Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How the Economy Can Effect Your Divorce..
I really feel for people who are thinking about getting a divorce or in the middle of one right now. With the dire economic conditions we are facing, many couples are going to have less assets to divide and a more difficult time financially supporting two separate households.
It used to be that a couple could count on the equity in their home, 401Ks and other investments to divvy up. With the housing market crisis, stocks plummeting and the cost of living rising, many couples will not have the money available to buy a new home or even live comfortably after a divorce.
Think about this. The longer you take to settle your divorce the greater risk you are at. If you filed for divorce 6 months ago, at that time your assets were worth more than they are worth today. If we continue in this downward economic spiral, your assets will lose more value and you will get less in your divorce settlement. Another scenario that can effect your divorce is if you or your partner loses your job. Child support and alimony payments will surely be affected.
To make matters worse, if you are paying a high priced divorce attorney, his fees will mount while your divorce settlement decreases. So the best advice to divorcing couples now is to settle your divorce as fast as possible. This is no time to fight it out. With assets frozen and unable to be sold during a divorce unless court ordered, you are risking your financial well being.
If you are dealing with a hard headed spouse who has refused to settle so far, maybe it is time you explain to him or her that you will both suffer financially should your divorce drag on. The quicker you reach a settlement, the better chance you have to protect your assets.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Woman Almost Arrested for 63 Cents in Back Child Support...

A woman was summoned to appear in court for owing a whopping 63 cents in child support. She came close to being arrested and put in jail. It sounds unbelievable, especially since her children are grown men with children of their own and she finished paying child support 12 years ago!The county she resides in recently computerized the child support system and although she was never notified previously, she apparently owes 63 cents in back support.

What a waste of time and resources. The irony is that parents who owe $6,300 or even $63,000 avoid prosecution every day. Millions of parents cannot collect child support yet this woman, owing pennies, is hunted down and taken to court.

It makes you wonder what the child support workers who obviously saw and prepared this case for court were thinking. Wouldn't you think at least one person would question why they were pursuing someone for 63 cents and check to see if the case was valid?

The response for the agency was this:" It’s a waste, but that’s part of what we do, unfortunately,” said Sumter County Clerk of Court Jamie Campbell. “We don’t have the authority to wipe it away.”

So even though they knew they were wasting taxpayers money, and instead of simply calling this woman to inform her of the 63 cents she owed, they thought it would be more prudent to serve her with a court order and threaten her with jail? Stories like this give us little faith in the legal system.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Have You Become Commitment Phobic After Your Divorce?...

The ink has barely dried on the divorce papers, and many people are already looking for their new love. They use online dating sites, try speed dating and frequent single dances looking for someone who can fill the void left by their divorce and try their hand at love once more.

Others, however, take the opposite approach and may be hesitant to rush into a new relationship too soon. They take their time and eventually find someone they can share their lives with.

There is yet another group of divorcees who become commitment phobic after their divorce. It usually happens for one of two reasons. Either the divorce was so painful and traumatic that they cannot bear the thought of ever getting into a serious committed relationship again or they actually enjoy being alone. For some people, especially those in long term marriages, being alone for the first time and calling your own shots in life may be an exciting, new experience they enjoy too much to give up.

Many may find this unusual and assume all uncommitted divorcees are lonely and desperate to find new love. But there are some who enjoy causal dating and companionship without a serious commitment. I have myself been in a three year relationship, post divorce, that many would consider unusual. We live in different states now and have a long distance relationship. I have no plans to ever marry him or move to his state, nor he to mine. We enjoy each other's company and deeply care about one another, but neither of us wants to get married again at this point in our lives. I was lucky to find someone who wants the same things in a relationship that I do. Our relationship would have not lasted this long had either of us wanted a more serious relationship. Someday one of us may want more and if the relationship ends,that is okay.

The important thing to remember, no matter where are right now relationship wise after your divorce, is to know what you want and make sure the person you are dating understands that clearly. A commitment phobic should obviously not be with someone who wants to get married again. As long as you are honest when entering a new relationship and lay your cards on the table, you should find what you are looking for in a new love.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

When your Ex Blames You for the Divorce....

Does your ex refuse to take any responsibility for your divorce? Is the divorce "all your fault" even though your ex may have been the one who has cheated or been abusive? If so, you may be frustrated and baffled at how your ex cannot accept any blame. It may be obvious that your ex's actions caused the breakup of the marriage ,yet he or she goes on blaming you.

