Dealing With An Emotionally Abusive Spouse During A Divorce

Almost half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce or separation, and though many of these marriages end in amicable terms, some couples aren’t so lucky. Sometimes, a once well-mannered spouse will transform into a relentless bully. What makes this kind of bullying worse is that your ex knows your deepest fears and insecurities, making it easier for them to push your buttons.

Bullying in a divorce can manifest in different ways. Your partner could lie about past incidents or blow things out of proportion to make you look bad. They could isolate you from friends and family, or threaten to take full custody of the children and keep you away from them. They could turn into a cyberbully, harassing you on social media or over email.

Dealing with an abusive partner in a divorce can take a significant toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing. Thankfully, the situation isn’t unsalvageable. If you take the time to understand how you can handle an abusive partner, you can make the divorce more bearable.

Turn To A Support System

Divorcing a bully is a harrowing task, but having the right people around you can make it easier. Your support system will consist of professionals, like a lawyer and other consultants, as well as emotional support like your friends and family to keep you mentally balanced. Knowing that you have a group of people who have your back will make a world of a difference on especially bad days.

Keep A Record Of The Abuse

When you’re a victim of bullying, it’s easy to feel helpless and fall into despair. But you can stand up for yourself by taking note of your partner’s abusive behavior, recording every single detail. Take note of the date and time, how the abuse occurred, and be as detailed as you can. Then, take this data to your lawyer to see if they can help you stop the abuse by setting clear legal boundaries they cannot cross.

Prioritize Your Health And Safety

Bullying can result in a multitude of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. The emotional toll can also affect your physical health, weakening your immune system and causing problems like headaches, fatigue, and digestive issues. It’s easy to lose sight of your physical health when you’re in the middle of a difficult divorce, but make a point to take care of yourself by consuming healthy food, exercising, and engaging in activities that make you happy and calm. You could also consult a therapist to help you work through your issues.

Not all bullying partners are violent. But if you think that your ex could physically harm you and your kids, take steps to keep you and your children safe. If your ex was violent during your marriage, the chances of them lashing out on you during the divorce are significantly higher. If you feel that the risk is significant, speak to your lawyer about filing a restraining order.

Bullies often resort to abusive tactics to pressure you to give in to an outcome where you get the short end of the stick. Learn how to stand your ground and don’t let yourself get bullied into making a bad choice. Be kind to yourself. Remember that although things may be difficult now, this will all end eventually. Keep your chin up, and don’t lose heart.

Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  

Teaching Your Kids Discipline Through A Savings Account

One of the major pillars of developing teenage independence is to have financial independence. In most cases, children will likely never become financially independent while living at home, since there is no real pressing need. However, that will not always be the case.

So, unless you want your children moving back in with you after college because they can’t manage their finances well enough to support themselves, it is critical that they learn discipline when it comes to their money—and it can all start with learning to save.

Learning To Save An Allowance

For most children, saving money can’t really begin until they have some sort of steady income. Otherwise, it can be difficult to persuade them that they should save whatever money they may receive on their birthdays and Christmas. Since I personally don’t believe in paying for regular house chores, my wife and I have opted to give our children an allowance starting when they are five years old.

I’m not saying spoil your children with an unrealistic allowance, as it is far more likely to develop a sense of narcissism in your teen. Instead, you can try something similar to what our family does, which is the amount they receive is a dollar for how many years old they are. So, my seventeen-year-old daughter receives $17 a week while my ten-year-old son receives $10. As the system is based on their ages, it helps my children feel like it is fairer that they don’t receive the same amount of money.

With the steady “income stream” of a weekly allowance established, it can be far easier to help children learn to save.

Helping Children Set Savings Goals

Even for myself, having a goal to save toward makes it far easier to save my money. For us adults, these goals may look like saving for retirement or for a desired home upgrade. But children often have different goals they consider important.

So, no matter if you wish you had started saving for retirement as a teenager, it is not very likely that saving for retirement in 50-60 years will really appeal to your child. And without your kid’s buy-in, the goal will likely be a failure.

Instead of pushing your money-saving goals onto your children, help them set their own savings goals. Some ideas you may want to offer to kickstart their thinking are:

  • Saving up for a high-end toy or game
  • Putting away money for their first car
  • Set aside money to spend when out with friends
  • Saving for a trip or experience

As you can see, some of these money saving goals can span a shorter time period. But that’s okay. In fact, it is a fairly realistic look at how most adults spend their money. The important thing is that you don’t just step in and give them the money to reach their savings goals.

Allowing Self-Directed Savings Provide Discipline

For example, my oldest daughter liked to buy snacks at school with her allowance, then mall crawl on the weekends. She managed to hold onto enough of her allowance until her weekend mall time, until one week, she was completely out of money to spend.

Naturally, in her mind, I would provide more, but to her surprise, I told her no. Rather than have her learn later in life when it was a bill she couldn’t pay, my daughter went with her friends to the mall but felt the sting of being left out of buying a new accessory and food court fare. That, far more than anything I could have said or lectured, taught her the importance of saving her money.

If you want to help your children save more proactively for the long-term, there are several great kids’ savings account options. All of my children have a savings account with their own long-term savings goals that they determined.

Much of what we teach our children involves practicing lifelong self-care, from learning self-discipline to saving for the future. As you go about teaching your children to save their money, I recommend you keep in mind that learning to be independent and self-sufficient is a lifelong process. It may be frustrating for you and your children at times to practice these techniques of self-care, but it can also be ultimately rewarding.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

Key Differences Between Divorce and Mediation

Divorce can be an expensive business and if you get involved in a protracted court battle with your spouse then, at the end of the day, the only real winners, from any perspective, may be the lawyers. On the other hand, if you agree to a settlement without any legal representation, or have one imposed on you by a judge, then you might find yourself wishing that you had invested some money in good legal advice.

Mediation aims to square this circle. It does not replace legal advice, but it does aim to provide a secure with an impartial environment for two parties to talk, to be heard and to listen and, hopefully, to find a way forward on which they can both agree and which can then be translated into a formal legal agreement and, ultimately, signed off by a judge.

Divorce mediation is a specific branch of mediation, separate from family mediation  

The concept of mediation is nothing new and it has long been used in both commercial and domestic environments. Divorce mediation may have started out as a sub-niche of family mediation, but is now increasingly recognized as a distinct field with its own specific approach.

The main aim of divorce mediation is to allow the divorcing couple to reach an amicable agreement on their own terms without the expense of lawyers and without the confrontational atmosphere which can sometimes be generated when people enter a courtroom in a nervous state and with emotions running high. It will generally tackle the key sticking points in any divorce situation, including issues relating to children.

Divorce mediation can be a fairly lengthy process  

Although mediation (which focuses on solutions to problems) is very different from counselling (which focuses on reasons for behaviours) and can often achieve results in a much shorter time frame, the overall process might still be fairly lengthy, especially if children are involved.

The welfare of children is always paramount in any divorce process (at least in the eyes of the law and hopefully in the eyes of the parents) and can often be the most challenging aspect of a divorce to navigate since it can be both emotionally and practically challenging and, of course, will need to work for the children as well as the parents. Because of this, any arrangements involving children often work on the basis of an initial agreement, followed by a testing phase after which the success of the test is evaluated and, if necessary, adjustments made, after which it will be tested again until all parties (i.e. parents and children) are satisfied (or until it is agreed that the initial suggestion is not workable and a new approach is tried).

While a mediator will aim to be available to the parties for as long as they are needed, (and as long as they feel that their input is valuable), one of the underlying aims of mediation is to set up a situation where the mediator is no longer required and the parties can communicate with each other directly from a position of civility, respect and trust.

About the Author

  Midlands Dove are a team of mediation specialists based in the East Midlands, who focus on family mediation as well as workplace, civil and commercial mediation.

Your Partner Is Not A Mind Reader

Some people getting divorced stated it was partly because their partner did not fulfil their needs.  These individuals said if their partner really loved them, they would know what to do.  No, your partner is not a mind reader. How can a person expect another to know what is going around in their head? A spouse does not intuitively grasp what the other person is thinking and feeling.   Be specific, such as “I had a rough time at work today and want to chill for a few minutes.”

Relationships are built on good communication and not on assumptions. Ask questions to ensure that you are both on the same page. Do not assume that you both are feeling the same way. Use I statements to be clear in your communication. “I feel shut out when I sense something is wrong and you won’t talk.”

People have dealt out the silent treatment as if it were a punishment.  An American man fell in love with a European woman. When she was upset, this woman would sulk for a few days and refused to have a discussion no matter how much her partner tried. He could not read her mind nor make amends for perceived acts which may have bothered her. The man eventually walked away from a person whom he loved. Counseling may have helped this couple to communicate more effectively and avoid a break-up.

Help a partner to share their thoughts by asking open ended questions.  “You are more quiet tonight, what is going on?” Make it clear that you have no idea, so your partner does not expect you to telepathically know how they feel. A couple near my son with a young child, are getting divorced. The wife’s voice comes through his wall, saying “You don’t love me. If you did, you would have known that I wanted to be held when I went to sleep last night.” Or “You should have realized that I had a bad day at work and made dinner.”  The husband tells my son that if he had a clue how she felt, He would have cooked the meal and so forth.

Be specific what you need. My male friends want to fix whatever needs fixing – my problem, car or wherever it is.  I have to be clear, since they cannot read my mind. “I only want you to listen right now. I am going to vent about my co-worker and then we can move on to something else.” The guys then get that I want to let off some steam. If I do not express what I want, then before I am done with my story, these fellows have already formulated an action plan.

Please read more in Divorce Magazine www.divorcemag.com/blog/your-spouse-is-not-a-mind-reader/

Real Estate Today: It’s a Women’s Market

Home sales remain strong through much of the country, and single women are, in part, to thank for the housing boom. According to CNBC, unmatched maidens are more than twice as likely to buy a house as their brothers, uncles, and male friends. If you’re a lone lady ready to take on the responsibility of homeownership, keep reading for things you should consider, including how to evaluate your finances and ways to ease the burden of moving day.

Checks and Balances 

Your first and most important task when entering the real estate market for the first time is to know what you can afford. There are a number of factors that determine your future home’s value, including your income, outstanding debt, credit score, and current monthly expenses. Smart Asset explains that a lower debt-to-income ratio may put you in a better position to qualify for a lower interest rate. Even if your credit isn’t perfect, there are still loans available if you have a FICO score of less than 600, although 620-plus will be required for a conventional loan. (Check your credit score at FreeCreditReport.com.)

Regardless of your income, assets, and liabilities, the vast majority of loan products require a down payment of between 3.5 percent and 20 percent of the home’s selling price. The higher the down payment, the lower the mortgage. If you’re purchasing a home after a divorce and you owned mutual property with your former spouse, you can use your portion of the proceeds from the sale of that property as a down payment. Keep in mind, however, that your first mortgage must be satisfied and any equity lines of credit or second mortgage products paid. You may also be required to pay capital gains taxes from the sale.

Once you have an idea of what you can afford, you can begin shopping for a mortgage provider. By speaking with a lender before you attend your first open house, you will have a realistic picture of your financial health and will know precisely what you can afford. Further, as the market remains fiercely competitive, having a pre-approval letter on hand may open more opportunities than would be available to the casual buyer.

When it’s time to begin looking at properties, start at the low end of your pre-approval. Keep in mind that the list price does not accurately reflect your future monthly expenses. In addition to the mortgage payment, you will also be responsible for property taxes, HOA fees (if applicable), PMI, and homeowners insurance. You will also pay closing costs, which Zillow explains can equal 5 percent of your home’s cost. Research the average list prices of homes in the area you want to live and don’t count out the possibility of expanding your search a few miles outside of city limits.

Now that you’ve gotten your finances in order, know how much you can afford, and have narrowed down your search parameters, you’ll need to apply “personal filters” that will weed out homes that don’t fit your lifestyle. Crime rates, access to public transportation, proximity to and quality of local schools, neighborhood amenities (such as nearby parks and playgrounds), and local property tax rates are all things you should consider.

Save the Date 

As the closing date draws near, you’ll want to plan ahead for the day. Consider hiring movers to handle the heavy load and contact the cable, internet, and utility providers for an estimated installation timeline. You will also save yourself lots of headaches and stress if you stay organized throughout the packing process and label boxes clearly so your movers can drop them in the right place at your new home.

Congratulations on your upcoming move. It’s both an exciting and anxiety-filled time, but it’s one made much easier on the mind, body, and soul (not to mention the wallet) if you take the time to know what you’re going into and avoid getting in over your head.

Author of this article, Tilda Moore, researches and writes about educational resources for openeducators.org. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information

Finding a Home After Your Divorce

After a divorce, it can be difficult to continue living in the house you once shared with your partner. At the same time, however, searching for new property in the aftermath of a divorce can be just as tough. Not only are you in an emotionally vulnerable state but may also be experiencing a financial hit as well. The average divorce in America costs an average of $15,000, which is more than most families can comfortably afford. Some families choose to sell their original home to help pay for a new one, but this isn’t always possible when one party keeps the property.

Take Some Time to Think Things Through

After a divorce, most of us are in no sound mental state to be making major life decisions. A new home is a huge investment, and you shouldn’t be too hasty when searching through the listings. If you’re feeling stressed or frazzled, you may be more inclined to accept an unfair offer, or you may accidentally overlook problems with a property.

Instead of rushing into a new mortgage, take a few weeks to a few months of living in a rental property before committing to buying a home. You can use the time to find new accommodation that fits family life, or if your kids have flown the nest, then a smaller space that is comfortable without being poky. That way, you’ll be stepping into the transaction with a clear and sound mind. The emotional aftermath of your divorce is much less likely to influence your decisions, allowing you to set yourself up for success.

Take Stock of Your Financial Situation

Before checking your local real estate listings, you should be well aware of what finances you do (or don’t) have at your disposal. You should record your incoming and outgoing costs, slashing any unnecessary expenditures to increase your net income each month. You should also take into account any divorce-related fees that may impact your bank account, including lawyer costs and alimony payments. 

If you and your partner have any joint bank accounts or shared investments, you should make sure to separate your finances before your divorce is finalized. If you don’t, the actions of your ex-spouse may affect your credit score after the divorce, negatively impacting your ability to find a good mortgage rate. It’s also a good idea to remove your name from the mortgage on your current house so that you don’t end up being responsible for double payments each month.

Raise Your Credit Score

No matter what your mental, emotional, or financial state might be, raising your credit score is a surefire way to find a house at a more affordable price. The higher your credit score, the lower rates banks are willing to offer you on your mortgage. The easiest way to raise your score is simply by paying your bills on time, but you can also whittle down your debt, keep your credit balance low, and call your bank to settle any disputes on your record. You should also keep credit cards open, as closing accounts can increase your credit utilization ratio. 

In the months after a divorce, it can be a challenge to figure out your new living situation. If you plan on buying a house, it’s vital that you do your research before looking at local listings. By taking your time and understanding your finances, you can find your dream property at a price you can afford. 

Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  

Guide For Dealing With Tricky Dating Situations After a Break Up Or Divorce

Dating again after divorce can seem like one is back in high school with the drama it can entail. One may have forgotten what it is like to have a crush on someone and hope that they feel the same way too. Or you feel like running in the opposite direction from an individual, when there is zero interest on your part for a date. Do not  feel coerced into going on a date, as you do not owe them anything. Same with going on a date out of pity. You could get tangled up in a mess when trying to break free down the road.

Have some stock phrases ready for turning someone down. When there was a frequent customer at work on the verge of asking me out, I bounced a few ideas off my girlfriends on how to say “no.” Asking me out did not catch me off guard and I turned him down, kindly, but firmly.

If on the fence about going out with someone, have a coffee date. You arrive separately and can talk for two hours if you hit it off, or make a hasty retreat if you do not.  There is less pressure in this casual setting.  Friends who meet people on Tinder revealed that their first date or two are over lattes. One can get a sense of character over the short time span.  A friend was asked out by a well-travelled, intelligent fellow.  They had much in common and he insisted on a coffee get-together the following week. When she explained that she had houseguests to entertain before work, he said since the coffeeshop was next door to her place of employment he would be there waiting. He hoped she could make it. She did not like that he felt her time should be spent with him rather than with her guests. She was glad  to have only had a quick coffee with tis controlling man, instead of a long evening

A painful part of dating is when only one party feels a strong attraction and the other does not. It is a delicate dance whether or not to share that you are attracted to them. The other person may reveal that they also feel a spark. Or they may look like a deer caught in the headlights with a look of fright on their face. When someone states that they want the relationship as friends only, accept it. You are not going to change how they feel about you. It can be tempting to think “Well, if I lose weight/whiten my teeth/ take up tennis (or whatever), they will find me irresistible.”  In this case it is clear that dating is not on the horizon. Think about if you can have a platonic relationship with your crush or if it is better to cut ties and move on.

One may not be aware that they are giving off mixed signals which can be confusing.  An example is, two male friends told me to stop wearing rings on my wedding finger.  When I protested that the jewellery was ethnic looking, they said “yes, up close, but from across a room they look like wedding rings on that finger. That keeps a guy from approaching you. Or you don’t want the men who are only interested in married women.” This goes for men too.  A woman sees the flash of silver or gold on the wedding finger and assumes it is a wedding band.

Please read more in Divorce Magazine  www.divorcemag.com/blog/tips-for-dealing-with-tricky-dating-situations-post-divorce/

4 Ways to Save Money on Food and Drinks in Moldova or Anywhere Else in the World

Whether you are a student or a tourist visiting Moldova with your Suzuki sv650, you will want to be keen on how you spend so that your money can last you long enough. Food makes up for a large portion of the expenses you make when visiting a place. In this article, we will cover 4 ways that will help you to save when shopping for food and drinks while in Moldova.

Many times, when people visit a place, or at least they are new in a town, they end up living on quick foods from roadside restaurants and noodles because they are readily available. But have you considered how that can be costly to you, both directly and indirectly? Take a few minutes to learn how to eat healthily but still save good money on your food and drinks expenses.

1. Take a Heavy and Well-Balanced Breakfast at Your Hotel

We know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Many hotels in Moldova provide free breakfast for their customers. The fees you pay to lodge cover the food expenses. It is vital that you take a balanced breakfast to kickstart your day with vigor.

Given the opportunity to have free breakfast can, however, be misused and abused. You must know what is good for your health. You have to choose the food combinations that will not lead to stomach upsets and add real energy to your body for a long day. You can take a mug of beverage, a snack, and a fruit.

It is ideal that you take your breakfast as per your doctor’s recommendations to ensure that you stay healthy all day. You should also avoid taking too much. Remember the word heavy does not literally mean a full plate of cheese. You are advised to take up to 700 calories for your breakfast. Eating more than enough can make it harder for your stomach to digest the food and may lead to unstable running bowels.

Skipping your breakfast is not good for your daily routine in Moldova. If you have to take a snack for the day, keep it discreet to avoid being problems with the hotel management. It can help you to save a few bucks that you would spend on a roadside snack vendor.

2. Buy Your Foods from the Supermarket

Supermarkets in town are ideal for stocking up foodstuff for your stay. You will need to book a hostel that allows people to cook their own food when staying in Moldova. In this way, you can choose what to eat and how to prepare it for yourself. If you have a long stay in Moldova, a rental house will be ideal compared to hotel rooms. Buying foods in bulk is cheaper than buying groceries at the roadside.

When you have stocked food, you can cook and carry some for your daily needs at the workplace or in the fields. It is healthy to cook food for yourself because you know what ingredients are good for you, duration of cooking, and you will keep the hygiene conditions in a cooking environment. By so doing, you will stay away from stale and poorly handled foods by the street corners while you are out.

Staying healthy from home is one way of ensuring that you save money you could have spent for medical bills. If you find it hard to carry food in your backpack when going out, go for products like Cellucor C4 Original Pre-Workout. It will keep you going for the day, giving you the instant energy you need that lasts longer.

You can also buy your wine from supermarkets to avoid wasting time and more money drinking in bars. The Moldovan wines and spirits are made from fresh grapes planted in the country. They are of high quality with various varieties and origins, where the European type is dominant.

3. Carry Your Own Water Bottle

Are you going out for a long day? You may need to take water with you so that you can take a sip in case you get warm from walking long distances. Moldova in Summer is going to be quite warm, and sometimes very hot to walk out in the sun. You will experience fast rates of dehydration, and you will need to intake more water.

Sometimes you will find it hard to walk around with a heavy bottle of water. It is, therefore ideal to carry a small bottle that you can refill for free whenever you find a chance. For instance, if you are eating at a restaurant, you will have the opportunity to fill your bottle with drinking water without any extra bills. You could save on your expenses for drinking water in shops.

Carrying water is good for your health. But be sure that you will not consume too much. You know that the more you drink water, the more you will want to visit the bathroom. In Moldova, you would incur expenses to use public toilets. This could be going against the aim of saving money on drinks. You can hold up the urge until you get to gas stations or other places with free public toilets.

4. Save Money with Parties

Eating and drinking parties could be viewed as more expensive in some regions. But consider a scenario where a friend sends you a birthday invite to their place. You can enjoy free food and drinks, and if you have to contribute, the amount will be less than what you will pay drinking at the bar.

Drinks like the Dimple pinch can be served at birthday parties. You would grab your bottle there and save a few dollars from your drink expenses.

For party organizers who are on a tight budget, the Bacardi zombie will suffice. The affordable drink costs less and can serve more guests at a lower cost. It is still important to make sure that you respect your health when you are out partying. Excessive drinking of alcoholic drinks can lead to health risks. But then you can have a delicious piece of dark chocolate as it has several health benefits.

Another thing to remember about eating at parties is that wherever there is a big gathering, it is easier for the foods to be contaminated. So you need to take caution if you are wary of your general health. While trying to save some coins on food and drinks, you may end up spending more on medicine in case of some unwelcome experiences from food.

Author’s Bio
“Jessica Smith has been writing for a few years now. She is a writer by day and reader by night. She was a very quiet child but writing always inspired her and that is why she began writing in her free time. She loves reading, be it a newspaper, a book or anything. She also loves cooking, traveling and dancing. She wants to be a successful writer as writing is her passion.”

Combat Your Teen’s Narcissism By Teaching Them Sincere Empathy

Teenagers are notorious for two things—teen angst and narcissism. In fact, many parents wonder where they went wrong in bringing up their kids to become so self-centered.

The good news is, your teen’s self-absorption is not a reflection of your parenting. They are just going through the normal phases of growing up. It turns out that being egocentric is a normal part of teen development, as it helps them figure out their unique identities separate from their families.

However, normal teen narcissism should not be confused with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). The latter is a diagnosable condition and people with the disorder normally experience difficulties in having normal lives.

Also, those with NPD often struggle to maintain healthy relationships, and the disorder usually affects their education or employment. Teens who are diagnosed with NPD require lengthy treatment and a change of environment like that provided at a therapeutic boarding school.

Dealing With Your Narcissistic Teen

The key to dealing with a self-centered teen lies in building empathy. You will need to find ways to help your teen learn how to understand and share other people’s feelings. Here are some strategies that might help.

Get your teen to volunteer.

Volunteering has several benefits for teens including opening their eyes to what others go through. Through volunteering, your teen will learn how to be a giver, not just a taker. They will come to experience the satisfaction that comes with helping those who are in need.

Help them see other alternatives.

Teens have a way of assuming other people’s behavior is somehow related to them. For instance, your teen might think that the teacher who gave him a poor grade doesn’t like him. So help your teen see that while his conclusion is a definite possibility, there could be other alternatives as well.

Don’t overindulge your teen.

Set limits on how much cash or presents you give your teen and avoid showering them with too many lavish experiences or gifts. Those only reinforce the notion that their self-worth lies in material things and showing off to others. Instead, teach your teenager that self-worth comes from the inside out and help them develop confidence in their abilities.

Limit their social media use.

Social media can encourage your teen to become superficial and obsessed with having perfect looks or material items. Limiting their screen time is a good place to start. You can also encourage them to take up other pursuits and hobbies that will help them become well-rounded teenagers instead.

Don’t shield your teen from failure.

Another excellent way to fight your teen’s narcissism is allowing them to face the consequences of their actions and not shielding them from life’s failures. Allowing your teen to experience disappointment and failure once in a while is actually good for their healthy development. Just remember to equip them with the necessary problem-solving skills to address situations on their own should they get into trouble.

While it’s normal for teens to be a little narcissistic, you should still encourage your teen to change their behavior by instilling the values of empathy in them.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

How to pack a backpacking pack for a Multi-Day Hiking Trip

Packing a backpack is the big goal for every adventure junky and if it is a multi-day hiking trip, immaculate organization and storage of each item is necessary. This enables ease of locating them besides being comfortable on shoulder blades as the load is scientifically spread. To increase the comfort on the trail, strategically placing specific items makes the load feel lighter. Listed below are a few tips and methods of packing the backpack that would help store everything one might need on trekking trip without experiencing an ache in the neck or back.

 Piling and compiling the stuff

Pile the stuff needed such as shelter/sleeping bag, food, cooking gear, clothes and other small stuff needed during daytime such as sunscreens, batteries, flashlight, etc. This will ensure that neither items are left nor extra items are taken. While exploring Sydney’s wilderness, get in touch with best roof racks Sydney has to offer to get a customised roof rack installed on your vehicle for adventurous trips and have ample of space to carry the luggage safely. These racks are ruggedly constructed for professional adventurers who explore the wildest terrains having extreme road conditions.

Divide and organize stuffing in layers

A good rule for packing in a systematic manner is to divide the backpack into three layers namely bottom, middle and top. Always pack the bottom first followed by keeping the heavier things in the centre and hive up the top with the light essentials for the trip.

Bottom’s Layout   

Things required lastly and are lightly weight gear such as sleeping bag, item for camp, loose clothing, etc. can be kept at the bottom of the backpack.

If the hiking trip is in the rainy areas, it’s always better to line the backpack with the trash bag so that the items stay dry. Use lightweight waterproof compression sack for keeping the sleeping bag dry. If you are taking a sleeping pad along that is bulky by construction, save the space inside the backpack by strapping the same on the outside of the bag.

The right stuff for the middle layer

The middle section of the backpack is heavy items accommodating space.   All the cumbersome items such as stove and fuel, pots and pans, food, camp mugs & shoes, toiletries, and bear canisters, etc. are stuffed here. Using such an arrangement will relieve the backpack from unnecessary strain and stress.

Stuffing clothes and other small items such as tent body, rain fly around the bear canister can help it stuck in the centre.  Keeping the foodstuff in the middle layer also protect it from rodents.

Crowning the backpack with accessories

Use the top or uppermost compartment of the backpack, that is usually removable, as a daypack during hiking sessions.

It should accommodate cooking gear, an extra layer of clothes and other small accessories/necessities such as sunglasses, a first-aid kit, quick snacks, compass, rain jacket, water filter, bathroom kit, electronics. Carry lightweight small sized dry sack to store the electronics in this section.

The brain/lid of the backpack

The lid usually referred to as ‘the brain’ of the backpack should store map, headlamps, camera, quick snacks, multi-tool kit, sunscreen, a small-sized bug spray and other utilities needed as hands-on. Hip belt pockets are also ideal to store such stuff as it has zippered pouches attached.

If the hiking partner is Honda Africa Twin bike, even the heaviest backpack can be easily crowned on its aluminium luggage plate supplied with stainless steel clamps and bolts.

Snug fitting by tightening compression belts 

The compression straps on the exterior of the backpack perform the function of stabilizing and adjusting the weight as per the requirement. Make sure that these are loose while packing is in progress. After packing, buckle and tighten up the straps. Tightening ensures that the stuff inside the backpack does not shift while hiking. The straps help hiker stay steady on uneven terrains as the weight of the backpack doesn’t shift while moving. Tighten the side compression straps to eliminate the empty spaces in the sides of the backpack.

The compression straps on the main exterior buckle should be fastening the brain of the backpack in a compressed manner so that it stays stationary during trekking.

A mid-sized backpack designed for intermediate distance is ideal for hiking on KTM bikes having free load storage on the outside and ample of internal storage space too. These are available as KTM parts online on genuine bike accessories selling sites.

The loose loops on the exterior

Utilize the loops on the exterior of the backpack to secure long, stiff and heavy items such as folding trekking and tent poles, ropes, shovels, or lightweight collapsible seat. Hook carabiners, clips, and other not-so-heavy gears on these loops. But take due care as this stuff will keep on hanging or swinging back and forth, hitting the surroundings often.

 Conclusion

Get the backpack stuffed with desired stuff but keep it well organized so that the weight doesn’t fall heavily upon the shoulders and hiking trip stays memorable in a joyous tone.

Author’s Bio:   

Harold Camaya is a marketing enthusiast and an influencer in Different verticals. She keeps special interest in the impact of visual branding on business growth. She has been writing for a long time now and has a interest in traveling as well.

 

 

 

 

Four Mobile Bars Serving Food, Wine, And Booze

Lenton bar 

Winter is almost over and summer is just lurking around the corner. It’s finally time to head outdoors and indulge yourself in brunches, parties, and galas. This year instead of just flocking into regular clubs and restaurants for fun, try out the newly trending mobile bars serving food, wine, and booze on the go! The food industry revolution that began with food trucks and pop-up eateries has now extended to bars on wheels, transforming any space into a great time. Not only will these booze cruisers quench your thirst during spring, but also help make your weddings, garden brunches, beach parties, birthday celebrations, and themed corporate events a grand success. All your dreams of lavish vineyards, paddocks, warehouses, and reserves on your own front yard can finally come true! The mobility and versatility of the services of these vintage caravans are fast improving with their increased demand. From bicycle inspired setups to rehabbed school buses these wino vans ride around in different shapes and sizes providing you all the world-class delicacies and drinks you desire.

Here is a list of four such bars, each from a different continent:

Lenton bar    

Lenton bar which is fitted to a trailer is located in Canberra and is a personal favorite of many Australians. It was founded by Amit Oberoi, Manuk Samarasinghe and Matt Harris, who are well versed in the hospitality industry. The idea that people are shifting away from traditional fixed-bars and expecting an innovative experience that’s in their control, is what inspired them to begin this endeavor. Bringing the party wherever you want it the crew at Lenton bar efficiently arranges various events, markets, games, and weddings for a variety of clients. They serve diverse cuisines along with some classic beverages like the Southside cocktail and gin and tonic. Lenton’s license permits them to function from 7 am to 12 am works perfectly fine for those who want to start off early in the day with a wine toast and for the party animals wanting to rave late into the night. The bar prides itself in partnering and collaborating with other businesses like event management companies and platter vendors that aid them in further enhancing their customer satisfaction.

The Yard 

A year-round food and drink village that has been created out of recycled shipping containers, the Yard is located in San Francisco, USA. A former school bus that has now been converted into a wine bus is a complete treat for your eyes, stomach, and soul.   If you are a wine enthusiast this is the right fit for you as the bar brings a rotating selection of wine from Sonoma, Napa, and Washington. Their beer menu is the second highlight, with beer from Anchor brewing company being their star. Their friendly staff, humble service and sumptuous nibbles like fish, tacos and garlic lime potato wedges are what makes the Yard a hit.

Drinkdings

Drinkdings in Singapore works with a motto why go to the bar when you can bring the bar to you? Champagne, cocktails, mocktails, shooters, wines, beers name it and they have it. Drinkdings is the most accurate house party solution. You should try the signature cocktail made from drinks like the macallan 18, andre champagne. They’ll keep the drinks flowing for more than two hours non stop while you enjoy your rendezvous with loved ones Their finger foods and bar bites are simply otherworldly. If it’s your birthday Drinkdings is who you should be calling. They’ll cook up a customized birthday invite cocktail just for you which will compliment your cake and personality. Sounds like a birthday of a lifetime, doesn’t it?

The Roseberry

Imagine riding in an elegant double-decker bus. Now spice it up and picture alcohol being served inside. Sounds heavenly right? Well, you can come back to reality now as this is exactly what the bus bar in London, the Roseberry has in store for you! A 1966 London Routemaster has literally been converted into a cocktail bar on the ground floor and a dining area on top that is completed with a raised roof that can be opened on hot days. One can wine and dine, or pick and play any one of their games, which they got a whole cupboard full. They have high-quality sound systems and TVs, so you can enjoy sports matches or not miss out on your favorite shows while moving around the city.  Roseberry also works with popular event planners and top chefs like Mark Hix and renowned restaurants like Zuma. Roseberry is where you should be taking your partner on a rosy romantic date as it is the bar’s specialty and enjoy it to the fullest with a glass of the divine Laphroaig 18-year-old single malt scotch with malted milk biscuits.

Now you know how to get the best food and wine without breaking a sweat, with such wonderfully convenient mobile bartending remedies. Don’t stress out as your booze is on wheels coming home to you! So ‘raise the bar’ prepare yourself to amazed by these unconventional moving bars.

Author’s Bio
“Jessica Smith has been writing for a few years now. She is a writer by day and reader by night. She was a very quiet child but writing always inspired her and that is why she began writing in her free time. She loves reading, be it a newspaper, a book or anything. She also loves cooking, traveling and dancing. She wants to be a successful writer as writing is her passion.”

Reference articles: www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/booze-on-wheels-canberra-s-new-love-of-mobile-bars-20180919-p504qw.html

www.winemag.com/gallery/booze-wine-on-wheels-get-your-next-drink-at-these-7-mobile-bars/

www.winemag.com/gallery/booze-wine-on-wheels-get-your-next-drink-at-these-7-mobile-bars/#gallery-carousel-3/

 

 

 

 

What Are the First-Year Costs That Come with Raising a Baby?

When you feel you’re ready to have a baby, it can be exciting as well as overwhelming. Having a baby means expanding your family, but it also means that you’ll have some logistics to consider. Namely, what about the financial considerations that come with having a child?

There are short- and long-term factors to think about. In the short-term, you’ll have to think about the medical costs related to pregnancy and labor and delivery, as well as maternity and paternity leave from your job. You’ll have initial investments for items such as cribs and other baby accessories. Then, you’ll have to think about health insurance for your new child and childcare when you do return to work.

These first-year costs can add up very quickly, and they require planning and strategizing to manage them effectively.

LendEDU recently surveyed 1,000 parents with a child who was at the time of the research, at least a year-old but not older than three. The goal of the research was to determine what to expect when it comes to raising a child and the costs it requires within the first year of the baby’s life. The survey took place over two days in February 2019 and was conducted by online polling company Pollfish.

The following are highlights of the research.

On Average, a Baby’s First Year Will Cost $13,186

The research indicates that the year-one costs for a new baby amount to an average of $13,186, with a median cost of $6,000. This number represents quite a jump from a 2010 USDA report, that showed the average household would spend $12,000 during the first year of a baby’s life.

  • For around ¼ of the poll respondents, first-year spending for a new baby represented anywhere from 21 to 30 percent of annual income.
  • 13 percent said it was 31 to 40 percent of take-home pay, and eight percent said they had to spend up to 50 percent of their income.
  • Eight percent spent more than half of their annual income on costs related to the baby.

How Is the Total First Year Cost Broken Down?

So, more than $13,000 is quite a bit in a year. What is that spent on? The costs break down in the following way, based on the LendEDU research:

  • Toys, diapers, and gear like strollers was the most expensive category. These costs represented 30 percent of total spending, amounting to $3,965.
  • 28 percent of spending went to food, which was on average $3,692 of the total first-year costs.
  • Next was healthcare, taking up 17 percent of total first-year spending.
  • Childcare accounted for 13 percent of first-year costs for a new baby, and behind that was miscellaneous expenses at 12 percent of the total.

Did Parents Save in Advance?

With such high costs associated with having a baby, did parents plan, save and budget in advance of having a child?

58 percent of people who participated in the survey said they started saving money to prepare, although 42 percent said they didn’t budget ahead-of-time. 52 percent of parents who did say they started budgeting and saving didn’t save enough for all costs.

Many parents also underestimated how much it would really cost. The average parent in the survey expected to spend $9,371 on a newborn, with their estimates being off by more than $3,800.

So what’s the takeaway? Babies are expensive, and it’s important for parents to have an idea of just how expensive and start financially planning and preparing as soon as possible before having a child.

Author of this article is Mike Brown  at  lendedu.com/

Ways To Set Boundaries During Divorce

Divorce brings many changes and one of them is a set of new boundaries. What was once okay may seem intrusive after a couple has separated. The key is to determine what feels right and what is uncomfortable. When married, a man and woman may have called each other during the day. This can be too much contact, so texting on a need-to-know basis is an appropriate boundary during divorce. In an acrimonious one, direct contact may be intimidating for either spouse. A way to protect boundaries in this situation, is to have all communication go to a neutral third party. This way, spouses feel safe and are not be the target of vindictiveness. Our two collaborative lawyers assigned a mediator right at the beginning to do this service for us.   If you feel boundaries are being trampled upon during the proceedings, speak to your attorney about how changes can be made.

The divorce process itself is stressful even when it is amicable.  One feels stretched in many directions. This is the time to start saying “No” to taking on new things Look at current obligations and decide which ones could be dropped. Although clubs, committees and volunteer work are rewarding, they can eat up precious time and drain energy.  Focus on what you really enjoy doing and let the others go.  Be firm with boundaries when others try to stop you from resigning or demand that you sign up for new projects.  Draw up a plan for what you have time for and which ones that do not make the cut.  This can be temporary and wham the divorce is over, some of these activities can be added back into your agenda.

On a personal level, you have the right to start declining requests to help out neighbors, family and friends.  If you give a co-worker rides, babysit for a pal or do other kind acts, this is the time to pull back.  Your first responsibility is to yourself and your children. Being frazzled helps no one.  When people do not support your new boundaries, stay firm.   For example, during divorce if it is no longer feasible to take Grandma out every week, do not let family members guilt trip you about it. Stand your ground when being unable to continue routines.

A sticky issue with boundaries comes up during proceedings regarding the marital home. Technically both spouses are co-owners. Establish guidelines regarding how the spouse that moved out has access, especially when their possessions are still inside.   Please read more  www.divorcemag.com/blog/setting-boundaries-during-divorce/

9 Tips for Men Facing Financial Hardships During Divorce

As a man facing divorce, there is a lot you go through with little support. You might be constantly wondering how things will turn out at the other end- whether or not you will get enough time with your kids, how you and your spouse will work everything out, and so on. One of the major concerns for fathers getting divorced is the time and money spent on the process.

Some men understand the importance of saving money during the divorce process; for other men, some critical divorce issues end up hogging most of their attention. Either way you look at it, finances are a pressing matter worthy of concern during a divorce process.

Since divorces come with a price tag, it is important to consider how much you can afford to shell out in the process. The last thing you want is a lot of money wasted in the divorce process.

Maintain your desired quality of life throughout the divorce process by using these tips.

Build a Trustworthy Team

While going through a divorce, men are often prone to feeling intense emotions. The emotionally charged circumstances might compel you to make the wrong choices. This is when you need a trusted financial advisor, lawyer, and accountant by your side.

These professionals can help you make wise financial decisions all through the divorce process, allowing you to save money you might have otherwise spent in the spur of the moment. Financial decisions should be based on logic more than on emotions. Seek help from a trusted team of professionals to guide you along the economic lines.

Expensive is NOT Always Worthy

Quit believing that all expensive services are the best. You might feel inclined to hire the most expensive lawyer in town to win child custody for men in New Jersey and negotiate alimony.

However, a lot of other factors play a role in determining how efficient any professional is.

Expensive is not always the best. Take the time to understand in depth all the services you need and make informed financial decisions. Considering your spending power and your post-divorce future will help you create a spending limit. Learn about the quality of services offered by various professionals (therapists, lawyers, financial assistants, etc.) and ponder their importance to your situation. Calculated spending will prevent you from wasting money in useless places.

Separate Your Cards and Financial Accounts

You don’t want an emotional drama surrounding finances while going through a divorce. If they are not already, separate your joint accounts and credit cards right away. This will save you the hassle of monitoring how much you or your spouse is spending after filing for divorce.

Often, these issues spring up during the divorce process, opening channels to unnecessary disputes. Reduce the potential for conflict and keep finances straight and simple throughout the divorce process.

Get a Real Picture of Your Budget

Family lawyers for men in Nutley, NJ suggest fathers and men going through a divorce plan and chalk out their budgets during divorce. They also encourage their clients to project their financial needs post-divorce.

The financial picture changes a lot after divorce with one less adult contributing to the household. If there are children involved in your case, consider how much you will potentially spend on their needs.

Track your expenses and cut back where you can. Outlining a crystal-clear budget will help you predict financial responsibilities and plan your expenditure during divorce accordingly.

