spend money on after divorce

5 Things You Should Definitely Spend Money On After Divorce

spend money on after divorce

 

Divorce could be a big payday for some but most of us will be on a budget after the papers are signed and we part ways with our ex forever. Let’s face it, usually, money is going to be pretty tight after divorce.

It’s difficult transitioning from living off of two incomes to living off of one income while also facing the expenses that come with divorce. So it begs the question when it’s all over, what should you spend your money on?

Things You Should Definitely Spend Money On After Divorce

Living Arrangements

Where someone lives after a divorce is always different depending on their circumstances. If you keep the house in your divorce, you should consider the expenses it takes to keep it and decide whether or not you can afford it on one income.

It’s not just the mortgage and the taxes you should consider either. Think about what it’s going to cost for landscaping in the summer, snow removal in the winter, repairs to the house and appliances which may break and need replacing. It’s always a good idea to save 2% of your home’s value for repairs and general upkeep every year.

If this isn’t something you feel like you can afford on one paycheck, consider downsizing and moving into a smaller home or apartment. Once you move, you’ll also have to think about getting new furniture, dishware, and maybe a new bed to help make your new space a home.

Usually, couples figure out living arrangements during the divorce but since it is such a stressful time, you may feel like you didn’t choose the best long term living arrangements for you. When everything is over, thinking about where you want to live and putting some money towards that is an important thing to consider to set yourself up for success moving forward.

Self-Care

It’s okay to take a little time to yourself after the divorce. It’s a stressful time and there’s nothing wrong with putting a little money aside for self-care.

How can you best position yourself for success if you haven’t started moving on? Take a day, unwind, and maybe try something new.

Go to the salon and get that new hairstyle you’ve been wanting to try. Or maybe you finally take that yoga class you’ve been thinking about. Whatever you need, you should take time and treat yourself so you are mentally prepared for whatever comes next in your life. Remember to put yourself first during this stressful time. If you’re not in a good headspace, you won’t be able to positively affect those around you.

Divorce Party!

Celebrating a divorce coming to a close with your most supportive friends is a fun and stress relieving event which can help put a positive close to such a hard time in your life.

Divorce parties are becoming more popular and for good reason. It’s nice to know that when your life changes completely, you still have a great support structure around you to help you move forward.

Think About New Ways to Manage Your Money

I see a lot of people trying to pay off debts right after a divorce but it’s not always a good idea to have zero dollars in your bank account so you have zero debt.

Some debt is healthy and you can use it to your advantage.

For example, it might be a better idea to put your money into a retirement account with 9% interest than to completely pay off a car payment with 3% interest. If you decide to pay off the car loan, you are missing out on the 6% interest you could have made in the long run from investing in your retirement while also continuing to pay off your car month by month.

As long as you have a healthy amount of debt with good interest rates, you can invest your money elsewhere and win out long term. This is something I help women with every day as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst.

What Do You Need?

These are all examples of things you could potentially use your money for after divorce but we’re all different. Think about what YOU need.

Just because the morning news or your neighbors tell you it’s good to pay off debts immediately after a divorce doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.

Maybe you want to start an online business, maybe you want to take a road trip and travel the country, or maybe you want to move to a different country altogether! All of these things are possible and each one of them has different financial considerations.

It’s always a good idea to consult with a financial professional so they can help you figure out the best place for your money no matter what you are trying to do with your life.

What else should someone consider spending money on after a divorce? Let me know in the comments!

The post 5 Things You Should Definitely Spend Money On After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

Codependency: What I Learned About Myself While Recovering From Divorce

Codependency: What I Learned About Myself While Recovering From Divorce

codependent.jpg

I remember having a phone conversation with my ex; it was during our separation a few months before the divorce was final. He had left, filed for a divorce and failed to share with me his reasons. Getting information out of him about the failure of MY marriage was like sucking peanut butter through a straw. It was a hell of a lot of work with little return on my investment.

That was the story of our relationship though. I worked and worked and worked and emotionally he gave very little. During that conversation, he shared with me that I was “codependent.” I can remember being so excited…I finally had an answer. And, having an answer meant I could fix it and he would come home. I could work some more!

I did my research, found out what codependency was and BAM, I had to agree with him. I also realized that for my own sanity it was time to take a step back and, if he wanted the marriage, let him begin to do some work. He didn’t and here I am a recovered codependent with no regrets.

I can sum my marriage up in one short paragraph…I became a self-imposed victim suffering frequent emotional abuse, blaming myself for not being everything he needed me to be. He, on the other hand, skated through the marriage waiting for his needs to be met with no regard for the health of the marriage or me.

As a wife, my job was to…

Rescue him from his pain, problems, and suffering and at the same time do virtually anything I could to maintain the marriage. That was my belief when I entered the marriage and it suited what he needed from the marriage. I needed to rescue him from his childhood traumas; he needed me to be the mama he had never had.

Is it any wonder it all fell apart?!?!?!

The Codependents Role in a Marriage:

It’s simple; the codependent feels it is her place to…

  • Sacrifice her own well-being and sense of self in favor of the well-being of her spouse and the marriage.
  • Take on more than her share of the emotional work in the marriage.
  • Engage in self-sacrifice for the sake of the marriage, to the point of resentment and self-hatred.
  • Blame herself and her inability to solve problems when problems arise in the marriage.
  • Continue attempting to have a relationship with him even when he is emotionally distant, beating the hell out of her, cheating on her, emotionally detached from her, needy as hell and downright irresponsible with her feelings.
  • Become the mother he never had, the bank, the security blanket and the clean-up crew all wrapped up into one tightly wound, self-loathing woman who keeps on ticking in spite of feeling like a wretched failure.

What Does the Codependent Get in Return?

  • Her own suffering prolonged.
  • A husband who, due to her enabling reactions is able to avoid dealing with his own childhood traumas and the role he plays in the marital problems.
  • An unhappy marriage, one in which the only person with anything to gain is the one she continuously sacrifices herself for.

How Does the Codependent Break The Cycle?

