Whenever there is a major life change, negative emotions come with it. These can include uncertainty, stress, anxiety, helplessness and fear...just to name a few.
Divorce Can Set Off Our Stress Response
In the case of divorce, an individual's well-being is not only impacted significantly in an emotional way, but it will have lasting effects on their physical existence. When so much is turned upside down, it's no wonder fear is set off.
What Happens Biologically When You Are Afraid?
“Fear is our survival response,” says Northwestern Medicine Clinical Psychologist Zachary Sikora, PsyD. What's more, "although fear is experienced in your mind, it triggers a strong physical reaction in your body."
This is not a case of mind over matter. "Fear reaction starts in the brain and spreads through the body to make adjustments for the best defense, or flight reaction," according to Arash Javanbakht and Linda Saab.
First, the amygdala (small organ in the middle of your brain) is stimulated and alerts your nervous system, which sets your body’s fear response into motion. Next, stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are released. Then, your blood pressure and heart rate increase. The results include breathing faster, changes in blood flow begin whereby blood actually flows away from your heart and into your limbs, preparing for fight-or-flight.
Almost everything about the divorce process can be sensed as danger, thereby setting off this biological response.
How Does Fear Affect Rational Thinking?
According to Louise Delagran, MA, MEd of the University of Minnesota, "Fear can interrupt processes in our brains that allow us to regulate emotions, read non-verbal cues and other information presented to us, reflect before acting, and act ethically." She goes on to say, "this impacts our thinking and decision-making in negative ways, leaving us susceptible to intense emotions and impulsive reactions."
If you have gone through divorce or are in the business of working with divorcing individuals, you can attest to what I lovingly refer to as "losing IQ points." It's not that they are not smart, reasonable and even educated, but that fear is most prevalent and causing physical reactions that impact the cognitive functions.
What Is Fear's Affect on Decision Making?
To put it in simple terms, especially in light of divorce, fear causes a sort of rational shut down and a sort of regression as a result of three overarching reactions.
1. Self Focused
Whenever we are in the fight or flight mode, which is activated when we sense danger, "we get very self-focused because we are in “protection mode,"" according to Missouri Partners in Prevention. This is our way of keeping ourselves safe. As a result, it is very difficult to be focused on anything else outside our own survival. This is one of the reasons that people going through divorce are unable to understand a different point of view or seem unreasonable, as they are hyper-focused on themselves.
2. Sense of Lack
When we experience fear, our perception shifts to a sense of lack or scarcity. It feels as if there is not "enough" which sparks the belief that it is necessary to fight for what we need. In the case of divorce, this "not enough" view can make it difficult to see the bigger picture and often the true reality.
3. Wants Become Needs
In a rational, calm state, discriminating between wants and needs is easy. However, feeling afraid can blur the lines between the two because our fear reaction activates the part of our brain that dominated our thinking in childhood. This is the reason that so many individuals going through divorce act and react in a very immature manner, even to the point of throwing "tantrums" uncharacteristic of their otherwise normal behavior.
How Do You Work With The Fear?
First and foremost, it is important for those professionals working with divorcing individuals to understand the biological reactions that are happening with their clients. In this way, there is a greater possibility of "reaching" or getting through to your client with the facts to make decisions that are in their best interest and to facilitate a quick and non-contentious divorce.
If you yourself are going through divorce, you can comfort yourself with the fact that your fears are real to you and that with some slowing down and quiet reflection, you can turn that fear into empowered, well thought out decisions and action steps for ensuring the best possible post-divorce life.
Define The Fears
Releasing fear is first about recognizing what the underlying reason(s) for feeling afraid. This is why a therapist or divorce coach is so imperative because as an objective support system, they can gently guide individuals to consciously identify exactly what is setting off the fear. Defining fears leads to demystifying them and opens a path out of fight or flight mode. In this way, it becomes possible to think more clearly and make better decisions.
Feel The Pain
Once the fears have been identified, an individual will often feel some pain, specifically as it relates to the loss of the marriage, the family unit, the life they know and so much more. However, it can be quite healing and free up lots of psychic energy, which allows for better identification of the new challenges that come with divorce and creating action steps to constructing a new life.
If someone would have said to me at any time during the two years of my divorce, "Hey Elisa, you should practice gratitude - it will really have a positive impact on your life," I probably would have unleashed a mouthful of superlatives that would have blown their hair back.
While I was dealing daily with the nefarious bullying of my ex-husband, along with the fear, overwhelm and frustration of my post-divorce life, gratitude was the furthest thing from my mind. In fact, it took some time to realize how my life could have vastly improved during my divorce had I truly understood the scientific benefits of gratitude.
So, at the risk of incurring your wrath, I'm going to tell you 6 reasons why you can and should incorporate gratitude practice into your daily life, no matter which stage of divorce you may be at.
1. Gratitude Improves Overall Health
Research has shown that gratitude can improve general well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression. In fact, it shows that just 15 minutes a day can enhance mental wellness.
2. Gratitude Changes Your Perspective
When we change our perspective it can help us manage the stress of divorce and even avoid escalating situations that normally would trigger us. We turn our focus from all that is challenging and bad to that which is good.
3. Gratitude Brings The Future To Your Present
When we’re grateful it’s usually for something we already have - meaning it’s already in our present reality. Logically speaking, if we feel grateful for that which we want as if it's already here, we are propelling ourselves into the future feeling we would have if we were already experiencing that reality.
Such feelings resonate in our body and tell our brain that we are already there, because according to Dr. David R. Hamilton, "our brains can’t tell the difference between reality and our thoughts." In one study of two groups of individuals, one was asked one to play a specific set of keys on the piano while the other was told to imagine playing a set of keys. Under both circumstances, while being scanned, brain activity significantly increased in brain regions corresponding to motor movement of the hand.
For those going through divorce, gratitude enables you to psychically begin living the life you want by being grateful for it as if it is already here.
4. Gratitude Raises Your Vibrational Frequency
It is only in the very recent past that people are becoming aware of the importance of energy and the term "high vibration.". Everything in our world is made of energy and has a frequency. This includes objects, our bodies, thoughts and feelings.
The faster something vibrates, the higher the frequency. Higher vibrational frequencies are associated with emotions that include joy, love, compassion, and gratitude, as opposed to lower vibrating emotions of fear anger and lack. When you practice gratitude, your vibrational frequency is being raised.
Higher frequencies are also known to enable good health and happiness. So, for those going through divorce and feeling sad, fearful or in a state of lack, it is possible to train your mind and body to move into feelings of happiness and joy, by practicing gratitude.
5. Gratitude Changes Your Neural Pathways
"Remember that behavior changes biology," according to the Mayo Clinic Health System. "Positive gestures benefit you by releasing oxytocin, a hormone that helps connect people. Some people call it the love hormone."
Practicing gratitude also releases serotonin and dopamine, two “feel good” chemicals that positively impact mood, motivation, and willpower - as a result this can strengthen these neural pathways. The result is that over time, a conscious effort to practice gratitude can train the brain to focus on what’s going well as opposed to what’s going wrong.
6. Gratitude Attracts What You Want
The Law of Attraction, in its simplest form says "like attracts like." Dr. Joe Dispenza teaches that we have the power to influence our reality by consciously directing our thoughts and emotions by "giving thanks for the things that you don't have yet." He asserts that "gratitude is the ultimate state of receivership."
We have been trained to think that we should be grateful after we receive something and this puts us in a state of mind of always waiting and wanting. When we act as if and feel as if we have what we already want, the universe aligns with that feeling. And the law of attraction kicks in to literally bring us that for which we are grateful.
This is the ultimate way of manifesting the life you want, and deserve post-divorce!
