Friday, February 27, 2009

Getting Back Together with an Abuser..
I just read on that singer Rihanna and Chris Brown are back together after he was arrested several weeks ago for allegedly beating and threatening her. How sad. It makes me think about all of the married women who are abused and yet cannot escape their abuser.
I had an aunt whose husband beat her up regularly. My father told the story of how, after my aunt had been hit yet again by her husband, he went to her house and beat up his brother-in-law. As he was hitting him, my aunt jumped on my father and screamed "Don't hurt him!". My father was shocked that she would defend her own abuser. The abuse finally stopped for my aunt when her husband left her. He also left his 6 daughters, never to be seen again and never sending one dime of child support.
Why would a woman defend, forgive and take back someone who hurts them? I think is is a combination of low self-esteem and psychological manipulation on the part of the abuser. For Rihanna, we see a beautiful, young, famous, wealthy woman who is not trapped with an abuser because she has no where to go or no income. Does she really "love" someone who is capable of hurting her so badly or is she addicted to someone she thinks she cannot live without?
Looking at an abusive marriage or relationship from the outside, you want to tell the woman to please get out, to protect herself and end the abuse. But the reality is many women will stay in an abusive relationship until it is too late. If you are reading this and are being abused, please know that you are worthy of respect, love and kindness. No one deserves to be hurt, either emotionally or physically. If you cannot think highly enough of yourself to leave, then do it for your kids or family or even for the man you claim to love. Allowing yourself to be abused does not help the abuser. You become an enabler and your abuser will never get the help he so desperately needs if you continue to be his punching bag. Gather your inner strength and stand up for yourself. Believe that you are a worthwhile, valuable person who deserves to be in a healthy, safe, loving relationship.

What Do People Really Think About Your Divorce?
With the divorce rate so high, most people know someone who is divorced. In this day and age, we would think that the old stigmas of the past about divorce are gone. But do people secretly judge you for getting a divorce?
They won't say it out loud of course, but what really runs through someone's mind when you tell them your divorced? Do they pity you or blame you?
It is interesting because I think even divorced people judge each other. I recently met a man who told me he was going through a divorce and I have to admit I caught myself thinking "Why is he getting a divorce? Was he a jerk to his wife? Did he cheat?" It then hit me that maybe these are things people are thinking about me as a divorced woman!
Women may see a divorced man and question whether he is at fault and men might look at a divorced women and think the same thing about her. Thoughts like "Maybe she was a terrible wife or maybe she cheated" might run through their minds. Unfortunately, we are a society that loves to judge others. It has become second nature to judge everybody and everything we see as good or bad.
We have come along way with accepting divorcees in society, many years ago a divorced woman was looked down upon, even if the divorce was not her fault. But I think a divorce stigma, although unspoken, still exists. Maybe if we looked upon divorce differently, as an ending to a relationship that did not work and could not be fixed we could suspend our judgements and not view a divorce as a personal failure.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are You Ready to Get Naked Again?...
Dating after a divorce can be traumatic and overwhelming. You may wish there was a guide book for women that told you how to get back in the dating game and find a new relationship that won't result in heartache. Getting Naked Again by NY Times best selling author, Judith Sills does just that.
This book is a godsend to divorced, widowed or dumped women in their thirties and beyond. Ms. Sills helps women get back out there again and not be afraid to date. Going through a divorce, especially if you are over 35, presents a whole new set of challenges. There are children to deal with, insecurities about age and looks and a whole slew of emotional issues to contend with.
Dating again after a divorce in your twenties is not the same as dating again in your forties. If you try your hand at dating without doing some inner work and developing your own inner confidence, you may find yourself retreating and backing off from the dating scene. Rejection stings at any age, but it is especially difficult when you have already been emotionally scarred from your divorce and convince yourself your "too old" to date or that there are " no good men" left. If you find yourself sitting home on the weekends, watching netflix movies and drinking wine, this book is for you.
I like this book because the author explores the divorced and widowed woman's psyche, understanding the feelings, emotions and concerns a woman feels after the loss of a significant relationship. Her savvy and often humorous advice will help you "get naked again" and not be afraid to let down your guard and allow a new love into your life.

