Lisa Zeiderman and Disagreements Between the Exes
Spouses often have disagreements, but it’s more complicated when they get divorced. How do co-parents sort out plans when they disagree on things like getting your child vaccinated? Is there a standard position from the courts? Or do judges’ personal opinions come into play? And in the end, how much do you want to spend to make a decision like this?
Modern times come with complicated discussions. On today’s episode, matrimonial attorney, CFL, and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Lisa Zeiderman is here to help us navigate the complicated landscape of mental health issues, disagreements about today’s big issues and more.
Sometimes, the problem isn’t a disagreement after divorce. Sometimes it’s the changes people go through over time that leads to the divorce. You’re not the same person you were when you married. Everyone evolves, and sometimes, people don’t evolve together.
But disagreements may rise after the divorce because you no longer have to choose which battles to pick – you can take them all on if you want. There’s no need to compromise anymore. (But it does matter to some extent because it does cost money to pay the lawyer to handle this.)
Today’s conversation helps look at the complexities of arguments, personality changes, and more.
Lisa Zeiderman is Managing Partner at Miller Zeiderman LLP, based in New York. A matrimonial attorney, CFL and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, she regularly handles complex financial and custody divorce matters, as well as pre- and post-nuptial agreements.
Named to the Crain’s New York list of Notable Woman Attorneys for 2022, as well as a Crain’s New York Notable Diverse Lawyer for 2022, a Hudson Valley Best Lawyer in 2022, a 2021 Best Family Law Attorney for Client Satisfaction by the American Institute of Family Law Attorneys, among many other awards, Lisa is a founding member of the American Academy of Certified Financial Litigators and a member of the panel for Attorneys for Children. Lisa is also a member of the Forbes Business Council.
In addition to authoring a well-read blog on Psychology Today, “Legal Matters: Understanding Mental Health Issues as They Apply to Divorce and Child Custody,” Ms. Zeiderman is regularly published in Financial Advisor Magazine, the New York Law Journal, and by the Forbes Business Council. She is also interviewed on issues ranging from financial empowerment to tax issues to child custody in a host of media.
Ms. Zeiderman, a Fordham University of Law graduate, also serves as the Vice President of the Board of Savvy Ladies, Inc., and on the board of LIFT, Legal Information for Families Today.
Links & Notes
- Lisa’s website
- Email Lisa
- Lisa on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter
- Schedule a consult with Seth
- Got a question you want to ask on the show? Click here!
Pete Wright: Welcome to How to Split a Toaster, a divorce podcast about saving your relationships, from TruStory FM. Today, what happens when your toaster's just not cooking anymore? Seth Nelson: Welcome to the show, everybody. I'm Seth Nelson. As always, I'm here with my good friend, Pete Wright. Getting divorced and becoming a co-parent leads to a whole new set of rules around your relationship. Issues you agreed on as a married partner will inevitably become contentious as feelings change and opinions evolve. How do you face these issues as you're learning that you and your former spouse are no longer in agreement? Are there any issues that just don't have a middle ground? Lisa Zeiderman is managing partner of Miller Zeiderman LLP, based in New York. She's a matrimonial attorney, CFL, and certified divorce financial analyst. Among her publications, she's the author of the blog, Legal Matters, Understanding mental health issues as they apply to divorce and child custody, on Psychology Today. Lisa, welcome to the Toaster. Lisa Zeiderman: Thanks so much, Seth and Pete. Glad to be here. Pete Wright: Well, we're grateful to have you here. The conversation that we want to have today... Your experience is quite broad in terms of dealing with these issues. We have sort of a cornucopia of things we could pick your brain on, but today we really want to focus on what happens leading up to and after divorce to ourselves, our brains maybe, our behaviors. What is it about divorce that drives people to feel like their former spouse is a completely different person than they once were when they were married? Lisa Zeiderman: I think that people change over time. I think that they are influenced by different factors, such as friends, family, work, all of those parts of people. I think people grow and change. At some point, they may grow apart, and their views, both about children, about marriage, politically change. Maybe they aren't the same people, essentially, that they were when they got married. I think that that's really what you're asking. In terms of, how does that happen? I think it just happens naturally. Pete Wright: Well, this comes up a lot, as somebody who is not divorced. I know many divorced people. My friends come to me and they say, "This person, my former spouse... I can't speak to her anymore. She is now married. We