love the next time around

Love the Next Time Around: 5 Questions To Help Find “The One”

love the next time around


Many of us want to find delicious, deep love after divorce but it’s hard to know when you are truly ready to really find the “right one”.  Dating after divorce can be weird and awkward. Most likely it’s been a very long time since you’ve been on a first date and dating as an adult, especially as a parent, can raise all sorts of fears and insecurities.

All of that fear and anxiety could cause you to jump on the first train heading to your station (so to speak), but I want you to find long-lasting love.  Unless you just want to play around in the shallow end for a while, in which case, see you next week.

But, if you happen to be one of my lovely readers that might be thinking of dipping a toe into the dating pool for the purpose of finding a meaningful relationship, let me suggest 5 questions to ask yourself to figure out if you are truly ready to find YOUR “right one” (and how to know when it’s okay to throw someone else’s “right one” back in to the pond)…

1. HOW OFTEN DO YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR EX? I can’t tell you how many really nice guys I dated after my divorce that spent the entire date talking about their ex-wife. This is a huge red flag that someone is not ready to find deep love with a new person. You may want companionship, you may want affection, but if you are still talking about your ex on a daily basis, you probably aren’t disconnected enough from your former marriage to form the kind of attachment that will lead to long-lasting, deeply connected love.

2. ARE YOU LISTENING? If you are overly eager to find a reason to like a person, you might not actually be hearing what they are saying. Maybe you are listening for magic words (Did he say he hikes? I love hiking? We’re soul mates!) but you miss out on the big picture (He said he hikes with his buddies on a guys’ trip every year – that’s very different from wanting to hike with you on romantic weekends, and it could leave you feeling left out or hurt down the road).

Take a step back from constantly searching for common interests and really listen to what your date is saying. Remember that you don’t have to pick your next mate on the first date, consider the first few dates a learning experience – not a compatibility test.

3. ARE YOU BRAVE ENOUGH TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED? If you want to find love that is truly satisfying and will make you happy, you have to be willing to speak up when you need something. I always wanted to meet somewhere for just a drink on the first date because I knew that if someone said something really offensive or I was just not attracted to the person that I didn’t want to sit miserably through a whole meal.

I broke my own rule a few times, either because I didn’t have the courage to express my feelings about first dates or because my date overruled my concerns – it never went well. If you don’t feel comfortable enough with this person to state what you need, or if the person asking for a date isn’t willing to adjust for your concerns, then either you aren’t ready or this person might not be your “right one”.

4. DO YOU TRUST YOURSELF? A dear friend of mine said to me shortly after his own divorce, “I think my picker is broken. I just can’t pick well right now”.  If you don’t trust yourself to choose the right person for yourself, don’t force it. One thing I have learned through my work is that there are many, many single people out there – and you don’t have to be in a rush to find your perfect match.

If you are going on dates or looking at dating websites and you find yourself overwhelmed or not sure who is right for you, take a break. Learn what you like to do and what kind of lifestyle works best for you. Once you have a good idea of what makes you happy and how you want your life to be, THEN you are ready to start diving in to those profiles.

5. DO YOU KNOW HOW GORGEOUS YOU ARE? Nothing makes me sadder than the woman that tells me she has to lose weight or the guy who says he has to have a better car or more money before she/he can start dating again. Deep, lasting love comes from two people connected by shared values, shared interests and shared goals. Do you want the guy who fell for you because you starved yourself into skinny jeans or the one who will spend the next fifty years snort laughing with you at Adam Sandler movies?

Know that you are beautiful to the man of your dreams, exactly as you are right this minute.  Know that the woman of your dreams will love you, whether you are driving a Porsche or a Pinto.

Dating when you aren’t ready is like trying to buy furniture for a house you’ve never seen – it might be really nice furniture, but if it doesn’t fit in the house, it will never feel right.  In the end, the “right one” comes along when you know what you need and what makes you feel loved…that’s when we fall truly, madly and deeply in love with the person that fits just right.

The post Love the Next Time Around: 5 Questions To Help Find “The One” appeared first on Divorced Moms.


calm in the middle of divorce chaos

How to Find Calm in the Middle of Divorce Chaos

calm in the middle of divorce chaos


Now that I’m in my 40’s what I know for sure is life is messy. Most of us are acting like we have it all figured out, but in reality, we are all just winging it.

You can’t ever really plan for the storms ahead, and whether you like it or not, they are coming.

Like anyone else, I’ve endured my share of storms: the death of loved ones, loss of friendships, family feuds. But divorce was the kind of storm that was off the charts, and the damage left behind lingered for years.