Are You Scared to be Single Again?
With all of the doom and gloom about the economy bombarding us every time we turn on the TV, it is no wonder people are fearful. With job loss at an all time high, the high rate of foreclosures and a plummeting stock market, most people are nervous. if you are married and your spouse loses his job, you may have to live on one income. But if you are single and lose your income there may be no income coming in at all.
It can be scary to be divorced and single again. At least when you were married there was someone there to share your fears with. Together, you knew you could get through tough times . Now you are all alone and may have to be the primary caregiver and breadwinner in your family. This can feel overwhelming. You may even wonder why you got divorced in the first place. Was your marriage really that bad?
It is easy to let the fear take over but you need to take a deep breath and have some faith in yourself. You will be okay. Being single has many benefits, one is that you are free to call your own shots and create your life exactly how you want it to be. If you feed into all of the negativity that surrounds us nowadays and panic, you will see your worst fears realized.
Being responsible for your own financial and emotional well being can be frightening but it can also be empowering. Now is the time to take control of your emotions and face your fears. Some singles may be tempted to jump back into a relationship again to gain security, but is having so called security worth your freedom and happiness?
Hang in there and have faith. Things will improve, despite all of the dire warnings to the contrary. We will all get through these tough times. By being hopeful and having confidence in yourself as a single person, you will make it on your own.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Health Insurance and Divorce: What You Need to Know
If you are going through a divorce and are a stay at home parent, you need to make sure that your soon to be ex does not take you off the family health insurance plan. You may be thinking that your spouse cannot legally remove you from the policy, but that is not true. Technically, the court will agree that health benefits stay in place until the divorce is final, just like they say that no martial assets are to be sold, but the reality is that these things happen anyway, despite the court's warnings.
During my own divorce, my ex sold martial assets and removed me from the family health insurance plan. He was given a verbal warning from the court but no action was taken against him. I was forced to find and pay for new health insurance.
If you are not employed, finding affordable, decent health insurance is not easy nowadays. Try and prevent loss of health insurance by making sure your lawyer informs your spouse's lawyer that you need your health coverage continued. You should also have a clause added in your final divorce agreement that your spouse will continue to provide health insurance benefits until you can find an affordable policy on your own. Remember, if you have a pre-existing condition and then lose your benefits for a certain amount of time, the pre-existing condition may not be covered on your next plan.
Also, make sure to spell out clearly in your divorce agreement who will put the children on their health insurance plan and include exactly who pays for the deductibles, co-payments and any uncovered expenses. If your children will need braces, work out an agreement now on who will pay and exactly how much each parent will be responsible for. You can prevent many conflicts and problems with your ex post-divorce by taking the time now to include these issues in your divorce agreement.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Should Cheaters Pay More in the Divorce?

I read recently that the state of Arizona is reconsidering it's policy on "no fault" divorce. Meaning they may now allow a judge to consider evidence of an affair and compensate the "injured" party monetarily.

Some states do allow a divorcing couple to bring in evidence of an affair or abuse while many others do not consider it at all. I was divorced in New Jersey and was very surprised when my lawyer told me that judge did not care that my husband was having an affair and that assets were divided based on equitable distribution only, not emotional or physical damage.

What I think is unfair in no fault divorce states is when a cheater spends martial funds on the girlfriend or boyfriend. This should be considered. I also believe the person who has been cheated on and did not want the divorce should be awarded additional assets for pain and suffering. I know a woman whose husband cheated and gave her herpes. Logic would dictate that she should be financially compensated for pain and suffering because of her husband's actions.

The downside to allowing evidence of an affair in the divorce courtroom would be longer courtroom battles and more more legal fees. Producing proof of a spouses' affair might also require hiring a private investigator. But maybe if people knew they might have to pay more in their divorce settlement if they cheated, they might reconsider cheating in the first place.

