instead of calling her lawyer, Janie called her girlfriend and spent an hour belching her venom into the sympathetic ear on the other end of the phone. The following week, both Janie and Joe received new envelopes from their attorneys. Instead of a snippy note about the couples’ personal drama, the envelopes each contained a bill for an additional $500. The justification for the charges:

• Phone conversation with client re: checking balance
• Review of file
• Letter to opposing counsel
• Email from client re: boat
• Review of file
• Letter to opposing counsel

…So in the end, Joe and Janie spent $1000 in attorney fees to convey petty messages between themselves. $500 spent by the woman who only had $24 in her checking account. $500 spent by the man who couldn’t afford food that wasn’t available at a drive-through. $1000 to accomplish…nothing.

Tara Eisenhard is the author of The D-Word: Divorce Through a Child’s Eyes and the blog, Relative Evolutions. From her experiences as an ex-wife and daughter of cooperatively divorced parents came her belief that families can evolve, not dissolve, through the separation process. A student of divorce, Tara studies divorce and blended-family dynamics, and she is passionate about sharing her vision with others. For more information, visit taraeisenhard.com


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Author: Jackie Pilossoph

Divorced Girl Smiling offers advice, inspiration and hugs. If you want a Cinderella story, be your own fairy godmother. You're the only one who can pick out that perfect glass slipper!

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