Finding Calm in the Middle of Divorce Chaos

There was a time in my life when my young arrogant self believed that once I was married I would never get divorced. I would have bet my life on it; that’s how sure I was—” Not this girl, she’s in it for the long haul.”

I ate every single one of those words, and it turned my world “outside in.”

For our 10th anniversary, my husband bought me a 2-carat diamond ring. We could have bought a car for the price he paid for it. And I remember the sales guy saying, “It’s been ten years now, you can buy her the ring,” meaning she isn’t going anywhere after all this time, it’s a safe investment.

Like I said, life is messy.

Divorce isn’t something you can prepare yourself for, at least not the emotional roller coaster that takes place after such a life-altering decision. Like all creation, divorce happens in the mind first. You don’t just wake up one day and say to your partner, “Hey, I think we should get a divorce.” Looking back on it now, I would say that I started feeling disconnected from my marriage a few years before I uttered those gut-wrenching words to my husband.

When I finally dared to say those words out loud, the storm inside me had already taken over. We had been together for 19 years and had two amazing children. That was half my life I built with this man. It was not a decision taken lightly. But the storm wasn’t letting up. It was trying to do what it needed to do to get my attention.

During this time, my body was paying the price for not living my truth. I went from being very healthy to getting high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, cystic acne on my neck from stress, and experiencing a full-blown identity crisis.

If this wasn’t bad enough, externally, I was unsupported by family members, was criticized and judged, lost many friendships, and was continually working to defend myself and prove myself worthy.

I never felt more alone.

From the outside looking in, I get what people saw. They saw a woman who was empty with eyes left lifeless. They saw through the fake smile and the tired soul. They saw what once was light now turned to darkness. They felt the heaviness of my marriage.

I had to do something because mentally and physically I couldn’t continue on that path. My kids deserved more. I deserved more. Living in the storm broke me, feeling as if every which way I turned, I could never catch my breath.

These were the conditions that left me no other option than to retreat from the outside world and journey towards the only place that felt safe— within.

There’s something about being in the eye of the storm. They say the eye of the storm is so calm because the unbearable surface winds never reach the center. Little did I know what was about to happen.

I think nature has a funny way of mimicking great truths. I had no idea that the eye of the storm brought a calmness I never knew existed. The moment I retreated inside myself was the moment my voice met my spirit, and their conversation was stillness. This stillness was the place I found my truth. It was a buried treasure I had been searching for my entire life.

I had no idea that what I had been longing for was this place deep inside of me. All I had to do was listen in silence. Wherever I went, no matter what anyone said or did, nobody could ever take this away from me.

I had been so conditioned to the storm, immune to its effects, that I didn’t realize I was giving away precious energy that I should have been conserving for my wellbeing. I didn’t have to get sucked in and react to everything that I allowed to trigger me. I could choose to retreat anytime I wanted.

Weathering the storm meant that eventually, everything would settle down if I gave it enough time, and what once seemed catastrophic would subsequently be a distant memory. John Maxwell said it best, “Learning to pause allows growth to catch up with you.”

Find your quiet place, take a pause, and watch what happens when you stop getting kicked around by the storm.

In case you missed it, I created a free guided meditation specifically for divorced moms that will help realign you back to your center.  As a divorced mom myself, this is what helped me become a conscious mom, and I know you will benefit from it too!

Get the free meditation guide here:

The post How to Find Calm in the Middle of Divorce Chaos appeared first on Divorced Moms.


Divorce Tip Tuesday: How To Find Joy In The Holidays After Divorce

Divorce Tip Tuesday: How To Find Joy In The Holidays After Divorce


How To Find Joy In The Holidays After Divorce

Your attitude precedes and determines the quality of your emotional state.

In other words, if you have a positive attitude about a situation, you’ll experience a positive outcome. Why? Because negative thinking promotes a negative outcome.

If you’re having negative thoughts and feelings about the upcoming holiday it’s in your best interest if you’re able to interrupt those negative thoughts with positive thoughts.


Negative thought: 

“I won’t have my kids for Christmas this year. It’s going to be a terrible Christmas without them. I can’t imagine enjoying Christmas without my kids.”

Positive thought:

“Christmas is going to be different this year without the kids. They are safe and having a blast with their Dad and his family so, knowing that will help me enjoy my Christmas holiday.”

If you’re able to flip the negative thinking and put into practice positive thinking you’ll have a far better chance of having a great Christmas.

Bottom line:

Happiness, contentment, peace of mind and holiday spirit come about by adopting a positive attitude.


