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Letting go after divorce

Letting Go After Divorce: It’s Scary & Intimidating Must Very Necessary

Letting go after divorce

 

A pink bike with a pink and white floral print banana seat. I hold a blurry memory of my first bike as if viewed through a hazy flashback scene. Yet I remember with clarity the thrill of independence and pride associated with learning to ride it. A bicycle symbolizes newfound independence for young children, and I loved mine and the sense of adventure and freedom it gave me. Now that I am a parent, my children’s bicycles hold a different significance.

Because as a parent, loss is your biggest fear. My friend recently recounted a situation where her three-year-old daughter was lost behind the stage during a dance recital. My friend became emotional as she talked about her fear and inability to speak at the moment, and the amount of time it took her to recover, even after finding her daughter.

Not being able to locate your child, even for a few seconds, feels like what I imagine drowning does. An immense pressure on your chest, an inability to speak or even breathe. Time slows and your vision narrows. You imagine the worst-case scenario; calling for help or even forming a sentence becomes an impossibility. When faced with such loss, as parents, we hold on tightly to our children and resist their demands to let go.

In other situations, most people do the same, steeling ourselves against loss.

Clutching our purse, locking our car and house, guarding ourselves, our family, and our possessions. Cruelly, sometimes, the people guilty of stealing the most from us are the ones closest to us, betraying our trust, our love, our friendship.

Throughout my divorce, acquaintances would talk about how divorce was so traumatic because it signified “the loss of hopes and dreams” and that captures the essence of divorce; my grief was not a result of saying goodbye to an imperfect partner, but the collapse of all I had built, the dissolution of all I had accumulated, and, far worse, the destruction of all my future plans for my family and me. Loss during divorce is inescapable, overarching, and momentous.

At every stage, as I continued to part ways with pieces of my life, I underwent the same heartbreaking process of grief and loss. My house, my furniture, my dog, and, most recently, a 15-year friendship. At first, I railed against the loss, then I grieved it usually with lots of hot, sad tears, and, ultimately, I shed that old form of me, which had held the item close, like a second skin. Each time, faced with the threat of loss, I thought I wouldn’t be able to do it, I wouldn’t recover, and, inevitably, I did. I emerged, often scarred, sometimes lighter. Always altered.

With the implosion of a roadmap for my life, there were certain ideas that troubled me more than others.

One was that my children would not be with me when they experienced milestones. Ironically, my ex-husband had missed multiple milestones for our children when we were together; as the only constant in my children’s lives, I vow to always be there for them, and so my fears are unfounded. While I realize I have the annoying habit of worrying irrationally at times, an unusual source of recent distress became who would teach my children to ride their bikes without training wheels.

It was more than fortuitous then that in the midst of a particularly troubling month when my ex was threatening to take me to court regarding his misunderstanding of his visitation schedule, my daughter turned six and requested I remove her training wheels from her bicycle. My mother and I both took her out several times to practice with little success.

Two weeks later, as my ex’s threats increased, I took my daughter out again, and she practiced balancing and gliding on the bicycle. Then I held on and balanced the bike as she pedaled. Holding a child up is difficult work, both at that moment and all others. Every once in awhile, she would tell me to let go and proceed to fall into a bush or onto a front lawn. She grew frustrated and cranky as we all do when our expectations of ourselves exceed our abilities. I tried to express how difficult and time consuming acquiring a new skill is. She did not care. She was determined.

What my Daughter Taught Me About Letting Go After Divorce

That afternoon, after multiple attempts, when she finally instructed me to let go again, and I hesitantly did, my beautiful, tenacious daughter took off. Her long red hair streamed out from under her pink helmet as she rode away. I could see the pride she felt in her accomplishment in the set of her back, the way she sat upright in her seat and continued to ride away from me.

My heart was being squeezed. I felt simultaneously proud and nostalgic. As a mother, I cannot measure the pride I feel at my children’s accomplishments. At every one of my children’s milestones, I have cried with the weight and significance of the moment. This one was no different. I started to cry. I ran to catch up. When she finally came to a stop, I enthusiastically praised her, but she questioned my tears. I explained they were tears of joy.

The next day, my daughter came home with an even more valuable gift, a story she had written about learning to ride her bike. She is in kindergarten and an emergent writer, yet the story was very perspicuous. “I told my mom to let go. I told her to let go again. She let go, I could feel the fresh air and it was fun and my mom was crying joy.”

And so the student inevitably becomes the teacher. I had taught my daughter to ride a bike, and in turn, she gifted me a treasure. Sometimes, in life, we must let go. Letting go is scary and intimidating, but, often, it is necessary. In the process, we might be knocked around; we might fail at first. We definitely will fall. But it is in the act of letting go, difficult though it may be, that we find our way. Letting go is a freeing choice. We gain freedom and independence. We begin to fly. And we learn to write our own stories.

The post Letting Go After Divorce: It’s Scary & Intimidating Must Very Necessary appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Rodeo Divorce: What Happens to Cattle, Horses & Ranching Assets?

Rodeo Divorce: What Happens to Cattle, Horses & Ranching Assets?

Originally published by Hendershot, Cannon and Hisey, P.C. Blog.

Rodeo is a time-honored tradition in Texas, with Houston laying claim to some of the largest events in the state. Whether they’re small-town rodeos and stock shows or big city events, Texas rodeos thrive because they are supported by tightly knit communities often comprised of families – the same types of families that continue to farm, ranch, and raise livestock for all types of purposes across the state.

Like any family, rodeo and ranching families also sometimes go through divorce. When they do, they can face a number of legal issues many other spouses do not. That’s due in large part to their unique assets, including cattle, horses, and other livestock. Because not every attorney has experience handling divorce cases involving these types of assets, it’s important to work with the right lawyers who can help you understand how they’re handled in divorce, and how to best protect your rights and interests when it comes to complex property division.

