Battling Happiness In Your Relationships

Toshiba Digital CameraHave you ever wondered what you can do differently in order to make a failing relationship work? Do you feel like you’ve tried everything, but nothing seems to help? You’re not alone. I would venture to say almost every household has at least one relationship that seems to have struggles, no matter what those in it try to do.

I write this as I prepare to fly to Utah to work in the desert with at risk youth. As part of my preparation I read Leadership and Self Deception, as well as The Anatomy Of Peace, both written by the Arbinger Institute. In it, the books describe why actions alone don’t change anything, unless you change your “way of being”. I’ll go on to explain this in further detail in a moment, but first think about one relationship, whether it’s at home, at work, at school or other that causes you sorrow.

Have you tried to reason with the other, compromise, ignore, even say I’m sorry and has any of that worked? Chances are it hasn’t because you haven’t changed your way of being in relation to the other.

I think about my kids as an example.

Prior to 2007 I was a stay at home mom of four beautiful children. I had a great relationship with each of them and I would dare to say we were inseparable. During the year of 2007 I went through a divorce and almost like a light switch was alienated from my kids. During the process I did everything I can to fight for them, win their love again and reason with their father and my kids. None of it worked.

Looking back I realized I did what everyone does in an attempt to “fix” something they perceive as broken, as wrong. They forget one very important element; the other.

There are many ways alienation happens. The act itself is abusive and wrong. Stopping it and turning it around on the other hand cannot be achieved by behavior alone.

The tool my ex used to alienate my kids from me was religion. As I fought for my kids to stay with me I did everything I could to convince them the way of life they were beginning to choose was wrong. I tried to show them examples. I even tried to do whatever they wanted and accept them. All that did was draw them further away from me, until they wanted nothing to do with me.

I realized later a key factor that drew me further away from my kids was my own discomfort with their way of life. I began to view them differently and made them “wrong”, even when I accepted them outwardly.

IMG_1812It was not until I truly saw my kids as who they were, as people and fully began to listen to them that I was able to begin healing our relationship. My kids and I still don’t live together, but when we do see each other it’s a loving experience. I’ve learned to let go of how things “have to be” and allowed the way things are currently. It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know that every exchange I have with them is done through a sense of learning about them, rather than trying to fix them.

When I tried to “save” them and keep them living with me I viewed my kids as being unreasonable, being coerced into a life they didn’t want. Whether all that is true didn’t help.

Many times people do things that are wrong, such as my ex who essentially took the kids from me, but trying to fix the situation, whether it would be through fighting with the courts, crying to my kids about the “truth” of their father or even ignoring and trying to accept the situation won’t keep it from happening or getting worse.

My example is an extreme example but think about it. Do you know anyone who likes to get criticized? What about the time you apologized to stop an argument but didn’t mean it? Did it work? Probably not and in many cases most likely escalated the situation.

Here’s the “secret” to changing this cycle.

Very simply put, the key is to understand you are part of the problem. You are the one that needs to change first. We are so busy trying to change others, blaming them for all the problems and we wonder why nothing changes. Even if we take partial responsibility many times we still wait for the other to change. As long as we do that nothing will change. We need to stop waiting for the other and look at ourselves. Arbinger refers to this as being in the “box”. As long as we are in our box we don’t see the other completely and we won’t be open to changing ourselves and therefore our relationship. If we leave the box that’s when the magic happens.

The next thing we need to do is look at the other as a person. Many times all we care about is our agenda. For example all I wanted was my kids to like me and stay with me as before. I forgot to look at them and see who they were completely. As long as we try to fix someone we don’t see them as a person, but rather as an object or something inferior to ourselves. The very act of criticism means you don’t see the other. Contrary to popular belief there’s no such thing as constructive criticism.  As I said before no one responds well to any form of criticism. No one wants to feel that they’re broken and, when you share anything the other person should do to “fix” the problem you are basically telling them they are broken and you don’t see them as a whole person.


