Image about breaking up with a narcissist

Divorcing a Narcissist? Here’s What You Need to Know

Calling someone a narcissist is so commonplace these days that, in many ways, the term has become nothing more than a buzzword. People use it loosely to refer to someone who’s behaving “selfishly”.

But a true pathological narcissist is a person who’s much more than selfish. According to the Mayo Clinic, narcissistic personality disorder “is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.”

Most women who fall in love with a narcissist do so because narcissists are so charming. They’re incredibly loving and affectionate. They treat you like no one has ever treated you before and sweep you off your feet. They seem too good to be true.

And that’s the truth of it—they are too good to be true, and their personality and behavior will change dramatically over time.

If you recognize the following as being “normal” in your marriage, you know you’re divorcing a narcissist:

  • Your husband* is controlling.
  • He doesn’t listen to or care about your opinions.
  • He makes everything about him.
  • He lies often.
  • He is emotionally abusive.
  • He has no emotional connection to your children.
  • He blames others for his actions.
  • He is manipulative.
  • He is exceptionally aggressive—perhaps dangerously so.
  • He is unaware of his bad behavior.
  • He feels entitled to what he wants.
  • He sees himself as perfect and worthy of unconditional admiration.
  • He rejects change initiated by anyone but himself.

Because of this last point, divorcing a narcissist is extremely challenging. He will fight you every single step of the way. He believes he is a victim and is willing to do just about anything to prove it.

Some of the biggest and most predictable challenges of divorcing a narcissist include dealing with the following behaviors and beliefs:

  • A narcissist MUST “win.” Because of this mindset, negotiating in good faith with a narcissist is impossible. He must prove he is right and a victim—regardless of what the truth is. He doesn’t care what it takes to “win” the divorce, even if that means depleting the marital finances (except for money he’s hidden), destroying relationships, and destroying you.
  • A narcissist will play games with you as long as he can. He needs to feel in control. He does this by being manipulative. He will keep you off balance by making false accusations, criticizing you one minute and telling you how much he loves you the next—anything to wear you down, so he can win.
  • A narcissist doesn’t care how anyone else feels about his actions, including his children. Narcissists only care about their own needs and desires. If someone can help them get what they want, then they will use that person without regard for the consequences.
  • A narcissist will use you to feel good about himself. By engaging you in a court battle (which he will absolutely do), he is using his control of you to make himself feel powerful. He wants the divorce process to take as long as possible. Yes, that does mean he will lie to prolong the process. It’s unlikely he will stop trying to use you after the divorce settlement—even if he is in another relationship. The more people a narcissist can control the better.
  • A narcissist wants you to admit defeat. He wants you to give in to his demands and bow to his power. But not just once—he won’t ever get tired of you surrendering to his superiority.
  • A narcissist wants everyone else to see him as a victim. No matter how horrid he is behaving toward you (and maybe even his children), he craves the pity and support of others, so he can use that pity against you.He will lie repeatedly and quite convincingly (especially if he is charming and wealthy) to perpetuate his role as victim and paint you as a heartless villain. He will even lie to your children and family about you. He wants to turn those closest to you against you because he wants you to have nothing left.
  • A narcissist will attack your weaknesses. That usually means he will go after your children and money. He will remove you from joint accounts or withdraw all the money from them. He will hide money. He will run up your bills any way he can think of. He will also do his best to turn your children against you.
  • A narcissist will take you back to court again and again. As far as he is concerned, the battle is never over so long as he has some leverage. And the leverage is usually your children. He will register the children for activities during your time with them without consulting you. He will “forget” to pick up the kids when he knows you have other plans. He will return the children later than agreed to. He will not respect the custody agreement.

But since you now have an idea of what divorcing a narcissist is like, you can prepare for the battle ahead instead of being ambushed.

Here are some steps you’ll want to take to minimize the damage you suffer during and after your divorce:

  • Make sure your attorney is aware of the problem and is proactive. You want your attorney to have experience dealing with high-conflict divorces and know what to expect from a narcissist. When they’re properly experienced and prepared, they can shut down at least some of the standard tactics a narcissist will use in court (if you must go there).
  • Get a therapist who specializes in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you were married to a narcissist, your marriage was full of emotional abuse. Any kind of abuse can lead to PTSD. You will probably want to consider working with a therapist to help you regain your emotional footing.
  • Hire a divorce coach. Learning how a divorce coach can help you stay anchored (and using one!) could be one of your most important moves for securing perspective, strength, and support. Your divorce coach will also help you process the grief, loneliness, anger, and other tumultuous emotions you’ll have before, during, and beyond. If necessary, your divorce coach can even join you throughout the court proceedings. But your “beyond” is critical. Your divorce coach is going to make sure you stay mindful to creating the life you DO deserve.
  • Keep copies of EVERYTHING. Especially when it comes to expenses, you’ll want to keep detailed records of everything. It’s VERY likely that you’ll be going to court repeatedly. The only way you’ll be able to quickly put an end to each new drama when it arises is to have indisputable facts. And that’s what the detailed records are—indisputable facts.
  • Assume all communication with a narcissist is risky. Whenever you communicate with a narcissist, keep things direct, to the point, and non-confrontational. This is the only way to prevent him from using your written or spoken words against you.

When divorcing a narcissist, you must prepare for war. You will face many battles because a narcissist wants to destroy you at virtually any cost.

But when you understand more about a narcissist’s profile (what you can and cannot expect from him) and begin to value your own self-worth—getting the full support you need and deserve—you will eventually have the peaceful life you’re looking for, the life you were meant to live.

SAS women are those amazing ladies you meet who are entirely committed to navigating divorce—on their own terms. If you are considering or dealing with divorce, you are invited to experience SAS for Women firsthand and schedule your FREE 15–minute consultation. Whether you work further with us or not, we’ll help you understand what your next, black and white steps are for walking into your brave unknown—with compassion and integrity.