Unique Assets: Ranches & Cattle

Whether owned for business or pleasure, livestock are assets most divorcing spouses do not have. Rodeo spouses and spouses who own livestock and cattle may also own other unique assets, such as:

During a divorce, all assets (and debts) must be evaluated carefully in order to assess whether they are separate or community property, and value them appropriately for the purpose of property division. These are two critical matters that can determine the fate of cattle and any other unique assets owned by rodeo and ranching spouses.

  • Separate or Community Property? – Texas is a community property state, which means that most assets, property, and debts acquired during the course of a marriage belong to both spouses and must be divided equitably, not necessarily equally, during a divorce. Separate property, which can include certain assets acquired by one spouse before marriage or as an inheritance or gift, are not subject to property division. Because separate property can become community property (such as when marital funds are used to support cattle rearing, horse breeding, ranching, or other businesses established prior to marriage), distinguishing what is community property subject to division can be a difficult matter that requires meticulous evaluation, as well as forensic asset tracing in some cases.
  • Valuation – When assets are determined to be community property, they must be split, sold, or co-managed. Spouses who are able to negotiate and reach agreements out-of-court may choose to sell assets and divide the profits, provide one spouse with the assets and offset the value through buy-outs of the other spouse’s share, or relinquish other assets. Because the value of community property plays a critical role in property division, assets like cattle, livestock, and ranches often require an expert valuation to address factors such as the fair market value of livestock, special breeds, offspring, breeder bulls, and frozen semen or embryos, among others. Livestock and horse valuation can also be impacted by subjectivity, which is why attorneys you choose need to not only have experience handling these cases, but also professional connections with industry experts and appraisers who can help determine value, and ultimately your fair share.
  • Division & Resolution – Accurately characterizing community property and valuation are critical aspects of property division, especially in matters of cattle, horses, and related farm or ranching assets, and they are used to aid attorneys in facilitating resolutions. Because there may be personal attachment to these assets, as well as the desires of spouses who want to continue rodeos or ranching after divorce, arriving at agreements to divide, buy-out, and / or offset value with other property requires diligent negotiations for out-of-court agreements, or skilled preparation to litigate at trial when agreements can’t be reached.

Aside from unique assets, the individual goals of spouses, their ability to compromise, and applicable Texas laws for property division all contribute to what happens to cattle, horses, and other assets when rodeo or ranching spouses divorce – which means the attorneys you choose need to know how to effectively reconcile these issues with your rights and best interests in mind.

Many law firms simply do not have the experience or resources needed to value and divide unique assets like cattle, horses, and ranches. At Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C., our lawyers do.

Since 1987, we’ve helped numerous clients across Texas protect their fair share during complex divorce cases, including those involving rodeo and ranching spouses who operate family businesses or partnerships, or own unique assets for personal hobbies. Because we know every case is different, we work personally with clients to create customized solutions.

If you have questions about divorce involving these issues, call (713) 909-7323 or contact us onlineto request an initial consultation.

Curated by Texas Bar Today. Follow us on Twitter @texasbartoday.



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he makes irrational threats

Lawyers & Exes & Threats: What To Do When He Makes Irrational Threats

he makes irrational threats

 

On a daily basis without fail, I get a panicked phone call or email about a “threat” one of my clients just received.  “Is it true? Can he really do that?” Inevitably the threat, just like a fever, comes in the middle of the night when you can’t reach anyone for help.

Scared and stressed, you suffer all night waiting until morning to call your lawyer for an answer.  The threats, no matter how scary are usually nothing to worry about.

Keep in mind that I am NOT talking about threats of bodily harm or injury.  Those are different, and none of the below applies to THAT kind of threat.  Any threat of harm to you, your home, or children is one that needs to be reported and acted upon immediately.

These are but just a few common “threats” that are made all too often, and reality is, they seldom come to fruition if ever, and as you get wiser you will know exactly how to respond.

“By the time I’m finished with you, you’ll have nothing”

“You’ll never see your kids again”

“I’m getting sole custody”

“The kids are going to have to testify”

“The house is getting sold and you will be on the street”

“I’m moving out of state”

“I’m quitting my job”

“I’m calling your boss”

“Wait until the Judge finds out that you…”

Sound familiar?

What To Do When He Makes Irrational Threats

Write it down. Yes, like my “lists” this too should be written down. Hearing the threat is very different than seeing it. When your spouse calls, emails or texts you in a rant, all kinds of emotions and buttons are triggered. Under this state, it is very difficult to keep calm and impossible to think straight.

Let the threat come and go. Do not respond to the threat. Do not make a “counter-threat.” Write the threat down. Now read it and think about it. Chances are that within a few minutes of calming down, breathing and reading, you can see that the threat is often unrealistic, unlikely and the product of some other trigger.

A good friend, excellent therapist, and colleague who practices in the field of family therapy once told me, “the dynamics of the marriage are the dynamics of the divorce.” Simply stated, if he was a bully in the marriage he will be a bully in the divorce. If she was controlling in the marriage she will be controlling in the divorce. Do not expect your spouse’s personality or style to change during the divorce, if anything, you will see it reach peak extremes.

Tell your lawyer. Do not believe your spouse’s claims unless your lawyer tells you it is true. In a contested divorce your spouse has two basic goals, first to make your life as difficult as possible, and second, to “win.” If you keep that in mind, you will begin to train yourself not to react to his/her threat. If you react to the threat in a way that your spouse hopes you will, i.e. by caving into unreasonable demands and/or giving him or her anything he/she wants just to “end things” then your spouse’s tactics have worked and the threats will keep coming!

