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

Browse Articles on the topic of Getting a Divorce

Money under a mattress

How to Pay for Your Divorce

When I was growing up, every Friday night, my father would give my mother her “weekly allowance” when he came home from the office.  It wasn’t really her money, but rather the cash she needed each week to pay for groceries, gas, her hair dresser, and whatever other necessities she had for herself and for the family. Out of these funds, my mother always put aside some undetermined handful. This was her “Piska” money, she told us.

Don’t ask me what the real translation of “Piska” is, but my mother also referred to it as her Rainy Day Fund.

Years later, when my sisters and I were cleaning out our parents house before moving them into an apartment, my mother told us to make sure we looked for an old suitcase in the attic. When we found it, we were to look inside and find its pocket and not just throw the suitcase away. When we did, we found stacks of dollars. My mother at the age of 85 was still saving for her rainy day. When we brought the suitcase downstairs to our mother, she immediately confessed that Daddy didn’t know about this money and there was no reason to tell him.

Knowing about saving for a rainy day since childhood, and growing up in a traditional family where mom stayed home raising three daughters, and cooking, cleaning, car pooling in support of the general welfare of our family, when I started working and later married, I, too, always had a designated account for my own use.  While not afraid of a rainy day, I also wanted money for me, money, which I did not have to account to for anyone.

Today, there are many highly educated and functioning women who are fearful when their marriages are falling apart. They wish to leave the marriage but panic because they have no “war chest” to fight their spouses with if it turns adversarial; or they are afraid they will be cut off from marital resources and not be able to afford a divorce.  How to pay for divorce is keeping them in an unhealthy place.

Regardless of the state of your marriage, it’s important for you to consider yourself. Today’s electronic banking and tracking system does not mean there is not a viable method for a woman to secure funds to pay for a divorce. Even if it means taking $50 from the ATM and stashing the cash at your office, a drawer, or your best friend’s house, there are ways for you to know you will have the security to engage a lawyer and will be able to eat if your vindictive partner cuts off the monetary funds.

If it is too late to start “saving ” money, there are other ways to engage counsel.

Many lawyers or mediators accept credit cards these days. Alternatively, most credit cards have cash advance limits if you prefer not to leave a paper trail. If your spouse has more money than you, you can request that your spouse pay some or all your legal fees. If your spouse does not agree to this, you can ask a lawyer to help you initiate the legal means to securing your representation. Before credit cards, there were always other ways women helped themselves. These means are still viable. You can turn to a good friend or family for loans (offer to pay them interest), or sell assets, like jewelry or art that may belong to you. The important thing to remember is to not stay in a hopeless place because you think you can’t afford your exit.

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 with your concerns, visit their website or call 212.355.4149.

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.

Helping Your Children Understand You’re Getting a Divorce

How do you help your children understand you are getting a divorce, when inside your head you are not clear if divorce is the right thing? Even if you are sure you want to end it, you probably have reservations . . . some that are buried deep in your heart and soul about whether this is the right move.

How does one know if it is the right thing to divorce? How do you share with the kids something that is scary and unknowneven for you?

You help your children by helping yourself first.

Let’s start with the practical part. The practical part is Can you put together a way to support yourself and your family?

Your marriage might be stone cold dead, but you still have to eat and to provide for your children. I am not saying that a lack of resources should stop you from divorcing; but you have to have a plan. You must know what you need. What can you expect your husband will contribute? Can you work more, or go back to work? What are your basic needs for shelter, utilities and food? Meet with someone who can teach you about money  so you have a practical understanding of how your life will change.

If you are lucky, and there is money available to you, then perhaps you will not have that conversation with your children about being more frugal, cutting down on Christmas presents, or cutting back on lessons or activities they presently enjoy.

Having a handle on the practical allows you stand more firmly when you talk to your kids. Like all matters of divorce, telling the children and how much you tell depends on their age, their level of maturity, and their understanding that Mom is not doing this on a lark. She is doing this to further her and their potential happiness.

The “Daddy and I both love you” isn’t going to cut it. They get it; they will know you both love them. What they will not know is why they can’t take piano lessons or have that super sled once promised for Christmas. It’s not a game for them; it’s their life. So be sure to have several (–as many as you can) talks about the practical results of an impending divorce.