used to be a liberal couple, and we used to vote Democrat. She's now married to ex-con convicts. She is complete ideological odds with everything we used to believe two years ago. This happened very quickly." I start thinking, "What is it that's causing this sort of whiplash, kind of, identity change after a divorce?" Of course, that leads to, I have to imagine, greater contention in the divorce and post-divorce process. How do you see that play out in your experience? Lisa Zeiderman: Well, look. I do see that people have varying opinions, particularly when they're going through a divorce and particularly about children as they're going through a divorce. There might be some very basic things that they agree on, such as schools, and pediatricians, and friends that would be appropriate for the children. As we've seen during COVID, particularly, they may have very varying views on such very important issues as vaccines. They may differ as to whether to medicate their children if a child has ADHD, or whether the child should go to a specialized school, whether the child should be in therapy or not in therapy. There are basics, but then there are these controversial topics that, I think, couples don't necessarily agree on. That's where it gets tricky because if they can't agree on those topics, these very important decisions, then one of them has to make a decision as to those issues. We saw that, as I said, in COVID where parents didn't agree on whether to vaccinate their children. They didn't even agree as to whether they should vaccinate themselves in many cases. They brought these issues to the court. The court is not in a position to make those decisions for the children. These aren't the court's children. They have the authority to decide which parent is in a better position to make that decision. That's what was happening. The court would decide which parent should make the decision. Frankly, it was usually the parent who was in agreement with the pediatrician. No big surprise. Parents would call us, and they would say, "Well, what do we do?" I would say, "Call the pediatrician. This is the person that you and your spouse both agreed was going to treat your child. Why would this be now a controversial topic? Call the pediatrician who you both agreed on. Ask the pediatrician, his or her recommendation. Likely, that's the best person to follow." Pete Wright: Well, it seems like that's an easy decision. Seth, the courts love those kinds of things, right, making it nice and simple for you. Seth Nelson: Oh yeah. You've learned a lot in our podcast, Pete. The courts are nice and simple. The judges do... They actually do crazy things like follow the law. Pete Wright: What? Shocking. Seth Nelson: I know. To your point on the vaccines is judges don't always follow the law. Judges have inherent bias. They have bias. That is obvious. The cost of litigation, when you get a bad ruling at a trial level to appeal, is just astronomical. Then you have to decide whether or not you're really going to take that up to the appellate court. Even though I can tell them, "It is a 95% winning chance you're going to win, but you got to go hire appellate lawyer to do it." Then it's like, well, how much is this really worth, the financial outlay, just for it to get sent back to the court to try to make a different decision? Pete Wright: Well, I think that's a really great question though, Seth, because this is... Let's take the vaccine, for example, right? It feels to me like that is a decision that many people held very, very strong opinions, strong enough opinions that might determine a much higher pain threshold in terms of what they're willing to pay to be right in the courts. Seth Nelson: Right. Let's be clear about vaccines. It's all about mitigating risk. That's what vaccines do. We all know that you can be vaccinated. You can still get COVID. We hope that it won't be as severe or as long, right? That is the medical decision that you're making. How much money do you want to spend to mitigate that risk? What, if anything, has happened if your child already had COVID once, so maybe has some antibodies? How does that work and versus not? It can get very nuanced in the literature. To Lisa's point, well, you agreed on this pediatrician, but now there's all this other stuff in the news that might not be accurate. You're listening to that and not the pediatrician. Maybe that's what the judge is listening to as well. Lisa Zeiderman: I think that the issue for most of our clients is that when it comes to their children, they're not going to look at the dollars and cents. They're going to make a decision that is in the best interest of their children. It's not as if you're deciding whether you're going to mitigate the risk of losing a million dollars, right? In COVID, particularly, this may be a life and death type of situation. Now we have polio possibly coming out. We had measles prior to this. I think that this is a very important topic, just as people who have children who have dyslexia or people who have children who have ADHD. They may disagree on whether the child should go to a particular school, or they may disagree on whether the child should be medicated. These are all really