Monday, December 31, 2007

How Single Parents Can Get Ahead In 2008...

For single parents, it seems like there is a never ending amount of expenses incurred each month and having money left over to invest is often impossible. Most single parents shoulder the bulk of the child care expenses, even if they are receiving some form of child support. Children cost a small fortune to raise and often child support does not cover all of the extras, like dance lessons, sports, birthday parties, camp and other items the children need.

So how can a single parent get ahead financially? Fortunately there are ways for even the most cash strapped parents to develop new habits that will get them on the road to financial security.

Here are three ways to prosper in the new year:

1. Pay yourself first. You may laugh at the suggestion of being able to put aside part of your paycheck for yourself, but it is possible with some careful planning. The trick is to allot a specific percentage of your paycheck every week and automatically deposit it into a savings account. Make that the first payment you make, even before paying the bills. You may only be able to devote a very small percentage at first, but you will gain satisfaction watching your little savings account grow each month.

2. Record everything you spend in a typical week. Don't forgot to include money spent on incidentals, like coffee. An easy way to do this is to get a receipt for everything you buy and then tally it up at the end of the week. You may be shocked at how much you spend on fast food, Starbucks and other non-essential items. You don't want to completely cut out all of your guilty pleasures, just cut back on how many you indulge in.

3. After you have taken inventory and know now exactly how much you spend each month , you can develop plan to cut back. For example, if you decide to eat out once a week instead of two, take the money you would have spent on that second meal and put it into a jar. After a few months, take out that jar and now divide it equally into three sections: one third of the money is for investing, one third for your savings account and the remaining third is for you. Get a massage, buy a new outfit or spend it on something that you enjoy. As single parents we tend to spend most of our money on our kids and it is important to have some funds available to treat yourself with. Knowing that you are investing in your financial future and also taking care of yourself and your kids, you will gain control over your finances and your life.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Divorce On The Rise For the New Year
The holidays are coming to an end and a new year is on the horizon. Most of us will list losing weight, exercising and making more money for our new year resolutions this year. Some will also have divorce on that list too.
Many divorces are filed this time of year. If divorce was something you have been considering, you may have held off making a final decision until after the holidays.
If getting a divorce is a choice you are about to make for the new year, please think carefully about your your decision. The notion that a divorce is the cure for your martial problems, may be misguided. The realities of divorce are harsh and permanent. Some people, feeling depressed, restless and unhappy with their lives, think that a divorce will give them a new lease on life and free them from the misery they are now feeling. This may be true. A divorce may be just what you need to take control of your life and begin anew if you have been wrestling with these feelings for a long time.
But more often than not, a divorce will create a whole new set of problems, both financially and emotionally. Take time to seriously contemplate if you are really going to better off without your spouse this year. There are consequences and divorce affects everyone in your family, not just you and your spouse.
Recently, the rapper Snoop Dogg, made the following statement about calling off his own divorce several years ago: "I was going to split up with my wife - my wife wasn't going to split up with me,” The Sun quoted Dogg, as saying. "You know, I was caught up with Hollywood, and the girls and the night life. "I thought I was the man and I was willing to give up what I had at home for that, until I realized that what I had at home was irreplaceable, so I gave that up to go back home.
"I just don't want another man raising my kids. That was the main goal. I had kids with my wife because I wanted to be with my wife. And those three babies are all wanted, and I wanted to be with them."
I think what Snoop said was profound. He was able to save his marriage by understanding what was truly important to him in his life: his kids and his wife. Too often we under the illusion that somehow "the grass is always greener on the other side".
Whatever decision you make, take time to do some serious soul searching and consider marriage counseling before filing for a divorce. A divorce may be the right decision for you and your family, but make sure that you have come to this conclusion carefully, and not impulsively.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Selling The Family Home During A Divorce....

Many couples, facing a divorce decide to sell the family home and divide any profits after the sale. That is the way it used to work, back when the real estate market was thriving and couples were able to pull large amounts of equity from the sale of their homes.

Not so anymore. The real estate market is in trouble and many divorcing couples are at a loss about what to do about the family home. With the market flooded with homes for sale, foreclosures on the rise and homes on the market for many months before selling, what is a couple to do?

There are still some options left. One spouse can buy out the other and retain the property. If this is the option you choose, make sure to have the home appraised by a certified appraiser, not just a Realtor giving you his or her opinion abut how much the home is worth. Another option is to hold off selling the home ,if possible and stipulate in the divorce agreement that the home will be sold at a later date when the real estate market recovers. Some issues that must be worked out with this option are: Will the spouse occupying the home pay the mortgage,taxes and other household expenses? This is important because the spouse who does not contribute to the financial upkeep of home should get less profit when the home is eventually sold. These kind of issues need to be clearly outlined in the divorce agreement so that there are no problems down the road.

If selling the home right now is something that you must do in order to settle your divorce, use the following tactics to sell your house faster.

1. Hire the best realtor in town. Ask around and see who has the highest home sales in your area. You do not want to waste time trying to do a "for sale by owner" in this situation. You need someone to aggressively market and sell the house fast.

2. Be realistic about the asking price. Price the house to sell and you will be more successful selling in today's market.

3. Ask your spouse to help foot the bill for any minor improvements you must make to get the home ready to show to potential buyers. Things like painting, new carpeting, landscaping and fixing any obvious eye sores on the property can help sell your house much faster than other homes in your neighborhood. Home repairs can be costly, so set a budget with your soon to be ex and try to come up with a realistic amount the two of you can spend. If you are involved in a bitter divorce, you may have to have your lawyer ask your spouse's lawyer to include this in your divorce settlement.

Whether you choose to hold on to the family home for a few years until the market turns around or sell your home now, it is important to research all of your options carefully and make a step by step plan to protect one of your most important assets-your home.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Celebrating the Holidays After A Divorce...
As I was putting the decorations on the Christmas tree, I came across two very special ornaments from a Christmas long ago. They were the hand prints of my sons, ages 3 and 4, dipped in paint and pressed upon paper plates, decorated with gold glitter. After marveling how much bigger my boys hands are now, at ages, 13 and 1/2 and 15, I was reminded of the many Christmases before my divorce.

I recalled the many happy Christmas mornings with my ex and four children. If you would asked me back then, I would have never guessed that years later our family would be broken apart, my children's father never to spend Christmas morning with us again.

As joyous as the holidays are, after a divorce, they can also be bittersweet. A divorce forces you to develop new holiday traditions and abandon old ones. Most of the rituals of Christmas at my home are the same. "Santa" presents wrapped in special paper, carefully placed under the tree after the kids have gone to sleep and a plate of cookies and milk with a note written to Santa from my youngest daughter. My husband's job was to drink the milk and eat the cookies making sure to leave a few crumbs behind. It was also his job to take pictures Christmas morning while I helped the kids unwrap the presents. Now these jobs are mine.

