Regina’s Blog2016-11-01T18:59:38-04:00

Regina's Blog

GenXSmartie

This is a blog about relationships, and it covers dating, marriage, parenting, modern family dynamics and divorce as seen from the very personal perspective of a divorced divorce lawyer.

2110, 2021

Tips For Becoming An Empty Nester

By |October 21st, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

They say for parents "the days are long, but the years are short," and now the true significance of those pearls of wisdom are sinking in as I prepare for my son to turn 18 and finish high school in just a few months. I was 31 years old when I gave birth to my one and only child, and at the time I was a young associate at a downtown family law firm, married to a man I had known since college, and together we had a lovely house we had just renovated in Chevy Chase. As we brought our little bundle of joy home from Sibley Hospital, I firmly believed we had a solid foundation for a happily ever after story.Over the next 18 months, however, our very different views on core issues about parenting, religion, lifestyle choices, finances, and personal aspirations became insurmountable challenges for us.  Ultimately, I made the difficult decision to end our marriage, which then forced me to start practicing what I was preaching to my clients about the need to share custody and minimize the conflict for my own son's sake.Being a single parent for over a decade gave me a preview of what it would be like when my son would eventually leave our home. On the nights and weekends that he was with his father, I learned to entertain myself, and for holidays or special occasions I discovered the surest way to avoid disappointment was to rely on my own plans.  This past year, as I approached my 49th birthday I could almost hear the clock ticking in the background as I doubled down on my efforts to prepare for being an empty nester, just as my son began to assert more of his independence.  Even though COVID presented certain unforeseen challenges, I still managed to enjoy traveling on my own, exercising daily, dating, learning new recipes, making new friends, and venturing back out to concerts, movies, and shows.  And, once this pandemic is behind us and my true empty-nester status kicks in, I am looking forward to pursuing even more adventures. Sadly, many parents in an intact family focus so much on work and parenting, that they leave very little opportunity for the adult parents to enjoy time alone, travel as a couple, or check-in  with each other as individuals during a normal date night on a regular basis.  This [...]

1106, 2021

What Will Your Post-COVID Life Look Like?

By |June 11th, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

As we increasingly see the return of what life was like in the Before Times (pre-COVID), many of us are carefully choosing those parts of our pre-pandemic lives we wish to restore versus the ones best left behind.  One of the silver-linings of the global lockdown this past year is that it forced all of us to modify our daily routines, review our priorities, and appreciate things we once took for granted.  In the aftermath, what we have is an incredible opportunity to be more mindful in the way we create our post-pandemic existence, particularly in these areas: Work/Life Balance Among the most common themes being discussed is the desire to maintain more of a work/life balance, which can be more readily accomplished by reducing commute times and maximizing the use of various efficiencies we all discovered as we adapted our work habits this past year.  By wasting less time, many are hoping to continue enjoying more time with family and friends, as well as being more committed to their own health and fitness.  It is a win-win for everyone as happier people tend to be more productive at work, and less stressed at home. Finances Another benefit to come out of the pandemic is that over this past year, the credit card industry saw families pay down the greatest amount of debt in decades.  For years, financial experts have been begging people to (1) maintain a generous rainy day fund, (2) live within your means by maintaining a balanced budget and (3) be more conscious about your spending.  The past year was a rude awakening for many as to why we should heed these words of wisdom, and for those caught off guard, perhaps changes can be implemented moving forward to provide for greater financial security in the future. Community This past year, no one could ignore how much we need each other in all sectors of society, and the severe divide that exists within our own communities requires immediate attention. We can only hope that the momentum created this past year will continue to promote the necessary changes to foster a greater sense of fairness, justice and peace among all of us. On a more personal level, one humbling reality of COVID-19 is that any one of us under enough stress can suffer from situational anxiety or depression, and the best antidote to these ailments is to develop [...]

505, 2021

Top 5 Take-Aways From The Gates Divorce

By |May 5th, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Over the past two decades, I have worked on several high-profile cases, including a few billionaire divorces in the DC Area. As a result, the announcement of Bill and Melinda Gates' divorce does not come as a shock at all, but I do believe there are some great take-aways here for everyone. Here are my top five (5) points for all of us to ponder: 1. Money- While it certainly helps make life easier when you have a secure financial base, money can't buy happiness. In fact, the more people earn the more obligations they usually take on, and this adds a level of stress and complication that perhaps 90% of the world will never fully comprehend, but the pressures are undeniably real. Ironically, the more you have the more demands you have on your time and energy, which can then take away from certain simple joys including some alone time enjoying individual hobbies or engaging with friends, family and your significant other.2. Shared Narrative- Even though their children are all 18 or older, they know that this news will have an impact on them, and their short public announcement was a perfect example of all you need to share with the world (1) state the fact that relationship has reached a conclusion (no need to explain why); (2) acknowledge the success you shared, particularly with the kids; and (3) ask for privacy.  Here's how they did it, surely with significant professional help: After a great deal of thought and a lot of work on our relationship, we have made the decision to end our marriage. Over the last 27 years, we have raised three incredible children and built a foundation that works all over the world to enable all people to lead healthy, productive lives. We continue to share a belief in that mission and will continue our work together at the foundation, but we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives. We ask for space and privacy for our family as we begin to navigate this new life. 3. Avoid Court- People with money (even well below the level of Bill and Melinda Gates) are actually highly incentivized to want to preserve their wealth, and they will wisely invest their money in a process that is solution focused, like mediation or the Collaborative Divorce Process.  Court is [...]