Listen to them. I mean really listen to them completely. Try to understand not just what they are saying, but what they are feeling. Feel it with them and don’t correct them. Stephen Covey in the 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People shares this as one of the most powerful habits to change any relationship. We don’t listen. We correct. We bring our own two sense in. We share our side. But we don’t listen. Most relationship issues are as a result of not being heard.

I’ll never forget what my oldest daughter Dalia told me, during that fateful year of the divorce, after I pleaded with her to reconsider her extreme religious way of life. She said,

“Ima, you never listen to me.”

It still brings chills to my body. I always thought of myself as a good listener and I think I was. But the closer a relationship means to you. The more important it is, the more we fight to protect it and many times not in a constructive way. And so I did, without realizing I was just pulling her further away from me.

Ariella in camp 2004 g

This is not to say when someone does something wrong or illegal there shouldn’t be consequences. Of course there should be, but if you apply consequence, while seeing the other as a real person, with complete love and no anger than change will happen automatically. Think of it this way. Have you ever been punished by 2 people; one you would’ve done anything for and the other you couldn’t wait to pay him back? Which person’s punishment worked? Probably the person who you admired.

An example of this was when I was in 6th grade my principle came into my class with a very stern look on his face. That particular year we had a lot of bullying and after many attempts to stop the bullying nothing worked. He came in and in a low subdued town told us we all had Sunday school indefinitely. The look of disappoint was written all over his face. We all idolized him. We loved him and every admonishment her gave us had so much love written all over it, we didn’t take it as “we are bad”. We took it as, “I can’t disappoint this man again”. When he walked out we all looked at eachother and began to hug one another. The bullying stopped almost immediately.

In contrast we had a teacher, named Mrs. McDonald who spent almost the whole class telling us how we were the worst class she ever had. All this did was provoke us in finding new ways to torture her. It got so out of hand that one day I found myself standing on my chair and began a chorus of, “Old McDonald had a farm”. The whole class chimed in. She ran out horrified.

There’s a big difference in criticism, punishment and creating lasting change. It’s all on how you view the other that will make the change you seek.

In conclusion every relationship gives us an opportunity to leave our “box”, our justifying, critical way of being with others. If you find yourself feeling frustrated, angry and critical of any person in your life there’s a chance you feel that way often and about many other people. You now have a chance to leave your box and begin to change your way of being and find happiness withing yourself and all those around you.

Listen To Me Dammit

IMG_20140308_131255~2 One of the key things to a thriving, happy relationship is the art of Listening. From the time we are born we are taught to walk, speak, play, write, do math and many other important skills. But almost no one is taught how to communicate effectively, how to listen and how to create a lasting relationship.

So many of us think that a happy relationship is about doing things for people, “being” there for our beloved and they reciprocating the same thing. Although those are powerful contributing factors to a strong relationship it is not key to one. Learning to listen to making sure your partner feels understood and feels safe to share his or her most intimate feelings is key. Without that ingredient you will find yourself replaying the same arguments, the same frustration and the same heartbreak. Without learning to listen the unending storm will never be able to pass.


According to “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People”, by Stephen Covey he talks about the power of what true listening can do. When we listen openly, allow ourselves to be influenced by the other person, then and only then can we truly have an influence on the other. Most people do it backwards. They prepare their side, why it’s right and find strategies to convince the other to come to their side, without ever truly giving their partner a chance to be heard.

If you think about it, what do you usually do when you are listening to someone? Think about it for a second. 1.Are you simply there just listening? 2. Are you letting your mind wander to why that person is right or wrong,  3.or are you perhaps forming your reply?

Most people are either doing 2 or 3 or perhaps both. When you behave in this way you are not listening and you are definitely not open, not allowing yourself to be influenced.

Most people that call me for coaching, begin their conversation with their amazement by how horrible their partner’s behavior has been. They go on and on by all they have done, how they’ve been there for them and how their partner has hurt them.  Most of those client’s bitterness was a result of lack of communication and connection. Without that resentment brews because we all want to be heard and understood, especially by our beloved.

