Full Disclosure and Fairness: What Women Need to Know When Marriage Ends and Discovery Begins

It’s not often that you hear divorced parties, whether a man or a woman, say they got a fair shake in the legal process but for women who have been stay-at-home mothers and/or gave up careers to support a husband, fairness, or the lack thereof, can be frightening and even permanently scarring.

Education of women at earlier stages in life is the core solution to this problem so you’ll read more about programs and tools over the coming year to address these issues.

Help shape educational programs and tools by providing as much detail about your experience as you can manage or muster! It is absolutely NOT a fun task to think back about what went wrong, what you wish you’d known about your family finances, spending habits, retirement plans, etc., and it can be even more painful to think about how your case was handled (or mishandled) by lawyers and experts. So, I don’t ask this of you lightly. If you cannot spare the time, energy or emotion to do it now, please save this page and come back to it later?

Specific to the needs of women and improving outcomes, including preserving peace of mind and stability along the way, please consider and answer these questions. If you think of questions – to help women or men – and do not see them here, please make notes and reach out using the Contact form on this website. Thank you!

Thank you, Congress, for Putting Child Safety First!

Important update!

Congress passed House Conc. Resolution 72 on September 24th, late into the evening.

This was a bipartisan effort with tireless support from child advocates, lawyers and legislators from across the country. This was a tremendous first step toward improving safety, mental health and family stability for children!

Watch this video courtesy of C-SPAN to hear what Representatives from both the Republican and Democratic parties have to say about this new mandate to states and courts. The video is linked in the previous sentence. To comment on this legislation and story, please use the Contact form here.

My Advocate Center supports Georgia Courts in improving child safety and mental health.

Why did My Advocate Center begin publishing information about this proposed resolution back in April of 2018?  The answer: child safety and emotional well-being should always be the first priority of every legal matter involving children. Always. Most of us, however, could not fathom that this has NOT been the case; in fact, the true needs of children, including protection from an abusive parent, are often ignored.

You’ve seen the news reports, heard the stories and talked about it on social media, or maybe only quietly shared it with your counselor when privately grieving what has happened to you or to your loved ones.

The next step for Georgians is to ask our policy leaders to help create momentum on this issue. Please sign the petition below and get to know your U.S. Representatives by sharing your experience with them.

What is the overall goal?

Keeping our children safe, our families stable and healthy, protecting our rights as parents and grandparents to care for our own children. To do this, we need to improve how our courts and legal professionals manage family disputes that enter the the legal system.

Did you know? We reached over 1000 signatures on our previous petition, so just imagine what we can do now!

McCool’s Significant Pushback with Tony Robbins

If you could hit the re-wind button and give him a chance to give a fresh response to Nanine McCool, the woman who calmly dared to challenge him on his stage, what would you have Tony Robbins say to her?  Think about this before you answer. What would you have someone with such a large presence, his 6’7″ stature aside, in the corporate coaching arena impress upon his followers? You’ll want to see the Today Show clip at the bottom of this page to see just who McCool is, what she represents and how Robbins later responded!

It’s possible that his challenger taught us more than Robbins possibly could have given his limited experience on this subject. That’s my main take-away, that McCool gave us something, a valuable method for responding, to use in a situation such as this. We should all focus on her strategy and how she undid even his PR team that couldn’t get this video off the web fast enough.

Initially, most people responded in disgust over Robbins’ callous and lame statements. What an opportunity he had, right here, to empower both women and men, but he blew it!  Is this the end of it, the noise being made about his deplorable remarks, or will someone – or a group of significant someones – run with the opportunity to make a positive impact on our culture?

Personally, I’m so glad – grateful – that The Good Men Project picked this up and ran with it in doing this interview with Nanine McCool. Excellent article!

Can we unite around McCool and other voices of reason?

It wasn’t just what she said to Robbins, but how she said it, calmly but firmly and with a smile on her face. That’s what I’ll remember.

How we respond to victims of abuse and whether or not we take a stand to stop harassment, exploitation and the destruction of lives matters in a big way. It matters so much more than how many books you sell or how big the stadium is that you pack out. But how do we get people to open their minds and change behavior when someone who is so influential speaks and behaves this way?

Robbins is facing backlash over this exchange, which was shown in a video clip than ran through Twitter like wild-fire over the weekend. The short clip managed to make it out to the public after his team had the longer version pulled from the web. The full version became available today, and can be viewed below.

“I’m not mocking the #MeToo movement, I’m mocking victimhood,” he told McCool and the audience, according the longer video from the event. “If you use the #MeToo movement to try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else…all you’ve done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good.”

McCool stood her ground: “I hear you mischaracterizing the #MeToo movement. Certainly there are people who are using it for their own personal devices, but there’s also a significant number of people who are using it not to relive whatever may have happened to them, but to make it safe for the young women…And I think you do the whole movement a disservice by characterizing it the way you have.”