Click here to read a free chapter of Seven Secrets to a Successful Divorce...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

"Like We Never Loved at all"....
Does this sound familiar? You are going through a divorce and feel as though your heart as been ripped out of your chest, yet your soon to be ex has not shed one tear and does not seem to even care. You wonder, after all of the years of marriage-years of sharing your lives together-how can he just walk away feeling no pain and worst of all, no remorse?
It seems to defy logic. A person is supposed to feel bad while going through a divorce, right? Seeing your partner move on with his life without a care in the world can intensify your own pain. You want him to suffer, to feel what you are feeling, to wake up every morning with that sick knot in his stomach. His reaction is downright insulting. Does it mean he never loved you and that your marriage was a farce, a joke that meant nothing to him?
There is a song by Faith hill that sums this up perfectly. The lyrics go" How can you just walk on by, without one tear in your eye, don't you have the slightest feelings left for me? Maybe it's just your way of dealing with the pain, forgetting everything between our rise and fall, like we never loved at all..."
The truth is that everyone deals with grief in different ways. What may seem like your ex's ability to recover from your divorce with ease may in reality be his way of suppressing and hiding his emotions. Men are very good at that. After all, many men were brought up to believe that showing emotion is a sign of weakness. This may be your ex's way of keeping it together. Not falling apart emotionally may be the only way he can get through the divorce.
Another issue to consider is that your ex may have been unhappy in the marriage and has been slowly grieving it's end for years now. By slowly detaching, little by little, over time, the actual breakup does not hit him like a ton of bricks. He appears to be over the divorce, but in actuality already has mourned the death of the marriage a long time ago.
Knowing why your ex is not suffering from the pain of your divorce may give you little comfort. Your hurting and you want him to hurt too. You were married and created a life together and you want that time spent together to have meant something. The fact is you may never see your ex express sadness or remorse over your divorce but it does not mean he is not feeling it. Since you cannot know what another person is thinking or feeling, you can choose to believe that he is sad but unable to show it. Whether it is true or not, is irrelevant.
You need to believe that the person you married did have a heart and once upon a time loved and cared for you. Your marriage was once meaningful. No one can take away the memories you have of the time you spent as a couple, they are yours to remember and reflect on. Focus on your own grieving process and allow yourself to fully mourn the end of your marriage instead of wondering if your ex is feeling badly too. Before you know it you will get through the dark times and just like your ex, be able to move on with you life.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Why Staying Together for the Sake of the Kids is Not Always a Good Idea...

We hear so much about how damaging divorce is to children and how kids are almost always better off living with two parents who are married. But if your home is filled with shouting, anger and disrespect, a divorce may be better for your kids in the long run.

I was watching an episode of "Marriage 911" a show where a marriage counselor spends time with a family on the verge of a divorce. This couple was so mean to one another. The husband called his wife a "fat slob" in front of the kids and the wife told the kids that "dad is a moron". The fighting was endless, with the couple battling it out in front of the children.

Finally, the older daughter wrote a sign that said "Breakup or Shut up". Her parents were shocked, but realized the kid was right. All of their fighting and put downs was emotionally damaging their kids. Fortunately,this couple (with the help of the marriage counselor)was able to save their marriage and stop fighting.

The fact is children who are subjected to years of witnessing their parents fight, will suffer emotionally. They risk growing up and entering into their own dysfunctional relationships. If you are thinking about getting a divorce, but just staying together for the kids' sake, think again. Unless you can repair your marriage and start treating each other with respect, you are not doing your kids any favors.

Click here to read a free chapter of Seven Secrets to a Successful Divorce...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

