Getting a Divorce

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.  

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/

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/

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/

 

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

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)

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

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.  

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.

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)

 

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

What Men and Women Can Teach Each Other During Divorce

Whether divorce was on the horizon or comes as a sudden shock, there are bits of wisdom that both genders can learn from each other. Men and women have spilled divorce secrets which can be beneficial to many. One may be in the right, however fighting to be the winner drains energy and finances. In the end, it is the lawyers who win by receiving more in legal fees.

Men I interviewed advised to be agreeable to negotiating. When an individual is not heavily attached to a particular outcome, then the other side is apt to budge a little more. This is where the popular phrase “Don’t sweat the small stuff” comes into play. Men mentioned that they picked their battles. These guys were less interested in household furnishings and by offering to give up the bulk of it to their wives, this made going after the big-ticket items easier. There was less squabbling over pension plans, IRAs and investments when their wives already felt that they were ahead.

Men suggested being proactive when it comes to visitation and custody. They offer to give up time that they have with the children, so that the kids can celebrate Mother’s Day with mom. Their ex-spouses appreciate this gesture and keep it in mind when the dads need a more flexible schedule. Mothers and fathers have told me that a Parenting Plan written during divorce has made life easier afterwards. They did not have to go back and forth on small issues, but rather referred to the document.

One may be dating during a separation, but women have emphasized to be discrete during proceedings. The goal is to get through divorce as quickly as possible without drama, with both sides feeling the outcome is somewhat fair. Going out on the town with one’s new love interest can derail a divorce, if the soon-to-be-ex becomes spiteful. Keeping a low profile for a few months is worth it in the long run. Here are two examples which backfired for these men.

At the beginning of a couple’s divorce, the older son told his mother and others that his dad had been cheating. A family friend came forward and revealed that the man had posted a profile on Match.com that he was singe without children, at least a year before they started proceedings. Upon request, she produced a copy of the profile. The wife gave it to her lawyer, the boys’ therapist and the child psychologist who was on the collaborative divorce team. The profile from the dating site was verified as being the husband’s. Advertising online that he was single and childless certainly affected his amount of visitation. There have been cases in the news where a spouse got more of the assets when the other spent joint property funds on a lover.

In the other example, a woman stopped hearing from a long-term friend during her divorce. Although divorce changes relationships, this was strange. During proceedings, the father invited his date (mother’s friend) along on a visitation day. The boys were shocked when their father told them that he and this person were a couple. He became enraged when one child pointed out that he was technically still married. The woman had known the boys for years and tried to be extra friendly, but the boys were too upset to talk. Springing this on the lads without any warning made it worse. The angry children contacted the professional who was doing a custody evaluation, about this new development. If dating your spouse’s friend, at least wait a bit until after the divorce is finalized before informing the kids about this situation. Divorced men and women recommended introducing dates to family and friends at least a few months after the divorce has been granted. They are adjusting to your divorce too.

Guys had comments about wanting women to be less emotional during proceedings. Sobbing during sessions is counterproductive and hinders communication. Several said for wives to handle things more like a business meeting and to keep emotions in check. They wanted interactions to be more focused on content rather than on feelings. Moods are contagious. When one spouse has an angry outburst and the other responds similarly, this adds fuel to the fire. Fellows have said that they want the divorce to stay on track and not get into blaming or other issues. Have a professional demeanor and save the letting off steam for when being in the company of friends.

During divorce, I took a co-parenting course and learned a lot from the fellows. They helped us females to lighten up and not to take life so seriously. We encouraged them to take better care of themselves. Men and women can learn tips from each other, which benefits them by having smoother divorces.

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   https://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)

Starting Divorce – What Initial Steps to Take

Fear of the unknown can make the early stage of divorce scary. Juggling child care, finances and the uncertainty of the outcome adds to one’s stress. Getting expert legal advice at the onset can allay some of these fears and make the divorce process smoother. Acknowledge that your world is drastically changing. Hold on to some rituals, such as weekly hikes with pals or a pint with your mates. My sons and I had pizza with a DVD every Friday evening all through my divorce. Having routines gives a constancy during divorce when life is so unpredictable.

Realize what you have control over and what is out of your hands in your divorce situation. Concentrate on what you have in your power, such what you do on the job, rather than what is not – your spouse’s behaviour.One may receive or have to pay a fixed amount of maintenance. That may appear to be a financial issue that cannot change. However you can control your spending which then frees up extra cash. One way to control legal fees is going to Paradigm Family Law’s web site and checking out their fixed price packages for divorce. Knowing what your divorce will cost prevents an unpleasant surprise down the road. During our collaborative one, our financial advisor mandated that we write down our expenditures for a fortnight. This information helped me to cut out the unnecessary ones and come up with a down payment for my new house. If on a tight budget, involve the children with their input on how to cut costs. My sons suggested some great family activities which were free, such as concerts, festivals, picnics and more.

If your divorce seems to be moving too quickly or you feel your world is collapsing, take a short break to regroup. Pausing for a week during your divorce is fine, especially if you are feeling you are about to have a breakdown. Nurture yourself. You cannot do all of your tasks and be there for the kids if you are running on empty. Go out of town for a few days to relax or to gain a new perspective on your situation. My mum, sons and I went on a river cruise in the middle of my divorce when things were unbearable. It rejuvenated me and I had lots of energy to get through the rest of it, including division of assets. A massage, facial or a day out with friends accomplishes this too.

It is natural to have worries during divorce and how you handle them makes a difference in your well-being. The Mayo Clinic, Web MD and others state that worrying affects health in a negative way. It decreases the functioning of the immune system, and increases cortisol which activates the flight or fight reaction. This stress can cause insomnia, suppress the digestive system, affect the heart and so forth. To reduce your worries, ask your solicitor what would be the worst case scenario in your circumstance. You will probably discover it is not nearly as bad as you have imagined and you can relax a bit. Some have found it helpful to set a timer and limit worrying to only a half hour a day. Or write them down in one column with a possible solutions to them in another.

In our acrimonious divorce, our solicitors insisted that we each see a life coach for at least one session. She helped me put things into perspective and my husband brought his along to one collaborative divorce meeting. One does not have to go through divorce alone. There are divorce support groups, including MeetUp.com and Restored Lives. Reach out to others and consider enlarging your social or professional network. Staying connected to others helps one get through this life transition.

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.

 

Tips for Women Over Fifty Getting a Divorce

Different decades have their unique concerns when it comes to divorce. Women over fifty are caught between wanting liquid assets that will help them start their new life, yet receiving enough in retirement funds. Consider consulting with your own financial advisor who will look over all that is on the financial table. They will assist in determining what is the most advantageous split for you or come up with several options. They can meet with your solicitor to ensure you three are on the same page. A house may look like a £400, 000 asset, but in reality be worth half of that, if there is still a mortgage on it. I opted for cash in order to pay down the mortgage on my new house. Now that retirement is looming closer on the horizon, that may not have been the best decision.

In divorce, a tax expert may be brought on board to assess what the tax consequences are for various investments and pension plans. Some are taxed upon withdrawing funds and others are not. If two accounts are valued at £ 20,000 and one will have a tax to be paid, then dividing these between spouses is not an even distribution.

Now days, the trend is to have maintenance paid for a shorter period of time, perhaps a few years. Or there may be a clean break where assets are split and both walk away from the marriage without any future payments. If one spouse owns a business, then an expert may be brought in to value it. This is trickier when it is service related and there is not much inventory. The other spouse would receive less compensation than if there was pricey equipment or stock.

During the chaos of divorce proceedings, one may be in survival mode and not thinking of what is around the corner. Will your last child be leaving home soon after divorce? In this case, consider selling the marital home during divorce and downsizing. My older son was starting university in less than two years, with his younger brother following behind him post-divorce. It made sense to buy a small house during divorce which accommodated us three, yet would be perfect for a single person with cats.

Think about your situation and what lies ahead. Baby Boomers are the sandwich generation with kids at home and also being responsible for elder care. If your parents or another family member are requiring your attention, will you be relocating near them at some point? That is another reason to sell the marital home, splitting the proceeds so that you are not tied down to a specific location. It was nice being in a new place with my sons. There are many choices to make during divorce and a life coach can help you sort through them when feeling overwhelmed.

A woman in her fifties has accumulated much stuff. De-cluttering before moving or even if staying in the marital home is beneficial. This is a good time to keep just what you truly like and get rid of the excess. Purge your closet and take clothes to a consignment shop. I worked for a company that sold clients’ items online and took boxes of china, stemware and other personal possessions to them. The extra money was much appreciated. I had several huge yard sales and a friend was most helpful in sourcing buyers for furniture. Make sure you have divided personal property first or have checked in with your solicitor before selling anything. I got rid of unwanted gifts, some of which were from my soon-to-be-ex. Some items will no longer be needed with your new lifestyle. An example is, if you lavishly entertained your spouse’s business colleagues and clients, those platters, and so forth can be sold.  Please read more … www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/divorce-for-women-fifty/

 

Is Brexit Causing Couples to Get Divorced?

The decision to leave the EU seems a lifetime ago but there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding what will actually happen when we do eventually leave the EU. There are concerns over specific laws, taxes, travel and our power as a nation but has anyone stopped to consider the fact that it can actually cause relationship problems? Well in fact, it is already.

Despite politics being a high priority for many, it can often run much deeper than that. Your political beliefs are your own and should remain that way but many couples are allowing their differences to come between them and this is where the Brexit decision has cause problems.

More and more Brits can now relate to the fact that political beliefs are driving a wedge between them and their partners. A new survey from the relationship charity Relate has found that 20% of relationship support counsellors have dealt with clients who have argued over Brexit.

However, this is not the first time that Brexit has cause problems for couples because even before the decision was made to leave the EU, the stress of the Brexit was weighing heavy on the shoulders of couples, leaving many close to divorce. In some cases, it has gone beyond coming close because many couples are splitting up simply up simply because one voted differently to the other. Essentially, one voted to remain and the other voted to leave and that is where the problem lies.

There is also a level of uncertainty because many Europeans who are living in Britain are unsure about whether they will still be allowed to live here once the wheels begin turning and Britain move away from the EU. What’s more is that they may not even want to remain here and that in itself is another problem.

This is a problem that many people did not envisage, particularly as the main focus of the vote and the decision was surrounding the politics of it all and the impact.

When couples begin to argue over Brexit and who they should and shouldn’t vote for along with topical debates, it can drag up underlying problems that may have been eating away at couples. This highlights the fact that they do not share the same values. Values are extremely important to us as individuals and when partners disagree with them, it can feel like a form of betrayal and can then become a concern.

The decision to leave EU is causing high levels of anxiety when it comes to what the future may hold. The decision has only added to a fire that may have been burning for some time and this only exacerbates any problems that couples are already facing.

For many, it feels like their partner does not listen to them or simply does not value their opinion and that is why Brexit has had a bigger and more wider impact than many people realised.

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.

 

Tips on How to Avoid Sabotaging Your Divorce

Your behaviour in divorce has an impact on its outcome. Attempting to score points with verbal sparring against your opponent (spouse) may temporarily feel like a victory. In reality, it raises legal fees and prolongs proceedings. Trading insults with each other distracts one from staying on task. Blow off negativity to friends before walking into a divorce session.

  1. Do not sabotage your divorce by confiding its details to people who may not honour your confidentiality. Your divorce can become the subject of juicy gossip. Instead, talk about your feelings or changes in your life, such as moving to a new place. I messed up on this one. A few things I said during my divorce got back to my husband, who brought it up at a collaborative meeting. My solicitor told me to zip up my mouth. If you are friendly with your spouse’s co-workers or friends – divorce is not the time to divulge deep secrets. Be discreet, so you do not learn this the hard way, as I did. Keeping quiet is especially critical if you both are in the same field. Disparaging remarks about your soon-to-be-ex, can damage their reputation or make encounters at professional events awkward. The last thing you need during divorce is to be sued for slander.
  2. Another problem area is revealing too much on social media. This has been the cause for divorce when an unsuspecting spouse discovers the existence of a lover. Solicitors have used what someone has posted on social media during proceedings. This is particularly important when the amount of shared care is being determined. Photos of a parent cavorting around at parties looking drunk, can make them appear a bit unstable. This can hurt one when applying for jobs, as potential employers check Facebook and other sites. One may have strict privacy settings, however their friends may not. People can post pictures without your consent, so talk to friends about this issue.
  3. Not being truthful on Form E with your financial disclosure can come back to haunt you. Hidden assets can be discovered by a forensic accountant which then has serious repercussions. There have been big cases in the news recently where one other spouse successfully sued for more assets when the other one lied about their wealth. A monetary penalty can be given or a much bigger share of the hidden fund awarded to the spouse who sued for it. Being honest in the first place can avoid these legal entanglements during proceedings or months later when the financial discrepancy comes to light.
  4. False allegations about the other party can backfire. If abuse is even insinuated, it will be checked out. If one has lied, that may affect the financial outcome or shared time with kids. Being perceived as unbalanced will not help your case. Some parents practice parental alienation to get the children on their side and the other parent out of the picture. This puts kids in a loyalty bind. One father and his mother continually made nasty comments about the boys’ mum around them. He ended up with no overnights and more limited contact. Do not sabotage shared time with putdowns of the other parent, but rather say nothing at all.