The holidays signify the loss of the dreams and traditions you created with your spouse. This time of year forces you to remember what was and will never be again and can bring about a sense of sadness. It is normal to feel this way. The grieving process after a divorce takes time and a part of you, deep down inside,will always be sad for what has been lost.
Each year, as I celebrate the holidays with my children as a single parent,we create new memories and although I will never forget those Christmases with my ex, instead of feelings of loss and sadness, I now remember those Christmases with fondness. A happy day celebrated with my family. It is important to remember that although you and your ex will never celebrate the holidays as a couple again, you can create new memories and new traditions and embrace this new chapter in your life. Try focusing on the positive aspects of your life now and be grateful for your many blessings. By being in the moment and creating new holiday traditions and rituals, you will create new memories that you will remember for a lifetime.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Do's And Don'ts For New Step Parents
If you are divorced and dating, you might someday find yourself in the role of a stepparent. If you decide to date and marry a man who has children, there are some simple rules you need to follow.

1. Be sensitive. Do not ask the kids to call you "Mom". Recently, Katie Holmes, wife of actor Tom Cruise and step mom to his two children with Nicole Kidman, told People magazine that the kids call her "mom". Although it is wonderful her step kids love her, they already have a mother and I can only imagine how hurt she must of been by this comment.
2. Have patience. Children of divorce are dealing with many issues, and often have a hard time accepting a new mate for their mom or dad. Give the kids time to accept you and don't go overboard trying to gain their affections.

3. Be prepared to share. Remember the kids had your new spouse's attention first. There is a different dynamic to marrying someone with children. Don't expect your new mate to always put your first. A divorced parent must prioritize and many times that means putting the kids' needs ahead of their own. This doesn't mean your new mate doesn't love or care for you. Keeping the kids happy and a new spouse from feeling ignored can be a daunting task. Give your spouse time to adjust and work out the kinks so that everyone can eventually merge into a happy,well balanced ,blended family.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How Much Do You Think Your Divorce Will Cost?.....
After much soul searching, you have finally made the decision to divorce. Your next step, after informing your spouse, is to seek legal representation. But do you really have any idea how much this divorce will cost you? Unfortunately, most divorcing couples are unaware of how expensive a divorce can really be.
You may have the best intentions in the beginning of your divorce proceedings and even contemplate hiring a mediator to negotiate your divorce settlement. If however you or your spouse, decides to wage an all out divorce war, you may find yourself embroiled in a lengthy and expensive trial.
So just how much money does a divorce cost? Boston Law Collaborative, a law firm specializing in collaborative divorce analyzed 199 of its recent divorce cases, and found that mediation, collaborative divorce and litigation all produced high rates of successful settlement. Mediation was by far the least expensive option, with a median cost of $6,600, compared to $19,723 for a collaborative divorce, $26,830 for settlements negotiated by rival lawyers, and $77,746 for full-scale litigation.
These numbers represent the harsh reality of the high price divorcing couples pay financially when they refuse to settle their divorce amicably.From the Boston law firm's study, there is a difference of over $71,000 in savings by choosing to use a mediator instead of going for full scale litigation. That is money that can be used for your children's college educations instead of thrown away on divorce attorney fees.
Hopefully this information will serve as a wake up call to divorcing couples who are hell bent on destroying each in the courtroom. If there is any chance of settling your divorce through mediation or by using collaborative divorce lawyers, do it. The price you pay both financially and emotionally by battling your spouse in court is just not worth it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ten Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring A Divorce Lawyer...

If you are ready to interview divorce lawyers, you should be armed with the following questions to ensure you hire the right attorney. Many divorcing couples find out too late that they have invested money and time with the wrong divorce lawyer. Although it is possible to fire your lawyer and hire a new one during a divorce, save yourself the hassle and pick the right one from the beginning. Here is what you need to ask:

1. Do you specialize in divorce and family law? How many years have you been practicing in this field? (This is crucial. Do not hire a lawyer that does not specialize in divorce and family law.)

2. Are you experienced in the courtroom and how many of your divorce cases ended up in a trial last year? (You do not want an inexperienced attorney representing you at trial. Finding out how many cases went to trial will give you an idea of what kind of negotiator this lawyer is. If most of his cases end up at trial you can expect yours to as well.)

3. Are you a mediator or a collaborative divorce attorney? Do you encourage mediation for your clients? (Although not required, it is better to find a lawyer who is either a mediator or believes in settling divorce cases with one. Collaborative divorce lawyers tend to resolve your divorce in a more amicable and less expensive way.)

4. Will you be the attorney handling my case or will any other associates in your firm be involved? Do you have the time to devote to my case? (Do not hire a lawyer who does not have time for your case and will push your case off to a newer, less experienced associate.)

5.Will I deal directly with you or your paralegal or secretary? Is there a separate hourly rate to speak with paralegals, secretaries and assistants in the firm? (If there is no additional charge to speak to these employees, that is a good sign. You can save money by calling the secretary or paralegal directly for minor questions instead of being billed by the minute by your lawyer)

6. How much of a retainer do you require? What are your hourly fees? Do you require additional retainers after the initial one has run dry? If my retainer runs out, can you delay payment until my divorce is settled and take the funds out then? (Don't be shocked when your retainer runs out and you are required to replenish it or lose representation. Negotiate a deal now with your new attorney to have additional fees paid after your divorce is settled)

7. Can you file a motion in the court asking that my retainer and attorney fees be paid by my spouse? Is it possible for you to give me an estimate of how much my divorce will cost? (If your spouse is the primary breadwinner or controls the martial funds, it is beneficial to find an attorney who will ask the court to direct your spouse to cover legal expenses.)

8.What other costs can I expect during my divorce? Will I have hire other professionals like accountants, appraisers, investigators,etc? Do I pay extra for photocopies, faxes, and other office services? Do you charge for travel to court? If so, how much? (Find out the additional costs now so there won't be any surprises later)

9.Within what time frame can I expect you to return my phone calls? Do you bill by the minute or in blocks of minutes? (Many people are shocked when their divorce lawyer takes days, even weeks to return a phone call, find out this ahead of time and save yourself grief.)

10. Will I receive a written agreement with agreed upon hourly rates? Also, will I get copies of all of my legal documents concerning my case and is there an additional charge for this? (Make sure to get an agreement in writing outlining all of the hourly fees,additional fees and other costs your lawyer will incur)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

How To Cope When Your Spouse Has Cheated.....

At a recent divorce support group I organize, one of the members recounted his recent heartbreak about how he is dealing with his wife's affair. Although he had been separated for almost a year and his divorce was about to be finalized, he was still in a great deal of pain. He confided that just a few months ago, he was unable to even speak about his wife's betrayal. He went on to tell us how he felt sick to his stomach thinking about the woman he once loved with another man. He also spoke of feeling ashamed and embarrassed.

It may be surprising to think that a person whose spouse has cheated would feel this way. After all, they were not the one who committed adultery. But there are many "symptoms" one suffers from when dealing with the painful issue of infidelity. Here a few :

1. Shock and Confusion:You are stunned and feel numb,l ike your life's has become a bad dream and you are waiting to wake up. You just cannot fathom why your spouse would betray you.

2.Sadness. You have physical symptoms, such as nausea, stomach pain, chest pain and dizziness. You may lose your appetite and feel tired and listless.

3. Anger. You become irritable and daydream of ways to get even with your spouse and his lover.

4. Guilt: As you search your mind for answers, you start to blame yourself. You are not good enough, smart enough or attractive enough. You convince yourself that the reason your spouse strayed is because of one or all of these reasons.

