Divorce Blog

Special Occasions Can Still Be Special After You’re Divorced

One of my clients recently asked me if it was weird for her to want to be friends with her ex-husband’s sister. I asked her for a few more details about the relationship to see if I could figure out why she was asking this question. She started squirming in her chair as she gave me the details. It turns out she was feeling weird about wanting to remain friends with her former sister-in-law because she thought she wasn’t supposed to.

The first special occasion I attended with my husband’s family was weird for me because his ex-wife was there and each of his siblings referred to her as their sister-in-law. I had all these thoughts about them sending me a message that I wasn’t welcome.

My client and I had both bought into the common belief that once you divorce, you’re expected to divorce the entire family and might even declare them enemies.

What I’ve come to realize and teach is that the common belief is WRONG. Each relationship you have is unique. Each relationship can grow, wither, and transform. Each relationship can do this independently of the others if you’re both willing to let it.

What all this means is that family occasions…

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Getting Divorced? Why You May Still Need A Family Therapist

Think you can only call in a family therapist to piece back together your relationship? Think again.

When you got married, you created a family — a family of two. Over the years your family may have expanded to include a goldfish, a dog or cat, and kids. What if you you decide to get divorced? You may not think so at the time, but you're still a family — a family with two homes, but still a family. That's why working with a family therapist, a helping professional who specializes in looking at a family as a whole, may be just the person to help you and your ex navigate the choppy waters of divorce.

You're probably wondering something like "How do I know if a family therapist would be helpful to my specific situation?" My best answer is to look at each family member individually. Has any one of them had marked changes in behavior (especially exhibiting combative behavior), or started relying inappropriately on other family members? If even one of your family members fits these descriptions, chances are your family could benefit from working with a therapist.

When changes like these happen suddenly, it's easy to admit that professional help is called for. What happens…

Read more: Getting Divorced? Why You May Still Need A Family Therapist

Pesky Divorce Lies You Must Stop Telling Yourself

You are so much stronger than you think.

"I abdicated responsibility for myself." That’s what I heard every time I looked in the mirror.

"I abdicated responsibility for myself." I heard it again anytime I allowed myself even a brief break from being busy — way too busy.

"I abdicated responsibility for myself. I abdicated responsibility for myself. I abdicated responsibility for myself." It was a horrible, accusing chant that never let up.

It was also true.

When I got divorced, I had to face a lot of things — a lot of things that didn't make me feel so hot about myself. This one, giving up responsibility for myself, was one of the hardest because it was so embarrassing; because I was an incredibly responsible person when it came to everyone and everything else, and because I wasn't exactly sure how to take responsibility for me.

Like most girls my age, I grew up with a set of confusing expectations. My mom stayed at home. Her daily focus was on raising the five of us kids and taking care of our home. My dad was the breadwinner and took care of the yard and cars. Yet my parents were well aware of the social changes going…

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30 Awesome Ideas for Valentine’s Friend Dates

Tip #20: Visit a pet shelter for some serious snuggle time.

Whether you're single by choice or circumstance, Valentine's Day can seem more like Single's Awareness Day instead of a day celebrating love. Rather than dreading February 14, why not try something different? Celebrating with your girlfriends is a great alternative to sitting at home alone or feeling jealous about the flowers that co-worker received from her boyfriend.

So in the spirit of love, here are 30 ideas to spark your creativity for celebrating this Valentine's Day with your besties.

  1. Host a karaoke night.
  2. Have a Wii dance party. You might want to try Zumba, belly dancing, disco or stripper moves.
  3. Go out for manis and pedis.
  4. Treat each other to lunch. Yes, you'll each still have a bill, but somehow it's still fun to know you were treated to lunch!
  5. Send each other a gift at work.  Who doesn't love to receive flowers or chocolate for Valentine's Day and letting the whole office see?
  6. Send each other "what I love about you" notes. This is your chance to tell her how much you love her brilliance or kindness or sense of humor or…  And you'll get to hear the same from her!
  7. You've…

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My Attorney and I Aren’t on the Same Page – What Now?

Female divorce attorney sitting on a folding chair.

This is a post by guest blogger Joy Ragan.

There is often a misconception that your attorney should be an extension of you. People believe the attorney is supposed to “speak on their behalf” and, therefore, should say or do exactly as the client directs. This is a dangerous way of thinking. Attorneys do speak for clients. Attorneys are their voice in the courtroom. However, attorneys are not puppets. If you and your attorney are not on the “same page” it probably means you have a good attorney.

Think of it this way, attorneys work in the system daily. Attorneys know the ways of the court system. They see thousands of cases and have a very different perspective from those who are going through a divorce. Attorneys are trained to deal with a case as a set of facts and to apply those facts to the law to gain the best possible result for the client. A person who is going through a divorce does not look at the situation in this way at all. It is actually a very unnatural way to view your circumstances. Especially in a divorce, there are many emotions. On some level, you want your attorney to “be on the…

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