Dominique Bergel-Grant

Tall Poppy Woman

My Why?

Having been divorced myself, and witnessed my mother fight my father for almost 20 years in Australian Family Law Courts my mission is to help women reclaim their lives after divorce.

Over the years as a qualified financial planner I have had the opportunity to help women one to one. Tall Poppy Women is about turning my Mother's painful divorce story into a positive impact. It is time that as women we stand tall after divorce, are not afraid to be cut down by words, and redesign our lives exactly the way we want, and most importantly deserve.

We all start somewhere

I went from overworked employee to starting my own financial advice practice back in 2011. If often got asked why financial advice? For me, this became an incredibly personal question. To understand why here is my story...

My mother was an amazing woman, a Doctor with a very busy practice in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. Born in 1940 being a doctor was not the norm and I always admired her for pushing through. I am also incredibly grateful to my grandparents that they held my Mother to the same education standards as her older brother, who by that time was a qualified Doctor.

She had started to build a lifestyle that she defined success by. She had a farm, her home in Sydney along with a range of different investment properties. She was without doubt doing well for herself.

Just before she turned 40 she got married and I was born shortly afterward. The reality of marriage, however, was not one of a fairy-tail, instead, it was one of deception and lies. 

During the marriage, my Mother continued to try to build a lifestyle purchasing a property in London, Los Angeles, and Barcelona. Her dream was to be able to travel freely and benefit from the years of hardwork.

Two years after I was born, my Father disappeared back to Argentina. However, he kept in contact to ask for money. As often is the case with love, she not only helped him with money but went on to set him up in a gemstone business to encourage him back to Australia. He took up the option, perhaps all too eagerly. 

To support this new fledgling business she went on to sell all of her investment properties around Sydney's inner suburb of Glebe. This money was used to by gemstones in the business. Less than two years later he left the country, never to return again along with all the gemstones. At the time Australia did not have an extradition treaty with Spain which was his new chosen home.

So then started a long and lengthy family law court case. My Father however was not willing to wait for the result. He went on to strip the house in Barcelona of all its furniture, illegally sold the property in Los Angeles; his new partner signed the sale documents pretending to be my Mother. A few years later he then went on to sell the Barcelona property again illegally. The one property that remained was the London house.

The years and years of fighting a ghost in the family law court took a toll on my Mother. My Father was unable to be contacted for over 10 years putting a total pause on formal legal actions. In the meantime my Mother had made the decision to keep fighting him with all that she had. She gave up her medical practice and put all her energy into the fight.

She protected me by sending me to boarding school in the United Kingdom, which gave me safety and regularity. However, the downside of this is that it also gave her more time to focus on the fight.

For me as a child there was little I could do. However, having witnessed this it just makes me wish there was someone there to tell my mother to stop the fight. In the end the court case finished in 2003, having started in 1986. The property settlement was confirmed in my mother's favour. However, by this time there was only the London property left. The delay in years had left the London property in a state of disrepair after vandalisation it became a fire sale.

For my Mother, she had put every financial resource and emotional energy she had into fighting my Father. She had nothing left. Within two years of the court case finally finishing she was diagnosed with dementia and passed away six years later. No one knows if the two are linked, but the mental toll the fight took on her I have no doubt possibly contributed to her end diagnosis. 

Today

My focus is on helping women navigate the initial grief, anger and overwhelm following separation and divorce. Showing a path to not just survive divorce, but thrive. I combine my years of financial planning, psychology research, and my own personal experiences to better arm women with knowledge and practical tools. 

I am here to say that live after divorce is yours to claim, so start today!

More about Dominique

Named by Financial Standard as one of the Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers

Winner of the 2014 Business Transformation Series on Sky Business

Financial Expert on Channel Nine Investment Series

Multi-Award Winner as Both a Financial Planner & Mortgage Broker

Can't Get Enough Of The Real Housewives

Can Be Found Skiing Down The Nearest Slopes

Most Grateful For My Passport

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