Empowered Divorce Summit E2 – Parent Through Divorce -Julie Ross

Julie is the executive director of “Parenting Horizons”, an organization that is devoted to enriching children’s lives through parent and teacher education.

Part I

HD: “Hello and welcome to the empowered divorce summit. My name is Heather Debreceni, and I will be your host throughout this event. Today we are joined by “Julie Ross.” Julie is the executive director of “Parenting Horizons,” which is an organization that is devoted to enriching children’s lives through parent and teacher education.

Julie holds a master’s degree in psychology from New York University, and she is also the author of several incredible books including a book that I highly recommend, “Joint Custody with a Jerk:  Raising a Child With an Uncooperative Ex.” Thanks for joining us today Julie.”

JR: “Thank you so much, Heather. It’s nice to be here.

HD: “It is, it’s really great. I am excited about this event, and I think what I want to do is start talking about “Joint Custody With a Jerk” because it is such an amazing resource. While reading “Joint Custody with a Jerk,” I discovered ways in which I was unintentionally “being” the jerk in my relationship with my former spouse.

Can you tell us how a parent can recognize when they are the uncooperative ex in their divorce?”

JR: “ Sure. I want to preface this by saying, I think it can be very difficult to ascertain when you’re “being” the jerk because — obviously in a contentious divorce, your feelings are going to be very, very intense and they’re going to color the situation, and in that case you’re more apt to place blame rather than accept responsibility.

So, it’s important I think, for people to understand that recognition of their role as the potential uncooperative ex, isn’t something that’s likely to come immediately. It’s rather something that develops, and I like to think about it as being akin to a dance that you are doing with a partner.  

It’s a slow dance because of your close up and let’s say you’re an excellent dancer. Let’s say you used to be a professional dancer.  Let’s say you’re the best dancer in the world. You’re in this dance, and your toes keep getting stepped on.  

The initial reaction to that is that the other person is doing something wrong, cause your toes are getting stepped on. While that’s true in a sense, the reality is that if you keep dancing, if you keep dancing and engaging in the same type of communication, then it’s likely that you’re contributing to the problem, rather than the solution. And if you’re contributing to the problem, that generally places you under the title of uncooperative yourself.  

So, if we want to talk techniques, and as you know from reading the book, I’m very technique oriented. I think that’s probably critical, especially in difficult situations because divorce is not a, “Oh let’s go with the flow, skipping down the street” sort of situation. You have to be a little bit more precise about it.

So, the first step in terms of developing your awareness of what your role is in the types of communications and conflicts that are occurring is to live in and be able to identify what your feelings are and breaking it down. Even from the kind of umbrella feeling of, “I’m angry,” to “I’m disappointed,” or “I’m overwhelmed,” or “I’m worried,” or “I’m anxious.”  Then, once you have a handle on that, taking responsibility for your own feelings.

So, “I feel angry,” not “My Ex makes me angry.” That is the difference between what we call “I” statements and “you” statements. “I” statements take that responsibility and accept that if we had different thoughts, we could probably really feel differently.

When you say, “My Ex makes me angry,” and that’s really a “you” statement, you’re more likely to look at the Exes behavior and automatically label them as the uncooperative person and yourself as the cooperative person.  

But, some of the things that people can pay attention to, regarding determining signs, I would say that determine whether or not maybe you’re playing a role here. One would be if you find yourself justifying your actions. So, “Well, yeah, I ranted about him or her on Twitter, but he or she did ______, so I had to,” that’s justification.  

There is no “have to’s.”  We don’t have to react, even if our Ex is a jerk and a half. We don’t have to react by being a jerk back. So, if you find yourself justifying your actions, you might want to say to yourself, “Wait a minute — maybe there is some of me in this.”

Another would be making assumptions. I think we do this all the time just in life. We attribute motives without really knowing facts. It might be something like assuming that the reason your Ex wants a schedule change is that they have a new boy or girlfriend and they want to spend certain days with that person rather than the children. But, you know the old saying, “When we make assumptions it makes a … Out of you and me.” Right!

So, we have to be aware of that. Making assumptions often means that we are not accepting. We’re not looking into what’s going on for us. And therefore we’re more likely to be uncooperative.

You know another and a probably more obvious sign that we’re the uncooperative one, “being a jerk,” is if we engage in deliberate manipulation. I see this all the time; a parent doesn’t want to see their ex at an event that the child is invited to or participating in, then they lie and say that they’re not going. Thinking the ex will change their minds and make them go at the last minute and that’s manipulative, that’s a deliberate manipulation.

Heather, this is something that I see just across the board in parenting in general, and I think It’s projecting the worst. It’s like pretending that we have a crystal ball and that we know how our child is going to turn out and it’s never about a positive crystal ball, I don’t know why. But it’s never a positive one. It’s always, our child’s going to end up being a drug addict under a bridge, a derelict person or a serial killer.”

HD: “Yeah.  Or, you’re going to live with me forever.”

JR:  “Exactly!  And so, when we pretend to have that crystal ball, then we have a tendency to cast blame. Which is another sign that we may be being uncooperative? We have a tendency to cast blame like, “I think my son’s developing serial killer habits and I know that my Ex lets our son watch R rated movies and so it’s his fault or her fault.”  

Again, we don’t know the future. When we assume that we do, then we’re more likely to place the blame, of course never on ourselves, but blame on the other person.

Another kind of keywords, I think that there are probably three main keywords that we want to avoid. The words, ‘I have to.’  “I have to behave this way because…”  or, “My Ex always does XY or Z.”  Or, “My Ex never does XY or Z.”

HD: “So, try to avoid absolutes.”

JR: “Avoid absolutes because you’re going to be taking the low road, rather than the high road, there.”

HD: “Right and we always want to take the high road!”

JR: “Yes!”

HD: “Sometimes that’s easier said than done, though.”

JR: “Always. I think the high road is the hard, hard, hard way.  Because the high road involves climbing a mountain.

You know you’ve got to get up to that road. But with the children’s best interest at heart and I think that has to be the forefront  focus.”

HD: “It does!”

JR: “You have to, we have to do this for our children because they didn’t ask for this to happen.”

HD: “No, they didn’t.  So, with that being said, what can parents do to ensure that they aren’t “being the Jerk” in their situation with their Ex?”

JR: “I think it’s more about being aware of those things that we just talked about and then, it’s about both adhering to a couple of little guidelines and then using techniques.  So, I’ll explain all of that.

The first guideline is that you want to think about your relationship as a business relationship. What that means is in a personal relationship, we’re going to share our anger. We’re going to say things that we would never say to a business partner.

If you think about your relationship with your Ex as they are your business partner and your children are the million dollars, the triple million dollars, an account that you have got to keep intact. Even if your business partner is “being jerky”, you’re not going to let loose with expletives because that is not going to make the business, i.e., your children, turn out okay.  So, try to see it as a business relationship.  

I find that it’s easier for parents to enact that principle if they script themselves.  I’m a big believer in scripting.  

Most parents, when they are having these intense feelings, in a “high-conflict” or even a “low-conflict” divorce, which even a low-conflict divorce can bring up painful feelings and experiences, historical experience.  

It’s rarely a call to 911. If someone’s bleeding, yep better call 911.  If someone is passed out or if someone is having seizures, you know there are medical reasons why we call 911.  We do not have to communicate with one another as if it’s a call to 911. It’s not an emergency.

It’s important. It may be urgent, in terms of the timeframe, but it’s not an emergency. What that allows, if we can think in those terms, it allows us time to script.  And scripting involves thinking about something, whatever the conflict is, thinking about it ahead of time and writing down your thoughts so that you can be clear.  You can be organized, and you can be concise.  

