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Updated: 1 year 16 weeks ago

You & Your Divorce Settlement Agreement- BFFs

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 18:46

image: Javier Ruiz via Graphic River

You and your divorce settlement agreement. The newest BFFs on the block.

If you're been through a divorce and are still connected to your ex in some way (business, kids, real estate, etc), finding that delicate balance of moving forward while being cordial can be challenging.

When things seem fine between you, you may even be inclined to exhibit some good will behavior by helping each other out or doing things in good faith that are not required of you by the divorce settlement agreement.

However, if your relationship becomes strained and you no longer want to extend certain courtesies, the terms of your Divorce Settlement Agreement always prevail. You are not setting a precedent simply because you did a favor and it's perceived by your ex as a change in your divorce agreement terms.

So if and when you hear, "you've set a precedent so it must continue," your response should simply be, "the divorce settlement agreement prevails, there is no precedence." Just shut it down.

You must have a full understanding of your divorce settlement agreement.

Chances are it'll become your voice of reason and your best friend for some time to come. This is why it is so important that you are an active voice when it's being drafted by your attorney and that you have a full understanding of its meaning by the time you signed.

Believe me, one word in a sentence can mean either winning or losing an argument.

When it's being reviewed with you, ask questions if you don't understand something. Challenge the way something is being written if you see a possible loophole. Don't simply assume that your lawyer is smarter than you.

Of course your divorce attorney knows the laws and how to write things out legally, but only you know your ex, your situation and the dynamics of how you deal with each other.

The reason you need to have a firm understanding of your divorce settlement agreement is so that you can present your position on potential future disputes with full support of what you both legally agreed to.

Additionally, if you still are at a standoff on a matter and it requires the involvement of the Courts, if you confidently understand your divorce agreement, you can represent yourself and not spend thousands to have your attorney to do it for you.

During a dispute, a judge isn't there to change your divorce agreement. A judge is there to uphold a legal contract.

That's why it's so important that you understand everything in it. Follow what you agreed to and you should be fine.

If you have any matters tying you to your ex for any period of time and there are legal disputes, you could end up spending as much or more on legal fees post divorce as you did to get divorced.

I'm not suggesting that every matter can or should be handled without a lawyer, but what I am saying is that if you leave the marriage with a solid understanding of each topic and the legal language written to protect you from disputes, there will be matters that you could consider handling on your own.

If you have the slightest doubt in your ability to handle legal matters on your own, then get legal advice immediately.

Here's the bottom line though. You've just paid handsomely for a divorce agreement that is designed to protect both parties. It's a legally binding contract that is accepted and signed by both of you. If you're smart, in both good times and in bad, you will never deviate from it!

Yes, I did say never.

Even if by doing so it's better for you. Even if you want to build a better rapport with your ex. Even if you want things to feel normal again. Even if... well, I could go on but you get the picture.

Always stick to your divorce settlement agreement and you will save yourself from a lot of grief.

Has your ex tried to alter your divorce agreement? Tell us how in the comments below.

Al writes more about divorce on his blog, Divorce Candor

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

#ChooseHappy: Happiness One Day At A Time

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 18:37

As I write this article I'm thinking about the past ten years of my life. It seems just yesterday that I left Malaysia after my divorce with three kids in tow.

As the head of a single parent family I can honestly say that the challenges have been many, not just for me but for my children too.

These very challenges have made us strong as people and as a family. I have always believed and lived my life in the belief that life is what we make of it. Everyday we get up and make a conscious choice to be cranky with the world or to be happy with it. I have been on both sides of the shores, I've had my fair share of cranky days but I have also had astounding happy days.

My children have been my strongest allies and believers in all the little reinventions of myself over the years that have allowed me to provide for them. For this I'll be ever grateful that God and my ex have blessed me with wonderful children.

My success in life has not been determined by financial gains, or at least not yet. I have based my success in life on raising outstanding citizens for the world that we live in. Citizens with a strong value of personal integrity, honesty and kindness towards others. I also wanted them to be able to face challenges head strong, capable of turning their big or small setbacks into comebacks. Above all I wished for them to be tolerant individuals, respectful of others beliefs and not limited into believing that there are differences in ethnicity.

My job as a mom, as they are now young adults, is almost complete. Now begins my role as supporter of their choices in life as adults and partners to the someone they wish to bestow their love upon.

Having been on the other side of the fence, I will patiently guide them and be their listening and comforting ear, allowing them to make their own experiences without interference but always there to heal their wounds as they discover the various shades of a relationship.

My take home in all this has been the constant decision to actively exit bad emotions and feelings the moment they appear. Negativity has a way of trying to slip through any little crack in our day. Over the years I realized that I made a conscious choice to inject and choose happiness in my life. The so called bad days were nothing more than little rocks in my path that were there to shape my determination and strength as a single mom and a woman who had to jostle the role of a father and a mother.

In all this I am indeed happy that life has turned out the way it has cause it has made me realize that happiness is something we have to constantly choose. It's not something that we should take for granted. In times when relationships breakdown we have to #ChooseHappy. We have to build and allow happiness to permeate our every day, one day at a time.

I was able to reconnect all the dots in my life when I began to become literally unstuck from limiting beliefs and became whole when my intentions totally aligned with my actions.

Over the past ten years I would write stories that would help me unroot all the limiting beliefs that I had in my life, realizing at times that some of those limitations were not even mine. This has helped me change my narrative, and I stopped listening to that little voice always trying to tell you that you can't do this or that, or just using its venomous chatter to make us think that we are not good enough.

Creating a new narrative and stop listening to this false friend has allowed me to make of my life a project. This project which is also the title of this post has once again, let fate play a big part in it when it connected me with two wonderful, caring women, Michelle and Marion. I have always believed that we women can do so much when we work together. Our trio spans across the oceans, Michelle is from the USA, Marion from the UK and me from the everlasting and beautiful Italy. Chance, fate or destiny has brought us together, unlikely in our backgrounds, but united in wanting to bring happiness to everyone's life.

I know that this experience has made us stronger as women, and has also made us realize that at times we have to let other people in and trust them to really and truly make our project a success.

In conclusion I invite you to live your life in total happiness, knowing that it's you who has to make the first step in wanting and consciously desiring to bring happiness into your life even if one day at at time.

#Choose Happy - One day At A Time.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

Reasons NOT To Stay In A Bad Marriage

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 15:19
Divorce sucks.

The thought of slogging through painful lawyer meetings, dealing with social stress and living alone is enough to get people to reconsider their divorces altogether-- no matter how miserable their marriages are.

But you're different. You've thought it through, and you're committed to moving forward. But you're scared. Have faith, and consider that:

1. Getting divorced is infinitely better than staying in a bad marriage. It proves that you have the courage to live a life of happiness. And if you're happier, you'll be a far more effective parent.

2. You've tried everything, because you really wanted to keep it together. And now the last issue is dealing with "what will others think?". But having the courage to reject the societal pressure to uphold a "married" label and accept your divorce can be liberating. You'll learn far more about yourself, what you truly value, and eventually learn to embrace it.

3. You will inflict far less damage on your kids by letting go than if you stayed in a marriage filled with anger and sadness.

4. You will be happier. Learning to let go and step into the unknown may be the single most important thing you can do for your own sanity, and the sanity of those around you.

5. Because all of the reasons to stay in the marriage-- money, kids, stability, and upholding your vow, were important. Until you realize that you are sacrificing the essence of what makes you a happy and self-fulfilled human being.

6. Life is simply too precious and too short to waste on continuing the madness of a poor or failed marriage.

7. Staying in an bad marriage sends a message to your kids that it is okay to accept a life of unhappiness. But it is not okay. Teach your kids that it important to have tried, but it is ok to have failed. And it is equally important to move forward in life.

Good luck!

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

A Reform Marriage, An Orthodox Divorce

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 13:30
It's not often that a reform Jew needs what's called a get -- a divorce decree that is usually reserved for the most observant Jews. But not long ago, Ellen, my ex-wife, asked me to give her a get. She isn't suddenly going deeper into Judaism; she's just dating a man who is conservative, which means that she will need a get before they can marry. (If they wish to. Eventually.) She had to ask me because tradition dictates that the ex-husband present the get to his ex-wife.

