Posts

Family Law: Transferring Private Company Interest in Divorce—Going Beyond the Basics to Ensure Continued Success and Avoid Conflicts

Family Law: Transferring Private Company Interest in Divorce—Going Beyond the Basics to Ensure Continued Success and Avoid Conflicts

Originally published by Winstead.

There has been considerable speculation that one consequence of the Coronavirus will be an increase in the divorce rate resulting from togetherness imposed by the quarantine that push marriages already on shaky ground over the brink.  Whether divorces will increase in the future due to Covid-19 remains an open question, but what is certain is that a sizable number of future divorces will involve the transfer of a business ownership interest between spouses as part of the divorce.  To address this situation, this post focuses on key business issues that arise when one spouse (the “Divesting Spouse”) transfers an ownership interest in a business to the other spouse (the “Recipient Spouse”) as part of a divorce settlement.  Addressing these issues will help the Recipient Spouse continue to run the business successfully and also avoid future conflicts with the Divesting Spouse, as well as with future investors and potential buyers of the business.

1. Don’t Rely on Divorce Decree or Settlement Agreement to Document the Transfer of a Business Ownership Interest Between Spouses

A divorce decree and settlement agreement will document the terms of the divorce and the division of property between spouses, but it is not a good idea to rely on the decree or the divorce settlement to memorialize the transfer of a business interest between spouses.  There are a number of reasons for the Recipient Spouse to insist on securing a stock transfer agreement (or its equivalent), including the fact that the Recipient Spouse will likely be required to show the transfer document to third parties in the future, including banks or other lenders, new investors, company officers or managers, and potential future buyers.  The Recipient Spouse will not want to show the decree or settlement agreement to these third parties, however, because they include private matters unrelated to the business.  This will therefore require the Recipient Spouse to prepare a heavily redacted document for review by third parties.  It is more efficient to simply require a transfer document to be signed that is limited solely to issues related to the business.

Another reason for the use of a transfer document is that it will include many provisions that are not normally part of a settlement agreement.  The decree or settlement agreement will become a very lengthy document if it includes all of the provision that are traditionally set forth in a separate document that covers the transfer of a business interest.

2. Secure a Separate Release of the Divesting Spouse’s Claims Against the Business

After the business is transferred and the divorce becomes final, the Recipient Spouse will not want to defend claims that are brought by the Divesting Spouse against the business.  This requires the Recipient Spouse to secure a broad release of claims against the business from the Divesting Spouse.  This release of the business is separate from and in addition to the release that the Divesting Spouse provides to the Recipient Spouse, individually.

For example, if the Divesting Spouse was an officer, employee, director or manager of the company, the Divesting Spouse’s release needs to include a release of all employment claims, such as claims for unpaid wages/back pay, vacation time, unpaid expenses, and commissions.  The release will also include the Divesting Spouse’s release all claims for wrongful termination, claims related to the distribution of any profits generated by the company and all other business related claims.  The release will also confirm that the Divesting Spouse has resigned from all positions with the company and has no further right or authority to take any action for or make any statements on behalf of the company.

3. Confirm Broad Transfer of All Rights by Divesting Spouse

The provisions that confirm the transfer of ownership in the business by the Divesting Spouse need to be broadly described in the transfer agreement to include all rights, title and interest of every kind related in any way to the business.  This includes all rights of the Divesting Spouse in any and all intellectual property of the company, such as company names, trademarks, trade secrets and patent rights.  This is particularly important if the Divesting Spouse worked in the business, because the Recipient Spouse does not want to be faced with a situation in the future where the Divesting Spouse later claims that he or she developed some software, designs or other intellectual property rights that are not owned by the business, and which are now being used by the Divesting Spouse in direct competition with the company.

4. Consider Requesting Divesting Spouse to Accept Restrictive Covenants

In a normal M&A transaction, a company buyer secures a set of restrictive covenants from the seller as part of the purchase agreement to prevent the seller from competing in any way with the company after the sale takes place.  The buyer will require the seller to provide all of the following restrictive covenants that will last for two to five years:  (i) a covenant not to compete, restricting any involvement by the Divesting Spouse — whether as an owner, employee, consultant, etc., — in a business that is competitive with the subject business for a reasonable period of time within a reasonable geographic area, (ii) an agreement not to interfere with the business’s relationship with its customers and vendors or to solicit customers, or attempt to persuade the business’s customers and vendors to cease doing business with the company, and (iii) an agreement not to hire or solicit the hiring of any of the employees of the business, or otherwise attempt to persuade any of the employees of the business to cease their employment relationship with the company.