She sets boundaries in relationships and let’s go of her need to control others and the outcome of situations she finds herself in. She learns that the health of a relationship is not dependent on her losing herself for the sake of the relationship. It is her job, not anyone else’s to make sure she is getting what she needs from relationships she engages in. Whether that is love relationships, familial relationships or friendships.

She starts by setting clear physical and emotional boundaries which allow her to take care of herself physically and emotionally. She defines what is and isn’t allowed to happen to her in her relationships.

Physical boundaries help her define who can and can’t touch her, how she can and can’t be touched and how physically close she wants to get to others. If she has firm physical boundaries she will walk away the first time he hits her. She will not shy away from telling him he is “in her space.” She will be able to respectful say, “you aren’t allowed to touch me in that way.”

Emotional boundaries help her define where her feelings end and his feelings begin. They keep the lines from becoming blurred. If she has firm emotional boundaries she takes responsibility for her feelings and needs and allows him to take responsibility for his. She is be able to…

  • Say “no” without feeling guilty,
  • identify and ask that her needs be met,
  • let go of her need to please others,
  • share her feelings regardless of how they may be received,
  • not take responsibility for the bad behavior of others,
  • let others solve their own problems,
  • gain control over her life and say, bye-bye to all the chaos!

Like me, her days of sucking peanut butter through a straw will be over!!

The post Codependency: What I Learned About Myself While Recovering From Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

high conflict divorce and post traumatic stress

High Conflict Divorce and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

high conflict divorce and post traumatic stress

 

“Once you go through a high conflict divorce you are never the same,” said Dana in an interview I had with her a few months ago.

Dana divorced her husband in 1999. Her ex, Jim had been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and he has made Dana and their children’s lives miserable for 20 years. Due to the long, drawn-out legal battle and Jim’s emotional abuse before and since the divorce Dana was recently diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She is being treated as an inpatient and discussed what life has been like for her over the last few years.

High Conflict Divorce and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

“I feel as if I’ve been in the middle of a war zone for an extended period of time. I’ve lived with daily fear for years; there has been no relief because some sort of conflict with my ex was always lurking around the corner.” Dana says. I didn’t have time to process one event before I was dealing with another one.

When divorced from someone like my ex you don’t have time to stop, process your feelings, grieve and move on. You have to have your guard up at all times, be focused and ready for what is coming next and you learn quickly that there will be something coming.”

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a normal emotional and psychological reaction to trauma (a painful or shocking experience) that exists outside of someone’s normal life experiences.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health people who experience a traumatic event will react with shock, anger, nervousness, fear, or even guilt. For most people, these common reactions go away over time, but for someone experiencing PTSD, these feelings continue to escalate until the person has difficulty living a normal life. Someone with PTSD usually has symptoms for longer than a month and cannot function as well as they did before the traumatic event.

In Dana’s case, prolonged exposure to trauma didn’t give her the opportunity to heal from the divorce because the divorce was ongoing.

“It’s like I’m constantly in survival mode,” Dana, a resident of Nashville, Tennessee says. “I perceive a lot of things as a threat. My reaction is an immediate defense for survival. I’m hypervigilant and find it hard to enjoy life.

My reaction to an unexpected tap on the shoulder from behind is quite different from someone without PTSD. I jump, scream or run as if I’m under attack. It is hard to explain but everything feels like an attack on my safety or security. A car turned in front of me one day, there was plenty of room, no danger of the car hitting me but I froze. I was unable to drive ahead, could only sit and cry. I’ve lost myself and my ability to calm myself after even the smallest adrenalin rush.”

Symptoms of PTSD are often grouped into three main categories that include:

  • Reliving the Traumatic Experience – Survivors of trauma may experience nightmares or flashbacks of the traumatic event. This might be triggered by something that reminds the survivor of the event like the anniversary of the event or a similar location or even a language.
  • Avoidance – People may remove themselves from people or situations that are similar in some way to the traumatic event. Survivors may become detached from their loved ones and lose interest in their previous passions.
  • Increased Arousal – Those with PTSD may become more sensitive to their emotions or bodily sensations. They may have high anxiety levels, insomnia, trouble focusing, be hyper-vigilant (always on guard), among other symptoms.

“I’m constantly under some kind of pressure,” Dana says. “I’m not the same happy, loving person I once was. It feels like there’s a barrier wall in front of me and I can’t scale it.”

Recovering from PTSD is a process and differs for each survivor. The goal for PTSD treatment is to reduce the physical and emotional symptoms as well as improve the survivor’s ability to interact fully with their everyday life.

“First and foremost is some kind of personal conversation, talking or psychotherapeutic relationship,” Dr. Arthur S. Blank Jr., a Vietnam veteran and a renowned expert on PTSD says in a video for The Washington Post. “People need to be able to talk about whatever they have to talk about to someone who is an experienced listener.”

To supplement psychotherapy treatment for patients diagnosed with PTSD, sometimes doctors will prescribe medications like antidepressants as well as many other kinds of prescriptions that can help people along the road to recovery.

“I’ve been told by doctors that time will tell,” Dana says. “Medication does only so much. Each individual has a different reaction to what traumas they suffer.”

When asked if she had any advice for women going through a high conflict divorce, Dana offered this…

“Know when to give up the fight. I expected the legal system to protect me, to make sure my ex was punished when he defied court orders. I was proven wrong over and over again. My ex-husband left and took 87% of his income. Leaving me to raise three children on my own.

I worried about feeding them, clothing them and housing them. I worried about their emotional welfare and I worked long hours. On top of that, I was a victim to his ongoing legal abuse for years after the divorce was final.

At times I worked two jobs to make ends meet. My children and I were trying to live our lives, struggling to get by and at the same time my ex was reaching in from a distance to make it just that much harder. You can’t look to the legal system to protect you and the only way to win over someone who wants you to suffer is to give up the fight. Let it go, your health is more important.”

The post High Conflict Divorce and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

narcissistic ex-husband

4 Things To Keep In Mind When Dealing With a Narcissistic Ex-Husband

narcissistic ex-husband

 

Marriage is meant to be a beautiful thing experienced between two individuals who care for and support one another as equals. It is a rarity for someone to be dealing with a genuinely narcissistic individual as a life partner, but these situations do exist.

