The Smart Divorce® Weblog

Move forward with focus, hope, and confidence.


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Change Your Brain, Transform Relationships

What if you could change the negative thoughts and behaviors that have been detrimental to healthy relationships in the past? Have you ever had feelings of being blamed, unappreciated, rejected or even un-loved in a past or current relationship? Imagine what would happen if you were able to “rewire” your brain and eliminate your negative feelings and replace them with positive feelings that make you feel  accepted, appreciated valued, loved and successful.

David Folk

David Folk

On this episode of The Smart Divorce, recorded at The Family Support Expo in Toronto, co-founder of NEXT Integrative Mind Sciences, David Folk joins us to discuss the potential to changing our brain and transform relationships. (Neuroplasticity)

David’s NEXT program guides students through a series of exercises that teach you to utilize your brain’s own natural plasticity by creating new and lasting patterns of behavior.  Armed with new abilities for emotional behavioral regulation, graduates of the couples and families program consistently report radical improvements to their relationships compared to when they began the program.

Learn how developments in neuroscience can benefit your life in this exciting program.  For more information on David Folk and the NEXT program, visit: www.The NextProgram.com.

To listen click here


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TV’s Divorce Court Celebrity Judge Lynn Toler with Thoughts on Divorce

Our guest, award winner and mentor, Judge Lynn Toler (http://judgelynn.com/toler_divorce_court/) is smart, talented and creative – and judge on one of television’s most successful courtroom drama series: DIVORCE COURT.

Judge Lynn Toler is a former municipal court judge who now hosts the nationally syndicated show, Divorce Court. She is also a bi-monthly contributor to News and Notes on NPR and became host of the prime time TV show Decision House in 2007. In 2006, Judge Lynn published her book, My Mother’s Rules: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Emotional Genius. Praised as an “awe-inspiring memoir” by Essence Magazine, it not only chronicles her life as a child raised in the shadow of her father’s mental illness but provides practical advice for anyone seeking more and better emotional control

Having completed more than two thousand episodes, on DIVORCE COURT, Judge Lynn Toler turns up the heat on court shows in this half-hour, relationship oriented series. Viewers experience the drama firsthand as husbands and wives square off in real-life courtroom battles.  Judge Lynn shares her wisdom and insight of the legal process, how to have a much smarter divorce…..or even save your marriage.  And, she speaks of her mission to gain awareness about teen violence.

Topics in this program include:

  • How communicating better might help you avoid divorce
  • What a judge can and cannot do
  • The emotions of court; what to do to get a better resolution
  • The inherent unfairness of no fault divorce
  • The surprising truth about teen violence and what parents should be aware of Domestic violence – an explanation, coping and managing
  • The limits of the legal system
  • Intelligent mediation
To hear this fascinating interview click on the link:


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How To Tell Your Kids You’re Separating or Divorcing

I recently appeared on The Marilyn Denis Show on CTV.  We discussed the issues, considerations and preparation going into the conversation to tell your children about your separation and divorce.  We also talked about this very critical conversation.  Click on the link to see the interview

http://www.marilyn.ca/parenting/segments.aspx/Daily/October2011/10_18_2011/DivorceGuide

I also provided a tip sheet…..here’s what I had to say

Divorce expert Deborah Moskovitch shares tips on how to tell your kids you’re getting a divorce.

Telling Your Children About Your Divorce

Research indicates that too few parents sit down and explain to their children that their marriage is ending, and they don’t encourage their children to ask questions. Parents that say nothing, leaving their children confused. When parents do not explain what’s happening to their children, the children feel anxious, upset and lonely and find it much harder to cope.  Children don’t need to know the reasons behind the divorce, but what you can tell them is what it means to them and their lives.
Providing age-appropriate information will help your children and adolescents cope with the many changes in their lives initiated by the separation and divorce. It will make them feel less anxious. And it establishes a healthy pattern of communication with your children.
Preparing for conversation
Children and Adolescents are much smarter then we often give them credit for.   There is information they will want to know and appropriate to share such as:
The Parenting Plan.  If you can, try to work out an interim agreement about what your living arrangements will be before you talk with your children. Although this plan might change later, your children will have more of a sense of confidence if they know you’ve put some thought into the separation and how it might impact them.
Provide Reassurance.  Let your children know that they are equally important to both of you, and you both want to be with them. Assure your children that the divorce is between mom and dad, and not your children – we will always be your parents.
Be prepared with answers.  Try to think of the questions that your children might ask, and be ready with an answer – for example, they will want to know if they will be able to attend the same school, or see their friends and extended family and where each of you will be living.
Talk about it together
It is helpful for both parents to talk with the children together.  This gives them a consistent message and shows them that you both love them that you can and will work together and parent cooperatively even though you are divorcing. When it is not possible to talk to children together, do the best you can to coordinate what you are saying to them and be sure not to put down your co-parent or be negative about them.
Provide the right message 
When parents talk to their children about the separation or divorce they are some very important suggestions that you most likely will want your children to hear:
  • That it was a mutual decision to separate; avoid laying blame on one parent.
  • You, their parents, love them very much and that the divorce is not their fault
  • What their lives will look like in concrete terms.  For example: what will stay the same and what may change. Try to provide your children with security and routine.
Allow for grieving 
Don’t rush your children, allow them time to react. Children need their space to grieve and adjust to this new reality too.  Allow your children to express any and all feelings, let them know that is ok to do so. Also, help your children articulate different feelings, and let them know that they can asking you anything.
Help your child understand the new reality 
What will your children’s new reality look like?  Give your children a sense of what will be remaining the same, and what will be changing. Have a family calendar hanging in a prominent place or in your children’s rooms.  Show your children you care, help them keep track of when they will be in each home. Since they will be adjusting to life in two separate homes, you want them to feel comfortable in this new routine.
And lastly, don’t be afraid to tell your children that we, your parents may not have all the answers, but we are working towards goals together.
More helpful tips may be found in The Smart Divorce: Proven Strategies and Valuable Advice from 100 Top Divorce Lawyers, Financial Advisers, Counselors, and Other Experts (Chicago Review Press, 2007).  Or through The Smart Divorce Resource ToolKit.To place an order or for more information email info@thesmartdivorce.com


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What September means for divorce

Deborah Moskovitch offers helpful tips for assisting your children through divorce while starting the new school year.

Hello September, so long spouse

ZOSIA BIELSKI

From Friday’s Globe and Mail

September is the cruellest month for students, but not for divorce lawyers, as the dusky end of summer brings a swell of clients to their offices each year.

“Fall is back to business time,” said Julia Cornish, senior family lawyer of Sealy Cornish Coulthard. The Halifax firm sees two spikes a year – September and January, New Year’s resolution time.

“Because we all spent so many years in school, it’s a point in our lives when we’ve been conditioned that this is when we do something new,” Ms. Cornish said.

Her office sees double and sometimes triple the normal number of calls in September. These are from new clients, as well as those who had initiated the separation process in spring but let it languish over the summer months.

“People want to get moving,” said Greg Walen, family lawyer with Scharfstein Gibbings Walen Fisher in Saskatoon.

“They’re back to work, they’re back from summer holidays and they’re back in town from the lake.”

According to Statistics Canada, the country saw 70,226 divorces in 2008, a number that’s held fairly steady since 2001. While there’s no official exit poll in September, Canadian divorce lawyers seem to agree: the calls come thick and fast this month.

Dinyar Marzban, senior family lawyer with Jenkins Marzban Logan in Vancouver, said empty nests motivate the September divorce spike.

“Fall comes around and children go to school. The category of people who rightly or wrongly hung in there for the children, maybe the last one’s gone away to university in September. There’s a fair amount of that, people waiting till the last kid’s out of the house.”

He points out that this brand of waiting game is usually reserved for couples who experience a “general dissatisfaction” in their marriages, not the cutthroat betrayals that prompt high conflict, low patience splits.

Many couples will have stewed for months or years before making the September phone call: “I don’t think people’s marriages break down then. It’s just that they start phoning lawyers then,” Mr. Marzban said.

For people waiting it out through a summer of family-filled days, “the dialogue they have with themselves is, ‘Can I hang in, should I hang in?’ ” Ms. Cornish said.

“It’s the same thing as trying to get through Christmas: Let’s get through this. Unless something catastrophic happens, nobody decides on Christmas Eve, ‘Some time today I need to go see a divorce lawyer.’ What they say is, ‘I’m thinking this probably can’t go on much longer. I’m going to get through Christmas and then come January, it’s time to make a change.’ ”

Of course, there are regional differences. Wendy Best, family lawyer with Dunphy Best Blocksom in Calgary, says that while city lawyers do see a jump in September, the real surge comes after July’s Stampede.

“We think it’s because everyone’s out Stampeding having a grand old time drinking non-stop starting at 7 in the morning. There’s all these stupid, ridiculous sayings like, ‘It ain’t cheating, it’s Stampeding.’ And the other person’s going, ‘Thanks, I’m done with you.’ ”

Stampede aside, several factors make summer an unpopular time for initiating a divorce.

“It’s not a lot of fun spending a beautiful summer day in your lawyer’s office,” Ms. Cornish points out.

Mr. Marzban sees it as seasonal lethargy: “People tend not to do anything in the summer. Summer, everybody powers down a bit.”

Another more tangible reason would be that all-inclusive getaway you splurged on together.