* SAS for Women fully recognizes same-sex and common-law marriages. But for the sake of simplicity in this article, we refer to your spouse or mate as “he,” “him,” or your “husband.”

40 Inspirational Divorce Quotes to Make You Feel Less Alone

40 Inspirational Divorce Quotes to Make You Feel Less Alone

At any given time along this path of change, you might be feeling scared, confused, angry, sad, and lonely. You might be feelinged-out, numb. And all those plucky words of chin-up encouragement, or flat-lining platitudes friends and family continue to proffer are falling on your deaf and numb and pained ears.

Other times our reaction to another person’s words can take us by surprise. We might find ourselves struck by a truth we feel so deeply, so innately, that we could never express it in words. Great writers make us feel like that. Their words could be our own—they so closely resemble what we think and feel. Such writers give us a voice when we can’t trust ourselves. They make us feel seen and less alone

Below are 40 divorce quotes from inspirational women that will make you feel just that: less alone. If you find a quote that makes you vibe, consider printing and hanging it somewhere you’ll see it every day.

You are not alone. Everyone needs help dealing with divorce and especially, divorce recovery (do you know what “healed” even looks like?) We’ve been there, in that place of not knowing what you don’t know.

Without further ado, here are 40 divorce quotes that you can read on dark days when you need a little camaraderie and inspiration:

1. Reese Witherspoon divorce quote

 

2. “You never really know a man until you have divorced him.”
—Zsa Zsa Gabor

 

3.  “There is no such thing as a “broken family.” Family is family, and is not determined by marriage certificates, divorce papers, and adoption documents. Families are made in the heart. The only time family becomes null is when those ties in the heart are cut. If you cut those ties, those people are not your family. If you make those ties, those people are your family. And if you hate those ties, those people will still be your family because whatever you hate will always be with you.” 
— C. Joybell C.

 

4. “I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”
— Lucille Ball

 

5. “When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn’t a sign that they ‘don’t understand’ one another, but a sign that they have, at least, begun to.”
— Helen Rowland

 

6. “Divorce isn’t the child’s fault. Don’t say anything unkind about your ex to the child, because you’re really just hurting the child.”
— Valerie Bertinelli

 

7. “I wanted to turn my divorce into a positive. What if I didn’t blame the other person for anything, and held myself 100 percent accountable? What if I checked my own s— at the door and put my children first? And reminded myself about the things about my ex-husband that I love, and fostered the friendship?”
— Gwyneth Paltrow

 

8. J.K. Rowling quote on divorce

 

9. “Do not look for healing at the feet of those who broke you.”
— Rupi Kaur

 

10. “Divorce isn’t such a tragedy. A tragedy’s staying in an unhappy marriage, teaching your children the wrong things about love. Nobody ever died of divorce.”
― Jennifer Weiner

 

11. “Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping it will transform into a door.”
— Coco Chanel

 

12. “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

 

13. “Success is its own reward, but failure is a great teacher too, and not to be feared.”
— Sonia Sotomayor

 

14. “I was a high-functioning depressive, seemingly pulled together and buttoned down. But inside deep, I was numb and mute. Now on the other side of divorce, I know that was me fragmented and doing my best to cope. But my body knew.”
— Liza Caldwell, SAS for Women Cofounder

 

15. “It always gets worse before it can get better. But it will get better. Like everything else, and like our past struggles, at some point we win, but before that win, there’s always that loss that spurs us on.”
— Dolores Huerta

 

16. “When people divorce, it’s always such a tragedy. At the same time, if people stay together it can be even worse.”
—Monica Bellucci

 

17. Cheryl Strayed quote on divorce

 

18. “Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
— Toni Morrison

 

19. “Imagine spreading everything you care about on a blanket and then tossing the whole thing up in the air. The process of divorce is about loading that blanket, throwing it up, watching it all spin, and worrying what stuff will break when it lands.”
—Amy Poehler

 

20. “I have not ceased being fearful, but I have ceased to let fear control me.”
—Erica Jong

 

21. “I think that men were allowed to write about their marriages falling apart, but you weren’t quite supposed to if you were a woman. You were just supposed to curl up into a ball and move to Connecticut. But you know, it didn’t really matter because, as I said, I knew what the book was. It’s a funny book, and I was very happy that it sold a lot of copies.”
– Nora Ephron on her book, Heartburn

 

22. “Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.”
— Deborah Reber

 

23. “Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”
— Carol Burnett

 

24. “Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered.”
— Michelle Obama

 

25. Ann Landers quote on divorce

 

26. “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”
— Maya Angelou

 

27. “Perhaps sometimes reminding ourselves that we do have a choice makes it easier to pick the harder one.”
— Eva Melusine Thieme

 

28. “Don’t have regrets. You can learn something from every experience.”
— Ellen Degeneres

 

29. “I learned that it would take more than just the black and white steps of getting divorced, or even finding a lawyer. It would take NOT just facing my fears. It would take walking into my fears — with each step making me bolder and less ashamed, with each step giving me courage.”
— Liza Caldwell, SAS for Women Cofounder

 

30. “Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.”
— Elizabeth Gilbert

 

31. “The process of discovering with somebody that you love that you don’t work is so painful.”
—Kate Hudson

 

32. “It was a long time in the making, my divorce. One day became less special than the [one before], and pretty soon we ceased all conversation. It is a sad day when you have nothing left to say.”
—Ricki Lake

 

33. “Above all be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
— Nora Ephron

 

34. “The good thing about getting divorced young—if there is a good thing—is that it makes you realize there’s no schedule in life. It blasts you wide open and frees you to be honest with yourself.”
—Olivia Wilde

 

35. “When we truly care for ourselves, it becomes possible to care about other people. The more alert and sensitive we are to our own needs, the more loving and generous we can be towards others.”
— Eda LeShan

 

36. “There’s no pain or failure like going through a divorce.”
—Jennifer Lopez

 

37. “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.”
— Lena Horne

 

38. Sarah Ban Breathnach quote on divorce

 

39.“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.”
— Carrie Fisher

 

40. “I used to hope that you’d bring me flowers. Now I plant my own.”
— Rachel Wolchin

Is there a divorce quote that’s helped you get through your divorce? Comment below to share. We could all use a little inspiration and encouragement.

Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oft times complicated experience of divorce. If you are looking for confidential divorce support, take advantage of our six months of FREE email coaching giving you action plans, checklists and support strategies for you, your family, and your self. 

“Divorce can be on your terms.” – SAS for Women

Who Moves Out in a divorce?

Who Moves Out of the Marital Home During Divorce, and When Do They Leave?

A question that comes up over and over again in my line of work as a divorce attorney is “When can I move out?” Or put differently, “When can I get my husband to leave?” Maybe the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Maybe your children are experiencing screaming matches followed by long bouts of silence. You may find yourself unable to think straight—to figure out what your next steps should be and how to begin a new life. Or maybe, there are even elements of abuse in your relationship. I get it. You want peace. You want answers. And finding out who moves out of the marital home during divorce can seem like the first step toward solving these problems.

But the question, when can a spouse move out, is not a simple one to answer.

If you have children, the upside is that I recommend you do nothing until you’ve spoken with an attorney. Unless, of course, there’s an emergency and you need to remove yourself from the situation for your safety. You don’t want to affect your claim to custody or marital property.

It’s complicated. Divorce laws vary state to state, but for this article, I will reference the laws of New York.

What does the law say about who moves out of the marital home during divorce?

New York courts are often reluctant to award one spouse “exclusive use and occupancy of a home.” In nonlegal speak, that means ordering one spouse to move out of the marital home—something the courts can do no matter which spouse’s name is on the deed or lease. The courts are especially reluctant to do so without a finding of violence or “marital strife.” When the safety of household members or property isn’t at risk, the courts require that your spouse has a place to live before moving out. That’s not to say that the courts oppose removing one spouse from the marital home. They often prefer spouses separate. With that said, the decision isn’t made lightly. Judges have seen it all. They haven’t succumbed to the popular belief that it is simply better to separate you and your spouse. They understand that what is best for one family isn’t best for all.

What if your safety is at risk?

But what if you can’t wait for your lawyers and the courts to battle it out? There has always been the understanding that in any divorce, separation, or annulment, the courts can’t require a spouse to move out during court proceedings unless taking such a drastic action is necessary to protect the “safety of persons or property.” To take action, courts require evidence, anything from a testimony to something physical such as photos, medical or hospital records, and broken items.

If your spouse has committed a criminal act and needs to move out immediately, you can get a temporary order of protection (in other states these are often called restraining orders) from Criminal Court, Family Court, or Supreme Court. In fact, what many may not realize is that a person isn’t limited to a single court when looking to get an order of protection. You can get orders from more than one court for the same act. If even one of the orders of protection granted is a “full stay away,” then your spouse won’t be able to live in the same home as the people listed on the order.

So, what if it’s your sanity (not your safety) that’s at risk?

Anger, resentment—they can chip away at any remaining civility between partners. The courts understand that staying together under one roof can be damaging for reasons that have nothing to do with violence. But again, you’ll have to provide evidence for “marital strife” (and your spouse will need a new place to live) before you can expect the court to make anyone move out. Before you provide evidence, you’ll have to file a petition in Family Court or a motion in Supreme Court for an order of protection in which you request a full stay away. In Supreme Court, you can file a motion for exclusive use and occupancy without requesting an order of protection.

And what about the children?

When it comes to children, how can fighting parents living in the same home be in their best interest?

In 2017, at least one judge addressed this concern. In one of the first judicial decisions to address the impact divorcing couples remaining together in the marital home has on their children, Judge Richard A. Dollinger of Monroe County found “that existence of a hostile home environment, during a divorce, runs contrary to the best interest of children.”

What is the benefit of having a court order your spouse to move out?

The obvious benefit is that you’ll finally have peace of mind and remove yourself from an otherwise difficult living situation. Some parties , however, often see a court order for one spouse to move out as a tool to gain an edge in custody battles. When both parents live together with their children, neither parent can claim to be the primary residential parent. When one spouse moves out, the parent who spends more time with the children will be entitled to child support. If you and your spouse share the children’s time equally, then the parent who earns more may end up paying child support to the other parent.

How do finances affect the court’s decision about who moves out?

The elephant in the room is the question of whether you and your spouse can afford to live in two separate homes. It is crucial that everyone involved reduces the effect of divorce on your children. Make sure you always work toward separating in a fair and reasonable manner. It can be more expensive and emotionally damaging for children to be in the middle of their parents’ fighting. To be assigned their own attorneys or go through forensic evaluations and therapy.

Divorce is complicated enough already. As a parent, it’s your duty to pick the battles you choose to fight with your soon-to-be Ex wisely. Who moves out matters less than how and why they move out.

Randi L. Karmel has had her own Matrimonial and Family Law practice for 19 years and been an attorney for 25 years. She practices in the Criminal, Family, and Supreme Courts in New York. Randi L. Karmel, PLLC focuses on matrimonial and family law litigation and settlements. Her practice consists of preparing and negotiating agreements from prenuptial agreements to stipulations of settlement: divorce, abuse, neglect and orders of protection matters, custody, parenting time, child support, maintenance, equitable distribution, and separation. She is also certified to represent children. For more information on how Randi might assist you with your concerns, visit her website or call 212.755.0224.

