Leah Hadley [00:00:01]:
Welcome to Intentional Divorce Insights. I'm Leah Hadley, certified divorce financial analyst, accredited financial counselor, and the founder of Intentional Divorce Solutions. I'll be your guide through the complexities of divorce, finance, and emotional wellness. Join me as we uncover practical tips and empowering insights to help you navigate your divorce with clarity and intention. Welcome to the very first episode of the Intentional Divorce Insights podcast. This has been a long time in the making, and so I am so very excited to be here with you today. For those who don't know me, my name is Leah Hadley. I am the founder of Intentional Divorce Solutions and Intentional Wealth Partners as well as the Watch Her Thrive community, and I am absolutely thrilled to have you join us on this journey where we explore how to handle one of life's most challenging transitions, divorce, and how to handle it with intention and purpose.
Leah Hadley [00:01:01]:
And as somebody who is deeply, deeply passionate About guiding individuals through this difficult financial journey, I am just so happy to share this information with you and to be here with you, to share insights, strategies, stories that will inspire and help you. But before I get into all of that, I'm sure some of you don't know me very well. So I will tell you a little bit about my own journey to how I got Into the work that I do and what my background is and how this podcast came to be. I actually was on numerous podcasts over the last year As a guest, which was so much fun. It was really nice to meet all of these wonderfully passionate people who are doing work to help people through the divorce process, and I just really enjoyed the opportunity to get my message out there, to meet so many amazing people. We had some wonderful clients come in as a result of learning about me on various podcasts. And so overall, it was such a positive experience That I really wanted to just be able to get our message out there more and really focus specifically on intentional divorce insights. And so that's why we are here today.
Leah Hadley [00:02:15]:
As far as my background and kinda what my experience with divorce has been, my parents divorced when I was 8 years old. I was raised by a single mom. I didn't see my dad very often. And so I very much was attuned to What was different in our family, relative to other folks that I knew at the time? And I also saw how hard it was on my mom raising my brother and I as a single parent. And so when I grew up and I got married, I said I never wanted to get divorced. But I got married really young. I got married really young. I was married for 10 years, and my ex husband and I at the time, not at the time of our divorce, but when we were married, we were adopting 3 children out of the foster care system.
Leah Hadley [00:02:58]:
And, it was a permanent placement from from the time we started that Process. We very quickly realized that we did not parent well together. And so we had these amazing children, but our life had kind of been turned upside down, And, it wasn't working out in terms of our relationship, and we decided to terminate the marriage after 10 years of marriage. And around that same time, I was really getting into learning more about, finances and divorce. I became a certified divorce financial analyst. I became a collaborative professional. I was trained as a mediator. So I was really learning more and more about this.
Leah Hadley [00:03:35]:
When I went through my own divorce, I actually lost My job, not not too long after that, and had to make some decisions about how I was gonna support the family. And for me in particular, I really wanted to be a mom. I mean, that's why we decided to adopt. I really being a mom and being present for my children was really important to me. And so I wanted flexibility in my schedule, and it was really hard for me to find something that was gonna allow me the flexibility that I needed To be able to be present for the kids, take them to their, you know, doctors and therapies and the things that they needed to do, Be there for the field trips and the PTA meetings and and whatnot. And so, ultimately, I decided to start my own business. I had been in the financial world, for 10 years before I started my own business, I started actually, I started as an administrative assistant in an investment bank. I never thought that I was gonna come and be a business owner, financial planner.
Leah Hadley [00:04:34]:
My master's degree is in education. I was a teacher. I was really burned out in the classroom and swimming in student loan debt, and I took a job as an administrative assistant at an investment bank, back in 2006. And at that time, I felt like everybody around me was speaking a foreign language. Like, I really did not No much at all about stocks and bonds and investment banking and options and, you know, all of these different terms were completely unfamiliar to me. And so I did a lot of learning. I had some wonderful, wonderful mentors who helped me to learn, and I ultimately became an equity research analyst. My administrative role was within the equity research department at that investment bank.
