Friday, August 29, 2008

In a Miserable Marriage but too Afraid to Leave?

Are you suffering in silence in an unhappy marriage but can't seem to bring yourself to leave? If so you are not alone. Many women are stuck in loveless, abusive marriages yet feel paralyzed with fear at the thought of ending the relationship.

Why do women put up with emotional and physical abuse? Why do we look the other way when we find out our spouse is cheating? I think there are several answers. One is self worth. Sadly, many women are brought up to believe that they are not good enough and actually feel they deserve the abuse they experience in their marriages.

Another reason is not wanting to "rock the boat", so to speak. By standing up for themselves, they fear that their husband will leave them and then they will be alone. This is a great fear amongst women. We are so afraid to be without a man to "take care of us". You would think that in this day and age with so many women out earning men in the workplace, women would feel confident about taking care of themselves and their children. But in reality, many women still believe that they cannot make it on their own without a man's support.

If you are in an abusive, loveless marriage and are afraid to leave because you fear being alone, you need to examine if staying in a miserable marriage is better than facing the unknown and reclaiming your dignity and self-respect. It won't be easy at first and yes, it is scary to be on your own. But the benefits of calling your own shots in life and living a life of your own choosing far outweigh the temporary discomfort and fear of leaving a bad marriage.

Selling the Assets Before the Divorce is Final...
After a couple files for divorce, neither is supposed to "dissipate" the assets, meaning sell them or give them away. Yet, in many divorce cases, the law is ignored and assets are sold without the permission of the other spouse or the court.
It was in the news the other day that actress Hilary Duff's father, who is divorcing her mother, sold about $350,000 in assets and was sentenced to jail by the family court judge. I was surprised to read that the judge actually imposed a sentence and held Mr. Duff accountable for his actions. Most of time, although it is clearly stated in the divorce order that assets are not to be sold, it happens anyway and there is no repercussions.
In my own divorce, my ex sold our car and our boat for substantially less then they were worth and although the family court judge was made aware of his actions, he was not disciplined. I was credited my half based on the actual value of the assets in the final divorce settlement, but many women who have had this happened to them have a hard time proving what the assets are worth.
I cannot even tell you how many women I have coached who have told me about how their husband's have sold martial assets without permission during the divorce. One woman's husband cleared out the joint bank account, sold a very expensive car to his friend for pennies on the dollar and moved other assets out of state. Their divorce case is still ongoing, but to this date he has not be reprimanded by the court.
If you are thinking about getting a divorce, now is the time to protect yourself. Take photos and videos of all valuables. that includes cars, jewelry, furniture, boats and any other tangible assets. Make photo copies of all paper assets, like stocks, bonds, IRA accounts, etc.. It may even be wise to have valuables appraised. It is better to take care of these things now, before the divorce, then to find yourself unable to prove how much an asset is really worth later on.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Man Tries to Pay Child Support in Pennies...

A man in Denton, Md. recently attempted to pay $1,000 in child support in rolled pennies. The child support office would not accept the money. But since the man has gone to the press, they have called him and apologized and will now take the coins.

It was probably illegal to reject the pennies, considering pennies are legitimate U.S. currency. But I can see how the child support agency would be annoyed at the deadbeat's attitude and arrogance by purposely paying his child support in pennies as a sort of protest.

Why do some men resent paying child support? Do they not want to take of their children financially? Maybe they are feel so much anger and hatred for their ex that they cannot stand giving money to her, even if it is for the children? Some men are convinced that their ex-wives spend the child support on themselves. This may be true in some rare cases, but most single moms I know use child support for what it was intended, to take care of their kids.

The man who wants to pay his child support in pennies needs to come to grips with his anger and resentment and start accepting the fact that he is a father and therefore must pay support for his children. I can't understand why paying support would be an issue for him considering all of the free time he has to roll $1,000 worth of pennies. Maybe he can use those hours to get a second job or put in more hours at his current one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dangerous Divorce: Man Tortures Wife for Assets...

A California man, in the middle of a divorce. was arrested after he held his wife captive for 5 days and tortured her with a taser gun. He was trying to force her to give him the martial assets. Luckily, his wife escaped.

