Don’t Let Your Divorce Turn Ugly

divorce

When we get married, we are betting on beating the odds. Around 50% of all marriages end in divorce or separation. That number is based on the current statistics from the CDC. What the CDC doesn’t report is how many families fall apart where the parents are not married. Unmarried couples living together and raising a family are just as devastated and the breakup is just as profound.

How low can you go?

Sometimes two people sit down and decide that it is time to move on. They talk about the children’s needs. They discuss if one parent should keep the house or should it be sold. They create a financial plan and then they share a hug and walk away.  Really? If that couple exists we’ve never met them.

Reality is much different. It comes with arguing, hiding things, being vengeful, and an attitude of ripping each other apart. People become creatures that their families have never known. We are going to talk about a few of the nasty things that we have seen and that you should never do. Being vengeful will always come back on you. You may be very surprised at how far we can sink when our life and dreams are being ripped apart.

Like a thief in the night

Often a person who is seeking a divorce must slip away in the night for safety. If you are in a dangerous situation, leave any way you can. However, sometimes a spouse waits until their partner leaves for work. Then a moving van arrives and several co-workers clear out the house and they get out with everything but the kitchen sink. And, so begins the war.

Money

We all need money to survive. Together or not, you both have to eat. The electricity has to be paid and the kids need a home. The spouse who goes to the bank and withdraws all of the money and puts it in a personal account without the knowledge of the other spouse will have to deal with the consequences and they can be harsh. That spouse is essentially telling the judge that they are childish and unreasonable. The backlash of that is losing all creditability.

Mr. or Mrs. “I’ll get you” will not stop there. In their effort to make their spouse suffer, they will have all the credit cards canceled. In this age of technology, it is not a quick process to stop direct deposits. At the very least you are leaving them temporarily stranded. 

Job

It is not uncommon for a jilted husband or wife to do everything in their power to get their spouse fired. This can come in the form of sending an email to the company accusing the spouse of stealing from the company. Sometimes, they go much further. In one case we know of, a wife showed up at a company function and announced to the room that her husband was having an affair with a co-worker (who was also present with her husband.) It ended with a lot of yelling and eventually security took her out of the building. Of course, this caused a host of problems which ultimately cost him and the co-worker their jobs.

One has to question if she really thought that out. Not only will she have to adjust to being a single mom on one salary plus child support, but now her husband is not working, so he cannot pay.

Busted!

Another group of issues that disgruntled spouses use as revenge is to turn the spouse into the IRS for leaving things off his taxes. They may call the DHS and accuse them of hurting or neglecting their child. Again, this seems like a rash jester. The government who looks at him will also look at you. This creates a big headache for everyone, and lashing out will not make the government think you are the most mature parent of the child.

What you should do

The most mature thing is to sit down together or with a mediator and determine the basics. Who will live in the family home during the divorce? Who will take the children to and from school? How much money will each of you need to survive the process? If your spouse tries or succeeds in doing any of the underhanded things listed above, tell your attorney immediately.  

Look at your life

Are you in a dead-end job and do not know how you can make it after your divorce, use the pre-divorce time to ask for a promotion or get another job.

If you do not have a solid support system, work on that. You cannot be everything to everyone. After the divorce, your friends will split with you. You will find some people to be on his side that you thought cared deeply for you.

Note: if you need a counselor, get one. You support system is there to encourage you and to let you vent. If money is too tight, try an online resource.

Have some money or a credit card handy. This does not mean empty the account. Cleaning out the bank. Put back a few dollars . Have a yard sale, be careful of who you give your information to. Take out a credit card for emergencies in your own name.

Be the better person

Making the transition is not easy for anyone. During that time, your focus should be on your children and your own health and needs. Making it as easy as possible. Is good for each of you.

One thing you can do is order copies of all important documents. This includes; birth certificates, health records, insurance information, education records, and place them in a binder so each of you will have what you may need to care for your children. Include the name of your child’s teacher and the school they attend.  

Never talk bad about your spouse where your children will hear and never ask your child for information in the other parent. Do your best to be the better person. But, if your spouse is determined to have a fight, speak to your attorney, That is what he is there for.

AH_smart divorce

The Divorce Heritage

Divorce Heritage

What Impact does Your Divorce Have on Your Family Heritage?

As we celebrate our Heritage during the month of September in South Africa, honoring our diverse cultures and the various legacies inherited from past generations, I would like to explore the true extent of heritage for families.

Through the ages, mankind has always endeavoured to preserve its tangible, natural and cultural heritage. Each generation has faced its own challenges with the maintenance and celebration thereof. The rapid rise in divorce over the last fifty odd years, has a profound impact on the heritage of our families and communities.

When we opt for divorce, it is paramount to accept this fact and grasp the full extent of it. Not only does the status quo change within our inner circles, but the impact reaches far outside among the family, friends and communities in which we live and function.

