Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mulitple Divorces-When Should You Stop Getting Married?

In the news this week is the story of TV Host Larry King announcing he will divorce his 7th wife. Larry has been married seven times. You would think most people would stop getting married after the third or fourth divorce, but they are people, like Larry King, who enjoy getting married so much they keep doing it.

It amazes me that someone could go through that many divorces. One was more than enough for me! I cannot fathom going through a second divorce and that is one of the reasons I am unsure if I will ever remarry. The pain from a divorce is so intense and life altering, the thought of someone repeatedly going through that sounds like torture to me.

Maybe they are just hopeless romantics and really believe each time they walk down the aisle that this time it will be forever. Unfortunately, the odds are stacked against anyone remarrying, with the rates of divorce rising significantly with the second marriage and the odds of staying married being even worse for the third.

I have a friend who is on his third marriage and has been happily married for over twenty years. He was brave enough to give marriage a second and third shot. Sometimes we get in the wrong relationships for the wrong reasons and it may take time to find that "soul mate". But 7 marriages and divorces? I think Larry King may want to consider living together the next time.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Legal Aspect of Divorce-What You Need to Know...
Most of us are not prepared when faced with a divorce. Our world is turned upside down and we are emotional wrecks, trying to deal with feelings of anger, hurt and sadness and yet at the same time, needing to protect our legal rights.
It can be overwhelming and frustrating to get educated quickly about divorce law, so naturally, most of us hire an divorce attorney with whom we entrust our financial futures to. This blind trust of a stranger, who may or may not represent us to the best of his or her abilites can be dangerous.
It is crucial that you get a divorce education and do it fast. There is a new book that I recommend that gives you all of the legal notes and bolts of divorce. Quick Divorce: Everything You Need to Save, Time, Money and Get it Done Fast and Legally by Linda Connell, Attorney at Law is jam packed with legal information.
There are checklists, tips and sample forms and the book even list divorce lawyers by state. This book covers all of the divorce legal issues that you need to be familiar with and it maps it out in a simple, easy to use format.
No matter how distraught you are right now, you need to find the inner strength to take control of your divorce and protect yourself legally. You do not want to turn your divorce over to a professional without getting up to speed first. By becoming educated, you hold the cards. You can become an active participant in the legal aspects of the divorce. In any situation in life, you take back your power when you gain knowledge and are able to make more clear, rational decisions when you understand what is going on.

Friday, July 25, 2008

When You Just Can't "Move On"...
Many times during a divorce, well meaning friends and relatives will tell you that you need to "get over it" and move on already. They see you in pain and naturally want to help you, but sometimes comments like that can make you feel even more alone and depressed.
I don't think anyone can understand what it is like to go through a divorce unless they have been through one themselves. And then it depends on what kind of divorce they had. A person who resolves their issues amicably with their spouse and remains friends after the divorce is going to have a much easier time recovering than someone who is embroiled in a nasty divorce battle.
I remember clearly those awful days during my divorce where I would literally feel sick to my stomach. It seemed like the pain would never go away. The divorce consumed my life at the time and wondered if I would ever feel good again.
Thankfully, those feelings passed, but it took time. If you are suffering right now with the pain of divorce and feel like no one understands, it is important to remember that people who have not gone through the trauma of divorce might not be able to offer you much support emotionally.
A divorce support group is a good option if you want to be with others who you can relate to. You will "move on" and let go eventually of this pain and agony, but it is not going to happen overnight. Give yourself permission to grieve. There will be a day someday soon where you will find that your divorce is not the first thing you think about every day. It will start to fade into the background of your life and you will begin to feel better. The key is to not rush yourself through your emotions right now, but work through them so that you can let them go.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How Your Kids Really Feel About Your New Relationship...

I was having a conversation with my 10 year old daughter this evening about how she would feel if I eventually remarried. I was surprised to find out that she feels very negative about me being in a serious relationship. I have been divorced now for over 3 years and had thought she would be okay with it by now.

I have been in a relationship for awhile now but it is not with someone I will marry or live with in the future. She seems to like this man, but told me that is because he is not a daily part of our lives.

I think my daughter is wrestling with a few issues. She feels like she would be betraying her dad by allowing herself to accept another man in a fatherly role. I also think she does not want me to give attention to someone else, fearing she would get less. Ironically, she has no problem with her father having a girlfriend.

I am grateful that we had this conversation because I did not realize she felt so strongly. I think it is very important to keep the lines of communication open with your children and let them express themselves and their opinions after a divorce. That is not to say that I will not remarry or have a serious relationship in the future.

