Getting a Divorce is stressful. Here are some articles to help.

Browse Articles on the topic of Getting a Divorce

Husband and wife asking who pays for a divorce

Who Pays for a Divorce? The Question Every Couple Asks After Deciding to End Their Marriage

I’ve helped countless couples get married and divorced over the past two decades. People enter marriages for any number of reasons and leave them the same way. Some of the people I meet are simply thinking about getting a divorce. Others are already separated, looking to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. And when it comes to divorce, a question that pops up again and again in almost all cases is this: how do legal fees get paid to divorce attorneys? Or rather, who pays for a divorce? This is no wonder. As you transition from one household to two, there are bound to be plenty of changes, some of which cost money. The sooner you’re able to wrap your head around these changes, the sooner you can move forward, turning the page on this chapter of your life and starting the next.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach for how to pay legal fees. The more questions you ask your lawyer and the other experts around you, the more you’ll be able to make the best choice for your unique situation. Typically, the bulk of the payments get withdrawn from either joint funds or requested from the “monied” spouse. (In non-legal terms, that generally means the spouse with the larger income.) Yet, the law provides no definition of the phrase “monied spouse,” which may complicate matters when it comes to who pays for a divorce.

Payment of legal fees is first brought up when a client signs a retainer agreement with her attorney. The retainer agreement outlines the scope of the attorney’s representation and any payments, including an initial deposit. The initial retainer is usually paid by check from joint funds or placed on a marital/personal credit card.

If you want the monied spouse to pay for legal fees, or if you have other questions about who pays for a divorce, make sure you mention that to the lawyer you hire.

Here are a few good questions you can ask when interviewing lawyers:

  • How much is the lawyer’s retainer, and how much do they charge per hour?
  • If the monied spouse is responsible for legal fees, when will the spouse make that payment?
  • What other costs should I be aware of?

Authority of the court to decide who pays for a divorce

Each state has different divorce laws. For example, New York gives courts the authority to award legal fees when necessary. An award of legal fees isn’t automatic. If the court finds it necessary, they order the monied spouse to make payments directly to their partner’s attorney. In any case, it’s rare for the monied spouse to be responsible for 100 percent of their spouse’s legal fees. Prepare yourself for any possibility.

Application to the court to award payment of legal fees

By now, you’re probably asking yourself, how exactly does one get an award for legal fees? At any time during the case, you can fill out an application and submit it to the court. In this application, you must explicitly request an award for legal fees. You must submit quite a bit of financial documentation along with the application.

While awarding legal fees isn’t automatic in New York, state law does attempt to level the playing field for both partners. The law assumes that giving the less monied spouse an award of legal fees will do so. It falls to the monied spouse’s legal team to argue that such an assumption is incorrect. They’ll have to prove that an award of legal fees isn’t necessary. (For example, the less monied spouse might have assets but not income.)

The court’s decision to award legal fees

Awarding legal fees to the less monied spouse means both partners can find adequate representation. The courts review both partners’ financial circumstances. They also review whether one partner has prolonged litigation. Courts don’t need proof of poverty, and they don’t force one partner to exhaust all financial resources before granting an award. In fact, the trial courts have a fair amount of freedom to determine whether an award is necessary.

The calculation of legal fees

Once the court has decided to award legal fees, it must determine what amount to award. The court reviews many factors, including your financial ability to pay, the nature of the proceedings, and the difficulty and result of the case. The court also reviews the attorney’s experience and performance, as well as the fees typically charged for legal services in the area.

So remember, when it comes down to who pays for a divorce, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Yes, courts often require that the monied spouse pay the legal fees of the less monied spouse to ensure they can defend themselves. But there are no guarantees. As frustrating as it may be, any legal fees awarded to either partner, like other assets and funds, is subject to reallocation at the case’s close.

For more than 18 years, Nina Epstein and law partner Elyse Goldweber have helped individuals and families in the New York City metropolitan area with the full range of legal issues associated with creation and dissolution of personal unions—including divorce, separation, and child support, as well as employment challenges and related business matters. For more information on how they might assist you, visit their website or call (212) 355-4149.


Whether you’re navigating the experience and aftermath of divorce, or recreating the life you want, one thing that makes a big difference for women is choosing not to do it alone. Smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to help them through this emotional and often times complicated experience. For support, guidance and direction now, consider joining Annie’s Group, a virtual community teaching you what you must know as a woman considering or navigating divorce. Class begins April 10th at noon.  Space is limited.


Single mother lifting her daughter

Coparenting Tips: 4 Ground Rules All Divorced Parents Should Live by (For Everybody’s Sake)

So that’s it. Game over. You’re all talked out, and the writing on the wall is clear. Something has to change, and you and your partner have decided divorce is the best answer. If you share children with your Ex, then before you can even think about how you’ll fumble through the world of dating (because, at first, there’s sure to be at least a little fumbling while you figure out what you want) you have to come to terms with your new situation. You need coparenting tips and someone to shine a light on the path that leads forward and beyond. So, let’s begin.

