Divorce can be an emotionally draining experience. Even if the decision to end the marriage was mutual, it can result in a roller coaster of bittersweet emotions. With divorce comes independence, but also loneliness, particularly around the holidays. If you’re experiencing the holidays for the first time since your divorce, or while going through the divorce process, it may seem like too much to handle. However, the holidays are a great way to reconnect with family, friends, and reflect on a new stage in your life.
Don’t Spend the Holidays Alone
Even if the thought of getting dressed up and heading to traditional family dinner or a gathering with friends makes you feel anxious, strongly consider attending no matter how you feel. Maybe you feel embarrassed or ashamed of your new relationship status. Perhaps you’re afraid that you will be the topic of conversation. Chances are that if you express your desire not to talk about the divorce, your family and friends will understand. Support is essential during any difficult time in your life. You haven’t turned your back on others and it’s likely they won’t let you down.
Allow Yourself to Have Emotions
If you find yourself feeling depressed while decorating the tree or bursting into tears while listening to holiday music on the radio, allow yourself to feel sadness, but don’t forget to move forward. Tears are a natural part of the grieving process, but don’t forget to focus on the good changes in your life. Additionally, if you feel good or even somewhat “void of emotion”, don’t worry or feel guilty as these emotions are natural as well. However you feel, allow yourself to express emotion; it’s the healthiest way to work through a difficult life transition.
Start Your Own Tradition
Traditions are one of the best things about the holidays and your first holidays after divorce can make you long for the old traditions with your in-laws. This is the time to make your own new traditions. Was your ex afraid to try new things or celebrate in fun and unique ways? Take the time to celebrate in your own way, on your own time.
If you have children, it’s important to make the holidays special, just as you did when you and your spouse were married. Creating new traditions with your kids may help them adjust to the holidays after the divorce and it may also help you feel better.
Don’t Lose Sight of What Matters
The holidays can be a financial strain for everyone, but maybe even more so after a divorce. Rather than stressing about the material gifts and potentially putting yourself in debt, focus on what matters to you this holiday season. If you have children, don’t overspend on holiday gifts. You may feel obligated to be the fun or generous parent, but it may make your divorce even more complicated. Remember, your presence during the holidays is more important than anything else. Focusing on what matters in your life will help you get through your first holidays after your divorce.
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Divorce is an extremely emotionally complex situation. You may been through a trial, custody proceedings, fights, and many other tribulations. You need to gather strength everywhere you can to keep from being overwhelmed and broken by the pain. Here are 5 things to do after your divorce to keep on top of your life.
Focus on the Positive
As comedian Louis CK said “Divorce is always good news. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce.” His joke is effective because it contains an important truth: you got divorced for a reason. Be thankful that you no longer have to put up with whatever it was that was keeping the two of you so unhappy. Your life is yours alone now. Did you hate the music he listened to? The music is gone now. Did you practically have a stroke at the sound of her sister’s voice? Her sister’s voice is gone now. There are lots of good things about being single. Take advantage of them.
Cultivate Close Friendships
You’ve probably already done some of this. Don’t let it end. Your friends have been there for you through this whole thing. Let them know you appreciate it. Stay close. Go out to fun events. Relive your youth (although make sure you don’t get sucked into a reckless midlife crisis). Isolation is dangerous for anyone, especially for someone like you, who has recently gone from constant companionship to your current state.
Keep Your Family Around
Like your friends, your family have likely been on your side through all of this. Divorce means losing a family member. Keep the others close. In most cases, your family knew you before you met your ex, and now they’ll know after you’re through. Strong familial connections can keep you from becoming overwhelmed by loneliness and stress.
If Possible, Maintain Friendly Ties With Your Ex
This is, of course, not always realistic advice. Again, the two of you split for a reason. But if your ex is a decent, tolerable person, you would do well to maintain a cordial relationship. This applies doubly if you’ve got kids together. The kids will be happy to see the two of you at peace, and this could serve as an opportunity to teach them important life lessons about conflict resolution. Even if you don’t have kids, a friendly relationship will keep the memories you built together from being too painful.
Make Another Change
If your new life is too similar to your old one, it might remind you too often of the old days. Maybe now’s a great opportunity to make that move you always wanted to, or to change careers, go back to school. You probably based many life decisions around your previous relationship; take a fresh look and see what’s available to you now.
Don’t Give Up!
You’ll feel pain. Depression may rear its ugly head from time to time. You’ll falter. When it happens, don’t give up. You’re not a failure just because things didn’t work out. You’ve made a bold decision, and you’ve stuck to it. Keep moving forward.
