Written by Jenny Galluzzo, Co-founder of The Second Shift
Laura Wasser is most often referred to as LA celebrity divorce attorney with clients like Angelina Jolie, Maria Shriver and Britney Spears; she is one of the most powerful matrimonial attorneys in the country. These days Laura is also trying on a new role, entrepreneur, as the founder of It’s Over Easy, an online marriage dissolution tool that takes her knowledge and experience and democratizes it for anyone to use. Laura will be joining our founders, Jenny and Gina, for a talk on Dec 12th in NYC (info at the bottom) – in the meantime, we have a lot to learn about career and finances from someone who has seen the mistakes women make and how to avoid them.
You are a high profile divorce attorney charging big bucks— where did your entrepreneurial spirit come from?
I’m not certain that I actually have an entrepreneurial spirit. I am and have always been, a problem solver. This serves me (and our clients) well in my private Family Law practice as the more efficiently conflict is resolved, the less acrimonious and costly the dispute will be. After about 20 years of working in this field, it became clear to me that a larger overarching problem to be dealt with is how divorce is perceived and approached. Our system is broken and as parents, couples and humans, in general, we cannot put our fates into the hands of others when we are or could be equipped to amicably and cost-effectively resolve issues near and dear to us on our own. I want to change the face of divorce. If my startup can do that, I guess I’ll embrace my entrepreneurial spirit!
How has the transition from a full-time lawyer to the owner of a tech-enabled business platform been? The transition has been awesome! I love this new world and the possibilities it holds. Marrying (excuse the pun) my knowledge of the Family Law field with the needs of a wider user base is really exhilarating. Educating families as to how they really can do things better is gratifying and I am passionate about it.
What are the top 3 questions you get from your female clients worried about divorce and starting over?
-Will my kids be ok?
-Will I be ok?
-How long will it take to get to a new normal?
Money is obviously a huge part of splitting up— what should women know about their finances that they don’t? What mistakes do they make in the negotiation process? How should they think about the next phase when they are a single parent?
Often women do not know enough about finances at all. What the family makes, spends, owns and owes are items that we should all check into now and again. One of the bright spots about divorce is that we have access to all of this information and are unlikely to ever live in the dark again once we have gone through it. A big mistake in the negotiation process is not seeing things from the perspective of the other person. As insecure as you are about finances he may be about custody (and vice versa). Think about who this person is on the other side of the table. It’s likely you know them better than anyone. How can this be used to your advantage?
For women out of the workforce or not the breadwinner, getting a job to support their families is a necessity, yet the demands of being a single parent vs the price of childcare make navigating that divide tricky? What have you seen as a successful path?
Get a job! It is an amazing opportunity to recreate yourself outside of your home/comfort zone. The first six-twelve month period may be tough but once you have gotten into your groove and made yourself indispensable you will likely earn more and the child care balance will make more financial sense. Also, it takes a village. Don’t be afraid to ask friend or family for help. Then, reciprocate!
You are a single mother of two— how do you make work work for you??
You have to try to find a balance. Kids are super adaptable, particularly those of working moms. Sometimes it works seamlessly, sometimes it is a disaster. There is an excellent Ralph Waldo Emerson quote which I often cite:
“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”
That and a lovely glass of wine usually helps at the end of one of the crappy days.
If you're in New York on 12/12, come hear Laura Wasser speak live on this topic and more at our NYC area member event– 12/12 at Luminary. Register here to join us. We will be live streaming on Instagram if you are not in NYC. We will be live 9:30-10:30! Join us!
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