Believe it or not, this is typical in many divorces. The person who had the affair or acted in other ways that contributed to the demise of the marriage turns the tables and blames their spouse. It actually makes sense when you think about it. If your ex was to admit wrongdoing, he or she would feel guilty and have to face those emotions. It is easier to blame you and not have to deal with the shame and guilt.

A recent example of this is the book actor Alec Baldwin wrote after his nasty divorce to actress Kim Basinger. He rallies against the legal system, placing blame on everyone except himself. Even after he called his daughter a "thoughtless, rude, little pig" he blamed his ex. He excused his actions by saying "parental alienation" drove him to verbally abuse his child. In all fairness, we all lose our tempers with our kids and he may have experienced parental alienation, but I don't think Alec Baldwin is ready yet to look at himself and see how he is the creator of his own life and experiences.

Yes, your ex can push your buttons but ultimately it is you who decides to react in anger. No one can force you to do anything you don't want to to do. We all have free choice. A person who cheats may say that their ex was cold and unloving, but no one forced them to have an affair, they made that decision freely. You could say your ex made you so angry, you lashed out verbally or physically. But again, you made that choice.

So the next time your ex tries to place the blame on you for the divorce, you can make a different choice. Instead of feeling angry, frustrated and feeling the need to justify why your ex is the one responsible, you can choosee to let it go and understand your ex cannot face the truth without also facing some very painful emotions he or she may be unwilling to deal with at this time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

How to Save Your Sanity During a Divorce..

If you are in the middle of a divorce you may sometimes wonder how you are going to get through this stressful time with your sanity intact. Dealing with feelings of betrayal anger, sadness, loneliness and worry all at the same time can cause even the most stable person to feel off balance. The life you once knew has changed and you no longer feel secure about what the future holds.

With the recent bombardment of negative news on the TV, in the newspapers and on the Internet, you may find yourself feeling hopeless too. Especially if you are facing many of the issues impacting divorcing couples today, like slow home sales, job loss and credit card debt.

Here are three ways to start feeling better:

1. Turn off the TV. Stop watching the news everyday or at least limit yourself to 15 minutes a day. All of the negative stuff that is in the media right now will only leave you feeling more depressed than ever. A divorce is emotionally draining and the last thing you need is more negativity right now.

2. Put some fun back into your life. Make a conscious effort to do something you enjoy this week. Rent a funny movie, go to a comedy club or go out dancing with your friends. It is important to do anything that can steer your thoughts away from the divorce and make you smile again.

3. Have hope. Eventually your divorce will be over. It may not seem like it will, but it will come to an end. Don't talk about negative events in the news with your friends and family. Try not talk about your divorce or ex for awhile either. Make a deal with yourself to not saying anything negative for 24 hours. You will be amazed at how much better you will feel when you stop focusing on the negative aspects in life and start looking for the positive things to appreciate.

Monday, September 22, 2008

When Divorce Ruins Your Credit.....
Divorce can wreck havoc on your credit rating, which not a good thing when you are trying to rebuild your life financially after a divorce and discover your credit ranking has plummeted. It may be difficult or next to impossible to preserve your good credit standing during a divorce if you are dealing with an ex who refuses to pay the bills. If your name is on credit cards, mortgages, and other bills with your spouse and those bills are not paid, your credit is going to suffer.
There may be no way to avoid a decrease in your credit ranking if you are in this situation, but you can try and repair some of the damage after the divorce is final. Often, in a divorce settlement, both parties will be responsible for their own debt or one spouse will be ordered to pay the other for outstanding credit card bills and other debt.
Even if your divorce settlement clearly states you are not responsible for the debt, creditors do not have to honor that agreement and can still pursue you for the money. You would need to take your ex back to court for violation of the divorce settlement should that happen.
After the divorce it is important to get copies of your credit report from the 3 major agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. (Once a year, you may obtain a free credit report by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com.) Make sure your ex's debts are not showing up on your credit report. If your ex had a credit card and you were the additional cardholder, not a joint cardholder, then you are not responsible for that debt. Sometimes, though, those debts will appear on your credit report anyway. You need to go over your report carefully and contact the agencies if there any discrepancies.
Even if your credit score is low, you can raise it over time. By paying all bills before the due date and not missing any payments, you will slowly begin to rebuild your credit. As you get back on your feet, you can begin to make larger payment to pay off old debts. It may take a few years, but you can get your credit back on track again.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Do Stay at Home Dads Deserve Alimony?..