It is to one’s advantage to get through divorce as quickly as possible in order to move on. Trying to drag it out so you can hang on to your spouse longer or punish them ends up hurting you. A new chapter is about to begin. Reframe your thoughts to accept opportunities coming your way rather than clinging to the past which can derail your divorce.   Originally printed in The Divorce Magazine   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/sabotaging-your-divorce/      Their web site is www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/ and has many articles on divorce and moving on.

 

 

 

 

Dealing with Anger in Divorce

Anger and other strong emotions are a by-product of divorce. It is natural to get upset over the crazy antics of one’s soon-to-be ex. Perhaps one’s partner sees divorce as a contest where there is a clear winner and loser. The word “compromise” is not in their vocabulary. There are ways to deal with anger during the divorce process without having an explosion. Anger in itself is okay, but how it is expressed may not be. An example of this is road rage. The driver takes out their hostility by ramming the car in front of them or threatening someone else. They over react to a slight provocation. An especially tragic act of divorce anger is when one parent retaliates against the other by killing their children.

Anger is an emotion which needs to be acknowledged first before dealing with it and moving on. Anger is a response to a perceived threat or being the target of hostility. Analyze the situation to determine what action you can take. If it is out of your control, accept that and realize that you do have control over your reaction to it. When spouses get tangled up in anger, that can lengthen proceedings which results in higher legal fees. How to get rid of anger:

  1. Physical activity helps to release anger and anxiety. Exercise lowers the stress hormone cortisol which is responsible for raising blood pressure and the heart rate. Go running, to the gym, a fitness class, on a hike, or cleaning spree to keep you moving. Some people feel that striking an object releases anger better for them, such as by playing tennis, golf, or bowling. Others don boxing gloves and do sparring.
  2. Write a letter to your spouse about your grievances. Pour out your wrath in detail. Put down your feelings and then notice how cathartic this activity is. Later rip it up or burn it, but do not send it. A variation of this is to keep a journal and jot down your thoughts on paper. This helps to release strong emotions and months down the road one can look back and appreciate the progress in healing that has been made.
  3. Release your anger by discussing what you are going through with friends. They will listen and p put your situation into perspective when anticipating a bleak outcome. They remind you what is going right in your life so you see there is some balance. Having friends’ support enables one to know that they are not going through divorce alone.
  4. Consider joining a divorce support group or co-parenting class. The camaraderie in a “Women in Transition” class kept me from losing my sanity. It was helpful in a co-parenting course to hear the other gender’s point of view. The guys had me laughing and not being so serious, which got rid of much anger. In support groups, the non-judgmental acceptance can be a life-line to getting through the divorce process.

What counteracts anger is looking for several pleasant things that happened to you each day.  Please read more…www.divorcemag.com/blog/dealing-with-anger-during-divorce

Most Common Financial Concerns During a Divorce

Money is an ongoing concern for many and it can often cause problems for marriages, occasionally to the point where it ends in divorce. However, divorce brings with it, money trouble of its own.

Splitting Possessions

There may be a house, a car and even a collection of some kind all of which will have to be divided. This is a big part of the divorce process and the way it works has some relevance to where you live.

There are two forms of states known as community property states and equitable distribution. Community property states see all belongings as being owned by both parties. This does not necessarily mean that everything is split 50:50 and belongings are split in a fair way.

Equitable distribution states indicate that any property obtained during the marriage will belong to the spouse that earned it. In the case of divorce, the two parties have the assistance of solicitors and such to help them divide belongings in a fair way.

Splitting Debts

Splitting debts is very different to splitting assets because you have to share the money that you owe. Therefore, it is important for all involved to understand what is owed and who owes it and there is always the scope of settling the debts at this point by selling something such as a property. There is the possibility of swapping debt for assets when they property is divided but there is also the possibility of splitting debts equally – this of course depends on how amicably the divorce is.

Tax problems

Splitting assets and debt are usually at the forefront of the divorce arrangements yet there are tax implications to consider.

As you are not considered to be married any more, following divorce, your filing status changes. There is the possibility that capital gains tax could be expected, particularly if you receive a large amount when the property is divided and there is every chance that the legal fees linked to your divorce could be susceptible to tax.

Child support and any other family support payments could be taxed and if there are children involved, who will be exempt from making the payments? The tax payments can be quite high and so they have to be considered.

Are there children involved?

It is never a pleasant experience if there are children involved in the divorce, but the main fact is that they cost money. The cost of raising a child up to adulthood can run into the hundreds of thousands of pounds and this involves providing them with a home, clothes, food, school and a lot more and so, when it comes to divorce, child support becomes an issue.

If you are not granted custody of the child then you will have to provide regular payments as a form of child support. These are payments that you will have to commit to until your child reaches 18 years of age.

The payment will be made to the other parent as they are the ones who has to pay for the majority of costs associated with raising a child.

When it comes to divorce, things can become extremely complicated and so there are hurdles and barriers to slow you down along the way. While money may have been the reason for your divorce it can certainly cause you problems beyond that, but understanding some of the financial concerns when it comes to a divorce will prepare you for what lies ahead.

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.

Parenting Plan for Relocating with Children Post-Divorce

The most obvious aspect of your parenting plan that will need adjustment is the custody and visitation schedule. Chances are that the primary residence will remain the same, but the visitation schedule will not. A parent that may have had time with their child every weekend might now only see their child one weekend a month, but more during summer vacation. You will also need to take the travel time into consideration. Regardless of how your visitation schedule will need to be adjusted, it’s important to get all the details worked out before a move.

It’s no question that separation and divorce can be difficult for children. While it might actually create a better environment for them in certain circumstances, they don’t always understand that at the time.  Add in a geographic move of one of the parents into the mix, regardless of whether the child has to relocate as well, just creates another whole level of complexity.   

Create or Amend Your Parenting Plan to Reflect Your Living Situations  

If you are divorced or divorcing with a child or children, you will need or already have a parenting plan. This plan should contain everything about how both parents will cooperate in regards to raising their children, from how time will be shared to how expenses will be handled. If one parent plans to move a significant distance away after a parenting plan has been created and approved by the family court, it will need amended to reflect any changes.  

Here are some of the major points that need to be considered.   

Transportation is Important  

Most parenting plans have details about pick-up and drop-off times and locations. But, that gets much more complicated when long distances are involved. Long distance travel takes time. Anything involving a considerable amount of time needs to be looked at and potentially amended because it affects the time-share between parents.  Additionally, travel expenses can add up fast. Don’t forget to include in your new amended plan which parent will cover what expenses.  

You also need to put in clear text how the child will travel. Will they travel with a parent, and if so, which parent is responsible for that? Of, if their using public transportation, who will be responsible for making the travel arrangements?  

You can never be too detailed with all of this information.  

More Miles Doesn’t Mean Less Communication  

Your original parenting plan should include provisions about parental communication. That doesn’t change if one parent moves.  

You still need provisions and both parents still need to communicate. And, with all of the communication technology available today, that should not be a problem.  In fact, the distance makes communicating according the parenting plan even more important.  What might need amended though is how the child will communicate with the parent they do not live with. One example is that an amendment about video calls might be considered.  

Adjust Your Schedule   

The most obvious aspect of your parenting plan that will need adjustment is the custody and visitation schedule. Chances are that the primary residence will remain the same, but the visitation schedule will not. A parent that may have had time with their child every weekend might now only see their child one weekend a month, but more during summer vacation. You will also need to take the travel time into consideration.  

Regardless of how your visitation schedule will need to be adjusted, it’s important to get all the details worked out before a move.

In Summary

Any time one parent in a co-parenting environment makes a significant change in their living situation, both parents need to revisit their parenting plan and see if adjustments need to be made. These adjustments will need to continue to reflect what is best for all children involved. They will also need to be approved by the family court, so remember to use legal terminology and only edit what absolutely must be changed.

Tim Backes is the author of this article and senior editor for Custody X Change, a co-parenting custody scheduling software solution.

 

Divorce Property Division – Who Gets To Keep The House And Other Assets?

In most cases, spouses own property in common during a marriage. Typically, this includes any assets that both people acquired during their marriage and that they share in both of their  names. Certainly, a house is one of the biggest assets. Other assets could include vehicles, bank accounts, savings plans, and even electronics. Splitting up assets can get messy in some divorce situations.

Who Owns the House After A Divorce

Since both people  probably need a place to live, ownership of a home can get complicated after a divorce. In the best case, the couple can agree which spouse should get to keep the house. In some situations, one spouse might even agree to buy the other out. For example, one  spouse might keep the house and the other spouse will agree to accept a savings or retirement account for compensation. In other situations, the divorced couple could retain joint ownership, but one spouse might live in the house as the other spouse lives  elsewhere.

Very often, the spouse who will have the highest burden of childcare might keep the house. If the home isn’t fully paid off, the couple also has to agree about who makes future mortgage payments. Besides mortgage payments, there are other costs
of owning a home. This include taxes, property insurance and maintenance. These burdens have to be taken care of or the house will lose its value and may even incur liens and penalties. If one spouse plans to live with children most of time, judges are certainly  going to lean towards awarding that spouse with the home that the children are accustomed to living in. That way, the kids don’t have to get uprooted from their neighborhood and their schools. Typical judges prefer to disrupt the children’s lives as little  as possible.

However, it isn’t always true that the spouse who has the most custody of the children will get the house. There may be some situations when it is better for the children to move. If the two people can agree to ownership in some sensible way,
the judge will probably accept the agreement. If they can’t agree, the case may go to moderation. If moderation doesn’t work, it may have to go before a judge in court.  The stronger the disagreement, the longer it will take to settle the dispute. The process  is also likely to run up more charges.

How To Avoid Disputes Over Property In A Divorce

There is no hard and fast rule about who gets to keep a home and other assets. Since most divorcing couples don’t have a lot of experience in the subject of splitting up  assets, they may need help to work through this. Typically, divorce attorneys understand how the law usually works and can provide some guidance. Each spouse will have their own attorney to offer suggestions, make certain that all assets have been uncovered, and to look out for the best interests of their clients.

Jeremy Johnson is the author of this article and is a real estate enthusiast.  He has written content for dozens of real estate and related sites around the world and  is publisher of realestatecompanies.info/

How to Break up with Partner having Borderline Personality Disorder

Breaking up or divorcing a partner with Borderline Personality Disorder can be challenging. Have firm boundaries with consequences for violations.  The men from these  true life cases give advice to others who are going through similar break ups. Two men that broke up with women who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) share their experiences and advice. One got a divorce and the other had great difficulty disentangling himself from his girlfriend. Both of the women tried to stop the break ups which seemed to trigger their fear of abandonment.

Choosing Right Divorce Professional and Type of Divorce

Jeff who is a martial arts instructor, reached his limit of tolerance and consulted with a highly recommended Family Law Firm. He was asked if he wanted a solicitor who was nurturing and would hold his hand all through proceedings. The other choice was an avenger who was no nonsense. He chose the second one and asked if she had dealings with anyone with BPD. Jeff cautions others to ensure that a potential legal representative is experienced with BPD cases. His solicitor kept emotion out of divorce for both him and the wife’s solicitor. Although a bit like a robot, she was effective and controlled proceedings in a matter-of-fact tone. They both agreed that litigation was the best type of divorce for this situation. He did not want to be in a room with his spouse and wanted a judge to preside over proceedings.

Divorcing A Spouse with Borderline Personality Disorder

They had a rocky marriage from the start, however Jeff stuck it out to be a good step-dad to Tara’s son. They had bought an expensive car when married, and Tara insisted upon receiving that one during the division of personal property. Jeff got the ancient one. The step-son called Jeff and demanded that he turn his car over to him so he could get to school. Jeff refused as he needed his car for work. His mum did not want to take over Jeff’s former task of doing the school runs. Although he realized that his wife was using her son as a pawn in their divorce, Jeff questions how close he and the boy really were. Jeff advises to keep kids out of proceedings and tell them that they are not messengers. Have your solicitor put an end to the other parent using youngsters as a tool, to try and get more from the divorce. Jeff’s solicitor made sure he had meticulous financial records to cut down on arguments and false claims by the other side. Tara tried to have Jeff pay her £1000/month for his business. The solicitor quickly said that if she made a claim, that would also entail taking on his debt. It was dropped. Looking back, Jeff wished he had paid more attention to husband number one, who stated he was terrified of Tara.

