Jacqueline Newman on holidays and divorce.
Bob Sullivan: And that was it. That was the entire thing. But, I can tell you, had I had a bad divorce, I would have had Jacqueline Newman on my side. Jackie, how are you, Girl? Good to talk to you. You’re in New York. right? New York City?
Jacqueline Newman: I am in New York City. How are you?
Bob Sullivan: Good to see you again. If I could see you. There you go. There she is. This is the one I always have the crush on.
Bob Sullivan: Can I ask you something? You can take the month of December off, can’t you, Jackie?
Jacqueline Newman: No, the month of December is one of my busiest months.
Bob Sullivan: The month of December is one of….
Russ T. Nailz: The holidays bring out the beast in people.
Bob Sullivan: It really is the most wonderful time of the year, isn’t it, Jackie? I thought for sure you would be really slow during the holidays.
Russ T. Nailz: Nope. Smokin’.
Bob Sullivan: All right. Okay, so tell us, is there a reason why you are busy. Are you busier, or just busy?
Jacqueline Newman: I feel like I am busier. I think what happens in December is a lot of people are on vacation. They have a lot more time to be spending with their spouse and realizing that maybe they do not like to be doing that so much. You have your children home, and a lot of people also just want to kind of end it. So, they want you, and they have been negotiating all year, and now they are in a position where they just want to say, “It’s over.” And, they want it to end before the end of the year. It is a psychological thing to have it done.
Bob Sullivan: So, are there some “Do’s” and “Don’ts” for getting divorced in this most wonderful time of the year?
Russ T. Nailz: I love the way the little smirk just continues through the entire statement.
Bob Sullivan: She does have a smirk. By the way, her husband is deathly afraid of her. Wouldn’t you be?
Russ T. Nailz: Yes.
Bob Sullivan: If you were married to Jackie Newman, wouldn’t you just like, “Yes, Dear. Whatever you want, Honey.” So, tell us the “Do’s” and “Don’ts”, Jackie, of what to do during a divorce during the holidays.
Jacqueline Newman: Well, I would say one of the big “Do’s” is that you really want to kind of make it through this holiday the best you can. I mean, it is a tough time to see. It is a tough time of year, anyway. And, so, one of the things I tell my clients, especially when you are going through a divorce, sometimes you might not have your children with you for the first year, and that can be a very difficult thing. And, I advise, “Just go out and still have as much fun as you can.
Allow yourself to enjoy the holiday. Do not let this get you down because, when you do that, it is going to ultimately affect going forward. And, it affects your children as well.”
So, the other thing I really talk a lot about is that you want to tell your children it is okay to have fun with your spouse during the holidays, so the kids….
Bob Sullivan: You mean with that cheatin’ bastard, is that what you meant to say?
Jacqueline Newman: I would word it a little differently to the children; but, yes, that is what I am saying.
Bob Sullivan: So, basically Jackie’s book, her new divorce book for holidays, which is called “Divorce for the Holidays. It is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Go drink more.
Russ T. Nailz: Wouldn’t that be an awkward present to open in front of the kids? Hey, what did you get me?
Bob Sullivan: Papers. I got papers. I love your Number Two, “Do not take this opportunity to suddenly discover religion.” Talk to us about that.
Jacqueline Newman: So, what happens a lot is that you will have somebody who, let us just say in this example, you have somebody who is Jewish and does not celebrate Christmas but then marries someone who is Catholic, and they celebrate Christmas. And, that person really enjoys it. And, so, ultimately, upon the divorce, whether it is just to stick its thumb a little bit or because they actually do want to spend that kind of holiday with the children, they do not want to give up that holiday.
They say, “Nope, we want to alternate every other year.” But, you know that holiday is really important to your spouse, and yet you say, “I do not care. I am going to keep it, and you are going to have to do every other holiday. And, I also want the Jewish holidays, as well, by the way.” In situations like that, I say, “You know what, think about it. Think about if there is another holiday that is really, really important to you, like maybe Thanksgiving, in which case you want to get that every year, let the other person have Christmas and then take more of the holiday or something like that, because you want it to be a good holiday for your children.
So, unless you are going to really go all out and get your tree and do everything that you would have done should you remain married, I think you should let the other person have the holiday and let your kids have the holiday that they are used to.
Russ T. Nailz: I think people get nastier in divorces than they do in businesses splitting up.
Bob Sullivan: Oh, sure they do. Don’t you think, Jackie?
Jacqueline Newman: Oh. Absolutely.
Bob Sullivan: Look at that smirk on her face. I love that. Can I just ask you? Is your husband afraid of you?
Jacqueline Newman: I like to say that all men should have a healthy fear of their wives.
Bob Sullivan: Yeah, especially if they are a divorce attorney.
Russ T. Nailz: I love that statement. I’m writing that down.
Bob Sullivan: Here’s another one. “Do not become Super Santa or Disneyland Dad because of guilt.” Don’t have to worry about Russ on that.
Russ T. Nailz: That’s that new movie coming out with Will Ferrell, I think, with Mark Wahlberg.
Bob Sullivan: That means just do not act any different just because you are sitting in the corner naked flipping the light switch on and off with the gas on, with the blinds drawn. So, is that what you’re trying to say?
Jacqueline Newman: Yeah, I am saying, “If that is what you normally do, and continue doing it.” I am saying, “Yes, be consistent.” That is something that is very typical is that you will have a parent who feels the need to kind of buy their children’s affections, and it is not a good message to send to your kid. It is not a good message to send to the other spouse. So, I would say, “Just stay consistent with whatever you do.”
Bob Sullivan: Full circle. Just drink more. That’s it. See, all of her advice is “more drinking”. “Do not make your children feel bad if you are alone during the holidays.” Again, this is about, “Kids, give Daddy a half hour before you come over because I might be in the corner naked flipping the light switch on and off with the gas on, and I want to air the place out.”
Are there really people that make their kids feel guilty about divorce?
Jacqueline Newman: Oh, absolutely.
Bob Sullivan: What is the upside because I would like to use some leverage on my own kids? What is the upside? I don’t understand why, by saying things like, “Oh, I’m going to stay with Russ. You stay with your Dad.” Is that how it works?
Jacqueline Newman: I think a lot of people, to their credit, do not even realize that they are doing it. They wull say things, “Oh, well I hope you have a good time with Daddy.” And, they are all sad. That is, right in itself, you are basically telling your children….
Bob Sullivan: “Hope you have a good time with Daddy because I never did.”
Russ T. Nailz: That new hooker, I mean that girlfriend of his.
Bob Sullivan: That he’s dating now. Now, do you ever let the kids… is there an appropriate time to let the kids be involved by that whole deal?
Jacqueline Newman: Be involved in new relationships?
Bob Sullivan: No, just be involved in the discussion about the divorce, like, let’s say that bastard Russ did cheat on you. Do you ever say that to your kids? Do you ever bring that stuff up?
Jacqueline Newman: My advice would be not to. Your children do not need to get involved in that. I think parents sometimes do, and you often get people that say, “Well, I am not going to tell them now, but later I want to explain why the marriage broke up and how it was really your fault.” And I think that that is a bad idea.
Bob Sullivan: That’s a good one. Jackie, will you be in San Diego soon. I think you ought to come out to San Diego. I hope you come out here. Thanks so much for swinging by once again. You can go visit her online at nycdivorcelawyer.com . And, there she is. Jackie Newman, divorce lawyer, New York City. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Russ T. Nailz: Respectful of your wife.
Bob Sullivan: Who’s a divorce attorney. The next time she’s on I want to ask if she would represent herself.
Russ T. Nailz: Let’s not push it.