Working With A Lawyer or Mediator – Find the One That’s Right For You Working with a lawyer or mediator can have a significant impact on your divorce settlement

Working With A Lawyer or Mediator – Find the One That’s Right For You Working with a lawyer or mediator can have a significant impact on your divorce settlement

When you finally decide to seek a divorce, remember, whether you’re working with a lawyer or mediator, it’s important to realize that how you work with that individual will greatly impact the financial outcome of your divorce. You have power in the divorce process and that power lies in your ability to control your emotions and your actions. Doing both will greatly increase your effectiveness, will increase your awareness of what will be going on, and will give you greater control of your own financial well-being.

Hiring a lawyer is a process that should take time and due diligence on your part. During the screening and consultation, check out the attorney’s credentials, his/her past experience, how many divorces has he litigated/negotiated, and his/her experience with the specific divorce issues of your situation. This shouldn’t be his/her first rodeo, for if it is, you need to move on and find counsel who has the specific experience to handle your case.

Contrary to hiring an attorney, if you and your spouse can talk and can reasonably communicate, and you don’t want a long drawn out and expensive divorce, consider hiring a divorce mediator instead. A divorce mediator is someone who will drill down into the issues you and your soon to be ex are having challenges working through. They will then find reasonable alternatives that are agreeable to each of you to work through the process as reasonable and unemotionally as possible, while keeping your expense to a minimum.

Regardless of who you decide to hire, working with a lawyer or mediator has many commonalities and yet has some differences that should be understood.

5 Tips to Keep Billable Hours to a Minimum

  1. When working with your lawyer or mediator, provide all the necessary information when you can. The less time he or she has to spend tracking down records the cheaper it will be for you.
  2. Figure out the worth of your assets. If you can find out and document the full financial picture of your marital estate you will save your lawyer time—which will save you money.
  3. Increase your understanding of the divorce process. Knowledge is power and the more you know the more you can help yourself.
  4. Keep your lawyer or mediator informed with as accurate information as possible. The better the information you give your attorney the more they will understand the situation and be able to develop a winning strategy. When in doubt, go with providing full disclosure. Don’t worry, lawyers are trained to sift through information and evaluate what is useful and what is not. Also, if the information might harm your case, you can prevent your lawyer from being blindsided, giving him or her plenty of time to prepare defensive maneuvers.
  5. Respond promptly to requests for information. Again, time is money so don’t drag out the process by keeping your lawyer or mediator waiting on you to provide needed information. Lawyers are often under very tight deadlines and the more lead time you give your lawyer to go over the materials the better job they can do in preparing for your case. Another good tip is to stick to answering only the questions your lawyer or mediator asks and doing so completely but concisely. If your counsel needs a “yes” or “no” answer on something or a quick synopsis of a situation don’t include a long, verbose document that gives extra information. If you bog down your counsel with useless information they will have to bill you for the time they waste going through materials that are not relevant to what they need to represent your case.

Working With A Lawyer or Mediator

5 Things Your Mediator or Lawyer Needs to Know

Be prepared with the following information to grease the wheels and get your case moving:

  1. The reason you are getting a divorce. This includes: Causes of your breakup, the reasons behind your filing for divorce and the major issues of the failing marriage.
  2. Personal information for yourself, your spouse and your children. This includes: Names, ages, places of birth, home and work addresses and telephone numbers, Social Security numbers, and health information.
  3. Facts related to your marriage. This includes: When and where you were married, any prenuptial agreement (If so, bring a copy of the agreement with you), previous marriages (If so, provide details of your previous divorce(s)).
  4. Any issues involving your children. This includes: Custody arrangements, co-parenting agreements, special needs, etc.
  5. Financial information. This includes: Assets and debts each of you brought into the marriage, your incomes and expenses, employment information, shared property (e.g. home, cars), shared debts (e.g. mortgage, college fund for the kids) and investments (e.g. insurance plans, pension plans).
  6. Legal documents. This includes: copies of lawsuits, bankruptcy suits, judgments, and garnishments.
  7. Your divorce goals. Be specific about what you want from the divorce. Think beyond your current emotional state to long-term goals that include how you will co-parent children (if any) and continue to function as a family post-divorce. Think about the relationship you want with your ex and kids in one year, in 5 years and then 10 years into the future.