I have said this many times before but it is worth repeating, you must protect yourself during a divorce if you have any reason to believe your ex could become dangerous. Too many divorcing women are killed each year despite orders of protection.

You must trust your own inner guidance system, the "little voice" in your head that alerts you to danger. Many times women, who have very sharp instincts, will sense danger about a situation but then tell themselves they are imagining it. If your husband was violent, controlling and abusive during the marriage, you have good reason to consider him dangerous during your divorce.

Divorce brings out the worst in people, emotions are out of control and even sane, normal people can act a little crazy. A man who is already abusive can quickly become out of control during a divorce. Who knows if the California man who tortured his wife ever acted violently before. How many times have you seen stories on the news about murderers and seen their neighbors shaking their heads in shock, saying "what a great guy" the murderer was and how they would of never guessed he was capable of such a crime?

Be on guard at all times. It is better to be safe than sorry. It may be inconvenient and a hassle to have someone walk you out to your car at night or drive you home, but if you have the slightest suspicion that your husband could be dangerous, trust your instincts and protect yourself.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Going Out Again After a Divorce..

I run a divorce support group and at our last meeting, several members confessed that this was one of the few times they have been "out" since their divorce proceedings began. It was scary for them to get up the courage to go out and meet new people. They feel vulnerable, confused and overwhelmed yet long for companionship and someone to talk to.

Most people going through a divorce feel this way in the beginning. You want to go out and start living again but often find yourself immobilized with fear. Despite your best intentions, you never make it to that support group, night out with your friends, or party. Week after week and then month after month passes and you finally realize that your divorce has taken over your life leaving little room for a social life.

The people who did come out for the first time to my divorce support group said they had to force themselves to just do it and they were glad they did. If you find yourself turning down friend's invitations, staying home every weekend and lacking the desire to go out, the best thing to do it to commit to a night out and make yourself follow through. I promise you will feel better and may even enjoy yourself.

Whether it is a divorce support group or just a fun night out with your girlfriends, you need to start enjoying life again. As they say," this too shall pass", and it is so true with divorce. When you are feeling down and like your divorce will never end, know that soon enough the nightmare will be over and a new and exciting new life awaits you.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Double Standard for Women after Divorce...

I was reading one of the online entertainment blogs the other day and was shocked at the headline accompanying the photo of Sharon Stone with her new, much younger boyfriend. It said something like "Sharon Stone the cougar shows off her kill".

I have never seen such headlines used for male celebrities dating much younger women. No one seemed to care that Tom Cruise married Katie Holmes, who is many years younger. What about 82 year old Hugh Hefner and his three girlfriends, one who was only 19 when she moved in with him?

Men dating younger women are respected and look up to by other men and the media and the women are attacked. Linda Hogan is another recent example. She is dating a man 29 years younger and the media has had a field day.Although I personally could not imagine dating a man so much younger than me, it is not my business to judge another woman's choice. The message sent to single, divorced women over 40 is that you are a "cougar" and on "the prowl" if you date a younger man.

It is surprising that is the year 2008 there are still different rules for women than men. If a woman wants to date a younger man, that is her personal choice, just as it for a man to date a younger woman. I think women who are single should not fear being labeled a "cougar" if they are comfortable dating younger men.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

And I Thought My Divorce was Expensive.....
I spent $40,000 in legal fees for my divorce, but that seems like a bargain compared to what Britney Spears will have to shell out in attorney fees.
It is estimated her legal bill will be close to $700,000 for her divorce and custody fight with ex-husband Kevin Federline.
The majority of that bill comes from her former lawyer, Stacy D. Phillips, who claimed in court filings that she is owed nearly $407,000 for four months of work. She also claims she has written off an additional $125,000 in fees.
A half a million dollars in four months? It is hard to believe a lawyer can justified charging a client that much money for such a short time period. Kevin Federline's lawyers charged $250,000 for representation but worked well over a year on the case. Laura Wasser, the attorney who helped the couple finally reach a settlement, charge $60,000 for 2 months of work.
The moral of the story here for us normal, non-celebrities, is that divorce lawyers sometimes do jack up fees and prolong cases when a couple has assets and money. I am sure Ms. Phillips wouldn't have billed a "normal" client a half a million dollars for the same amount of work as she billed Ms.Spears.
The other lesson to take from this seemingly unimportant story about Britney Spears is something I have said over and over again. The biggest winners in your divorce will be not be you or ex, it will be the lawyers if you choose to litigate your divorce in family court. It is is possible to reach a divorce settlement without fighting, animosity and outrageous legal fees. That of course requires that both you and your ex cooperate and consider the use a mediator. If this is not a possibility, protect yourself from soaring legal fees by keeping close tabs on what your attorney is charging you and encourage he or she to try and reach a settlement with your ex's attorney as soon as possible instead of duking it out in court.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Social Security and Divorce: What are you entitled to?...

