Thursday, 30 April 2020

My Life Is Empty After Divorce. Will I Ever Feel Better?

You absolutely can feel better. You just have to start doing a few things differently.

The end of your marriage leaves huge holes in your life, in your identity and in your mind. And it’s these huge, gaping, bottomless voids that make you feel that your life is empty after divorce.

From my vantage point of having lived through the misery of a failed marriage and after that over a decade of helping others recover from divorce, I can tell you without any doubt that your life can be better than it is right now.

And the sooner you believe that your life can be better, the more quickly you’ll stop feeling "my life is empty after divorce".

There are basically two different reasons why people get stuck in the pain of divorce. First, their lives are so different from what they were before that they have a very difficult time accepting their new normal. Second, they are still reeling from the pain of their divorce.

If you’re struggling with the differences in your life now when you compare it to then, the best thing you can do is to work on acceptance.

Acceptance doesn’t mean that you have to approve of the way things are just that they’re the way they are. It just means you know things are the way they are and that you can change them.

The situation you’re in right now is just your starting point for creating the life you want to have – a life that’s full and meaningful and definitely not empty.

These two inspirational quotes may help you find the strength and courage to move forward from feeling your life is empty now that your marriage is over.

"Where there’s life, there’s hope." Publius Terentius Afer

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." Wayne Dyer

If you believe your life is empty because you’re still reeling from the pain of your divorce, that’s OK.

Healing after divorce is difficult and lonely.

You can help yourself heal by getting proactive. Do everything you can think of to help yourself along. Some of what you might consider doing to help yourself heal include:

  • Remember that grief is a normal part of divorce for most people and allow yourself to grieve – just don’t regularly throw yourself pity parties.
  • What’s going on in the here and now is more important than what happened (or didn’t happen) in the past. So, don’t dwell on the past and focus as much as you can on today.
  • You’ve lived through a lot of tough stuff with the end of your marriage and it’s easy to think that everything happened to you. But if that’s what you truly believe, then you’re only a victim. The surest way to heal and move on from feeling as if your life is empty after divorce is by shedding the victim mentality and figuring out how you can become victorious.
  • Taking care of yourself and your needs can be difficult when you’re in so much misery and feeling utterly alone because of the end of your marriage, but it’s one of the best things you can do for yourself. Make sure you’re eating enough, getting enough sleep and doing a little exercise every day. Doing these little things will help you have the strength you need to heal.

Regardless of the reasons for you feeling that your life is empty after divorce, there’s one thing you’re already doing that is helping you to move forward. And that’s asking for help.

You found this article because you were searching the internet for help. Don’t let your search end with Google. Go to Amazon and find books. Ask your family and friends for help. You can even ask a helping professional for help too.

You can fill in the holes of your identity, your mind and the empty life you’re living now that you’re divorced. It’s probably not going to happen immediately and you’re going to have to work for it.

But you’ve just gotten some important information about the next steps you can take. Take the ones that make the most sense to you and change your life for the better.
You deserve it and you can do it..


Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Are you THRIVING or SURVIVING? Science reveals your mindset is key

A new study revealed that the key to thriving, rather than just surviving, could be as simple as feeling good about life and yourself, and being good at something, according to a report by the Science Daily.

Daniel Brown, a sport and exercise scientist at the University of Portsmouth, studied all the research on what makes people thrive, from studies of babies and teenagers, to studies of artists, athletes, employees, and the elderly. He found a common denominator.

“Thriving is a word most people would be glad to hear themselves described as, but which science hasn’t really managed to consistently classify and describe until now,” he said.

Brown added that it appeared to come down to an individual experiencing a sense of development, of getting better at something, and succeeding at mastering something.
“In the simplest terms, what underpins it is feeling good about life and yourself and being good at something,” he said.

The study established that though thriving is similar to resilience, prospering, or growth, it stands alone.

“Since the end of the 20th century, there has been a quest in science to better understand human fulfillment and thriving, there’s been a shift towards wanting to understand how humans can function as highly as possible,” Brown elaborated.

Thriving had been examined at different stages of human life and had been described as vitality, learning, mental toughness, focus, or combinations of these and other qualities. In addition, it had been examined in different situations, including in the military, in health, and in child development.

He said that part of the reason for a lack of consensus is that the research so far has been narrowly focused.

“Some have studied what makes babies thrive, others have examined what makes some employees thrive and others not, and so on. By setting out a clear definition, I hope this helps set a course for future research,” Brown said.

The study, published in European Psychologist, included six recommendations for future research, such as the need for close examination of what enables thriving, and whether thriving has any lasting or cumulative effect on individuals.

In another study reported by the Science Daily, it was discovered that listening to happy music may help generate more innovative solutions than listening to silence.

Although many studies had discovered what promotes creative cognition and had proven the benefits of music to cognition, there is not much research on how listening to music affects creative cognition specifically. (Related: Music Shown to Facilitate the Development of Neurons in the Brain.)

The authors examined the effect of music on creative cognition on 155 participants who completed questionnaires and were split into experimental groups. Each group listened to one of four different types of music that were categorized as calm, happy, sad, or anxious, depending on their emotional valence and arousal. On the other hand, one controlled group listened to silence.

After the music played, the participants did various cognitive tasks that tested their divergent and convergent creative thinking.

The study, published in PLOS ONE, found that listening to happy music facilitated more divergent creative thinking compared to silence. Happy music was described as classical music that is positive valence and high in arousal.

The researchers suggested that the variables involved in the happy music condition may enhance flexibility in thinking and future research could explore how different ambient sounds might affect creativity and include participants of different cultures, ages, and levels of music experience.


5 Ways to Deal With Hardship and Pain in Life

Life throws many curve balls our way—it could be said that when one person goes to bed heartbroken, another could wake up finding true love. It’s a never-ending cycle of disappointments and achievements, but although we might presume that each of us are capable of getting back up every time life kicks us to the ground, that is far from reality. 
Sometimes it really hurts being in a situation you have no control of, and making decisions that seem completely unfair to you will definitely find their way into your life. Regardless of the tough issues you may face, it’s getting back up and moving forward that counts the most when you need to deal with hardship. This is a list of 5 things I’ve tried in my own life just to help me believe in a brighter future and get past a tough situation.

1. Reflect On the Bad Times in Your Life
This may sound like a bad idea, but it does serve a purpose: you may feel depressed when thinking about past sorrows, but the idea behind reflecting on past hardship isn’t to run you down; it’s to prove to yourself that you have gotten past them. Usually we’re afraid that a tough time will break us, but when you think about the countless times you’ve actually gotten past what you thought was the worst experience in your life only proves that you’ve gotten stronger. Allow those victories to be an opportunity for you to see beyond the baggage in front of you.