If the Recipient Spouse is concerned that the Divesting Spouse may compete in business against the company after the divorce, the Recipient Spouse may want to request the Divesting Spouse to agree to accept some or all of these restrictions.  The Divesting Spouse will not agree to accept these post-divorce restrictions, however, without a corresponding commitment from the Recipient Spouse to provide some amount of additional consideration in the divorce settlement.

5. Request Confidentiality Agreement from Divesting Spouse

Confidentiality agreements are similar to restrictive covenants in that they prevent the person who is subject to the agreement from taking actions that are harmful to the business.  The confidentiality agreement is specific, however, in prohibiting the individual officer or employee from using or transferring any of the company’s confidential information or trade secrets.  All of the company’s officers and employees are subject to a common law duty not to use or misuse any of the company’s confidential information, but a written confidentiality agreement makes this prohibition clearer on the use of confidential information and trade secrets.

If the Divesting Spouse has not already entered into a confidentiality agreement with the company, the Recipient Spouse will want to request the Divesting Spouse to accept and sign a confidentiality agreement to protect the company’s valuable confidential information and trade secrets.  The Recipient Spouse wants to make sure that the company’s confidential information, technology and trade secrets are maintained in strict confidence.

6. Secure “Tail Coverage” of Divesting Spouse From D&O Carrier

 If the company has a directors and officers liability insurance policy (a “D&O Policy”) that provides protection for officers and directors from third party claims, these polices will generally remain for one or two years after the company’s officers and directors are no longer affiliated with the company.  The Recipient Spouse will therefore want to secure “tail coverage” to provide continuing insurance coverage for claims made against the Divesting Spouse.  In this regard, the Recipient Spouse may want to secure a tail policy will extend the D&O coverage over former officers and directors for a total period of five years.

The Recipient Spouse may feel like securing a tail policy that extends coverage for third party claims against the Divesting Spouse is unnecessary because it provides a benefit solely for the Divesting Spouse.  In fact, a tail policy provides insurance protection that protects both the Recipient Spouse and the Divesting Spouse, and it is also a benefit to the company.  If third party claim is made against the Divesting Spouse after the divorce related to the business, the Divesting Spouse will likely demand that the company indemnify him or her.  If the D&O policy is still in place, however, the tail policy will enable the company tender a defense of the claim against the Divesting Spouse, because the D&O carrier will cover all of these legal defense costs.  Fortunately, a tail policy that extends D&O coverage is often not too expensive to secure.

7. Specify Treatment of Future Tax Filings

Dealing with all of the tax issues involved in the transfer of the business is an extensive subject that goes beyond the scope of this post, and spouses engaging in the transfer of a business interest are strongly advised to consult with a tax advisor during their divorce.  But there is one tax issue that the Recipient Spouse should consider addressing up front.  Many businesses held in marriages are structured as pass through entities (i.e., LLC’s partnerships, Sub S corporations), which means that the owners pay the taxes on all profits that are generated by the company.  As a result, in the year following the divorce, Recipient Spouse may be required to issue a K-1 to the Divesting Spouse based on the ownership interest held in the business by the Divesting Spouse during the year in which the divorce took place.

If the K-1 issued in the year after the divorce reflects any income that is apportioned to the Divesting Spouse, he or she may expect to receive a cash distribution from the company that is sufficient to cover the Divesting Spouse’s federal tax liability based on this income.  If the company does not issue any distribution to the Divesting Spouse, that would create what is known as “phantom income” because the Divesting Spouse has to pay taxes on this income even though no distribution was issued by the Company.  The issuance of phantom income to the Divesting Spouse is likely to provoke a heated dispute at that point.

The Recipient Spouse will therefore want to address in the divorce settlement how the future K-1 that will be issued to the Divesting Spouse will address any income generated by the business in the year of the divorce.  If the Recipient Spouse is prepared to issue a distribution to the Divesting Spouse, that will take care of the issue.  If the Recipient Spouse has no intention of authorizing the company to issue any distributions in the future to the Divesting Spouse, however, this issue will need to be dealt with by the Recipient Spouse a manner that will not lead to a future legal dispute with the Divesting Spouse.

Conclusion

The transfer of ownership interests in business is common in divorce settlements.  But if business issues related to the transfer of this type of interest are not considered at the time of the divorce, the parties may find themselves engaging in continuing disputes they did not anticipate.  The Recipient Spouse, in particular, needs to take steps to ensure that the transfer takes place in a manner that allows the business to continue to run successfully, and to head off potential future conflicts with the Divesting Spouse and others after the divorce.