There is no question that divorce is a costly proposition with much truth to the statement that the only ones who get rich during divorce are the attorneys.
Legal fees are one of the harsh realities of the divorce process. According to Contractscounsel.com, "Divorce costs in the United States can vary widely, with most people spending anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 and a minimum cost of around $7,000." That is a lot of money to most people.
Emotional Upheaval Makes It Hard to Think Clearly
Unfortunately, the trauma of divorce wreaks havoc on daily life, and its emotional upheaval makes it difficult to almost impossible to think clearly about how one's actions might impact billable hours and increase their legal expenses.
It is imperative, in spite of all that is being thrown at you, to stay focused on how to keep your legal fees at a minimum. Why would you want to spend more money than is necessary? For those monied spouses who are responsible for paying both parties' legal bills, you have twice as much to lose.
5 Common Mistakes
From my own personal divorce experience and from what I have seen with many of my clients, here are five common mistakes that can unnecessarily drive your legal bills through the roof and solutions to avert them.
1. Using Your Lawyer As a Therapist
Wow, I cannot tell you how many times I've seen this one play out. I fell victim to this during my own divorce. Most divorce attorneys will attest to the amount of time they spend talking to their clients about non-legal issues because they are so overwhelmed, angry or frustrated and don't know where to turn.
With hourly rates being what they are in the divorce world, it is just not cost-effective to talk to your lawyer about every argument or disagreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
According to TheExit.com, the national average for divorce lawyer rates is $270 an hour, with New York at $400 an hour. I can tell you unequivocally, that this is far lower than reality. From my experience working with many lawyers in the New York-Metro area, average divorce hourly rates can range from $400 on the very low side to well over $700 and hour.
Solution: Having the right professional to listen, provide perspective and help you work through your feelings and experiences productively is a far better investment than spending hours talking to your attorney. The right therapist or divorce coach can also assist with making the distinction between which issues are strictly emotional and those that need to be addressed with your attorney. Not only will you save on legal fees, but you will be working on your own empowerment and building a plan for a happy, fulfilling future.
2. Not Understanding Billing Practices
Hourly billing is a common way lawyers charge for their services. Unfortunately, most people going through divorce do not ask enough questions or listen closely when lawyers explain the details of their billing structure. For example, most lawyers take a retainer - most commonly between $5000 and $10,000 - and then their "billable rate" will go against or be deducted from this retainer. At $500 an hour, that retainer can go pretty quickly.
Your lawyer tracks all time spent on your case, which includes meetings with you, phone calls, reading and responding to email correspondence with you and the opposing counsel, research, preparing legal documents, court appearances, and any other tasks related to your divorce. If you have other professionals such as an accountant, that need to speak with your attorney, you will get billed for this time as well.
Solution: Make sure you understand all billing practices for your lawyer's firm including their "increment billing" practices (how they break down the hour) so you can stay in control and avoid any surprises with legal fees being incurred.
3. Not Building Your Own Divorce Dream Team
It is important to take a forty-thousand foot view of the specific areas of your life that will be affected by your marriage break-up and how to best address each of them.
Your attorney knows the law, the legal system and what rights you have. However, they are not experts in every area that will make up your divorce agreement. All too often, individuals rely on their attorney to know the nuances of accounting, tax, financial planning, credit and other specific disciplines. You may be spending more money discussing these issues with your attorney or having your attorney argue with opposing counsel, rather than utilizing the expertise of professionals who can save you time and assist your attorney.
Solution: Build a team of trusted professionals in key non-legal areas who can provide the right advice for negotiating the best possible divorce agreement terms for your future. These professionals not only charge less than your attorney, but some don't charge any fees at all, saving you legal bills and even enhancing your lawyer's ability to advocate for you in less time. A divorce coach can serve as the hub for clarity about the process and provide additional professional referrals.
4. Not Being Organized
During divorce, you will have to access lots of information, records, and documents. Prior to my divorce, I really had no idea what I was going to have to provide and everything my lawyer requested was a new adventure in trying to pull things together. If you provide your lawyer with a big box of papers, receipts and financial records, it is pretty obvious that they will have to spend many billable hours sorting through everything and talking to you to fully understand it all. This can add thousands of dollars to your bill.
Solution: The more organized you can be with your documents prior to even going for a consultation, the more economical it will be for you. I suggest meeting with your accountant or finding one who can direct you with what you need to put together. This will enable you to move forward with a better understanding of where you stand, as well as result in a more productive attorney consultation since you will be providing everything needed to advocate on your behalf.
5. Inability to Agree
This may seem like a ridiculous point to put in here. You are probably thinking, "if we could agree, we wouldn't be getting divorced." However, what most people do not understand is that if you have decided to proceed with divorce, then the more you continue to disagree on how to finalize the terms, the more it will cost.
Sadly, the biggest issue in delaying divorce and spending way too much money is the inability for one or both parties to be reasonable and give up being argumentative. I'm in no way saying this is easy. With emotions running high and a desire to "win", it's easy to get stuck in a cycle of arguing and feeling victimized. The result is unending back and forth between attorneys, additional court dates and yes, higher legal bills.
Solution: Here is where working with a professional therapist or a divorce coach is your best bet for gaining clarity over the situation to facilitate perspective. If your soon-to-be ex-spouse is being difficult, you will be able to keep your eye on your new life goals and minimize being triggered to continually engage in the back and forth pattern that only serves to drive up billable hours. This is a key component for a quick resolution and minimizing your legal expenses.
If you are like me, you probably feel so overwhelmed by the divorce process - the legalities, the amount of time everything takes, disempowerment about what you expected versus what is the reality, and perhaps blown away by the cost. Not to mention all the emotions you are feeling - pain, hurt, anger, rage, fear sadness and guilt.
And, although you may be an intelligent, self-starter, highly functional, and self-responsible individual in all areas of your life, divorce is one of those life experiences that can result in sudden self beliefs and behavior that is out of character for you. This includes falling into the "victim mentality" mindset.
What is Victim Mentality?
"At its core, a victim mindset is rooted in trauma, distress, and pain most of the time. When you experience a traumatic situation, typically at the hands of other people, you may learn that you are helpless and that nothing you do in the future is going to make any difference" according to psychologist and author, Arlin Cuncic, MA.
Clearly with divorce, there is trauma by the very nature of breaking up a marriage and in most cases, an entire of family. The ways this life change impacts a person are numerous and unique to each situation, but commonly include new physical and financial demands, co-parenting stress and change in residence. These are justifiable reasons to feel a sense of being victimized.
Feeling Like a Victim During Divorce is Normal
Feeling hit from every angle, not getting what you want or expect is usually what causes this victimized feeling. Learning the reality of things like spousal support, child support, visitation, asset division, coupled with experienced advice from your lawyer and decisions rendered by a judge can be shocking, angering and leave you feeling defeated and out of control.
In some cases this is further aggravated by having experienced infidelity, or even the hateful and purposeful vitriol of a narcissistic ex-spouse.
What Characterizes A Victim Mentality?
At its core, victim mentality is a mindset of learned helplessness. In the case of divorce, this is usually a feeling brought by this event and is not necessarily a personality trait. Nonetheless, it can overpower you with feeling out of control and unable to see the light at the end of the divorce tunnel.
Some of the characteristics of victim mentality include:
Not Letting "Victim Mentality" Overtake and Define You
While common during divorce, if left unrecognized or unaddressed, "victim mentality" mindset, can be self-defeating and detrimental to your sense of empowerment and well-being long-term.
Sometimes circumstances just suck and you don't have the control you want. This does not mean that you should allow yourself to stay stuck in the internal belief that
you are helpless. Instead, embracing the view that you are the architect of your life is key.
A prolonged victim mentality causes you to lose perspective that you DO have control of the way you react to circumstances and an ability to create a path for the future life you want.
How to Overcome A Victim Mindset?
There are ways to take control of your divorce and regain normalcy.
1. Acknowledge the Feelings
Validating your frustration, sadness and disappointment is a first step to healing feeling like a victim.
With the right self-care and compassion, you can move through this.
According to Arlin Cuncic, MA, "victim mentalities are subconsciously adopted as a way to cope, often from past trauma. Be compassionate to yourself in your recovery. Practice self-care and self-love. "
3. Knowledge is Power
Empowering yourself early on in the process with basic divorce law norms and outcomes will lessen your shock and allow you to deal more pro-actively with what otherwise would have blindsided you and caused feelings of victimization.
4. Utilize Professional Experts
Build a team of professionals in key disciplines such as divorce coaching, accounting, tax, insurance, financial planning, credit and loan. Many of these experts do not charge for consultations and it will enable you to have a 40,000 foot view of your unique situation and how to best approach your settlement agreement and future life plan.
5. Set Your Goals
Having clearly defined goals for your post-divorce life allows you to keep blinders on to avoid getting sidetracked and triggered when things don't go the way you want or expect. In this way you are being the architect of your life.
6. Emotional Support
Engage in practices that will support an empowered state of mind such as mindfulness, meditation, therapy or coaching, journaling and self help books.
Love & Light
When emotions run high during divorce, simple conversations can digress into highly contentious fights.
Can you relate to this if you have gone through or witnessed someone going through divorce?
You may be talking about how the lawn needs mowing and the next thing you know, you are screaming about how HE bought his girlfriend a new car. This happens when you are filled with anger, rage, hurt, fear and overall sadness. Your emotions just escalate and are ready, at any moment, to explode.
The Everest Syndrome
I call this phenomenon "The Everest Syndrome" - you shoot right up Mount Everest in a nano second and all bets are off for any positive outcome.
There is no room for healthy conversation or collaborate communication to create productive solutions. Everyone feels worse as a result, and it keeps you in a negative cycle. This not only wears on your self esteem, but also negatively impacts your emotional and physical well being.
Getting Perspective Can Help
Most people might view this as a self control problem. But in reality, it’s not. It’s really about not being grounded and having perspective.
During divorce, the only way to have true perspective is to be focused on your priorities and end goals.
Ever notice how when you are driving and following your GPS, you don’t really notice much along the way? You are so laser focused on following the directions to get to your end point destination that you couldn't recount much of what you passed during the drive.
Stay Focused On Your End Goal
This dynamic of having virtual blinders on is true for any challenging experience in life.
In the case of divorce, where it is so easy to get derailed and fall into the trap of repeating the same old conversations and arguments, it’s imperative to know and stay focused on what your end goals are if you are to avoid "Everesting" when talking to your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Perspective is achieved when you are aware and in touch with the desired outcomes and goals you most want for your life post divorce. Defining your goals ("destination") involves knowing your priorities and having them in focus at all times.
Questions to Help You Define Your Goals
Ask yourself the following general questions:
Digging deeper and answer these questions:
Perspective is a Process
With these self-focused desired outcomes top of mind, you will be more apt to keep blinders on and not getting derailed as easily when emotions run high during interactions with your soon-to-be Ex.
You will gain more perspective, enabling you to step back, fall into a grounded state thereby reducing the the fever pitch feelings that might otherwise be right below the surface.
You will start to view that which is not vital to getting to your end goals as a waste of time, and not be as primed to take the bate when disagreements arise. Over time, this will lessen the chances of discussions digressing into unproductive debates and screaming matches.
As a Divorce Coach, I've seen what goal setting can do to maintain a laser focus on the big picture and minimize unproductive outbursts that only serve to waste time, lower one's vibration and increase legal bills.
