Saturday, November 29, 2008

What I Miss About Being Married...

I have been divorced for over 3 and 1/2 years and it has been 5 years since the separation. Up until recently I could not think of many things I missed about being married. I certainly did not miss my ex and many of his annoying habits-especially his snoring! I enjoy sleeping alone in my king size bed, being free to do whatever I want and not having answer to anyone. Single life is good. Yet recently I have found myself remembering some of the things about marriage that I do miss.

I miss having a partner there to help with the kids. It is tough having to be both mom and dad, 24/7 and not being able to have someone there to share the burden. I also miss having a husband there to share the financial responsibilities. When you are married and have two incomes coming into the household, it does make life easier.

And as independent as I profess to be, I think I am starting to miss having a life partner who is always there to share in the good times and bad, someone who is not only your spouse but your best friend. I used to think of my ex as my best friend early on in the marriage. It was a wonderful feeling when I felt I could trust him and that he was always going to be there for me.

Even though my ex eventually betrayed my trust, I hope I will someday be able to trust someone like that again. Maybe then I will be ready to give marriage another try. But for now I will remain single and enjoy every minute of it.

Why a "Rebound" Relationship Can Be Good for You...

You have most likely have heard the warnings about the "rebound" man or woman. This is the first person you have a relationship with after your divorce. The typical advice is to take it slow and not get too attached because rebound relationships often do not last.

That may be true and the advice to be careful so that you do not suffer a double blow-first a divorce and then a failed relationship-is sound. But there are benefits to having a rebound relationship after your divorce.

One benefit is the distraction the new relationship provides. You may be still reeling from your divorce and having many issues lingering. Your new relationship provides you with excitement, fun and the thrill of being in love again. These positive emotions can help keep your mind off of the divorce and bring back some joy in your life again.

Another benefit is a boost to your self esteem. If your ex was emotionally abusive or did not pay attention to you and put you down often, having a new lover who showers you with attention and compliments can do wonders for your self esteem. You start believing that you are an attractive again and someone who can be loved.

So go ahead and enjoy your new relationship after your divorce. But understand that you may not be emotionally ready for a serious, committed relationship so soon after your divorce. If you have not resolved the issues from your marriage and gone through the grieving process, you could be setting yourself up for another failed relationship. The key is to keep your new relationship light and fun and enjoy it for what it is worth. Be in the moment and take it one step at a time without expectations, while giving yourself the time you need to recover fully from your divorce.

Friday, November 28, 2008

3 Reasons Divorced People Hate the Holidays...
The holiday season has officially begun and many divorced people are feeling down. With the rest of the world spreading holiday cheer, you may
just want to curl up under your covers and not come out of your room until
January 2nd. Most people do not understand how difficult the holidays can be on someone who has gone through a divorce. Here are 3 reasons
divorce people hate the holidays:
1. Dealing with family. What can be worse than having to face your extended family at the dinner table and having to hear all of the happy family news, like which cousin is engaged, who is having a baby and so on. There you sit, alone, without your spouse, knowing everyone knows all about your divorce drama.
2. Putting up the decorations. As you decorate the Christmas tree, ornaments can be a reminder of Christmases spent with your spouse. Memories come rushing back. This can be a very sad time. Your hopes and dreams for the future with your spouse are gone and the decorations serve as a painful reminder of what has been lost.
3. Sharing the children. Not spending the holiday with your kids has to be the #1 reason divorcees hate the holidays. If it is your spouse's turn to take the kids and you are alone, it can be very difficult to get through the day.
I won't lie to you and tell you that your first or even second holiday season after your divorce will be easy. Eventually though you will find joy again in the holidays. It takes time, but one day you will find yourself looking forward to the holidays. In the meantime, do not feel guilty or try and pretend that you are okay. It is alright to mourn the loss of your marriage and the life you once knew. Cry if you feel like it and try and let go of some of those old bottled up emotions.
If there is anything you can do to cheer yourself up, then do it. Watching old holiday classic movies from your childhood is a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Take it slow and do the best you can. Any small steps you take to life your mood, even a little bit, will help you get through this holiday season.