How to Set Boundaries

In another case, Jim dated a women with Borderline Personality Disorder who was clingy and shunned him when he supposedly did something wrong. She wanted others to be on her side and keep Jim attached to her.  Amy would stop by Jim’s hair salon and bring him unplanned lunches. This was disruptive to his clients when he was in the middle of treatments. When Jim was backing away, Amy would try to hook him in with an unusual amount of sex. People with BPD have impulsive behaviour and Amy was having multiple affairs. When Jim would attempt to end their relationship, Amy acted so sweet, that he gave her another chance. It finally became too much when Jim felt he was a prisoner and Amy was keeping friends and family away. Amy had met with a therapist, but decided not to continue.

We planned his exit strategy. I told him to read about BPD with the probability that Amy also was narcissistic. This new knowledge empowered him to set boundaries. Jim told Amy he was definitely through and there would be no going back. He made it clear that his apartment and work place were off limits. He explained the situation to his landlord who then changed the locks. Jim told neighbours not to let Amy into their flats or give out any information to her. His co-workers were on board and would not accept food, presents, notes or anything from Amy. They were not to let her linger either. If Jim was there, he told her calmly and without emotion, to leave or he would call the police. Jim blocked her number from his cell and let calls to the business phone go to message first. Friends and family were apprised of the situation and did not reveal anything to Amy if she contacted them. It was a community effort to help set boundaries, but after several months she started to drift away. Jim said the big thing was holding firm to boundaries and having others to support him in this endeavour.

People with Borderline Personality Disorder can have successful marital and parental relationships, although in these two cases the women declined therapy. Breaking free from with someone with BPD can be difficult, so enlist others for help. Document any harassment in case you need a restraining order. Talking with a life coach may be invaluable for helping you plan your departure and getting on with life.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine   thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

 

Mediation, Collaborative or Litigation – Which is Best for You?

Mediation

There are different ways to get divorced to fit individual needs and circumstances. Divorcing couples are required to have a mediation information and assessment meeting to cut down on the cases going to court. Mediation is particularly helpful for spouses who want to keep the door open for a good relationship post-divorce. Negotiating can be like a dialogue where husband and wife explain the rationale behind their requests, such as in dividing assets. They are in control of their outcome with the mediator’s guidance. Although many mediators are also solicitors, they do not give legal advice to either party. Mediation can be completed in as few as three sessions and the cost is much lower than in collaborative or litigation. People who are motivated to work together in discovering a mutually acceptable resolution do well with mediation. Each person can consult with their own solicitor between sessions before signing anything.

Collaborative

Some people who are divorcing difficult spouses may feel more comfortable having their own solicitor during proceedings, as in collaborative divorce. They have their own personal advocate to guide them through negotiations and look out for their interests. While the collaborative solicitors represent their own clients, they work together as a team to ensure a fair settlement for each party. We had a collaborative divorce and I still liked my husband’s solicitor when it was finalized. He even gave me ideas for financial help when his client refused to pay any university expenses for our sons. That would not be happening in litigation. Collaborative divorce brings in experts as needed, such as a financial advisor. Collaborative costs more than mediation but is much less than litigation. Many high profile couples prefer the privacy that is part of the collaborative type of divorce.

Litigation

There are times where litigation is the way to go. This is particularly true in abuse cases where a spouse is not going to negotiate face to face with their tormentor. I interviewed people who divorced spouses with personality disorders and they only felt safe in a court room. Leaving their fate to a judge was just fine for their situations. Hiring a barrister for court and the lengthy proceedings is the most expensive type of divorce. The court is adversarial in nature and can become a battlefield. Friendlier divorces, such as the first two, make it easier to maintain ties with one’s ex.

First Step in UK

The First Directions Appointment (FDA) is the first meeting with spouses and solicitors before a judge who shows what the gaps are in the evidence presented. The time frame for future hearings is set, although they can be cancelled if compromises are reached. When there are children, Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) will interview them and pertinent people to give a report to the judge. When parents cannot agree, a judge can issue a Residence Order stating with which parent a child will reside, and the Contact Order is the amount of time that the non-resident parent can see them. Midway through divorce the Decree Nisi is granted. Spouses work with their solicitors or barristers to complete their financial arrangements in the Consent Order. Witnesses may be called for the Final Hearing where a judge makes a ruling. A decree Absolute is issued and this finalizes the divorce and both are free to get remarried.

Online Divorce Companies

For those without children who want a simple and cheap divorce, there are online companies that provide forms and guidance. Please read more  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/which-divorce-process/

Divorcing a Person with Borderline Personality Disorder

Mediation and collaborative divorces have been referred to as “more friendly” with a goal to keep the door open to having a relationship post-divorce. Some people who divorced individuals with personality disorders, felt safer in the court room with a judge presiding. This is particularly true with spouses who have Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

Traits of Borderline Personality Disorder

People with BPD have a fear of abandonment which can become worse with divorce. They have poor and unstable interpersonal relationships. They tend to put someone up on a pedestal and revere them. When that person does something not liked, they become bitterly despised. People are categorized as being wonderful or not worthy of their adoration. Folks with BPD have overly intense emotions which fluctuate vastly. They are controlling and this includes controlling communication between people they know. BPD people are threatened by a partner’s success so criticize in order to tear them down in the belief it will keep them dependent and prevent abandonment (divorce).

Their impulsive behaviour – affairs, drug use, and alcoholism may be a factor in their partner wanting out of the relationship. People with BPD have a sense of emptiness with a distorted self-image. When married, one may have tip-toed around them to avoid activating the BPD spouse’s intense anger. The departing spouse’s self-esteem may be low after spending time with this judgemental person.

Setting Boundaries

Ways to get through divorce from a spouse with Borderline Personality Disorder include having clear boundaries. You can send a strong message that all communication goes to your solicitor and not to you. Have consequences if boundaries are violated. Follow through with consequences, such as blocking their calls and e-mails or changing your phone number. Instruct staff at work not to put those calls through to you or get a restraining order.

Divorce Proceedings

One has to get grounded when starting divorce. Get calm in order to stay focused, as the spouse with BPD will attempt to raise your anxiety. Do not rise to the bait or react to their ploys. Let your barrister or solicitor be the filter that keeps manipulation away from you and deals with it impassively. They get in power struggles even over little issues, so do not get in a battle. Several men I interviewed advised others to let the spouse with BPD feel that they are winning, by giving up more personal property and instead concentrate on the big ticket items. Turn over meticulous documents on finances, particularly showing what you owned before marriage, to keep emotion out of the dealings.

Spouses with Borderline Personality Disorder can bump up your legal costs by dragging out the divorce proceedings. They may refuse to hand over personal property that is deemed yours. Some solicitors send a paralegal to oversee the actual packing up of their client’s personal property. This prevents any interactions of their client with the spouse with BPD. They may try to hang on to you by throwing a spanner in the works whenever possible such as by causing delays with submitting needed records. Leave emotion out and keep to your boundaries. 

When there are children in the marriage, safeguards need to be put into place. Kids can be used as pawns to punish the spouse who is departing. Careful documentation is helpful to show neglect, parental alienation or other parenting problems. There may be a formal custody evaluation performed with interviewing other adults in the kids’ lives to determine the percentage of shared care for each parent. Post-divorce, keep records of communication from the parent with BPD. A person with BPD may be mandated to get therapy and can turn their lives around. People who put the effort into therapy can be good parents and marriage partners. Divorce with spouses with Borderline Personality Disorder who are not in treatment, can a nightmare. Ask potential divorce professionals if they are experienced in dealing with this type of person and what type of divorce that they recommend. The people I talked with had Clean Breaks with former partners with Borderline Personality Disorder and had no communication with them afterwards.

Originally printed in The Divorce Magazine   thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

 

Where to get Help When Facing Divorce

I was recently invited to collaborate on an expert panel and share some insights on how to prepare for divorce and keep it peaceful. Here are my best tips:

There are ways to prepare for a divorce when it is only a matter of when. See what resources are available where you live by calling your local United Way. When my divorce started, I felt like I was wandering around in a fog. United Way told me about a course that was given by our community college (also nationally) called “Women in Transition,” which helped tremendously.

MeetUp.com is world-wide and has various groups, including divorce-focused ones in some locales. There are divorce magazines online which are packed with articles on preparing for and getting through divorce. Some churches have divorce workshops.

If in a rocky marriage heading towards divorce, think about what personal property (yours alone) that you could sell for immediate cash. Consider opening a bank account in your name only in order to have access to funds in case community ones are frozen. Some people buy gift cards or request them as presents when their spouses seemed ready to depart.

Gather your support system around you when preparing for divorce. They can help with practical tasks, such as babysitting or listening when you need to vent.

You are not alone and people can help you every step of the way.

You can read the full article here:   How to Prepare for Divorce

You can find more useful tips on how to prepare for divorce in this post we contributed to on Equitable Mediation’s website.

Tips on Getting Through Divorce

In the early stage of divorce one may be in shock, regardless of who actually filed for it. Having a partner walk out or being the bearer of divorce news is traumatic. One is on autopilot going through the daily motions of life. One divorced man said just put one foot in front of the other and keep walking. These tips will help one get through the first months of the divorce process.

  1. Do not be stoic and feel you can do this alone. Gather the troops around you and vent. Or at least surround yourself with people in a public place, even if not in the mood for interactions. A few divorced folks that I know who withdrew from friends and family were bitter and angry. They erected walls around themselves which became permanent.
  2. Ensure that you maintain contact with your children. One of your lawyer’s first tasks is to set up regular visitation, particularly if your spouse is being uncooperative. As a part-time school nurse, here is what worked for other parents. Talk to your kids’ teachers to see how you can volunteer with their classes. Offer to tutor, chaperone field trips or be the muscles needed to hoist up scenery for class plays or school concerts. The kids are proud and it gives extra contact with you. This also goes for scouts, sports, chess and other activities. The bonus is when custody or shared care is being determined, you are viewed as the involved parent that you are.
  3. It may seem like having fun is frivolous when one’s world is falling apart. It is not. When snipers were shooting citizens in Lebanon a decade or so ago, folks reported risking bullets to go to cafes, get manicures and so forth. When interviewed, they seemed surprised to be asked why they did not stay put. Life is about balance. Keeping anger and anxiety bottled up inside can lead to cardiovascular problems and a good laugh can release them. Having a blast with your kids at an amusement park, soccer or other entertainments, is also good for bonding.
  4. Take care of yourself. Eat some nutritional food every day and take out is fine. Living on junk food and beer will sap your energy which is required to get you through the divorce process. If you try to run your vehicle on junk –it will not go far. You have important decisions to make when dividing assets – so eat protein for your brain. Consult your health care provider for which supplements to add when your diet is dicey.
  5. Consider making your workplace as your sanctuary away from divorce.  Please read more… dadsdivorce.com/articles/9-steps-get-divorce-one-day-time/?utm_content=buffer89cbe&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Divorce Workshop in London

globaldivorceflyer6

Family Law and Brexit – What could it all mean?

The British public have spoken and they have made the decision to leave the EU but the ramifications of that decision is still yet unknown but how will it affect family law?

A recent report stated how important the EU laws are on UK family laws but this is all likely to change now the UK is leaving the EU. The courts are already handling a high volume of cases and the departure could make it difficult for the courts to cope even further. Legal aid has been reduced and the courts are going through structural changes which mean that problems could lie ahead.

Many aspects of family law would be affected by the decision. The divorce process is the same throughout the EU and it has been a success but a new UK law would have to be put in place. Suggestions have been made that the new law should be similar to the EU law.

The EU also regulates maintenance proceedings and international child law would also be affected. However, there could be a benefit to the UK leave the EU when it comes to marital agreements because the EU has imposed marital agreements without seeking independent legal advice which has often cause confusion. Therefore, the decision to leave could result in proposals that were put forward in 2014 being implemented and this would lead to England and Wales supporting the importance of seeking independent legal advice as a method of dealing with other issues.

While future implications of leaving the EU are unknown, Resolution has stated that there is no doubt that the future is looking uncertain. Just in the same way as other areas of legislation, family law in the UK is naturally linked to that in other jurisdictions.

The uniformed jurisdictional rules put forward by Brussels for divorce proceedings and maintenance agreements are likely to change but how it will change is still unknown. Any changes to family law are likely to be postponed as the government is unlikely to make it a priority of theirs.

The financial markets have taken a short term hit since the decision was made but if this becomes a more prolonged issue then this will cause problems for family finance. When it comes to divorce and financial problems, all of this will have to be taken into account.

Regardless of the outcome, Resolution has made it clear that they will co-operate with the government as well as others to help guide family justice as well as offer the support required by members. They will also offer relevant information as well as resources in order to help them handle the way in which things map out following the referendum.

Obviously, the impact of Brexit is unknown but the UK could take up to two years to leave the EU. Therefore, it could be important for the UK government to reflect on the result and how it can achieve the result.

Author Bio: Kerry Smith is the Head of Family Law at  K J Smith Solicitors who are specialists in family law, experienced in all matters relating to divorce, civil partnerships, cohabitation disputes and collaborative law.