Suggestions in implementing authentic listening.

Take the time to practice this skill together and teach it to your children, friends and co workers. This skill is life changing for any relationship.

Sit with your partner and let him or her begin to speak. Everything that is said you respond by reflection, not by correction, advice ect.. When feeling is relayed reflection becomes even more key.

For example,

Jane talks to her husband Jack. She frustrated by his lack of care in keeping the house tidy. She begins her conversation,

Jane: “I’m really frustrated. The house seems to be always messy no matter how much I clean.”

Jack: reflects. ” You’re really frustrated by the messiness of the house..”.

Jane:, “Yea, I know how busy you are and stressed. I wished you could help out more.”

Jack: “You’re upset because I don’t help out enough?”

Jane: “Well yea. You do a lot. I know you do. I guess maybe I wish we had a little more help. What do you think about getting a maid once a week?”

At this point, because all Jack did was reflect and gently listen to her without judgement and defensiveness Jane naturally came up with a possible solution where Jack might not feel pressured. When we truly listen, without preparing a response, without feeling defensive, even if some of those feelings are directed at us the one who’s talking will feel safe enough and begin to find a possible solution on their own.

The art of listening takes practice so take the time during a night out for dinner, sitting on a park bench or simply relaxing on your living room coach. By practicing this powerful tool you will set yourself up to a long lasting, loving relationship.

Forgiveness; A New Beginning

Forgiveness is something we all like to think we can easily practice, yet many times struggle with in the course of our lives. No matter how trivial or astronomical of a problem, we tend to hold onto our judgements, anger and even hatred.

Why is that, when most of us think of ourselves as loving and easy going individuals?

We have a hard time with forgiveness because our mind gets in the way. The hypothalamus, an ancient part of our brain that’s programmed for survival kicks in when it feels it’s being attacked. It doesn’t know the difference between a physical attack or mental attack. All it knows is “this is wrong” and it will do everything to stop it. They hypothalamus is not programmed for us to be happy, at peace or thrive. It’s meant to help us survive. That’s it!

Forgiveness comes from below the brain, the heart. When we turn off the part of our mind that over analyzes why we are right, or plans an attack, or finds more reasons to feel sorry for ourselves we have a chance to experience

Forgiveness takes an understanding that we forgive, not by condoning one’s actions, but by letting go of the pain, the past, the story attached to it. We forgive so we can move on. Without forgiveness there is no way we truly let go of the event, and in essence we relive the pain over and over again, through our anger, justification and hurt. Through forgiveness we can finally move on from the pain that brought us there. We are freed. In essence we forgive for us, not for the person that committed the “wrong doing.” We can only be freed from forgiveness if we truly forgive, rather than simply saying “ I forgive you.” and hope the pain will go away. Many of us go through the motions but don’t have any heart in
what we’re doing. The magic only happens when we truly let go.

Letting go comes from an understanding that no matter how painful of a situation, no matter how wrong it seems the person who acted “unjustly” was acting from a place where he or she was trying to meet a critical need of his or hers and had no knowledge of how to accomplish this in any other way. Perhaps that was the only way they knew how to get the job done.

You see, everything we do, every action we take is to meet one of our basic human needs. The higher the need is to us the stronger our actions will be to fulfill them. Another way to let go and come to forgiveness is to see yourself in this person, and similar actions you might’ve done. Everything and everyone in our life is a mirror. We can’t see something in someone if it’s not true in ourselves. This is true with constructive and destructive behavior as well. Perhaps we haven’t committed the behavior in the extremity you experienced, but if it’s in our lives, if we see it in others than we have it to.

For example, take a child who’s being abused by her parent. Chances are she doesn’t go around beating her parent back, but she might go to school and bully a classmate or act out in class. She has similar behavior to her parent.

