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The idea of commencing a divorce around the holiday season can seem scary. Although you can argue that divorce is always going to hurt no matter what time of year it is, there is a certain sentimentality during the holidays that might hold someone back from initiating a divorce until the new year. This is why it is important to weigh the pros and cons and see if it is worth commencing a divorce now, or leaving it until the new year. Hiring a Long Island Divorce Lawyer can help you weigh these pros and cons.

Sometimes doing something scary causes us to make excuses to put off going through with something that we are nervous about. If staying with your spouse through the holidays is only going to cause more negative memories, you aren’t doing yourself any favors by putting it off. Having children in the picture can make things even more complex. But no matter what it is going to be painful.

If you do decide to commence a divorce during the holiday season, here are some tips to help alleviate the process.

  1. Plan ahead: If you have children, you wouldn’t want them to feel left in the dark wondering what their holidays are going to be like. Having plans with them will give them something to look forward to. If you don’t have children, make sure you aren’t alone during the holidays. Being alone will only encourage negative thoughts and can lead to an emotional downward spiral. Reach out to other family members or friends and enjoy yourself.
  2. Avoid Public Arguments: Although conflicts often arise during the divorce process, do not argue with your ex-spouse in front of your children. This will turn their holidays into a negative memory.
  3. Create New Traditions: Reminiscing on old traditions may only bring bad memories. A divorce can represent a new stage of your life, and having new traditions can add new excitement to that. If you have children, have them help contribute ideas. This creates something new and exciting for you and your kids.
  4. Plan a Getaway: If you find the holiday season to be too emotional for you, some have found taking a “perspective vacation” to help clear the mind. It is pretty common to take off work around the holidays, so using a couple vacation days to get away can really help you. Even if you don’t have the money or circumstances to go somewhere on vacation, take a vacation at your hometown. Rent a hotel for a couple of days and enjoy the amenities. Being away from your home and family drama can help give you peace and perspective.
  5. Make A New Years Resolution: Now that you’re essentially turning the chapter in your life, it’s not a bad idea to come up with some resolutions for the New Year. Become someone new. Join a club, join a sports league, or try and find ways to get yourself out there and meet new people.

Not every couple can go their separate ways with level heads. In many cases, one spouse may be extremely controversial – expressing feelings of anger, resentment, and attempting to make the divorce a living Hell. While divorce is never a walk in the park and always stirs up negative emotions, some may catastrophize the situation. When it comes to splitting up financial assets and property, they may hide marital assets. They may try their hardest to take a majority and leave you with little. If you have children, they may even try to pin them against you, manipulating them into disliking you.

It’s important you protect yourself from toxicity that may come along with a combative spouse – while you’re going through divorce, and even after. You have to safeguard your future as well as your children’s lives. It can be difficult when your ex or soon-to-be ex-spouse is overbearing, manipulative, or narcissistic. But there are ways you can take the wheel. Here are 4 tips for dealing with a toxic divorce…

Make Sure To Get Everything In Writing

With a volatile soon-to-be ex-spouse, phone conversations may end in shouting matches. Limit your interactions to only written forms of communication, such as e-mail, texts, or messages sent between both your attorneys. Written communication can be presented in court if needed. It can also be reflective for you, helping you deal with your aggressive soon-to-be ex or ex-spouse. Make sure you keep your messages short and concise, though. There’s no need to be extremely descriptive. If you receive an extremely explosive message through text or email, try to take time if necessary. You may be tempted to say something that you regret. Don’t let angry messages evoke anger in yourself. With written communication, you have the time to reflect on how you will respond.

Written communication can also be extremely beneficial when it comes to temporary custody and support orders as well as alimony. These may be put in place before the finalization of your divorce. While some divorcees on friendly terms come to verbal agreements and stick to them, high-conflict divorcees may deny ever making verbal agreements. It’s best to have these agreements down in writing. Your attorney can help you establish written orders and file, or you can file with the courts.

Get Financial Paperwork Together As Soon As Possible

An aggressive or manipulative spouse may try to hide marital assets when they know a divorce is imminent. These assets are important when it comes to determining alimony, child support and asset division. These types of assets may include pay stubs and tax returns, bank statements and credit card bills, stock portfolio and retirement account info, and more. They may do this either as a means of obtaining more than you in terms of your financial split or as a means of revenge.

So, to make sure this doesn’t happen, it’s best collect as much financial paperwork as possible before the divorce process. You should run a credit report to help identify financial accounts that are open in both of you names. If you do happen to file your taxes together, you can request a copy of your tax return from the IRS. This may help you in determining whether or not marital assets are being hidden from you.