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



Read More –>

Want to resolve your Texas family law case outside of court? Remember these rules of engagement

What actions should you avoid concerning your children and divorce in Texas?

Originally published by The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC Blog.

Before you begin your divorce it is wise to consider how you are going to parent your children during the case. There isn’t much information out there that touches on this subject (at least that I could find) so I wanted to share with you some pieces of advice that I have cobbled together through my years of being a family law attorney and parent. We spend a great deal of time on this blog talking about the law and how it applies to your family, but spend relatively little time discussing how everything impacts your ability to parent.

Today I am going to try and save you some heartache and problems of all sorts by sharing some tips that you can implement to avoid mistakes in parenting and managing a divorce. While not all of these pieces of advice may be relevant to you, I believe that many of them will be.

If you are moving, do so with your child in mind

It is unavoidable in most cases that either you or your spouse will be moving out of the family home as a result of the divorce. In many instances, the move will come before the beginning of the divorce. Your home environment may be so toxic an inhospitable that you need to leave for the sake of your children and yourself. In other instances, you will be ordered to leave the house due to your spouse being awarded temporary exclusive possession of the home.

Either way, if you are leaving the home you need to be aware that wherever you choose to move needs to be a place that your child will feel comfortable in. Here is where we need to walk a fine line. On the one hand, I just said that your new residence needs to be a place that your child feels comfortable living in. That means you shouldn’t pick the cool condo downtown with the great view if you have four kids that will be coming over in a few weeks for their first visit since the start of your divorce.

Your choice in a new home needs to be a blend between affordability and practicality. Your children will begin to feel comfortable in your new home the more time they spend there. It doesn’t have to the prettiest house in the world. All it has to be is a place where you can house your children during the times you have them and place where they are safe. Everything else is just gravy on the biscuit.

You should treat your children the same way you would have you remained in the family home. Do not treat your children any differently just because you are in a new home. This would be enough to cause the children to feel even more out of place than they normally would. Rather, assign your children chores (age-appropriate) just like you would at home, discipline the kids just like you would at home and then play with the kids just like you would at home. If you can manage to do all of these things you will have found the sweet spot for parenting in a new environment.

Let your kids be kids and don’t involve them in the process of your divorce

Your children are such a big part of your life that it would be easy to let the divorce case begin to bleed over into your parenting of your kids. It does make sense on some levels to keep your children informed about the case just so they are not completely clueless about what you and their other parent are going through.

However, the individual facts and circumstances associated with your divorce do not necessarily need to be shared with your children. First of all- they are children. They do not have the mental faculties to process all of the circumstances of your case. Even teenaged children have never dealt with the things you are dealing with. They are not prepared to handle what you are going through. The last thing you want to do is cause them stress unduly.

Another huge part of this discussion is that your court orders will bar you from saying negative things about your spouse to your children or from involving them in the case. The best thing to do would be to keep them up to date on the progress being made. You can let them know how close you are to the end of the case and what steps need to be taken to complete your divorce.

You do not need to share a timeline because you don’t know how much longer you have or what could happen to delay your case without notice.

The other thing that I see parents doing, especially with older kids, is using the kids as messengers. Having your child give updates to your spouse during the divorce is not a good thing to do. Telling your child partial information on a subject causes them to wonder and worry about the significance of the message that he or she may be relaying for you. Also, depending on the reaction that your spouse has to the message, your child may feel like he or she has caused their parent pain. You can avoid this problem by communicating directly with your spouse and not using your child as a means to do so.

Be careful with what you say about your spouse in front of the kids

You may be in a position where you are livid with the actions and decisions of your spouse. You may feel that this divorce was caused entirely by him or her and that you are the innocent party in all of this. Even if you completely justified in feeling this way you need to be careful about voicing your negative opinions about your spouse in front of your children. Not only does this violate the court orders but it can also be a huge impediment to your children transitioning into their lives post-divorce.

Remember that your children are not exposed to varying viewpoints like an adult is. They go to school and they interact with children and teachers there, but then they come home and have you and your spouse as role models. As such, they value what you have to say perhaps more than you might think. As a result, you need to be able to take this to heart and start to value what you have to say as much as your children do.