What I explained to her is that it is important to give people a chance. Right now this hypothetical man is not a real person who is in our lives. I told her when and if that time comes, we can take it slowly, one step at a time and maybe she will feel more positively about the subject if I met someone she actually liked and enjoyed spending time with. What I learned tonight is that I can't presume to know what my kids are feeling, I need to ask them and open up a dialogue so that we can work out any issues before they become problems.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Youtube Divorce Lady Loses in Court...

Tricia Walsh-Smith, the infamous "divorce lady" whose wacky youtube videos about her divorce and her husband, gained her notoriety and fame, has lost her divorce case in court today.

The judge was not pleased with her performances on youtube saying "She has attempted to turn the life of her husband into a soap opera by directing, writing, acting in and producing a melodrama" and called her video stunt "a calculated and callous campaign to embarrass and humiliate her husband".

Some of the facts of this case were not apparent while the public was focused on Ms. Walsh-Smith's entertaining videos. She did sign a pre-nup in 1999, three weeks before her wedding. This agreement said that she would have to vacate their apartment within 30 days and would only receive $750,000 of her husband's millions.

The judge upheld the pre-nup agreement and said it was valid. Tricia Walsh-Smith says she will appeal, but must now leave her Park Avenue apartment. $750,000 is not pocket change, and instead of appealing, I think she should move on already and start a new life. She needs to cut her losses and let go of her anger and bitterness.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Divorce Lawyers Murdered: Could a Client Have Done it?
A husband-and-wife team of divorce lawyers were found shot to death in their bed. The bodies of 50-year-old Mark Schwartz and his 48-year-old wife, Christina-Maria Petrowski-Schwartz, were discovered in their Brooklyn home.

Right now, police do not know who committed this double homicide, but are investigating business associates. It makes you wonder, could this heinous act have been committed by a disgruntled client or the spouse of one?

There have been cases where an upset spouse has killed the divorce attorney or judge before. Divorce is such an emotionally heated subject and many people going through a divorce feel out of control and full of range. Most will not commit acts of violence, but there is always the few who will go insane and lash out at their spouse or anyone else they feel is hurting them.

If the suspect in this case does turn out to be client, it will be another horrible example of how deadly divorce can turn. I think anyone going through an ugly divorce needs to always have in the back of his or her mind that there is a remote possibility that your spouse can turn violent. This is especially true if there were an incidents of domestic abuse during the marriage.

Keep on guard and protect yourself. do not travel alone or come home by yourself late at night, make sure to inform a family member of your whereabouts and when you are expected home and if you feel your spouse is dangerous, get a restraining order against him or her. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Can't Afford to Get a Divorce?...
Many unhappy married couples, facing a declining real estate market and rising gas and food costs, cannot afford to get a divorce. The price of running two households is just too expensive.
This could be a good thing. Some couples, who in the heat of the moment, may normally choose to run to a divorce lawyer, may decide to work on their marriage and see if there is any possible way to save it. On the other hand, couples who are miserable and should separate are being forced to live under one roof. This cannot be healthy for them emotionally.
Divorce is still very expensive and there has not been a decrease in divorce attorney fees, ranging anywhere from $250 to $500 per hour. But since many divorce lawyers count on getting paid when a couple sells their home, the housing market conditions can be a potential problem for them as well.
Couples who cannot afford to divorce, yet must live together to survive financially, are in a tough position. They may have to wait until the real estate market begins recovering until they can afford a separate home for each of them. Being in such a unique situation, where you must live with someone you do not get along with, can be explosive. Couples in this situation must come up with ways to get along, especially if they have children. Living as roommates instead of as a married couple can work if both parties come up with a plan. They need to maintain peace and order in their household and wait until conditions improve enough for them to separate.
Hopefully we will not see a rise in domestic violence as a result of these economic conditions. If a couple has a volatile relationship, then one of them may have to stay with relatives or friends until they can figure out what to do financially.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Successful Co-Parenting After a Nasty Split: Is it Possible?

If you have children and are going through a difficult divorce, you may wonder how you are going to be able to co-parent your children with your ex. If you could not get along well enough to resolve your differences during the divorce, parenting without hostility will most likely be a challenge.

But even in the worst divorce cases, there have been parents who have been able to put aside their differences and co-parent in a healthy and positive way. If you are dealing with an ex with whom you cannot communicate with, there are a few things you can do to turn your relationship around for the sake of your children.

The first step is the willingness to compromise. Since you cannot control another person's actions, you must start with yourself. Take a time out and ask yourself if the issue you are having with your ex regarding your kids is something worth fighting over. Can you let it go? Is this something trivial or serious? If it is something that will require your ego to take a bruising are you willing to do that to keep peace for your children?

If it is a serious issue that puts your children in emotional or physical danger, by all means do what you have to do to protect your kids. But most of the time the issues with our exes are a matter of control. Both sides wants to win and the kids get caught in the middle. For example, maybe your ex drops your kids off an hour after his designated visitation time. Is that really worth confronting your ex over? Did he feed the kids junk food over his weekend and not serve vegetables? Is that something you want to start a fight over or can you let it go?