important issues. I think for our clients, particularly, these are not issues that they're going to put a dollar value on. Now, maybe that's because they're fortunate enough not to have to be able to be in that position of worrying about the dollar value. That may be the particular clientele that we have, frankly. I think that most parents will go to the end of the earth, essentially, to do what is right for their children. The parents who believed that vaccines were not the right way to go... They were willing to go to the end of the earth too. You're right, that the appellate division... It's a long road, and it's an expensive road. For the most part, the judges that were before... I believe that they actually acted reasonably and sensibly and that they really worked hard during COVID to do what was reasonable and sensible in all the cases. I really do believe that. They worked through very tough times. Seth Nelson: Back to your point though, Pete, is maybe when they were married, they agreed on all this stuff. Medical stuff was never an issue. Here it is, two years later, and now it's an issue. There's a couple things, I think, people go through when they get divorced. There is a sense of liberation. I am out of this. I don't have to placate that person anymore. I have this new sense of freedom. Pete Wright: That I was this person when I was with my former spouse, but now I'm more of who I am and who I want to be. Seth Nelson: That's correct. I am finding who I am, and that is not the person that I was when I was married. I lost myself when I was married. I was making decisions because I felt bullied, or it was just easier to say yes, or she totally ran rough shot over me over all the kid stuff. I could never do anything right. She handled all the vaccinations and all the kid stuff. I didn't really agree, but it wasn't worth the fight for me because I was trying to keep my marriage, and I was trying to pick my battles. Now we're divorced. I can pick every battle I want. Pete Wright: I may be fortunate enough to be able to afford to pick all the battles. Seth Nelson: Yeah, exactly. Even if you're not, here's what happens, right? Giving a child medication is a joint parental responsibility decision in Florida. Check your local jurisdiction, right? Going, getting ADHD medication for your child... That should be a joint decision, but the problem is the default is the child isn't getting the medication. If someone says, "No," that's the default. You can't just start giving the medication. Now you get into this type of fight. In my experience, it's more been the fathers than the mothers, is they don't want their kid labeled. "I don't want that diagnosis. We're not going to label my kid. He's fine, or if you label him, then he is going to be treated different." There's all these reasons why they don't want the labeling, where the other parent might say, "I don't care about the label. The label gets us access to care. Maybe it opens the door to therapy that we don't have to pay for." Maybe it opens the door for medication, but now you have this struggle. Courts are not set up to solve these disputes, right? That's where it gets very expensive, very quick. You have to go in, and then you get the medical experts to say why they need it. The court can't say, "Give them the medication." In Florida, the court can say, "I think the parent not allowing the medication is acting detrimental to this child. Therefore, the other parent has decision-making." Well, now you got a huge imbalance of power. Pete Wright: What happens in that case? That's what I'm really interested in this point, is how it gets decided that one parent has full decision-making power. What about those cases when the parent had full decision-making power leading up to COVID, let's say, and now has that authority over a parent who suddenly believes quite strongly that that's not the way to do it? What does the court think about all of this? Lisa Zeiderman: Those are two different questions. Let's start with the first question. How does the court determine which parent is in the better position? When I say, "In the better position," it's the parent that is going to act in the children's best interest as opposed to their own interest. Who's going to be able to put the children's best interest in front of their own interest? That's one of the things that the court looks at. Now, what will they look at? They'll look at, who is the parent who would normally make these decisions, routinely? If, for 10 years, it was Dad who was making the decision, who was Dad who was taking the child to the pediatrician, it was Dad who found the pediatrician, it was Dad who would be signing the records all the time, maybe it's going to be Dad who makes the decision. I mean, that is certainly one of the things that the court will look at. I think the other thing, and what's very important, is which parent is the parent who is going to be more apt to consider the other parent's opinion? In other words, have a meaningful consultation with the other parent. Take in the information that the other parent has. Even if you disagree with it, consider it, and then come to a decision. That's very important to the court. Pete Wright: Lisa, how