5.Shame: Because your spouse has cheated, you feel embarrassed and ashamed to let others know. You feel like they are secretly thinking it must be your fault.

Know that it is normal to experience these painful emotions after discovering your spouse's affair. It will take time to heal from these wounds to your heart and soul. The most important realization that you must come to accept is that it was not your fault. Your spouse's infidelity is a refection on the kind of person he or she is, not who you are. Eventually there will be a day when you will be grateful that you are no longer married to someone who cannot be trusted.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How To Tell The Kids Your Getting Divorced...

All divorcing parents dread the moment when they will have to sit their children down and tell them mommy and daddy are getting a divorce. It is heartbreaking to see the confusion and fear in their innocent eyes. So many questions arise in their minds from" is it my fault?" to "why do mommy and daddy no longer love each other?"

Often, parents are caught up dealing with their own emotions and the children's needs can get pushed aside. When facing the devastating loss of your marriage, it is often difficult to be strong for your children and know the right things to say about the divorce. Many mistakes are made.

A new, innovative book has the potential to solve the problem of how to tell the kids about divorce in a positive and healthy way. Author Rosalind Sedecca has written How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook(TM) Guide to Preparing Your Children -- with Love! Parents are guided in preparing an attractive personal family storybook, in a photo-album-type format, that children will want to read and reread. Sedacca's two fill-in-the-blank templates talk about the family's past, present and future, reminding children that change, while often frightening, is a natural part of life. Using age-appropriate language, the text conveys the essential messages parents need to share -- and children need to hear again and again.

Sedacca's son, eleven at the time of the divorce, is now a veterinarian. His moving Introduction to the book, personally acknowledges the effectiveness of this unique approach to a tough conversation. "One of the most gratifying moments in my life came when my son, as an adult, confided that he understood why his Dad and I divorced," says Sedacca. "While he was very upset at the time, he said he could now see it was the right decision. He also thanked me for maintaining a positive interactive relationship with his Dad -- what I now refer to as a Child-Centered Divorce."

How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook(TM) Guide to Preparing Your Children -- with Love! is available online as a downloadable ebook. It can also be purchased in CD format from attorneys, therapists and other professionals. To learn more visit .

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Helping Deadbeats Catch Up On Child Support....
We have all seen the profile of the stereotypical deadbeat dad: A man who leaves his children, refuses to financially support his kids and often works off the books, hiding money and assets in his new girlfriend or mother's name. These deadbeats often owe thousands, sometimes, hundreds of thousands of dollars in back child support. Programs like garnishment of wages, revoking driver's licenses and jail time work well if you can find the deadbeat. They often stay one step ahead of the law and are difficult to track down and catch.
What we don't' always hear about are the "deadbeat" dads who may be behind on child support because of legitimate reasons. They have lost their jobs or have become ill. These fathers often want to support their kids and may find themselves facing serious legal repercussions if they fall behind in support.
In Carver County, Minn. they may of come up with a solution. The county is offering a new program to help parents who fall behind on support by offering them job training, such as resume-writing and computer classes. Some receive gas cards, bus passes or even have a county-paid cab take them to work. Others have been given work clothes and had their cars fixed so that they may return to the work and catch up on support payments.
Carver County is the state's most effective in collecting child-support payments. It recently was ranked No. 1 by the Minnesota Department of Human Services for the second year in a row. Their new program should be used as a model for other states to follow. Although tough child support enforcement measures, like jail time, are necessary in the collection of child support, a program that encourages and helps parents get back on track financially is needed. Many families' child support issues will be solved by providing parents with the tools they need to work again.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

How To Hire A Divorce Lawyer With No Money...
The Washington State Supreme Court rejected a woman's claim that she had a right to have a publicly appointed attorney in her divorce case. Sadly, the woman lost custody of her three children during her divorce because she could not afford an attorney and represented herself. The court feels that "divorces are civil matters that do not warrant state-funded counsel".
The playing field in divorce court is obviously not level when the spouse who has greater access to money can hire a divorce lawyer and the poorer spouse is left to represent herself. The woman in this case did initially hire a divorce lawyer using her rent money, but was financially unable to continue to pay legal fees.
The old saying "only a fool represents themselves" is quite true in divorce court. Without a lawyer you stand very little chance of being successful, especially if your soon to be ex has hired a legal shark. But there are some measures you can take if you are facing a divorce and have very little or no money for an attorney:
1. Most divorce lawyers do not want you to know this, but they can file a motion with the court asking that your spouse foot your legal bills. If your spouse is the primary breadwinner and you do not have access to the martial funds, this is a good option. But beware, unless there are significant martial assets, most divorce lawyers prefer to get their retainer directly from you. They rather not petition the court before they have received any funds. You may have to interview several lawyers before finding one who will agree to this.
2. If borrowing from family and friends is not an option and you have no open credit or assets, then you can try pleading your case to divorce lawyers and ask them to represent you without a retainer. If there are martial assets that will be divided after the divorce is final, a lawyer may agree to represent you and collect his fee later.
3. If there are no martial assets to be divided in the divorce and you are facing a custody issue, you could try asking divorce lawyers to represent you pro bono (free of charge). This will be difficult, but if you are at risk of losing custody of your kids, and have a solid case, you may be able to persuade a law firm to help you. After all, lawyers are people too and you never know who may have a heart and lend you a hand. If this is the route you must take, you need to be persistent and not give up after being told no. Keep trying until you find someone who can help you.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Is Your Marriage Worth Saving After An Affair?
Looking back, I can now pinpoint when my marriage began to unravel. I was oblivious to the warning signs that my marriage was heading toward divorce. I missed many critical signs. Because of my own inability to see the truth, I was completely blindsided when I found out my husband was having an affair. I was shocked and stunned by his betrayal.For me, saving our marriage was not an option. The one thing I could not tolerate was a husband who cheated. All trust between us had been broken.
But some couples can and do recover from infidelity in their marriage. Can you really get over your spouse's affair? Will your marriage ever be the same? The answer to these questions will depend on many factors. Some couples may be able to forgive and rebuild their marriage after an affair with the help of a good marriage therapist, lots of open communication and the ability of the spouse who has been cheated on to look past the affair and forgive.
The underlying issue will always be a matter of trust. Trusting a spouse who has cheated takes time, love and a deep commitment to save the marriage. Once martial vows have been shattered by an affair, it will take hard work from both partners to repair the damage that has been done. With some soul searching and by trusting your own intuition, you will know whether or not it is worth it to take the long, difficult road toward saving your marriage after an affair.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