Leave Your Children Out Of It

An aggressive or resentful ex may actually use your children as a weapon against you in your divorce. This is highly detrimental to children. It’s a good idea – until cooler heads prevail – to have someone with you when you drop off your children. You don’t want to get into a verbal argument in front of them. You can immediately end the conversation if your ex tries to lure you into an argument. If your ex is extremely aggressive and you believe they intend to sue you for full child custody (ie. with allegations of child abuse), keep a parenting diary that details your day-to-day life as a parent. This journal may become a valuable piece of evidence to disprove these types of allegations.

Get A Restraining Order

If you’re ex is overstepping your boundaries, you have full control to file a restraining order. You ex may be sending you angry texts, stalking you, etc. Anything that makes you feel unsafe should be a red flag to file a temporary restraining order for both you and your children.

Divorce, whether it feels like somewhat of a relief or an entire upheaval of your happiness, may cause you to make irrational decisions. Much like positive emotions may lead a person to make positive choices, negative emotions may lead a person to do the opposite. It’s important to stay grounded following a divorce, to deal with the grief by making positive choices as opposed to negative ones, which can exacerbate life after divorce. These 7 mistakes are easy to make when a negative thought pattern is controlling your behavior – avoid them…

Making Permanent Changes To Your Body

After a divorce, it might make you feel good to change up your look. They say “the first step to feeling better is looking better”. But some changes are simply too drastic. Don’t go out and get a tattoo, or a body piercing, or anything that’s permanent. You’d be making this decision out of negative emotion such as grief or resentment. The last thing you need in your life is a constant reminder of that negativity. And you may just come to regret that decision directly after making it.

Don’t Expect Your Ex-Spouse To Change Their Behavior Right Away

Once you’re separated, you may think that your ex’s behavior will change. Don’t have high expectations. People change on their own. You simply don’t have the power to change someone, especially an ex with whom resentment may still linger. Having high hopes that your ex-spouse may act differently to you now that you are divorced, perhaps less hostile or just friendlier, is setting yourself up for a letdown. Don’t fall into that trap. Focus on yourself and being the best person you can be.

Don’t Try To Reconcile With Another Ex

Yes, it can be extremely difficult to get back into the dating world. You crave intimacy and attention. But you’re afraid of that vulnerability that comes along with putting yourself back out there. So, you automatically think of how convenient it would be to look up an old ex, if only for comfort sex. But remember, your exes are exes for a reason. You weren’t meant to be. Sex, even if it’s just for comfort, releases oxytocin – often referred to as “the love hormone”. You may end up developing feelings for an ex who was never good for you to begin with if you engage in sexual activities with them. Avoid this mistake at all costs. Wait until you’re ready to put yourself back out there, knowing fully what you want in your next partner.

Don’t Skip Out On Counseling

It seems easier to either curl up with your emotions or cover them up following a divorce than to face them. But this is never a good idea. The art of therapy will never die, nor will the use of psychology. Find a psychologist that you feel comfortable with, someone you feel you can fully describe your feelings to, and someone who offers you coping mechanisms, ideas, and affirmations to help in your own healing process.

Don’t Air Our Your Feelings On Social Media

Airing out your feelings on Social Media will do you no good. If you need to vent, talk to your psychologist. Cherish their feedback more than anyone else’s. They are professionals. Talking bad about your ex-spouse won’t make you feel any better, either. If you turn to Facebook to vent out your feelings about your ex-spouse or your feelings in general, you may end up with numerous people who don’t fully know the complexities of your prior relationship trying to give you advice. Their advice might serve your wrong, and too many voices in your head simply turns to static.

Don’t Hide From Your Friends With Positive, Working Marriages

It can be hard to feel like a “third-wheel”, but it’s unlikely that your good friends who are in positive, working marriages are going to let you feel like that. Reach out to them. Tell them that you still want to be a part of their lives. If they were good friends to you when you were married, they’ll likely still be good to you when you’re divorced. And who knows, they may just end up being a bridge to a new partner in life. Isolation won’t offer up this bridge.

Don’t Start Dating Again Without A Plan

When we’re given two choices, and one is more comfortable than the other, we often choose the more comfortable option – even if the other option was the right one. Think back to your marriage. What did you do wrong in that marriage? In every divorce, both parties have some fault as to why the relationship when awry. What was it about your ex-spouse that initially made you fall for them? What was it about them that you feel made the relationship unhealthy? Be cautious of these traits when looking for a new partner. The last thing you want to do is get in a relationship with someone who is a repeat of your ex-spouse, which might feel comfortable to you. So, proceed with some caution. Make sure not to drag bad relationship habits that may have contributed to the failure of your last marriage into a new relationship. You may even surprise yourself and realize that an entirely different personality than what you’ve always looked for is what you actually need.