Leah Hadley [00:05:19]:
I learned a tremendous amount. And then, when we were acquired by another firm, I went on to do equity research in another company. And I spent a lot of my career doing equity research. I I love, deep dive analyses into stocks, into companies, into what works. And so, but when we were deciding to adopt our children, it really wasn't very conducive. That Career requires a fair amount of travel. It's a lot of time, a lot of hours, and it wasn't very conducive to having a family. And so I decided that I would use my financial knowledge to help individuals and to, work with families in in really helping them reach their financial and I did that in a couple of large broker dealers, but found that ultimately, I wasn't able to serve people the way that I wanted to serve people In those broker dealers, there's so many rules, with these big companies and so much compliance, that there wasn't a lot of creativity that I had, of that I could offer in terms of how I would support people through the divorce process.
Leah Hadley [00:06:22]:
And so ultimately, like I said, I I ended up losing a job. I decided to To start my young company and initially, Intentional Divorce Solutions was called Great Lakes Divorce Solutions. I'm based outside of Cleveland, Ohio. We've always served people nationwide, though. And in that business, people would come and start to work with us And then ultimately want long term ongoing support with their financial planning and investment management. We developed a close relationship during the divorce, and I wanted to be able to help them in a long term, way. And so, I I then started Great Lakes Investment Management. It was called at the time now Intentional Wealth Partners, and that allowed me to have that separate business entity that was really focused on comprehensive financial planning and investment management.
Leah Hadley [00:07:09]:
Whether or not you are in the divorce, post divorce, not divorce related at all, we work with lots of couples in that business. And so I I started that business as well, and we've grown. We've grown significantly over the last several years. Both businesses were established in 2016, and, you know, it's really been an amazing, amazing journey that has led me here. I am very passionate about helping people to really get through the divorce process as smoothly as possible. And so let's dive into today's episode. Now that you have a little bit of background about me, what I really wanna talk about today Is Designing Your Future the Power of Intentional Divorce and what we mean when we say intentional divorce because That can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Right? How often are you really focusing on intentionality in your life? You know, for some people, maybe they have a meditation practice or a yoga practice where intention may be at the heart of that practice, And this isn't a foreign concept.
Leah Hadley [00:08:16]:
But for many of us, we don't live our lives in a very present way. And really Approaching this very difficult life transition, with this intentionality, it can feel pretty complicated. It can feel difficult. And and sometimes it can actually feel like, I don't really understand what you mean, Leah. But if we look at it, you know, the typical divorce is an adversarial process. That's right. Intentional divorce is really grounded in a mindset that focuses on mutual respect, on open communication, on really developing a clear vision for your life post divorce. So it's really, focusing on the divorce itself as this transitional period.
Leah Hadley [00:09:02]:
And so it's about approaching this change not as a battle to be won, but as a very thoughtful transition to be navigated through by both parties, even amongst your differences. Okay? And so we know that everybody's not getting along. There's a lot of hurt feelings. There's a lot of grief. There's a lot of anger. But the one of the key pillars of an intentional divorce is communication. Open, Honest conversations can really shape the entire process. And it's also really about, Maintaining respect for each other.
Leah Hadley [00:09:37]:
You know, maintaining respect for yourself, quite frankly. Right? Feeling good when you get up in the in the morning and look in the mirror that you are are are happy with the way you're interacting through this process, that when the divorce is all final and said and done, You can feel good looking back at how I handled this. Right? So I think it really is important to recognize that Sometimes both parties are just not gonna be on the same page as it relates to having an intentional divorce. That doesn't mean you can you as an individual Can't have an intentional divorce. It's not necessarily like when you're entering into a collaborative divorce process, both parties have to absolutely be in agreement. They have to be in alignment on the collaborative process. They're signing documents saying, yes. I agree to handle my divorce in this very specific way.
Leah Hadley [00:10:27]:
If You're not familiar with collaborative divorce, we will certainly cover it on a future episode, and so stay tuned for that. But at any rate, intentional divorce, that's not that's not it's not a specific process that you have to follow. It's about how you mentally are approaching the entire process. It's about being empowered through the process. It's about being educated, informed that you have options. Yes. You have options. So many times I meet with people and they're they don't realize the the amount of options that are truly available to them, especially when we're looking at how to divide things financially.