You could sit on the couch watching episode after episode of Ray Donovan (cliché carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream included). You could go to the gym and spin yourself silly with endorphins. Or, you could head to Vegas for a divorce party and toast your new beginning. Whatever you do, don’t settle for old stereotypes—images of women plotting their Ex’s demise in the shadows. You’ve got too much to look forward to and to discover. Concentrate instead on creating the best life possible for your children, and redrafting the shared connection you will always have with your Ex. Confront those negative feelings about your Ex, and work on building a successful coparenting relationship. When you realize the positive impact doing so has on your children, nothing else will matter. Trust me.

Stay focused

Remember those negative feelings I mentioned? (Of course you do—right now those feelings are still fresh and raw.) They’re your first hurdle to jump on your journey toward successful coparenting. Everyone needs to vent. That’s what friends, and coaches, and therapists, and groups are for. Sharing your experiences with and supporting others, can help you move past your own feelings and gain perspective. Your emotions can be obstacles when enforcing the following four coparenting tips, so learn to let go.

Focus on creating a warm and stable environment for your children. It’s a difficult time for them too, of course. They need their parents now, possibly more than ever, and they need you to be united. Not distracted by personal squabbles that have nothing to do with your role as parents. When talking to your Ex, try not to bring up the past or allow yourself to be drawn into arguments. Stay on topic.

You are bound to have more than a few disagreements about your differing parenting philosophies. Stay focused on your main goal: doing what’s right for your children. They need time with both their parents without disrupting their entire lives and routines.

Stay positive

Staying positive can be tricky, right? The end of a marriage can feel like the end of your world, but it’s only the start of something new. Your marriage may not have turned out as planned, but that doesn’t mean you have nothing to be grateful for. Your children, friends, extended family, and pets should all add to not detract from your life. Maintaining a positive outlook is one of the best coparenting tips out there. Negative experiences are what you make of them. How you react to those experiences determines whether or not you learn from them.

Being positive helps you proactively pursue an ideal coparenting setup. Explore the potential of mediation, therapy, and counseling, and take time to learn about the processes involved in creating a parenting plan or custody agreement. There’s a lot of information out there. The legal aspects involved in creating a custody agreement can make it seem like a daunting task, but really, forming an agreement can be simple.

Get organized, but be flexible

Staying focused and positive are two coparenting tips that will help you create the consistency every family needs, especially those going through divorce proceedings. Having a set visitation calendar helps both you and your coparent understand your responsibilities with little room for conflict or misunderstandings.

Something I’ve touched on in a previous article is respecting your coparent’s differences and parenting style. It’s great to have shared values and rules about how to properly raise children, but there are bound to be points you simply don’t agree on. Structure is crucial, but being rigid is a barrier.

For the initial transition period, it can help if everyone (parents and children) has a routine. The routine will change—that’s just life! If you still need to iron out the kinks in your routine and lock down schedules, a temporary custody agreement might be the best option for your family.

Be prepared to compromise. I know this isn’t easy. You love your kids. Your feelings for your Ex, on the other hand, are complicated (to say the least). But just remember any feelings you have for your Ex can’t compare to the love you have for your children. Any compromises you make are for them.

Communicate often and effectively

In my last article, I also spoke at length about keeping the channels of communication open. Nothing has changed since then. Avoid misunderstandings by communicating often, and be a positive role model for your children (and your Ex).

Keeping your Ex in the dark about important matters will only jeopardize your ability to stay positive and focused. Be civil (even when they aren’t making it easy). Being civil helps control everyone’s emotions, and you will leave exchanges feeling all the better for it.

If you have children, it’s not news to you that your Ex will most likely always be a part of your life. These coparenting tips will help you set aside your feelings and do right by your children. A rocky marriage does not have to translate to a rocky childhood for your kids.

Whether you are navigating the experience and aftermath of divorce, or in that confusing but fertile place of recreating the life you want to lead, one thing we see making a significant difference for women is the conscious choice to not do it alone. Smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oft times complicated experience of “After Divorce.” “A successful divorce requires smart steps through and beyond the divorce document.” Learn what we mean and how it will benefit you in a free 45-minute consultation.


This article was authored by Krishan Smith: senior editor and content specialist at Custody X Change, a custody software solution. Custody X Change provides software for developing and managing custody agreements, parenting plans and schedules.

learning how to hire a divorce lawyer

How to Hire A Divorce Lawyer (The Right One for You)

Whether you’re contemplating getting a divorce or ready to act, your first step is NOT to make any immediate decisions but to get educated on what the divorce process looks like and how to hire a divorce lawyer.

You have choices, and you need to understand what they are. Divorce laws can change quite a bit once you cross state lines, so the best place to start your research is a search engine like Google. Type in keywords like “divorce laws in [your state]” to learn how getting a divorce will affect your life. Spend time learning about different divorce models. Decide whether you’ll work with a mediator or an attorney, for instance. Ask yourself which model is right for you, your spouse, and your circumstances.

After you’ve done a little fieldwork, it’s time to meet with the experts.

Divorce isn’t as simple as understanding your rights. Divorce is a line drawn in the sand, and once you pass it, many aspects of your life that go beyond your marriage will change. So yes, learn all about your rights. Find out what you are entitled to. But then drill down further.

Let’s face it—when it comes to divorce, especially when children are involved, many women are most concerned about two things: money and custody. What custody decisions will I have to make? How will I support myself? How will I pay the bills, put food on the table, and be a good mom all at the same time? All on my own, no less? That’s where a financial advisor comes in. Or even better, a certified divorce financial analyst who will explain exactly what will happen to your money, assets, and—you guessed it—debt.