“Do you want to spring that on your partner before you go on the two-week holiday you’ve planned and saved for?” Ms. Cornish posits.

She adds that for those itching to split, summer also offers little in the way of momentum.

“It’s frustrating if you are trying to get things done, only to hear that your spouse is on vacation for the next two weeks, and then their lawyer’s on vacation for the next couple of weeks and then your lawyer’s on vacation. Typically courts have a much quieter schedule in the summer as well.”

At the same time, Ms. Cornish suggests summer can be the only time left in the year for reflection, a pause that can then spark the September phone call.

“It’s an opportunity to step back from the daily grind, figure out what’s working and what’s not in your life.”

How to help kids cope

The Smart Divorce author Deborah Moskovitch offers some basic back-to-school help for parents who have decided to separate in September.

Get thee to the principal’s office

To avoid awkward moments between your child and a teacher unaware of the new family dynamics, try to eke out a moment with a principal or vice-principal, who can relay the news. “They know how to handle it with their teachers,” said Ms. Moskovitch, adding that this is crucial if pick-ups are being handled by a parent unfamiliar to staff. “Parents often change the guard at school, rather than going to the other parent’s home to pick up the children. This way, the teachers are aware of what’s happening if they see another parent they’re not used to seeing.”

Get on the school list

If you weren’t the parent manning the school e-mail list, get your own account now, Ms. Moskovitch said. “Make sure that you get report cards mailed to you – register your second address. If there are field trips, you can put your name on the list to be one of the parenting guides. It shows the kids that you care and want to be involved.”

Homework for all

Moving out doesn’t exempt a parent from helping the kids with their homework, especially if they’re particularly strong in a subject. “If you were married, the kids would come home from school, have snacks and maybe some playtime and then they would do their homework.” Recreate that discipline at your place.

Pass notes

“A lot of parents use a journal that goes into the kids’ backpack as a tool to communicate with each other. It goes back and forth and they send notes about doctors’ appointments and assignments at school,” Ms. Moskovitch said.

Be flexible with visits

Between mountains of homework and extracurricular events, your children’s dance cards will fill up fast. Wednesday night pizza may not always be an option; try a lunch on the weekend or during the week if the school allows children leaving the grounds. “The parent can’t take it as a negative if the kids are busy with their friends doing school projects or hockey. They have to be creative in how they spend time with their kids, whether that’s driving [them] to the activities or having a quick dinner.”

Have the talk – most parents don’t

Ms. Moskovitch urges parents to speak with their children about the separation and anticipate their questions: Where they will live and go to school? “You need to give them a sense of security. If they’re already going to start the school year with a heavy heart because they don’t know what’s going on, at least you can try to minimize the confusion by having that conversation.”

To read this article in The Globe and Mail, and other articles by Zosia Bielski click on the link below:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/relationships/love/divorce/hello-september-so-long-spouse/article2150593/page1/

 


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Getting through divorce while saving time, money – and your sanity.

Introducing The Smart® Divorce Resource Toolkit

The Smart Divorce® Resource Tool Kit is now available, order yours today– one easy phone call or email, to get this valuable resource.  It’s one of the  most comprehensive programs providing a full overview of the divorce process — and endorsed by judges, lawyers, and mental health professionals.  The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit will help you make smart decisions for you and your family – taking you through the entire divorce process, removing the mystery and misconceptions about the outcomes of divorce, how to cut down on your legal bills and so much more.

This comprehensive resource  provides an understanding of all aspects of the divorce process; helping you understand the two sides to your divorce – the “emotional divorce” and the “legal divorce”

Move through your divorce with focus, hope and confidence.

The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit makes the divorce process easy to understand, helping you to be strategic while making sound, smart decisions.  After all, information is knowledge and knowledge is power.

   Call 905 695 0270 or email info@thesmartdivorce.com to get your copy of The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit. 

Included in The Smart Divorce Toolkit are tips, strategies and ideas, packaged as never seen before.  This smart toolkit comes with:

The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit is designed specifically to meet your needs — to help reduce stress, educate and inform you about the divorce process in a cost effective, easy to understand way. Guidance and information from leading family law lawyers, mental health professionals, and parenting experts well versed on the needs of those in the divorce process are included.  And, it’s put together in one smart package, making it uncomplicated, and effortless to understand.

The Tool Kit contains 4 CDs covering the myriad of issues, concerns and questions most people have about divorce – removing the mystery, complexity, and confusion about divorce.  Also included are Smart Guides which add another layer of detail to The Smart Divorce Audios, and provide a step by step plan for going through the divorce process.

The Smart Divorce Audios. 

These unique and informative CDs provide tips and strategies to help navigate this difficult time, educate listeners about the divorce process and provide practical information on getting through it with focus, hope and confidence.