My 62 year old widowed mother recently began receiving my father's social security death benefits. We had to call the social security office to find out how the process works. I became curious about what benefits- if any-divorced people are entitled to. During my own divorce, my lawyer never discussed this issue with me. After 13 years of marriage, most of those spent as a stay at home mom, if I would be entitled to my ex-husband's social security benefits.

I went to the government's website for Social Security and here is what you need to know:

If you are divorced after at least 10 years of marriage, you can collect retirement benefits on your former spouse's Social Security record if you are at least age 62 and if your former spouse is entitled to or receiving benefits. If you remarry, you generally cannot collect benefits on your former spouse's record unless your later marriage ends (whether by death, divorce, or annulment).

If your divorced spouse dies, you can receive benefits as a widow/widower if the marriage lasted 10 years or more. Benefits paid to a surviving divorced spouse who is 60 or older will not affect the benefit rates for other survivors receiving benefits.

In general, you cannot receive survivors benefits if you remarry before the age of 60 unless the latter marriage ends, whether by death, divorce, or annulment.

If you remarry after age 60 (50 if disabled), you can still collect benefits on your former spouse’s record. When you reach age 62 or older, you may get retirement benefit on the record of your new spouse if they are higher. Your remarriage would have no effect on the benefits being paid to your children.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Warning: Scam may affect your child support payments...

If you receive child support payments through a debit card then you need to know about a new scam targeting parents. Thousands of parents across the country have reported receiving messages asking them for personal information about their debt cards.

The card, known as EPPICard, is given to custodial parents as a way to receive child support payments instead of a direct bank deposit. The parent can use the card as a credit card in stores and also withdraw cash. It seemed like a great idea until these thieves decided to try and steal child support from innocent children.To target parents who need child support to take care of their children is disgraceful.

If you have an EPPICard, do not give out your personal information to anyone claiming to be a representative of the company. They will never email you or call you. If someone does call, hang up and then call the customer service number on the back of the card.

You may even want to consider contacting your child support enforcement agency in your state and asking that your child support payments be deposited directly into your bank account. If you choose to keep the card, make sure to check your statements online frequently. They do not send out paper statements in the mail, so you need to make sure all charges are accurate.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

How Low Can You Go? John Edwards Cheats on Dying Wife....

When former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards recently confessed his extramarital affair on television, I cringed thinking about the immense pain he has caused his wife, Elizabeth. This woman is battling incurable cancer. How could he put her through this?

What goes on in the mind of a cheater? How could John Edward put his own needs first without thinking about the devastating consequences to his wife, knowing the fragile physical state she is in?

I have spoken to many people on both sides, the cheaters and the ones who have been cheated on. The cheaters usually say that they were unhappy in the marriage and were tempted by someone who made them feel special and good about themselves. They usually confess that attempted to resist the affair, but eventually succumbed to the charms and seduction of their lover. The ones who have been cheated on are shocked, sickened and feel like they have had the wind knocked out of them. Feelings of not being good enough and sexy enough plague them.

We know affairs devastate and hurt people but can you imagine what Elizabeth Edward must be going through, knowing she may not live much longer, dealing with those emotions and now having to deal with the public humiliation and betrayal her husband has caused her? It is incomprehensible.

I think anyone considering an affair needs to think about what effect your actions are going to have on your spouse. Obviously John Eward is a selfish man who will now have guilt that he will carry with him the rest of his life knowing he made his wife's last days ones of pain and misery.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tough Times for Single Parents...