I had no problem with this. Ellen and I are very close, still, and I didn't want to stand in her way, whatever her plans may be... or whatever they become. We got the name of a rabbi in Lakewood, New Jersey, which has a very large orthodox population as well as Beth Medrash Govoha, the largest yeshiva in the United States (6,000 students). I texted him, and then we spoke and made an appointment.

What I pictured was that Ellen and I would walk in, sidle up to a window, answer some questions, say a few prayers, sign the forms, and then the get would be ours. I figured this was a sort of DMV for Jewish divorce.

Not so much.

What actually happened was rather more complex -- and a great deal more emotional.
Ellen and I entered a second-floor room in Lakewood's Congregation Ohr Meir. At least ten men were there -- a minyan -- the number of Jewish men needed to conduct a religious service. They were bearded and wore black suits and keepot. There was also a scribe, who looked a lot like Dumbledore, but Jewish. The rabbi we'd spoken with -- a younger man than I thought he would be -- ushered us in, sat us down, and started the proceedings. At this stage, it was mostly a Q&A session between the rabbi and me. Was I here of my own accord? Was I coerced in any way to be here? Had Ellen and I already had a civil divorce? What were our fathers' Hebrew and American names?

I was surprised no one asked about our mothers. After all, one is only Jewish if one's mother is Jewish.

Once all the questions were answered and information gathered, the time came for the get to be written. It's supposed to be written by me, but my Aramaic isn't as up to snuff as I would like. Anyway, that's what the scribe is there for. There's a ritual, of course. With a warm smile, yet very officially, he presented me with the necessary tools in a black plastic box, and then I presented them back to him. Inside the box were a prepared piece of parchment and a quill fashioned from the feather of a kosher turkey.

There's great symbolism in this ceremony. The word "get" is comprised of two Hebrew letters, the gimel and the tet. The two letters do not appear anywhere else in scripture -- after all, this is about separation and the two are separate except in this instance. In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter has a numerical value. The gimel is three and the tet is nine. Hence: twelve.

Why is that symbolic? Because the get is comprised of twelve lines of text, written (in this case) in Hebrew. It's written in the first person, as if I wrote it myself, and mentions the date, the place where it was written, and the names of Ellen and her father and me and mine. All of this is arranged in twelve perfect lines, a square of text.

The writing is intense. The letters cannot touch -- again, this is about separation. Once the ink is dry -- and it must be dry, lest it spread -- the get is signed.

When my get was ready and dry, its validity was discussed among the scholars, and I was asked a few more questions.

Having been written, witnessed, and approved, now the get needed to be presented by me to Ellen. You guessed it: more ritual. We stood, facing each other, her hands cupped before her. The rabbi folded the get and handed it to me. I was prompted to recite several lines in English and Hebrew, then dropped the get into her hands. It had to be dropped, not placed. Maybe this is to assure that we are not touching the get at the same moment. Ellen tucked it under her left arm, to be near her heart, and walked several feet away, symbolizing her being apart from me, and then the get was sliced with a knife. I imagine this is to symbolize the death of the marriage, much in the way that observant Jews rend clothing when someone dies.

Believe me, the DMV for Jewish divorce this isn't.

What surprised me was the ceremony's emotional weight. Its gravitas. Eighteen months ago, Ellen and I divorced collaboratively. We did not need to appear together in court. Though emotional, our civil divorce was, well, civil. The getting of the get, while no more difficult in the practical sense, was harder on my heart. It felt much more... final. It felt like a divorce before God, far more meaningful than a sheaf of papers presented to a judge in New Jersey. When I told Ellen, in Hebrew and in English, that I released her and that she was free to move on with her life without me, I was unexpectedly moved.

Driving up to Lakewood, Ellen and I riffed on the word "get." "We're off to get a get." "It's getting late. We better get going." "We're going up to Lakewood. Can we get you anything?" We did that to lighten the mood, because in the end the get is serious business. It's tradition. It's meaningful. For two people who are more culturally and spiritually Jewish than Jewish in the religious sense, the get brought us an oddly calming sense of having, well, gotten to a new place.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

Why This Author Thinks ‘The Bachelor’ Is Ruining Your Relationships

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 13:00

It’s a Monday night and you’re watching “The Bachelor.” Season after season you (somewhat) reluctantly return to the reality series, hate-tweeting the endless cheesiness, crazy contestants and over-the-top dates along the way. Still, by the finale’s end, you’re undoubtedly moved by the outlandish proposal and just slightly envious of the size of that Neil Lane diamond ring. One day, you too will have a “Bachelor” moment. All it takes is finding that one person ― your “soulmate,” right?

According to author and philosopher Alain de Botton, you won’t find Mr. or Mrs. Right and will probably end up marrying the wrong person ― but that’s OK. De Botton, who burst onto the literary scene in 1993 with his debut novel, On Love, is an expert at relationships and breaking down the intense emotions and intricacies that accompany falling for someone. So even if you marry Mr. Wrong, you can still make it work if you heed the lessons that lie within de Botton’s newest work, The Course of Love. 

Part novel, part counseling session, The Course of Love is the story of two characters, Rabih and Kirsten, who fumble arguments and struggle through the challenges that go hand in hand with long-term love. De Botton works to correct certain romantic assumptions by weaving instructional passages throughout his story to show the reader how to, in so many words, love better than “The Bachelor.” 

The reader’s first clue that The Course of Love is unlike any old romantic story is evident when, instead of ending the book with a fairytale wedding, his new novel focuses almost entirely on life after the “I do’s.” De Botton skims over the brief courtship, simple proposal and small wedding of his characters Rabih and Kirsten. Instead, de Botton fills pages with agonizingly long and drawn out arguments over little things, like furniture and whether windows should stay open or closed at night. His characters deal with job struggles, an affair, the death of a family member and countless therapy sessions. In de Botton’s words, the book is “very boring, very normal, which is actually how most of our lives go.” 

“It’s an attempt to show two people who are very enthusiastic about love and are very romantic, but nevertheless, don’t really have the first clue how to run a relationship,” de Botton told The Huffington Post in a Skype interview. “It follows them over time and tries to teach the reader as they are taught themselves by their own life experiences. It’s like a sort of ‘life simulator’ that’s trying to spare the reader a bit of time.” 

And in a world full of flash mob marriage proposals and endless reality TV soulmate-searching, De Botton’s novel is different, refreshing and, at times, a little too real. All in all, it’s much better than a show that pretends two months of romantic dinners, sunset cruises and countless vacations is the norm. 

“Things like ‘The Bachelor,’ they’re just playing to the worst impulses in our brains,” de Botton said. “Most of what’s wrong in relationships is not that we haven’t found the right person, it’s just that we don’t know how to manage a relationship. And therefore, shows that keep locating the fundamental problem of love in the idea that you haven’t got the right person, is kind of taking the wrong target.” 

Despite the premise of finding true love, the relationships on the show often crumble after the cameras move on. Many “Bachelor”/“Bachelorette” alums like Andi Dorfman knock this image of a perfect courtship once they’re off the air and detail the real-life struggles with their newly betrothed in candid tell-alls. 

So if we know that many relationships from the show don’t last and ― thanks to the show “UnREAL” ― that basically all of the storylines are fake, why do we still watch? De Botton thinks it’s because “many of the best ideas are not presented to the general public in appealing enough ways.” 

“If you go to a bookstore, the front areas are filled with romance novels that look so appealing ― the covers are nice,” the author said. “And then, somewhere in the back, there are rather thick, intimidating tomes telling you about how not to be avoidant in relationships or whatever it is and you kind of think, ‘Oh. It’s slightly, badly prepared.’”

In terms of real romance in the media, de Botton recommends Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight” for all of the “recovering romantics” out there ― a term coined by someone at one of de Botton’s book tour talks. The movie, which is part of the “Before” trilogy, depicts the couple having a massive, necessary argument that is rarely seen at that sort of level on the big screen. 