The other thing that I will take note of is that what you say about another person is not necessarily reflective of him or her, but more reflective of yourself and your character. Think about all the times in your own life that you have heard another person speak badly of a person who is not in the room. Does the person talk ever look like an upstanding, honorable person? I’m willing to bet not. Most of the time when I hear another person talking about someone who’s not within earshot, I just wish he or she would stop talking. Don’t let your children see the worst side of you in badmouthing their other parent. They probably feel caught in the middle of you and your spouse to a great extent already and hearing you say negative things will only add to that problem.

Let your ex-spouse live their life

It is normal to be at the very least curious about the goings-on of your ex-spouse. After all- that person was your partner in life for an extended period, the other parent to your child (although that hasn’t changed) and recently went through a trying ordeal with you. Now you are left with questions about how the marriage failed, what happens next and what will happen to you. Wanting to know how your ex-spouse is handling the situation is understandable.

However, you would be best served to not ask your children for those updates. First of all, your children are not going to be very accurate at the relaying of messages especially if they are younger. To test this idea of mine out, go ahead and ask your five years old what happened at school today. I can almost guarantee their answer will be about 10% truth and 90% fantasy. Kids are just not very good at recalling information that has to do with emotions or occurrences. If you want to know about one specific event they may do ok, but a series of events or something like that will be difficult for them. Why bother asking, in that case?

The other thing that you need to keep in mind is that you don’t stand to benefit much from asking questions about what your ex-spouse is up to. If you find out that your ex-spouse is doing great then you will likely not feel great for him or her but will feel worse about yourself. On the other hand, if he or she is doing poorly, you will likely take some amount of satisfaction in that. This is probably not the way you want to appear to yourself or your children. So why not just let your ex-spouse live their life and you can do the same?

You are sharing possession of your children with your ex-spouse- remember that

Your children are your children, but they are also your ex-spouse’s kids. Meaning: do not act as if you are the only parent that matters. At all times, their other patent matters, as well. You should take advantage of every moment that is made available to you but do lose sight of the fact that your ex-spouse has just as much right to have their time with your kids, too. As such, do not abuse your possession schedule and run over on your time. Taking your child to your ex-spouse thirty minutes late continually is not only disrespectful of your ex-spouse, but it also puts you in violation of your court orders.

The earlier in the process that you can realize that your ex-spouse has just as big of a role to play in raising your children as you do, the better off you will be. This doesn’t mean that you have to drop the kids off early at the other parent’s. This does not mean that you need to run every planned activity with your children through another parent to make sure he or she knows what is going on. What it does mean is that you are best off being respectful of the other parent. This takes little effort but does require that you be aware of other people and their needs. Even the needs of a person that you just finished getting a divorce from.

Remember that your divorce is in the past- treat it that way

Your divorce is in the past and should not be re-litigated. You may need to come back to the courthouse in the future to deal with issues that arise in the future, but what led to the divorce, the divorce itself and the immediate period after the conclusion of your divorce needs to be set aside and not brought up time and time again. Tomorrow’s blog post will begin by focusing on this topic.

Questions about divorce in Texas? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material that we shared in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week here in our office. These consultations are a great opportunity to speak with an experienced attorney who can provide you specific feedback about your case as well as answers to your questions.

We work in the family courts of southeast Texas every day and do so with a great deal of pride. Our work is done on behalf of our clients who in reality are the people we consider neighbors and members of our community as well. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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



Read More –>

when leaving a narcissist

5 Mistakes I Made When Leaving a Narcissist & How You Can Avoid Them

when leaving a narcissist

 

Whatever mistakes, miscalculations, or bad decisions there are to be made in leaving a narcissist, I made them.

After sixteen years with a man whom I’d built a life with, had children with, and thought I knew, I made the naïve assumption that I could predict what ending our life together and getting divorced would look like. I counted on his promises of the past to stay true in the future.

Even during the last few years of the marriage when I had to deal more with the evil Mr. Hyde than the good Dr. Jekyll, even after uncovering his double life that revealed his predatory nature for girls less than half his age, I still relied on our shared history as a couple to see me through.

My greatest error arose from my inability to wrap my head around the fact that there are people in this world who lack any sense of empathy, decency, or integrity, and who will stand back with a smirk on their face, holding a bucket of water that they have no intention of using while watching those who love them the most burn in pain.

Believing this to be an exaggeration and that no one could possibly be guilty of purposely inflicting pain on their own loved ones is the first mistake I made. Then it was a downward spiral of my shattered expectations as I learned the hard way that, yes, there are people in this world who will not only smile as they watch you fall and suffer, but will spin the story to such a point that they’ll say you deserved it.

Those people are called narcissists.