2. Write or Talk About How You Feel
I’ll be honest: keeping my feelings to myself used to plague me and made me feel alone, but when I found someone who actually genuinely cared about me, it became natural to share how I felt with her and that contributed immensely to my ability to overcome troublesome situations. Not only did I speak to her about how I felt, I also decided to blog about it, and though talking to strangers about your issues may seem crazy, it actually isn’t. In fact, it’s what therapists regard as their bread-winning strategy; the ability to be neutral and use their lack of a personal relationship with you as a means of helping you. It doesn’t matter if you want to talk, sing, or write about how you feel, just get it off your chest and the weight on your shoulders won’t seem so crippling.

3. Detach Yourself From the Situation
It can be overwhelming when you’re in the middle of a heated argument or office politics, and there’s no way you’ll be able to make a rational decision when caught in the midst of a fire. They say that running away from your problems will never help, and though that’s partially true, it doesn’t mean that you need to submerge yourself so deeply into a situation that you run out of air to breathe and lose the ability to weigh the pros and cons of your choices. That happens more than we like to admit, which is why its important to detach yourself from a situation long enough to think clearly without having people hanging over your shoulders. This helps because you finally have a break to think things through and in cases like this, a lot of thought is needed.

4. Remind Yourself That You’re Not Alone
It’s easy to curl up into a ball and feel like your world is closing in from loneliness, and it’s so hard to remember that there is definitely someone out there who loves you. I know for a fact that we Lifehack readers are tough folks, and the fact that you’re here means that you have the strength to realize that help is but a URL away. Regardless of who or what you depend on, you need to remind yourself that you are not alone; you have people who do care. Even if it’s just one person, that’s enough to give you reason to remind yourself that you will never truly be alone. Sometimes it’s strangers who may share the same feelings as you do. Think about it—you may not know any of these readers personally but they could be in the exact same situation as you, so in fact, no one is truly alone.

5. Accept the Results and Get Back Up Again, Only Stronger
Finally, it’s time to come to terms with what has happened. Regardless of whether the results of your choices proved to be helpful or not, it’s time for you to accept them and get back up. This time you have a new experience to add to your book of life so the next time something tries to knock you down, it won’t be easy because you will be strong and determined to push forward. Life will go on, time will never stand still, and it rests upon you to make the right decision of moving forward. Don’t dwell on “what could be” or “what if” circumstances; things are done, and it’s time for you to see that you may have a new battle scar, but you will certainly have gained a whole lot more character.


Tuesday, 28 April 2020

10 Surprising Findings on Shared Parenting After Divorce or Separation

What is the most beneficial parenting plan for children after their parents separate or divorce? Are children better off living primarily or exclusively with one parent in sole physical custody (SPC) and spending varying amounts of time with their other parent? Or are their outcomes better when they live with each parent at least 35% of the time in a joint physical custody/shared parenting (JPC) family? Furthermore, is JPC beneficial when parents have high, ongoing conflict? In fact, isn’t shared parenting only chosen by, and suitable for, a very select group of parents—those with higher incomes, lower conflict, and more cooperative relationships who mutually and voluntarily agree to share from the outset?

To answer these questions, I reviewed 54 studies that compared children’s outcomes in shared and sole physical custody families independent of family income and parental conflict. In another recent study, I examined all the studies that compared levels of conflict and quality of co-parenting relationships between the two groups of parents. Ten findings emerged from my research, many of which refute commonly held beliefs that can lead to custody decisions that are often not in children’s best interests.

1. In the 54 studies—absent situations in which children needed protection from an abusive or negligent parent even before their parents separated—children in shared-parenting families had better outcomes than children in sole physical custody families. The measures of well-being included: academic achievement, emotional health (anxiety, depression, self-esteem, life satisfaction), behavioral problems (delinquency, school misbehavior, bullying, drugs, alcohol, smoking), physical health and stress-related illnesses, and relationships with parents, stepparents, and grandparents.

2. Infants and toddlers in JPC families have no worse outcomes than those in SPC families. Sharing overnight parenting time does not weaken young children’s bonds with either parent.

3. When the level of parental conflict was factored in, JPC children still had better outcomes across multiple measures of well-being. High conflict did not override the benefits linked to shared parenting, so JPC children’s better outcomes cannot be attributed to lower parental conflict.

4. Even when family income was factored in, JPC children still had better outcomes. Moreover, JPC parents were not significantly richer than SPC parents.

5. JPC parents generally did not have better co-parenting relationships or significantly less conflict than SPC parents. The benefits linked to JPC cannot be attributed to better co-parenting or to lower conflict.

6. Most JPC parents do not mutually or voluntarily agree to the plan at the outset. In the majority of cases, one parent initially opposed the plan and compromised as a result of legal negotiations, mediation, or court orders. Yet in these studies, JPC children still had better outcomes than SPC children.

7. When children are exposed to high, ongoing conflict between their parents, including physical conflict, they do not have any worse outcomes in JPC than in SPC families. Being involved in high, ongoing conflict is no more damaging to children in JPC than in SPC families.

8. Maintaining strong relationships with both parents by living in JPC families appears to offset the damage of high parental conflict and poor co-parenting. Although JPC does not eliminate the negative impact of frequently being caught in the middle of high, ongoing conflict between divorced parents, it does appear to reduce children’s stress, anxiety, and depression.

9. JPC parents are more likely to have detached, distant, and “parallel” parenting relationships than to have “co-parenting” relationships where they work closely together, communicate often, interact regularly, coordinate household rules and routines, or try to parent with the same parenting style.

10. No study has shown that children whose parents are in high legal conflict or who take their custody dispute to court have worse outcomes than children whose parents have less legal conflict and no custody hearing.

These findings refute a number of popular myths about shared parenting. One among many examples is a 2013 study from the University of Virginia that was reported in dozens of media outlets around the world under frightening headlines such as: “Spending overnights away from mom weakens infants’ bonds.” In the official press release, the researchers stated that their study should guide judges’ decisions about custody for children under the age of four. In fact, however, the study is not in any way applicable to the general population. The participants were impoverished, poorly-educated, non-white parents who had never been married or lived together, had high rates of incarceration, drug abuse, and violence, and had children with multiple partners. Moreover, there were no clear relationships between overnighting and children’s attachments to their mothers.

My review of 54 studies on shared parenting finds that, independent of parental conflict and family income, children in shared physical custody families—with the exception of situations where children need protection from an abusive or negligent parent—have better outcomes across a variety of measures of well-being than do children in sole physical custody. 
Knowledge and understanding of these findings allow us to dismantle some of the myths surrounding shared parenting so we can better serve the interests of the millions of children whose parents are no longer living together.


