Category Archives: Divorce and Finances

Negotiating with Power

The Key to Negotiating with Power About Money

I recently had the great privilege of interviewing Maggie Baker, Ph.D., psychologist and author of Crazy About Money.  Our call, entitled Negotiating with Power (part of a series on Preparing for Divorce), dove in deep to explore how our personal money stories affect our negotiating power and our lives. Whether you are creating a divorce settlement agreement, negotiating a salary increase, bargaining for a new house, or navigating money conversations with your spouse, understanding your money script is critical to gaining strength and confidence.

What is a ‘Money Script?’

Simply put, your ‘Money Script’ is your money story – what your mind tells you at the subconscious level about what money symbolizes for you. These stories begin developing early in life at home. Regardless of how much money you had growing up, your script was informed Negotiating with Powerby the ways in which people around you interacted with and related to money. If you lived in the ‘land of lack,’ where people always perceived there was not enough, this affected the story you created around money. If you lived in an environment where money was a means of control, then this affected your story around money. For a quick example:  If you grew up in an environment of ‘lack,’ while you may want to have more money, your fear around not having enough may cause you to make choices around money that perpetuate powerlessness rather than strength. No matter how much money someone has, everyone has a money script because everyone interacts with money. Understanding what story your mind tells you about money is critical to developing a relationship with money that is aligned with what you most want and with your ability to negotiate with power.

Negotiating with power is all about knowing your ‘Money Script’

Whether you are negotiating a divorce settlement agreement, a raise at work, or with your child who is requesting spending, money, your money script is going to kick in and impact how you negotiate. If you related to money as a source of power, then you will assume that the person in the negotiation that has more money is more powerful. If you associate money with love or approval, you may feel personally disregarded or slighted in a negotiation for money. If you believe that money is correlated to hard work, you may feel that you need to prove yourself as having worked long hours in order to negotiate. I think you get the idea. The fascinating thing is that we always assume that the person on the other side of the negotiating table thinks about money in the same way as we do when most of the time, this is not true! People often lose power in negotiation because they are so stuck in their own money story that they don’t attend to the money story of the person on the other side of the negotiation – and this is the point of view that really matters!

4 Steps to figuring out your ‘Money Script’

So if you want to negotiate from a place of power, you need to figure out your own money script. Here is a step by step process:

– Study your money habits

Get a journal or use your phone and begin keeping track of how you spend your money for 30 days. There are great apps for your phone to help you do this. Mint.com offers one. You must write everything down since our mind will trick us if we rely on memory alone.

Use the same journal and keep track of what you consciously chose not to spend your money on. What did you forego because “it felt like too much money” or “not the right time?”

Finally, listen to the language you use when you talk about money. Do you talk about ‘not enough?’ Do you talk about ‘needing to be careful?’ Do you ‘not care’ about money? Do you ‘not know how to manage it?’ Do you ‘feel overwhelmed by it?’

– Analyze your money habits

Once you have the data collected above, sit down alone or preferably with a friend, family member, counselor or coach and review. What patterns do you notice? What seems curious to you? To the other person? Seek to understand the reasons behind your expenditures and your non-expenditures.

– Link your habits to your upbringing

Now think about where these patterns and habits may have come from. How do they relate to your family of origin? How do they connect to any significant life events that have occurred? How have they been supported by the language people in your family used around money?

– Name your story

Once you have completed steps #1-3, you are ready to write your money story. It can be one paragraph to one page. It describes what you believe about money, the choices you make around money, and how those choices have served you and not served you over time. And I do realize that this can be difficult, so for additional support, I highly recommend Maggie Baker, Ph.D.’s book, Crazy About Money for language that will help you understand and interpret your money script.

Negotiating with Power

By now, it is probably clear that in order to negotiate with power, you need to (a) know how you think about money and (b) understand the basics of how the person you are negotiating with thinks about money.  People leave evidence all over the place if we choose to pay attention so it is not always as difficult as it may seem. And if you are negotiating with your spouse or child, you likely already have all the information you need to understand their money story. Once you do, then negotiating with power is all about languaging your position to help the other see how there is a win-win available in which both sides can obtain a good deal of what is most important to them.