There are times when even after the divorce has been finalized, the other partner still has to deal with their narcissistic ex-husband for one reason or another.

These reasons can include having mutual friends or even having children with each other. Regardless of why there are ways that you can keep your distance and deal with having to face your narcissistic ex-husband once in a while for reasons that are out of your control.

How to Deal With a Narcissistic Ex-Husband

Keep Everyone Involved in Mind

Even if you were not married, there was still a “divorce” of sorts that took place between you and your now ex-partner. When two individuals decide to part ways, especially if they were together for a long period of time, it is generally more than just the two of them that are affected.

If you do not maintain boundaries for yourself, if you have children together, then this type of boundary-stepping can also affect the dynamic there. Being raised by a narcissist does its own kind of damage.

Maintain Your Personal Boundaries

By coming to the understanding that you have experienced a real separation for a purpose, it can become easier to deal with the definitive ending of your relationship with a narcissistic individual. Sometimes narcissistic individuals will try to hang on to some semblance of a relationship with their ex-spouses, even after the separation. If this is allowed to happen, then the relationship between them continues in a dysfunctional and unhealthy way.

Many narcissists like the idea of having multiple wives, in a sense. One to take care of their emotional needs and another to take care of their physical demands at home. Being firm with your ex-husband and setting boundaries between you can help to prevent this type of inappropriate “sister wife” situation from forming.

Personal Safety is Key

If you do not feel safe in your own home, then there are steps you can take to reestablish your sense of personal safety. Let’s say that you live in a home that you shared with your narcissistic ex-husband for many years. Perhaps he knows the home and the area like the back of his hand and you no longer feel comfortable living in the area, now that you have divorced.

Whether you have a restraining order on your ex-husband or not, there is no reason why you should have to live in a state of constantly looking over your shoulder. You can either choose to move to a new home or you can invest in something like a high-tech smart security system to protect yourself.

Remember That It’s Your Life

While you may have to interact with your narcissistic ex-husband, unless they are court-ordered to maintain a certain distance from you, that does not mean that you have to deal with them in any way outside of the necessary interactions. If you have to speak to your ex, due to matters having to do with your children or business-related manners, there is no reason to give in to any of their expectations on what they want from you beyond these short interactions.

Being polite and civil is different than spilling all of your most intimate information. You do not have to answer any of their personal questions if you do not feel comfortable in doing so. Since you are split up, there is no longer any reason why you should have to answer any questions they may have on your whereabouts, who you are seeing, and what you have been doing without them around.

Photo by Niklas Hamann on Unsplash

The post 4 Things To Keep In Mind When Dealing With a Narcissistic Ex-Husband appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

heal from your break-up

7 Ways to Heal from Your Break-up and Regain Your Self-Concept

heal from your break-up

 

When your marriage ends, it’s natural to experience feelings of rejection, anger, sadness, guilt, regret, or even relief. Self-defeating thoughts can seize you because you’re vulnerable and trying to come to terms with the changes that are occurring in your life. However, it’s important to realize that these feelings are a normal part of grieving and letting go after a break-up.

Marissa put it like this: “It was a long time coming and a mutual decision to divorce, but it was still a struggle to end our fifteen-year marriage and have to explain it to our two sons. The reality of living apart from Trevor was tough. We no longer love each other but the finality of our break-up is painful.

While it’s normal to go through a period of self-reflection when your relationship ends, it’s crucial that you keep things in perspective. Losing a partner, even if you made a decision to end the relationship, can disrupt your life on so many levels because your ex-partner was undoubtedly a part of your daily existence. As a result, breakups can weaken your ability to sleep, eat well, and function at work and in social spheres.

To complicate matters, studies have discovered that experiencing the end of a relationship can leave you with a diminished self-concept (those things that make you unique). This makes perfect sense because your identity probably became incorporated with your partner’s sense of self and now, you’re left with the task of redefining who you are as a separate person.

According to author Linda Carroll, the anguish of heartache also registers in your body. She writes: “There is a change in blood flow in the brain, and the anterior cingulate cortex (responsible for the regulation of distress) becomes active. Recent MRI studies of subjects in the midst of a breakup revealed that the part of their brains that registered emotional rejection was the same part that reacted to severe pain.”

The reality is that breakups are hard.

We’ve all faced them and been challenged by letting go of the why and how things could have gone differently. Goodbyes are never easy but it’s better to let someone go than staying with them out of insecurity or fear of being alone.

Ask yourself this: Do your fears of being alone prevent you from looking at your breakup honestly? For instance, it’s likely that there have been problems in the relationship for some time and that one or both of you have been unhappy. A recent study at the University of Toronto confirmed that a fear of being single can lead people to stay in unfulfilling relationships.

In terms of adjusting to the end of a relationship, the late Dr. Bruce Fisher coined two terms that shed light on how individuals experience different emotions depending on their role in the breakup. In Dr. Fisher’s groundbreaking book Rebuilding: When Your Relationship Ends, he writes “Dumpers are the partners who leave the relationship, and they often feel considerable guilt; dumpees are the partners who want to hang on to the relationship, and they often experience strong feelings of rejection.”

For instance, Janette made a decision to end her twenty-year marriage after six months of counseling. She initiated the process, filed divorce papers, and expressed some relief but also guilt during our last counseling session. On the other hand, her husband Kirk expressed feelings of sadness and rejection about Janette moving out. Janette stated: “The hardest part of moving out was coming to the realization that even though I made the best decision, I felt bad that Kirk didn’t want the divorce, even though we argued constantly and led separate lives.”

Further, if you were the person who was left (or the dumpee) feelings of rejection and loss may cause you to feel lowered self-worth and self-love. Be patient with yourself! As you learn to let go of self-blame and to love yourself again, your feelings of rejection will lessen and you’ll have more energy to relate to others in healthy ways.

If you find yourself ruminating about what went wrong, this is normal. Part of the grieving process at the end of a relationship is accepting that the marriage you thought you had no longer exists. While these feelings are more common for dumpee than dumpers, both people typically experience a grief process.