And if you’re involved with one, wanting to leave or in the process of leaving one, here are the top five mistakes to avoid. Doing so certainly won’t erase the pain of separation or divorce but will definitely lessen it if your eyes are wide open since then you won’t risk the heartbreak from bombshells that every narcissist is capable of dropping.

5 Mistakes I Made When Leaving a Narcissist

Mistake #1: Believing a narcissist will be a good person and play fair

Every phone call, every email I got from my attorney left me in a state of shock and awe upon hearing what my ex was attempting to get away with or accusing me of. Since I believed what my ex told me prior to filing for divorce, such as that he would make sure our kids and I would be taken care of financially and I wouldn’t have to worry, each realization of what he was actually up to left me reeling as if I’d been sucker-punched that landed me on the floor, of which I couldn’t get up from during the entire divorce process.

How to avoid my mistake?

See them for who they really are and not who you always wanted them to be. Drop the illusions you still carry, such as that they’ll change or they’d never hurt you. No need to be cynical, but crucial to be prepared. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Mistake #2: Choosing any lawyer to represent you

Because of the fragile emotional state I was in at the time and my desperation to get the divorce over with, I did not vet my lawyer. I did not ask any questions and trusted that he would do a good job of representing me. I assumed (because he was a lawyer) that he would know the difference between fair and unfair, that he would hold my ex accountable in disclosing assets, and would advocate for me and my children to his best ability.

My lawyer always talked a big game when we were planning how to respond to my ex’s obvious skirting of the law and the abuse he still inflicted (such as cyberstalking me, stealing my identity, and hacking into my emails), then at the last minute would pull away from any previous plan and encourage me to settle.

His strategy-switching gave me whiplash. And it always coincided with running through another big retainer I’d paid, which disappeared quickly when I was being charged even if I only spoke to his legal secretary for two minutes on the phone (she called once to ask my address, which I gave and then we hung up, for which I was charged a quarter-hour of my attorney’s rate: $75).

How to avoid my mistake?

Interview attorneys. Ask them if they have experience in high-conflict divorces with abusive personalities. Ask them if they know how a narcissist operates. Go with your gut and don’t be pressured into hiring a lawyer you don’t feel completely safe with or whose methods you question. Remember, a lawyer has the ability to make or break you in a divorce. Make sure you choose wisely.

Mistake #3: Letting your emotions make decisions for you

It is a fact that women tend to look at divorce from an emotional perspective. And why wouldn’t we? When we’re heartbroken or disillusioned or escaping abuse, we can’t help but be emotional about our lives as we knew them ending, sometimes going down in a huge ball of flames. However, in general, men look at divorce from a business standpoint and remove emotion from the process (not all men, of course).

And men who are true narcissists take it even further – to them, it’s war. You’re the enemy. And therefore, you must be defeated. Because I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by my pain, and unable to truly begin any healing process while still in the midst of the divorce, I couldn’t make those important decisions for my future since I was unable to see even the day after the next through my tears. Meanwhile, a narcissist lacking any empathy or compassion, to begin with, will exploit the weakness of another and chalk it up to the necessities of war.

How to avoid my mistake?

Given the fact that most men, especially fathers, come out far better off financially after divorce than women, who tend to see their incomes drop by over a third, it’s imperative that those emotions are put aside for the time it takes to legally separate. Cry, cuss, and rage all you want (if only I had a dollar for every f-bomb I dropped during my divorce) but leave your heart out of it and use only your mind when figuring out those details that will determine how you’ll fare long after those divorce papers are signed.

Mistake #4: Giving in and saying Uncle when you’re too tired to go on

Narcissists are like wolves (no offense to actual wolves who act only out of instinct and not out of any innate desire to persecute those who do them wrong). Their success depends on their ability to exhaust you and wear you down to the point where you stop running, lose your strength, and eventually surrender.

Because I didn’t have a good lawyer to encourage me not to waive my rights or what I was entitled to, I quickly became so drained that I lost all my nerve and gusto to stand up for myself. I gave up and gave in, and because of that I’m still experiencing the effects financially all these years later.

How to avoid my mistake?

Understand that a narcissist is trying to wear you down on purpose so that you’ll give up and give in. Trust me when I say that once you’ve recovered and regained your strength later down the line, you’ll regret it if you do throw your hands up during the divorce and give up in any way whatsoever.

Mistake #5: Underestimating how low a narcissist will go.

Check. Double check. I underestimated my ex to such an extent that I paid for it severely not only with my financial well-being but my emotional health as well since every time I was knocked to the ground by the things he would say or do, eventually I just stayed there huddled up in a ball waiting for the next blow.