But remember, Rome wasn't built in a day. Like anything else in the face of difficult life changes, getting centered is a process. Saying your goals out loud and visualizing the desired outcomes daily as if they already exist will reinforce their importance for when you are faced with a potential Everest moment.
With the breakup of a marriage, the tragic fact is that either one person or both will be moving and changing residences.
Home Is Your Safe Place
Since our home is our safe place and sanctuary, changing where we live is one of the most emotionally charged and even traumatic experiences of the divorce process. And, it affects everyone in the family.
Your home provides comfort, a sense of stability, and it is the place that is tied to so many memories. Unlike many other changes during divorce, (except for issues concerning our children), moving out of your residence during divorce and its impact on one's state of emotional well-being is quite profound.
Moving Shakes Stability
Moving changes your sense of routine and grounding under the best of circumstances, so when it’s something you must do because you are breaking up a marriage, the negative effects are numerous. They include feeling displaced, a shake-up in one's identity, great sadness, anxiety and even depression.
Get Heart Centered - Create a "Home Vision"
The transition of moving out of your home to a new and unfamiliar space is a process. While there are lots of practical issues that have to be dealt with when changing residences, I want to focus here on how to address the internal struggles and some ways to minimize the pain of this transition.
Getting out of your head and becoming heart-centered is a great place to start. There will be plenty of time and professionals to assist you with the practical aspects of your residence change. Take some time to reflect and write out what your vision is for your new home and living situation.
What are the features that best suit your day to day living and enable peace of mind through the divorce transition and beyond?
Define Your New Home
Your new home will become your new safe space. Therefore, determining the type of residence and the specific characteristics that you desire is a first step to ensuring long term that your new home will provide comfort and refuge.
Reflect on what type of residence will best fit your lifestyle. For example, private house, apartment, condo, etc. Ask yourself which rooms and spaces have the most significance and say “home” to you - the kitchen, a family room, a backyard.
List your desires in order of importance and determine which ones are non-negotiable for you and your new life.
Feeling like your soon-to-be ex-spouse, the judge and even your attorney for that matter, are in control of outcomes during divorce is not uncommon, particularly when your life is changing so rapidly. This is especially true when circumstances dictate that you must uproot and move.
Imagining and writing down your home vision enables empowerment and grounding as well as a sense of control in a situation that feels like everything is out of control.
Embrace the Positives
In spite of the change in living quarters and the sadness and anxiety that accompanies it, "feel" the positives that may come with this new space. Is there anything you will be gaining that really pleases you?
If you can find one or two things, keep your focus on this and embrace the joy that comes with these thoughts.
Establish Home Goals
Goals are key when going through any life transition. When it comes to starting life in your new home, create a plan of action for transforming it into a space that reflects your unique personality, habits and lifestyle.
Start to envision the way you will be living day to day, with your kids, extended family, friends and pets. Think ahead to joyous occasions and holidays and the integral role your new home will play in building new, meaningful memories.
"Feel" the happiness of these new visions and in so doing, you will start to invent a new home life future before it has even begun!
Schedule a Strategy Call Today.
If you know the feeling of OVERWHELM during divorce, you are probably wondering - is there an end in sight??
I know how it feels - getting hit from every direction during divorce - especially in the early stages.
The beginning stages bring with it the first wave of financial concerns - lawyer retainers, net worth statements, temporary support and the uncertainty of how much money you will receive or have to pay long-term and the impact on your day to day living.
Living and housing considerations include the stress of one person moving out (another expense and unnerving experience) or both residing together until the divorce is final (which can be a nightmare in itself).
Then there's the issue of the children and creating new and often challenging (and stressful for all) visitation schedules.
Plethora of Long-Term Uncertainties
Long-term concerns include the division of assets, breaking up joint household arrangements like insurance (car, health, homeowners, and life) dividing belongings, taxes, selling of a marital home (if applicable), credit and new loan issues, getting back into the workplace, new schedules and responsibilities as a single person, how to deal with family events, holidays and celebrations, adjusting to single parenthood and co-parenting.