When Divorce Turns Deadly
The other day I awoke to the shocking news that a couple was found dead in their car, just a few miles from my home. It seems as though the husband killed his wife and then killed himself. His wife had filed for divorce just 2 months ago in September.
After hearing this dreadful news, it brought back painful memories from my own divorce. My divorce began when my husband of 13 years twisted my arm and threatened to kill me. At that moment I had to make a choice, should I go to the police? Was his threat serious? Sometimes people make threats that do not mean, especially in the heat of anger. But on that day, the look in my husband eyes chilled me to the bone. He had sworn on his late father's grave that he would kill me. I went to the police and got a restraining order.
My neighbor's death, although I have never met her, pains me. So many women, when faced with an abusive husband, may not take threats seriously enough to protect themselves. I coach women who despite threats and violence from their spouse, still put themselves in harm's way.
Here are a few simple rules to follow to protect yourself during a divorce when violence could be a possibility:
1. Never meet your husband alone or allow him in your house after filing for divorce if you have any reason to believe he could become violent.
2. Do not go places alone. Make sure a friend or family member walks you to your car and to your door at home.
3. Get a restraining order. If you have been threatened or abused by your husband, report it to the police.
4. Do not talk to your husband on the phone. If he calls, let him leave a message on your answering machine.
5. When dealing with an abusive spouse, especially after filing for a divorce, be alert and aware at all times. Keep your cell phone handy and programmed to 911. Try not to go out after dark if possible and make sure all doors in your home are locked. If you have received threats and think violence may be imminent, ask someone you trust to stay at your home.
This may feel like extreme measures to take, but consider all of the women who have been assaulted or killed by a dangerous spouse. Laci Peterson most likely never saw it coming, more recently in the news, another Peterson, Stacy, is currently missing and her husband is under suspicion for her disappearance. Take precautions and protect yourself.
An excellent resource I have recently come across is a series of ebooks that teach you how to spot a dangerous man and protect yourself. Click here to find out more information.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Is Divorce Destroying The Planet?
It is bad enough that divorcing couples have to go through feelings of disappointment and loss when their marriage fails. Now they can add guilt.
According to researchers divorce contributes to global warming.
According to a study by Michigan State University, "Divorced couples use up more space in their respective homes, which amounts to to 38 million more rooms worldwide to light, heat and cool" noted the report. And people who divorced used 73 billion kilowatt-hours more of electricity and 627 billion gallons of water than they would otherwise in 2005.

"Dissolving a marriage also means doubling possessions, from the lowly can opener to the SUV. The report, however, did not estimate how many more natural resources the children of shared-custody parents consume by getting birthday and holiday gifts twice."
So now with all of the other issues you have to deal with during a divorce, should you consider global warming when making the decision to get a divorce? Probably not. Staying in an unhealthy relationship for the sake of the environment is silly. This argument is similar to the one used to control the planet's population and tell you how many kids you should have. What you can do to help the planet and reduce global warming is change your lifestyle and go "green". Think of the impact your decisions have on the environment and act in a responsible manner. Saving the planet does not have to mean staying in a bad marriage.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Should You Get A Divorce?
Making the decision to get a divorce is never easy. After investing years of your life with your partner, the decision to end your marriage is one that should be considered carefully.The impact of a divorce affects everyone, the children, your family and even your friends.
Often, when we are in the heat of an argument or feeling dissatisfied with our marriage, it becomes easy to fantasize about what life would be like single again. Images of starting a new life on our own, calling our own shots and being free from the arguments and conflicts we experience with our spouse, flood our minds. Divorce can become romanticized and we can forget about some of the repercussions divorce often brings.
If you are seriously considering a divorce, you owe it to yourself, your family and your spouse to make sure that you have explored all of your options and have tried everything possible to save your marriage first. When you got married you vowed to spend your life with your partner. All marriages go through trials and tribulations. There are ups and downs, good times and bad. A divorce will not simply eliminate your problems. If you are considering divorce because you no longer find your mate attractive, or are bored with your marriage, you might want to try fixing the issues you may have with yourself before looking for happiness elsewhere. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Seeing a marriage counselor is always a good idea. If after therapy, you feel that divorce is your only option, then you will know that you did everything in your power to make things work before ending your marriage.
If, however, your marriage is fraught with serious or even dangerous issues such as verbal and physical abuse, adultery or you are dealing with a spouse who is unwilling to work on your martial issues, then a divorce may be necessary. Filing for a divorce will be emotionally draining experience and require you to gather your inner strength so that you can take the important steps you need in order to protect yourself financially and ensure the emotional well being of your children.
When divorce is the only logical choice left for you to make, keep level headed, control your emotions and take the time to educate yourself about the divorce process. Enter into a divorce with the intentions of treating your spouse fairly and resolving your issues peacefully. It can make all the difference in the outcome of your divorce and how you and your family cope with this life changing event.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Children Grieve During Divorce Too
While experiencing a divorce, couples go through a grieving process. The loss of their marriage, the death of their dreams and hopes for the future, come crashing down on them in waves, much like the death of a loved one. What we sometimes forget is that children experience these emotions too, but differently than adults.
You may not even recognize that your child is grieving the loss of your marriage. Just like with depression, children often do not exhibit the "classic" symptoms we associate with grief and depression. An adult may become listless, sad and lose interest in activites while a child may act out in anger against siblings and friends, spend excessive time on the computer and video games and do poorly in school in reaction to a divorce.
Fortunately there are resources and help for children experiencing a loss. Rainbows, a non profit organization, is devoted to helping children through times of divorce, death, and crisis. Their services are free of charge and there are chapters worldwide. The organization was founded by Suzy Yehl Marta, a divorced mother of three boys, who gave up the security of her three jobs to do something she knew in her heart had to be done for children grieving over the loss of a parent through death, divorce, separation or a painful transition. Suzy is also the author of
Suzy says "A child’s grieving process is different from that of adults. The Rainbows program helps adults understand how children perceive loss and how to help them get beyond it with a unique approach of play-based activities. Drawing upon over two decades of experience with small groups, this guide shows how to keep misperceptions and sadness from permanently affecting children."
Rainbow is an excellent, free resource for divorcing parents looking for a way to help their children cope with divorce. If you would like to find out more information about Rainbows and find a chapter near you, visit

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

When Divorce Becomes War

Once upon a time you were busy planning all of the details of your wedding, enthralled with the concept of marriage, convinced that you would live happily ever after with your new mate. As you walked down the aisle, vowing to spend the rest of your life with this person, did it ever cross your mind that someday this very same person could become your worst enemy?Probably not. So what happened? How could the person you once loved and trusted with all of your heart turn on you and try to destroy you in a nasty divorce battle?

Of course, not all divorces end on a sour note, but why do some divorces end peacefully while others turn into long, painful expensive battles where couples viciously attack each other?
I don't' think most divorcing couples set out to destroy each other in the beginning. Many may have hopes of resolving their differences in a mature matter and fairly splitting assets, but add in a unscrupulous divorce attorney, well meaning friends and family who give bad advice and the anger and frustration that led you to want a divorce in the first place, and you have a recipe for divorce disaster.

The difference between couples who are able to settle their divorces amicably and those who fight to the bitter end, may come down to the use of a mediator. Couples who seek out a mediator early on in the divorce process are more likely to spend less money on attorney fees, less time In family court and be able to end their marriage on a friendlier note.