Straighten Out Financial Imbalances   

If your spouse has always kept track of finances, this needs to change. Try to keep up with the finances as soon as you file for a divorce. You need to know how much money comes into the household and where it is spent. If your spouse has been in charge of finances up until now, ask them to involve you.

Knowing about the flow of finances in your household will help you negotiate a fair settlement when you enter the divorce process. Get on a level footing with your spouse when it comes to handling finances and documenting them.

Set into a New Lifestyle

There are a lot of changes after a divorce. Your income might not allow you to keep the family home, and you might have to do away with some of your habits that involve spending heavily.

Get into a fresh lifestyle where you prioritize your needs and responsibilities and plan finances wisely. Your post-divorce living standard will likely drop to some extent. Prepare for the change to make the process easier.

It makes sense to downsize your expenses and move into a smaller home until you can get back on your feet and afford the lifestyle you are used to.

Strive for Financial Independence

Fathers’ rights allow men to receive alimony payments when their spouse was the higher earner in the household. Either way, aim to be financially independent and not rely on your spouse’s child support or alimony. Life can take unexpected turns, and your spouse might lose their job or need to take time off from work.

When that happens, you should be in a condition to support yourself and your children. Focus on improving your earning capacity so you are prepared to take on any financial challenge in the future.

Protect Valuable Assets

If your spouse might hide or sell assets that were purchased with marital funds, protect them. Know that these assets will be valued and split during the divorce process.

Safeguard these assets while not hiding the fact that they are in your possession. Never sell any property you bought with marital cash during the course of a divorce. You will need to pay for any sold assets at the time of the divorce settlement negotiations.

Avoid Impulsive Decisions

Family lawyers for men advise you to refrain from making any major financial decisions for at least 6 months during your divorce process and after your divorce gets finalized.

Don’t move to a new city or change your job on impulse.

Family lawyers for men believe that with a little caution and patience, men can sail through these hard times. Adapt to circumstances and be prepared for a challenging financial future; men are often the ones who pay child support and alimony while also supporting their own lifestyle.

While divorce can be frustrating and devastating, it’s like any other change that feels highly uncomfortable at first until you settle down in the routine. Know that things will get better. Continue to make the right choices. It is also desirable to take help from therapists to keep your sanity intact and financial advisors to get a clearer picture of your finances and plan ahead of time.

About Author :-

Brad M. Micklin, Esq., is the lead family lawyer Montclair and managing member at The Micklin Law Group, LLC. For more than 22 years, he has helped men through some of the toughest, most emotional experiences in their lives, including child custody battles.

10 Dreamy Places To Visit With Your Partner

Travelling is unquestionably one of the best ways of spicing up a relationship. A romantic getaway with your soulmate is something you probably need to consider to keep that candle of joy burning. Traveling to a new place will definitely go a long way to help you create lasting memories.

But what are some of the places you can visit? There are thousands of places that have a romantic vibe. Some of them may actually be right there in your locality.  In this article, we will unveil ten places that should be on your traveling bucket list and what makes them so special. 

Santorini, Greece   

Santorini is an island in the Aegean sea. And you should definitely try seafood from this places, it’s yummy. This small town is known for its beauty and traditional architecture inspired by the Greek culture. One of the most iconic places in Santorini is Oia. It provides one of the world’s best sunset views you can ever imagine. Imagine watching the orange ball kiss the sea from a cliff on the edge of the beautiful town; isn’t that romantic?

Santorini also houses some of the best beach cottages in the world. They make it a nice destination for a honeymoon. What makes a trip to Santorini even more appealing is the fact that accommodation and hotel services are fairly priced as compared to other similar holiday destinations around the world.   

Bali, Indonesia   

How about a walk on the black sandy beach? You got it right, it’s actually black. This may sound odd and creepy but believe you me, it’s magical once you get there. Karamus Beach in Bali is one of the most beautiful places to visit. A walk on the expansive beach with your loved one in the morning breeze can be quite romantic.

As much as black sands draw your attention, there is a lot more you can do in Bali. It offers a good venue for water sports such as jet skiing and board surfing. You should definitely give it a try sometime.  Bali also houses some of the world’s classiest beach hotels. Imagine sharing a bottle of the prestigious Dalmore with your other half as you watch the subtle sea tempest from a balcony of a hotel just off the black beach. Fancy, right? 

Venice, Italy  

Venice is a city with a rich history. Its history is best portrayed in its prowess in performing arts. You should definitely pay a visit to one of those opera theatres in Venice. You will appreciate how Italy’s culture and traditions are integrated into modern stage performances. The peak of it is the dazzling classical music from the opera’s own live orchestra.

If you are a fan of travel shows on television and blogs, then you have most probably heard about the famous gondola rides. It’s so calming to ride in a gondola through the grand canal and the Po River that literally flows in the middle of the city. Venice literally oozes with romantic experiences.  Saint Tropez, France  

You probably have not heard of this one that much. It is a popular notion that France is the land of Romance. I can’t think of a better place in France to justify this other than Saint Tropez. It is a coastal town and therefore provides all those beach and ocean niceties.

My favorite place in Saint Tropez is its outskirts. It has this nature vibe that you definitely ought to try. Infamously, it is surrounded by beautiful countryside with spanning vineyards. You should try getting a few bottles of wine from there.   It also has really nice roads that you can enjoy taking a drive or a ride on. It won’t be such a bad idea for you and your lover to grab a dr650 and cruise through the hilly terrain of the countryside of Saint Tropez. Don’t forget to carry a tool pouch if you are planning for a bike ride, you don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere in case of any breakdown. 

Masai Mara, Kenya    

Have you experienced Africa’s tropical climate? You should definitely try it for a change. Pay Masai Mara a visit especially in the month of August. You and your loved one should try and go check out the wildebeest migration; one of the wonders of the world. 

Cartagena, Colombia   

This port city in Columbia is a gem in the tourism world. It is one of the most beautiful places you and your significant half can visit. It will be quite enjoyable to walk down history lane and mingling with people of Colombian origin by getting to learn about their traditions. 

Swiss Alps   

Ice skiing is one of the most thrilling activities. The Swiss Alps will definitely spike up your adrenaline. You don’t have to be a protégé at it to try it out. The good news is, you can get experts to guide you through it. You can as well choose to take a retreat in one of those mountain cabins.

Is hiking your thing? If yes, then the hilly ranges adjacent to the Alps are definitely your place. You and your lover can grab the chance to be part of a camping pilgrimage. A wild adventure will definitely give you a chance to put your survival and exploration skills to the test. 

Whistler, Canada  

There is love in the mountains! Add spice to your relationship by surprising your spouse with a trip to Whistler. Rent a cottage and have the experience of having a model home in the lofty mountains.  To add more taste to it, you can visit the Whistler art galleries and gaze upon the artistic prowess that adorns the walls. You will also get to chance to see the trophies of some of the mountain’s almost extinct wildlife species.

Don’t forget to pay a visit to the fire and ice show. You will be intrigued to watch some of the world’s most daring acrobats perform amidst flaming rings. 

Tulum, Mexico   

This is truly one of the most exquisite and exotic places any couple should visit. It’s not by surprise that it is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. Tulum has a good number of hotels and restaurants that will allow the two of you to try the Mexican cuisine.  A visit to Tulum is not complete without engagement in the Mexican festivities. It is a chance to experience their adorable and intricate culture first hand. Notably, Mexico is known for its cordial and welcoming people. 

Hawaii, USA  

This is one of the most exciting places to tour. Besides its beautiful beaches and five-star hotels, it’s nightlife stands out. If you are a couple that treasures a good party time, then Hawaii is a good choice. It houses some of the most lively clubs. You can also get a chance to attend concerts grazed upon by some of the world’s best musicians.

Truly, love is not complete without happiness and a bottle of Weller bourbon. Make your relationship interesting by visiting some of these places. It will definitely be worth your while. Love is about making memories that you look back at during hard times and see more reason to stick together.

 

 

6 Essential Outdoor Must Have Things For Every Road Trip

Road trips? Yay!  

Road trips have given traveling a whole new meaning. The experience and adventures you enjoy from exploring the outdoors, with friends and family are just what makes a road trip perfect. According to scientific research, published by Sage Journals, traveling helps to increase your state of well-being and makes you happy.

So, whether you are traveling in your SUV or, you are the wild, adventurous type, and you prefer the Suzuki SV650 for your trip, you absolutely cannot afford to forget the essentials. Besides, what’s the fun in traveling too light?

Now, these items are very essential to make your road trip worthwhile and keep it interesting.  Safety Items 

For every trip, the number one item that should be on your packing list is safety items. According to Researchgate, people are more terrified when they are traveling, without taking some safety precautions. Now, fear for your safety, can spoil the fun for you, on your road trip, so, you should pack these safety items, just in case;  

 

  • First aid kit.
  • Outdoor safety wear.
  • Body pouches and money belts.
  • Luggage locks.
  • Tool pouch fo the essential car/bike tools.

Fasten your seatbelt! Remember safety always comes first.

Entertainment  

To keep your road trip fun and not boring, you need to also pack some entertainment items. Whether you a music person, or you love to read books (this is an opportunity to finally finish that book), or you love to play games, entertainment items should be on, or you love to play games, entertainment items should be on your list.

To be realistic, not all parts of the road trip will be trailed with amusement; there will be those weird, awkward and boring moments, and these entertainment items are sure to thaw the ice. 

  • Your playlist on your iPod,
  • Your phone,
  • Your camera to record your memories, every step of the way,
  • Games (could be card games as well as board games, or even word games)

Really, anything that you know will keep the road trip exciting all through is what you should pack.

Food items

Now, this is absolutely important, road trips are very long, and sometimes the distance between towns, where you can find a store, is usually far. According to the Centre for Disease Control, CDC, it is better to be careful, when indulging in local cuisine of your travel destination.

Depending on how long your trip will be, or how far your destination is, you need to remember to pack some snacks and yes, water is also important. Also, ensure that whatever food you pack is light and hydrating. 

Get yourself a sweet chocolate box, this never grows old.

  • Cereal bars.
  • Some bowls to put the food.
  • Potato chips.
  • Water, loads of it
  • Durable bottle.
  • Fruits.
  • Toothpicks.
  • Plastic bags.
  • Juice box.
  • Sliced bread.
  • Thermos flask.
  • Crackers.
  • And yes, your favorite snacks.

Comfort Items  

These are items that will make you comfortable all through your road trip. From your pillow to sunglasses, these items add comfort to the fun of your road trip. Imagine, you needed to pee, but you forgot your toiletries.

There are a number of them, and you should put them organized on your list. It is better to travel organized and prepared. There is actually a new way to pack all your favorite comfort items efficiently, the use of packing cubes. It is effective and clutter free.

  • Warm clothes.
  • Day bag.
  • Umbrella.
  • Hiking boots and shoes (remember it’s the outdoors, so live a little).
  • Insect repellents.
  • Sunscreens.
  • Head torch.
  • Pillows.
  • Sanitizer.
  • Toiletry bag.

Car or Bike 

Depending on whether you are traveling in your car or on your bike (the Suzuki SV650 comes highly recommended for your trip) www.svrider.com>forum), there are some essentials you should pack.

You really do not want to get stranded on the road. So when you are packing what you need, also remember your car, because it can be quite embarrassing, having a flat tire or engine issues. 

  • Before your trip, check your engine and make sure it is in top shape.
  • Spare tires.
  • Carjack
  • Engine oil.
  • Tools pouch.
  • Your driver’s license (you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the law).
  • Car registration and insurance information.
  • Extra car/bike keys.

Miscellaneous items 

These are other items that are needed for your road trip. They can be called the general road trip essentials. These items can be gotten from www.amazon.com or any departmental store near you.

  • Electronic battery pack
  • Cooler
  • Laundry bag
  • Swiss Army knife
  • Rooftop Cargo

Note that all these items are the absolutely essential things to bring along for your trip. You can decide to take other things as well, so long as your car is not too cramped up.

With these items on your list and in your bag, your road trip is set to be a very memorable and interesting one. Enjoy the ride.

Author’s Bio
“Jessica Smith has been writing for a few years now. She is a writer by day and reader by night. She was a very quiet child but writing always inspired her and that is why she began writing in her free time. She loves reading, be it a newspaper, a book or anything. She also loves cooking, traveling and dancing. She wants to be a successful writer as writing is her passion.”

Going It Alone: Tips for a Divorced Single Parent Expecting a Disabled Child

Becoming a parent is a time of exhilaration and anxiety. You’re thrilled to bring a new child into the world, but at the same time, you worry about the logistical and financial challenges that come with having a child. However, your job becomes a little harder if you’re a divorced single parent expecting a disabled child. There are questions and concerns about health care, insurance, and living environment that need to be addressed to ensure you’re as prepared as possible for the demands of parenting a disabled child on your own.

Physical Environment

The nature of your child’s disability will determine the modifications that’ll need to be made to your living space. Safety is always an issue where little ones are concerned, so it’s advisable to install safety gates to block stairs and to put in padded flooring that will cushion falls. Remove objects with hard edges, and place padding over the hard corners of your furniture. Safety rails in the bathroom and hallways are generally a good idea for a child with any kind of disability, as is sensor-activated lighting in the bedroom, bathroom, and any dimly lit sections of your home.

If your child has a physical disability that places a premium on mobility and access, widened doorways (a minimum of 36 inches across) and level transitions between rooms will make life much easier for a child who needs a wheelchair or some other mobility assistive device. It may be necessary to hire a local professional to make safety or accessibility modifications, particularly if structural changes are necessary. Always get estimates from at least three contractors if you’ll need a professional’s assistance. The more you can do to address your child’s physical needs in advance, the easier your job as a single parent will be.

Insurance and Expenses

Insurance can be a tricky matter for the parent of a disabled child. It can be difficult to determine the extent of your caregiver relationship (you may be needed until your child is well into adulthood), so it’s important to take out a life insurance policy to provide for your child after your death. If you’re not familiar with Medicaid, be aware that it can help you cover some of the medical expenses (not covered by health insurance) that come with caring for a disabled child.

There may be non-reimbursed medical expenses that can be deducted on your tax return; you’re at liberty to write off those costs once you’ve exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income. Also, don’t put off estate planning, and consider discussing your insurance and financial needs with a financial adviser or estate-planning expert. As a single parent, you’re the sole source of financial and medical assistance for your child, so don’t overlook long-term planning.

Self-Care

As the single parent of a child with a mental or physical disability, it’s essential that you pay close attention to your mental and physical well-being. It’s difficult to be an effective caregiver if you’re feeling run down and mentally fatigued, so take advantage of offers from family and friends to go out and do something for yourself once in a while — anything that will recharge your mental batteries will help. However, be sure to work in a little exercise every day. Even something as simple as a brief walk can be beneficial.

Yoga and Meditation

Caring for a disabled child around the clock by yourself can be extremely stressful. Consider making time for meditation (especially when you’re feeling out of control) or learning yoga, which is a unique combination of physical exercise and mental discipline.

Parenting a disabled child is a unique challenge when you’re going it alone — you need all the help you can get. Once you’ve determined your child’s safety and accessibility needs, figure out what modifications will be needed to get an idea of cost. And don’t put off seeking the advice of people who know the best options when it comes to health insurance and long-term financial planning for your child’s welfare. The day will come when you’re no longer there for your child, and having a plan in place will give you peace of mind and provide for her.

Author of this article is Ashley Taylor   disabledparents.org         

Getting Through Valentine’s Day When Single Again

Valentine’s Day can be like rubbing salt into a raw wound when going through divorce. People are coupled up and you may be the odd man out on this holiday. Others who are exiting a toxic marriage, may feel relief not spending it with a nasty person. There are different facets to Valentine’s Day besides romance. One is platonic friendships, and many of us exchange cards with our pals. Instead of mourning the void that comes with a loss of a partner, focus on celebrating Valentine’s Day in a new way with different people.

Flip the holiday around. Change the evening celebration to one at the beginning of the day, as there are less people in pairs. Get together with friends for a morning cappuccino with a pastry or for lunch. If your social circle is comprised mainly of married folks, catching up at a bakery is doable since it would not interfere with their dinner plans. When celebrating Valentine’s Day mid-morning, there is less pressure to feel one needs a date for this occasion.

Extroverts may want to be around others, yet not be ready to start dating. This can be accomplished by sitting at the communal table in coffee shops and cafes. One man claims he turns down holiday invitations because he has so much fun at these communal tables which are like “one big party.” MeetUp.com has groups for various interests and some of these gatherings are scheduled on holidays. Singles can participate in activities or dine with interesting companions. My divorced friend enjoys spending Valentine’s evening with the singles group at her church. They have events on some holidays and sponsor Friday Movie Night. Check around to see if you can join others on this night.

Do your celebrating on the job. Organize a pot luck, or bring in a fabulous treat to make the day more festive. I work part-time at an elementary school and it is party time on Valentine’s Day. The children’s excitement is contagious. Volunteering at their Valentine’s dances is a fun evening without a date. Some people request to work on holidays and enjoy spending it with co-workers instead of being alone.

Children can be a great distraction from thoughts of no longer having a spouse on this holiday. After my divorce, my sons and I would go to an Indian restaurant for dinner. One divorced friend gave a Valentine’s Day party for her young son and his classmates. She said it was the best time that she ever had on that holiday. The kids were hilarious, food was great and she was kept extremely busy. Consider planning some distractions on Valentine’s Day.

Escape Valentine’s Day by having an adventure abroad. When my marriage was falling apart, my mother and I took a tour to Ireland in February. We had a wee bit of snow, but I was thankful to avoid that holiday by being away. Maybe lounging by the pool in the tropics is more your style. Talk to your travel agent or go online to find some great travel deals.

A variation on this travel theme is to volunteer in another part of the world. Organizations, such as Earth Watch, can arrange for one to assist researchers etc., in an exotic locale. There are also plenty of opportunities right at home to help others and boost your self-worth. I volunteer weekly for an animal rescue group and this year it falls on Valentine’s Day. I will be feeling great after cuddling homeless kitties and being the recipient of their unconditional love. Consider helping out on that day with a charity that grabs your interest.

Determine if you would rather hide away or go out on the town. Either way is fine. For the first option, some individuals have gotten a boxed set of DVDs or enticing novels and stayed home. If cooking for one is depressing, then plan ahead and buy some delicious take away or a decadent dessert. Pamper yourself, such as having a spa night with a facial or doing a fitness routine. Find an enjoyable activity.

A millennial who is now single, told me of course he is going out on Valentine’s Day. Although he is no longer part of a couple, he states there is no way he would sit home. This fellow does not have any definite plans, but is confident he will find something going on in Boston. Other millennials were vague and said they would wait and see what their friends were up to on Valentine’s evening. The millennials were going to decide what to do at the last minute and the Baby Boomers were planning things way ahead of time, even if it is to stay home.

If you are feeling lonely around this holiday during divorce, consider adopting or fostering an animal. Having four feline housemates, helps make Valentine’s Day more lively, now that I have an Empty Nest. Whether or not you decide to celebrated Valentine’s Day – it is only one day out of the year.

Originally published on Divorce Force which is a resource or information, plus has a forum

 

 

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How to Prepare Your Finances to Leave an Abusive Relationship

If you are in an abusive marriage, you may not know where to turn or what to do. Abuse comes in many forms, and financial abuse is more common than you may think. If you’ve been the target of financial abuse, it can make it exceptionally difficult to gather your assets before you leave.

Financial abuse is likely not the only type of abuse you’ve experienced; it is often found in relationships where physical or emotional abuse also exists. In fact, of those who have suffered violence at the hands of a romantic partner, 98% have also endured financial abuse. However, the fear of unstable or inadequate finances can sometimes supersede fear of your own emotional or physical safety. A feeling of instability generally accompanies financial abuse; it can be such an overwhelming feeling that victims are unsure of where to turn. This guide will help you financially prepare yourself to leave an unhealthy marriage.

As an attorney, my experience is in retaining assets for my clients and helping them navigate the financial and emotional aspects of separation. However, your safety should always come first. If you are uncomfortable or feel unsafe following any of the following advice, consult someone who is knowledgeable about domestic violence before proceeding with these steps.

The Tactics of Financial Abusers  

Financial abusers regularly try to control their victim’s ability to acquire and use financial resources. This may mean you have been encouraged to not work or have been completely prevented from doing so. It can also mean you have limited access to bank accounts and financial resources, even if you earned the money yourself. All these abuse tactics are attempts to control someone and make it difficult to leave. Often times, these gaps in employment, unpaid debts, and low credit scores keep the victim in an abusive relationship simply due to fear of the unknown. Common fears amongst victims of financial abuse include:

  • Where will I live?
  • How will I find employment?
  • Can I afford the high interest rates I’m offered as a result of my poor credit score?
  • How can I financially support my children until I start getting paychecks?
  • Will I need to prioritize my basic necessities and give some up to survive?

If you are in an unhealthy marriage and have found the strength within to leave, you’ve already overcome your biggest hurdle. A brighter future is ahead, and you will find support from friends, family, and community members at every turn.

Preparing to Leave an Abusive Spouse  

Before making any changes to your finances, consult a victim advocate. The role of an advocate is to provide information to anyone who is dealing with domestic violence, including helping victims who are planning to leave an abusive marriage. They can help you find housing, transportation, and financial assistance when you leave your relationship. Someone who is trained as a victim advocate will have had extensive safety training, so he or she can help you make safe decisions regarding your finances. There are many online resources for finding your own advocate.

After you’ve consulted a victim advocate, you should begin to save as much money as possible. Whether it’s through a job, some kind of lump sum (like a tax return), or another source of income, having savings set aside when you leave will help ease the financial burden.

You should keep this money in your own bank account–one to which your spouse doesn’t have access. If you work, see if you can have part of your wages directly deposited into your new bank account. You may be able to adjust your tax exemptions and get more money each paycheck; you can deposit the difference in your personal account.

As you’re preparing your savings, make sure to keep any important financial documents – including any you can find from the past several years. This could include tax returns, paystubs, car titles, and more.

Finally, consult several divorce lawyers prior to leaving your spouse. A consultation is the perfect time to get a feel for whether you feel comfortable with the attorney and learn more about how their legal experience applies to your own case. Find an attorney who will fight to help you retain all the assets you need to start rebuilding your finances.

Rebuilding Your Finances After Leaving Your Spouse

The first financial move you’ll want to make once you’re over the hurdle of leaving your marriage is to review your finances, including your income and expenses. You may need a new job to pay for your new housing situation, for example, or it may be wise to get a second part-time job to build some savings.

You can also take time during the divorce to familiarize yourself with your credit report and resolve any debts that accrued. If you haven’t been privy to financial information for years, it’s possible your spouse has been hiding both income and debt from you. By creating a budget that addresses your monthly income, bills, and unpaid debts, you’ll put yourself on the path to financial security and  freedom.

Once you’ve safely left your marriage, it may be necessary to obtain a harassment restraining order or an order of protection against your spouse. A domestic violence lawyer can help you support yourself and your children by negotiating and litigating these legal protections. Consult an attorney if you feel your situation requires either of these orders.

Finally, a financial planner can be a tremendous help when you’re getting back on your feet. While a professional would be ideal, not everyone can afford it. If you’d like the benefits of financial knowledge without the price tag, you can use online resources, books, and even community education classes to learn more about handling your own finances.

About the Author   

Allison Maxim is a collaborative attorney St. Paul MN whose family law firm is Maxim Law PLLC. Allison believes strongly in the benefits of mindfulness in family law. Her background in psychology has given her a greater awareness of and empathy for the difficult situations faced by her family law and divorce clients.    

Article Summary 

Financial abuse is a powerful force keeping many victims in unhealthy relationships. This guide outlines how a victim can prepare his or her finances for long-term prosperity when faced with leaving an abusive relationship. It offers actionable steps to follow both before and after leaving an abusive spouse.

Why To Do Nothing May Be The Right Course Of Action

Sometimes the best course of action is to Do Nothing

In divorce we are spinning our wheels and often going nowhere. It is hard to stay focused with so much going on during proceedings. Our brains are on overload and our bodies are exhausted. What is the antidote to this craziness? Step back and Do Nothing. Having a block of time to do whatever you fancy is the way to recharge your batteries.   This resets your mind and body, so you can tackle the tasks, such as negotiating the split of marital assets.

Effects of Stress

Stress increases the risk of cardiovascular events and hormones such as cortisol, are released. This can cause headaches, gastrointestinal issues and for some of us, brain fog. Making decisions can be overwhelming. The Mayo Clinic states “Taking time to rest and relax with no particular goals can help reduce stress and bring a sense of calm and control.” Downtime allows the brain to process information which has been received. The subconscious mind can put together new ideas to solve the complex issues that come with divorce. Having downtime increases creativity. Artists and writers often have unstructured periods to let their minds wander. While seemingly doing nothing, creative concepts are bubbling up to the surface,

Think about when you were a child and had lazy days doing nothing. Most likely you were relaxed and enjoyed life. Bring this feeling into your present situation. I was surprised to see a children’s book in our local bookstore titled “Do Nothing.” A few adults were picking it up and reading it.

People may mistake taking downtime as not being productive. It is the opposite, as one’s body and mind are being recharged, like our electronic devices. Consider leaving gaps in your schedule to chill out or do a favorite activity. Give yourself permission to nap, read a book, a stroll in a leafy park, or whatever is pleasurable. This can be like a mini vacation which is rejuvenating.

A young adult whom I take care of one mooning a week, introduced me to this concept. He has cerebral palsy and can only string several words together at a time. I ask him what he would like to do and often it is basketball.   On a regular basis, this young adult’s reply also is “Do Nothing.” We might sit in his lovely patio and listen to the various bird calls. Or possibly take a walk and look at flower filled gardens. I was amazed at how refreshed I became after following his directive to Do Nothing. As I began to practice this, I started to be less frazzled. I am calm in my new job and less stressed overall. My divorce would have been smoother if I had known the secret that it is okay to Do Nothing at times.

Please read more   www.divorcemag.com/blog/taking-a-break-from-your-divorce/

Teaching Children About Self-Care

Teaching Kids About Self-Care Childhood is a time of joy, growth and new adventures. Anything is possible, and there is a lifetime ahead of wonders that we can only imagine for our little ones. As they grow, the future begins to solidify itself. Goals become clearer, new responsibilities are taken on, and they begin the process of developing into who they will be as adults.

Through this process, we parents, teach them many things. But are we neglecting a critical lesson? Are we teaching our children how to engage in self-care?

The World Our Children Live In Is Stressful

A landmark study done by the National Surveys On Drug Use and Health found in 2016 that depression in teens was on the rise. Whether that is because there really is a rising number, or if we are just better tracking the phenomenon, is unknown.However, given that experts agree that teen stress now rivals that of adults, it is at least clear that something needs to be done.

Once you have seen the signs of depression in your child, one of the simplest ways to help reduce the risk in your own children is to teach them the value of self-care. Here are some ways to guide them to do just that.

Set Aside Some Off Time

By “off time” that means completely off of everything. No phones, no computer, no TV, no screens at all. No responsibilities, either. Take out a chunk out of every day for everyone to just relax and do something unplugged they enjoy. Maybe that is taking a long bath, or playing some basketball, or settling in with a book.

Have Family Dinners

Did you know that something as simple as sitting down for a meal with your family can wash away a bad day? Maybe it won’t be dinner, maybe it will be breakfast, or lunch, or even just something you do on the weekends. But having that time together to unwind as a family and talk about the day or week over delicious food is perfect self-care for everyone and a great example to set for your children.

Teach Your Children To Meditate

Meditation is not a difficult skill to acquire, even for young children. All it takes is breathing and a conscious calming of the mind. Learning to stop, breath and clear the head is a valuable coping method that can help your child through many difficult situations they may face in life.

Encourage Them To Drop Something

Is your teen overwhelmed? Are they taking on too many extracurriculars, trying to juggle a job on top of keeping perfect grades or just struggling to stay above water? Sometimes they just need you to sit them down and tell them that it is alright to drop a responsibility. It is for their own health.

By both modeling these things and directly teaching your children about self-care, you can help your teen learn how to take care of themselves well into adulthood.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

 

 

Social Media Can Have An Impact On Divorce

Be careful what you post on social media and other online sites during divorce and beyond. Your solicitor may have given you some guidelines, but mistakes can cost you in shared time with your children. One man in a small town had posted on a dating site, that he was single and without children. The fact that he was married with two sons seemed to have alluded him. A single family friend spotted it and told the wife once she had initiated the divorce. The wife asked for a copy and then handed them out to her solicitor, the sons’ new therapist and the custody evaluator. The father ended up with limited visitation and no overnights. Stay off dating sites until the divorce is finalized.

It is not fair for children to have their parents battle each other in such a public arena through social media. When older offspring have access to their parents’ social media sites, it is upsetting to read nasty remarks. If you are the spouse who is the recipient of online vitriol, do not go out for revenge. Let your attorney deal with it in your proceedings. Think about how your child would feel, before posting anything which could be controversial.

You may be selective of what goes on your social media sites, but that does not ensure that friends do too. They may be posting party pics from the hen party or birthday bashes. Looking like the party girl or a drunk in the pub is not going to help one seem like a responsible parent when making shared care arrangements. Keep in mind that friends may not have strict privacy settings or may share intimate details with their pals, who do not. Put on your site, or allow friends to post, only what would be okay for your family to view. You do not want a spiteful ex to get ammunition from social media sites to use against you.  Stay off your former spouse’s social media sites. Do you want to see photos of your ex and new partner on their world cruise? If you have a family member that sided with your ex, do you want to read her loving comments to him? No. It is not therapeutic to be keeping up with what he is doing on Facebook and makes it more challenging to move on. If something important happens, someone will inform you. A friend’s husband in a charity organization with my ex thought he heard that he had gotten remarried. This husband checked my ex’s Facebook and then confirmed it. I was happy about this, hoping it would take his focus off me. Get your ex out of your mind and make room in your life for new people.

Please read more   www.divorcemag.com/blog/how-social-media-can-affect-divorce-proceedings/

 

Self-Care While Going Through a Divorce

divorce-separation-marriage-breakup-split-39483The latest figures show that global divorce rates continue to be on the rise. Across Europe and the United States, average divorce rates range between 42%-65%. No matter how amicable the split may be, there are many stressful steps to a divorce. It is not uncommon for the process to cause feelings of anxiety and depression. This is especially true if an individual is not looking out for his or her wellbeing in the steps leading up to the divorce being granted.

If you are going through or will be going through a divorce, self-care is of top-importance. While some may consider the term “self-care” to refer to luxury and pampering, it simply refers to the practice of taking care of one’s self. Explore three must-do self-care strategies for individuals who are going through a divorce.

Ensure that you are getting plenty of sleep

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s rest, especially during stressful times. In addition to feeling drowsy and tired throughout your day, a lack of sleep can have many other consequences. Over the long-term, it can put you at risk for “high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.” In addition to these serious risks, sleep deprivation can impair your ability to think clearly, dulls the skin, causes mood swings, and can cause you to gain weight. To avoid these health challenges, experts recommend that you get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. If you are not able to realistically achieve this, work toward getting proper rest on as many nights as you can, especially during the most stressful parts of the divorce.

Regularly schedule time to practice a hobby

Since many of your days can be focused on signing papers, court hearings, and various disputes, it is crucial to have a healthy hobby to take your mind off of things. Whether you enjoy reading, crafts, baking, drawing, or journaling, choose one or more hobbies in which you can distract yourself from time to time. Hobbies have been shown to help individuals relieve stress, increase mindfulness, promote overall physical health, deliver new and fun experiences, and boost self-confidence. To ensure that you are taking advantage of these benefits, schedule at least a few hours in each week to practice your favorite hobby/hobbies.

Don’t skip regular exercise

Even when an individual isn’t going through stressful times, exercise is a key component of one’s health. Physical activity of all kinds offers loads of benefits, including a boost to your mood, maintenance of a healthy weight, enhanced energy levels, improved cognitive function, lowered risk of chronic illness, and improved sleep quality. As you can imagine, these benefits are even more valuable while going through the stress of a divorce. At minimum, plan to practice your favorite form of exercise for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Both low-impact activities (e.g. walking, yoga) and high-intensity workouts will deliver much of the same benefits.

For nearly every person who goes through the process, divorce marks a stressful time in one’s life. To reduce the impact of the associated stressors, practicing self-care is an absolute must. By ensuring that you are getting proper sleep, choosing to regularly engage in a favorite hobby, and getting routine exercise, you can fight off the negative effects of any stress you experience.

Author of this article, Lucy Davis,  runs  The Divorce Club  www.divorceclub.com     an online support network for people going through divorce and separation.   There are fun events scheduled (check their web site).  Wendi’s Note: The Divorce Club in London is a great way to meet others who are going through similar experiences. Wisdom and laughter are shared at Lucy’s get-togethers through this MeetUp.com group.

Letting Go Of The Past After Divorce Or Break Up

It can be hard to let go of the past when married life is over. Focusing on what was instead of what is, hinders an individual from moving on post-divorce. Divorce may come as a shock and fixating on what used to be, gets in the way of taking action now. Some people interviewed, kept dreaming about the past, as the present was too painful. Yet others felt if they denied what was happening (a spouse leaving), things would go back to what they were.

One sign that a person is hanging on to an ex-spouse and not letting go, is by talking endlessly about them. An acquaintance went on and on about her former husband until somebody else changed the subject. She did not date, but instead wallowed in that relationship which she failed to leave behind post-divorce. There were no children and it was a clean break.

I occasionally run into her former husband who has never brought up his ex and was able to move on in life. He is happily remarried and is a proud step-father. It is a choice whether to stay mentally attached to a former partner or face the cold truth of reality that the other person is not coming back.

Part of getting beyond reliving the past is that the void has to be filled. When an old life and marital relationship ends – something has to fill this gaping hole. This was the problem with my acquaintance. She did not try to meet people, take a class or pursue new endeavours. The void remained.

A first step to moving on, is replacing the loss of people and things with new adventures, activities, and friends. Expand your social circle by joining a special interest group or renewing friendships that may have fallen by the wayside when married. I joined travel and book clubs. Other divorced pals are in film and hiking ones. There are many studies globally that show the health benefits of being connected to others.

A new job during the early phase of my divorce proceedings, was mentally stimulating. There was less time to think about my losses. Others have taken courses or changed career paths after a divorce. Take up a sport for a physical challenge. The goal is to keep mentally and physically active to fill the void and find life more fulfilling. When one’s agenda is crammed full of events, and pleasurable pursuits, looking ahead instead of behind is easier.

Please read more   www.divorcemag.com/blog/how-to-let-go-of-the-past-after-divorce/

Starting a Small Business: Tips for Parents with Disabilities

starting small businessStarting a small business comes with a lot to consider, from figuring out whether you want a storefront or a solely online company to making sure you have the motivation and energy to put into running everything yourself. When you’re also a parent who is living with a disability, it’s important to also think about the best ways you can make life easier for yourself during the process of getting things off the ground. For some entrepreneurs, working from home is much easier than going into an office every day, but this can present its own set of challenges, especially if you’re a stay-at-home parent.

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get the ball rolling smoothly. First, think about the details: a brick-and-mortar store can bring a lot of benefits, such as bringing in lots of foot traffic, but it can also come with a lot more issues and responsibilities than an online business. Will you keep your stock on-site or dropship? Once you’ve figured out the details, you can move on to the big things, such as securing the necessary financing.

Keep reading for some helpful tips on how to start a successful small business when you’re a parent with a disability.

Understand What It Takes

Starting your own business may sound like a dream come true, but it’s much harder in many ways than finding a job with an established company. You need to be self-motivated, a problem-solver who can minimize distractions at home and get things done even when there’s no one giving you direction. Being able to give your all even when you’re sick or have lots of things going on at home will help you find success as an entrepreneur.

Consider How You’ll Support Yourself

Financing a small business is no small feat; there are many things to consider, from startup costs to maintaining your home and lifestyle until you begin making a profit. Often, new businesses don’t turn a profit for at least a year, although those run exclusively online can save a lot of money by not having a storefront. You might think about a loan or grant for disabled business owners to boost your funds, but make sure you find the right one for your needs. Look online to find out more about the resources available to you.

Think About Your Family

As a parent, you want to ensure that your family is well taken care of while you’re getting your dream up and running. This might mean securing daycare for your children if you’ve been a stay-at-home parent in the past, which can be a big change for everyone. Sit down with your family members and talk about your goals, and plan for the future together. Allowing your children to be involved in the preparation process will help them feel a little bit in control.

Take Care of Yourself

Starting a business can be a dream come true, but it’s also a lot of work, and it can be very stressful even if you’re organized. This is especially true when you’re living with a disability. Practicing self-care can help you reduce stress and anxiety when things become overwhelming, so take time out for yourself when you find things are getting busy. Ask for help when you need it. Get plenty of exercise and eat right, even on busy days.

Starting a plan for your future can be scary, but if you keep in mind that it’s a big step in the right direction when it comes to your goals, you’ll be able to stay motivated no matter how difficult things get. Start with some prep work and do some research online before you make any decisions. As a disabled business owner, juggling parenting and your dreams might sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your goals.

Author of this article is Ashley Taylor   ashley@disabledparents.org

Splitting Shared Assets when Divorcing

Divorce proceedings can be extremely stressful and traumatic for everyone involved, even more so when shared assets need to be split. When tying the knot, the last thing couples anticipate is divorce and as a result, few actually plan what would happen to their shared assets should they get divorced.

Over the years, you and your partner will have invested together, saved together and perhaps opened joint bank accounts, and in order to make financial settlements fair, there are a number of factors that have to be taken into consideration before splitting your assets.

Before we continue, it is important to note that how assets are split between a couple will be determined by the relationship. Simply put, the rights of a cohabiting couple will differ from those of a married couple, so bare this in mind.

Step 1:

The first thing you must establish is who legally owns what assets. If you’re in a cohabiting relationship then any investments or savings in your name will belong to you and your partner will not have access to these assets. Likewise, savings or investments made in your ex-partners name will be theirs and you will not be granted access.

However, there are exceptions to the rule. You may be entitled to beneficial interest if you have made contributions towards something in your ex-partners name, such as investing your own money into one of their projects. If this is the case, then you should seek legal advice.

On the flip side, investments or savings made throughout the duration of the marriage will be taken into consideration and divided as part of a financial settlement. Whilst assets amassed prior to the marriage aren’t typically subject to financial settlements throughout divorce proceedings, there is still a chance that your assets are at risk and you should seek legal advice to make sure your savings and investments are protected.

Step 2:

Next, it is time to find out what your savings are really worth in the eyes of the law. If you save money into a savings account such as a cash ISA or cash deposit, it should be pretty easy to get a rough idea of how much your savings are worth as you should be receiving regular financial statements.

However if you have invested in the stock market, or own shares and investment bonds, then it may not be as straightforward when it comes to determining the worth of your assets. This is solely because the value of your investments will differ from week to week, even day to day especially in a volatile and quick-changing market. You should talk to a financial adviser about finding out the value of invested assets tied up in the stock market.

Step 3:

It can be difficult to make sense of the whole process when splitting assets and couples often aren’t aware of how to split their savings and investments. Generally, it depends on where your savings are kept. Cash ISA, shares, investment property or savings accounts – there are a number of ways in which your money can be invested and each will differ when it comes to paying out financial settlements.

Cash ISAs

Cash ISAs can only be held in one individual name and therefore money cannot be transferred from one party to another. If the court has demanded you pay a financial settlement to your ex-partner you must withdraw the money from the account.

Shares

You have a bit more flexibility when it comes to shares as there are a number of different options in which you can pay off a financial settlement. Simply hand over control of the shares, sell the shares or give the value of the shares once sold to another party – it is your choice.

It’s easy to transfer shares, just fill in a J30 form which you can get from the company you initially brought the shares from. Alternativley, if you decide to sell your shares you will need to use the same service you used when buying those shares.

Investment property

If either you or your partner owns a property, then that asset is legally yours/theirs and the other party will have no claim to it – unless contributions have been made. In that case, you will both need to come to an agreement as to how the appropriate party will be paid back.

If you jointly own the property, then you may choose to sell your share to your ex-partner, or buy them out.

Savings accounts

If you plan to transfer money to your ex-partner as part of a financial settlement from a fixed-rate account, then you must first notify your bank so that you do not lose interest. If you are transferring from a normal savings account then you don’t have to give notice.

You should now be fully are of all your legal responsibilities and the claims you can make when it comes to splitting both shared and individual assets when divorcing. We understand how distressing divorce proceedings can be and that is why we have put together this comprehensive guide so that the process can be as amicable, straightforward and stress-free as possible for both you and your ex-partner.