How to avoid my mistake?

Think of the lowest possible thing that someone could do to another. Got it in your head? Good, because a narcissist will go lower. So brace yourself and gird those loins for this moment to come.

I wish I could tell you that today I have zero regrets for the mistakes I made when I left (escaped is more like it) and filed for divorce from a narcissist. However, since I’m still paying for those mistakes today it’s hard to not beat myself up every so often.

But then I remind myself lovingly and patiently that I didn’t know. I barely knew anything about narcissists at the time let alone what divorcing one would be like. And I didn’t know how to choose a lawyer. Nor did I feel empowered to stand up for me after so many years of being emotionally beaten down. So when I start kicking my own ass about “what I should have done instead,” I remind myself how far I’ve come despite all the difficulty and trauma of my past.

As Michelangelo said at the ripe old age of 87, “I am still learning.”

And I hope by sharing my own lessons, you are still learning too.

The post 5 Mistakes I Made When Leaving a Narcissist & How You Can Avoid Them appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

3 Financial Mistakes to Avoid When it Comes to the Cost of Divorce

3 Financial Mistakes to Avoid When it Comes to the Cost of Divorce

When a family goes through a divorce, they often become anxious over the costs associated with the process. This is understandable, given that they are going to have to maintain two households on the same incomes that previously supported one. Fortunately, there are some things all parties involved can do to keep their costs down […]

The post 3 Financial Mistakes to Avoid When it Comes to the Cost of Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>

gatekeeper mom

4 Reasons To Avoid Being a Gatekeeper Mom Trap During Divorce

gatekeeper mom

 

Do you find yourself having difficulty letting go and relaxing about what your children do while they are with their other parent? Focusing too much on your children’s time or activities at your ex’s house can potentially damage your relationship with them and undermine their connection with both parents. When a parent communicates anxiety and becomes too vigilant about custody exchanges (or parenting time) they may be taking on the role of a gatekeeper.

What is a gatekeeper mom?

According to child custody expert Robert Beilin, P.h.D., a gatekeeper is a term  often used in a negative way to describe how parents (usually a mother) attempts to control their children’s time with the other parent. Since traditionally mothers tend to be gatekeepers, this article will focus on mothers but the term could apply to fathers as well.

According to author Kerri Kettle, the term “gatekeeper” is generally brought up in child custody cases. Kettle, an attorney, advises mothers to beware of being a gatekeeper and to avoid adversarial interactions with their ex. After all, it could lead to additional legal costs and have a negative impact on children. She writes, “If you think you might be acting a little like a gatekeeper, try saying “yes” more often than saying “no” for a while. Start with something small, like giving up a few hours of your custodial time for a special occasion or simply not asking questions about what happened at their dad’s house.” She also advises parents that they will save legal fees by being a cooperative co-parent.

Let’s face it, it’s easy to see how a parent could slip into the gatekeeper role. After my divorce, I had trouble adjusting to our co-parenting schedule and I found myself overly concerned about what my children did when they were with their father and the amount of time they spent with him. It took several years for me to realize that this was my way of trying to gain control over the situation. While I never did anything consciously to sabotage my children’s relationship with their dad, my questions, and concerns about their activities with him didn’t demonstrate confidence in our parenting plan.

Further, children have a way of sensing tension and worry and so a mother’s fear or concerns about time spent away from her may be a red flag that heightens their anxiety. Without awareness, a parent could be bringing undue stress on your children without intending to. My research shows that the two variables that had the most negative impact on children of divorce into adulthood were limiting their access to both parents and experiencing high conflict between their parents post-divorce.

A crucial aspect of healing after divorce is realizing that you can’t control what goes on with your ex and so need to respect the decisions that he makes regarding his time with your children.  You can’t change him and are wise to let go of unrealistic expectations. For instance, you might not approve of him taking your eight-year-old to a movie rated PG 13 – but in the end, it’s not going to make or break their emotional development. So it wouldn’t hurt to simply let it slide sometimes.

On the other hand, if you have legitimate concerns about activities that your kids participate in with their father, it’s a good idea to send him a friendly, business-like e-mail expressing your concerns. Divorce expert Rosalind Seddacca CCT writes, “If you’re intent on creating a child-centered divorce that strives for harmony between you and your ex, you need to initiate the conversation and model win-win solutions. If your ex doesn’t want to cooperate, that’s when your patience will certainly be tested. Look for opportunities to clarify why working together as co-parents as often as possible will create far better outcomes for your children.”