If you want to aviod a divorce war, before you seek out the best divorce attorney in town, consider talking to your spouse about hiring a mediator. In the end, the only winners in a divorce battle are the divorce lawyers, everyone else, including the children, lose.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Deadbeat Parents Can Run But They Cannot Hide...
Deadbeat parents who are hiding in another country trying to avoid their support obligations are going to have a more difficult time dodging the law, thanks to representatives from 68 countries who finalized the text of a new convention .This act is intended to make it easier to catch deadbeat parents when they move to other countries.
Even though recovering international child support is currently regulated by a 1956 U.N. treaty, it is often nearly impossible to catch deadbeat parents who flee overseas.
European nations, the United States, Canada, Australia, Brazil and several Asian countries were among those who are participating in the new convention and signed the text. The act will be similar to international agreements on child custody and adoption.
This will give Country officials the power to exchange information about offenders, withhold wages, pension payments or tax refunds and revoke or deny driver licenses. Hopefully this new measure will act as a deterrent to parents hoping to avoid their child support obligations by moving to another country.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Battling Divorced Parents And the Holidays
I recently had a conversation with a friend who confided to me that she and her boyfriend are planning on having Christmas dinner with her boyfriend's father and his new wife. However, they cannot tell her boyfriend's mother of their plans because she will fly off the handle and become enraged if her son spends the holiday with his father.
This woman has been divorced for over five years and still has not gotten over her divorce yet. Not only is she living in misery, she is putting her son in the middle, forcing him into an impossible situation of choosing between his parents on the holidays.
Unfortunately, many innocent children of divorce get caught up between battling parents, especially around the holidays and special occasions. Family gatherings, weddings and other family events can cause stress and anxiety for kids of all ages who dread having their parents in the same room.
No matter how angry and bitter one parent feels towards the other, they must find a way to put their own feelings aside. It is selfish to ruin a holiday or special occasion becuase you cannot stand your ex. Making your children feel guilty by making them choose between parents is wrong.
My friend joked that if she and her boyfriend get married they will have to have two weddings, one for his mother and one for the father. Let's hope that her future mother-in-law finally comes to terms with her divorce and starts to let go of the anger and resentment she feels towards her ex. By holding on to these negative emotions, she is hurting herself and her children.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

How To Get A Quick Divorce And A Vacation At The Same Time

Did you ever wonder how some celebrities are able to get divorced much faster than the rest of us? You may think that maybe this is possible because of their money, fame or connections. But the truth is anyone can get a quick divorce and it is affordable too.

The secret is taking a trip to The Dominican Republic. According to Wendy Diaz and Associates International Law Firm "A quick divorce is available to foreigners or Dominican citizens residing abroad, when both spouses agree to file this divorce before Dominican Courts. This procedure is very simple and only requires the attendance of one of the spouses during the hearing which takes usually less than half an hour and you can leave Dominican Republic the same day in the afternoon. It takes ten to fifteen days to obtain your divorce decree, which is to be sent to your home or office by courier (DHL or FedEx)."

The price for this service is relatively inexpensive, only $1,550.00 plus the cost of travel. Of course, this type of quick divorce is only for couples who have agreed on a divorce settlement and are both willing to finalize the divorce outside of the U.S..

If you and your spouse have agreed to divorce amicably and there are no settlement issues, this might be a great way to sneak in a vacation on a tropical island and get divorced at the same time. What better way to end your marriage, then by sitting on the beach, basking in the sun under a palm tree and sipping a tropical drink?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Can't Blame This Woman For Wanting A Divorce...

An Egyptian woman has filed for divorce because her husband refuses to take a shower. In this strange but true story, the husband has supposedly not showered in eight weeks. He claims he has a rare skin condition that makes him allergic to water. However, his own doctor disputes this, agreeing that his patient has a skin condition but no known allergy to water .The couple was only married for a few months and apparently only knew each other for two weeks before they wed.

Some other unusual reasons for divorce, according to

- An engineer in Port Said filed for divorce because her veterinarian husband insisted on keeping cats and dogs in the house.
- A civil servant divorced her husband because he had bad breath from eating too much garlic and because he did not wash his feet.
- An Egyptian housewife filed for khol’a after her husband refused to let her go to her father’s funeral.
- A sorcerer's wife filed for a divorce after he refused to give up his job.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Who Gets The Kids For The Holidays?
With the holiday season fast approaching, an issue most divorced couples
face is who gets the kids for the holidays. Many couples specify which parent gets the kids on a specific holiday in their divorce settlement.
Some parents may fail to include a written plan in their divorce agreement and this can lead to trouble. Working out a plan ahead of time is a good idea, it can prevent many arguments about where the children should spend Thanksgiving ,Christmas and other special days of the year. The children will benefit from knowing where they will spend the holidays and are less likely to feel torn between both parents.
If you and your ex have not figured out whose house the kids will be spending the holidays with and are in disagreement about this issue, try to compromise. You both must remember to put the children's needs and feelings first. Maybe you could consider letting your ex have them for Christmas Eve dinner while you get the kids on Christmas day. You could even split the day between both parents, with you celebrating Thanksgiving with the kids at lunch and your ex taking them for dinner.
Another thing to think about is what holiday is most important to you. For me, I would have my ex take the kids on Thanksgiving so I could have them on Christmas. I also offered him Christmas Eve dinner so that I could have them on Christmas day. Again, the key is compromise. Your children will be happier and your holidays less stressful.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Man Wants Divorce Because The "Other Man" Is A Dog

I realize I have written a few posts lately about divorce and dogs, but I just could not resist sharing this odd story. A Japanese man filed for divorce because he was jealous of his wife's dog.

Apparently they had a happy marriage before she brought home the pooch a year ago. The marriage went downhill when she starting giving the dog attention and allowing it to sleep in their bed.

The judge is this case threw it out of court and said "the couple should try to reach an agreement on the best way to treat the pet", according to

Although this story may seem strange, many men have the same sort of feelings when a new baby is born. They feel neglected because their wives are busy caring for the newborn and feelings of jealousy arise. These pent up feelings of anger and resentment can lead to arguments and even divorce.

The solution? If you are having marital issues soon after a new baby or pet has joined your family, make sure that your husband is included in the baby's or puppy's care and try to give him some extra attention so that he feels loved and wanted.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Get A Divorce Online

You knew it had to happen eventually. We are able to shop online, find a date, book a trip and now we can even file for divorce! That is of course, if you live in Broward County Florida .

With a few clicks of a mouse and for an extra $20 online filing fee, in addition to the regular $364 fee, you can be on your way to being single once again. It does feel impersonal to get a divorce this way, though. I can just imagine a spouse sending an email informing their partner that they have just filed for divorce online. Reminds me of how Britney Spears supposedly text messaged K-Fed with the news she was divorcing him.

Although filing for divorce online may sound convenient, I would not recommend it for couples with children and any assets. You need to consult with a divorce lawyer in those cases. Representing yourself in your own divorce proceedings is never a good idea, so unless you have been married for a very short amount of time, have no children and no assets, I would not suggest taking advantage of filing for divorce online.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

How To Protect Your Assets During A Divorce
Most people, when considering a divorce, fail to realize that they must take certain actions to protect their martial assets. Divorcing couples usually enter into a divorce hoping for the best and believing that their spouse will act fairly. Often this is not the case and you may find out too late that your soon to be ex has put your martial assets in jeopardy.
There are things you can do to minimize the risk. One of those things is to put a lien on any martial property you may own. This will prevent your ex from trying to refinance the home or even sell it. This is especially important if your name is not on the deed or mortgage.
Once a divorce is filed a judge will usually order that no martial assets be dissipated, meaning sold or disposed of. But even with this order, spouses have been known to violate it and sell cars, jewelery and other assets. I know of a woman whose husband emptied their daughter's college fund to pay his lawyers. Protect yourself and your assets. Think smart and consult with your divorce attorney about ways you can protect the martial assets during your divorce.

