Vikki S. Ziegler Payne, Esq. is a multi-layered talent: a practicing attorney of matrimonial law and civil litigation; a television personality known for her commentaries on high-profile cases; an active volunteer for women’s and children’s charities; and the innovator of a unique and realistic approach to “divorce management.” She is often called on to give her expert advice on television, radio and print for the past several years. She is on HLN/CNN, Fox News and Fox Business Channel weekly. She has been on CNBC, MSNBC, Fox 5, TAlk Soup on E!, WPIX, CBS, ESPN and many other networks. She was featured in a Documentary for HBO called “BROKE” featuring her commentary on athletes and divorce. She has contributed to top publication such as People Magazine, Ok!, US Weekly, Life and Styles and most recently Bravo’s hit show, Untying The Knot. Vikki S. Ziegler Payne, Esq. is a multi-faceted, Educated, Accomplished woman.
Ayana: Vikki, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to sit with me!
Vikki: Thank you for having me, its my pleasure.
Ayana: You wear so many different hats! What was your motivation behind practicing matrimonial law and what do you believe makes you an expert?
Vikki: My parents divorce at age 12 triggered a strong urge to assist children going through divorce as well as litigants. I have been affected by divorce and can tell my clients I have walked in their shoes literally. I truly understand how difficult it is to go through a family break up and can use my vast knowledge and experience to help clients in tremendous need.
Ayana: Does your passion for the betterment of women derive from personal experiences?
Vikki: I am a humanitarian at heart. I love helping people – both male and females. I do have a strong sense of self and have gone through my trial and tribulations which have taught me the best way to help you is to give back. I feel compelled to better my clients and society as a whole and feel as though I can do that with my experience in the underbelly of the family law world. Women tend to gravitate to me as role model and take that very seriously. I want to be sure that can help those looking for guidance in a righteous and ethical manner.
Ayana: That is so commendable, its very important for young women to have a role model to look up to. Please tell us a bit about your book “The Premarital Planner” and what you would like your readers to learn from this book.
Vikki: It is a book that has taken me many years to cull as a way to help couples before they decide to wed – pre marital planning is a key element to safe guarding a couples longevity which is greatly missing in today’s culture. The divorce rate is 50% for first time couples in part due to the fact that many do not discuss the pressing issues BEFORE they wed. My book has interactive charts for both partners to fill out, pointers and statistics to help couples navigate through the murky marital waters so that they are open and honest with one another and step into marital bliss with their eyes wide open. I discuss topics such as commitment, children, second marriages, timetable to plan a wedding, sample vendor contracts, cohabitation agreements, prenups, same sex marriage and much much more!
Ayana: Awesome! And you also have a movie coming out, “Love, Lies and Litigation.” What is the movie about? Are there any famous co-stars?
Vikki: This started off as fictional book and now turned into a screen play – the movie is in the works and cast members will be revealed in early 2013. Sasha Green Is the main character looking for love through the eyes of her clients- she is practicing divorce attorney in a big firm in NYC. Romance, divorce and scandals are playing out for the audience- it’s a devils wears prada meets sex in the city type of chick lit flick.
Ayana: The world is indeed in need of another chick flick let me tell you and who doesn’t love Sex In the City and the Devil Wears Prada! Now, you have accomplished so many things, but what are you most passionate about?
Vikki: Divorcedating.com – my site that I created for clients who could not get back into the dating world. It will be all over shortly and warms my heart to know that people all over the county are finding true love.
Ayana: You give single people hope all over the world (laughs) With all of the notoriety and fame that you’ve gained as a result of loaning your legal and professional expertise through media, magazines, public speaking at Universities, I also understand you are a Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School and have also appeared on several reputable news stations such as CNBC, MSNBC, Fox 5, TAlk Soup on E!, WPIX, CBS, ESPN and many other networks and appearing on HLN/CNN, Fox News and Fox Business Channel weekly, you still manage to give back by volunteering for victims of Domestic Violence as well as the Make A Wish Foundation and Toys for Tots amongst many other organizations, do you have time to date?
Vikki: I believe that we are put on this earth to give back- better your community and less fortunate- it is incumbent upon each of us to find the time. I try to manage my day and fit time for charitable organizations. I was just helping Sandy victims in NYC at an amazing location handing out food, water and blankets to those in need. What I do is such a small part in the grand scheme but every little bit helps.