Here are 7 ways to heal from a breakup:

1. Accept your feelings about the breakup and don’t judge yourself. This includes your emotional reactions such as sadness, anger, fear, rejection, and guilt. Crying can release tension and help the healing process. Don’t be surprised if you shed tears at unexpected times and feel intensely sad and perhaps a sense of relief afterward.

2. Gain awareness of the reasons your relationship ended. This includes some examination of your part in the relationship ending. Don’t get stuck in these thoughts but it’s helpful to gain insight so that you don’t repeat the same patterns in the next relationship.

3. Work towards a routine for exercise and eating healthy meals. Are you taking care of yourself physically and emotionally? If not, devise a plan to nurture yourself and get your well-being restored (regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, etc.).

4. Forgive Yourself. Focus on those things that you can control. You can’t control the past but you can begin to let go of hurt feelings. Attempt to forgive yourself and your former partner – or at least accept his or her behavior. This doesn’t mean you condone hurtful actions, but they simply have less power over you! Consulting a counselor, support group, or divorce coach may help to facilitate forgiveness and healing.

5. Attempt to see relationships as teachers. We learn a lot about ourselves from loss and can approach a new relationship with our eyes wide open. Just because your relationship is over, it doesn’t mean you’re inadequate or inferior – or there’s something wrong with you. Give yourself a break.

6. Nurture supportive relationships. It may be a challenge to be around other people but sometimes you might just have to force yourself to accept an invitation to a party or something simple like going to a movie with a friend.

7. Try out new interests. Get energized by a new hobby and invite a friend to join you. Consider something that causes you to go outside your comfort zone such as an exercise class or glass blowing.

Taking an inventory of how your feelings may be impacting your behavior can help you gain a healthier viewpoint. Are you neglecting your health, interests, family, or friends due to grieving the loss of your relationship? It’s important not to fall prey to a victim mentality and to make self-care a priority. Keep in mind that you don’t have to be defined by your relationship ending and that dealing effectively with loss can cause you to better define who you are as a person!

 

Follow Terry Gaspard on TwitterFacebook, and movingpastdivorce.com. Terry’s book Daughters of Divorce: Overcome the Legacy of Your Parents’ Breakup and Enjoy a Happy, Long-lasting Relationship was published by Sourcebooks in 2016. Her new book, The Remarried Manual: How to Make Everything Work Better the Second Time Around,  will be published by Sounds True in February of 2020 and can be pre-ordered here.

More from Terry

The post 7 Ways to Heal from Your Break-up and Regain Your Self-Concept appeared first on Divorced Moms.



Read More –>

solo travel after divorce

What You Need to Know About Traveling Solo After Divorce

solo travel after divorce

 

Feeling intimidated about solo travel after divorce?

That’s understandable. One of the benefits of marriage is that it usually means you have a travel companion. If you have children, then school breaks are a great incentive to getaway.

All that changes with divorce. Suddenly, you no longer have your spouse to travel with. Compounding that, chances are your friends are all married so tagging along with them just feels weird. It gets even harder if you’re an empty nester and your kids are doing their own trips.

A common complaint from newly-singles is that they have no one to go away with so they just end up not going on vacation.

It doesn’t have to be that way. You can travel solo. And once you start, there’ll be no holding you back.

What You Need to Know About Traveling Solo After Divorce

The Possibilities Are Endless

Just to get you started thinking about solo travel, divorce coach and founder of SurvivingYourSplit.com, Martha Bodyfelt recently returned from a three-week trip to South America, visiting countries she hadn’t been to before. That included Uruguay, Paraguay, Peru, and Ecuador.

Bodyfelt, who speaks fluent Spanish, has always been passionate about South America and when she saw a really cheap business class air ticket, she grabbed it. Then she began to plan her trip.

“I started to do a little bit of research and they just seemed to have these hidden gems,” said Bodyfelt. “For example, I had no idea that Uruguay has this amazing wine region. I love wine so any undiscovered wine territory, pack my bags and I’ll go there.”

Solo Travel Is Easy Once You Do It

I’ll confess, I haven’t done any solo travel. Before marriage, I always traveled with friends. Then it was traveling with my husband and kids. I’ve always had travel companions or traveled to places to meet with friends or family. The idea of going somewhere solo and not knowing anyone is intimidating for me.

But my kids are now grown and off doing their own things. If I want to go exploring or have a vacation then I’m going to have to push through my fear.

Bodyfelt, by contrast, grew up in a big family where it was hard to find alone time.

“I think the seed of independent travel was planted in me at a young age,” said Bodyfelt. “My parents took us on a trip across the border to Nogales, Mexico. I took it upon myself to go wander away from my parents and my little nine-year-old self thought, ‘hey, this is really great.’”

That was the beginning. In college, Bodyfelt did a study abroad semester and hitchhiked through Europe. Traveling while married though was different because Bodyfelt’s travel style didn’t match her husband’s.

“I always felt a little bit resentful having to travel with someone,” said Bodyfelt. “When my marriage didn’t work out, it was almost an emancipation. I felt it gave me permission to travel again.”

How To Get Started

Traveling anywhere means figuring out transportation, lodging, and activities. Bodyfelt, being the seasoned traveler almost always books it all herself. That comes with practice. But you don’t have to do that.

For starters, you don’t have to do a three-week international trip to four different countries.

“If this seems overwhelming to you, you can start small,” said Bodyfelt. “You can plan a weekend trip by yourself. But you’re not going to feel comfortable doing it by yourself until you start doing it by yourself.”

The first step is to know where you’d like to visit.

Once you’ve pinned down your country, start looking for your flight. Bodyfelt uses Kayak.com and she’ll set up alerts so she’ll get notifications of changes in fares.

Once she’s got her flight, then Bodyfelt starts to look at lodging.

“I really like the local flavors, so I love using Airbnb,” said Bodyfelt. “It’s an amazing way to experience what a local would live like and you can find some incredible deals.”

For hotels, Bodyfelt uses Booking.com.