Since 2012, SAS for Women is entirely dedicated to the unexpected challenges women face while considering a divorce and navigating the divorce experience. SAS offers women six FREE months of email coaching, action plans, checklists and support strategies for you, your family, and your future. “Divorce can be on your terms.“– SAS For Women”

Photo credit: Transport Executive

woman confused if she should divorce or not

What You Must Know About Deciding to Divorce

On some level, just landing on this page, reading this blog means a part of you is seriously contemplating divorce. Yet, it’s just a part of you. Choosing between deciding to divorce or working on your marriage is extremely confusing. There are so many unknowns and what-if scenarios racing through your mind that it’s difficult to think clearly.

Then there’s the fact that it’s not all bad. There are some things about your marriage that still work.

Maybe you’re excellent parents, or your lifestyle is exactly what you want. Maybe the sex is still great, or your spouse is your best friend.

And it’s because of the good that still exists that you’re just thinking about divorce and haven’t already filed. Yet, you’re still thinking about it and still feeling uncertain.

Another part of the confusion you’re facing about the future of your marriage is that there’s so much uncertainty about what that future will hold.

You simply don’t know what you don’t know, and that’s a little terrifying. It’s like trying to drive on the expressway while wearing a blindfold. You know nothing good can come from making a decision if you can’t see the whole way ahead, or so you think.

Then there’s the fact that divorce is one of those life decisions that will have repercussions that last years if not a lifetime for you and your entire family. That’s why it’s so important that you get educated not only about divorce but about all the possible options to keep you from feeling so unhappy in your marriage.

You need to identify and play out the various scenarios by asking some important questions. You need more information.

What would deciding to divorce mean for you financially?

Of course, there are many different scenarios to consider, but the two most obvious options are to either divorce or to remain married.

Divorce can put tremendous financial strain on your family. But life after divorce can be financially difficult, too. You (and your children if you have them) have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle that will likely be beyond your means post-divorce.

On the other hand, staying in the marriage would likely mean the financial situation would remain the same. If finances are one of the major difficulties you and your spouse are having, then staying married may not work for you.

Gaining clarity about the financial impact of deciding to divorce or choosing another option will make your decision easier.

What would each scenario mean for you legally?

Obviously, divorce requires the legal dissolution of your marriage and agreement on how you will separate everything you’ve created and built during your marriage. But there are other options that could have legal repercussions too.

How will each scenario impact your family?

Your family includes your spouse, children, in-laws, parents, siblings, extended family, pets, and close friends. Whatever you decide will impact everyone you love (including yourself).

This is where it typically gets difficult for women. Many women regularly place the needs of everyone else before their own.

Some women will still put the needs of others before their own even when contemplating divorce.

Others will recognize this pattern and instead make their decision with only themselves in mind.

Neither extreme is helpful when it comes to evaluating the impact each option will have on your family. The best way to evaluate each scenario’s impact is from a position of personal integrity which can be difficult to achieve when you’re feeling scared or confused.

How will your life “work”?

Regardless of the decision you make, you, your children, home, car, yard, work, meals, bills, and repairs, etc. will all still need attention. Things still need to get done. You have a lot to consider.

You’ll need to have a solid plan for how you’ll make your life work, whichever option you choose.

Yet, even knowing these questions poses another problem. You can’t even begin to answer them without understanding all of your options. You do have more options available than simply deciding to divorce or stay married.

Continue researching online and gaining an understanding of the divorce laws in your state. Another good step to take, if privacy is paramount, is to take a private, online class that educates you on the emotional, legal, and financial journey. A good class, and one that in particular highlights the needs of women, will give you the foundation you need to manage your own expectations of what you can and cannot do and where you should focus your attention. Structure and steps to follow through with are key to you shifting the cycle of wondering and worrying.

This will also advance you for the all-important step, talking to experts to get real-time feedback on your particular circumstances.

One of the experts you might consider working with is a divorce coach (you don’t have to commit to divorce to work with one), so you hear specific feedback on your story and the appropriate options.

Divorce coaches are experts at seeing the possible resolutions to marital difficulties. When you work with one, you will receive thoughtful advice for the situation you’re facing. You’ll also be fully supported as you work to gain clarity while deciding to divorce, to revive your marriage, or to take an alternate path.

If working individually with a divorce coach isn’t for you, another option is to join an online divorce support group geared toward those seeking structure, guidance, education, and support as they determine whether to divorce or not — or for those who are beginning the actual process of divorce.

Going through divorce alone is not recommended.

The key here is to get support. Staying in your own head, doing your own research, and talking with friends and family will never, ever give you the unbiased support you need. Deciding to divorce is difficult.

It’s a decision that is deserving of you taking the time to carefully evaluate your thoughts, feelings, and options. Just because your marriage isn’t currently what you want or need it to be, there’s no reason for you to rush to make a decision (unless your or your children’s safety is at risk).

The kindest and most solid path forward for you is to take the decision off the table until you discover the various paths that exist for you. Once you learn about your options, you’ll metabolize them, and there will likely come a tipping point that directs you toward the best decision for you.

SAS for Women ladies are those amazing women you meet who are entirely committed to experiencing divorce on their terms. Women facing a divorce, or contemplating it, are invited to schedule a free consultation. “Divorce requires a one moment at a time approach” ~ SAS for Women

Father coparenting his daughter by tending to her hair.

How to Parent Your CoParent (Without Him Realizing!)

You know that setting an example is always important. And you can guess, I’m not just talking about the model you demonstrate to your kids. When you separate and become coparents, it is so easy to disengage and consequently, communicate less and less with your ex. It can be such a relief! Yet, communication more than ever remains key. If you want a healthy coparenting situation where both parents are informed and active (the best scenario for your children), then how you share information is vital. What’s more, communicating healthily in front of your children provides them with a model to base their own behavior.

The value of setting the coparent example

If you want your children to grow up as kind-hearted, thoughtful, respectful people then screaming at your coparent is not going to cut it. Your ex needs to realize this too.