“It shows how badly people behave in relationships by certain kind of standard and, yet, how normal it is to behave badly because there’s so much fear and resentment and feeling and all sorts of things and that’s OK,” de Botton said. “Like a lot of good art, it reassures us that we’re OK, even if we’re a bit tricky. But as I say, there’s not enough good art around and it’s not popular enough. That’s kind of a problem.”  

The Course Of Love
by Alain de Botton
Simon & Schuster, $26.00
Published June 14, 2016

Follow Alain on Twitter, read along on his website, The Book of Life, and be sure to watch his YouTube channel, The School of Life

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

The #1 Death Knell For Married Sex

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 10:30
Teenagers are consummate C-blockers! 

They put the kibosh on romance because they have the hearing of Doberman crime dogs; they can hear a mouse fart through your dense plaster and lathe walls.

The thought of you and their father having sex makes them want to projectile vomit.

You're not allowed to hug or kiss or even give each other shoulder hugs in public. Because this is mortifying. People are watching! Also, it's gross.

They won't watch an episode of Friends with their father in the room (they're girls). He must leave and you MUST NOT use the show as a "teaching moment."

You need to stop explaining that if Joey had as many one-night stands as he's supposed to be having he'd be imprisoned for overdue child support unless one of his baby-mamas ran him over with her Sienna minivan first.

At night your husband serves as your teddy bear. Because you're both chubbier than you should be.

You eat too much cheese, chocolate and ice cream because life is too structured, which is good for your teenagers, not so good for you.

You can't just run off to Sri Lanka, spending your days filming a documentary on the knitwear sweat factories while visiting opium dens in the evening.

You have to drive your children to fencing lessons, to Jeet Kune Do, to the orthodontist where you'll pay for their straight teeth in the blood of your fathers.

You looked at your husband today, not one foot from you, and you thought, "Man, I miss that guy."

He's right there. But you miss him.

You miss being alone with him. You miss talking to him about how Murnau's Sunrise was boring as shit and exclaiming that the UCLA film and television department has to stop screening it.

You think they should screen Bridesmaids instead. Screw film history! You'd rather dine with Trump than sit through fucking Last Year at Marienbad again.

Oh, the liveliness of this conversation, that would certainly lead to sex.

You have friends with teenagers who seem to be really attempting to keep sex alive. You know this because you used their bathroom today. And as you sat, contemplating their Oaxacan tile, you noticed the latest edition of The Economist sitting in their toilet magazine rack.

The fucking Economist!

This means they're still interesting!

They're still aware of what's happening in the outside world and probably discuss it when they come up for air from fellatio.

You don't read The Economist.

You watch The Bachelorette because your teenagers watch The Bachelorette.

The other night these words actually issued from your thinning lips:

"I just don't trust Jordan. Just look at that Haircut. It has 'cheater' written all over it. Also, he has knock-knees."

You know the names of all of the other bachelors on The Bachelorette, despite the fact they all seem to have the same hairdresser, manicurist and genital groomer.

You think about the fact that human beings are the only animals who keep their young this long.

Granted, elephants are pregnant for 22-months and give birth to 250 lb. babies. So there's that. But they only keep them for a couple of years.

You don't necessarily want your teenagers to leave. At least ... not permanently. You love them. But you'd like them to live with you two weeks on, two weeks off.

Perhaps, you realize, this is why people get divorced?

You don't want to get divorced.

You'd just like your teenagers to occasionally live a few blocks away with Julie Andrews, who'd keep them wearing clean drapes and singing Edelweiss while you and their father could have one of your former "hospital days."

This isn't as geriatric as it sounds. A "hospital day" meant unplugging from the outside world and not getting out of bed all day.

This included:

  • Sleeping

  • Watching "When Harry Met Sally" (you) and "Stalingrad" (him)

  • Making love

  • Eating Trader Joe's mozzarella-prosciutto roll (you), Captain Crunch(him)

  • Napping

  • Giving back rubs which led to making love

  • Reading Wired (him) The Enquirer (you)

  • Sipping tea (him), quaffing Prosecco (you)

  • Smoking the odd Bolivar Coronas Gigantes Cuban cigars

  • Drifting off to sleep in each other's relaxed embrace

You worry the next time you take a "hospital day" together it will be in an actual hospital.

Sometimes you do THIS and THIS to fight The Man (aka Teenagers). But usually you're treading water as fast as you can.

Married Ninjas: How do you keep things thriving in the sack with teenagers guarding The Wall? xo S

If you enjoyed this article you'll thoroughly enjoy Shannon's: Married Sex: Fact & Fiction.

Don't miss a thing by opting in to Shannon's monthly newsletter here.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

11 Reasons Divorce Is Better Than Staying In A Bad Marriage

Tue, 07/12/2016 - 00:01

When you’re considering divorce ― or reeling from your ex’s decision to end the marriage ― it’s easy to focus on the negatives: How will I possibly get by living on my own again? How will the kids be impacted by this? Am I doomed to be alone for the rest of my life?

While those concerns are understandable, it’s equally important to focus on the good that can come of being single. Below, HuffPost Divorce bloggers share 11 reasons divorce is preferable to staying in an unhappy, unhealthy marriage. 

1. Marriage may give you a sense of security but divorce gives you a new lease on life. 

“Staying in a bad marriage can provide security because at least you know how your life will go. But getting a divorce gives you hope ― the hope to be who you want to be, the hope to be happy and the hope to find someone else to love.” ― Barry Gold

2. Being a single parent is better than modeling an unhealthy relationship. 

“If you’re a parent with young kids, getting a divorce is better than staying in a bad marriage because these are formative years for them. They will likely seek out and emulate the types of relationships they see modeled. I want my relationships to be happy, healthy and mutually respectful, so that my children never settle for anything else in their own lives.” ― Lindsey Light 

3. Divorce clears the way for you to meet the right partner.

“Divorce is painful but it’s kind of like pulling off a Band-Aid: The anticipation is horrible but once it’s over, it’s pure relief. Bonus: It allows you the freedom to meet the person you were meant to be with!” ― Al Corona 

4. You get to focus on you for once.

“After divorce, you find yourself again and fall in love with the wonderful attributes that make you you. As a mother especially, you can parent with just your own mama instincts and all your love and energy can flow into your little one(s). You find genuine peace and happiness and an appreciation for life that may have been sucked out of you during your bad marriage.” ― Shelley Cameron 

5. Divorce isn’t the worst thing that can happen to your kids. Enduring a hostile home life is.

“After my first wife and mother of my five children left us permanently, I felt like going through divorce was the worst thing that could happen to a family. So when my second marriage was falling apart, as my kids sole and single parent, I was desperate to protect them from the trauma of another divorce. As a result, I kept the family in a situation that wasn’t good for any of us. The reality is, the worst thing for your children is for them to live in a hostile home and have them see you unhappy. My life and my children’s’ lives have gotten better and happier with each passing day after the divorce.” ― Matt Sweetwood  

6. There’s a big difference between loneliness and solitude. 

“My divorce helped me discover the gift of solitude when I once experienced the pain of loneliness. Now that I’ve learned to enjoy being alone, I’m free from that awful feeling of separation that comes from being with the wrong person.” ― Tammy Letherer

7. You and your partner may be stifling each other’s growth.

“I feel that divorce should rarely be the first choice because generally the only thing keeping a ‘bad’ marriage from being a ‘good’ marriage is sustained mutual effort. That being said, there are times that divorce is the best choice in order to allow both partners to grow and achieve the life they desire, and in some scenarios, the life they deserve.” ― Derick Turner 

8. A happier parent is a better parent. 

“Learning to let go and step into the unknown may be the single most important thing you can do for your own sanity and the sanity of those around you. Divorce proves that you have the courage to live a life of happiness. And if you’re happier, you’ll be a far more effective parent.” ― Carey Fan 

9. You can devote your energy to other important areas of your life. 

“If you have done all the work of trying to make the marriage better and nothing is changing, finding the courage to leave and move forward pays off in the long run. The pay off? You stop putting all your energy into a relationship that no longer works and put more energy into yourself and your kids.” ― Cherie Morris

10. You deserve a partner who’s just as invested in the relationship as you are. 

“Divorce is preferable to a marriage without love. We all deserve to be loved. I never want to be in a marriage where that partnership isn’t sacred and a priority.” ― Carly Israel

11. You lose a spouse but you gain happiness.  

“Divorce brought me happiness. Life is far too short to spend it immersed in an unhealthy relationship.” ― Nicole Lavery

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

10 Ways To Improve Your Emotional IQ

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 22:01
A major reason that people struggle in all types of relationships, is that they struggle with their emotional intelligence, and truly understanding others.n Emotional IQ is our ability to relate to and read others. It is the skill of putting yourself in someone else's shoes, trying to think about how they might be feeling, and saying and doing what they person needs from us in that moment. Many people struggle with their emotional IQ, and often ask how they can develop those skills so that they can more easily connect with others. One could see how strengthening these skills could benefit them in every relationship areas of their life. This list will hopefully provide you a good start to ways in which you can develop these skills and be more emotionally connected with others.