Monday, 27 April 2020

Gray Divorce: Don't Let Divorce After 50 Keep You Stuck

I was 47 when my divorce occurred. Not 50 but by the time the divorce process had resolved itself I felt closer to seventy. I learned very quickly that handling stress during my middle years was not as easy as it had been in my twenties or thirties. I just didn’t bounce back the way I used to.

I found myself spending a lot of time focused on where my life would lead me, what was next and how I would find the emotional strength needed to “get on” with my life.

For months, I had no plan and paid no attention to what needed to be done for me in order to rebuild and start living again, on my own and on my own terms.

That is the most crushing aspect of divorce after 50. Picking up and starting over after the loss of decade’s worth of plans and thinking your life has been mapped out and all is in order. Change is uncomfortable when it comes to a change that touches every aspect of your life there is no word to describe the emotional challenge one faces. And, that is what divorce after 50 does; it touches every aspect of your life.

I remember sitting at my breakfast table one morning, staring out the window feeling sorry for myself. Out of the blue, I realized that the choice I was making to wallow in my predicament would play a role in the quality of my life, that day and each day moving forward. And it wouldn’t be a positive role!

I knew I had to put conscious effort into moving forward and making the second half of my life something worth living.

From that day forward I started making different choices in the way I viewed the divorce, the damage I thought my ex had done and the opportunities open to me in the future.

Below are a few suggestions, things you can do to keep you from getting stuck if you divorce after fifty:

1. Let go of your need to blame:

Divorce can be emotionally and financially devastating, especially for those over fifty. Your ex may have left you for another woman. They may have used adversarial attorneys during the divorce process to strip you financially. As hard as this is to understand once the divorce process is over, what happened during the process is in the past.

Blaming your ex for something that you can’t go back and change keeps you stuck in the past and stagnated in the present. If you have anger toward your ex don’t feed it by focusing energy on the anger. Extinguish it and put it out by refusing to allow it to take up space in your head.

Don’t spend time accusing your ex of wrong-doing, engaging in conflict with your ex and allowing the anger to hold you back from better things. Like I've said, the past can't be undone but, the future is yours for the making. Look straight ahead, set your sites and start rebuilding your life.

2. Admit your own mistakes:

It takes two to make a marriage and, two to break a marriage. One may be more responsible than the other for the demise of the marriage but, you played a role. It may have been a small role but you do yourself a disservice by not taking responsibility for the role you played in the marital problems.

You can’t learn from the adversity of divorce if you don’t admit to flaws and failures of your own. You can’t move forward and make productive choices in life if you continue to hold onto behavior patterns that helped lead to the demise of the marriage.

Take an in-depth, internal inventory and put effort into changing the negative behaviors that you are responsible for. Only then will you b
ecome fully in control of the quality of life you will live post-divorce.

3. Control only what you have control over:

A huge mistake most people make is attempting to control something they have no control over. You need to recognize those things that are beyond your control and stop trying to control them. This calls for you to be realistic about what should and shouldn’t be in your control. For instance:

  • You can’t control who your ex spends time with,
  • You can’t control their behavior toward you; you can control your response to their behavior,
  • You can’t control what your ex says about you, you can control your response to what they say,
  • You can’t control those who take sides in your divorce.

Basically, you can control your own actions and behaviors and it is those things that will determine the course your life will take in the future. What you are tasked with is moving your life forward regardless of your circumstances.

Getting caught up in the blame game, denial of your own flaws and attempting to control what is out of your control keeps you stuck. It takes a conscious effort to heal from a late-life divorce. Changing the way you view your situation and making purposeful choices will help you move more quickly toward healing and a life that brings you peace of mind and happiness.


Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Divorce Your Divorce

While everyone hopes for a quick divorce settlement, it can drag on and take over your time, mind and emotions. It’s up to you to “divorce your divorce.” It’s inevitable for it to go on, but you can’t let it take over your life. If you have children, you can’t be in a bad mood around them. If you are working, you can’t act upset or depressed at the office. When the divorce affects your daily life, you have to do your best to keep it in the correct prospective. It may sound difficult to do, but when you set your mind to it you will be pleased at how much better you will feel. By not letting your divorce take over your life, you can move forward more quickly.

The divorce will eventually be completed and if you don’t live your life during the divorce process, you will look back and be mad at yourself. So how do you live your life during a divorce? Here are seven ways to help you divorce your divorce and enjoy summer.

Visit a Juice Bar
How do you keep yourself healthy during this trying time? One of the best ways is juicing. Go to a local juice bar and order something refreshing. You may meet someone at the juice bar who is single and is interested in health.

Exercise More
Try something new like kickboxing or tai-chi. It will help you get in shape as well as lessen any frustration or aggression you may be feeling about your soon-to-be-ex.

Take a Class
This is a great way to get your mind off of your divorce. A friend of mine took a cooking class and there was a great deal of interaction with the other students. She made friends and they had dinner parties once the class ended.

Make a Plan
Try to make plans to get together with friends. Go out and do something fun and get your mind off of the divorce! Pick a place where they do things that are fun and make you feel happy,

Talk to a Therapist
If you feel you need to speak with someone about your divorce to help you deal with it, then you should. There are many good therapists who can offer advice during the divorce process. This way, you won’t be constantly speaking to friends and family about your issues.

Buy New Towels
This might sound minor, but it has a lot of meaning. Pick up some new towels for your bathroom in your favorite color. It will help begin to revitalize your home and make it feel like your own place.

Go to Outdoor Concerts:
Summer is the season for outdoor concerts. There is nothing more relaxing than spreading a blanket on a lawn and listening to your favorite kind of music. You are also sure to make new friends there.


Friday, 17 April 2020

6 Tips to Avoid Hurt Feelings When Your Friends Divorce

You just got the news that your friends, that couple you’ve known for years, are getting a divorce.

Maybe you’re surprised. Maybe you can’t believe they stuck it out this long.

No matter the circumstances, you’re wondering what happens next. What are you supposed to do? And what about the friendship? Should you try to stay close with both? Do you have to make a choice of one over the other?

You’ve never (or rarely) been through this before, and are understandably concerned. You really don’t want to do or say the wrong thing, and would feel awful about hurting anyone’s feelings.

Having split with my ex almost five years ago, I’ve endured a few uncomfortable encounters. There was nothing intentional — I’m absolutely convinced those friends (or former friends) weren’t trying to hurt me. But the fact is, they either hadn’t prepared, weren’t thinking, or couldn’t see the world from my perspective.

So, drawing on some personal experience and a couple of informed assumptions, here are six tips for still-married people who don’t want to hurt their recently divorced friends:

  • Communicate with your own spouse about how you’re handling the newly-split couple. Several months after separating, I chatted with a husband at a school event. As we parted, he heartily called out, “Hey, see you at our house in a couple weeks,” referring to an annual party they threw. “No, actually you won’t,” I replied. “I wasn’t invited.” Yes, the very definition of “Awk...ward!” Whether you pick sides after a divorce or stay neutral, make sure you and your spouse are on the same page.
  • If you go back to neutral after making a pick, you need to explain. There was a wife who made a point of declaring I was in and my ex was out, going into great detail about why I’d “won.” I would have understood if the couple had remained neutral, but frankly it felt pretty good. Until soon thereafter I saw that my ex was back in. What had changed? Had she pulled off a last second comeback? I don’t know, because the wife never said a word. Having been jerked around, I bailed, gladly ceding the “win” to my ex.
  • It’s okay to acknowledge to the “loser” that a choice was made. I wasn’t invited to a milestone event thrown by a former couple-friend; no surprise, the friendship was really through the wives. Not long after, at another gathering, the husband approached and started to explain about their event. I cut him off almost immediately. I said it’s okay, I understand, there are no hard feelings, and I really appreciate you saying something. I’d much rather he do that than ignore me, or pretend there’d been no event. And if a “loser” spouse reacts angrily, you just proved that you made the right choice.
  • Be really careful of anything involving the divorced couple’s children. An online invitation came out for an event. Among the guests, I was listed individually. And right below me was a line with my ex-wife, her new husband, and our son. Our 21-year-old son, who could have been listed individually like his contemporaries, or with me. But no, he was included with his mom and the new guy, as if he was their child, not hers and mine. Yes, it seems trivial — to a married person, whose family is intact. But to a divorced person whose family isn’t intact, it felt like a kick in the stomach.
  • If one party in the divorce has been wronged, or it’s plainly obvious that there was abuse, infidelity, financial malfeasance, etc., then that wronged spouse is going to see neutrality as acceptance of the ex’s actions. And that spouse will consider any embrace of the bad actor a statement that you don’t care about the hurt he or she endured. You may think it’s not your place to judge, that you should mind your own business, and that neutrality is best for all concerned. And you’re eminently entitled to those feelings. But to the injured party, the choice of neutral equals choosing the guilty spouse, and you will either lose the relationship with the innocent one, or damage it significantly.
  • If you stay social media connected with both, be aware when posting something about one. For instance, if you go out with the husband and his new girlfriend, then post a shot of the four of you, arms around each other, big smiles on your faces, in front of the hottest spot in town, captioned “Best time ever with Bob and (New Babe)! They rock!!!” then Bob’s ex is going to feel a lot like I did reading that online invite.

It’s very difficult to see your friends divorce, and then deal with the aftermath. What had been a couple is now two individuals — individuals who are in the midst of a really rotten time, whose emotions are raw, and who are easily hurt. But by taking a moment to think the situation through, by being honest, and by practicing some empathy, much of the awkwardness and unintentional pain can be avoided.


Wednesday, 15 April 2020

Who do You Need on Your “Divorce Team?”

During divorce, we all need to surround ourselves with people who can be helpful during every step of the divorce process. There will be a need for friends to vent to, a counselor to give guidance, a divorce attorney to protect your legal rights and based on your situation many others.

Below is a discussion of who you will want and maybe even need on your divorce team. If it’s possible you should have a list of people you want on your team before the divorce process even begins.

4 People You’ll Definitely Need on Your Divorce Team

1. Friends and Family

You’ll need friends and family who’ll be supportive of what is right for you and your family. 
Pick them carefully! Choose to confide in and seek support from friends and family who help you grieve the end of your marriage and focus on your future. Distance yourself from friends and family who encourage angry feelings or tell you to “take him for all you can get.” This is not the attitude you need to expose yourself to during a highly emotionally charged time in your life.

Surround yourself with those who offer you, love, help when you are in need help and take your best interest into account at all times.

2. A Good Mediator

There are different types of mediators and, if you get lucky and can choose your own, you want one that fits your situation. Are you uncomfortable being in the same room with your spouse? Then, find a mediator who can negotiate your divorce settlement without the need for both spouses to be in the same room.

A mediator is going to help you settle the most important aspects of your divorce. It’s imperative that you work with one you trust and have faith in to be fair to all concerned.

3. A Divorce Lawyer

You will want a divorce lawyer who is going to look at your divorce case from the big picture while giving you the legal advice you need to ensure you have weighed the pros and cons of every choice you make during your divorce.

You want a divorce lawyer who responds to your questions, can keep you knowledgeable about your rights based on your state's divorce laws and will advocate for you and your needs during your divorce.

4. Counselor or Divorce Coach

Having someone on your divorce team to support your emotional transition can make a difference in how long you are stuck in negative emotions due to your divorce. Everyone goes through a transition after divorce. Navigating this transition involves working your way through feelings of shock, anger, grief, resistance to change, and commitment to a new post-divorce life.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen people who are stuck in anger for decades after a divorce, and unable to move on and rebuild a productive life or find a new partner. Having a divorce team member that is licensed and trained to help you work through your negative emotions and toward healing is probably the most valuable asset you will have during divorce.

Every divorce situation is different. Some people divorce after a short marriage with few assets to divide. Some divorce after decades of marriage with children to consider, major assets to divide and complicated issues to be dealt with. The more complicated your divorce, the more people you will need on your divorce team.

Below are others you will want to consider adding to your divorce team if you own a business with your spouse, have great financial interests to consider or feel your needs are more complex than the average divorcing couple.

Financial Advisor
Real Estate Agent
Mortgage Broker
Estate Planning Attorney

Once your divorce attorney has become familiar with your case they will be able to help you determine whether or not you need to add those above to your divorce team.

Going through a divorce is one of the top three stress-producing experiences you can go through. Surrounding yourself with the proper divorce team members will alleviate a large amount of stress and leave you to focus on taking care of yourself emotionally and physically.


Thursday, 9 April 2020

How to Recognize a Toxic Ex Spouse

The toxic ex-wife or husband doesn't respect the boundaries of their relationship with their ex. They have never really let go of their mates and will hang on for dear life all the while undermining your ability to co-parent with them and move on to a new life.

Below are 7 tips and guidelines to help you recognize the actions of a toxic ex-wife or husband:

They Don’t Respect Your Privacy

Even though you are divorced they still feel they have a right to know what you are doing and who you are doing it with.

You will be bombarded with questions about your life. Are you seeing anyone? Where were you over the weekend?