So, if you lead, if you set the example, this will show your coparent “how it’s done” (potentially, he* may have no idea, otherwise). This might well encourage your ex to emulate you (but don’t ask him to acknowledge that!)

There should be a clear distinction between setting an example for your ex-spouse and making an example of him/her. If the other half of your coparenting duo is failing in some way, don’t complain about this to your children. If your coparent is breaking arrangements or missing dates, speak to him about it whilst keeping the interests of your children the focal point of your conversation. You must always frame things and behaviors as how they impact the children. Try explaining that lateness and missing appointments “are not values we want to instill in our children” and simultaneously how “it’s not fair to keep them waiting or give them false expectations.” “They are excited to see you and disappointed when you don’t show up or appear unreliable.”

This seems self-evident, but your coparent is rarely going to be motivated to please you (–although some ex’s are evolved). So venting to him about your plans being foiled or your appointments being missed because of him and his lateness or no show, is not going to necessarily cause him to be more reliable in the future.  Again, it’s the kids, it’s the kids …

It goes without saying that you then need to do everything to keep your word, and you must honor your appointments. When you reach an agreement, stick to it. Parenting plans and schedules are designed to be flexible but simultaneously need to be stuck to unless enough prior notice is given to all involved parties (including your kids).

Respect your differences

There are many different parenting styles and it’s highly unlikely that you and your ex will see eye to eye on all aspects of raising the children. In fact it’s highly unlikely these days you see eye to eye on anything! That being said you can’t expect each co-parent to share the exact same ideals and try to implement the same parenting methods. Differences don’t mean that one approach is right and that one is wrong. If you want your coparent to see things from your point of view, or if your ex genuinely needs a metaphorical kick up the backside in terms of effort levels, then the best approach is not belittling the parent in front of the children.

Parenting styles you may be familiar with range from Authoritative to Permissive with plenty of room for grey areas in between. Of course, if your coparent is massively lacking discipline in an area of their parenting then you should have a quiet word. You need to agree on values you teach your children and consistent rules regardless of which household they’re staying at. This doesn’t mean being too involved in your coparent’s time with your child though; give your ex room to naturally develop his relationship, solo, with the children.

Don’t give up!

If you can accept your differences then you can work together. Don’t dismiss your chances at having a successful coparenting relationship, because your marriage did not work. Your children are one of the wonderful things that remain of your relationship. And it is for your children that it’s worth doing your best now with your ex. Giving your children the quality of life you want, the parenting relationships they need, and the easiest transition between households are your goals.

Listen to your co-parent, acknowledge his opinion and respect prior arrangements. Reinforce the fact that you are a parenting team. Be considerate towards your ex, co-operate, apologize when necessary and communicate effectively whilst applying restraint. Keep your coparent informed, updated and most importantly involved with your children.

Be prepared to compromise and work on your patience! Apply constructive criticisms SELECTIVELY and be ready for the response. It may seem like a lot to remember but eventually it will come more naturally and once applied you should be able to get a mirrored response from your ex-spouse. If not, he will run risk of being the “bad guy” and in that situation at least your children will have one positive role model to look up to.

Doing the right thing improves your coparenting relationship and your parent/child relationship. It may seem obvious but then again nobody will claim it is easy. When past love, hate, bitterness and emotion is involved it becomes very difficult to be the bigger person and control your actions, words and body language. Nevertheless you must put the hurt and anger aside and separate your feelings from your behavior. Your children must realize that they are far more important than the issues that ended your relationship with your Ex.

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 whilst additionally providing free co-parenting resources and a scholarship program for single parents.

(* Disclaimer: For the sake of brevity, this article relies on the pronoun “him” as the gender of  your ex; while we well realize your ex may be a she.)

Should I divorce a woman wonders

Should I Divorce My Husband or Stay, for the Kids?

Your home has become a war zone. You and your husband are always fighting — or it’s eerily silent — and you are both miserable. What was supposed to be happily ever after has become an ordeal you cannot escape. Or can you?

A voice inside your head whispers, again and again, “Should I divorce?”

While another voice asks desperately, “What about the kids?”

If the word divorce sends chills up your spine then you have one thing going for you – you aren’t taking this decision lightly. It means something and this scares you. That’s good – very good. Divorce is never easy – on anyone involved. It changes your life and those changes are not always good — especially for your kids. But will getting a divorce ruin them? If you aren’t sure, then we need to talk.

Divorce isn’t always good. But, it isn’t always bad either. Like any other big decision in life it can go either way. Your job as a mom is making the best decision you can; working hard to limit the fallout; and helping your kids persevere through it all.

The impact of divorce isn’t always clear

If you have been contemplating a break-up, maybe Googling “Should I divorce?” at various intervals in your life, odds are good you have been scouting out information about how it will impact your kids.  Maybe you have read a few articles that cite all kinds of bad things that will happen to your kids: like, they will develop behavioral problems; they won’t be able to sustain a lasting relationship of their own in the future; they will fail in school; or they will become young parents.

As a mother, you may be focusing on these negative reports, fearing the decision you are making. But there is another side to this story. There are plenty of reports that contradict these negative findings. One study done at Dartmouth indicated that 75-80% of children from divorced homes showed no lasting psychological effects from their parents’ breakup. Another study showed that 42% of young adults who came from divorced households received higher well-being scores than their counterparts who came from a two-parent household.

When asking yourself, “Should I divorce my husband?” consider this important fact: a 2012 study at Notre Dame University showed that parents who fight in front of kindergarten age children set their kids up for depression, anxiety and behavioral problems at a much higher rate than those who decide to end their marriages. This study indicates that it is not necessarily the act of divorce that causes problems for kids, but the inability of the parent’s to provide a calm and loving environment that does the most harm.