You can remove the emotion from whatever the situation is.  Now, some people will say, “Well, I’m not making it a call to 911, but my Ex is making it a call to 911.” That’s absolutely true; it’s not always going to be you that is being the aggressor in terms of what’s communicated as “now.”  

In those cases, what I suggest is that people use a technique that we call, “The Box Step of Cooperative Communication.” If you think of a box on the floor, the first thing you do is you step back.  So, they’re ranting, they’re raving, they’re coming at you with whatever it is, and you step back, assess the situation.

Listen first; it never, ever, ever hurts to listen. You’re not going to be agreeing to anything. You’re not going to be saying anything.  You’re just going to be listening. So, that’s the first step; you step back.

The next step is, step to the side and that’s your Ex’s side. Now, this is a hard part, but ask yourself, “Is there anything that you can agree on in what they’re asking.” In what the conflict is. Is it true, that maybe you were late a couple of times picking up the kids or whatever the conflict may be?

“Can I agree with something? Can I at least agree on the fact that my Ex has valid feelings?” Not that, maybe I didn’t do anything wrong.”

HD: “Or maybe it wasn’t intentional.”

JR: Or maybe it wasn’t intentional, right. But that they have a real feeling, the feelings are valid, and “Can I at least agree upon that?” Then, the next step, step three is to take that step forward.  And stepping forward means presenting your ideas or your thoughts, clearly and concisely. Using the “I” statements that we talked about before, earlier as opposed to “you” statements.

So that might sound like, “I hear how angry you are. I hear that you want me to be on time. I hear that we had a disagreement about XY or Z.”  

And, here is where you can also present what you want, “I’d like to tell you what this was like from my perspective.” Or, “I can’t make a commitment be to there exactly at 4:30 on Sunday’s. I’d like to make it 4:45 on Sunday’s.” So, “I” statements can be used both to acknowledge the other person’s side and to present your own side.

And then step 4 is to step to the other side. To see if you can close the negotiation and think in terms of compromise. And I think Heather, the truth of the matter is most of our world operates under the assumption that everything is winning/losing, that there is no win/win. And I think the world as a whole would be better off if we acknowledge that I don’t have to win, that you don’t have to lose for me to win.

We could both win in this; it just is going to require that we compromise about it.”

HD: “I think that can be hard because divorce is such an adversarial process.  You feel like there is so much at stake.  Your children are at stake.”

JR: “Absolutely!”

HD: “So the stakes are super high, and the assumption is, “If I don’t win, then that means, I lose.” What does losing mean?  “Losing means losing my children.”  And even the language, “My Children,” they aren’t just “your” children. They’re both of your children.”

JR: “You’re exactly right.”

HD: “And so I think that it’s really important to take that step back and to say, “Maybe I don’t need to respond to this right now because what I just read made me angry.” And it’s okay to be angry about it. But it’s not okay to take that anger and then push it back into the fight.”

JR: “Absolutely! Because we also have a saying that if you’re hysterical, it’s probably historical. In other words, if you are furious about something your Ex has said or done, it’s probably rooted in history and not necessarily entirely at that moment.  

So that step back is critical in allowing you to analyze what is actually going on here for me at this moment. “I’m angry and what is that about?” Right?”

HD: “Right and “Why am I so angry?”

JR: “Right, “Why am I so angry?” Or “I’m actually not angry, I’m worried, and that’s what is creating that anger, and gosh, I’m worried about losing the kids. Wait a minute, that’s not what we are talking about here.”

That’s got nothing to do with the kids.  So, it allows us to analyze our more primal feelings. That kind of fight or flight response that we have so that we don’t come into it fighting with our fists out.”

HD: “Right. Fight fair.”

JR: “Right. Fight fair and above the belt.”

Part II

HD: “Yes!  Absolutely! So with that being said and using that fight or flight analogy,

“what are some of the rules that parents can follow to make sure their pain and that anger and all of those emotions that come with divorce and that chaos doesn’t become their children’s legacy?”