Getting back on track following a divorce is pretty much always harder than we can imagine. One foot in front of the other. Remember, you are capable of anything, no matter what stage in life you are at.

Divorce can an physically taxing, financially tolling, emotional rollercoaster. Whereas some feel like a weight has been lifted after a divorce, having dealt with emotional, psychological or physical abuse from their spouse, others may have tried their hardest to keep their marriage together, only to see it fall to pieces regardless. For those divorcees, the loss can hit hard. When you marry someone, you envisage your union lasting forever. Here are 3 difficult truths about divorce and ways you can overcome them…

Loneliness Is A Harsh Reality And Will Hit Hard

Before your divorce, you may have had someone to at least lean on somewhat through turbulent change. Now, that change is losing them completely. They’re gone. Your shoulder, if ever your spouse was one, won’t be there for you to lean on. You truly are alone in coping with your emotions. Now, you may be envisioning a future without a teammate. It’s entirely natural to feel like you’ve lost your strength after a divorce. But now is a time for self-discovery, and self-love. You still need to keep your health, wellbeing, and life together. You’ll have to step up to the plate on your own. And in doing so, you’ll realize that you do have the strength to be independent, even after being dependent on your ex-spouse for so long. You may have had such self-love before your marriage, and that self-love may have been lost throughout an unhealthy relationship. But that self-love will come back.

Your Social Life May Change Entirely, Or Not Even Exist

Take your time, but don’t curl up with that loneliness or lack of self-love. You may feel an urge to get out and rebuild your social life. You might not know where to start, though. Luckily, it’s easier than you may think, so long as you face any reservations about putting yourself out there. If you don’t have friends or simply want a new group of friends, join a social group like Search the site for meetups that involve activities you truly love doing. When you feel ready, try and get out there – if only to make new friendships and social circles. This will aid in the process of relearning what it is to love yourself.

Even If Your In Pain, You Must Be Strong For Your Kid(s)

Divorce can be traumatizing for a child, especially if they’re dragged through a custody battle. And especially if they realize they won’t be able to see one of their parents as often as the other. Children can be extremely intuitive, as well. Much like they may have sensed your pain during your marriage and during the divorce process, they’ll sense it if it’s there afterward.

Divorce can also cause a child to have to grow up faster than normal. And that’s natural. Take this time to come up with creative ways that will help both you and your child throughout the healing process. Don’t leave it up to your child to figure out how to heal on their own, even if you don’t feel as if you’ve healed. Heal together.

Once you’re divorced, you and your ex-spouse need different car insurance policies. If the two of you have a teenager who needs car insurance, it may be a little confusing to decide whose insurance policy (yours or your ex-spouse’s) your teenager should be covered under. We’d like to help clear this type of situation up.

If you have primary custody of your teen:

If you have primary custody of your teen, it’s likely best that you place your child on your own insurance. If, however, they have access to a car at your ex-spouse’s home, your ex-spouse should check with their insurance carrier to see if they need to have your teenager on their policy as well.

If you share joint custody:

If you and your ex-spouse share joint custody, and your teenager has access to cars at both homes, it’s best to add them to both of your policies.

If your ex has primary custody:

If your teenage driver spends most of their time at your ex’s home, they should be listed under their policy. If, however, they do drive a car at your home, you should ask your insurance carrier if they need to be covered under your policy as well.

The Importance Of Keeping Consistent Driving Rules At Both Homes

According to studies by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm, setting clear rules can cut the potential of a teenager having a car accident in half. Parents should also pay attention to where their kids are driving and with whom. It’s also important to have rules about when your teenager can borrow your car. They should be required to request permission to use your car, and research says controlling access to your car keys, “at least for the first six to 12 months after a teen gets a license, is one of the best things parents can do to keep their kids safe.”

According to research, the way in which you set the rules is just as important as the rules you set. Your teenager needs to know that your rules are set in place for their own safety, and not just to control them.

With that said, it’s important that you and your ex-spouse, even if there is resentment, come to an solid agreement regarding the rules you set for your teenager’s driving privileges and that you both stick to those rules.