Robbins said he didn’t want to be misinterpreted, and invited McCool to join him at the center of the room. He then asked her to hold out her fist. When she did, he put his hand on her fist and pushed her backwards.

“So you’re telling me the the harder I push, the more you’re gonna comply, and I’m going to be safe,” Robbins said as he pushed McCool backwards. After a little back and forth banter between Robbins and the woman, he stopped and said, “When you push someone else, it doesn’t make you more safe. It just makes them angry.”

My first reaction to this is that he can’t possibly comprehend what he’s done, not fully, because he doesn’t know what it’s like to be mistreated because of being more vulnerable than someone else. The above exchange isn’t what fired me up enough to write about this.  Hang on…

The founder of the Me Too Movement gave a great response as seen in this Mashable article.

When I first saw the short version of this exchange that took place before this enormous audience, I was just in shock. How could he not recognize what he was doing and why it was so wrong, so offensive and backwards? When he used the story about male friends who have told him they are afraid of hiring that woman because she’s attractive, conveying the message that the voice of survivors of sexual assault is causing problems for women in hiring decisions, it set us way back. Way, way back. Many of us believed him to be enlightened, someone we wanted our corporate leaders to consult with and take advice from. No longer is that my opinion.

No more is my answer. That was my answer when I heard an executive I believed in 15 years ago say he couldn’t hire the attractive woman to be his direct report; he didn’t trust himself, so her career would suffer when he wasn’t honest about why he didn’t hire her. And this is my answer now: we must and can do better in helping our young men learn how to respect and treat women. Respecting others in general, learning empathy and finding better ways to communicate…lots to work on!

The challenge for Robbins posed by Destin Gerek of The Good Men Project is that he make amends. To do that in a genuine and meaningful way, he needs to be educated, not just coached by the TR team. Therein lies the opportunity for Robbins and others in his place of influence. If they take the time and use their resources to understand what victimization is and how survivors manage through injury and trauma to overcome it, if they invest personally and in public speech to reduce assault and exploitation in various forms, they can create a win for themselves and for the rest of us. It’s possible, and I hope many will watch to see how they respond, and talk about what happens next.

Only a few days later, this interview aired on national television. Take a look!

Nanine McCool was comfortable standing up and speaking against what she felt was wrong. It’s no surprise to learn that she was a fierce advocate for the truth in child custody matters. Also not surprising is the fact that she was invited to accept discipline in her state for her advocacy; declining to agree with a condemnation of her work which she knew would suppress the truth of the situation – the need to stand up to wrongdoing and further harm of a victim of abuse and the children involved – McCool surrendered her law license. This is the kind of oppression, the kind of false narrative, many are up against as they seek to protect themselves and their children.

Watch how Robbins responds after re-thinking his position:

 

What kind of opportunity do we have before us?

This is so much more than a news story or a social media trend about a major personality getting it wrong. Big foot in big mouth wrong. It’s a significant chance to influence how we treat others and especially how we respond to someone who has been harmed or is still in harm’s way. And, it’s a really exciting chance to change minds about the issues raised in this video and by the #MeTooMovement.  Thank you, Nanine McCool and Tarana Burke!

Take a chance and stand up for someone like Nanine McCool did here when she stood up for many.

I dare you!

Deb Beacham

Pushback Maven at My Advocate Center, Inc.

 

Warm Christmas and Holiday Wishes

To all who have been following and supporting My Advocate Center whether since inception in 2011 or in recent weeks and months, thank you and Merry Christmas!

Stay warm and stay kind, encourage advocacy and generosity wherever you are, and remember to put the needs of our children first and you will be blessed.

Deb Beacham, Founder

 

The Right Bug Repellant

Years ago when I first started studying the conduct of professionals who assist families during times of conflict, I noticed something interesting. When someone who is intensely worried and frustrated believes they have the right counsel, they will dress as they are told, cut their hair and change various behaviors for the sake of achieving the objective of the day. These changes in behavior and style and speech seem to happen quickly, without study, due diligence or challenge.

Imagine if a man relying on counsel is heading into the woods instead of into a courtroom.

He’s mainly worried about mosquitoes.

He asks his highly recommended counsel to hand him bug repellant to save him from the buzzing mosquitoes. He’s assured that if he applies this spray liberally and forges ahead, he will come out fine on the other side of the woods.

As he heads into the woods, believing he is covered and really has only about 100 yards to go, the buzzing sound goes away but he notices something else. He pulls up his pant legs to find a handful of ticks – you get the picture.  Ticks dig in and they are hard to get out. Treating disease caused by ticks? Expensive, time-consuming, stressful, and not always possible.

The man is confused. He has no reason to believe that his counsel would not give him the right advice or that he wouldn’t receive the protection he’s paying for and expecting, so he starts looking around trying to figure out where all the ticks came from and why he wasn’t warned about them. The ticks are much more threatening and painful than the mosquito bites he was trying to avoid…so what to do?