3 Things to Remember

  1. When working with a lawyer or mediator, remember, neither is not your psychologist. Do not expect them to be on call 24 hours a day or to listen to you rant about the latest injustice you’ve suffered at the hands of your spouse during an acrimonious divorce. Remember, every time your lawyer takes a phone call or returns an email you are racking a significant  bill. Call a friend or get an actual therapist and you will save money and keep your lawyer or mediator focused on what really matters—the facts of the case.
  2. If your lawyer is giving you advice you disagree with, keep an open mind and consider the guidance carefully. Your lawyer isn’t concerned with your desire for revenge but with getting you the best possible outcome, so take a step back and evaluate whether you’re refusing your lawyer’s advice for purely emotional reasons. Don’t let your settlement suffer because you can’t see past your immediate feelings. You will end up suffering long-term consequences for temporary emotional satisfaction. Also, please remember, a mediator cannot give legal advice. They can only ask to seek a reasonable solution between you and your partner in the conflict.
  3. You will likely go through periods of frustration or disappointment as your divorce progresses, but don’t take it out on your lawyer or mediator. Some things will be out of his or her control. Remember that your attorney is on your side and it’s best to tackle the rough patches as a team. Your mediator, on the other hand, is on neither side. Staying positive and on good terms is your best bet at getting your lawyer or mediator to work their hardest to resolve your case.

While you are expecting the most from your lawyer—that he or she is skilled, hard-working and dedicated to fighting for your case—your lawyer is hoping you’ll be the ideal client: calm, professional, well prepared and easy to get along with.

When a competent client and a capable consultant team up and work well together, the odds are greatly increased for a good outcome. Hold your attorney or mediator to task in putting in the effort your case requires, but do yourself a favor by being a client that makes their job easier and more effective. The ideal client can control his emotions and focus on the logical facts of the case, is organized and prepared, treats his lawyer as a valuable teammate, and is willing to listen to the information that is presented to him.

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Bonding With Your Child During Visitation This Is More Than Just Time With Dad

Bonding With Your Child During Visitation This Is More Than Just Time With Dad

When you get lemons, make lemonade. Ok, so you have a limited amount of time to spend with your child. Make the most of it when you can by bonding with your child.

Your visitation is limited by court order to every other weekend and Tuesday and Thursday. Cool, do all your chores and ‘must dos’ while he’s with his mom and have nothing to distract you when you’re with him. You might be surprised, but, you may have more time now to bond with him than ever before.

The keys words here are ‘quality time’. Bonding with your child is all about uninterrupted exchanges just between the two of you. Above all, always listen and ask his opinion. He has a voice and a lot to say.

Forget about trying to impress him.

Fancy places and expensive amusement parks are fine if you have the money for them. But, simple things like watching a movie or ball game on TV, while he’s sitting on your lap eating popcorn are more than a match.

Some ideas for bonding with your child:

  1. Teach him a sport and get him into it. Have his favorite snacks around the house. Don’t abuse this, but a little extra won’t hurt. Make this into a fun time that he will look forward to.
  2. Have a phone installed in his room so you can call him directly whenever you want.
  3. Take pics when the two of you are together and give them to him.
  4. When he is old enough, get him his own mobile phone.
  5. Volunteer to coach any of his sports teams.
  6. Agree to babysit when ever your ex needs you to.
  7. Don’t buy expensive gifts to impress, cheaper ones are just as appreciated
  8. Teach him sports, checkers, chess and  judo
  9. Play ball with him
  10. Read to him.
  11. Cook with him.

And, don’t ever complain about your ex or express hostility towards her and especially don’t ever yell at her in person or on the phone.

Lastly and most importantly, love him and show him your love. Studies have shown that in a lot of cases, the child is better of when the parents divorce, than when they stay together and argue all the time, especially when you’re bonding with your child

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Introducing Your New Partner To Your Kids This can be a touchy time

Introducing Your New Partner To Your Kids This can be a touchy time

Finding someone new to share your life with after a break-up is great. You’ve moved on, however hard it was, and now you’re ready to be in a relationship again. But what about your kids? How do you introduce your new partner to them and how do you ensure that everyone gets along?

The truth is, it won’t necessarily be quick and easy. But if you approach the situation carefully and thoughtfully, respecting everyone’s feelings, there’s every chance that bringing someone new into your family unit can be a positive and happy experience for everyone.

Think About Your Kids Point Of View

Introducing a new partner to your children will trigger a lot of emotions for them, which they won’t always explain to you. They have already dealt with your break-up and more change can be unsettling.

They may secretly be hoping that you and your ex will get back together one day. Seeing you start a new relationship will make them realize that’s unlikely. They might worry that you will love them less or that there won’t be room for them in your life any more.

Younger children, under 10 years old, may feel sad and confused. Children of any age can feel jealous, anxious, angry or threatened. They might perceive your new girlfriend as a rival for your attention and loyalty to their mother can make it difficult for them to immediately accept someone else into your lives.

Don’t punish them for bad behavior or acting out without fully understanding what’s behind it. Talk things through as much and as fully as you can and reassure them constantly. For some great communication tips, check out this piece of advice.

Take It Slowly When Introducing Your New Partner To Your Kids

One of the most important points when introducing a new partner to your children is to take things slowly. First of all, wait until you are certain that the relationship is a serious one. Don’t make the mistake of introducing your children to casual girlfriends; it will be unsettling for them to keep meeting new potential partners.

Keep your relationship to yourself for a while and see how things develop. Make sure that your new partner wants to become involved with your family. And ask yourself if you’re sure that she is likely to be a good fit for you all. You need to be unselfish here; don’t press ahead when you know, deep down, that a particular girlfriend isn’t going to be right for your children. If you’re not sure, introduce her to a couple of friends first and seek their honest opinion.

Talk It Over

Ideally the first person you should talk things over with will be your ex. Explain that you’ve met someone new and that you’d like the children to meet her at some point in the future. You don’t want your children to feel they have to keep something secret from their mother, particularly if it’s something they are likely to feel anxious about.

Try and discuss it calmly and listen to any fears your ex may have. Reassure her that you will take things slowly with the children and keep her updated on how they are dealing with it. Hopefully in return she will be able to give you honest feedback about how she feels they are coping.

As far as your children are concerned, introduce the idea gradually. Explain to them that you have a new girlfriend. Mention her from time to time and answer any questions they have. Then ask them if they’d like to meet her one day. If they’re resistant, leave it for a while, but continue to talk about her occasionally. Then ask them if they would come out with you and her. Let them choose the activity if possible, and do something fun, such as bowling, going on a picnic or to play at the park.

Keep The First Meeting Low-Key

Set a time limit for the first meeting. An hour or two is enough, even if everyone is having fun. In fact, leaving while things are going well makes it more likely that your children will want to go out with her again.

If she has children too, leave meeting them for another day. It’s fine for her to mention them, but introducing too many people all at once can feel quite chaotic and there’s a risk someone will feel overwhelmed or left out.

Make sure you do something casual and fun. A formal dinner where everyone has to sit still and behave well can be awkward and not particularly enjoyable. It’s better to let everyone get to know each other over a fun trip or while playing games at the park. Make sure things don’t get too competitive though, and look for signals that your children have had enough. Say goodbye to your new partner at the venue, avoiding physical contact at this stage, and go home with your children. This will allow them to relax and chat about her and what they thought on your journey home together.

Subsequent meetings should follow a similar pattern, building up to longer periods of time, but making sure you don’t overdo it. It’s important at this stage that your children look forward to the trips. Even if they’re not overly keen on being with your new partner, if they’re going to do something fun then hopefully they will still look forward to it.

For a few simple suggestions, check out this article on encouraging family bonding.

Listen To Your Children’s Concerns

Let your children talk freely about the new person in their lives and allow them to express exactly what they think, even if it’s not what you want to hear. If you tell them they’re wrong or tell them off, there’s a risk they’ll stop confiding in you.

Don’t ask them if they like her; it’s better to ask if they had fun and what they’d like to do next time. Ask them if they feel comfortable and safe with her but otherwise don’t fish for compliments.

Take on board what they’re saying and see if there’s anything you or your new girlfriend can do to help them adjust. Make sure they know that you’re considering their feelings and that they have input into the situation.

Remember, they may actively dislike her to start with. Trust and affection are built over time and they may have many concerns which aren’t immediately apparent to you. Don’t panic. As things progress they are likely to come to appreciate and accept her if you proceed kindly and thoughtfully.

Make sure you still spend as much quality time with your children as you did before. You don’t need to go out; time spent at home with them is fine, so long as you are focused on them and communicating with them. They need to know that your love for them hasn’t changed.

Bringing Your New Girlfriend Into Your Family Home

You’ve introduced your new girlfriend to your kids, now you’d like her to come to your home. Again, start slowly with this. A meal is an ideal first introduction with a brief play session before or after, depending on the age of the children. But keep it fairly short and once your girlfriend has left spend some quality time with your children so that they can chat over anything they want.

As things progress, visits can get longer, but stay sensitive to your children’s feelings and make sure they don’t feel invaded or pushed out. Even when your girlfriend is there, there should still be time for you and them to be together.

When you think your children are ready for your girlfriend to stay the night, talk things through with them first. Set ground rules with both them and her, such as locked doors, wearing appropriate clothing, privacy and time in the bathroom. Try hard not to embarrass anyone and keep displays of affection in front of your children to a minimum.

Going Forward

Hopefully your children will accept your new partner into your lives and come to enjoy her company. As things become more routine, make sure you discuss what is expected of everyone. For example, discipline when you’re not around and how much of a parenting role she will be taking on. It’s easier to set rules at the beginning before habits are established.

Summary

It can be a big ask for your children to allow someone new into their lives and at times it will be hard work for all concerned. Everyone will learn a little more about themselves during the process. With kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity, even difficult situations can resolve themselves and a family unit expanded to include one more.

Ultimately, for everyone to have someone else to love and be loved by is a wonderful thing. It really is worth the effort to add a new person to your family and learning to accept and like someone new will be a great attribute for your kids to have.

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Does Your Ex Have You On A Bungee Cord? Being on the bungee cord is no place to be

Does Your Ex Have You On A Bungee Cord? Being on the bungee cord is no place to be

Is your ex stringing you along? Unfortunately, that’s what some exes do best. You may be on a that retractable bungee cord when you’re separated or divorced and the ex is pulling your chain. Either way, you’re the one getting played.

What is the Bungee Cord Phenomenon?

The bungee cord phenomenon—let’s call it “BCP” for fun—is a particularly diabolical tactic used by the wiliest of women. It’s worse than being on a string. When your ex has you on a string, at least you know where you stand. You know how long the string is, and how to keep your distance. But when you’re on that retractable cord, you have no idea where you are. Sometimes you’re up close and personal, like it was when you were a couple. The next minute, you’re flung far away into oblivion. You don’t know how far the bungee cord is going to stretch, what direction you’re going in, or when the cord might snap you right back into your ex’s grasp. The only thing you know for certain is that it’s painful to be snapped back and forth like that. It hurts when she pulls you in and worse when she flings you back out. It’s like going through your breakup over and over again.

Your ex uses the bungee cord phenomenon almost like a strategic military maneuver. She wants you to think you have all the freedom in the world. You innocently stretch away, not realizing that the cord is still attached. There’s a growing distance between you and your ex that feels healthy. You start to think maybe you can actually heal. Maybe you really are going to be able to make a life without her.

Your ex may even tell you during this time that she’s happy for you that you’re moving on with your life. She tells you that she just wants the best for you, she always has. This feels good. Who wants to have a woman mad at them? Not you. You comfort yourself at night knowing that your ex is not plotting against you. “She’s actually on my side!” you think.

Then, things get weird. Your ex hears a rumor that you’re getting close to someone else. It’s true, you have been dating someone you met at a party. This new girl is terrific, and you can see yourself starting a new life with her someday.

Suddenly, your ex calls you up out of the blue. “Can I see you?” she implores. “I need you.” Innocent lamb that you are, you go. You speed to her place and your ex is all over you as soon as you get through the door. “I never should have let you go,” she cries. “Do you still have feelings for me?”

Oh yeah, you do, and those feelings are creeping up right now. The two of you have awesome makeup sex. You decide it’s a whole hell of a lot easier to get back with your ex than to try and forge a new relationship with the new girlfriend, so you give her the bad news over text. The breakup doesn’t go well, but who cares? You’re back with your ex, and after a while things feel familiar and comfortable all over again. You may even give up your apartment and move back in.

Suddenly, things get a little too familiar. Your ex (now your current) is turning back into her old self. It feels like she freaking hates you, man. She’s constantly bitching at you and putting you down. Nothing you try to do to fix it is working.

Then one day, POW. She snaps on your on a bungee cord and sends you hurling. She screams“Get out!. I never want to see you again!” Off you go, back into oblivion, before you even realize what happened. All you know is, you feel like crap again. And confused. Very confused.

This next part is going to sound familiar, too. Just when you start to recover from the bungee cord experience, just when you’re starting to heal again, just when you’re starting to date again, you get that phone call….”Can I see you?”….and the whole cycle repeats itself. The question is, are you gonna go?

How To Get Off the Bungee Cord

First off, no one else is going to get you off the bungee cord. You’re going to have to gather the strength to do it yourself. Here’s how.

First, realize that maybe you don’t know your ex like you thought you did. If she can play you like this, clearly she’s able to manipulate you without your knowledge. So admit that you can’t read her.

Second, realize that people don’t change overnight. There were reasons why you two didn’t work out, and those reasons are still there. If it didn’t work the last two times you got snapped back, it’s not going to work the next time. Or the next.

Third—and this is a tough one—your ex is not on your side, despite what she’s led you to believe. She may say she wants you to find another love. She may even think she means it. But when it actually happens, it’s another story. Especially if you find love before she does. The only people who may be on your side is everyone in the world who isn’t your ex. (Plus your ex’s girlfriends. It’s highly doubtful they’re rooting for you, either.)

Now, the next time you start feeling that bungee cord pulling you back into your ex’s grip, resist. Run in the opposite direction. Run, not walk. In fact, run into your new girl’s arms. Tell her exactly what’s happening. Because if she’s savvy, she’ll be able to see right through your ex’s tactics, and there’s no way she’ll take it lightly. Your new girl can be a huge help in getting off the bungee cord.

Finally, work on your self-esteem. Because at the end of the day, you need to think highly enough of yourself to know you don’t deserve the bungee cord treatment. You deserve to be with someone who respects you and the decisions you make. And your decision is to move on with your life. This is true even if you were the one who got dumped. That’s right. Even “dumpees” get to decide to quit bad relationships and pursue healthy ones.

So do that. Quit the ex. And by the way, who cares if she’s mad at you? You aren’t here to please her. That’s the other thing you have to realize. Be okay with her sulking over your new relationship. And then, don’t give another thought to it. Because it isn’t worth it.

The thing is, your life is too short and precious to be manipulated by someone who doesn’t respect you. How long are you going to allow your ex to sabotage your efforts at healing through the breakup; to sabotage your new love relationships?

You know the last time your ex did that to you? Make damn sure that was the last time.

” – that could be very interesting as many women out there may not want their guy but they also don’t want anyone else to have them either. Just had a friend go through that issue – and the issue is not over yet.

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The One Question to Ask When Contemplating Divorce What you need to know now!

The One Question to Ask When Contemplating Divorce What you need to know now!

So, I get it. You’re confused. You’re not sure what to do when contemplating divorce.  Sure, life might be less confusing after divorce, but, are you giving up too soon? What of you and your relationship with your kids? Will it change? Will it be better? Or will it get progressively worse? Will your Ex go ballistic and start alienating your kids, thus destroying your relationship with them? And, will she go for the jugular, seeking to destroy you financially when you tell her that you’re contemplating divorce. Regardless of what happens, we’re here to help steer you through the craziness of the divorce process.

At The Beginning

Let’s start at the beginning. You met the love of your life; or maybe you didn’t, but you wanted to settle down after years of struggling to find your “plus one” at your friends’ weddings and work gatherings. Maybe you wanted kids and wanted the security of marriage and the stability that you expected would come along with marriage. And you thought you’d found a willing, compatible partner with enough common values to make it work.

You know as well as I that there were problems there from the beginning, but you ignored them because the truth is, life was good. The sex was great and married life expanded your social circle. Your boss took you more seriously, as did your friends. Your mom stopped haranguing you about grandkids. You two traveled, made plans and reached goals. You concluded that nobody’s perfect and that if other couples could figure it out, you could too. You reasoned that, given time, the conflicts would iron themselves out. They didn’t.

So, you read the how-to books, watched the YouTube clips offering relationship advice. You went along with using the stopwatch on your phone when airing out your differences, allotting three minutes of uninterrupted speaking time each. You tried arguing from the other person’s point of view for clarity. You agreed to counseling and weekend retreats with other couples struggling to work through their issues, opening up about your problems; surprisingly, you came away with a new understanding and a renewed sense of genuine bonding with your spouse. But a week or two later, you were both back to your old patterns.

Then Things Got Worse

You considered reaching out to family and friends for help but didn’t, afraid to involve those closest to you and raise flags prematurely. Tired of the constant conflicts at home, you avoided them, spending more and more time out with your single friends. You found yourself flirting with the barista at Starbucks and following random yet attractive strangers on social media. Maybe you went further. Maybe your spouse did, too.

So Now What?

Trust me, I’ve been there; after 10 years spent in a marriage that should have never happened in the first place, it took me seven long years before I started to examine the idea of splitting from my partner. And, it was then when contemplating divorce that I realized that divorce really was the only sane option left on the table. I was honest with my spouse from the start, which gave us both the time we needed to exhaust every conceivable option and accept the eventual outcome if we couldn’t improve the situation. Because we were both informed from the beginning, we were able to part ways in peace when it didn’t work out, with no animosity and little cost. This isn’t always the case.

The One Question to Ask When Contemplating Divorce 

While there are many factors to consider when contemplating divorce, they all boil down to one question:

How Much Are You Willing To Give Up?

  1. Money.

Legal Fees. Legal fees are no joke. Whether you’re using a court-appointed attorney or private counsel, if you’re not divorcing amicably, it’s in every lawyers’ best interest to drag the divorce process out for as long as possible. And they will.

Alimony. Many states require that the spouse with the most money continue to financially support their ex until they either increase their income or get remarried. Your ex can legally receive alimony even after they’ve started a committed relationship with someone else. It’s unfair, but it’s the law.

Child Support. Unless your children are going to be adopted by your ex’s new spouse, you’re going to have to pony up. They’re your kids and of course they have a right to your financial support but KEEP RECEIPTS. Of everything. If you work for a company, have your wages garnished ASAP so you never have to worry about missed or late payments. When you take your kids out or buy them anything, do not use cash. Keep a digital trail and set up a spreadsheet to keep track of expenditures.

  1. Assets.

If you own stocks and bonds, real estate, and/or a business with your spouse, you’ll need to get comfortable with the choice of either continuing to share these assets with your soon-to-be-ex or sell the assets and share the gains with them. This may include inheritances, so check with a lawyer.

If the divorce is amicable, there’s no reason you can’t continue a financial partnership if it’s working out for the both of you. If you can’t separate amicably however, splitting the assets will be tough, especially if you’ve spent years amassing financial security only to watch it disappear seemingly overnight.

  1. Kids.

If you’re not the custodial parent, you probably won’t get to see your kids as much as you’d like after divorce; come to terms with this as soon as possible. Life will go on whether you want it to or not; realize that either you or your ex (or both) may meet someone new or get offered a better career opportunity and might end up relocating to another state or country making it difficult for you to stay in touch with your kids, especially if they’re very young.

If your ex is hostile, you’ll be in court repeatedly for visitation rights. If you can afford it and your ex is cooperative, you could conceivably follow your kids around the globe; but if you remarry, have other children, or have a career that requires you to work out of a certain city, this scenario probably won’t be an option. If you can’t bear the thought of this reality, STAY MARRIED until you can.

  1. Friends and Family.

After years spent living with your spouse, you probably share good friends and have (hopefully) gotten close to some members of their family. Divorce sometimes changes that. You’ll probably get to “keep” your friends – the people you knew before your marriage – but friends you’ve amassed during your relationship will most likely take sides.

This can get tricky, especially if those friends are also business connections or have become an integral part of your life. And even if your ex’s family remain friendly, they probably won’t be there after you split up. While this is normal, it can cause loneliness and separation anxiety. Understand that their absence is necessary to make space for new people to enter into their lives and yours; it’s not a rejection of you.

  1. Peace and Happiness.

Divorce incurs loss, but so does staying in a relationship that works against you. If you decide to stay married, you might get to keep the money, the assets, the kids, and the friends and family, but not without giving up your peace of mind and self-fulfillment in return.

How Much Is Your Happiness Worth?

Understand that most anything can be replaced, while your time cannot; once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. Take a step back and realize that the losses you might think unbearable actually are; your willingness to let them go will help you make gains that you never thought possible.

Letting go isn’t a sign of weakness or failure, but a fact of life. Learn to let go without bitterness or contention, or the divorce will negatively affect the rest of your life. Like all baggage, it will hold you back from experiencing a happiness and will only recreate your past conflicts in the future.

How to Mediate Loss:

When contemplating divorce, speak honestly and openly with your spouse about the situation as soon as you can; don’t blindside them. Catching them off-guard causes hostility and will backfire. Explain why you’ve reached your decision and ask for their input; respect their point of view and try to come to some type of an agreement based on mutual interests. If you don’t think your spouse will be open to a civil uncoupling, or if they are and you’d like to avoid legal fees, hire a mediator. The more you can agree to before lawyers are involved, the smoother the process will be.

When contemplating divorce it can become confusing when you don’t know what you really want; identify this and the choice becomes clear. It’s not how you got here that matters most, but where you’re going next and how you decide to get there that will define the rest of your life.

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Symptoms of PTSD After Divorce What You Need To Know To Take Charge of Your Life

Symptoms of PTSD After Divorce What You Need To Know To Take Charge of Your Life

Well, it’s finally over, the divorce I mean. But, way can’t you rest? What the heck is going on? You keep re-hashing the old tapes of the relationship in your head. And, a single thought can trigger your emotions to go back to those God forsaken times in your relationship when nothing seemed to go right, and everything you did was wrong, all of which culminated in your failed marriage and the bitter disputes that followed during the divorce. You’re still pissed off all the time and living with sleepless nights, stress, body aches and pains, headaches, maybe even migraines. Fact of the matter is, you may be suffering from PTSD after divorce.

What Causes Symptoms of PTSD After Divorce

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event.”  The Anxiety and Depression Association of America explains that PTSD is a reaction to a traumatic event, including experiencing or witnessing natural disasters, combat, sudden death of a loved one, violent personal assault or other life-threatening events.

If your marriage was a disaster, and the divorce was a long, losing battle, you may have experienced your whole life spinning out of your control. The sustained emotional trauma was real, and has lasting effects.

Let’s be honest, most divorces are not easy. You enter into a bond with someone who you plan on building a life with. The fear of things falling apart never enters your mind. Then the unthinkable happens: one day the divorce papers are signed, and life as you know it is over. While that thought alone is traumatic, it is the in-between times that leave lasting scars.

The arguing and fighting takes its toll. The mistrust, the understanding your marriage is ending, or even worse; it all buries deep in your subconscious. Then when these thoughts and feelings are pulled back to the surface, those reactions bring back some extreme emotions. When this happens and you are powerless to stop it, this might be a form of PTSD.

Signs and Symptoms Common to PTSD

While reviewing the signs, remember this is not an all-inclusive list. You may see yourself in some or all of these. Maybe you don’t associate with any but there are different symptoms for you. In either case, the things you are feeling are real, and deserve attention.

Recurrent Distressing Memories

If you’ve become consumed by remembering past upsetting events from your marriage and divorce, and you find yourself getting upset over and over again, it may be a symptom of PTSD.

Sleep Problems

Can’t sleep? Do you stay up all hours of the night even with an early morning alarm looming? Does your mind race into the wee hours of the morning with thoughts of what you could have done differently? Insomnia is linked to suffering from trauma.

Sustained or Uncontrollable Anger

After my divorce, I was angry constantly. There was little happiness or joy in my life outside of my children. Everywhere I looked I saw reminders of the life I once had and was now gone and every day the anger grew. I finally reached out because if I didn’t, the fire inside me would have consumed me.

Depression

How often do you feel defeated and alone? Depression is real. Your pain is real. Feelings of defeat and isolation can lead to severe depression after a tough divorce. There is no shame in accepting depression as a by-product of divorce. Understanding this as another sign of PTSD will lead you to recovery.

Body Aches and Pains

Body aches and pains tend to appear right along with depression or PTSD. Your body reacts to stress in different ways. One is chronic pain that can last until your stress is dealt with.

These are just a few of the many signs of PTSD. Others include: panic attacks, hyperventilating, flashbacks, and issues having or starting future personal relationships.

What You Need to Know

Whether or not you have developed full-blown PTSD after divorce, if you are experiencing many of these signs, you deserve to use every resource you can find to move on to a happy and stable life.

Now that I can look back and recognize many of these symptoms, I can say with certainty that I suffered with symptoms of PTSD after divorce. After many years, I have come to a place in my life where none of these bother me anymore. However, if I would have recognized these symptoms much earlier, I could have saved myself and my children a lot of struggling. This is why you are here, and we are understanding PTSD together.

I am not a psychologist. I can show you from personal experiences of my life and I can point you in what I feel are right directions. But, to beat this, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and get a little tough. Are you up for it?

Solutions for PTSD

So what can I do Dwight? I don’t want this to control me but I feel powerless to stop it. My friend, there is good news and greater news. You can, with a lot of hard work, overcome symptoms of PTSD after divorce. There is a life out there for you that is free from debilitating trauma.

It won’t be easy. There is nothing wrong with getting help, even at a professional level, and I encourage it. At the end of the day, you know what works for you.

Acknowledge the Stress

A good starting point is acknowledgment. You have seen the symptoms in yourself, it’s now time to accept them for what they are. By understanding what has brought you to this point, you can begin the process of healing.

Research-based ideas published by Psychology Today emphasizes the need to take care of yourself after a rough breakup.

I want to start with what you can do for yourself, before we get into what someone else can do. Taking care of yourself should start now. Here are a few ideas to get you going:

  • Get active – Exercise releases endorphins which are natural mood enhancers and help with pain.
  • Eat better – Studies upon studies have been done on the benefits of eating healthier. Bottom line: it will help the body while you are focusing on the mind.
  • Connect with yourself – Whatever your preference: meditation, yoga, tai chi, fishing, take some time to connect to yourself and listen to what you’re saying.
  • Be prepared to move forward – There is no going around this, you must go through it. Learn, understand, and be open to lessons learned
  • Take it easy – Resting, getting extra sleep, and taking time out to relax are all positive steps to help you

Professional Help and Support

Getting off your butt and getting professional help can be a daunting task. Asides from the fact that we men are taught not to let anyone help us when it comes to problems, depression makes it hard to make the effort to do anything. Do it anyway.

Never take professional help for granted.

Military veterans return from war suffering from PTSD every day. They live with the terror and troubles it brings. Many have sought help, sadly many more do not. Traumatic events in our lives need not control us nor keep us from living productive lives. It is time for a change.

Do this for yourself – You’re Worth It

Divorce is rated right up there among the most traumatic events a man can face. Is it any wonder we now understand the impact it can have and the havoc it can cause?

Take some time to evaluate what you have gone through since your divorce.  If you are experiencing symptoms of PTSD after divorce, admit it. Then take active steps to conquer what is holding you back. You’re worth it.

Does this sound like you? Tell us how you’re dealing with symptoms similar to PTSD in the comments below.

You’re not the only guy struggling with life after divorce. That’s why Real Men Join Divorce Support Groups.  Maybe you never saw it coming? Check out How To Keep it Together When Divorce Blindsides You.

 

Don’t keep it to yourself.

Share this article on your social media.


(c) Can Stock Photo / tashatuvango

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