The post Divorce Tip Tuesday: How To Find Joy In The Holidays After Divorce appeared first on Divorced Moms.


Interested in how a divorce court will value your home? Read this blog post to find out how

Interested in how a divorce court will value your home? Read this blog post to find out how

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

Once you have hired a licensed real estate appraiser, real estate agent or done a comparable home search on the county appraisal website to determine a likely value for your home, you have done most of the work that is related to value your house for the purpose of selling it. The next thing you to do is consider whether or not you need to remove “incidental” costs associated with the sale of the home from that appraised value.

Incidental costs are things like closing costs and realtor fees. From my experience, these costs are way too speculative to include in the value of the house. Closing costs vary across properties and title companies. There are no specific cases that I am aware of in Texas that say one way or the other how this subject is to be treated. However, I would be willing to argue based on the previous couple points I made that they should not be deducted from the appraised value of the home.

Fair market value is what you are going after when looking for the value of your family home

Anyone of us who took high school economics is likely familiar with the term “fair market value.” This term can be defined as the amount that would be paid in cash by a willing buyer who desires to buy but is not required to buy, to a willing seller who desires to sell but is no under no necessity of selling. That definition is one that is pulled from something called the Texas Pattern Jury Charge. There is no mention of realtor charges or closing costs in that definition. Closing costs vary from transaction to transaction. Realtor costs may not even come into being if a realtor is not used or if the house is never actually sold.

Reimbursement claims and the family home

This is a subject that is near and dear to the heart of almost every person who goes through a divorce. Reimbursement claims can be a difficult subject to explain to clients because it is a concept that tugs at concepts of “fairness” and “equity.” If you contributed income to the separate property of your spouse, in a divorce you have a right to be reimbursed for those monies. However, it can be very difficult to calculate those kinds of claims.

There is nothing in the Texas Family Code that instructs a family court judge on how to calculate to proceed on a reimbursement claim made in conjunction with a divorce case. The judge has full discretion on determining how much reimbursement to award to a petitioning spouse or even whether or not to acknowledge the claim.

For instance, if your spouse has a separate property home with a mortgage on it that has been paid during the course of your marriage then you are in a position where you will need to prove how much of the principal of that mortgage has been reduced during the course of your marriage in order to proceed with a reimbursement claim. Mortgage statements pulled from the internet or requested directly from your lender are a means to do so. Many websites have amortization schedules that show how much of each mortgage payment goes towards principal, interest and escrow funds. Tax returns that show mortgage payments as well.

Finally, another relatively common reimbursement claim that we see in divorce cases is when community money is used to make improvements on a separate property home. An example could be if your spouse and you used your combined incomes to make an improvement on a home that you owned before you two got married. The value of your reimbursement claim would be how much the value of the home increased due to the improvements that were made.

As you could probably guess based on the time we devoted in yesterday and today’s blog posts to determining how to value your family home, this can be quite a difficult job. It is not readily apparent how much a new kitchen, pool, updated bathroom or solar panels on the roof actually added value to the home. A real estate agent can serve as an expert witness in this capacity if it were an issue brought up at trial.

How can your family home be divided in your divorce?

There are many options available to a judge when it comes to dividing up your family home in a divorce. Keep in mind that these options are only available to a judge if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on your own when it comes to valuing the home and then either dividing it in a sale or allowing one of you to remain in the home while the other has their community property interest bought out.

Option number one is the clearest cut and simple for a judge: he or she would simply determine that the home is the separate property of either you or your spouse. No muss, no fuss. Next, the house could be awarded to either you or your spouse. Along with this option, the judge could award you the house but allow your spouse to reside in the home for a specific period of time after the divorce. This option could be chosen in the event that your spouse showed that it would be difficult to locate suitable housing quickly after the divorce.

For those of you who reside in rural areas, your real estate could be partitioned by the judge. For instance, consider that if you were awarded the home, your spouse could be awarded the majority of the land surrounding the home to compensate him for the loss he would take in his community property interest in that residence.

Finally, your house could be ordered to be sold and the equity (after closing costs and realtor fees) would be split between you and your spouse based on a percentage.

What happens with the mortgage on your home after a divorce?

This is a very relevant subject to discuss in conjunction with a divorce case. Most of us reading this blog post live in a suburban/urban environment in a single family home. Whether or not you would consider your immediate surroundings to be a neighborhood or not, it is likely that you and your spouse own a home in a neighborhood-type environment where the mortgage on that home bears both your name and that of your spouse. What many attorneys fail to do in connection with a divorce is properly explain what can happen with the mortgage once your divorce is over with. I will seek to provide you with some clarification on this subject so you enter your own divorce with a bit more knowledge.