I recently met a man who has been a stay at home dad for over 10 years and is now facing a divorce. He gave up his career to take care of the children while his wife climbed the corporate ladder, becoming quite successful. Now he is faced with the harsh reality of having to get back into the workforce and try and jump start a career he left 10 years ago.

Obviously he will not be able to earn anywhere near what he would have been earning had he continued to work all of these years. Most women in this situation would have no problem asking for alimony. But some men feel awkward asking their wives for alimony in a divorce settlement, even though they clearly deserve it. Men may be afraid of being ridiculed or viewed as less of a "man" by asking for alimony.

It may have to do with the way society traditionally has viewed a man. Men have been expected to be providers for their families. But with so many women in the workforce nowadays, it is nice to see fathers taking an interest in their children and giving up careers to care for their children.

Many men do not feel their wives deserve alimony either, which is a shame. It does not matter which parent has chosen to stay home to raise the kids, the parent who has given up their career to benefit the family should receive some form of rehabilitative alimony.

You would think that a person who has had the luxury of having his or her spouse be able to stay home and raise the kids would be grateful and want to compensate the other parent in the event of a divorce. Think about how much daycare or a nanny, a maid, chauffeur and many of the other jobs stay at home parents perform and how much that would cost a family over the years. They would be paying a small fortune without the other parent there to take care of the household.

I have heard women and men refer to their stay at home spouses as "lazy". Any parent who has stayed home taking care of kids can tell you going to work is alot easier! It is time divorcing parents who are the primary caregivers are given the respect and compensation they deserve in the event of a divorce.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is John McCain a Cheater?

I have read on the Internet recently that Presidential hopeful John McCain might not be as heroic in his personal life as he was as a war hero. Of course, what you read nowadays on the net tends to be biased and with the election nearing and the battle between the candidates heating up, you have to be careful not to take everything you read or see on TV as the truth.

The story is that soon after John McCain returned to the US after being held captive for many years as a prisoner of war, he divorced his wife, who had been crippled in a car accident and lost five inches of her height, walked with a limp and gained weight. He then went on to marry his current wife, Cindy MCain, a wealthy beer heiress only a month after his divorce.

Now in John McCain's defense, his ex-wife has nothing bad to say about him and claims that they are friends. He has also admitted blame for the demise of his marriage in a memoir. Who really knows what the cause for his breakup was. It may appear cold hearted and callous to divorce a spouse who has become disabled, but not knowing all of the facts, we should not rush to judgement about John McCain's character as a man and husband.

I have not yet decided who I will be voting for. The mudslinging between the candidates does not impress me. What I want to know, and I think most single parents what to know , is what the future president is going to do to stabilize the economy, lower gas prices, give us access to affordable health care and take care of the many other issues affecting Americans today.

Single parents struggling to raise children during these tough economic times need the candidates to tell us in their TV ads what they are going to do to turn the country around instead of wasting time attacking one another in the media.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Feeling Down About Your Divorce? ...

Divorce is often a very negative experience that can overwhelm you and take over your life. Day after day your think about your ex, the divorce and grieve the loss of your marriage. Add in feelings of anger, betrayal and shock that your marriage is over and you have a recipe for long term depression.

When thoughts of the divorce consume you, you need to try and get some emotional relief. The more you dwell on the divorce and your ex, the more angry and hurt you feel. Just because the marriage has ended it does not mean that your life has ended too. It may feel that way at times and that is normal, but all too often a divorce saps the energy from you and leaves you with feelings of hopelessness and despair.

You need to move your thoughts away from the divorce and replace them with thoughts that feel better. The key is to catch yourself in a negative thought before it spirals out of control. As soon as you start thinking about what a rotten ex you have or how unfair your divorce is, that is your cue to stop and turn your thoughts around. Obviously you are not going to be able to suddenly think positively about the situation, but you can distract yourself by doing things that make you happy.