He calls out to his counsel who offers to sell him another bottle of spray and some ointment. So the man pays for what he is handed, takes the bottles out of the bag and begins spraying and applying the ointment. While he’s busy with these bottles another problem hits him. He can’t see his feet…or his ankles any longer. While applying the ointment to the back of his legs and prying out ticks, he doesn’t see he’s been standing in quicksand. He panics – he’s never seen quicksand before and realizes it seems to be pulling his legs in an inch at a time!

Now angry and scared, he calls out loudly to his counsel. Then he pauses.

He sees his counsel and a couple of other suits approaching with shovels and barbed wire. Quickly he tries to rationalize how they are going to save him with barbed wire? Is the shovel enough to move the quicksand away as he is now in up to his hips?

Feeling stuck?

You know what to do now, right? Click here for the right tools.

 

Erasing Families Near You

This woman is an actress but on this video, in this horror story, she is not acting.

She speaks the truth for many thousands of parents and children across America and around the globe.

The act of erasing a loving, safe parent from the lives of his or her children is a profitable business, and a cruel one. This is the driving force behind much of our research and reporting into the conduct of lawyers and doctors acting as Guardian ad Litem or child custody evaluator, and it is the reality that led to the creation of this mild cartoon focused merely on the financial aspects of such cases.

But what can be done? Is there a way to help families avoid such loss?

First, watch this video, then contact me to learn more about solutions in motion.

Early Intervention and Financial Advisors

The right solution is often a simple one.

If you believe that solving financial problems – or avoiding them – has to be a complicated and mysterious endeavor you could miss the best answer, which may mean the right advisor for your situation and life or business goals.

I believe that finding the right financial advisor early in life, early in a marriage, before starting a business, and early in the process of resolving conflict between family members is priceless.

Any time you are emotionally charged, under pressure to make big decisions, facing uncertainty or a major disappointment, you are served well to already have trust established with a solid, loyal and talented financial advisor.

Do I have recommendations? Of course I do!

My perspective comes, in part, from the study of hundreds of cases or situations presented to me through this website, and from experience in financial services where I worked directly with advisors and money managers across the United States.  Wisdom also comes from learning firsthand that not all financial advisors will give you all of the information or insight you need to make smart decisions.

During research of actual cases, I’ve noted how some financial experts make analyzing and planning more convoluted and expensive than the situation calls for, but emotionally charged parties aren’t in a position to recognize that value is lacking, or that key information is even being withheld. By the time someone realizes that they weren’t served well by the expert they were guided to use, it’s too late; the damage is done. Yes, I can show you what that looks like on paper and how it translates into bigger trouble in life. While I can help illustrate problems you want to avoid, the financial professionals I know and trust are the best at showing you what your best options are and then empowering you to act on them.

Early intervention is the way to go.

Make time before a crisis arises to interview and get to know advisors, and learn what value-added looks and feels like when working with a financial advisor. If you feel uncertain about a professional relationship and need to consult with someone else, let me know.

Coming soon: the next series of eye-opening interviews is under development, so please get in touch if you have suggestions for topics or would like to contribute as an expert or to simply tell a story that can help others reach better financial outcomes.

Above all, preserve your time and financial resources for the benefit of your family.

Financial Guidance During Divorce

Financial Guidance During Divorce Can Make All the Difference

While that statement seems obvious, the issue is where you obtain your advice and knowing whether your counsel actually has your best interests in mind, or not.

Financial counselors, like attorneys and child custody experts, are not all equal and a handful will actually stand by or participate in helping to misguide you during a very emotional and turbulent family conflict.

One trust source of information is nationally recognized author, speaker and advisor Jeff Landers.

We invite you to read his work, and let us know if you need help selecting a local expert to review your situation and to assist legal counsel during a divorce or other legal or financial matter.

Financial Uncertainty & Resentment Towards a Partner’s Financial Status is a Large Factor Contributing to the Divorce Rate

If there is a way to get the right counsel at the onset of conflict and disagreement, please do not hold back in trying to resolve the issues before hiring lawyers and filing for divorce.

You may find out there are options you did not know were available to you otherwise, and in many cases, it’s worth the investment and taking a chance.

Please contact us if you are seeking financial guidance and before deciding on a team of professionals if you are caught in conflict that may lead you into the legal system.

Founder’s Tip:

Just because many family law attorneys use certain forensic accounting firms that does not mean there is any value to be had in signing a contract, paying a retainer and hoping for the best in the end. Get informed from those who have gone before you in this process. 

The exterior of a Bankruptcy Court building

Data gathered by My Advocate Center shows that there is a way to manage through family conflict without being forced into bankruptcy. Understanding fiduciary duty is a good first step.