A word about “lawyer letters.” Lawyers write a lot of letters. Some letters are necessary, some not so much, and others to appease their angry and upset clients or make them feel better at your expense. These letters can be very upsetting. I know it is probably easy for me to say it, but truly, do not take them personally. Believe me, your spouse’s attorney isn’t (and your spouse is paying A LOT of money for these letters).

The post Lawyers & Exes & Threats: What To Do When He Makes Irrational Threats appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Anonymous Silicon Valley Tech Titan Offers $1 Million  Reward for the Capture & Prosecution of DA Jeff Rosen Following Hit on Reporter

PictureJudge James Towery caught Naked on Mountain following hit on reporter

​Los Gatos, CA – Shortly after being spotted at a popular weekly summer music series in downtown Los Gatos, a local publisher and investigative reporter covering  California’s family courts and the Santa Clara County DA’s office for sex trafficking crimes suffered a brutal beating following and office break reportedly arranged by Santa Clara County DA Jeff Rosen  and private divorce attorneys  Walter Hammon and Bradford Baugh. The hit and subsequent office break was reportedly executed by Los Gatos police officer Silvia, who resigned two days earlier  after public outrage over his 2016 misconduct.  

Reporters following leads generated by California’s new police records law, SB1421 , are at great risk as local law enforcement agencies , courts, judges and lawyers try to stave off public outrage over conduct that has been concealed from the public for decades. 

County assessor Larry Stone and government lawyers including DA Jeff Rosen, County Counsel Michael Rossi, James Williams and Ward Penfold are linked to the attack in the Mitchell papers that reveal a sex trafficking enterprise operating in California’s family courts.

Whistleblowers inside the DA’s office note reporters getting police misconduct  records are making the leap to the DA’s office, where years of failing to protect families involved in the local courts has reached a tipping point. 

A new technique designed to thwart media investigations of the courts and DA’s office is the frivolous filing of DVROs and civil harassment requests. The day prior to the violent beating on a reporter and theft of unpublished journalist work, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen filed a false declaration in support of his employees to keep reporters at Bay. 

Ironically, the day before Rosen’s declaration was filed, the ex wife of former prosecutor Alan Nudelman filed a request for a permanent CLETS restraining order that protected her and her reporter tenant  from local activist and family court protestor Scott Largent. 

Largent has violated that order on five occasions, less than a month since the CLETS order was filed, ramping up his threats in person and online, 

 Well Known Court Protestor Scott Largent: Snitch for DA Jeff Rosen

Disgruntled that he failed to make income from YouTube, Largent has been repeatedly violating a CLETS order after a reporter discovered he had been acting as a snitch for the District Attorney for over a year. Largent made thousands of illegal recordings and took photos of victims that he passed off to a corrupt DA in return for special favors. These favors included kickbacks for spying on  local parents protesting the family courts.  Insiders note county executive Jeff Smith,  county counsel James Williams and long time Democratic Party leader Steve Preminger promised Largent a motorhome, dental work and immunity for testimony against the reporter and other activists.  

Largent has been reported for stealing unpublished journalistic work for his personal benefit and is now being investigated by the FBI and DOJ after the Santa Clara County DA came on the federal agent radar for crimes connected with the former DAs in Contra Costa and Orange County. 

                                                   Office Break- In 

Largent, who is believed to be violent and mentally unstable, has been video recording and photographing victims of police brutality and family courts. He also reportedly copied and stole paperwork and evidence that was critical to an investigation of several police officers from the San Jose Police that was provided by a Whistleblower known as Debbie the Dispatcher.  Now retired, Debbie is known to have been on duty during the 2014 and 2015 domestic violence issues involving several former 49ers who were protected by divorce attorneys Nicole Ford, Elise Mitchell, Hector Moreno, Jessica Huey, Heather Allan, Walter Hammon, Dennis Luca,  and Mark Erickson. 

       Rosen and Larry Stone Link to Tech and Real Estate corruption in Silicon Valley 

Just before the newsroom break in, a number of records requests were produced by the county related to county assessor Larry Stone and DA Jeff Rosen, The records show vast waste of taxpayer dollars , a money laundering enterprise, and sex trafficking connected not only to the 49er’s but across the Bay to the A’s and Raiders through the Richmond cops. 

Also stolen were edited objections made by Stanford Law professors who are planning to teach special courses this fall on prosecutorial misconduct in response to the outrage over Rosen’s declaration that severed to mislead a judge and act as a prior restraint on speech. 

                       California District Attorneys are Worried About Protestors

One year after ruckus protests in Contra Costa county that caught the attention of mainstream media and the local grand jury, judges, and DA’s are worried about summer protests announced on social media that are expected at California’s State Bar locations in Los Angeles  and San Francisco later this month. 

Protestors will demand greater accountability for lawyers and judges. Insisting that prosecuting perjury in the state’s family courts be mandatory. The protests are expected to demand greater public protections. Parents are also demanding judges be held accountable when they drag out divorce cases simply to make lawyers more money, harming innocent children in the process. 

Few judges are enforcing court orders for child support or custody, and parents are fed up. 

Misuse of the Domestic Violence is also on the radar. Students working as interns in California’s courts this summer have been appalled at the ludicrous  claims of violence that are simply not believed, but rubberstamped by corrupt judges. 

” We pay millions for orders that are just a joke. No police officer enforces these orders and our children are suffering as a result. It is taking all family money and it is a criminal enterprise working for tech companies and big real estate firms.” claimed divorce mother Tanya R. of Sunnyvale, California. 

” DV is the new DUI for Silicon Valley, your spouse lies, and you pay $50- 100,000 just to defend those claims. Calling someone an asshole can get you nailed with a DV, or worse, on the DA’s terrorist threat list to bring you into the criminal courts,”  claimed  C. Graves of San Martin, California.  

