Leave a comment

Why Get Married

Image result for wedding

Is there really any reason to get married? Why not just live together? As long as you make it very clear that there is no marriage i.e. common law why go through all of the hassle and expense to get married? There are plenty of couples that have been together for decades that are perfectly happy not formalizing their relationship.  Take Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn for example.  They have been together for 30 plus years and have never seen a need to get married.  They have raised children together, bought homes together, have grandkids and are very much in love.  While they do not have the certificate that binds them together legally it has not dulled or changed their love in any way.

Couples have spent tens of thousands of dollars on marriages that didn’t even last five years.  That money could have been used on so many awesome things, such as houses, traveling, savings for their future.  And when things don’t work out you are then forced to spend possibly thousands of dollars more to end the marriage, so what’s the point? Is it really worth it just to say you are Mr. or Mrs. someone.

I realize that some people would never dream of living with someone without being married but why? It could serve two purposes.  First, to find out what living with this person is really going to be like before you take the biggest step of you life.  You might just find that as much as you love them you absolutely could not live with them.  And second you may decide to forgo the fancy ceremony and put that money to better use.  It is not taboo as it might have once been to have children out of wedlock, more and more couples are doing it and in our modern times families come in so many different shapes and forms this is absolutely nothing most people or even your kids, would think twice about anymore.

Marriage is hard and a lot of people are not really willing to work that hard.  A marriage is like a garden, if you don’t tend it, water it, feed it and nurture it it will die.  If you aren’t willing to get down in the dirt and pull the weeds than you might as well plow it over and move on.

After 21 years of family law I have begun to believe that maybe marriage isn’t necessarily the answer to our happiness.  Maybe all we need is to be happy with ourselves and then we can truly welcome another person into our lives in whatever form and have our happily ever after.

My Divorce Coach Intl.

 

Leave a comment

Do You Need An Attorney?

Start Here: Your Guide Through Divorce and Recovery

Following is an excerpt from my most recent book Start Here: Your Guide to Divorce and Recovery available on Amazon. Start Here

_______________________________________________________

Do you need an attorney? My answer to that is, maybe, maybe not. What are your circumstances? Do you have kids? Do you have a lot of assets that need to be divided? Is this a high-dollar marriage? Or on the other hand, are there no kids, no assets or very few and they have already been divided? Was it a short-term marriage, and have you been able to agree on everything? You don’t always need an attorney, especially if there are no assets to speak of, you don’t need to worry about child support or alimony, you weren’t married long, etc. Most courts have self-help forms online and instructions on how to do it yourself. There is no need to get attorneys involved if you are able to settle everything on your own. Beyond that, if there are only one or two issues that still need to be decided, a good mediator can help you with that. Depending on where you live, you may be required to mediate before going to court anyway, so why not just start there.

On the other hand, if things are going to be complicated, and if you have a lot of assets, a business or two or you have kids and are arguing over parenting time, decisions, etc., you may need to hire an attorney. To that end, do not just Google “divorce attorneys.” Start by asking trusted friends or family members; referrals are always best because these people have real-world experience with this attorney and wouldn’t be referring them if they were not good at their job. I would caution you to not use an attorney your friend used to sue her neighbor and the attorney has also done a divorce case here and there. You want to use someone who specializes in family law and has been there done that. You want someone who knows the court system, the judges, mediators, counselors, and other professionals you may need to complete your case. This is the rest of your life we are talking about and you don’t just want to use someone because they have a law degree or because they’re cheap.

If you can’t find any referrals, then go ahead and do an internet research. There are a lot of family law attorneys, but they are not all the same. If you can find a few who do free consultations, take advantage and interview them. It is important for you to be comfortable with this person and to feel you can trust them. You will be working with them for the foreseeable future, and you will basically be putting your financial and emotional life in their hands, so be sure the outcome will be worth the money spent.