Would You Marry for the Money?

I was flipping through the channels the other night and caught a few minutes of the show about the " Real Housewives of Orange County". This 30 year old blonde who looked like Barbie was getting a new 4 carat diamond ring from her 60 something year old boyfriend. She admitted that she was not attracted to him at first since he reminded her of Santa Claus or Kenny Rogers with his white hair and beard, but now is is deeply in love with him.

This man has been married 5 times and she will be his 6th wife. Maybe she does loves him but it sounded like she loved his money even more. I know there are people who do marry for the money but I wonder how can you be happy with someone if you are not attracted to them and do not love them?

Sure money makes life easier and it must be tempting to marry someone well off . But what price do you pay emotionally? I once knew a woman in her 50's who was divorced and met a man in his late 70's. He was wealthy and had no children or family. Believe it or not, after they married at the courthouse they drove straight to the lawyer's office and had his will changed, making her the sole beneficary of his estate.

Years later, he did die and she inherited all of his money. Although she married him for financial security, they did have a good relationship through the years, and she cared for him but was not in love with him. She got his money and he got a wife and the extended family he never had, including her grandchildren, so I guess it worked for both of them.

Have you ever considered marrying someone you did not love because they were rich? If you met a wealthy potential partner would you date him or her because they were rich, even if you were not attracted to them? Be honest!

My answer would be that I could not be intimate with someone I was not attracted to, no matter how much money he had. Ideally, it would be great to find the whole package: love and financial security. But I rather be married to a man who was not well off that I deeply loved than a rich one I was not attracted to.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Can You be Grateful This Year Despite Your Divorce?..
I know how hard it is when you are in the middle of a divorce to think of anything but. It seems like the divorce consumes your thoughts every waking moment. You can think of little else. But with Thanksgiving tomorrow, can you muster up some things to give thanks for? Even during the toughest of times there is always something to be grateful for.
Here is my list:
My four beautiful, healthy children
My two adorable dogs and two precious cats.
My loving mother and brother
My wonderful friends and business associates
My patient and caring boyfriend
Living in sunny Florida
My good health, my home, my car and other possessions
My divorce-Can't imagine still being married to my ex!
My ex- for the life lessons I learned during my divorce
The woman who broke up my marriage- Without her I would still be
married to the ex!
I could go on and on but you get the point. Make your own list and I promise you will feel better. Being grateful makes you focus on the good things in your life and what you focus on expands. Why not try thinking about what you are thankful for every day instead of just on Thanksgiving? By getting into the habit of appreciation, you will start attracting more good things to appreciate into your life. Happy Thanksgiving!