Consider A Tour

If even thinking about finding your airfare and searching for accommodation has you stopped in your tracks, then consider a package tour. Bodyfelt used this approach when traveling to countries where she felt nervous about booking for herself such as Jordan and the Middle East.

I see tours offered on Travelzoo and Bodyfelt suggests On The Go Tours, Intrepid Travel and Roads Scholar.

With tours, everything is going to be planned for you although there will likely be some optional excursions during the trip. The great thing about these vacations is that while you may be traveling solo, as soon as you meet your tour group, you’ll be with other people from all over the world. So, no need to worry about being alone.

Be Prepared For The Single Supplement

One of the inequities about traveling solo is the single supplement. It’s what tour operators charge you when you’re not traveling with a companion. Supposedly, the rooms are more expensive when only occupied by one person.

The charge is very trip and tour-operator dependent. But you can often get deals where it is waived. Bodyfelt suggests doing an Internet search for tours with no single supplement. If all else fails, always try to negotiate it with the travel company.

Choosing Where To Travel

When you’re choosing where to travel, I would start by making a list of the places that interest you. The truth is the order in which you visit the places doesn’t matter. There is no wrong choice. Having the list means you’ll be ready to snap a deal when you see it.

Bodyfelt shares a tip from a guide she met in Russia. He told her that where you want to travel is the city you see in your dreams.

Consider An Activity-Based Trip

If you’re nervous about what to do when you get to your chosen city, you can solve that problem by looking for a tour based on a specific interest or activity.

You can do a culinary tour, a bicycling tour, a volunteer trip or a religious tour. You could chaperone a Girl Scout trip. You could also do a language immersion course to get your Spanish up to a level to give you the confidence to travel around South America like Bodyfelt.

“Basically, the sky’s the limit,” said Bodyfelt. “Whatever you want to do, whatever interests you, there is a trip for you to take advantage of that interest.”

Consider Your Safety

Solo travel solo does demand some daring on your part. If you listen to all the unforeseen and unexpected incidents from worldly travelers, you could easily be scared into staying on your couch.

“It’s a balance,” said Bodyfelt. “You want to be prepared and you want to be vigilant but don’t want to be paranoid.”

Before booking a trip, and especially if you’re not going to be with a tour group, you should check the State Department and the Center for Disease Control for travel advisories. Bodyfelt also recommends checking the equivalent government entities in other countries. For example, the U.S might advise against traveling to Mexico City whereas the Australian government might advise only against specific neighborhoods.

Bear in mind too that safety is relative to your own experience and comfort level. There are plenty of places in the U.S. that foreigners see as being extremely dangerous.

Some safety basics include making sure that a close friend or family member in the U.S has your detailed itinerary and that you check in with them periodically.

Don’t Leave Without Travel Insurance

If you travel, then at some point your luggage will be delayed or even lost altogether. As inconvenient as that is, it is just that when compared to what can happen if you get sick or injured overseas. Bodyfelt always buys travel insurance to cover medical expenses and emergency repatriation back to the U.S. Such policies are not expensive – your credit card may even offer coverage if your flight is purchased with the card. This is important – you may have health insurance here but it is very unlikely that it provides any sort of coverage overseas.

Solo Travel Will Boost Your Confidence

Bodyfelt swears that the best way to build your self-confidence is by traveling solo because it’s not going to be comfortable.

Solo travel will show you that you are strong, and that you are capable.

“If you recover from dysentery in Vietnam, if you can negotiate with a guy in New Delhi to get the price you want, if you can haggle with somebody to go into the Pyramids and not get ripped off, that’s going to give you a sense of accomplishment,” said Bodyfelt.

You internalize those kinds of experiences and translate them into being assertive at home. There’s no reason you can’t negotiate a raise. There’s no reason you can’t tell your ex you need them to watch the kids for the weekend.

“That instilling of confidence is something that I have not gotten from any other thing in my life,” said Bodyfelt. “Only solo travel can do that.”

Other people will notice the shift in confidence too. Bodyfelt says that whenever she comes back from traveling her coworkers comment on how much happier she seems and more confident.

“That is something I never take for granted,” said Bodyfelt. “It’s coming back from trips realizing, ‘hey if I can do that, I can do anything.’”

Traveling Solo Makes You Resilient And Flexible

No matter where you go, there will inevitably be incidents. You’ll miss your connecting flight and be stranded for three days. You’ll get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere. You’ll get a stomach bug. Somehow, whatever it is will get resolved. You’ll figure it out or the people around you, even strangers, will help you.

“A byproduct of that is you gain a better perspective,” said Bodyfelt. “Once you’ve experienced that kind of stuff, being late for your train when you get back to the United States pales in comparison. It makes you a lot more resilient, a lot more flexible.”

Martha Bodyfelt is a divorce recovery and confidence coach whose website “Surviving Your Split” shows divorced readers how to finally get some peace of mind, regain their confidence,  and move on with their lives feeling like Wonder Woman.  For your Free Divorce Goddess Survival Kit, stop by Surviving Your Split today!

Mandy Walker is a divorce coach, mediator and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®. She works with men and women helping them through the logistics and practicalities of divorce with grace and dignity. You can follow her blog at SinceMyDivorce.com.

This article was originally published on SinceMyDivorce.com.

The post What You Need to Know About Traveling Solo After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

Being a Great Mom

Balancing YOU While Still Being a Great Mom

Being a Great Mom

 

Being a mom isn’t easy. You deal with stress, frustration and having to be patient with your children and yourself. There are a million tasks a mom has. The biggest task often times have to be taken care of on a daily basis.

There are sports practices, PTA meetings, church activities, school homework, band practice, errands, meals to prepare, a house to clean, children to care for and other items on that bottomless list of things to get done.

A mother commonly doesn’t leave much time for herself in a day. The only time she might get for herself might only be when she’s in the bathroom or the shower, but who knows if that is true even then.

Balancing YOU While Still Being a Great Mom

Ways to Cope with the Stress

Most moms have a habit of putting the needs of others before their own. That is the job most of the time, but with that, there needs to be room for some “Mom time” where she can relax and de-stress. Going to get your nails done, going to the spa, going to the salon to get your hair done, are just a few ideas in finding ways to de-stress. Allowing yourself to breathe is very important and be kept in mind.