Kerry Smith is the Head of Family Law at K J Smith Solicitors, specialist family law solicitors in Reading that deal with a wide range of issues, including divorce, domestic violence, civil partnerships, and prenuptial agreements. Kerry has over 15 years experience in family law and is recommended by the Legal 500 guide to law firms in the UK.

Keeping Divorce Drama Out Of The Schools

Here are tips for parents, and divorce professionals to help keep divorce out of the schools. Children bringing their parents’ divorce drama into the classroom is disrupting. It wastes teaching time and can cause other students to lose focus on their lessons. It is not fair to anyone.

A first step is informing various school personnel of the divorce situation.   School staff cannot be fully supportive if they have no clue what is going on in a child’s life. I worked with students, parents and staff with divorce issues in the schools. Some of the problems were due to lack of communication between parents and staff.

It can be embarrassing for a child to be asked what they did over the weekend with their parents in front of the other students. They do not want to say, I went from’ Mum’s house to stay with dad. The teacher who is not informed, can put a child in an awkward spot. It is up to adults, not children, to explain what is going on at home.

Teachers and the school secretary need to know to send copies of reports and letters to each parent. Then both are on the same page. When I did not realize a divorce was in progress, an uncomfortable student would ask which parent was to receive the test results. It is up to each parent to make sure the school has their e-mail address for newsletters and so forth. Both parents can check the school’s web site for events and updates. A child is not to be told, by a parent that they were not aware of an event at school. Do not put kids in the middle.

A fallout from divorce is that the student does not have all they require for class. Some leave homework at the other parent’s house. One time a sobbing child was in my office while I called a father to bring in an item left behind at his house the prior week.  It was a crucial piece of a project which had to presented in class that morning. Unfortunately, this occurred with other students as well. Get a system, such as a check list which stays with the child between homes.

Parents, do not overshare divorce details with your offspring. That seems quite obvious, however it is not always put into practice. I had to deal with students who were upset or on the verge of vomiting when distressed over the minutia of their parent’s divorce. One boy spent time in my office while his parents were with solicitors, fighting over a shared care schedule. He did not know if he was moving house, or would not see one parent very much. Just say “we have a meeting with solicitors” and leave it at that. Why does anyone need to know what is on the agenda for each divorce session?

Schools often send home a form to be filled out with contact information and any additional notes about the student. If one parent is not allowed to pick up their son or daughter, or is out of the picture, make sure to write that down. I asked a five-year-old which parent should I call, when he was sick in my office. The little guy got upset and said “mum.” Although nothing was put in the official contact form, his teacher later told me that the father had abandoned his family. In another instance, a form had both parents and their mobile numbers. When the little girl was sick, I called her mum first and left a message that I would try dad.   Her father explained that he was out of town at the moment.

Her step-father later came storming into my office and screamed that the father should never be called. I showed him the form which listed the father. He calmed down when he realized that his wife had never informed the school about this situation. He and his wife promptly took care of it.

A ploy of a divorcing parent can be to try and get school staff on their side. We are not going to get caught up in the conflict and choose one parent over the other. Our job is to be supportive of the students and remain neutral about their parents.

If your child is anxious about the divorce and is bringing it into the classroom, consider short term counselling. My two boys met with a therapist during divorce and for a bit afterwards. It helped them to be calmer and more centred, both in and out of school. Talking to a professional or impartial adult, will help kids sort out their concerns instead of bringing them into school.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/

 

 

Dealing with Holidays When Going Through Divorce

The holiday season is right around the corner and this can be a challenging period during divorce. It is hard to celebrate when one’s world is crumbling. Experiencing intense anger, fear or hurt, stops one from bubbling over with Christmas cheer.   Keeping busy is a way to avoid dwelling on one’s situation. There are plenty of fun distractions during the holiday season to help take one’s mind off divorce and to reduce stress.

Perhaps this is the year that you sit out the frenetic round of parties. People understand when an individual is facing trauma and not up to participating in festivities. Pick what is most meaningful for you and let go of the rest.   When invited to events, feel free to say that you are unavailable and cannot attend. Explanations are not required. One may want to curl up on the couch and catch up with reading or watching classic television specials. It is fine to have downtime and get ready for what lies ahead in divorce proceedings. Do what is best for you.

It can feel lonely not being paired up anymore. One may be tempted to forego going out altogether. Some newly single people felt more comfortable being in places where it was not apparent they were by themselves. There are various ways to feel connected to others when attending events alone. One is enjoying concerts (often free) in different settings, such as churches. Another is being part of a crowd awaiting the lighting of a town square or tree. When in London, it was thrilling seeing a dark Oxford Street spring to life with thousands of Christmas lights and live music. Sharing this exciting experience with so many others kept me from feeling lonely.

See what your single friends are doing and accompany them to holiday gatherings. My divorced friend and I are willing to go to each other’s events. My married pals will meet up during the day and are happy to indulge in decant Christmas desserts and lattes.  When married, one may not have paid much attention to socializing with colleagues. Let them know that you would like to join their get-togethers.

During divorce and beyond, many people I talked with, said that they spend holidays with family who may live nearby or across the country. They feast a large part of the day and partake in other activities. These now singles, said how their families fill a gap on holidays left by a departing spouse. After my divorce, my two sons and I went away for several Christmases. I am an only child and my parents are deceased. Getting away helped my family of three start new traditions post-divorce and end the ones which no longer fit. Consider doing the same action, especially if you have children. Ask your children which traditions are the most meaningful or fun and then continue them. Ditch the other ones.

Go to Divorce Magazine for this article and many other ones  www.divorcemag.com/home/

A Simple Way To Help Your Child Feel More Loved

simple

If there is anything that you learn right away when you have children it is that kids are all different. They have different personalities, needs and interests. As they age from young children into teens, many parents feel that it becomes increasingly difficult to communicate with their teens. It may even feel as though everything you try to do and say is leading to an argument or making your child feel worse.

When we are already feeling overwhelmed, the entire process can be near insurmountable. But you don’t have to feel that way forever. One option is to adapt to how you interact with your child so you can make your child feel more loved and secure.

The Love Language Approach to Parenting

The first step in this process is knowing your kid’s love language. You have probably heard of the love languages before. Created by Gary Chapman, it is a way of establishing what ways of showing affection and care each of us responds to the most. There are five languages:

  • Word of affirmation
  • Acts of service
  • Receiving gifts
  • Quality time
  • Physical touch

People can have multiple love languages and some will be stronger than others, while some might have a couple be equally important. There are quizzes for the language, apology language and an anger assessment. Each can help you and loved ones better understand one another and even change the way you interact with other people on a professional level.

Families with older children can make taking this quiz a group activity and discuss how each can help use one another’s love language to show they care. For younger children, it may come down to guessing based on what your child appears to enjoy and not enjoy. For instance, if your child likes to be comforted with a hug or enjoys cuddling that provides a clue to their language. If they prefer verbal reassurance that is a better indication.

The Importance of Warmth

A study by the University of Amsterdam looked at what helps to build self-esteem and positive self-image in children. According to their results, lavishing praise on a child can have the opposite effect.

Instead, what has the greatest impact on a child’s self-esteem is the warmth that is shown to them on a consistent basis. Each of the five languages is based on warmth delivered in different ways. You can customize that warmth in a way that your child will respond to most, making it even more effective for their emotional well-being. All of this can help your family to become closer and help ensure you child feels truly loved.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

 

Top Tips for Stress-Free and Budget-Savvy Family Travel

budget savvy travelFinding ways to stretch your travel budget can be complicated, especially when you’re trying to accommodate different age groups. You want everyone to enjoy themselves, and pleasing members of your whole family can leave you pulling out your hair. Here are some suggestions for making the most of your getaway without experiencing hassles and stress.

Smart Booking Strategies  

Timing can be everything when it comes to travel planning. If you can put it off, the Guardian recommends waiting until the last minute to book your arrangements, as it frequently equates to a substantial discount off advertised prices. Your other best option is to book extremely early to secure the best rates. Discounts for children are something of a rare commodity these days, although some experts note that airlines will allow infants under the age of 2 to fly for free, so long as you hold your little one in your lap.

Another suggestion is to take a respite from parenthood and plan a holiday apart from your children. There are responsible, caring, safe babysitters out there, and with this being the Information Age, you can book a reliable sitter via the web. If you have any concerns about the person you hire, you should meet up before confirming your arrangements.

Family-Friendly (and Budget-Friendly) Lodging   

Putting a roof over everyone’s heads for the duration of your adventure is part of the crux of family travel, particularly when you want to be careful in your spending. You can check in with company internet boards and newsletters for people letting out rooms, or consider a house-swapping arrangement. Sometimes, it pays to take advantage of traditional family-oriented options, such as camping, staying in a farmhouse, or booking a stay in a hostel. Be forewarned: Some experts point out that hostels vary tremendously, from the most pleasant of accommodations to those which are questionable at best. Do some research beforehand and check the ratings and reviews prior to making a decision.

Check Your Dates  

When it comes to saving money over the course of a stay, the Barefoot Nomad points out that you can often come out ahead by lengthening the duration of your trip. Consider adding a day or two at each end of your holiday, and you might find it’s well worth the added expense. Just ensure you can set aside the time from your workplace before making the commitment.

Cut Meal Costs   

Feeding your youngsters can be a traveling challenge, especially if you have any picky eaters in your bunch. While it isn’t always as enticing as eating meals out, consider making a grocery run once you reach your destination. Choose some simple staples you know your youngsters will enjoy, such as favorite cereals and sandwich foods, and aim to partake in at least one meal you prepare each day. Let your kids select the food, and include something special that wouldn’t normally be allowed. It’ll be easier on your wallet as well as your nerves, and you and your children can then venture out for explorations with full bellies and clear minds.

Plan Outings Well   

When it comes to finding budget-friendly entertainment for your holiday, a variety of attractions are free to children. For the best results, plan your days around meal times and the normal napping schedule. You don’t want to be standing in a long queue when your youngster is too hungry or too tired, potentially resulting in crankiness and temper tantrums. Short, simple events are usually more convenient and relaxing for everyone.

Ensure your next family holiday is enjoyable and affordable with good planning. Schedule your trip carefully and make selections that stretch your budget. With a few smart strategies, you and your kids are sure to have a wonderful time.

Author of this article is Ashley Taylor   ashley@disabledparents.org

Image courtesy of Pixabay

 

 

How to Maintain a Relationship – People Share Their Secrets

After getting divorced one may be more cautious when dating again – wanting to avoid potential pitfalls. Your marital union has ended and it can be puzzling how other folks stay together for half of a century. A variety of couples graciously revealed their secrets to what makes a relationship last.

Just let go

At the end of the day, let go of the trivial things which happened. Do not get worked up over the small stuff, but rather focus on what is important. When we carry all of these insignificant grudges around, they become a big load. No one is perfect – so give your partner some slack. Do not keep score. “I did this so you had better do that.” One acquaintance kept a tally of grievances and when she reached a high number, they got a divorce. A friend kept track of who did what chores. She expected them to be split 50/50 even though she worked fewer hours outside of the home. That ended in divorce. Your spouse’s actions are not motivated by malice, so just let go. We all have annoying quirks.

No one has the power to  “make” you happy

People have divorced or broken up with partners when that individual no longer “made them happy.” We choose our feelings and no one else has the power to make us feel a certain way. It is in our control to be happy or not. Long -term couples said that they required other relationships besides the marital one, such as being in clubs and with friends. The Dalai Lama states “True happiness does not depend on an external being or thing. It only depends upon us.” When becoming unhappy, that is a red flag to have a discussion with your partner. One woman informed her husband that she wanted a divorce because she was so unhappy. Talking this through, they discovered that she missed her old job and was miserable being a stay-at-home mom. Once back in the workforce, she was content with her life.

Follow your gut instinct

A priest said that he talks to both mothers when doing weddings. He tells these ladies not to interfere with their children’s relationship. Do not let your friends interfere with your relationship either. Friends can mean well, however give lousy advice that is detrimental. They may have their own agenda, which does not align with yours. Two co-workers were close and the friend played racquetball with the other’s husband. She pretended to support her married pal, but the end result was that the couple got divorced and the other two got married. Trust your gut instinct and do not rely on others to offer opinions on what to do. I knew it would be a mistake to get married to my now ex-husband. An older family friend kept insisting it was only “pre-wedding jitters” and to go through with it. Big mistake listening to her.

Be  careful about what you say

Be careful of what you confide to others -especially when going through a difficult time. Friends will side with you and may not like your partner after hearing your complaints about him or her. They often continue to loathe them after your problems are resolved. You may be told you are too good for your spouse, when personal details are overshared with family and friends. What you say in anger can have a negative effect on their viewpoint of your partner and of you remaining in the relationship.

Share

Couples stated that sharing was important, which includes sharing child care responsibilities. One father said that he is “the bottle washer” since his wife also works full time. Sharing household duties means looking around for what needs to be done and not waiting for a partner to ask for help.

Have fun and a sense of humor

Many said having a sense of humor keeps things running smoothly. Laughter connects people and having fun adds spice to the relationship. Couples have taken up Salsa dance lessons, golf, joined gourmet dining clubs or got into volunteering. They have become active in community issues or rediscovered a long-lost passion in life. These people are reinventing themselves together on the same path. Life events have kept some individuals from traveling in the past. I have met many couples in second marriages exploring the world and ticking off exotic places from their Bucket Lists. Others have gotten involved in projects together, such as renovating a house for retirement is a sunny locale.

At a fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration, the wife said that “commitment is love – you can’t have love without commitment.” When they went through rough patches, they each knew the other was committed to the marriage and was not going to bolt. Secrets to lasting love is to have kindness, be respectful of your partner and put them first in your life above others.

Originally published in Divorce Force   www.divorceforce.com/

10 Tips To Know About Divorce

Divorce is a life transition that generates permanent changes. One can never go back – only forward. Divorce affects finances, relationships and career choices. It can be a positive catalyst for a metamorphosis.

  1. Divorce is not a linear process, one can back track, hit a speed bump or nearly get derailed. My husband and I were in the collaborative process and he suddenly dropped out when it did not go as he expected. We had to start over with new solicitors for litigation. Then he decided to return to collaborative and luckily our original solicitors let us pick up where we left off from before.
  2. Divorce does not have to mean only negative changes –but can push people in a positive direction. Maribel was a stay-at-home mum who was bored out of her mind and felt unfulfilled. Getting a divorce forced her back into the working world. She opted for a lesser paying job in retail and is ecstatic about life. Maribel is much more vibrant now, than I ever observed in her marriage. Two co-workers lead busy, fulfilled lives now that they are divorced.
  3. Divorce has an end point. My maintenance and child support have finished which means contact with my ex is 100% in the past. I will be moving and can totally close that chapter of my life. Other people’s end point may be when their divorce is finalized, especially when there is a Clean Break. The divorce process seemed endless at the time, but it helped when folks said that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
  4. Get centred, clear your mind and think through your choices and decisions. I made stupid missteps in a panic – rather than stating “Let me think about it and get back to you.” An issue can be tabled until the next mediation/collaborative session – or you could send an e-mail the following day with your decision. Reacting quickly, instead of mulling it over can haunt you in the future.
  5. Get the necessary experts on the divorce team. If it seems as if some assets are missing, then get a forensic accountant on board. In an acrimonious divorce, a custody evaluator may be brought in to do an extensive study to determine the percentage of shared care between parents.
  6. There are support groups available to enable you to make it through the arduous divorce process. The Divorce Magazine has a link to helpful resources including parenting ones, on the web site. Conduct your own online search to discover ones in your locale. Talking to others going through divorces gave me support and I felt less alone.
  7. It is normal to feel that you cannot take much more stress without exploding. People interviewed expressed that they were surprised that they got through divorce without a nervous breakdown. In our crazy divorce, the two solicitors mandated that we each see a designated life coach for at least one session. My husband brought his to one collaborative session and that made for a smoother meeting with less tension for all of us.
  8. You will discover traits that you did not realize that you possessed. Hidden strength will bubble up and get you through tough negotiations. You will discover your resilience which helps you to be flexible and bend like a pine tree rather than being rigid like the mighty oak and breaking in a storm.
  9. A Family Law solicitor said if one party is pleased in the divorce – then something is not fair. When both people are unhappy about the asset division, then it is fair. I made sure I got the few things that I really desired, the water colour painting of our deceased cat, plus several other items. I refused to get in a battle over our joint personal property which resulted in my husband letting me have a bit more. Hold out for what you really want in the personal property division and do not haggle over every little thing. Not worth the time, increased legal fees and anxiety.
  10. You may be at loggerheads with each other during divorce, but may like each other down the road. Some former couples are friends and even have get-togethers with the new spouses. This is really lovely for the children during the holidays when this happens. Memory has the trick of glossing over the unpleasant parts and this is helpful after divorce.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine   thedivorcemagazine.co.uk after divorce.

Tips For Going On A First Date Post-Divorce

Going on a first date after a divorce has its challenges. One may have done well finding a person online that seems compatible or through an old-fashioned introduction. Now comes the hardest part – making a great first impression and sustaining that throughout the evening. A speech on networking at a Toastmasters International meeting had a lot in common with dating. The audience was surprised that when initially meeting someone, to keep 99% of the conversation on that person.

Ask Your Date Questions About Them

In networking which also pertains to dating, begin with asking about their family and move on to what is their occupation. Ask what are their hobbies and interests, finishing up with inquiring what really matters to them. What gives meaning to their lives, their passion and what makes them tick. People enjoy talking about themselves, and by asking these questions you will be viewed as the most interesting person on the planet. There is now rapport and it is a good time to start revealing fascinating tidbits about yourself.

Reveal A little At A Time

Bombarding someone with your life story when first meeting them is a turn off. One acquaintance wondered why she rarely got a second date. She did not ask the above mentioned questions and focused the conversation solely on herself. A co-worker told too personal details about her body functions and friends’ sex lives. Have some decorum.

Be Aware Of Your Body Language

Have a friendly demeanor and be cognizant of your body language. Arms folded across your body can mean “stay away” or as in Martial Arts, a sign of aggression. Nervous habits such as jingling change in your pocket or tapping your foot can be interpreted as impatience. Watch the amount of eye contact. Too little indicates lack of interest and staring can be uncomfortable for the receiver.

Have Conversations Topics Ready

Be up-to-date on current news and major sporting events, like the Super Bowl. Be able to have discussions, but try to veer away from religion and politics on a first date. Have some amusing stories about co-workers, travel adventures and so forth ready in case you get tongue-tied or your mind goes blank. Pauses in conversation are okay and not every second has to be filled in by talking.

It is fine to mention that you are a parent, but hold the cute toddler tales. Let your date know you are a well-rounded adult, not a one dimensional person. This does not only pertain to being a parent, but also when focusing on one aspect of your life. For example. I briefly dated an attorney whose whole existence revolved around his job. When I suggested that we see a film, he said that he did not own any casual clothes and would have to wear trousers from one of his suits. I knew this relationship would not work out, so ended it quickly.

A multi-faceted person is enticing. Having a full life before dating is more attractive to someone than having dating be your life.  Please read more    www.divorcemag.com/blog/tips-for-first-date-after-divorce/

The Way to Let Go Is Through Forgiveness

As human beings, we instinctively do everything we can to avoid harm. We look before we cross the road, we’re careful when chopping vegetables, wear protective equipment when we’re engaging in potentially dangerous tasks and so on. Indeed, our desire not to damage ourselves is so ingrained that there are too many examples to name – but there’s one exception.

Whilst we actively do our utmost to prevent ourselves from suffering emotional pain, an awful lot of us seem to make an exception when we believe someone else is to blame for our suffering – something which is particularly true of disgruntled divorcees.

It’s strange how when one spouse wants a divorce and the other doesn’t the reluctant party usually relents, recognising that there’s little point in remaining married to someone who no longer loves them, but continues to harbour resentment towards their former spouse. It’s completely understandable that the rejected party feels hurt, of course, but without a concerted effort on their part, it’s all too easy for hurt to become hatred which, in turn, becomes prolonged pain and suffering. Worst of all, afflicted spouses that find themselves in this position are reluctant to let go of their anger. Some even feel that these horrific feelings – and the pain they cause – are necessary; a reminder of why they should never trust the person that brought them such anguish.

Forgive for your own good

I myself know how difficult it can be to forgive and forget. I suffered from severe bullying throughout my time at school and I spent a significant portion of my life hating the perpetrators. People that cared about me recognised this was causing me pain and encouraged me to forget things and move on. Their suggestions fell on deaf ears – I was even offended by them, as if they were taking the side of the bullies and dismissing my feelings. They weren’t, they were trying to help me help myself.

As much as a part of me felt like I would have been letting my tormentors off the hook if I forgave them, it was actually myself who benefited when I bit the bullet and sought the help I needed to deal with my painful memories. My quality of life improved immeasurably as a result and I can assure you that, however hard or even impossible forgiving your former spouse may seem, it is possible and, more importantly, it’s in your best interests to do so.

Seek help if you need it

If you find that you can’t forgive your former spouse, you’re far from alone. Many people need professional help to let go of painful memories – I did, and I can assure you that it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. The anxiety I previously felt is all but gone, my self-esteem has improved and I’m a significantly happier person.

If you’re able to forgive and forget without assistance, great. If you aren’t, there’s no shame in seeking the help of a professional like a counsellor or psychiatrist and I’d strongly recommend you do. It’ll benefit those around you and, most importantly of all, you too.

Author Bio: Jay Williams works for Quickie Divorce, one of the UK’s largest providers of quick online divorce solutions and divorce papers. He lives in Cardiff with his wife and two-year-old daughter Eirys.

 

Travel Tips For The Single Parent

Travel as a single parent gives one the opportunity to strengthen the bond between parent and child, and leave the complications of divorce behind. Taking a vacation does wonders for getting rid of stress and returning rejuvenated. When used to having a travel partner (former spouse), it can be unnerving to go alone with the kids. Having to watch the youngsters 24/7 without a break can be tiring, however there are ways to meet everyone’s needs. Enlist a family member to go with you. My mother went on a Hawaiian cruise with my sons and I at the beginning of my turbulent divorce. I got much needed alone time when she did a few activities with the boys on shore. All of us were happy. Some siblings and their offspring have taken trips together or shared a holiday home. An adult took a turn watching the cousins, so the other one could relax.

What works for many single parents is selecting a hotel with a kid’s or teen club. The wee ones are busily engaged learning songs, crafts and games while their single parents can relax with a book or enjoy the facilities. In Nevis, my boys learned about Caribbean traditions and marine life, while I headed off to the gym. There are resorts with great kid’s clubs globally, in Greece, Mexico, the Caribbean and so forth. A divorced friend likes the Club Meds where the children are occupied in their groups and she interacts with adults. They also do enjoyable activities as a family. She prefers the all-inclusive resorts so there are no financial surprises. This is one reason why I like cruising – I can budget my trips and know what the cost will be.

Cruises are a fun way to see many destinations without packing and unpacking. Most have clubs for the little ones and their teenage siblings. There are numerous activities, sports and shows on board that can be done as a family. After my divorce, my sons and I wanted to start fresh with holiday rituals. The three of us sailed around New Zealand and made several stops in Australia over Christmas and New Year’s. The décor, food and concerts were fabulous and I did not have the usual holiday stress. Ships provide an easy way for us to see the world and experience different cultures.

Various travel companies have tours for families, such as safaris in Africa, with child centered activities. They are slower paced and are also ideal for grandparents. These tours give adults an opportunity to have time without the kids, while they are engrossed in an activity. My teen and twenty-year-old did fine on a regular tour to India. Teens like trips packed with interesting sites, such as ancient stone fortresses, colorful bazaars, and activities that are not available at home. If you can time a trip around a festival or cultural event, that adds excitement. For example, we went to a Hindu Temple in Delhi on one of their holiest days of the year.

Consider only having one or two places to stay on a trip, particularly with very young children. Have that be your hub and plan day trips or primarily see the sights around your location. Changing hotels frequently with much travel is tiring and can be stressful. Going to a Dude Ranch and riding horses for a week can be memorable. There are hikes, campfires and outdoor fun. Kids enjoy farm stays and playing with the animals. A city break such as London, has many kid friendly museums and historical sites, like the Tower of London. My sons loved feeding the ducks in the various large parks and I liked sitting on a park bench reading. Orlando is another example where a single parent and kids can stay put in one hotel and enjoy the many amusement parks in the area. Trying to see too much in a short time is exhausting. On a trip to Burma (Myanmar), I crammed too many destinations and hotels into our itinerary. My young sons got cranky and I ended up sick. Spending a week at a beach, lake or mountain cabin is a lovely way to unwind.

When planning a trip post-divorce, there are practical aspects to remember. Inform your ex-spouse before taking your children across the state line. Get written permission that is notarized by the other parent, when taking youngsters out of the country. You do not want to be accused of international kidnapping, plus the airlines may ask to see this letter. Both parents must be present for a child under sixteen to obtain or renew their passport. A notarized letter giving permission from an absent parent will suffice. Make sure that each of you has at least six months left on your passport before it expires or another country can deny entry.

View travel as an adventure. Yes, things will not always go as planned, so be flexible and pack your sense of humor. Something that goes terribly wrong can be a funny story for years to come. Enjoy your single parent vacations, as your children will grow up too quickly. Bon Voyage!

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

How To Handle Parental Guilt

We are not immune from parental guilt which can be intensified during divorce. One feels like they could have done more for the children, even when nearly at the breaking point. It is a challenge to juggle so many balls in the air during proceedings and not drop one from time to time. We can be our own worst critic – when in reality our actions were fine.

What helps is to have a conversation with the children and tell them that you are under stress. If you snap at the youngsters or are a bit blunt – it is not about them – but rather your tense situation. This helps the kids to feel more secure when told they are not the source of your periodic angry outbursts. When I was about to lose it, I took a time out. I told my sons to let me read for awhile and then I would be calmer.

When feeling that you have failed a child, talk it over with them. Often my sons did not see that anything was wrong, when I thought they were hurt or disappointed. Getting their perspective was a good reality check for me. Apologize if appropriate. Let the youngsters know that you feel badly for what happened. Both of you will feel better afterwards. This is a good example for them to see when someone has messed up, to say that you are sorry.

Even when some things cannot be helped, we still feel guilt. You may have a mandatory meeting at work scheduled during your daughter’s class play. An obligation may keep you from your son’s rugby match. Express your disappointment and let your child talk about how they feel. Reassure offspring that you still love them when you cannot be with them.

Do not label yourself as a bad parent when it is your choice to do something that you need to do for yourself. I recently had to stop calling myself “A bad mum” since I chose to go to a conference in London when my son would be home from university for spring break. I was torn about whether or not to leave, however decided to take the trip. As it turned out, my son had to work and departed before I did.

Notice where in your body you feel tension when you get that parental guilt. It may be a tightening in the chest or discomfort in the gut. When these sensations start to occur, recognize the need to step-back and regroup. Take deep breaths, go on a walk, do meditation or whatever relaxes you to prevent your stress level from escalating

Going out with friends was my cure. Discussing perceived parental shortcomings with others, can help you realize that you are actually doing a great job. Or your friends may have made a much bigger mistake than you did. Nice to know that other parents are not perfect either.  To read more  www.divorcemag.com/blog/how-to-deal-with-parental-guilt/

 

Communication Through The Arts For Children With Disabilities

fluteLife can be hard for children with disabilities. Athletic activities may be less practical for children with physical disabilities or difficulty balancing. However, the arts can be a safe space where they can express themselves, develop their minds and bond with others through creativity. Frequently, the challenge can be to get your child interested in an artistic endeavor.  Here are some ways you can help your child tap into their artistic side.

How the arts can help children with disabilities communicate  

The arts are important because even if your child has difficulty in academic subjects, you may find that they are naturally gifted in the arts. Engagement with the arts gives children, who may not be able to express themselves verbally, the opportunity to demonstrate their thoughts and feelings about a range of topics. The process of creation, whether it is visual art, music, or a dance routine, is powerful and helps to build self-esteem and confidence. This can lead to an in increased amount of determination to do well in all other areas of life including school.

Each type of fine art can benefit your child in different ways. Drawing, for example, helps to refine motor skills while teaching your child about shapes, shading, contrast, balance and other mathematical concepts.

How to help your child choose a fine art  

Occasionally, your child will gravitate to a particular subject, topic or form of expression on their own. This makes it significantly easier for you, as you will already have an idea of which type of artistic endeavor they will be interested in. In general, even if your child doesn’t have a particular focus of interest, it is relatively easy to tell. During free time, how does your child behave? Does he draw freehand, hum to himself, or move in rhythm in his chair? Also, how does your child act when around people? Is he gregarious and friendly or more withdrawn? Give them the opportunity to break away from established rules and express themselves artistically without any guidance other than their own inclination. Each of these can be indicating factors that can help you decide which fine art to enroll your child in.

Another way to discover your child’s interests is to expose them to different types of art – try playing different varieties of music, taking them to an art gallery, or going to see live theater. None of these activities are too strenuous for a child with disabilities and can be fascinating for children who have not experienced the arts in person before.

How to encourage your child in music  

If your child is musically inclined, the first task is to figure out what instrument they may wish to play. There are two ways to do this: either talk to them about what instruments they hear in different pieces and songs, or take them to a music shop and let them test out different instruments. Woodwinds including flutes, clarinets and saxophones, can be particularly good for children with impaired hearing, as they will still be able to feel the vibrations of the sound in the reed between their teeth as they play. To encourage your child to play their instrument, show genuine interest. Ask them questions about how their current piece is progressing, or even hold a home concert. If you are engaged in their artistic lives, they will be more likely to stick with it as they grow older.

Even if your child has had difficulty in school, becoming involved with the arts may be the way to get them interested in a wide variety of topics as their confidence builds. Showing excitement at each day’s progress will help raise their self-esteem even more.

Author of this article is Ashley Taylor   ashley@disabledparents.org

4 Key Life Skills To Teach Your Son When His Father Is Not Available

thumbnail__4KeyLifeSkillstoTeachYourSonifDadCan'We all wish our kids could have two solid, involved parents. But sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Regardless of the reason why their father isn’t in the picture anymore, it can feel as thought his place in your child’s life falls on your shoulders. That is a lot of responsibility, especially if you have a son. How can you teach him the same lessons that his father should have taught him?

The truth is that you may be able to teach him even better. There are some life lessons that go beyond how to shave, or the right way to tie a necktie. Lessons that are uniquely suited for a mother to pass down to her son, to make him a better man.

Expressing Emotion

Boys are taught from a young age to be “tough”. They aren’t supposed to cry, get too close to anyone, share how they feel…it is a toxic and unfair image that I have tried hard to break in my own sons. But the world is harsh and that message is so prevalent that it can be difficult to reach them.

As a mother, you can instill sensitivity and empathy in your son and show him that it is OK to have and express emotions.

Respecting Women

There is no doubt about it, there is a serious issue in our youth of how women and girls are portrayed. It is a battle that has been fought for many years and will continue to be. Whether because of pornography, modern media or just an incorrect view of a woman’s place in the world, we seem to be going backwards at times.

You can be a champion for respect, teaching your son how to view women in a healthy way and to treat them with the courtesy they deserve.

Trust and Dependability

A man’s word is all he has…that is a saying my dad used to say and I believe it firmly. Your son should know that if he wants to be trusted he has to show that he is dependable. If he lacks a steady fatherly role in his life, this may be an easy lesson to teach him, as he has seen the impact first hand of a lack of dependability and trustworthiness. You can also utilize the examples of wonderful father figures that surround your child to illustrate these key aspects needed in a man’s character.

Education

This one is a no-brainer. The importance of education, especially in today’s world, can’t be overstated. You should work with your son to see this critical idea. Be involved with his education and help him in his goals.

So many single mothers lament the lack of a father in their child’s life. But your son couldn’t be luckier…he has you! You can teach him those critical life lessons and help him to grow into the man you know he can be.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter |

 

 

Government Plans for Family Law in the Event of a No Deal Brexit

With Brexit negotiations still under way, the government released new plans this month (September 2018) that explain in detail any changes that may happen to Family Law and the judicial system in the unlikely event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal on 29th March 2019.

Currently, as a part of the EU, England, Wales and Northern Ireland follow the Brussels IIA rules when addressing matters of divorce, child custody and international child abduction in the court. According to the new plans released by the government on the 13th September, the Brussels IIA rules would be revoked in the case of a “no deal” Brexit. These changes may also affect the ‘Lis Pendens’ rules – within Family Law, Lis Pendens refers to the courts ability to cease divorce proceedings after an EU court has started the process of the case. Should the UK leave the EU without a deal, Lis Pendens rules would be repealed across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit on the 29th March, Equivalent Hague Conventions are set to replace previous EU rules. The government’s plans, released in September, explain how the previous EU laws would change to Hague Conventions which currently focus on matters of parental responsibility, rules regarding abducted children, central authority cooperation and maintenance recognition and enforcement. Even in the event of a no deal Brexit, Hague Conventions such as the Recognition of Divorces and Legal Separations and the 1970 Conventions will remain international law and will therefore continue in the UK.

In the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK doesn’t plan to axe all previous EU laws. Some of the Civil Family Law conventions the UK government intend on keeping include the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child and the 2007 Hague Convention whereby the government would formally re-join the EU in the event of a no deal Brexit. The UK government have explained within their new plans that any rules and conventions surrounding same sex marriages and civil partnerships will also be replaced with new and independent UK laws.

Come the 29th March 2019, if you are in the middle of divorce or separation proceedings or any other family matters within a UK court, you should continue the process as normal and any case will be dealt with under independent UK rules opposed to EU rules. If you are going through an EU court however, it is suggested that you seek legal advice to determine any changes that may occur in your case as a result of Brexit negotiations.

The new plans released by the government have had both a positive and negative response – with some family law experts believing that a no deal Brexit will have a positive impact on the UK judicial system whilst some fear that new and independent rules will lead to an escalation of stresses and pressures within the court.

Kerry Smith is the Head of Family Law at K J Smith Solicitors, specialist family law solicitors in Reading that deal with a wide range of issues, including divorce, domestic violence, civil partnerships, and prenuptial agreements. Kerry has over 15 years experience in family law and is recommended by the Legal 500 guide to law firms in the UK.

 

7 Tips for Taking On Parenthood When You’re Living With a Disability

7 tipsWhen you’re about to be a new parent, it can be tricky to truly prepare for what lies ahead. But there are a few things you can do ahead of time to prepare. Here are seven steps you can take when you’re going to be a new parent and are living with a disability.

Talk About Parenting With Your Partner  

If you plan on parenting with a partner, it’s a good idea to sit down and really hash out what parenthood means to each of you. Talk about how tasks will be divided and what roles you expect each other to play. Discuss different parenting techniques and make final decisions together. Getting on the same page before your baby is born will diffuse any additional tension during an already stressful time.  

Set Budget Goals But Be Prepared for Surprises  

With a new baby on the way, you’ll want to set a budget. Expect monthly expenses to increase, and factor in new items, such as baby clothes, bottles, and diapers. Try to set aside some savings to cover any sudden financial issues. If you’re receiving any benefits, figure out if there will be changes to your benefits if you’re having a child, and don’t forget to review your health and life insurance as well.

Be Flexible With Your Schedule

If you live with a disability, you may be used to a certain routine. Know that children, and especially newborns, will cause some serious changes to your daily schedule. It may take time to work out a normal sleep pattern, and your life will revolve around feedings and care. Clear out your calendar for the first few weeks and don’t make any other plans except for parenting.  

Max Out Accessibility in Your Home  

Make sure your house is safe and ready for you and your baby. You’ll need to focus all your energy on the new little one, so take steps now to increase accessibility. If you haven’t already, think about replacing steps with a ramp, purchasing expandable hinges for doorways, and even installing skid-resistant flooring. Preventing accidents, like slips and falls, will make life as a parent easier and can make your home safer for a growing baby as well.  

Start Small Practices to Relieve Stress  

Any parent will tell you that nothing will stress you out quite like a new baby. So try to get yourself in the habit of practicing stress-relieving self-care now. You’ll likely be short on time when you bring your new baby home, so find brief, effective methods to relieve tension. Work on a little meditation routine or practice some acupressure on yourself. Minimizing stress will help you parent more productively.

Plan Out Meals for Those First Few Weeks   

Having a new baby will leave you with very little time to cook. So it’s smart to set up some quick, easy meals ahead of time. Prepare some casseroles and throw them in your freezer, or bag up some simple crockpot meals. If you have family and friends nearby, you can also ask them to organize a “meal train” to keep your family fed. Keeping speedy meals and convenient snacks around is a lifesaver for busy new parents.  

Find Help When You Need It  

Every parent needs help from time to time as we settle into our role. If you feel overwhelmed, think about calling a friend or family member to help you out with tasks around the house. You may even want to think about hiring someone to help you out, especially during the initial adjustment period. To a new parent, help can be priceless.

Every new parent feels some anxiety at first. With practice and planning, you’ll start to feel better soon. Know that you are fully capable of taking on this task. Congratulations on your new family member and welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood!

Author of this article is Ashley Taylor   ashley@disabledparents.org

The Role of Father Figures in Your Child’s Life

thumbnail_fatherfiguresIn a perfect world, children would grow up in happy, loving families, enjoying the attention of both their birth parents. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect and parenting roles keep evolving. Where nuclear families were once clear cut, parents now have to fit in different roles from step-parents, single parents, co-parents and so on.

As a result, many children are growing up without their biological father’s presence in their lives. Regardless of how uninvolved a father is in the life of his child, don’t fret. There are other men who will ably step into that role to provide the love, support and guidance your child needs. These father figures can include grandfathers, uncles, a trusted family friend, teacher or pastor or even a sports coach. What matters is that they are able and willing to be present and involved in your child’s upbringing.

The Importance Of Father Figures

While there are many single parents who do an excellent job of bringing up their children solo, having a father figure there brings added value. Research suggests that children with active father figures have fewer psychological and behavioral problems. Such relationships have a profound influence on a child’s development, positively impacting their moral, social and cognitive growth.

Father figures step up to the plate and create opportunities to interact with your child just as their biological fathers would- bonding through play, reading stories, fishing, sports, movie nights etc. Other than being a positive and guiding influence in your child’s life, having a strong bond with an affectionate father figure has also been shown to somehow inoculate children against alcohol and substance abuse, making them less likely to end up as troubled teens.

Additionally, the relationship your child has with their father figure can affect their future relationships. The early interactions from childhood can act as a blueprint for other relationships throughout the child’s life, influencing their interactions with others as well as giving them an idea of what acceptable behavior in a relationship is.

Since boys typically model themselves after their fathers, they require positive male role models with good values to look up to. The father figure will provide an example of how a man acts towards other men, women and children and also how to behave in different social and professional situations. As your son grows into his teens, he will greatly appreciate having a man who listens, guides and provides advice and support to navigate tricky situations that teenage boys find themselves in.

Girls on the other hand, will use the relationship with their father figures to form opinions of how men should treat women. A loving, kind and gentle male role model will do a lot to boost your daughter’s self-esteem. As she moves into the dating world, she is likely to pick partners with the same characteristics as her father figure because that’s what she’s familiar with.

So even if your child’s biological father is no longer in the picture know that there are other father figures who can step into those shoes and provide the positive guidance, unconditional love, genuine affection and sincere support that your child needs.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

5 Steps Parents Can Take to Improve Their Family’s Financial Health

5 steps

Raising a family is expensive. If you have kids or are expecting your first, that’s not news to you. Some days it feels impossible to afford the bare necessities of food, clothing and a roof over your head. However, as a parent, you also need to think about your family’s overall financial health.  

If you haven’t given serious thought to financial planning, now is the time to start. The sooner you get a handle on your finances and start saving for the future, the more financially secure your family will be. Here’s where to start.

1. Assess Your Income

Does your current income allow you to live comfortably and achieve your financial goals? If not, increasing your income should be at the center of your financial plan. While you can always cut expenses to save money, a higher income is the best long-term solution to financial security. Start thinking about ways you can earn a raise, find a higher-paying position, or pivot your career to increase your income.

2. Examine Your Debt

Most families have some debt (about 80 percent, according to USA Today). That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if your debt is preventing you from achieving other financial goals, you’re using credit cards to spend money you don’t have, or you’re struggling to make headway due to high interest rates, you need to take action about your debt.  

List all your debts including outstanding balances, interest rates and minimum monthly payments. Putting it all out in front of you allows you to assess the state of your debt and devise a repayment plan that lets you get ahead. If you find it difficult to keep track of all your accounts, consider debt consolidation. Consolidation combines unsecured debts like student loans, credit cards, and medical bills into a single monthly payment so they’re easier to manage. However, debt consolidation isn’t guaranteed to work in your favor. It’s important to understand the process and how it will affect your debt before choosing to consolidate.