Again, divorce is not simply a legal or financial issue but a life-changing event that throws even your sense of identity off balance. It’s crucial to seek guidance from someone who can break everything down for you without losing focus of the big picture. Someone who will listen when you tell them where you want to be, and then point you in the right direction. But who do you turn to for this kind of guidance? Who is going to give you vetted and appropriate referrals based on your actual situation?

Hiring a divorce coach

Of course, we believe the best professional suited for this role is a divorce coach because they can teach you about divorce (like how to hire a divorce lawyer) but above all, how to get through divorce the healthiest way. A divorce coach can help you overcome the emotional challenges as well as the practical ones, and by doing so, they help you save money and time. Mistakes happen, but with a divorce coach, the chance of those mistakes occurring is significantly reduced.

Divorce coach or not, it is critical to have a guide—someone who knows there is an end in sight because they’ve been in your shoes. They’ve experienced the self-doubt and second-guessing, the isolation and fear. It’s even more critical this person understand the journey of a woman, as they’ll be the one who helps you navigate and set yourself up for your best life.

If reaching out to a divorce coach is a step you’re not quite ready for, reading these articles about contemplating divorce may help you answer the questions you have and learn what else you should consider before you even start figuring out how to hire a divorce lawyer.

Shopping around for a divorce lawyer

Now if you’re still with me, then you might be ready to take the leap. You may even be shopping around for an attorney (as you well should). But what should you be looking for? What questions should you ask? Below are a few tips.

  • Get vetted referrals and consider them carefully
  • Find out if the lawyer specializes in family law
  • Find out if they are a skilled negotiator
  • Ask if they know the other lawyer(s) involved and how established the relationship is (this will help with negotiations)
  • Ask yourself if there’s chemistry between you and any potential hire (this means understanding your issues and values—making sure you feel heard
  • Ensure your lawyer can explain your “best and worst case scenarios”
  • Find out if they settle often
  • Ensure you understand all costs (the retainer, hourly rate, and payment structure)
  • Consider asking a friend or family member along to take notes and give you feedback after any meetings

Hiring the right divorce attorney or mediator is no easy task. But remember: you owe it to yourself to find the right representation. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions—just make sure they’re the right ones. And interview more than one professional (remember, it’s your right to shop around).

Be sure to read our article on what questions to ask a divorce attorney for more on how to hire a divorce lawyer, how to prepare for that meeting and how to pay your divorce..

And, of course, once you have hired a lawyer make sure you don’t make the mistake so many do of “misusing” her.

What else MUST you know about how to hire a divorce lawyer?

  • No one is ever really happy with her divorce lawyer because both parties always have to compromise
  • Try to settle out of court by putting your emotions aside and asking yourself if what’s upsetting you will still be important in ten years?
  • A good settlement is one in which neither client walks away entirely happy. Begin the process of managing your expectations, realizing what’s truly nonnegotiable, and understanding what all these decisions mean for setting up your next, better chapter of your life.

If you want to find out what else you should know about divorce, whether you’re simply testing the waters or already paddling through them, consider Annie’s Group, our female-centered and empowering six-week class of content, community, and action, the right action for you and where you are in the journey.


Woman blocking door when served divorce papers

What to Do When You Get Served Divorce Papers

You’ve heard the doorbell ring. You go to the front door and open it, only to be met by a stranger who is handing you something. He says, “Are you Ms. Smith (insert your name)?” You have to think a minute about the answer, because you are facing a stranger and you have no idea what he wants. He leaves so fast you think you must be imagining this. But in your hand you are holding something.

You never thought you’d be reading these words: ACTION FOR A DIVORCE. And suddenly, a million things are going through your head.

What is your first step when you get served divorce papers?

Breathe. Breathe. And after you sit down, breathe again. There is a process to follow and here are your most important next steps …

Do Not Hide

Now, your first inclination might be to put your head in the sand. Hiding is a normal and expected response to the fears that you are facing as a result of those divorce papers. To you, those divorce papers signal the unknown, a future that could be radically different from the present that you have been living, and in ways that you cannot foresee. In order to overcome these natural feelings, you should set about finding a good team to represent and support you. In addition to your attorney who will play an important role (see step below), you may need a divorce coach who can help educate you and guide you, and/or a therapist who can help you maintain your mental strength. Or both. I know this sounds daunting, but I assure you that the time and money you spend now, connecting with the right people, will reap great rewards for you personally and professionally by keeping you tethered and strategic.

Get a Good Attorney and the Right Support

You will need to find a good attorney. A divorce coach can help you with vetted referrals, or your divorced friend may have some ideas. I suggest getting three referrals for matrimonial attorneys, and visiting all of them. I also recommend you only visit referrals who are willing to give you 30 minutes of their time without charging you. What you are looking for is someone who is smart, compassionate and experienced. You will need someone who is willing to listen to all of your concerns, even the ones that are not traditionally legal concerns. But, you also want to find a legal person who can protect your interests and fight for your rights, too.

