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Blended Families: Celebrating the holidays

How do you celebrate the holidays when blending families? With sensitivity and creativity, you can develop new traditions and routines. Read below to gain perspective and ideas.

Blended families: Celebrating the holidays

Today's ParentBy Dawn Calleja | Today’s Parent

 love Christmas. Yup, I’m one of those people: belting out schlocky tunes in the car, searching for the perfect ceiling-scraper of a tree, bawling my way through It’s a Wonderful Life. But the emotional and logistical strain wrapped up with the holidays at our house – courtesy of my husband’s four kids from two exes, in addition to our own two little ones – can bring out the Scrooge in me.

There was the time my husband’s then-five-year-old son called to tell us excitedly about the Pokémon toy Santa had delivered – the exact same one waiting for him under our tree. Or the year a tipsy ex-number-one called in the middle of our Christmas Eve party to shout that there was no way she was driving downtown to pick up the kids the next day. You get the picture.

Even for the most happily married couples, the holidays can be fraught with conflict and compromise. It can be exponentially more complicated for the approximately 776,000 Canadian parents who are divorced or separated and raising kids without a new partner. Then there are the blended families – almost 13 percent of Canada’s 3.7 million two-parent families are stepfamilies, like mine. Negotiating how to share the kids is never easy, but this is a time of year when it can be hardest to let go. “Christmas is a tough time because there is a lot of tradition and ritual around how the holidays are managed,” says Deborah Moskovitch, author of The Smart Divorce, a book she was inspired to write after her own acrimonious split. “But you have to share it. That’s how you have to look at effective co-parenting.”

Here’s how to ensure your festive season is filled with merriment – not resentment – this year. 

Make a plan

If you haven’t set a holiday schedule by the time you read this, do it now. “You don’t want the kids to have any angst about what they’re going to be doing at Christmas,” says Moskovitch, who also founded a divorce coaching service. Sit down with your ex and bring a calendar (and, if necessary, a neutral third party, like a professional mediator or trusted mutual friend) to figure out exactly how you’re going to divvy up the holiday break, right down to whether the kids are being picked up or dropped off, at what time, and the things they’ll need to pack. “It can be fluid and change, but it gets rid of any miscommunication,” says Moskovitch.

Trevor Pereira and his ex-wife made their Christmas schedule part of the separation agreement they drew up seven years ago. In even years, he has their two kids for Christmas Eve and morning, then hands them off at noon. In odd years, he picks them up from their mom’s house, still in their pyjamas, and takes them home for brunch and more presents. (To help avoid the aforementioned Pokémon scenario, Pereira and his ex go over the kids’ wish lists together each year to decide who’s going to buy what and how much they’ll spend.) “It’s sad either way,” admits Pereira, an IT specialist from Brantford, Ont. “Either you don’t have them in the morning or you don’t have them in the evening. But at least we both still see them on Christmas Day.”

Luckily for Pereira and his ex, they live in the same town. For co-parents who live in different cities, or even different provinces, it’s not so simple. If you have to kiss your kids goodbye for the entire holiday, says Moskovitch, “make sure you can call and talk to them. They’ll want to know you’re OK.”

To read the whole article click here

How did you blend your family…..please share your new traditions, routines and ideas.

Wishing you all the best for the holiday season!


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Five Steps to a Healthier You, Post-Divorce

Make no mistake; divorce is upper case Emotional. When I decided to leave my marriage, I could not imagine how I would ever say the “d” word to my children or spell out how their lives would change. While I accepted whole-heartedly that my priority was to put my children’s best interests first, I was also painfully aware of how my world was uncoupling and changing. Even though almost 40 per cent of marriages end in divorce, I felt little comfort from a statistic.

At first, I felt very overwhelmed most days. I vividly recall many dreams of moving through scary-divorce-land bogged down by a big bad trunk of fear, anxiety, guilt and anger. I knew I had to unload the trunk to get anywhere but I did not want to “deal.” And, who could even think of dating. But the truth is, that while I knew it was important to put my children’s best interests first, I also knew that it was important to get my own life on track if I was going to be a good parent and role model.

As I began to rebuild my life post-split I quickly realized I had choices — I could choose to be a victim, or I could choose to move on, and it was up to me to build a good life, a happy and fulfilling life. Yes, the future was fraught with uncertainty but I reframed that thought and looked at what I could do to make life better, happier and brighter. The life I’ve now created is beyond my wildest dreams. If anyone would have told me in the darkest of my emotional days that I would be a divorce coach, a best selling Canadian author, a keynote speaker at The Divorce Party — and so much more, I would have told them they were dreaming. But, by opening myself up to new experiences and being open minded, I learned that divorce is rich in opportunity to learn and grown from — and grow I did.

To find out the 5 steps, read the full article here 


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The Divorce Party on CP24Breakfast

Want to hear more about The Divorce Party? Steve Anthony and I spoke today about the Divorce Party and much more, on CP24.  Would love to hear your thoughts about this inspiring event.  Come and join the fun!

http://www.cp24.com/video?clipId=762136


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Happy Jewish New Year

To all my followers and fans who celebrate, wishing you all the very best for a happy, healthy and sweet New Year.  Shana Tova!

I found some inspiring messages on Haaretz.com that I would like to share…..and even if you don’t celebrate, these are worthwhile reading.

Four rabbis share lessons for the Jewish New Year in 2012

Rabbi Stewart Weiss (Orthodox), is the director of the Jewish Outreach Center of Ra’anana.

Rabbi Weiss’ message is – Listen to Each Other.  “I think that the primary message that I want to communicate this Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur is for all of us to work on our interpersonal relationships, and specifically on the art of hearing,” says Weiss……But it’s listening that we have to work on, and perfect that art. God gave us two ears, one mouth. We should be doing twice as much listening.”

Rabbi Miri Gold ‏(Reform‏), leads Kehilat Birkat Shalom in Kibbutz Gezer, a regional synagogue affiliated with the Israeli Reform movement.

Rabbi Gold’s message is – Hope and Action. “I believe that Judaism is all about doing. And after we’ve gone through our soul-searching in the month of Elul, I think there’s a tendency to come up feeling discouraged and despairing over all of the things that went wrong in our own lives and in our society and in our world. And so the message I’m trying to convey is that during this holiday season, when we often talk about it as the birth of the world and humankind, that we can realize that it’s really a time when we can make changes and show by our actions that even on a very small and modest level we can make the world a better place…”

Rabbi Jeff Cymet ‏(Masorti‏) leads Kehila Chadasha, a new congregation in North Tel Aviv. A practicing attorney, Cymet was ordained four years ago.

 Rabbi Cymet’s message is – Search for Meaning.  “Everyone … needs to recommit and renew and refresh their own personal mission. And we do that with the understanding that each one of us is mortal. None of us will live forever, and we know each and every year there are some who will live and some who will die. And we need to figure out how to make our own lives meaningful in that context − meaningful in the context of knowing that each one of us will have an end at some point and how to make our works for the coming year have some lasting value.”

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin ‏(Orthodox‏) is the founding Chief Rabbi of Efrat and founder and dean of the Ohr Torah Stone Institutions, in the United States and Israel.

Rabbi Riskin’s message is – Ask for Redemption.  “…..Ask for good health. Ask for pleasure from their children. Ask for good sustenance,” says Riskin. “But there’s a story by [the Yiddish writer I. L.] Peretz, ‘Bontshe Shtok,’ Bontshe the Silent, about a man who lived a horrific life and never said a word against God or against man. When he came to heaven, God asked him, ‘You tell me what you want as your reward.’ The only thing he could ask for was a fresh roll and hot butter every morning. And Satan laughed the mordant laugh of victory. Sometimes the world can be so difficult it robs an individual of his dreams and of real vision. He could have asked for redemption.”

To read the full article, click on the link http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/anglo-file/four-rabbis-share-lessons-for-the-jewish-new-year-in-2012.premium-1.464898 


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Canada’s Largest Divorce Party

Divorce is emotional, it’s fraught with fear and uncertainty, something definitely not to poke fun at or take lightly.  But, given what we know, and how devastating divorce may be, this can also be a time to reach out and bring some humour into life, if only for an evening.

You may wonder, can divorce really be celebrated while maintaining respect and dignity while providing friendly fun, night of entertainment and a temporary escape from reality.  The answer is yes, thanks to Divorce Party 2012, this is going to be a spectacular event filled with give-aways, gifts, motivational speakers, music, laughter, entertainment and fun.

Hundreds of like minded people will be gathering to meet with their like minded friends or mingle with new ones to share in a night filled with music, laughter, cocktails and divorce.

You don’t need to be a divorcee to attend the largest divorce party in Canada! Friday, September 21 @ 7:00pm – 1:00am

@ Capitol Event Theatre, 2492 Yonge Street @ Eglinton

 Enjoy cocktails & hors d’oeuvres! 

 What: Enjoy a night filled w/ music, laughter, cocktails, motivational speakers, live performances & of course, Divorce, relationships and finding happiness!

Attire: business/cocktailAttire: business/cocktail

Featured speakers include: Deborah Moskovitch, author of: “The Smart Divorce: Proven Strategies and Valuable Advice from 100 Top Divorce Lawyers, Financial Advisers, Counselors and Other Experts,” Dr. Amy Botwinick: Author of “Congratulations on Your Divorce -The Road to Finding Your Happily Ever After,” Clance Laylor: Founder and CEO of Laylor Performance Systems and a former director of the Poliquin Performance Centre, and Armie DiCarlo: Fashion Stylist and Owner-Manager of ARTEMIS. 

Live performance from Boy Toy of “Divorce Party: The Musical: The Hilarious Journey to Hell … and Back” and music by Scotia Entertainment! Enjoy the “Reinvent Yourself Fashion Show” featuring men’s and women’s fashion with wardrobe stylist and fashion expert Amanda Coles of “Styled Silhouettes,” and remarks by Humble Howard of “Humbleandfredradio.com” 

Purchase your advanced ticket for $30, http://www.divorce-party.ca/tickets/ or for $40 at the door.

A portion of the proceeds from the Divorce Party will be allocated to our charitable partner, Make-A-Wish Canada Foundation.

 Media contact: Danielle Iversen, Publicist or Evan De Souza, PR Intern, d@thatPRthing.com

Join me in celebrating new beginnings and life’s journeys to come!  


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The Divorce Party on Humble and Fred

What to hear more about The Divorce Party and buy tickets?  Tune in to The Humble and Fred podcast.

You’ll hear more about finding your post divorce happiness, what divorce is all about, and how this life changing event can be rich in opportunity to learn and grown from. Click on the link to download this informative and entertaining podcast http://www.humbleandfred.com


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Blog now added to Law Blogs!

My blog has recently been added to Law Blogs, which is part of one of the largest networks of blog directories on the Web. Please visit my blog’s personal page to vote for my blog and comment to other blog users.


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The Family Support Expo is coming to Toronto!

Don’t miss out on the 1st annual Family Support Expo  — Raising Awareness, Reducing Stigma Separation and Divorce The Toronto International Centre will be the home of the Family Support Expo on October 20 -21, 2012

Supporting families in transition, from pregnancy through adolescence and beyond!

The first North American expo bringing together all of the resources needed to support families dealing with Separation & Divorce, Medical, Mental Health, and other lifestyle issues.

The Family Support Expo is for parents, grandparents, caregivers, children and professionals.  The Expo provides information to help build and support a healthy family.

Exhibitors will showcase a variety of services and products and will offer access to community resources, organizations and experts in the industry.

All families experience challenges. Whether it is a child struggling with a medical issue or special need, a senior suffering from an illness, a family on the heels of divorce or separation, or another serious challenge – you are not alone and help is available.

The Expo seeks to revolutionize how families deal with these challenges.

The 3 general areas of focus for the Expo are:

Within these three areas there are many sub-categories.

Separation & Divorce

  • Help finding a professional (Family Mediator, Family Lawyer, Accountant, Real Estate Agent, mortgage broker, etc.)
  • Education and resources to help your family moving forward

Please stop by my booth, Deborah Moskovitch – The Smart Divorce and Divorce Coach, where I will be speaking and selling my resources helping individuals through their divorce  — maintaining their sanity, cutting down on legal costs, and helping to manage the divorce process in a healthier and happier way.

I will also be participating in a panel discussion with Toronto’s leading divorce professionals and moderated by Breakfast Television’s very own Kevin Frankish.

Don’t miss out on this new and unique event.  While the Expo cannot guarantee solutions to all areas of challenge, it stands to provide families with actionable advice and support that will leave them hopeful and optimistic moving forward.

For more information visit: http://familysupportexpo.com


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Canada’s Largest Divorce Party – Come Join the Fun!

Reinvent, Transform, Be Inspired!

Join me and many others for an evening of entertainment, inspiration, fun and much more.

On September 21, 2012 I will be speaking at the Largest Divorce Party in Canada…..this is going to be a spectacular event filled with give aways, gifts, motivational speakers, music, laughter, entertainment and fun.

Hundreds of like minded people will be gathering to meet with their like minded friends or mingle with new ones to share in a night filled with music, laughter, cocktails and divorce.

How can people celebrate divorce with laughter, music and cocktails?

The Divorce Party has been around for quite a few years but there’s never been anything on a scale quite like this, ever.  While smaller divorce parties, between groups of friends have proven to be the time for bonding and closure, this divorce party is a little different.  This is a celebration of who we are and what we face as we move into the next, new and exciting chapter of our lives.

 What are we planning?

At this Divorce Party, you don’t have to be a divorcee to attend.  Maybe you’re single and interested in meeting new people or perhaps you’re attached but come in support of a friend; it doesn’t matter because this night is a celebration of new beginnings and life’s journeys to come.

What else is there?

With your ticket, you’ll not only get to experience great food, the company of good people and the pleasure of well made drinks but you’ll also have the opportunity to hear from some of stellar guests like, Deborah Moskovitch, founder of: The Smart Divorce; a woman dedicated to helping people cope with their divorce by assisting them with implementation of life skill strategies so that their next chapter starts on a crisp, clean page.  There’s the “BoyToy” from  Divorce Party: The Musical, In DIVORCE PARTY THE MUSICAL, the “Boy Toy” plays everything from a massage therapist to a pizza delivery boy to a make-over guru. He will perform a special number at the Divorce Party; and of course no party is complete without dancing and carrying on when our disc jockey’s, take the stage.

There’s prizes, there’s food, there’s friends and then there’s you.  This night is all about you.

We believe that the spice in life is harnessed from our ability to re-invent ourselves as we cross over each hurdle in life.

Come join the fun!

For more information check out the link: http://www.divorce-party.ca/

or email info@divorce-party.ca​


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Keeping the Family Foundation Grounded

Family is The Foundation of Our Society

I interviewed Dave Quist of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada on The Smart Divorce on Divorce Source Radio.  Tune in to hear this great perspective and ideas on keeping the family together.

The health of our children, communities and nation depends on strong families. The institute of marriage and family Canada (IMFC) states that the aim of society and government policy should be to protect and support this foundation.  How is this accomplished?

David QuistOur guest, Dave Quist, Executive Director of theInstitute of Marriage and Family Canada  (http://www.imfcanada.org/) outlines the many challenges facing families today, and provides ideas for overcoming the obstacles for confronting families in our fast paced society. Mr. Quist has been an active participant in an annual, international meeting of think tanks who collaborate to advance the position that marriage and strong families act as a protector against poverty.  This is a energetic conversation brimming with ideas for developing stronger, healthier family relationships.

Topics include:

  • Staying connected with the “family dinner”
  • Pre-marriage counseling
  • The challenges of family financing
  • Understanding the “me” generation
  • How to make relationships stronger with your children and within your marriage
  • Making marriages successful rather than divorce easier
  • What co-parents need to understand so that children become positive contributors to society
  • The cultural shift of marriage
  • And, so much more……

The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) conducts, compiles and presents the latest and most accurate research to ensure that marriage and family-friendly policy are foremost in the minds of Canada’s decision makers.

To hear the interview click on the link:

http://www.divorcesourceradio.com/family-the-foundation-our-society/