Finding Support When Going Through A Divorce

Divorce is a traumatic and stressful experience which can trigger many negative emotions. A person may feel unsettled, frightened and uncomfortable with the many changes they are going through. They may experience depression, guilt, anger and despair over the ending of their relationship. They may also feel frustration, fear, and anxiety about their future. The ending of a marriage frequently leads to sadness. A person may also dread the prospect of being single. If they’ve been married for a long time, they may also have to deal with changes in their social and financial state.

Divorce can bring out the worst in people, leading some to make to petty demands and display abusive behavior. Some people may begin to feel guilty that they were not able to do more to save their relationships. Others may become depressed at the thought that their life is going to change and they may not be able to handle it by themselves. All of these jumbled up emotions can make a person miserable.

As painful as these emotions are, they are a natural part of the grief process. This is how many people respond to life-altering events. These emotions are difficult to handle and there is no cure for how you feel. However, there are some healthy ways to handle your feelings, so that you can gain strength, compassion, and wisdom from what can be a very negative experience. Your emotional healing process begins when you allow yourself to grieve the end of your relationship and you will begin to heal when you can finally move on with your new life.

Some people find that sharing their feelings with others can reduce their suffering. A sympathetic ear can do wonders for a person in emotional pain. That’s the reason people turn to family and friends when they are in the process of getting a divorce. They ask for assistance and support from the people they trust and those who are best able to offer help.

While many people find someone who will allow them to vent their anger, cry out their hurt, talk about their fears and listen to them, it can be difficult for some to find that comfort. Many people have complex and stressful lives and over time, they may tire of listening to a person’s grief, especially if that person cannot get over their pain and move on. Unfortunately, some people find that they do not have anyone to support them through their divorce. For those people, support groups or a professional therapist can offer the help they need.

The main benefit of attending a support group is that you are with other people who are going through the same type of situation. These meetings are usually held in a church or community center. A person can meet face-to-face with others in various stages of grief, all healing from the pain divorce has caused in their lives. In these groups, people come together to learn how to handle their emotions and support.

Some people find it difficult to attend a face-to-face meeting or there may not be one available in their local area. Online support groups offer 24-hour support. However, the support provided is not as personal, although it is more accessible. With online support groups, a person has the opportunity to meet people who are going through the same pain. But be warned that these groups are often plagued by trolls who use this public forum to insult and ridicule others.

If a person has existing mental health conditions, divorce can make things worse, especially for anyone suffering from anxiety, depression or personality disorders. Divorce is often viewed as a personal failure and for some, this increases any feelings of inadequacy they may already have. Therapy is one way to work through these feelings. Some people need to understand why their marriage ended and therapy can help give them a new prospective, which can help stop them from blaming themselves for everything that went wrong.

Many people who have divorced have learned about what they want and don’t want from a relationship. However, in order to learn this, they need to discover more about themselves and their personal characteristics. Therapy, during and after divorce is more about a person learning about themselves than it is about them getting over their marriage.

A qualified therapist understands the effect divorce can have on a person’s life and the changes they will experience during the divorce process. They can offer a person a place to vent in a healthy way. A person can talk openly about their fears and share emotions that may be too intense to share with their family and friends.

A therapist can show a person various techniques to help with stress, grief and negative thinking. This can help a person going through a divorce to be a caring and effective parent who can help their child cope with the divorce in a healthy manner. It also lays the foundation for a healthy new life after the divorce is finalized. Before choosing a therapist, a person should interview several and then, choose a person that makes them feel safe, but is also prepared to guide them out of their grief.

A person does not recover from divorce overnight. This is a process without any time limit. There are many changes to adjust to. It’s not uncommon when couples split that friendships are also dissolved and in-laws will be lost. This only makes the pain worse. A parent may also feel guilt over the pain divorce causes for their children.

Getting the right support can help a person work through these issues in a positive way and can help to turn a difficult event into an empowering and life strengthening experience.

Ferdinand Marin is the publisher of CBT Worksheets, http://cbtworksheets.com/  providing custom worksheets which help mental health professionals to more effectively and accurately use the Cognitive Behavioral Method in their practices. Visit CBTWorksheets.com to learn more.

 

 

Pets Help Make Divorce Easier for Children

Pets can play a big role in helping children get through their parents’ divorces. While parents do give unconditional love, a pet is a more neutral family member who listens to complaints and confidences. Children can pour out their problems to the cat or dog and not have to worry about adding an additional burden to their already stressed out parents.

HOW PETS HELP

Various studies have indicated that being around a pet has health benefits, such as reducing stress and lowering cortisol. There is ongoing research studying how pets boost the owner’s immune system. Divorce is a turbulent time for the whole family and helping kids to be less stressed is a plus. Pets give their undivided attention and are fully present in the moment with the little humans. They can sit in silence and not need to fill a void with conversation. I was with my sons, but rooting around records trying to find a specific financial statement or figuring out my average monthly expenditures to give our financial advisor during collaborative divorce. The cats fully focused on the boys, while my attention wavered.

A big, friendly orange cat got my youngest through our acrimonious divorce. He listened, and did not lecture. He purred instead of giving advice. A tuxedo feline listened to my older son. Cats and dogs do not criticise the other parent or burst into tears. Kids may require extra physical contact during divorce and pets are ready to give this type of support. Our cats cuddled the boys and stayed with them as they drifted off to dreamland every night.

CHILDREN FEEL NEEDED

Pets help foster a sense of responsibility. Kids are pushed around by adults and having to do pet care gets them grounded. Being responsible for someone else’s welfare and well-being gives meaning to their lives. Taking care of animals takes the focus off their own problems and puts it on to nurturing someone else. Being responsible for the cats was a welcome distraction from the chaotic atmosphere of our divorce. Divorce dramatically alters the kids’ schedules and the routine of pet care gives constancy to their lives. It makes life more predictable when their world is topsy-turvy. The kids may get up in the morning, feed the animals, walk the dog or throw around a cat’s toy mouse. Then there is a routine for after school with the pets. Kids feel more settled when they know what to expect and have some routines.

Animals play a part in helping humans feel more connected to others.  Please read more  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/children-get-through-divorce/

 

Child Relocation Post-Divorce

International divorce includes an ex-spouse down the road wanting to relocate with the children. A way to prevent relocation is to be proactive during the divorce. If anticipating one’s foreign spouse may move, put in the divorce decree that the children will be brought up in (whatever the state or country where one is living) until age eighteen. Some parents have stated that their offspring will attend college in the country where they now currently reside. One father stipulated in his divorce decree which high school his sons would attend and took responsibility for paying the tuition. What this did was to prevent his wife from moving back to her home state with the boys at a later date.

In another situation, a spouse may have followed the other one to a foreign locale for their partner’s job. I know of several ex-pat men who were stay-at- home fathers in Hong Kong while their wives worked. If in a rocky marriage, consider maintaining ties to your birth country (domicile). Perhaps freelance long distance for your old job. Have the kids continue connections with their friends and go home for long vacations. Consider renting out your house and paying taxes and upkeep. In the event of divorce abroad, these attachments to home could make it easier to be allowed to move back with the kids. It is imperative to get expert legal advice when divorcing as an ex-pat.

When a parent wants to move across country or abroad, it is recommended to discuss this with one’s ex-spouse before mentioning it to the children. Have a discussion with listening intently to any objections and mention how the children can stay connected. Meet with an attorney to find the best way to proceed. An application to relocate will be filed in court and the other parent has the right to oppose it. One item that the court will investigate is whether care is shared between both parents or is one the main care giver. If both parents are participating in the care – school, medical visits, homework, sports and so forth, then the parent trying to prevent relocation could have a better chance of success. Be very visible to others when doing shared care to help your case.

There are various factors in deciding a case for relocation with the children and the onus is on the parent who wants to move. Has that parent who desires to start a new life abroad or across the country researched what this will involve? The court wants to know if the plan is well thought out and is a realistic proposal. The judge wants to make sure it is not a whim, but covers all aspects of the children’s lives. If a parent who wants to relocate, is denied to do so, will that drastically impact their life?   Please read more  dadsdivorce.com/articles/divorcing-abroad-child-relocation-post-divorce/

International Divorces

International divorces are becoming more common for many reasons. People choose work assignments at their company’s offices around the globe. There is movement of people between the member states of the European Union. Students study abroad, marry someone from another culture and then return home with their new spouses. With a divorce rate of 40 to 50 percent in Western countries, it is inevitable that people will be divorcing someone from abroad or as expats in a foreign locale.

The key and possibly most important aspect of international divorce is to be the first one to file for it. What country handles the divorce is paramount to its outcome. Do not discuss wanting a divorce with your spouse as this gives them the opportunity to file for it first, in a place that may be less advantageous to you. Divorce laws, division of assets and spousal support vary vastly between countries and US states. Speed is essential when it looks like you two may be going your separate ways, so meet with an international attorney right away. International attorneys may work with a local one, but the first item on the agenda is to decide in which country to file for divorce. The first country who receives the filing is usually the one who handles the couple’s divorce, even if the spouse files at a later time in another place.   Most countries have federal guidelines, but a few such as the US, Canada and Mexico have regions/states which have their own rules.

One has options where to file for divorce. Connections to the county of one’s birth, upbringing or permanent home is where they are domiciled. If a couple from abroad works and intends to live in their new country, this is habitual residence. Filing for divorce in the country of their habitual residence requires a specified amount of time to have lived there, usually at least for one year. If an Italian and a Canadian are living in the US while working long term for a company, they would have several choices where to file for divorce. They could in the state where they currently reside. Or either may file in the country of their birth. Tax consequences and immigration issues are other reasons to seek advice from an international attorney before filing for divorce. For example, when a Mexican national marries an American and is living in the US, getting divorced could affect their status to remain in the States. When obtaining a divorce in a foreign country, an international attorney will make sure it is valid in your country. One aspect that governments check, is that that the other spouse was informed of the divorce filing and had adequate time to respond to it.

There are web sites for online calculations which give an idea of what alimony and child support could be in various circumstances. These are for different states and countries. They are basic guidelines of what to expect, but do not replace expert legal advice. I made up a mythical situation with kids and salaries to compare rates in various states and countries. The differences were hundreds of dollars a month which emphasises the importance of where one files for divorce. Courts in some areas have the reputation of being extra generous to those who gave up careers to be stay-at-home parents and your attorney will know about this. Please read more   dadsdivorce.com/articles/divorcing-abroad-international-divorce-101/

 

Getting Rid of the Divorce Blues – Moving On

It is easy to feel overwhelmed when stress and loss mounts up in divorce. Going through monumental changes and downgrading one’s lifestyle can result in feeling blue. There may be financial worries and the realization hits that one will see the children only part-time. If a person is prone to depression all of this turmoil can be a trigger that pushes one down that slippery slope. One way to stop melancholy moods is with distraction. When sadness is like a DVD playing over and over in your head, substituted it with happier ones. The blues may hit expectantly like a huge wave, and that is when I mentally insert a DVD of fun times on holiday. Sometimes I can banish morose feelings when looking at our holiday photos and reminiscing about our adventures.

  • Many people have expressed being in nature rejuvenates them. This is as simple as eating lunch outside or taking a stroll in a leafy area to lift one’s mood. There are hundreds of studies that back up the physical and mental health benefits of being out in nature. A study out of The Netherlands analysed records of 195 doctors with the focus of seeing if living near a green space was beneficial to well-being. They found that there were less “disease clusters” for those who lived within 1 kilometre of a green space. This particularly held true for those with depression and mental illness. University of Washington has on their web site a result from a study where some participants took a walk inside and the others did out in nature. 71% of the ones taking a walk outside had a decrease in their depression as opposed to 45% who were inside. Professor Jules Pretty from University of Essex and other researchers analysed data from ten studies. The common denominator was being out in nature improves “mental and physical health”. Even five minutes in the green is shown to improve health.
  • Do something special for yourself. One friend has a glass of her favourite pinot grigio wine and watches a classic movie. This week she laughed her way through “How to Marry a Millionaire” with Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall. Last week her treat was watching “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” A divorced acquaintance watches snooker when thoughts of his ex-wife occur. When I am feeling blue, I enjoy a hands on treatment, such as facial (Neal’s Yard) or a pedicure.
  • Get out of your flat. Moping inside only compounds the blues, so go to a coffee or tea shop. If you are feeling lonely, chatting with other at the community table may be just the ticket. If not in a sociable mood, take your book or laptop and be surrounded by people, but not interacting with them. One elderly divorced woman made it to daily Mass with a treat afterwards. She was not auditioning for sainthood, but having somewhere to go every day was important to her emotional well-being.
  • Go to the cinema or theatre. Being engrossed in a thriller or comedy is a great temporary escape from the stress of divorce. Crying through a heart-breaking film releases pent up sadness and despondency and one can feel so much better afterwards. West End has so many choices for whatever mood you are in, and I feel comfortable going alone.   Please read more   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/post-divorce-blues/

 

Negotiating for Fair Settlement in Divorce

In divorce negotiations who gets what asset can be the most difficult part of the whole process. People sometimes have the winner take all mentality which leads to prolonged divorces. Negotiating is like a dance. One person takes a step backwards and the other one goes forward. The partners move in sync and sometimes apart from each other. They dance around some of the lesser issues to concentrate on what is most important to them. As in dance – flexibility is important. If your spouse is not going to budge on one item, go after something similar, or two smaller ones which may have an even greater value when combined.