There are also other ideas to think about, many places to travel these days are kid-friendly and can add to good childhood memories. With the idea of a vacation, there are plenty of deals and packages to look for which can make going on vacation more economically affordable, and easy. It is a great opportunity to get away from your world for a while and relax.

Working with the Craziness of Life

It is also okay to make time for yourself and to plan a time to just to be alone. There are so many things that come with having children and many that can also help you stay happy and healthy, to strengthen your relationships with them. Creating seasonal traditions with your children can be something that brings joy to the art of being a Mother. Decorating the house for the holiday’s, making cookies and allowing your children to participate in those things can keep them occupied and take your mind off of your responsibilities for a while.

Another thing that a mother can do for herself is to allow herself to get ready and feel good about her appearance. It is a natural and beautiful thing to know that even when you are a Mom you can still look great when doing all a Mother does. It is the little things that go a long way.

Take the time to allow yourself to get what you need to get done, but still, look stylish while doing it. Looking good and feeling beautiful will help your days run a lot smoother. When mom is happy, everyone is happy. She will have the confidence in herself to know that she can complete all she needs to that day. It will give her that little daily boost that we all know she needs to accomplish what seems to be impossible.

One last tip for feeling and looking great is trying your best to eat healthy and well. Make it a priority and it will happen. Maybe not every day, but some days it will. You do so much as a mom and like what was said before, you do the impossible and that means you can do another impossible, eating well.

With this said, remember who you are as a mother. Remember what great work you do and the great care that is required for your job. As they say, with great power, comes great responsibility. Mothers are powerful, but that doesn’t mean that they can leave themselves to stress and not de-stress. Their wants and needs need to be met too and that cannot be left out.

The post Balancing YOU While Still Being a Great Mom appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

Make Your Divorce Easier

8 Smart Family Lawyer Tips to Make Your Divorce Easier

Make Your Divorce Easier

 

When I started as a family lawyer over 13 years ago, I was as new to the divorce process as anyone else. Having now been involved with hundreds of cases, some more difficult than others, I’ve learned some sage advice to give my clients. Divorce is by no means an easy thing to go through, but there are some things that you can do to make the process a little bit simpler and easier for you.

Here Are 8 Smart Lawyer Tips to Make Your Divorce Easier:

Observe Proper Timing

Divorce is as important as a couple’s decision as getting married is. You can’t force someone to get married the same way as you can’t just force a divorce on your spouse (setting aside special circumstances). It is best to talk things through before filing for a divorce so your partner won’t drag the process just to get back at you.

Open Your Own Bank Account

Ideally speaking, you should have your own bank account even when you are married but if that is not the case, then you should get one; whether you are getting divorced or not. Know that in cases of joint accounts, your spouse can drain your account without your consent so it is better to avoid this situation, to begin with, by having your own.

Ensure That You Have Time for a Divorce

Getting a divorce can eat up your time and the changes will be hard for you, your ex, and the children. By making sure that you have the time to devote to a divorce, not only will it make the process easier and faster but you will also have time to allow yourself and loved ones to transition into your new life. I’ve seen many cases where, although a divorce is needed, the timing causes havoc far beyond the existing marital issues.

Your Divorce Rationale Letter Should be Lawyer-Reviewed

If you are the one filing the divorce, you might be compelled to explain why to your spouse in writing. Because of guilt, raw emotions and history with your spouse, you might say things that can hurt you later on so it is better to have your lawyer review your letter to ensure it doesn’t contain anything that can be used against you.

Begin with a Lawyer and Lawyer Meeting

Most divorce cases are negotiation proceedings so having your lawyers meet in the beginning makes sense to minimize communication issues later. A lawyer to lawyer meeting like this often results in a win-win divorce with no need for dramatics.

A Second Opinion Won’t Hurt

A divorce is a one-time thing so it follows that you cannot make mistakes with it and end up with an even bigger problem. This is why a second opinion matters. Your lawyer will also usually welcome a second opinion from a respected colleague.

Ask for Relief When You Have Multiple Reasons to Do So

Filing a motion for every little thing and for the smallest of things will just annoy the judge, your spouse, your spouse’s lawyer, and your lawyer too. It is best to wait until you have a few things to address.

Expect that the reason for the Divorce Won’t Affect Who Gets Child Custody

It doesn’t matter if you are divorcing because your spouse used up all your money or you caught your partner cheating. Know that child custody goes to which parent has better means and ability to take care of any child from the marriage.

Going through a divorce will forever change your life, your ex’s and your children’s lives. How you go about it, can play a large role in how you persevere throughout the process and how you manage to turn the page and live your best life moving forward. From my experience, following these tips, the divorce process will be smoother and you’ll be better for it.

The post 8 Smart Family Lawyer Tips to Make Your Divorce Easier appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

divorce when you still love him

4 Ways To Deal With The Divorce Process When You Still Love Him

divorce when you still love him

 

In my divorce mediation practice, I often work with couples where one party is still, deeply in love with the spouse who wants a divorce. In this article, we’ll focus on advice for wives who find themselves in this painful situation. To be honest, I’ve found it’s just as often true that it’s the wife who wants to end the marriage and the husband who is still in love.

In any event, these are heart-wrenching divorce cases and over the years I have given this topic a lot of thought. Here are my thoughts.

4 tips for dealing with divorce when you still love him.

1. Do not retaliate or act out

The momentary urge to “get even” or act on hurt feelings can be difficult to resist. Taking action in the midst of hurt or anger may be satisfying and feel good in the moment, but be aware that acting on this urge will have consequences.  In one of my early cases, I observed the consequences of a young wife and mother who acted on those feelings when she was angry at her husband whom she deeply loved. During a marital argument, he moved out and demanded a divorce.

In the midst of their argument, he had made a caustic comment about her haggard appearance and post-pregnancy weight retention. The comment was understandably deeply hurtful to her. Reacting to the pain of his callous remark and his decision to move out, she retaliated. She had a short fling with one of her husband’s close friends.

