Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
A Single Mom's Dilemma-Spending Quality Time With the Kids
As a single mom is is sometimes difficult to find quality time to spend with the kids. After working all day, making dinner, helping with homework, making school lunches , doing laundry and the hundred other things single moms must do to keep the household running smoothly, we are ready to collapse.
This is precisely the time when you will hear the little voice of your child imploring you to play or read a story. Of course you will oblige, but what you really want to do is chill out on the couch and watch your favorite t.v. show.
As you rush through the story or play a quick game with your child, the pangs of guilt will eat away at you. You will berate yourself for craving time to yourself instead of enjoying time with your kids. So what is the solution? How can you unwind after a long, stressful day and still enjoy some quality time with the kids?
I have discovered that the key to making everyone happy is to find an activity that both you and your child enjoy. Let's face it, may of us do not find playing barbies or with trucks to be all that exciting anymore. But if you think back to your own childhood and reflect on what activities you enjoyed back then, you may come up with an activity you can do with your own child.
As a child, I enjoyed arts and crafts. My youngest daughter is also very creative, so doing some form of arts and crafts is something we can both enjoy together. Since my boys are obsessed with video games and the computer, it is a little more challenging to find something we mutually enjoy.
They do like playing Uno and Scrabble, tow of my favorite games. I have found that by spending as a little as thirty minutes with my kids doing something we all enjoy, they are more than happy to move on and occupy themselves while I get some personal time to myself.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Protect Yourself During A Divorce
Divorce can bring out the worst in people. An intelligent, sane person can become overcome with emotion and loss control during a divorce. For some divorcing women, getting a divorce can be a dangerous time, especially if there was any history of physical or mental abuse during the marriage.
This week ,a forty year old man and father of three, allegedly abducted his estranged wife in Indiana. Fortunately he released her and did not cause her any bodily harm. The couple are in the process of getting a divorce.
We do not know his motives for the alleged abduction, but we can probably assume that he is feeling out of control and distraught about the pending divorce. Some divorcing spouses can act completely out of character and do unimaginable things.
If you are in the middle of a divorce right now, make sure to protect yourself. Here are three things you can do to ensure your safety:
1. Limit contact with your soon to be ex. Do not agree to meet him alone, if he indicates he wants to meet with you to talk things over, have the meeting take place at your lawyer's office.
2. Exercise caution when coming home alone at night. If you have any reason to believe that your ex could turn violent , then make sure to have a friend or family member with you at all times.
3. Do not fuel the fire and antagonize your ex. Again limit contact, including telephone and emails. If he shows any signs of harassment, like excessive phone calls, driving by your home repeatedly or making threats, you may want to consider obtaining a restraining order against him.
You must protect yourself during your divorce by being aware of your surroundings and if your ex has given you any reason to assume he could be capable of violence , do not hesitant to contact the authorities.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Can 50/50 Joint Custody Work for you?
Years ago, the typical child custody arrangement gave the mother physical custody and the father usually got the kids every other weekend and one night a week for dinner.
But recently there has been a growing number of fathers who have challenged this arrangement and desire joint custody of their kids. Many feel that just because they are divorcing their wives, it does not mean that they must also divorce their children too. They want to be full participants in their children's lives and not be forced to be part time dads.
Some women however have a problem with this and rather go with the traditional custody arrangements when negotiating their divorce. Both parents must consider what is in the best interest of the children and put their personal feelings aside. It would be advantageous for kids to be able to have access to both of their parents, if at all possible. If there is no indications of abuse or questionable behavior, then divorcing couples should consider a 50/50 joint custody arrangement.
Some pitfalls may be the location of the parents. If one parent lives far from the other, it may not be in the best interest of the child to have to spend time traveling between both homes each week. Also arrangements where the child spends alternating weeks with each parent may be confusing and disruptive to the child's routine.
The best scenario would be if both parents live within a short proximity of each other and the kids can spend time at each home during the week. Co-parenting requires creativity, so maybe dad will have the kids on Friday night through Sunday night and then for dinner twice that week and then switch with mom the following week.
Of course work schedules, after school activities and play dates may complicate things. But if two parents can work together in agreement and be flexible, their kids can benefit enormously from having both parents actively involved in their lives. Sadly, there are many fathers who do not want to spend time with their kids and even miss their scheduled visitations. If a father acts in good faith and wants to continue to be involved in the day to day activities of his child's life, then he should be applauded for doing so.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Surviving Your Parent's Divorce
In his new book, The Bright Side, Your Guide to Surviving Your Parents’ Divorce, first time author Max Sindell provides kids of all ages with a helpful resource about dealing with divorce and making the most out of it.