Your children will be questioned about what you are doing with your life. The toxic ex-wife or husband has no problem using the children to find out information about you and your life.There is a difference between friendly interaction and an attempt to control, which is what the toxic ex wishes to do.

They Interfere with New Relationships

You’ve heard that old saying, “I don’t want you but I don’t want anyone else to have you.” You may find yourself divorced from someone who feels it is fine that they have moved on with their life but can’t stand the idea of you doing the same.

This sort of ex will do whatever it takes to sabotage any new relationship you form. Which, in turn, makes it difficult to form new romantic relationships because not many want to be in a relationship with someone who has a crazy ex meddling in the relationship.

They Will Use Your Children Against You

This type of toxic ex comes in different forms. They may try and turn your children against you by bad-mouthing you and your actions to the children. Or, they go as far as abandoning their own children to punish you for some wrongdoing they feel you have done.

They are willing to hurt their own children in an attempt to control you or get back at you in some way. This is a very dangerous and wounded individual.

They Will Blame You for Their Unhappiness

It doesn’t matter what they are unhappy about, you will get the blame. If they treat their children badly and cause their children to become angry, you will be blamed. If they lose their job, have car trouble or just can’t seem to catch a break, you will be blamed. You may go months at a time without seeing them or talking to them but, you can bet that if something goes wrong, you will be blamed.

They Will Try to Plant Seeds of Doubt

You will hear comments projecting failure on your part as a result of your inability to hold the marriage together. They will say and do whatever needed to undermine the goals you set for yourself. Some will go as far as predicting failure for the goals their children set. This is symptomatic of a manipulative and vengeful mindset and any comments from such a person should be ignored.

They Will Use You as an Excuse for Their Own Bad Behaviour

If they choose to ignore the needs of their children, you can bet it will be because of something you said or did. To be able to live with their own bad choices they have to alleviate the guilt by making it appear that they had no choice.

All their bad choices are made based on some wrong you did their head, anyway.

They Will Use the Court System to Stay Engaged

They will defy court orders knowing you will take them back to court. This is a passive/aggressive way of keeping a connection to an ex-spouse. They get to use the court system to punish you and, to stay connected with you. This is one great reason for making sure you have a good settlement agreement before you sign your divorce papers.


Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Divorced? The Tips You Need For How To Trust Someone Again

Learning how to trust someone after divorce is tough, but these 7 tips will make it easier for you.

One of the most frequent casualties of divorce is the ability to trust someone again in the same way you trusted your ex. It’s as if you’ve blocked off the most tender and precious part of yourself to avoid being hurt at that deep a level ever again. You want to make sure you never ever leave yourself open to a repeat of that much pain.

And yet learning how to trust someone again is at the core of being able to live a full life after divorce.

That’s because true connection is critical to a fully lived and vibrant life. I’m not talking about the surface kind of connection where you keep your truest thoughts and emotions and even ugly cries to yourself. I’m talking about the kind of connection where you can be 100% unapologetically you with someone and they can be that way with you too.

Learning how to trust someone again after suffering through divorce is challenging to say the least. But luckily some work that Brené Brown published in her book Daring Greatly provides a wonderful starting point for discussing and understanding what trust is between two people. She captures her seven points in the acronym BRAVING.

  • Boundaries – you and the other each have and respect boundaries
  • Reliability – you and the other both do what you say you will do when you say you will do it
  • Accountability – you each own your mistakes, apologize and make amends
  • Vault – neither of you share what’s not yours to share
  • Integrity – both of you choose to do what’s right based on your values instead of what is fun, fast or easy
  • Nonjudgment – both of you can express what’s important to you and ask for what you want without fear of judgment
  • Generosity – you’re both generous with interpreting the intentions, words and actions of the other

I’ll guess that when you read this list 1 or 2 (or even more) of the items made you cringe. They touched a nerve that still feels a bit raw from your divorce. But they also point you in the direction of where your challenges in trusting someone again are or will be, so you can begin addressing them.

Although everyone has challenges with trusting others in an intimate relationship post-divorce, one group of people who have a lot to overcome are those whose ex cheated on them.

The two most challenging points from BrenĂ©’s list for these people to address are integrity and generosity. Learning how to trust someone after being betrayed is fraught with fears of another betrayal. So, suspicion is the attitude most of these folks adopt when they enter a new relationship.

But if they’re courageous enough to understand what’s driving their suspicions and do the work they need to do to work through their challenges, they can build trust in and with a new partner.

Even if your ex didn’t betray you, creating trust within a new relationship post-divorce is a process. It’s not something that’s deep and abiding the moment you meet someone – no matter how much connection you may initially feel.

Taking the time to explore your concerns and fears in learning how to trust someone – someone new – will take work. But having someone in your life who holds a safe place for you to openly and freely share the most precious and tender part of you and for whom you do the same is one of the most wonderful gifts you can ever give and allow yourself to receive – no matter how difficult your divorce was and how scary it is to trust again.


Monday, 6 April 2020

Time Management Tips For Real Divorce Recovery

Life is crazy enough without having to deal with divorce recovery. Learn how to make it easier.

When I got divorced in 2002, I thought that after the decree was signed by the judge everything would be better. I'd somehow magically be over all of the pain, fear, anger and disorganization that seemed to have overtaken my life. But, as you've probably guessed, the divorce decree wasn’t quite the magic wand I was hoping for.

It took me more than a year to really get myself feeling good again. There were just so many changes in my life and I didn't have a great way for absorbing all them, given the demands of a life I was already dealing with. I wound up procrastinating instead of doing things. My house was a wreck. I hardly had any food in the kitchen, but that didn't matter because I didn't eat much. My health was deteriorating. I was hardly sleeping. I think I was running on adrenaline, caffeine, sugar and not much else. Bottom line: I was exhausted and falling behind on everything.

I found my way out of the mess divorce created in my life, but it wasn't a simple task. I had to decide what was really important to me. I had to change the way I did things. And I had to change the way I thought about things.

It wasn't until I found my way out of the mess that I was able to look back at where I'd been and realized that there's a big piece of divorce that no one talks about. Real divorce recovery requires that you change how you live your life, that you examine your priorities, and that you do things you might never have done before or you become comfortable with letting some things go. This piece of divorce recovery that no one talks about is what I call The Functional Divorce because how you function and simply just are in the world changes when you get divorced.