Is Your Divorce Attorney the Right Match for You?
There are so many factors to consider when hiring a divorce attorney.
His or her reputation and experience are certainly important. But have you considered if your divorce lawyer's personality and style is in line with yours? Do you share the same values?
A ruthless shark of an attorney may be perfect for someone hell bent on getting everything they feel they deserve in a divorce case but what if you want a peaceful divorce and want it to be over quickly?
You must be careful when screening potential divorce lawyers and make sure you both are on the same wave length. Make sure this is someone whose personality meshes with your own and you can actually get along with. Remember, you first instincts about a person are usually correct.
Do not make excuses for an attorney if something bothers you about them. Telling yourself "Well, he may be loud and aggressive, but I hear he is the best divorce attorney in town" will not help you if what you are really looking for is a caring, gentle attorney who believes in mediation.
Your divorce attorney can set the tone for your entire divorce. One who refuses to negotiate with the other side and is aggressive in court will prolong your divorce and may make settling your divorce in an amicable manner impossible. Keep this is mind when choosing your divorce attorney. It is better to choose the right attorney in the beginning then realizing you made a mistake and having to find new representation during the divorce.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dealing with Your Ex During the Holidays
Thanksgiving is almost here and Christmas is around the corner. Have you figured who gets the kids for which holiday? Is it even a issue or have you and your ex hammered out an agreement in your divorce settlement setting the rules?
If you do not have plan for the holidays and now find yourself arguing over whose house the kids are going to, now is the time to take a step back and consider how your children are feeling.
You may want your kids with you, but your kids want to be with both of their parents for the holidays. Can you put your feelings aside and make that happen by splitting the day, maybe lunch with mom and dinner with dad?
Sometimes though that becomes impossible if is one parent lives a considerable distant away. My own ex-husband lives in another state, so my kids do not get to spend holidays with him anymore. They will see him for almost a week after Christmas. If you are in a similar situation, try to have your kids get to spend some quality time with their father during the holidays, even if it is not exactly on Christmas or Thanksgiving day.
The most important thing you can do for your children this holiday season is try not to bicker and fight with your ex. Keep calm and try and not to call him out on every annoying thing he does. Tell yourself that you will let things go for the holidays and then if you want you can go right back to arguing after the New Year, although it would be so much better for your kids if you could continue to try your best to get along with your ex all year round.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Why Do Divorced Men Prefer Younger Women?
It is the stereotypical scenario. A couple in their 40's, 50's or 60's gets
divorced and the husband takes up with a woman 20 or sometimes even 30 years younger. Meanwhile, the wife is faced with dating men 20 or more years older than herself because men typically prefer younger women after they divorce.
But why? Why can't a man appreciate a woman his own age? I think many men, after a divorce, think they have something to prove. To be able to date a younger woman makes them feel younger, more attractive and vital. They enjoy showing off their much younger date as some sort of trophy or prize. What they do not realize is that the woman they are dating may be only interested in them for the financial security they can provide. How many 25 year old women are really attracted to a 60 year old man who is old enough to be their grandfather?
Men should stop kidding themselves and face the truth. They do not need a younger woman to feel youthful. Relying on anyone outside yourself to feel attractive, young, or needed is a mistake. Instead these men need to rediscover the women in their own age group and appreciate them for their wisdom and maturity. Many middle aged men do not even fully understand what they are getting themselves into with a younger woman. She will probably want to start a family at some point and is at a completely different stage in her life. A more mature woman, finished with child bearing and raising, can provide companionship and will be more likely to share more common interests with a man her own age.
I see many women in their 50's and 60's struggling to find a good man after a divorce because men are dating younger women and it makes me sad. These women should not have to date a 70 or 80 year old. Let's hope that more divorced, middle aged men get the message that they should open their hearts and minds and date a woman not based on her age, but on what kind of person she really is and if she is a compatible match.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Child Support Nightmare: Wrong Man Sent to Jail