With the recent increases in gas and food prices and the new school year around the corner, single parents need all the help they can get stretching a dollar. For most of us, the next few weeks will be spent buying school clothes and supplies and having to spend money on school lunches, after school activities and all of the other expenses the new school year brings.

So if our earnings and/or child support has not increased, yet all of our expenses have, how are we supposed to get by? I think most of us are asking ourselves this question, especially after filling our gas tanks.

I have found a resource that can help single parents save money on groceries and you can also get free samples and discounts at restaurants. The site to go to is . Believe it or not, I found out about this site from my ex-husband. My kids went for a visit to NJ to see their father this summer and came back home bragging about how dad saves all this money on food shopping.

I asked my ex what he was doing and he said he is using the system taught on the coupon mom website. I checked it out and it seems logical. I will be using the system and the coupons in my own home now. So check out the site and hopefully it will help you cut costs on groceries too.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Gay Former Governor Does not have to Pay Alimony....

Former NJ Governor Jim McGreevey, who has admitted he is gay, does not have to pay alimony to his former wife, Dina Matos. A judge did rule that he must pay child support for his 6 year old daughter in the amount of $1075 per month.

I was very surprised at this ruling because the main issue of the divorce trial was whether or not Mr. McGreevey was purposely underemployed. Judges can impute wages to people they feel are not earning what they are capable of in a divorce case and I assumed that Mr. McGreevey would be imputed income, considering he was once making several hundred thousand dollars per year but now claims to be "poor". He wants to be a priest and has even turned down a lucrative offer from a NJ radio station to host his own radio show.

The judge actually said that McGreevey was being supported by his rich boyfriend while studying at a seminary to be a priest and, therefore, didn't need employment to support himself. So the former governor still gets to live a life of luxury, courtesy of his lover, while his daughter only gets $1,075 per month? Why is this man allowed to under employ himself when he has children to support? The judge knows he is capable of earning more ,yet is allowing him to dramatically reduce his income.

I recently coached a woman, also from NJ, who has been a stay at home mom for 13 years with no skills, no income and two children with special needs, yet the judge in her divorce case feels she should be imputed income, meaning whether she has a job or not, the judge will come up with an amount he feels she can earn and that figure will be used when calculating child support.

Mr. McGreevy gets to minimally support his daughter to pursue a career that does not pay well just because he has a rich boyfriend and this woman has to go out and find a job, when with her skills, she will be lucky to make $10 per hour?

This is just another example of what can happen if you cannot settle your divorce and you put your trust in the family court system. You are at the mercy of judges, lawyers and a system that is not always fair and just. The lesson here is clear. If there is anyway to resolve your divorce is an amicable and fair manner, do it. You may not be so lucky in court.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Is Your Divorce Making You Crazy?...

I referred a client the other day to a divorce attorney I know. He met with the woman and said he could not represent her and that she was "crazy". What he failed to recognize was that perfectly normal, sane people can become temporarily insane from the the divorce process.

No one understands this unless they have been through a divorce themselves. Your emotions are raw and your life has been turned upside down. You feel like you are on a roller coaster and can't get off. One minute you are in a rage and the next you are curled in a ball, crying your eyes out. Your life is no longer the same and your future is uncertain. Can anyone really expect you to act like a rational person?

The key is to fake it. Any crazy, out of control behavior will hurt you. If you act on your impulses, you could have a restraining order issued against you and end up in jail. Lawyers do not want to represent out of control clients and judges will quickly side with your soon to be ex if you cannot behave yourself. There is so much at stake here.

So, even though you feel a little crazy, you need to come up with ways yourself keep yourself calm and in control, at least in public. At home, in the privacy of your own bedroom, go ahead and scream , punch a pillow and curse your ex. Let it out so you can let it go.

I promise you that soon enough this will all pass and your new life will begin. Hang in there, it will take time for your life to return to any degree of normalcy, but eventually it will happen. One day, when you hear about some "crazy" person acting out during their divorce you will completely understand and sympathize, knowing that you were once feeling the same way..

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Confessions of a Reformed "Killer" Divorce Attorney...