JR: “This is a great question. Here is the overarching policy if you will, or rule of thumb. Keep the child out of it. Now, parents think that they are keeping the child out of it but what they are doing is breaking some really important rules.  

And one of the rules is, don’t ever argue in front of your child. That means if your child is privy to one-half of the conversation, your half. Or, you believe that your child is privy to the other half of the conversation and you’re not with them. Say, “I think we need to take a break and talk about this later.”  

Because when parents argue in front of the children, one of the primary issues is that kids are egocentric. That is true from the time they are born until they are actually adults. They’re egocentric. What that means is, they believe that they are the cause of this. And you can swear up and down, lecture them, reason with them and tell them 15 thousand times that they are not the cause. They will still believe that they’re the cause. Especially if they see their parents arguing, they will assume that it’s about them.

I’ve seen kids go to extremes to make the focus stop being the argument between the parents and instead focus on them. With self-harm behaviors, with acting out behaviors. Because somehow, if they can pull that anger back in where they actually believe the source is, with them, then the parents will come to an agreement.

As opposed, and it sounds crazy, but kids think very different from adults, that they can take the pressure off of the argument between the two parents. So it’s imperative to keep that to a minimum. And I know that it’s not always possible, but I have in general in parenting, I have a 70/30 rule.  

Which means you can get it wrong 30% of the time.  You only have to get a C-, and everything will be okay. 70% of the time, do it right. You want to up that percentage of we can, but know that if you cannot argue at least 70% of the time, you’re doing better than most.

Another rule is to keep your cell phone, your smart phone, and your other devices, where you’re communicating with your ex, password protected. Off of the iCloud and out of reach because I’ve also seen situations where there is kind of a passive-aggressive thing that goes on.  

The parent is really angry at the other parent, and they write something on their Facebook page or Twitter. Or they send a text to the other parent and then, “Oh, I don’t know how it happened.  My child read that text.” Well, it happened because you “forgot” and left it out. You have to be pretty scrupulous about that, and we really don’t want our children to accidentally come across things that really, they don’t need to see. They don’t need to be a part of it.”

HD: “Yes. I just had a conversation about this with a client, about the importance of not posting anything on social media because all it takes is a family friend, who is friends with your child on social media or has their social media up and your post happens to be up and your child sees it. That’s impacting the way that they view themselves.”

JR: “No questions!  Absolutely. The whole social media thing has complicated things in ways that nobody ever foresees. When we first wrote the book, many years ago and it’s now revised and updated, but there weren’t social media. There just wasn’t.  It was about phone calls, and then we updated it because social media can contribute in pretty profound ways to the feelings of your ex towards you.  

Even if you’re on vacation with your new partner and you post all these beautiful pictures of yourselves together. And your ex is seeing these, or maybe it’s you seeing these things about your ex and it unnecessarily complicates the picture.

Another rule, I would say, to not talk “through” your child. Parents say, “Tell your mother or father to be on time next time.” Really, if you have something to say to your ex, say it yourself.  Don’t talk “through” that child. It’s not fair to ask them to be the messenger for certain things.”

HD:  “Right. You’re putting them in an adult role that even if they are 17, they shouldn’t have to be in, they’re kids.”

JR: “Exactly, and it’s too huge a burden, especially if they know that their other parent is going to have feelings about whatever the message is because the children are not going to understand that the feelings aren’t addressed towards them. Again, kids are egocentric.  They’re going to feel the pain of that.

I guess then maybe one final rule is, there is probably more than a dozen, but one final rule is that you don’t want to “parent-ify” your child, as you just said. We don’t want to make them into the adult or the parent in this. 

That being said, if your child comes to you with a problem that they have with their other parent, it’s important to empower them to speak directly with the other parent about it. It becomes unnecessarily complicated when we take on the problem that a child has and it does not further a healthy relationship with their other parent.  