All this while trying to do the day to day life responsibilities and go to work.
And lest we forget the title wave of emotional upheaval that comes with breaking up a marriage and family - sadness, anger, fear, anxiety, guilt, loss of identity, feeling displaced, exhaustion, etc etc. WHEW! I'm exhausted just writing this!
The Problem - Going It Alone
Most people have the misguided idea that they have to bear the burden of all of this alone. This takes an already daunting situation and magnifies it further. The result is feeling consistently stressed, an inability to relax, which can lead to lack of sleep, unhealthy eating (either over or under eating) a state of mind that is NOT well suited for thinking clearly and making the best decisions for yourself and your future. Oftentimes, this leads to being so overloaded that you just feel stuck.
The Solution - Getting Support
The solution is really quite simple - Get Support! Having the support of friends and family who make you feel good and are there to lend an ear or lend a hand to ease the overwhelm of your new lifestyle and the legal process is vital.
Professional support, such as a therapist or coach will provide much needed help in shouldering the burden so you can take one step at a time. The result will be clearer thinking and workable action plans to manage the whole enchilada.
This is a great antidote for relieving stress, overwhelm and feeling stuck, and allowing you to see some light at the end of the tunnel. In this way, it becomes easier to move forward empowered, and implement a well-thought out methodical and manageable plan for each issue of concern.
I’ve witnessed the transformation that occurs when objectivity and support is present to get through divorce, making it easier to breath and attack each issue with clarity for self-serving results.
Be kind to yourself and get support in managing all of the elements thrown at you throughout the divorce process. You should not shoulder this overwhelming experience alone.
Schedule a Strategy Call today.
Ever wonder why so many people are angry about their divorce settlement?
I was like most people, and got my divorce law "education" from television and the movies, believing those expressions, "I will take him to the cleaners" or "She will get nothing."
And in TV programs and movies, there is always a victorious party (usually the protagonist) who gets everything they want (and believe they deserve), while the other party gets nothing.
No wonder so many people have a false expectation with their own divorces. The truth is, this is not how real life and the law work. To think like this is just setting yourself up for disappointment and emotional upset when it comes to the outcome of your divorce.
Having Unrealistic Expectations Sets You Up To Be Angry
Having unrealistic expectations is usually the result of not having a basic, working knowledge of divorce law and the basis for which decisions are rendered by the court.
An inability to manage expectations causes tremendous stress, which can manifest in feeling that your attorney is not on your side. This is because he/she is coming from a perspective of working within the parameters of the law and the formulas and norms used to render decisions pertaining to asset division, spousal/child support, visitation and many other aspects dealing with marital breakup. This can result in the all too common “victim mentality” that everyone - the judge and even your lawyer are against you.
Know the Basics About Divorce Law in Your State
Having a general understanding of the basic divorce laws in your state can do wonders for managing those unrealistic expectations and facilitating clarity and a sense of empowerment during divorce.
For example, knowing if you live in a no-fault state, and that alimony (“spousal support”) and child support are figured out based on formulas rather than arbitrarily decided upon, are only a few of the facts that will help you when beginning your divorce journey.
Managing Expectations Saves Time and Money
Being forearmed with as much knowledge as possible about the basic laws and possible outcomes of your divorce settlement will help you manage your expectations and feel less like a victim. Empowering yourself in this way will also reduce stress, minimize unnecessary arguing, save you precious time and valuable money.
Knowledge is power when navigating divorce and your best investment for a successful outcome!
Did you know that men have a more difficult time with divorce recovery than women?
Research has shown that divorce is harder on men than on women AND generally speaking, men have more to lose in terms of both happiness and health. Here are 5 factors that contribute.
Men Avoid Grieving
Men are not apt to allow themselves to feel the sadness, vulnerability and loss of control that accompanies divorce. Because they pride themselves in being the emotionally stronger sex, they often keep their emotions bottled up, and often resort to self destructive behaviors like drinking or harmful sexual behavior.
