The Struggle for Control in Divorce

Divorce: It's All About Control

Divorce: It's All About Control is destined to become a must-read for anyone ending a marriage. Regardless of the specific circumstances of your divorce, this book will help you let go of your anger and move on with your life.

About Stacy D. Phillips

As a founding partner of PhillipsLerner LLP, Stacy Phillips has handled divorce proceedings for high-profile clients such as Darcy LaPier (ex-wife of Jean-Claude Van Damme and widow of Mark Hughes), Deborah Shelton (former Miss USA), Toni Taupin (ex-wife of Bernie Taupin), Erin Everly (ex-wife of Axl Rose of Guns 'n Roses), Darryl Strawberry, Charlie Shahnaian (former husband of Tori Spelling), and Jonathan Kaufer (former husband of Pia Zadora). However, Stacy believes her experience as a celebrity divorce attorney has given her great insight into ordinary divorce cases.

"Actually, there is very little difference between the celebrity divorces I handle and the average person's divorce," Stacy Phillips said. "While the obvious stakes may be higher for the celebrity-more wealth, more assets, and more publicity or exposure about the event that the average person doesn't have-they tend to battle over the same issues. So in terms of experience in the celebrity divorce world and how it applies to the average person's marriage, experience has simply made me better at my job."

Who's In Control?

In Divorce: It's All About Control, Stacy discusses how the struggle for control is responsible for the majority of the tension surrounding divorce. When faced with the end of a marriage, spouses often resort to angry and childish behaviors. To move on with your life, you need to determine if you or your ex is an intimidator, passive-aggressor, terrorist, manipulator, or victim. Then, you can develop a plan to minimize conflict, maintain control, and move towards a more cooperative relationship.

And, contrary to popular belief, divorce is not just a battle between you and your former spouse. Since their reactions to your divorce influence your own mental state, the following people also have a place in the war for control:

  • Your attorney
  • The judge and the court system
  • Your therapist
  • Children who try to trick and manipulate their parents to turn the divorce into a "competition" between Mom and Dad
  • Friends and family who try to give unsolicited and unhelpful advice

The basic premise of Divorce: It's All About Control is that you can't change other people's attitudes, but you can change your response to their unhealthy behaviors. Stacy Phillips encourages the divorcing man or woman to avoid emotional and psychological warfare at all costs. Her anecdotes, based on cases she's encountered in her extensive legal career, provide the reader with constructive ways to respond to even the most difficult of situations.

The inspiration for Divorce: It's All About Control came after Stacy found herself addressing the same issues with nearly all of her clients. "I thought it would be helpful to give them a book they could absorb at their own pace and on their own time that would help them to understand how to handle the 'divorce wars' in a productive way," she said. "I felt that my particular approach to helping people through such a difficult time was consistently well-received, so that triggered the notion of reaching beyond my client base and the region in which I practice, to reach others-to help people I couldn't meet face-to-face. What also inspired me is that I desperately wanted people to stand back and objectify their travails so they could make better and more reasonable decisions on how to handle the different crises that seemed to befall them during the divorce process."

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Despite the title, Stacy believes her book is appropriate for anyone who wants to learn more about handling marital conflict.

"Control issues will always be present in any relationship-who controls the finances, who decides how and where the holidays are spent, who decides where the couple will live, how they will raise the children," Stacy Phillips said. "If they can get a firm grip on their control issues and make concessions to one another in an equitable way, they might save their marriage or if they're past that point and on to divorce they can learn how to navigate their way through the process and beyond (especially if children are involved and there will still be family ties) more sensibly; more wisely."

In Divorce: It's All About Control, Stacy Phillips provides worksheets that let you think about how control issues have impacted your relationship with your spouse. Since she encourages self-reflection and compromise, her approach works well with many different types of relationships.

Additional Resources

For more answers to your divorce questions, check out the following resources:

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The Struggle for Control in Divorce