If you've ever thought you might want to litigate your divorce, this podcast episode is one you MUST listen to.
Divorcing a man from a powerful family meant that Paulette Gloria Rigo was embroiled in litigation for 8 1/2 years. She had to deal with all the typical litigation games, including going all the way up to the state Supreme Court.
Paulette's experience has given her a unique perspective and a drive to help others avoid the divorce pitfalls that she fell into in her divorce. Now she works as a divorce coach, helping others navigate through divorce with the knowledge and insight she wished she had had when she litigated her own divorce.
Listen as Paulette explains how she fought her way through her divorce, learned how to stand up for herself, and came out the other side stronger, calmer and wiser.
Paulette Rigo is an experienced ADR mediator, Certified Divorce Coach, Certified Divorce Specialist, Certified Amicable Divorce Professional who has served as a neutral in all types of conflict surrounding family court and divorce. She trained for two years with experienced trial attorney and nationally prominent mediator, arbitrator, ADR trainer Patricia A. Siuta.
It is Paulette’s personal 8.5 year litigated and appellant experience and expertise that makes her so skilled in allowing her clients to stay in control, try to stay out of court, maintain their dignity, create the right team of professionals from the early stage of contemplation to the necessary final steps of healing using practical tools, inspiration and proven models.
She personally supports, expertly guides, fiercely coaches clients from the very early stages of contemplation, planning, approaching, researching, managing, surviving, thriving and healing during and after the entire divorce process. She didn't find this work... it found her.
Paulette also hosts private and small group retreats in Belize for women in all stages of the divorce process.
Where to Connect with Paulette
You can find Paulette on Facebook at Better Divorce Academy, on Instagram at Paulette Gloria Rigo, on Twitter at Better Divorce Academy, on YouTube at Better Divorce Academy, and on LinkedIn at Paulette Rigo. You can also connect with Paulette at her website, at Better Divorce Academy or email her at [email protected]
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What It's Like to Litigate Your Divorce for 8 1/2 Years
divorce, people, paulette, retreats, litigation, coach, case, mediator, trial, judge, sounds, high conflict divorce, life, belize, hear, months, emotions, attorney, decision, years
Paulette Rigo, Karen Covy
Karen Covy 00:03
Hello and welcome to Off the Fence, a podcast where we deconstruct difficult decision making to find out what keeps us stuck, and more importantly, how do we get unstuck? I'm your host, Karen Covy. I'm a divorce coach and recovering lawyer as well as a mediator, arbitrator and collaborative divorce professional.
With me today is Paulette Rigo. I'm going to read your bio, Paulette, because it is so extensive. I can't even begin to do you justice. So, let me just say, for those of you who don't know Paulette, Paulette is an experienced ADR mediator, a certified divorce coach, certified divorce specialist, certified amicable divorce professional who has served as a neutral in all types of conflict surrounding family court and divorce.
She trained for two years with experienced trial attorney and nationally prominent mediator arbitrator and ADR trainer Patricia Siuta. Paula has also survived her own high conflict divorce that lasted eight and a half years and was litigated all the way through appeal.
Paulette, if you don't mind, I'd like to start there, to start with your backstory, so you can explain to people what you live through, and how that has formed the work you do today.
Paulette Rigo 01:18
I would be happy to because it is the story that threw me the impetus in which I found this work. I didn't find it, Karen. It found me. Thank you for having me be a guest. It's been an honor. I'm so excited that we got to meet a few years ago back in the pre-COVID and being able to continue relationships with the outstanding divorce professionals such as yourself. So, it's an honor and a privilege to be here.
So, my story. Oh, my, well, I very innocently and naively I think is more the word fell in love really young, 17, which I don't know. I had turned 17 just six weeks prior when I met him.
So, we were young and I was a senior in high school. And we dated for seven years, it seemed great. My family loved him. His family loved me. We were young. I didn't know my head from my elbow. It was on my checklist of things to do, right? I see a lot of women do that. And not to point out ladies here, but it was like be a good kid, graduate from high school, go to college, get married, have babies, something like that, right? And before I knew it, I realized like, wow, where am I? Who am I? Whoa, what happened? Being in my early 30s, living in a rather large house with three little children to a family and a husband that I really thought I knew. But I didn't really think after I realized that I didn't know as well as I thought I did. I also came from a family where I was taught not to ask questions, and the show must go on because I was a dancer. So, there's something in dancers where it's like, the show must go on, never let them see you sweat. One of my mother's favorite sayings was, “Be a trooper.” So, that’s not the greatest thing when you're in any situation that just feels like it's not you.