Being Served Vs. Serving Divorce Papers

Most people think that it’s better to serve your spouse papers than to be served. It is not always that way. In all states, including New York, the laws allow for a ‘no fault’ divorce, and most divorces are filed due to irreconcilable differences in the marriage. In these cases, being the party who gets served doesn’t really matter much. Certainly, if you are served with divorce papers that accuse you of adultery, abandonment or one of the other causes for divorce that may still exist in your state (like New York), you will be forced to defend against those grounds and unfortunately, this will cause you more angst, time and money.

Get Prepared

You need to get prepared for a legal action. Being prepared means a few things, depending upon your circumstances:

 1. If you have children, you need to provide them with the love and support that they will so desperately need at this time. For this, I highly suggest that you visit with a family or child therapist, who can help you with the challenging things like how to tell the children, how to help them manage through the transition and how to support them so that their suffering is minimized as much as possible. Most importantly, your children will feel the pull of their loyalties to you and your spouse, their other parent. This pull can be very distressing to them, and is often so distracting and stressful that it affects their ability to handle the other responsibilities they have, their relationships with others in their lives, and it can affect their mental health. It is critical that you understand this pull of loyalties, that you identify the behaviors or actions on your part that exacerbate them, and work hard to avoid them. Your divorce coach can help you manage your parenting challenges or a divorce lawyer can provide you with referrals to experienced family or child therapists.

2. When you are alone at home, spend time going through your family’s financial records. Make copies of all deeds, leases, or other important documents. Go to your online bank and credit card accounts and download three (3) years of your back statements to a zip drive. While you are doing this, you should secure the online accounts by changing the passwords. If you are locked out of any of those accounts or cannot find the important documents, make a list of the accounts and documents that you know exist to provide to your attorney.

3. Start dreaming about your future as a single person. Yes, I know it is hard, almost impossible, but it is a habit that you need to develop and the sooner you start, the faster and easier it will be to realize your dreams. Marriage is great. It is an institution in our society because it is great. But, singleness is no less great. What have you held yourself back from doing (or what has your spouse held you back from doing?) that you have always wanted in your life? In particular, is there a work or educational pursuit that you have put on the back burner? Now is the time to start dreaming about those things. The dreams will provide you with guiding light when you need it.


Robyn Myler Mann is Partner and Director of the Mediation Practice Group of the Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC in New York City. Ms. Mann offers a free consultation to potential clients, and is available to discuss whether your matter would be best served by mediation or a more traditional legal approach.


Divorce in NY: What to Expect When You Go to Court for the First Time

Divorce law varies from state to state (Step 1. Google yours!). But in a lot of states the laws are similar. In New York, for example, divorce can be attained by filing the paperwork yourselves or through mediation, or by your lawyer sending documents to your spouse’s lawyer, to full-blown litigation … and every combo in between. However, in any case, if you and your spouse cannot agree to the divorce itself or to the terms of the divorce, it is called a “contested” divorce and you must ask the court to assist you in the divorce process.

If this applies to you, and your divorce is being contested, do you know what to expect?

NYC divorce attorney Brian Charles shares the following with us:

Your divorce is being contested and you have to appear in court for the first time for something called a “Preliminary Conference.” You have never been to court before, for anything. You are naturally nervous, unknowing what lies ahead.

First, do not worry. During the first court appearance your attorney will meet with the other attorney and fill out a Preliminary Conference Order, “PC Order” for short. This form contains the attorneys’ contact information along with some background information about the marriage. A blank PC Form can be found on the court’s website.

The form acts a roadmap setting forth what issues there are in your case. Will the grounds for your divorce in NY be contested? Will custody be an issue? Has maintenance, child support, or equitable distribution been resolved? If you have any questions about whether an issue is resolved in your case, remember to talk about it with your attorney, as this PC Form does become a binding order when signed by the judge. The form also contains deadlines for turning over financial documentation and filing certain documents. If you do not turn over certain financial documents by the deadline, the other party could file a motion to preclude you from offering your financial documentation and consequently negatively affect your case.

Each judge runs his or her courtroom a little differently. In some instances, the judge will meet with the attorneys without the parties present. In other cases, the judge will speak to both parties and their attorneys from the bench. Other judges might have their court attorney talk to the attorneys and the judge will not meet with the attorneys during the first appearance. The court attorney is an attorney who works for the court. The judge or his court attorney will ask the attorneys what issues are present in the case and will go over the PC Form with the attorneys. If the judge does address the parties, he or she will go over the PC Form and tell the parties that it is important that you comply with the PC Order. The judge will stress to you to get your attorneys whatever documents they need by the deadlines set forth. The judge may very likely tell you that you should talk to your attorney about the possibility of settling this matter amicably because if he, the judge, decides the case it will cost you a tremendous amount of time, coming back to court on multiple occasions; it will cost you a lot of money in attorneys’ fees, and you might not like his final decision after multiple court appearances.

Remember, don’t worry. The first court appearance for the most part sets forth what issues are present in the case and when certain documents need to be turned over to the other party’s attorney. There will be other court appearances if you do not settle the case in the interim. You should make your attorney aware if you need interim relief in the form of temporary maintenance or child support during the pendency of this action, so your attorney can present the issues to the court. You should be aware that the judge may set an interim order during the first court appearance if custody, child support, or maintenance are issues. If you have any questions, do not be afraid to ask your attorney before you sign anything, including the PC Form.