1. Learn to listen to that voice in your head, or that knot in your stomach. I have often told people that you should not ignore that feeling when you have it, as it is usually telling you something, and it is usually right. When there is a feeling about something we cannot shake, we need to take a closer look at it and ask why.

2. Keep a daily mood journal or tracker. This is a way that you need to pause and really ask yourself how you are feeling today and why. It helps us see patterns, learn our common feelings, and see how our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected to each other.

3. If we go all the way back to Sigmund Freud, we come across the idea of Free Association. This is the act of stopping what we are doing, quietly laying by ourselves, and letting our thoughts roam free. This can tell us a great deal about what is occupying our subconscious, and can help us be more in tune with it consciously.

4. See if you are able to connect your thoughts and feelings. People will often tell me that they are not sure what is causing their anxiety or their depression. If we make a concerted effort to ask ourselves why we are feelings a certain way, we will become more and more able to do so freely in the future.

5. Do not edit or judge your feelings. Do not tell yourself that what you are feeling is wrong or silly. Allow yourself to feel it, and to ask yourself why you are feeling a certain way. This will help you connect physical manifestations with thoughts and feelings, and to have more control over them in the future.

6. Learn to stop personalizing with others say and do. Too often we assume what others are thinking about us, that they are acting a certain way or doing a certain thing because of something we have said or done. When we learn that each person has their own issues they are thinking about and dealing with, ones that most often have nothing to do with us, we stop personalizing, and start considering others feelings.

7. Learning to be assertive in situations that warrant it. Often we build up a great deal of anxiety with situations that make us uncomfortable, or thinking about things that we want and need to say. If we can learn to develop our assertiveness, we can get these things out, and reduce our levels of stress and anxiety. It also helps us learn how to work with and deal with others more effectively.

8. Learning to manage our emotions when someone upsets us. If we stop and ask ourselves, what is it about them that is upsetting us? Why do they make us feel this way? We not only develop insight, but we might create a situation where we are able to speak to the person and address the issue head on. It can create greater understanding on both parts.

9. We need to learn to reduce negative thinking and replace it with realistic and positive thinking. We need to learn to bounce back from our miss-steps and failures, and learn to believe in ourselves. It is the ability to develop a faith that we can overcome adversity, and be more successful that we thought possible. Always remember that the greatest successful people in the world, have themselves suffered some of the most serious set-backs. The different is they believed in themselves, picked themselves up, and moved forward.

10. Learning to express what you are thinking and feeling to those that are important to you. This may be one of the most important tools to develop in emotional IQ, the ability to communicate your thoughts, feelings, and needs to those who matter. As we find ourselves more and more able to both express and hear the others feelings, our own emotional IQ will grow by leaps and bounds. It can take just a few successful interactions to build our confidence, and to allow us to use our newfound skills on a regular basis.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

What Your Divorce Lawyer's Hourly Rate Doesn't Tell You

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 19:43
Question: When does a 3-minute call from a divorce lawyer who charges $300 per hour cost MORE than the same call from a lawyer who charges $400/hr.?

Answer: When the $300/hr. lawyer charges in portions or "increments" of 2/10 of an hour, and the $400/hr. lawyer charges in 1/10 increments.

Wait... WHAT?

The great majority of divorce lawyers charge by the hour. Their hourly rates depend on factors such as experience, reputation, location, and perhaps how much they're shelling out for their kids' college education.

Clients consider hourly rates a key consideration in choosing a divorce lawyer, and rightly so. The problem is that hourly rates are usually misleading.

Based solely on their hourly rates in the example above, you would expect "Attorney 300" to charge you $15.00 for that 3-minute call, and "Attorney 400" to charge $20.00.

But they won't. Why? Because neither of those lawyers charge for the actual minutes spent. Instead, "Attorney 400" charges in increments of 1/10 (.1) of an hour (6 minutes), and "Attorney 300" uses increments of 2/10 (.2) of an hour (12 minutes).

What you see... and what you get
You know how the interest rate on your credit card isn't what you actually pay? That's because banks base interest charges on something other than your card's overdue balance.

Most lawyers' hourly rates aren't what you actually pay either. That's because lawyers base their charges on something other than the actual time they spend; namely, increments. And what makes incremental billing so expensive is that when lawyers bill in 6 or 12-minute increments, those increments become minimum charges. A lawyer using .1 increments charges a minimum of 6 minutes for anything she does on your case--even if it only takes 2 or 3 minutes. And a lawyer using .2 increments bills even more in extra fees--a minimum of 12 minutes!

Put anther way, clients pay more than their lawyer's hourly rate every time a .1 increment lawyer spends less than 6 minutes on a task, or a .2 lawyer spends less than 12 minutes.

The "effective hourly rate:" a more accurate measure
Minimum charges are the reason that hourly rates are an inaccurate measure of how much a lawyer charges. And they can mislead folks who choose a divorce attorney based on her hourly rate.

A more accurate comparison of lawyers' charges can be made using what I call the lawyer's "effective hourly rate" (EHR). EHR is more accurate because it takes into account both a lawyer's hourly rate and the increments in which she charges.

To illustrate how EHR works, let's look again at that 3-minute phone call:
"Attorney 400," who charges in .1 increments, will charge $40.00 for that call: $400 x .1 = $40.00 ($13.33 per minute). But "Attorney 300," who charges in .2 increments, will charge $60.00 for the same 3 minutes: $300 x .2 = $60.00 ($20.00/minute)! To compare the two lawyers' 3-minute EHRs, simply multiply their per-minute charges by the 60 minutes in an hour. That yields a 3-minute EHR (are you sitting down?) of $800/hr. for "Attorney 400" and $1,200/hr. for "Attorney 300." I know!

While your heartbeat returns to normal, remember that EHR applies only to tasks that take less than 6 minutes for .1 increment billers, and less than 12 minutes for .2 increment billers. EHR doesn't apply, for example, to a half-hour meeting because it exceeds both 6 and 12-minute minimum charges. Thus, regular hourly rates accurately measure the cost of that meeting at $200.00 for Attorney 400 and $150.00 for Attorney 300.

Nevertheless, minimum charges add up. While they won't make "Attorney 400" cheaper than "Attorney 300" over the course of a divorce, they can substantially narrow the difference between "Attorney 300" and a lawyer charging $350.00/hr. but using .1 increments.

Reducing the impact of incremental billing
You can't eliminate the extra fees incremental billing generates. But you can reduce them.

Find out what increments a lawyer uses before you retain him. As our example shows, lawyers using 12-minute increments rack up substantially more in extra legal fees than those using 6-minute increments. And precious few of the .2 billers that I know hit enough home runs to be entitled to that big a bonus.

You can also control minimum charges by avoiding them whenever possible. Wait, for example, to call your lawyer until you have several topics to discuss, rather than just one. And don't call your lawyer at all to check whether a hearing has been scheduled; contact a staffer instead.

If you're considering retaining a 12-minute minimum lawyer, make sure the extra charges will be offset by a lower hourly rate or some other benefit such as special expertise your case requires.

In all events, use your understanding of incremental billing to save money in your divorce!

Learn more about saving money during divorce
in Larry Sarezky's new book Divorce, Simply Stated
available in print and Kindle versions at amazon.com

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

12 Cards Any Newly Single Person Would Be Happy To Get In The Mail

Mon, 07/11/2016 - 19:35

Whether your bestie just ended a summer fling or a 10-year marriage, chances are he or she is in need of some cheering up.