When I was going through my own nasty divorce one of the things that shocked me most was the despicable behavior of my husband's divorce attorney. This man was cruel, ruthless and thought nothing of hurting me or my family. His vicious courtroom tactics, coupled with my ex's refusal to settle, caused my divorce to linger on for 18 months before being finalized.

Since then I must admit I have a strong disdain for divorce lawyers who advise their clients not to settle and actuallyencourage a divorce battle, knowing they will benefit financially if their clients cases go to trial.

I have recently spent some time speaking with Cynthia Tiano, a reformed killer divorce attorney turned mediator who has spearheaded the Peaceful Divorce movement and is the co-author of Happily Divorced! Secrets of the Win-Win Formula. Cynthia opened up to me about why she left behind a thriving business as a divorce attorney and now devotes her life to helping couples create peaceful divorces. I think you will find what she has to say fascinating and it will give you a rare glimpse into the life of a divorce attorney. It is possible to have a peaceful divorce,as Cynthia proves here. Here in Cynthia's own words, is her story, being revealed for the very first time:

Many people have asked me why I turned from being a successful, aggressive divorce attorney to a mediator. It is a question that I have been asked over and over again for a dozen years now. I admit that I never really delved deeply into the question, just answered it with some general statements like, “It was no longer in line with my truth,” or “My spiritual growth would no longer allow me to ignore the damage I was doing to families,” or some such.

Now, to a large extent, these statements are true. But it wasn’t until today that I really looked within and had the courage to really ask myself the question. Why do I now preach and teach Peaceful Divorce? And here is the answer: because I created a peaceful divorce for myself 17 years ago when I divorced my ex-husband, and how that experience changed everything for me.

Here is my story:

I was with my first husband for 16 years, from the time I was 19 and he was 23. We went through lots of tough times together, especially financially – heck, when we met I was earning $2.15 an hour as a desk clerk at a hotel on the beach, and he was working for a hobby store chain!

I was studying to get my college degree during the day, while working nights at the hotel. At one point I took a paralegal course, became a paralegal, and worked for a couple of law firms. That’s when I thought: ‘if these guys can become lawyers, so can I.’

So I finished up my degree and went to law school. The man who would become my first husband and I moved in together. It was very difficult – I was either going to school or studying all of the time. He got laid off from his job shortly after we moved in together. But we supported each other as best we could and, in my third year of law school, we got married.

I graduated from law school and became a divorce attorney (I knew from my first day in law school that is what I wanted to specialize in). My husband started his own computer business. We saved and bought our first home together, and had a pretty happy marriage for the better part of 10 years. We traveled a lot, accumulated a lot of stuff and, as happens to many, many couples, as the years went by we drifted apart as our interests changed, taking our lives in two different directions.

We were never blessed with children, although my husband wanted them very badly. I wasn’t sure, wanted to wait until my career was secure and, before you knew it, my time to have babies (if I ever could have conceived) had passed. At age 34 I had to have a complete hysterectomy for medical reasons, so that was that.

My husband and I continued to drift apart until it got to the point that it felt like we were strangers living in the same house. I had become very involved with my thriving divorce practice, and he became very involved with his computer business. I was into self-improvement and, at that time, he was not. Neither of us had much interest in the other’s interests. And there were other serious problems as well.

We went to counseling together, and I also went separately, but it was really too little too late. Promises to change went unmet, and, in a fog of anger and pain, I eventually made the decision that we needed to get a divorce and move on with our lives. I was full of confusion, doubt, and fear, but I couldn’t see any other way out.

My husband did not put up much of a fight about my decision, a fact I blamed him for, for many years thereafter - that is, when I wasn’t busy blaming myself for throwing away a perfectly good husband and marriage. Even as I listened to my inner voice telling me I was doing the right thing, my self-doubt ran very deep.

But why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to know that I am human just like you. Because I want you to know that I understand your pain and grief, as I have been through it, too. Because maybe you can see yourself and your own situation somewhere in here.
But mostly I am telling you this story because, with my unique perspective as a divorce attorney during my own divorce, even amidst my anger and pain, I knew why it was important to create a peaceful divorce for myself, and I knew how to do it. And that is what I want to share with you.