3. Create an Emergency Fund

Everyone needs an emergency fund, but it’s particularly important for parents. An emergency fund enables you to cover minor emergencies without fretting over the bill and remain stable if your job situation changes. Calculate how much money you’d need to cover three months of expenses and set aside funds each paycheck until your emergency fund reaches that number. If you’re a single-income household, aim for six months instead of three.

4. Budget for Childcare

According to Care.com, one in three families spend 20 percent or more of their income on child care. This makes childcare one of the biggest household expenses that parents face and affording it requires careful budgeting. Even when one parent stays home to care for children, there’s a loss of income to account for. Examine your budget to find areas where you can cut expenses and consider flexing your work schedule to reduce the amount of paid childcare needed. Parents can also save money by signing up for a Flexible Spending Account or using the child-care tax credit.

5. Prepare for the Unknown

Life throws a lot of curveballs. When you’re a parent, it’s up to you to be ready for them. Life insurance and a will are two things every parent needs to protect their family from the unexpected.  

Life insurance pays out a death benefit if the policyholder passes away. With a life insurance policy, your family has money to pay for a funeral and stay afloat following a loss of income. However, life insurance alone isn’t enough. You also need a will that names guardians to care for your children if you pass away. Writing a will is complicated, so it’s best to consult with a lawyer.

Author of this article, Tilda Moore, researches and writes about educational resources for openeducators.org. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information

 

Supplementing Your Income When Going Through A Divorce

The average cost of a divorce in the US is $20,000, and that’s if it goes smoothly in arbitration. For couples who need to battle it out in the court room, a two-day trial alone can stretch into the region of $25,000 before any settlement figures are reached. There’s no denying that divorce is an expensive business, and many ex-spouses struggle to stay afloat financially. If this sounds familiar, you might benefit from making a passive income – earning an additional stream of money without trading too much of your time. Consider the following ways to give your cash flow a boost during this difficult stage in life.

Renting Your Space

Space is a hot commodity, and the digital age makes it easier than ever to match up people needing extra additional room with those who are looking to make some money. Take a look at your property and assess if there are any money-making opportunities to be had. Do you have a garage that you could offer as a storage space? Or a parking space that you don’t use all the time? If you’re happy to welcome guests into your home, then you might even consider letting out a spare bedroom either on a semi-permanent basis or in an AirBnB-style arrangement.

Crowdfunding Real Estate

Another way to make money from real estate requires a small upfront investment. Starting with as little as $500, you can crowd-invest in a specific property and watch your pot grow so long as the market is looking strong. It’s a fantastic way to gain knowledge of the industry without requiring too much risk. With the right investment, you should be able to enjoy consistent  returns, without the responsibility of being a direct property owner.

Use Your Phone

With increasing numbers of consumers becoming attached to their smartphones, perhaps it’s time for your favorite device to get to work for you during your divorce. Some companies will pay you to display an ad on your smartphone lock screen – all you have to do is download an app. It’s also possible to make money by calling up companies as a mystery shopper, asking basic questions that customers need to know and then recording your experience of the call to be used by marketing departments.

Blogging

If you have access to a computer, and you love to write, then this is a great way to generate an additional income stream. If you have a hobby, skill or just a subject that you feel passionate about, then set up a blog and become an expert on the topic. Blog about everything to do with it, providing informative content which offers value to the reader and shout out about it on social media to gain a band of loyal followers.

Once you’re hitting some decent traffic figures, you’ll be able to make money from advertising and affiliate revenue. This option does require a little more effort than some passive income ideas, but once you’ve carried out some initial groundwork, you should be able to sit back and make money in your sleep.

These are just a few ways to generate additional funds, and of course there’s nothing to stop you having several streams of income running at once. The important thing to remember is that there are plenty of opportunities out there, and that will continue to be the case long after your divorce is settled.

Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  

How Society Can Be Supportive To Children Of Divorce

Society is not always putting children’s interests first in other people’s divorces, and sometimes side with a parent. They do not understand the affect that their actions have on the children when meddling in others’ affairs. The key is to be cognizant that you were not present behind closed doors, and were not privy to exactly what occurred. One witnesses the mask of an adult’s public persona which may hide a much darker side. An example of this is, my son was asked by a friend to be a character witness when he was trying to get custody of his children away from his late wife’s parents. He did do this and later was appalled when discovering the father was a sociopath who manipulated others and did atrocious acts. The moral of this story is to let the professionals sort out a situation and do not assume you know all of the facts.

Believe the children. When a few children showed me bruises and discussed abuse or neglect, I immediately called the police in my role as school nurse. I did not say, “Oh, their parents would never do that” because this is how some clergy and pillars of the community are able to molest kids. One youngster was molested by a parent and confided this to his long-term Martial Arts instructor who was active in a child protection organization. He flat out told the boy he was lying because he knew his father and he would not do such a thing. This crushed the young student who dropped out of that activity. You may think a kid is trying to get attention and the allegation is not true, but do not say that to the child. The child’s best interest is the most important thing, not someone else’s reputation.

Do not agree to be a messenger service for a parent who is estranged or the court denied them contact. One parent who lost visitation, repeatedly sent his friends to his teenager’s workplace. They pumped the boy for information about his family or said how sad his dad was. Others tried to bribe the son to resume seeing his dad. This puts a child on the spot and is disruptive when being on the job. The teen is trying to be professional and does not want to discuss an abusive history with strangers or acquaintances. When I was dining in my favourite restaurant post-divorce with my kids, the owner came over and said that he had a message to deliver from my ex. This took me by surprise and upset the boys. I did not listen to it, told this friend not to play middleman again, and to refuse to take on the messenger role in the future. He actually was relieved.

If you witness verbal abuse towards a child of divorce, please step in and intervene. One mum was livid when the parents present did not help her son at a Boy Scout Meeting. The scout master was a good friend of the boy’s father and was continually telling him he was behaving badly towards that parent. One evening he screamed at the child and accused him of being disrespectful to his dad. The lad became hysterical and my friend had to rush over and pick up her son. Both collaborative solicitors accepted the therapist’s advice to drop scouts. At school, I occasionally overhear pupils asking a kid about an absent parent. I quickly change the subject and bring up a topic, such as the upcoming science fair or school concert. When you see a child of divorce is uncomfortable or is in a bad spot, please come to their aid.

Personify kindness and be non-judgemental when being around children of divorce. Do not try to reunite a child with a parent as that is not your business. Be supportive to children and let them know you are happy to listen. A divorce is between two adults and is not a free-for-all, with others getting involved. Hold your opinions and judgements when talking to children of divorce, especially when it is about their parents. If people think before they open their mouths in general, the world would be a better place.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine   thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

How To Reduce Stress Through Exercise

How To Reduce Stress Through ExerciseDivorce is among one of the most stressful events that we can go through in our lives. It’s second only to the death of a loved one. However, if you ask around, you might hear that even death might be easier to deal with than a family that is torn apart over abuse or betrayal.

Besides divorce, we face stressful life situations day in and day out: maintaining hectic schedules, demands of work and family, the emotional needs of important people in our lives, financial stress, and self image are a few things that quickly come to mind.

One proven way to reduce the physical and emotional stress of a divorce is through regular physical activity. Pair this approach with talk therapy, self-improvement, and medication when appropriate and you have all the tools you need to heal and happily move on with your life.

The Proven Link Between Stress and Activity

Scientists have long since seen that having too little exercise can have a major negative impact on mood and mental health. One of the most common pieces of advice from any medical professional is to make sure you are getting some physical activity in everyday, whatever that activity might be.

As you move through the difficult stages of divorce, from the first filing to navigating a new world of dating and single parent life, keeping physically active is a natural way to help lower the stress levels that are impacting your body.

If you are finding yourself slipping into depression or being overwhelmed with stress, a simple and affordable solution to this problem is to make fitness unavoidably accessible. If the gym is a good social setting for you, grab a membership and get to work. If exercising at home suits you better, home gym equipment is an affordable way to stay on top of a fitness routine. Being realistic with your current state, your time restrictions, and other life factors, decide the best route for your physical activity and get on it!

How Exactly Does Physical Activity Alleviate Stress?

Physical activity produces more endorphins. Endorphins are the feel good chemicals of your brain that naturally elevate your mood. They make you happier, more cheerful and help to replace pain, both physical and emotional.

Physical activity takes your mind to a healthy place. Nothing is worse for stress than sitting and dwelling on a problem, replaying past scenarios or recent arguments, worrying about things out of your control, or whatever it might be. While feelings can’t be ignored, they should definitely take a back seat on a regular basis to make room for positive thoughts and growth. Exercise encourages focused thought and can even act as a form of meditation, removing the stressful thinking from the brain and helping you think about other things.

Physical activity increases self esteem. Stress plays a major part in the way we view ourselves. A “can’t-do” attitude is prevalent as we worry or doubt ourselves. This slippery slope is quick to move past the current issues at hand and bring to light other worries and doubts we’ve had about ourselves whether it be our appearance, our work ethic, our parenting, and more. As you increase your physical activity, you reach goals (confidence boost #1), increase physical and mental strength (confidence boost #2), and enhance your physical appearance (confidence boost #3). With these three motives for self-growth, self-esteem is bound to grow as well.

In the end, exercise is one of the best things for us. Especially when we are being bombarded with stress. Implement a regular schedule of “you” time to get your body moving, your endorphins flowing, your mind lightened, and you’ll work through those stressful issues at hand.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

Wendi’s note:  Exercise Calculator – A helpful Tool That Can Help You Achieve Your Fitness Goals Faster  https://fitnessvolt.com/30723/calories-burned-by-exercises/

Parenting Tips For Disciplining Kids With ADHD

Parenting Tips For Disciplining Kids With ADHDParenting a child with ADHD can be hectic, especially when you’re trying to find a healthy balance between your work and family life.

By definition, kids with ADHD frequently have trouble staying on task, controlling their impulses, sitting still and even following direction. Thanks to these unique symptoms and behavioral issues, discipline tactics that are effective on other kids might not be suitable for those with ADHD.

Parents of such kids need to seek out discipline strategies that will help their children to not only keep out of mischief but also learn how to control and manage their symptoms.

Here are some tips on how to best manage kids with ADHD and get them to follow your rules:

1. Provide daily doses of positive attention.

Children with ADHD can be exhausting to keep up with. They seem to have an unending supply of energy coupled with a desire to talk constantly and this can tire out the most patient among us.

However, in order to curb attention-seeking behavior, practice giving your child focused positive attention. Spending even 30 minutes daily playing and bonding together brings you closer and makes your discipline more effective.

2. Give simple and clear instructions.

Rattling out chain commands for kids with ADHD to follow isn’t a good idea as they have notoriously short attention spans. A better approach is to give simple clear instructions.

To make your instructions more effective, get your child’s attention by establishing eye contact, then say something like, “Please put your toys away.” Have your child repeat what you’ve said to make sure they’ve understood. This works better than giving multiple instructions at once.

3. Motivate good behavior with positive reinforcement.

A little praise when your child does something good goes a long way. It motivates and encourages them. This is especially important for kids with ADHD as they require frequent feedback. When doling out praise, make it specific. So instead of saying, “Good job,” say, “ Great job putting away all your toys after playing with them.”

4. Pick your battles wisely.

Kids with ADHD usually exhibit attention-seeking behavior. They may make loud noises, whine or otherwise try to interrupt you. Rewarding such obnoxious behavior with attention only encourages it to continue.

On the other hand, constantly disciplining your child for mild misbehavior can make them feel like they can’t do anything right. Allowing some minor misdemeanors to slide helps keep the peace sometimes.

5. Use a reward system to keep your kid on track.

Another great way to encourage children with ADHD to stay on task is by rewarding them. These kids get bored if they have to wait for their rewards for a long time so a token economy system would work perfectly. This way, your child earns tokens throughout the day for good behavior and these can be redeemed later for rewards like more screen time or a playdate.

When it comes to disciplining kids with ADHD, some creativity and a whole lot of love and patience will produce the desired results.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

 

Why Mindfulness Helps In Divorce And Other Stressful Events

Mindfulness is, to put it simply, the practice of focusing your attention on the here and the now; of training yourself to exert a greater degree of control over your thoughts in order to stop them from veering into unpleasant territory. Before I tried mindfulness, I believed that the physical sensations I associated with anxiety were caused by my thoughts. Instead, the physical sensations we associate with anxiety are a survival mechanism which served our ancestors well but, with the world posing much less of a physical threat than it did in their day, it’s become significantly less helpful.

For 27 years, I suffered from debilitating anxiety. This, I believe, provided me with experience that I was able to utilise when providing clients caught in the midst of a divorce with tangible advice. It made me more empathetic, more understanding of their situation and more motivated to help them. When the prospect of having to give a speech on my wedding day brought about worry so severe that I had no option but to seek help, I discovered something that would help not only me, but hundreds of my clients, too.

What this means is that, when you feel anxious, it’s little more than a random biological occurrence; a release of chemicals designed to make you more aware of the world around you and more prepared to deal with physical threats. Often, the experience is brief and simply passes away. During times of stress, however, this physical sensation causes us to analyse our current situation and find a reason to be worried. This results in a cyclical process that feeds our anxieties leaving us feeling stresses, exhausted and irritable – particularly whilst we’re in the midst of a highly stressful even such as a divorce.

Why mindfulness helps

Whilst it might appear as though the practice of mindfulness is one that is exclusively centred on controlling our thoughts, this is only half of the story. We are, for example, not always aware of what we’re thinking and are not always capable of choosing to think of something else as a result. Instead, mindfulness is centred on choosing to change our thoughts when we are indeed aware of them. Equally important, though, is that it teaches us to be accepting of the fact that we will not always be in control of our thoughts and that this is ok. Our minds have a tendency to wander so it’s vital that we accept that we’ll have negative thoughts and that, rather than aggressively trying to exert control over them, we should be kind to ourselves and gently try to think of something else.

Mindfulness – by improving understanding of anxiety and it’s causes, coupled with its non-aggressive means of exerting greater control over our thoughts – is proven to significantly increase people’s confidence in their ability to cope with change whilst reducing stress. I can attest to this personally; as can many of the clients I’ve helped over the past few years.

With time, mindfulness helps people to live in the moment. As a result, it is not only extremely beneficial when it comes to helping people through their divorces but, as it often also brings a new-found appreciation for the world around us, is fantastic preparation for the new life that awaits them post-divorce, too.

Author Bio:

Jay Williams works for Quickie Divorce, one of the UK’s leading providers of fast, affordable online divorce solutions.

 

7 Things Single Parents Must Do to Keep Their Sanity with Teenagers

7 Things Single Parents Must Do to Keep Their Sanity with TeenagersBeing a single parent to little kids ain’t easy. Being one to teenagers? Even harder. For most parents this is uncharted territory that comes with a whole new style of stress that is so different from how parenting was before the dreaded thirteen benchmark was breached. It doesn’t help that we so often try to compensate as single parents by trying to be Super Mom or Super Dad and do it all.

You have a lot on your plate, but it is crucial that you still take some time for yourself. Otherwise you can be sure of burnout nipping at your heels. This will make you a less effective parent and a more stressed person, in general.

Here are seven things you can do to keep your sanity through the teen years, by making some adjustments to your priorities.

Find The Humor In It – Next time you are getting ready to confront the kids, save your breath. Try and laugh it off and let it go. It saves you time and stress.

Don’t Panic – Tempted to fly off the handle and begin panic-fixing all the issues your teen just brought you? Go for a walk. Cool off. You will probably find a better solution that won’t take so much effort.

Let Them Fail – It is ten at night and your teen just told you they had a science project due. Don’t come to the rescue, sacrificing your sleep to get them out of the bind. Let them fail…it is a good life lesson.

Start Giving More Responsibility – Don’t have any time to take for yourself? Start handing more responsibility to your teen. Not only does this free up your schedule, but it begins to prepare them for the adult world they are rapidly approaching.

Balance Parenting With Friendship – You are their parent, not their friend. Right? Well, you can actually be both. By looking at the time you spend with your teens as also being pleasant time with friends, you may find yourself relaxing more in their presence.

Have “Office Hours” – Obviously, important matters have to be addressed right away. But short of that, set times when you are “in the office” and times when you are “out of the office”. When you’re out, they fend for themselves.

Get Active and Stay Active – Yoga, running, swimming, hiking, sports, weight lifting…whatever if it you enjoy that keeps you active, get out there and do it. Not only is this great “me” time, but it is a way to stay healthy, relieve stress and improve things like sleep and energy levels.

Having teenagers is stressful, but it is also an opportunity to begin taking better care of your own needs. By taking some time for yourself you will be a more effective parent and happier, healthier and ready for anything thrown your way.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

What Makes A Couple A Good Candidate For Divorce Mediation?

Marriages can end for a variety of reasons but knowing what those reasons are can be important for the divorce process. Divorce mediation is best for couples separating on amicable terms, or who can at least speak with each other reasonably. Couples with children, aiming to have a cooperative relationship despite the divorce, also benefit more often from mediation. Divorce mediation focuses on the cost of the divorce, in both money and effort, first and foremost.

It Benefits Those Who Part Amicably

Any good divorce mediator will tell you that a couple with children benefit from divorce mediation. One study showed roughly 79% of couples with children who received mediation fought less in the period after their mediation was completed. The children were also asked whether the former couple could cooperate better, or displayed intense arguing before their children, and the study suggested those who sought mediation were more likely to act civil in the child’s eyes.

Divorce mediation also tends to be more forgiving for parents or spouses after the settlement is reached. Arbitration and litigation can set strict guidelines for both sides to achieve, such as child support payment or reparations. These can be harsh or imbalanced for those whose jobs or living situations will be in flux shortly after the divorce, even if the party intending to receive these payments would prefer to show leniency to the other party in the divorce while they recover.

Couples Who Already Know What They Want

Divorce mediation works on the premise that both sides are seeking to reach an agreement. The divorce mediator speaks their mind and helps to outline who is responsible for what costs, and what settlements both parties might receive, but all decisions are reached by the divorcing couple. So, if a couple is unsure of their assets, or simply need a disagreement settled, mediation can help. But when both parties are seeking reparations, arbitration is the better option.

The costs of mediation are lower than the costs of arbitration or civil court. So if both spouses have an idea about what they should receive, and the two beliefs have a large degree of overlap, this can be a sign to use divorce mediation. Divorce mediation is arguably the most cost-efficient manner of settling disagreements caused by the divorce process, and either party can cancel the mediation at any time if they feel that mediation simply wasn’t the right option.

It’s Best for Equals Seeking Privacy

Divorce mediation is best for spouses who treat each other as relative equals during the divorce. Couples divorcing due to domestic abuse or power balances in the relationship should not seek mediation. Most mediators don’t know these circumstances before the meeting, and the domineering spouse can quickly swing the negotiations in their favour. Likewise, victims of abuse often feel validated by speaking to a mediator and become emboldened during the dividing process.

Divorce mediation is also a good choice for spouses who seek an interpersonal discussion with minimal interference. Because mediation focuses on having the two spouses reach an agreement, the meetings are usually restricted to only the two spouses and the mediator themselves. Relatives or friends can be disbarred from the mediation to avoid third-party interests that might muddy the discussion and lead to a more tense, divisive negotiations.

Conclusion

Divorce mediation isn’t a process that is right for every couple. Those who argue about the fundamental elements of the divorce, or whose marriage was short and had few entanglements may wish to skip it. Divorce mediation is also a poor choice for those seeking validation or to prove who’s “right” and “wrong”. But good candidates for mediation include those with children, those who seek a working relationship afterwards, or those who want to keep divorce costs low.

Author of this article is Judith Goldberg   judithgoldberg.com/

Advice For Dads Surviving The Divorce Process

The decision to get divorced is one of the hardest ones you will ever make, and when there are children involved, that gets even harder.

As a father, it can be hard to know what your place should be and how your relationship with your children will be affected. Divorce is never easy, but there are ways to get through it relatively unscathed.

Behaviour

There is a tendency to want to defend ourselves in the strongest possible way when faced with accusations, insults or bitterness, but this can often make things worse. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore what is being said to you, but exert some control and try not to retaliate. By reacting in a more rational manner you can be more careful and thoughtful, and avoid providing ammunition that can be used against you later.

It is important to think about how you behave at all times. Keep your drink and drug intake under control and avoid getting into a scene in public and avoid all forms of abuse. These will all lead to questions about your levels of responsibility and your reputation that will all favour the mother in court.

Many men feel that it is their place to move out of the family home when the marriage breaks down. By doing this before the divorce is complete, you automatically give your wife practical custody and therefore a stronger position in any custody battle. You may find yourself sleeping in the spare room or on the sofa and keeping your head down, but by staying at home you still get to be a daily parent.

Keeping Records

In the midst of a court battle, it is easy to forget the details of what has happened and when. Try to keep a written record of what is done and said in the divorce process and the dates that these things occur. If anything negative happens publically, make a note of any witnesses.

You should also keep a record of your finances, including your own spending, what you give to your partner and what you spend on the family bills. Make sure that you print out your bank statements regularly to keep a track of any withdrawals made by your spouse.

This will all help in negotiations to provide accurate representations of what happens and what your financial obligations are.

Get Legal Advice

There is a stereotype that men are not good at asking for help, but in this case you have to. Get yourself a family law solicitor as soon as possible who can help to guide you through the process. Look for recommendations and reputation to make sure you are represented by someone who has your best interests at heart. They will be able to advise you on every aspect of the divorce but it is important that you remain open and honest with them at all times.

Also make sure that you seek emotional support from those closest to you. Divorce can be a lonely time, so don’t be afraid to find someone to lean on.

The Children

The children can often be forgotten about during a divorce, so make sure you keep talking to them and maintain a positive relationship. Whilst it is good to be open with them about what is happening, avoid talking negatively about their mother in front of them.

Divorce is an unpredictable thing, so be prepared for a bumpy ride. You may be faced with a lot of things you weren’t expecting and many of them will seem unfair, but keep calm and be prepared and you will eventually come out the other side.

Fletcher Day are a full service law firm based in Mayfair, London. Their team of divorce lawyers for men can advise on a range of matters relating to family law including divorce, prenuptial agreements, civil partnerships and separation agreements.

Banish First-Day Jitters: Tips for Heading Back to School

tildaWho doesn’t love the magic that only summer vacation promises? However, as those relaxing summer days come to an end, it’s never too early to talk and listen to your children about their hopes and concerns for the first day of school. First-day jitters are normal for kids and their parents. Often, it’s the fear of the unknown and those “what-ifs” that jangle the nerves. Incorporate these suggestions as the summer’s end marches closer.

Out with the Old  

Set aside a day or two to go through last year’s clothing and supplies to see what works; make piles of items to keep, toss, and donate. Check with local churches or other organizations to find back-to-school supply and clothing drives; donate your child’s outgrown and gently used things.

Plan and Adjust Those Schedules  

Many kids scale back extracurricular activities during the summer. As late August approaches, tackle logistics by sitting down with everyone to coordinate each day. Use a dry-erase weekly calendar to track activities. Discuss educational nuts and bolts like homework routines so they’re kept consistent. For older kids and families, synch everyone’s calendar apps so you’re all on the same page. If your kiddo plays a sport or has a job, make sure to account for the time those activities require while also ensuring your child gets enough sleep.

Easier (If Not Happier) Mornings  

Elementary-aged kids need at least 10 hours of sleep each night. Before school resumes, start your kiddo on a regular bedtime and wake-up routine to reduce first-day stress. Pack lunches and backpacks, and lay out outfits the night before. Plan breakfasts ahead of time, too.

Back-to-School Prep  

Not much trumps the excitement of shopping for brand new school supplies. Get the kids involved! Schedule a date day to take your kiddo shopping for new clothing and shoes; make it extra-special with a “just the two of you” lunch or ice cream treat to celebrate a new beginning — and all those new supplies and clothes!

Many school supply lists include a request for headphones. Many over-the-ear options, which are better for little ears, are relatively inexpensive; you can find a good pair for less than $100. It’s a worthwhile investment your kiddo can use while listening to music, playing online games, or completing online exercises for school.

Help Calm Anxiety  

When your child’s a bit anxious about his new teacher or new school, stay positive. Attend an open house, especially if it’s scheduled before the new year starts, so you and your child can meet the new teacher and get acclimated to the school. Encourage your kiddo to get excited about the new year by reminding him about past trips, projects, and fun events — and upcoming opportunities to learn cool stuff this year.

Know other kids in your child’s class? Set up a few playdates before school’s back in session so that the kids can reconnect. It’s a great way to rekindle friendships, especially if the kids haven’t seen each other all summer.

Smoothing the Transition for Younger Students  

Younger children who are moving to a different school or starting school for the first time have other fears and anxieties that you calm with these suggestions.

If your kiddo attended the same school last year but has moved to a new grade/new teacher, remind her of the routine, and invite her to share the differences and fun changes to anticipate. If it’s her first year, visit the school a few times — check out the playground and see if it’s open and whether you can take a tour, even if you’ll attend orientation. The more she sees the school, the less she’ll worry on the first “official” day.

Create a goodbye routine that may include a special goodbye phrase. Plan something special to celebrate the end of the first day — a plate of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies waiting at home or dinner at her favorite restaurant.

Although it’s still too soon time to trade swimsuits for backpacks, remind your kids that the upcoming school year promises a different kind of discovery, exploration, and fun — and that nerves are normal, too!

Author of this article, Tilda Moore, researches and writes about educational resources for openeducators.org. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information

 

How To Help Children Going Through Grief During Divorce

It may appear that children are adjusting well to their parents’ divorce, however they may be going through grief and hiding it. They do not want to be an extra burden to stressed-out parents. The youngsters’ world is being torn apart and they may be struggling. We are preoccupied with out divorce proceedings and can miss what is really going on with the kids. Through no fault of their own, the children often have to pack up their possessions for a move which may entail going to a new school. Divorce involves loss which includes financially, possibly resulting in a few activities having to be eliminated.

The stages of grief, according Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross who wrote the classic book On Death and Dying, are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. At first, youngsters can be in shock hearing the divorce news, especially when a couple drifted apart without a flaming row. Give them some space and a little time to absorb this new situation. The kids need time to process their emotions and realize what aspects of their lives will remain unchanged. It helps to have them talk to a neutral third party, especially when in denial, thinking the separation will blow over and their parents will be getting back together. Children may be in denial because the future looks uncertain. Having a divorce book for children, such as Soila Sindiyo’s When Love is Broken can be reassuring.

The kids may be quite angry, act out, or voice the unfairness of it all. Accept that anger is a natural part of the grief cycle, for both parents and offspring. It is how anger is expressed which is important. Going around the house smashing china is not okay, but sparring with a punching bag is. Give the wee ones opportunities to release anger through physical activities. Allow extra playtime in the park or taking up a sport. Venting to a family friend or teacher can be cathartic for the children.

Explain that while the marital relationship is ending, you both will be co-parenting together. It is crucial to let kids know that they are in no way responsible for their parents’ break up. In the bargaining stage, kids may think “If only I do… then my parents will stay together.” Help youngsters not to blame themselves for the divorce and to accept that they cannot fix the marriage. Divorce is happening.

Depression is often defined as anger turned inwards. Children may feel helpless and become depressed. They may experience sadness especially in a prolonged, acrimonious divorce. The kids may hide depression and just go along with the program. If seeming out of sorts, consider having them meet with a professional for at least one session to assess how they are coping. One of my sons was diagnosed with depression during divorce and had therapy to get him through it. He is a jovial fellow now.

Eventually kids come to acceptance in the grief cycle. They realize that divorce is not just dark storm clouds, but also ones with a silver lining. My father remarried a few years after divorce and as an only child, I was delighted to acquire an instant extended family. That was my silver lining. My new grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins treated me as one of the tribe.

There are ways to help kids move through divorce. Plan special outings – such as going to a carnival (my son’s suggestion), an amusement park or playground. We watched comedies, walked in parks, went bowling and had some adventures. My late mum loved traveling, so the boys and I accompanied her on cruises during and post-divorce. There is nothing like the sea air to get one out of the doldrums. See what works out best for your situation, such as taking up a sport together. Keep the lines of communication open and encourage youngsters to express their feelings. It helps people to know that experiencing grief during divorce is normal and life does get better.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine   thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

Why Staying Together For The Sake Of The Children Is Not Always Best

Parents sometimes feel that they are doing their children a favour by staying together instead of getting a divorce. Are two parents in the house better than in two separate households? Not according to a study done in the UK. 82% of children stated it was better for their parents to separate than stay together because of them. Emotions are contagious which means kids pick up on the unhappiness and tension in the home. Parents may erroneously feel that their angry or hurt feelings are well hidden behind smiling masks. Youngsters are smart and figure out that something is not right between their parents. My sons asked me for several years why I waited so long to get a divorce. My parents screamed at each other behind a closed door when I was a toddler. They divorced when I was four and it seemed like Christmas every day afterwards.

Some couples claim that they are staying together for the sake of the kids when the real reason is fear of the unknown. Consider consulting a professional if this might be the case. If wondering if you would have enough money post-divorce, meet with a financial advisor or career coach. They can look at your assets and financial state to give an idea what to expect. A relationship therapist can help you sort out the pros and cons with staying or divorcing plus give support. One grandmother was afraid if she divorced that it would affect how much she could see her grandkids. A reality check helped her to follow what was really in her heart.

In the same study by the charity Resolution, 31% of the children were upset about their parents putting the other one down in their presence. This draws kids into one’s divorce drama. If they defend the absent parent, the one criticizing may get angry. If they are silent that may be perceived as agreement with the criticism. It puts the youngsters in an uncomfortable position. Nearly 90% of the children felt that their parents needed to stop making the divorce process seem as if they had to take sides. Even if a third party is involved in the divorce – do not talk about them to the youngsters.

Children know that they got half of their DNA from each of you. Trashing the other parent may be misconstrued that part of them is bad, mentally ill or whatever you said about the other parent. I told my sons that each of us made some mistakes and look at what did and did not work. Use that information to become fantastic parents themselves someday. It is okay not to mention the other parent at all. I still do not talk about their father, but will listen without commenting if they feel the need to speak about him. Some people can co-parent wonderfully together and others cannot for various reasons. I interviewed former spouses in the school setting regarding their secret to being able to co-parent so well. All stated “we put our egos aside.” Fabulous advice. Make “doing what is best for the children” be your motto.

When splitting up, keep in mind that you have needs too. It is easy to let friends fall to the wayside when struggling through the divorce process. This is when you need a support system the most. Make some time to be connected with others – even if for a quick latte. One accountant who was swamped with end of tax season work, went off to see a movie. She said when life is most stressful, that is the time for a short break to get one’s batteries recharged and get rejuvenated. Just as you require some fun built into your schedule, so do the kids. They need to blow off steam, get away from the divorce situation and just be kids. Think of some enjoyable activities – a carnival, bowling, ice cream, white water rafting etc.

Shake up the rituals that you did when married with a different twist post-divorce. Go to different restaurants and venues to replace old memories with new ones. I was trying to keep many of the same routines post-divorce with my sons. After they commented about the unpleasant times spent in places that we went while still married, it was my wake up call for a ritual overhaul. We stopped going to the old restaurants and replaced them with lively cafes and coffee houses. We found different travel destinations which were exciting. A way to get over the past is to have new adventures. If fear is holding you hostage, there are professionals who will hold your hand all through the divorce process and guide you every step of the way.

Originally  published in Splitsville    splitsville.com   which is a social utility where you’ll connect with others,
swap stories, get ideas, solutions and much more.

Helping Adult Sons And Daughters Cope With Your Divorce

Adult sons and daughters are sometimes an overlooked group when it comes to divorce. Support is given to youngsters with more people looking out for them, such as teachers and coaches. Although adult offspring may have encouraged unhappy parents to split – it is not okay to utilize them as sounding boards or guidance counsellors. Parents can fall into the trap of using their grown up kids as a confidant. Thirty years post-divorce, my friend’s father felt the need to spill the ugly details of the reason behind their divorce. Lena vaguely remembered something about her mum had an affair. Hearing the lurid tales about it was quite upsetting, with her dad stating that he was only telling her this “To set the record straight.” These big kids are not to be privy to divorce details even years later, when in their fifties.

Although they are adults, these individuals are still dealing with divorce issues. These sons and daughters may be losing their family home which is jarring even when living many kilometres away. This means sorting through their childhood memorabilia in the midst of angry parents divvying up personal assets. They need some space away from both parents. Having distance is helpful in processing their mixed emotions, especially if the divorce news was a jolt out of the blue.

An adult son or daughter may appear to have it altogether, but can be hurt little kids inside. Do not assume they are alright – ask if they are okay. They may be afraid to burden you with their unresolved issues, so encourage them to express their feelings to friends. Having a talk with their godparent or older family friend can be therapeutic. If they are floundering, a divorce coach can help them deal with the divorce situation.

Just as with young ones, do not criticize their other parent, or make it seem as if they have to choose sides. Do not ask them to deliver messages or put them on the spot with questions about the other parent. If you are divorcing their step-parent do not put them down. Your child has their own separate relationship with a step-parent and may desire continuing it after the divorce. They do not want to shut the door to it, by becoming your cheering squad during your divorce. I know of a few biological parents who tried to coerce their adult offspring to end step-parent relationships by insinuating it was a matter of loyalty. That does not work.

Your adult offspring may have their own youngsters who are trying to come to terms with the divorce. Reassure your grandchildren that they are not losing grandparents, but will see you separately. You will still have fun times. Think about continuing the rituals that they enjoy doing with you. It may be baking holiday goodies or puttering around in the garden. Some newly divorced grandparents encouraged the parents to take some holidays away together while they stayed and babysat. Their single status gave them more flexibility in taking care of grandchildren. Others take a grandchild on a short jaunt (with written parental permission).

It will take a load off your son or daughter’s mind if they realize their parents are coping well after a late in life divorce. Let them know about the fun times you are having and the fascinating people you are meeting. Then they do not feel that they have to be your source of entertainment. Moving on and showing others that you are enjoying your new life is a gift to your children. They have enough on their plate without constantly worrying about how you are doing post-divorce. Reassure your adult offspring that you are fine. Think about having an adventure such as ticking a destination off your Bucket List.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

The Difference Parents Can Make In Their Teen’s Depression

The Difference You Can Make In Your Teen's DepressionIn 2016, suicide moved up the list from third to second leading cause of death in teenagers. Think about that for a second…teenagers are killing themselves more than ever and it is terrifying as a parent to realize that we have children in this age range.

Teen depression is a serious problem. In a world that seems programmed to make them doubt themselves, just developing a healthy self image seems like an insurmountable undertaking. Add in other factors like divorce, a difficult co-parent or trauma and the list of potential triggers for serious teenage depression becomes longer and longer.

What Should I Do If I Suspect My Teen Is Depressed?

Changes in appetite, increased or decreased sleep, apathy, sudden bouts of crying, isolation, signs of self harm….these are all signals of depression in a teenager. If you have noticed any of them, or a combination of these or other symptoms, you probably feel very anxious.

But studies have shown that your are a lifeline for your teen and your support is critical in their health and success. Here are some ways you can make a difference in your teen’s depression.

  • Listen To Them Speak Honestly – One of the hardest thing to do is speak openly and honestly to someone about how you’re feeling. With a child, they have to worry about changing the way you look at them. Show your teen that they can be open and speak without being judged.
  • Don’t Punish Them For Their Feelings – Feelings are impossible to just ignore and yet we will so often push them away out of fear of the consequences. Your teen could be afraid to share their feelings because you may punish them for what they express. Make it clear you would never do that.
  • Recognize That It Isn’t Up To You To “Fix” Them – You are a parent and you probably see it as your job to fix things for your kids. But their emotions and mental health belong to your teen. Don’t make them feel pressure to lie and say they are fine so you can feel like you are fixing their issues.
  • Get Them Involved In External Activities – Isolation is a common symptom of depression and also one that can make the depression worse. Try to get your teen involved in activities they once enjoyed, even if they push back at first. Sometimes you have to force them to interact with others, for their own mental health.

Seek Professional Help

All of the above tips won’t stop the depression, they will only support your child. Professional help may be necessary, especially if other conditions exist. Don’t be afraid to turn to a therapist or doctor.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

Early Warning Signs Of A Potential Abuser

There are early warning signs that you are in a relationship with a potential abuser. After divorce, one may have joined an online dating site and now has a string of first and second dates. While people put their best foot forward and hide their darker side – it is still possible to catch a glimpse of who that person really is. One may feel it is love at first sight, however if something does not quite seem right, put the brakes on. Trust your gut instinct. Your subconscious is screaming at you to back away when these signs of a potential abuser appear:

  • Are they disrespectful to anyone? While no one agrees completely with another, people can agree to disagree in a respectful way. When a date treats others callously so early in a relationship, this is bound to get worse. This may include name calling or derogatory labels. If women are called obscene terms, hit the road.
  • Are they controlling? They want to plan your social life and dictate whom you may see. They may tell one how to dress or where they can go. They want their dating partner to get their permission to do various activities.
  • Potential abusers excel at using sarcasm with little jabs at others. They may mock what you say. They make “jokes” at your expense and say you are “too sensitive” if you are hurt or object. They are critical and judgemental. There do put downs which may begin in private and progress to belittling you in front of family and friends.
  • They are possessive which may seem flattering at first. One can mistake this for affection, when really it means you are their property. For example, a person may keep their arm permanently attached to you in a group setting. Instead of love, it can be marking their territory. They may call multiple times of day to check up on you.
  • They are jealous of your relationships and may attempt to isolate you from others. In some cases, the person is jealous of their date’s children. They resent the time the parent spends with their kids and competes for attention. These potential abusers want to be the centre of the universe and get upset when forced to share their date.
  • They blame you for their bad mood or blame others for any misfortunes. They cannot handle feedback that points to any mistakes they have made.
  • The biggest sign is that they have violent behaviour which may not necessarily be directed at you. They start with a small action at first, such as throwing a book across the room in rage. It progressively increases in intensity, such as hitting the couch near you, or tossing your possession at something. It is only a matter of time before you become the target of physical abuse. It is so important to get out of this relationship immediately and not listen to any excuses. Leave after the first violent act and not wait until you become the punching bag.

This true case illustrates several points mentioned above. Violet dated a medical student from a fantastic family. Ken appeared to be loving and caring, yet a few things bothered her. He blamed others for his mistakes or said they were wrong when his discrepancies came to light. He belittled Violet in front of others and her mum begged her to leave him. She did not. Right before her trip abroad, Violet asked Ken to drive her to a store to get some cosmetics. He refused –saying he did not want her to look pretty for other men. Then he gave her a prominent hickey on her neck which was very visible.

When Violet returned, Ken put a fist through a door inside her flat. Shortly after that he threw her shoe at the wall, which resulted in a hole. The violence scared her and she realized what would be happening next. Violet realized she had given Ken too many chances and promptly broke up with him. A few years later an acquaintance revealed that Ken married and got divorced the next year. She knew why.

It is easy to fall into the trap of listening to excuses and giving extra chances as Violet did. When any act of violence occurs – no matter how small – end the relationship.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine    thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

Tips On Finding Summer Programs For Children

Summer is here and the yearly dilemma for parents can be what to with the children. Many single parents rely on school and after care while they are at work. When school is not in session, this can be a challenge. Non-profits can offer summer programs at low cost to fill this gap. An accountant mentioned that summer programs can be eligible for a “Child independent care credit” when a working parent has an income. This means that some of the money spent on programs counts as child care for a tax break.

A rabbi whom I interviewed, suggested calling one’s local synagogue or Jewish Community Center (JCC) to see what is being offered for children. She said that there were sleep-away camps, particularly in the Northeast. A woman at the JCC, said in larger communities there are day programs. The JCC can also be a resource for what else is available where one resides. The Protestants and Catholics have Vacation Bible School which gives parents a break when they need some child care.

There are non-religious options, such as The Boys and Girls Clubs. The one I contacted charges $700 for the entire summer or $350/month. This is all day sessions which includes food and many activities. Local community colleges and recreation centers have their own programs which can be a little less than other day camps. There are programs for special interests, such as chess camp, with a low fee so that all can attend. These people do it for the love of chess (or whatever it is) and to get youngsters excited about it too.

Summer provides the chance to take advantage of the special family events around town. Go to street fairs and festivals to enjoy the lively atmosphere, music and great food. This is almost like being on vacation in Greece, Africa or other exotic locales. Many parks have concerts which is a nice opportunity to have a picnic with the kids. Some cities show movies outside with food carts nearby. Play tourist in your own city. It is amazing how many people have not been to museums, the planetarium, zoo or other attractions right on their own door step. Go to a larger metropolis nearby or the countryside for a change of scenery. There is an artist colony on the periphery of our city. My sons and I feel as if we have been on vacation after browsing through the offbeat shops and indulging on homemade ice cream plus other treats.