One of the most important pieces of The Functional Divorce is developing a time management system that works for you. Yes, time management. When you're going through divorce it's so easy to lose track of time to the rollercoaster ride of unpredictable emotions — shock, denial, grief, anger, loneliness, etc. Heck, the emotional ride is exhausting, but in the midst of all of this turmoil there are certain things that must be done. You've got to continue working, caring for the kids, caring for the pets, caring for your aging parents, and caring for your home to name just a few. On top of all that you've got to deal with the legal process of divorce which is probably unfamiliar to you AND you've got to figure out how to do all of the things that your former spouse used to do. You might now need to deal with car repairs, keeping up with the kids' schedules, making meals, finding a new place to live, selling your home, moving… Your life was full before the divorce and now you've got even more stuff heaped on your overflowing plate of responsibilities and which just adds to your overall sense of exhaustion.

By carefully managing your time, you’ll be able to more easily navigate all the tasks and emotions of divorce, and more quickly achieve real divorce recovery — which means you’ll be able to get on to living the best of your life sooner.

Yes, it's simple to say that time management is one of the necessities of real divorce recovery. But adding one more task, to figure out time management, probably doesn't seem to be exactly what you need right now. So, to help you develop your system, here are the top 5 time management tips for real divorce recovery that I used for myself, and that I teach my clients.

Time management tip #1: Make friends with your timer. One of the realities of divorce is the need to do things you don't want to do, or even feel energetic enough to start. This is where using a timer is one of the best time management tips I can give you. Make an agreement with yourself that you can handle anything for just 15 minutes (or 10 or even 5 if that's all you can handle). Set your timer and then laser focus on getting that one task done. The task can be anything: putting together information your attorney has asked for. It can be allowing yourself to cry. It can even be researching where to buy tires or putting together a grocery list. Giving yourself the gift of this time to focus on just one task at a time is one of the most effective ways to get through your functional divorce and experience real divorce recovery.

Besides getting things done, there are other benefits to using your timer. Setting a timer eliminates the need for you to watch the clock which will allow you to focus completely on your task. As soon as the timer rings, you can then choose to continue working on the task or stop and congratulate yourself for moving things forward. As you make better friends with your timer, an amazing thing starts to happen. You'll start to feel a sense of accomplishment. When you feel better about what you’re getting done, you'll actually start to feel better about yourself too! How's that for a reason to make friends with your timer?

Time management tip #2: It's oh-so-easy to spend time doing things that may not be the most important things to get done. So prioritizing what needs to be done is the second of my best time management tips. One of the ways I'll often teach this tip is by asking people to think about each task on two different scales. The first scale is Urgent vs. Not Urgent. To determine the urgency of a task you can ask yourself questions like: What is the deadline for this task? Is life or limb at risk? The second scale is Important vs. Not Important. To determine the importance of a task you can ask yourself questions like: What impact will completing this task have 10 years from now? What impact will completing this task have 1 year from now? What impact will completing this task have 1 month from now? What impact will completing this task have 1 week from now? What impact will completing this task have one 1 day from now. What impact will completing this task have 1 hour from now?

The key to this method of prioritization is to focus on the tasks that rank highest on both the urgent and important scales first. Using this method for prioritizing all of your tasks might seem daunting at first, but it might also be a great thing to share with your new friend the timer!

Time management tip #3: Just because a task has both a high urgency and is greatly important doesn't necessarily mean that you're the one who should be doing it. The third of my time management tips is Do, Delegate or Dump. If you're the only person that can do the task, then you're stuck with it. It's time to roll up your sleeves, set your timer and get it done. Generally speaking, if the task is something that you can ask someone to do and have confidence that they’ll do it at least 80 percent as effectively as you can do it, or it's something that you just don't have the expertise for, then it's a great candidate for delegating. Some of the tasks that make perfect sense to delegate are drafting your divorce decree, changing the tires on your car, making the kids' beds, and cleaning the house. If the task is something that is lower priority and is both non-urgent and not very important, then it's probably a task that can be dumped and not given another thought.

Time management tip #4: For the tasks that still need to be done either by you or someone else, it's important to be clear about exactly what the task is and expectations. That's why the fourth of my time management tips is to define the details.

Have you ever agreed to do something, completed it to the best of your ability and then been told you've done it all wrong? Or worse, you've counted on someone to do something for you and the result isn’t anything like what you expected? I've been in both of these situations more than once and neither one feels good. What I've learned is that the best way to prevent things like this from happening is to define the details of the task as completely as you can. This is true even for tasks that you assign to yourself because there's a difference between obsessively perfect and perfect for this particular circumstance.

Time management tip #5: This tip could actually be the most important, but I've saved it for last because it often requires tips 1, 2 and 3 to do it well. The fifth of my time management tips is to schedule time every day to take care of you. Although it may not seem to be urgent at first, I assure you that taking care of you is both highly urgent and highly important. 
Divorce is stressful, demanding and exhausting for most people. In order to get through it and make sure you're functioning at your best, you must take care of you.

Taking care of you doesn’t have to take a lot of time. It can be as little as five minutes (this is where tip #1 comes in handy) where you are just focused on nurturing you. You might take a walk, you might dance to your favorite song, or you just might lock yourself in the bathroom for 5 minutes of alone time. Whatever you choose to do, the goal is to take care of yourself so you feel energized enough to get back to the rest of your task list.

My top 5 time management tips for real divorce recovery are just the starting point. They're tips you can test and adapt to work best for you because time management truly is one of the keys to successfully recover from your divorce and get on to living the best of your life.

Your Functional Divorce Assignment:

  • Download a time app for your phone. Using a timer is one of the time management tips that I still use today. I find that it allows me to completely focus on one task without having a nagging fear that I might work on it too long. Or, for those tasks that I just don't really want to do — like doing my bookkeeping — I know that there is a defined stopping point. I’ll bet you’ll like getting to know your timer too!
  • Set your timer for 15 minutes and make a list of everything you need to get done along with any due dates. I think you just might be surprised at how much less overwhelmed you will feel once you get all of your tasks written down. The pressure of needing to remember everything is gone and we both know how difficult it can be to remember things when you're already feeling overwhelmed by the divorce.
  • Tomorrow, take your list back out, set your timer again for 15 minutes and prioritize your task list. I suggest waiting until tomorrow just in case you had to push really hard to complete the list in the first place. If creating your list wasn't a HUGE task for you to get done, go ahead and prioritize your list now.
  • When you're ready, it's time to determine which tasks to do, to delegate and to dump. Again, setting the timer can be extremely helpful in getting this division of the tasks done.
  • For the highest priority to do and to delegate tasks, define the details. Doing this will help you figure out how much time to devote to each task and to get a realistic estimate to complete the tasks.
  • Take a break and take care of you. I find that one of the best ways to celebrate completing any task is to celebrate. What better celebration than to celebrate you and nurture yourself for a little bit.