Also, keep in mind that it is unethical for one attorney to represent both parties – the attorney is supposed to be working towards the best possible outcome for their client and work to resolve things in their best interest, if you are both his or her clients who do they remain loyal to? Never hire an attorney to work with both of you.  However, if your spouse has hired an attorney and you choose to proceed without one keep in mind that you will be working directly with this attorney and they cannot give you legal advice.  They will of course be working in their client’s best interest and you may feel pressured and end up signing something that isn’t best for you or you don’t completely understand.  I believe it is better to either both have an attorney or not.

My Divorce Coach Intl.

Leave a comment

Is Divorce A Four Letter Word?

Image result for time

Last year after 21 years of working in family law I decided to leave the office behind and focus on the part of my job I loved the most, the emotional support.  I loved metaphorically holding my client’s hands and sometimes literally.  I loved listening to them and offering them guidance but mostly I was proud to be able to provide them with the tools to recovery and the understanding that this doesn’t have to define their lives.  Unfortunately that was difficult to do when you have 60-70 active clients and have minimal time for each client.  My focus had to be on the legal portion because that’s where we made our money.  The clients had to figure out the support side themselves.  I hated that, I wanted to be there for them however not only did I not have the time but I didn’t feel right about billing them over $150 an hour because they just needed someone to listen at that moment.

After leaving I wrote a book Start Here: Your Guide Through Divorce and Recovery (on Amazon), started a divorce coaching business and started offering free workshops to guide people through the process.  However, every time I tried to advertise I was either turned away, my posts were taken down or I received negative feedback.  I was told on one site I advertised on that it was a family site and that this was not the place to talk about divorce, and then was accused of only hosting the workshop for my own personal gain.  This was one of many comments I received.

Is this really still a hush hush topic? Is it still not pc or polite to talk about divorce in public or at all? Are people too sensitive or do I just not understand something? Maybe I’m wrong for trying to help those in need even in our “family” neighborhood but unfortunately divorce is a reality.  Nobody wants it, it’s not fun, it can be expensive and if there are kids involved it can be even more difficult.  I know, not only is this my profession but I also watched my parents divorce and have gone through my own.  I am trying to lift up those in need and help them through one of the most difficult periods in their lives and am somehow a villain for wanting to do so.

If divorce is in the cards for you I want you to know this four letter word – time.  It will take time to get through it, it will take time to get over it and in time you will move on and be happy again.

My Divorce Coach Intl.

Leave a comment

Parental Alienation

I have seen it many times, I have had to insert clauses in separation agreements, I have had to go to trial over this issue more than once.  Parental alienation is when one parent disparages the other parent to the point the children truly believe that this person is a bad parent and someone to be feared.  It causes emotional and sometimes physical distress.  One parent is actively working to alienate the children from the other by whatever means necessary.  Most of the time it isn’t even because the other parent is a bad person and doing destructive things to harm the children it is usually due to the anger and bitterness one person holds for the other.  They use the children to try and hurt the other parent to the detriment of the children.  Sometimes it is because there is a new person in the picture, the new person can sometimes contribute to this because they are looking for that happy family that doesn’t include the ex.  Let the alienation begin.

These types of issues are difficult and tough to litigate, the children are dragged right into the middle of your fight.  They end up having to choose sides, go to therapy and sometimes reintegration therapy if it has been a long term separation from the alienated parent.  But at least we have options, but what do you do when it is the parent alienating themselves?

When my mom and dad divorced it was not easy for anyone.  My dad remarried almost immediately and left my mom trying to figure out how she was going to take care of six kids.  My step-mom most assuredly loved my dad but she had no desire to be the mother of six kids.  She began the process of alienating my dad from us and he happily went along.  Whether he realized it or not is another story but in the end he chose his wife over his children.  It didn’t have to be that way of course, he could have easily had both if he had wanted but I believe it was just easier for him to go along with her than fight for his kids.