Conclusion

The biggest reason why we lose power in negotiations is that we operate from inside our own heads which are filled with fear, anxiety and anger and don’t pay enough attention as to how the person on the other side is thinking. Get out of your own head or get the support of someone who will not get wrapped up in the fear, anxiety or anger who can help you find your place of strength and clarity.

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Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

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hire a divorce lawyer

4 Critical Things to Know Before You Hire a Divorce Lawyer

Choosing who will represent you in your divorce is a big decision. While it makes sense to ask people you know for recommendations or even to engage the ‘free’ services of a friend of family member to help you, here are 4 critical things you should know before you hire a divorce lawyer:

What kind of support is best suited for your case. Not every divorce is handled by an attorney litigator. Many people are unaware that there are divorce mediators, collaborative attorneys as well as litigators. Some mediators are attorneys and others are not. With a number of options available, the first important thing to understand is what kind of representation or support is best suited for your situation.

Who your partner’s attorney is if they have already hired one. One of the most significant wastes hire a divorce lawyerof money in divorce is spending money on attorneys who have a track record of battling it out rather than finding ways to help a couple settle. While it may feel counter-intuitive to hire two separate lawyers who know each other and have a track record of working with one another, this can actually be one of the best things you do for your case. The healthiest thing for any couple and family is a quick and fair settlement so hiring attorneys who can help you achieve this while protecting your personal rights is a smart choice.

Who you really need on your team. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have is that their attorney can help them with every part of their divorce. They bring all their issues – legal, emotional and financial directly to their lawyer. Your lawyer is your legal expert only and there are other professionals such as certified divorce financial planners, divorce coaches and therapists who can help you address other issues more effectively and in a more cost efficient way.

The family court culture in your county. One of the most overlooked factors in hiring an attorney is how well they are recognized and known within the family court system in which they will be operating. While hiring the top rated attorney can feel like great protection, if they are unknown or not well regarded within your local court system, you may be at a disadvantage. 

Deciding how you will divorce and who will represent you is a critical decision that can have significant financial and emotional ramifications. It is important to make this decision thoughtfully before you hire a divorce lawyer.

 

For a complete step-by-step guide to hiring an attorney and navigating your divorce, visit www.divorcecompanion.com.

____________________________________________________________

Adina Laver is the founder of Divorce Essentials™ and author of the Divorce Companion™ a multi-media step-by-step guide to navigating divorce.  The Divorce Companion™ is the only resource of its kind that provides guidance and decision making tools for every aspect of the divorce process, including determining whether divorce is the next step.

Adina also provides limited one-on-one coaching support for those who recognize that divorce is a sign that life has gotten off track and are aching to finding happiness again – or perhaps for the first time ever.

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Last week, I was held hostage by my brain.Analysis Paralysis

 

I was afraid – as all of us are from time to time – about aspects of my future and success. Does this sound familiar?

 

And my brain, doing what brains do, not only began conjuring up every fear-based story it could muster, but then really paralyzed me with its insistence upon trying to “think” my way out of my hole. I thought and thought about what to do, and the more I thought, the more elaborate and convincing the stories became, and the more afraid I became until — I was stuck in a state of complete analysis paralysis. No matter which direction my brain pursued, the future looked risky and gloomy and I was stuck.

 

Ever been there? Somehow I am sure I am not the only one.

How reliable is the brain?

 

Left unchecked, the brain can take on a life of its own – and the biggest problem with this is that we are absolutely convinced that our brain knows exactly what it is talking about ALL of the time. We are convinced that it is accurate and that it can think its way out of any problem.

 

The funny thing is that we have no problem doubting other people’s brains. We question doctors when it comes to medical decisions, despite their years of training (and our complete lack of training). We question our government officials when they make strategic international decisions, despite the fact that they have teams of analysts and we have only a very rudimentary understanding of the complex issues. And, of course, we question our children’s teachers’ methods of educating our kids, despite their years of formal training and experience and our lack of either. Yes, we have no problem questioning anyone else’s brains, but someone we trust our own implicitly to provide us with an accurate assessment of everything all the time!