First Date Etiquette After a Divorce...
Going out on your first date after your divorce can bring up many questions. Just how much information do you disclose about your life and your divorce? You may be tempted to reveal all of the gory details of your divorce, especially if you hit it off with this new person. But is it okay?
It all depends on how you approach it. If you date asks about your divorce, it is fine to let him or her know the basic details. The problem occurs when you find yourself dumping all of your emotional garbage on your date, leaving him or her feeling more like a therapist instead of a potential new mate.
It is always a good idea to be the one asking the questions on a first date instead of doing all of the talking. People love to talk about themselves and when you express a sincere interest in a person and let them tell you about their life, they feel more comfortable around you. Keep the conversation light, if possible. Remember, the first date is all about finding out if this is someone you would like to go on a second date with, not if he or she will be your next spouse. Keep that in mind during the conversation and ask the questions that are important for you to know about this person.
Talking about careers, family, favorite hobbies and interests are all good ways to get to know someone. If the divorce comes up and you went through a particularly rough one, you can simply state the facts without getting emotional. Time will tell if this is someone you will want to open up to and share your personal stories with. You don't want to scare off a new date by making them feel you have not gotten over your divorce yet or that you are still in love with your ex.
Most of all, try to have fun and not have high expectations. If you secretly hope that this date will turn into a lasting relationship, you will be disappointed if your date does not feel the same way. By viewing the first date as a fun way to get to know a person, regardless of the outcome, you protect yourself emotionally. It may take many first dates before you finally meet the right person, so try not to take any rejection personally.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sharing Your Kids with Your Ex's New Love....
I was watching "Desperate Housewives" tonight and the storyline hit home for many divorced parents. "Susan" a character with a young son was having a hard time accepting that her son actually liked her ex-husband's girlfriend. It was very threatening to her that her child would want to spend time with her ex's new love and this fictional character tried to forbid her ex's girlfriend from spending time with her son.
Feelings of jealousy of the ex's new girlfriend or boyfriend can crop up. The jealousy divorced parents feel is not a romantic kind of jealously but rather a feeling of having your place as a parent threatened by this new person in your kid's lives. On one hand you want your kids to like the new girlfriend or boyfriend and hope he or she is a good person. But on the other hand, you may feel like your child may like this person better than you and you could lose your child's love.
Although these feelings are completely normal, they are unjustified. Your children know who their mom and dad are and will not replace you with someone else in their hearts, no matter how nice they might be. It helps to try and think of it in a different light. If your ex has found someone special who is going to be in your kids lives, be grateful if he or she is a good person and will have a positive impact on your children. Many divorced parents find themselves in a horrible situation when their ex's new love does not treat their children well.
If your kids have a good relationship with the new girlfriend or boyfriend, try to be supportive. When it comes time for you to introduce your kids to your new love, you will have an easier time if the kids have already been through all of the emotions associated with accepting a parent's new relationship.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Are You Really Ready for a New Relationship?
After getting divorced, many people delude themselves by thinking they need to jump into a new relationship right away. The pain from the divorce can be overwhelming and finding a new love becomes a distraction and way to feel good again.
But the reality is you may not be ready for a new relationship after your divorce just yet. Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself to determine if it is wise for you to get back into the dating scene and meet someone new:
1. Have you properly mourned the end of your marriage? The grieving process for getting over a divorce can take years, so I am not suggesting that you put your life on hold and not date, but it is important that you have least begun the process and are in the latter stages of grief. It is unfair to a new mate to begin a relationship if you have not emotionally let go of the previous one.
2. Are you ready to invest time and energy in a new relationship? The time period after a divorce can be a wonderful opportunity to be selfish and fulfill some of your own needs. Without a husband to worry about, you are free to make your own choices. You can call your own shots and enjoy your new found freedom. This may grow old after a while and you may find yourself longing for companionship. However, if you enter into a new relationship too quickly after a divorce without giving yourself some "alone time" you may regret it later.
3. Are you happy with your life as it is now? If you are looking for someone to ease your pain, rescue you and make your life better, you are in for a rude awakening. Get your own life settled and in order before bringing someone else into it. Find a new love when you are happy and fulfilled and that person will be a welcome addition in your life, not someone you desperately need to make you happy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Are Money Problems Weighing You Down?
These are tough times for many Americans. Especially hard hit are single parents and people going through a divorce. When you are worried about money it seems like you have a dark cloud over your head that follows you everywhere. Money problems are draining and sap your energy, leaving you depressed, overwhelmed and desperate.
If you feel like your life is a struggle and you just can't seem to get ahead, there is a story you should read. I found a website that is giving away a free e-book of the award winning, best selling story "The Jack Rabbit Factor" by Leslie Householder. You can get it at: . This story shows you how you can set and achieve any goal by learning to recognize and trust your gut - that inner voice that literally shows you the way.
Sometimes a book or a simple story can give you hope and uplift your spirits during hard times.
The important thing to remember is that no matter how rough things are right now, your life will get better. Winter is always followed by Spring. Nothing lasts forever and whether it is money problems, a divorce or some other life altering issue, good times are coming once again. You just need to hang in there and have faith.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Octuplet Rage: Is America Biased against Single Moms?

