Browse Articles on the topic of Life After Divorce

Listening to divorce advice can save money

Divorce Advice: Lose Your Emotional Attachment to Money

All good divorce advice should acknowledge that there are many parts to breaking up. It would be easier if the end of a marriage could happen in one clean break, of course—if you could go to a doctor, have them reset the bones of your life, and walk away knowing that in X amount of months you could take off the cast and be healed and whole again. But in reality, there’s breaking up legally, physically, emotionally, and financially, to name just a few vital parts of the process. We can’t exactly control how long it will take to make it through to the other side of divorce or who we will be when we get there.

As financial experts who work with women, we know that women in particular must recognize that all these parts come into play when divorcing, but at the same time, women must strive to separate them. This is especially true when it comes to money.

You must aim to separate your emotions from your decisions. In fact, you must treat the financial part of your divorce as a business transaction.

Find professional support

But this is easier said than done. A lot of women have anxiety about money precisely because they have an emotional relationship with it. So our first piece of divorce advice is to find support (a coach or therapist who specializes in divorce) to help you learn about your emotions and how they impact your decisions.

A professional can help you learn how to understand, harness, and compartmentalize these emotions. Again, this is particularly important when it comes to money.

Ensure you understand your financial outlook

Our second piece of divorce advice is to work with a financial expert who will take the time to educate you on what your real financial choices are so that five years from now you are in the best financial place you can possibly be in.

The key to managing your money throughout your divorce negotiations and, more importantly, the long-term is to keep your emotions in check as best as possible and focus on looking at your financial FUTURE. A forward-looking focus gives women the greatest chance at getting the best possible divorce settlement. And her best financial settlement will usually avoid spending a lot of money on attorneys and going through a lengthy court process.

You must aim to separate your emotions from your decisions. In fact, you must treat the financial part of your divorce as a business transaction.

The benefits of keeping your emotions in check

One of our clients felt a lot of anger at her husband* when he decided to move out. This ratcheted up further when he did not always live up to his custody obligations, leaving her in a lurch and disappointing their eight-year-old twins. Although their relationship was strained, the couple agreed to try the collaborative divorce process. When giving out divorce advice, I often tell clients this is an excellent and cost effective way to for them to divorce, but it also requires good communication.

Our client worked hard at keeping her emotions in check and the yelling to a minimum. Whenever she needed to speak to her husband about issues, she held her tongue and remained civil. When they hit a tough negotiating bump, trying to work out the amount of child support she would receive and who would pay for the twins’ educational expenses, her relationship with her husband was stable enough so that she called him directly and had a productive conversation.

Our client often shared with us (and her therapist) how difficult and painful each and every interaction with her husband was and how hard it was to keep her emotions in check. Due in large part to her self-control, the negotiations moved along quickly and her financial settlement was equitable. He ended up agreeing to pay a bit more monthly alimony and child support than the guidelines indicated. He also gave her a little more of the joint cash than she expected.

Now six months post-divorce, she has a smile a mile wide. We often use this example he anger and injustice that dominated her thoughts during the process seem like a distant memory, and she relishes the feeling of financial security that comes with winding up with enough money to live a reasonable lifestyle.

The pitfalls of being unable to let go of the past

Contrast this experience with that of another client. She and her husband had a second home in Connecticut where the family spent their summers, and it held special memories for her. When the couple separated, her husband made the Connecticut home his main base, and soon after, his girlfriend moved in. He wanted to buy our client out of her half of the house as part of the settlement. He offered her 10 percent over the market value to move the process along. Angry at him for living there with another woman in seeming bliss, she demanded that the house be sold. She admitted to us that the house had become tainted in her eyes, and she would never want to step foot in it again. But she was determined that he should not get to live there.

We showed her that financially it made no difference whether she received half the value of the house from him as part of the settlement or half the value of the house when it was sold. Unable to let go of her demand despite recognizing the financial reality, she spent the next nine months and tens of thousands of dollars only to have a judge ultimately rule that he could keep the house and pay her half.

The outcome of financial negotiations will dictate what lifestyle a woman will be able to live for years after her divorce. The importance of obtaining the best reasonable financial settlement cannot be emphasized enough. To achieve a good financial outcome requires a cool head and following the divorce advice of professionals who have been in your shoes.

Writers, Ellie Lipschitz and Dorian Brown are Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA’s).  Their specialty is working with women on the business side of their divorce. As CDFA’s, they educate and assist their clients to understand the financial aspects of their divorce so they can confidently negotiate an optimal settlement. 