Now I find myself in the same position, almost.  My ex long ago moved away from myself and my children.  Although he is in another state he is still within an easy driving distance.  It would be very easy for him to drive down on any given weekend to spend time with our kids especially since he does not work and therefore has plenty of time for whatever.  But he chooses not to.  He doesn’t call much either.  He is not remarried or even has a girlfriend, he has no family where he lives and I am unsure if he even has friends.  He has missed out on so much of his children’s lives for no good reason that I know of.  At first I encouraged my kids to call and see him when they could but as they grew into their own lives it became harder and harder for me to justify or encourage it.  They were old enough to decide on their own if this was a person they wanted in their lives when he decided to take the time to allow them in.  Slowly they began to just let go, just as he did many years before.  It never had to be this way the same as with my own dad, never in a million years would I have believed that my kids would walk the same path as I did at almost their exact same ages.  I will never understand what makes a person do this, I cannot imagine not having my children in my life.  I never expected to have them in the first place but now that I do I will never let go.

It has been approximately 30 years since I last spoke with my dad and I really hope and pray for my children’s sake that it is not the same for them.  When you have parents in your life that are fully present it can be a wonderful thing.  I really miss that for me and my kids.

Leave a comment

A Change Is Coming

Image result for new year

Happy New Year everyone.  This year will be a year of big changes for me.  My youngest daughter will be going to college and I will officially be an empty-nester, I will be selling the home I have lived in for 17 years and I will be releasing my first non-fiction book – Start Here: A Guide Through Divorce and Recovery.  I am also going to start a crowd funding campaign to assist me in raising money to start a parenting boot camp.

As a child I suffered through my parents’ very contentious divorce.  I endured things that stick with me today, 40 years later.  I have worked in family law for over 20 years and have had to watch some of my clients also subject their children to the disaster that was their divorce.  My hope is to assist parents going through a divorce with children to become better parents and understand the ramifications of doing anything other than being the best possible parent they can be and setting an example that their kids will carry with them into adulthood.

My goal is to prevent as many children as possible from being forced into the middle of their parents’ divorce, it is not fair and it is not right and I want to change that.

My Divorce Coach Intl.

 

 

Leave a comment

Christmas

Image result for divorce

The holidays are just about over and you might be thinking about starting your divorce.  Nobody really wants to be doing this but sometimes it just has to be done.

To that end on my website I have a handy checklist to get you started.  In the next few weeks I will be releasing my first book entitled “Start Here” A Guide Through Divorce and Recovery”  This book will provide you with the information you need to get you started and get you through to recovery.

Divorce is not an easy process.  Some people think that when their marriage goes stale it becomes bad, and when it’s bad it’s over.  They believe it’s easier to divorce than to try and fix their problems, that is very far from reality.  But if you just can’t fix it and it’s time to ditch it, then let me help.  Contact me at my website below for helpful information and a personal consultation.  Nobody needs to go through this alone.

I wish anyone navigating this process smooth sailing.

My Divorce Coach Intl.

Leave a comment

Holiday Happiness

See the source image

The holidays are upon us and for those of you that are living in a divided household you have my sympathy.

The holidays can be difficult for some people even when everything is going fine, but when you add in a broken marriage, kids that are being shuffled back and forth between households and loneliness you have the makings of a very unmerry holiday.

For those of you who are struggling to get through each day just keep this in mind.  You literally never know what the future might bring.  This time next year will be completely different and hopefully in a good way – a great way.  It is all what you make it.  We only have so much control over our everyday lives so the things we do have control over we need to make as positive as possible.

When you are in the midst of divorce it’s hard to put on a happy face everyday, but the thing is no one ever said you had to be happy all day every day.  Find a few minutes each day to find or make some happiness in your life.  Slow down on your way to work and let that jerk who thinks he’s more important than everyone cut in front of you.  Buy your co-worker a cup of coffee in the morning or bring them one from the kitchen.  Compliment someone.  Hold the door open for someone.  Watch a stupid sitcom and laugh a little.  Eat some chocolate.  Go for a walk and listen to some happy music.  Offer to help someone with something you wouldn’t normally do.  Hug your kids if you have them.  Be sure you have some human contact everyday, especially if you work from home and don’t have kids.  Since it’s Christmas maybe offer to help wrap gifts at your local church or charity.

A few minutes of positivity everyday goes along way.  Before long you won’t even have to think about it and the negativity will be fewer and farther between.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa.

My Divorce Coach Intl.

 

%d bloggers like this: