Smart Divorce Network

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Name Change List

Name Change List

Going through a divorce?  Or getting re-married?

Our name change list is a list of all the places you will need to contact to change your name. See the list below.

Name Change List

  • Social Security
  • Driver’s License
  • Auto Insurance
  • Utilities
  • Creditors
  • Schools
  • Employer
  • 401K
  • Health Insurance
  • Co-Workers
  • Post Office
  • Bank Accounts
  • Passport
  • Automobile Title
  • Library Cards
  • Gym
  • Any rewards cards (grocery, retail, pharmacy)

Click here to download a pdf version of this document

If you have any question, please use the comments box below.


Divorce Crazies


BUSTED On a Birthday!!

A crazy divorce. My ex-husband is a firefighter, so he would have multiple days in a row off. On days he wasn’t working (and I was working) my kids would go to daycare and he would stay home. He told me he wanted to keep the kids in daycare because he needed to catch up on sleep since we were on calls constantly when at the firehouse. I was fine with that, the last thing I wanted was for him to get burnt out.

There were multiple days when I would call home shortly before leaving work for the day and I would ask if the ex-had picked up the kids from daycare, eight times out of ten, the answer would be “no”. On my way home I would swing by daycare and pick the kids up, get home and he would be drunk. Not drunk by himself either. Our neighbor would be over and they would be drinking together. It took me a few times to realize this was becoming a problem. I started to think he was having an affair with our neighbor. I was close to her and had talked with her husband and he also thought they were having an affair. I asked my ex-multiple times if there was anything going on with him and the neighbor but it was always denied.

I got fed up with his antics, we both agreed our marriage was not going to work. We filed for divorce for multiple reasons. Shortly after we filed for divorce it was his birthday. Since the divorce was a mutual decision, I was still going to go out with him and help him celebrate (it was his 30th birthday), however, we couldn’t find a babysitter. The decision was made that I would stay home with the kids and he would go out with his buddies. Later that night I found out that the neighbor had filed for divorce from her husband four days after we did. Interesting.

I really didn’t care what he did that night, after all, we already knew we were calling it quits. Something happened that made me think he was out with our neighbor. I called him on his cell phone and he picked up but I think he was trying to hit the ignore button, he didn’t hear me but I heard her annoying laugh in the background, and then the call ended! When he got home, he smelled like a women’s perfume, so I knew she was there. I asked him what he did and he said: “I went to Maggiano’s sat at the bar, had a glass of wine, had dinner and went to a movie.” I asked if he was by himself and he answered yes. The following day on my way home from work, I called my neighbor. She was telling me that she went out the night before so I asked her what she did. Her response was “I went to Maggiano’s, sat at the bar, had some wine, some dinner and went to a movie.” I asked if it was a girls night out and her response was “No, I was by myself”. Interesting because in the city we live in, there is only one Maggiano’s.

When I talked to my ex and told him I knew he was with her and I know he was having an affair with her, he said “no comment”. Can you say BUSTED!

Writing help with WHAT?

Literally, one night after my divorce was filed, my soon to be ex-came to me and asked me to help him. At the time we were still living in the same house. I asked what he needed help with and he stated he needed help writing something. I was thinking to myself “what in the world did he need help writing?” he never wrote or had any interest in writing anything! I wasn’t in the mood to help but decided to anyways. One less fight to deal with.

I ask what he needed me to write. He said, “I am on and I need you to write my profile.” What? Really, you are on and you need ME to write your profile? I was so taken back and thought it was so ridiculous, I said no way.

A few days go by and he continues to ask me every night to write his profile for him. So I decided I would write it for him, me being the nice person I wrote a nice profile. Looking back what I should have done, was write an accurate profile of how he really was.

Three or four wives

Living in a duplex

Bed sheets

Asking me to take my maiden name back – going to marry a Jen – 2 Jen’s

Reverse of vasectomy

4th of July Parade

Open House at School with Dan’s girlfriend

Coffee with future stepmom

trying to control my finances

No counseling for kids

Take me back to court for full custody – No father figure

Enroll the kids in a different school district with out my knowledge

Communication Counseling

Court – me moving in with boyfriend before being married

Dog made kids sick

Simple Effective Divorce Tips

divorce tips

Every divorce is different. Some are amicable some are not. Divorce can cause hostility, frustration and disrespect. All of these are normal. Here are some divorce tips to keep in the back of your mind when you are going through the divorce process. They may even be helpful after your divorce as well.

1. No matter how hard it is keep your chin up and smile. This may be difficult, however smiling is proven to lower your stress and anxiety.

Smiling releases endorphin’s which helps you manage your stress in a more positive way. With stress comes a weakened immune system and by smiling your immune system becomes stronger. Smiling is the easiest way to keep you healthy and a boost your mood during a divorce.

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2. When going through a divorce you will have many topics that will need to be discussed with your soon to be ex.

Some conversations will get heated. Always listen to what your future ex has to say. Keep calm and process the conversation before responding. Don’t react too soon, you may regret what you say.  After thinking about what was discussed, respond rationally and try not to accuse or get argumentative. If the other person gets argumentative or defensive tell them you would be glad to continue the conversation once they are ready to talk to you in a calm manner. This will help alleviate any arguments and keep the conversation on task.

3. When you need someone to talk to, or you need a shoulder to cry on find a counselor, a close family member or a friend.

You may think you can get through this on your own and maybe you can, but why not have someone help you get through the emotional distress of your situation?  This could be a positive not only for you but for your close family and friends. You opening up to them and asking them for help can help them see and understand what you are going through. Having family, friends or even a counselor there for you will help you get through all of the struggles you fare during and after a divorce.

These divorce tips helped me get through my divorce. Looking back, I am glad I relied on others to help me get through the emotional aspects of this difficult situation. If you ever need to talk to people who are or have been in similar situations, join our free divorce community and get the support you need.

3 Reasons You Should Respect Your Ex

respect your ex

It is very difficult to respect your ex after a divorce.  My divorce ended because of infidelity.  How could I possibly show any respect to my ex?  What I learned is that over time, respecting your ex is what is best for many reasons, and here are a few: your children, to ease tension, to once and for all MOVE ON!

1. For Your Children

When you and your ex respect each other, you are teaching your children how to respect others.  Your children learn from YOU.   You are also teaching your children to continue to respect the other parent through this difficult situation.  Showing respect to your ex also helps your children feel like they are not being put in the middle of the divorce. This also shows your kids that they are not at fault.  The respect you show your ex also helps you co-parent effectively and when you co-parent effectively your kids respect you.

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2. To Ease Tension

Respecting your ex will eventually help relieve tension between the two of you. It will take time and it doesn’t happen overnight.  The lines of communication will get better, and it will help conversations progress positively. It will help an uncomfortable situation manageable and will reduce the tension. The respect you show your ex will go along way and benefit both of you.

3. To Move On

Respecting your ex can help you get over the relationship you once had. Moving on is a huge part of divorce. Life does go on and will be great again as long as you take the step to respect your ex, stay positive and get over the relationship you once had. Once you can respect your ex as a parent of your child/children, you will be able to move on a lot faster and with more confidence.

 Now is time to respect your children and yourself by respecting your ex. Take the time to work on this aspect of the divorce, not only for you but also for your children. They may not realize it now, but somewhere down the road, they will thank you for it!


6 Ways to Help Children Cope with Divorce

children cope with divorce

During my divorce process my children seemed to be just fine. They adjusted, from what I could see.  But after my divorce was final, they came to me with issues they were having and I knew I had to help figure out ways to help my children cope with divorce. They became very emotional and were constantly throwing fits. None of this was normal. So I decided I needed to reached out, get creative, and help my children cope with divorce. They were having emotional battles, issues with a blended family and at times just needed to talk about their feelings. Here are six resources I used that helped me and my children cope with divorce

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1. Talk to the school counselor

Meeting with the School Counselor is a great way for the children to talk with someone who will help your children cope with divorce. My children would meet with their school counselor as often as they needed to. The children would talk to her about many different things. I kept in close contact with the school counselor and she gave me and the kids ways to help them cope with divorce. It was hard for the kids to reach out at first but once they gained her trust and knew she was there to help them, they ended up building a relationship with her that they will never forget.

2. Read Books

I found that there are many books out there that are helpful and have a lot of reassurance. Children cope with divorce differently. They have different issues when coping with divorce and having books can be a great resource. My children love the book “Divorce Is Not The End of The World”. We read this book and used it as a resource numerous times since my divorce. It helped my children cope with divorce and all of the issues that come with being in a divorced family. Books are also helpful because you can always go back to them when you have questions. There are many books that will walk you through all of the different situations your children will go through during and after divorce.

3. Writing in a Journal or Have your Child Write a Letter

A great activity that will help children cope with divorce is writing in a journal. Writing about your feelings and expressing them without being vocal is great therapy. They get to express their feelings without hurting anyone else’s feelings or being worried about anyone getting mad.  Writing in a journal is easy and can bring immediate relief. There are times children want to say things to parents (either one or both) but may have a hard time speaking directly to the parent. When children cope with divorce they may need one parent to help guide them on how to handle talking to the co parent. Give permission to you’re child to share their feelings with the other parent, and if the other parent does not respond have you’re child write them a letter.

4. Meet with a Child Psychologist

Some parents do not believe that their children should  see a psychologist or counselor. If you truly believe your child needs help coping with divorce and you cannot get the other parent to cooperate, I would suggest that you go see a counselor yourself to get professional feedback that you can then take back with you and help your children cope with divorce.  Listen to your children.  Take note of what they tell you.  Then bring that information with you to your appointment. This will allow you to help your children without arguing with the other parent about your child seeing a psychologist or counselor.

5. Talk with other Parents

A great resource for all parents is other parents. Ask other divorced parents how they handled situations that you may need help with. You may not realize this but most parents that are going through or have gone through a divorce are facing similar situations.  They may then talk to other divorced parents and provide you with even more useful information. Talking with other parents is a great way to get real solutions from other people and find additional ways to help children cope with divorce.

6. Join a Divorce Support Group

Becoming part of a divorce support group is a great way for you to get out and meet new people. Divorce support groups can help you find new ways that you would not have thought about that will help your children cope with divorce. These groups may also give you ways to help yourself cope with difficult situations. Divorce support groups are a great way for you to get out meet new people and help you and you’re children cope with divorce. You may be surprised and end up helping others as well.

I hope my solutions above help your children cope with divorce because I know how much they helped me when I was going through some difficult situations but I made sure I was there to help my children.







Child Adjusting To Divorce

child adjusting to divorce

The most important thing that people tend to lose site of before, during and after a divorce is the children. There are many reasons why we lose sight of these important people. We tend to get wrapped up in all of the drama, anger and hurt that goes along with the divorce. The stress of this situation causes us to focus on finances, schedules, living arrangements as well as a magnitude of other issues. Helping your child adjust to divorce is crucial.

Children Have Fears

When divorce happens kids feel angry, fearful and just as stressed if not more then us adults. A child adjusting to divorce will fear that both parents will leave them, they fear all of the changes in living arrangements, they fear having to move to a different school, they fear friends will not want to be friends with them anymore and they fear that the divorce was their fault. With a child adjusting to divorce, if we lose sight of the children they will start to blame themselves for the situation.

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Blaming Themselves

Blaming themselves can become a habit, which is something they should never feel. Children are so innocent that they do not understand the complexities and legalities of a divorce. If a child adjusting to divorce see their parents constantly fighting, yelling at each other or arguing about who gets the kids and when, the kids will blame themselves. The self esteem of a child adjusting to divorce will take a turn for the worse and cause more lifestyle changes then they should have to deal with.

Changing Schools

Remember that a child adjusting to divorce go from seeing both parents everyday to seeing them every few days or even only a few days a month. In most cases parents end up moving into a different neighborhood and a child adjusting to divorce will have the added stress of a whole new world. This may seem new and exciting to you but for a child adjusting to divorce this is turning their world upside down and causing a HUGE lifestyle change. You may not have a choice but if you do, one constant that you should keep for you’re child adjusting to divorce is their school, that is exactly what you NEED to do. With their world turning upside down school, friends and teachers are just a few constants that they need to help them get through and adjust better to this difficult situation. I like to use the analogy of the kids having a solid cement foundation when their parents are married. When you get divorced the a child adjusting to divorce gets their foundation cracked and they have two different sides of that foundation they have to work with. School is the one foundation that the children adjusting to divorce will have that is still not cracked and one less foundation that they need to work with.

A child adjusting to divorce is difficult, but they don’t always tell you how they feel. The child adjusting to divorce is emotional and kids tend not to share how they feel in fear of hurting their parents feelings. Children do cope differently then us adults, so it is very important that you help them adjust to the best of your ability. There are many ways you as a parent can help them adjust, the best way is to spend a lot of quality time with your child adjusting to divorce. By spending time with them, they will feel more comfortable communicating and sharing feelings with you. Parents should continue to do activities with the children like riding bikes, going to the park or even just a walk around the neighborhood. Keeping your child adjusting to divorce happy, active and enjoying your attention will help them cope better with their new life. All of this work to help a child adjusting to divorce may seem like you aren’t doing any good at first, however as time goes on, your child adjusting to divorce will start sharing how happy they are that you have been there for them. A child adjusting to divorce may not give you immediate gratification, but when they acknowledge all of your hard work, it will be priceless and you will feel fantastic.