Friday, November 09, 2007

How A Divorce Can Affect Your dog
We all know divorce hurts kids, but can it hurt the pets too? According to David The Dogman, dogs and cats can suffer from the turmoil and emotional upset in the home that divorce and marital problems often bring.
David says "When couples shout and argue with each other this will indeed affect the dog (and also the cat). Our blacker moods and tantrums will have an adverse effect on our pet dog. Nervous behaviour is often caused by the owner's actions. Whenever I am called to a home where owners have a howling, barking, destructive, digging, house soiling, or one showing symptoms of an anxiety related behaviour, where it is apparent that the dog has an inability to cope with life, I always ask if there has been a death, separation or indeed a divorce that could have triggered the problems, as this behaviour is a typical expression of canine anxiety."
Since our pets are treated as members of our families and are sensitive to our feelings, it would make sense that any disruption in the family would affect them adversely. The best advice on how to help your pet deal with your divorce is probably the same for your children. Avoid fighting in front of them, try to maintain a normal routine for them as possible and most importantly, try to resolve your divorce peacefully. Everyone, including your dog will benefit.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

How To Get Your Ex To Pay Your Divorce Legal Fees

Britney Spears was ordered to pay her ex-husband, Kevin Federline's legal fees stemming from their nasty divorce and custody battle. She has been ordered, by the court, to pay $120,000 of the $160,000 attorney fees racked up by her ex.

So how did K-Fed get the court to order Britney to foot the bill? Most of their recent court activity has been directly related to Ms.Spears bad behavior and concerns over the welfare of the children. Also, Britney was the primary breadwinner during their marriage and earns substantially more than her ex-husband.

If you are currently in a divorce battle and the attorney fees are adding up, here are some things you should consider:

Does your soon to be ex earn more money than you? Were you a stay at home mom during your marriage? If so, you should ask your attorney to file a motion asking the court to order your ex to pay your legal fees.

Are your legal fees adding up because your ex is not paying child or spousal support? Again, this is a valid reason to ask for attorney fees to be paid by your ex. After all the reason you are in court is because of his violations and disregard for the court system. You should not have to pay your lawyer thousands of dollars to enforce a support order.

Finally, keep in mind that your own attorney may not volunteer the fact that she or he can file a motion and ask for legal fees to be paid by your ex. Some attorneys rather have you pay their fees for fear that your ex may stiff them on the bill. It is up to you to approach this subject with your lawyer and specifically ask them to ask the court to order your ex to pay your attorney fees incurred during the divorce.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The World's First Divorce Fair

The world's first divorce fair was held in Vienna, Austria recently. Instead of ferris wheels, cotton candy and carnival games, there were divorce lawyers,mediators, detectives to help catch a cheating spouse, and even a laboratory to conduct DNA tests! Also on hand were hairdressers offering extension hair pieces and makeovers to divorcing women.

Vienna's divorce rate is currently a whooping 66%, but the actual number of of divorcing couples who attended were low. I think this is most likely due to the impersonal nature of a "divorce fair". I would think that a person going through a traumatic event such as divorce would not want a circus type atmosphere when ending their marriage. It would be an overwhelming experience to visit a fair where divorce professionals are trying to sell you their products and services. You are better off sticking to recommendations and referrals when hiring divorce professionals.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

How To Get Through A Messy Divorce

With endless court dates, attorney fees mounting and no settlement in sight, it is easy to become emotionally distraught and overwhelmed during a divorce. Staying calm and focused is not always easy.

But staying in control while going through a difficult divorce is exactly what you need to do to succeed. So how can you get yourself back on track emotionally while going through one of the most agonizing times in your life? Here are three ways to take back control:

1. Spend some time visualizing the outcome you desire. See yourself signing the final divorce agreement. Visualize in detail, how you feel when your divorce papers are signed. Imagine the relief you will feel and the weight that will be lifted off your shoulders once your divorce is over.

2. When you are at your lowest and feel like giving up, take some time out. You need a break from your divorce and need to find something that will distract you and help you focus on something positive instead. Get a massage, have lunch with a friend, but whatever you do, the rule is no discussing your divorce on this day. This is your break, even if it is only for a few hours.

3. When you are alone and feelings of grief, anger and depression wash over you, allow yourself to release them. Cry, punch a pillow, or write a letter to your soon to be ex letting him know just how much he has hurt you. Be sure to take that letter and burn it. Do not send it! This is an exercise for you to get rid of pent up anger and resentment.

Eventually your divorce will be over and you will be free to begin a new and fulfilling life. That day will be here sooner than you think, so hang in there and gather your strength and resources. Someday soon this will all be a distant, painful memory.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Stressed Out Single Mom? 5 Tips To Regain Your Sanity

It isn't easy being a single mom and some days are tougher than others. Driving kids to play dates, sports and dance lessons, helping with homework and dealing with the other million things that come up in a day can leave you feeling burnt out. Here are 5 tips to help you relax and give yourself some TLC:

1. Make a date with yourself. Spend an hour doing something you enjoy. Read a book, meditate or just take a long, hot bath.

2. Use some retail therapy and buy yourself a new outfit or some new cosmetics. It is always a mood lifter when you pamper yourself.

3. Call a good friend you haven't spoken to in awhile. Pick someone who is supportive and will let you vent.

4. Watch a funny movie or sitcom. Laughing is an automatic stress reliever. Don't you feel better after watching reruns of "Will and Grace" or "Friends"? My personal favorite is "Curb Your Enthusiasm".

5. Join a group on you can find groups that meet once a month on so many different subjects, everything from wine tasting to learning about the law of attraction. There is a group there for everyone's interests.. You can also find support groups for single moms and divorced people who want to connect and share their experiences.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Another Reason For Divorce-When Your Spouse is Gay
A reason for divorce that you may be surprised to hear is about is when one partner admits that he or she is gay. This is more common then you might think. Usually, the spouse who has "come out of the closet" may have not wanted to admit he or she was gay and was suppressing their true feelings during the marriage.
I know of a woman whose husband announced he was gay, after a few too many drinks, at her son's first communion party. She had no idea that her husband was gay and the news came a complete shock. She got a divorce and is now remarried. Her ex is in a happy, long term, same sex relationship.
Former New Jersey Governor James McGreevey shocked the nation when he announced in August 2004 that he was "a gay American" and would resign. Governor McGreevey has been married twice and is the father of two children. He is currently embroiled in a bitter divorce and custody battle with his ex-wife, Dina Matos McGreevey
So how do you know if your husband is gay? Here are a few signs, according to infidelity expert Ruth Houston and author of "Is He Cheating on You: 829 Telltale Signs."