Esther On Pikes Peak

Eva Mozes Kor, an Auschwitz survivor, one who was subject to Dr. Mengela’s inhumane experiments was one of the first known woman to openly forgive her persecutors. She explained there’s no other way to live than to forgive. Holding onto anger and judgement poisons the body and weakens the soul. She never condoned they’re actions and even went onto building a holocaust museum. She taught, in the most eloquent, harmonious way what the power of forgiveness can do.

Immaculée Ilibagiza, a Ruwandan holocaust survivor wrote a book entitled Left To Tell where she talks about the horrors of the holocaust and how she came to forgive the killers of her family and village. She explained that by not forgiving she was no different than the killers of her family. A devout catholic, she turned to her prayers for answers and in it she realized the only way toward God and peace was through forgiveness.

I too had a chance to practice forgiveness in my life. Although not as dramatic, I had a hard time forgiving my father, who almost killed me several times in my life and later my abusive husband. I was able to forgive them by coming to an understanding that everyone that comes into our lives, no matter how briefly, as an angel and is there to help us with something; whether it’s to understand a difficult concept or to experience something our soul perhaps wanted to experience. The more I realized this, the easier the process was for me to forgive.

Esther Dance Pic

With the New Year just behind us, there is still a lot of built up anger, fear and grief over family conflicts, the stress of debt accumulation and the anxiety of finding a way to make this year better than the last. It’s an end but also a new beginning and with that an opportunity to let go of some long built up anger and pain.

I have a saying.

“To Every End Despite How Tragic Is The Light To A Beautiful Beginning”

I think of 9/11 as a great example of how the country, even the world seemed to come together. The tragedy was monumental, but seeing the kindness of strangers from around the world come to together with support made me focus on that, rather than the horror of that day. It was in this way I was able to let go of my anger and fear from terrorist acts by changing my focus. If we can forgive and let go of anger from the most vicious killers than perhaps we can begin to forgive our family, friends, clients and partners.


A great exercise in bringing forgiveness closer to you is to write a letter to the person. You don’t ever have to send it, but write down all your thoughts, all your hurt and then begin to write why you’re forgiving this person, how he or she is your angel and why you are thankful for the situation.

In closing forgiveness is a process. For most of us it doesn’t happen overnight and that’s ok. But if you really want to forgive by finding the blessings, the angel behind the demon and theunderstanding you are ready to be freed of the story, the easier and quicker forgiveness will happen.

Thankful Stress

esther-adler-19November is upon us and with it comes the stream of holidays. I’ve already seen Christmas decorations up and Thanksgiving hasn’t even come and passed. The holidays swings everyone into a rush of conflicting emotions,  joy, love and for many stress and depression. The holiday season is a reminder of what we have to be thankful for, connection to our family and for those in grief a reminder of what and whom we’ve lost. It’s no coincidence that this time of year has the highest suicide rate. It’s not so much the cold, gray weather but more so the loneliness and grief so many feel during the festivities all around them. It’s a time that so many feel even lonelier amongst the chaos and bustling surrounding them.

The holidays also tend to create more stress in relationships. With the pressure of family get togethers, added cooking, and buying gifts, couples that otherwise have healthy relationships can find themselves at each others throats. Many separations take place during this time. The cracks in the relationship cause small stresses to spiral out of control.

What can you do to ensure you and your loved ones enjoy a truly happy and Thankful season?

I once saw a talk that Tony Robbins gave on the day of the September 11th attacks. It was during a conference he was leading in Hawaii and he first thought of cancelling the seminar, but then decided to use the trauma as a learning experience for all.

One of the first things he began with was making the audience aware that whatever emotions they were feeling were their “go to” emotions. If they were angry because of the attacks they got angry at every chance in other areas of their life as well. If they were grief stricken and sad then those same people found reasons to be sad before any other emotions emerged. The people who felt guilty also felt guilty before the attacks and so on. In other words the attacks were just another reason to get sad, angry, afraid and so on. Your primary emotion is something you feel whenever something happens in life. There’s a reason this happens. It’s to fill a need, whether it’s significance, certainty, or love and connection.