During a divorce, the children, although the ones most affected by the separation of their parents, are often an afterthought. Many parents in the heat of the battle, are too caught up in their own emotional pain to be able to effectively deal with what their kids are experiencing.
This new book provides children with a new spin on the negativity of divorce, it teaches that it is actually possible for children to deal with the day to day realities of divorce and view divorce in a positive manner. The author says "that divorce doesn’t have to be as terrible as everyone says it is – In fact, between all the new people, new experiences, and new freedoms, divorce can turn out to be a lot better than anyone might expect."
The book begins with the "Divorced Kids Bill of Rights" and outlines seven rights which kids and parents need to know. To find out more about "The Bright Side, Your Guide to Surviving Your Parents’ Divorce" you can visit Max Sindell's website at http://www.survivingyourparentsdivorce.com/ There are a number a great resources for kids on the site and I will be recommending it to my own children.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Can you Be Friends With The Ex?
Is it really possible to become friends with your ex after the divorce is final? Several celebrity couples have done just that. Demi Moore and Bruce Willis even vacation together with the kids and Demi's new husband, Ashton Kutcher. Christie Brinkley and Billy Joel have also remained friendly for the sake of their daughter.
But can couples in the real world not only get along with their ex, but actually become friends? There is a company whose mission is to do just that, to educate the public about the benefits of going to mediation before engaging in costly, traumatic litigation and leaving the decision-making to their lawyers and Judges. DivorceDoneRight will encourage couples to go to mediation first, and benefit from its concept of a "Successful Divorce(TM)", which helps couples resolve family conflicts and divorce in an amiable and cost-effective manner, usually within a few months.
This can only benefit the children. All divorcing couples should try to put their differences aside and develop a good relationship for the sake of the kids. However, there are certain circumstances that may prevent a future friendship between ex-spouses, such as any sort of verbal or physical abuse. Clearly both parties have to cooperate and be willing to let go of past anger and resentment.
It is a great concept and it would be wonderful to see more amicable divorces where children are not put in the middle. The children will benefit enormously by seeing that even though their parent's marriage did not work out, they can still have a respectful, healthy relationship with each other.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Caution: Be Careful Choosing Your Divorce Attorney!
As a divorce coach, I see many clients who are unsatisfied with their divorce lawyers. The situation is typical. They are confident in their choice of an attorney in the beginning of the divorce, but as the months and sometimes years linger on, they start to lose faith in the professional they have entrusted their future with.
Unfortunately, there are some divorce lawyers who are only interested in making money. They quickly assess your financial picture during your initial consultation. When the retainer runs out and they do not see any foreseeable way to earn more income from your case, they encourage you to settle, even if the settlement may not be in your best interest.
I am currently coaching a client in this exact situation right now. Her lawyer is advising her to take a settlement that would include no alimony, even though she gave up a thriving career years ago to be a stay at home mom. Her husband currently earns six figures a year. Based on the length of the marriage, in most states this client should be eligible for alimony, although the length and amount would vary.
So why would this client's attorney advise her to forgo alimony in her divorce settlement? I suspect it is because, due to the rapid decline in the housing market, their home has very little equity and there are no other liquid assets. It appears as though her attorney has lost interest in her case and if the case is prolonged or goes to trial , she will not make a profit.
In all fairness, lawyers are in business to make money and have high expenses they must cover. If a client does not have the ability to pay, they may have a hard time legally removing themselves from a case. Not all divorce lawyers are callous and uncaring. The problem arises when they put their own financial interests ahead of what is in the best interest of their clients.
You must exercise caution when choosing your divorce attorney. You need to interview people you know who have gone through a divorce. Consider what you hear. Did someone go through hell because they had a bad lawyer, or did a good lawyer help them through a hell that could’ve been a lot worse? Did another person’s divorce go smoothly only because there was little to contest, or did the lawyer successfully foresee problems, and settle them in advance? You may want to find someone who was in a situation similar to yours. Can this lawyer avoid crises? Can this lawyer handle crises?
It is also crucial that your personalities click. You will spend a lot of time with this person; you need to feel comfortable with him or her. In the end, consider all these factors, and allow your intuition some sway. Can you get along with this person? Do you trust them?