I was divorced in 1991. At that time I had been a divorce lawyer for 9 years and had a thriving practice in Boca Raton, Florida, and a reputation for being a “killer,” a “shark,” a “barracuda,” and some other choice names that I can’t mention here. I was equally respected, feared, and hated by most of my fellow lawyers, and certainly by my client’s spouses.

I gave my practice my all and went for the throat without exception, and without mercy. I thought that I was being a good lawyer that way. I believed that is what I had to do to “zealously represent” my clients (which is an ethical rule for attorneys, by the way). And, because, let’s admit it – I made a lot of money.

When I went through my own divorce, all of that began to change. I was well aware of the pitfalls and landmines that divorce litigation presents. I knew how words could be used as lethal weapons against open emotional wounds, and how to escalate a disagreement into a war.
I understood the lasting impact that battling someone you once loved and trusted, someone who once was your best friend, can have on a person for years to come. I saw first-hand how children were torn apart when not only was their world crumbling around them, but when neither Mom nor Dad could provide a safe emotional place for them to land.

I knew all too well how families including brothers and sisters, in-laws and cousins, and mothers and fathers could get caught in the middle of a no-win situation when a couple divorces on the legal battleground.

And, knowing all that I knew, I was determined not to let that happen to me.
Believe me, there were plenty of times during my divorce that I wanted to scream, kick and fight. Times I was furious because my soon-to-be ex wanted something that I wanted, when I was convinced that he only wanted it because I wanted it. Times when I was certain that he was trying to punish me, to get even with me for finally making the decision to divorce. The time he mentioned the word “alimony” (for him, not me!) during one of our “settlement” conversations, I have to admit, I almost lost it!

But each time I was tempted to “go there” I pulled myself back until I could get control of my emotions. I was absolutely determined to create a peaceful divorce (of course, I didn’t call it that back then, the term didn’t even exist as far as I knew). I was unwilling to pay the price, both financially and emotionally, that hundreds of my clients had paid. I knew that the cost was never recouped, and that the damage that was done was often beyond repair.

As I consciously created a “peaceful” divorce, my husband followed suit. I remembered, each time I was tempted to lash out, all of the times my mother used to say to me when I was a little girl and came home upset by a tiff I had in the schoolyard, “they can’t fight by themselves.” As long as one of us remained calm, the situation could remain under control.

I made sure to be as fair as I possibly could be, right down to creating two lists – each one containing one-half of our possessions, and letting him pick which list he wanted – an old trick that many judges use in the courtroom.

I tried to understand his point of view and to carefully listen to what he had to say without imposing immediate judgment. Believe me, it wasn’t easy! But I knew the consequences of indulging in my anger and resentment, and it just wasn’t worth it. We didn’t rush, we allowed a sufficient amount of time to pass to cool down when necessary, and then began the negotiations again when cooler heads prevailed (there really was no mediation in those days).

Finally, we came to an agreement, each of us using our own attorneys, but letting them know that we wanted to keep our divorce peaceful, and not go to court. We succeeded in keeping our families out of it for the most part, and made it through one of the most difficult times in each of our lives without the financial and emotional devastation that a court battle would have surely brought. In the end, we had an uncontested divorce.

That experience changed who I was as a person, and as a lawyer. Although I did not officially close my litigation practice until a few years later, I never practiced divorce law the same way again. My own close call with what I had been dishing out for years shook me up enough to make me change my evil ways.

I now understood first-hand how it’s not so easy to just “get over it!” (a favorite expression of mine with clients prior to my own divorce). Additionally, as a result of my own personal experience my compassion for all parties increased, and I lost my edge. I had no heart for the courtroom anymore. I could no longer ignore the voice inside of me reminding me that these were families with their children and their life savings at stake.

It was then that I decided that I would no longer be a part of the problem, but would become a part of the solution. In 1995 I closed my divorce litigation practice forever, and I was one of the first in the county to become a divorce lawyer turned mediator. I have practiced exclusively divorce mediation ever since, helping families to create peaceful divorces for themselves, even when they did not believe it was possible to do so.