 

Some common musings of the brain:

  • No one will want to hire me because I do not have the right degrees.
  • I have to stay in my unhealthy and unhappy marriage because I have no other way to support myself and I will be homeless or destitute if I leave.
  • I am a bad person if I do something that hurts someone else’s feelings or makes them sad, so I have to do what makes other people happy.
  • If my kids are struggling, then I must be an unsuccessful and incapable parent and I need to figure out how to make life better for them.

 

This list could go on and on. Our brains are very creative and quite dramatic in their musings, and they know just how to reel us in to believing them. Once we are there, we analyze our seemingly hopeless situation for days, weeks, months and sometimes years, never taking action because our brain has convinced us that there is absolutely no positive way out of where we are. We are paralyzed; we are stuck.

Give your brain a reality check

 

So, in this rational moment of reading this article, ask yourself these questions:

  • How likely is it really that everyone else’s brains are inaccurate at times but mine is always right?
  • How likely is it that the same way of thinking that created the sense of crisis in my brain will discover a way out of it?

Break through the Analysis Paralysis

 

If you are tired of hanging out in a state of analysis paralysis or despair about your situation, here are four steps to breaking free:

 

  1. Break the silence. Most of the issues that get us stuck evoke feelings of shame. Shame needs silence, secrecy, and judgment to thrive. Take 15 -30 minutes and write down the issue that has you stuck and all your thoughts about it. Share it with someone who can just listen and not give you advice or be judgmental.
  2. Take a ‘thinking’ vacation. Take your journal entry and place it in a jar for a week (screw the lid on tightly!). Tell yourself that you are going to let the jar hold onto the issue for a week so you can take a break from thinking about it. If it arises in your mind, simply give yourself a gentle reminder that this issue is in the jar for a week, no need to worry about it now.
  3. Pursue a new angle. After a week, take your writing out of the jar. Go back to your trusted listener and share the issue again, now asking yourself how you can look at this from another angle.
  4. Get support. If you are still stuck after steps #1-3, get professional support. Your brain is stuck, but this doesn’t mean you have to stay stuck.

 

Put another way,

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” ~ Marcus Aureluis, Second Century Roman Emperor and Philosopher

 

So whatever you have been procrastinating doing until you have it ‘all figured out,’ STOP analyzing. If your brain hasn’t gotten you there yet, it is not going to until something changes – either your actions or your thoughts.

 

When you are ready to get unstuck from your analysis paralysis, contact me. I am ready to help you free yourself from your mind.

 

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Let’s Get Real Mini Session, or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

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increase your net worth

How Divorce Can Increase Your Net Worth

One of the primary concerns of anyone facing divorce is the diminishment of personal net Golden eggworth. Whether there are two wage earners or one, whether you have been the primary wage earner or have been financially dependent, divorce means a division of assets and an increase in expenses overall which means there has to be less in the end for each person. So how can divorce increase your net worth?

 

The other day I was reading an article called The Business of Self-Esteem by Amy Anderson in Success Magazine. (A special shout out here to my friend and mastermind partner Jodi Silverman who turned me onto Success.) One of the first things that Amy invoked in her article was this quote by personal achievement philosopher Jim Rohn, “Income seldom exceeds your personal development.

 

I will admit that I am still investigating with this statement with curiosity, particularly regarding what is meant by ‘personal development,’ but Anderson’s article is on self esteem, and according to some of the most renown philosophers and social science theorists, self esteem is defined in the following ways:

  • In the mid-1960s, Morris Rosenberg and social-learning theorists defined self-esteem as a personal worth or worthiness.
  • In1969, Nathanial Branden defined self-esteem as the experience of being (feeling) competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and believing they have the right to achieve happiness and be given respect.

 

As I read these definitions, I thought about the many people I talk with each day who are considering or facing divorce and their relationship to money and something rang very true: Those who were most fearful about their financial position following divorce were also those who questioned both their right to achieve happiness and receive respect as well as their capacity to overcome the challenges inherent in change. In other words, they could only imagine how their situation could get worse following divorce rather than better because they did not believe either in their right to be happy or their ability to confidently navigate the transition to a new kind of financial stability. Unfortunately, this lack of belief in self keeps many people stuck in unhappy and abusive situations for a long time with a sense that there is absolutely no way out.