A Philadelphia man has been jailed four times, has lost his job and paid more than $12,000 in child support for a child that is not his. In fact, the man has never even met the child's mother. In a case of mistaken identity, this man has been living a nightmare trying to prove to the state that he is not the child's father.
It all started in 2001 when Walter Andre Sharpe received a certified letter that was a complaint for child support. But since the birth date and social security number did not match his and he did not know the mother, he assumed it was a mistake and ignored it. The court decided he was the father after he failed to appear in court. Since then he has asked and been denied a DNA test which would of cleared the matter up and proved he was not the child's father. A judge in 2007 finally ruled that he was not the father but refused to reimburse him for the money he has paid or give him any compensation.
I really hope this man sues the state of Pennsylvania and wins. It just amazes me how so many deadbeat parents do not pay child support and get away with it but an innocent man can be jailed and forced to support a child that is not his. Why didn't the court simply allow this man to prove paternity with a DNA test? This is not a case where he had a relationship with the mother and was raising the child, he had never met either of them. You would think that someone in the system would have at least investigated this man's claims. The child support system and family courts need to be more careful and pay closer attention to their cases.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Getting Through the Holidays when You Can't Stand your Spouse..
If you are in an unhappy marriage, you are most likely not looking forward to the holidays this year. Having to pretend that everything is fine in front of family and friends can be emotionally draining. You may want to ask for a divorce now but are waiting until the first of the year so that you do not upset the entire family and ruin the holidays.
This time of year, with all of the decorations and festive cheer can also grate on your nerves. Deep down you may know that this is your last holiday together as a family and want to make it special but at the same time you feel agitated with your spouse and can't wait until you are separated.
Divorce is difficult even if you are the one who wants it. If you and your spouse have decided that a divorce is imminent and you are waiting to tell your kids and family until after the holidays, you should come up with a plan. A good idea would be to declare a truce for the next 6 weeks and avoid confrontations and fighting. If your goal is to protect your family and have a nice holiday, it won't do much good if the two of you are at each other throats. You would be better off separating now and sparing your children a holiday filled with anger and resentment.
If you can be civil to one another for the holiday season it will also prove that the two of you are capable of being civil once the holidays are over and your divorce proceeding has begun. The best and least painful way to divorce is to try and work out the details of the divorce in a fair and amicable manner. Unfortunately many people are unable to do this and their divorce quickly escalates into a battle.
Take this time before your divorce to think about what kind of divorce you want and how you can make that happen. It will require compromise and thinking with your head instead of your emotions. It is possible to get through this holiday season even if you can't stand your spouse. You may even find that the extra time you have before filing for divorce can pave the way to an easier, more civil divorce and a better relationship with your soon to be ex.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why You Should See a Shrink During Your Divorce...
Seeing a therapist, counselor or psychologist is a good idea when you are going through a divorce for obvious reasons. Your life has been turned upside down and talking to someone who is trained to help people experiencing feelings of anger, grief and sadness can help you get through this difficult time. There is another reason, however to seek professional help that many divorcing people overlook.
If you are engaged in a nasty divorce battle or have reason to believe your divorce is heading down that road, having an established relationship with a mental health professional is an asset. This person can testify for you in court and vouch for you. If your spouse starts hurling accusations in court that are untrue, like accusing you of being mentally unbalanced, an unfit mother, having anger issues, etc., there is no one more qualified than your therapist or psychologist to submit evidence to the contrary on your behalf.
It is also crucial to have your children in counseling. Again, it helps them tremendously deal with the pain of the divorce but it also protects you somewhat should you face a custody battle. A neutral health professional can act on the behalf of your children in court and be there mouth piece.
Seeking help during your divorce is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It is something that you can do to help yourself and your children get through one of life's toughest times. Having someone there that you can trust to talk to every week is a comfort and relieves some of the pressure and anxiety the divorce has caused.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is Your Ex Hiding Cash?