” I was married to a San Jose cop. He was horribly abusive and every judge and lawyer in the court protected him. I got nothing from our divorce. Don’t think it is any better down here. ” Beth G. of Newport Beach,  California 


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Ward Penfold being investigated for ties to sex trafficking rings.

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Divorce for Female Entrepreneur

5 Causes of Divorce for Female Entrepreneurs & How to Save Your Marriage

Divorce for Female Entrepreneur

 

The life of an entrepreneur is an exciting one. Female entrepreneurs learn to be tech-savvy, hone interpersonal skills, and manage money as they build their business. But there is one downside to the entrepreneurial life that is all too common for married businesswomen. Getting a divorce!

Building an empire (even if only from your living room) is fantastic, but your spouse may not always feel that way. Statistics show that for every 1000 US women, 16 will end up divorced each year. These are not great odds for those looking to marry their forever person.

So, what about a strong female pursuing her professional dreams? Does her professional aspiration put her marriage in jeopardy? These are the 5 most common causes of divorce in entrepreneurs and 3 steps to take to make sure your marriage stays strong and healthy as you follow your dreams.

5 Causes of Divorce for Female Entrepreneurs

1. Not Enough Quality Time Together

Women entrepreneurs are passionate and feisty so it’s no surprise that they put their whole being into building their businesses. But sometimes this passion comes at the cost of their marriage.

Research indicates that couples need a 3:1 ratio of happiness to succeed in marriage. And when are couples most happy? Studies say it’s when they are spending quality time together. In fact, survey results revealed that couples experience a boost in happiness and a decrease in stress when they are spending alone time together.

When you are putting all of your strength and energy into your business, there’s little left at the end of the day for your spouse. Not spending quality time together can be a real relationship killer.

2. Added Stress

As wonderful and exciting as marriage is, it can also be an incredibly stressful experience at times. In-laws, maintaining a romantic connection while raising a family, buying a house, and other ins and outs of your daily routine can sometimes feel overwhelming.

Now, on top of all of these normal aspects of marriage, throw running your own business into the mix and you’re in for some stressful times ahead.

When couples don’t form a strong partnership as a unit, this stress can drag the relationship down.

3. Financial Worries

One study surveyed 748 instances of conflict between 100 different couples and found that money was the most repetitive and salient topic they argued about.

This survey highlights how tricky the topic of money can be in a marriage. Especially if you don’t have enough of it. Research shows that low-income couples are more likely to be affected by stress and mental health issues than other couples.

Starting your own business is certainly an adventure, but it’s also a big risk. Working for yourself, especially if you are just starting out, means that you won’t have a steady income for quite some time. You may not even be able to take a paycheck for several years.

Not only does this put a strain on your household finances, but it may also force your spouse to become the breadwinner of the family. They can cause resentment and anxiety to form within the marriage.

4. Not Leaving Work at the Door

One of the biggest problems for both men and women entrepreneurs is the inability to create a work-life balance.

Because you work for yourself, there is no way to “clock out” of your job. Getting back to work after a long day is as simple as picking up your smartphone and answering emails. This behavior is great for your business and bad for your marriage.

In a survey of 308 adults, 46.3% admitted to feeling ignored when their partner is on their smart device. This “phone snubbing/phubbing” practice has been shown to lower relationship satisfaction.

Furthermore, studies show that spending too much time on your smart device and social media can threaten real-life communication, even with family and close loved ones.

5. Lack of Stability

Research shows that 90% of startups will fail. This is a frightening fact for most entrepreneurs, not to mention their spouses.

When most people get married, they expect a certain standard of living. That isn’t to say they expect to sleep on a bed of hundred-dollar bills, but they want to come home to a loving spouse, perhaps buy a home or start a family together.

But when married to an entrepreneur, there is no stability. There are no set hours for work, no guarantee that they will be there to support the household or engage in family life.

What a Marriage Needs to be Successful for Female Entrepreneurs

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. All couples are bound to go through some lulls throughout their relationship, but this doesn’t mean your love is destined for divorce.

Here are 3 key tips for keeping your marriage alive as a female entrepreneur.

1. Open Communication

In a survey of 886 troubled couples, 53% admitted a lack of communication as one of the most common reasons for filing for divorce.

This statistic highlights the importance of talking openly and honestly with your spouse.

Communication is the basis of every strong relationship. Not only does communication help couples get to know one another better, but it also helps partners avoid miscommunications and grow closer.

If you are going through a stressful time trying to get your business off the ground, don’t shut your partner out. Talk to them about what you’re going through. This will help them understand your emotions and behavior. When your spouse knows what’s going on in your life both emotionally and otherwise, it also gives them an opportunity to show you their love and support.

2. Putting the Marriage First

For women entrepreneurs, their business is their baby. They would do anything to care for it and ensure its success in the world.

Many times this passion and drive to put the business first causes entrepreneurs to put their spouse on the backburner.

Not being a priority can make a spouse feel hurt, betrayed, and neglected. This can lead to serious relationship problems.

Don’t let your business come before your spouse. Or at the very least, make sure they are on equal footing.

3. Quality Time Together

Having a regular date night will strengthen your marriage for years to come. Research conducted by the National Marriage Project found that there are both emotional and physical benefits to spending quality time with your spouse on a regular basis.

The research results showed that couples who practice date night one or more times a month experience more eros in their relationship. Eros refers to the romantic love that we often feel during the beginning stages of a new relationship that creates excitement, overwhelming attraction, and passion for each other.

A regular date night also strengthens commitment and reduces stress in a marriage. The study goes on to say that couples will also experience an increase in sexual satisfaction and that “spouses who experience high levels of couple time are significantly less likely to report that they are prone to divorce.”

Women entrepreneurs put their heart and soul into building their businesses. This is great for your professional life, but don’t let it be a drain on your marriage. Make time for your spouse, learn to create a work-life balance, and communicate openly. These keys will help you avoid the curse of entrepreneurs – divorce.