A few weeks later the couple patched things up and he moved back home with his wife and their two young children.  A few weeks later she discovered that she was pregnant (…the pregnancy was not the result of make-up sex with her husband).

They stayed together for a few more years rationalizing that since he was the one who had left, he really shouldn’t complain about her behavior during the breakup. Meanwhile, the husband’s former good friend was paying child support every month and had visitation with the baby. As you can guess, this arrangement just kept reminding the husband of his wife’s retaliation; eventually, the marriage failed.

So my best advice is to avoid taking any action which will harm the man you love or the marriage you say you want. Examples of what NOT to do may seem to fit a stereotype. Even so, I’ve found them to be very common in cases where the husband seeks divorce and the wife is still in love, but hurt and angry. (Could this same advice be given to husbands who still love their wife who’s asking for a divorce? You bet.)

 Here is a partial list:

  • Don’t bad-mouth him to your girlfriends or your parents. If you need to process your feelings, find a therapist or support group.
  • Don’t buy things for yourself which you have wanted but cannot readily afford. Divorce often centers on money issues. Racking up credit card debt or draining a bank account on an impulse purchase usually brings more grief than joy in the long run.
  • Don’t act out by damaging his car, destroying his tools or lashing out in any way. If you want to physically express your anger, take a brisk walk or enroll in a martial arts class. (Don’t even think about anything which would end up as a YouTube video!).

I do not mean to promise that he will come back to you, but I can attest that you make it a lot harder if you retaliate or act out when he delivers the news that he wants to leave.

2. Try not to escalate

If while still married you and your husband are fighting and he threatens divorce it is imperative that you remain as calm as you can. Yes, he may truly want a divorce and be committed to that path. However, it’s also possible that while he may have said that what he wants is a divorce, what he may truly want is to stop fighting with you.

Divorce may seem like the way to get the fighting to stop. He may also be yearning for the dynamic that existed in the early years of your relationship but not know how to reclaim it. When arguments escalate it’s common for one or both parties to say things in anger they later regret.

Of course, when the prospect of an unwanted divorce raises its head, it is wise to protect yourself and look out for your own interests, even if you still love him and would prefer to stay married. Depending on the circumstances, hiring an attorney at this stage may seem to be the best course of action.

Just keep in mind that hiring an overly aggressive lawyer may preclude a smaller step like one-on-one mediation. Being a divorce mediator, I may be biased, but I’ve seen mediation work wonders in these situations.

Remember that divorce attorneys make their money by litigating divorces. Mediators thrive by creating harmony through mutual effort to resolve conflict. Many men have told me they find divorce mediation far more satisfying than marriage counseling because it is focused on problem-solving, (often their strong suit) rather than therapy which is focused on exploring feelings (often their weak suit).

If you need legal perspective, talk with a mediator with legal experience or call a lawyer from a town far away just to get some general advice. If you still love your husband and the marriage still has a chance of survival, jumping into litigation is highly unlikely to yield the results you seek.

3. Consider whether addiction is a factor and if so, get help.

One of the frequent coping mechanisms of couples going through the hard times prior to a divorce is to escape the pain of their lost romantic feelings using addictive behaviors. If your husband has shown any signs of addiction, then it is likely that you have reacted with your own countermeasures. Sometimes they are co-dependent behaviors like nagging, trying to shame him into good behavior, lying to cover up problems and so forth.

Whatever the details, when a couple is in this addictive cycle the marriage has almost no chance to thrive unless the addictions are addressed. If you have addiction anywhere in your marriage, then start with an honest assessment of your own reactions. If he has a problem behavior, and you still love him, there are proven ways to maintain your dignity and sanity in the relationship. Try Alanon or another 12–step program geared to support the friends and family of someone with an addiction problem.

4. Explore Your Deepest Truth

The hard truth is that I have seen cases where there are wives who love their husbands and there are other cases where the wives are attached to being married but seem to be indifferent toward their husband as a person. These might seem the same, but there is a world of difference.

Explore your deepest motivations about your relationship and your marriage because at some level your husband can probably tell how you really feel about him. If you are clinging to the idea that you love him but actually, deep down, you are insecure about not being married, that will tend to energetically push him away.

On the other hand, if you truly love him and that is the priority in your heart and soul, then living in accord with those emotions may have the effect of drawing him toward you.

What might this look like? Every relationship has its own qualities and dynamics; there are as many ways to put this advice into motion as there are couples. It takes some self-examination and wisdom to know what is a kindness you can genuinely offer without feeling like you are being taken advantage of or becoming a doormat. Healthy boundaries vary from individual to individual and relationship to relationship. This is definitely not a case of one-size-fits-all.

Here are a few approaches I’ve seen succeed in drawing a couple back toward each other rather than driving them further apart:

  • If you have children, and abuse is not a concern, consider allowing as much access as possible during the first phase of your separation. Show him that you value his role in their lives as a father even if he wasn’t the greatest dad before the divorce started. Invite him to visit with the kids in the home and be gracious when he shows up. Preparing extra food for dinner so he can eat with the kids is an act of kindness which he will notice and may appreciate. If the children are engaged in after-school sports, be sure to give him notice of all the games and ask him to sit next to you when he attends. Make an extra effort to include him in family gatherings and celebrations.
  • If he has moved out, you might provide him with a generous share of the linens and silverware, maybe even spare furniture so that he does not need to go buy replacements. Consider letting him store his big-ticket items in the garage rather than force him to move them to a storage locker.

It may be counter-intuitive but sometimes making it easy for him to leave, makes it easier for him to come back.  At the same time, only you can determine what crosses the line into unhealthy co-dependence and being overly generous for the situation.

Conclusion

Every case is different because every couple is different. If you still love your husband and he says he wants a divorce, you will have many opportunities to choose how you show up when whatever happens next unfolds. Over the course of my mediation practice, I’ve witnessed couples move toward reconciliation after one or the other, or both, initially thought divorce was inevitable. Of course, many couples do complete the divorce process, even when one of them really wants to stay married.