 

“When your self-worth goes up, your net worth goes up with it.”

~ Max Victor Hansen

 

The truth is that when you do not believe in your right to be happy and your ability to navigate in uncharted waters, then there is no way out. It is like living in a cement box with no doors or windows.

 

However, as Mark Victor Hansen said, what is also true is that “When your self-worth goes up, your net worth goes up with it.”

 

It is not the lack of a job that keeps you stuck.

It is not the inability to afford a new place that keeps you stuck.

It is not your age that keeps you stuck.

It is not the disapproval of others that keeps you stuck.

(This list could go on and on.)

 

These are the “explanations” we invoke when we don’t feel worthy or capable.

 

We have all read many rags to riches stories, heard the tales of people who surmounted unbelievable odds to reach great success, and know about people just like ourselves who have made the changes we are considering and came out just fine.

 

What differentiates those people is a simple resource that everyone has access to – a sense of self worth. Do the work on yourself, and the rest will follow.

 

By the time many people are considering or facing divorce, their sense of self worth has taken a beating as a result of years of years of living in an unhealthy relationship. At this level of self worth, change feels insurmountable.

 

But the great news is that self-worth is malleable – it can change – it can increase – significantly. This is why my one-one-one coaching programs as well as my Divorce Companion program focus on personal development first. It is a great leap of faith to believe that working on yourself is the path to freedom from the chains of unhappiness, but nothing has ever been more true. In fact, it is the only way out.

 

So whether you are considering divorce, actively pursuing divorce, or recovering from divorce, this is powerful energy that you can leverage to both increase your self worth and increase your net worth.

The choice is yours.

 

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Let’s Get Real Mini Session, or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is a Fair Divorce Settlement Agreement Possible?

One goal of the divorce process is to help couples attain a fair divorce settlement agreement.  However, this process often breaks down because no one has clearly defined what “fair” means.

 

Let’s think about it. Two people have been living together for a long time. In the case of many of my clients, this means 10+ years. Over that time, the couple accumulates assets such as a house (or two or three), cars, artwork, heirlooms, jewelry, retirement plans, and so on. Regardless of whether the couple mutually decided to divorce, one person initiated the process and the other is facing it reluctantly, what can possibly seem “fair” about having to give up stability, financial security, time with the kids (if there are any), the residence you have called home, and half of the stuff you have surrounded yourself with day in and day out.  And how about the family pet?

 

For many “fair” can become completely inaccessible in the negotiating room. When this happens, rational discussion tends to cease and couples can soon find themselves sitting in a courtroom. At that point, they not only have to contend with high legal feels, but they are then at the mercy of a judge or master whose definition of a fair divorce settlement agreement is not likely to please either side.

 

What’s the problem and what can we do about it?

 

One of the problems I would like to assert is that spouses are told that the goal is to achieve a fair divorce settlement agreement, but everyone in the room has their own definition of what that means. Spouse A has an idea in their head what they think is fair, spouse B has another notion, and the attorneys or mediators have their interpretation of what they believe the law thinks is “fair” in this case.

 

According to the dictionary, “fair” can mean any of the following:

  • Moderately good
  • Acceptable but not ideal
  • Consistent with rules or logic
  • Free of favoritism or bias
  • Being in accordance with relative merit or significance
  • Sizeable
  • Better than acceptable
  • Reasonable

 

When you think about this list, even subtle differences in the meaning of these phrases can make an enormous difference when you are negotiating how to divide up the material and financial assets that were previously an integral part of a marital partnership.

 

Reframing the Fair Divorce Settlement Agreement

 

Perhaps it is time for a reframe. I am not sure yet exactly what that is, but let me throw out a couple of things and see if any of you have some ideas as well. What if instead of focusing on a fair divorce settlement agreement, we set the goal as:

 

  • A divorce settlement agreement that provides for a reasonably healthy future for each partner. What I like about this is that the emphasis is on the future and not the past, given how things present in the current moment.