I am surprised by the public outrage against the woman who
gave birth to octuplets. It is odd for a single woman to have 14
children by in-vitro fertilization, but this woman's situation seems to have sparked intense anger and disgust from the media, bloggers and even the woman's own mother. People are angry that she has gone ahead and given birth to all of these children without a husband. Many assume she will be on public assistance and the tax payers will foot the bill for raising these children.

But no one questions the couple on the TV show who now have 18 children or the couple who star in the show "Jon and Kate plus 8". Jon and Kate were not well off by any means when their sextuplets were born. We do not know how the mom of the octuplets will support her children yet or if the natural father will help raise the kids , so to rush to judgement about her is unfair. I even read that diaper companies and other baby companies are not giving this woman freebies. Other couples who have multiple births get free diapers, baby food, clothes and even donated homes for free. But here is a single mom who is being offered nothing because she is not married? Or maybe it is because we think she is mentally unstable?

Whatever the reason, America has forgotten that 8 healthy babies have been born at once. These babies are the only surviving octuplets in our country. It is a miracle that they are alive and doing so well. How they were conceived is not our business. Let's not rush to judgment.
Children do deserve to have two parents and grow up in a loving home, but as many of us have found out through divorce, that is not always possible. I think it hits a raw nerve with people when a woman decides to become a single parent on her own. The bottom line is that these 8 babies are here and no amount of hatred and ill will towards their mother will change the circumstances surrounding their conception.

You may feel that this woman is off her rocker and disagree with how she conceived her children but the babies deserve our well wishes and good thoughts. I sincerely hope that people will rise above their judgments and lend a helping hand to this woman for the babies'(and her other children's) sake.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

This Dad Should be Ashamed of Himself...
Dow Jones heir Jeffery Stevenson lied about his income and hid assets during his divorce in an attempt to reduce child support payments to his child. He told the court he was only making $38,000 a year as a Carpenter and was ordered to pay only $512 a month in child support. He child even qualified for reduced free lunches.
It was recently revealed that Stevenson failed to disclose trust funds worth at least $4 million during his 1997 divorce. At a trial in 2007, Stevenson admitted he was not a professional carpenter and testified his net worth was $17 million. He also receives at least $358,000 in annual income from five different trust funds, In addition he owna a $3.3 million home in Key Largo, Fla., $600,000 in other real estate and $275,000 in vehicles. His child support payments have been increased to $5,500 a month and he will have to pay at least $160,00 in retroactive child support payments and his ex-wife's attorney fees.
How pathetic. This man knowingly allowed his child to live in poverty while he lived like a king!
Thankfully, justice has been served in this case, but how many other parents are out there who have hid assets during a divorce and lied about their income and are getting away with it? Sadly, the men and women who commit these acts think they are getting over on their exes but the they are hurting their own children instead.
If you have reason to believe your ex is hiding assets or lying about income, then you need to be proactive and find the proof you need to take him or her back to family court. It won't be easy, but with a little detective work you may be able to uncover hidden money you never knew your ex had. There are many online websites that can track down a person's assets and current employer. Do some research first so that you know you are dealing with a reputable company and most of all, don't give up! Your children's financial future and quality of life is at stake.

Monday, February 02, 2009

How to Cope with Being Divorced and Single on Valentine's Day...
Well it's that time of year again. The stores are flooded with hearts, chocolates and corny greeting cards. Reminders are everywhere that the "day of love" is fast approaching. There is no escaping Valentine's Day. If you are divorced and not dating anyone special this can be a particularly painful time.
You may feel lonely and unloved and wonder if you will ever meet that someone special again. Many people dread being single this time of year. It can trigger emotions and memories of the past when you were married and in love. Now, single and alone, you may feel like you have nothing to look forward to this Valentine's Day.
But there are some ways to not only get through Valentine's day while being single, but actually enjoy it. One way is to call up your single friends and plan a night out on the town. Since you are all in the same situation, why not go out and have a fun night out? If you rather stay home with the kids, have your own Valentine's day party. Bake some red cupcakes, put some red food coloring in ginger ale for the kids and buy some pink champagne for yourself. Celebrate all of the love you have in your life, the love you feel for your children, parents, pets and friends.
Do anything that makes you feel happy and appreciative. Try not to dwell on what is missing in your life this Valentine's Day and instead focus on what you already have. With a positive attitude and a little planning, you may find yourself actually looking forward to Valentine's Day this year.