*At SAS for Women, we respect same-sex marriages, however, for the sake of simplicity in this article we refer to your spouse as a male.

bubbles floating in the air

Would You Believe Me If I Told You There Is Life After Divorce?

There is life after divorce. You probably don’t believe me because you are in a dark and lonely place right now. It feels like a black cloud is hovering over you and everything feels gray and ugly. You can’t imagine that you will love anyone else or that s/he will want to love you. You feel as if everything is broken and ruined. If you don’t have kids, you may think that window is closed. If you do have children, you may be overwhelmed by the idea of being a single parent after the divorce. The future seems dismal and the thought of simply getting up in the morning is exhausting. You sleep too much or you don’t sleep at all, you eat too much or you don’t eat anything. It feels like life has ended but you are still here, biding time, painfully and slowly.

It will change, though.  Slowly, but surely, you will feel better.

New people will come into your life and fill those awful empty places.

The black cloud will show up every other day at first; then once a week, then once a month, and then only once in a great while.  You will get small bursts of energy and feel inspired to exercise a bit or call a friend or clean out a closet.  These small accomplishments will lift your spirits and spur you to consider more and then tackle the next thing. You will idly wonder, “Would I ever get married again?”

New friends, new neighbors, perhaps a new love will show up and you will be able to see things through their eyes. These people will come into your life and breathe fresh air into it. Maybe you will decide, “It’s quite lovely to be single and only answering to me!” or perhaps you will think, “Ok, I might get married again, if the right person came along.” It all depends on what you want and what you re-discover about yourself.

During the dark days of my own divorce, I wasn’t sure I wanted to be tangled up in a relationship, let alone a marriage, ever again. In fact, I swore I wouldn’t. But later as I progressed through my divorce recovery, I realized that I liked being married once upon a time.  I liked having a companion, someone to come home to, a partner in life.  And I realized that I could like it again, with the right person.

One day I met someone who changed the way I viewed the world.  He gave me perspective and compassion and love. Slowly I started to trust it, to trust him, and the dark stormy days faded to a distant memory. Eventually we married, we bought a house, and now? Now I have a beautiful little boy at the age of 44. I am fulfilled in a way that I never knew was possible.

I don’t tell you this story to imply that “In your life after divorce, you, too, can have a new husband, a new house and bouncing baby boy!”  That’s what I discovered I wanted.  What I am telling you is that you can have what you want and right now, you might not even know.  It may take you awhile to figure out what that is, but that’s ok.  Take your time.  The more you invest in yourself now, the more you commit to working on you, the better you will be.

To be honest, this is not just about someone walking into your life and turning everything around, though that would be nice. No, it’s about a process that unfolds. It’s about healing.

What I had to do, and what you must do now, is go on a journey to deal with the divorce.  It’s not easy; sometimes there is a steep learning curve, with many ups, downs, twists and turns.  You must wade through the legal process, the financial process, and the logistics of getting through each day so that you can get on with the most important element of your recovery: your emotional healing.

I had to do a lot of reflection and take active steps before I could allow myself to even envision a future with someone new. I had to find out if I could cut it alone. I had to face my own lack of confidence and learn to trust myself. It took time and a focus on myself. I had to work on getting myself anchored before I could dream and hope again.

So trust me when I say, be kind and be patient with yourself.  With time, this blinding storm will pass, the skies will clear, and the vista that appears will take your breath away.  You will figure out what you want your life to look like as you step into it.  There is life after divorce, I promise.

I founded SAS for Women with my partner Liza Caldwell to help women cope with divorce. Liza and I remember what it feels like to be in your place, where the possibility of love or happiness sounds like fiction written for somebody else. You can stay in that place for a very long time, we know. Or you can choose to do something about it.

SAS for Women is an all female practice dedicated to the unexpected challenges of Women in Divorce. Women have untold things to consider when contemplating a divorce. And experience even more chaos when actually faced with divorce. SAS clients find much needed clarity when clarity can actually determine an outcome. Schedule your free consult to experience how.

listening to divorce advice when you're ready

Your Shocking Post-Divorce Behavior

We all know her. She’s that crazy divorcée.  But she’s not interested in your opinion or your divorce advice because “how would you know??” She’s fine. In fact, she’s better than ever!

She’s just signed up for THE BEST tantric workshop, a class she’s always “longed to do” but never had the time for. You wonder how she’ll make it to that class, this woman you used to know, because she seems so tired these days. Is she carousing?