One of the most difficult problems a spouse can face during a nasty divorce battle is trying to prove that their spouse is hiding cash. This occurs frequently when the family owns a cash business, like a pizza place, auto body shop, hair salon, etc. It can be very hard to prove the actual income coming in from that business if your spouse has been the one the running the business during the marriage.

A woman I know is in a terrible situation right now. Throughout the marriage, her ex claimed about a third of what he was actually earning at his business in order to avoid paying taxes. She works and technically makes more than him on paper. In reality though, he is earning double her salary. So now she faces the possibility of paying her spouse alimony even though they both know he makes much more money than her.

Since she signed the tax returns each year she is in a very delicate situation. Should she insist her ex's business makes more than it does and has for many years, they both could be in deep trouble with the IRS. She faces the possibility of losing out on alimony that she would have been entitled to had the money been "on the books" and child support payments will most likely be calculated using the tax returns as her husband's income,while he lives the high life with all of the extra cash he has stored away.

The best thing for her to do and anyone else in this situation is to hire a forensic accountant. These accountants are expensive but well worth in this situation. They will go into the business and look at everything, giving the true value of the business. You must be careful not make claims in court that the business made more money in the past. A family court judge can call the IRS if he feels the law has be broken and that can open up a hornet's nest.

If you are currently in a marriage where you own a cash business, make sure you have your own copies of all receipts and business expenses. Keep a close eye on the business's revenue. Some people have signed tax returns having no idea that their spouse was hiding money and manipulating the books. Whether your marriage is solid or not, you have a right to know about your families finances and how much money is coming into the household.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Could You Go to Jail for Emotionally Damaging Your Child During a Divorce?....
A couple from Milan, Italy is facing up to five years in prison for emotionally damaging their son during their divorce. Prosecutors say that the couples' arguing and fighting in the presence of the child have caused him to become anxious and depressed. The describe the child as "disturbed".
If this applied to parents in the U.S., the jails would be filled. The sad part is most divorcing couples do not set out to intentionally harm their children. I believe most parents truly love their kids and try their best to shield their children during divorce, but often let their emotions get the best of them. They say and do things during a divorce without thinking, like bad mouthing the other parent or fighting in front of the child.
Sending parents to jail will only hurt the children further. Can you imagine this poor Italian boy, having already been through his parent's difficult divorce, now having to worry that both his parents will be taken away from him and thrown in jail? It it ridiculous. The Italian courts would better serve the child if they mandated that both parents and the child attend counseling sessions so that they can heal the wounds from the divorce and move on.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Do You Spend Your Kid's Child Support on Yourself?...
Many father's rights advocate groups will tell you that one of the main excuses a man gives for not paying child support is that he thinks his ex-wife will spend all of the money on herself and not the kids. Since the a custodial parent receiving child support does not have to report how she spends the money, many dads are left wondering if the money is really going to the kids.
I feel that this is a myth. I have yet to meet one women who uses her kid's child support for her own needs and neglects the financial needs of her children. I am not saying that there are not some women out there who spend the child support on designer handbags,. There may be, but I have yet to meet one. The single moms I know, myself included, not only spend all of the child support on their kids, they are left short each month and must pay for all of the "extras" that children require.
My child support payments cover food for my children and that is it. All other expenses, like housing, clothing, holidays, birthdays, school expenses, etc. are taken care of by me and it comes to a higher amount than the child support my kids receive. I am not complaining, because I am grateful that my ex-husband now makes regular payments each month when so many women are dealing with deadbeat dads who pay nothing or are continually late.
I don't see how a woman could use the child support payments for herself unless she neglected her children's needs. In that case, the non-custodial parent should file a motion in court for custody if he feels his children are being neglected. It is a very hard thing to prove, however, so make sure you have proof that your children are not being taken care of. Evidence of this would be children who are malnourished and unkempt. Don't assume your ex is using the child support for herself without actual evidence.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Divorce Parties, Divorce Cards and Now the Divorce Photo Album....
You may wonder what they will think of next. With divorce wedding ring coffins, divorce greeting cards and divorce parties gaining in popularity, thanks to an Italian Wedding Photographer, we have now the "Divorce Photo Album".
Photographer Gianni Fasolini offers photo sessions for the newly divorced couple to chronicle, in pictures, the end of their marriage. Sounds a bit odd to me that a couple, fresh from divorce court, would pose for photos together. Most couples cannot even stand to look at one another after a divorce. And would you really want a reminder of one of the saddest times of your life?
Maybe if you had a friendly divorce it would be okay, but even then it seems strange to pose for a photo album together after your split. Time will tell if this new divorce trend takes off.
A better, more practical service to offer to divorcing couples is to have copies made of all of the family photo albums and videos. This way each spouse gets their own copies. Especially important if a couple has children.
I have all of the photo albums and videos, my ex has still not asked me for copies. I did give him a bunch of photos of the kids after the divorce, but it would be nice to someday get around to making copies of all of the videos and pictures from over the years and give him his own set.
A business which offered to do that at a reasonable price would be a much better idea than one marketing divorce photo albums.