When it appeared to me that it would take me forever that way to reach all of the divorcing families who needed my help, I co-authored my book, “Happily Divorced! Secrets of the Win-Win Formula” along with a seasoned marriage and family psychologist, to show divorcing couples, step-by-step, how they can create a peaceful divorce, no matter what, and to support them and their families on this life-changing journey.

With love and unwavering support,

Cynthia Tiano, Esq.
Peaceful Divorce Mediator

P.S. My former husband re-married a year after our divorce and has two beautiful children. We stay in touch indirectly through our extended families, with whom we are still friends. Twelve years ago, I married a wonderful man, and I am very happily married to this day.
Who knows what the Universe has in store for you?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

How an Affair Can Shatter Your Self-Esteem...

Finding out your husband has cheated can be devastating to your self-worth and self-esteem. You torture yourself with thoughts of not being attractive enough, not being thin enough, smart enough, etc. Your brain comes up with all sorts of scenarios of what you could of or should of done differently in the marriage. These kinds of thoughts plummet your self-esteem and leave you feeling sad, hurt and depressed, sometimes feeling like you will never be loved again.

In many cases, your husband may have been emotional abusive in the marriage and called you names and even may blame you for his affair. So how can you even begin to recover emotionally from your spouse's affair, when you have become your own worst enemy and deep down don't believe you deserve to be loved?

The first thing you need to do is start changing your thoughts. When the negative chatter in your head starts, you need to counter it with a positive thought. It would be unrealistic to expect yourself to go from feeling depressed to hopeful all at once, so you must take small, baby steps to regaining your self-worth again.

For example, the next time you start thinking about the affair and how unattractive you must be for your husband to have cheated, change that thought to "Many of the world's most beautiful women, like Halle Berry and Christie Brinkley have been cheated on too. Attractiveness has nothing to so with why a man cheats". That thought feels alot better than "I am am fat and homely and that is why my husband cheated".

You may want to write down every negative belief you have about your husband's affair. List them all. Then replace each one, in writing, with a more positive one. Look at that list every day until you begin to feel better.

The worst thing you can do is to stay home and think about the affair all day long. Grab your girlfriends, get dressed up and go out for a ladies night out. Allow yourself to flirt and notice the positive male attention you receive. This can do wonders for your self-esteem. An innocent night out with your friends can lift your spirits and make you feel attractive again.

The key is to start doing things that make you feel good about yourself. Focus on your strengths and talents. Maybe there is a hobby or sport you are good at that you can take up again? Anything you can do to boost your self-esteem and self-worth will help you through this difficult time.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Why You Don't Want To Go To Divorce Court...

Do you believe that court is a place where justice is served and judges are unbiased and fair in their rulings? The truth is this is often not the case in family court. If you fail to settle your divorce outside of a courtroom, you could be in for a rude awakening.

The family court system is overcrowded and understaffed. Expect to wait weeks to get a court date and be prepared to spend hours waiting for your case to be heard, if it is heard at all. Many times you can spend an entire day at court, paying your divorce lawyer several hundred dollars and hour only to have your case adjourned at the last minute. You then have to repeat the whole process again several weeks later.

When you put your divorce in the hands of a family court judge, you are basically entrusting your future to a stranger who has no emotional interest in your case or your family. The judge's rulings are usually cut and dry.

You may be shocked at the rulings that a judge can make. Instead of going to mediation and resolving their differences, many couples think that by fighting it out in a courtroom they will "win". But the sad truth is that no one wins when a divorce goes to court, except for the divorce lawyers. Court dates can drag on for months and even years and if you go to trial, be prepared to spend a fortune on attorney fees.

I think divorcing couples need to put their anger aside and look at the facts. Is it really worth it to fight over assets and refuse to compromise? Will you eventually spend more in attorney fees than the asset is worth?

Of course there are times when it is necessary to go to court when one party refuses to negotiate and settle the divorce in a reasonable, fair manner. But often couples are stubborn and go to court thinking that they are going to punish their spouse and the judge will rule in their favor. They are shocked when they do not get what they wanted and rack up huge attorney fees. If both parties can keep the lines of communication open and have a willingness to compromise, an agreement can usually be reached and you can avoid the courtroom altogether.