A divorce can shake a child’s world view. But as a parent, you have the ability to help keep your child grounded and well-adjusted after a divorce. The way in which you approach your child on how they are copying should be different, however, based on their age. Throughout the developmental process, a child’s perception of the world and the factors that affect their own world changes. Here’s a guide to approaching a child’s divorce at each developmental stage.

California Psychologist John B. Kelly shines a light on the different developmental stages of a child’s life and the key developmental issues parents must face when helping their child both understand, accept, and overcome the complexities of divorce.

Key developmental issues of 0-5 year olds

Babies & Toddlers:


Kelly points out what emotional symptoms to watch out for in preschoolers that may be signs of emotional distress following divorce. Preschoolers who express fear, anger or emotional instability (clinginess, anxiety, whininess or general instability), and lack of sleep may be having trouble handling a divorce.

Kelly points out the parental priorities of parents who have recently divorced – particularly parents of toddlers and preschoolers. According to Kelly, toddlers and preschoolers require consistent care and nurturing, which gives them a sense of reassurance. Their lives “need to be anchored by the normal routines (meals, play, bath, bed) in the presence of a parent who is ‘there for them’”. This is always important for children, but especially after a divorce. Kelly notes, “‘If things aren’t going well at home, preteens and teenagers can escape by going to hang out with friends. Babies, toddlers and preschoolers can’t’”.

She also notes that preschoolers need “‘simple, concrete explanations.’” She advises parents to stick to the basics, describing who will be moving out, where the child will live, who will look after them and how often they will see each parent. She also advises to be prepared for questions and to provide short, concise answers. One conversation won’t do the job, though, according to Kelly. There may be several short talks.

Key developmental issues of 6-11 year olds

6-8 year olds:

9-11 year olds:

School-aged children may show distress in the form of fear, anxiety, anger, or sadness, according to Kelly. They may also display more clear-cut signs that they are missing one of their parents. Some may even wonder what they can do to reconcile the relationship between their parents. This is something to watch out for. They may blame themselves for the divorce, not understanding that this was an adult decision and that their actions didn’t play a part in the divorce. Children who fantasize about a reconciliation or conjure up ways to help their parents reconcile may have more difficulty with the process of healing and healthily adjusting post-divorce.

Kelly points out that at this age, parents do have some different priorities. Routine and stable care is still very important. Although older kids in this age range have more of an ability to understand how they are feeling and express said feelings does not mean that they will. If you feel your child in this age group is distressed, but won’t speak about it, it may be up to you to open the dialogue. Kelly recommends asking about their feelings indirectly as opposed to directly. Asking a direct question, such as “Are you sad?” can come off as threatening. An indirect statement to open up dialogue, such as, “Some kids feel angry, sad, or afraid after their parents get divorced”, is less threatening. Kelly also recommends books about divorce for children. It can help them understand their feelings and cope with them.

Key developmental issues of 12-14 year olds

12-14 year olds:

With 12-14 year olds, Kelly recommends watching out for irritability and anger – both common – aimed at either parents. With a young teen, it can be difficult to gauge whether or not their moodiness is an effect of divorce. Think about how they were before the separation and how they are acting after. This may give you insight as to whether or not their moodiness is in fact a result of the divorce.

With young teens, it’s important to keep communication open so emotional problems don’t go unnoticed. They can be difficult to reach, and sometimes even act as if they don’t want to be reached out to. But most still crave connection, in some way, with their parents. So, even if they push back, keep trying if you feel they may be distressed over the divorce. If you are going to talk about it, make sure you meet them half way. Bring in topics of discussion that they want to talk about. Again, this can be a difficult age group to reach. So it’s important to let them feel that their voice matters and that you are truly interested.

Some kid’s books about divorce:

Dinosaurs Divorce: A Guide For Changing Families by Laurene Krasny Brown and Mark Brown (Ages 4-8)

I Don’t Want To Talk About It by Jeanie Franz Ransom (Ages 4-8)

My Mom and Dad Don’t Live Together Anymore: A Drawing Book For Children Of Separated or Divorced Parents by Judith Aron Rubin (Ages 4-12)

What Can I Do? A Book for Children of Divorce by Danielle Lowry (Ages 8-12)

Starting over financially after a divorce can be extremely difficult for some. When you had shared assets, such as a mortgage, it can be overwhelming to understand what steps you must take to ensure you’re financially stable following a divorce. Especially since it’s not something you prepare for.

It’s important to reclaim your financial independence. It can be difficult to maintain your own wellbeing when your financial foundation has been shifted. Following these tips may help you regain you financial stability.