Get away, whether it is to the shore, lakeside cabin or a farm nearby. My mother took me to Wildwood, New Jersey every summer. Swimming in the ocean and walking along the boardwalk created lasting memories for me. When parents and other relatives live out of town, going for a visit can be an affordable adventure. There are new places for the kids to discover. My sons were thrilled to visit a farm near the city where my mother lived. The tractor and fabulous milkshakes were an extra bonus. They picked blueberries and strawberries which is not possible on their home turf. What may seem like a mundane activity to you can be a unique experience for your child.

Some single parents send their children to their parents for a chunk of the summer and use that time to work extra hours. They accumulate more time off to spend with their youngsters upon their return. Or, when their offspring is with the other parent, they put in overtime and have more days off with the little ones. My mother sent me to sleep away camp for several weeks every summer and worked during that period. I had a blast and she was off when I was home. Camps can be pricy, so perhaps make them a special treat and not the main course for their summer break.

A young teenager may be too old for summer programs and too young for employment. Parents in this case recommended a membership to the local pool or recreation center. This gets them out of the house and interacting with others. Some children’s museums and other program invite this age group to be a junior intern and entertain the young campers. My sons did the summer reading programs at our library with other activities, such as magic shows. Young teens were on hand to make this program a success. These individuals can be volunteers for various charities during their summer break. My sons volunteered with a cat rescue group and that encouraged me to become one too.

Make the most of each moment during the summer, because one day your little ones will be in their twenties just as my sons are now.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

Tips On How To Recover After Divorce

Ways to start recovering post-divorce:

Divorce shakes up the foundation of one’s existence. Just as a house is not rebuilt overnight after an earthquake – neither is one’s life after parting ways. Putting the pieces back together or starting totally anew, takes some time. One can feel immobilized and not know what step to take next. Some have described themselves as floating along during proceedings as if on automatic pilot. Get grounded. Qigong and Tai Chi (forms of martial arts) increased my energy and being able to focus on tasks. Meditation and yoga help quiet the mind when thoughts are scattered and concentration is needed.

Part of recovering – whether from an illness or trauma – is taking care of oneself. Get adequate sleep, intake of protein, nutritious food, such as green vegetables. Check with your healthcare provider for adding supplements. B -Vitamins are depleted by stress, so I took them regularly. I also included supplements to decrease inflammation, such as curcumin and Omega-3. Increase exercise to burn off anxiety and elevate endorphins (the feel-good hormones). Think about what gives you pleasure and add more of that into your life. Chocolate and pampering spa products made that list for me. Treat yourself with kindness as would for someone else in your circumstance.

Reach out to others to form a support system. Having lattes with friends during and after divorce kept me sane and lowered my stress. Keeping emotions bottled up inside can lead to an explosion down the road. Prevent this by venting to pals. If they are getting weary listening to you, consider booking a session with a life coach. This person can do wonders putting your life into perspective and helping to point out options that may not be obvious. Step away from needy people and those that drain you. Having time and energy for your children and for your recovery are much higher priorities. Being with my sons was more important than having relationships with acquaintances out of pity or habit.

Part of recovering from divorce can be dealing with loneliness. Consider joining a divorce support group. I am in one in London, The Divorce Club, through MeetUp.com. Being in various groups takes the focus off one’s divorce situation and on to social interactions or worthwhile causes. Volunteering is a way to help others and feel appreciated.   Please read more    www.divorcemag.com/blog/tips-on-recovering-from-divorce

Ways To Help Children Cope With A Difficult Parent

Dealing with a difficult parent

Children need support when a parent is bitter and vindictive post-divorce. The mum or dad may have a personality disorder and are incapable of parenting in a nurturing way. When a difficult parent takes centre stage and the youngsters treated as bit players, it is important to explain that it is not their fault. Children need to know that when indifference is shown or caustic remarks overheard, it is the parent’s issue, and not them causing it. When a parent is toxic, kids can be quick to blame themselves. It is a balancing act to get support for your children while at the same time not making disparaging remarks yourself about their other parent. Give children extra cuddles and attention. Let then know that they are loveable. Point out their talents and strengths as one way to build up self-esteem which may have been affected by being around negativity.

Discuss various strategies on how to deal with problems in an uncomfortable situation

My sons got angry hearing nasty comments about me, from their father and his mother. There were ways to handle it, such as by using “I statements.” “I don’t want to hear…..” Other ideas were they could quickly change the subject or walk away to somewhere else. The boys had specific actions which helped them to feel more empowered.

Supportive people

Have a neutral third party available who can listen to the children’s concerns when time spent with a toxic parent is not going well. My sons reported this continual situation to their therapist and to the court appointed mediator, who was overseeing shared time post-divorce. This situation did improve slightly when their father realized that professionals were looking over his shoulder. Supervised visitation or at a Children’s Contact Centre may be warranted, when a parent is using the children to get back at the other one. If children do not feel safe, then visitation is not productive.

Connections

When it is hard to deal a parent out for revenge, my older son suggested connecting to a Higher Power – whatever is in your belief system. Singing in the choir and spirituality gave him support from something outside of himself. Divorce support groups for children help them to realize that they are not alone. Connections with others, such as through sports or after school activities lead to positive experiences.

Volunteering

Volunteering takes the focus off your child’s situation. One teenager felt appreciated when taking care of cats who depended upon him at a rescue charity. It increased his self-worth when he felt needed. Another teen was a chess coach at a primary school. Watching the youngsters become enthusiastic about chess under his guidance was gratifying. Being called “The chess god” was a nice bonus. Both of these fellows had a rough time with a parent post-divorce, and volunteering helped life to be happier.

Life is about balance

We may be stressed by divorce and have a serious outlook. Children require fun, especially when going through tough periods. They need play and some unstructured time for creative pursuits. Take them to the park, the beach, to a festival or whatever your family enjoys. Kids will get through dealing with a difficult parent easier, when the other one is relaxed and full of fun. That is how my sons made it through their stressful situation. We watched comedies, took holidays, gave back to others through volunteering and maintained connections to people. Make sure to take care of yourself, so that you have the energy to be there for your children.

This article was originally published in The Divorce Magazine  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/

Teaching Teens to Love Themselves From the Inside Out

girl-1848477_960_720Teens, and especially teenage girls, often suffer with body image issues brought on by multitude of factors. According to the Mayo Clinic, these can include puberty-induced weight gain and media portrayal of the ideal female body.

A healthy body image is vital for overall physical and mental health and development. As a parent, you will play an important role in helping your child learn to love themselves and to be comfortable in their body. It starts with loving yourself. After all, your children will learn their behaviors from you, and if you constantly express dissatisfaction with your own body, how are they to learn to love theirs?

Talking about body image  

While it may be uncomfortable, you must realize that, as your teen is developing physically, they are also becoming more aware of their own sexuality. This is where most body image issues begin. Talk to your children about the changes that will happen as they exit childhood and begin to experience puberty. Weight gain is a normal part of this process. It is not uncommon, however, for young children to display signs of having a negative body image. This is especially true of kids who display characteristics of self-criticism and perfectionism.

Social media messages  

Media, especially social media, is full of other people’s opinions on the perfect body. And since teenagers are spending more and more time in front of the screen, they begin to believe that the unrealistically thin Instagram model they follow exhibits the only possible traits associated with beauty. When social media impacts a child’s body image, it may be time to unplug. Monitor your child’s Internet usage and, if possible, limit her exposure to those platforms that make her question her physique.

Boys have body image issues, too  

The Atlantic recently featured an editorial on body image issues in boys. Don’t overlook your son and his struggles with self-esteem. Unlike girls, boys tend to focus on gaining weight, specifically muscle mass. Another body image issue for young men is the constant struggle to display masculinity.

The dark side of the quest for perfection  

Body image issues can trigger a host of other problems for teenagers. These include depression and social anxiety and may turn in to Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), a mental health condition characterized by distress over a particular aspect of the body. Tara Well, Ph.D. goes into greater detail on BDD in this Psychology Today post. Concerns over body image can also trigger eating disorders. There are many different types of eating disorder. The most common are anorexia and bulimia. Warning signs of these include weight fluctuations, extreme weight loss and avoiding social situations that revolve around food. If you suspect an eating disorder, pay close attention to your teen’s behavior. If he or she disappears or regularly visits the bathroom after eating, this could be a sign of purging (intentional vomiting in an effort reduce the amount of calories consumed).

If you suspect an eating disorder it’s imperative to get help immediately. Unhealthy eating habits can cause cardiovascular issues, slowed digestion, constipation, and neurological disorders. The National Eating Disorder Association also reports that eating disorders can wreak havoc on the body’s endocrine system, resulting in lowered levels of vital hormones such as testosterone, estrogen and those that control the thyroid.

Embracing diversity  

Finally, your children should be taught to embrace diversity. Remind them that the world is comprised of people from all walks of life. People come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. Each individual has their own strengths and weaknesses that shape who they are. Help teens find those things that make them unique.

Body image issues don’t have to ruin your teen’s life. Help him or her learn to love their body, and you’ll set them on a path toward a healthy future.

Author of this article, Tilda Moore, researches and writes about educational resources for openeducators.org. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information

Five Things Learned From A Decade In The Divorce-Sphere

Divorce, irrespective of what may have caused it, is  difficult. Marriage, after all, is an institution founded on hope; on the belief that whilst there may be difficult times ahead, both spouses are better together than they are alone. Accepting that this is no longer the case is tough – but it can be made easier!

For the past ten years, I’ve worked with people who have been going through divorce. During this time, I’ve learnt that by approaching your divorce in the right way, you can make it significantly less painful and harmful, for both yourself and anyone else who may be involved.

Here are the five most important things I’ve learned about divorce and why they’ll help you and others through the process:

Be kind to yourself

We all tend to be analytical when things go wrong. This isn’t necessarily harmful, unless you start being hard on yourself. Instead, be kind to yourself by reminding yourself that everyone makes mistakes and that you’re going to learn from them.

By treating yourself well, you’ll naturally be more empathetic meaning that you’ll be kinder to not just yourself but your soon-to-be former spouse, children and anyone else, too.

Dispel your expectations

One of the main reasons divorce is difficult is that, once we’ve decided our marriage needs to end, we also know that much of what we had envisaged for the future is now no longer possible or has fundamentally changed. By letting go of your expectation and going with the flow, you’ll be better prepared for the emotional twists and turns that lie ahead.

Let others do for you

During testing times, there’ll be moments when staying strong just isn’t an option. Try to ‘power-through’ every difficult moment during a divorce and you’ll find yourself feeling overwhelmed. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that you establish a support network of empathetic, caring and approachable friends and family.

Don’t forget that it’s equally important that you ask for help when you need it, though. You’d be amazed how many people tell those closest to them about the fact that they’re getting a divorce only to then feel too embarrassed or even ashamed to call or visit them when they’re finding things difficult.

Everyone needs help from time to time and there’s no shame in that! Divorce is tough, so it’s only natural to reach out for that little bit of help every now and then.

Find the positives

We know that ending a marriage has negative consequences. You’re not going to be able to split your household bills anymore; you’ll be solely responsible for the children most of the time or won’t see them as often; there’ll be more evenings without adult company. Yes, there are drawbacks, but remember that you’re getting divorced for a reason, so try and find the positives.

Whether it’s using the weekends when the children are away for some ‘me time’, being able to decorate your home the way you always wanted to or anything else, there are always positives provided you’re willing to look for them.

Don’t fight your thoughts

Considering that this article has previously advised readers to refrain from beating themselves up, to avoid expectations and promote positive thoughts over negative ones, this advice may seem contradictory, but there’s a big difference between having negative thoughts and indulging them.

Sadly, we will always have negative thoughts – we’re hardwired to and stress only exacerbates this. Whilst they’re inevitable, though, this is largely automated and, by simply letting them be, we’ll be less likely to look for solutions. This, in turn, prevents us from ruminating – which is actually what makes negative thoughts a cause of genuine worry and discomfort.

Conclusion:

There can be little doubt that ending a marriage is a process that is more than capable of having significant and adverse effect on all involved but, by adhering to the advice given above whenever possible, this can be largely negated.   

Jay Williams, author of this article,  works for Quickie Divorce, an online provider of divorce solutions. He lives in Cardiff, Wales with his wife and two-year-old daughter, Eirys.

 

 

 

 

5 Simple & Fun Family Bonding Activities

5 Simple & Fun Family Bonding Activities - Copy (2)   Ways To Bond With Your Children

Did you know the number of divorces has gone down since the 1990’s? It’s true, there are fewer divorces now in the United States than there have been in two decades. But that is little comfort to families who go through it and you might be feeling as though your bond with your children has been compromised in the face of the emotion and stress even the most amicable splits bring.

It is important to nurture your family with quality time. Not only will it help to keep your family close during hard times, but give your children the support they need to adapt and grow. It brings positivity to their daily life (and yours).

Here are five easy, fun activities that you can do with your family to help bring you closer together.

Cook a Meal

Every week my family and I spend the evening making individual pizzas with our favorite toppings, then after dinner we watch a movie. It is the perfect weeknight activity that gives us a chance to spend time together, talk, and do something relaxing at the end of a long day.

Cooking a meal is such a simple way to connect and a lot of fun, too.

Take a Hike

Living in Utah, I consider myself so very lucky. We have trails everywhere, gorgeous mountains, endless lakes…it is an outdoors lovers dream. We try and get out once a month to hike a new trail all together.

It is an adventure each time and my kids love taking pictures on their phones to post on Snapchat to their friends. It has even gotten a few of their buddies involved and hiking with us!

Find the natural beauty where you live and explore it as a family.

Game Night

Whether it is video games or board games, a bit of friendly competition is a lot of fun. There are so many options, as well. RPG tabletops, card games, multiplayer video games…you can find several that will tickle your family’s fancy.

You just might find that game night becomes the favorite night of the week!

Volunteer Together

A less popular, yet amazing, option for bonding time. Volunteering is a way of helping a cause, doing some good, assisting others and still spending time together. All while teaching lessons of empathy and gratitude.

Soup kitchens, nature cleanups, animal shelters…you can find something that works for your family.

Find Local Meetups

Families will often get together for fun activities as a group a few times a month. That might be potluck dinners, park days or local events. It is worth checking websites like Meetup.com for information on what is happening in the neighborhoods around you.

All it takes is a bit of time and creativity and you will be overflowing with ideas on how to spend time and bond with your kids!

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

 

Tips For New Graduates To Land Their First Job

Getting that first job is a critical step into future careers, but all too often it can be a real catch 22: all jobs seem to require experience, yet you need to get a job to gain that experience. It can leave you feeling very frustrated and wondering what to do next.

If that sounds like you, don’t worry – with our expert tips you will be able to find and secure that all important first job in no time.

Finding a job opportunity

When you are relatively inexperienced in job searching it can be hard to even find opportunities that might be relevant. It can pay to be a bit creative here; there are jobs available, it’s just a case of finding them (or even making them appear). Here are some suggestions:

  • Job adverts are probably the most obvious options – there are many websites that advertise jobs (indeed.com, monster.co.uk, reed.com etc.). This is good in that it lets you see the types of jobs that are out there, but often the competition can be particularly high when jobs are advertised in this way. Not all organisations advertise their opportunities, so if there’s an opportunity you’re particularly interested in, make a list of employers in that area and check their websites directly.
  • Graduate schemes are eternally popular for fresh graduates, but they’re not for everyone. Not only are they really competitive, a lot of people may find that the nature of the work might not suit them, that said there are many jobs available and it’s always worth taking a look at sites like www.prospects.ac.uk.
  • Internships/work experience are great for getting a foot in the door of your career – particularly if you want to work in the creative industries. However, these are often unpaid which can leave you with a dilemma – if you can afford to work for free then this can really open doors for you. Some organisations do pay interns so it is worth looking around for these.
  • Directly approaching employers can be surprisingly successful. If you want to work in a particular field, then it can be worth sending your CV and a covering letter to a number of organisations in that area. You can improve your chances of success by making sure the letter is addressed to a particular person, and following up with a phone call.
  • Use your network. Don’t be shy to ask people to give you a job or even introduce you to potential employers. It can be useful to draw a network diagram highlighting all of the people you/family/close friends know who might be able to help you. LinkedIn is also good for this.

Acing an assessment

Once you’ve got an invitation to a selection event/interview you’re halfway there – next you need to secure the position. If you’ve never had a (successful) interview in the past you need to spend some time preparing. Here are some useful suggestions:

Research the company. Make sure you know all about the company and the job; you need to be able to talk intelligently about this. Take a look at the organisation’s website, do a google search, talk to people who already work there. Be prepared to answer questions like:

  • Why do you want this role?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • Who do you see as our main competitors?

Package up your experience. You are going to need to talk about yourself and what you can bring to this role. If you haven’t had a job in the past then this can seem quite hard, but don’t worry, you will probably have plenty of relevant experiences to draw upon. The key here is to look for the specific competencies (or knowledge, skills and experience) the organisation is looking for; you’ll be able to find these in the job description or advert.

Let’s look at an example. Perhaps an organisation is looking for experience in ‘Planning and Organising’. Whilst you might not have experience of doing this in the workplace, you probably do have experience of doing this elsewhere. Maybe you had to complete a project or dissertation as part of your studies. How can you relate the things you did to achieve this to competency of ‘Planning and Organising’? Did you make a to do list? Add items to your calendar? Make a plan? These are all good indicators that you can do this so make sure you are really selling the experience you do have.

Practice, practice, practice. We get better at things when we practice and getting jobs is no exception. Get someone to do a mock interview with you so that you know what it feels like to be in that situation. Make sure they give you feedback so that you know how to improve the next time. Lots of careers services offer this for free, but if that isn’t available to you, ask friends or family. There are also organisations or individuals who offer mock interviews and you can find them on google.

Some jobs require you to complete psychometric tests of ability as well as an interview. These tests present you with a number of problems and ask you to solve them within a specified time period. They typically include Numerical, Verbal or Abstract Reasoning. These tests can be tricky and feel very different to things you might have done before, so sitting some practice papers and getting some advice about how to answer the questions is really important this guide is a good place to start.

Manage your impact. It is really important to make a good first impression in an interview, here are some ideas to help you do this:

  • Dress smartly and ensure you are well presented. Neat and tidy is what we’re aiming for here so keep hair styling and make up elegant, and wear clean, smart and ironed clothes. Polish your shoes.
  • Be polite and friendly. Make eye contact and smile. Shake the hand of the interviewer and look at them when you are talking.
  • Get a good night’s sleep before the interview and have something light and healthy to eat before you go in, you need to make sure you have enough energy to perform well.

About the author:   Ed Mellett is an entrepreneur, careers professional and founder of practicereasoningtests.com. He is known for co-founding and launching the leading student and graduate careers website wikijob.co.uk. Now in its 11th year, wikijob attracts over 400,000 unique users per month and is a must-visit resource for students considering their careers post-university. Ed’s other interests include AI, neuroscience and psychology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking Positive Action In Life

No matter what has come before in your life, whether its divorce, loss or other trauma, the first thing to keep in mind is that you and only you are responsible for your own life. Only you are responsible for your own happiness. It is within your control, a decision almost. You are the deciding factor in initiating change in your life.

Support is important, even necessary, but accepting responsibility yourself gives you back control, it gives your life meaning and can be quite empowering. Never underestimate the power and significance of having purpose in your life. A reason to get up in the morning, a goal or objective to aim towards and pursuing a passion are vital for your mental wellbeing. Quite often the pursuit of an aim is more worthwhile than the achievement of it. The chase outweighs the success so to speak.

Mindfulness, meditation, exercise and most essentially a good night’s sleep all help maintain productivity and an open, positive outlook on life. 7-9 hours’ sleep a night has been proven to be crucial. 6 or less hours (like the majority of the population actually has regularly) leads to increased risk of memory problems, depression and anxiety and even an increased chance of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. So try and change your routine, don’t rely on sleeping medication, try eye covers and ear plugs and most of all put those phones and tablets away well before it’s time to sleep. The benefits of a good night’s sleep have been thoroughly researched and documented so drop the stigma, it’s not lazy, get yourself well rested!

Meaning and responsibility can come from anywhere. That focus can be on a career, your family, a lover, a project or hobby. The list is endless. Just concentrate on you, not your peers or contemporaries. Envy can drive you wild and it’s counter-productive. Don’t compare yourself to someone else, someone else’s life, family or success. Instead compare yourself today to who you were yesterday, small incremental improvements lead to big development, this will give you motivation and a feeling of real progress. If nothing else it helps you identify for certain what you need and want to change about your life and routine.

Make your goals achievable but don’t limit yourself. Set realistic but significant milestones and objectives. Again this will do a world of good to your motivational outlook. Everyone’s a victim of procrastination, just remember, action is positive. Action creates change and gives you a real sense of accomplishment.

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and custody schedules.

 

 

Teaching Children and Teens Conflict Resolution Tactics

Teaching Children and Teens Conflict Resolution TacticsIt goes without saying that divorce is difficult for everyone involved. Even when it is as civil and cooperative as possible, it is disruptive to the lives of both the divorcing parties and those around them. Children are especially affected and a divorce can lead to emotional and behavioral issues that are difficult to address.

But in spite of its difficulties, a divorce can be the perfect time for a teaching moment. Your teen is facing a lot of stress in their life, not only related to the changes happening in your home and family. Teaching them coping strategies can help them along the way. Also, as you are going through the process of conflict resolution, you can teach them right alongside you.

Why Young People Fight

Listening to your teen or adolescent talk about their day, you may have noticed a trend – there is a lot of drama. Welcome to the world of developing minds and social skills. Young people are prone to fighting and even outright cruelty.

Why is that? Part of it is the underdevelopment of certain areas of the brain, which includes risk assessment, emotional control, and impulse control. As they age and gain more experience, these parts of the brain will also grow and start to more impact their decision-making skills and ability to manage difficult emotions.

Until then, you can teach them alternative strategies for conflict resolution that help them avoid fighting, whether that is emotional or physical.

Effective Conflict Resolution Tactics

When teaching teenagers conflict resolution tactics, there are a couple tactics which are more effective than others.

  • Encourage communication. It may sound over-simplified, but most conflicts can be resolved through communication. Encouraging them to sit down and talk about their feelings and what they think is happening is an effective way of promoting a peaceful end of a fight. It also teaches how important listening can be, given how many conflicts are started from a miscommunication in the first place.
  • Ask them to consider the other point of view. “How would you feel if you were in their position?” This is one of the most powerful questions when dealing with a conflict. Children can become very focused on their own feelings and miss the fact that the other person has their own to deal with. By making them consider the other person, teens have a chance to build empathy.

While teens may have hot tempers due to a variety of circumstances, with patience, it is not impossible to teach them how correctly deal with conflict in their lives.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

Can Divorce Be Contagious?

Experts suggest that a Friend’s Divorce may encourage you to seek one too

Although a marriage is typically private and not influenced by anything outside of the close circle, it is now thought that a divorce between your friends or somebody else close to you may well have an influence upon you and your own relationship. With this in mind, we look at whether or not a divorce really can be considered as contagious.

Why are Divorces being considered as Contagious?

Expert researchers are finding that the concept of a divorce can make its way through friends, family and even work colleagues, should one couple within those groups start their own divorce process. In fact, those around somebody looking to obtain a divorce may be 75% more likely to get their own divorce. It is thought that the ending of relationships within groups can spark something in other people’s minds, leading them to begin questioning their own relationship and what they want their own future to hold.

It is also said that the divorce often fights against the stigma surrounding breakups and how it may affect children, proving to people that it can be done in a way that doesn’t have too much of a negative impact. However, as many can imagine, these findings also suggest that knowing a number of different people that have previously gone through a divorce can actually be bad for a marriage, putting it at a greater risk of ending in divorce.

Realising the Action that your Marriage Requires

When family, friends or other people close to you get a divorce, you usually look at your own marriage and realise its current state. You may think that the couple getting a divorce were happy, and that it could mean that there are underlying issues in your own relationship, as there may well have been in theirs. This often installs a fight or flight response, encouraging you to realise how lucky you and your partner are, or encouraging you to realise that your own marriage holds some issues.

Once this has happened, you either realise that you can continue as you are and live your happily married life or that you need to make some changes. If you find that you need to make changes, having somebody close by that is going through a divorce can be very beneficial to you. With a helping hand from a friend, a blueprint to follow or even women being empowered, their divorce can help to guide you through your own.

Although ill-feelings will almost certainly have been there before somebody else’s divorce, the fact that they take the plunge and try to change their life often gives others the strength to take action too. Divorce is often a word that people are afraid of, but it can also be something that brings a breath of fresh air to life, and can lead to bigger and better things.

Kerry Smith is the Head of Family Law at K J Smith Solicitors, specialist family law solicitors that deal with a wide range of issues, including divorce, domestic violence, civil partnerships, and prenuptial agreements. Kerry has over 15 years experience in family law and is recommended by the Legal 500 guide to law firms in the UK.

Keep Children’s Well-Being First During Divorce

Think about your children’s well-being in the midst of divorce, when you feel like going into battle with their other parent. Divorce results in the breakdown of the relationship between two adults. However, the fallout can greatly affect the little ones. An amicable divorce means that they go between two happier homes. A contentious one turns into war, with the youngsters getting caught in the crossfire.

Divorce triggers anger and hurt feelings. These emotions are expressed to the spouses’ lawyers, not to children. A way to keep kids out of the divorce is to decide on a similar mantra. Each parent says something along this line, “We are no longer marital partners, instead we will be co-parents” or “Divorce is between us. We still love you.” No mention of cheating or other vices. Just a simple message given by both parents.

Children want to be reassured that both of you will still be in the picture. No abandonment or feeling that they have to choose sides. A change in living arrangements will be happening. Even if one parent moves out of town, frequent contact and specified visitation will be arranged. Skype and phone calls can also be done between visitations, when both former spouses live in the same city.

Fear of the unknown can be frightening. Kids have vivid imaginations and can envision a worst-case scenario. They might dream up something that would never happen. They require reassurances that their lives will continue as before in many areas. Have a discussion with the children about their concerns, such as whether or not they will remain in the same school. Let them know that sports and after school activities will continue. They will still have their friends. Help kids to stay in touch with grandparents and relatives from both sides. This constancy in their lives will enable them to get through this crazy divorce period. Have them carry on with activities that have been enjoyable, such as helping Grandpa in the garden or baking cookies with Grandma.

I have heard parents congratulating themselves for “putting their children first” during and after divorce. What I have witnessed as a school nurse did not always jive with their noble intention. Plenty of students of divorcing parents ended up in my office with stress related conditions. Teachers have complained how the youngsters were bringing their parents’ divorce dramas into the classrooms. Fortunately in the schools, there are some well-adjusted children whose parents have divorced. These parents deserve five gold stars for co-parenting. What is their secret? “Put your ego aside.” This group revealed that they truly put their kids’ needs first. By being on the same page with the same philosophy, it made co-parenting easier. Ironically, some confided that the relationship between their former partner was better post-divorce.

Take a look at your situation. Are you saying anything at all about the other parent? Are you going into details regarding the divorce?  Please read more  http://www.divorcemag.com/blog/keep-kids-out-of-your-divorce-drama-focus-on-their-wellbeing

How To Find Happiness During Divorce

When one is going through divorce it is easy to wonder “Will I ever be happy again?” The answer is YES. Happiness is a fleeting feeling which requires frequent boosters. Happiness fluctuates in intensity as do other emotions. One can choose to be happy or not during the turbulent time of divorce. My divorced mother decided to be bitter for years afterwards, which resulted in having a barrier between her and the world. I went down a different path and found ways to insert moments of happiness amongst the chaos. My trick was to look for the positives and have a laugh at the absurdity in life.

Think about what brings joy or when you were truly happy. Schedule these into your agenda on a regular basis. Weekly lattes with pals contributed to my happiness. Talking about my spouse’s outrageous antics brought on the giggles. It is hard to be in a negative place when laughing with friends. Others get their happiness boost by a vacation. I went to Hawaii with my mother and sons during the nastiest part of my proceedings. I became ecstatically happy walking among the palm trees and talking to the wise Polynesian people. I brought this relaxed attitude back with me into the rest of the divorce. Some friends escaped to the spa or gym. Remove yourself temporarily to pleasant surroundings.

The secret to being happy is to find one’s meaning and purpose in life. Viennese psychologist Viktor Frankl wrote about his ordeal in a concentration camp in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. While imprisoned, he found that those who discovered their meaning in life were more apt to survive. Two men in particular had given up and were waiting to die. Frankl found out what was important to them, one needed to finish his book and the other had a child abroad waiting for him. Frankl helped these fellows to realize the meaning of their existence and they made it out alive from the Nazi death camp.

What gives purpose to your life or ignites your passion? Consider having experiences over accumulating more stuff. When you look back at your childhood, it is the great times that brought you happiness. You can increase your happiness and your children’s by doing enjoyable activities. The youngsters will remember fun adventures more than another toy. Giving back to others or being productive in one’s work can also give meaning to life.

There are various studies which indicate happiness can be achieved by connecting to others. Psychologist Dan Gilbert from Harvard said “The quality of connections with people is the biggest predictor of happiness.” Several studies were done by Gillian Sandstorm and Elizabeth Dunn which also found that happiness increases with the more interactions people have with each other. Interactions both with people the subjects had strong ties to and acquaintances, led to a sense of belonging to the community.

Explore ways to engage with others, whether it is professional networking or on a personal level. This means face-to-face encounters, not the kind on social media. Strengthen ties to those individuals you already know. Enlarge your social circle with new acquaintances. I joined some groups and took classes post-divorce and enjoyed meeting people. Attending travel talks and going to local events helps me to feel connected to others in my community. Make a point of speaking to those around you – the barista, cashier, neighbors and so forth. Going into isolation hinders happiness. One long-term friend told us that she wants to be left alone and will call us when her divorce is over. That is her prerogative, however she is miserable. Reach out to others and include pleasurable pursuits to boost your happiness.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

 

Understanding Co-Parenting- Complications And What To Expect

Co-parenting may seem like a modern or new term but in practice it’s been around as long as divorce has. The dynamic and arrangement of each family is different, there’s no wrong or right way but many families throughout history have adopted an approach which we would now label as some form of co-parenting or parallel parenting.

Co-parenting is simultaneously simple yet complicated. The concept is easy to understand, two parents who for one reason or another (but usually through mutual desire to separate) have decided to parent their children separately. Whether this means the children live permanently with one parent or if it’s a more equal shared parenting setup obviously varies on an individual basis.

Co-parenting well on the other hand can be complicated as it incorporates many varying factors. I’ll try to simplify them so that if you’re new to co-parenting you can absorb the basics easily and identify the imperative points and inevitable pitfalls.

Communication

The key to every relationship, romantic or otherwise is communicating effectively. As someone whose partner is from another country and a completely different cultural background I can testify in regards to the difficulty of always communicating well and also the consequences of miscommunication.

After a divorce and all that comes with it, barriers in relation to communication may be at an all-time high between you and your ex. However if you wish to forge a successful parenting relationship for the sake of your children you need to sit down together and work out your parenting plan, whether this is with the help of a therapist or mediator depends on how co-operative your ex-spouse is. You both need to be clear on where you stand in terms of obligations and expectations to avoid potential future disagreements and conflict.

Keep in contact and keep each other updated in order to fulfil your co-parenting duties and stick to the schedule you have agreed upon to the best of your abilities. You are a parenting team now and need to be able to work together which means being able to voice your concerns or misgivings without initiating a giant argument. Easier said than done! You will come across obstacles; no two parenting styles are exactly the same. Learn to lead by example, communicate your issues politely and calmly, encourage rather than disparage and be assertive but not confrontational.

Trust

An essential component of parenting well together is learning to trust in your co-parent. Don’t continually hold them up to your standards or you’ll always be left disappointed and frustrated. That being said they need to fulfil agreed upon obligations, don’t be afraid to take the necessary action if they continually fail on their end of the agreement, it takes two people to co-parent!

Non damaging aspects of your ex partner’s parenting style are better to accept. Trust is compromise and you should learn to respect your differences. After all this is a clean break for you, you can parent the way you always wanted now, create a new dynamic. It’s an opportunity to invent a new routine, game, activity or go on trips with your children that you always wanted to. Your parenting time is now truly yours and unique.

Trust is generally reciprocated which helps form a healthy co-parenting relationship, it fosters a sense of responsibility and you can motivate each other to meet that responsibility. The more you trust the more you will let your children’s relationship develop naturally with their other parent, this is vital for your children and benefits them indefinitely.

Stability and consistency

Your ability to communicate effectively with your co-parent affects stability which in turn directly affects the well-being of your children. They need stability, consistency and structure in the form of routine to help them adapt to this new form of parenting and family life. Your parenting plan and schedule whilst not inflexible (it can help to have a temporary agreement whilst you adjust to your new schedules, leave room for change in your initial agreed up schedule) need to be clear. Establish routine and remember the schedule is not designed to be convenient for the parents. The goal is the best possible parent-child relationship for your children and a smooth transition to this new set-up with minimum disruption to them. Although parent styles differ, ensure you keep the rules more or less the same in both households, stability in this way minimizes the risk of separation anxiety.  

Terms

Another confusing aspect of co-parenting is the documentation that comes with it and also the interchangeable terms for said documentation. A parenting plan is essentially the same thing as a custody agreement, a detailed document which outlines your custody schedule or calendar along with certain provisions legal or otherwise as to how you will both manage the custody of your children.

The terms can be used interchangeably or sometimes a plan is said to contain the agreement or the agreement said to contain the plan! In order to avoid misunderstandings it is better to just remember that your plan or agreement should include a regular custody visitation schedule/calendar, a holiday custody visitation schedule/calendar, all the relevant provisions, child support information and any extra relevant details that can help you and your fellow co-parent raise your child or children.

There are custody agreements or parenting plans to meet everyone’s needs or expectations. Agreements designed specifically for long distance co-parenting, temporary custody agreements to help through transitional stages and also agreements intended for parents with shared/joint custody or when one parent has sole or primary custody.

Lastly I would say it pays to have a non-verbal agreement. Getting it in writing gives you action to take for (and evidence of) repeated violations/unfulfilled obligations. The less formal option may be appealing if you are really amicable with your ex-spouse but that option will most likely lead to future complications.

Co-parenting when done well gives your children what they need whilst giving you more quality time with them and more free time for yourself. If you are new to co-parenting keep an open mind it may be much more rewarding than you are expecting!

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources.

 

 

 

How To Prevent Fear From Holding You Back

Fear of the unknown can hold one back during and post-divorce. It can keep a person stuck and prevent movement. An individual may feel that they are in the freeze part of the flight or fight response to a perceived danger (the divorce drama). Not taking action can seem like the safer bet, when someone feels paralyzed with uncertainty. This indecisiveness can come back to haunt you later, as it did a few people who were not happy about how assets had been split. If feeling clueless and overwhelmed, consider having your attorney or paralegal clarify the information being given. Asking for specific options or advice is helpful.

Fear creates a stress response which releases a cascade of hormones, such as cortisol. The University of Minnesota found that fear “impacts thinking and decision making in negative ways.” It leads to “impulsive reactions” instead of taking a better course of action. One reacts in a rash manner instead of having clear thinking, which is needed to get through divorce proceedings. Reducing stress is way to get out of the panic mode. Do what works for you – mediation, prayer, retreats, exercise, being in nature and so forth.

Fear can keep an individual rooted in one spot – not comfortable taking a step in any direction. This happened to me during divorce. Rather than making a mistake, I decided to take no action about the marital home and just stay there. It was the easy way out. Luckily, I got out of the fear mode, found a small house and then applied at a few companies for a mortgage. It was work moving, but worth it.

There are other causes besides fear which can cause people to feel stuck. It can be challenging to step out of one’s comfort zone, such as deciding whether or not to take a different career path post-divorce. One may feel it is easier to stay in an unfulfilling job, than to pursue various possibilities. Divorce can bring a new opportunity to start over. I got a job as a school nurse after my divorce which became stressful when too much work was crammed in to only a day or so. I stayed out of fear that I would not find other part-time work with some flexibility. After talking over my job situation with a Life Coach, I realized my folly and resigned. Being in a stressful situation, as in divorce, makes it harder to calmly go over options. Get help. More and more middle-aged adults are seeking the guidance from a Career Coach. Others get vocational testing or training at a community college to open the door to other career directions.

Are you stuck, unable to move on because you have too many commitments which includes helping others? We can be afraid to tell people or organizations “no” or worry about being judged if we do.   Please read more   www.divorcemag.com/blog/fear-and-divorce

Why Playfulness During Divorce Is Important

Playfulness is a way to reduce stress and get through the minutia and tasks required during divorce. Besides helping life to be more bearable when juggling proceedings, children and a job, a sense of playfulness lowers anxiety. Being in a calmer state is beneficial for making those crucial decisions regarding splitting assets and so forth.

There are various studies on the benefits of playfulness in getting through adversity (such as divorce) and contributing to longevity. Dr Proyer from the University of Zurich has done much research on adult playfulness and states these individuals cope better with stress and being able to adapt to situations. One study found that playfulness increased one’s well-being and resilience. When I was a nurse on a busy trauma unit, most of us were burned out with patients hovering between life and death. The two playful nurses who wadded up paper to bat around like a ball, were not. In-between patient codes and procedures, these fellows made up games and were the most relaxed nurses on the unit.

Professor Barret at University of Illinois also found that playful folks are better able to handle stress. These individuals perceived their stress levels to be lower, than the less playful subjects in the study. When people are playful, they have better strategies to deal with stress according to her research. Mistakes are more likely to be viewed as learning opportunities rather than as blunders.

Consider the advantages to having a playful outlook during divorce. One is better able to utilize coping strategies during this stressful time and less likely to fall apart. A person can take a pause from proceedings and be engrossed in pleasurable activities. Playing lets out some steam and enables one to see the humorous side of life. Children benefit by being around laughter and spontaneity instead of glum parents.

Playfulness improves cognitive, emotional and social functioning as was reported In the American Journal of Play, Summer 2011 edition. Good mental (cognitive) functioning is necessary when going through finances and deciding whether to sell the marital home or buy out one’s spouse during divorce. Other studies found that playful folks draw people to them. They are open, fun to be around, engaging and positive. Being able to connect with others and have a network of support enables one to move through the craziness of divorce. Being bitter and negative post-divorce can push people away.

An example of the longevity benefits of playfulness are the elderly Chinese in Beijing. These senior citizens were dancing to the music from their boom boxes, doing Tai Chi, playing board games, plus more. They laughed, indulged in badminton and chatted. They clearly enjoyed their time together and were extremely active physically and mentally. There were no wheelchairs or walkers in that group. This contrasts to a divorced woman I knew in the States, who was anything but playful and died of a heart attack.

I was at Disneyland with my sons when I decided to initiate divorce. I called family and friends between rides on Snow White, Mr. Toad’s Wild Adventure and Indiana Jones. I was forced to be playful in this atmosphere and that started my divorce in a much more relaxed way. Figuring out finances was less stressful when standing in line for The Haunted Mansion. My sons were relieved that divorce was about to happen. Disneyland set the tone for keeping playfulness throughout my divorce.

There are ways to be more light-hearted during proceedings. Plan at least one weekly get-together with pals to vent or catch up on news. Having support helps to lighten your burden. Spend time in nature which is calming, even if in a small leafy city square. My sons and I watched comedies and laughed a lot. Go to a fair and act like a kid. Get out of town to spend a day walking along the beach and enjoying the amusements on the boardwalk. My mother took my sons and I on a river cruise during divorce, which was approved by both of our attorneys. That took our minds off the divorce and into the play mode. Think of how to inject some fun into your agenda on a regular basis, and divorce will go a bit smoother.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

Far Flung Adventures With Breath-Taking Scenery- Bucket List Part 3

Australia  australiaBeautiful beach in Australia (Lucky Bay)

Australia is  captivating and  possibly the best country in the world for a road trip. World class beaches, ancient rainforests, safe roads, well maintained walking paths, friendly people in the most remote places (Australia is actually recognized as having the most remote city in the world: Perth.), incredible wildlife, ancient wonders and a historic fascinating indigenous culture. I lived here for around two years and really can’t praise the place enough. I didn’t know what to expect when I first embarked on the long flight to this huge island/continent nation, although the culture is similar to mine the country is different in unimaginable ways. The sheer size of this place is mesmerizing, the vast majority of it expanses of nothingness, desert and wilderness. . I spent time working in an aboriginal community, learning about the history and way of life as well as their vicious mistreatment is an enlightening experience.