 

  • Or what about a divorce settlement agreement that enables partners to each receive some of what is most important to them? What I like about this is that is forces couples to identify what is most important to them before the start of the negotiations. If each partner were to have a Top 5 list and the assumption was that each partner would get at least 3 out of their top 5, would people end up happier in the end. The focus would be on gain and not loss.

 

Yes, I know these phrases can feel a bit awkward and unpolished right now, but let’s start the dialogue.

 

Join the Dialogue

 

Join me by adding to this discussion here, on my blog, and on my free Monthly Support Call focused on ‘Achieving a Fair Divorce Settlement Agreement’ on April 16th from 12:10 – 1:00 pm. Register here.

 

Often times we take the language we use for granted but the truth is that language matters. We all associate meaning with words based upon our past experiences and associations. And “fair” is actually a very highly charged word. Two people with different experiences with “fair” on the playground, at home, and with friends, are going to have very different notions of what this means. How can adjustments to our language set a new tone, create new expectations, and perhaps even change the outcome of a negotiation process?

 

And how can a new level of consciousness about the divorce process make a difference in the divorce experience? For more about this, please click here to learn about the new Divorce Companion Program, designed to provide step-by-step guidance for pursuing a healthy divorce with confidence and clarity.

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Adina Laver is the author of the Divorce Companion™ and founder of Divorce Essentials™, a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

 

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Let’s Get Real Mini Session, or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

 

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Make ‘Discerning Choices’ When Going Through Divorce

Based upon a Bloomberg article published on February 18th, divorce rates are on the rise for the 3rd year in a row after plunging to a 40 year low in 2009. While the decision to divorce is motivated by emotions and the health of the relationship, the economic reality of paying for divorce and life after divorce points to a direct correlation between divorce rates and the health of the economy. When the economy improves and there are more jobs and better housing values, people feel more confident about making a shift in their lives.

Nonetheless, both the emotional and financial costs of divorce can be very high and making discerning choices when going through divorce is critical. I was recently interviewed by Amy Kaufeldt on the My Fox Orlando morning show regarding this trend and tips for minimizing the financial and emotional toll when going through divorce.

Click to view videoFox 35 Orlando_n

This was a quick clip. Below are additional tips.

Reducing the financial and emotional toll when going through divorce

Do not file for divorce or make decisions because you want to threaten, harm or retaliate against your spouse. As I have said previously, divorce is an expensive and ineffective means of claiming justice or vindicating years of unhappiness. Divorce does not determine who was right or wrong and in most cases who did what to whom is not even a factor in dividing up assets or custody. Emotionally charged and reactive decisions tend to be costly in the short run and long run and can leave you financially and emotionally drained at the end.
Prepare emotionally for the process. Divorce challenges even the most level-headed among us. For most couples, as soon as they begin going through the divorce process, trust dissipates and each partner tends to feel very self-protective. In this frame of mind, you can either be inclined to battle over everything or negotiate for nothing because you feel guilty or want to get it over with. Neither of these responses will leave you or your family in the best position for the long term. Working with a counselor or therapist to release some of your anger and hurt or working with a coach to build your emotional strength will pay dividends in the long run.
Choose an attorney or mediator who is a good match for you. Not all doctors are the same, not all hair stylists are the same, and all divorce attorneys or mediators are the same. It is important to have a process for selecting legal support that will be a good match for you and your situation. Take some time to articulate your goals for the process and what you want in this relationship and then interview people.
Do your homework. Every decision in the divorce settlement agreement has implications for the short term and long term. For example, the way in which divorce support is determined can impact your ability to get a mortgage on a new home. What is best for the kids is a complex decision based upon a number of factors. Parents can make decisions that result in unintended consequences because they focused too much on one factor and not at all on others that they weren’t aware of. There are many qualified professionals who specialize in divorce who can help you think through the process.
Take it slow. One of the most important things I discovered to be true in my case and in the divorces of many of my clients is that everything transforms in time. Just because your partner says one thing today, doesn’t mean that is how they will feel tomorrow. Just because your financial picture appears one way today, doesn’t mean that there aren’t options that will transform how it can look over the next few months or years. Everything transforms in time. While I do not suggest dragging out the divorce process in general, it is important to take the time to feel comfortable with the decisions you are making when going through divorce so you can set yourself up for a healthy and positive future.