When you have a good understanding on how much money you will have, there will come a time to discuss your new financial situation with your children. You can say that in this new life you and the children are approaching, one of the changes will be in the way you spend money. Depending on the age of your children (I would say not to burden them if they are under the age of ten) you can point out that there will still be money for treats, just not as much. If there is an amount you can identify, say $100 a month, that you feel you can spend on your children’s non-essentials, like fun stuff, talk with them about how that money should be spent. X amount for movies. X amount for toys, etc. In a way, it will be a matter of some pride for them to have a role in the family finances. You can start paying them small amounts for chores, remember to stress “saving,” and by sharing and showing, give them a sense of both control and companionship in what will probably be reduced circumstances.

Take advantage of every social service you can find – and there are quite a few. Government, religious and social service organizations have a wide range of help available, from therapy to help with finances to advice about medical care. Use those social services for support.

What about the less clear, less practical parts of understanding your decision to divorce?

If your husband is overtly hostile or has been abusive, it will be a lot easier for the children to understand why you want a divorce.

But what if he is just boring, or the sex is absent? He’s a nice enough guy, but not for you? That’s the really tough one. In this case you don’t need to do much more than make it clear that Daddy, while a terrific guy, is just not the right husband for you, that you have been unhappy and you deserve a chance to see if you can be happier on your own with the children. You can point out that the children are the most important things in your life, and you will definitely be a better Mother out of an unhappy marriage. Unhappiness is something children understand. So don’t try to make up reasons why Daddy isn’t working for you. Leave it at “unhappy”, “discontented,” or perhaps by drawing on some parallel friendship your child may have had with a friend that did not work out.

One common problem women divorcing share is that they over romanticize their marriages. After years of annoying behavior and bitter fights, suddenly your ex looks, well, better. Better than being alone and shouldering the burden of raising the children, mostly alone. This is the “devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know” fear of facing change.

Listen, don’t romanticize your marriage; remember the bad times. If the good times outweighed the bad times, you wouldn’t be divorcing. See what your relationship was for real; and don’t stay in a disempowering place that perverts the strength you have shown in leaving a bad marriage for a brighter future.

Thirty years ago, Sheila Levin left New York City and moved to Vieques, Puerto Rico to follow her dreams.  A novelist, therapist, mother to three, and grandmother to five, Sheila is twice divorced.  She knows from where she speaks. Find her books Simple Truths and Musical Chairs at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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.

lady contemplating

Retired NY State Judge Encourages Divorce Mediation

I am a Certified Divorce Mediator, Retired New York State Judge, and a former Assistant District Attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office who had the distinction of serving under the Honorable Robert M. Morgenthau.

During my many years on the bench, I observed the havoc and tragedy visited upon parents and children involved in divorce. All too often the most important decisions facing parents concerning their children’s lives were removed from the parents, and instead usurped by attorneys, law guardians, and ultimately by the court. The frustration that I endured as a judge in attempting to negotiate settlements in the parties best interests, was insignificant compared with the pain and suffering of the litigants during proceedings, which frequently took years to resolve and exacted a considerable emotional, as well as financial burden.

Upon retiring from the bench, I began to explore alternatives to traditional divorce, which culminated in obtaining a certification in Divorce Mediation, a faster, far less expensive, and most importantly, far less acrimonious way of obtaining a divorce in New York State. I am always delighted when divorcing parties can be assisted in making their own legally binding decisions concerning their children and their assets, outside of court proceedings that usually take months, as opposed to years to resolve, and at a fraction of the cost of a traditional divorce.

As we all know, the divorce process is an extraordinarily painful experience, which takes an appreciable period of time to heal from. It is important to fully understand not only the emotional components of divorce, but the potential custodial and financial implications as well.

The best “survivors” of divorce are those who have participated in structuring what their life will be like after divorce, not only for them, but for their children and their ex-spouse. Mediation provides the way of accomplishing that. Mediation not only diffuses the acrimony between the parties, particularly important where children are involved, but most importantly lets your voice be heard about what’s important to you, not your attorney’s voice or a judges voice. Divorcing couples are those who understand that having control of your life is important at any juncture, and even more so when going through the emotionally charged period of divorce. A mediated divorce allows you and you alone, to have control over your future, an important survival tool. A mediated divorce reflects your decisions about all aspects of your new life, an extremely powerful tool in resolving the feelings of fear, uncertainty and helplessness that often accompany divorce.