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Divorce involves an overwhelming variety of emotions. On hand, you and your partner will feel regret, devastation, failure, exhaustion, and even shame at the thought of ending your formerly lifelong project. On the other hand, you’ll feel relief, joy, and excitement at the thought of putting an end to your troubles.
In such tumultuous times, things can go bad quickly. You, your partner, your friends and families, and your legal team will have countless views on countless things. The big picture can get jumbled. You may forget what you even want. Keep these things in mind to ease tension and make things smoother for everyone.
Plan Ahead and Write Things Down
Don’t wait to craft your stories, arguments, and thoughts until you’re stuck in a tense situation. When you’re stressed, you don’t think straight. This process will affect you for a long time, even the rest of your life. Don’t wing it. Take time to articulate your feelings. Write them down and come up with a plan. Look over your thoughts. Think about them. Edit ideas, and make sure you say what you truly mean during your proceedings. This will make things easier for everyone. Especially for you.
Keep Unnecessary People Out
This is your life, and your divorce. Don’t let a friend with an axe to grind or a stubborn affection for your ex influence your decisions. The same goes for family. Yes, you need support, but don’t let other people push you into a direction you’re uncomfortable with. You might feel your ex is an honest, decent person with whom you simply can’t live; if so, stand your ground and offer her a kind, respectful deal. On the other hand, don’t let a mutual friend talk you into going easy on an abusive former partner.
If Possible, Work With Your Ex
The two of you have most likely known each other well for a long time. Splitting up doesn’t necessarily mean you now need to become lifelong mutual nemeses. If you get your deal right the first time, it could save you a lifetime of fighting. You split up for a reason. Don’t prolong things. If your divorce proceedings leave one or both of you bitter, you’ll only be stretching things out. Even if you have no interest in getting along with your ex, making common cause will help you in the long run— imagine fighting with this person for twenty more years! Get along, find common ground, and bury your issues.
Take Time to Assemble Your Team
Again, your divorce proceedings will likely leave lasting marks on your life. Get a good mediator. Shop around. Discuss options with and friends or family members who’ve been through this process. Yes, you’re exhausted, but you need to careful and thoughtful; long-term effects of a bad divorce can be brutal, especially if you’ve got kids. Divorce is a delicate process, and you need to handle it with patience and respect. You don’t want any old lawyer to step in and mess all these lives. Search out patient, compassionate, ethical law practitioners.
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Divorce can be harsh. It signifies a different phase in your life, and that change is not always easy. At a time when emotions are fraught and there is quite a lot of anger and bitterness, people often make mistakes that could cost them significantly down the line. These mistakes can range from the places you go to for advice, to the way the kids are handled during the process. It is not easy to be ‘smart’ about something so emotional and personal, but if you know what to look out for it might save you from more unnecessary strife.
Getting The Right Legal Advice
One mistake many people make is listening to everyone that has an opinion, and receiving advice about how to best handle their divorce. Once divorce is on the cards, you should get legal advice. There are many people who will only be too ready to give you advice on how to proceed with your divorce. They mean well, but what you really need at that point is a good lawyer. Getting expert advice about everything from alimony to custody is the smart thing to do, and could save you some stress down the road. There is nothing wrong with getting a second opinion, but make sure you go to the right quarters for that as well.
Your Kids Are Switzerland
A lot of people drag their children right in the middle their messy divorces, forcing them to pick sides with one parent. Such kids are usually torn apart, not knowing which parent to support. Don’t do that to your children. You might be getting divorced, but your kids are not. One mistake that is easy to make is badmouthing your ex-partner in front of your kids, or making negative comments about your ex-spouse. Making your children choose sides is cruel and hurtful to them. Always remember that in the battle between you and your ex, your kids are Switzerland – neutral territory. This makes the adjustment period smoother for them, so that the divorce is not a totally devastating experience for them.
Plan For Your Future
It is hard to think about planning for your future when you are beginning the process of a divorce. That is probably the last thing you feel like doing and yet, it is one of the most important things you can do. Financial planning is often the toughest part, particularly when you are stuck with the daily financial demands of a costly divorce. Regardless, don’t ignore this aspect or leave it to fix itself. Know what your assets are, whether to keep the house or sell it, and plan for how you are going to live your life after the divorce. Putting things down can help you gain clarity and aid the planning process.
Whatever you do, avoid letting your emotions rule. This is not easy to do as divorce can be a very emotional experience, but it is critical to keep your emotions from spilling over. It is in your best interest to ensure that you do not make crucial decisions from an emotional place. Practicing emotionally intelligence will help things move along smoothly and calmly.