Sometimes, keeping the peace requires giving in. That is not something we are comfortable doing. Especially when we know we are right and our ex is wrong. It just drives us crazy when our ex pushes our buttons by using the kids to get under our skin.

Since you cannot change your ex's behavior, you are left with the option of being right and having a fight that will affect your children or letting go and swallowing your pride. Sometimes biting your tongue and not sweating over the small stuff can greatly improve your relationship with your ex.

When a person tries to engage you and pick a fight, the best thing to do is walk away. Don't fall into your ex's trap and play his games. Your kids will thank you for it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Emotional Cheating: Does It Count?

With the allegations from NY Yankee Alex's Rodriquez's wife that he had an "affair of the heart" with Madonna and not a physical affair, "emotional cheating" has become a hotly debate topic.

The question is if you have a relationship with someone other than your spouse but you do not have sexual relations, does that make it okay? Is it still cheating? People Magazine has a poll on it's website about emotional cheating and so far 80% of the people who have responded feel that emotional cheating is still cheating. I would have to agree.

With so many people forming relationships with strangers on the Internet today, some would think that having a "virtual affair" would also not count. But any kind of affair, ,whether physical or not, is a betrayal. When you take away your affection, attention and energy from your spouse and spend that on someone else, you are putting your marriage in jeopardy. The other danger is that these emotional affairs often do turn into sexual ones.

If you are in a relationship, it is best to not play with fire. Don't fool yourself into thinking that because you haven't slept with someone you are not betraying your partner.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Should We Feel Sorry For the "Other Woman"?

There is a new book out written by a woman who has dated numerous married men. Her book is written for women who have affairs with married men. This author actually claims that the other women often suffers the most when the relationship ends.

Maybe I am biased, having dealt with my husband's crazy mistress, but I just do not have much sympathy for a woman who knowingly dates another woman's husband. I don't care what he tells you, how bad his marriage is, how unhappy he is and so on. He is still married.

Women who date married men are behaving selfishly, in my opinion. They are going to hurt others, including their lover's wife and children. I cannot see any good reason to put yourself in that kind of position. Is it low self-esteem? Do you just not care who you hurt? Do you use the excuse that you are just so "in love" that you cannot help yourself?

Granted there are marriages where one partner is miserable and feels like the marriage is over.
That is when the person who wants out needs to either go to marriage counseling or ask for a divorce. Having an affair only complicates things and hurts people.

I had a good friend several years ago who was having an affair with a married man. She begged me not to judge her, knowing that I was still reeling form my husband's affair at the time. I put my judgement s aside and tried to be supportive when she explained that her lover did not love his wife anymore and that she slept on the couch and there marriage has been over for many months, etc. After some time, it become clear that this man was not going to leave his wife and that it was more than likely his wife had no idea that their marriage was over.

My friend, the other woman, was dumped, left with the fact that she wasted almost a year in a relationship that went nowhere. In that respect, I do feel bad for women who have affairs with married men. The are in a no-win situation and their actions can only cause pain to themselves and others. But as grown women, they must understand that they are making a choice to have a relationship with someone who is not free to love them unconditionally.

I think if more women respected themselves and had higher self-esteem, a charming, sweet talking married man would not have the same effect on them and they would walk away for a potential affair.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The First Annual Celebrity Co-Parent Award is Announced....

Cynthia Tiano, Esq., reformed “killer” divorce attorney turned mediator and creator of the Celebrity Co-Parent Awards, and Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, founder of National Child-Centered Divorce Month in July, have announced the contenders for the first ever Celebrity Co-Parent Awards, which were created to catch celebrity co-parents in the act of doing something right.

The criteria for the award are celebrity couples who have survived the breakup of their relationship and have consistently engaged in responsible, loving and respectful co-parenting that puts the children’s emotional needs first when making any parenting decisions or dealing with each other.

The celebrities recognized by the Child-Centered Divorce consortium and the Celebrity Co-Parent advisory board as good role models when it comes to separation, divorce and parenting are:

Demi Moore and Bruce Willis who have worked through their problems and consistently maintained a good working relationship for the benefit of their children; Robin Williams and his soon-to-be former wife Marsha, who have publicly committed to using the Collaborative Divorce model which avoids acrimonious litigation to achieve a peaceful outcome, and;Vanessa Williams and her two exes, Rick Fox and Ramon Hervey, who celebrate holidays together as one family, keeping the well-being of their children in mind and providing an atmosphere of love and respect among the parent figures in their lives.

While court battles rage on for other celebrity co-parents, complete with gossip and headline hype, these couples stand out above the crowd for their dedication to the well-being of their children, and a desire to see them thrive despite the fact that their parents are no longer living together.