Have you not even met with a lawyer? Are you just reading ahead on what could go wrong in divorce and if you have to go to court? Check out this article on Divorce in New York: 10 Things to Know BEFORE Meeting with a Lawyer.

And if you are a woman looking to better understand the divorce process or your possible options (legally, practically, financially, and yes, emotionally), we offer free, discreet consultations. Click here to schedule your free telephone session, or if you aren’t ready to talk, sign up for our free, six months of email support. We know it’s not easy, but we are here for you when you are ready and want to learn more.

Although SAS periodically features links to and writing by other professionals on the SAS website, SAS for Women™ is not responsible for the accuracy or content of that information. As for what is best for you and your future, SAS always recommends you speak to a professional to discuss the particulars of your situation.

Black and white photo of older woman with grey hair with a sad expression

6 Ways to Survive Divorce (Especially If It’s Not What You Want)

Are you trying to survive a divorce that you didn’t want? Even if there were problems in the relationship, it can be heartbreaking to lose your marriage and the one you loved. After all you had a lifetime of hopes and dreams intertwined in your relationship and future. But life has handed you this instead. We’re here to tell you something that you may not believe right now … but we believe it for you: You can handle this. In fact, you can do more than survive, you can come out better as a woman. Start by pinpointing the areas that are causing you the most pain, such as dealing with divorce as an older person, a senior, or a young person — who has no one in your circles who is divorced. Maybe you do know people, but you are struggling to stay positive. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions that can ensure you survive divorce, no matter how you landed here.

1. Survive Divorce with a Mantra

Have you heard of mantras? A mantra is a statement or slogan, which can be a single word or phrase that means something to you personally. You repeat your mantra while meditating or when you are feeling out of control. The ancient healing practice comes from Buddhism and Hinduism, but you don’t have to tie a religious context to your mantra. It’s about bringing you back to NOW and calming your nervous system. For example, you can start your mornings by saying your mantra out loud while watching yourself in a mirror. Repeat the mantra a few times each day and then throughout the day when you need to rebalance your mind. Mind Body Green lists the ancient mantras from Sanskrit texts, if you are interested in using a sacred language. Want to stick to English? Here are some inspirational mantras to get you started:

  • Even if I’m alone I refuse to be lonely
  • New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings (Lao Tzu)
  • I am grateful for me
  • I put myself first, last and always
  • I am always true to myself
  • Be free, be me!
  • Forgiveness
  • I will change my life by changing my mindset
  • I am confident, I am beautiful, I am worthy
  • I love and accept me for me

Use these mantras as your own or as kickoff points for mantras that matter to you. Change your mantra when it starts to lose meaning for you.

2. Surviving Divorce as a Senior

If you are older than the age of 50 and have been married for the last, say, 20 years, the notion of divorce, which is coined as a “silver divorce” or “the graying of divorce” is emotionally jarring. Rather than focusing on what was lost, reframe your story as getting a new and fresh start to the rest of your life. We recommend you start by moving out from your family home (yes, we know that is hard!) and finding yourself a new fresh place of your own. This will help you transition from married to single life, while reducing the burden of maintaining a larger home. Just as older individuals are finding new careers in their fifties, you can find new love, meaning and a happy life for yourself but you must start by making shifts.


3. Surviving Divorce as a Young or Middle-Aged Woman

If you don’t know anyone divorced in your circles, it could make you feel ashamed, like there is something wrong with you.  We assure you, it’s just a matter of time before you start seeing other women in your circumstances.  But you cannot wait for them. Instead reach out to an older woman who’s been through it.  Or find a divorce coach who can compassionately give you insight and perspective and help you take the next steps you so vitally need to move forward in your life. You need a mentor or guide: someone who knows what you are going through and who can help you avoid wasting time; someone who can show you where’s the good going forward. And mark our words, there is good!

4. Surviving at Work

When you are dealing with a major life event, such as divorce, it affects all aspects of your life including your job. Your mind is elsewhere as you try and tackle the daily to-do lists. How do you stay focused and remain positive during this trying time? Business Insider suggests the following:

  • Avoid communications with your divorce lawyer or ex while on the clock. Filter emails and silent texts when at work.
  • Don’t feel obligated to explain your divorce to anyone whom you don’t want to. (Come up with a pithy statement: “He’s done. I am not.”)
  • Or, if you are asked if there’s something going on or something wrong, explain in broad terms that it’s personal, while being friendly, and leave it at that.
  • Clear out any family photos or keepsakes that remind you of your ex.
  • Find ways to boost your mood, such as listening to upbeat music using headphones or reading a lightweight novel on your lunch hour.

Also, maintain your workload as usual during the divorce. By keeping busy and staying active with your work group you are less likely to sit and dwell on the divorce.