Helen Sturm is uniquely situated as a Divorce Mediator. She has extensive experience on the bench dealing with issues of custody, support and domestic violence, in combination with the skills she was taught and employed in evaluating witnesses and evidence during her many years as a prosecutor.  Please visit Helen’s website if you would like to learn more about mediation or her work, or contact Helen at  [email protected]

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.

How To Help Your Child Cope With Divorce

How can you help your children cope with divorce or even, separation?

There are many factors that determine the long-term effects of divorce on children. The quality of the relationships among family members has a significant impact on whether or not these long-term effects are damaging.

What we know is that when you focus on creating and maintaining a low conflict environment, kids stand the best chance of growing into healthy, thriving adults. Consider printing the list below and taping it to the inside of your bathroom mirror. The “Bill of Rights for Children Whose Parents are Separated or Divorced” was created through the work of Jill Greenstein, a psychologist at Putnam Valley Elementary School near New York City in 1997. Greenstein involved a group of students, known as the “Banana Splits” to come up with advice for parents and children going through divorce. Read this list from time to time to remind you of all the little and large things that must be done to ensure your children’s well being.

The Bill Of Rights for Children Whose Parents are Separated or Divorced

  • The right not to be asked to “choose sides” between their parents.
  • The right not to be told the details of bitter or nasty legal proceedings going on between their parents.
  • The right not to be told “bad things” about the other parent’s personality or character or behavior.
  • The right to privacy when talking to either parent on the telephone.
  • The right not to be cross-examined by one parent after visiting the other parent.
  • The right not to be asked to be a messenger from one parent to the other.
  • The right not to be asked by one parent to tell the other parent untruths.
  • The right not to be used as a confidant regarding the legal proceedings between the parents.
  • The right to express feelings, whatever these feelings may be.
  • The right to choose not to express certain feelings.
  • The right to be protected from parental warfare.
  • The right not to be made to feel guilty for loving both parents.

At SAS, we are educators, mothers and divorce coaches. Schedule a 45-minute complimentary consultation today to discuss your story and your children; connect with Kim or Liza at 917.485.1323 or visit our Contact Us page.

divorce papers

Divorce Papers: I Have to Fill Out What?

Perhaps the attorney you consulted (or a friend who has already been through divorce) mentioned that one of the divorce papers you will need to complete is a “Statement of Net Worth,” a “Case Information Statement,” a “Financial Affidavit,” or a “Financial Disclosure.”

Huh? Don’t panic, they are all basically the same thing.

It means you will be required to share all of your financial information with your spouse and the courts. There is no getting around it; divorce is a whole lotta paperwork.

Of all the divorce papers you will fill out, this financial one is critical, so keep these things in mind:

Every state is different: many states have a form you can download and fill out, others simply give you a list of things you need to gather. Look online for your county courthouse website and find out what your state requires.

This document is important: it determines how you will split up your money, belongings and debt, as well as determine child support and spousal support. It literally determines your immediate financial future, so take it seriously.

You and your spouse will each have to fill out your own: if you are on good terms, you may be able to complete this task together. However, if not, you will fill it out and give it to your attorney, who will share it with your spouse’s attorney.

Everything must be accurate and complete: be very detailed when you fill it out. Comb through your bank statements, credit card statements, household bills, online accounts, etc. Don’t guesstimate on numbers! If you don’t know the answers, do some detective work and find out the correct numbers.   If you find out new information after you have submitted it, be sure to give an updated form to your attorney right away, at any point during your divorce.

Your attorney will not be double checking this for you: so it’s vital that you are careful and thorough. He/she may look for obvious mistakes, but that’s about it.

This is a “sworn” document: which means when you sign it, you swear you are telling the truth. If either one of you lies on this document, you will face legal action. SO TELL THE TRUTH.

Don’t wait until the last minute: it’s a lengthy and involved process to track down every dollar and cent you’ve saved or spent for years. So don’t try to fill it out in one sitting; plan on completing it over a few weeks.

Don’t hesitate to seek help on this: if you don’t feel fairly confident that you understand your finances, if your finances are complicated, or if you suspect your spouse is not being honest, get help. A divorce coach or certified divorce financial planner will be able to help you.