So, it wasn't that I was miserable, per se. It was just a long-term marriage that kind of ran its course and we were kind of growing apart. And I hear that a lot. I was now in my late 30s, early 40s and realized, ‘Wow, I'm such a different person now than I was when I was 17. I don't even remember being 17.’ Does anyone? It was a matter of realizing that I didn't marry a man, I married a family. I think that happens to a lot of people.
Twenty years into the marriage, I also realized when I made that very difficult decision, we went through therapy and counseling and we really did try so many other things. And that would be a whole another other conversation, though I'm happy to touch on it. But it just never felt like we were getting anywhere. It always felt like whatever he wanted wasn't what I wanted, whatever I wanted wasn't what he wanted. And we just felt like we were kind of going in opposite zigzags. And there were many years that I kept putting on that happy face because that's what we do when we're dancers and performers. And you just kind of, I hate to say act but that's what you learned. So, my mother was a ballet teacher and it was just sort of I got to be a trooper.
But I realized when I did finally bite the bullet, as they say, and file that I wasn't divorcing a man I was divorcing the whole family and the family was powerful and impactful for him and influential. They were not happy that I had the courage naivete to file and it was all gloves off. Mediation was not an option, went into litigation. And before you know it, there was every conceivable lack of compliance, lack of agreeing to any sort of processes of the traditional litigation journey. Which by the way, Karen, I didn't know what the heck that was. I mean, who does, right?
Yeah, that’s true.
I didn’t go to law school. I went to school for journalism. So, I had taught ballet. I was a choreographer. I had modeled. I had become a macrobiotic teacher, coach, Ayurveda consultant, birth doula, lactation consultant, yoga teacher/trainer, like I had a lot of other interesting careers. But being an attorney and being in court was not one of them. But I certainly learned a lot.
Because when you're going through litigation, and you're the plaintiff, they’re the defendant, suddenly you're thrown into this compliance, and you've got discovery and interrogatories. We even had a discovery master, a special master assigned to our case, which is also rare, right? A special master. I was like, ‘What the heck is a special master? Why do I need a special master?’ I always thought it was kind of like a babysitter. The judge had realized that the case wasn't going along swimmingly, and assigned a special master to our case, which I realized, ‘Oh, you mean, not everybody gets a special master? I thought, why don't why doesn't everybody get one of these? So, I was very naïve.
And then pretty soon there, there was the reply, and nothing was ever shall we say normal like, it was just nothing. Everything had to be in contempt enforcement. And the judge immediately just assigned it to a trial.
Karen Covy 07:04
Wow! So, it sounds like you were embroiled in a what we call a high conflict divorce situation. You got to know the court system up close and personal probably really fast. And it also sounds like going in because you became a divorce coach after that, right?
Paulette Rigo 07:25
Oh, yes, absolutely. I had zero interest in becoming a professional divorce coach. This happened because my case took eight and a half years, there was a 12-day trial. Of course, there was about two and a half years of preparation. Two years before that trial started and then the 12-day trial that took place over nine months. And then the judge's decision, the judge took nine months before the decision was presented.
Karen Covy 07:56
I hate to interrupt you. But what you said is I think so critical for people to hear. They don't get it. It was two years to prepare and eight and a half days over nine months. Most people when you think of a trial, you think of what you see on TV, and that it starts in the beginning of the episode and by the end of the episode, you’re done, right? So, you're laughing. Let's talk about what it was really like to litigate that. Did you go through that trial?
Yes, it was actually a 12-day trial that took place over nine months. So, you would think, everyone, listen up that if it's a 12-day trial, and by the way, you don't know that it's going to be a 12-day trial. I think it was originally assigned to be four days. And then it went to six and then eight and then 10 and then 12. And before you know it, it started in September, it ended in June, hence the nine months. But you would think if you had a 12-day trial, you would be Monday to Friday, Monday to Friday and Monday, Tuesday. Newsflash, that is never the case. Well, maybe not never, but rarely. And then after all that, the judge took steamer trunks of cardboard boxes on both sides to their chambers to examine and analyze with their team of experts. And it took another nine months to make their final decision.