How To Explain A Difficult Ex

difficult ex

There will be times when you’re divorce will not go smoothly. Some of you will have to deal with a difficult ex during and after the divorce.  A difficult ex will be bitter, confrontational, non cooperative, and some will be constantly argumentative. They can be hard to understand.  Once you can understand why a difficult ex is acting the way they do, hopefully you will learn to not let them bother you anymore. Here are just a few reasons you may have a difficult ex.

1. You’re Difficult Ex Is Not Over You

Many times when you have a difficult ex, they simply are not over the relationship or you. A difficult ex acts poorly because they do not know how to express what they are feeling. They may not want to tell you that they may have messed up but will blame you for messing up. A difficult ex may text you or call you for silly reasons just so they can check on you.   These are all ways for them to try to make themselves feel better for not being over you.

2. The Difficult Ex Still Tries To Control You

There are times when a difficult ex does not know how to stop controlling you during the divorce and after a divorce is final. Do not let a difficult ex control you. This will cause you stress and will lead the ex to think they will continue to control you.  Try not to allow the ex into your day to day routines. You must make sure you set boundaries so you are not being controlled by a difficult ex.

3. Feels Guilty for Many Reasons

One reason an ex feels guilty is because of how or why the divorce took place. They may feel bad for not trying harder. A difficult ex may start to play the blame game. If they play the blame game it is usually because they feel that they are the cause of the problems and feel guilty. Many times blaming is their way to take blame off of themselves.  A difficult ex may not know how to tell you why they feel guilty or that they have done wrong.

4. Fear

A difficult ex may fear losing the family union. They don’t always realize the effects of divorce on children and that they would have to deal with this on their own. Another reason is that they will have to learn to take care of the children with out you’re help. A difficult ex will fear not getting enough time with the children, since the amount of time each parent gets with the children can vary.

Divorce is never easy. When you have a difficult ex, try to remember there are many reasons why they are difficult. Try to think about what you say and how you say it when talking to a difficult ex. Once you come to terms with a difficult ex, you’re new life will be less stressful.

Dating After A Divorce – With Kids

dating after a divorce

There are many things you will go through after divorce, and one of them is getting back into the dating pool. Dating after a divorce with kids can be exciting, fun and thrilling and then there are times when it can be disappointing, frustrating and unpleasant. No matter how things go, remember you need to be picky and make sure you find the person who is right for you.

After my divorce I found myself wanting the companionship that was missing.   I wanted to start dating but I had no idea how.  When I divorced, I didn’t know anyone who was a single mother who I could talk to. The feeling of being lonely was overwhelming and I knew I would have to figure this dating after a divorce with kids out all on my own.

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One thing that I really wanted to make sure of was that my two kids were not part of my early stages of dating. Dating after a divorce with kids is tricky.  I didn’t want my kids to feel upset, confused or that I was replacing their dad. I did not want them to create a bond with someone I was dating, because  if the relationship would end, that person would be ripped out of my kids lives.  I was protecting my kids and I feel that it was one of my better decisions that I made.  It was not easy, but who said dating after a divorce with kids was easy? My early stages of dating was only done when my kids were at their dad’s house. This left me with limited time, but I knew this was how it had to be in order to make the best of my time with my children.

I mostly met guys online and went through my own process on “weeding out” the ones I knew would not be for me. One process of “weeding out” was based on emails that were sent to me. If an email was written well I would email them back. The emails that were not written well or had misspelled words (the simple words that should never be misspelled) was one of my many ways of determining they were just not right for me. I was told that when dating after a divorce with kids, you can and need to be picky.

Once I determined that I was going to continue to converse with someone, I would strictly email them for at least a week or two. Then it would progress to talking on the phone for another week or two. Once I felt comfortable and wanted to meet the guy, I would meet them out on a date. I always met my date out in a public place. Some place that was well lit and had a lot of people around. It was usually a coffee shop or a restaurant.

After meeting a few people, I knew that dating after a divorce with kids was not going to be easy.  I noticed that I was meeting people with similar characteristics to my ex. It took me a while to realize this was not what I wanted or what I was looking for. So I went back to the drawing board.  I started to search on the dating websites for people with characteristics that were opposite of what I was used to. Who knew that dating after a divorce with kids would be so much work?

There were a few people I had a serious relationship with, and my kids did meet those people.  They were introduced as a friend. One of my dates also went through a divorce involving two kids. We visited with each other only a few times when we both had our children, and during those few times we learned a lot about dating after a divorce with kids.  It wasn’t easy, we wanted to make sure our kids feelings were protected so we limited the times the kids were included in our get together’s. Then there was another guy I dated who had a daughter. Once we took both our daughters to see a show, but other than that one time, we kept the kids out of our dates.