Kids need to know that if mommy always makes peanut butter sandwiches without jelly and daddy always makes them with jelly, but they don’t want to tell mommy that they want the jelly.  Daddy shouldn’t be telling mommy about the jelly because kids need to learn to negotiate their own, and it’s not even really a conflict, but their own issues, problems in their own relationships. That’s going to make a stronger, healthier relationship. Which is kinda the point of this, is that the child should have a strong, healthy relationship with both parents, even though the parents are no longer married.”

HD: “Correct. And it will make them, even to take it a step further, it helps their self-esteem in that egocentric relationship. Because of the more that they learn how to communicate with both of their parents, and to embrace those relationships with both parents, the better they feel about themselves.”

JR: “Absolutely Heather, well spoken. That is absolutely true.”

Part III

HD: “Actually that leads to the next question that I wanted to ask you. All of these sorts of rules tie into one very important question that I get a lot.

“One question that I think all parents that are going through a divorce have is, what details about their divorce should they be sharing with their child and why?”

JR: “What a great question, here’s the answer to it. Parents need to have a cohesive narrative that is neutral and refrain from blame. What that means is that both parents need to agree on the story. What is it that we tell our child about divorce?

So it could be something like, “Sometimes grown-ups fall in love but then later they can fall out of love, and that’s what happened with your mom or your dad and me. It’s a grown up thing.  And parents love their children, and we will always love you. You can’t stop loving your child. You can’t fall out of love with your child. And we will always be your parents even though we don’t live together anymore. We just found that it was easier to live apart then to live together.”

And that should be as much detail as they should share. Now, there are special circumstances, always, as with anything. Let’s say one of the parents is in jail.  Well, you can’t not say that you have to say that. “You know that Mommy or Daddy is in jail and it’s one of the things that caused us to decide to divorce.”

People often ask me, “What about my ex who had an affair and that’s why. Shouldn’t my children know that I’m not the one who wanted this but if it hadn’t been for the affair?” And the answer is, unfortunately, this is a situation where you have to put your feelings aside. You can be and should be angry about the affair, about the alcoholism, about the abuse, but really the only details that children should hear about are ones that they have witnessed. Or ones that are self-evident.

So, if your ex has abused you, hit you and your children have seen that then yes, I would share that with them because you deny what they already saw. What their reality is but in general, hopefully in general, when we are talking about divorce, we are talking about situations that are a little less extreme than jail, abuse, drugs, and alcohol.”

HD: “Right. Not every divorce is that “high-conflict”, “high-issue” divorce, in fact, that’s the minority.”

JR: “Exactly. In general, the details should be fairly neutral or very neutral.  Refrain from blame and of course, tailored to your child’s developmental level.  What you are going to tell a three-year-old is going to be very different in terms of the details then you’re going to tell a 15-year-old. That being said, we still don’t want to disclose too much of the personal issues that we may have had with our former partner.”

HD:  “Right and I think that it goes to the issues that you have with their other parent are your issues with the other parent, and they’re not your child’s issues with the other parent.  And they’re entitled to love and respect and have a relationship with that other parent.  

Now, of course, there are those exceptions. There’s the abuse or incarceration or things like that, but for the most part, they didn’t pick their other parent, you did. And so, you have to step back and just let them love them.”

JR:  “Absolutely, and to not color that love with your lenses. Don’t put your sunglasses on your child. Let them see the ex, if the ex is really kind of a deadbeat or not very nice, over time your child’s lenses will give them that information. But you shouldn’t be part of contributing to that kind of a label.  That the child may then feel inclined or mandated to see their parent through.”

Part IV

HD: “Right. I’m going to tie this next question in with the adversarial process that we talked about earlier because divorce is an adversarial process and because people feel as though if I am not a winner, then I am a loser. And the stakes are so high, that we tend to try and color the other relationships that our children have with the other parent because we want them to pick our side.  We want them to pick us.  