Other studies suggest it is actually how you navigate the divorce process that dictates how well your children will recover.

How divorce can benefit your kids (Yes, we said that!)

Life is tough sometimes, and kids need to learn that no matter how tough it gets, they will survive. So, while you worry that ending a bad marriage is going to ruin your kids, statistics show that it can actually help make them stronger, happier people.  Here are just some of the things that kids learn when parents divorce:

  • Conflict resolution: Divorce can show kids how to overcome conflict. While it is a dramatic way to solve your marital strife, it does show a positive way to solve problems — as opposed to staying in a spin cycle of pain.
  • Co-parenting can means more parental involvement: statistics show that kids in shared custody situations actually spend more quality time with each individual parent. The Journal and Marriage & Family says that  “quality time with your kids has a bigger impact than quantity of time spent in their presence.”
  • What real happiness is: a household wrought with strife is chaotic and can even feel emotionally unsafe to your kids. But, when the parents finally end the marriage, the stress –and the fighting – is relieved. This can help kids experience life without the chaos; showing them a difference from what they have known. And also, that people have choices as to how they can live.
  • Perseverance: life doesn’t always go as planned. When kids see their parents’ reviving after a failed marriage they learn how to persevere through the tough times and create a new beginning, too.

The negative side of divorce

Of course, we all know that divorce is not always pretty. A bad marriage can turn into a worse divorce.  Ending a marriage can bring out the worst in people, especially when kids are involved. If you cannot find a way to get along with your husband during and after the divorce, ending your marriage could do more harm than good when it comes to your kids’ future.

Statistics show that the trauma of divorce can send kids reeling. In some cases they experience an increase in depression, anxiety, behavioral problems; issues in the future connecting with others; trust issues; and more.

Add to that the negative financial impact many divorces have on mothers and children, and you are getting the picture of a different kind of stress. If you have a hard time financially caring for your children after a divorce, it will impact everything about their life. This may limit their involvement in extra-curricular activities like sports and music lessons; where they live; and the friends they make; as well as their ability to continue their education after high school. All of this can impact the quality of their adult lives.

Should I divorce my husband?

This is a question with no easy answer. If you are living in an abusive or dangerous situation or your husband is an addict, then it may be time to get out. We know that can be hard. But get help. If your struggles are another variety, it may be best for your kids to stick it out and work on those problems.  Consider professional assistance so you learn how to do things differently.  It is always best to work on your marriage, but remember, if your home is wrought with chaos, your kids will be harmed. Unhappy parents = unhappy kids.  With 1.5 million children facing divorce annually, the fact remains kids do overcome this change in their lives – and many actually thrive afterwards.

Is it time to give up on your marriage? Only you know the answer to that. And do not expect 100 percent clarity to the answer. Consider speaking to a professional to help you as a couple; or a divorce coach to help you evaluate what is real and what is not. Your kids are clearly a major part of your decision, but don’t let them be the deciding factor as to whether you stick it out or not. In the end you have to do what’s best for the entire family – including yourself, your husband, and your kids.

As mothers we are hardwired to put our children first. So, if you are stuck wondering, “Should I divorce?” ask yourself if this is the kind of relationship you would want your kids to have in their adult lives? 

Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oft times complicated experience of divorce and rebuilding their lives afterward. Schedule your FREE 15-minute consultation with SAS. Tell us confidentially what’s going on, and we’ll give you black & white feedback, resources and suggestions for your next steps.

Great Gig Economy Jobs for Divorcing Moms

Like many divorcing women, you may need to reinvent your career in this next phase of your life. That’s exciting! But also … a bit daunting. There’s a lot to consider, especially if you were a stay-at-home mom during your marriage and now need to begin earning cash. Much has changed, and with that change comes new possibilities for you in the gig economy. Side hustles offer opportunities to earn an income that won’t take you away from your children for long hours each week. Even better, some of these gigs are fun and align nicely with your family’s needs. You often control your schedule, meet new people, and sometime the money is quite good.

As we move through and beyond the stages of divorce, for some of us, the gig economy will be a first step towards entrepreneurship. For others, it may be the first stop along the pathway to recovering our professional mojo. And for everyone, it can be a great adventure. Here are a few favorite gig economy jobs that offer a little something beyond a paycheck for divorcing moms.

Rent Your Baby Gear To Traveling Families

Babierge (baby + concierge) connects traveling families with “Trusted Partners” at their vacation destination who rent, deliver and set up baby gear so families can have an at-home like experience at hotels and vacation rentals. Sort of like an Airbnb, but for baby gear.

This is fun and satisfying work you can do around your family’s schedule. Customers truly appreciate you.

You start by applying to Babierge, and then take a brief online training course that covers gear, safety, insurance and working in the hospitality industry. Best of all, you work with mostly mompreneurs who support you through launching your business.

logo for India Hicks

India Hicks

India Hicks, mother of five and a busy entrepreneur has built a luxury life-style brand to be sold exclusively in the heart of the home. India has pursed many roles — daughter in royal family, life partner, mother, foster mother, licensed products for other company, designed for home shopping network, and started her own company.  She understands that women wear many hats and offers this as another hat in one’s repertoire.

For women who join Hicks’ tribe, the opportunity is not limited to being surrounded by beautiful things and connecting with like-minded women. Hicks’ people are supported by a training program that truly grooms them in career and professional development — making it for some, the perfect stepping stone out into the world of  entrepreneurship.

Luxury handbags, jewelry and accessories at surprisingly affordable prices, sold by women, to women.  Explore and join this start up network of ladies who love beauty and connections.

Rent Out Your House

If you’re dealing with the empty house blues every time your children are with your ex, considering making extra money renting your kid-friendly home to a traveling family through Kid & Coe.   Then stay with friends or family while your home is rented, which keeps you social and connected to the people in your life, and hopefully not missing your kids quite so much.