Then I met my future husband. We dated for eight months before he met the kids. He was introduced to my kids as my boyfriend (I knew he was the one!). The kids were very excited, had a lot of questions, and after the night was over they were asking when they could see him again. They really liked him, which made me happy because I really liked him too! Slowly the kids got to see him more and more.  And I thought dating after a divorce with kids was difficult, until now!

I learned that dating after a divorce with kids is not easy, but if you take the right steps in preventing heart ache for your children it is worth it in the end. Now after going through a lot of dating, a lot of weeding out crazies and making sure my kids were protected I found the one with whom my heart belongs to.  We got married last year. Not only has he made me the happiest girl in the world, he has also made my kids the happiest they have been in a long time!

Co Parenting Tips from a Divorced Mother

co parenting tips

Co parenting can be difficult. I like to stress that you should look at co parenting as a “business relationship”. Here are some proven co parenting tips that not only work great, but will help you to have a successful co parenting relationship.

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      • Be flexible – Co Parenting Tips #1

        Being flexible is vital in a co parenting relationship. One example, is if a parent is running late on the drop off day/time.  Kids do not always cooperate. They may decide to go to the bathroom right as you are walking out the door. Kids may forget their favorite stuffed animal, homework or sports bags or pick a fight with a sibling.  Another example of being flexible is when there is a family function with the other parent. If the day ends up on your placement day, try to work with the other parent so the kids can be a part of the family function. Children should not be stopped from spending time with their extended family. Not being flexible can cause gratuitous animosity and put a wrench in any positive co parenting you have already established.

      • Keep open communication -Co Parenting Tips #2

        Another one of my co parenting tips is to keep the lines of communication open. Think about how your communication with the ex will affect the children. Keeping a calm, relaxed and even tone will help assure positive decisions will be made for your children. Co parenting should include sharing your child’s achievements that took place on your placement days. Inform your ex of any doctor appointments the kids had while in your care. Sharing positive performance, concerns and the needs of the kids can take away hostility you may feel towards each other and lighten the mood.  The kids will respect you more and maybe even learn some communication skills of thier own.

      • Do NOT talk badly about the other parent in front of the kids – Co Parenting Tips #3

        It is hard enough for the kids to be in the situation they are in. Do not make it harder by talking badly about their other parent.  The kids view both parents as “role models” and you do not want your kids to have negative thinking towards you for talking bad about the other parent. Talking bad about your ex in front of the kids will have negative lasting affects on your children.

      • Do NOT ask the kids to take sides – Co Parenting Tips #4

        Kids should never choose between you and the other parent. You may be asking the kids to choose sides with out even realizing it. Think before you speak in front of the kids. By saying anything negative about your ex, will make the kids feel like they have to take sides. They love you and the other parent, and do not need or deserve to be put in the middle.  Remember that your kids emotional needs are more important than yours.

      • ALWAYS keep a positive attitude – Co Parenting Tips #5

        Your children have been through a lot. They need their parents to have a positive attitude. This will give them increased self esteem, happiness, better health and motivation to get through the stresses of the divorce.  Remember your kids learn from you, if you always have a positive attitude, your kids will try doing the same.

These five co parenting tips have worked for me and I hope they work for you!

Children of Divorce – Changing Environments

children of divorce

What is one consistent environment that children of divorce have in their life?

If you and your ex live in different communities you will be faced with a difficult decision.  My personal experiences found that your kids WANT to stay at their current school and with their current friends.  Why give them something more to worry about.  Children of divorce already have gone through enough right?

This is a very common problem divorced parents face and should not be taken lightly because a stable environment will be very important in your children’s life.    Why move them to a school that is foreign to them, with the anxiety of meeting new people in a new environment.  Hopefully you and your ex will come to an agreement that consistency for the kids is very important.  Their lives already changed dramatically, let their school not change.

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What makes schools stable for children of divorce?

Children of divorce have relationships and bonds that will always exist at school. Children view the teachers, counselors, principles and others they communicate with at school, as people who are patient, consistent and responsive to their needs. Parents do respond to their needs, but when a child is in a divorce situation, they feel like they have to choose sides. Children of divorce know that teachers, counselors or others will be there for them, will not judge them or take sides, which is why it is easier for kids to talk to an unbiased person. They know the teachers (and others) will listen. Parents do listen and do not judge their kids, however kids want to talk to someone neutral. They do not want to say anything that would hurt their parents or make them feel bad.

Although there are many changes children of divorce go through, the one thing that is consistent and remains constant is their school. Remember, your children did not ask for this. Divorce is not their fault. Always put your children first and they will transition well.