“And so, why is it so important for parents to protect their children from feeling like they have to pick sides?”

JR: “It’s a very important question. Children feel that they have to pick sides and they often feel that they need to just in overhearing an argument or even just a disagreement between their parents. Children experience what we call a conflict of loyalties. That’s what we get at that moment when mom and dad, or mom and mom, or dad and dad are arguing with one another.  The child literally feels like, what it would feel like to feel torn.  They feel torn: “Do I side with mom?  Is my other parent being mean?  Or do I side with my other parent because this parent is being mean?”  

So they experience the negative feelings. If they decide that, “I’m gonna side with…” And I apologize here, I am going to use gender specific, but hope that everybody understands that I am doing it for time rather than implying that there aren’t two dads or two moms or divorce in those sorts of situations because of course there are.  

If a child feels like they need to side with mom, they side with mom. But they feel guilty that they did because maybe they’re mean to dad. But then when they side with dad, they feel guilty because they’re siding with him and not with mom. So they wind up feeling guilty for something that’s not their problem. It’s a lose-lose situation because the child feels terrible either way.  

I also think, and I want to mention this right here because a lot of the time, parents don’t realize that it’s not just about the words they are saying, it’s about their tone of voice.  

I’m from a divorced family, and it brings up a memory from my childhood.  After my parents were divorced, I remember my mother saying, “Well YOUR father,”  and I was a kid, and I said, “Don’t call him that,”  and she said, “Oh well he is your father?”. At the time, I didn’t realize about the tone of voice, but it was the “YOUR father” that was a criticism and of course what did it create for me? Conflict of loyalty. I had to choose to defend dad.  Too much power, I shouldn’t have had to defend anybody as a child, right?  I shouldn’t be picking sides. I shouldn’t have to be defending. I should not have to feel torn.  

As you said so succinctly earlier Heather, kids have the right to love and respect both parents. When we put them in a position of being in a conflict of loyalty, they are not in a position where they can love both; they are having to choose.”

HD:  “Right. I would equate it to if both of their parents were still together.  And if their parents had a wonderful marriage and it was a fairy tale, and everything went perfectly, they wouldn’t have to pick sides. The idea in your divorce, of putting your children’s best interests first, should be putting the focus on what their life would be like if we were still together?  

Would they be put in the middle to determine whether or not they should be allowed to choose mom’s house or dad’s house?  Or would they be put in the middle of any those arguments?  Or would they be put in those situations? No, they wouldn’t.  So, let’s try to keep it as close to what they would be entitled to if both of their parents were together.”

JR:  “Perfect. Perfect points. I love that idea of, “What would it be if we weren’t divorced?”  “What would our child have to negotiate or not?”

Part V

HD: “Right. And so, I’m going to ask this one last question because it’s another one that comes up a lot and can be construed as a jerky behavior if done incorrectly.

“How often should a parent communicate with his/her child during the other parents time and why?”

JR: “I am going to answer this in two parts. I feel that the child should have independence with regard to speaking with his or her other parents during the other parent’s time.  

Putting it back in the context of, “What if we were two people living happily ever after with a white picket fence in front of our house, in the same house.” Would you restrict how often your child communicates with the other parent? No, of course not.  

So the goal there is to give the child the sense that while the divorce isn’t optimal, it’s still a normal way to live. So, I can communicate with Mom when I’m at Dad’s, or I can communicate with Dad if I am at Moms. I’m going to issue a little bit of a caveat to that, but I think that kids need to feel that they have access to their other parent whenever they need them.   

That being said, and here is the caveat to that, it can get out of hand. In other words, the child can be calling all they time, trying to have the parent that they’re not with involved in their problems with the parent that they are with. That’s where boundaries would need to be set.  Preferably by the parent who is getting called.  