As families, we have a tangible heritage too, such as homes which are our monuments; parks, school grounds and holiday destinations which are our urban landscapes; works of art and artefacts depicting the growth and development of each member; photographs taken on special occasions and story books read by generations.

Don’t burn your wedding photographs

During divorce, we should be careful not to disregard the importance of a family home providing a safe haven and familiar base from which to go out into the world and to return to whenever needed. Similarly, the urban landscapes in which we live our daily lives are an integral part of who we are. Sudden changes to or loss of these monuments and landmarks should receive careful consideration before being imposed on our families.

The arts and crafts created by our family members from their childhood through to their old age, deserve a rightful place in the halls of fame, along with each individual’s achievements, regardless of divorce or new blended families. These are reminders of where we come from and the talents we inherited from our forefathers and should be preserved for future generations to refer to. Photographs record the milestones and special occasions celebrated with loved ones and become a valuable reflection of our timelines. The same goes for the books our grand-parents read to our parents and again to us and so on, which are precious heirlooms.

Imagine the huge sense of loss for adults and children alike, when you no longer live in the family home and don’t have regular access to all those familiar heirlooms, as a result of divorce.

Equally valuable is our natural heritage and the support we show as families to preserve and care for our limited resources. Some would be devastated to leave behind a lovingly cultivated garden and others would mourn the loss of a beloved family pet that cannot be accommodated in a new dwelling after divorce. Not being able to visit favourite nature retreats or participate in regular community initiatives, robs us of the opportunity to find solace in familiar surroundings or make a positive contribution.

The way we behave during divorce has a huge influence on our future intangible heritage. When we disrespect and hurt the people we love, a culture of pain and suffering develops, resulting in bitterness and resentment. When we deceive and betray our partners, dishonesty and distrust becomes customary. When we engage in prolonged and unfair legal battles, conflict and bullying becomes common practice. Similarly, when we actively alienate children and parents, we enable negative values such as selfishness, insecurity and rivalry. Healthy relationships and bonding are no longer valuable and our beliefs in loyalty and honour suffer tremendously.

Are you unknowingly alienating your child from the other parent?

If divorce interferes or brings an end to our inherited traditions and rituals, we get lost and lose our sense of belonging to our tribe. We are left with little or no notion of family values and customs to honour and uphold as defining characteristics in society.

It is vital that we critically evaluate the impact on the future heritage of our divorced and blended families, which we are creating in our daily lives:

Are we crafting cause for future celebration in spite of this divorce heritage or are we setting the stage for mourning loss and shame?

Holidays – How To Plan And Execute

holidays

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With Easter coming, I found it fitting to talk about the holidays.

In years past, the holidays were a time of joy, excitement and anticipation.  Now, the holidays are stressful, full of anxiety, and not always enjoyable. If you do not use your co-parenting skills, this can be a dreaded situation.There are multiple things that you should think of when you are trying to deal with the holidays.

Plan which holidays you and your ex will have at the beginning of the year. When determining which holidays the kids will spend with you and which holidays they will spend with the other parent, always ask yourself if you are acting in the best interest of the child/children. Take traditions into consideration when making these decisions, this way the kids will not miss out on traditions that may be used to or may be important to them. Remember the holidays are not all about you. Your children deserve to enjoy the celebrations even if you do not like the outcome.

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Create new holiday rituals and traditions with the kids. You may want to hold on to past holidays traditions, but it is good to create new rituals with friends and family. Consider celebrating the holidays on a different day, and let the kids know that the holidays will continue just in different ways. Take time with the kids to come up with new ideas for celebrating, this can be fun and exciting for everyone. Teach the kids the true meaning of the holidays. The attention, time, emotional commitment and presence you give your children will be the memories they never forget.

When the actual holidays come, make sure you preplanned exactly where and how exchanges will be made. Always reassure the kids that you will be OK while they are away and encourage the kids to have a blast with the other parent. While the kids are away it will be emotionally difficult, so surround yourself with people who love you and do not isolate yourself. It may seem that being alone rather then with others who are married and have children would be easier but the reality is that we all need to be surrounded by people when we are going through difficult times. These people help us remember that we have a lot to be thankful for and help us laugh and take our mind off the emotional struggle we are facing.

At the end of the holiday when the kids come back to you, they may be tired, stressed out and  irritable from the long day. They will probably feel bad for not spending time with you or they may just be plain tired. Kids do not always know how to express their feelings, or they may not want to express their feelings in fear of hurting someone else’s  feelings. Be flexible, patient and understanding, for it can be very stressful for the kids to transition after a holiday.

Happy Easter!

With Easter coming, I found it fitting to talk about the holidays. In years past, the holidays were a time of joy, excitement and anticipation.  Now, the holidays are stressful, full of anxiety, and not always enjoyable. If you do not use your co-parenting skills, this can be a dreaded situation.There are multiple things that you should think of when you are trying to deal with the holidays. Plan which holidays you and your ex will have at the beginning of the year. When determining which holidays the kids will spend with you and which holidays they will spend with…

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