Understanding your “go to” emotions will help you see how you deal with stress. It will also tell you which need is your primary need and what vehicles you use to acquire it. If you experience anger before sadness. You seek out significance and certainty in life above all else. If you get sad first then love and connection is your primary need. This does not mean the needs you choose to experience are your chore needs. They are just the ones you are acting on at the moment.

IMG_1812When stressful events happens in life, the desire to get your primary needs met becomes more intense. If you’re highest need is certainty and you’re going through a divorce you might work harder, eat out less, and fight tooth and nail with your ex to ensure the same style of life you lived when together.

If your highest need is love and connection and you are going through a divorce you might seek out peaceful resolution or start a war with your ex. You might seek out old friends or create new ones.

We all have productive and destructive ways of meeting our needs, but when going through stress many of us turn to a more destructive way of getting the job done. Our emotions take over and we will do anything we can to ensure our needs are met.

During the talk I saw with Tony Robbins he brought two men together, one an Arab from Pakistan and one a Jew from Brooklyn. They both hated each other at first, especially given the circumstances of 9/11. During a process Tony put them through he helped them to realize how alike they were and that they both had the same needs and desires. They ended the day as friends and even created a foundation together to help teach peace amongst Arabs and Jews.

When you find yourself fighting with your spouse, feeling alone and overwhelmed with grief take a moment to understand what are the benefits you are gaining from those intense emotions. Make a list to see the benefits that anger, grief, sadness is giving you. Understand what arguing with your spouse provides.

Maybe you are seeking connection and the only way you know how is by starting an argument. Perhaps you lost someone close to you and the only way to keep them alive in your mind is to go over and over how much you miss them. Maybe you’re dealing with a separation and the only way to feel significant is by making the process painful for your ex.

When we become aware of what needs we are acting on we can begin to choose vehicles that will better serve us and help us get to our chore needs, which for most of us is love and connection.

If you’ve lost someone this year, the holidays can be especially difficult. It’s important to surround yourself with friends, family who support you and a guide, counselor or coach who can help you deal with your conflicting emotions that come up. It’s normal to at first feel like you’re dealing with things well and then a surge of emotions seem to come out of nowhere. It’s during these times that support is essential. Not everyone has the “Sex And The City” group of friends or a sister or mother to talk to. If you don’t have it you need to create it.

On the other side of a stressful fall and winter holiday season is the peace and solace that holiday magic can bring. Getting to a place where you can enjoy the gifts around you is possible no matter what your story is. It’s a matter of setting yourself up to enjoy it.

Holding onto debilitating thoughts


Yesterday I had a conversation with a friend about coping and handling injustices in life.

What I’ve found to be true in life is, The way we do anything is the way we do everything.

When struggles and what we deem injustices happen we all react and handle them differently. The truth is the way we react to these situations is exactly how we act and better yet react to every life situation. This huge challenge is just another opportunity for us to do the same thing or to make a new change in how we approach the situation.

For example,

We were talking about my situation in dealing with Parental Alienation and how to not only help me but my kids through it. My friend became furious for me at the injustice of the situation and kept demanding I force my kids to be more in my life, since I’m the mother.

I explained to her that using that approach would only bring psychological trauma to my kids and would not bring them closer to me, but by me constantly being there for them, letting them know how much I love them and still living the best life I can for me, would not only serve as a great example to my kids on how to live in joy but it would give them the room to think on their own and enter my life on their accord.

I also explained that approaching a situation from anger, disgust and helplessness will only create caos in your mind and lead to more of that.

Rather when you approach every situation from a place of distance compassion, acceptance and love it leaves room to heal and to find other alternatives to help the situation. In truth, real love is not about receiving, but about giving what’s inside of you as an expression of an overflow of who you are. Our children whether they are in your life and living in a happy family setting or whether you are experiencing conflict you always have the opportunity to find love and acceptance in the situation. This doesn’t mean condoning actions that cause pain but an acceptance of what is.