Lawyers and mediators are quite skilled in assessing and dividing property and investments. That said, consider having a neutral financial consultant on-board to help with a fair distribution. They can look at the assets in totality and advise a balanced split so one party does not get mainly retirement pensions and the other one cash. A few women now in their fifties who got more in liquid assets and very little in retirement benefits, are worried about their futures. Who knows what social security payments will be in the next decade and beyond.

Look at what your present needs are in order to determine what assets are most advantageous to you. If you are a few decades away from retirement, it may be in your best interest to receive a bigger chunk of liquid funds. This way you can buy a house and pay off the mortgage. Being free of a mortgage puts more money in your pocket even with property taxes, upkeep and insurance bills. Perhaps student loans could be paid off if getting a lump sum settlement. If unsure what to do in your circumstance, meet with your own personal financial advisor for guidance in choosing which type of assets you would like.

Know the tax consequences of splitting assets, especially retirement ones. It may be prudent for the lower earning spouse to take ones that will be taxed in their lower tax bracket. Compensation can be made for this, but then wealth stays with the divorcing spouses as opposed to the government’s taxation department.

Dividing assets is not black or white – there is a grey area where you have some wiggle room. Please read more     www.divorcemag.com/blog/negotiating-fair-divorce-settlement

Benefits of Getting a Job during Divorce

The days of getting maintenance for life are over. High wealth spouses may get a large settlement, but it is rare to receive spousal support for decades. If you have been a stay-at-home parent – your solicitor may insist upon you finding a job during divorce proceedings for these reasons:

  • You have a source of income.
  • To get a sense of empowerment. One feels more in control of their life when being employed and not being financially dependent upon someone else. When both spouses are making some money (no matter how little) the balance of power shifts away from the sole earner. One does not appear desperate during divorce, even if earning much less than their former partner.
  • The new job’s salary can factor into the maintenance equation. In some countries the amount of income for both spouses is taken into consideration. Instead looking at a potential salary which can be unrealistic, what one is presently earning in the new job may be used when determining maintenance. For example, a nurse who worked with her husband in an office got a divorce and lost her job. Her solicitor mandated that she get another one immediately. She did, but in retail. She had not worked in a hospital in over two decades, yet her husband and his solicitor were trying to say her salary would be X amount if she got a job in the operating room. This was an unreasonable expectation, especially when other candidates would be more qualified for that position. Her solicitor said no, what she is currently earning would be the guide for the amount of spousal support. Had she not gotten that lower paying job quickly, she would have received less in support.

How do you go about getting a job in a hurry? Update your curriculum vitae (CV), getting professional help if needed. Check the classified sections to get an idea of what jobs are available and their requirements. The way many of us in the midst of divorce got jobs, was to ask businesses that we patronize if there was an opening.  Yes that takes guts, but I did this and worked five years at that company post-divorce. An acquaintance going broke paying legal fees, unloaded her wardrobe at a consignment shop. They gave her a job which she really enjoyed until she moved out of the city. A fellow with no experience in a restaurant got a job as a waiter, because the staff like his positive attitude as a customer. A woman in my parenting class got a receptionist job at her cat’s veterinarian clinic. She then used some of this money after divorce to train as a masseuse. Even if a business that knows you does not have any job availability, they may know someone that does.

Let your friends and family know that you have to get a job right away and ask if they have any leads. Go to an employment centre for assistance. There are some charities that help people find work. Ask other parents at your children’s school if they have any ideas. A few parents got part-time jobs at the schools, doing after school activities and other duties. The nice thing about this is that they see their children when they have shared care time with the other parent. Be creative, but not too picky. This is not something you have to do for the rest of your life.

Please read more  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/go-back-to-work/

Take a Pause in Divorce

Divorce can seem like a roller coaster ride – speeding along at break neck speed with a multitude of decisions needing to be made. During this frenetic time it is okay to put the brakes on and take a breather. The mind gets overloaded when stressed out and one can feel like they are wandering around in a fog. This is when you hit the pause button. The Harvard Business Review said that taking a break from tasks helps one to reevaluate what they are trying to achieve. It is a way to step back and look at the whole picture so as not to get caught up in the minutia. This advice is helpful in the divorce process when one tends to just see what is immediately in front of them instead of the future outcome.

It is okay to inform your mediator or solicitor that you require a short pause in the proceedings. Just as a computer stops and reboots for optimal functioning – do this yourself. Taking a pause, whether for a day or a week, resets your mind and body. Walking in a nearby park is relaxing and helps one to face the crazy day. There are many studies showing the benefits of nature on one’s mental and physical well-being. Dr. Marc Berman of the University of Michigan, USA conducted a study which found that walking in nature improved test subjects’ memories and attention spans by twenty percent. If you are forgetting details during your divorce, consider taking your break in a leafy area.

When one feels pushed into hasty decisions – this can backfire down the road. Making snap decisions to move house or not taking a more diversified portfolio when splitting assets, can haunt you later. Think about taking an afternoon off from work and then sit in a coffee shop as one divorcing woman did. She felt this mental health break was worth it and was able to think through issues calmly while sipping lattes. I felt better after seeing comedies at the cinema with friends. Get your mind off your proceedings by doing something fun in town or going on a mini holiday.

When life is hectic and one is juggling so much more besides divorce, hit that pause button. When life is hectic and one is juggling so much more besides divorce, hit that pause button. Trade babysitting with a neighbour or drop off the kids for a fun overnight with your parents. The idea is to give yourself some space to get centred. When your needs are being met – you are in a better position to focus on the divorce tasks at hand. Feeling less frazzled helps one to be more attentive to the children. I was lucky that a trip was already scheduled pre-divorce with my mother and sons. That was my pause button from proceedings. We came back rejuvenated after traipsing around castles and cobbled stone streets. I was so much calmer and ready to get back into the divorce fray.

Think about areas in your life, besides divorce where you could use a pause.    Please read more   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/taking-a-break/

How to Achieve an Amicable Divorce

 A key piece to having an amicable divorce is what is happening pre-divorce. If discussing whether or not to part-ways, do it in a calm manner without assigning blame. Use I statements to describe your feelings and unhappiness with the marital situation. Respecting each other is the cornerstone of having an amicable divorce. If you are the one delivering the news, try to have compassion for your spouse and do it in a gentle way. Think about what brought you two together in the first place and what characteristics that you like about them. This helps in seeing the big picture where divorce is part of what happens in your relationship, but does not end it. Some couples become better friends after divorce, especially when the process is conducted with integrity.

Select a friendlier type of divorce such as mediation or a collaborative one. Litigation in court is adversarial where one spouse is pitted against the other one. In mediation or collaborative divorce, the spouses and their legal representatives work together as a team to accomplish splitting assets and finalizing the marital split. Gov.uk has much information online regarding divorce and needed forms. It is possible to find online companies who provide guidance and a divorce kit for what is required by the court for spouses who want a divorce in this manner. Some spouses want a DIY divorce to keep things simple. Choose what is most comfortable for you. Discuss how the divorce papers will be delivered to the other spouse if applicable. This can sabotage having an amicable divorce when they are served to a spouse in front of their boss or clients. Receiving divorce papers can be a shock, even when following a discussion about separating.

To keep divorce amicable there is give and take. Negotiations are low key without a winner take all attitude. This involves listening to each other’s concerns and why a specific asset is desired. Flexibility and the willingness to compromise are paramount in keeping the process easier going in order to discover creative solutions that are beneficial to both. It is understanding that neither party is going to get everything that they want with splitting assets, shared care and so forth.

To keep things amicable stay on task and leave emotion out it. If you find yourself getting hostile or defensive, take a short breather in proceedings to regroup. Aim to have a pleasant demeanour and if your spouse is becoming angry, suggest a break. Strong emotions can feed off each other and spiral out of control. Do not start blaming your spouse during proceedings or make personal attacks on their character, no matter how tempting. Look at the common goal of getting the divorce completed and work together to get this accomplished smoothly. Some couples I know, met at coffee houses during their divorces to work out splitting personal possessions. This was friendlier and cheaper than quibbling over artwork and china with their solicitors.

Vent with friends who can keep confidences.  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/amicable-divorce/

 

Divorcing a Passive-Aggressive Person

Having a rough marriage with a passive aggressive person, gives a glimpse of what lies ahead with divorce. The characteristics that drove you nuts may be intensified during this process.

When contemplating divorce have an exit plan ready. When actually leaving, do this swiftly and be prepared for the charm to be turned on full force. They may not want to let you go, and make promises that will not be kept.

Ways to Know if Your Spouse or Ex is Passive Aggressive:

1.  Passive aggressive people do not deal with anger in a direct way. Be prepared for longer court proceedings. This will mean higher legal costs with these stalling tactics. Tell your attorney right away about this personality disorder so she plan strategies accordingly. Mosby’s medical dictionary states they have “indirect expression of resistance to occupational or social demands. It results in a persistent ineffectiveness, lack of self-confidence, poor interpersonal relationships and pessimism.” By not openly expressing anger, this sabotages proceedings.

2. They avoid confrontations. Strong emotions are hidden and hostility fuels their actions. On the surface he/she appears calm, so it is difficult to know what they are really thinking.

3. Passive aggressive spouses are big blamers. Others are to blame for the problems in their lives and nothing is their fault. It is his wife’s spending that caused their financial woes, not his vintage car collection. Her boss is keeping her from getting the promotion, not the quality of his work. The spouse is a target of this blame which spills over into the divorce proceedings.

4. Passive aggressive people excel with the silent treatment. By not having confrontations, this can result in silence. They sabotage communication by not being an active participant, or may answer questions tersely.

5. The essence of being passive aggressive is not following through with something.  They will agree to bring financial records to the next divorce meeting, but not show up with them. They agree to do a report on the job, but do not have all of the components finished. Post-divorce they say, “The check is in the mail.” Their hostility is expressed by not doing a task that is expected of them.  Please read more:   divorcedmoms.com/articles/10-ways-to-know-your-spouse-ex-is-passive-aggresssive

 

Negotiating a Settlement in Divorce

In divorce negotiations, who gets what asset can be the most difficult part of the whole process. People sometimes have the winner-take-all mentality, which leads to prolonged divorces. Negotiating is like a dance. One person takes a step backwards and the other one goes forward. The partners move in sync and sometimes apart from each other. They dance around some of the lesser issues to concentrate on what is most important to them. As in dance – flexibility is important. If your spouse is not going to budge on one item, go after something similar, or two smaller ones which may have an even greater value when combined. Here are tips for negotiating a fair divorce settlement:

1. Lawyers and mediators are quite skilled in assessing and dividing property and investments. That said, consider having a neutral financial consultant on-board to help with a fair distribution. They can look at the assets in totality and advise a balanced split so one party does not get mainly retirement pensions and the other one cash. A few women now in their 50s who got more in liquid assets and very little in retirement benefits are worried about their futures. Who knows what social security payments will be in the next decade and beyond.

2. Look at what your present needs are in order to determine what assets are most advantageous to you. If you are a few decades away from retirement, it may be in your best interest to receive a bigger chunk of liquid funds. This way, you can buy a house and pay off the mortgage. Being free of a mortgage puts more money in your pocket even with property taxes, upkeep, and insurance bills. Perhaps student loans could be paid off if getting a lump sum settlement. If unsure what to do in your circumstance, meet with your own personal financial advisor for guidance in choosing which type of assets you would like.

3. Know the tax consequences of splitting assets, especially retirement ones. –

See more at: www.divorcemag.com/blog/negotiating-fair-divorce-settlement#sthash.8JINRiwb.dpuf

 

Why People Stay in an Unhappy Marriage

Sometimes we miss the first signs that our marriage is over. It is not because we are dense, but rather that we choose not to notice these clues. Are we so wrapped up in our lives that we cannot recognize when a marriage is dead and is on life support? Avoidance is a way of not dealing with a situation. By wearing blinders – one can pretend all is fine. Admitting that there are problems is a given, that effort will be required to address them. It takes a lot of energy surviving in an unhappy marriage, and some do not want to exert more energy in fixing it or getting a divorce. This is taking the path of least resistance and keeping the status quo.