Leah Hadley [00:11:02]:
There's no one size fits all solution. So even if your spouse is not willing To approach the divorce with intentionality, maybe they are sort of in this battle, if you will. This is about taking the high road. This is about really feeling confident and comfortable in the way that you are acting and interacting throughout the process. And, again, it's about Having respect for yourself and the other person. And believe me, I know it is very difficult to have respect for the other person when you're not feeling that back from them. But what we do find is that the more that you can show that respect, the more that you can take the high road, so to speak, The more that you will see that other person back down a little bit in terms of this sort of battle mentality. So you might be wondering about the benefits about, approaching divorce in this way, why Why we are promoting intentional divorce so seriously and so passionately? Emotionally and intentional divorce Leads to less trauma and a healthier environment, especially if children are involved.
Leah Hadley [00:12:12]:
Because the fact of the matter is if children are involved, Then you're going to have an ongoing relationship with your co parent. And even if you aren't able to co parent together, let's say You are really in a situation where you have to do parallel parenting, or maybe the other person isn't even involved in their lives. That's still your child's other parent. Right? When you choose choose to divorce, it doesn't mean that you're ending a parental relationship. You're ending a marital relationship. Right? And so always remembering and recognizing that this is still your child's parent, and and really fostering that healthier environment for the child to be able to embrace a relationship with each of you. And in terms of financial benefits, this approach often results in just More reasonable settlements and better asset protection. And that's because you're able to really look at the finances Through that financial planning lens so that's when I talk a lot of times with people about the difference between looking at your financial settlement through that Legal lens versus through the financial planning lens.
Leah Hadley [00:13:20]:
Right? So the legal lens, we're really looking for the most part at a moment in time. We're looking at assets at a moment in time. We're We're looking at account values at that moment in time. There's often a balance sheet. Sometimes it's a spreadsheet that goes back and forth between attorneys That gets negotiated. Maybe it goes back and forth directly between the parties. It gets negotiated, but it's just looking at a static moment. It's not looking at What does this mean for my future? Right? And I am certainly not an attorney, and I do not provide legal advice.
Leah Hadley [00:13:49]:
But, keep in mind That when you're when you're working with your attorney, they're looking at it through that legal lens of, well, you know, what are the statutes? What does what does the court say? When we're looking at it with intentionality, when we're really focused on it from a financial planning perspective, we're looking at optimizing the financial picture for both parties. And, certainly, if we're hired as a financial advocate, looking at it through the lens of that individual party and saying, okay. What does this mean for me today? What does this mean a year from now? What does this mean 5, 10 years from now? Because the decisions you make related to your finances during a divorce will have a long term impact. And for most people, the decisions that you make during that that divorce, That's can be the largest financial transaction of your entire life. And so keep that in mind. I know that sounds like a weird way to think about a divorce, but, You know, it it is making a lot of financial decisions, financial agreements that are gonna impact everything from what cash flow looks like to what retirement looks like If you're protected whether or not that, other party is able to work or passes away, things like that. Right? The other big thing that, you know, an intentional divorce focuses on is risk management. And as a financial planner, we are always looking for risk.
Leah Hadley [00:15:09]:
Where is the risk in the agreement, Especially as it relates to the finances. Right? And so it's it's really helpful that we can get a agreement that's gonna provide you more protection, that's gonna focus more on financial freedom and flexibility for both of you. And then in the long term, the benefits are obvious when it comes to co parenting, when it comes to, Maybe less obvious, I should say, when it comes to maintaining mutual friendships. You know? If you're treating each other with respect, you're coming out of this in a very different way. It reduces a lot of conflict. For a lot of folks, that means that they're able to actually maintain mutual friendships, which can be really important to people. Otherwise, honestly, this experience can be quite isolating. So the question is, how do you approach your divorce with intentionality.