The post 5 Causes of Divorce for Female Entrepreneurs & How to Save Your Marriage appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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child-centered summer activities

Single Mom Budget: 10 Fun & Inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities

child-centered summer activities

 

Growing up in a family of six children, raised by a single mother, vacations were few and far between. I cherish those moments and remember many inexpensive things done near home.

Airplane tickets were out of the question and with six kids, even a small vacation was expensive. My mom was often so busy, angry and exhausted that having a break, just to relax and enjoy time together wasn’t at the front of her mind but I wish it had been.

I want to create fun memories for Hidalgo, broaden his mind, help him become a well-rounded individual. This also means broadening experiences and getting out into the real world. I can’t afford to take him to multiple exotic summer homes but I can do lots of little things.

Here are 10 inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities

1.  Tent Camping:

If your only experience of camping is on a crowded campsite with dodgy plumbing this sounds horrible. There is a better kind of camping, in nature. Check the regulations at your nearest state/national forest, borrow or rent some basic equipment if you’re not convinced and try it with your kids. With a car, a map and some basic equipment, you can head to the hills.  Be surrounded by silence, tell stories and roast marshmallows over a campfire, take walks and explore in nature. Kids love it. I love it. Maybe you love it?

2.  Rent a cabin:

I’m a huge fan of state and national parks and forests. The low-cost resources available at them are second to none. Europe does not have the extensive land or preservation system of the U.S. and these are resources that can become a lifetime of vacation memories. If the thought of sleeping on the ground really creeps you out, cabins are very affordable. The rustic nature plus convenience of indoor plumbing get you out of your surroundings and into nature without going fully feral.

3.  Fishing:

Again, this one involves equipment (borrow at first), nature and a car. Don’t forget to the fishing license from your local bait shop (kids are free). I’m a bit of a tomboy and really like the thrill of catching my meal.  My love of it came from those tight money times when my mother crammed us into the car and drove us to the nearest lake to spend the afternoon angling for the big one. To this day, I have no idea if we needed that fish to supplement our meager rations or it was really a vacation. We just liked being outside, all together, focused on the wiggle of the pole and eating the spoils.

4.  Canoeing:

As you see, there is a theme building in terms of nature activities which involve equipment. I lived a few years in the Western part of the U.S. just after graduation when I had the least money but the most energy. I’ve tried many outdoor pursuits…kayaking, rock climbing, backpacking, hiking, fishing because they were cheap and fun. Many state parks and local outfitters rent equipment at reasonable prices. Who knows? You might love it so much you buy your own equipment and find a great new hobby. There are tons of things to do in nature.  Inspire your kids, Inspire yourself.

5.  Amusements:

Amusement parks, zoos, science centers, water parks, aquariums, and natural history museums are all fun and inexpensive activities. I don’t love them all but the little one thinks they are great. The ones in your town or near your town are probably good. Drive an hour and maybe the large city nearby has great options. I find it odd that people will spend lots of money to come all the way to France to see museums and exhibits but have never been to their local attractions. Check your city’s visitor guide. I bet there is stuff you haven’t seen or done yet.

6.  Ride the rails, Ride the ferries:

Depending on where you live, this is either very easy or near impossible. Public transportation is of poor quality in the states compared to Europe but there are places the trains go and if you buy early, they can be economical. Many large bodies of water are traversed by public and private ferry service. Think of a novel form of transport that gets you somewhere new. Kids like new experiences…riding a training even if it’s just a few towns over for a burger might be new to both of you.

7.  Build a fort:

When I was a kid, we were allowed to roam the neighborhood at all hours and discover the edges of our little world. We built kid camps just on the borders where the houses stopped and the ravines and wild places began.  Sadly, many kids don’t have this kind of freedom anymore. But a fort can be built over summer with found objects in your own back yard. Help as necessary for safety but let them do as much as they can on their own. If you’re lucky, they’ll sleep in it and give you some much needed quiet.

8. Join a local recreation center:

Join a local recreational center, like the YMCA, which offers affordable memberships and plenty of programs. My summer days were spent at the local city pool run by the recreation center. A pass purchased for a city-run activity is quite inexpensive.

9. Thank local heroes:

Take a tour of your police or fire station. Since most locations don’t have set visiting hours, call ahead to arrange an appointment. What better lesson for kids to learn than showing respect for and thanking their local heroes.

10. Build an obstacle course:

Build a backyard obstacle course with hula hoops, jump ropes, even a hose, then time the kids. The building and running the course, will teach them creativity and keep them occupied with a fun activity.

Having fun does not have to cost lots of money. I grew up poor but didn’t really know I was until the later years. Times were hard but my mother did the best she could with what she had. We had fun, we did stuff during the summers as a family and we enjoyed it. That’s how I want Hidalgo to remember his childhood.

The post Single Mom Budget: 10 Fun & Inexpensive Child-Centered Summer Activities appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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divorce & the stay-at-home mom

Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: 8 Necessary Steps To Take

divorce & the stay-at-home mom

 

Divorce can be an especially stressful time as a stay-at-home mom who has dedicated the past few years to raising kids and taking care of the family. By taking time away from their work life, they may be at a disadvantage. This is because it could be hard going back or relearning certain job-skills to make them competitive in the workplace again.

Being a stay-at-home mom is a beautiful way to raise your kids and fill the day with the various stresses and rewards of family care. However, It should not keep you from reaching your financial goals and well-being during a time of divorce.

Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: 7 Necessary Steps

Get all of your financial documents together:

This includes W2s and tax returns from previous years, income statements including pay stubs, insurance policies, bank statements, details about loans and mortgages, and investment accounts. This will help the attorney understand your financial quality of life over the past few years to ensure that a divorce does not keep you from providing the same financial wellbeing to you and your children moving forward.