There’s no better way to say “I’ve got your back” than with a snarky or sweet card. Below, we’ve rounded up 12 Etsy cards that do the trick.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

These 7 Questions Could Determine Whether Your Marriage Will Last Or Fail

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 21:43

Not every romantic relationship you find yourself in is meant to go the distance. Just because you have crazy chemistry, for instance, doesn’t mean you and your partner have what it takes to sustain a long-term relationship, said Joyce Morley, a marriage and family therapist in Decatur, Georgia. 

“Although you’d like to be on the same page with your S.O. and feel like soulmates, the reality is, that type of relationship is more the exception than the rule,” she told The Huffington Post. “You have to ask yourself if the relationship is worth taking to the next level.” 

Below, Morley and other marriage therapists share seven important questions to ask your partner before taking the relationship any further. 

“Talking about the expectations each of you has around children is crucial to the success of your relationship. If you want them, how many and when? You should both absolutely be on the same page about this. This will lead to a deeper discussion around parenting and finances, as it ties in. For instance, if one of you wishes to stay home with a baby, how will this work? And for how long? Be sure to also discuss your plans if you have difficulty conceiving. You should try to flesh out your parenting philosophies as well as much as possible.” ― Marni Feuerman, a couples therapist based in Boca Raton, Florida

“It is important to recognize that just because you are intimately involved with someone, it doesn’t mean you are in a solid relationship. A short-term relationship is one of convenience. A healthy and positive relationship requires commitment from both partners and healthy and effective communication. A solid relationship is a two-way reciprocated process: It entails giving and receiving. A short-lived relationship involves just taking. In a quality relationship, your partner sees you as the only choice, not an option.” ― Joyce Morley

“Ask yourselves: Are we good at talking things out and letting stuff go? Or do we tend to walk away from conflict and serious discussions and pretend it was resolved? Be careful if you get caught up in perpetual negative patterns like this. I would also be worried if you say you ‘never fight.’ That means you are probably avoiding tough topics and sweeping them under the rug.” ― Marni Feuerman 

“It’s unrealistic to think that marriage will and should be smooth every step of the way. The couple who is wise is the couple who can put their egos to the side and be open to the idea of seeking outside help, should they need it. Many people think, ‘Well if we need to go to therapy, then we have failed.’ Quite the contrary: A couple who feels confident to seek outside help is a couple who is taking mindful care of their marriage.” Carin Goldstein, a marriage and family therapist based in Sherman Oaks, California 

“As a couple, each of you must decide what you are willing to compromise on or sacrifice in order to spend a lifetime with your mate. What are you willing to give up? Maybe it’s a toxic friendship, a bad habit or a vice. And on the other hand, what are you not willing to tolerate in a relationship? Maybe it’s disrespect, poor money management, infidelity or overly involved in-laws. Too often, we go into marriage thinking that once we’re married, our mate will change. The reality is, people don’t change. Knowing that, discuss what you are willing to compromise on ― and what you refuse to tolerate ― and you’re more likely to have a successful marriage.” ― Joyce Morley

“You are both two individual people coming together and you are not exactly alike. You are bound to rub each other the wrong way, get annoyed by certain habits or have interests that clash. You must feel that you can embrace each other’s differences and have enough in common. Perhaps you are an introvert who enjoys quiet nights at home and your partner needs to be out and around lots of people to feel good. Know whether or not this will drive you crazy or if you can both work out a balance around it.” ― Marni Feuerman 

“You and your partner should have the same or similar beliefs and values but you also have to be going in the same direction in your lives. It’s important for you to assess where you are and where you would like to be, as an individual and as a couple. You have to be on the same page as a couple, or at least in the same chapter ― or phase ― of your life. If you’re not even in the same book, you have a lot of work to do in order to become more aligned with each other. It’s a matter of deciding, can I do the work and am I willing to do the work to align myself with my mate?” ― Joyce Morley

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

Catholic Bishop’s Advice For Divorced, Remarried Catholics: Stop Having Sex

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 21:11

After more than three years of parish surveys and high profile bishops’ meetings about Catholic family life, this is the final message that one bishop has for people who have divorced and remarried without getting an annulment: If you want to receive Communion again, stop having sex. 

And more importantly ― if you thought the Pope’s call for an inclusive church means you can be on parish councils or serve as lectors and assistants during Mass, you’re wrong. You can’t. 

Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles Chaput reaffirmed traditional Catholic teachings on marriage and the family in a set of guidelines created for priests and lay workers who are in charge of giving pastoral care regarding matters of human sexuality in his archdiocese. The guidelines came into effect on July 1.

Catholics who have divorced and remarried without an annulment from the church have long been banned from taking Communion. While saying that these Catholics should be made to feel welcomed in Philadelphia’s parishes, the archdiocese stressed that they should “refrain from sexual intimacy,” even if they are living in the same house. 

“Undertaking to live as brother and sister is necessary for the divorced and civilly-remarried to receive reconciliation in the Sacrament of Penance, which could then open the way to the Eucharist,” the guidelines state

This principle, which the archdiocese acknowledged is a “hard teaching for many,” is one of the results of a more than three-year process in which the global Catholic Church studied how it should practice pastoral care for modern families in a time when divorce, co-habitation before marriage, and same-sex marriage are becoming more common. The church sent out a worldwide parish-level questionnaire on the issue in 2013 and top Catholic bishops met at the Vatican twice over the next two years. 

The culmination of that process was Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia (Latin for “The Joy of Love”), which was released April 8. The wide-ranging document summarized and interpreted the findings of that study. Amoris Laetitia didn’t set forth any new rules or changes to long-established Catholic doctrine on marriage ― the pope wanted each country and region to seek solutions that fit local cultures and traditions. But Francis emphasized that he wanted priests to welcome people who are in relationships that the church considers to be “irregular,” instead of confronting them with rigid doctrine.

As the head of an informal bishops committee tasked with implementing Amoris Laetitia in America, Chaput’s interpretation of the document may prove to be significant. According to Vatican journalist John Allen, Philadelphia is one of the first archdiocese to publish its interpretation of the Pope’s document on the family. 

“My suspicion is that those who are inclined to a more progressive reading [of Amoris Laetitia] are not going to put out documents to say so. It will quietly be made clear to priests that it is OK under certain circumstances, for example, to allow some people to quietly come back to communion,” Allen told The Guardian. “My suspicion is that the more traditional line [adopted by some bishops] will be more public.”

Kathy Finley, a Catholic author who co-authored the book “Building Christian Families” with her husband, told The Huffington Post that the guidelines issued by Archbishop Chaput “have a rather different tone from [Amoris Laetitia].” 

“When starting from the legal documents of the past, one ends up with rules and dos and don’ts, such as living as brother and sister if a couple is divorced and civilly remarried,” Finley wrote to HuffPost in an email. “But when one begins with listening to the lived experience of couples who are trying to live their faith in difficult situations, a stronger sense of compassion shows in pastoral awareness and sensitivity.”

Chaput’s interpretation of Amoris Laetitia may be in line with tradition, but the truth is that a good number of U.S. Catholics stray far from church doctrine on marriage.

Only about a quarter (26 percent) of divorced U.S. Catholics say they or their former spouse sought an annulment from the church, according to the Pew Research CenterSome Catholics say that the annulment process can be intrusive and costly, while others simply don’t think it’s necessary. In addition, the majority of American Catholics (62 percent) think that divorced and remarried Catholics should be allowed to receive Communion without getting an annulment. Sixty-one percent say getting a divorce isn’t a sin. 

In addition to reminding divorced and remarried couples to live chastely, Philadelphia’s archdiocese also made it clear that these Catholics shouldn’t hold positions of responsibility in a parish, to avoid “giving scandal or implying that Christ’s teaching can be set aside.”

The guidelines also prescribed chastity for unmarried, cohabiting couples and for same-sex couples. According to the archdiocese, LGBT people who are in “active, public” relationships can’t be accepted into the life of a parish because they “offer a serious counter-witness to Catholic belief, which can only produce moral confusion in the community.” 

