Divorce and Financial Devastation: The Road to Recovery

Disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only and are not to be considered a substitute for professional legal advice or a consultation with a lawyer.

1. Family Law Tip of the Week

If you are on the brink of a child custody battle but suffering from a mental health condition, there is still hope for your case. The two things you must do are the following: (1) Be honest and forthright about your condition and (2) Follow your doctor’s orders to the “t”.

2. Divorce and Financial Devastation: The Road to Recovery

Whatever trauma it is you’re going through, whether it’s divorce in and of itself or the financial devastation that comes with divorce, Triffany Hammond can give you hope. She has been through significant personal and financial trauma in her own life. Growing up with a single mother, a criminal for a father, experiencing her own divorce, bankruptcy, meningitis, and more, Triffany talks with The Family Law Insider about how her experiences have changed her for the better.


“My whole life has been a practice in grace and compassion and coming through the other side.”


According to Triffany, there’s a stigma related to financial loss and bankruptcy. Somehow, people think you’re just leaning on bankruptcy to get out of debt. Triffany believes this is not everyone’s story. There are really good people who have done the right things, who have tried to be contributing members of society in every way that they know is right and moral and bankruptcy still happens.


“Where’s the practice in this?”


When going through hardships and tough times, Triffany asks, “What am I here to practice at this moment?” There’s a misconception about what’s representative of success: A house, a faithful partner, kids, etc. We look at these external circumstances as a measure of our personal success. That can work for a while because there are certain institutions and structures that supports that. However, when you build such ideas outside of yourself, you become emotionally attached to them as indicators that you’re doing the right thing.


Remember…everything is temporary. In one way or another, you’re going to experience things in your life that can strip you off of your physical trappings. When that happens, what do you have to draw upon?


“The brain wants to be right.”


Many times we feel we genuinely have done the right thing. If the brain wants to be right about us doing the right thing, then that must mean the only logical conclusion is that everyone else did something wrong. Triffany prefers to think there’s a problem to solve, rather than pointing fingers at anyone else. External things need to be taken care of, but those really aren’t the problems to solve. The gift of her traumatic experiences is bringing her back to realizing what her worth is, where her value is, how is she showing up, and how to make everything a positive experience.


“We’re victims of our own hurt.”


It’s difficult coming out of the depths, from a deep level of depression, a sense of loss, and a sense of victimization. Triffany recommends, first of all, to have grace with yourself. You may not always be in a place to say, “Now, what can I do to be able to serve myself?” But in those windows when you are (talking to a coach, a counselor, or a trusted friend), try journaling. Journal about how angry and hurt you are. Journaling allows some sense of objective observation. When we get “it” outside of ourselves, we can see “it” a little better.


“The big thing is meditation.”


Meditation thickens the gray matter in the medial prefrontal cortex of the brain. In that medial prefrontal cortex, when it’s thin and we don’t have a whole lot of activity going on, we feel disconnected. Meditation physically changes the brain that allows us to feel connected to our world and our power. Once we’re there, then we can affect change in our lives.


“The thing about meditation is we have a story about it.”


We have a story about what meditation supposed to look like if we’re doing it right. We have a story about what’s supposed to go on in our head and that everyone, no matter where they are in their meditation practice, should just somehow become extremely Zen. This isn’t the case.


Triffany believes that’s not what happens in meditation, especially when you’re a beginner. The very act of going into a meditative state puts you into your para-sympathetic nervous system. It does a ton of things, but one of the things it does is moves your memories from short-term memory to long-term. When beginners try to quiet the mind, but can’t, they think they’re doing it wrong. Triffany says the fact that the brain won’t shut up is actually a sign that beginners are doing it right.


“3 minutes, 3 times a day.”


3 minutes of meditation, to start with, is doable. When? When you wake up, during your lunch hour, and before you go to bed. If it turns into longer, that’s great. Meditating 3 minutes, 3 times a day, allows you to introduce new instructions to your brain, so that it knows how to deal with life differently.


“Re-wiring of our brain happens all the time.”


We can do it on purpose. If we look at a traumatic event, what comes so quickly with the trauma is the emotional response to that stimulus. We go from our default happy, then a traumatic event happens, and our brain is re-wired to become cautious and fearful in a certain situation.


Tiffany’s answer to re-wiring our brain is not about giving statements or giving advice. It’s about asking yourself, “Is this even true?” The process of inquiry makes you see other potential outcomes, rather than regret.


“We want to avoid pain at all cost.”


We think we know what’s best because we know what feels good. We think what feels good is always best. But when we get down to brass tacks, the moments we’re most proud of in ourselves are those moments when we’ve overcome something. We can look back and we can say,“That was a really painful time, but if I hadn’t gone through it, I wouldn’t have come out with this.”


“It is really good practice to accept what is.”


We become emotionally attached to what we think should happen, what we think is the right way, and what the promise is. When what we expect doesn’t happen, we feel betrayed by life, or by a person, or by a circumstance. There’s no harm in wanting something to be different than it is, but pain comes when we say,“That’s the only outcome that’s going to make me happy.”


“It happens through human-to-human connection.”


It sounds counter-intuitive, because we feel locked down into our own guilt and shame that, “This shouldn’t have happened… It didn’t have to happen.” However, the very first step that Triffany recommends to people experiencing the pain of divorce and financial devastation is to share their story.


Other people can relate. When you begin to tell your story, people will feel they’ve been there, and that makes them want to help. Once you share, the barrier of trust is broken through, and now others will engage you in a way that is personal and translates into everything you need down the line to change your story, post-devastation.


Sharing creates opportunities, and it gives other people the opportunity to share their story. That human-to-human connection is why we’re here. If it takes these devastating things to bring us back to truth and bring us back to that place where we lift one another up, then that’s an additional gift from the pain:


It eliminates the suffering.


You can find Tiffany Hammond and all the wonderful things she has to offer here.

3. Thoughts From the Life Coach

In this week’s thoughts, James asks whether you are built to succeed.

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