Gain access to funds:

You will need access to your marital account to pay for the finances of divorce. Hiring an attorney to represent you is critical so that you can secure your lifestyle after the process has completed. If you lack access to a joint account, you will need to create an individual fund from savings where you can make payments for the representation you need.

Craft a new budget:

Take the time to sit down one day and realistically draw up a budget based on how much is spent monthly on food, clothing, a mortgage on the house, utility bills, phone bills, and other necessities. This will create an outline of what is to be expected to keep supporting your kids and family.

Know what the marital house is worth:

Although you may want to continue living in the marital home for sentimental value to you and your kids, a divorce already stretches you and your spouse financially. It may be wise to have the house appraised and to know how much it is worth. In this way, if the budget needs to be limited, you can always sell the property and downsize to keep paying the bills for necessary items.

Get a handle on your credit:

You can find out your credit score on sites such as Credit Karma. Having a good credit score will allow lenders to feel more confident in lending the funds you need for mortgages on homes, cars, etc. One way to improve your credit score is to pay off student loans from the past. Remember, on credit cards you should never use more than 30% of your available credit line. Also, always pay bills on time, so you do not accumulate a hefty interest fee.

Plan to return to work:

Having a job gives you a chance to set up an individual account and to grant you the financial freedom you need to cover extra expenses. Make a resume with your most up-to-date skills and go on interviews in various industries. If you have already made a budget for yourself, you will know what salary to aim for at the end of each month.

Consider requesting temporary alimony:

If a judge determines that you have been at home for an extended period of time and cannot return to work right away because you do not have immediate skills, he/she will request that your ex-spouse give temporary alimony to cover the lifestyle you have been accustomed to over the years. If no prenuptial agreements were arranged before the marriage, you might be entitled to part of your ex-spouse’s funds.

Hire a team of qualified professionals:

By finding the perfect divorce attorney to represent you, you can come to court prepared to know that you have someone there who understands your needs and where you are coming from. In hiring a team, it is essential to look for someone who has the experience, shows compassion, and has a good reputation of winning settlements in favor of the client’s requests.

Hiring a lawyer to represent you can bring a feeling of felt relief. Having someone on your side to provider knowledge and skills that deliver is an essential reason for hiring a lawyer.  Being a stay at home mom while going through a divorce can be stressful and difficult, but you can stay ahead of the game and keep prepared by following this guideline and meeting a lawyer sooner rather than later!

The post Divorce & The Stay-At-Home Mom: 8 Necessary Steps To Take appeared first on Divorced Moms.

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Fonagy & Tronick

Fonagy & Tronick

I want to make a statement to my professional colleagues – clinical psychologists and other mental health professionals – regarding the knowledge needed for professional competence.

In every clinical experience I’ve been in, the professional standard of practice expectation is that you know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then you read journals to stay current.

I consider that expected standard of practice.  So, when I was actively working in ADHD, I knew everything there was to know about ADHD and its treatment, and I was reading journals to stay current.

Same for when I moved into high-functioning autism as a differential diagnosis with ADHD.  As my work in pathology expanded into autism-spectrum pathology, so did the professional expectation for expanded knowledge.  I then had to learn everything there is to know about autism, and read the journals to remain current.

My shift in focus on ADHD into earlier childhood and the developing brain met with an increasing knowledge of autism-spectrum pathology, and I moved into early childhood mental health, a high-knowledge domain.  Psychology in the birth-to-five age range requires extensive knowledge of brain development – involving rapid and ever-shifting developmental phases across multiple systems.

You’ll see on my vitae a whole area of additional training I took when I entered early childhood mental health.  There’s an expectation when working with a pathology.  You’re expected to know everything there is to know about the pathology and its treatment, and then you read journals to stay current.

That’s what makes an old clinical psychologist kind of special.  I know everything there is to know about a lot of different pathologies.  Every pathology I’ve ever worked with, I knew everything about it at the time I was working with that type of pathology.

That’s called a professional standard of practice.  That was the expected standard of practice for all the physicians at the Children’s Hospitals I worked at.  I worked at two.  Don’t you want your child’s physician to know everything there is to know about your child’s pathology, and to be reading journals to stay current?

Of course you do.

I’m not a physician.  I’m a psychologist.  But I worked at Children’s Hospitals as a pediatric psychologist.  That was my world.  I was on medical staff at Children’s Hospital of Orange County as a pediatric psychologist, working with Jim Swanson and the UCI Child Development Center on a clinical research intervention for ADHD in preschool-age children.

Where I come from, the expectation of professional practice is to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to stay current.  That is consistent with professional standard of practice expectations at a Children’s Hospital.

In assessing, diagnosing, and treating attachment-related pathology, Bowlby’s three volumes and the Handbook of Attachment are essential.  In assessing, diagnosing, and treating family pathology, Minuchin and Bowen are essential.  For conflict, Tronick and the Still Face research on the breach-and-repair sequence is essential.  If you are working with narcissistic or borderline personality pathology, then Kernberg, Millon, Beck, and Linehan are all essential.

Does that sound like a lot to know?  It’s not.  In the world I come from, the standard of professional practice is to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to stay current.

Does that seem like an excessively hard standard?  To know – everything – there is to know?  It’s not. 

It’s considered standard of practice at a Children’s Hospital.  Don’t you want the treating physician for your child to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and be reading journals to stay current?  Of course you do.  That’s considered standard of practice for the treating physicians at a Children’s Hospital.  That’s professional standard of practice.

Whatever pathology you are working with, you are expected to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and be reading journals to stay current.  That means if you are working with an attachment pathology, you need to know everything there is to know about the attachment system.  Everything.  Families, family systems therapy.  Personality disorders, trauma, IPV, whatever the pathology is that you’re working with – everything there is to know and read journals to stay current.