It was about four years between the filing, the normal petition complaint, reply da, da, da, da, da, temporary orders. I think we had several temporary orders and then boom, right into court with no, no, no, no, no, I'm not giving you that and yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. And all the all the legal terms when the attorneys asked the other attorney, ‘Hey, I haven't got that from you. Is that on the way over.’ And all that kicking the can down the road. She's smiling and laughing if you're listening to the audio of this. So, that all happened, and then that took a whole another year. And then we started the pretrial conferences. There were several, which those are fun. Forgive my sarcasm, everyone, but then you immediately jump into dates.
And of course, the judge wants to meet with both attorneys to say, ‘Are you ready for trial? Are you ready for trial?’ And of course, one of them usually said, ‘Not yet. And I'm still waiting on this or that.’ And before you know what it was two years, and then the trial took another almost a year. And then there was another year of the decision. So, here we are at four years, and then bam, there was always that threat of I'm going to appeal it, I'm going to appeal it. I'm going to appeal it even during the trial.
There was an additional four years after the final decree and decision from the judge, because they appealed it. Opposing counsels appealed it. Which went to the State Supreme Court, not the Supreme Supreme Court, but the State Supreme Court. And that took four years for that final decision to come down. So, it was an eight-and-a-half-year case from filing to the appeal end.
97% of divorce cases don't go to trial. And 3% do and only 1% of that 3% goes to the Appeals Court. So, my attorneys said, “You’re the unicorn. You're the point 0.001%, my dear. You owe it to give back to people.” And he introduced me to some phenomenal mediators, divorce experts, coaches, and he said, “Paulette, you think like a judge, you act like a lawyer, and you feel like a therapist.”
There was a quote, I did not appoint myself that. And I cried, and I think I kind of slapped him on the shoulder. He's very tall. I was like, “You think I should really do this?” And he goes, “Well, obviously, people keep reaching out to you for help. There's a reason.” But I said, “Should I go to law school.” He laughed. He goes, “Absolutely.” I did not go to law school, maybe in my next life. But it is really been an honor to walk through the fire, holding hands, lock arms, and get divorced with people in additional, maybe not as contentious or sometimes parallel, high conflict, long-term marriage cases, because that really is my expertise.
That's not to say that I have not mediated cases that from start to finish for 43 days. I really love to avoid litigation if I can at all costs. Please do not think I'm pro divorce or pro litigation. But if you've got to do it, you got to do it right. There's no dress rehearsal, Karen. You got to do this, it's a one and done.
Karen Covy 12:57
Yeah. I like to tell my clients you don't get to do over. So, you have to do this right the first time around. And it sounds like you really walked through fire in your divorce.
Paulette Rigo 13:08
I did. But it gave me the depth and the breadth and the courage and the resiliency and the knowledge and the wisdom, and the depth and the breadth that I would never have had. I could not do this work. I would not do this work had I not had that experience. It's given me so much of a unique perspective to help people avoid all of the mistakes, trusting their spouse to doing the right thing, assuming that everything is just going to work out. Social media and marketing and not having your evidence, and your documentation and all this, I don't mean to go down a long list, but there's so many things that people do wrong, that make their case long. And I do mean long, maybe two years, maybe three, maybe a year. I didn't mean it had to go to eight and a half. Although I have had one client that went 10. I got into it in the midst of it. So, she found me and said, “Help.” But in the money that people spend, can we talk about the money that people waste on everything and anything, when it's really not necessary? And the damage to the family, the damage to the relationship as a whole. It is astounding the amount of money, the time, the poor decisions and the heartache that people go through just because they don't know what to do.
Karen Covy 14:29
You are preaching to the choir, but I really, really hope that everyone hears what you said and listens to what you said because this is a long and expensive journey. And if you don't understand, I mean, I hate to say that divorce is a game because it's not a game. It's your life. But a game is kind of the most useful analogy that I found. If you don't know the rules of the game, you are not going to play it very well and you don't get a chance to go back and do it again. Right?