Eileen Coen, an attorney, and trained mediator states that one reason mothers tend to be gatekeepers is that trust is often lost in a marriage. Other reasons cited by Coen are economic and a lack of confidence in their ex’s parenting skills. However, she cautions us that on-going conflict between parents is the primary reason why mothers are gatekeepers – making it virtually impossible to have adequate, healthy parenting time with their children.

Studies show that kids benefit from access to both parents. There is evidence that cooperative co-parenting actually reduces conflict between divorced parents – which has a beneficial impact on children into adulthood. Scheduling appropriate parenting time for both parent’s post-divorce and keeping lines of communication positive can be a challenge but it’s paramount to building resiliency in your children. When a parent takes on the role of gatekeeper, they communicate discomfort and anxiety to their children and diminish their sense of belongingness with both parents.

Joan Kelly, a renowned researcher who has conducted decades-long studies on divorce, found that the more involved fathers are post-split, the better off the outcomes for children. Children benefit from strong relationships with both parents post-divorce. According to Linda Nielsen, author of Between Fathers and Daughters, the child’s relationship with their father is often the one that changes the most after marital dissolution. Sadly, Dr. Nielsen notes that only 15% of fathers and daughters enjoy the benefits of shared parenting.

There are many compelling reasons why mothers are wise to encourage their children to have strong bonds with their father post-divorce. Studies show that these reasons include: Better grades and social skills, healthy emotional development, higher self-esteem, and fewer trust issues. Lowered self-esteem and trust wounds are especially a concern for girls who may be more vulnerable to the breakup of the family home because they are socialized to be nurturers and caretakers. Your kids may also have better access to extended family members and therefore intergenerational support if they spend close to equal time with both parents.

Here are 4 Reasons to avoid the gatekeeper trap:

1. Your children will gain trust in both parents and feel more confident about their relationships with both of you.

2. You will build trust in your ex’s ability to effectively parent your children.

3. There’s a possibility you’ll have the added benefit of more leisure time – when you can relax and worry less about your children’s well-being.

4. You’ll create a new story for your life built on reclaiming your personal power rather than letting your divorce define who you are or the choices you make.

Focusing your energy on what’s going on in your home and encouraging your children to have a healthy connection with their father will pay off in the long run. Another important reason to avoid being a gatekeeper is to respect your child’s and ex-spouse’s boundaries. When your children are with your ex, honor their time together and try not to plan activities or partake in excessive communication with the other parent (phone, text, etc.). Since parental conflict is a factor that contributes greatly to negative outcomes for children after divorce, keeping disagreements to a minimum is a key aspect of helping your child become resilient. You owe it to yourself and your children to avoid playing the role of a gatekeeper.

More From Terry:

Follow Terry Gaspard on Twitter,  Facebook, and movingpastdivorce.com

The post 4 Reasons To Avoid Being a Gatekeeper Mom Trap During Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>

3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Family Court During Divorce

3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Family Court During Divorce

It is better for clients to make their own decisions about what’s best for their children rather than “the stranger in the black robe.”

The post 3 Reasons You Want to Avoid Family Court During Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>

How To Avoid The Risk of Relapse During Divorce

How To Avoid The Risk of Relapse During Divorce

There is evidence that shows that stressful life events such as divorce are associated with an increased risk of relapse.

The post How To Avoid The Risk of Relapse During Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>

Manifesto for the Sensitive Sane Guy (how to avoid crazies)

Introduction After witnessing as well as interviewing several man who have had the misfortune of dating or marrying a crazy parasitic cunt that I write this manifesto to help guide the kind gentle man. This is not for the alpha … continue reading

The post Manifesto for the Sensitive Sane Guy (how to avoid crazies) appeared first on Karen Lodrick.

Read More –>

What a Rebound Relationship Is and How to Avoid Them

What a Rebound Relationship Is and How to Avoid Them

The chance of a rebound relationship having long-term potential is slim because it will take time for you to heal from your breakup so that you don’t bring baggage into your new relationship.

The post What a Rebound Relationship Is and How to Avoid Them appeared first on Divorce Magazine.

Read More –>

dating mistakes

8 Dating Mistakes To Avoid When Dating After Divorce

dating mistakes



You didn’t expect to wind up back in the dating pool when you exchanged vows in front of your family and friends. Now you are alone again and longing for a new relationship. Whether you are happy or sad about it, it’s definitely not easy.

Are you still hoping to find love again? If so, don’t despair.

There is a great chance of finding just the right partner for you. In order to get to that goal, you will most likely have to go on a few dates.