Michael Sean Winters, a columnist for The National Catholic Reporter, suggested that this intent to prevent scandal is itself “a source of scandal.”

“So intent are prelates like Archbishop Chaput in refusing to think there is anything really worth discussing here, they wish to shut down and foreclose the pope’s obvious invitation to discussion and adult decision making,” Winters wrote for NCR. “They have the answers and anyone who questions them causes scandal.”

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

How Baggage From Your Divorce Can Ruin a Great Date After 50

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 16:34

Everyone comes with baggage when they enter a relationship.

Heading onto the dating scene for the first time in a very long time...

You probably haven't given much thought to how this baggage from your past can affect your present and future relationships with men you're dating.

Let's face it, we all carry baggage.

Even when we married the first time around back in our 20's and 30's, we were carrying some of it.

Maybe a couple of high school and college sweethearts along with some "growing pains" type issues you might have had with your parents.

The thing is...what we had back then would have fit in a carry on suitcase.

Now fast forward 20 or 30 years to where you are today.

You may have experienced a marriage or two.

There's children and grandchildren.

Aging parents.

In laws you're still close to.

Shared friends you socialized with.


Health Issues.

Debt... and that's just to name a few of the pieces you're carrying around with you.

What this means is your baggage has now grown from that small suitcase into a steamer trunk filled with baggage.

Most of us totally underestimate how baggage can affect a date and a future relationship.

One of the biggest mistakes women make is revealing too much of their baggage on a first date.

It's like you're testing the guy to see if he'll like you...issues and all.

Men are happy to help you with your issues over time.

But...what a man can tolerate once he's in a relationship with you will more than likely scare him off if its revealed on a first date.

So what topics should be left off the table on a first date?

Trashing Your Ex

Sharing your anger about an ex on a first date is a huge no-no!

He thinks if you're talking this way about the last guy you were with... then what will you say about him should the two of you get involved then break up?

This feels pretty scary to a man!

If he asks about your ex, you can use phrases like these...

"Yes, I have one but he lives out of state."

Or..."Yes I have one, and he was a good father to my children."

Or "Yes, I have one and he remarried."

Or even "Yes, I have one and he works in a specific industry."

Your goal is to say something positive about your ex no matter how small it is, so you do not appear as negative or vindictive on a first date.

Health Issues in Detail

I remember one particular first date where a guy started telling me about his health issues within the first 10 minutes.

I heard about his breathing machine.

And his prescription drugs for his heart and blood sugar issues.

This was way too much information for a first date.

I used an exit strategy and was out of there within 10 minutes of hearing that.

And men will run too!

Why? Without an emotional attachment to you, you'll feel like a project to him.

If a man asks you about your health (which he shouldn't unless he's doing the first date checklist)...you can turn it around and say in a flirting voice something like this..."Why, do I look sick?"

Remember, first dates are for meeting someone new and interesting.

They are not for grilling someone.

I promise if you stop Dating to Mate and start Dating to Date, you can have far more fun with dating.

And when you're having fun...you appear a lot more interesting to a man than the woman who uses a checklist and spills her baggage on a first date.

Your Finances

Money is a taboo subject for a first date.

If you are in debt...and if you share this on a first date, a man thinks you're just looking for a sugar daddy.

This will send him running.

The same thing goes for if you have a lot of money.

He may be looking for someone to take care of him.

Until you know someone better, you want to keep this information to yourself.

And remember...when you're on a first date, the guy you're sharing private information with is still a stranger.

Don't share a lot of personal information with him.

What You Can Talk About On a First Date

Keep your dates light and fun.

Share interesting things about your life that you love.

Ask him about his life and come away from each date having learned one new and interesting thing about this new man.

I'd love to hear what you think about your baggage, his baggage and how it's affected dates you've been on in the past.

Lisa Copeland is known as the expert on over 50's dating. She's the best-selling author of The Winning Dating Formula For Women Over 50 and a regular Huffington Post contributor. Her mission is to help as many women around the world as she can discover how to have fun dating and finding their Mr. Right after 50. Learn the 5 Little Known Secrets to Finding a Quality Man Over 50 at www.FindAQualityMan.com.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Divorce Stuff

Family Regulation -- Good or Bad?

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 15:30
Couples A and B each have two children. Couple A has been married for ten years. Couple B has also been married for ten years. One of the partners in each of these couples earns the same amount of money. The other partner in each couple also earn the same amount of money, which is about one-fourth of that amount. The higher earning partner in each of these couples is a very controlling person. That partner decides how much money is spent by the family and how much is saved. These include such decisions as whether the children can attend certain extracurricular activities or camp, how much the other partner can spend on clothes and personal effects and what is done with savings. If the children want something that the higher earner won't provide, they either don't get it or the lower earning spouse uses what the person has available to try and provide it.

Couple A separates, couple B does not. When Couple A separate, the higher-earning controlling spouse loses a significant amount of that control. The similarly-situated spouse in Couple B never loses that control.

Couple A ends up in the family court system. The court now tells the higher earning partner how much money must be provided to the other partner each month. The court tells that partner what expenses must be paid for the children. In addition, the court also tells both partners who will have the children when.

Over the ensuing 5 years both couples have disagreements over their children. They cannot agree on what school to send the children to, or whether one of the children has special needs which must be provided for. The court tells Couple A where the children will attend school, and what the higher-earning parent in Couple A has to pay for in terms of those needs. In Couple B, the controlling spouse decides where the children attend school and what will provided to the special needs child. For Couple A., the lower earner gets a set amount of money each month for an indefinite time period for the next 7 years. For Couple B, the lower earning spouse only gets what the higher earner is willing to provide which isn't much. The high earner in Couple B spends most of his earnings on himself.

Which couple has the better outcome? One could argue that lower earner from Couple A ended up with the better deal. That individual now has a monthly allowance not previously available, and is not subject to the control of the other spouse. On the other hand, no one is interfering in Couple B's domestic life. While the weaker partner may not be getting the same deal as the weaker partner in Couple A, does that really matter? And with regard to the couple that did get divorced, is it appropriate that their lives are regulated in this way? Are we discriminating against divorcing partners by regulating aspects of their lives that are not regulated for anyone else? Are fewer people marrying these days because they do not want to end up subject to such regulation?

There are no right answers to these questions. They are set forth for the purposes of making us think. The real question is this: if we are willing not to interfere in the daily lives of those who end up staying in a marriage-happily or not, should we be interfering in the lives of those that choose to divorce? Or, should our laws be reformed to provide actual protection when it is needed such as in cases of domestic violence or to prevent children from going without financial support, but not go beyond that. Why is it socially acceptable for the children in Couple B's family to be denied what they need because the parents stayed together, while the children in Couple A's family get what they need because the parents got divorced? And conversely why is it acceptable for the higher earner in Couple B to keep the bulk of what has been earned, while we are requiring the higher earner in Couple A to pay a percentage of income to the other spouse?

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

'My Fiance's Daughter Has Anxiety Attacks When We Ask Her To Spend Time With Me'

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 14:37
Reader At My Wits End writes,

I have been dating an amazing man for the past 3 years and we are recently engaged. We have 3 kids from our prior marriages, one 6 year old boy from mine, and a 4 year old boy and 9 year old girl from his. He proposed to me in December and I said yes and thought I was the happiest woman in the world. I believe he's the love of my life and we are very happy when we are together.

Here's the rub, his daughter has been having severe anxiety for the last year or so in regards to spending time with us and we haven't been able to blend our families at all. We even had to alter our living arrangements where he lives with us during the week but goes back to his ex's home on the weekends (the ex usually heads out of town to be with her boyfriend so he and the kids are alone.) The anxiety is so severe now that we rarely spend any time together on the weekends unless we each get sitters for the kids.

The daughter's anxiety attacks start right when he tells her we are going to do something together.  He cannot snap her out of it nor calm her down for long periods of time. His solution has consisted of cancelling our plans 90% of the time. We have also gone months without spending any time with the kids together.