Filing divorce papers can be overwhelming, so reach out for help. At SAS, we are here to guide you through all aspects of divorce, including the paperwork and accompanying you to those meetings you dread. Give us a call, we’ll get you started.

credit: Weheartit.com

Questions to Ask a Divorce Attorney at a Consultation

You are “pretty sure” you want a divorce but you have no idea how to get started…or maybe you do not know if a divorce is what you want at all, but you are desperate for information. Either way, you think maybe you’d better speak to a lawyer, but that idea is terrifying. How will you know what questions to ask a divorce attorney at a consultation?

Don’t worry, we’ll help you. The key is walk in prepared. If you can, take a trusted friend, family member, or seasoned professional (such as a divorce coach) with you. He/she can take notes and listen objectively on your behalf and give you valuable feedback after the meeting.

Use the list below to find out what facts you should know and what questions you should ask before, during and after a consultation with a divorce attorney.

Worried about the  meeting before you even get there? Don’t be. Consider these 5 facts:

  • Meeting with an attorney is simply about getting information. It does not mean you are definitely getting a divorce.
  • These meetings are confidential. He/she can’t help you unless you are really honest. Remember, it’s confidential so be open and tell him/her everything you can.
  • Some attorneys charge for a consultation and others do not. When you call to schedule your appointment, be sure to ask if there is a charge, and if so, how much, so you aren’t surprised.
  • When you make your appointment, ask what kind of documents would be good for you to bring. Many lawyers will suggest you bring copies of past tax returns (typically the last 3 years).
  • If possible, walk in knowing what your assets (what you own) and liabilities (what debts you owe) are.

It will help if you understand what will be discussed at the  meeting. In general, the attorney should touch on these 5 basic themes:

  • The divorce process itself
  • Child custody (if applicable)
  • Division of your assets
  • Support (child support and/or spousal support)
  • The attorney’s fees

Bring your questions. Here are 5 to get started, but be sure to add your own:

  • Do you have experience with_________________ (Fill in the blank with anything unique to your situation)
  • What is my worst-case scenario? Best-case scenario?
  • How will you keep me informed about developments in my case?
  • What is your retainer and hourly fee? Will I be notified when the retainer is almost gone? What other costs should I be aware of? And if I have no access to money directly, how can I pay?
  • What is the best way to communicate with you (email or phone)?

Finally, reflect on the experience afterwards and ask yourself:

  • Do you like him/her? Trust him/her? Have a good gut reaction?
  • Did you walk away understanding everything you talked about?
  • Did you feel like you were heard? That you got to say everything you wanted to?
  • Did you get a chance to ask questions?

Think of the meeting simply as research. You are there to find out information about getting a divorce, as well as to get a sense of the divorce attorney to see if you could potentially work with him or her, should you decide to. We promise, if you walk in prepared, you’ll walk out feeling not only more knowledgeable, but more confident as well.

You may also wish to speak with a certified divorce mediator to find out if you and your spouse are good candidates for mediation.  If so, the questions above are still relevant.  Bear them in mind as you seek out the best information.

At SAS, we provide women with everything we wished we’d had during our own divorces — someone who had been there, someone to turn to who wouldn’t judge us, and someone who could guide us. From making all the decisions involved in a divorce to navigating the changes that come with being single again, we provide education, support, and confidentiality. Schedule your free consultation here.

SAS on Huff Post: Divorcing While Your Biological Clock is Ticking

Signing your divorce docs when you’re in your late 30s is a unique experience. Take it from SAS Cofounder and divorce coach Kimberly Mishkin: While all her friends were settling into new homes and prepping for babies, Mishkin says she was newly single and trying to make peace with the possibility of never having the kids she’d always hoped to raise.

Read More…

The challenge of coping with divorce can be like putting a puzzle back together

What the Hell’s Wrong with Conscious Uncoupling?

We all made fun when Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin first announced their Conscious Uncoupling.  The UK Guardian called it “deluded tosh.”  The Daily News said it’s a “pretentious break-up phrase”. And individuals around the world chimed in with scathing comments and mocking tweets and ranting posts. But now with the news suggesting that Gwyneth and Chris have reconciled, can we consciously uncouple them from the conversation we should be having?