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A divorce can be an ugly legal matter, but when the extremely wealthy are involved, the final price tag could be quite expensive – in the billions. A case in point is the divorce between Harold Hamm, a fracking pioneer, ordered to pay his ex-wife $1 billion (well, it was $995.5 million, but who’s counting?), as reported by Fox News.
Sound like a historical settlement? Think again. Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin may be forced to pay his ex as much as $7.5 billion if the case goes her way. Another Russian billionaire, Dmitry Rybolovlev, who earned his billions producing agricultural products, was forced to pay his ex-wife $4.5 billion in settlement in a 2014 divorce.
Other billionaires have also been ordered to pay settlements in the billions, including Bernie Ecclestone, with a settlement of $1.2 billion, making her the recipient of the most valuable divorce settlement in Britain, as reported by the International Business Times. British billionaire hedge fund manager Chris Hohn is reported as being ordered to pay his ex 337 million pounds – or $530 million U.S., in the same article.
Jocelyn Perisse, dubbed the “Catwoman” for her shocking appearance from extensive plastic surgeries, collected a cool $2.5 billion when her 30 year marriage disintegrated.
Rupert Murdoch has been divorced twice, and the same article speaks of rumors that he paid his first wife a settlement of as high as $1.7 billion, but the truth will likely never be known – it could be much lower, or higher. As the actual settlement amounts were not revealed, so one can only guess at what he paid either wife number one or wife number two.
The news source also reports that billionaire Adnan Khashoggi was ordered to pay his former wife $874 million as a divorce settlement.
If you are planning to get married, and own substantial assets, protecting these assets is a real concern. Many people fail to put a prenuptial agreement in place, and when the marriage fails, have deep regrets. A marriage partner that is marrying for love will not be likely to try to fight a prenuptial, and in fact may welcome it.
These agreements are often contested in a divorce, however. Just having a prenup does not ultimately guarantee full protection. For any prenuptial agreement, it is imperative that the highest level of legal counsel is involved. The wording of the document is of extreme importance – a few words out of place can create a legal nightmare, as was made in clear in the McCord divorce, as reported in the Huffington Post. These divorce cases can take years to settle, and once the battle lines are drawn, both parties become more and more unwilling to compromise.
If you are planning to marry, and need a prenuptial agreement, the legal wording of the contract, and every other detail surrounding the document must be thoroughly and carefully evaluated. The prenup may later be challenged, and careful, highly professional legal work from a qualified attorney could not be more important.
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Social Media Use Has Been Linked to Unhappy Marriages
For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health until… social media do us part? For better or worse, it’s certainly true that social media has taken over many of our lives, and the nature of our relationships. Our personal lives (or a shiny image of them) are far more public than they once were, and people who have used social networking sites nonstop since they were young teenagers are now getting married. But despite all the lovey-dovey status updates and anniversary congratulations, social media may in fact be to blame for leaving many spouses #heartbroken.
One study suggests that social media use is correlated with unhappy marriages and divorce. In several analyses, researchers found that a 20% increase in Facebook enrollment was tied to between a 2.18% and 4.32% increase in divorce rates. Conversely, people who do not use social media report being on average 11% happier in their marriages than heavy users. Another UK study even found that one in seven people had considered divorce because of their partner’s social media activity. None of this is conclusive, but the link does seem to exist. So, what is the explanation? Do we need to close our social media accounts when we reach the altar to say our vows?
Social Media and Divorce: Possible Explanations
One potential reason for the link is the increased level of transparency that social media affords. Relationships are publicly proclaimed and maintained, and that can lead to a lot of pressure. If one partner connects with and messages his ex, his partner might get jealous. If she doesn’t set her status to married for all the world to see, he might feel insecure. If there is eventually a fight, social network “friends” might get involved by weighing in via vague but rather pointed comments. All of this gets in the way of spouses communicating directly with each other, and working out their problems in a personal, private way.
Social media can also create unrealistic expectations. Users often curate their posts to such a degree that others see only filtered, carefree versions of their lives. It’s easy to feel dissatisfied with your own marriage if scrolling through your newsfeed reveals only bouquets of roses and beach getaways. After all, no one posts about boring nights in front of the TV or the pointless arguments that can be part of married life. Sometimes, a perfectly healthy marriage pales in comparison to the idealized ones presented on social media—even if that ideal doesn’t actually exist. Ultimately, it’s probably not social media itself that brings down our marriages, but the way we choose to engage with it, and our partners.
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Most marriages begin as a fairytale, yet not all those fairytales have a happy ending. Some become never-ending nightmares. And for some, the nightmare continues long past a divorce.