Start by making a list of the 10 things you enjoy doing most. Maybe you have a particular hobby you enjoy, love to read or like to take walks on the beach. Whatever it is, go out and do it. By forcing yourself to get out of the house and stop the negative chatter in your mind, you will start attracting better thoughts and circumstances into your life. Little by little, the pain you feel about your divorce will start to fade into the background and then one day you will find yourself not thinking about your ex or the divorce at all.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Good News if You Are Owed Child Support...

The government has intercepted the economic stimulus checks of many deadbeat parents. More than 1.4 million of the stimulus checks (a total of about $831 million) have been seized by child support agencies. This means that if you are owed child support you may be able to collect some of the funds from your ex's stimulus check.

They are giving the people whose checks were seized 180 days to appeal, but if they are clearly in arrears, they will not be sent the money and the families will receive the funds instead. This is very good news for families who are owed child support.

Remember, it is important to be proactive if your ex does not pay child support by keeping in contact with your local child support enforcement agency. They can do periodic searches for bank accounts and assets and seize any funds they discover. They can also garnish wages and pursue legal action in court against your ex. Since these agencies are usually understaffed and overwhelmed with cases, you must be persistent and call your case worker on a regular basis.

Do not worry about bothering your case worker or being a pest. Your children have a right to child support and by making yourself known to your case worker you will get better results with collection. Be sure to provide any important information you may know about your ex, like where he works, if he has moved and anything else you may know about him that may help the agency with enforcing the support order.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Government Pursues Dead Man for Child Support...

A deceased Florida man is being billed for child support payments even though he has been dead for 10 years. Scottie Peterson's family has called the government agencies repeatedly and tried to inform them of Mr. Peterson's passing to no avail.

It is ironic that the state child support agency attempts to collect child support from someone who really is dead, yet is lax in support collections for deadbeat parents who are very much alive.

I can understand a mistake being made, but the fact that the family called and were ignored and that this has been going on for 10 years is unbelievable. We had a similar incident years ago in my own family after my father-in-law passed and we kept getting a parking ticket in his name. I called and let them know that was no longer living. They were very insistent that he pay his ticket. I finally gave them the address of the cemetery where they could find him.

Now that the media has picked up on the deceased man's family, hopefully the child support collection agency will stop their collection efforts and leave Mr. Peterson's family alone. They have plenty of deadbeats who owe large sums of back child support to concentrate on.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

How Single Moms Can Make Some Extra Cash Online...
With the holidays fast approaching and all of the expenses of the new school year, most single moms can use some extra cash. Here a few ways to make some quick money right from your computer.
1.Do you love to sew, knit, make jewelry or other crafts? Go to www.etsy.com and open an online store. You can list your items for a small of fee and your creations will be seen by over a million shoppers each month.
2. With most of us spending most of our time on the Internet, it is no wonder that buying and selling online is a huge business. We all know about Ebay, but did you know you can make money selling other people's online products? It is called "affiliate marketing". There is a free course online that teaches how to do Internet marketing in 30 days. Go to : www.thirtydaychallenge.com
3. Do you enjoy helping others and have a skill or service you can share? You can start your own online coaching business by going to: www.liveperson.com. LivePerson is a unique service that matches people who have questions to the people who are qualified to answer them.
These are just a few ways you can make money online. Check sites like www.elance.com and www.guru.com for freelance work if you have skills like writing, graphic or website design.
By searching the web, you can find many potential money making opportunities.
Newly Single? What you need to know how to do....
If you have been married for a long time and especially if you married at a young age, you may have relied on your husband to take care of certain tasks usually delegated to the man of the house. It may come as a surprise to you that you do not know how to do some simple tasks that you relied on your husband to take care of.
Here are a list of things every newly single woman should learn how to do:
1. Fix a flat tire. I have not learned how to do this yet, but found myself a few months ago with a blown out tire on the side of the road with no one to call. Luckily I was able to get a mechanic to come to my aid, but had it been later in the evening I would have been out of luck. So either learn how to put the donut tire on your car and have the necessary equipment stored in your car or make sure you have road side assistance coverage.
2. Fix a toilet. You should know how to snake a toilet and install a toilet repair kit. Why pay big money to a plumber when you can fix it yourself?
3. Patch a hole in the wall. I found out how to do this after my divorce because I have two teenage sons who have twice put holes in the walls. Once by one throwing a water bottle at his brother and missing and the other time by my son swearing he "accidentally" hit the wall with his foot(ironically this was after he punished and sent to his room). Fixing a hole in the wall is relatively easy. Just buy a repair kit at home depot and some spackle and sandpaper and then repaint.
There are many other household tasks that your husband may have been responsible for that you now find yourself unable to do. Hiring a local handyman is a good idea. you may not want to take on chores like mowing the lawn, cleaning the pool, trimming the trees or cleaning the gutters.
When I have had those moments where I missed having a "man" around the house, I remember how I had to repeatedly nag my husband to do these simple tasks anyway. Blinds sat in boxes, pictures were left unhung, all with the promise to do them "later". In fact when I think about it I had to hire gardeners, mechanics and other professionals while I was married.
So if you are newly single, try not to panic about not having a man around. You can learn what you need to know and hire others to take care of the rest.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