The average house on Kid & Coe rents out at $450 per night–good money that can help contribute to starting over. And making your home attractive to renters is an incentive to declutter and live a little lighter in your new life.

Homes have to be available for rental at least 4 weeks a year, be clean, safe and appropriate for children. You’ll also need to be in a location where families are likely to travel to, but that covers a lot ground.  Homeowners have to submit photos and input information about their home. The Kid & Coe team accepts properties to the site based on their criteria, and crafts the listing for you. The initial cost to list your home on the site is $99. Learn more about how to get started by visiting their hosting page.

Get Paid to Play with Dogs

If you’re a dog lover, Rover is another flexible, sharing economy opportunity that can be fun for you and your kids. Rover connects families that have dogs with families that love dogs so much they want to take care of them during the day, or overnight when their owners travel. You can walk dogs during the day as your Rover side gig too–a great way to get out of the house and get some exercise. You actually get paid to play with dogs! How great is that?

You’ll need a dog-friendly home and a fenced yard or the ability to get the dogs out on a walk as needed. You get to set your own schedule and rates. Like with Babierge, this is your own business. You are not an employee, but instead an independent contractor. Be sure to keep records of your income and expenses for tax time. Rover provides a lot of helpful content on their site. Spend some time reading up on insurance, growing your business and tips for caring for dogs. When you’re ready, signing up for Rover is easy.

Sell Fashionable, Comfortable Clothes

It can be challenging to juggle family and a career as a mom, and when divorce enters the picture, finding balance can be even more elusive. Ruby Ribbon is a fast-growing social selling fashion company. They offer women the opportunity to build an at-home-business selling exclusive Ruby Ribbon shapewear, swimwear, leggings and fashion, at their own pace, and on their own terms.

As a company Stylist, you’ll sell clothing through pop-up events in living rooms, offices, and other locations. Stylists also sell clothing on their personal Web sites, designed by Ruby Ribbon.

With a side gig at Ruby Ribbon, you’ll benefit from a warm and supportive community of women helping each other succeed, not to mention easy access to fabulous fashions! Interested? Learn more about becoming a Ruby Ribbon Stylist.

A growing number of divorcing moms are turning to the gig economy, seeking careers that offer flexibility, work on their own terms that fits their family’s needs, and the excitement of entrepreneurship. For divorcing moms, especially those with some length of time out of the workforce, the gig economy can be a stepping stone to an improved financial and professional future, not to mention a lot of fun!

_______________________________________________________________________

Trish McDermott was a divorcing SAH mom of four when she began to dabble in the gig economy—dog sitting, baby sitting, rides around town—finally renting out baby gear on the Babierge platform. In 2017 Babierge hired Trish to run Community and Communications, but she still delivers cribs on the side. It feels good to make families happy, and she can’t see her new life without a side hustle.

Twitter:@trishmcdermott

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BabiergeTrustedPartnerTrishMcDermott/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trishmcdermott/

 

 

How to survive coparenting.

3 Tips on How to Survive Co-Parenting

There is no chapter on “How to Survive Co-Parenting” in Baby and Childcare, the great medical classic on raising children written by Dr. Benjamin Spock in 1946. Nor is it anything to be expected in the more contemporary parenting guide of What to Expect When You are Expecting. The fact is most parents are not ever truly prepared when their first child arrives. They end up learning what parenting is “on the job.” They eventually come to understand that even with the full-time support of a devoted spouse, raising a child can be challenging physically, mentally, and emotionally – not to mention a drain on all kinds of other resources that you just can’t fathom by reading a book. But when divorce enters the picture, and parenting becomes “co-parenting” the challenges can become multifold. To survive it, to ensure your kids fare well, you must be mindful of what matters most.

3 tips to survive the hardest aspects of co-parenting

When you’re in a healthy marriage, you tend to put your relationship with your spouse on autopilot. However, all that changes after your divorce.

You need to carefully balance your relationship — with your child — along with your relationship with your ex-spouse, and you cannot take either for granted. This can get very messy and stressful.

Here are three ways to try to make it as smooth as possible.

1. Take the long view

If you’re co-parenting it usually means your relationship with the other adult is well, “not the best”. It might be friendly, which is usually the best-case scenario, or it might be prickly and full of conflict, or anywhere in between.

One of the easiest ways to lessen the drama is to take the long view. Remember what your goal is.

What is your goal? Ask yourself right now. Is it to win? Or is it to minimize the impact on your kids so your children stand to heal as soon as possible over the divorce? If you said the latter, the irony is … you win!

Focusing on day-to-day disagreements such as squabbling about when your ex is five minutes late during an exchange or being completely inflexible about swapping days serves no real purpose. Look past the small mostly inconsequential problems and remember your goal is to do your part in raising a happy and healthy child.

2. Count to ten

When taking the long view you focus on the end game, not the small skirmishes in between. Unfortunately, even as adults and parents, we too can get emotional. Sometimes those emotions get the better of us.

While it’s a better chance than not that you and your ex don’t see eye-to-eye on many matters and aren’t a good fit for one another, you still probably know each other very well. That means you know what each other likes and you know how to push one another’s buttons (Push, Push!) No, you must delete those thoughts.

It’s incredibly important to not respond to triggers or fall into traps your ex may lay. It’s not good for you and it’s not good for your child.

Don’t let your co-parent get under your skin, and when he inevitably does, follow the adage, count to ten. There’s nothing to gain from snapping or blowing up, and even if you get the better of him in that moment, it could do more harm than good over the long haul. It is likely your child saw it or will hear about it in some way.

Watch your speech and control your emotions and your child will see a great role model. Long term, your child will respect you for the way you conducted the split and ongoing relationship with her dad.

3. Appreciate what you have

Life moves quickly. As soon as you have a child, your days seem to move even faster.