Divorce is one of the most painful of life’s events. Regardless of the factors contributing to the divorce, it can be both traumatic and emotional. The end of a marriage can have a significant impact upon your overall attitude towards life. The loss of a relationship can be similar to suffering the death of a family member, with emotional ups and downs, self-doubts and loneliness, as well as health problems.
Stress and anxiety are known to be precursors to health conditions and ailments, making work duties, the raising of children, and managing life’s affairs even more difficult.
Stress can lead to a myriad of health issues such as headaches, obesity, depression, anxiety, diabetes, heart disease, a weakened immune system, digestive problems and other conditions, according to a study published by Science Daily.
There are several healthy coping strategies that can help you through this time of transition:
- Journaling. Writing is a great way to express your thoughts and get your feelings off your mind, and onto paper.
- Talk about it. Friends are important resources for you during this period. Spend time talking with a friend you trust, who is a good listener and cares about you.
- Don’t isolate yourself. Get out there and attend lectures, concerts, events – any event that will take you out into the world and engaged.
- Do the things that make you happy. Simple pleasures such as reading a book, gardening, going on walks or other activities that take you out of your home are helpful. Seek out groups that match your interests, and join up.
- Get outside and get moving. Exercise is has been proven to be one of the best stress-fighters. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise eases the symptoms of depression, as well as improving your overall health and sense of well-being.
It may be difficult to view a divorce other than as the failure of a marriage. Take the viewpoint that you have the opportunity to create a new life – and you have full power over what you do with it. It is important to remember that your divorce does not define you. Stay focused on what lies ahead, and take advantage of the opportunity to create the life you want. You may be surprised to discover what your future holds – even a new relationship that will bring you joy.
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When you were unmarried and lived with a significant other, it may have been relatively easy to split your things when you both called it quits. Maybe he got the DVD boxed sets and you got the cookware. Although you knew you’d miss watching endless episodes of the X-Files, you knew you had the better end of the bargain with the pots and pans. Undoubtedly, there was a bittersweet end and some quarreling about splitting up things, but they were just things. You moved on.
Now you are facing divorce and you’re facing the splitting of things (“assets” they call them) again, but this time it’s harder, more emotional, and more frustrating. Let’s face it, divorce is tough, but many couples have agreed that the splitting of assets during divorce is one of the most difficult steps in the process.
Understand Separate vs. Marital
Many couples assume that the splitting of assets will be straight down the middle with equal financial value. While this might work in some cases, particularly couples who have no sentimental attachment to anything, this is not a practical or common practice.
Separate assets are anything that each spouse owned before marriage. Separate assets can include everything from expensive jewelry to real estate or a car. So, if you got family heirloom from your great-grandmother before you got married, it is yours. Such assets, however, are at risk of being included in marital assets if your spouse became a co-owner of something you owned previously or you deposited money (such as inheritance) into a joint account.
Marital assets can easily be defined as anything that you, as a married couple, owned or purchased together. That means cars, homes, tax refunds, valuable art or antiques, the list goes on. Even if your name isn’t on something, such as a retirement plan or 401Ks, you are entitled to a portion of whatever built up during the length of your marriage.
So, It’s Simple…Just Like That?
In theory, it should be cut-and-dry, but the splitting of assets can make the divorce process an arduous one. What can make the whole process even more complicated depends on where you live. If you live in a state that is considered a Community Property State or Equitable Distribution State, all marital assets are split, 50/50. So while you may try to prepare yourself for “equal” you can’t guarantee that it will be fair.
Preparing for an Asset Split
Depending where you are at, emotionally or mentally, you might be tempted to tell your soon-to-be ex to take at all. Maybe you’re so ready to be out that you don’t care what goes with you or stays behind. Rethink these feelings immediately. There will come a time, probably shortly after the divorce is finalized, that you wish you would have taken the opportunity to split the assets together. Although it can be a difficult process, making a detailed list with your spouse, it’s an important step in coming to terms with and finalizing your divorce.
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Most people who have been divorced would answer this question with a resounding “NO!” In fact, former spouses remarry every day, and many of these remarriages are successful. The issues that led to a divorce may have been resolved, or after years have passed, the two discover they still have the mutual attraction and understanding that led them to fall in love and marry. The key to making a remarriage successful lies in communication. Almost all divorces are related to communication failures. Are you considering remarrying a former spouse? Here are some tips that could help you make the second time around a success.