What to Do When Your Divorce Drags On and On...

The divorce process can take anywhere from a few months to a few years. Those couples who find themselves in a long, bitter divorce battle often suffer from anxiety, depression and anger. A divorce that has no ending in sight takes a toll on everyone involved, including the children.

You may want to settle and get the divorce over with but may be dealing with a stubborn spouse who refuses to negotiate. It is extremely stressful dealing with a spouse who won't even consider a settlement and rather drag the case through the family court system.

But since the only person you can control is yourself, there is little you can do to force your ex to settle. However, you can make this difficult time period easier by doing the following things:

1. Inject some humor into the situation. Laughter is really the best medicine and an excellent release, so go ahead and tell some jokes about the divorce and your ex to your close friends. I recently saw a photo on the web where a divorcing woman made up fliers with a picture of her ex and the caption read: "Lost Dog: Answers to Steven". I don't suggest you the same and possibly get yourself into trouble by publicly humiliating your ex, but the point is this woman definitely had a sense of humor. If she had shared that as a private joke between a few friends, it would of been harmless and a good emotional release.

2. Have faith. Tell yourself everyday that this too shall pass and your divorce will be settled soon. It is important that you change your negative thoughts about the divorce into ones that give you hope. Most divorces, even the worst ones, do eventually settle so have faith that yours will too.

3. Get your mind off the divorce. If your divorce is all that you think about you will be miserable. Now is the time to go out with friends, start a new hobby, take a vacation if financially possible or see a movie. Any action you can take to take your focus off the divorce and do something that is fun instead will help pass this time while waiting for your divorce to be over.

Finally, if the reason you cannot settle your divorce is because you are refusing your ex's low ball settlement, take some time to review it again while you feel calm and collected. It may not be that far off from what you are asking for. You also need to weigh in how much more you will spend on attorney fees if the divorce does not settle. Sometimes an unacceptable offer can be turned around into something you both can live with if you look at it logically and see where there might be some room for compromise. They say that there are no winners in a divorce case(except for the lawyers) and both spouses are usually unhappy with the settlement. Better to take an offer that you can live with than hold out for more money or assets and be miserable.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sarah Palin's Family Divorce Scandal...

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the GOP vice presidential candidate, is under investigation in Alaska for allegedly firing her public safety commissioner. The issue is whether Palin fired public safety commissioner Walt Monegan after he refused to fire a state trooper who had divorced Palin's sister.

Supposedly Gov. Palin wanted her ex brother in law, Trooper Michael Wooten, fired and also filed numerous complaints against Mr. Wooten that were made part of the bitter divorce trial between Mr. Wooten and Gov. Palin's sister.

It is not unusual for family members to get involved during a divorce. Family and friends are known to take sides and sometimes go too far. During my own divorce, after my ex was arrested for not paying child support, my ex sister in law called my mother and screamed and cursed at her for putting her brother in jail. Obviously my mother had nothing to do with my ex's arrest and my sister in law could not accept the fact that her it was her brother's failure to pay support and breaking of the law that landed him in a jail cell.

We often talk about how people going through a divorce can lose control of their emotions and behave irrationally. The same goes for family members. They lash out, wanting to protect the person they love and can often make a difficult divorce worse.

It is best to advise family members not to get involved in your divorce. If you tell them every ugly detail, they are going to have a negative reaction. Sometimes it is best to confide in a friend instead of a family member who is known to have a short temper. Whether the allegations against Gov.Palin are true or not, it is just another example of how a nasty divorce battle not only affects the couple who is divorcing, but everyone around them.