5. Surviving the Weekends

While working is important for helping you move on after a divorce, all work and no play makes Jane a dull, and angry, divorceée. Fortunately for most women the weekends are free of the 9-to-5 duties. However, the weekends can open up the mind and heart to plenty of free time to sit and think. But it doesn’t have to! Take the weekends as your new self-improvement time. Here are some ideas:

  • Join a book club and go bookstore browsing on the weekends. Then spend the rest of the weekend nose-deep in a favorite read.
  • Organize a monthly brunch with your best friends. (Make a commitment to see your clan regularly. You are probably overdue.)
  • Start a craft activity, such as painting, lettering, gardening in miniature, or knitting.
  • Travel! You can take overnight trips on the weekends that will give you a new perspective on life and life your spirit.
  • Take care of the grandkids, nieces, nephews or neighbor’s kids. Nothing will wear you out, while also healing your heart, faster than the busyness of children.

Kindling passions and finding new loves (and not male-focused loves) are the greatest strength for a woman going through a divorce.

6. Surviving with a Divorce Support Group

All across the country there are divorce support groups that bring women together. You can find these groups, which meet in person, through a local house of worship and via Meetup. If you want to stay behind the computer screen there are also online, divorce support groups and support forums. Find a group that you feel is most comforting and run with it.  (But don’t settle for a group that complains. Look for one that moves forward and does things!)

Surviving a divorce can be shattering and sometimes feel impossible on certain days, but you can do this. One step at a time, one day after the next, and you will pass through this phase in your life and on to the next. The key is taking small yet powerful steps like these, moving the needle every so slightly, just a little bit every single day.

What small step will you take now?  Write it down and JUST DO IT.

If you would like to know what else you can be doing to survive or better yet — get back to a place where you actually feel strong again, we know how to support and tether you as you dip your toes — or lunge! Keep reading here or if you’re ready to talk with someone confidentially, sign up for your free 45-minute coaching session. We look forward to talking with you.

Yellow house with picket fence, cat and roses on vines

Should You Keep the House During Divorce?

Should you keep the house during divorce? Well, it’s not just about the house, is it? There is no way you’re letting go of the car, the jewelry, the investments, your pension, your hard-earned income, or the Baccarat crystal goblets either. And you’re pretty adamant your divorce attorney will agree.

Unfortunately, the law and recent statistics are not in synch with you. According to financial studies, divorcing individuals need a more than 30 percent increase in income just to maintain the standard of living they had before the divorce. Divorce is like that. It’s really about loss and opportunity. But the fact is the loss is harder on women.  One in five women fall to poverty as a result of divorce, while men experience a loss of between 10% and 40% to their standard of living. As devastating as those statistics may sound, divorce is not just about the economic leveling. Sometimes your life and the quality of your inner peace is more important than the house with the gourmet kitchen. Divorce could also be an ideal opportunity for you as a couple, and then as an independent woman, to face reality and get out of debt, or to finally sit down and work out a long-term financial plan for your children’s education.

What follows is a practical conversation about whether or not you should keep certain assets in the divorce. How you are going to come to terms emotionally with this division of assets, or how you are going to take steps to protect yourself and rebuild your life is better discussed in a series of coaching sessions or by reading this article about divorce recovery.

Divorce & the Family Home – Pros and Cons of Keeping It

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself where the property is concerned. The first is whether you would be able to keep up with the payments and maintenance of the property on your own and whether you would have enough cash to buy your partner out or qualify for a loan to do that. If this is going to place you under pressure, you may want to consider downscaling a bit in order to still live a comfortable life.

The advantages of keeping the home in divorce include:

  • Continued stability for the children
  • Maintaining an asset that will form part of the estate
  • The frustration of moving is not added to the stress that a divorce brings

The disadvantages of keeping the home in divorce include:

  • Mounting financial pressure due to loans or reduced saving
  • The full cost of the maintenance of the property rests on a single pair of shoulders
  • The possibility that there is no access to funds to buy the other spouse out, which could cause ongoing financial pressure

Until You Decide What to Do

Whether the proceedings are quick and amicable or long and drawn-out, it’s important for both parties to take responsibility for the property and their other financial obligations. Falling behind on mortgage payments following a divorce, could cause serious financial implications. Both parties risk losing their creditworthiness, which means they may not qualify for a mortgage, whether it is for the family home or not.

It is also crucial to maintain other payments, such as credit cards, tuition fees, levies, car payments, and insurances. Failure to maintain payments on these items could have a far-reaching effect on future applications.  At this point, couples may also want to look into making use of a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA). A CDFA will assess the financial situation to ensure that both parties remain on an equal footing for a long period. This is especially handy where one party earns a lot more than the other, or one of the spouses is unable to enter the job market as they need to raise the children. During the calculation, the analyst will determine whether one spouse’s assets will grow and the other’s will deplete, and adjust their recommended asset split accordingly.

If Neither of You Wants It or Can Afford It

When you’ve made your calculations and neither of you qualifies for finance, or neither of you wishes to remain in the family home, the obvious choice would be to sell it. But what happens when the value of the property is far less than the actual bond with the financial institution? This is what a short sale is, but it really shouldn’t be the first option as it will have a negative rating on the credit scores of the spouses. When their FICO scores are affected, they may have to wait a few years to enter the property market again.

Other Debts and What to Do

Joint accounts and divorces go together like a tracksuit and heels. They don’t. The moment there is a whisper of divorce, it’s important to let the banks and financial institutions know. This is to prevent the spouse from running up the debt and getting out of town. Although a loan may be in both names, both parties are responsible for the repayments in full. If you’re left with the repayments and you’re struggling to keep it under control, you will need to contact the bank to make a payment arrangement.