1604, 2021

Do You Want To Get It Right The Next Time?

By |April 16th, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Nothing causes you to be more consumed with self doubt about your judgment than a bad break up or divorce. After spending so much time and energy with someone, you are bound to feel immense disappointment that your efforts to sustain a long term relationship failed to yield a successful result.  Give yourself some space to cycle through the anger, sadness, shame that result from the end of a relationship until you finally get to apathy, when you can accept that you need to close that chapter in your life in order to start the next one. Before jumping into the next relationship, however, it's important to do a self assessment.  What do you really need and want in a partner?  Also, what are your true deal-breakers? This can change over time, so don't skip over this exercise because you did it once before.  Be selective in choosing your next mate.  Pay attention to the way s/he follows through with plans and how special they make you feel.  Is it easy to be around them or do you find yourself guarded?  Do not ignore red flags while playing 20 questions, where the whole point is to map (1) where that person comes from, (2) where they are presently and (3) where they are heading.   The reality is, as we get older time definitely becomes more precious, and personally I've come to accept you can't teach an old dog new tricks.  After age 45, if someone lacks basic communication skills, doesn't know how to resolve conflict respectfully, or truly apologize when they've made a mistake, it's best to move on.  Someone truly interested in maintaining a loving and committed relationship should have the ability to (1) be curious without being critical; (2) tread gently; (3) not jump to assumptions; and (4) connect in a meaningful way.  These are basic skills required to preserve a healthy bond. Ultimately, if someone doesn't make you a priority and/or lacks the ability to do repair work quickly when needed, why waste your time with them?  There are plenty of fish in the sea-- and if you need some guidance with exploring your options, there is a plethora of dating coaches and books out there to help you, even during COVID.  In fact, many experts claim that during this pandemic more singles have taken the time to really focus on finding deeper connections and they [...]

1204, 2021

Using Private Investigators in Family Law Cases

By |April 12th, 2021|Categories: Media Coverage|

Regina DeMeo, a top family law attorney in Maryland and DC interviews Ken D'Angelo, the founder of Target Investigations, which is based in the DC Area and specializes in assisting law firms and individuals with surveillance and gathering evidence for cases involving infidelity, custody, or claims of addiction. Ken explains tactics used as well as common mistakes clients should avoid.

2903, 2021

Do You Feel Validated By Your Partner?

By |March 29th, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

It's easy to get along when you are both on the same page, but what happens when you're not? When you and your partner have different wants, needs, or expectations, do you still feel supported and loved or do you feel like you've entered a battle ground requiring you to slap on all your armor and pull out all your weapons? In the heat of the moment, it may feel like a riptide is pulling you into a maelstrom full of negative emotions. As the adrenaline surges, many go on the attack or become defensive.  But the blame game never defuses the situation, and if neither party retreats in time, you will both say and do things you most likely will deeply regret later. Unfortunately, an apology afterwards will not always suffice to repair the damage caused during these episodes. Most people are either wired or trained (maybe both) to advocate for their own wants and needs, also known as positional bargaining, so when their partner has a different agenda, the default is to try and win them over by convincing them to change their position rather than to try and understand the underlying motivation and/or find a compromise.  Another huge hurdle to overcome is this belief that if you apologize you are admitting you did something wrong, when instead it could just be seen as a gentle acknowledgment that someone's feelings were unintentionally hurt. It took me a while to learn that walking away from an argument was not a sign of weakness, but actually a strength.  Knowing when to bite your tongue is a virtue, and allowing time for calmer heads to prevail is the smarter move in the long run.  With some distance, you can often look back and clearly see what went wrong. Miscommunications happen all the time, and in a healthy relationship the focus is on gaining greater understanding to avoid stepping on each other's landmines in the future. Ultimately, at the core of every conflict is the fact that someone feels slighted.  Rather than try to change someone's perspective of the situation, why not work with it?  Lean into the problem and express curiosity-- especially if this is someone you truly care about.  To give someone a safe space to express their feelings while demonstrating empathy is the ultimate expression of love and kindness.   If you need a visual, try this one: imagine [...]