is that measured? How do you measure a meaningful conversation? Lisa Zeiderman: Look, now we're in the world of emails and text messages, right? The court will look at all of those emails and text messages. The question is, is someone saying, "Hey, I'm just doing this, and I don't really care about your opinion. You are just... You're stupid. You're a moron." Or, is this a person who is saying, "Okay, I hear what you're saying. Let's go back to the doctor. Let's present your views about it. Let's have a meaningful dialogue about it. I'm not dismissing what you have to say. Then let's come to a decision." Seth Nelson: Pete. Pete Wright: Yeah. Seth Nelson: Do you have any idea how this actually happens in practicality, if both of those people currently have counsel? Pete Wright: Please. Please do tell. Seth Nelson: This is what happens more often than you would imagine. I get a phone call from a client, hypothetically, and they say, "He is refusing to do X." In this case, vaccinations. How do I respond? I ghostwrite the response because I know it's going to be used in court, right? I have them use their own words, but I totally will edit it. Especially with difficult- Pete Wright: You're talking about writing a text or an email. Seth Nelson: Yeah. Pete Wright: You're helping your client write an appropriate response. Seth Nelson: Yeah, I will help them write a text and an email because I want to make sure that, one, we're trying to solve the problem. I can better communicate what she's trying to say, in this hypothetical, than she can. I use what I call, and people have heard this, the BIFF method: brief, informative, friendly, and firm. You don't go on, and on, and on. Then we craft it. It's perfect. She sends it. Now he's got a great lawyer named Lisa. Then he calls Lisa and says, "How do I respond?" Really, the lawyers are now communicating back and forth through their clients. Pete Wright: It's attorney puppet theater. Lisa Zeiderman: I disagree with that to some degree. I'll tell you why. I think that people do have their own views about it. Our clients, frankly, will write their emails. Sometimes to their detriment, they will write their emails, okay? Seth Nelson: Oh, I get the calls after they've been scolded in court about their emails. That's when it happens. It's not right at the beginning. I'm with you, Lisa. Lisa Zeiderman: They will write their emails. This is divorce, and it's a very stressful time for people. If it's about custody or these types of issues, they're going to write their own emails because they can't wait to send the email to have the conversation with us. I don't see that, the way that you see it, I will write a letter. Don't get me wrong. I'll write a letter all day long, if I have to, to the other attorney. Or, this morning, I was on the phone with an attorney having a conversation at 8:00 in the morning about an issue. I said, "We're just going to have to file a motion." I think that we have a lot of professionals who are our clients. They really believe strongly in some of their convictions. They do actually want to meaningfully consult with their spouse. If they don't, you're right, we will teach them that that is the right thing to do because there's no question that that is the right thing to do. I'm not telling you that everybody comes in and says, "Oh, I want to meaningfully consult with my ex-spouse-to-be or my ex-spouse." That's not what I'm saying. We explain to them that the appellate division looks at that. The trial court looks at that, that that is important. It takes on a life of its own. It's always like the parent who was not involved with their children, necessarily, during the marriage because maybe the other spouse was doing all of that day-to-day stuff. All of a sudden, that parent becomes involved. You know what? They start to like it because they're actually getting attention from the children, and the children are loving it. It builds on itself. I think people can be taught that they need to meaningfully consult. Now, after they meaningfully consult and it doesn't work, then somebody has to make a decision. In a medical situation, when they don't agree... To Seth's point, when they don't agree, the doctor is not going to make the decision. They're not getting involved. Their hands are off, and nothing is happening. That is the problem. Even in a joint legal custody situation... This goes to your question, Pete. When there's a joint legal custody situation, and now there's a problem. What do we have to do to show to change it? Well, there's a substantial change in circumstances, perhaps, or we're in a situation where it's just not in the best interest of the children anymore to have joint legal custody in terms of their parents. Pete Wright: Then one of the parents has, essentially, right for all the healthcare and makes those decisions. Lisa Zeiderman: During COVID, sometimes we'd put in motions to the extent of getting the vaccination. Seth Nelson: You always want to try to limit the decision-making as much as you can. A narrow, well-founded, targeted motion has a higher likelihood of success than all healthcare decisions. Lisa Zeiderman: Particularly if there's an emergency, right? The pandemic was an