For additional support in pursuing any of these tips to reduce the emotional and financial toll of going through divorce, contact me and let’s talk.

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Divorce Essentials, founded by Divorce Coach Adina Laver, is a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Let’s Get Real Mini Session, or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

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How to Escape the ‘Cost of Divorce’ Quicksand

Divorce Corp, the movie, demonstrates how easily couples can fall into the ‘Cost of Divorce’ quicksandQuicksand where they are swallowed up by outrageous court and legal fees and life-altering acrimonious battles. Like with real quicksand, it is best to avoid it in the first place, but once you step in, how can you get out?

Here are some tips from our wilderness guide that can easily be applied when you find yourself beginning to step into divorce quicksand.

HOW TO GET OUT OF THE ‘COST OF DIVORCE’ QUICKSAND

If you step into quicksand, the first thing you want to do is drop everything. Drop your backpack that can weigh you down and your shoes that can create suction as you try to pull your feet out. If you feel your feet getting stuck, take a few steps backward before the quicksand takes hold. Avoid taking a big step forward because doing so may get one foot unstuck but push the other farther down. Then sit down or lay back to help release your feet. Once you do, roll to the side away from the quicksand. You will get dirty, but you will get free.

Much like real quicksand, ‘cost of divorce’ quicksand can quickly suck you in if you are not careful. Once your feet are embedded, it can be nearly impossible to get out! Here’s what to do…

1. Drop the weight. If you find your discussions about divorce or your divorce process beginning to spiral out of control, it is wise to immediately let go of some things that are weighing you down. What are you arguing about that really isn’t that important? What other pressures do you have at work or home that you can extract yourself from? You need to lighten the load. Immediately let go of some of the battles and let go of some of the other things that are drawing you deep into the cost of divorce quicksand.

2. Take a step back. In the early stages of falling into ‘cost of divorce’ quicksand, it is usually still possible to take a step back. Stop reacting to your partner’s button pushing. Stop listening to the voices of friends or family who may be fueling the fire of acrimony, and pause. Seek a moment of clear thinking.

3. Avoid taking big steps or panicking. Avoid taking dramatic steps such as closing bank accounts, freezing assets, changing locks on doors, filing restraining orders (that are not really warranted). You may think they are helping you in the immediate, but they will sink you deeper into battle. Remember, “quicksand can react unpredictably to your movements. If you move slowly, you can more easily stop an adverse reaction and, by doing so, avoid getting yourself stuck deeper. You’re going to need to be patient.”

4. Lay back and let your feet release. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to let some time pass so things can relax a bit and you can find a clear head again and seek sound counsel from a professional such as a coach, therapist or collaboratively minded attorney.

5. Roll to the side, away from the quicksand. You will get dirty, but you will get free. When you are in the thick of acrimony, you can be limited by tunnel vision. There is always more than one way to approach a situation. Sometimes just moving a bit to the side can completely change the perspective. Getting out of the mud can be a messy process, but let’s remember the ultimate goal – to get out of the ‘cost of divorce’ quicksand and onto solid ground so you can move forward with the journey!

HOW TO AVOID THE QUICKSAND

Just as with real quicksand, the best thing is to try and avoid the ‘cost of divorce’ quicksand in the first place,

Three tips from on how to avoid real quicksand – and divorce quicksand!

Recognize common quicksand areas. Real quicksand most commonly occurs in tidal flats, swamps and marshes, near lake shores, and near underground springs. ‘Cost of divorce’ quicksand most commonly occurs around discussions about money and child custody. Seeking out professional support early in the process can help you from getting stuck.

Look for Ripples. “You should be able to see water seeping up from below the sand, making quicksand quite visible if you’re on the lookout.” The same is true of divorce quicksand. You will see ripples forming: lots of arguments, secrecy, changes to spending patterns, less time at home, comments from kids, and so on. Take note of the ripples.