Leah Hadley [00:16:00]:
So I've talked a little bit about the benefits. I've talked a little bit about what I mean by intentional divorce. It really does Start with preparing yourself mentally and emotionally. So if you're not prepared mentally and emotionally, It's very hard to really objectively make the decisions that you need to make, and it's too easy to make emotional decisions that are not in your best interest. Maybe you're trying to hurry through something. Maybe you're not waiting for the information that's necessary to make a good solid decision. Right? So there's a lot of reasons why If you're not in the right mental space, that the outcome can be a lot poor, and the divorce can drag on, quite frankly, for a much longer time as well, if you're not in a a position to be able to really confidently make decisions about your future. Besides that, assembling the right team is so critical.
Leah Hadley [00:16:52]:
You know, whether it's having the right attorney on your team, having a certified divorce financial analyst, having a therapist or a divorce coach, You know, it depends on the nature of your specific situation exactly who you need on your team, but I will say that divorce With intention is a team sport. It's not leaning on just your attorney to help you figure things out. Again, that attorney is not looking at that through The financial projections, looking at what are these financial decisions mean for the rest of your life. Right? And, also, that attorney, while they may be an excellent advocate for you, You are always going to be the one when it comes to parenting, that really understands what's most important to you. Right? That really knows Your family and your traditions and those kinds of things. And sometimes, looking at that through the legal lens May not be the way you wanna look at it. It may be that you really wanna work through, some emotions that you're struggling with around these changes with a therapist, or maybe you're looking at, you know, how to be proactive with a coach around creating schedules that's really good for your family, things like that. So there's a lot of considerations for who to, be on your team.
Leah Hadley [00:18:04]:
But I will say when you get professionals doing what they are trained to do, It is less expensive than getting professionals who are not trained to do. And here's what I mean. There are so many times where Attorneys are treated like therapists where people are so overwhelmed by emotion that when they're talking to their attorney, they're not being very productive. They're not very clear headed, And they may not even fully recall everything that happened in that conversation. Well, quite frankly, a therapist on an hourly rate is gonna be significantly less money and talking to your attorney, and they are well trained to handle that. And so it's gonna be much more helpful to have a team of people where each person is really operating within their zone of genius, their area of expertise in order to best benefit for you best benefit you. Excuse me. So So I do wanna share a success story to kinda illustrate an example of a successful intentional divorce.
Leah Hadley [00:19:00]:
I worked with a couple who really embraced these principles, And the outcome was quite frankly remarkable. Not only did they reach a fair and respectful settlement, but they were also able to maintain that, I don't wanna say friendship. I'll say a friendly relationship, which for them just was such an immense benefit for their children. And so some of the things that they did In order to have those benefits and and have that success, we're, number 1, not to fly through their divorce. They gave themselves time to really consider their options. We ran several several scenarios and financial projections So they could really consider the pros and cons of each option. Okay? They knew with the timing of when their child was graduating from high school That they wanted to delay it a little bit, you know, finalizing the process because that was gonna be in the best interest of the whole family. Right? So these are the things where, you know, when you approach your divorce with intentionality, you you get to make these choices.
Leah Hadley [00:20:04]:
And people are much more willing to work together When you're not constantly reactive, and you feel more empowered because you know that there are opportunities for choice and you're not just kind of, you know, swaying or, you know, Kind of floundering about, if you will, as you get through the process, but you're more more standing in your power And and working through it from a place again of intentionality. So as we wrap up today, I want you Sure. Remember some of those key points that we discussed. Intentionality in divorce is our mission. So that that is our mission. We are here to support and to guide you through this challenging phase. And I just wanna encourage you to subscribe to the podcast, reach out to us for support. We have an extensive blog with so many free resources that I hope that you will take advantage of.
Leah Hadley [00:20:58]:
Thank you so much for tuning in to the Intangible Divorce Insights Podcast. In our next episode, we are gonna be delving into another critical aspect of navigating divorce with intention and clarity, and that is all about managing stress through the divorce process. Stay tuned for more insights, and until then, take care And approach each day with purpose. Wishing you strength and clarity on your journey. Bye for now. Thank you for joining me on intentional divorce insights. It's a privilege to share this time with you. I hope each episode offers valuable guidance to navigate your journey.
Leah Hadley [00:21:34]:
If you find our content helpful, Please leave a review to help others discover the benefits of intentional decision making in divorce. Until next time, Take care and continue to embrace your path with intention.