emergency. Almost every day, there was an emergency. Pete Wright: Sure. Okay. All right. I guess that makes sense to me. Right when we started the show, Seth, right before we pushed record, we started talking about this issue. You said something that really stuck out to me, which is the court hated that, that there was one parent who had authority to make a decision related to the vaccine. You were in court related to this. What was that story then? How did that get triggered? Lisa Zeiderman: The courts in New York have definitely made decisions that are, in my mind, more pro-vaccine. When a parent did not follow the recommendations of the pediatrician, and there are people dying every day during COVID, the courts were not going to be apt to give the other parent who was against the vaccine, the legal decision not to give the vaccine. That's what the court really did not like, is the parent who was so resistant to giving the vaccine when vaccines... We've given vaccines: polio, TB, measles. I mean, vaccines have happened all through these years. Seth Nelson: There's all sorts of things. Pete Wright: Right, right. Seth Nelson: You know, Pete. We've talked about this. I can be in courtroom A, and I'm going to get a different decision in the courtroom B on the same set of facts. It all kind of just plays out. I think the real thing to understand here is when you're married, ultimately, a decision gets made, and you go about your life. When you're divorced, it's much harder because there's no real reason to compromise on an issue like this. If you feel strongly... You're not living in the same house. Your finance aren't tied together. Maybe there's child support going back and forth or alimony. You're really living separate lives, but you have a kid in common. Now it is much harder to put your feelings aside, to put your ego aside, just to say, "It's not worth the conflict." I am always talking to clients when they call me about an issue, "How big of an issue is this for you? You know what I'm going to tell you. Here's the law. Here's what I think the information you're giving me. I can file a motion. We can do discovery. We can set it for a hearing. We can go in front of a judge. We can go through that whole rigmarole, or we can try to resolve this. If we don't get it resolved to your satisfaction, even if I'm telling you this could be a winner in court, do you want to spend the money, time, and effort, and brain power, and emotional effort to fight this battle?" Some of the answers are yes, and some of them are no. Some of them are, "No, no, no, no. I'm tired of saying no. Yes." Even though out of all the no's, this is the smallest one, right, because it's the straw that broke the camel's back. It's that type of emotional response. It's that type of feeling like you're always the one giving in that gets resentment in a relationship that is already strained because you're divorced, and you don't agree. There's no real reason, from a personality interpersonal connection, to try to compromise. Pete Wright: It's such an interesting sort of exploration of human behavior, just, that happens when relationships fall apart. Back-to-school season's almost over, Seth. I can't believe it, but my kids, even my kids in the way delayed state of Oregon, are almost going back to school. Now, you know as well as I do that going back to school is a rough time when you are co-parenting, and it's especially true when alcohol and child safety is a concern. Seth Nelson: That's why, as everyone knows here on the Toaster, our mission includes helping divorced parents truly save their relationships. Being a co-parent is difficult enough when you're not living under the same roof. You add in alcoholism or an allegation of alcoholism, and it's a problem. That's why we've partnered with Soberlink to help offer resources to help you navigate this upcoming back-to-school season. Pete Wright: What is Soberlink? Soberlink is remote alcohol monitoring technology created to help prove sobriety in custody cases. The system that you're going to get is... It includes a high-tech breathalyzer device that includes facial recognition and allows you to receive real-time updates from monitored co-parents anytime, anywhere, allowing for swift intervention for improved child safety. They have helped hundreds of thousands of people to document proof of sobriety in real time for peace of mind in child custody cases. Seth Nelson: Soberlink is currently offering free back-to-school and divorce packets that include question and answers with top divorce attorneys, back-to-school checklist, communication tips, and a whole lot more. Request your free packet today at soberlink.com/toaster. Pete Wright: I want to use this opportunity, Lisa, have you talk a little bit about Legal Matters and, specifically, the subtitle, Understanding mental health issues as they apply to divorce and child custody. One, how did you end up feeling like this was the platform on Psychology Today? I mean, how was that the right mix for you to write about these issues related to law and divorce? Lisa Zeiderman: First of all, we see so much mental health in divorce and when people come to us. We certainly saw it a lot during COVID, but we saw it before