It requires strategy.
Absolutely. It starts with knowing the rules, understanding what's going to be required of you, figuring out what you're facing, and then to your point, making a strategy. So, kudos to you for after you’ve been through all of that, I could see you just saying, “No. I’m done. Done, done. Not doing this again.”
Paulette Rigo 15:27
It did take me a little while to really contemplate that. About halfway through the case, my own experience, my personal experience, people started to reach out to me because I know a lot of people. I ran a performing art studio. I know a couple of hundred young women, probably close to 800. I ran a modeling agency and the children's division. I was a yoga teacher trainer and a birth doula. So, you get the idea. I know a lot of women, right. I hung out with chicks. And they heard about my case, and they kept calling me, texting me. And this is kind of before social media was a thing. Although it was starting. I even got letters. My phone rang, my doorbell rang. And it kept repeating, saying, ‘I read about your case. I heard about your case.” And it commiserated that kind of empathy feeling but there was always that question at the end of, ‘Can you help me?’ You seem to be thriving. You seem to be doing okay. You haven’t crawled naked in the corner, like hobbled and withered away like a dying bug or something. I was doing okay, and I had my moments, trust me. But for the most part, I found a part of myself I didn't know existed. And that's the beautiful part.
I think because of my holistic training and my experience, and being an entrepreneur, and having such strong role models in my life, I never thought failure was an option. I just said, ‘I got to learn to stand up for myself. I deserve more than being discarded and alienated and brushed aside and ignored and lied to and manipulated.’ It was a very big web. I'm not finger pointing, divorce takes two. So, the demise of a marriage takes two. So, ownership is a huge part of it. But once you get into the legal part of it, whoa, that's a whole another day at the races. So, I do believe that I was able to come out of that not destroyed. And if anything, stronger, calmer, wiser, just better than I had going into it.
I am the same woman. Naturally, we don't change. I'm still the same me. But there's a part of me that is so different. And I see that in my clients. That is the gift that I see is the transformation in them from the babe and the deer in the headlights, I said but you know what I mean. And that feeling of fear and overwhelm to like, ‘I got this. I'm good.’ Like this is not fun. Nobody in their right mind would say, ‘Oh, bring it on, let's do this.’ But when they do come out of it, they're either gone through a breakup, a divorce, or a life pivot and they're really desperately needing a safe space and a whole new life. And they get there. And also, I have a lot of clients that are men. So, I shouldn't just be sexist.
As a mediator, I've naturally worked with both parties. If I'm just coaching, I sometimes work with men, and I sometimes work with women. It really depends. I am really proud of the industry that you and I are a member of. We’re changing the experience. We're changing the language and the past that you can know that you have an option besides blindly writing a cheque, handing it over to somebody and giving your life and delegating the authority to someone else, either an attorney or a judge to make or create your whole new life for you without your involvement. That is scary. Because it's a little bit like going to Vegas and playing craps. You don't know what you're going to get. Now, there's still a little bit of you don't know what you're going to get when it goes to court, but at least you're involved in it, and you're engaged and you're knowledgeable and you're understanding that there are some options out there. So, it is really a gift to see that.
Karen Covy 19:41
Yeah. It sounds like it's not just you've been through so much with the litigation process. And that's very important for people to understand and to know that process before they get caught up into it. But there's more to you too than just the litigation side. You mentioned the yoga practice, the Ayurvedic things, the holistic side. How does that experience inform your doors coaching?
Paulette Rigo 20:10
That's a great question. Well, there's two sides to divorce: the spreadsheet side, judicial, legal, financial, residential, lending, insurance, taxes, you get the idea. It's numbers, its facts, its names, its dates. There's no emotion. Now, not everyone likes to hear that, but that's just the way it is. On the other side, though, there's the psychological, mental, physical, sexual, spiritual, psychological part and co-parenting, family dynamics and friends, all the emotional mushy side of it. That's the opposite of a spreadsheet. I like to call it the glass bowl of emotions. It's just this big pool of emotions. And when you're dealing with litigation, it's just really the spreadsheet. Yes, you probably need a therapist to help with the other little aspects of it here and there, but because of my unique training experience, both on the litigated side that is extremely maybe blue suit hair and a bun, pearls, attaché case, like documentation, evidence, witness, credibility, believability, likability, all of those essential things of what to wear, what not to wear, what to say, what not to say. There's a decorum to court, correct?