  1. Fear. One may be in a dead marriage, but fear of change can keep someone trapped. Some women enjoy their lifestyle of being a soccer mom and household manager. When not needing to bring in a second income, they can volunteer, be active in their children’s school and have more time to get together with friends. Getting a divorce is unknown territory that potentially affects their social standing, where they live and finances. Now days, alimony is usually given for a few years or so after a marriage has ended and this can be a motivator to stick out a loveless marriage. Divorce often involves moving, which is especially traumatic when liking the neighbors and house location. Divorce may feel like a gamble – so some choose to stay put in their current marital situation where they know what to expect.
  2. For the sake of the kids. People may stay in a bitter marriage because they think that is best for the children. Some dads are very hands on and active in their kids’ lives, such as being their sports’ coach. Mothers may feel guilty if the kids would not have both parents in the home. While it is a noble thought to be with both parents round the clock – in actuality that may not be in the youngsters’ best interest. Living in a tense atmosphere or with angry adults is not healthy and spending time with happy parents, albeit separately, is. When caught up in the turmoil of a miserable marriage, it can be difficult to envision that there will be quality time spent with each parent. Kids will adjust to divorce especially when being with calm, less stressed and happier parents.

3. Some people stay in a marriage because they feel that they can fix their spouse.  Please read more divorcedmoms.com/articles/4-reasons-women-dont-leave-an-unhappy-marriage

Playing the Victim in Divorce

Many people go through divorce playing the role of the victim and are oblivious to their part in the end of the marriage. Casting oneself as the victim in this drama is putting the blame onto their spouse. Blaming their spouse for what went wrong relieves them of any responsibility for a failed marriage. These people may go through life being the victim in other settings, such as on the job. One older man blamed his two ex-wives for his divorces and reduced finances. He was bitter and said his life was miserable because of them, even years after they had left him. A former friend of mine kept talking about her divorce and how she was wronged by her spouse. It was all his fault. On the job her boss supposedly was out to get her and she claimed to be the victim of co-workers’ jealousy. This got old and we eventually parted ways.

Some seem to be comfortable in the role of victim and derive satisfaction from it. They may take centre stage when telling tales of their divorce. It is like they are a leaf on the water, floating wherever the river takes them. This fatalistic view has them drifting along and not exerting energy to make changes. Getting out of victim mentality requires introspection and a willingness to see both sides of issues. Feeling like a victim can impact divorce proceedings. The situation will not be viewed realistically and the person may too passive. They may not be receptive to a fair distribution of assets if they interpret the divorce is 100% the other spouse’s doing.

What some solicitors and mediators do in this circumstance is mandate both spouses have at least one session with a life or divorce coach. The victim can have a reality check and get help with viewing the divorce from a different perspective. The spouse being blamed can get some support and strategies to deal with their soon to be ex.

Empowerment is the opposite of being a victim.

This is taking control of one’s life and doing the necessary actions to stay on course. Knowledge is a part of empowerment, whether it is learning about divorce law or emotionally supporting oneself. It is taking an active role in the divorce process and seeking advice on the most advantageous spit of assets. Empowerment is taking classes to keep current in one’s career for better financial footing post-divorce. Empowerment is discovering strengths and talents in order to feel good and be fulfilled.

Avoid feeling like a victim by taking responsibility for your life. This is taking charge of yourself. When a person admits their mistakes, they learn from them and can move one. Get out of childhood patterns of behaviour such as feeling you are a victim with the world out to get you. Break free from the past to ensure healthy relationships in the present. You are in the driver’s seat for your life, and not a passenger going along for the ride. If repeating old ways of interactions, consider seeking professional guidance to learn how to communicate more effectively.

Does feeling like a victim bring happiness? No. It is vacillating between being helpless and angry. The victim mentality can lead to depression when one feels powerless.

Please read more  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/victim-in-divorce/

 

Determining Pet Custody in Divorce

IMG_1714A tricky part of divorce can be who gets the cat or dog. This is not about a race horse whose value may be counted as an asset. Millions of dollars in assets have been divided, yet couples nearly came to blows over  pet custody, according to my divorce attorney. She stated this emotional issue has slowed down divorce proceedings in some of her cases. Couples in hectic careers may have put off having children or decided not to have any at all. Particularly in these instances, animals can have a more central role in the couple’s lives. Here are some ways that realistically help decide pet custody.

Is one spouse going to stay in the family house that has the dog run and the other moving to a small apartment? Does your dog or cat have animal buddies in the neighbourhood? Maybe one spouse is moving abroad after the divorce which makes it more challenging to transport family pets. Try to look at this situation from what would be the pet’s point of view to see what is really in their best interest. Usually whatever pet a person brought into the marriage, goes to them in divorce (like with personal possessions).

The collaborative attorneys determine who the primary caretaker is – who goes to the vet’s, buys food and supplies and generally spends the most time with the pets. If one parent is getting physical custody of the little humans, then the pets may be awarded to them also. The court may look at life styles in determining pet custody. When one spouse travels nearly half of the month for a job or has very long commutes, and the other one works from home, then this is a factor for who gets the dog.  Flexibility and creativity are useful tools for working out this dilemma.   Please read more:  www.divorcemag.com/blog/who-gets-the-pets-in-a-divorce-

Do Not Stay Together for Children’s Sake

Study Says Children do not Want Parents to Stay Together for Their Sake

Staying together “for the sake of the kids” has long been one of the key factors that delays couples from separating or stops them altogether. Living together as amicably as they can when they are no longer in love seems, to many couples, preferable to the impact that separating will have on their children. New research, however, suggests that this view is misguided. Ultimately, not only is it not necessarily good for the parents to stay together, but in fact it is not even what the majority of kids really want.

Resolution, a major family legal organisation, surveyed 514 young people, aged 14-22 at the time of the survey, who had previously experienced the divorce of their parents. The considerable majority – 82% – agreed that ultimately it had been better for their parents to separate rather than to stay together for their sake.

However, many of them felt that the process and their role in it could have been-better handled in certain ways, particularly when it came to the degree of involvement they had in the decision-making process. More than 60% of young people surveyed said that they did not feel their parents had included them when it came to making the decision to separate. Roughly half of respondents said that they had not been consulted about which parent they would prefer to be primarily resident with or where they would like to live.

The survey did, however, also underline how difficult it can be for young people when their parents separate, and underlined the importance of not putting any more pressure on children during the divorce process. Nearly nine out of ten young people who took part in the survey agreed that parents should not make their children feel like the divorce process requires them to pick a side or to choose one parent over the other. Children are already in a difficult situation without such pressures being added to their concerns, as around half of those surveyed said the divorce of their parents left them feeling confused and almost a fifth (19%) reporting feelings of personal guilt about the breakup.

A number of other interesting statistics were uncovered by the survey. Around half of those surveyed felt that their parents had put their  needs first, which of course also means that roughly half felt their parents had not done this. When asked if there was anything they would have changed about the way the divorce was handled, 30% wished their parents could have better understood how they felt and 31% did not like the way their parents verbally criticised one another in front of them.

Speaking on the survey’s findings, Resolution chair Jo Edwards said: “Despite the common myth that it’s better to stay together for the sake of the kids, most children would rather their parents’ divorce than remain in an unhappy relationship.”

She continued: “Being exposed to conflict and uncertainty about the future are what’s most damaging for children, not the fact of divorce itself.”

Author Bio Fletcher Day are a full service commercial law firm with an experienced family law team who specialise in divorce and finances, civil partnerships and all matters involving children.

 

De-Cluttering During Divorce or Downsizing

Divorce is a unique life transition where one has the challenge of making decisions of what possessions to keep and what to let go. This is an emotionally charged time, so the secret is to calm your mind with meditation, relaxation CDs or whatever works for you so that clear headed choices are made. Leaving precious items behind out of spite or anger can cause regrets down the road. Selling items in a panic can backfire. I sold a cherished book from my childhood and the money received for it was insignificant.

One may have to leave the marital home to sell it during a divorce. After the division of personal property, how does one sort through the remains? Moving out of my house gave me the extra motivation to go through my books, clothes, decorations and crockery to save on moving fees. Noticing the lack of storage available in my much smaller new home was another motivating factor. I had a yard sale a week before I moved and another smaller one a few months later after determining that I still had too much stuff.

Practical Tips

How does one get started de-cluttering? One way is to enlist a friend to help you begin this daunting task. She is neutral without the emotional attachments to your things and can give objective opinions. If one is undecided about some articles, then box them up and store them for a short while. Not feeling pressured to make quick decisions can take the pressure off downsizing. Packing heirlooms and important items first gives momentum to carry on to the more questionable ones.

Have your teenagers pick out their favorite childhood toys and books, then put these in storage boxes. My sons were glad for the extra cash the remainder fetched at yard sales. I keep my sons’ precious drawings (edited collection) in expandable folders and some are used as holiday decorations.

Do an online search to see what some of your objects are worth. This will give you an idea whether to sell or to donate them. If you can wait a bit for extra cash, consider a consignment shop. It may take a few months for the right buyer to appear, but that can mean a bigger payment. I went this route as well and had money trickling in over the first several years post-divorce. I sold all of my wedding china and crystal since keeping these presents would have been a tie to my ex. After divorce one may not be giving huge dinner parties nor want all this of this excess goods.   Please read more  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/declutter-divorce/

Guide to Divorcing a Narcissist

A narcissist has an inflated sense of self and needs a constant stream of admiration. They cover up their low self-esteem by exaggerating their achievements. Their sense of entitlement enables them to feel unique and a cut above others. They crave the attention of the wealthy and powerful. Approximately 1.06% of the population is clinically narcissistic and more have traits of this personality disorder.

A Narcissist is the King in a game of chess, and every other piece around them is there to protect and to do their bidding.

Narcissists take advantage of others for their own ambitions, whether it is a spouse or co-worker. They are masters of manipulating vulnerable people and crushing their self-worth. A narcissist can turn on the charm and don the smiling mask, which is their public persona. These people become angry when others discover what they are really like behind this mask. One woman decided not to be an enabler anymore and play the adoring wife in public. Narcissists go to great lengths to preserve their public images, so her enraged husband left her. He was shocked when she quickly filed for divorce and did not crawl back.

They may go after the boss’s daughter or someone else who can assist their grandiose schemes. After the narcissist achieves their goal, then marital issues surface. Narcissists blame others, so view relationship problems as solely the fault of their spouse. They probably will refuse to go to marital counselling, since nothing is their fault, and they do not feel the need to change.

Tell your solicitor that your spouse is narcissistic, so she plan specific strategies. They routinely lie which makes divorce more challenging.       Podcast on narcissists     https://soundcloud.com/divorcesux/divorcing-a-narcissist-ep009

On the Fence About Getting Divorced?

The beginning of a new year is when people take stock of their lives and see what is not working out well so that resolutions can be made. Relationships are one aspect that comes under scrutiny. New Year’s resolutions may be to exercise more, cut down on booze or make a decision about the future of an unhappy marriage. It is time to resuscitate a dying marital partnership or end it. When on the fence about divorce, consider marital counselling, even if your spouse refuses to participate. This will help you recognize if the marriage is salvable or if you have been missing these clues that have led others to file for divorce.

  • You are repulsed by your spouse and do not want to be alone with them. Being in different postal codes would be even better. Sex is a distant memory. Doing things together is just not your cup of tea. You do not even like them and feel trapped being in the relationship. This is not the same as couples losing the spark that initially attracted them to each other. That often can be relit by a holiday in an exotic local or discovering a new passion that draws them back together.
  • Are your beliefs and ethics opposite? When a spouse continues to have affairs and states that you are overreacting, then consider making a permanent exit. It is being callous with complete disregard for your feelings to say you are the one with the problem, since you cannot accept it. This repeated bad behaviour with no remorse, is showing a lack of respect for you.
  • Your partner has an addiction and no amount of rehab has stopped it. There are repeated promises and tears, yet the problem remains. It could be gambling away your joint finances or being impaired. You have been patient but enough is enough. It is not healthy for you to watch someone you love self-destruct with this slow suicide. Stop playing a part in their destructive drama and walk away to protect your well-being.

One or both of you are completely indifferent. You may lead separate lives but still share the same address.

  • Having a spouse turn into a roommate keeps you trapped in a rut. Consider breaking free to have a fulfilling life and the opportunity to meet someone else. Getting a divorce takes money and energy and this may not be the path you choose at this moment in time.

Is there some type of abuse, even if not physical? Emotional and financial abuse erodes a spouse’s self-worth.

Please read more   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/when-to-get-a-divorce/

Divorce with a Narcissist or Sociopath

Both the Narcissist and Sociopath (anti-social personality disorder) are toxic people who are difficult to deal with during divorce. There are subtle differences between these two types of characters. The main point is a Narcissist craves attention and adoration. She has to be the star, whereas that is not the case with a Sociopath. A Narcissist will specifically seek out publicity and a Sociopath wants power over others. A Narcissist will have a position in a charity organization that is in the spotlight such as managing director. The Sociopath is more likely to be the one embezzling funds. The Narcissist desires being in the news and the Sociopath is flying under the radar avoiding that in order to carry out nefarious deeds.

Sociopaths do not have a conscience and their moral code is “do not get caught.” At a young age a Sociopath is apt to torture animals and torment those weaker than him. This child is charming to adults with exaggerated good manners as a smoke screen to disguise his true nature. They have a sense of entitlement and do not hesitate to trample upon anyone who gets in their way. Some of the financial executives who do inside trading and other illegal acts told the press that they did nothing wrong. In their eyes, this is correct.