COVID, people who would come to me. In the middle of the case, I would find out something that had gone on that they should have recognized early on. For example, we're going up in the elevator for trial. I always remember this. I would say something, and they would say, "Yeah, she used to cut herself all the time. She was in a hospital for that. When she broke up with her boyfriend before we got married, she tried to commit suicide." I'm like, "Why didn't you tell me any of this before? By the way, didn't the lights go on before you got married?" Seth Nelson: Yeah, it's hard to tell a client that when you're walking into trial, though. Lisa Zeiderman: That's the time they hear it from me, if they're telling it to me, right? I'm like, literally, the five-minute elevator ride up. Sure enough, during the case or during the trial, something comes up, and it comes out. Look, that's the last time that you usually hear it. Somewhere mid-time when you're representing people, very often, you learn about these emotional issues that occurred. I think that, although I'm not a psychologist... I'm not a therapist. I'm not licensed at all in that area. There are certain telltale signs. Somebody comes into your room, and they're speaking really, really, really rapidly, super rapidly. Or, they're waking up at 5:30 in the morning calling you, and then it's 4:30 in the morning, and then it's 3:30 in the morning. You're getting text messages all night, and then they don't speak to you at all. I mean, there might be some manic behavior here, and you have to recognize it, or someone- Seth Nelson: Oh, I thought you were just describing my last weekend there. I got distracted. Sorry about that. Lisa Zeiderman: I think we see it a lot. So many people come to me, and they say they're married to a narcissist. Okay, that's a common issue. So many people come in, and they are married to people who have addiction issues. Along with addiction issues, very often, are depression issues, anxiety. I mean, we see this. We work very closely and collaboratively with people's therapists so that we can get through a lot of these issues. It was a natural platform, I thought. People did relate to it, for sure. Pete Wright: I'm sure of it, just given the nature of the kinds of conversations we've hosted on this very show. So many of them are just reminders of just how our brains are working as individual organisms, that it's complicated and, I imagine, exacerbated by the stress, anxiety, fear, uncertainty, doubt that comes with the divorce process. Gets back to the opening question, was, how are we changing when we go through the divorce process? In some ways, maybe we would never have expected. Lisa Zeiderman: Right. I think that mental health is definitely one of the things that comes up. People become more stressed, more anxious. They may be very disappointed in their marriages because there was adultery, or they were abused in some way. We see a lot of financial abuse in our cases, even from the breadwinner who is financially abused. As you know or you may know, I'm very much involved in the issue of financial abuse. I'm vice president of the Board of Savvy Ladies, which deals with women and empowering them financially in terms of financial literacy. I mean, so much of this is part of what we do every day. Seth Nelson: Part of that, Pete, right, if you have someone in that scenario that Lisa just described, the one that is being abused... When they get divorced, yet they're going to be a different person. If they do the hard work and figure out what they did to stay in that relationship, they're going to do the hard work. They're going to be a different person, so they're not in that relationship again. To your hypothetical that you gave earlier about... Oh, we all agreed on kind of our politics, and now she's way on the other side of the political spectrum. She's dating or getting married to these guys that are convicted felons. It just seems so different. That might be a sign of not having anything to do with the divorce. Maybe there's a mental illness thing that creeps in at your 40s, right, but you're no longer living in the house. You have so much less information than you did when you were living with that person. It's very easy to take that information and fill in the gaps that we don't have with all negativity, right, because when you don't know, you always assume the worst. That's human nature. Part of that also happens. You have substantially less information. With someone that's not communicating with you... I mean, we got people that have to talk to each other on these apps and check in once a day. I mean, that's not how you communicate with your wife. Even just the way that you do it... Some people are like, "I can't fricking talk, and my phone gets blown up, 40, 50 messages a day." We're like, "Okay, let's get to the app. Just check it once a day. Respond accordingly," right? There's all these different things. To answer that question, there isn't a simple answer. It's not like, this is the thing. People feel liberated. They do the hard work. Some people are just like, "You kidding me? Yeah, I've got all this. I want to show up at parents' night with the 20-year-old, even though I'm 