Suspicious non-verbal communication with other men -- a look, a touch or hug that lasts a little too long or has undertones of intimacy
Frequenting gay or bisexual Web sites -- check the history in your Internet browser
An abundance of male friends with whom he seems to be too close or too familiar
Lots of phone calls from other men
Buying or receiving expensive, intimate, or overly personal gifts from other men
Overreacts to anything concerning gay men -- extreme homophobic behavior
Unusually high percentage of male friends who are gay
Spends more time with his male friends than with you
Male friends who are overly friendly

It is important not to accuse your spouse of being gay without proof. If you are suspicious, you should ask your husband if he is gay. He may be relived to finally be able to admit the truth and stop living a life where he is not being honest with himself or you.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Divorce Season Has Arrived
According to, the marriage season is from May until October and we are now entering the "divorce season". The new trend among many divorcing couples is to send out email divorce announcements to friends and family.
Some even post their upcoming divorce on their myspace or facebook site.
There are even some who send out printed divorce cards in the mail. Is this tacky and tasteless behavior?
I think if someone who is going through a divorce can keep their sense of humor and send out a funny divorce card, it puts friends and family at ease. People do not always know what to say or how to comfort a person going through a divorce. Injecting some humor into your divorce, no matter how devastating the experience may be, may help you heal emotionally.
So send that funny divorce card or make some jokes about your ex if it makes you feel better. Keeping a sense a humor during your divorce may be the best therapy of all.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

3 Signs That You Have Not Gotten Over Your Ex

Just because you have signed legal divorce papers doesn't mean you are necessary emotionally "divorced" from your ex. Here are 3 signs you have not gotten over the end of your marriage yet:

1. You are still fighting regularly. If you were ready for closure, you would not be interested in the drama and attention you get from engaging in arguments with your ex.

2. You ask the kids all about Dad's new girlfriend. Although you may think you are done with your ex, deep down you are curious about who he has found to replace you.

3. You tell everyone you know what a jerk your ex is. This is a sign that you are still angry. Remember the opposite of hate is love. Only indifference will set you free.

If you recognize yourself in any of the above, don't be too hard on yourself. It takes time to heal the wounds of divorce and eventually you will reach the point when you are finally ready to move on emotionally.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

5 Things You Need To Put In Your Divorce Settlement

When it is time to finally settle your divorce and the papers are drawn up by the lawyers, it is easy to miss some of the less obvious things you need to include in the settlement. Major issues, like custody, alimony and child support are covered, but some of the things you may not be thinking about today, but will affect your financial future, are often overlooked.

Here are 5 things you need to consider putting in your divorce settlement:

1. Credit card debt. The division of credit card debt is usually outlined in the final divorce order, but you must make sure that credit card account numbers are also included. It is not enough to say that your ex will pay the american axpress card balance. You need to list the account numbers so that if the credit card company comes after you for payment you can mail them a copy of your divorce order that clearly states whose responsibility the debt is.

2. Car Insurance. If you have children , you may not know that when they reach the age to get their driver's license, most insurance companies will automatically increase your premium. If you are the custodial parent, you need to add a provision in your settlement that when the children get their licenses and your car insurance goes up, you ex will pay 50% of the extra costs. I learned this the hard way, I did not have this in my divorce order and when my daughter got her license, my insurance payments jumped up almost a $1,000 a year, even though she was not driving my car. The insurance company only assesses this fee if the child lives with you, so the non-custodial parent is off the hook. It is only fair that they help out with this extra cost too, so put it in your settlement now.

3. Birthday parties, Christmas presents, clothes, camp and other non-essentials not cover by child support. Be sure to decide now if you are going to split these or if the child support is enough to cover these expenses.

4. Braces. You may think that this would be covered under medical expenses, but it is not. Braces are considered "cosmetic", so if you have kids, make sure to work this out before signing the final divorce papers.

5. College. Again, many parents automatically assume that both parents have to split college costs for the kids. Not true. Most courts consider college an elective and will not force a parent to pay for tuition. Work this out with your ex ahead of time and save yourself grief and money down the road.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Who Gets The Pets In A Divorce?

During a divorce there are so many issues to be decided. Martial assets have to be divided, alimony and child support awarded and custody arrangements must be made.

But what about the pets? What happens when both spouses want custody of the dog or cat? Since animals are considered "property" in most states, the family court usually treats pets much like it would when dividing the china and other household items. This is sad, because as any pet lover will tell you, pets become beloved members of our families.

In my own divorce, I got to keep our 17 pound black and white cat, Woogie. Luckily, as bitter as my divorce was, my ex did not pursue custody of Woogie. I am sure he did not want to hurt the children by trying to take their cat away. Some couples who do not have children and consider their pets their "kids" may wage an all out battle for their pets.

The best way to resolve a pet custody dispute is to think of what is in the best interest of the pet. Also allowing the spouse, who does not get to keep the pet, visitation rights is a good idea. If there are children who have bonded with the pet, it is always a good idea to let the pet live with the custodial parent so the children are not traumatized by having to have their pet live in a different home. Couples need to work together and put their differences aside for the sake of their dog or cat. Don't put the fate of your beloved pet in the hands of a family court judge.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Can A Divorce Make You Go Crazy?

This certainly seems the case for a Pennsylvania woman. This woman, bitter over her divorce ,asked her ex-husband's girlfriend to try to kill him by spiking his drink with cocaine, state police said. She knew her ex-husband had a heart condition and believed spiking his drink with cocaine would cause "his heart to possibly explode and kill him" . Luckily for her ex-husband, his girlfriend contacted the police and the woman is now being charged with attempted murder.

Divorce brings out the worst in people and sometimes they can react badly and do terrible things they never imagined they were capable of. This story is an extreme case, but more commonly we see once normal people turn vicious and vindictive while embroiled in a divorce battle. False restraining orders, hiding of assets and money, and even false allegations of child abuse are commonplace in family courts across the country.

So why do good people turn bad when faced with a divorce? Divorce is such an emotionally devastating experience that some people just cannot control their emotions. All of their hurt and anger is unleashed and they can become out of control. Feelings of rage and betrayal are normal during a divorce, but it is how we cope with these emotions that makes all of the difference.

If you feel like you cannot control your emotions during your divorce and are consumed with thoughts of revenge, seek help immediately. Talk with friends and family and consider seeing a therapist. You need to release those bottled up emotions in a healthy, safe environment.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Main Causes Of Divorce

There are no absolutely reliable figures on how many of us divorce. Several states, including California, don’t keep a tally of divorces. That makes any truly nationwide numbers impossible to calculate. Still, a number of organizations and agencies try to figure it out.

For many years the U.S. Census Bureau said that 50% of all marriages in the United States ended in divorce. Several years ago the National Center for Health Statistics revised that figure down to 43%. In 2002 the Census Bureau pushed it back up to 50%, but a recent New York Times survey puts the figure at 40%. From these figures it’s easy to see that no one knows the exact number, but clearly the fact is that a lot of us divorce.

But why do we divorce?
Because we are no longer friends?
If so, what killed the friendship?

It’s easy to say that a marriage failed because of an affair, or a lie, or some other breakdown. But what caused the breakdown? In most divorces there is a trigger, then there are reasons for the trigger, and finally there are underlying causes. Affairs and abuse can comprise all three factors: trigger, reason, and cause. Most surveys find that affairs and abuse taken together cause 45% to 55% of all divorces. Affairs are usually listed as causing anywhere from 25% to 34% of all divorces. In most polls 15% to 20% of all surveyed mention abuse as the main reason for their breakups.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Truth About How Divorce Affects The Children

This morning, I was on The Morning Show with Mike And Juliet" on the Fox Network. The show was about how divorce negatively affects children. My children were interviewed and I was surprised at how my divorce is still affecting them even though the divorce has been final for over two years.