Then you see her later, driving, in a little lime green thing, a sporty rig, she’s leased. Maybe she’s smoking. She waves and pulls over to chat with you like she’s on some other timeline when you mention, in a well-intentioned kind of way, that nicotine is not so good for her; but that, that purple streak in her auburn locks looks amazing.

She doesn’t hear you. She’s taking another drag and checking her OKCupid emails. You’ve seen the logo before, you recognize the layout.  You mention again that she should take care of herself, when she replies, she’s gotta run. She’s taking her kids out of school. To play hooky. They’re going to have pizza.  And it’s only Tuesday.

You are in shock. But not so frozen that you’ve suspended judgement.

Until now, flash forward, you are facing your own divorce, and guess what?

You may be headed with her.

Oh, you won’t stay there for long, but you will sow your oats, too. You will act out.  You will go backward and frontward and lurch to the side, looking for the life you’ve always thought you didn’t have but always wanted. Then there will come a point where you won’t want to stay there anymore.  You will slow down and grow calmer as a sense of peace begins to come from within. You’ll start to actually listen to whatever divorce advice you’ve been ignoring, letting what works for you into your life and tossing everything else by the wayside. How do we know? Because we’ve been there, tottering around in those crazy-ass stilettos.

It would be good for you to know this now, that there will come a time in your divorce recovery, when you are finally experiencing freedom you haven’t had in awhile, if ever.  And mark our words, it will be THRILLING!  You will not care what people think. You will be doing what you want because YOU CAN! You will only have yourself to answer to, and after all you have been through, this moment feels euphoric because, well, it is.

You will shed your old self, your old hang ups, your old high-waisted pants, and those toxic people who held you down. You’ll experiment with your looks, your hair; you’ll buy stylish new clothes. You’ll reconnect with old friends and find common ground with new ones. You will sleep around—just a little or a lot.

You will open yourself up to new thoughts, new restaurants, and new places to go. Maybe you will get that makeup treatment you’ve always wanted because your energy is coming back, and your self-esteem—it’s growing too.  You will go to the movies by yourself.  You will start a journal because you are becoming more self-aware and more grateful. You will be trying on new things, both literally and figuratively as you find yourself and your new identity.

But as your divorce coaches, and women who have been there…

Let us also share a little divorce advice

You may feel a little “Jekyll and Hyde” when this time comes around. You will seek thrills and yet, you will still be terrified; you will feel victorious and independent one moment and then defeated and lonely the next.  You will have a sense of hopefulness for the future, but still, you will fear the unknown.  Understand that this is where you will need to be then.  It will be perfectly normal and oddly appropriate. This is the erratic part of your divorce recovery. Things will be in flux, but you will need to give yourself permission to work and dance through this phase because it is vital. It’s a rite of passage. And it’s temporary.

But when you arrive here, proceed with caution.

You will still have a lot to figure out. You will have to face the practicalities of life and the aftermath of your divorce, the remaining details and decisions, big and small.  Despite your urge to experiment, you will remember, you’ve come too far to abandon your responsibilities completely.

You will need to help your children adjust to the new rhythms of life at home, and they will need you to be reliable. You will still have to perform at your job or perhaps get your résumé together to go back to work. You might be in the middle of selling your house, hunting for a new one, or setting up your new household.  Whatever life is handing you in your official post-divorcedom, you will have to deal with it. And for your future, you will continue to plan and listen to divorce advice.

Your challenge right then and there will be to find yourself—and your growing power.  How will the new, brilliant and beautiful you manage the tactical requirements of your life?

More unsolicited advice

When you hit this place of being single again, give yourself some rope to swing on.  Enjoy, pump, kick out, and swing high!  But don’t give yourself so much rope that you get caught and hang yourself.  Be careful with the big decisions that roost here.  They may have bigger consequences on your family, your career, your health, and your financial future.  Be patient for the dust to settle and try to compartmentalize your time.  Give yourself permission and time to play. For example, when your Ex has the kids, make your time yours.  When the kids are with you, or during the work week, hunker down and be the best mom possible.

One of the surprisingly, good side-effects of divorce is that you get a fresh start, a chance to make the changes in your life that will make you happy for the long haul. When you hit that place, take care of necessities, compartmentalize, and embrace your inner Jekyll and Hyde. It’s the divorce advice we wish we had received, and it’s the necessary bumpy but exciting ride you must go through to get to the other side.

What do you need to take care of while you swing high? Let us support you as you move through and forward. Connect with us for your free “Map to the Next Step” session.