Both manipulate others for their gain. They blame others when they make mistakes or life is not going as planned. They can ignore family or belittle spouses. Narcissists especially do not like it if a spouse rises up the career ladder and has a more important position. They do not want to share the spotlight. Sociopaths can have a volatile temper which is unpredictable and is especially scary for children.

Sociopaths may have their children join in their immoral or illegal activities.

. They watch pornography with their sons. Criminal families may bring the kids into the business at a young age. The youngsters participate in a shoplifting or burglary ring. In my area recently, three generations of several families were plying the drug trade together.

Narcissists use their kids as a way to garner more attention to themselves. They play the good parent role and march the children around the office to get praise. They see the kids as an extension of themselves and may insist that their kids follow in their footsteps. A former dancer may demand that her daughter does ballet. These parents want to bask in the admiration that surrounds their child. They want others to comment that the offspring is like their talented, beautiful, etc. parent.

In divorce, both personality disorders are capable of using the kids to get back at their other parent in retaliation. Since the Sociopath feels no remorse, they may be the more dangerous adversary. Be cautious of safety issues especially with a sociopath co-parent. Neither are good at negotiating since they want the whole pie. The Narcissists get through the divorce process better with lots of compliments and letting them feel like they are the star. With a Sociopath, emphasize maintenance and child support formulas to make it more impersonal. More drama and emotions can prolong divorce hearings. Having a divorce coach or therapist at least periodically check in with the children is prudent.

Both Narcissists and Sociopaths may act like they are the victim and you are the villain.  They may charm your family members and end up with a few in their camp post-divorce. They are attempting to hurt you.  My sons and I have said good riddance to the ones who sided with their father. Sociopaths particularly excel in power plays and want to dominate others. Consider avoiding doing battle with these people and stay out of their way if possible.

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

Podcast about narcissists vs sociopaths soundcloud.com/divorcesux/divorcing-a-narcissist-ep009

Emotionally Preparing for Divorce

Whether divorce was discussed by you both as a possibility or if taken by surprise, it still comes as a jolt. Calmly talking about an imminent split does not take into consideration all of the legalities and hoops to jump through to complete the process. It can feel as if one is drowning in all the minutia that comes along with divorce. How to climb out of this pit?

  • Discuss with your solicitor or mediator how you are feeling, such as discouraged and overwhelmed. They want you to be at the top of your game so may be able to streamline the process by bringing some experts on board. Our collaborative solicitors called in an interim child psychologist to set up and monitor visitation during the divorce itself. This took that burden off us parents. She met with our sons to ensure visitation was working out and if the boys were okay. They were not, so she arranged for them to have a therapist. Lighten your load with the expertise of other professionals to make the process go more smoothly. Another example is having a financial advisor work with the divorce team to oversee the division of assets.
  • It is easy to get so immersed in proceedings that one lets other areas slip, such as sleep, nutrition and emotional well-being. Stress decreases the efficiency of the immune system which makes one more susceptible to colds and the flu. Realize that you will have good days and bad ones. Sometimes you feel that you are on top of things and other times that you are skittering on the edge of a breakdown. Divorce is not a straight line, but looks like a graph with peaks and troughs.

Do not think of being stoic or going though divorce alone. This is the time to vent or seek feedback. Let people share their wisdom to help you have an easier time. One great piece of advice that I received, was to let go of the small stuff and focus on what really mattered to me. Fighting over every little thing makes the divorce more adversarial and prolongs the proceedings. Neither of you win and the divorce professionals net higher fees for this battle. Spend time with supportive people and ditch (at least temporarily) those who are not. Get energized by upbeat folks and have some laughs. Schedule some pleasurable pursuits into your agenda.

Divorce is a temporary episode in your life – perhaps 1/85 of it. Put that in perspective.

Please read more:  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/how-to-prepare-for-a-divorce/

Unhappy Holidays May Trigger Divorce

Some people have chosen to stay together until after the holidays for a variety of reasons. It may be to give the children one last Christmas together. One agony aunt printed a letter from a woman whose daughter-in-law is filing for divorce at the beginning of the year. She questioned what to buy an exiting in-law for Christmas and how to deal with this charade around her grandchildren (who are not informed of the upcoming parental split).

A couple may be hoping that the holiday season will patch up any holes in their relationship. The magic of Christmas does not extend to fixing a broken marital partnership.

The holidays can shine a spotlight on problems that are bubbling up just under the surface. Busy day to day activities with a packed schedule can mask issues that are not being addressed. When one or both have long job commutes or kids with jammed agendas, this enables a couple to pretend that everything is okay. When interacting with each other (or attempting to avoid it) during holiday time off from work, spouses can feel empty inside.

When holidays are lonelier being married than they ever were when single, this is a warning that something needs to be done. Holidays can be the big wakeup call that you really do not want to be with your partner for the next set of holidays the following December.

After a few excruciating New Year’s Eves with her husband, a woman thought over their relationship. Coming to the realization that she did not ever want to be alone with him, pushed her into ending her marriage. Although now divorced, her solo New Year’s Eves are something she anticipates rather than dreads.

The holidays are over and people are thinking about New Year resolutions or changes that they want to make in their lives. This introspection is one reason that divorce solicitors and mediators are extra busy in January and February. Feeling hollow and that the holidays were lacking something, can point that all is not well with an area in life. If things are going fine at work, with kids and so forth, then look at your marriage. Some spouses do not see that they are avoiding each other by participating in a whirlwind of holiday events.  Please read more…  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/one-holidays-triggering-divorce/

Being the recipient of “I want a divorce”

Hearing your spouse announce that she wants a divorce is unbelievable. What to do when you are informed that your spouse is leaving you. If you think you did not correctly hear what was said, ask for it to be repeated. Banish the impulse to throw the nearest piece of furniture at his head. An assault charge will not help your situation. My spouse’s female acquaintance suggested that I take all of his clothes and have a big bonfire in the backyard. Friends had more drastic ideas. Resist doing something in a rage, because that may impact your divorce proceedings.

Try to act calmly and feel free to ask the questions that pop into your head. “When did you decide upon this? Could we discuss this with a marriage counsellor first? Why did you not mention that you were unhappy? Are you seeing someone else and how long has it been?”

If your spouse asks you to move out of the marital home, refuse (except in an abuse situation). Check first with your solicitor (lawyer) about this, especially when children are involved. I stayed in our house through most of the divorce and my husband was required to pay the mortgage and I only paid the utilities. Your rent or monthly mortgage may be paid as part of the interim support. The person with a job or high income pays interim support in most cases.

If your spouse walks right out the door, go to the bank and withdraw some cash (no more than half) out of your joint account and save the receipt. You will require money for living expenses before meeting with a solicitor or mediator. Hopefully you have a credit card in your own name, because your spouse may promptly drop you as a co-signer on his card.

Ask around for an experienced family law solicitor/mediator and check online for more information regarding the person you select. This professional can get joint assets frozen if your spouse is apt to plunder funds.

You are in shock. Some people described this period as having an out of body experience. It was as if they were in a calm place not feeling any emotions, while their bodies were on autopilot doing necessary tasks. You may want to temporarily stay at your parents’ or friend’s place. Or after you spouse departs have someone stay with you particularly when there are children and pets at home.

I stumbled around Disneyland mumbling to strangers that my husband left me. Luckily these kind people were supportive to me in my zombie-like state. My sons and I later met with my friend’s family and I was showered with spa products. That gave me the nudge to nurture and pamper myself in this turbulent time. Allow people to do the same for you and accept their generosity. Gather your support system around you.

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

 

Tips about the Divorce Process

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

There are support groups available to enable you to make it through the arduous divorce process.  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.

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.

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.

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.

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       www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/

Men’s Divorce – The First Steps

What are the first few steps when hit with divorce news? When hearing that one’s wife wants a divorce, it is a blow that some guys even feel physically. Acknowledge that you are in shock and do not expect to make any rational decisions right away. It may feel like you are a robot going through the motions of daily life.

  • Get some emotional support. Guys that I talked with said that they were too stoic – keeping a stiff upper lip. They did not know where to turn when they were numb with shock. Talk to a relative whom you feel close to and let them know you need to vent. This is not the moment to be on the receiving end of a lengthy list of tasks to do in divorce. Detailed divorce strategy comes later after you had time to process your feelings and to regroup. Maybe confide in a cousin or uncle because your parents may be in shock themselves.
  • Reach out to others. This was the hardest thing to do, according to my male sources. They felt like they would be a burden to others or be perceived as weak if they mentioned their divorce woes. Go out for a pint with your mates and tell them what you are facing. Most likely they have pals who are divorced, if they are not themselves, and can clue you in on what to do next. Just expressing how you feel can take a weight off your shoulders. I guarantee that your wife has talked about getting a divorce with at least twenty girlfriends.
  • Feeling like you are teetering on the brink of a breakdown is normal in divorce. Many have felt this way too, and we made it through our divorces with our sanity intact. Balance having alone time with interactions with friends. Men said it was easier to think about their situation and come up with solutions when they were in motion, such as running on the treadmill, or taking a walk. Exercise is important as a way to burn off anxiety and strong emotions while lowering stress hormones and getting your body back to a healthier place.
  • Keep in mind that the divorce process is a continuum and one moves back and forth on it. One day you feel fine and the next one you may be despondent – then back to okay. Feeling good then backtracking to not so good is normal. Some parts of the divorce process itself are bumpy, which can affect your emotional state, such as figuring out shared care time with the children. When a divorce is going along smoothly, it can be disconcerting when it hits a snag. Be open to negotiation and getting the process back on track.Take it day to day and focus on what is at hand  Worrying about the future is not going to help and instead use your energy on getting through the divorce.    Take your time making decisions, such as with dividing assets. Take your divorce step-by step and you will get to the other side and be done with it.

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

How to be Empowered in Divorce

Being empowered in divorce is the opposite from viewing oneself as a victim. It is the difference from being in a place of strength to feeling out of control during and post-divorce. Assess what you can control and what is out of your hands. You may be surprised that you really do have more input in your proceedings and can take a more active role. Speak to your solicitor or mediator about what you want to get out of the divorce, preferably also in writing for their future reference. I know a few acquaintances that felt helpless and just went with the flow, instead of being assertive. They are kicking themselves now post-divorce.

Empower yourself with knowledge. A great site that answers many divorce questions is www.gov.uk and gives a glimpse of what to expect. Look up on calculate-your-child-maintenance the calculator which indicates what to expect for child maintenance in your situation. In the US, each state has an online calculator to get an idea of what alimony or child support may be in your situation. Knowing what to anticipate ahead of time lets you think about Plan B. If you will be the receiver, and the amount seems too low, have a list ready of what else could be thrown in – sports, camp fees or other activities to be included as child support. If you are the payer, offer more in spousal maintenance which is a tax break for you, and less in child maintenance, which is not. Being empowered is having an idea what you are up against in divorce and forming plans on how to deal with it.

One fellow who survived an acrimonious divorce suggests having a “victory garden.” Grow some vegetables – even in containers- to show the children that you are self-sufficient. Putting food on the table that you grew is another way to feel empowered. The added bonus is nurturing living things takes the focus off your problems and on to what is thriving in your care.

Uncertain financial footing can put someone in a tail spin.  One woman took her personal items, engagement ring, and family heirlooms to a business who sells goods online. She did this after her husband walked out and before she had hired a solicitor. She felt empowered going into the divorce, since cash would be coming soon.

Some solicitors advise their clients to get a job during divorce so that they feel more in control. Not only does this boost their self-esteem, but enables them to feel more secure during the proceedings when they know they have earning power. Think about what your talents are and in what areas you excel.  Please read more…  www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/empowerment-in-divorce/

How to Tell Your Children That You Are Separating

Children-Separation

Men’s Divorce

Several men stated that post-divorce is the opportunity for change and be can be the catalyst for trying something new. They said when their divorced friends clung to the past they did not fare as well in the post-divorce period. The past cannot be altered, but knowledge gained can be invaluable for moving on. Terry was adamant that men have to do work on themselves after a bad break up before getting into a new relationship. His buddies that got divorce number two did not pause to reflect upon their part which ended the marriage and what could be done differently the next time around. He advises men not to rush into a new partnership too quickly and make sure they understand how to communicate more effectively. He had a session with a therapist and has been blissfully wedded to his second wife for fifteen years.

One man feels that he got a divorce too quickly and could have worked out differences with his wife. He tells other men not to be in a rush for a divorce when hitting a bad patch during marriage. They did not have marital counselling which may have gotten their relationship back on track. He has a job which involves frequent travel and he misses his two young daughters. He jumped into a new relationship right away and has doubts about being with this new girlfriend. This “what if” situation is keeping him in a holding pattern and he is not moving on. Be clear that a relationship is truly over before getting into another one.