He tells me they are in therapy, but it's pretty inconsistent with very little improvement. One thing that has come out of therapy is that her mother has been saying extremely negative things, including how he is replacing them with us, and making the daughter feel like she is doing something wrong for spending time with us. These attacks have only intensified recently and I find myself on the outside looking in but ultimately unable to change anything.

I want to move on with our lives, blend our families, and enjoy the simple and normal things families do on the weekends. I feel that I am held hostage by the horrible things his ex has done to his 9 year old every single weekend and I can't seem to move past the idea of when will he say enough is enough and force her to spend time with us. We know we can never stop the ex from committing this emotional abuse and I also know that anxiety is not something you can simply ignore. I'm nearing the end in regards to my patience and I am really starting to doubt we have a future. Are the patterns and behaviors too far gone for any kind of fix, or is there any hope?

Dear AMWE,

This is an extremely difficult situation all around.  Your fiance's ex-wife appears to be a severely troubled, anxious, and angry person who likely has no idea the extent of the emotional abuse that she is perpetrating on her daughter.  The most frustrating part is that she herself has a new boyfriend, yet she will not allow your ex to move on, and continues to poison their daughter against him and you.  Although everyone in this situation is suffering, I feel the worst for the daughter, who has been taught that hanging out with you means losing her father and upsetting her mother.  You are showing wonderful empathy for the daughter's position in all of this.

I believe that the next step needs to be including you in family counseling sessions, which need to be weekly.  You have been around for three years, you are empathic and caring, and you have been giving this girl all the space she needs, which is why I am recommending that your fiance takes a stronger approach here (versus my advice to this woman). You are going to be marrying this girl's father, and she needs to see you as a loving and stable presence in her life.  The daughter may panic and protest at your inclusion in family sessions, but if your fiance wants to ever establish a family unit that includes both you and his daughter, he needs to stay strong and force this issue.

The only way to recover from anxiety is to confront it, via exposure.  The daughter needs to be exposed to you to realize that you are not the enemy.  Also, if she is "forced" to spend time with you at first via this "mandatory" counseling sessions, then she will not have to worry about feeling guilty that she "chose" to spend time with you, which she likely associates with betraying her mom.  (You can read more about what kids may think about their parent's new significant other in my book, How to Talk to Your Kids About Your Divorce.) Spending time with you and her dad will also allow her to see that he can in fact be with you without loving her any less, contrary to the nightmare of abandonment that her mother describes.  Eventually, with therapy and consistent reassurance from her dad, I hope that this little girl begins to feel less anxiety and fear around you, and even to like you.

If your fiance cannot or will not try this, though, then there are bigger problems.  He is likely struggling with a lot of guilt due to all of this, and may be unable to bring himself to cause his little girl any more distress, even in the short term.  If he cannot see that this situation has only been getting worse since she has been allowed to avoid you, then you need to try and gently point that out.  Anxiety thrives when avoidance is allowed.  Nobody will confront a feared situation without some gentle pushing, and if your fiance wants this relationship to work, he needs to take a new approach, as I outlined above.<

Keep me updated and I truly hope this works out for you long term.  Till we meet again, I remain, The Blogapist Who Says, Blending Families Is Not For The Faint Of Heart.

This post was originally published here on Dr. Psych Mom. Follow Dr. Rodman on Dr. Psych Mom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Order her book, How to Talk to Your Kids about Your Divorce: Healthy, Effective Communication Techniques for Your Changing Family. Learn about Dr. Rodman's private practice here. This blog is not intended as diagnosis, assessment, or treatment, and should not replace consultation with your medical provider.

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

10 Dating Tips Every Single Woman Over 50 Needs To Know

Thu, 07/07/2016 - 10:54

Tip #1 -- You want to put in writing both your short term and your long term dating goals.

My short term goals were about meeting new and interesting men and I wanted to have fun dating.

My long term goal was about being in a committed relationship.

Both worked out well for me and they can for you too when you start your journey with this exercise.

Tip #2 -- Stop making excuses for not dating.

I hear women say, "Now isn't the right time (and I ask them if not now, when?) or they have to lose 10 pounds before they can even think about dating."

This type of thinking comes from fear.

When you're feeling this way, take a baby step and go on one dating site.

Once you've taken one step and you've had some success, the next step will be a lot easier.

The cool thing is ... you might find you're having fun!

Tip #3 -- Not understanding the language men speak and hear may be keeping you from finding a great guy. (by the way, they are not women in men's bodies!)

Men don't love talking about feelings although they are far more emotional than you think.

They just don't know how to express it thanks to feelings often being squelched by adults in their childhood.

By learning the language men speak and hear, you're going to find that you start getting your needs met more often without having to ask for what you want over and over again.

Tip #4 -- End the cycle of being overly perfectionistic about what men must have in order to date you.

It's far more important to look for someone who will make you laugh and open your heart than it is to find a man who is 6 feet tall.

Tip #5 -- Get out of your comfort zone and date men who are different than your usual type.

Your usual type hasn't made you happy in the past so why will he start making you happy now?

Tip #6 -- Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right!

Henry Ford said this about developing cars.

Turns out it's true for just about every aspect of your life, including finding good men and dating.

Tip #7 -- Stop dating from your mind and start dating from your heart.

You're heart doesn't necessarily want what your mind does when it comes to a man.

Remember your mind is always trying to keep you safe and in your comfort zone.

Your heart wants you to feel loved, cherished and adored which are qualities you want in a man if one of your goals is to be in a long term relationship.

Tip #8 -- Go from invisibility to Rock Star Visibility with great pictures and a warm inviting profile online!

Men are visual and they want to see you and your beautiful smile not pictures of your cat, the scenery from your last vacation or your favorite outfit without you in it.

Here's the difference a great profile and awesome pictures can make ....

Its only been about 24 hours since I put my new profile and pictures online. 49 men want to meet me, 14 have written to me including 2 of my "top ten prospects" as have two other men I really would be interested in talking to. And the notes are so flattering and sweet. This is more activity than I've had in a year. You are a genius Lisa! Laurie, New Jersey

Tip #9 -- Dating can be both overwhelming and exhausting.

It's important to take a break whenever you need to.

Get back in touch with what lights you up.

Once you do, you'll feel rejuvenated and ready to date again.

Tip #10 -- Have fun and enjoy yourself on a date meeting someone new and interesting.

Everyone has a story ... your job is to find out what his is.

Definitely makes a date a lot more fun!

Lisa Copeland is known as the expert on over 50's dating. She's the best selling author of The Winning Dating Formula For Women Over 50 and a regular Huffington Post contributor. Her mission is to help as many women around the world as she can discover how to have fun dating and finding their Mr. Right after 50. Learn the 5 Little Known Secrets to Finding A Quality Man Over 50 at www.FindAQualityMan.com.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

Christie Brinkley Reveals What Initially Drew Her To John Mellencamp

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 22:18

There’s something about John Mellencamp. Just ask his girlfriend Christie Brinkley

In the latest issue of People magazine, the supermodel says that when she first met the 64-year-old rockstar last year, she was a bit taken aback by his presence. 

“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re really opposites. He’s kind of a throwback from another time, like a silent cowboy,” Brinkley, 62, said. “But then we talked and realized that we do have a lot of shared interests.”

For starters, there’s no huge age gap between them, so conversation comes naturally.

(Story continues under the photo) 

“I know guys that go out with girls that are so, so young. They’ll throw some reference out, and they’re like, ‘What’s that?’” she said. “When it comes to relationships, there is something nice about just being the same age.”

The couple also both have kids from previous marriages: Mellencamp has been married three times and has five kids and six grandkids. Brinkley has three kids and has been married four times, most famously to singer Billy Joel. Her fourth marriage, to architect Peter Cook, ended in a bitter divorce in 2008 and a drawn-out custody battle ― all of which has made the model wary of marriage. 

Though she’s previously sworn off wedded bliss (”With what I know, I don’t see why anyone would get married,” she told Ladies’ Home Journal in 2009), these days, she’s not even willing to discuss the matter. 

“I’m leery of discussing my relationship because I don’t want to jinx it,” she told Howard Stern when asked about marrying Mellencamp in November 2015. “And I feel like I was so dragged through the press that I [don’t want that again].” 