There are some many unique places and species of wildlife here it would be impossible to name them all, you could spend years in this country and only scratch the surface. Naturally pink lakes, the opportunity to swim with great whites and dolphins in the wild, underground cave dwelling communities, and 20 foot crocodiles, the weird and wonderful is present and plenty in Australia.

Lastly of all I’ll say is don’t be afraid, yes there are deadly animals native to Australia but the danger is massively exaggerated. The last person to die from a spider bite was in the 70’s! The world’s most deadly animal here is actually the cow (road traffic accidents). In two years of camping in the wilderness, hiking out in the bush and going to the most remote places possible the only deadly animal I saw was an octopus that someone snagged on a fishing line out at sea.

New Zealand 10857156_10203512395350974_8529118397825822705_oHikes displaying stunning scenery like this

For me this place may be unrivalled in natural beauty. So accessible and traversable as well! The home of Lord of the Rings boasts jaw dropping scenery and some of the friendliest people. A great family holiday for lovers of the outdoors. My personal highlights would be a light aircraft flight over snow-capped peaks, bungee jumping, sky diving, hang gliding and the numerous hikes amongst raw nature. New Zealand is another perfect country for marine wildlife and swimming with dolphins. (In the wild, not in some horror show like sea world!)

There are plenty of tour options and bus travel options, alternatively it’s the perfect self-drive camping holiday, you can see the whole country more or less in 3-6 weeks. The mix of glaciers, mountains, lakes, islands, volcanos, thermals, beaches and rolling British-like countryside in such a compact country make this a really striking and memorable place.  

Unique Sights

The Northern Lights

Now, the Northern lights are really unpredictable. I would suggest visiting a destination such as Norway, Finland or Iceland for what they have to offer besides the lights and then if you get to see them it’s just a bonus! Anyway those 3 countries really are beautiful and worth a visit at any time of year in their own right.

The lights are best seen on a dark, clear night so visit between April and September check with locals and weather forecasts (also aurora forecasts) prior to and during your visit. Your best chance at seeing them is in perfect conditions and looking to the north but nothing is guaranteed so in the meantime enjoy these snow covered landscapes with your family and indulge in some activities! There are multiple snow sports plus trekking in search of polar bears! (With a guide of course.)

There are companies with experts who can help search for the lights and although your best chance to spot them may be out in the country side they can be seen from main cities like Reykjavik (Iceland) and Tromso (Norway) as well.

Belgium- Charming fairy tale backdrops, architecture and chocolate

Bruges (Belgium) is like stepping into a fairy tale. Home to charming architecture and arresting scenery, plus most importantly chocolate! Dad will be happy with the ancient brewery tours and unlimited beer options (up to 300 different types of beer in some bars!) plus the children will enjoy the parks and shops full of handmade chocolate treats. It’s a great little town to just wander around admiring the buildings and waterways; it’s a great place to spend a few days as part of a longer European trip.

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Machu Picchu- Peru

Incan history is enthralling and Machu Picchu is the number one attraction in South America for a reason. After seeing ruins throughout South America I wasn’t expecting to be blown away in quite the fashion that I was when I visited here in 2016. The scale and remoteness of the site offers a dimension and experience that is unmatched. When gazing down at this ancient and wondrous structure from above, you get a feeling that can’t really be duplicated. Machu Picchu, due to its location, wasn’t re-discovered until 1911. However the human race is making up for lost time and there are now limits on tickets due to the sheer volume of people travelling to visit this unique place.

Book your tickets in advance and I’d seriously recommend getting the exclusive tickets to hike Huaynu/Wayynu Picchu (only 400 people allowed up each day) to witness the best view of Machu Picchu. It’s a steep hike but definitely doable (I reached top second, a 60 year old Chilean man beat me to it!) not to mention worth it for the 360 breath-taking panoramic. Something to keep in mind is that this historical site involves a lot of walking and gets very busy it’s better to take the earliest bus possible to arrive at dawn. Whilst not a typical family holiday hotspot I saw plenty of children and adults of all ages enjoying this lost Incan city and world wonder.

thumbnail_IMG_0488A beautiful and peaceful view over Machu Picchu

That concludes my series on family bucket list destinations, hopefully you will have some ideas for the future and make some memories in an interesting country!

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources.

 

The Secret To Caring For Pets While Going Through Divorce

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One of the most common reasons people relinquish or rehome their pets is because of divorce. Due to couples calling it quits, there are millions of animals entering the shelters every year. You are not a terrible person for wanting to find a better home for your pet when going through tough times, but there are some factors you should consider for your pet.

The Impact of Divorce on Pets

A stable, loving home and a regular routine are what is best for our furry friends. This has been proven time and again by research. However, your pet will not be in good shape if you give them up to an uncertain future in a shelter or a new home. Your pet may also act out or experience anxiety when there is stressful domestic discord. Many pets, especially dogs, are used to habits. They go through a major disruption in their routine and can demonstrate symptoms of separation anxiety during divorce. Therefore, a perfectly trained dog may start to bark a lot or have a few accidents. This does not make them “bad.” It’s just their natural, short-term reaction.

How Pets Are Treated Legally

Those of us who love pets know they are part of the family. But, they are treated like property according to the law. Therefore, the judge probably will not care whose side of the bed your pet slept on or who took care of the cat when your divorce battle goes to court and custody is disputed. A recent study found that there has been a 22 percent increase in the number of custody hearings for pets. Custody battles almost always end in heartache so if you can, try to put together a notarized agreement.

Consider Splitting Custody

After a divorce, different people will prefer different pet care arrangements. For some people, a one month on, one month off split custody arrangement would work well. Others might find it works better to have one primary caregiver, and the other partner can serve as a kind of “petsitter.” One surprising finding is that with split custody, divorced individuals learn to become friends with their exes over time as they are forced to cooperate in a fairly easy-to-manage situation.

Divorce is a painful process, but it almost always leads to a better situation for everyone involved. By keeping your pet’s best interests in mind, you are sure to have a more positive outcome for everyone involved.

 Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  

 

What To Consider Before Getting A Divorce

Deciding whether or not to divorce is a difficult decision to make. Think carefully before uttering the phrase, “I want a divorce.” Once those words are out of your mouth – you cannot call them back. That statement will affect the rest of your life, so be sure you really mean it and are not issuing a hollow threat. When hearing distressing news, such as your spouse had an affair, it can be tempting to shout out those words. That action can slam the door shut on the possibility of saving the marriage if the errant spouse walks out of the door for good.

We often react right away instead of thinking things through. The sympathetic nervous system floods the body with stress hormones, such as cortisol, to act quickly in a volatile situation. This is the fight or fight phase, where one can say hurtful things in anger. Responding instead of reacting, involves analysing the problem to form a response. There are ways to be more rational in the heat of the moment. Take a pause or a time-out. Decisions do not have to be made on the spot. Remove yourself and say that you require time to think, when hearing something upsetting.

Acknowledge to yourself, that you are in shock or in rage. This is the time to work through intense emotions, instead of exploding. Consider talking over the situation with a life coach to get a handle on these feelings. Together you can explore different options to see if you want to stay in the marriage or not. Getting in a calmer state will help one to gain clarity and be in a better place before approaching the spouse.

In other cases, it can be many little issues that are the tipping point instead of one major event. An individual may be unhappy or no longer want to continue to live life as they have been. They may feel unfulfilled or that something is missing. The person may think this is due to their marriage or spouse, when in reality it is inside of them. Having individual therapy can help pinpoint a problem area, such as suffering through Empty Nest. Therapy is beneficial when a person is at a crossroad at this point in life. In some cases, following a passion, changing careers or becoming an entrepreneur was what was needed and not a divorce.

A frank discussion with your spouse can help in deciding whether to stay or to bail. Take turns actively listening without interrupting. Reflect back what you think you heard, to give the other a chance to correct a misconception. Expressing annoyances and needs might be just the ticket to avoid divorce. Day- to-day communication can be superficial and a couple can drift away from each other. Communicating on a deeper level can boost marital satisfaction.

There may be non-negotiable areas where there are no second chances. This could be infidelity, a porn addiction, or abuse. Deceit with lies and a cover up has led people to divorce. Know what your boundaries are. When my spouse was going on a dark path, I had to leave. In a lesser circumstance, marital counselling may have been an option.

There are many resources for helping to fix a marriage or forming an exit plan if that is not going to happen. Relate is UK’s “largest provider of relationship support” and helps couples to communicate in a more effective way. This is just one example of what is available for troubled relationships. Going to a marriage therapist can save a marriage or help one see if it is worth saving. The therapist works with the couple and may also see them individually. This is a safe environment to air grievances and to start repairing the relationship. Retrouvaille is a program to help couples heal and renew their hurting marriages. The couple learns how to communicate and reconnect with each other. This program is sometimes considered the last resort to save a marriage. It is a weekend retreat, followed up by sessions.

When considering divorce, it is the couple’s decision and not one done on the opinions of family or friends. Others may not be neutral or care for the spouse. If feeling undecided, talk to a person you trust or have a session with a life coach. Take advantage of the many divorce resources available, including what the divorce process entails. Divorce is emotionally draining and can be expensive. Explore all avenues first before choosing to end your marriage. Whatever path you decide, have a support system in place.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine   thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

Overcoming Loneliness Post-Divorce

It can be a shock going from having a companion (spouse) to being on one’ s own. When a divorce was unexpected and unwanted, it is especially unsettling going out into the world alone. Jumping into a new relationship to ward off loneliness has backfired for some. These individuals brought emotional baggage into it, before working through their feelings. If you are dating to avoid being alone in your house, then consider getting a pet. Adopting an animal is therapeutic and lowers anxiety. The furry friend makes a great confidant for the children.

Adjust your routine so that you are not following the same pattern that you did when married. This helps to alleviate the void in your life. Instead of going to the cinema at night, as you did with your partner, join the other solos at a matinee. If you miss your cappuccino, then go to a coffee house with a community table. One can socialize or read a newspaper, but still be among others. Cafes are following this trend of making it friendlier for single diners, with the option of eating at a large table. It is nice having the opportunity to strike up a conversation with other patrons.

This is the time to join others in activities. Guys I know, participate in sports through the community or with buddies from work. They regularly play racquetball, baseball or rugby with co-workers, post break-up. Delve into new tasks on the job. Several have become involved with the charity sponsored by their company. These individuals met employees from different departments as well as new faces from the non-profit organization.

Evenings and weekends can be challenging to get through when newly single. See if you can change your work schedule to coincide with your lonelier hours. I started an exercise class two evening a week after my divorce. Some divorced folks choose to work on holidays to avoid being alone. Job sites often have a potluck or some type of celebration on these days.

The big part of loneliness post-divorce was losing mutual friends or not knowing how to go about making new ones. What helped me was joining MeetUp.com which is world-wide. We go out to movies, lunch and other venues. Attend your local events. Twice a month our travel bookstore/café hosts travel talks. These are interesting and gives me a chance to connect with other travel enthusiasts. A divorced friend enjoys her dining club and met a nice fellow. Several others are in book clubs.

Please read more:  www.divorcemag.com/blog/conquering-loneliness-post-divorce

Guide To Family Travel Destinations – Wildlife Hotspots

1 bucket listLagoon filled desert trekking (north-east Brazil)

Here are  prime destinations for wildlife spotting, as children are fascinated with animals.  For all these destinations remember  to take your binoculars and a camera with zoom. Additionally do thorough research into any potential travel vaccinations you may need before travelling to these areas.

Wildlife Hotspots

Brazil

It was in this highly diverse and wonderful country that I was blessed enough to see the most majestic of creatures in the wild. A Jaguar! Truly beautiful and incredibly elusive. Living in the mighty Pantanal and taking to the river by boat each day paid off. In jungle environments the majority of wildlife flocks to the river and this is where you have the best opportunity to see birds, monkeys, crocodiles, and unique mammals such as capybara! Jungle treks can be fun but most of the critters will be hiding in the canopies, plus it’s not a great environment for children, I’d recommend going by boat.

The great thing about Brazil is that it has something for everyone, one of the longest coastlines in the world with stunning beaches, tropical rainforests and wetlands, multiple islands, big cities, stunning wildlife, desert oases and probably the world’s most beautiful waterfall. The mighty Iguazú/ Iguassu/Iguaçu Falls.

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   Lagoon filled desert trekking (north-east Brazil)

 African Safari

You really are spoilt for choice for potential wildlife spotting paradise locations in Africa and I don’t have time to go into them all. If you’re looking to spot Gorillas and Chimpanzees then Uganda and Rwanda are the go to locations. If you’re more interested in a general safari experience I can recommend a few countries and national parks.

African safaris are notoriously expensive but there are deals to be found and many solo travellers opt to volunteer at centres for the chance to do a budget safari trip. As a family South Africa’s famous Kruger Park could be a great choice, self drivable options make this affordable and November is a time of year I’ve been recommended to visit. Botswana Chobe park (teeming with wildlife year round), Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park (home to Africa’s largest annual migration event) and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve (famous for big cats) are also fantastic options. Staying just outside of the National Parks is a great way of making your once in a lifetime safari trip affordable.

Ecuador- The Galapagos

I lived in Ecuador for several months, part of this time I spent living in spectacular primary rainforest whilst volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation centre. I got to know the native species and the country well (currency USD by the way). I never had the opportunity to venture to the Galapagos and I’m not sure If I could justify it due to tourism damaging some of the ecology there but that being said it is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. I met many travellers, tourists, families and couples who’d visited and nearly everyone had a mind blowing time there.

It is not cheap but there are many different options. Generally it is better to fly into the city of Guayaquil as it is close to the islands. It is not a nice or particularly family friendly city however and I’d only recommend it as the start location for a trip, not an area to explore. There are countless cruise options, some people chance it and look to book last minute budget cruises upon arrival. Whereas when travelling as a family I understand the importance of peace of mind and having everything arranged in advance. The most affordable option is to take a boat to one of the main islands such as Isabel a, Santa Cruz or San Cristobal, find budget accommodation there and do day trips out to see wildlife in other locations.

Nevertheless, the main experience people come for is the cruise. Do your research as there are countless companies with huge varieties in itinerary and tour length. Also it pays to see what animals you can expect to find and where so you have an idea of the islands you wish to visit, this helpful map can be of some assistance in that regard. There’s no escaping the rich historical and scientific history of The Galapagos and that coupled with the amount of truly unique wildlife makes this an intriguing destination to say the least. Please just make sure you pick an ecologically conscious company!

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an animal lover’s paradise; it’s one of the more expensive areas in Central America but also one of the safest, with relatively widespread English comprehension (however it would pay to brush up on your Spanish before arrival.) US dollars are generally accepted; alternatively your best option is to exchange your currency for Colones at a local bank once inside the country.

Wildlife rich would be an understatement. Whether it’s in a sanctuary or immersed in a cloud forest, rainforest or national park you will be blessed with an abundance of weird and wonderful species to behold in this small nation. The Osa Peninsula would be my personal recommendation. The Corcovado National park is famous here and is home to 140 species of mammal and 462 bird species! The most beautiful jungle to be found in Costa Rica is for me the authentic rainforest of Tortuguero.

3 bucket list

Squirrel monkey (one of the 4 species of monkey you can find in Costa Rica)    

So that concludes the second instalment and my recommendations for wildlife wonders to enjoy with all the family!

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources.

 

Ways to Help Your Teen Get Their First Job

thumbnail_WaystoHelpYourTeenGetTheirFirstJob - CopyMoney can be a touchy topic in any household, especially if you’re a single parent who’s been through a divorce. So nudging your teen to secure gainful employment can work out well for both of you.

As a parent, you can use your teen’s first job to prepare them for adult life, encourage their independence, and impart some lessons on life and personal finance. All these will serve your son or daughter well as they embark on becoming successful adults. Additionally, you’ll get some reprieve as your teen starts funding their individual interests and hobbies, easing the strain on your purse.

Your teen, on the other hand, will enjoy the freedom and independence brought about by earning personal cash. Securing a job and performing well could also give them a leg-up on their college applications, making them stand out from other applicants.

However, you should avoid pushing your teen to take a job that they’re unhappy or uncomfortable with just for the sake of a paycheck. This approach is likely to backfire and foster a negative attitude towards work.

So how do you go about helping your teen land a job? Start with these three tips:

1. Help your teen with their job search.

Sit down with your child and discuss their interests then compare that with the jobs that are available. Many teens are often disappointed to learn that entry-level jobs differ greatly from their dream jobs. Let your teen know that first jobs don’t necessarily have to be in line with their future careers and they won’t be stuck there forever.

Also don’t just assume that it’s easy to land a job or that your tech-savvy teen will know where to start their job search. Give them a helping hand to trawl through online job boards and pointers on how to correctly fill out any job applications. Remind them to respond promptly to any job offers they receive.

2. Help them get ready for their interview.

It is a good idea to hold mock interviews to practice interview skills with your teen so they become comfortable answering common interview questions. Also go over their expected body language (i.e., firm handshake, making eye contact) as well as their dress code. The latter is especially important because first impressions matter and your teen should make the most of it.

Additionally, encourage them to ask questions of their own to clear up anything they haven’t understood during the interview. This indicates their level of confidence and interest in the job.

3. Encourage a positive attitude and strong work ethic.

Your teen’s first job can be a drag sometimes, but they can still make the most of it. There’s always something they can learn, e.g. how to handle cranky customers professionally, how to work with people from different backgrounds, etc.

Encourage your teen to keep an open mind and positive attitude at work. Things like arriving promptly to work, being respectful to everyone, filling in for others when required and meeting work expectations will help them stand out and show their boss that they have what it takes to succeed.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

 

Surviving Stress: The Women’s Guide to Getting Through the Day-to-Day

Every woman knows the feeling: After countless days of work, eat, sleep, and little else, energy drops to an all-time low and sanity starts to waver. You question why you’re working so hard at all, and if any of it even matters. It’s all too easy to let the stresses of daily life get you down, but giving up isn’t the answer. What you need is to regain balance in your life so you can bring your best to each and every day. Here’s how.

Manage Stress at Work

Even if you love your job, spending 40-plus hours a week at work can wear on you. Whether it’s an overly-demanding boss, inefficient coworkers, or just the mundanity of the same thing day in and day out, a full-time job is bound to get to you. When it does, you’ll need strategies to cope.

When it comes to stress management, the best offense is a good defense, so make sure you’re practicing good sleep and diet habits and working exercise into your schedule. A healthy lifestyle is one of the best defenses against stress and its cousins, depression and anxiety.

To ensure enough time to take care of your personal needs, set professional boundaries with an eye on work-life balance. Don’t make a habit of working overtime. If your boss gives you a project with an unrealistic deadline, negotiate the timeline rather than scrambling to get it done. Colleagues constantly interrupting your lunch break with work requests? Start leaving the building during lunch so you can use that hour to relax.

When you walk out of the office at the end of the day, turn work off. No matter how strong the temptation, don’t check your email or squeeze in “just one more hour” of work. Avoid venting about work as much as possible, and when you just have to, stick to a hard limit of 20 minutes. The last thing you want is for your workplace stresses to seep into your home life.

Practice Self-Care

Women today are expected to do it all — have a successful career, a loving relationship, happy children, and a Pinterest-worthy home — but living up to those unrealistic standards can leave little time for actually being happy. Try to focus less on outward appearances and more on taking care of your own needs.

What does that look like? For starters, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep each night and eating healthy meals. Eating well both preserves your health long-term and keeps you happier and more energetic now. In fact, good nutrition has been linked to better health outcomes in everything from cardiovascular health to mental health.

But self-care is about more than meeting your basic needs. It’s about building a rich personal life that brings you joy and fulfillment. That means making time for hobbies, cultivating new interests, spending time with the people you care about, and practicing gratitude every day.

Bond with Your Pet

Pets take care of us in more ways than we give them credit for. In fact, the simple act of being in the presence of a furry friend has emotional benefits. Spending quality time with your pet can be an instant mood-booster and can help stabilize your stress over the long-term.

If you don’t currently share your home with a critter, consider adopting one from your local shelter. Saving the life of an animal in need will instantly lift your spirits every time you see your new family member. If adopting isn’t an option, you can enjoy the emotional perks of spending time with animals by offering to help with friends’ pets, such as by dog boarding in your home or even dog walking.

Nurture Your Relationships

When everything is going wrong at work and life is a mess, it’s friends and loved ones that can lift you up and get you back on your feet. That’s why no matter how busy life gets, it’s critical to always nurture your personal relationships.

Social relationships are so important that they actually help us stay happier and live longer. To make sure you sustain this pillar of wellness, carve out time every week to connect with your friends, family, and romantic partners. Whether it’s a Saturday barbecue or a quick phone call, making time for relationships helps them grow stronger.

Of course, personal relationships aren’t without their own stresses. Whether it’s a boyfriend or a best friend, work through your relationship issues respectfully and lovingly. Arguments come and go, but when you treat them right, good people stay by your side for a lifetime.

Life can be overwhelming at times, but when you take care of yourself and prioritize your needs, you can get through whatever the day throws at you. Try implementing these tips in your daily life as part of your journey to a less stressful, more centered life.

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website learnfit.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Healthy in Body, Mind, and Spirit, After Divorce

photo-1498568715259-5c1dc96aa8e7 - CopyAnyone who has been through a divorce will easily understand why the process ranks second in the iconic Holmes and Rahe stress scale. Such a big change in one’s personal life has a significant impact on your financial situation, home stability, and, sometimes, social status. Living a happy, healthy life post-divorce can be challenging, but it can definitely be achieved by keeping your body and mind in optimal shape. In this post, we discuss the importance of approaching health in an integrated manner, during the post-divorce weeks and months.

What Happens to Your Body when You are Stressed?

Stress is more than a state of worry or anxiety; when present chronically, it can cause elevated blood pressure, digestive problems, and headaches, and it is linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. There are no big secrets when it comes to being physically fit. Daily exercise (aim for 30 to 40 minutes) and a sound, Mediterranean diet (comprising lean proteins, seasonal fruits and veggies, nuts, and healthy fats such as olive and flaxseed oil) are key.

Foods for Life and Adaptogens

Stressful times call for extra measures, and this means placing a bigger emphasis on life-enhancing superfoods such as apples (linked to a reduce risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes), apricots (which are a known immunity booster) and blueberries (rich in anthocyanin, a flavonoid thought to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes). These are just a few of a vast list of superfoods, so feel free to experiment with new ones depending on the results you wish to achieve.

Back these up if you are feeling low with amazing adaptogens. As noted by beauty guru, Leslie Kenton, these are herbs and roots that “improve your ability to adapt to all forms of stress, while at the same time helping to normalize its biochemical effects.”

Some of the best known adaptogens include Siberian ginseng (thought to promote better sleep, increased stamina, and clearer thinking), suma (a wild root said to raise energy levels and increase endurance), and echinacea (an excellent detoxifying supplement).

Making Room for Mindfulness

Mindfulness based activities such as yoga and meditation are currently used across the globe in top centers catering to a numerous conditions, including eating disorders, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.

Yoga is also recommended to deal with stress caused by diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, and heart disease, with researchers strongly recommending this millenary practise as a complementary therapy following their successful findings.

Study after study has shown that yoga, meditation and even Tai Chi significantly lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol, and boost energy levels and mood. Scientists belief their success has to do with their emphasis on mind-body control and on pranayamic breathing (which is a powerful way to stop a panic attack in its tracks, as well as keep the mind ‘in the here and now’, instead of focused on the past or in a state of worry about the future).

When going through a divorce, it is vital to approach health and fitness from a multi-faceted perspective that encompasses both traditional healthy nutrition and exercise, as well as activities that work on a mental and spiritual plane. By committing to yourself and exercising self-compassion, health and wellbeing can be two core values that shape your life for the better.

 Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  

Family Travel Bucket List Destinations – Island Getaways

IMG_5944 Island Getaways that will please both children and parents. Guest author shares his tips and experiences for where to go on holiday.

Something I’ve spoken about before is the benefit of travel. By the time I was 25 I’d visited around 40 countries. This may seem a lot but considering there are upwards of 200 and the fact that I’ve met plenty of people who´ve surpassed 100 puts this figure in perspective. Of course travel shouldn’t be about quantity of places or ticking names off a list, quality of experience is much more valuable. I merely highlighted my relative travel experience to give some context in regards to my view point and hopefully some credence too!

I first left the UK when I was three. All I remember of Italy was a beautiful but stony beach; however that doesn’t mean to say there was no benefit in this experience. Being introduced to other cultures and countries at a young age definitely left an impression on me, it fed my longing for adventure as a young child. This developed in to wanderlust at a later age and has most certainly helped define who I am as an adult. The thing about travel is that no matter what your or your children’s fascinations are there is something for everyone. History, engineering, farming, art, culture, music, trekking, adventure, sports, relaxation and well-being, wildlife, science, food, architecture, religion and geography are all topics you can indulge in and learn about all over the world.

I previously emphasized the value of the precious family time and togetherness that a vacation provides, whilst simultaneously helping you de-stress and your children learn and grow. Now I’d like to give some more practicable and specific information pertaining to different destinations.

Once you become responsible for children of your own your ideal holiday destination changes in accordance with their likes and dislikes and also becomes dependent on what type of trip will give you the least stress! In the past I never understood the fascination people had with holiday resorts. For me they are never representative of the country you are visiting. Now I whole heartedly recognize the attraction. The ease in which they can booked, the reliable safety of the locations, the lack of issues to consider and the relative ease in which all the family can be pleased. However my experience on these types of trips is limited, what I’d like to do is give a breakdown on some unique bucket list holiday destinations. Even if you just managed to visit one of these places in your lifetime it will be a uniquely rewarding experience for everyone involved!

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Lesser Known Island Getaways

South East Asia

A well-trodden backpacking trail but still an area of the world filled with hidden gems and getaways that would make a special family trip. The first thing you’ll notice about South-East Asia is the price, it is incredibly cheap.

Indonesia is one of the cheapest countries in the world to travel around and is really quite a large country with plenty of tropical island paradise spots, Bali and the Gili Islands being the most famous but the nearby Lombok is my personal favourite. This lesser known cousin of Bali offers some postcard perfect beaches without the tourists. For the adventure seekers there is volcano trekking and also Indonesia is the only place in the world where you can see, in the wild, the planets biggest lizard and living dinosaur: the Komodo dragon. The nearby islands of Flores, Rinca and Komodo can be reached easily by boat for this excursion. Alternatively you shouldn’t pass on the opportunity for a boating day trip for snorkelling, diving or just island hopping!

The Philippines consists of over 7000 islands! You really are spoilt for choice here. Whether you’re interested in swimming with whale sharks, exploring forests full of the world’s smallest monkeys, hiking through traditional rice terraces or walking a picturesque beach at sunset on your own island, The Philippines is special. Less explored than traditional destinations such as Thailand, nevertheless The Philippines is on the rise as tourist hotspot. Manila is a nightmare of an airport but you can catch very economical internal flights to the white sands of Boracay, the turquoise waters of Palawan and everywhere in between. Island hopping in Palawan introduced me to the most perfect islands I’ve ever seen in my life.

Caribbean islands

A cruise can be fantastic for a family holiday but if you’re not ready to splash out and would prefer to see one or two islands in depth I can definitely make some suggestions.

Aruba is a beautiful island which much like Hawaii is easily traversable by car but can be managed in less time as it is a really small island (with a MUCH smaller population.) It is very safe and the whole population appears to be multi-lingual, fluent in English, Spanish, Dutch and Papiamento the local language, popular in the Dutch West Indies. To my ears this language sounds similar to Portuguese. There are beautiful uncrowded beaches in abundance and the locals are very friendly, amiable people. You will have no problem using US dollars here and for the adventure seeking there are plenty of options from renting dune buggy type vehicles to diving and water sports.

St Lucia is becoming a popular honeymoon spot for a reason. The island’s rugged dramatic scenery is attracting more and more visitors each year but yet St. Lucia remains far from overdeveloped and you get a real sense of nature and natural beauty here. Again English is widely spoken and the US dollar regularly accepted. Your time here can be spent relaxing or adventuring with all the family! Rainforest hikes, ziplining, volcanoes and waterfalls, this island has it all!

So there you have it, the first instalment of my unconventional family holiday bucket list destinations!

This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources and a scholarship program for single parents.

 

Can A Reverse Mortgage Benefit A Divorce Settlement?

photo-1515180711443-f8685c6d6a74Divorce shouldn’t mean your life is over, but rather a new beginning to living life according to your rules. “Grey divorce” is becoming quite common as nearly one in ten marriages ends after being together for more than 40 years, according to Pew Research. As for the causes, this has been happening for various reasons – one of which is due to retirement. Elderly couples are looking to make their golden years enjoyable, even if life was either too busy or stressful in the past. So, can a reverse mortgage benefit a divorce settlement?

Dividing the Assets

Seniors often have many assets that are shared and nearly impossible to split. During negotiations, a family home is often one of the most sought-after assets as they are usually paid off and hold a lot of equity. That is why divorcees over the age of 63 are looking to compromise on a divorce settlement and help settle their assets with the help of a reverse mortgage. One of the benefits of a reverse mortgage is how it allows one partner to continue living in the home without paying for a mortgage nor have access to equity funds.

Splitting the Benefits of Homeownership

During the divorce settlement, splitting the home asset is usually the first decision to make. Instead of selling the home entirely, spouses could choose who can stay in the home and keep the reverse mortgage while the other party receives the equity funds. This useful tool helps couples reach an agreement without further complications. However, it is important to understand that the spouse who continues to stay in the home will be held responsible for certain obligations such as homeowners insurance and property taxes.

Provide Less Drastic Financial Changes

Perhaps the couple is used to living off two solid incomes – whether it be from owning a business, social security, or pensions from their retirement. After a divorce, both parties will be forced to adjust to the sudden drop in income. In some cases, getting the home in the settlement can be a huge benefit. The funds may come in a line of credit, monthly installments, or a lump sum. Additionally, if you plan to sell the home, using a reverse mortgage can help you purchase an entirely new home within your price range. What’s more, you will not have to worry about making the mortgage payments.

Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  

Creative Child Care Solutions As A Single Parent

It can be challenging juggling childcare as a single parent. The key is to have Plan B. Seems children get sick when a parent has a mandatory meeting or work project.   Enlist people ahead of time to be available in case of an emergency. Several parents I know have used up all of their stick leave on ill babies and toddlers. They learned the hard way to have someone on speed dial for that eventuality. Talk to a neighbour to see if they are able to be a last-minute fill in if your little one needs to come home from school. Possibly a friend who works from home can plug a childcare gap when you have to be on the job. You can reciprocate the favour another time.

If you have your own office it may be feasible to bring along an older child who is recovering. Pack books, art supplies and snacks. My insurance agent allows his secretary to have her son there after school every day while she does her tasks She has her boy go into the waiting area when a client needs to speak to her. Maybe you can make arrangements to work at home if your child has a stomach bug. Several offices permit older kids to take over the conference room during a bank holiday or short break. This helps the organizations to keep their employees on the job. Some hospitals and companies have nurseries, like the one I attended where my mother was a nurse. Ask co-workers how they are handling their childcare needs.

If you are able to negotiate with your co-parent, perhaps you can split up school holidays. Then neither one of you has to find childcare for the entire period. Some divorced people remain on good terms with former in-laws who are happy to babysit. They enjoy seeing the grandchildren and the single parent on a tight budget gets a break. In one case, a woman’s former mother-in-law watched her daughter and a divorced friend’s one also. The girls had great fun with that gran.

Talk to your friends and see if they are willing to share a nanny. Parents I know hired a caregiver who watches a group of children and rotates houses on a weekly basis. It is cheaper when more parents share a caregiver. I did this with my older son. One’s family can help out too. My mum did some of the school runs after my divorce.

If you and your friends are on flexible or different work schedules, consider watching each other’s kids. This also is helpful when you want a bit of time to yourself or to get errands done quickly. Check into what clubs or activities there are after school. Often, they are free or low cost. Scouts, sports and chess are a few of them. My mother sent me to sleep over or day camp when she wanted to pick up extra shifts as a nurse. Then she had a block of time to be off from the hospital to spend with me.

When married, I ran a medical practice plus was the nurse. Soon after my divorce I changed jobs within my profession that would better suit my childcare needs. I became a school nurse with a work schedule that coincided with my sons’ one. See if you can change jobs or tweak the one you already have. My solicitor that I hired for post-divorce issues, left the law office everyday by 4 pm to be with her young daughter. She returned e-mails or read documents when the girl was doing homework or in bed. Other people have been able to adjust their jobs to work part-time from home.

Your children’s teachers can be a resource for childcare. They are usually up-to-date on what is available in the community and may know individuals who babysit. There are web sites who post caregivers and their credentials. It seems like only a few months ago I was juggling childcare and now I have an Empty Nest.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

Marriage & Divorce Globally- A Statistical Comparison

Divorce

There’s nothing wrong with divorce and it shouldn’t be seen as a dirty word. The fact that it conflicts with various world religions’ teachings and traditions was a reason for prejudice surrounding divorce in the past. Thankfully in progressive society, although it is something never to be taken lightly and family values are still at the forefront in the world of parenting, divorce is an accepted option. No one deserves to be trapped in an unhappy marriage that may be affecting their children negatively as well.

Data from 2014 divulges divorce rates (divorce to marriage ratio) by country in an interesting and easily interpreted diagram here. What we can gather from this data is that the traditional view of religion or conservative religious belief holding marriages together and affecting divorce rates doesn’t always ring true. Chile is a religious country and consequently does have a very low divorce rate. However a predominantly Catholic country like Spain actually appears to have a much higher rate of divorce than the relatively secular Scandinavian counties. How divorce is perceived internationally is often dependent on a country’s societal and cultural attitudes not just religion. The research does have its limitations with information missing for various countries.

Further studies have shown that within the US the Bible belt doesn’t necessarily have lower rates of divorce in comparison with the rest of the country. Although the south-central and south eastern states have long been associated with the promotion of conservative views both politically and socially, the data suggests that divorce rates don’t correlate with the higher rates of religion in these areas.

Marriage

Findings amongst OECD countries show that the number of marriages in recent years is declining. This runs concurrently with the average age of people when they decide to marry increasing. In some countries it is common to marry at a much older age than others, this can be accounted for by the culture of prolonged co-habitation before marriage which is prominent in Scandinavia for example. This indicates that a decline in marriages isn’t automatically a bad thing! People taking further consideration before getting involved in a serious legal and loving engagement can be a sensible course of action.

Something to keep in mind when comparing global divorce and marriage statistics is that there is a big variance in divorce process, length, cost and procedure as well as varying stipulations which all affect the average marriage and divorce length and rates.

Divorce perceptions

Divorce will most likely always have a certain amount of taboo attached to it. A survey in the UK found that half of couples that divorce feel ashamed and a sense of failure, with women twice as likely as men to express these feelings. This can partly be attributed to the added and unequal societal pressure and expectation placed on women in these situations. I’ll go back to what I said earlier, nobody deserves to be unhappy or trapped and it doesn’t have to be somebody’s fault that things didn’t work out. You shouldn’t have to feel judged; frequently divorce is in the best interests of the whole family.

Some people will tell you that parenting only really starts post-divorce and it is certainly true that challenges occur when you begin parenting separately, sharing custody and co-parenting using two different houses. Not to mention when you start to design and agree on a custody schedule. There are plenty of resources available online and on this website to help you become accustomed to this new situation. Whichever country you reside in, if you are separating from your partner, don’t worry. Millions of people are going through the same process, you are not alone!

Krishan Smith, author of this article, is the new senior editor at Custody X Change, a custody software specialist company. He’s originally from the UK but now living in Colombia.

 

Traveling With Children Post-Divorce

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Why is travel important?

Travel is sometimes a necessity. People need to travel for work, to visit family but also to have important relaxation time and breaks from the day to day schedule. Studies have shown that compared to other OECD countries Americans get the least paid public holidays and least paid vacation time

However travel can broaden the mind, it can be necessary to de-stress and maintain productivity in the workplace for when you return. Furthermore it is essential in terms of having quality work-free time with your children. Divorce shouldn’t change that time. It is important for bonding and for your child’s development. Family holidays are generally always remembered well into adulthood and for some families they become a rare time when there is enjoyment, indulgence and new exciting experiences for everyone. The lack of set routine, pressure and stress is always a bonus factor.

Never underestimate the importance of planning!

Divorced parents should try and continue giving their children these experiences. In fact usually there are court ordered specific allotted holiday times for each parent, often solidified in a custody agreement or parenting plan. These can take the spontaneity out of planning a trip but at least it adds to the anticipation for the kids! After divorce you will find travelling with your children takes additional planning anyway. You have to respect the sometimes legally binding allotted holiday periods each parent has. You should inform your ex-spouse of the details of your trip and all relevant travel arrangements. This could include expenses, dates, destinations, hotel names, addresses and phone numbers, plus expected methods of communication whilst away. Planning is always productive in terms of trips, it helps anticipate and deal with potential issues whilst managing your time better in order to get the most out of your holiday. The longer and further away the trip the more planning is generally required, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun to sometimes slightly wing it though!

Whatever you do you should remember that post-divorce you need to pay even more attention to saving the relevant travel documents in order to avoid any hiccups. It could also be important to save correspondence with your ex pertaining to the trip in the unlikely event that they try to deny that you have confirmed these preparations with them previously. Another factor to consider is where your child’s travel documents are kept. If you have physical custody of your child you may assume the most logical place is in your house. Get it in writing; the last thing you want is an argument over passport access a few hours before your flight!

When travelling with children safety always comes first. You have to consider factors that maybe weren’t high priority for you when you backpacked Asia on your gap year! Now in the likely event that you’ll be the sole adult on the holiday your responsibility is increased. The US government website provides breakdowns on countries by profile; you can get current safety levels, necessary vaccinations and travel advice.

Controlling your innate feeling isn’t easy!

Something I’ve talked about before is the emotional sacrifice necessary to let your child spend the holidays with your ex. It is common to feel the need to interfere in their plans and be aware of every minute detail, whilst simultaneously feeling slight resentment that your ex is getting to have fun with your child without you. Why should they get to have all the fun whilst you’re stuck with the day to day grind, the meal preparations and school runs? Maybe the financial ramifications of divorce have left you unable to take your child on the type of trips your ex can, this is bound to leave a bitter taste in your mouth. However, you have to try and break free from that way of thinking. The trip is for your child and if it’s in their best interests then you should go with it. There are countless potential issues and feelings that will arise when it comes to your child holidaying without you, the best way to tackle these is consider as many as possible. The fewer surprises, the lower your frustration and angst will be.

Summary

Whilst post-divorce there are certain conditions and obstacles that weren’t prevalent before, the bottom line is that this shouldn’t stop you travelling with your child. Travelling can teach them new responsibilities, social skills, tolerance and respect for different cultures whilst strengthening the bond between you both. Travelling and holidays can be important educational opportunities; this importance should not be overlooked or undervalued!

Krishan Smith, author of this article, is the new senior editor at Custody X Change, a custody software specialist company. He’s originally from the UK but now living in Colombia.

 

Vacations With Your Children In Their Twenties

image5 ship 2017Vacationing with your youngsters was easy. If they got tired of culture, a neighborhood park was fun. Watching squirrels and birds was a blast. Twenty somethings are more of a challenge to keep them amused. Going on vacation requires plenty of pre-planning for this age group. One friend says that her sons want to go to “hot spots to pick up chicks.” A trip to Iceland was fascinating for these young men. -hiking among waterfalls, over lava rocks and being awed by geysers. At night while she and her husband rested their old bones, the lads went clubbing. All were happy.

Choosing destinations that will keep older teens and ones in their twenties entertained is important.

A lovely resort on a small island was magical for my young sons. The children’s club was top-notch where they were exposed to Caribbean culture, songs and cooking. The boys learned about marine life while strolling along the beach and the rainforest was their outdoor classroom. Fast forward a decade. Two bored teens begged their former playroom teachers to let them come back with the little ones for various activities. Learned my lesson. We recently went to Dominican Republic which is a larger island with more action, such as ziplining. There is the Water World complex which has marine life, events and a casino. They were pleased. The mountains were breath-taking and that alone was enough for me.

Our latest trip to the Caribbean was a cruise. On quieter islands – more known for beaches than nightlife – my twenty something companions found entertainment on board. There were shows, games, dancing, and staff who were their ages. My older son befriended two who worked in the Dutch Café. He had been to their homeland, The Netherlands, and enjoyed talking with them every evening over cappuccino or beer. These lively young adults were the highlight of my son’s cruise. At the beginning of a cruise, there is a gathering scheduled for singles. On one, it was for twenty somethings only and this group hung out together most of the time.

