The Divorce Coach

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Susan Allan is America's leading Marriage and Divorce Coach, a certified mediator and is the creator of Marital Mediation, available through

Allan is the author of Divorce, The Marry-Go-Round, or How to Save your Money, Your Sanity and Your Life and 101 Divorce Secrets, A Survival Guide.

10 Survival Secrets

# 1: Consult privately with your accountant or financial manager BEFORE discussing divorce with your spouse. It is essential to know your own financial position in the event of divorce before making your desire for a divorce known to your spouse.

# 2: Consult with a successful divorce attorney BEFORE discussing divorce with your spouse. This can prevent crucial errors and save a great deal of time and money during any divorce.

# 3: Do not leave home before you and your spouse have a signed separation agreement. If you are in danger, follow your attorney's instructions carefully.

# 4: Know the Divorce Danger Signs:

  1. Whispered conversations

  2. Concealed cell phone calls and bills

  3. Secret travel plans

  4. Sudden weight loss

  5. Unpaid household bills

  6. New wardrobe

  7. Unexplained gifts

  8. Feathering the nest

  9. Pornography

  10. Love letters you never wrote
# 5: Beware if you are married to a divorce expert; an attorney, a mediator or a therapist.

# 6: How to identify a 'Terrorist Marriage':

  1. A spouse who abandons the home, leaving the family destitute

  2. A spouse who falsely alleges child abuse, separating and splintering the family;

  3. A spouse who violates the boundaries of family members, either through verbal or physical violence.
# 7: Questions to Ask if You Are in a 'Terrorist Marriage':

  1. What is causing my spouse's behavior?

  2. How may I protect myself, my children, my pets?

  3. What should I do when I feel afraid?

  4. What is the safest way to leave the marriage?
A trained police officer understands that he or she can deal with almost any situation with an effective plan, weapons and martial arts and stamina training, and mental focus. In a situation of domestic violence, all these skills may be required. Tragically, the victims in domestic violence cases are usually women and children and even men who are unwilling or incapable of self-defense. By Earl Johnson, Ph.D. , President of International Consultants and Investigations and a member of the NYPD


  1. A spouse with nothing to lose

  2. You come from different social strata and have different standards of behavior

  3. Your spouse has access to a free attorney

  4. Your spouse has courtroom expertise as an attorney or expert witness

  5. Your spouse has paralegal training or previous divorce experience
Most experts offer advice on how to protect yourself in a dangerous situation that may confront you; call 911; obtain a restraining order and attack using self defense methods. This is sound advice, providing you can apply the tactics under stressful conditions. Prevention through education is your best approach and if you function in a mental state of Yellow Alert, you may not become a victim. Remember, your 'natural' spontaneous response comes only from training and many, many hours of practice just as you learned to walk, talk or ride the bicycle. Dr. Earl Johnson

# 9: Prepare Yourself and Your Children
By: Earl Johnson, Ph.D.

  1. Have you sought advice from a domestic violence professional?

  2. Have you entered marriage coaching or counseling or family therapy?

  3. Did you alert family, friends and coworkers not to interfere during an argument with your spouse unless you request it or if you are under immediate attack!

  4. Immediately engage a family attorney and seek advice regarding the effects of spousal abuse on the outcome of your divorce, custody and alimony details. Most often, violent abuse takes place within the home or work place.

  5. Enroll yourself and your children in martial arts or self-defense training from the experts or attending classes on how to respond to an attack. If you have already participated in these classes, you must follow-up with constant training and education or you may fail in your attempt to protect yourself and your children from a violent attack.

  6. Train your mind to be alert, practice escape routes, establish a plan to escape, live by the code, and be prepared for anything, anytime and in any place.

  7. Get to know your neighbors and exchange phone numbers. However, do not assume that the neighbor will help you and not your spouse or that the neighbor will believe you and not your spouse!

  8. Join your local neighborhood Watch program. In this way, you will meet people that are concerned about their own safety and protection and will be the first to assist you. Attend local meetings that are provided by local authorities and educators, understand the term crises management and how it may benefit you in your quest for safety and home security

  9. Learn first aid and CPR and have any teenaged children trained with you.
# 10: If you believe you may be in danger, be prepared with the phone numbers of your 'DIVORCE 911 TEAM':

  1. Attorney

  2. Private detective/body guard

  3. Women's shelter phone number and address

  4. Personal physician and cardiologist

  5. Local hospital directions

  6. Locksmith with 24 hour service

  7. Moving/storage company

  8. Rent-a-truck information

  9. Family members for children/pets emergency drop-off

  10. Emergency equipment including car, suitcases
Ask The Divorce Coach: Archives

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