Resolve The Issues Before You Commit
Your marriage failed due to certain issues. These must be resolved, as if they caused a failure in the past, you can predict that the future will bring the same outcome. These issues must be discussed fully. Remember – a lonely former partner may also be prone to making promises that he or she can’t keep as the years roll on. Take all the time you need to sort out these problems. The initial flush of rekindling your relationship is exciting, but let time pass before you make a commitment.
Does Time Heal All Wounds?
The passage of time allows you to feel more forgiving for issues that once drove you up a wall. Loneliness can set in, and your former spouse can seem to be an attractive option. If there has been any cheating, it can be difficult to trust that it won’t happen again. Statistically, cheaters tend to cheat, but there are exceptions to the rule. Be careful. If you cheated on your spouse and he or she wants you back, remember that trust is the main issue you must resolve for a successful future.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
You need to communicate with your former spouse – a lot. You need to engage in genuine communication. Don’t try to impress, be yourself. Be a good listener. If your marriage will work the second time around, it must be based upon honest communication. Don’t use alcohol as a crutch. This is the time for honest, open communication, and will establish better communication as a foundation in your restored relationship.
If you have decided to remarry, you must be able to forgive. The past is the past, and you have to let it go if you are going to make the marriage a success. Learn to forgive. Focus on the future, and building a marriage that is based on honesty, trust and mutual respect.
If you are considering get back together with your former spouse, these are some guidelines that could help you make your marriage a success. The love you once had can be restored and enhanced if you proceed carefully and thoughtfully, without being driven strictly by emotion.
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Getting married is easy. Getting divorced often proves to be a far more complicated legal process. Once married, you are in a binding legal contract with your spouse. “Untying the knot” can costs thousands, or tens of thousands in a contested divorce. The issues in contention most are often associated with child custody and visitation… and money. The matters that must be resolved for the divorce to be final include child custody, child support, spousal support and the fair division of marital property. If you are planning to divorce and hope to avoid a long and bitter court battle that will cost you dearly, we have gathered together some simple strategies that can save you thousands. You can directly control the costs of divorce through your approach.
- Find a divorce lawyer in your area who is experienced and who has a favorable reputation, and who will speak with you honestly and openly about the actual cost of the divorce, including legal fees and filing fees. A divorce in which the agreement is made out of court can often cost as little as $1,500 if you go to the right law firm.
- Set aside the emotional issues that led to your breakup. If you make the decision to work in a respectful manner with your soon-to-be-ex, it is often possible to come to a compromise that works for both of you, and a better agreement that you can both live with – and is fair.
- Be honest when presenting your financial scene. Never attempt to hide or reduce the value of assets that may be considered marital property. If you are honest, the other party will be more willing to work with you and be fair to you in return.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Fighting over minor details can get in the way of solving the major issues in the divorce. Be willing to compromise and to set aside minor disagreements.
- Your children belong to the both of you – and their needs are more important than yours. It is important that you maintain a respectful relationship. Children need both parents, and working out a custody/visitation schedule between you will save you a great deal of money. The last thing the court wants to do is have to step in and solve a child custody case merely because you refuse to work together. Come to an agreement about custody and visitation between yourselves, with the help of a lawyer and/or divorce mediator.
- Always have a divorce lawyer review any agreement before you sign. Although saving money is important, there is no need to make sacrifices you don’t have to under state law. It is also very important that you completely understand any tax implications in property division.
- Put it in writing. If you have questions or concerns, you can waste a great deal of money by discussing every detail with your attorney verbally. Your attorney is a legal professional who is working to help you with divorce, and to be blunt, is not in the business of resolving your emotional issues.
Uncontested Divorce: Cheaper and Better
A lawyer that works to keep you and your former partner from communicating, and presses you to be aggressive and take your case to trial may or may not have your best interests at heart. The costs of litigation are extensive. Every hour your lawyer spends in court will be charged to you, as well as all the preparation for presentation of your case. Some attorneys make promises that may be impossible to keep. Issues such as spousal support, child support and property division can be resolved outside of court in many cases. When this is impossible, of course, litigation is the remaining option.
If your attorney is urging you to take your case to trial, consider how that will impact your life. In many cases, wrapping it up in a reasonable and respectful manner may be a better solution. Not only will you be able to move forward with your new life, you are not left dealing with a divorce for a year or much longer. Moving on faster can be far better for everyone.
Divorce is tough, particularly in a marriage of long duration. You built a life together, but it is over. The court is not the correct place to try to punish your spouse. Look to the future. You are in a time of transition, and it can be stressful, both financially and emotionally. Saving money in the divorce will leave more available funds to establish a new home and deal with the other costs you will incur. Put your attention on your future life rather than the problems of the past, and you may find yourself in a far better position.
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