With the right attorney’s guidance you can work together and speed the process of your divorce. Once you find the right attorney, you will feel more confident in your divorce outcome.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Catching a Cheater
Should you spy on your spouse if you suspect he is having an affair? This can be a loaded question. Are you prepared for what you might uncover? Can you handle finding proof that your husband is cheating? What if you are wrong, are you prepared for the consequences of your husband finding out you are spying on him?
Be sure to answer these questions very carefully before deciding to act on your suspicions. Finding out your husband is having an affair is an emotionally devastating experience. If you decide to investigate, make sure you prepare yourself ahead of time for the worst case scenario.
Thanks to the Internet you can now be your own detective and purchase special tools to help you catch a cheater. According to http://www.chatcheaters.com there is array of high tech spy equipment to monitor your spouses every move.
Here are few available for purchase from their website:
1. Spy Software-you can install one on your husband’s computer and record everything he does. Some of these programs even install remotely
2. You can get a GPS recording device and place it into your husband’s trunk. You will be able to track your husband’s whereabouts, including the exact location on a street map and the time of day he was there. It records for up to 18 days.
3. How about this crazy gadget- a voice changer. You can buy this device and it will actually change your voice over the phone. This way you can call those numbers on your husband’s cell phone and pretend to be someone else to gather information.
4.There is even a portable lie detector. I am not sure how you would convince your husband to use it, although if he refuses this could be a sign of guilt.
5. If you husband is getting frequent emails from the same email address, you can use "The Email Tracer", it finds the identify of the sender of the email
Before you rush out and buy any of these gadgets, make sure you are comfortable morally and ethically with spying on your husband. Trust your gut instincts, if this kind of investigation makes you feel uncomfortable, then don’t do it. Confronting your husband and seeing what his reaction is might be a better option. Deep down you will know if he is telling you the truth, we are built with the most powerful lie detector in the world, our own intuition.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Will You Have To Sell Your Home During A Divorce?
Whether or not you will be forced to sell your home during a divorce depends upon several factors. If the property is considered a martial asset-meaning it was acquired during the marriage, it is usually subject to equitable distribution, depending on which state you live in. You may want to buy out your husband's share of the equity in the home during your divorce settlement. Or you may chose to sell the home and share the profits.
There are some creative ways to handle the division of your home that you can incorporate into your divorce settlement. If you have small children, you could request that the sale of the home is delayed until your youngest child turns 18 years old. At that point, the home would be sold and the profits would be split between you and your ex husband. There are several things you need to consider with this arrangement. If you are paying the monthly mortgage, taxes and expenses for the home, then those monies should be deducted from your ex's share at the closing. You may also want to have the home appraised and set the amount of equity to be shared at what your house is worth at the time of your divorce. The home will probably be worth much more years later. Your ex would have to agree to this arrangement and be willing to wait for his share of the equity.
Another option is to waive alimony from your ex-husband if you are entitled to it. You then ask for his share of the equity in the martial home in the divorce settlement. If there is enough equity on his part to cover what you would have received in alimony,you can save thousands of dollars in taxes. Alimony is considered taxable income. The equity in your home is exempt up to $250,000 for a single person who has resided in the home as her primary place of residence for two or more years.
Thinking about selling your home during a divorce can be emotionally draining and can negatively affect your children should you have to move. Think over all options, consult with your divorce attorney and an accountant before agreeing to any division of property in your divorce settlement.
For more information on property division during divorce go to:
Saturday, September 08, 2007
If you are divorced, you might secretly wonder what marriage the second time around would be like. Would your new mate be everything your first one was not? Would he wisk you off your feet and restore your faith in true, everlasting love?
Unfortunately, statistics have proven that second marriages have even a higher divorce rate than first marriages. So why then are some us so eager to jump back into marriage so soon after divorce? Many people feel lonely after divorce and have a selective memory about what their marriage was really like. They reminisce about the good times and conveniently forgot why they got divorced in the first place.
After the initial phases of shock, anger and grief after divorce, you go through a loneliness phase. This can be a dangerous time period for a newly divorced person. You may meet someone on the rebound and convinced you are in love, make the hasty decision to remarry. What you really need to do is ride out the loneliness phase by becoming your own best friend. You need to spend time working on yourself and enjoying your own company. You cannot look to another person to complete you or fulfill you. Only when you are truly happy with your own company are you ready to begin a new relationship
Another reason why most second marriages are doomed from the start is that the issues that broke apart the first marriage have not been addressed or dealt with. Take some time to discover why your first marriage ended. Yes, it may be your ex’s fault, but what role did you have in the breakup? This is not a time for blame; it is a time for self reflection. By unearthing the real reasons for the demise of your marriage you will be better prepared to deal with these issues should they arise again in a new relationship.
