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 salon.com, 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.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Thank You To The "Other Woman"

Four years ago this month I discovered my husband was having an affair. I was devastated. I remember waking up each morning feeling as though I had been punched in the stomach. The pain was, at times ,unbearable. The man I once considered my best friend, the person I trusted the most, had betrayed me.

But most of my anger at the time was directed toward his mistress. I hated her with a passion. She had destroyed my family and turned my world upside down. In my opinion she was an evil woman who had no qualms about wrecking my marriage, hurting my children and trying to get every dime she could get her hands on. Eventually, she did leave my ex, but only after he ran out of money and spent a large part of our savings on her.

Now, four years later, I have a different viewpoint. Although the hell both my ex and this woman put my family through is inexcusable, I now feel as though I should thank her.

That might be a startling statement, but had she not come along, I would still be married to my ex. His affair revealed things that I had refused to look at for many years. The fact that he is not a very nice person. He is selfish, mean spirited and verbally abusive. During my marriage I buried my head in the sand and refused to see the truth about him and the state of our marriage. I saw myself as a happily married woman. I would have never considered divorce had he not cheated on me. I overlooked his flaws, as many women do, in order to preserve my marriage and keep my family intact. It took a stranger 's involvement in our marriage to uncover the truth.

The illusion had been shattered, thanks to the other woman. My life is so different than it was four years ago, I am happier than I have ever been in my life. So sometimes there is a silver lining to even the darkest clouds. I suspect that the "other woman" is out there somewhere wrecking someone else's marriage. But I now believe that a predator like her can only expose the cracks that already exist in a marriage. A couple dealing with adultery can either try and repair those cracks through marriage counseling or divorce and go their separate ways.

If the choice is to end the marriage, there is hope. The pain will eventually subside and you may discover a new and exciting life that you never believed possible before.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Explaining The Financial Implications Of Divorce To Your Kids

As a parent, you want the to provide your kids with everything they need and desire. But when you are a single mom, it is especially difficult to say no to your kids. Often we feel guilty and ashamed telling our kids that we cannot afford to buy them what they want
Quite often, divorce can be a financial earthquake for both parents, and the children feel the effects. Before the divorce they were used to living a certain lifestyle and now because there are no longer two incomes contributing to one household, life has changed.

This can be hard for kids to understand. You should be honest and tell your kids the truth. Tell that that although you would love to buy them that new video game, right now you need to save your money to pay the bills. Give them some suggestions on how they may be able to earn some money themselves. If they old enough maybe they can take on a paper route or do some babysitting. For younger kids, give them a small allowance to help around the house .This is a great way to teach them an important lesson on how to be responsible with money.

My own teenage son was very excited when the new Halo 3 xbox video game came out last week. He asked me to purchase it for him. I explained that right now, that was not something I could do. I suggested that he save his money so that he could buy it for himself. He got creative and went through all of the video games that he no longer played with and was able to exchange them at the game store for the Halo 3. I think he is enjoying his new game more, knowing he figured out a way to buy it himself, then had I simply went out and bought it for him.

Another important thing to consider when explaining your finances to your kids is to not blame your ex-husband for your current financial situation, even if he is behind on child support. This will cause your child to become resentful of his father and create bitter feelings. Although your ex's lack of support may be contributing to your financial woes, do not involve the children.

Most importantly, congratulate yourself on doing the best job you can, raising children as a single parent. It is not an easy job. Do not feel guilty over not being able to afford the latest toy or gadget for your child. Your kids will grow up to appreciate and value money more than a child who has had everything handed to him.