Sometimes when following the advice above, of taking the long view and focusing on the end game, it’s possible to go a little too far. Spend a little time to appreciate what is right in front of you. This. Very. Minute.

As quickly as life is moving, your child is growing up even faster. Instead of getting into a never-ending tug-of-war with your ex over time splits, try to enjoy the time you have with your child.

And, it’s also equally important to know that your child will in most circumstances have a healthier upbringing if they get to spend time with both parents. So, trying to wrestle him away from you ex, whether as a way to punish your ex, or for some other reason, is likely not in the best interest on your child.

Instead of spending your time fighting and doing whatever you can to get more time with your child, spend that time and energy actually enjoying the time that is available. Savor the moments. Focus on what you will do, what you can do. Make it meaningful. It doesn’t have to be gilded with spending a lot of money. It might just mean reading aloud to your kid or going for a walk or a bike ride. Simple is best sometimes.

In summary

Parenting one or more children under one roof is as trying as it is satisfying. But, if you and their other parent are no longer together, it can make raising them and enjoying your life that much harder.

To survive and enjoy your life as a co-parent, it takes a bit of a balancing. It’s important to enjoy the day-to-day time you have with your child, but you also want to focus on the end game of raising a happy and healthy individual. When you do that, it helps you minimize the conflict. It puts the best things first and it gives everybody perspective.

Co-parenting isn’t easy, but it is possible by finding out whatever it takes … are you up for the challenge?

Tim Backes is the senior editor for Custody X Change, a parenting plan and custody calendar software solution. Along with providing co-parents software to help create and manage custody agreements, Custody X Change provides free co-parenting information as well as a scholarship for single parents.

Mother holding child

Divorcing with Children? 5 Resources You Should Know About

If you are a mom divorcing with children, we know you are worried.

Worrying about how the children will cope if we divorce is way up there on the list of reasons we choose to stay and gut it out. Hey, listen, as a momma now myself, I completely get it.  We will literally do ANYTHING to avoid causing our kids pain — even if it means absorbing massive amounts of pain ourselves. I know it comes from a good place. You are trying to shield them until you have it all figured out. But this is a mistake.

Before I opened SAS with my partner Liza, I was a teacher and school administrator for nearly 20 years.  I often knew from my students that their parents were not doing well, long before the grown ups came to talk to me.  I’d see kids in my office either in tears or in trouble and I’d attempt to get to the bottom of things. I’d hear about parents yelling when they thought the kids were asleep or finding mommy in tears in the bathroom or about dinnertimes where nobody talks anymore. You can’t protect them from the symptoms of what is happening at home, nor should you.  You want to know why?  Because if kids don’t understand what they are seeing and hearing, they will do two things: (1) They will assume it’s about them and that this is their fault and (2) They will use their imagination to fill in the reason why it’s their fault.

You must prevent this. You know this is not their fault and the children need to hear you say it.  You need to give them an age appropriate explanation as well, to help them dispel the myth they’ve told themselves.  You need to keep the conversation flowing from now on — this is not a one time event.  It’s an ongoing back and forth because as they grow and mature, their understandings and questions will change as well. They need to know they can come to you, anytime, about anything, forever. This is an opportunity to open a door with your kids and to show them that you know this is happening to them, too.

But how do you start the conversation about divorce with your children?

Yeah, it’s not like divorce comes with a manual and page 12 outlines exactly how to talk to your children about why you are divorcing.  However, there are some good things out there to explore, to help you frame the conversation with your children and to help you and the whole family navigate this big change. I encourage you to get online and do some digging, but in the meantime I’ve shared five of my favorites with you here:

1. Sesame Street For the younger set, this is a fabulous resource. Here you’ll find videos, songs, and printable materials.  You can also find the videos on YouTube so you can download them to watch anytime.

2. Banana Splits.  I discovered Banana Splits while I was teaching and I’m a big fan. It was designed with schools in mind but they have a great parent resource section with books to read and activities to do with your kids. This is best for kids in grades K-8th.  If your child’s school doesn’t know about Banana Splits, I highly recommend you share the link with them and encourage them to look into offering it at school.

3. Creative Therapy. Kids learn best by doing, right?  Creative Therapy offers two games you can play with your kids: “Talking Feeling & Doing” (ages 7-12)  and “Nobody Asked Me” (ages 8-15.)  What better way to connect with your child than through play?

4.  PBS Kids. This is a great website for upper elementary-middle school-aged kids that includes info on a wide range of topics. The section on divorce includes a quiz, advice, videos, facts, journal writing prompts – and more.  There’s also a section for parents that is worth checking out.

5.  Finally, visit the bookstore.  One of my favorite ways to teach my students and now my own son, is through stories.  There are quite a few good books out there to help kids understand divorce, but they are sometimes tough to find.  Here is a list to get you started:

Younger Readers

a)    Standing On My Own Two Feet by Tamara Schmitz

b)   Two Homes by Claire Masurel

c)    Was It The Chocolate Pudding? by Sandra Levins

d)   It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear by Vicki Lansky

Lower Elementary School

a)   Dinosaurs Divorce by Marc Brown

b)   Divorce is Not The End of The World by Zoe Stern

c)    I Don’t Want To Talk About It by Jeanie Franz Ransom

d)   When My Parents Forget How To Be Friends by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos

Older Elementary & Middle School

a)    It’s Not The End of The World by Judy Blume

b)   My Parents are Divorced Too by Melanie Ford

c)    Getting Through My Parents Divorce by Amy Baker, Phd, and Katherine Andre, Phd

d)   What Can I Do? by Danielle Lowry

Ok, Mom, I’ve armed you with some tools so now it’s up to you.  Please know that Liza and I are here if you have any questions or need additional resources.  If you haven’t talked with us, please do take us up on our free consultation.  We can help you figure out how to help your kids – and so much more.