You need to know the work of Peter Fonagy and Edward Tronick.  You need to, it’s not optional.

Peter Fonagy

Peter Fonagy’s work on borderline mothers and the intersubjective mentalization of the child’s psychological experience is required reading.  These articles by Fonagy regarding borderline personality pathology are required reading for all mental health professionals working with complex family conflict surrounding divorce.  Required means not optional.

Fonagy, P., Luyten, P., and Strathearn, L. (2011). Borderline personality disorder, mentalization, and the neurobiology of attachment. Infant Mental Health Journal, 32, 47-69.

Fonagy, P., Steele, M. & Steele, H. (1991). Intergenerational patterns of attachment: Maternal representations during pregnancy and subsequent infant-mother attachments. Child Development, 62, 891-905.

Fonagy P. & Target M. (2005). Bridging the transmission gap: An end to an important mystery in attachment research? Attachment and Human Development, 7, 333-343.

Fonagy, P., Target, M., Gergely, G., Allen, J.G., and Bateman, A. W. (2003). The developmental roots of Borderline Personality Disorder in early attachment relationships: A theory and some evidence. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 23, 412-459.

If you are working with narcissistic and borderline personality pathology (which you are), then Kernberg, Millon, Beck, and Linehan are all essential – and Fonagy for borderline personality and attachment pathology.

Fonagy’s research describes the role-reversal relationship of the borderline parent’s interactions with the child, that feeds on and destroys the child’s inner psychological structure.

In borderline (and narcissistic) pathology, the parent psychologically feeds on the child’s self-structure development to meet the parent’s own need to support the parent’s own damaged self-structure.  That’s Fonagy, the role-reversal use of the child to meet the parent’s needs.

What ignorance sees as a “bonded” relationship to the parent is actually an extremely pathological and destructive role-reversal relationship, in which the child is being used to meet the parent’s emotional needs.  That’s Fonagy and the borderline parent.

Edward Tronick

The Still Face research of Dr. Tronick at Harvard is remarkable and essential knowledge regarding the parent-child relationship and the nature of conflict.  Google still face Tronick YouTube, and Dr. Tronick will explain the research and the breach-and-repair sequence.

Tronick: Still Face

You see what Ed Tronick at Harvard says about the breach-and-repair sequence, he calls it “the good, the bad, and the ugly” – you heard that, right?   The worst possible thing we can do – the ugly – is to leave an un-repaired breach in the parent-child relationship.  That’s the WORST thing possible, to leave the child in an un-repaired breach with a parent – the “ugly” of Dr. Tronick’s characterization.

Dr. Tronick’s work isn’t about infants – it is… and it’s more.  It’s about the structural development of brain systems governing social interaction, and for navigating social conflict, the breach-and-repair sequence.  This is how we’re constructed to work. 

Conflict is normal, excessive conflict is unhealthy.  The key to conflict is the breach-and-repair sequence.  We always want to repair, we never leave an un-repaired breach in the parent-child bond.  How do we repair?

That’s why you need to know Tronick and the Still Face knowledge.  He will explain how we repair.  Daniel Stern also does a remarkable job of explaining the sequences of repair as well.  Stern and Tronick will open up doors of understanding regarding protest behavior and the breach-and-repair sequence.

Not only should you know Bowlby and all of the attachment literature, you should know Minuchin and Bowen (hopefully more) from family systems therapy, Kernberg, Millon, Beck, and Linehan from personality disorders, van der Kolk regarding complex trauma (and hopefully Perry and Briere regarding trauma), and Fonagy and Tronick (hopefully Stern) from neuro-development and intersubjectivity.

Does that seem like a lot?  It’s not.  Standard of practice is to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to stay current.  That has been the standard and expectation everywhere I have ever worked.  That was the expectation working at Keith Nuechterlein’s project on schizophrenia at UCLA.  It was just expected that everyone knew everything there was to know about schizophrenia and we were reading journals to stay current.

Now no one can know everything… except maybe Keith on schizophrenia.  Seriously, he knew everything.  If you’re in conversation with Keith and you don’t know something, he’s nice and all about it, but you feel like, dang, so then you have to go learn everything so you don’t feel completely ignorant in conversation… The expectation is that you know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to remain current.

That was the expectation working with Jim Swanson and the UCI Child Development Center.  Jim Swanson is another one of those knows everything there is to know about ADHD grand-kahuna type people.  That’s why I went from Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles (CHLA) to Children’s Hospital of Orange County (Choc), it was specifically to work on a project with Jim Swanson on ADHD in preschool-age children.  His work in the field is substantial.  I remember he put me onto an adaptive genetics line of the ADHD research that is intriguing.  His psychometric innovation from the SNAP to the SWAN has also been of immense value in the creation of the Parent-Child Relationship Rating Scale, anchored to a normal curve, bow to Dr. Swanson and the SWAN.

Again, Jim never made you feel stupid for not knowing something, but dang, he knew everything and you were kind of wasting his time if he had to explain things so… the expectation was that you know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to stay current.

That was the expectation working on the spina bifida clinic at CHLA, and on oncology research at CHLA.  That was the expectation for standard of care at Choc – to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to stay current.

Ignorance is lazy.  Go be lazy somewhere else.  If you are going to work with a pathology, know what you’re doing.

A child rejecting a parent is an attachment pathology.  The attachment system is the brain system governing all aspects of love and bonding throughout the lifespan.  A child rejecting a parent is a problem in love and bonding, a problem in the attachment system.  It is standard of practice for you to know everything there is to know about the attachment system and attachment pathology, and to be reading journals to remain current.

A child rejecting a parent surrounding divorce is a family pathology.  It is standard of practice for you to know everything there is to know about family systems therapy, and then be reading journals to stay current.