Go Over Your Finances

It’s difficult to think about your finances following a divorce, which can stem a lot of emotional turmoil for many of us. But regardless, it’s important to get a handle on your finances. Shomari Hearn of the Palisades Financial Group in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says, “The first step to getting a handle on your finances following a divorce should be to evaluate your living expenses, any outstanding debt you may have, and your income, including any alimony or child support.” Laying out your financial responsibilities in relation to your income will help you establish a footing with where you stand financially and is a great place to start. You may recognize that some of your spending habits need to be reevaluated in your new financial situation, and having a grasp on that is important.

Set Up A Plan

Monica Mizzi, of Legal Templates, explains how a financial plan should be set up following a divorce. Think of your short-term, mid-term, and long-term financial goals – and plan out what steps you need to take to get to each, “including gradual milestones to keep you motivated and on track.” It might be difficult to think of these goals following a divorce, but it is important. What do you need to do now in your life to keep financially stable? What financial goals would you like to meet within a few years? And what financial goals do you have planned for the future? Knowing the answer to these questions will help you make informed decisions on your spending and saving.

Consider Hiring A Financial Planner

A financial planner can help you figure out what your next moves are going to be in life in order to establish financial independence. Especially if you’re new to managing your own finances. Sometimes, there’s one party in a marriage that took care of all the finances (paying bills, figuring out where to spend money, where to cut back on spending, etc.). A financial planner can help educate those who don’t have the strongest understanding of finances.

Make A New Budget

Sitting down and creating a new budget is a great tip following a divorce. New Jersey attorney Jef Henninger advises his clients to “use the divorce process as a reset button on their lives.”

“Since you are laying everything out there anyway, this is the best time to examine your spending and saving habits…seek professional advice if you need it but use this as an opportunity to start over and change your habits,” says Henninger. It makes plenty of sense. Your budget used to include another’s income and spending habits. Now that that other is no longer in the picture, your budget has to change.

Update The Title Of The Home

If you’ve been left the home, it’s a good idea to remove your former spouse from the title of your home by refinancing and executing a quitclaim deed. It’s recommended by experts to consult with a mortgage company on your next steps.

Get Rid Of Joint Accounts

It may be extremely important to do away with any joint accounts following a divorce to protect both parties. If you leave joint accounts open, a resentful ex-spouse may make purchases without your approval, which can put your credit at risk.

Update Beneficiaries

Most of the time, couples will place the name of their spouse as the primary beneficiary on insurance policies, retirement accounts, 401Ks, IRAs or life insurance policies. Now that your primary beneficiary is out of the picture, it’s best to choose a new one.

Keep Documentation

It’s important to keep documentation of your divorce decree for financial records, especially if you’d like to apply for a new home loan.

Divorce can be an extremely emotional transition for many, and for many it can create financial instability. We hope theses tips can help any struggling divorcees achieve their own financial stability.

For many, it’s common knowledge that journaling about life events that are detrimental aids in the coping process. Journaling in and of itself has been proven to help clarify thoughts, understand more about who you are, reduce stress, solve problems and resolve disputes with other individuals with clearer perspective. Overall, journaling has been said to help one’s health and wellbeing.

But further studies on the benefits of journaling have been completed, and do somewhat contradict prior findings in some cases. According to a study which evaluated the effects of “expressive writing” (writing about emotions or feelings), some people with a certain personality trait of “brooding” (showing unhappiness) may not benefit from journaling expressively.

Participants were taken from a sample of individuals who had just completed a divorce months before. They were split into 3 groups and given assignments. Those who were told to expressively write about their divorce and the emotions they held over their separation showed a higher correlation with worse emotional disturbances than those who were simply told to journal (the control group) about their lives after divorce. The study also showed, through psychological evaluation, that those who showed a general unhappiness benefitted least from expressively writing.

Another study expanded on the findings of this study, which evaluated a larger sample to see what effects expressive writing (vs. general journaling) would have on average heart rate, heart rate variability, and blood pressure. The study found that expressive writing (in narrative form) about a divorce had a positive impact on heart rate variability, even on individuals who tended to relive negative emotions in their writing. So, even individuals who still struggled with their lives post-divorce showed improvements in heart rate variability. These are somewhat strange findings, but as a reminder, these are correlations – meaning this is not definitive proof.

Essentially, social psychologists have, for years and years, shown that construction of life narratives through writing can have great benefits on both psychological and physiological health. However, according to these two interacting studies, those who have undergone a divorce and tend to write expressively, ruminating on negative emotions, might want to stray from journaling.