But when you find yourself crying on the bathroom floor, don't expect the judge or the attorney to come pick you up. You have to know that there's more to it. You've got to be able to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and create boundaries, and identify with your core values, and really understand who you are. What are your core values? Your why. What is your why? Why are you even going through this? And what is the outcome that you deserve and desire and identifying with that, so that you can process all the emotions. Because if you don't, you're going to come out the other side, and probably need my services again.
Karen Covy 22:11
Yeah, it's like I like to tell people, you can get divorced from your spouse, but you're still going to take you with you into the next relationship. And so, one way or another, you either do the work now, or you repeat the situation in some form, and you end up having to do the work later, right?
So, what you're saying is so critical and so important for people to hear. People need to ask themselves, why are you in this situation? Why are you even here? What would you say to the person who says, ‘Well, it wasn't my decision. It was my husband or my wife, or they're the crazy one. I don't know why I'm here. I don't want to be here.’ What do say to them?
Paulette Rigo 22:58
Yeah, that is difficult, because depending on whether you're the person that was initiating the action or you suddenly were blindsided, that's the word I hear a lot, maybe we could find a few other choice words but blindsided works, and you didn't see it coming. Well, I'm going to debate that you probably missed a few red flags, but this is not finger pointing, and the empathy and I want to just hug and really allow the shock and denial to seep in, because it's that feeling of shock, denial, anger, sadness, negotiating, bargaining, all of that, anxiety, whether it be sadness, or anger, anger, or sadness, all of those emotions that you go through the different stages of grief, that take the time to absorb, and finally come to a place of, ‘Well, I don't have the legal right to stop them.’ And that isn't good. I don't want to say that word, but it's not good. But it is what it is.
Unfortunately, if one side wants a divorce, the other can't stop it. It isn't like a jersey barrier that you can put up and say, ‘Oh, nice try. You're going to stay married to me even though you don't want to.’ Now, that means that you've got a jagged little pill to swallow. So, I'm quoting Alanis Morissette. I apologize, Alanis if you’re listening, but it's a tough pill to swallow. Right? And that takes a lot of strength and resiliency and courage to acknowledge that ‘Wow, my spouse doesn't like this, doesn't want this, is unhappy, or whatever their laundry list is. And what does that mean for me?’ Because there's so much fear and the abandonment issues and the anger and the sadness that will linger in it. So, the person that isn't the one that wanted to divorce that is now having to deal with all the paperwork. And the emotions, it's going to take time. And your spouse may not want you to take that time, because they're already ready. And you're like, ‘Hello, I still need to like figure this out.’ And your spouse may be lightyears ahead of you, which is unfortunate.
So. if you have a team of professionals that can help you learn to speak and communicate with that person, depending on their personality, and if they're forthcoming and honest and empathetic at all, or if they're just like, ‘It's not my problem, too bad,’ you're going to need the right support, whether that be a mental health practitioner, a licensed clinical social worker, whomever. I'm none of those people, but I have a big Rolodex of people that I recommend to people, when they really are stuck, and they're feeling sad and angry, because you better catch up.
Now, that doesn't mean that you need to do it as quickly as they want you to. You have the right to live your life and do it at your own pace, within the parameters of the process and the law. You can't drag your feet for 10 years. But there are some ways that you can have a conversation with the other attorneys saying, ‘She's really hot, or he,’ whoever the other person is having a very challenging time with this and get the right support. Don't go it alone. It's not going to be pretty because chances are if one spouse wants the divorce, and they want AB and C and the other doesn't want the divorce, they're not going to want A, B and C. They may not want X, Y and Z but it might be LMNOP, which means the farther apart you are from your list of things you want, means you're kicking the can down the road towards mediation and to litigation, the way whether it would go to a trial. So, the closer you two are in your desired outcome, the less costly and time it will take. But that's the initial shock that is painful. It usually can take three to six months even longer for some to just absorb that. ‘Honey, I'm not happy we need to talk.’ It's really a hard conversation. Get the support. You need to get that expert.