Traveling with twenty somethings who have much younger siblings can be tricky.

The islands that we explored have attractions for a wide variety of ages. The brightly painted buildings in Curaçao are stunning. Its city Willemstad, one of the larger ones we visited, has an aquarium and maritime museum which are appealing. Wandering around the centuries old alleyways is an adventure in itself. The twenty somethings enjoyed the nightlife and the fireworks display. Aruba has a butterfly farm and a compact downtown area very close to the pier. Easy to navigate with a stroller and charming pubs with local brew for the young adults. We spent most of our time on Gran Turk at the beach. There is an informative exhibit of when astronaut John Glen landed here after being the first American to orbit Earth.

Bonaire is a paradise with water so clear one can look down and see beautiful tropical fish and coral. No wonder it is one of the dive capitals of the world. While older ones are part-taking in the plethora of water sports, the youngsters can splash around in the warm ocean. The shells, coral and beach glass washed ashore are amazing. To get to the city (Kralendijk) from the pier, one goes through the historical Fort Oranje whose walls are partially constructed with coral. The shops and cafes contained within these walls are patrolled by iguanas. Kids of varying ages will enjoy the craft markets particularly on Dominican Republic and Bonaire. Talking to the locals and seeing their wares was educational and fun at these venues.

A cruise is a good way to have a family reunion when there are three generations with various interests and energy levels. Look for resorts or hotels that have a kids ‘club, and activities, such as water sports. The older ones can learn surfing, go snorkelling and swim in deeper water. The wee ones enjoy sitting on the beach making sandcastles or playing with a plastic bucket and spade (which I would pack). For city adventures, the tots can be wheeled around in a stroller when exploring the new locale with the whole family. After doing sightseeing that is interesting to all, the older siblings can part ways to concentrate on what they want to do. Parents sometimes travel with a paid nanny to take the baby back for a nap or playtime. Others like me, bring along a granny. My mother would get tired tramping around ruins and museum at about the same time as my youngest. Those two would head back to the hotel or ship for down time.

Tips on making vacations more affordable.

  • US News & World Report has information on credit cards with no transaction fees creditcards.usnews.com/no-foreign-transaction-fee Make sure that you are billed in local currency on your credit card and not in US Dollars. The venders’ exchange rate is higher. My credit card is with an airline and I use it for almost all purchases. I get at least one free trip overseas each year.
  • Skip the expensive internet packages aboard ships. It is easy to find free Wi-Fi at coffee shops in ports and cities. Soft drink packages can also be pricey. Satisfy your craving ashore. If you are planning on cruising again, passengers can get extra discounts when booking for another one while still onboard.
  • Consider making purchases more in the middle of a city. In Curaçao, one son reported beer was almost half the price three streets from the harbor front. In Prague I paid more than double for crystal necklaces bought on the Old Town Square.
  • Consider booking directly with the hotel or wherever you are going. In London, I e-mail the hotel and since they know me, they give a much lower rate than available on any discount site. Book early for better prices. Be on an e-mail list for last minute deals. A friend and I went on a European river cruise when we were able to grab a cabin a week or so before departure.

When travelling with family of vastly different ages, pack your sense of humour and curiosity. Leave expectations at home.

 

 

 

 

Avoiding Debt During Your Divorce

Even though divorce can be hard, it can provide a new beginning, a fresh start from where to build a new independent life. With plenty to consider at this time, planning ahead can be vital in ensuring you have a financially stable future. Although daunting, this process provides the opportunity to refresh your financial situation and take control of any previous money issues.

There are a number of finance options available, including consolidation and refinancing, to ensure that you can stay financially afloat, whilst also getting the support to turn your life around and find happiness again. Before you potentially encounter financial concerns and worries, there are some simple tips you can follow in order to solve financial issues between yourself and your ex, making a smoother move forward.

Removing names for joint accounts

A simple task that is often forgotten involves the removal of additional names from a joint account. Although this is not always possible if there is debt owed, you can request that the account is put on hold. This will prevent your ex-partner, or yourself, from using the account and accumulating more debt. Once the debt has been settled remember, to close the account immediately.

Pay up as soon as possible

Although few people are in the situation where they can pay off their debt, especially during a divorce, it is important that you create a plan in order to do so as quickly as possible. The sooner this can be done the better, and if you and your ex are amicable it can make for a much easier divorce process, without having to battle out who will be paying for what account. Again, as soon as the account is zeroed, close it down.

Cancel old accounts

Perhaps you have previously opened a joint account with another bank and forgotten to close it? When separating many people create new accounts and go to alternative banks, however if they inquire and find they already have an account existing they can start using it again. If this is a joint account than any debt created on the account will also be in your name. Hopefully your ex would not knowingly create debt issues for you, however it is best to check that all old accounts are closed down in case you or your old partner decide you wish to open a new account with the bank.

With a divorce you do not need the further stress and worry of financial issues pilling up. If you can make sensible choices in this time, you should be able to avoid the unnecessary worry of getting into financial difficulty and see the independence as a move toward a better future. That way, you will have the time and energy to focus on the important things like you and your family’s happiness.

      Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  

How To Help Your Teen Deal With Anxiety About School

Anxiety is a common affliction, especially these days. Many of us feel it when we’re in public spaces, at school, or in a new situation. Sometimes it pops up when we’re not expecting it, and it can be difficult to get rid of. Coping with anxiety is tricky, especially when we don’t understand what’s at the root of it. For many teens, this feeling comes and goes, but for others, anxiety is a daily occurrence that can affect performance in school if not checked.   

It’s important, then, to talk to your teen about those feelings and let her know that it’s totally normal. Sometimes, feeling weird or different only adds to the anxiety, and it builds up until we hardly know ourselves anymore. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to identify it and learn how to handle it. Here are some of the best.   

Let her know it’s normal  

If your teen is experiencing anxiety and it’s affecting her at school, talk to her about what she’s feeling and let her know that it’s totally normal. The idea that she’s different than her peers may be contributing to the negative feelings, so assure her that, on average, about 1 in 5 young people deal with anxiety every day.   

Differentiate  

Help your teen learn that there’s a difference between feeling something and being her own person. Those feelings of anxiety are not tied to her personality; they are temporary and will go away, whereas her ideas, thoughts, and personality are all her own.   

Listen   

Because school is such a big part of a teen’s life, having anxiety about some aspect of it can affect many different things, such as academic performance, sleep, eating habits, behavior, and can even cause physical issues that seem like an illness, such as stomach trouble or shaky hands. Talk to your teen and listen to the things that make her feel worried or negative, then help her figure out the best way to overcome those feelings. If she’s scared she won’t get good test scores for college, help her study or set her up with a tutor. Let her know that you’re there for her and that you’ll get through the exams together.   

Get help  

Sometimes anxiety comes on so strong it requires therapy or counseling. Don’t be afraid to talk to your teen about seeking support from a counselor or therapist who is trained to handle these things. There may be some resistance at first, but having a conversation with someone who understands all the ways anxiety can affect a young person can be very eye-opening.   

Be patient  

Staying patient can be difficult, especially if you don’t understand what your teen is feeling. Remember that anxiety can show itself in many different forms, and don’t take it personally if an emotional outburst occurs. It’s most likely just your teen’s way of letting off some of that steam.   

Explore coping methods  

A therapist can help you find many ways to cope with anxiety, but one of the most popular is meditation. It can help by focusing the mind on the present, rather than allowing our thoughts to get away from us in worrying about the future or the past. Talk to your teen about taking up yoga, or simply sitting in a quiet space and narrowing down the thoughts to focus on breathing.   

Remember that many forms of anxiety are only temporary, and they can all be coped with once your teen finds the best way to do so for her. Use this as a time to talk about negative coping methods that should be avoided. Ultimately, try to be patient and let her know you’re there for her.   

Author of this article, Tilda Moore, researches and writes about educational resources for openeducators.org. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information.

Podcast on Divorcing a Narcissist- Tips and Strategies

Podcast from London’s Divorce Sux on Divorcing a Narcissist. Tips and strategies for getting through proceedings and co-parenting with this individual. Guideline for dealing with narcissists in general and how they differ from sociopaths.    soundcloud.com/divorcesux/divorcing-a-narcissist-ep009

Parenting and Co-Parenting: Country Comparisons

Different approaches to child raising

Internationally there are always going to be differences in most aspects of life from culture to food, sport to conduct. Parenting is no exception, with a new culture comes a new perspective. With new perspectives come opportunities for learning and adaptation.

Many countries adopt a group parenting method, where extended family and more often than not close family friends collectively help look after and raise children. This usually occurs in countries where large close families are common but also where family time is of paramount importance. This includes countries such as Spain, Italy, Greece, India, Brazil and Colombia. The fact that internationally children are staying at home until a later age could actually aid this system and improve extended family relations, whilst hopefully instilling some responsibility in the otherwise dependent child!

Japan is interesting in that the idea of spoiling children is relatively foreign to the Japanese, co-sleeping is the norm and a baby’s cries are always responded to without fear of over-spoiling. They hold dear to the mantra of unconditional love whilst simultaneously managing to raise children who are more independent than in the majority of other countries. Children in Japan learn to make journeys and use public transport alone from a very early age!

Parental leave can be incredibly important for developmental bonding between parents and children. Scandinavian countries have long offered a system whereby mothers and fathers can share parental leave, something only recently adopted in the United Kingdom and relatively non-existent in the US (except in California). By contrast in Sweden fathers are said to have up to 480 days of paternity leave!

Single parent trends  

You can find some interesting data and statistics on general households and single parents in OECD countries here. The data sheds light on the position of the US in terms of single parent mother/father households in comparison to other developed nations. Amongst these nations Denmark and the United Kingdom have the highest percentage of single parent households with 29% and 28% respectively; the United States is just behind with 27%.

Single mother households always outnumber single father households; however the US has a relatively high number of single father households, according to the 2016 census 40% of these being due to divorce. Statistics show that sadly many of these single parent families are not receiving support from their ex-spouse. The good news is that these family situations are becoming more acceptable socially and prejudice/societal pressure is not as strong as it once was.

In summary   

There’s no perfect formula but don’t be afraid to seek inspiration globally for any parenting questions or issues you may have. Furthermore don’t overlook the importance of reaching an agreement with your ex-partner in regards to co-parenting. It may seem acceptable to keep this agreement verbal but later down the road you may come to regret this. Opinions change and disputes arise, it can pay to have certain points written down. Attorneys can help you draft these documents or you can use custody software to generate co-parenting agreements/schedules. If you’re divorced and looking to share custody of your child from different countries or areas of the world then mediation can help the situation. You need to reach key agreements, design a specific but flexible parenting plan and keep communication a central theme of your and your child’s relationship. This last point cannot be emphasized enough!

Krishan Smith, author of this article, is the new senior editor at Custody X Change, a custody software specialist company. He’s originally from the UK but now living in Colombia.

 

Teaching Your Kid to Be a Gracious Loser from Time To Time

smooth loserFrom their youngest days, you can see that kids are interested in winning. Whenever they play together, they find games to play involving a clear winner and a clear loser. Since we’ve learned in our adult years that winning is not always possible, it may be wise to help our children cope with losing from time to time. Many of the most successful people in the world overcame extreme difficulties, suffering loss after loss, never giving into the temptation to quit. Competition is a normal part of life. We compete in sports, academically, for jobs and promotions, even for love. We can teach our children to lose graciously so they can move forward in life pursuing their dreams instead of remaining stuck with feelings of failure.

The Role of Parents

Parents play an integral role in the lives of their children. From the moment our children are born, we’re teaching them all that we know about life: how to develop our talents and interests, how to deal with our feelings and emotions, and even everyday things as simple as the act of play. Our children will reflect the examples they are shown at home by their parents. If the parent becomes frustrated when experiencing loss, the child will pick up on the parent’s attitude and learn to reflect this behavior.

One way to set a positive example during situations where you child must deal with loss (either in sport or in life matters such as a parents divorce), open and frequent communication about the current circumstances can really help your child to internalize what is happening. This is admittedly easier when the end of the marriage is amicable. Both parents can model how to be a good sport and show kids that progress can be found even when certain things must come to an end.

The Art of Losing

There will be circumstances when kids will lose while their parent isn’t present. At recess, during play dates, in school, and away from home, children and teens will be presented with opportunities to win or lose. What should they do if perhaps a parent isn’t there to comfort them or guide them down a healthy emotional path? They will need to learn to be fair with each other as well as hold each other and themselves accountable to the rules that have been put in place. If they explode in anger at an unfair call, this could result in no longer being invited to participate. But if they’re generous, fair, and reasonable, other will recognize these traits and enjoy spending time with them in competition.

Demonstrating Good Sportsmanship

Kids can show good sportsmanship in the following ways

  • Play fair and do not cheat others or yourself.
  • Work hard during practice.
  • Be polite. Don’t trash talk.
  • Do your best without showing off.
  • Give others the opportunity to play even if you need to sit out.
  • Compliment your opponent after a loss or a win.
  • Follow the advice of your coaches.
  • Listen to officials. Wait until after the game to ask for clarification about a bothersome call.
  • Accept a loss and don’t blame others — including yourself.
  • Encourage your teammates by cheering even if you are losing.

If your child no longer enjoys the sport or starts to take it too seriously, it might be time for a break. Remind him or her you win in life by treating others kindly instead of being a poor sport.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

Having Happier, Healthier Post-Divorce Holidays

Weathering the holidays after a divorce can be difficult for a newly-single parent. You’re trying to make sure the season is a fun, festive time for kids whose family photos will likely look a lot different this year than last, while possibly balancing the wants and needs of the other parent.  

But, even with all of those demands, it’s critical to take care of your own physical and mental health, particularly if the despair of divorce left you depressed. Here are some suggestions that could help you and your loved ones have a happier holiday season. 

Share the Season 

Under most circumstances, both divorced parents should share the joys of the season with their children. To make that as painless as possible for everyone involved, it’s important to set a schedule you can agree on and communicate clearly. Rather than visiting one another’s new homes — which may well be decked with holiday decorations you once shared, or sadly under-adorned — consider dropping off and picking up the kids on some neutral ground that’s festively festooned for the season.   

If the kids are staying with your ex for a while, make plans to spend time with others rather than going it alone. You may also consider joining a support group or signing up for volunteer opportunities. Doing for others will help keep you from dwelling on your divorce, according to Divorce Magazine. Studies have also shown that volunteering can lower depression, increase people’s sense of well being, and even lead to a longer life span. Experts say the positive effects could come from the good feelings volunteering creates, the increased social connections, or the simple act of getting off the couch.   

In addition to making time for others, you should devote some days to self-care. Make sure you’re getting enough rest, eating right, and exercising. Burning off some calories justifies some guilt-free holiday indulgences. Finding time during the hectic holiday season to work up a sweat and balancing good nutrition with an occasional slice of pie will also help boost your spirits without having the same effect on your weight.  

Watch the Weather 

If your mood declines with the temperature, don’t discount depression as a run-of-the-mill bout with the winter blues. It might be a case of seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For most, symptoms start in the fall, stretch into the winter months, and become more pronounced as the season continues, according to the Mayo Clinic. Although it’s less common, spring and summer bring on seasonal affective disorder for some. In either case, symptoms could include changes in appetite or weight, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating.   

Specifically, symptoms of fall- and winter-onset seasonal affective disorder could include:  

  • Oversleeping 
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates 
  • Weight gain 
  • Tiredness or low energy   

It’s normal to have some down days, especially after a life-changing event like divorce. But if you feel depressed for extended stretches and can’t get excited and motivated to participate in activities you typically enjoy, it might be time to seek help. This is especially true if your appetite and sleep habits have changed or if you indulge in alcohol to feel comfortable or relaxed. If you have persistent thoughts of death or suicide, it’s critical to call your doctor even if you haven’t experienced other signs of depression.    

After a divorce, you may feel as though you’re doing double duty as a parent during the holidays. But taking care of your own physical and mental well-being when you have so much to do for friends and family isn’t seasonal selfishness. Rather, it’s essential to helping everyone have a happier, healthier holiday season that will bring up warm memories for years to come. 

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website learnfit.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cohabitation – Why The Law Needs Changing In Order To Protect Modern Families

While marriage is still popular, cohabitation outside marriage is indisputably on the rise. In fact, over the last twenty years, the number of people living together outside marriage has approximately doubled. The level of protection offered to unmarried couples in England and Wales in the event of a separation, however, has not. Scotland does have some recognition of unmarried partnerships, but even so it has nothing like the concept of “common law marriage” which many people believe does exist.

The rise and rise of cohabitation 

Back in 1996 there were about 1.5 million cohabiting couples in a UK population of about 58 million people. In 2017, there are about 3.3 million cohabiting couples in a UK population of about 66 million. It’s unclear what has fuelled this rise. Certainly living together no longer carries the social stigma it once did, but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you necessarily want to. Perhaps the (potential) expense of weddings or the prospect of having to go through a divorce is making people wait longer and think harder before they decide whether or not they want to “tie the knot” at all, let alone with whom. Whatever the reason, the fact remains that increasing numbers of couples are cohabiting rather than marrying or entering into civil partnerships and yet the law relating to such relationships is essentially conspicuous by its absence.

There is no such thing as “common-law marriage”

In legal terms, marriage is a contract between two parties, which creates duties and obligations between them. As part of the marriage contract, couples agree to pool their assets and hence when a marriage is ended through divorce, assets are divided between the separating halves of the couple on the basis of law and precedent. This is by no means a perfect system and in the real world, the nature of divorce may be that neither party feels completely satisfied that the deal was fair, but it does at least offer some level of protection for people in situations where there is clear financial disparity between the partners. Contrary to what about two thirds of people appear to believe (according to a recent ComRes poll), there is no such thing as common law marriage and hence there is, currently, practically no legal protection for those ending cohabiting partnerships in England and Wales and very little in Scotland.

Lack of legal protection exposes cohabiting partners to financial risk

When couples cohabit outside of marriage there is no automatic agreement to pool assets and there is no formal process to follow to disband the union. Hence, dividing assets can ultimately turn into a matter of proof of ownership plus practicalities of possession. This is probably most evident when it comes to property. If the house is in the name of one person, then there is a high degree of likelihood that, under current laws, they will keep full ownership of it, even if the other party has contributed to the mortgage. There are some circumstances in which a party could claim a “beneficial interest” in the property, but these are limited. Given the strength of the housing market and the rise in cohabitation, this in itself would seem a strong argument for the government to act on the urging of both members of the public and members of the legal profession, including Baroness Hale, the president of the UK’s supreme court and introduce much stronger legal protection for couples ending cohabiting relationships.

Author Bio Kerry Smith is the head of family law at K J Smith Solicitors, a specialist family law firm who deal with a wide range of issues including divorce, domestic violence, civil partnerships and prenuptial agreements.

Is It Possible To Be Happy Again After A Divorce?

After a separation it’s quite common to wonder if you’ll ever bounce back and be happy again?   Peter recalled “I felt so low I could hardly get out of bed, and all the things I used to enjoy, felt pointless.  I asked myself if after this exhausting period I could ever be happy again?” 

Peter in fact found contentment some time after his divorce, although it wasn’t immediate, “It was really gradual.  One big moment was noticing that I laughed and then I thought, “Hey, I can still find things funny!” and these moments just got more frequent”.  

But it’s not necessarily a linear process – there are ups and downs: “Some days I felt worse again, like when I found out that my ex was dating someone new, but overall things got better.” 

So what’s the secret to finding happiness after divorce? 

There is a lot of research about grieving and recovering from break-ups.  Perhaps one of the best studies found from Stanford University  .  They found that how quickly you recovered depended on how many additional stressors you had in your life, and what coping strategies you had. 

It is hard to avoid some stressors but you can work on your coping strategies. 

What this study found about coping strategies was actually quite suprising.  They found that talking about your problems could actually make things worse!  Talking too much and repeatedly about how low you feel can lead to you focusing too much on this horrible time. 

Talking to people who you think do not understand what you are going through can also increase stress.  It is important for people to know that the way they feel is normal but without focusing on their own expereince the whole time. This is why you should come to one of our Divorce Club Events which you can find here! 

Doing things with friends is a helpful coping strategy  

So what are the adaptive coping strategies that can help us be happy after divorce? 

According to bereavement expert Nolen-Hoeksema,  adaptive coping involves “doing things that renew your sense of control and take your mind away from your worries for a short time. People typically use things like sports or hobbies or going somewhere with a friend, such as to a movie or shopping,” she said. “A little bit of distraction leads to more motivation to do more pleasant activities. You can start small and build.” 

Ineffective coping strategies, include distracting behavior that is reckless:drinking alcohol, casual sex and other risky behaviours.  Another unhelpful strategy, (which is also the one we are most likely to do), is sitting home and thinking, “I just don’t have the strength to do anything,”.  All that happens if you stay at home, alone and without distraction is that you go back over the same distressing thoughts without actually doing anything to relieve your low mood.  This is known as passive rumination and unsuprisingly, those who engage in passive rumination will remain depressed for longer. 

So is talking bad for you? 

No! It is important to talk about what is going on.  People who just try and shut it out, end up ruminating more.  Men have typically been the ones prone to finding happiness more slowly as they are less likely to talk about what has happened to them, particularly if their wife was the only ones they used to talk to about their problems. 

The important point is that you must balance talking, with also doing other activities which can give you a break from thinking about how bad you feel.  And when you do talk, pick people who will understand you, and even a therapist who can stop the talk becoming passive rumination, and instead be a helpful perspective that can set you on the path to feeling happy again. 

Authors of this article, Lucy Davis and Isabelle Hung, run  The Divorce Club  www.divorceclub.com     an online support network for people going through divorce and separation.     Wendi’s Note: The Divorce Club in London is a great way to meet others who are going through similar experiences. Wisdom and laughter are shared at Lucy’s get-togethers through this MeetUp.com group.

 

 

 

Divorce: A New Financial Reality

Besides adjusting to a new emotional reality, divorce means accepting a new financial reality; and many people this means transitioning to a single income. According to the APA, around half of American marriages end in divorce so this is something a lot of us will face in our lifetimes. Unfortunately for many divorcees, particularly women, transitioning to a single income can feel like financial disaster: according to research from insurance provider Allianz two thirds of women feel their divorce created a financial crisis.

Track your spending and anticipate future expenses

At any point in your life, tracking your spending is a good habit to get into but especially so when your marriage is ending. Find out how much you spend on what. If you haven’t tracked your spending until now, use your credit card statements to estimate previous expenses. There are a variety of budgeting apps to help you do this. Once you know your current spending, you can estimate how much you will need to continue your current standard of living. This is a good first step in negotiating a settlement.

Gather documentation

Having the right financial records to hand early on in the divorce proceedings is very important. Correct documentation can help you avoid misunderstandings when reaching a settlement. Gathering documents can take longer than you think so start early. Particularly important are your checking and savings account statements, as well as statements from retirement and investment accounts.

Health

Many couples rely on the coverage of one partner’s health insurance plan, so divorce can create a lot of health questions. There should be a way for you to get some kind of health coverage in the transition period. If you are eligible for a legislation known as Cobra, you can get health insurance for 36 months on your spouse’s plan. In addition, one’s health insurance may also cover dental care and medical expenses for lower income divorcees, as long as your divorce is equitable. Believe it or not sometimes people divorce intentionally and pile all of the assets on the well spouse so the sick spouse can get under the income threshold to qualify for Medicaid. This is known as ‘Medicaid divorce.’ The courts have caught on however so make clear you are not trying to do this by making your divorce equitable – something you should aim to do anyway.

Divorce can be a hugely stressful part of a person’s life but in reality a lot of people will experience it. With the right foreknowledge and preparation you can minimize the financial burden and embark on your new single life.

Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.

Divorce Rates in the UK Rise But Stay Well Below Their Peak

The year 2016 saw the number of divorces amongst opposite-sex couples rise by 5.8% to 106,959, although this is still about 30% off its 2003 peak of 153,065. When considering the reasons for this, three possibilities clearly stand out.

Practical difficulties of divorcing

Marriage is intended to be a lifelong commitment and exiting that commitment can lead to all kinds of expensive and challenging complications. While some of these could be reduced by the introduction of “no-fault” divorce, possibly together with a greater awareness of and clarity around pre-nuptial agreements (pre-nups), others are far more difficult to resolve.

The most obvious example of this is the division of property and the practical consequences of dividing a household, many of which revolve around the fact that adults living as a couple can generally live more cheaply than two individuals living in their own homes. These difficulties can increase exponentially with the arrival of children, particularly in their pre-school years, when the need for childcare is at its greatest.

Rise in cohabitation

When couples cohabit outside of marriage, they can go their separate ways without having to enter into formal divorce proceedings but this has both advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it means that couples without children can simply agree to part company and move on, while couples with children can make their own arrangements for their future care and maintenance. On the other hand, when couples split on less-than-amicable terms, this can lead to difficulties in dividing assets fairly.

For example, while there are certain situations in which a partner whose name is not on the deeds of a property may be held to have a “beneficial interest” therein, there are certain, specific, requirements to be met in order for this to be recognized, general help, financial or otherwise, is highly unlikely to qualify. Because of this, it is strongly recommended for co-habiting couples to have formal agreements in place regarding ownership of assets, at least significant ones such as property.

Later marriage

For much of history, people have been encouraged to marry as early as possible for a number of entirely practical reasons. Women, in particular, often needed to marry for economic reasons, as the novels of Jane Austen show only too clearly. In modern times, however, women have much greater opportunities for earning an income and as such are under less economic pressure to marry.

Similarly, the fact that women can now reasonably expect to be able to have children well into their late thirties and even early forties also reduces the need to marry at a younger age as does the fact that having children outside of marriage is, by and large, socially acceptable. Putting all of this together means that instead of marriage being the time when couples can formally start to live together, in their first home, it is more likely to be a milestone in a relationship after couples have already lived together for some time and, in simple terms, have already established that they can do so successfully, hence are less likely to divorce.

Fletcher Day are a full service law firm based in Mayfair, London. There team of divorce solicitors in London can advise on a range of matters relating to family law including divorce, prenuptial agreements, civil partnerships and separation agreements.

Moving On After A Divorce Or Break Up

Moving on Mentally After A Divorce

In the United States of America, a couple divorces every 13 seconds. Divorce has become a norm in our world today but this does not mean the process is any less painful or stressful. By the age of 50, more than 90 percent of Americans get married but almost half of them do not find their happily ever after. For some, it has been a long hard decision taken over months or years spent trying to make their relationship work. For others, it is swift and sometimes unexpected. So how do you move on from a divorce? Here are just a few tips to get you started.

Accept & Let Go

The first step to moving on from a divorce can be one of the hardest. It is facing the situation and acknowledging the end of your marriage. The period immediately after can be emotional and unpredictable; ranging from sadness over lost dreams to regrets and denial over your decision.

It is completely okay to mourn the loss of your marriage. No one enters a marriage thinking they would like to get divorced. In fact, it is important that you let yourself feel the loss and come to terms with it. Grief is a natural reaction to loss.

Reconnect with Yourself

Whether it is through self-reflection, venting to a close friend or counselling, reconnect with your spiritual side. Begin by focusing on yourself. Banish any negative unwanted thoughts and look to defining your self-worth. Your marriage may be over but there are many positive things you may have to offer. Realize that your failed marriage does not define you.

As you begin to find your true self again, a clear understanding of what you want and what makes you truly happy will help you move forward. Finally, self-reflection and acceptance mean addressing your responsibility in the breakdown of your marriage. It is vital that you not only recognize your part but make peace with it and learn from your mistakes for your future relationships. Understand that you cannot change the past events and you cannot change your ex-partner. What you can change, however, is yourself.

Make the Shift

Finally, one of the most important steps is making the change in mindset. This can easily be judged as one of the most difficult parts of moving on and requires the commitment to moving on.  In the beginning, it is normal to grieve over what occurred but now it is time to commit to being happy again. This does not mean that all the feelings of sadness or loss automatically disappear. Instead, spend time focusing on the future and exercise the strength to put a time limit on the self-pitying mindset that may still pop up from time to time. It is the perfect time to pursue those unfulfilled dreams of yours that got lost in the translation of your marriage.

In reality, life is not written as the fairy tales are and we do not always end up having that happily ever after. While incredibly painful, divorce can also serve as a catalyst for growth and self-evolution. This does not happen overnight; there is no time limit. However, with these tips, you can slowly begin the process. After all, why shouldn’t you find happiness again?

Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.

 

10 Places We Throw Away Money – Guide for the Newly Single

Every year we spend too much money. We are simply used to convenience, and we will part with our hard earned money for it. This is the pitfall of many annual budgets, but there is hope. Throwing away money is a practice that simply needs to be reversed, and while there is no magic wand to make it happen right away, there are things to be done to bandage the hemorrhaging wallet.

1. Smartphone Apps

Why are we paying for smartphone apps when there are free versions to nearly all of them? Stop paying for what you can get for free. If you feel like you need an app, ask yourself why you need it. Wait 24 hours, then ask yourself why again. This will help you decide if the purchase is worth the money.

2. Gym Memberships

It’s been said before, but it stands to be said again. Many people get gym memberships with good intentions, but never use them. Be honest with yourself, and let go of that membership if you’re really not using it.

3. Buying Coffee

Sit back and consider how much is spent weekly on that cup of coffee from the fancy coffee shop. Coffee beans are not worth the label attached. Make coffee at home and bring it with you.

4. Cars

Car payments are avoidable if you sell your current car then pay cash for something used. Car leases, when trying to save money, make no sense at all. If you have a car payment, pay it off and avoid getting another one. Avoid leases at all costs.

5. Car Washes and Their Upgrades

Some people wash their car in the driveway, which is overall cheaper than using a car wash. However, if you must use a car wash, skip the upgrades. While it’s important to keep the road waste off the car, it’s not important to get it waxed and hand-dried. Take care of only the necessities.

6. Lottery Tickets

There’s a reason why it’s statistically more likely to get hit by lightning than it is to win the lottery, yet some people continue with this expense every week. Stop buying lottery tickets. Instead, invest $100 into a retirement account every month. You’ll retire with nearly a million dollars.

7. Shipping Costs

This is one of the biggest places where people throw away money. It is cheaper to use the gas in the car and go to the store than it is to pay someone to bring you the groceries. Stay off the Internet for purchases and you’ll save money. You’ll also think harder about purchases, because you’ll be inconvenienced in its acquisition.

8. Timeshares

Timeshares are expensive ways to hold a place to stay while on vacation. It seems silly to buy into one of these when hotels, beach houses, and short-term rentals are a growing industry. Get rid of the timeshare and save a large chunk of change.

9. ATM Fees

These fees add up fast when you’re taking money from an out-of-network ATM. Avoid this by using only ATM’s set up by your bank. You’ll save up to $5 for every transaction.

10. Unused Subscriptions

Many companies lure customers into a free 30-day trial, then watch the money roll in after customers forget to cancel during the trial period. Make sure you’re not paying for a subscription you’re not using because you missed your cancellation window.

Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step back to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.

Top Ten Concerns That Divorcees Have about Dating Again

The time will come when you might want to consider dating again after your divorce.  It may seem a bit of a leap into the unknown and it’s not unusual to feel worried. We asked divorcees what things most worried them about dating after their break-up, and there was quite a range:  from worries about sex, to finding a someone who will love their dog!
Here were the 10 most common.
1. Am I ready? 
Well done! It’s good that you are asking yourself this question. Only you can really decide, but bear in mind that you can just try a date and if it doesn’t feel right, you can stop again.
2. I don’t know if I’ll remember how to date!
There’s no right or wrong way (within reason). A date is just an opportunity for you to be yourself with someone else. Your date can expect no more of you.
3. I’ve never done online dating
It may feel like a scary way of doing things – or something you are eager to have a go at. Give it a whirl, trying to keep hold of your common sense and enthusiasm – nothing ventured, nothing gained.
4. I’m the wrong side of 40, I need to find someone quick…
Try not to rush things.  Do you know what you want in a date or a relationship, and what you need to be happy?  Taking time to think about what you need will help you find a partner who is a good match.
5. All the good people are taken – only the crazies are left!
This is NOT true! Although you could say we all have our crazy moments!  Lots of people are starting again for all sorts of acceptable and common and NORMAL reasons. And if you are on the market again, why not someone like you?
6. I’m scared of rejection
If you are feeling very fragile, take some time before you start dating, particularly online dating, which can require a bit of a thick skin. Ask a suitable friend, family member or therapist to support you in building up your self-esteem.
7. No one will want me. I don’t like the way I look, why would anyone else?
Many people feel less confident in their bodies or looks than they once did post divorce. This has knock on affects on their sexual confidence.
Try not to date until you feel confident and desirable – work on your self-esteem before you hop into bed with someone.  Remember you probably fancy people for qualities other than
their appearance – it’s the whole package. Make sure you remember everything that you have to offer.
8. Will I have to have sex on the first date?
It’s a common misconception that you are expected to have sex on the first date.  NOT TRUE!  You should only have sex when you want to and feel comfortable – ‘make friends before you make love’.
9. Dating makes me miss my ex
This is a not uncommon, especially if you meet someone who you don’t click with.  Make a list of why your ex was not suitable for you and a list of what you are looking for. This should help you to focus on why you should move forward instead of looking backwards.
10. How will my children take it?
Make sure that you allow your children enough time to grieve and adapt to your new situation. Before you introduce your children to a new partner, wait a sensible amount of time to understand and trust the person you are dating.
Authors of this article, Lucy Davis and Isabelle Hung, run  The Divorce Club  www.divorceclub.com     an online support network for people going through divorce and separation.     Wendi’s Note: The Divorce Club in London is a great way to meet others who are going through similar experiences. Wisdom and laughter are shared at Lucy’s get-togethers through this MeetUp.com group.

Get in Shape for Free: A Fitness Guide for Single Parents

Engaging in regular exercise is one of the smartest investments anyone can make, especially if you’re a single parent who needs the energy to keep up with her kids. And when we say “investment” we’re talking about time and effort, not money. To show you what we mean, here are several free (or almost free) ways to get in shape. Use these tips to give you the guidance and motivation you need to achieve your fitness goals.

Stick With the Basics 

TV programs love to show images of people with big arms and sculpted abs. The purpose behind most of these promos is to sell you some kind of overpriced product, usually with the promise that it will turn you into a superhero. Sadly, the real world never works that way. Most home fitness machines end up as overpriced coat hangers or yard sale merchandise. So skip the gadgets and start with these four classic routines instead:

  1. Pushups. This one exercise can do you more good than all the fitness products on the market. It strengthens the arms, shoulders, chest, abs, and even the legs. Plus, it costs you nothing. You need only a small amount of space and the motivation to improve yourself. And don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do a standard push-up right away. There’s no shame in starting at the intermediate level by bending your knees. Soon you’ll be pumping them out with the best of ’em.
  2. Situps or leg raises. This exercise will bulk you up without draining your wallet. Some people have trouble doing sit-ups because of neck or back issues. If that sounds like you, then leg raises are a great alternative, according to the fitness experts at the New York Times.
  3. Squats/deep knee bends. Not only will this exercise give your legs a great workout, it’s a perfect way to get cardio benefits at the same time. The burpee is a more advanced variation of the squat, one that combines the benefits of squats and pushups while getting your heart going.
  4. Walking. Yep, you read that right. According to Mayo Clinic, you can enjoy fantastic health benefits simply by putting one foot in front of the other. Start by walking 30 minutes 3-4 times a week, then increase the intensity by picking up your pace or walking hills as time goes on. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and dress with the weather in mind.

Staying Motivated 

We all know that lack of motivation is the reason why most people fail to exercise. So don’t feel bad if your biggest challenge is summoning the willpower to succeed. You’re far from alone. Here are some proven ways to turn your lethargy into a lust for fitness:

  • Have a workout partner. The two of you can keep each other pumped as you sweat the pounds away. Your children can also accompany you in a stroller, on foot, or even a scooter or bike.
  • Give yourself positive feedback each time you complete a routine. For example, you may allow yourself a new workout shirt in return for week of cardio workouts.
  • Visualize the results. Picturing yourself as the person you want to be can inspire you to get off the couch and get moving. Try it.

After a few months of commitment to the above, you may consider expanding the workouts you try. You can add simple (and relatively cheap) items to your home gym to start incorporating more advanced exercises into your routine. By doing so, you’ll continue to see results month after month.

Get on the road to a new and better you starting today – you’ll look back on the decision as one of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself.

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website learnfit.org/

More outstanding advice for having better workouts and  healthy lives in    Avoid These Workout and Post Workout Mistakes To Maximize Your Results www.massgainsource.com/post-workout-mistakes/   Author is Mark Williams

                

Dealing with Vindictive Co-Parent

Divorce brings a whole new set of complications to parenting. Having to deal with an unreasonable or vindictive former spouse adds additional stress to the situation. It may not be possible to parent as a team and that is okay. Having a detailed Parenting Plan lessens the need to keep going back and forth on the small stuff. If anticipating that splitting up holidays will be a battle down the road, get that addressed in the Parenting Plan. Ours was very detailed which included the percent each parent paid for various medical, dental and other charges for our sons. My attorney also wrote an incredibly precise divorce decree, which was quickly approved by the other collaborative attorney. These actions enabled post-divorce life to go smoother.

Be careful that the youngsters are not used as tools for revenge. One parent may try to limit or stop visitation from the other one. Having the shared time clearly spelled out in the Parenting Plan may prevent this behavior. If you are on the receiving end of calls stating that the kids are sick and cannot see you, react in a positive way in order to end this game playing. Reply “How kind of you to let me know, so I can be prepared. I’ll have some soup ready and pick them up with barf bags in the car.”

A way to minimize conflict is not to give the other parent any ammunition. Be reliable, on time and bite your tongue if necessary to avoid criticizing them in front of the kids. Be cognizant of Parental Alienation which is when one parent attempts to turn the children against the other one. If you are the target, consider getting legal advice on how to proceed. Go ahead and correct any misconceptions (lies), such as “Mommy says that you had a girlfriend.” Let your offspring know that there was never a girlfriend in the picture when you were married. You are standing up for yourself by correcting the fallacy. You are not putting down the source (your former spouse) but rather clarifying the accusation.

Whether or not to confront your ex if they are using your children to spread tales about you, depends upon your situation. Trying to have a dialogue with a toxic ex may be counterproductive. A third party, such as a mediator, can intervene    Please read more….  www.divorcemag.com/blog/co-parenting-with-a-vindictive-ex-spouse

Keep Your Kids Involved In Your Move: You’ll Be Happier and So Will They 

Everyone knows that moving is stressful, but did you know that it can be especially difficult for your children if you leave them out of the planning? Being involved in decision making, packing and unpacking can help them to feel more in control and ready for the change. Here’s how:   

  1. Pack their room last and unpack it first in the new home. 
  2. Stick to the old meal and bedtime routines throughout the move to give them a sense of familiarity. 
  3. Hire movers – you will thank yourself and you’ll have more time to help your children.  
  4. Include your kids in some decisions: decorations, new plates, which new park to visit first. 
  5. Find child and pet care for moving day to alleviate stress.  
  6. Involve the kids in unpacking so they feel more invested. Prepare them mentally but be prepared for anxiety – adjusting can take up to 6 months. 
  7. Get them pumped about their new school by taking a tour or even walking or driving by.  
  8. Help them create a memory book of the old house, school, neighborhood, friends, babysitter. 
  9. Remember to practice self-care so that you’re on top of your game for your children.   

Now that you have some ideas of how to involve your kids in the planning process, make it fun. If it’s a game instead of a chore, everyone will enjoy it more and feel ready for the move. 

You will still be stressed, but much less so when everyone is pitching in to help.   

Author  Alexis Hall is a single mom to three kids. She created SingleParent.info to provide support and advice for the many families out there with only one parent in the household. She works as an in-home health nurse. When she isn’t working or spending time with her kids, she enjoys running and hiking and is currently training for a triathlon.  

 

 

 

 

 

Temper Your Expectations During Divorce Negotiations

TEMPER YOUR EXPECTATIONS

A divorce attorney once told me that if both parties end divorce not feeling satisfied how the assets were split – then he knew it was fair. When one party is happy – then that person probably got a bigger piece of the pie. The key to divorce negotiations and the subsequent outcome, is to temper your expectations. Do not go to the table expecting to get exactly what you want, but rather be willing to compromise to get what is most precious to you.