Sit down with the finances and prioritize payments. List the expenses in order of most important, which would include mortgage or rental payments first, then food and utilities,and finally tuition and insurances. The rest will follow. Try to pay debt off as the items clear instead of running up a bill again, but don’t necessarily close the accounts in case the alimony and child support payments come in late. Only use debt for emergency purposes.

And for those issues that fall off the balance sheet … your emotional needs, concerns, your sense of injustice, not to mention how you will begin to rebuild your life and help your kids get through this, contact SAS. We will help you put a system in place to come to terms with what you’ve lost, but also what you will discover. Take advantage of our free consultation so you begin your healing now.

Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.

hands holding a sign that says "Do something today that your future self will thank you for"

Divorce and Life Insurance: 5 Critical Things to Know

When you are setting up your new life during a divorce, life insurance may not be the most pressing thing on your mind (ahem, we suspect it’s not on your mind at all!) and yet it plays a crucial role. Many of us don’t understand life insurance, nor recognize how necessary it is for protecting us in the future. It’s especially important to understand how divorce and life insurance go hand in hand before you finish negotiating your divorce settlement. We will give you a quick “Life Insurance 101” here, but you’ll definitely want to consult with a vetted insurance broker to make sure you have optimized your plans for the future.

What is life insurance and why do I need it?

If you are working and supporting a family, it’s important to have life insurance coverage. If you should pass away unexpectedly and the income your family relies on is suddenly no longer there … well, you see the problem. Life insurance would provide your family money to essentially replace what you would have made in salary. There are basically two kinds:

Term: This is for a designated number of years (10, 20, 30, etc.) If you pass away while term life is in effect, your beneficiary (ies) will collect the money in a lump sum. It’s a “use it or lose it” sort of policy.

Permanent: This policy is for a lifetime (and usually significantly more expensive). There are different types of permanent insurance including universal and whole. Which one you choose depends entirely on your needs and situation. (Again it’s best to talk with an insurance professional to decide.).

Why do divorce and life insurance go hand in hand?

If you are relying on maintenance (alimony) and/or child support payments from your ex to make ends meet, what would you do if something unexpectedly happened to him and he passed away? Getting a life insurance policy on your ex ensures that you would be able to manage financially should something happen to him. By the same token, if you are working, having life insurance on yourself ensures that you would be leaving your family with some money to replace your salary, should something happen to you.

On a related topic — please forgive our bluntness — what if one or both of you don’t die but get hurt badly enough that you can no longer work and earn a living? You should know that life insurance does not help in that situation. In that case you need to have something called “disability insurance”, another type of insurance you really need to understand and consider having in your divorce settlement. Disability insurance is essentially the same thing but it helps in the event of illness or injury. For the purpose of this article we’ll stick to divorce and life insurance (and address disability insurance in a later article).

So what are the 5 critical things to know about divorce and life insurance?

5 info boxes on divorce and life insurance

Design: Ashley Nakai

1. Securing life insurance does not happen quickly.

Life insurance takes some time (several weeks to months) to secure, so it’s important that you start the conversation early in your divorce negotiations. The insurance company needs time to evaluate your case in order to determine if they will offer you coverage and at what rate. This is based on your medical history (medical records or a physical exam may be needed) and your financial history (they may request a current credit report or financial statements for example).

2. You need the right amount of insurance.
The amount of protection you need must be evaluated by a pro. Your attorney will make suggestions based on spousal and/or child support to help you protect yourself and your family from the unforeseen. However, it’s always wise to consult with a good insurance broker to hear their professional estimates.

It’s important to consider other factors, such as your current income, earning capability and your current and future financial needs of the family. A trained insurance broker can help you think about other considerations such as education funding and retirement and pension considerations … things your attorney may not consider but may make a big difference in your situation.

3. You have to figure out how long you will be required to keep it.
You will negotiate into your divorce settlement how long you and/or your spouse are required to carry the coverage, which is why it’s important to get educated before the divorce document is signed. Again, it’s best to not simply reply on what your lawyer says but to diversify your knowledge base by talking with your insurance broker.

4. You will need to decide on a beneficiary.
The beneficiary is the person you designate to receive the money should death occur. Who the beneficiary (or beneficiaries) is should be predetermined in your divorce settlement. It’s also important to be specific in the policy about who owns it, who is required to pay the premiums, and who is allowed to change the beneficiary should the need arise.

5. It’s important to compare policies and prices.
Do not simply go with the cheapest rate (or allow your ex to talk you into that) because it’s important to understand what the policy provides for you and that, should anything happen, the company will take good care of you and the kids. This is not something you can just Google. You need a neutral party — a trained insurance consultant — to do that homework for you and present you with options.

We know, it seems a little grim to be talking about people dying or getting sick or injured but the reality is, we don’t know what life will throw at us. We doubt you saw the divorce in your future, back when you got married, so we don’t want you to be naïve as you negotiate your divorce settlement. This settlement is your financial future near and far, well into your retirement. Thinking about divorce and life insurance is a very strategic way to provide for your family now, should things take a turn later.