Karen Covy 27:36
Yeah, absolutely. I'd like to pivot a little bit now because I know you and I have talked and there's something that you do that very few of the divorce coaches do that I think is so interesting and unique. And that is you have divorce events, like you have retreats, where you will invite someone to Belize, which like you wouldn't have to invite me twice. I don't care about divorce. I would be there. You take people to really cool places, and you help them, you coach them, you help them grow through their process. Can you tell me a little bit about what that is and how it works?
Paulette Rigo 28:20
Sure. Well, I have attended probably 30 retreats: Bali, Costa Rica, Vegas, Maui. I'm not name dropping just because of the path in which I decided to take after I left the arts world. Really, I'm a constant learner. I don't do anything halfway. And I do deep dives. So, I have attended numerous retreats where I have personally witnessed enormous transformations in people's lives because of their ability to retreat. Think about the word, right? You're retreating, you're withdrawing, you're removing yourself and putting yourself in whole new, different out of the box environment that’s safe, sacred, comfortable.
You have other like-minded people there that are going to build community and help you not feel like you're a loser, you're broken, you're some sort of strange science experiment that there's nothing wrong with you and you're not broken. Because many people feel when they go through divorce, whether it's before, during and after that they're a failure, that they've done something wrong. There's so much guilt and blame and finger pointing or feeling like I failed as a husband, I failed as a wife. Whether it be societal, family, that's another conversation but they still feel that way. So, because of my own personal experience, not as a divorced. This was prior to all this. And when I left Massachusetts because I'm not a fan of cold weather, and I moved to Belize in 2016 and I ended up living there for three years. The first opportunity I had was a friend of mine who was under the radar saying, ‘Hey, I'm really thinking of getting divorced.’ And I said, ‘Come on down.’ So, she was supposed to spend the weekend and she stayed a month. She did not overstay her welcome. But she got up the plane with fear, no plan, confusion, pain and a lot of other things that she was internally dealing with. And she got on the plane to go back, and she's not from Massachusetts, with a plan. She felt clear. I got this brainchild of like, if I can do it for one, I can do it for many.
So, naturally, I don't have 30 women move into my house for a month though that would be fun probably. Sounds like a reality show, Karen, maybe we should do it. But you imagine having 30 women in a room that were contemplating divorce in the same house for a month, I would pay to have it that. Maybe we should produce it.
I think that is a reality show.
I think it really is. So, I would have three or four come down for the weekend. And this now has transformed into me having two to four events per year. Typically, in Belize where I take them to either the jungle. One of my favorites is called Copal Tree, C-O-P-A-L, tree. It's in Dangriga. It's in the southern part of Belize. And it's just a beautiful property. And then we fly them to the private island called Thatch Caye. And they spend three days there. And the great thing about it is it's a private island. So, you can walk around barefoot, no makeup. You don't give a darn what you look like and neither did anyone else. You're really there for help, coaching, community support, wellness, and you come feeling in many different ways, but mostly tired, exhausted, a little confused, burnt out, and in need of a map, a blueprint. And that's the book I wrote Better Divorce Blueprint.
So, I took chapters in 7 and 8 in my book, Better Divorce Blueprint, and I transformed that into a retreat. I teamed up with a holistic genius. Her name is Tierra Womack. We do these retreats annually, semi-annually or more depending on if they fill up. They're small and intimate. It has changed the lives of hundreds of women. I love doing them. Mostly because I love the country. I love the food. I love the culture, but I love the experience and the transformation they get.
So, they get back on that plane knowing the life that they want to create, and they feel confident enough to make it happen. Yes, I can provide ongoing support over the next few years if they, ‘Gee, my plan is changing a little. What should I do?’ But for the most part, they have created it, and they know what they want to implement. I'm really excited and enthusiastic and empowered and inspired to be able to bring this to these types of people because it doesn't exist where I have this background in high conflict divorce. I'm also a mediator, by the way, so I love mediating. I know amicable uncontested cases too. Those are a day at the beach, I love them. But even those people sometimes need a little bit of love and the friendships, Karen, the friendships. It's a beautiful thing to see a friendship grow and blossom out of trauma or hardship. That's what divorce can be. She has clearly said that it's like a game. But unfortunately, the next chapter is your responsibility.
