I should have recognized from the onset that divorcing a lawyer was bound to put me at a great disadvantage during the divorce. And even though I strategize all day long in my professional life, I went into my divorce with the expectation that my spouse would do what was right for the both of us, just because. I was such a fool. Here are my biggest takeaways from my divorce journey.
Have a plan. Although I ended up moving out three months after I dropped the bomb that I wanted a divorce, I never had a plan for divorce itself. In my head, it was simple. She keeps her stuff and I keep mine. The house was the only thing that we co-owned. I never saw any harm in settling the house as the first step. Unfortunately, not only did I allow for an unfair settlement, I made myself believe that I was just showing her how much I was willing to sacrifice to make divorce as easy as possible for her. Needless to say, this totally backfired. The house was the only big-ticket item I had to negotiate with.
Take the lead and file for divorce. I dragged my feet when it came to filing for divorce. After a year, she went ahead and filed first. The year gave her the opportunity to establish herself as a caregiver to our daughter. Up until I moved out, she had never taken responsibility for taking our daughter to daycare or school, cooking and cleaning, etc. So, delaying filing took away my upper hand on getting physical custody. I was not the birth mother, she was.
Find the right lawyer. I had no idea of what I was up against. Lesbian divorce is relatively new in our community so just finding a good divorce lawyer was not enough. I should have looked for a lawyer who would anticipate LGBT based arguments. My lawyer was at such a disadvantage even though the firm was one of the best in the city. You know that moment when you realize her lawyer is better than yours? I had a few of those.
I did spend a lot of time feeling sorry for myself and for all the physical and financial losses I experienced. Not anymore. I have one life to live and I'm going to make it what I always knew it could be. The best is yet to come.
Marjorie Soto's gay marriage ended in divorce. Marjorie believes that there is a persistent denial that lesbian divorce exists. She blogs about this and other LGBT divorce issues at LifeInJeans.com. She helps lesbians impacted by divorce find community so they don't have to go at it alone. Life in Jeans provides support through real stories and experiences.