If this seems like a lot to expect, it’s not.  You’re just lazy.  Lazy is not tolerated at a Children’s Hospital.  That’s not acceptable standard of practice for children and families.  When children’s health and well-being is on the line, the standard of practice is to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then to be reading journals to remain current.

What possible argument can there be in favor of ignorance and laziness in professional practice with children and families?  What possible argument can there be in favor of ignorance and laziness in professional practice with the courts, when lives hang in the balance?

The professional standard of practice expectation is for the highest standards of practice, which means that you are expected to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then be reading journals to remain current – that’s attachment, family systems therapy, personality disorders, complex trauma, and the neuro-development of the brain in the parent-child relationship.

That especially includes Fonagy and Tronick.

Knowledge and the application of knowledge is a professional expectation and standard of practice (Standard 2.04 of the APA ethics code).

Everywhere I have ever worked, the expectation and standard of practice is to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to stay current.  That’s the standard of Children’s Hospitals, and I agree with that standard when working with children’s mental health and well-being.  

That’s the standard I apply, I’ll leave it to others to explain why their ignorance and laziness is warranted.  The standard of practice in my world is to know everything there is to know about the pathology, and then read journals to stay current.

Craig Childress, Psy.D.
Clinical Psychologist, PSY 18857

 

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Do You Know The Difference Between a Codependent & Interdependent Relationship?

Do You Know The Difference Between a Codependent & Interdependent Relationship?

Do You Know The Difference Between a Codependent & Interdependent Relationship? 1

I was surprised to learn that this grove of Aspen trees is actually one organism, sharing one root system. Each of us also is an interconnected community of 70 trillion cells.

Biologist Bruce Lipton believes that together we’re “one collaborative superorganism.” I love that Facebook allows us to connect one-to-one all over the planet. For the movie: click here.

Society is highly specialized and interdependent so that few of us would know how to survive without running water, electricity, and a supermarket. We’re also dependent upon our personal relationships. Human brains aren’t fully developed for 18 years, and psychological and financial independence from our parents takes even longer.

Moreover, as adults, we depend upon others to fill sexual, social, and emotional needs, such as friendship, communication, nurturing, appreciation, learning, love, and touch. The closer a relationship, the more we’re interconnected.

The Debate

Many claim that because we’re wired for dependency and that “codependency” is normal and shouldn’t be considered a problem to correct. They claim it’s not only natural but healthy and beneficial to be dependent upon an intimate relationship. They blame the codependency movement for breaking up marriages and people’s loneliness. I agree that we all have dependency needs and that healthy relationships can meet those needs and greatly benefit us.

However, codependency’s detractors don’t understand – probably from lack of personal experience – that codependents don’t reap those relationship benefits. Often they’re in unhealthy relationships, and they relate to others in unhealthy ways with patterns of obsession, self-sacrifice, dysfunctional communication, and control, which are both self-destructive and hurtful to others. They’re often abusive or allow themselves to be abused.

Codependent & Interdependent Relationships

Codependent Couples

Codependent couples are usually out-of-balance. Frequently, there are struggles for power and control. There may be an imbalance of power or one partner has taken on responsibilities for the other. They’re anxious, resentful, and feel guilty and responsible for their partner’s needs, feelings and moods, and even at times, behavior. Then they try to control one another to feel okay and get their own needs met. Rather than respect each other’s separateness and individuality, they can’t tolerate disagreement and appease or blame one another without taking responsibility for themselves. Often, what they dislike in their partner is the very thing they can’t accept in themselves.

Despite their pain, they can feel trapped in the relationship because they fear that they can’t function on their own. Some codependent marriages are cooperative and not abusive. Generally, one or both spouses are tip-toeing around the other. There’s no drama, but no passion either, because real intimacy is sacrificed. Their mutual codependency and insecurity make intimacy threatening, since being honest and known risks rejection or dissolution of their fragile self.

Like the Aspen trees, on the surface each may appear to be physically and even mentally and emotionally independent, yet, at an unconscious level, they’re two insecure adults dependent upon each other to express a whole. For instance, a woman who has trouble expressing anger marries an angry man who expresses it for her. Or a man who is extremely closed and shy marries a woman who’s emotionally open and gregarious.

They need each other to express their full humanity. In other cases, it’s more obvious that one partner needs the other for emotional stability, as in the case of alcoholic relationships. Financial dependence doesn’t necessarily create codependence, where the dependent partner has good self-esteem and emotional support outside the marriage.  Even spouses who appear more capable and stronger may be equally dependent on the relationship. They need someone to care for in order to feel needed, worthwhile, and not alone, while their other partner feels valued by receiving. Successful narcissists can be very dependent. They need someone to adore and look up to them.

Interdependent Couples

What makes interconnections healthy is interdependency – not codependency.  Paradoxically, interdependency requires two people capable of autonomy – the ability to function independently. When couples love each other, it’s normal to feel attached, desire closeness, be concerned for one another, and to depend upon each other. Their lives are intertwined, and they’re affected by and need each other. However, they share power equally and take responsibility for their own feelings and actions and contribution to the relationship.

Because they have self-esteem, they can manage their thoughts and feelings on their own and don’t have to control someone else to feel okay. They can allow for each others’ differences and honor one another’s separateness. Thus, they’re not afraid to be honest and can listen to their partner’s feelings and needs without feeling guilty or becoming defensive.  Since their self-esteem doesn’t depend upon their partner, they don’t fear intimacy, and independence doesn’t threaten the relationship. In fact, the relationship gives them each more freedom. There’s mutual respect and support for one another’s personal goals, but both are committed to the relationship.

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Personal, Property & Financial Information Your Divorce Attorney Will Need

Personal, Property & Financial Information Your Divorce Attorney Will Need

Once you’ve made your decision to divorce, your new attorney will need information from you in order to get the ball rolling and the divorce process started.

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