In all honesty it took me a long time to gain this perspective. The alienation I went through was probably the hardest and most painful thing I’ve ever been through. I had a choice to live in misery and pain and eventually live a life of emotional death or find the blessings, opportunities and love in the situation.

Through the acceptance of my situation I’ve been able to publish a book, become a national speaker and trainer and coach people toward a healthy and loving relationship. It was through my unbearing pain and thirst for loving relationship that I created happiness.

You always have a choice on how you approach every situation. You can either find the injustice and pain or you can find the opportunities and truth, otherwise known as love through the life circumstance. Love is the strongest thing in the universe.

Guest Post: 6 Ways To Regain Your Self-Esteem and Self-Worth After Divorce by: Amy C. Fountain

Parting ways is always difficult. It can be a huge emotional blow to the people concerned, especially when they are already experiencing the aftermath of a failed marriage. Aside from sadness and regret, divorce also damages the person’s self-esteem because of the feeling of being unwanted or undeserving.
Inspite of all the negative effects of divorce, the people affected by it have the obligation to move on and recover from the slump in order to regain control of their lives and start over. To help out, here are some helpful tools on how one can bring back the lost confidence and self-worth after getting divorced.

1. Work out. Aside from making you look better physically, working out also helps a person focus less on the bad aftertaste of separation. Also, being fit allows you to do more things; thus, boosting your self-esteem and opening yourself to possibilities again.

2. Seek the company of friends. Having a good support group at this point of your life can help you move forward by giving you the opportunity to share and discuss your feelings. Aside from this, your friends will also provide you with a lot of encouragement to take chances.

3. Reconnect with your family. What better way is there to be reminded that you are loved than being with people who love you unconditionally? Get in touch with your siblings for some quality time together, or take a visit to your parents and you’ll do yourself and your family a great favor.

4. Pursue an old passion. Sometimes, people give up on certain things that they used to be passionate about in exchange for married life. Be it an old hobby, an advocacy, or craft – take the chance to chase after them again. Not only will this provide some distraction, but it will also allow you to feel how it’s like to do something you love and be good at it.

5. Learn or do something new. Challenging yourself is always a good way to regain self-esteem. Do something you haven’t done before, go to an unfamiliar place, or learn a new skill – these things will restore your passion for life and bolster your confidence.

6. Treat yourself. Appreciation should start with oneself. Take the time to rejuvenate and pamper yourself as a reward for having gone through some rough times. Take a trip to the spa, get a new wardrobe or travel – remind yourself that you deserve to feel good.

Amy C. Fountain is a blogger and a working mom who likes to help people build better relationships with their families and themselves through her writing contributions. She also assists people in decorating their homes with accent pieces like Glass Vases and Desk Fountains

Guest Post – Are You Getting The Right Legal Help When It Comes To Divorce?

Even though the 2011 census showed that New Jersey has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country, there are still those who insist on ruining New Jersey’s good record.

(Photo Credits: jcoterhals)

Questions That You Need To Have Answered

Find out the last time that your lawyer was actually in divorce court. If they even hint at the fact that that they haven’t been, and they tell you not to worry because it’s no different than any other lawsuit—run for the hills and look elsewhere. Find out how much this is going to cost you in services and fees because there are more fees than you can shake a judge’s gavel at for:

  • filing fees
  • fees for the process server
  • transcripts deposition
  • court fees and more

It’s also important to ask your divorce lawyer whether they will be handling your case or passing it off to their “Hi, I just graduated law school” assistant. Larger firms frequently lure you in with one of their most successful and experienced divorce lawyers but then pass off your case to one of their less experienced legal representatives. You’ve just gone from having the big guns on your side to some little pipsqueak with a pea shooter.

Is Your Lawyer Experienced?