My lawyer stated that many clients could easily divide thousands of dollars in investments, yet nearly come to blows over the household goods. Some former couples engage in battle over personal property, not realizing that action prolongs their proceedings. The adage “Pick your battles” aptly applies to this situation.

ARE EMOTIONS GETTING IN THE WAY OF ASSET DIVISION?

Feelings such as sentimentality, are attached to material items and are not with money. Sort through your emotions to determine if it is the object itself, or the memory it represents which is causing you to quarrel over it. I wanted the watercolor portrait of our cat, which I had commissioned. I anticipated that my husband would choose this purely out of spite. I pointed out several other pieces that were more expensive, and would bring him more cash. He took those. The fact that I was willing to give up more, made it easier for him to back down and let me have the few that I really desired. When my husband saw that I was not going to get in a fight over things, he ended up taking less. As in a chess game, anticipate the opponent’s moves and use strategy. Sacrifice your queen (what you do not crave) to save the king (the main items wanted).

LET GO

By asking for less personal property, you can end up with what is most meaningful for you. My divorce mantra was words from a Rolling Stone’s song, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.”

WAYS TO SPLIT PERSONAL PROPERTY

In amicable divorces, possessions can be split in friendlier ways. Flip a coin to see who goes first. Whoever won the coin toss, chooses the first item and then each person takes a turn to get what they would like. Another method is that each party has a color sticker. Both spouses go around the house and put a sticker on possessions they want in their new life. The few pieces that have both stickers on them can be traded or negotiated. A few divorced couples stated that they did not do the personal property split in a lawyer’s office. Instead, this was achieved over lunch or at a coffee shop, in a relaxing, neutral environment.

Divorce is an excellent opportunity to pare down your worldly goods and live with what you truly love. I had no interest in our wedding china and crystal. When my spouse noticed that, they were assigned to me. I was surprised at how much I got for them on e-bay and used the proceeds for a vacation.

Do an inventory of your needs and where you are in life. Do you have small children? Then perhaps staying in the marital home may be more advantageous. Are you over fifty? Then give up other things to ensure a good retirement package. I took more in cash – which helped me to pay off the mortgage on my house which I bought during divorce. Now I am wondering if taking more of our pension plan would have been better option. I looked at what was immediately in front of me instead of the big picture.

If feeling stuck when focusing on the emotional aspect of dividing up property, consider having a session with a life coach. They can help you with this task. If overwhelmed by the financial issues, it can be beneficial to hire your own financial consultant. They can look over the investments. real estate, and pension plans to advise you what to go after in your situation. If you require more time to think things over, then let your attorney know.

Divorce is a short time span in your life., What assets you receive through negotiations, can affect you for a much longer period.      My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

 

Helping Teens Choose A Career Path For Financial Independence

mediaAs parents, we can feel an overwhelming amount of pressure to make sure our teenagers make good choices when it comes to their future careers. This can be difficult if your teen has a behavioral disorder. However, even without behavior problems, it is still hard to help teenagers find their way.

To help teens align their goals with potential career paths without being “pushy”, try a few of these different approaches below.

Keep An Open Mind

There are many industries today which did not exist even 10-15 years ago. When I was a teenager going on dates and dreaming of my future, I never dreamed I would write online for a living. When I talked to my father about my dreams of becoming a writer, he about laughed himself sick and encouraged me to pursue psychology instead. Now I write online for parenting organizations regarding troubled teens. Interesting how these things work out.

Other industries parents may be surprised by:

  • Pro esports – Does your teen want to just play video games? Well, there is actually a booming industry centered around professional video gamers, garnering viewers who watch the games much like traditional football games. Which draws in money from advertisers who want to reach those viewers.
  • Social media – The world of social media has been a huge driver in creating new jobs. From social media personalities who create a living from cultivating a following via YouTube, Instagram, and other mediums to more “traditional” positions where companies now seem to all be hunting for social media managers to act as brand managers for companies.
  • App developer – There is a growing demand for apps. This shouldn’t surprise parents as they see their teens glued to their phones but they may not realize the potential money behind careers that can come with app development. Successful apps can make millions, and many commercially successful ones are created by just a few creators.

Create Opportunities For Your Teen To Network

The old saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has become more applicable as the economy struggles to recover. Highly skilled individuals have found themselves jobless for months and even years from the lack of networking.

To help your teen avoid this fate, you can facilitate opportunities for networking early on. This will give them references and connections their peers may lack. Some ways you can help them build up a network as a teen are:

  • Encourage them to volunteer in their community.
  • Have them engage in sports or creative group endeavors like choir or band.
  • Allow them to work a part-time job.

While your teen may not be snapped up for a great career right after high school, they can start learning the basics of building a network.

Help Teens Think Realistically

I don’t criticize my father for not encouraging me to pursue writing as a career. He understood realistically that very few people could make a living from writing alone and while he did support writing as a side hobby, he showed me how my other interests could be made into a career. I follow a similar path with my own teenage son, though I do keep a bit more of an open mind than my father!

You can use tools like employment projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and job salary averages to help your teen take a serious look at their dream job.

This can give them hard numbers that cannot be argued with, unlike their parents. While teens may accuse their parents of exaggerating, these third-party numbers have no reason to stretch the truth and can help your teen refocus their goals.

So, along with giving teens good financial advice for college, try these tips the next time you talk with your teen about their future career.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson  enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

How To Help Children Struggling With Divorce

At the end of the day, divorce may be the right option, but it is unlikely to be an easy option, particularly when there are children involved. Divorce can have a brutal impact on children’s lives and can scar them into adulthood – unless it is handled the right way.

Put the bitterness aside 

This statement may seem like the world’s biggest case of “easier said than done”, particularly if you have good reason to hold a grievance against your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, but it is essential for your children’s sake. Whatever wrong they have done to you, they are still your children’s parents.

Keep it together as parents

Children need consistency. While it’s fine for each parent to have their own parenting style, perhaps one being a bit more strict and the other a bit more relaxed, any basic ground rules should be respected by both parents and any differences of opinion resolved away from the children. Parents who try to score points against each other via their children, e.g. by saying yes when the other says no, can simply end up making children insecure and can cause behavioural issues as children learn to play one parent off against the other.

Stick to routines

It’s practically inevitable that divorce is going to cause some degree of disruption to your children’s lives but do whatever you can to minimize it. Arrange any necessary meetings outside of the times you need to take your children to their activities and hold to normal mealtimes and bedtimes as much as possible.

Be honest and open

Children are often superb at detecting lies and evasiveness. Even if they’re “little white lies” or it’s a subject you’re uncomfortable discussing, you need to find a way to manage and satisfy their natural curiosity, which may well be driven by fear. Divorce takes children into the unknown and that can be a scary place. If you need thinking time, then park the question and tell your children that you’ll talk about it later, set reasonable expectations about when “later” will be and make good on your promise. If the honest answer to a question is “I don’t know”, then make a point of finding out as soon as possible. Children need to feel that they can count on their parents even at the best of times and a divorce situation is anything but the best of times.

Provide lots of reassurance

Divorce is about parents, it’s never about children. Children need to feel confident that whatever happens between their parents, nothing is going to change the relationship they have with either or both parents. Point out how changes will be managed, for example if one parent moves out, they can still take their turn at reading bedtime stories over the internet. You might also want to provide examples of people successfully managing divorces, either people they know or celebrity couples.

Be alert to your children showing signs of stress

With everything you may have to manage, it may be easy to miss the signs that your children are experiencing real stress (or even depression) rather than just feeling generally miserable about the situation, or you may dismiss your observations as your imagination. Be vigilant about their emotional welfare and get a second opinion if necessary, even if the divorce is going as well as can be expected, they may still benefit from counselling.

Author Bio K J Smith Solicitors are specialists in family law, with an expert team of family law professionals who are experienced in all aspects of family and divorce law.

You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating

you could be hindering your teen's dating potential     You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating Potential  

While some parents may be hindering their teen’s dating potential, I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing. I am not advocating for overly strict parenting where you don’t allow your teen to date at all, but there are some important precautions I think all parents should consider when their teen starts dating…
Set Clear Curfews

Not too long ago, my teenage son took a more serious interest in girls. He became interested in spending time with girls outside of school for dating purposes or “hanging out” as he calls it. So he wanted to renegotiate his curfew. His curfew changed when he moved from middle school to high school but hasn’t been updated since. I saw no need to change it, as he could stay out until 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday and 11:30 pm Friday – Saturday. 

He decided to challenge this when out on a group date and came home at midnight on a Saturday. While he tried to argue he was only a half-hour late, he knew the consequence for breaking curfew was a week of grounding with a week added for each curfew-breaking offense.

Tips for parents who want to curtail bad teen dating habits by setting a curfew:

  • Set clear curfew rules.
  • Set reasonable and relatable consequences for breaking these rules.
  • Follow through with punishment or curfew breaking will be a regular thing.Teen Date Nights and Money

Part of teaching your teen how to date responsibly is teaching your teen how to deal with their personal finances. The sooner your child understands basic savings and financial planning, the better equipped they will be later in life.

My teen son knows I won’t play the money tree, being a backup when his personal funds are running low. When he takes a girl out on a date, he has to think creatively and within a budget. Sometimes that just means a movie night at home with some popcorn, which helps me keep an eye on the dating couple.

I have found this has made my son more responsible overall. If there are activities and dates he would like to go on, he has to plan them in advance and secure the finances to do so. He has felt the sting of not having enough money to take a girl out that he likes and it’s a good reminder for him to manage his finances responsibly to obtain the things he wants. I also like to think that by not offering to pay for his extravagant dates, he thinks of creative, less expensive dates and therefor doesn’t rely on flash or funds as a crutch for getting to know girls.  

Everyone On Same Dating Page   

Not only does your teen need to be on the same page with any rules you set up but so does your parenting partner. This can be tricky for co-parents who are divorced but is possible when working with clear communication.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson  enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative designs. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

 

Emotional Aspects of Searching for an Ex-Partner Online

The internet has made it easy to check up on former spouses and boy or girlfriends. In some cases, one may feel relief, “I dodged a bullet on that one.” In other instances, it can lead to the what ifs – “What if I had stayed with him/her.” When deciding whether or not to look up an ex-partner, first think about your motivation. Is it idle curiosity or pondering the question of getting divorced, if an ex may be available?

One acquaintance’s wife went on social media to discover the whereabouts of an old boyfriend. She contacted him and they started having long weekends together that she passed off as business trips. When her suspicious husband confronted her, she confessed about the affair. This couple soon divorced and she later married her former boyfriend. Be clear why you are seeking out information, especially when already in a committed relationship.

People may be delving back into the past to see if they have made good choices. This can get into the dangerous territory of regrets. There may be one person who slipped through their fingers and got away. Seeing that individual’s fabulous lifestyle online can have one questioning why they broke up with them, especially if currently going through a divorce. People may wonder if they were too hasty in letting a love interest go. Instead of saying “what if” think about the great children you now have or the life experiences you would have missed if you did not take the road that you did.

Social media and online searches hit the surface- the great professional accomplishments- but usually do not get at the character traits and values. What tore you apart before, can still do so today unless you both have changed or had some type of enlightenment.

After much prodding by a friend to look up people online, I recently decided to give it a go. I searched for a former fiancé and got quite a surprise. I had broken up with him because of a few character issues and I am sure I had my quirks too. He got married within a few years after our parting of ways, which ended in a divorce fairly quickly. What I discovered online is that he is one of the top surgeons in his field, won all kinds of awards, including “Best Doctor” and is employed at a prestigious institution.

What comes as a surprise is the intensity of emotions that arise as a result of searching for a person from your past. My fiancé and I had a clean break and two years later bumped into each other which ignited our passion. We decided to pursue getting back together again. It  seemed like miscommunication on both of our parts led to us each thinking that the other had changed their minds. When I realized our mistake over two decades later, I went through profound grief  which manifested itself physically, as if big waves were crashing against me. I mourned not having his loving parents, siblings and extended family in my life. I felt a sense of loss. Others may experience anger, sadness, or wanting a time machine to go back into the past. When deciding whether or not to do a search, be prepared for some strong reactions to what is discovered.

If having problems after doing an online search for an ex, consider a session with a life coach. They can give you a reality check and get you back on track.  Thinking over our last phone call, I thought maybe my communication was not clear.  The coach pointed out that my fiancé had the responsibility to clarify what he thought my message was, in case of misinterpretation.   He easily could have popped in where I worked to see me. This was before cell phones, so I did not have a way to contact him. My life coach suggested perhaps a marriage for us was not meant to be.

In some instances, former boyfriends and girlfriends have found each other again through social media and got married. The common thread is that they are both single and what broke them up is no longer a factor. These include having been too young, parental disapproval or a long-distance relationship, such as going to universities on different continents. It was not a character flaw.

There is a way to satisfy curiosity regarding old classmates and high school sweethearts. See if your class has a group on social media, such as on Facebook where you can catch up with these friends. You can find out what is new with your former flame in this group setting, without contacting them directly.

After a traumatic divorce, one can be lonely, especially when losing friends and some in-laws because of it. One can feel vulnerable and trying to get comfort from past relationships may not be the right path. Give yourself time to heal and gain self-understanding before attempting any social media searches for past partners. When feeling alone, consider networking, meeting new people and joining clubs. Take up old hobbies and follow your interests. Surrounding yourself with supportive people may be what you need most, rather than searching for former loves.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

 

New Trend for Second Marriages

There is a new trend after divorce when getting remarried, which is each person keeps their own home. Some divorced folks whose subsequent marriages are in their second decade or so, claim living apart is their secret to marital satisfaction. Keep in mind, these are people who do not have a child together who would be shuttled back and forth between two places. These couples are childless or have offspring who have flown the nest. Why is this occurring?

In one case, a couple could not decide which location to live in. Although neither had nine-to-five jobs, they had work commitments tied to their residences. He free-lanced in London and she was an artist near Cornwall who painted exquisite landscapes. They felt that they had loads of time to decide where to live which turned out to be the key to making this work. He spends long weekends enjoying the bucolic countryside around her cottage and she likes the excitement of a few days in London. They use their time apart for some solitude or getting together with local friends. What surprised these two was that they had already hit upon the solution – to continue their current lifestyle permanently . When together, they are very focused on each other. How does living in separate households work?

  • Are you both independent types who crave alone time or do not want someone around 24/7, no matter how much you are in love? One couple who each have been divorced, are both in education. He is on the faculty of a college and she is a therapist in a primary school. They live nearby in their own houses and have been together for nine years. She states that they would “Drive each other crazy” if they ever lived under the same roof.
  • Logistically is it better to have your separate places? This may be due to having to be near elderly parents or a family member with a terminal condition. Another example is when job commitments are in different places and each wants to keep their house.
  • It may be temporary, such as when someone has a job contract that will be finished in several months. A divorced woman with a beloved elderly cat married a divorced man who has a severe allergy to them. The cat was not going to be around much longer. She was at her condo every day to feed and be with the cat, sometimes spending the night, particularly at the end. Her husband told me that he has such respect for his wife. They knew this was a temporary set-up and the cat died six months after their marriage. This woman has no regrets since her eighteen-year-old companion lived out his final days in a familiar place.
  • Maybe one is a big city person and the other loves farm life or living in the countryside. This does not have to be an either-or situation. Living separately part-time and commuting to be with each is doable. It helps when the couple’s places are an easy drive or linked by good public transportation.
  • Two opposites may attract, yet not be able to live day-to-day with each other. A divorced woman wed a military man who was a widower. He had been married for fifty years and was used to things being done in a certain way, plus has quirks from his time in the military (extreme neatness). She is a creative artist who is oblivious to a mess and is attached to her tiny home. He bought a condo a block away and so far, this situation is working out for them.

Families may not mix well. I asked my divorced friend what was the happiness secret for her subsequent marriage which lasted twenty years. She replied “Because we each had our separate houses.” Please read more   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/new-trend-in-life-after-divorce/

Online Dating Tips

Online dating has created many happy unions. Sometimes it works out well and other times it fails. The intention of both parties may not be in synch which can derail the success of their first date. Ascertain if the other party seems to be on the same page as you. If you are seeking a new partner – is the other person also, or merely looking for a good time?

Several men in their twenties have clued me in on a point. Young people may not be searching for a committed relationship, but instead are desiring a hook up. They rapidly swipe on the left just by looking at the picture (Tinder). If the photo looks like “that person will put out the first time” then they swipe on the right. Keep this in mind if you are the one receiving the swipes on the left. Do not think of this as rejection, but rather saving you from a date who only wants sex.

A fellow said that one can go through a lot of people’s profiles quickly online and view them superficially. This is particularly done when looking for a short-term fling or an easy conquest. Put some thought into how you are presenting yourself on dating sites. Have a friend check your profile and photo. What you think shows your fun-loving side may be misinterpreted for something more shallow. That is why having another pair of eyes going over your profile and picture is important. You want your profile to reflect the different facets of your personality. If you are wanting a long-term relationship, then be clear about that so people after a one night stand are not contacting you.

Take safety precautions when going out with someone who was met online. Meet in a public place. If the person seems creepy or only wanting a hook up, you can then escape quickly. Consider having a friend phone or text you about forty-five minutes into the date. If things are going badly, you can pretend this is an emergency and make a hasty exit. Do not get in their car when first meeting them or go to somewhere secluded. It is better to error on being too cautious with a new date.

An unfortunate presence in today’s dating world is the date rape drug. Recently in the news, a bartender in the UK noticed a man putting something in his date’s drink. The bartender distracted the guy and quickly switched their cocktails. The man passed out, was taken into police custody and later arrested. The woman was very lucky that an astute bartender noticed, and took action which saved her from a perilous situation.

If the person looks menacing abort the date immediately. Leave quickly and do not worry about being polite, as your safety is more important. My friend and I went to a party with two new dates. We were among the first to arrive and the atmosphere felt strange. We looked around and noticed one room contained wall-to-wall mattresses. Being the only females present, we were concerned about being drugged. We made eye contact with each other and moved towards the front door. Once outside, we sprinted and got away. Trust your gut instinct and act on it.

Contact the dating site later with your concerns of a possibly dangerous person, as often a background check was not performed. If someone is questionable, the site may want to ensure that they are not a criminal to avoid any future problems. There are companies that do a background check on potential dates. This also can be a good idea if something seems fishy about your new partner. They may be married and looking for a bit of fun on the side.

Dating is an adventure and most people are okay, even if they are not your type. If your intuition is screaming that something is amiss, then pay attention.

My article was originally published on Digital Romance  digitalromanceinc.com/

 

Post-Divorce, Spend Time vs Money On Your Children

Divorce takes up a lot of time – preparation, getting records together and the proceedings itself. It can be easier to buy X-Box games or toys to keep your children occupied while you focus on your divorce. Buying expensive stuff is a way to assuage your guilt, but is not what kids need in this chaotic period. Their world is changing and what they require is your extra attention. Take time to stop what you are doing and make eye contact to be fully present with them. Give them undivided attention daily, even if in short bursts. Ask them open ended questions to facilitate communication and encourage the little ones to express their feelings.

There is an ongoing debate about quality vs quantity of time spend with your youngsters. Various studies suggest it is quality which is more important. Many parenting experts disagree and claim it is quantity that matters in the long run. Hang out with your kids even if doing separate activities as the close proximity is beneficial. I tend to be in the middle where we have special family activities, but also do our own thing nearby each other. Doing errands and chores together counts as spending time with your sons and daughters.

Consider having a routine where you have scheduled events. It may be a picnic in the park every Thursday in the summer, or excursions to the ice cream shop. My sons and I enjoyed pizza while watching DVDs one night a week year-round. When my sons reminisce about our new lives post-divorce, it is not about any gadgets, but rather our family togetherness. Children understand more than we give them credit for – and can come up with low cost fun. Like other families we knew, my boys and I also enjoyed playing board games. Finances are stretched with divorce, so instead of spending money which you do not have, spend time that you do have available.

There was a daycare in the building where I used to work, which had a thought provoking poster. It was a parent holding the hand of a toddler along with a great caption. It said in a hundred years, it will make no difference how much money you made or the car you drove, but rather how much time you spent with your child. Please read more  www.divorcemag.com/blog/spend-time-not-money-on-your-children-post-divorce

Dating Again After a Break Up or Divorce

Consider letting the ink dry first on your divorce decree before jumping into the dating scene. Some guys start dating during divorce and bring old issues into new relationships. Take a breather after your divorce to make sure you are truly over it and ready to move forward. Your ex-wife may be the devil’s love child and you have every right to complain. New dates do not want to hear about her and that is a big turn off. Instead, tell your buddies over a pint about your lucky escape from Hell.

Let people know you are ready to start dating again. They may have a cute cousin to set you up with or do a double date. Going to parties is a great way to meet many women at once and see whom you like. You are relaxed and having fun with others, which makes it easier to approach someone interesting. I know a few couples who met at these gatherings and later got married.

Get involved with networking and joining professional groups at work. Not only do you boost your career, but you expand your connections and get to know fascinating people. Several doctors and lawyers met each other at professional functions and got married. Going to networking luncheons is another way to enlarge your circle of friends. It can be enjoyable to go out with co-workers after work for Happy Hour. Sparks may fly when getting to know them on a more personal level. Several marriages were the result of this at a large hospital where I used to work.

There are many online dating sites. Some vet their potential clients by doing background checks and interviews. With others you have to hope people’s profiles are accurate and their photos are from this decade. This also means you cannot use the photo where you had hair and a trim waistline, if that is no longer the case. Have a friend look over your profile to make sure it is enticing and not a bunch of fiction, as you want to meet someone who shares your interests. Speed dating is becoming more popular as a quick method to meet many at one go. There is a specified amount of time that you talk to each woman. Then after the event you turn in a sheet to the organization saying whom you would like to date. If there are matches, then you and the women are notified of them. There is no rejection on the spot which takes the pressure off you.

Sometimes after a heartbreak it can be difficult to begin dating again. There is no timetable when to start, so do not let friends try and push you into it. If they keep asking about your dates, tell them you will let them know if you become serious about anyone (even if you are not actively dating). There are ways to enjoy female companionship when not ready to date. Volunteer for a charity or cause which ignites your passion. Although several divorced people were not intending to remarry, they did after becoming friends with someone in their animal rescue group. Others joined photography, hiking and other groups and met some great members (platonically and otherwise).

Some people have gone to a movie, play or concert on first dates so they could start to feel more comfortable without having to make a lot of conversation when nervous. The event itself generates things to discuss. Others have found that hiking, walking or being out in nature is relaxing. If feeling stuck or awkward on dates, seeing a dating coach is an option. They can help you come up with strategies for either meeting women or having them want more dates.

My article was originally published in  Men’s Divorce   We believe everyone deserves equal treatment in family law, so we strive to educate men on how to protect themselves before, during and after divorce.  mensdivorce.com/?s=wendi+schuller

Reasons to Consider Entering into a Prenuptial Agreement

Reasons to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement 

Prenuptial agreements, often known as prenups, are not (yet) legally binding in the UK, but they are legally relevant. Based on a 2010 ruling, divorce courts will accept prenups as valid, provided that both parties entered them willingly and understood their implications, unless there is a particular reason why it would be unreasonable to enforce them in any particular situation. As the prenup is between the two individuals entering a marriage/civil partnership, it is entirely distinct from the obligation to support any children arising from the union.

 

Prenups have moved out of the celebrity world and into the mainstream

Celebrity prenups (or the lack thereof) have long been fodder for the gossip columns but over recent years they have moved into the world the rest of us live in. While they are commonly associated with situations in which couples have widely different financial values, they can also be used to draw lines in the sand in other situations, for example to highlight anything one of the parties considers a personal possession which they would like to keep in the event of a divorce/dissolution. Setting this out up front can be easier than trying to reach an agreement in the potentially heated atmosphere of a couple parting ways.

 

Realistically, failure is an option

Around one third of marriages end in divorce, which means that even though the odds of success are still on your side, the odds of failure are high enough to deserve to be taken seriously. Even though the UK has yet to implement the concept of “no faults divorce” in the real world, divorce/dissolution can come about for reasons which have nothing to do with fault.

People make mistakes and sometimes couples can agree amicably that their marriage was one of them and move on in a respectful manner. This is particularly beneficial if the split comes after the arrival of children.

 

Mediation and legal advice are the road to success

In principle, mediation can take place before or after a legal agreement has been drawn up. In practice, it probably helps to have it first and keep open the option of further mediation afterwards if need be. Mediation is simply a process by which couples have a full and open discussion of their situation and expectations, which is facilitated by a mediator.

The mediator’s role is to keep the discussion on topic and to help both parties to express themselves and to learn to understand each other’s views until finally they reach a place of agreement, which the mediator then converts into a memo of understanding, which can then be given to the solicitors acting for the respective individuals.

This makes it easier for the solicitor drawing up the prenup to create a document which accurately reflects their client’s wishes and for the solicitor acting on behalf of the other party to analyse the agreement and ensure that it is appropriate for their client. While prenups are like insurance in the sense that they are a product you buy in the hope that you are never going to use them, just like insurance, it can be very helpful to know that you are covered if the need arises.

Fletcher Day are a full service law firm based in Mayfair, London. There team of family law solicitors in London can advise on a range of matters relating to family law including divorce, prenuptial agreements, civil partnerships and separation agreements.

 

 

Travelling with Children Post-Divorce as a Single Parent

Travelling with children as a single parent can be challenging, however there are tricks to making it go smoother. If being used to having another adult helping out (your former spouse), consider enlisting a replacement. My mother was the “granny nanny” and accompanied my two sons and I on many of our global adventures. She escorted a tired child back to the ship or watched the boys play in a park while I hit a few shops.

Select destinations according to the ages of the children. Wee ones enjoy playing in the sand and staying put in one place. A condo at a beach or cabin at a lake fills this need nicely. Older ones crave adventure or exploring ruins like Indiana Jones. Think about a place that would be enjoyable for every family member. For example, many families where I reside, go to Costa Rica. One can take a leisurely stroll in the rainforest with a toddler, or have teens zip-lining through it. There are beaches for relaxing and museums for culture. Amusement parks, such as Disneyland, satisfies kids of all ages. See what travel deals you can get to make trips more affordable.

Several divorced parents advise going to all-inclusive resorts. The youngsters partake in fun sports or classes which enables mom or dad to have some free time. It is one price for food, lodging and many of the offered activities. My friend liked to take her two sons to a Club Med, some which have circus classes for children. While her boys were dangling from ropes or on the trapeze, she was sipping a rum cocktail on the beach.

There are various travel companies which offer special tours for families. One has safaris to Africa where the youngsters meet with a chief to learn about tribal life. The single parents can be at the spa or working out during these few kids only events. There are plenty of experiences that are shared with the children. Not being hands on 24/7 gives the solo parent a much needed break.

After my divorce, we tended to go on ocean or river cruises. We took advantage of sales and 2 for the price of 1 offers. I did not have surprises with costs and selected trips that fit my budget. I liked unpacking only once and not waking up cranky boys to catch trains or busses. We sailed at night and merely walked off the ship to a new destination each morning.     Please read more   www.divorcemag.com/blog/travelling-with-children-post-divorce

How to Ward off Loneliness During Divorce

One can feel lonely when going through the divorce process. You have lost your live-in companion and may be by yourself for the first time in your life. Some go from their parents’ house – to uni – to the marital home. Perhaps you feel overwhelmed doing all the tasks that used to be split up between the both of you. There is less time to be with friends. The divorce process itself is time consuming and can leave one feeling drained.

It is essential to stay in touch with friends during divorce to ward off feelings of loneliness. A quick cup of coffee with a pal is an energy booster and provides an opportunity to vent. Holding onto a grudge or hostile feelings can impact one’s well-being. Just as you schedule events into your agenda – do so for pleasurable activities. One can be among others, yet not have to interact if that is an issue. Go to a film or play so you are around people. Many tote their lap tops to coffee shops and do their own thing while not being isolated.

Ways to Ward off  Loneliness

 

  • A great way to feel connected to people is through volunteering. Not only is one helping others who appreciate it (humans or animals) but it can boost self-worth which may have taken a hit during a turbulent marriage. You also meet and connect with other volunteers. I enjoy the camaraderie of being with other church members when serving refreshments after Mass.
  • Consider joining groups for fun, fitness or mental stimulation. MeetUp.com is global with many special interest groups, including divorce ones. Join a book or running club to enjoy an activity with like-minded people.
  • Go to festivals – one is in the midst of others and can have some nice conversations. One can enjoy great food at large communal tables. The ethnic ones have a lively atmosphere and singles are welcome.
  • Churches have community events. A nearby Orthodox one has homemade international lunches several times a year. I like going to an Anglican one for the Macmillan Coffee mornings and have met some wonderful people. Catholic ones have fish and chips dinners during Lent. My divorced friend met her next husband at a singles group at her church.
  • Some divorcing people adopted pets for company. Nurturing someone else took the focus off their problems. Get the right one. One co-worker adopted a darling pig during her divorce which she sometimes brought to work. She was told that Ms. Piggy was a small breed. Well she was not, and grew very portly in size. Ms. Piggy is now living on a farm and my co-worker has visiting rights.
  • If you do not have children – borrow someone else’s for the day. Their laughter is contagious. Nephews, nieces or little neighbours would love an outing to the zoo, park or carnival. Being around these youngsters can help you forget about your divorce for a few hours.

 

Feeling Isolated

There is a difference between feeling isolated vs lonely. Merriam Webster dictionary defines isolation as being “set apart” and this may mean geographically. While married, we lived in a house with a lovely view a bit out of town in the foothills. In the midst of divorce, I felt very isolated from other people. There was no public transport and going places necessitated a car ride. I bought a small house in town during divorce and that feeling of isolation evaporated. Others have married someone and moved to a new location and feel isolated when getting a divorce. If feasible, see if relocating would be beneficial to feel more connected to people, such as family. Determining the reason why one feels cut off is the way to fix isolation.

Reach out to others when feeling lonely. Loneliness is defined as “being without company.” Talk to neighbours, the barista at your coffee shop or other encounters. I have had some of my best conversations with individuals who were sharing my park bench. Start a new hobby or take a class to beat the Loneliness Blues.

My article was originally published on the web site of Paradigm Family Law   www.paradigmfamilylaw.co.uk/

Paradigm Family Law is a niche practice specialising in divorce and family law advice run by matrimonial experts James Thornton and Frank Arndt.  They have over 30 years experience in the field, and provide specialist legal advice for divorce and family matters including international disputes.  The fees are fixed, enabling you to budget with certainty and security and without the stress of unknown increased costs in the future as your case progresses.

Coping at Work When Going Through Divorce

There can be issues that arise on the job when going through divorce. For one thing, an individual may have to leave for divorce sessions or court dates. Consider scheduling mediation or collaborative meetings around lunch time or staying a bit later that day. See if your divorce professional has early morning slots so that your job is not impacted by absences.

Inform your supervisor regarding your divorce, in case your emotions are more extreme or your interactions are a bit erratic at work. My two bosses gave me some leeway during this stressful time. It is a toss-up whether or not to tell your co-workers about your situation. The other female and I went out for lattes and I blew off some steam away from our place of employment. If you feel your work may be slipping a little – then consider confiding in a few trusted colleagues. They can proactively catch some mistakes or at least realize that this is a temporary condition. In some places, one may be the subject of gossip around the office.

Many people pour themselves into their jobs for a much needed distraction. It can be one’s oasis of calm in the turbulent sea of divorce. Laughing and talking with my fun-loving co-workers helped me keep my sanity. Work projects and tasks keep minds focused and off divorce problems. Constantly checking one’s phone for messages takes time away from the job and thrusts one back into their divorce situation. Possibly look at texts or e-mail once during the work day, such as during lunch. I did not check anything at all while on the job and had my solicitor or her paralegal call me if something urgent arose. This gave me a break. Then when I got home, I dealt with divorce matters.

What to do if you are about to lose it at work. Pause and take a mini break. Get away from your immediate environment and walk around the block or down some long hallways. Getting out in nature is therapeutic and decreases stress, as some studies have shown. Go to a nearby park to eat your lunch. Some people use their lunch breaks to release tension by working out at a gym or going for a run. Meeting up with friends for a few laughs during lunch can get you back on track. There are homeopathic remedies that reduce stress and anxiety. I squirted Bach’s Rescue Remedy into my mouth when feeling overwhelmed with divorce. There are plenty of other brands on the market to take long-term or as a quick fix.

Just as a pregnant woman gets plenty of unsolicited advice, so do people going through divorce. Good friends as well as those you barely know may be inquisitive. At work, consider having a few close colleagues tell others that you do not want to discuss your divorce, when you have had enough questions. You do not owe anyone explanations or updates. Please read more www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/coping-divorce-work/

How to Deal with Worries During Divorce

There are a lot of emotions when going through the divorce process and one of them is worrying. Worry in itself is not bad – it is how one deals with it that can be a problem. When focusing on worry, it can be paralyzing, keeping us from getting needed tasks done. It can drain energy away from doing our day-to-day activities during proceedings.

Worry alerts a person that all is not right in a situation. It is a call to action for making a change. There are ways to heed this call of action in a productive manner. When a worry is about a specific issue, write out a plan how to fix the problem or at least minimize any fall out. For example, if how assets may be spilt is causing you to lose sleep, then take some steps. If there is a chance some assets may be hidden, then bring a forensic accountant on board to search for off shore funds or money that may have been diverted to another party. You could hire an independent financial advisor to look over what is on the table and suggest which ones are in your best in your case. A person in their fifties may be more interested in retirement accounts than in other investments. One man in New York City took the bulk of his settlement in retirement funds and let his wife have their rent controlled apartment. He was then able to move in with his bachelor brother and feel secure about his golden years.

Think about what is really bothering you so it can be addressed. This is the root cause of the worry, which may be something unexpected. I worried constantly about losing the marital home. After discussing this worry with others, I discovered that it was not the house itself I wanted – but rather the security it represented. This realization allowed me to let go and agree to sell our house. I bought a much smaller one nearer to my sons’ school and to my friends. This was a wiser decision which also resulted in better financial security.

How to deal with worry that seems to consume you? This catastrophic way of looking at life can be changed. Ask your lawyer what is the worst outcome that could happen in your divorce. It will not be nearly as bad as you expected. Our worst-case scenarios are often unrealistic and would not occur. Or ask your financial advisor what is the least amount you would get when splitting assets. Inquire what would be the bottom amount for alimony or the highest you would have to pay. You may be pleasantly surprised that your financial situation is not as dire as anticipated. Knowing what is the worst that could happen lessens being afraid of the unknown in divorce circumstances.   Please read more….

www.divorcemag.com/blog/dealing-with-worrying-during-divorce

Tips on Teaching Your College Kids About Personal Finance

Money management is a life skill that is just as important as learning proper English grammar, yet it is often neglected. As a parent, it is your responsibility to make sure your child is not lacking in this life skill. Your child’s attitude toward money can make the difference between whether he will have a pleasant way of life in the future or one that will drag him to the pits of misery. There is no better time to teach your child proper personal finance management than when he is setting out on his own for the first time — his college days.  

Talk about money

Money is something we deal with throughout our life, yet it is a subject we rarely discuss. Before you release your child to the jungle that is college, make sure you take the time to dive deeply into the subject. Be open about issues like how you are going to cover his or her college expenses and what you might have to do if something untoward happens, like if you suddenly lose your job. Handling money matters should be a team effort for your family. The more involved your child is, the more he will be responsible for his or her own share of expenses.

Work through a budget with your child

Take the time to sit down and create a budget with your child. This will not only teach him a skill that would prove useful in life, but you can also help make sure that he does not struggle with making ends meet, or worse, end up with nothing to eat while he is miles away from home. Also, if he ends up asking you for more money, you can refer back to the budget you have prepared and work out how he ended up running short. You can then suggest ways to improve.

Make your budget as detailed and concrete as possible. Create categories, break the budget plan down by month so tracking expenses can be easier, and take the time to evaluate the plan and how your child is faring every end of the year or as you see fit.

Require them to track their spending

One of the ways you can ensure that they will stick to a budget is by having them track their spending. The young ones often do not realize how the little purchases can add up. Ask your child to track every single purchase he makes. You can recommend an app that will allow him to do this. The techie tool will make the process easier and more inviting for him. Tracking every single expense will help your child get a feel of the outflow of money, and appreciate the complexities of money management early on.

Set money boundaries

Do not hesitate to discuss with your child just what you are willing to spend on for him. While sending him to school may be your responsibility, covering, say, fraternity expenses is not. Be clear about your boundaries. Explain to your child that if he wants to be able to indulge in luxuries, he should be willing to work for it or find resources of his own. Not only will this help you avoid getting into financial trouble, you will also be able to train your child to be more resourceful. You just might be able to ignite an entrepreneurial spirit in the process.

Do not always bail your child out

Make your child feel secure by explaining that you will always try to do your part and be religious with sending out his allowance. You can even explain that you will always be there to bail him out of trouble, that he should not hesitate to seek your help. After all, the likes of money transfer are only around the corner. Instilling a sense of security in kids is important if they are to set out to the world with confidence. Still, be just as clear that your offer of assistance has its limits. And that while fortuitous events are understandable, losing money over Starbucks is not. Be clear with your boundaries, and be willing to refuse to provide assistance when your child has been irresponsibly careless with his spending habit. Make him own up to his mistakes and learn from them. More importantly, teach him to sort out his own problems and solve them on his own. This will be yet another important life skill he could learn.

Talk about the pitfalls of borrowing

Whether you are thinking of giving your child an extension account to your credit card or you are just worried about him taking debts from his friends, make sure you talk candidly about the pitfalls of borrowing. Many people find themselves in a financial mess in late adulthood because they started off on the wrong foot. There is no better time to warn your child about the dangers of getting buried in debts than when they are just setting out for college. Emphasize the importance of avoiding debts. Mention real life anecdotes if you must, and explain just how much trouble it is to have wrong credit habits.

Talk about the possibility of taking a job

Sit down with your child and seriously ruminate the possibility of taking a job. Discuss possible opportunities available, and discuss the benefits of having a part-time job. Explain that learning about the hard work it entails to earn money will help him value what he has even more and be more responsible with how he spends it. Having a job will also help him earn many life skills that he can use when he enters the real world. This will help ensure eventual success in his career endeavors. You may also help him with time management, so you can make sure he can handle juggling school and work.

Set attractive goals

You may also establish goals that your child will want to work hard for. You can teach them the value of investments and compounded interest so they can have something to strive for. You can both identify exciting things to do with savings and investments, like travel abroad or just a fatter bank account. Having something attractive to look forward to will help motivate your child to stick to the planned budget or to take on that part-time job. Ensure a good future for your child by taking the time to properly train him or her on money management. Personal finance is no small matter, and should be treated accordingly.

Author is Jason Garcia  Blogger and Business Manager www.InvestmentDad.com

 

The Benefits of Practice Dating

There is a way to ease into dating again after a break up or divorce. Get your feet wet before diving in, by doing practice dating. One recently single woman told me that she and her divorced friends found that having a few practice dates made it much easier to feel comfortable entering the dating world. They selected men whom they absolutely did not feel any romantic attraction to, as their dates. Everyone was clear about this and what the purpose was for the date.

Consider practice dating as a dress rehearsal for the real thing – and take it seriously. It gives one the chance to make some mistakes, see what works and what needs improving. Whether it is a West End, Broadway, or children’s school play, they have a practice performance before the public one. This is the idea behind practice dating with a non-threatening opportunity to get some suggestions and encouragement.

Treat it as a real first date and take care to be well groomed and dressed according to the activity – edgy for an art gallery show or more refined for elegant dining. Go through all the motions of a date: do you arrive together or meet at a designated place, how to split expenses, determining the time frame of it. Think ahead about some good topics to discuss. Feedback at the end will include if you monopolized the conversation or shared too intimate details of your life. You are looking for balance.

How does one find someone who understands this get-together is just for practice? Find a friend who is amenable and willing to give brutally frank feedback at the end. One man who was getting back into dating, asked his lesbian friend to give him a critique of his dating behavior. She enlightened him that he hardly gave the other person a chance to jump into the conversation. This was due more to nerves so he had to work on being okay with not trying to plug gaps in the dialogue. Let the other person have time to digest what is being said with some silence.

One of my employers said that several of her divorced friends did practice dating through the organization Rent A Friend. Part of their website is devoted to “Practice Dating” which states “Hire a friend to practice going out with you and give you the feedback you need to improve your dating.” They stress that they are not a dating site or escort service. A website like this one, is another option if you cannot find a person to be your practice date. Her friends only needed between one to three practice dates before they felt relaxed enough to start dating.

Understand that feedback is crucial at the end of a practice date. The point is to learn from it, and not to be defensive. The pract