Lack of Emotional Connections
In marriage, men are reliant on their wives for the emotional support since women are natural caretakers. She is often their confidant, listener, friend and even therapist. Men take pride in being strong and able to handle things alone so unlike women, do not express their emotions as freely with others. This can lead to health problems including insomnia, weight loss or gain, anxiety, and depression.
New obligations in the way of alimony, child support and supporting two households can cause much stress in balancing finances.
Loss of Family Structure
Since most times, it is the man who leaves, so they are often the one to lose the comfort and safety of their home, the family structure and daily physical contact with their children.
Moving Too Fast
Skipping the grieving process and connecting to themselves often leads to "getting back out there" as a way to avoid the pain and thus heal. This often leads to troubled relationships and, more likely, divorce in their second marriage.
Coaching is a valuable option as a safe space for opening up about the challenges experienced during this traumatic, transitional time. It can provide support for dealing with the emotional impact of divorce and a roadmap for moving forward in a healthy manner for mind, body and spirit.
These days it's a rare occasion that I'll meander into my teenage daughters' rooms as I'm usually met with a tornado-like scene. Clothes strewn all over, an unmade bed, empty shopping bags, empty Starbucks cups on the dresser are the likes to which I am usually greeted. This disorganized mess is the spark that turns me into a nagging, lecturing mother, "how can you even think in this mess?!"
Of course disorganization is not just limited to teenagers. People of all ages can find themselves surrounded by clutter and in a state of disorganization which is not beneficial to our health. In a 2014 issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers found that people with clutter have a harder time processing information and have difficulty making decisions.
So, as you embark on the new year, consider adding decluttering and getting organized to your 2023 goals and enjoy some of the following benefits.
1. Reduces Stress
There is evidence that living in a state of organization can actually reduce stress. According to a 2012 study, women who shared that their home environments were not organized actually had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than those women who described their homes as orderly. Existing in this stressed state is not healthy. Therefore, with a little clutter clean up, it stands to reason that you will lower stress and even reduce some anxiety.
2. Increases Self Confidence
According to Carolyn Verhoef, Life Organizing Coach, "Getting organized is a powerfully resilient way to build your self-confidence. What’s even better is it will also build confidence and a sense of security in those around you." Think about how much more empowered you feel when you know where things are or when you have your thoughts in order by composing a to do list with which to work from throughout the day. It gives you a sense of being in control as the commander of your world and your environment.
3. Makes You More Productive
Being organized in your physical environment as well as your mental state goes a long way to up-leveling productivity. Knowing where things are in your home and office allows you to access what you need quicker and more easily, thereby allowing you to focus on the task at hand. In the same way, having your thoughts, activities and work laid out in an orderly fashion - set to goals and specific time frames - enables smoother follow through. According to an article from The University of Rochester, "When you are organized ...you can prioritize work and excel, which aids your career progress and life success."
4. Enables Better Sleep
Let's face it, we've all been there - preoccupied and unable to rest peacefully at night because we are distracted with all the things we need to do. When you prioritize organization, you give yourself time to focus on what really matters, like your much-needed sleep, because you can rest assured that everything is in its proper place with a plan of action for getting things done.
5. Frees Up Time
When you know where things are, what you have to do and where you have to be, you will have an easier time getting tasks done quickly without unnecessary distractions or interruptions. You minimize time wasting endeavors like looking for needed things or trying to figure out what you are supposed to do next. A recent survey conducted by the National Association for Professional Organizers in 2015, found that over a third of readers were overwhelmed by their clutter. Living more organized allows for being more efficient, and as a result, leaves more time for doing what you love to do and be happy. Studies show that when your mood is elevated, your immune system is too, while cortisol levels are lowered. Both of these factors contribute to being healthier.
Love & Light,