Did this article bring up questions for you? Jot them down and contact insurance expert, Lisa Horowitz, CLU, ChFC, who for nearly 30 years, has been dedicated to helping women understand how insurance can help them in every area of life including divorce, business and estate planning, retirement, life-altering illness, and caring for elderly parents. If you mention SAS for Women, Lisa will talk to you for 30 minutes for free, no matter which state in the USA you live. You can reach her at (718) 352-1311 or [email protected]

Protesters holding sign that says "Have you no sense of decency sirs?"

SAS Survey: Is the Current Political Climate Impacting Divorce for Women?

Are you feeling it, too? A study published by the American Psychological Association in mid-February (2017) has found that two thirds of all Americans feel anxiety over the future of the country. The analysis, called “Stress in America,” also discovered 57 percent of the nation reported that politics were either somewhat or a very significant source of stress in their lives.

In our work at SAS for Women, a practice dedicated to helping women navigate the emotional and logistical challenges of divorce, we are not surprised. While January, February and March are commonly referred to as the “divorce season” in the family law industry (with the theory being that couples bury their conflict during the holidays and file for divorce in the new year) the start of 2017 feels especially divisive. Since Mr. Trump’s ascent to power, we are hearing more and more about a certain type of stress women are facing, and in particular how it’s playing out beyond and behind the marital chamber’s door.

Our question is how much is this current administration and the daily barrage of headlines proving to be a lightening rod and moving women toward divorce? Is the current political climate impacting divorce overall?

The Survey on Political Climate and Divorce

To learn how much the current political climate is influencing women’s feelings and behavior about divorce we polled the SAS for Women Community — women who are thinking about, or navigating divorce.

Survey showing impact of political Feb 2017 political climate impacting women and divorce

Design: Ashley Nakai

Of the 100 women polled, 53 percent say they are influenced by the political climate. More than a third (35 percent) rate themselves 5 or higher on a scale of 1-10, with 10 representing the primary reason or trigger they are divorcing. 6 percent of the women who participated indicated they were a “10.”

What Women Said:

Many women in the SAS Community did more than simply self-assign a number. They shared comments and thoughts about their dilemmas, circumstances, and outlook for the future:

Answered “3”: “Women’s rights and freedom are in jeopardy as long as Trump is in office and the cabinet and Supreme Court are staffed as they are now. Single mothers are at high risk for poverty, which not only negatively affects them, but also their children. And yet, women must have the option to leave abusive or otherwise unhealthy domestic partnerships without fear of becoming homeless, hungry, etc.”

Answered “9”: “My soon to be ex has always been a Republican and we clashed during presidential elections before (Bush), but he was a Trump supporter and it really pushed me over the edge to the realization that our values and interests were completely different. Upon my announcing I wanted a divorce in October, he immediately became a Hillary supporter and tried to tell me that he agreed with every position I ever had and that I just misunderstood him or didn’t know him. While it was not the primary reason for my seeking a divorce ( I have been unhappy for many years!), it was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Answered “1”: “Political factors influence very little of my day to day decisions. My divorce, my children, and my career consume the entirety of my energy. I will not waste limited energy on those things that do not directly benefit my children or my career or me and moving ahead with our lives.”

Answered “7”: “Problems before…but a perceived wider gap in our overall politics (and general direction we are both leaning) has made the possibility of divorce even greater.  I am left shaking my head about who it was I fell in love with 25 years ago and who is in my bed tonight …”

Answered “1”:  “America goes about its business day after day, sometimes good and sometimes bad. I personally take responsibility for my actions and feel that I have the greatest impact on myself and others by owning what is mine, the good and the bad. Politics will always have good and bad realities that will either enhance or detract from our lives and our choices, but that is something we are lucky to have!”

Answered “8”: “The political attack on everything I hold dear and all that constitutes my core values as a human being and a woman recalibrates the tolerance of a husband who is not truly supportive of those values either. I can’t have this President in The White House and be trapped in marriage to someone who is not shook up, too.”

Answered “1”: “Politics have nothing to do with my pending divorce or how my ‘husband’ treats me.”

Answered “8”: “I was just speaking about this to my therapist. I feel so outraged by the misogynistic administration and the misogynistic  culture of the election that preceded this corrupt administration.  I’ve realized that our society is more misogynistic than I had felt and that my husband is not a feminist. It has become clearer to me.”

Answered “2”: “My decision was made way before the current political situation which only strengthens my determination. However, the impact is not that great as the determination was there to begin with.”

Answered “10”: “I am exiting a relationship with a narcissist, after 25 years of believing his spin, his alternative facts, his hostage holding (beholden to keeping kids emotionally safe). It was actually a relief to hear the descriptions of Trump as it clarified the behavior I was looking at but still couldn’t see.”


While 47 percent of the SAS Community self-assigned themselves a “1,” thereby indicating their feelings and actions about divorce are not impacted by the political climate, it is clear that more than half of the women polled claim they are influenced. More than a third of this community feels very much impacted by the current political climate and what it means for them, their families and the future.

What do you think? We would be interested to know — as would our Sister Readers! We invite you to share your comments and thoughts below.

SAS for Women® is uniquely positioned to understand women as they confront the realities of divorce around the world. Our education and coaching services — action and outcome-drive — focus on the healthy approach and appeal to women who are committed to being smart and educated in their decision-making. To learn what is possible for you and your life, schedule your free consultation with SAS by visiting here.