Regardless of your moral stance or your marital status, you need only look around to see that divorce is a social phenomenon with tragic consequences, and that the word “divorce” carries a social stigma, a stain of shame as much as it is a legal term for coming-apart. It’s not a pretty word, and it encases an even uglier experience. But we’ve grown used to the word, begrudgingly.  It’s the word that is used.  It’s the medal that marks us as losers.

I admit I have not listened to the five Conscious Uncoupling videos created by Katherine Woodward Thomas, the LA-based therapist and author who has suggested we look at break ups in a less destructive manner.  I have listened to her online seminar as way of entrée in, however.  And I was jolted.   Not because Woodward Thomas seemed shallow, or so ethereally new age-y as to be totally dismissed as gobbly “GOOP”; or that her five videos are priced at a remarkable $297 total, and thus not only for the rich and truffle-eating; but because Thomas’ words make perfect sense.  If only our culture were different.

Conscious Uncoupling asks that we reconsider how we break up and how we move forward.  For a lot of people this sounds radical for coping with divorce is supposed to mean blame and anger.  We are usually hell bent that the Other is to blame and as a result, this experience can only mean that it will be ugly. It may be litigious. We should hate our Ex and the time spent with him/her.  We should hate ourselves for having made the decision to couple up. We should regret.  We should self-loathe. Mea culpa, mea culpa.

But what Katherine Woodward Thomas begs us to recognize is a reality: “relationships have changed more in the past 50 years than in the past 50,000.  What we need and want from relationships is different from before. Due to our higher life expectancies, most of us are destined to go through 2 to 3 break ups during a life time.”

And that is precisely why it’s important to avoid mistakes as we separate and evolve the way we are breaking up. We need to develop ourselves so we never experience this kind of suffering again and to find a way to joy, to heal, and for restoring our lives and those of our loved ones.

Accepting that separations are an unavoidable reality of modern living allows us to develop the capacity for navigating through them and for finding the power within ourselves to move forward, to live more thoughtfully and to thrive because of all our hard-won wisdom.

We encourage you who are going through divorce to know that by jumping off the cliff and getting divorced, by some measures, you are already going against our cultural norms of “appropriate behavior.”  If you own that you are already flying in the face of convention, that your daring to live otherwise has you somewhere outside the box, then why would you buy into what others say you must do?  Why accept how others say you must behave, or how others say you must resolve your break up?  Dig deep and consider what is right for you and your family. Look into various means of getting through. What will be the healthiest journey for arriving on the Other Side? The real damage comes from ending and repeating the same mistakes that sabotage our own power to take hold of our lives.

We need to begin to challenge the idea that the end of a relationship is a defeat, a loss, a moral collapse; or that the 20th anniversary of marriage signifies some kind of morally-superior, seal of personal success. We need to accept that with people living longer than ever before, we evolve and grow; and that sometimes for people to thrive, to live life to the fullest, we must grow apart.  Sometimes, we must separate to live.

How will you consciously move forward? We offer free consultations so that you can ask questions and find out more about how we can support you — a woman who is looking to cope with divorce the healthiest way possible. Contact us to schedule your free 45-minute consultation (in person or via telephone) today.

boy helping girl zipper up because of divorce now happening in the family

Will the Kids Be All Right? Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children

Talk to any splitting parent, and it’s the kids.

No matter where you are in the process — deliberating, looking for divorce help, separated, or even, “I’ve signed the divorce papers, but I still feel like I’m going crazy,” — if you are like I was, you worry: what about the kids?  How will my personal story play out?  How will my kids fare as “children of divorce?”

When I was debating my own divorce, I was fixated on my girls. Their well-being was the single most-deciding factor as to whether I would or not pursue the unspeakable. I had to find out.

In a detached “social scientist” kind of way, I asked various friends and acquaintances who were children of divorce. Did they feel okay? Did they think of themselves as reasonably adjusted? How screwed up were they as a result of their parents’ split? What I heard and discovered were answers that were decidedly mixed. For example, while one female twenty-something friend was matter-of-fact, telling me the divorce in her family “was not even an issue,” another man in his forties still sounded tired. “There was so much fighting,” he sighed, “I wish they had done it earlier.” Others were more emotional. An old friend I went to college with seemed personally injured (all over again) when I conceded the question was really about me. I was considering divorce and I needed to know how she felt today. She was and is “scarred,” she replied growing cool. It may have happened more than thirty years later but she was still not willing to “forgive her parents.”