2503, 2021

Tips For Navigating Your Divorce With Appropriate Expectations

By |March 25th, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Ending a marriage is never easy-- there's so much disappointment, sometimes shame, and most of all fear of the unknown. These are all normal feelings, but if you don't get them under control fast they can play out in very ugly ways as you try to untie the knot.Most of my divorce clients come to me hoping for an amicable settlement outside of court, and odds are usually in their favor with over 50% of my clients opting for mediation, a cooperative negotiation process or a Collaborative Divorce to end their union with civility and above all utmost privacy. However, half the time the other spouse is not ready to focus on settlement discussions and instead opts to either ignore my invitation to explore creative solutions or hires an aggressive litigator to wage World War III, thereby forcing us into a very public and expensive court battle.When navigating the divorce process, it's important to recognize that you cannot control everything. You cannot predict who your spouse will hire, which judge you will get, or how long the process will last. You won't be able to control the narrative or how the kids will react. You may also have zero ability to manage how the expenses are shared or joint assets are divided. It's essentially a freefall that can challenge even those with the steadiest of nerves.Your initial plan should obviously focus on (1) where you'll live, (2) how you'll support yourself and (3) a time-sharing schedule that promotes the children's best interest. You will also need to get some emotional support to help you weather the storm, and ideally obtain legal assistance that works within your budget that you can trust.  A good lawyer won't just take marching orders from you, but will challenge you to think carefully about what's really worth fighting for, and knowing when it's best to walk away.  Pick your battles carefully.  As I like to tell my clients: don't wrestle with a pig, the pig actually likes it, and you just get dirty.  Recently, a stellar New York City attorney that focuses on high conflict divorces authored a book, "You're Getting Divorced... Now What?" Sandra Radna provides a great step by step guide for people about to embark in this difficult journey. Here's the link to our Youtube talk with some helpful tips that she also covers in her book: A Roadmap To Navigate the [...]

2403, 2021

A Roadmap To Navigate the Divorce Process

By |March 24th, 2021|Categories: Media Coverage|

Regina DeMeo, a top family law attorney in Maryland and DC interviews Sandra Radna, an experienced matrimonial lawyer in NYC, who recently authored the book "You're Getting Divorced... Now What?" They discuss the importance of having a plan and controlling one's emotions, as well as what to expect from judges and your attorney. Having the right expectations is key, including understanding that it's a long game, not a short game.

1703, 2021

Everything Money – Is Amicable Divorce Possible w/ Regina DeMeo

By |March 17th, 2021|Categories: Media Coverage|

In this episode, Leah Jones, Director of Financial Planning for Hightower Bethesda, talks to Regina DeMeo, a family law attorney. Regina has worked with family law issues for 22 years, serving her clients to make divorce easier and more cost-effective as they work towards a resolution. She shares what an amicable divorce looks like and the difference between mediation and a collaborative approach. She also discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the process.

503, 2021

Make Happiness The Best Revenge

By |March 5th, 2021|Categories: Blog|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Break ups are never easy, but truly messy ones can definitely take a huge emotional toll on you.  Normally, I see two extremes in my divorce cases:  either people choose to retreat while processing their feelings of shame, guilt, and fear, or they remain angry for some time and focus on getting even.  Let me suggest to you that neither extreme is healthy. Everyone should take some time to process what led to the demise of a significant relationship, and no one should just give up all their rights to avoid conflict.  But the goal should always be to exit gracefully and recover as quickly as possible, without dwelling on all the negativity.  Easier said than done, I know, but this heartfelt advice comes from personal experience and not a bunch of textbooks. Years ago, following a difficult split I took a long break from dating.  I retreated way beyond what many felt was normal, but during that time I really worked through a lot of issues so I don't regret that period of solitude at all.  Then, quite suddenly someone popped into my life and although I wasn't prepared to completely open up, I was definitely done with my period of hibernation.  Unfortunately, I focused way too much on the activities we enjoyed together, and ignored some major red flags while just trying to stay in the moment and have fun. Eventually, during COVID some horrific truths came to light, and no amount of promises my ex tried to make could help me overlook the reality that staying with this person was not in my best interest.  Without trying to diagnosis him, there is no doubt he has some severe narcissistic tendencies, including a tremendous sense of entitlement that somehow has allowed him to justify his need to be a serial cheater for most of his adult life.  Sadly, my inability to trust him again coupled with my unwillingness to stay, sparked a dark downward spiral that ultimately required legal intervention, which now unfortunately makes me part of the 25% of women that have suffered from abuse by an ex. Fortunately, despite the trauma I experienced as a result of my ex, I had my own home, financial resources, and an amazing support network.  Nonetheless, after living through quite a roller coaster ride of unnecessary drama, I could have once again retreated or gone to the other extreme [...]

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