Much of the time cases can be settled out of court (ideally that’s what most parties are normally striving for). A more personal environment, fewer fees and less stress can all be perks for settling out of court. But is your lawyer willing to take your case to trial if it becomes an absolute necessity? There are lawyers who concentrate on default divorces or no fault divorces exclusively. You have to decide whether or not that may or may not fit your needs.

You might need someone with the knowledge and competence to stand up for your rights in court. And if this is their first ever divorce representation (and this may seem cruel), ask for someone else. Granted, they need to get experience somewhere; but do they need to get that experience through one of the most devastatingly important circumstances of your very lifetime?

Share And Share Alike

Your lawyer should be sharing with you their strategic, yet flexible, plan. They should absolutely, positively take no more than a two-day maximum period of time in which to answer any phone call from you and your divorce lawyer should at all times act courteously and professionally. You in turn must share any and all information with your lawyer that is pertinent to your divorce case.

You may not always see eye to eye when it comes to your lawyer’s recommendations, and that’s OK; by the time you go to trial (if your divorce does indeed have to go to trial), you will need to be on the same page. Consider what they’re saying because they’ve done this before and are experienced in divorce proceedings. (Remember? We cleared that up earlier.) Ignoring your attorney’s advice on a consistent basis could end up in the two of you parting ways and you having to start again from point A.

See, now you have to divorce your attorney!

(Photo Credits: Jerry Bunkers)

Getting To Know You

When you first sit down with your lawyer for the first few consultations, you may go through a ‘getting to know you’ period. You’re going to be emotional and emotions can’t help but influence our decisions. Your attorney on the other hand, can step back and see things from a wider view with a calmer frame of mind.

Emotions and legal proceedings do not go together well. Let the experts handle your divorce case with their expertise. What you shouldn’t expect from your divorce lawyer is miracles and magic. What you can expect is legal representation to defend your rights as they apply to your newly single life in general, your assets and your children.

Feel out your attorney before you sign on that dotted line. It’s your money and it’s your divorce; you have to be comfortable with the person representing you; God knows it’s going to be hard enough to be comfortable with anything else. Everything is going to change from here to the end. Nothing is going to be the way you knew it once was ever again. You need someone special to go through that with you.

But Perhaps What You Need Is Not A Lawyer!

Truth be told, lawyers do have their own agendas and more often than not, you will find that the lawyer you have hired imposed more ideas and decisions on you than the issues in your marriage that caused the breakdown between you and your soon-to-be ex. With a lawyer, what you will be going through is known as a litigated divorce. But if you are looking for an amicable way to handle the divorce while getting what both of you want as the conditions for the divorce, try taking a look at mediation. It is where the right legal help may actually be for you!



Maryana Kanda, an accredited family and divorce NJ mediator, knows the importance of providing the best legal advice in a divorce.

Guest Post Karen McMahon: Free Ebook For Navigating Your Divorce

Here is a wonderful guide to those beginning the separation and divorce process from my friend Karen McMahon, divorce coach extraordinaire.

A Road Map for Navigating Your Divorce

Every step of divorce from the moment you consider your marriage may be over to the signing of the final divorce agreement awash in emotions such as confusion, fear and anger. Especially in the early stages, where does one turn for guidance and support?

“Navigating Your Divorce: The emotional, financial and legal basics”, is a free easy-to-read guide that offers a road-map through the myriad of topics, questions and decisions that you will be facing.

Unlike any other book on the market, this ebook is not only free and easily accessible; it also offers a unique 3-pronged approach to negotiating this challenging time. In collaboration Karen McMahon, Ivy Menchel and Deborah Hrbek have created this valuable resource with the intention to help thousands of people who are looking for guidance in this area. The combined years of experience and scope of expertise of these authors provides priceless insight and guidance for those in need.

With dozens of resource links throughout the book, you have access to a wide variety of tools and strategies to help you through the choppy emotional waters, the critical financial decisions and the sometimes-overwhelming legal options that come with this stormy season. It is our hope that you will find comfort, guidance and encouragement in the pages of this book.

What Happens to Your Debt When You Get Divorced?