  • Audio 1 – The Emotional  Divorce
  • Audio 2– The Legal Divorce
  • Audio 3 – Smart Co-Parenting: Putting Your Children’s Best Interests First
  • Audio 4 – Rebuilding Your Life Post Divorce

Smart Guides.

Tip sheets that support the information in the audios providing detail and understanding of the specific topic.

Smart Guides:

  • Planning for a Smart Divorce
  • Getting Your Finances Organized for Divorce
  • Coping with the Stress of the Emotional Divorce
  • Coping with Stress in a High Stress Environment
  • Understanding Your Divorce Options
  • Finding a Good Divorce Lawyer
  • Smart Co-Parenting
  • Living Separate and Apart
  • Strengthening the Blended Family Bonds
  • Divorce Financial Check List
  • Understanding Marital Property Laws
  • Important Financial Steps Required to Prepare for Divorce

Don’t delay, order your kit today

Call 905 695 0270 or email info@thesmartdivorce.com to get your copy of The Smart Divorce Resource Toolkit.


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Finding your Authentic Self, Happiness and Moving On

A new show from The Smart Divorce has just been posted.  Tune in to hear our guest Hanna McDonough.

Our guest, Hanna McDonough, is Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Psychotherapist (www.hannatherapy.com).  Ms. McDonough shares her wisdom on finding the best in yourself, and delves into relationships and what’s important – is it sex, money?  And, what are the differences between men and women and they way each values a relationship. We explore the gamut in topics and – learn about living your life as an exclamation, not an explanation.

Topics in this program include:

  • The value of a therapist: how to find a good therapist, when to stay and when to go
  • Understanding a verbally abusive relationship
  • Exploring transformative therapy
  • How to keep your marriage HOT
  • Putting children first

To listen to the podcast, click on the link

http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/finding-your-authentic-self-happiness-and-moving-on/


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Coping with the personality disordered spouse

Our guest, Emily Brown, is Director of Key Bridge Therapy & Mediation Center in Arlington, VA. (http://www.affairs-help.com/) works with couples, individuals, and families regarding the underlying issues in marriage, divorce, and betrayal. Battles over custody and related issues that are fueled by a personality disordered spouse can be the most frustrating of all wars.  The judges regularly get conned by the personality disordered spouse who makes nice in front of the judge; the other spouse who is angry and upset appears to be the problem.  Emily has worked with a number of these cases, trying to extricate the victimized spouse – and overcoming the frustration which many experience.  Tough cases, but she likes the challenge.

Topics in this program include:

  • Insight into personality disorder
  • How to deal with a persistent blamer, and managing within the legal system
  • How to help children when their parent is personality disordered
  • Finding the help you need to cope
  • The purpose of child custody evaluations with a personality disordered ex spouse.

Click on the link to hear the full interview

http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/coping-with-the-personality-disordered-ex-spouse/


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The anatomy of an affair

Tune into The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio, to hear our guest Emily Brown explore affairs, and share her research and wisdom.

Our guest, Emily Brown, is Director of Key Bridge Therapy & Mediation Center in Arlington, VA. (http://www.affairs-help.com/); works with couples, individuals, and families regarding the underlying issues in marriage, divorce, and betrayal. An extramarital affair is one of the most painful experiences that couples face, and one of the greatest challenges for helping professionals. Whether you are seeking assistance in your personal life or you are professional seeking information to better help clients, this is the show that provides the wisdom and guidance so many need.  Emily is the author of Patterns of Infidelity and Their Treatment, and Affairs: A Guide to Working Through the Repercussions of Infidelity, and numerous articles on affairs.

Topics in this program include:

  • An in-depth look at the 6 different Affairs
  • How to rescue a marriage if there has been an Affair
  • Affair recovery: the process and insight
  • Debunking the myths and misconceptions about Affairs
  • Rebuilding trust
  • How to talk to your children about the Affair

To hear this informative interview, click on the link

http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/the-anatomy-of-an-affair/


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I Think My Marriage is Over, What Should I do Now?

Hear Dr. Robert Simon answer this question on The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio

Is divorce always the outcome when there is conflict in the marriage?  Of course not, there are options to consider, and help available to put your marriage back on track.  This episode explores the role of marriage counseling, and the next steps required if the marriage results in divorce.  Once the decision to divorce is made, there are many considerations and issues to ponder.  Our guest, psychologist Dr. Robert A. Simon http://dr-simon.com/ provides us with tips and strategies for getting through the early days of separation with your sanity and dignity intact.

Topics in this program include:

  • The benefits of marriage counseling
  • Building your support network
  • Finding a therapist
  • Telling your children about divorce
  • Emotional healing and coping strategies
  • And so much more……..

To find out more click on the link:

http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/i-think-my-marriage-is-over-what-should-i-do-now-the-smart-divorce/