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Categories: Divorce Stuff

10 Surefire Ways to Screw Up Your Marriage

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 21:47

There are oh-so-many ways to screw up a relationship. If you got to the point of saying “I do,” however, it means you were in love and thought you wanted to spend the rest of your life with someone. With the divorce rate still hovering around 40 - 50 percent, it tells us that married couples are pretty bad at holding things together.  As a marriage therapist, I see day in and day out some of the same things that people do to make sure that their marriage goes down the tubes.

So, if you would like to follow suit, here are 10 suggestions that will nearly guarantee that your marriage will be miserable, unfulfilling, have you living like roommates or headed for divorce in no time flat.

Don’t put each other first

Don’t make each other your priorities. When you have kids, it’s now all about the kids. No more date nights, no more trying fun new things together.  Alternatively, work like crazy and have no time for your spouse.  Make spending time with your partner unimportant. 

Communicate poorly

Either escalate into screaming anger or shut down and refuse to talk.  Try to get your partner to read your mind. At this point they should be able to, as they have known you long enough, right?  Don’t say things that are bothering you when they come up.  Wait until you are resentful.  When you do talk, be sure to mention that time he or she did something wrong, even if it was five years ago.  Also, never compliment or notice the good things, just focus on what is going wrong. 

Keep secrets

Don’t talk about your day or what worries are on your mind.  If you are unhappy about something in the marriage, definitely keep that inside. Make major financial decisions without discussion.  Don’t share relevant information that may impact your future.  Furthermore, have an affair that is emotional or physical, or better yet, both!  Don’t tell anyone and continue to become completely un-enamored with your spouse. 

Have poor boundaries

Allow family and friends to invade your life.  Talk too much with these people about your personal life.  Air your dirty laundry everywhere.  Refuse to cut off someone in your life who is toxic.

Never have sex

Sex is not so important now that you are married. There is just too much going on in your lives. You are too busy and you definitely don’t want the kids to hear you. If it’s not spontaneous, why bother? Furthermore, limit all kinds of physical contact and affection.

Never apologize

If you did something wrong, refuse to apologize. Do not try to see anything from your spouse’s point of view.  When you hurt your partner, just make excuses and justify your behavior. Do not even try to make your spouse feel better.

Don’t show gratitude or appreciation

There is no reason to say “thank you” or show appreciation for the things your spouse is doing. You do things all the time, too.  It’s quid pro quo.  Plus, your partner should just know that you appreciate the effort by now.

Be overly controlling

You simply have to know every little detail about how your spouse’s time or money is spent. Throw a tantrum when your spouse tries to assert any independence.  Be insecure, jealous and manipulative.

Have an addiction

Decide upon which addiction you would like to have. It can be a) drugs, b) alcohol, c) porn or d) all of the above.  Wreak havoc on your spouse and children with this addiction.  Make them all enablers so your habit is not disrupted in any way.

Don’t get help if you need it

When you know something is wrong, do not seek help.  Ignore any problematic physical or mental condition.  Even when your spouse shows serious concern, still refuse to do anything to help yourself.  Don’t take care of yourself or try to stay healthy.  If your marriage is the problem, certainly do not get help until your spouse is considering divorce. (Special tip: at this point say emphatically, “I promise I will change!” but don’t really mean it.)

If these words are hitting a little too close to home, I urge you to make some serious changes to get your marriage and your life back on track. You may need to seek professional, individual psychotherapy or marriage counseling to truly make profound and meaningful changes. Give your marriage the best possible chance it deserves and remember, you fell in love for a reason.

Marni Feuerman is a psychotherapist in Boca Raton, Florida. She is nationally syndicated freelance writer and the marriage expert for the website About.com. Her website is www.TheTalkingSolution.com where you can sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Divorce Stuff

The 'Divorce Court' Judge's Best Advice For Dating After A Split

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 21:18

It may sound counterintuitive, but finding love after heartbreak often starts with working to become strongest, most independent version of yourself ― just ask Judge Lynn Toler of the television show Divorce Court.

In the clip above, Judge Toler offers advice to a single mom who is wary of dating again. 

“The stronger you are as a person, the less devastating a man who’s not quite right will be,” she says.

Watch the video above for more expert advice.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Divorce Stuff

It All Starts With Hope: Part 1 Of 2

Wed, 07/06/2016 - 20:21
I've been writing a lot lately about divorce. There's a reason for that, but while today's topic involves divorce it's not really about divorce.

Today I really need to talk about Hope.

My blog site has been a journey of hope, and I want to tell you my story about how it's been so far.

This post would end up being pretty long, so I'm going to break up this story into 2-parts. This is the first part.

When all hope was lost

After my divorce I felt lost. I was defeated. I felt alone. The person I had counted on for as long as I could remember was choosing to no longer love me. It hurt.

I took a little time to wallow in my self-pity, but I never took to it. I knew I needed to get out and do something with my pain.

I started a meetup group for people in my area who were separated and divorced. I thought if I could help others find some sense of normalcy, I could maybe find some. The group quickly grew, but it never really took off. After several months I closed it down.

Around that same time I attended a training about how to better present myself to people. It felt good to apply my skills towards something constructive. I have always enjoyed teaching and helping others.

While attending this training I had several different people, independent of one another, tell me that they felt I would be good at connecting with and helping a very specific group of people... divorced men.

I fought this idea for several months. I was a divorced man, and I knew the challenge of connecting with, and impacting the thoughts of a divorced man. Men are very often stubborn and prideful. Add to this that they have gone through a life changing defeat. Sure I'd like to help other men like me, but I did not feel up to that challenge.

While I eventually drew back from the idea of focusing on that specific group, I was determined to get out of my own head and help others. I chose to focus my attentions on the more generalized group of "everyday men." I knew I could relate to them, and I knew that they needed a strong voice.

It is my firm belief that the caliber of men in the world today has diminished greatly. I believe there are too many men who have lost a sense of confidence and clarity in who they are supposed to be. Rarely do we see the same level of respect and chivalry that I had grown up learning.

I knew that while I was by no means the perfect example, I had strong foundational values that I felt were worth sharing. I believed that if I could speak clearly and loudly enough, I could reach the hearts of the men who were sincere seekers of strength and motivation.

I also knew I was stubborn and strong enough to face that challenge, so I began my efforts by creating my blog site, www.DerickTurner.com

For several months I wrote blog posts on topics such as Chivalry and Etiquette, Personal Development, Manhood, Fatherhood, and yes, even Divorce. I worked hard, but I felt as if I was sending my writing off into the abyss, because I had almost no one reading what I wrote. Nonetheless, I knew my message was important enough, so I continued writing.

A shimmer of hope

Over time my writing has gained some traction. I have started seeing more unique visitors to my site. That inspired me to keep going, and to extend my reach.

As is evidenced by this article, you can see that I am now blogging for The Huffington Post.


This did not happen overnight. In fact, it feels like a miracle it ever happened at all.

Several months earlier I had sent some of my writing to The Huffington Post after reading an article posted on their site. At the end it called for interested bloggers to reach out to them. I was now a blogger, and I was interested.

After several months, and long after I had forgotten about it, they reached out to me. They liked my "voice" and thought I would be a valuable contributor. They wanted me to write for them as an independent blogger, primarily for their Divorce blog.

Ahh, there it was again. Divorce. The painful thing I had been spending many, many months trying to get past, and here it was calling me to come play with it.

I knew there must be a reason, and I felt I was being called to help shed some light on the subject.

In spite of this surprising development, I was ecstatic about the chance to get my writing out there in front of more people.

I knew that with enough effort and time, I could truly become an influence for good in the lives of others. So I continued hoping for the best and I went to work.

I had no idea where it was going to lead me... (watch soon for part two)

Question: When have you had to hope to get past a trial? Leave a comment below.

Divorced Dad, Blogger, and Personal Development Coach Derick Turner has been carefully crafting his message of post-divorce hope for a number of websites.

Follow his journey by subscribing to his blog at DerickTurner.com where he regularly posts content intended to help in Developing Upright Men. Follow his story and insights on Facebook, Twitter, DivorceForce.com and at The Huffington Post.

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Categories: Divorce Stuff
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