In other words, if Johnny called mommy because daddy didn’t butter his bread right. And then the next time Johnny calls mommy it’s because daddy said bedtime is at X o’clock. And then the next time it’s because daddy didn’t tuck Johnny in properly. Those are all problems that the child needs to be in charge of addressing with dad.

In that case, the parent who is being called would need to say, “You know what, I’m so glad to be able to talk to you. Now we’re not going to/I’m not going to talk to you until tomorrow.” And then give the child the tools to deal with whatever the issue is because if that kind of extreme behavior continues, the child can get the impression that they can’t resolve their issues with the parent that they are with and that’s not going to lead to a feeling of safety.  

The second part of this, is the answer to what this question is really about, which is, how often should a parent communicate with their child? I feel differently about parents calling their kids; I think that it should be minimal. The parents shouldn’t call their children during the other parent’s time unless there is something that needs to be resolved. Let’s say they got a new schedule for the soccer practice or whatever, and so they’re going to call their child to talk about that. But, I think it should be minimal because in most cases if a parent is calling their child when the child is with the other parent, it’s mostly feeding the parents need, not necessarily the child’s.”

HD: “Right. It’s about them and not the child.”

JR: “Precisely, I think it sends the same message as I was talking about before; You’re not (actually) safe with mom or dad. You’re not safe when you aren’t with me, so I have to call and check in all the time. I know it’s hard not to have your child, whom you adore with you 24/7.  It’s painful and a product of the divorce and it’s a very uncomfortable feeling. And it’s still in the child’s best interests for you to figure out a way to handle that pain separate from making contact with the child in order to ease the pain.”

HD: “Right. That is so true. I know I get a lot of, “Well I have to make sure that Johnny did their homework.”  

JR:  “Oh yeah, I get that a lot too. And no, actually you don’t. Either the other parent has to figure that out, or Johnny and the school have to figure that out. But if your child’s not with you, that’s not your job at that moment.”  

HD: “Right.  It’s important for them to get that continuity of time with the other parent. Where they build that relationship because the relationship that we have with our parents is huge in determining so many aspects of our lives as we become adults. And so, giving them the tools to build that relationship is setting them up for success. If your real concern is whether or not they’re going to be successful adults, the best way to equip them to do that is to give them the tools to build those relationships themselves.

If you would like more information about the book, “Joint Custody With A Jerk” it has its own Facebook page.  And if you would like more information about Julie you can visit the “Parenting Horizons” website at www.ParentingHorizons.com.

Or, if you would like to work with Heather you can claim your complimentary coaching session today!


NOTE: Transcripts may have been edited for clarity. This blog post is a transcript/readable version of the interview. It is not an admissible testimony nor is it intended to provide legal or psychological advice.  


Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, content, and opinions expressed in this interview by the expert belong solely to the expert, and not necessarily to the host (Heather Debreceni), HeatherDebreceni.com, EmpoweredDivorceSummit.com or Two Wolves Productions, as a group, organization or individually.

About The Author

Heather Debreceni

In 2004, after getting a job in Law Enforcement, Heather left her husband and started the divorce process. Like many mothers in her situation, she naively thought that getting divorced would be the end of the chaos that her failing marriage had created in her and her children’s lives. She now uses her divorce experience to create strategic divorce coaching programs which help mothers turn the chaos of divorce into confident, calm and respect filled lives. Heather is the Founder and Host of the Empowered Divorce Summit which empowers individuals as they navigate through the divorce process. Now a podcast, it provides listeners with access to insightful interviews with experts on divorce, relationships and parenting. She is also an Ordained Non-Denomination Christian Reverend as well as a student of the Buddhist & First Nationals faith and spirituality. Heather supports her clients as they walk through the spiritual rebirth that occurs for many women after divorce. Heather also tours around the country with her family giving talks about Divorce, Ethics, Parenting, Personal Responsibility, Spirituality and Women's Empowerment as well as teaching about Leadership, Business and Entrepreneurship.

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