The winners will be announced on July 21, 2008, and will receive a Certificate of Excellent Co-Parenting and a trophy representing parents encircling their children with love and protection from the potential devastation of separation and divorce. Cynthia Tiano, Esq. is co-author of the book Happily Divorced! Secrets of the Win-Win Formula. Rosalind Sedacca is author of the new book, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children -- with Love!

Friday, July 04, 2008

Christie Brinkley's Nasty Divorce Battle Continues...
I have been following the Christie Brinkley-Peter Cook divorce trial in the news over the last few days . This is a perfect example of how a divorce can spiral out of control ,like a tornado, damaging everyone in it's path.
The trial started on Wednesday with shocking testimony and repulsive, graphic details of Peter Cook's affair with a teenage and expensive porn habit. Yesterday the trial continued with Christie Brinkley on the stand, explaining how her life was shattered when she found out about her husband's affair.
At issue in this divorce trial is custody of the couple's two children and three properties bought by Ms. Brinkley, even though they have a pre-nup.
Here are some of the gory details, in case you have not been following the news:
Peter cook had an affair with an 18 year old who he hired because she was "beautiful" paying her $20,00 to type magazine articles into his company's website. He admits to leaving money for her in various location and having sex with her at two of Christie Brinkley's homes.
He also went on to pay his mistress $300,000 to keep quiet. Mr. Cook also admits to surfing porn and swinger websites and performing lewd acts in front of a web cam. He supposedly spent $3,000 a month on his porn habit. (Note: Peter Cook married Christie Brinkely with very little of his own money and few assets. Christie Brinkely paid the bills and supported their lavish lifestyle).
His step-daughter, Alexa Ray Joel, testified that he once pushed her head into a bucket of water after her shower leaked.
The biggest insult is that Peter Cook actually had the nerve to accuse his wife of being vengeful and angry and a "good actress". I think she has every reason to feel angry. Her husband, cheated, squandered her money and has added insult to injury by suing her for sole custody for their children.
Mr. Cook's lawyer feels that it has been 2 years and she should be over it by now. Sorry, but it does not work that way. The deep pain inflicted on a person whose spouse has cheated can take years to heal. Should she be using the trial to punish her husband? No. She needs to time to grieve the loss of her marriage and go through the many stages of grief. I don't think she is trying to get revenge here, only to protect her assets and retain custody of the children.
Should this trial be open to the public? I still think that was a mistake. The trial could of went on without everyone in the world knowing the graphic details. I can only imagine the how difficult this must be for their kids, having to hear the horrible details of their father's sexual habits and adultery.
If you are going through a divorce, let this divorce trial serve as an example of how ugly and nasty going to trial can get. Do everything possible to settle your divorce. That may mean giving up some things in order to avoid the pain a trial can bring.
Sometimes though, a trial becomes the only way to settle a divorce, especially when the issue is not primarily money, but custody of the children. In this case, both of these parents love their kids, and even though Peter Cook is not a good husband, it does not necessarily make him a bad father. He obviously has a problem and needs help. Unless there is physical or emotional abuse and evidence of one parent being a danger to the children, custody arrangements can be worked out.
In the end, Compromise is key. No one is happy with their divorce settlement and like I have said so many times before, the lawyers are the only true winners when a divorce battle drags on.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Should You Stay or Should You Go?
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about her husband. She has been married for 18 years and is unhappy with her marriage. She told me about all of her husband's shortcomings, how he was not supportive of her career and how he was uninterested in the things she felt most passionate about. I could hear the frustration and disappointment in her voice.
She was angry with her husband because he would not change and become the person she wanted him to be. Divorce was looking like a viable option, a way out and a path to freedom. I explained that the grass often looks greener on the other side, and as a person who went through a divorce, no one can guess how devastating a divorce can be unless you have went through one personally.
When you are married, getting a divorce seems like a quick and easy fix when things get tough. No one is ever prepared for how divorce turns your life upside down. Everyone is affected, from your children to your friends and extended family.
What I told my friend was that the only person she can change is herself. Although it seems this couple is growing apart, it doesn't mean that their marriage is doomed. I advised her to think everyday of some of the good qualities her husband possesses. What you focus on expands, so when she continually dwells on his faults, she will experience more of them. By thinking of him in a positive light, he will feel that and may react more positively to her. Let's face it, you always know when someone is angry with you. You can feel their negative energy and it does not inspire you to react kindly to them.
Who knows whether or not her marriage will survive, but my advice to anyone who is contemplating divorce, barring any physical or emotional abuse or adultery, is to try everything you can to save your marriage before getting divorced. At least you will know that you did everything in your power to make your marriage work, even if things do not work out.