Test the ground in front of you with your walking stick. Since the first thing to go in a relationship as soon as there is mention of divorce is trust, any conversation or decision can open to a pool of quicksand. Use your walking stick to test the ground. Be thoughtful and plan carefully around how to have difficult conversations during this time. At the first sign of “soft earth,” pull back and take some time to explore a new approach or strategy.

Finally, when extracting from quicksand, it is critical to take frequent breaks. The work of extracting yourself can be exhausting. This is true of divorce in general. You spent years creating your marriage, and most do not end quickly. From the time your relationship first became strained until the time that your divorce is complete could be months or years. You will need to be patient, take your time, and take care of yourself regularly along the way.
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Divorce Essentials, founded by Divorce Coach Adina Laver, is a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Let’s Get Real Mini Session, or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

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How to Have a Healthy Divorce AND Bank Account

money trap

Someone recently registered for my monthly support call on “The Healthy Divorce” with the following query, “Isn’t ‘healthy divorce’ an oxymoron?”  How in the world could the process of dissolving a long-term marriage be ‘healthy,’ particularly if recent months have revealed deceit, infidelity, or other kinds of moral infractions?

This is such an important question. How in the world could the process of dissolving a long-term marriage be ‘healthy,’ particularly if recent months have revealed deceit, infidelity, or other kinds of moral infractions?

This is such an important question.

Divorce is always accompanied by hurt, frustration, resentment, and / or anger, so it makes perfect sense why so many divorces become contentious. One spouse may have hurt the other. One spouse may have stayed too long, is frustrated, and just wants out. One partner may have checked out a long time ago and has now just dropped the bombshell on the other. The logical consequence is the shattering of the relationship, and the termination of any trust.

What a healthy divorce is not 

A healthy divorce is not defined as one in which two partners agree upon everything and feel good about each other all the time. This doesn’t happen. Divorce is difficult. The hurt will get activated and there will be disagreements about the division of assets or custody arrangements. This is a given. You need to expect this.

And in some cases, one partner is simply determined to destroy the other. These situations are tragic for the partners and their family, and result in perpetuating a great deal of fear about the divorce process. The good news is that while these are the divorces that are featured in the media, they do not describe the vast majority of divorce cases.  Most divorces are between two relatively rational people capable of making discerning choices.

What a healthy divorce IS

What ‘healthy divorce’ does mean is that partners are committed to something more important than pure personal gain. They are willing to get the support they need so they can act in alignment with their values and sense of integrity.

Wait a minute…

  • How can there be integrity if someone has had an affair?
  • We can’t seem to agree on anything, so how will we find common grounds on which to divorce?

Those things may be true, AND, it is still possible to agree upon something that both partners care about:

  • The health and well-being of the children
  • Keeping the kids out of the battle
  • Preserving financial resources for both partners to be able to start over (rather than spending them all on ‘the fight’
  • Maintaining important friends and family relationships
  • Honoring the investments and sacrifices that each person made during the relationship
  • Honoring personal values (being someone you can feel proud of in the end)

Even when you and your partner hardly want to talk and you feel nervous about trusting each other, one of the most productive things you can do is to come together and decide what you are both care about that really matters.  By the time you have filed for divorced, you may have already depersonalized your partner and transformed him or her into the enemy. This conversation is designed to help remind each of you that there is another human being on the other side of this. Each of you has your own fear, but each of you has values too. Regardless of the values that may have been compromised leading up to this point, this conversation is designed to reconnect you to your best selves.

A ‘healthy divorce’ is a choice. It is a choice to navigate your divorce as a transition rather than as the main event in your life. It is a choice to get the support you need to heal and to keep your vision focused on creating a joy-filled life following your divorce.  It is an opportunity to remain true to the person you want to be.

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Divorce Essentials, founded by Divorce Coach Adina Laver, is a specialized divorce coaching and support service for those who are considering, in the midst of, or post-divorce and are committed to a healthy path for reclaiming their lives.

If you are contemplating a divorce but are stuck or if you are in the throes of making key decisions for your future but need guidance, reach out to Adina. Whether you coach together for one Let’s Get Real Mini Session, or coach for a full Personal Empowerment Breakthrough, Adina is ready to help you navigate through uncertainty so you can create a happier and healthier future!

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