50, just to piss off my former spouse." People do that. Lisa Zeiderman: It's also, they are now working with attorneys. They're working with therapists. They're working with accounting firms. They are much more knowledgeable, usually, than they were when their marriage first started. They have learned through experience, but they've also changed their group. Who they were listening to has changed. I mean, I don't believe that I'm the same person who went through my divorce, okay? I'm now remarried almost 25 years. I'm not that person that I was at 24 years old when I got married the first time around. I changed through my divorce. I became more educated. I went to law school. I- Seth Nelson: Pete, that's what most people do when they get divorced. They just go straight to law school. Pete Wright: Go to law school. Seth Nelson: Yeah, yeah. I mean- Lisa Zeiderman: That's what they should do. That's what they should do. Seth Nelson: It's either that or medical school. Lisa Zeiderman: Right, one or the other. Or, they become a therapist. Pete Wright: Therapist. There you go. Lisa Zeiderman: Right, exactly. Or, a real estate broker. Pete Wright: There you go. I feel like we're playing, "Survey Says," Family Feud style. Lisa Zeiderman: You do change. I'll never forget. I'm going to share just a very funny story. I remember when I was going through my divorce, and my ex-husband was trying to do everything to basically gaslight me. One day, he shut off all the lights. I'm sure he never thought that I would understand what a circuit breaker was. Sure enough, I made my way down, and I turned back all the lights. I'm thinking to myself, "He doesn't think I know what a circuit breaker is, but I know exactly what it is." That became a standard joke, actually, because somehow, I learned that. There are all sorts of things that you learn as you're going through a divorce. You learn that you should look at your financial statements, that you should look at your tax returns, that you should open the mail, that you can't depend on someone else all the time. There's a whole base of knowledge that I think people gain when they go through this situation. Seth Nelson: When you start doing that stuff, as simple as it sounds... Yep. I learned about a circuit breaker, okay? You get confidence. I can handle that. I've had clients tell me, "Being divorced is great." I'm like, "What are you talking about?" They're like, "He moved out of the house, and I've gotten so many things fixed around this house that he kept saying he was going to get done and wouldn't do because I went online. I did a Google search. I found a guy. I read the reviews. A handyman came over and fixed everything in a half day. I paid $237, right? The sink had been leaking for three years. Then it's like, I can handle the maintenance on the house. I thought I was all worried about how I was going to do it. I realized I had the best tool ever, a telephone." Pete Wright: Yeah, right. Seth Nelson: I called somebody, right. I mean- Pete Wright: Yeah, right. Get it done. Seth Nelson: It changes people in a good way, in a way that I can be more self-sufficient. I don't have to rely on anybody else. I can even go to law school. Pete Wright: I just love that you're telling a story about your former spouse gaslighting you by turning the lights off. Literally, that's part of the plot of the movie, Gaslight, in 1944, had he just seen the movie and got really excited about it. Step number one, watch the movie, Gaslight, everybody. If you learn nothing else, you'll know if you're being gaslit if you just watch this movie. It's all I'm saying. This is great. Lisa, thank you so much- Lisa Zeiderman: Thank you. Pete Wright: For being here, for being a part of the show. We appreciate your wisdom. I hope people are getting something out of this conversation. I think a lot of great lesson's buried in here about how people change, behaviors change, and how you navigate those changes going through the divorce process. Seth, you're a rock star, as always. I don't even know what to say to you. Seth Nelson: Well, are you feeling okay? I got a compliment. Pete Wright: I know. I know. I must be... Or, maybe I just watched the movie, Gaslight. We'll see. Lisa, where do you want people to find you? Lisa Zeiderman: They can go to Lisazeiderman.com, or they can actually email me at Lz@Mzw-law.com. Pete Wright: Fantastic. We'll put all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much for being here. On behalf of Lisa Zeiderman and Seth Nelson, America's favorite divorce attorney, I'm Pete Wright. We'll catch you next week right here on How to Split a Toaster, a divorce podcast about saving your relationships. Outro: Seth Nelson is an attorney with NLG Divorce and Family Law with offices in Tampa, Florida. While we may be discussing family law topics, How to Split a Toaster is not intended to nor is it providing legal advice. Every situation is different. If you have specific questions regarding your situation, please seek your own legal counsel with an attorney licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction. Pete Wright is not an attorney or employee of NLG Divorce and Family Law. Seth Nelson is licensed to practice law in Florida.