I agreed to do this show to help other people out there who are going through a difficult divorce and are concerned that their kids are caught in the middle. In my situation, I am dealing with an uncooperative ex-husband who refuses to co-parent in a healthy way.

What I learned from this experience today was that even though I and dealing with someone who pushes my buttons and loves conflict, I have to figure out a better way to protect my kids. A key issue I have been dealing with is that my ex smokes in front of my children even though it is forbidden in our divorce order.

This summer he fell asleep with a lit cigarette in his hand and it was burning the carpet while he had my kids at his house for his weekend visitation. My son called me and told what happened and I was furious. I confronted him, but he then proceeded to take it out on my son, angry that he had "snitched" and told me. As upset as I was , I should of waited until the kids were home with me before confronting him.

As divorced parents, we love and want to protect our kids, so it is so heartbreaking when we inadvertently make mistakes during our divorce that can hurt them. We try our best, but sometimes it is just not good enough. After all, we are only human. So if you are like me and struggling to co-parent after a divorce , give yourself a break, take a step back and honestly look at what actions you might be able to take to minimize the damage to your kids during your divorce.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Three Reasons To Throw Yourself A Divorce Party

1. You need closure. We mark important occasions with ceremonies, like weddings, christenings and funerals. Why not have a divorce party to officially end your marriage in a therapeutic way? If you are having a difficult time dealing with the end of your marriage, having an official ceremony where you are supported by friends may help you to move on with your life.

2. You need a good laugh. Divorce parties are known to be creative, funny and outrageous. Anything goes. You will have a great time with good friends and be able to inject some humor into your divorce. Being able to laugh , even in the most difficult times, is great therapy.

3. Your ex got half of all the appliances, dishes and other household items. Design your divorce party like a bridal shower and not only will you have a good time, you will be able to replace some much needed items. You may even want to create a registry so friends know exactly what you need.

If you do decide to throw a divorce party, have fun and enjoy yourself. Make this about beginning a new chapter in your life and closing the door on the past. A divorce party may be just what you need to start over and begin living your new life as a single woman.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Need An Emergency Court Date? Only If Your Britney Spears

Britney Spears was granted an emergency hearing today in Los Angeles to ask the court to allow her overnight visitation with her two young sons, despite the fact that her next court date was not scheduled until late October.

How was Ms. Spears able to get a court date on such notice? Her emergency was that she simply wanted more time with her children. Her kids were not in any danger. In the real world for us average people, it can take up to 3 weeks to be granted an emergency court hearing.

During my own divorce, my ex refused to pay child and spousal support leaving me with all of the household bills and very little money. The mortgage was 2 months overdue and the utilities were about to be shut off so I asked my divorce attorney to request a court date. I was told that the courts were overcrowded and that "emergency" requests were rarely granted. I waited three more weeks for my court date, only to sit in court for eight hours and have the court date rescheduled at the end of the day! Of course my attorney billed me for those hours in court.

This is the sad reality for many people dealing with the family court system. Most family courts in our country are overcrowded . It is typical in divorce and child custody cases to be in court all day long. Often your court dates are adjourned and it can take months or even years before your case is settled.

But this is not the case for Britney Spears. She was able to arrive to court five hours late and still be heard by the judge. I wonder how many "normal" people in L.A .had their court dates cancelled today to accommodate Ms.Spears? Of course, it is not Britney Spear's fault that the Los Angeles court system bends over backwards for celebrities. It is just unfair.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Behind on Child Support? You May Lose Your Driver's License

Should you lose your driver's license if you fail to pay child support? The Tennessee Department of Human Services is threatening to do just that. It wants to revoke the driver's, professional and hunting and fishing licenses of more than 14,000 parents who are delinquent on child support payments.

This is a terrific idea that may be an incentive to deadbeat parents. Another initiative that some states have implemented in child support collection is revoking a delinquent parent's passport. Another great idea.

Obviously if a parent can afford to travel out of the country they can afford to support their children. Of course, there are those who oppose taking away passports and licenses of deadbeat parents. These are the same people who oppose jail time for parents who refuse to pay child support. Many of these activists, mainly father's rights group, claim that the parent cannot afford to pay child support because they are low income earners and it is unfair to pursue them legally.

I wonder who they expect should support their children? The government? Many single parents who do not receive child support are forced to apply for welfare. Those parents who struggle to support their children without financial support are often forced to work two jobs just to make ends meet.

Both parents are responsible for their children's financial well being. If a parent blatantly ignores his or her financial obligations for their child, taking away their right to drive and travel may make them think twice before dodging their responsibilities.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Should Wait Until Your Divorce Is Final Before Dating?

If you are separated and the middle of a divorce you may wonder when it is okay for you to start dating again. Should you wait until your divorce is final?

That would be ideal, but many divorcing women are dealing with long, drawn out divorces, thanks in part, to the overcrowded family court system. It can takes months and even years before your divorce is finalized. Especially if your divorce is a bitter one and you are fighting over assets.

If you marriage is over and you no longer live with your spouse, then it is safe to start dating again. But only if you are upfront about your situation with a potential partner. Make sure you inform your date that you are still legally married, but have filed for divorce and are waiting for your divorce to become official. It would be unfair to withhold this information since some people might have a problem with dating someone who is still technically married.

Although you should not have to put your life on hold because the court system is slow, you might want to consider holding off dating again if you feel that you are not ready emotionally. If your divorce is a messy one and you are still plagued by feelings of anger, sadness and confusion, it would be unfair to bring someone new into your life when you are not yet ready to commit to a new relationship.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Slinging Mud In A Divorce: Should You Go There?

The Denise Richards-Charlie Sheen divorce/custody battle has become dirtier than ever, with Ms.Richards submitting some shocking allegations to the court about Mr.Sheen. Everything from vicious emails to alleged pornography use by Mr. Sheen, are now public knowledge. (Read more here)

Sadly, vicious divorce battles where both parties reveal horrible things about each are not limited to high profile celebrities. Which leads us to the question, is anything off limits when it comes to winning a divorce or custody battle? Or should couples do whatever it takes to triumph, even if it includes humiliating the father or mother of your children?

It all depends on your motive. If you are seeking to destroy your ex in court purely to get revenge, then you will have to deal with the fact that your children will someday be privileged to the information you are exposing. If however, the allegations are true and you feel your children may be affected negatively by your ex's behavior, you need to report that information to the court. Of course it depends on the severity of the allegations, if your spouse does drugs or or engages in other dangerous behavior you must protect yourself and your children by reporting it. However, if your ex is a loving parent and has an embarrassing habit that does not in any way affect the children, revealing that information can only be damaging to your kids.

If you are tempted to expose your ex in court ask yourself this question: Am I doing this to ensure the well being of myself or my children? Or am I so hurt and angry at my ex that I want him to suffer? If the latter is true, take a step back and get in touch with your feelings before taking harmful actions based on revenge.