Second marriages can work, but only if both parties come into the relationship free of the baggage from their previous relationships. Take your time and do not rush into a new marriage after divorce. Be wise and make sure re-marriage is something you are really ready for.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Where do you go to meet someone new? Years ago it seemed like singles bars were the only permanent meeting place. They were open every night, but they were also pressure cookers that were often fueled by too much alcohol. Now there is another spot this is always open: the World Wide Web. The Internet provides many interesting options. As online dating has gained popularity it has shown itself to be more convenient than singles bars, with more possibilities as well.
One popular online dating service is Eharmony.com. This dating service makes you fill out a lengthy questionnaire aimed at matching you and a mate. The match is made on the basis of several critical components. I liked E-harmony for several reasons. One was their policy of not posting your information and photo for just anyone to see. Your data is sent only to specific matches.
Another popular site is Match.com. . They seem to have a greater selection of potential dates. At Match.com you can browse and look at available singles’ pictures and profiles. You do the choosing using the posted information. The downside is that everyone can see your photo and information on this site, including people just browsing.
There are also many social networks online where you can meet someone after a divorce. My space is no longer just for teens and there is now facebook, meetup.com, and many other sites to meet new friends. I recently started a "dating after divorce" network on ning.com. It is a place for newly single people to share their thoughts and feelings and meet other divorced people in the same situation. You can go to www.datingafterdivorce.ning.com to join for free.
If you are going to use the Internet to meet potential dating partners, be sure to protect yourself and do not give out your personal information. Communicate by email in the beginning and then slowly build up a relationship that then leads to phone conversations. If you do meet in person, choose a busy public place for the first few meetings.
Your online dating experience can be a good one if you use caution. Meeting someone new after divorce can be an adventure and by using the Internet to help you in your quest, you may find that new, special relationship you have been looking for.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Things You Can Do With Your Wedding Ring After Divorce
An innovative New York woman has come up with a creative way to store your wedding ring after divorce. She makes little coffins for wedding rings. At weddingringcoffin.com, for $30 to $35 you can buy miniature, solid-wood coffins with a mahogany finish, velvet interior and a lid allowing for an open or closed casket. The coffins also come with an engraved brass plaque with such messages as: "Bury the past and move on" or "Six feet isn't deep enough!
I find this to be amusing, but I rather get some use out of my wedding ring than have it collect dust in a "coffin". What I want to do with my ring is have it redesigned into a cocktail ring and call it my "Freedom Ring". This way every time I wear it I will be reminded of how my life has changed for the better, after my divorce, just like the ring. Instead of burying our rings, we can redesign them, just like we are redesigning our new lives.
Of course if it will give you satisfaction and relief to flush your ring down the toilet, or throw it out the window, go ahead. You may need to release your anger and getting rid of the ring may the therapy you need. Another more practical option would be just to sell it. Then take the money and treat yourself to a trip, new clothes or something else you have been wanting. Preferably something your ex would have not approved of during your marriage.
Whatever you decide to do with your wedding ring after your divorce, have fun and keep a sense of humor. The ring is a symbol of your former life. Although it may be painful to let go of the past, by letting go of your wedding ring you are paving the way for a new and exciting life.
Sunday, September 02, 2007
If you are a woman who has been abused during your marriage and are now seeking a divorce, be sure to discuss with your lawyer how to protect yourself after the divorce has been settled. The extent of abuse, and the potential for further abuse, should be the most important factors in any divorce settlement. If there is an obvious threat of further abuse to a spouse and/or children, the contact should be limited or completely cut off. The safety of the victims must be the basis for settlement.
If the abuse is confined to the spouse, and isn’t sustained or life threatening, a judge will often arrange for visitation rights with the children. If this is the case, make sure all conditions are met to ensure your own safety when exchanging children for a visit. Judges sometimes draw up conditions for these exchanges that include third parties (trusted friends or family members), performing the exchange in a public place, or other security measures. It is crucial that you protect yourself and make sure that your lawyer or the judge adds these provisions to any visitations with the children in the divorce settlement.
Also, be aware that sometimes a physical abuser can easily turn into an emotional abuser.
Your divorce may be final, but that doesn't mean you ex will automatically stop his abusive behavior. Be on guard, continue to keep your distance from your ex-spouse and keep alert to any possible signs of abuse towards the children.