Friday, 3 April 2020

Be Strong: How to Deal With Pain and Hardships in Your Life

Every now and then life throws us in the deep end and tells us to swim. We find ourselves in overwhelming situations that we don’t know how to deal with. It might be the death of a loved one, a personal illness or a case of serious depression. In this post I want to give you a few ways to deal with the pain and hardships that you will encounter in your life. I hope it will inspire you just a little bit.

The inevitability of hardships
The first thing I want to talk about is the fact that pain and hardships are inevitable. No one can escape them. Every single one of us, at some point in our life, will experience pain, suffering and hardships of some form or another.

My goal in saying this is not to depress you. Rather my goal is to inspire you. How is this inspiring you might ask? Well it is simple. Being aware of the fact that you WILL experience suffering is a cause for hope because, unlike many other people, you now have a chance to prepare for it. And people who prepare are never as badly affected as those who don’t.

Suffering, pain and hardships are inevitable. Make sure your preparation for them is also just as inevitable. This is the most important step.
How to deal with pain and hardships in your life

The tips that I am about to give you come from two places, my own personal experience and the experiences of history’s greatest meditation masters. Sometimes it is better to hear some pithy and real tips as opposed to some dry and theoretical ones. I will try, therefore, to keep these as practical as possible.

If you have any other tips to add please leave a comment. The comments are often the best part of this blog and I know that they help a lot of people out there.

Realize that it is your hardships that make you better
Picture this. You are in the center of the Indian desert. You are just out of high school; young, naive and egotistical. You are on a bit of a spiritual journey but at the same time looking for adventure. And then after just arriving in a place miles from anywhere you wake up in the middle of the night vomiting, convulsing and shaking. You are days from a hospital and you are really sick. Things start to look bleak.

That is the situation I found myself in on my first trip to India. I had eaten some poisonous food and for the next three days I lay in bed sick as a dog. It didn’t matter what I did, nothing seemed to help. I started to get quite frightened as I knew I was too sick to travel and there were no doctors around. But then something amazing happened, I was paid a visit by a very lovely Tibetan Lama. He came into my room and said one thing and one thing only. I have never ever forgotten it as it had such a profound impact on my life. He said:

“I am not interested in how much money you have or what family you belong to. I am interested in how you deal with hardships. That is the only thing that matters. That defines your future.”

It is the truest thing anyone has ever said to me about suffering and hardships. It is the hardships that define your character. Everyone is charming and lovely when the birds are chirping and the flowers are blooming but hardly anyone is compassionate, patient and loving when they are sick, ill or under pressure. How you deal with hardships determines your character.

If you want to learn to deal with pain and hardship you need to realize that you have an amazing opportunity to grow as a person. You can prove to yourself that you are strong. You can show yourself that you have strength of character and will-power. The amazing thing about hardships and pain is that they present you with a rare opportunity to grow into a strong and decent human being.

Realize that pain and hardships won’t last
There is a great truth in this universe that applies to everything. There is no corner of the world that it does not touch, no depth of the ocean that it does not find, no planet in space that it cannot reach. That truth applies to everyone and everything. That truth is impermanence. Nothing lasts.

We have heard it all before. What goes up must come down. What comes together must eventually part. What is composite will soon break. What is accumulated will one day be dispersed. Everything in our universe is impermanent. Nothing can escape it.

As depressing as this sounds it also has an upside. The next time you are going through some pain or hardships you can remind yourself that it won’t last. You can look at everything in history and feel secure in knowing that, no matter how bad things seem now, the problems won’t last forever. What a wonderful thing! Like all things, suffering is also impermanent.

Realize that you are not alone
There is something very powerful about knowing that other people are going through what you are going through. Realizing that you are not alone is an extremely good way to deal with pain and hardships.

Let’s take the example of someone with severe depression. Depression can make you feel pretty alone. In fact, 90% of the time depression makes you feel so isolated and self-orientated that you don’t have a thought about other people for long stretches of time. I was a bit like this in my teen years.

But when you open up to the fact that you are not alone you get a boost of some really powerfulstrength. You get a sense of community, of friendship, of companionship – even if you haven’t met anyone else with the condition. Just knowing that there are other people out there like you can really make you feel good.

The next step in this idea is to realize that thousands of other people have gone through what you are going through and come out the other end. They have made it through and won. They haven’t died, lost hope or given up. They have faced the very same thing as you (whatever it is) and they have come out the other end. Never forget this.


Thursday, 2 April 2020

9 Tips For Dealing With Divorce Stress

Don't allow divorce stress to define your life.

When bad things happen, and for most, divorce is a bad thing, it can trigger a number of emotions. Depending on how you process what is happening, your happiness can return or, your emotions can get away with you and your emotional life can quickly get out of hand. If you don’t properly deal with the stress and negative emotions of divorce the consequences begin to slowly affect you in deeper ways.

You may develop trust issues that make it harder for you to develop a new love relationship. Your self-confidence can take a nose-dive and emotional stagnation can cause extreme self-sabotage.

If you follow the advice and steps listed below, not only can you survive your divorce you can also thrive afterward.

As I've said, divorce brings with it many negative emotions. Some of these emotions can cause stress that will interfere with your ability to function in your everyday life before, during and after your divorce. The biggest favor you can do yourself is to learn how to relax, let go of the stress and just let the "chips fall." Focus more on keeping yourself active, healthy and moving forward instead of staying stuck in a negative space.

All it takes is being willing to be good to yourself. Recognizing and dealing with stress is an important aspect of living a healthy productive life. Below are some suggestions for ways of handling your stress during the difficult process of divorce.

1. Make sure you pay attention to your emotional needs.

Find a support group to participate in, a therapist to talk with. A little talk therapy can go a long way when you are feeling overwhelmed emotionally.

It's important for you to take responsibility for your own emotional well-being at this time of adversity and make sure that you nurture yourself emotionally, physically and spiritually.

2. Keep yourself physically fit.

Stay as active as possible by keeping a regular exercise routine. Nothing helps our emotions bounce back better than physical activity. It will help in relieving tense, anger and anxiety. Regular exercise is a great way to improve emotional well-being and elevate your mood, also.

3. Do things that will nurtue you emotionally and physically.

Read a good book, get plenty of rest, take a hot bath, develop a new hobby, eat healthy and nutritious foods, and surround yourself with positive people. Put effort into living a lifestyle that will promote feelings of good self-worth and esteem during this time of adversity.

4. Let go of problems that are beyond your control.

If you are faced with an uncomfortable or painful situation learn to let it go, take some time to figure out what is best for you and then come back to it. Stay focused on what you have control over and let go of the rest.

Refuse to engage in conflict with your ex spouse. If the two of you can't be around each other without arguing, there is no shame in walking away.