Freedom sounds scary to sound because it's a big responsibility. And you now have the responsibility of embracing it and taking it by the steering wheel and moving forward. Because you have no one to blame if you get stuck. You don't want to still feel like you're living the story over and over. You've got to move forward. So, these retreats are the best way to do it. It's six nights, seven days. We've tried to make it affordable. It's all inclusive, private. You don't worry about a thing from registration to Namaste. I take care of everything.
Karen Covy 34:27
That sounds fabulous. I mean, is this solely for people dealing with divorce or I have to tell you, it sounds so good. I'm excited to jump in.
Paulette Rigo 34:38
The answer is no. In fact, Tierra who's had two high conflict relationships has not been married. So, it's normally for people who are either they’ve been through a breakup, a divorce or a life pivot of any kind. It could be widow. It really just somebody that’s just burnt out.
I also have to say that COVID did a lot of damage for people feeling limited and getting back out again. Sometimes going through a divorce in a time when you already feel isolated, if that makes sense, is a double whammy. So, naturally, because you're isolated, and maybe you even lose some friends. So, there is a community that has grown out of this. I would say 70% of the participants have been or are getting divorced. You're not going to get kicked off the island if you do not have divorce decree in your hand. So, no.
Karen Covy 35:44
Nobody's voting you off the island.
Paulette Rigo 35:47
No, there's no survivor. We don't do that. So, yeah.
Karen Covy 35:51
It sounds just lovely. So, you do Belize? Is Belize, the only place you go or other places?
Paulette Rigo 35:59
No. By the wider white picket, it's English speaking. It's a two-hour flight from every city in the United States. You can normally fly from Denver, LA, Toronto, Seattle, Houston, Dallas, Charlotte, Miami, New York, like indirect right to Belize City. And then we you take the little local plan to the properties. So, it's English speaking. It's easy to get to. The weather is phenomenal. The people are gracious, beautiful. The food is fabulous. I just feel safe there. I know a lot of people. So, no, I love Bali. I love Maui. I love Costa Rica, Vegas, Puerto Rico. I've done a few there. In my house in Atlanta, too, because we have a property in a lake. So, I do some one on ones here. But it's kind of my like, trust me, if you've not been to Belize, you must come. It's May 4 to the 10th, 2024. It's pretty easy to find. You just go to betterdivorceacademy.com and go to Events and voila.
Karen Covy 37:11
Wow. Paulette, this has been so exciting. I have to tell you, I'm excited about going to your events. I'm not divorced. I'm not getting a divorce at the moment and nor do I hope to get one. I have the best husband on the planet.
Me too. It’s okay, yeah.
But this sounds absolutely wonderful. Because what's important and what is so key that you're providing people, you don't want to spend the rest of your life being defined by your divorce. This sounds like it's an opportunity to create a new life, to create as you put it, your next chapter. And that's really what life is about is moving on, moving forward, being strong and enjoying your life again. I mean, divorce might have been, you know, whether it was something that you chose, or it's something someone else chose for you, the point of the matter is, you've got to keep living. And if you're going to do that, it's about living life to the fullest on your own terms. So, it's all such good stuff.
Paulette, where can people find you? If they're looking for you, we'll link to all of your things in the show notes. But where can they find you?
Paulette Rigo 38:24
The easiest place betterdivorceacademy.com Everything is there. My podcast, my retreats, my book, my workbook, mediation services, private coaching services, litigation trial coaching. Not many divorce coaches want to go into that world. You name it. Everything is there. There's a plethora of videos. I think over 75 videos. I have one of the top divorce blogs in the country. There is probably over 100 entries. There is so much free resources there. So, many people go back time and time again to read an article, listen to a podcast, download a checklist. My books on Amazon, it's 15 bucks. You can't go wrong. So, Better Divorce Blueprint is the book.
Karen Covy 39:15
That sounds wonderful. Paulette, thank you so much for being a guest. For everyone who is out there listening, if you enjoyed this episode, please give us a thumbs up, like, subscribe to the podcast, subscribe to the YouTube channel. And we'll see you again next time.