Guest Post by

Divorce can be a harrowing ordeal, and the state of your debts may not be a top priority during this time. But sorting out your debts now can save you from a lot of grief in years to come and can prevent certain negative information from appearing on your credit report. Otherwise, your ex-husband’s debt can still affect your credit standing down the road, potentially disqualifying you for lower interest rates or stopping you from opening new lines of credit altogether.

Divorce itself won’t harm your credit standing, but it’s easy to fall behind on bills during this time. Be sure to keep up with bill payments to avoid harming your credit standing. And take action now to separate accounts so as to ensure that your credit standing is safeguarded from your ex’s activity.

To separate your accounts, first request copies of your credit reports. You’re eligible to receive a free copy of each of your three credit reports once every 12 months. The report will list all your debts, ensuring that you don’t overlook any during your divorce proceedings. If you find anything that doesn’t seem right — such as a line of credit you don’t remember opening — don’t tell your future ex-spouse. Instead, just discuss the inconsistencies with your lawyer.

Once you’ve made sure you’re aware of every account with your name on it, you can then begin separating your accounts. Ideally, you should no longer have any joint accounts, accounts with both your name and your ex-husband’s name. This includes revolving accounts like credit cards as well as long-term loans like mortgages and auto loans.

After you’ve each discussed with your lawyers which debts you’re willing to take on individually, contact lenders directly. Ask that either your name or his name be removed from each account. Not every lender will agree to do this, so be prepared with a back-up plan. Ask if you can close the joint account and open a new, individual account to replace it.

In the case of credit cards, your best option is to pay off any outstanding balance and close the account. If you are unable to pay the balance in full, ask the creditor to freeze your account so that no further charges can be made. This is an important step because your husband may know your account number and security code, enabling him to continue using it for online purchases.

Remember that freezing the account will prevent you from using the card as well. If it’s possible, open a new line of credit to replace any old ones that you can no longer use.

Going through a divorce can be difficult emotionally and financially. But working out your finances now is the best option long-term.

Bio: America’s Debt Help Organization at is a company that helps people become more knowledgeable about their financial well-being. For All Your Debt Settlement and Debt Consolidation Needs.

If I Wanted To Leave, Then Why Do I Feel So Horrible?

Divorce is one of the greatest stressors experienced today. What many people don’t realize is even though it’s something they wanted, grief is a natural response. The simple reason that it’s new, different and maybe putting the divorcee in many unknown beginnings. This alone will create sheer terror. Fear is a result of walking into the unknown. Knowledge is the most powerful conqueror of fear. If we understand what’s in front of us, we are better prepared for it.

Mark Twain said it best,
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

When going through a divorce our life is thrown upside down, inside out and backwards. It’s hard for us to see the floor, let alone take a step forward, but understanding that fear is a normal emotional response to what is happening is a beginning step to moving through it. The first thing to understand is that what you might be feeling is anticipation or excitement. In fact there is a similar chemical reaction produced by the body when experiencing excitement and fear. Divorce can be an exciting time, a chance for a new beginning. Although there are unknowns, the possibilities are endless. Embracing the possibilities can help you find your footing and take the steps necessary to better your life.

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)

Think of a time that you were scared to do something, perhaps when you were a child, maybe it was getting on that two wheeler for the first time, or letting go of floating devices in a pool. Think about how it felt when you moved through that fear. What lies on the other side of fear is excitement and celebration. If we can take steps to move through our fears, knowing that on the other side is a big splashy celebration, it will be easier to arrive at our destination. The definition of fear, is the anticipation of pain. If we think we will experience pain before it actually happens, then we are either living in a past experiencing, where we felt pain, or living in an unrealized future. By knowing this, we can gently bring ourselves back to the present moment and know that there’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Know that you can create a better life, a happier you and a healthier environment for yourself and your children, if you have any. By understanding fear as a natural response to divorce, facing it and moving through it, you will begin to discover your true power and unlimited possibilities for your future.