5. Give yourself permission to feel.

Emotions are normal, whether they are negative or positive emotions. What we do with the emotions we are feeling plays a big role in the quality of life we experience. Avoid destructive activities such as drinking or drugs when trying to deal with your feelings.
Don't allow your feelings to cause you to seek revenge, play the victim or become abusive toward your spouse. If you are hurt or angry, it is best to find someone safe to vent to and get those feelings out.

6. Change any expectations you have.

No one has any control over the feelings and actions of another person. We might think that during our marriage we had some control but we did not. Now that there is a divorce in process we have even less control than before.

Let go of trying to control any aspect of what your spouse may feel or what actions they will take. Let go of what you feel the outcome should be and learn to accept whatever might happen.

7. Don't make any hasty decisions.

When you are living through a highly stressful situation any decisions or changes to your life should not be made until you have thought of all the consequences.

Take time to think things through and thoroughly weigh all your options. When making decisions use logical thinking instead of emotional thinking to guide your decision making.
 Give yourself time and be patient with the decision-making process.

8. Be sure to make time for fun.

Remember to laugh and play. Schedule activities that bring you pleasure and participate in them regularly. Maintain a close circle of friends and socialize often.

Do not isolate yourself from others. If getting out and enjoying life means forcing yourself do to so, then so be it. You will find that once you are out and engaging in fun activities you'll not regret making yourself participate.

9. Let go and move on.

Take the time needed to heal from the divorce and those feelings of loss. Try to look inward and own your responsibility in the problems that led to divorce. Forgive yourself and your spouse and don't allow the issues from this marriage to follow you into new relationships.

Taking time to identify what caused the divorce, to change what you need to change about the way you related to your ex will only help you move on after the divorce in a more productive manner.


Wednesday, 1 April 2020

A happier life after divorce

I'll never forget the loan specialist who congratulated me on my divorce.

I was getting a cashier's check from her to bring to the closing on my townhouse, and she asked why I was selling.

"Moving to the suburbs?" she inquired cheerfully.

Nope, I told her. Getting divorced.


That was a first. From friends and acquaintances I had heard plenty of, "Oh, I'm so sorry!" 
And, "I had no idea!" And, "How are the kids holding up?" I had not one single time been congratulated.

I told her as much.

"It usually means a better life is ahead," she assured me.

She was right, of course. But you rarely hear that. Or read that. Or find an expert who will tell you that.

Divorce is messy and painful and expensive and not to be glorified nor entered into lightly. But it can also be the beginning of a more tranquil, authentic, happier — indeed, better — life.

And that's worth telling people.

"The gifts of divorce may take some time to reveal themselves, but there are gifts," says psychotherapist Abby Rodman, author of "Without This Ring: A Woman's Guide to Successfully Living Through and Beyond Midlife Divorce" (Lulu). "One day you wake up and it hits you that you no longer have to manage an unhappy marriage. You no longer have to manage your spouse's unhappiness. That clears the way for more of your own happiness."

Reclaiming priorities

Rodman, who surveyed hundreds of women about their divorces for her book, said very often divorcees rediscover passions they shelved, friends they ignored and talents they allowed to atrophy. This goes for men too, of course.

"A bad marriage corrupts your entire existence," she said. "Once you've extracted yourself from that, you have the opportunity to think about the things in your marriage that didn't work for you. We all make sacrifices in marriage — and we should. But did you make really big ones that you can now revisit? Do you want to go back to school or become a writer or go to church every Sunday? Things maybe you
r ex-spouse wasn't supportive of? In some ways it's an opportunity for reinvention."

Maryjane Fahey, co-author of "Dumped: A Guide to Getting Over a Breakup and Your Ex in Record Time!" (Sellers Publishing), said it took becoming single for her to focus her energy on her own work.

"My ex, whom I loved deeply, was a brilliant man," Fahey said. "But he didn't live up to his potential as an artist and a writer and I was constantly on him, pushing him. When he dumped me I realized I needed to become the person I was telling him to become. And that's exactly what I've done."

Fahey, who runs her own design and branding firm, included the following quote, credited to author Joseph Campbell, in her book: "The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are."
"I moved my life goal from being a good wife to saying, 'Hey, what about those projects I've been sitting on?'" she said. "Now that I don't have a man to push, I can push myself. And that's been a really beautiful ride for me."

Creating your next act

A clear-eyed focus on what you want your post-divorce life to look like can help you through the toughest parts of the breakup process, says family attorney Angie Hallier, author of "The Wiser Divorce: Positive Strategies for Your Next Best Life" (Megeve Press).

"It is so important for people to start planning what they want their after-divorce life to look like as they go through the divorce and to make every decision during their divorce through the lens of how it will impact their next life," Hallier said. "This includes being very clear about what their budget will look like, but also focusing on things that will change for the good that cannot be measured — the lack of conflict, the lack of emotional intimacy, pursuing dreams and activities that were set aside during the marriage.

"Creating a vision for your new life is actually easier than staying in a soul-killing marriage," she said. "And your attorney should help you create this vision."

Wise, clear-headed counsel can also help you prioritize your kids' needs, if you're a parent.

"Every part of (your kids') lives will be disrupted to a greater or lesser degree by this decision to change the only life they've known," Hallier writes in her book. "This isn't a reason not to divorce, if divorce is the only way to create a happy, healthy future for yourself and your children. … This is simply a call for you to place your children's needs first in your thoughts, your words and your actions throughout the process. If you can do this, your children will come through divorce in a better place than they were in during a miserable marriage."

Keeping it positive

An eye toward the happier future can also keep you from getting bogged down in revenge fantasies and other toxic energy expenditures.

"Accept who your ex-spouse is and isn't and move forward without wanting revenge and without anger," Hallier said. "Get rid of the notion that this divorce will somehow vindicate you as the one in the right. Certainly there are emotions that have to be dealt with, but if you focus these negative energies on the process of divorce you lose this golden opportunity to reshape your life for the better."

That will likely mean setting aside some old habits and, equally important, embracing some new ones.

"To anyone divorcing, I would tell her or him, 'Dig a little deeper and engage yourself in activities you never thought you'd do,'" Fahey said. "Maybe do a little meditation. Maybe go on a trip on your own. Start to feel your power and the beauty of taking care of yourself inside and out and embrace the wonderful, happy, fabulous, sexy things that can happen when you're alone."

And keep in mind that you're not all that alone.

"There are all kinds of groups and clubs and travel organizations that cater to people who are single or divorced," Rodman said. "We've moved away from the old paradigm to a culture in which nearly 50 percent of people are divorced, and society at large has had to make room for that."

Happiness, after all, can take up a lot of space.