Some men commented that some of their divorced peers were living on junk food. Dr Kawachi of the Harvard School of Public Health’s study of 30,000 men indicated this result. Take good care of yourself and prioritise your health and needs. Recently divorced men tended to have a decrease in a healthy lifestyle, partly due to eating less vegetables and consuming more fried food. Although this is changing, in many households, women were the main chefs during marriage. In the States, there is a trend for single men to take some basic cooking classes which then negates this issue of divorce.

The New England Research Institute’s research indicates that 62% of men relied on their wives as their principle social support. Studies by various universities correlate having friends and a good social network positively impacts the immune system in reducing the frequency of colds and the flu.  Others show the healthy effect of a wide social circle on longevity. For example, a study done at Flinders’ University in Australia found that 22% of 1500 older subjects who had many friends, outlived those who only had a few. Men that get out and meet new people or strengthen the bond already made with others, tend to have an easier time post-divorce, than their less connected peers.

Men that have routines felt that they had more control in their lives or knew what to expect in the turbulent divorce period. Some have specific routines with their children, such as a Saturday morning breakfast out or Sunday afternoon engaging in physical activities or sports. Some take the kids or go solo to their parents’ place for a weekly get-together. Others set up weekly meets at the pub with mates for darts. Building weekly fun or interactions into the schedule got some guys through the craziness of divorce.

Consider watching the hilarious film “The Odd Couple” with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. These two fellows navigate the post-divorce period with a lot of laughs and some mistakes. Great fun.

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

Practicing Gratitude during Divorce

Practicing gratitude during divorce may seem as much of a dichotomy as an elephant riding a bike. Various studies validate the link between keeping a gratitude journal which results in the outcome of increasing joy, enthusiasm and the feeling that life was getting better. These individuals were more apt to reach out to others and willing to offer support. These are all actions which will enable divorce to be an easier experience.

In a study done at university of California, subjects either kept a gratitude journal or wrote about problems or neutral subjects weekly. At the end of the study, those in the gratitude group achieved their goals quicker and scored higher in feeling more positive about their lives. Psychologists Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough are in the forefront of doing research in the field of gratitude and find that those who practice it, have an increase in their amount of exercise and are more optimistic about what is happening that week. Medical research looks at an EKG as one tool in determining the effects of gratitude on the heart. These studies are indicating that practicing gratitude has a positive effect on the parasympathetic nervous system which regulates heart rate, rhythm, blood pressure, and other body functions. Thoughts influence body functions. Happy thoughts (like gratitude) increase endorphins (the feel good neurotransmitters) and angry ones cause constriction of blood vessels, leading to cardiac disease.

Energy goes where your thoughts are, and if your focus is on misery, then that is what you’ll experience.  Just as weight training enlarges muscles, gratitude is a way of training yourself to notice the good things that are happening around you.

– See more at: www.divorcemag.com/blog/gratitude-during-divorce#sthash.tyvwXPFy.c054U9OX.dpuf

 

Helping Friends Get Through Divorce

Your good friend down the street just told you that she and her husband are divorcing. You want to give her all of your wisdom and advice. That would really help her….or would it? The first thing to do is just listen. Really listen. It is not the time to scare her with what went wrong in your divorce or to bombard your friend with what she ought to do. Your friend may be numb with shock and wants you as a sounding board so that she can process her emotions.

Respect your friend’s privacy and do not ask him/her for the gory details to satisfy your curiosity. They may have had a picture perfect marriage on the outside, but what went on behind closed doors was personal. Instead, just be there even if sitting in silence. Let your pal know that you are there for them in whatever way is supportive.

Gently ask is they could use some divorce resources. MeetUp.com has divorce groups in London and in other parts of the UK. MeetUp.com has men’s and women’s groups which can provide camaraderie and interesting activities. There are various divorce support groups, retreats, and workshops in the UK and elsewhere which can be beneficial. Perhaps check for these online and report back to your friend. I sometimes stumbled around in a fog during divorce and could have used help from friends sourcing this type of support.

I had a birthday during the middle of my divorce and people queued up to help me celebrate it. Perhaps have a group celebration for their birthday in the midst of an acrimonious divorce. Small treats are great, such as a bag of Thornton’s decadent chocolates or a gift card for something fun. Are their kids with the other parent for the first time on a major bank holiday? Invite them over for a festive diversion.

People shared what helped them in their divorces. When they saw I was about to make a huge mistake, they tactfully told about similar experiences where that potential action just did not work. Refrain from using the word “should” and use other ones, such as “have you considered…?”

Telling true stories about your own or someone else’s divorce is guidance, not preaching what you think you friend has to do. Be aware of how you come across to a divorcing friend, because dispensing advice can be construed as judgemental of how they are handling things.

I share what supplements, including homeopathic ones, helped me through my divorce and beyond. I let people know about a particular protein drink that helps me when under stress. I bring up the topic of supplements, including nutrition, since I am a nurse. People can take it or leave it. Someone in a different specialty, such as fitness, might bring up beneficial aspects of exercise which can help in divorce.

If your friend expresses frustration or that they feel stuck, ask them if they might consider going to a life or divorce coach. This coach can help them to see where they are stuck and devise strategies to deal with stress and have a smoother divorce. The coach can help a person learn how to face divorce issues and cope with being separated from children part-time.

Help your friend realize that they are not alone and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

Preparing for Divorce

Your marriage may be turbulent – but you may not be sure if you want to jump ship. Whatever the outcome may be – reconciliation, separation or divorce – there are steps to take in the interim.

–  Get a hold of financial records including tax returns, bank and credit card statements.

Find retirement and investment accounts, plus a life insurance policy. Make copies and put them in a secure place and on a flash drive for easy access. Gather information on loans, mortgage or rent, and other monthly expenses to get a full financial picture. Scrutinize joint credit card statements to see if your spouse has been buying presents or spending marital money on a lover. Some spouses have been successful in getting these expenditures reimbursed during divorce proceedings.

If there seems to be chunks missing, then possibly your spouse has been liquidating assets or “giving” them to family and friends. After the divorce, these “gifts” would be returned to your ex-spouse. During financial disclosure in divorce, a forensic accountant may be brought on board to investigate any financial discrepancies.

Obtain a credit card in your name only. If you have one already, then remove your spouse as a signer on it, if she has that privilege. Having a credit card in one’s name helps to build up a credit rating which is especially crucial once single again. Order a credit report to correct any mistakes, see what the number is, or if your spouse has caused it to take a nose dive for some reason.

If you find yourself in an emergency, then a credit card is invaluable. I could not have managed during the six weeks from when my husband left, until the interim support started, without it.

–  Open a bank account in your name only to ensure that you have access to funds when the divorce commences.

I had not done this, so did not have any cash. I had to ask my mum for a hand-out.  Joint accounts can temporarily be frozen during divorce, so you want to make sure to have a cash fund available.

Set up direct payments from your joint banking account to utilities, mortgage lender, the phone company and other services so they get paid in case it is not frozen during proceedings. It makes life easier if one is not scrambling to pay these before interim support starts. Since I had worked at our jointly owned business, I did not have an income stream to make these payments and received disconnection notices. If they had been automatically paid, this would not have happened.

If you sense that a divorce is imminent, then cut down on expenses and tuck away the amount that you would have spent on lunches out, clothes etc.

Keep close tabs on bank accounts or investment balances, to make sure that your spouse does not withdraw a large amount and then immediately file for divorce. Some savvy women bought themselves gift cards to grocery stores and to other necessary places when feeling that their marriages might be ending soon.

Some women had facelifts and breast implants done while still married right before heading for divorce. A few furious husbands tried to get a partial reimbursement for these procedures, but were denied, since they were done while still married. I put off expensive dental work that I could have done during marriage. It was not covered, so I had a big bill for it when newly divorced.

A little pre-planning can make for a smoother divorce. One’s solicitor will appreciate having financial information right in the beginning of the proceedings.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

Mindfulness in Divorce

A way to keep one’s sanity in the divorce process is by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is mainstream and not in the sole domain of gurus. It not a New Age thing, but has been done for over a millennium, especially in Buddhism. Mindfulness is about being focused on the happy activity you are doing with the kids and casting worries aside. It is experiencing and being fully in the moment, whether strolling the cobbled stone streets of Tuscany or baking brownies with a child.  Mindfulness is being engaged in an endeavor without being on autopilot because your thoughts are elsewhere.

Mindfulness is useful in divorce. When concentrating on the divorce session, one is able to take in the information, process it, and make rational decisions. Being immersed in the present lessens fear based reactions of when one’s mind is drifting into worst case scenarios.  Staying focused in the moment allows one to clarify confusing points, ask pertinent questions and not make decisions in haste. This is keeping the mind from being scattered. When thoughts are veering off into many directions it is easier to miss some key points in the proceedings.

Mindfulness is looking at the here and now and not dwelling in the past which cannot be changed. The what ifs, such as “What if I had only…..” is detrimental and not going to alter your current circumstance. Mentally living in the distant future also causes one to miss out on life now. When I was in a toxic marriage, I was dreaming about being on my own after my last child graduated from high school. Instead of doing something about my marriage (fix it or divorce sooner), I was not fully present, enjoying every moment of my sons’ childhoods. It is fine to have goals and direction, but not to be on a permanent vacation from what is happening today.

Mindfulness in Divorce

Divorcing and Co-parenting with a Passive-Aggressive Person

Divorce with a passive-aggressive partner can be particularly aggravating. They seeming are going along with the whole process, yet are sabotaging it. They agree to check on their pension plan or to bring paperwork to the divorce sessions, but “forget.” The use of the word “forget” may be frequent as a way of avoiding responsibilities or tasks that they do not wish to perform. Passive-aggressive people can prolong divorce hearings by purposely not following through with something as a way to get back at you. This retaliation bumps up legal costs.

They avoid confrontations and do not directly express intense emotions. They have a calm demeanour which hides the hostility lurking beneath the surface. Actions are ruled by anger since they do not voice it out loud. They may refuse to sign the divorce papers or at the last minute disagree with how assets are divided, instead of stating objections earlier. It is difficult to know what they are thinking and if they are amenable to negotiations, since the silent treatment is their specialty. Ask what is wrong and a curt “nothing” may be the reply. They do not communicate well, so give and take is difficult. They are not expressing opinions which complicates divorce arrangements.

Co-parenting with a passive-aggressive ex is challenging. They play the blame game and may hold you as the villain, who ruined their life. The divorce was caused 100% by you and now you will be punished, indirectly of course. You might receive maintenance on time, but in the wrong amount. It is wise to have maintenance and child support sent directly from his bank account to yours, to leave him out of the loop. Then one does not have GFY (Go F*** Yourself) written in the check memos as one woman did.

He may “forget” about a visitation, or pick up the kids late when you have a date. Having the pickup and drop off at a neutral location is prudent. One former couple has theirs at the paternal grandparents’ house, so his being late or forgetting is not an issue. The children have fun and the mother is not stressed.

Have a detailed Parenting Plan to lessen complications post-divorce when the passive-aggressive parent may try to get back at you through the children. Have shared time clearly stated and clarify holiday arrangements. The passive-aggressive person sees themselves as the victim in life and you want to avoid this drama. There are various online calendar sites where parents can mark activities and events so the kids’ schedules are available to both parents. This reduces accusations that the other parent was not informed of happenings in their youngsters’ lives.

When communicating with the passive-aggressive parent avoid emotions, particularly anger. Ignore their subtle putdowns and just state the facts. Keep e-mails business like and to the point. Passive-aggressive people often have low self-esteem and may attempt to build themselves up by tearing you down. Have someone available for the kids to talk with, because the other parent may be making mean “jokes” or offhand comments about you. The least interactions that you can have with this difficult ex-spouse, the better.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine  thedivorcemagazine.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Divorce Stigma

Society has come a long way in accepting divorce, but still has more to do. Growing up in the late 1960’s meant that I was different because I had a divorced mother. I was mortified when my first grade teacher, Sister Julie Clare, said that she would pray that my parents would get back together. I was sure that nuns had more clout with God, so was afraid that this tragedy might occur. My mother assured me that there was no way in hell that this would happen, so I became my happy self again. There was only one other girl in the school with a divorced mother and none in my neighborhood. No one overtly teased me, but I still felt judged by my situation.

Fast forward four decades and it almost seems like the norm to be divorced. Kids discuss their half-siblings and step-relatives with ease, as if it is to be expected. It has been more elderly people who have attempted to give me condolences, instead of the high five. My happily married friends share divorce stories of other friends and relatives to reaffirm my normalness. They joke that being in long-term marriages seems to be the new anomaly. That said, in some cities in the UK and US, divorce is less accepted.

I went to India which has a 1.1% divorce rate, so expected to be looked down upon in my divorced state. What a surprise to be so wrong. A leading Indian women’s magazine had an article on how to get through your divorce `. Our guide was reading the section in the paper where parents were looking for good mates for their offspring. There was even a part for parents seeking new spouses for their previously divorced sons and daughters. No one batted an eye that my sons only lived with me.   Please read more.  divorcedmoms.com/articles/divorce-stigma–should-society-just-get-over-it