Ayana: Indeed it does. Now shifting the interview into Diva mode a little bit lets talk about today’s woman. What major attribute do you believe that today’s woman is lacking when it comes to dating and trying to find a mate?
Vikki: Fixing mistakes from prior relationships. Instead of rebounding its crucial to look in the mirror and be honest with yourself and correct those things that you do not want to repeat in your next relationship. Characteristic traits, bad habits and modifying you communicate. It’s easier to say to someone you love when you said ___ it hurt my feelings vs. you jerk- why did you say that to me- small languaging changes can really impact a relationship for the better, But it takes work and repetition. If you want to be happy you need the proper tools to get you there!
Ayana: I agree, because honey this mouth of mines???? My verbal intercourse is crazy but I’ve learned to say, ”What you did hurt my feelings,” as opposed to saying, “Your an asshole you know that?” (laughter) What are some mistakes you believe some women make in terms of choosing a mate?
Vikki: Going after the wrong guy- attracted to the bad boy- instead of a good guy that treats them nicely- be attracted to a person for who they are and what they stand for vs. what they look like or their bank account- those things can fade fast!
Ayana: Do you believe that a person isn’t trust worthy if they aren’t willing to sign a pre-nup?
Vikki: No sometimes people don’t understand the reason behind signing a prenup – they are to protect a person’s assets in the event of death or divorce. You can exempt what was earned before the marriage and pool assets together after the marriage by putting them in joint name. I think people are misinformed about what a prenup is and how it can help both parties if crafted properly.
Ayana: Why do you believe that signing a pre-nup is necessary in marriage?
Vikki: If you have a family owned business, out earn your partner, have real estate before you wed, take care of family members, have a great deal of debt these are all reasons that a person may think about preparing prenup – it can help reduce acrimony and legal costs down the road in the event of divorce. Parties are able to sculpt their own divorce without the laws of the state dictating who gets what. I know I would rather create my own deal now in a prenup that I can live with vs. a Judge ordering a decision that I cannot.
Ayana: Can a person that doesn’t have much to lose financially benefit from signing a pre-nup or should this practice only be reserved for the wealthy and beyond?
Vikki: Prenups can be for couples where either may inherit wealth in the future such as a business, property etc or where they believe one will out earn down the road- you can draft a prenup that keeps assets and income separate but if they decide to pool money jointly then can certainly do that as well. It gives couples more control over their personal income and assets rather than once your wed following the laws of the state as they define them.
Ayana: What is some advice you can offer to the single woman who is “looking?”
Vikki: Make sure you are over your ex. Get a makeover- mentally and physically. Clean your skeletons out of your closet. Start exercising. Write in a journal- what are you looking for in man? why are you appealing? What must you still work on? Get referrals from family and friends- go online and create a stellar profile – go out and be active- never say no to an invite… EVER! You never know when or where you will meet your match.
Ayana: Awesome tips! I’m definitely going to take heed to the working out and not turning down invites! ahahaa! Do you think today’s woman is overly dependent? Is there such a thing?
Vikki: Some – yes- I am very independent but I think it’s a factor in the way you are raised. I believe you should depend on yourself first and foremost- then some one else- start a list of goals that you alone want to obtain- you will feel great when you can accomplish them on your own!
Ayana: What qualities do you think men appreciate and are looking for in women?
Vikki: Strong, independent, successful, sexy, go getter who is smart and funny and doesn’t mind poking fun at herself
Ayana: What are 3 things that every woman should look for in a man, when considering seriously dating or marriage?
Vikki: Every woman should want a man who is kind, stable and interesting!
Ayana: What are your beliefs about the entire institution of marriage?
Vikki: It is a wonderful thing if two people want to make it work. Its like a paycheck- you must work hard and continue to reinvent and recreate yourself to stay fresh and employed. Be interested in your partner, put your partnership first, never fight in public, love unconditionally, communicate kindly,…honor the sanctity of marriage
Ayana: Vikki, you are definitely the epitome of a Diva and it was my pleasure to have interviewed you so that I may share with our readers all that you do! I hope that someone out there who is reading this can benefit from your services, I know I can! Please leave our readers with some advice on love, life and money.
Vikki: Respect your partner, focus on your partners happiness, compliment your partner often, support your partner in good and bad times, don’t ignore red flags, work on them as no one is perfect- accept that the only person you can change is yourself, hold monthly meetings about money, air out your financial laundry- the good, the bad and the ugly, do not make financial assumptions- talk to one another about your attitudes towards money and hire experts to consult with to help you invest and grow your money together.