Let’s say, for example, that your spouse is awarded the family home in your divorce case. He is also ordered to pay the mortgage going forward- a mortgage that has both of your names on it. Here is what I would tell you if you were represented by our office. First, the divorce decree is a legal document that is binding upon you and your spouse but it does not affect your personal obligation under the mortgage contract. If you’re soon to be ex-spouse fails to make payments on time for the mortgage then your credit score gets dinged.

Next, if you do well in the financial portions of your divorce and have a down payment ready to go for your next house you may have trouble qualifying for a mortgage. The reason for this is that your name is already on a mortgage to your former home. Your debt to income ratio will be skewed as a result of your technically owing money on another home. It is theoretically possible to not be able to qualify for a mortgage on your new house if your spouse is not current on payments on the “old” mortgage.

How can you get your name off the joint mortgage to your old house?

That discussion should lead you to ask the question of how, then, can you go about removing your name from the old mortgage to your former home?

One option that I have seen implemented in a final decree of divorce (the final orders for a divorce case in Texas) would be to order your spouse to refinance the home within X number of days from the date the divorce becomes final. No refinance is possible until the divorce is finalized since ownership of the home before that time is still in both your name and his. It is possible that your spouse, while able to be awarded the home in your divorce, does not qualify financially to be able to refinance the mortgage into their own name. A low income, low credit score, bad debt to income ratio or a combination of all of those factors could play into the reason why this is the case.

Another option to pursue could be that your spouse can sign documents that cause him to assume complete responsibility for the mortgage moving forward. The availability of this option depends on your lender. Your spouse should contact the mortgage lender as soon as he becomes aware that he is going to get the house in your divorce to see if this is an option that he can pursue. Again, however, your spouse needs to show that he can qualify for the process of assuming sole responsibility on the mortgage.

If neither of these two options is available then the home will likely be ordered to be sold by the judge. Most judges will not put you or your spouse in a position to fall behind in the mortgage payment and put both of you in a bad financial position. As a result, if no suitable arrangement can be made it is very likely that a sale of your home will commence.

Pulling equity out of your family home in a Texas divorce

Selling the home is by far the easiest method of pulling equity out of your home during a divorce. The equity can then be split between you and your spouse without much fuss, according to the terms of the judge’s orders or your mediated settlement agreement. Usually, if your spouse is awarded the home in your divorce then the equity can be pulled out in the following manners.

If your spouse gets the house, then you will be awarded a community property asset that equals the share of equity that would ordinarily be yours had the house been sold. Or, if there is insufficient community property to divide you may be able to get some portion of your spouse’s community property share as well as a separate property bank account of your spouse’s.

We will discuss the additional ways to cash out the equity stake in a family home in tomorrow’s blog post. We hope that you have enjoyed today’s blog and we will return tomorrow to finish up where we left off by talking more about cashing out equity in the family home.

Questions about divorce and dividing up the family home? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan 

The attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan stand ready to assist you with any questions or concerns you have regarding your Texas family law case. Our attorneys have represented clients in every family court in southeast Texas and we do so with a great deal of pride.

To learn more about your case, our office or family law, in general, please do not hesitate to contact us today. We offer free of charge consultations six days a week. These consultations are a great opportunity for you to ask questions and receive feedback about your specific circumstances. Thank you for spending time with us today in reading our blog post.

And remember- the Law Office of Bryan Fagan is On Your Side!

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


Divorce Support Groups: How to Find the Right One for You

Divorce Support Groups: How to Find the Right One for You

Divorce Support Groups help you deal with the pain and loss of the marriage and support a healthy recovery. There are several benefits to divorce support groups, but finding the right one is more than a matter of location.

The post Divorce Support Groups: How to Find the Right One for You appeared first on Divorce Magazine.


How to Find the Right Counselor After Divorce

How to Find the Right Counselor After Divorce

When divorce opens the door to psychological suffering, its time to find the right mental health counselor for you. But in such a large field, it’s hard to know who you’ll work well with.

The post How to Find the Right Counselor After Divorce appeared first on Divorce Magazine.


My Marriage Exit Plan: I Hope You Find it Helpful

My Marriage Exit Plan: I Hope You Find it Helpful

It took over a year of planning and preparation, of course, hoping and praying I wouldn’t really have to pull the plug on my marriage. I did eventually have to and I hope you’re able to learn from my experience.

The post My Marriage Exit Plan: I Hope You Find it Helpful appeared first on Divorce Magazine.