Either way, these four principles help provide the best chance of moving forward with a positive outcome. 1) Don’t retaliate, 2) try not to escalate, 3) if addiction is a factor, get help and 4) explore your deepest truth.

The post 4 Ways To Deal With The Divorce Process When You Still Love Him appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

divorce and life insurance

Getting Divorced? Don’t Forget about Life Insurance

divorce and life insurance

 

If you’re a divorced woman, chances are you’ve got a lot on your plate right now. The chaotic and difficult process of getting divorced means you’ll spend lots of time weeding through the marital assets, separating finances, and sorting out vital things like custody of children. Getting financially stable after a divorce is no easy feat, and there are lots to manage.

One area many divorcing couples overlook is life insurance. As a divorced woman, the challenges addressed by securing life insurance are two-fold. First and foremost, any existing policies will need to be adjusted to change beneficiaries and ensure the protection of child support or alimony payments. Secondly, you’ll need to consider the best kind of life insurance policy for your situation and how much coverage you’ll need moving forward.

Here are a few items to add to your to-do list as a divorcee to ensure you and any dependents are financially protected, both in the short term and the foreseeable future.

Getting Divorced? Don’t Forget about Life Insurance

Changing Beneficiaries

When you were married, your spouse was probably listed as the primary beneficiary on your life insurance policy. After all, the entire point of life insurance is to shelter your family and loved ones if your income is lost through a tragic death. A life insurance policy is a crucial contingency plan for meeting financial obligations like mortgages, car payments, and putting food on the table.

After a divorce, much of that calculus changes. If you are divorced without children, chances are you’re not keen to see your spouse benefit on the event of your demise. No matter your marital status, life insurance companies don’t dispute who receives payouts on a policy. For the company, it’s a simple contract between the insurance carrier and the policyholder. The beneficiary is whomever you documented when you took out the policy, and that won’t change unless you file a specific request with the company.

Changing beneficiaries is usually a straightforward process of contacting your life insurance carrier. Unless you have a policy with irrevocable beneficiaries, you can specify someone new to receive the payout upon your death with minimal paperwork and fuss. Some insurance carriers provide ways to accomplish this online, while others require going through a broker or submitting notarized documentation.

And remember, life insurance isn’t the only thing you’ll need to update. Remember to switch over other insurance policies, including health, home, and auto insurance. It’s also essential to change the beneficiaries in any legal documentation that might survive you, like a will and a power of attorney.

Policies with Cash Value

Some permanent life insurance policies, such as whole life or universal life policies, accumulate cash value. As you pay premiums, a portion of the money goes into an investment fund that can expand as the stocks rise. If you’ve had such a policy and recently divorced, you probably discovered the balance in that fund is considered part of the marital assets. You’ll typically have two options—keep the policy and continue paying premiums or cash out and divide the spoils.

For typical term life insurance policies, no payout is made until death occurs or the policy period expires. However, for whole and universal life insurance policies, you can choose to decline any potential death benefit in lieu of taking the current cash value of the policy. Therefore, these kinds of permanent life insurance policies are considered part of your net worth as a couple and get divided as assets during the divorce settlement accordingly.

You may also want to speak to a financial advisor in addition to your divorce attorney before making any critical decisions about dissolving or dividing assets. Financial experts can give you advice about how to handle transitioning not only insurance policies but also other assets like 401(k) and retirement plans in a way that’s equitable for both spouses and avoids tax penalties.

Protect Your Income

When you get divorced, life insurance isn’t solely about covering your lost income for the dependents you leave behind. It’s also about replacing any potential child support or alimony payments if you or your former spouse should die. For the parent who retains primary custody after a divorce, a life insurance policy is a crucial safety net that can cover the costs associated with raising children, including future financial necessities like supporting them through college.

There are several ways to handle securing life insurance coverage on your former spouse. Some couples choose to make the stipulations about the policy and premiums part of the divorce decree. The court may even order the head of the household to take out a life insurance policy as part of the settlement. In cases where the court requires a spouse to maintain a life insurance policy after divorce, the coverage and duration mandated usually reflect the obligation. For example, if the life insurance is intended to cover a significant loss of income and child support for the custodial parent, the policy term will usually need to extend until the dependents are 18 or 21.

Financial Security for Children

If you carried a life insurance policy during the marriage to provide for your children in the event of a death, that need still exists. Plus, in an acrimonious divorce, things don’t always work out according to plan. If you have concerns about whether your former spouse will follow-through on making payments, take control of the life insurance policy yourself and pay the premiums to avoid any risk of coverage lapse. Even if the coverage was specified as part of your divorce decree, it may take time and significant hassle to get follow through on those stipulations enforced by the court. In the interim, you want the assurance that your policy is paid up and your coverage current.

When you’re raising children as a single parent, protecting your own income becomes doubly important after a divorce. In the event of your death, while arrangements may be made for someone you trust to care for your children, you’ll still want them to enjoy financial security through a generous life insurance benefit. The simplest way to calculate how much life insurance coverage you’ll need is to take the number of years until your child turns 18 or 21, then multiply it by your annual income. That amount is the bare minimum of insurance coverage you should be securing per child.

You can name your child as a beneficiary, but be aware that policies typically don’t pay out to a dependent under the age of majority. Instead, the court will appoint a custodian, usually the surviving parent, to supervise holding the funds in an account until your child is of age. If you don’t want your former spouse to be appointed by the court, specify a custodian as part of the policy.

A Word of Warning

If you’re still in the process of finalizing a divorce or in the beginning stages of filing for one, consult with your divorce attorney before taking any action. In most cases, assets are frozen during the process of a divorce and both parties are required to be fully transparent about any financial obligations, including insurance policies. Changing beneficiaries or coverage during divorce proceedings could raise red flags and unnecessarily prolong and complicate your settlement.

You should, however, do your research and be prepared to suggest any policy changes or premiums you want specified as part of the divorce decree. While divorce can be a painful process, it’s also an opportunity to take charge of your financial future and secure stability for both yourself and your dependents.

The post Getting Divorced? Don’t Forget about Life Insurance appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>