Avoid these 8 dating mistakes in order to give yourself the best chance of dating success.

1. Not taking time to heal is one of the costliest dating mistakes

This is one of the most important dating mistakes that you need to avoid. Due to feeling panicky, you may wind up jumping into the dating pool right after your divorce in order to reassure yourself that you will not spend the rest of the life alone. This, however, can lead to fiascos and disappointments and make you feel even worse. There are three aspects of emotional healing that you should address prior to considering dating after divorce. This will help you avoid many other dating mistakes.

2. Being coy in terms of what you truly want can deter good men

I’ve seen many women in the dating scene trying to fit in and avoid showing their true colors. This is not because they are fake, bad personalities,  or liars. Many women are influenced by societal norms to think that they are not good enough the way they are. They’ve read articles that say “Don’t come across as too desperate to hop into another relationship.”

So, they go on dates being shy to express what they are truly after, a committed, loving relationship. And, you shouldn’t be too desperate. But, dating should be purposeful. This is the place to show your true authentic self so that you can find a guy who will be thrilled to be with you.

Avoid this dating mistake by being clear and assertive about what you are after. This exudes confidence and helps you eliminate the guys that are not on the same path as you are. Men love this anyhow.

3. Taking the dating process too seriously leads to high expectations

This dating mistake can lead to making you feel and possibly come across as desperate. Dating is meant to be fun. Although your goal is to find a life partner, your agenda for a specific date is to have fun, enjoy dinner, and getting to know the person you are meeting. With this approach, you will feel less anxious and you will be able to pick up important information about your date. You will be able to get a better sense of how this particular man relates to you.

4. Not dating more than one person at the time

If you date only one man, you don’t get a chance to open yourself up to various opportunities. This dating mistake can lead you to put all your eggs in a wrong basket. Consider dating as a job interview where you are the interviewer who is selecting the candidates. Think about how many candidates a company interviews for a position. You are selecting a life partner. I think you get the picture.

5. Jumping too quickly into another committed relationship

Committing too early can strip away the joy that comes with initial courtship. Why not allow this process to unfold naturally? Put some brakes on. Allow the men who are courting you prove to you that they are worthy of your heart and commitment. Doing so will allow you to make an informed decision regarding your lifetime partner. When you allow more time to pass, you will be able to see the guy in potential crises situations and how he reacts to your ups and downs, etc.

It’s reassuring to see when he is able to handle these kinds of situations with grace. After all, you are not seeking to have just any relationship, but you are seeking to find the one that you will be stoked about.

6. Expecting that happiness will come one day when you find “the right one.”

Going on dates with this mindset will only turn away good prospects. Remember, the law of attraction? If you are happy, you are more likely to attract and be attracted to a happy person. If you are not basically happy within yourself, it’s not likely that your relationship will be a happy one. Besides, this expectation puts a great deal of burden on another person and it leads to failure. The quest for making someone else happy can’t be fulfilled and relationships based on this attraction (depressed person and someone who will rescue and make them happy) often lead to frustration.

7. Giving up too early if you don’t see initial sparks

This dating mistake stems from the notion that we need to have an epic initial attraction in order to continue dating someone. You have to remember that you are not 17 anymore. With divorce under your belt and your hormones being more mature, you may not be able to have the same kinds of reactions as when you were younger. This is a good thing actually. Being less excitable will allow you to build a bond based on deeper attraction and compatibility.

So, give it a chance. See how it develops. Enjoy the friendship and dating the person for a while before you throw in the towel.

8. Being stuck on the same selection criteria as when you were in your 20t’s 

You did your best to find the right partner for your marriage when you were young. You two seemed like the perfect pair and everyone wondered why you divorced. Usually, when we are getting married the first time when we are young, we rely on specific criteria. We want to find a compatible partner, and we look into his education, job, looks, cultural background, etc. These are very important aspects, but it’s evident that we may not be a good match in spite of all these aspects aligning well.

At this point in your life, what matters is that you can have a good supportive friendship and that you can enjoy spending a lot of time together. This discussion goes back to healing process where you determine what works for you at this time of life. You’ve changed who you are, and you will not have the same values in life. Even if your new partner is not on the same academic level as you are, you two may be able to have the most interesting stimulating conversations and a great emotional connection.

Avoid these dating mistakes if you want to have a successful dating life after divorce. Start with healing, and when you are emotionally ready to date, enjoy the process of dating without too serious agenda. Go get to know people and have fun!

The post 8 Dating Mistakes To Avoid When Dating After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.

Read More –>