Then I looked to the professional community, I asked doctors, shrinks, and counselors, “What is best for the children?” But here, too, I learned no clear-cut answers. The uniform professional response was that when it comes to divorce they had seen both good and damaging results; but everyone I spoke to, in one way or another, encouraged me to reflect on the issue of conflict in the household.

How much conflict is too much? I wondered. And by what standard of measurement?  We all know that in any relationship no two people always agree, but at what point does the number of disagreements cross the line? My husband and I were not good conflict-resolvers, so, as we grappled with divorce, how could we expect to resolve conflict over our conflict? It sounded like a vicious circle to me. I reflected and Googled more.

If only I could find the data on the long-term effects of divorce on children, I reasoned, I’d have clinical evidence. This information could guide my decision-making then and going forth. But what my forays in the dark turned up, was that just like the story of any marriage, there are always dissenting opinions and mitigating factors that prevent absolute clarity. There are few longitudinal studies that conclude anything decisive about kids and divorce.

The work of two of the better-known researchers, Judith Wallerstein and E. Mavis Hetherington seems at odds.  In The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study (2001), Wallerstein reports long-term negative effects on children of divorce. In For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered (2003), Hetherington reports that not all kids fare so badly, and that divorce can actually help children living in high-conflict homes.

Seemingly oppositional, these studies also remain controversial for their methodologies.  They compare “children of divorced parents” as a group to kids whose parents “did not divorce.” The first group is never compared to those kids whose “parents almost divorced,” or to those whose parents “kept it together but fought every day,” or to those whose parents never fought.  It’s a flawed comparison.  It reveals only that being part of a happy family is better than being part of an unhappy one.

What is especially strange and surprising is that as much as divorce is a reality in American society, social science has not yet figured out a way to measure the nuances of our reality.

To some extent, Wallerstein and Hetherington do agree on one thing; as do all the studies and serious commentaries ranging from scholarly work to the more legit blogs to parenting magazines: divorce is bad.  Divorce is a stressor that poses short and long term risks.

What I have learned from my own divorce and subsequent divorce recovery work with clients is that the long-term effects on your children will usually depend on your divorce itself. A peaceful divorce ( — if that is not an oxymoron) or at least a more amicable divorce will have less negative impact on your kids.

Understand that conflict in the home does not always mean out of control fights or domestic abuse. Too few of us realize that all of our words and actions during and after a divorce affect our children. In fact, the actions and words shared between fighting parents are the leading cause of unhappiness in divorced children. For this parents must hold ourselves responsible. Individually or together, we splitting parents often send negative messages to our kids. You’ve heard that “children are like dry sponges”? So are they also incredibly receptive to their parent’s feelings and the emotions one parent is feeling toward the other. Of course, no one intends to send the wrong message to his or her kids. But there is something about the crisis, our own drained, sleep-deprived or adrenalin-fueled state going through divorce that often has us letting loose or withdrawing, just when our kids need us the most.

If you are concerned about divorce and your children, then you must consider your own words and actions.  How will your behavior impact their recovery? Don’t look to others for how the divorce played out on their kids. Do focus on your goal: to minimize your children’s exposure to conflict and negativity.

Suggestion 1: Every day as you face and interact with your children, help them understand that the divorce is not their fault. Be open and available to them when they need to talk. As one client told me recently, her daughter is more anxious than she is usually, now that the separation is starting.  But to my client’s credit, she recognizes it’s not just words her daughter needs: “It’s the extra hug.”

Suggestion 2: Be there for your kids and also try to put in place a way for your children to receive additional support.  A therapist or counselor, as an objective sounding board, can do a lot to help your child understand what is happening and alleviate his/her sense of guilt for the circumstances.  Look for developmentally-appropriate books, videos and resources, too, that will help your child understand what s/he is going through.

Suggestion 3: Above all, show your children that you are a still a family no matter how you define your marital status. Your kids need good parents now more than ever, and this is your chance to do your best regardless of how things have been in the past.

SAS for Women is an invaluable resource for women contemplating a divorce or in the actual throes of divorce. SAS women are educated and prepared, while making smart and thoughtful decisions for everyone they love. You are invited to talk with SAS and learn what is possible for you through a FREE consultation. Schedule your confidential conversation here