Post-Divorce Hilly: Why, Hello, Dahling!

I’m delighted to welcome Hilly as my Guest Blogger today.  Hilly responded to a Facebook post on the Divorced Women’s Club page by sharing the link to her article, this morning I took some time to read it, more than once 🙂 and I love it…….  I hope you enjoy her writing as much as I did.

Welcome to Post-Divorce Hilly. I’m sitting in my favorite sushi-Thai restaurant in a perfect little corner, on my laptop, waxing reflectively. A few months ago, while still married, I impassively missed this very scenario which had for so many years been a part of my life before marriage. Chunks of my entire life have been spent in restaurants this way, pad and paper(s) spread across the table with a copy of whatever book I was into, or, laptop (in later years) glowing on said book, fingers wildly hammering out thoughts before they escaped my head. Or just the book, splayed open with a sugar holder or set of salt and pepper shakers. Whatever.

During busy lunches and slow, 5:00 PM-early-bird dinners, over a lovely cup of tea-bliss, in the lilt and lull of foreign tongues and clinking cleared-away cups, I mulled the things I read, found the parts I related to, and churned over the parts I did not. I parsed out my life in fairly unremarkable keyboard chapters. Poetry, songs, fiction and non….(bless this keyboard I bang on. HA. Sorry.)…plays, scenes– that book I’ve started and stopped since Moses wore short pants…..

I write and read in this scene far better than I do in the quiet bosom of my own home. The goings-on become white noise, until that ONE damn kid can’t stop kicking my chair or clanking their metal spoon against the water glass, which Mummy finds so darling, especially when he hops out of the booth and goes barreling down the aisle with a wooooooooosh and a banshee wail.

“Isn’t he precious? Now he’s a truck!”  (Yes, Mummy, dearest, and I wish the front axle would snap off his cab so he’d careen off the……).

But the writing. The purposeful reading in places that inspired me, free of home distraction. The love of looking up for a pause and seeing life go on around me, all of its moving parts, in people bustling and in their actions and faces.

Why had I stopped?

This was not an abandonment of self, before we traverse down that road. This is not that huge and popular statement on women in marriage, that “losing myself” in the gnarly-knuckled fist of institutional patriarchy, etc. etc.; no. This was just a turn I took because something else pulled my attention away for a spell. A 4-year-spell.

Why did it happen?

Why does anyone stop doing certain things they love to do? Maybe as a show of consideration toward a significant other? Maybe just not time enough? In my case, when there was a choice of doing something in free time, I mostly chose to do things with my partner. It’s kind of the point, n’est-ce pas? Having a partner with whom to do things? We did many things together, and I didn’t notice or miss the practice of purposefully dining/having tea alone whilst creating. Until one day, I did.

Creative casualty.

Laze. It is too easy not to explore, to discover, to spill, to wrap up, to release, to mull, to orchestrate, to produce, to bear fruit. This is choosing the couch over the walk in the park at the end of May: you know it will thrill you if you can. just. get. up. And go. But Neflix just released the 4th Season of the Dr. McNuggets hospital drama…..and the decision is made, and the page is left unread, and the word left unwritten, and the brain bleeds from being spoon-fed a story you didn’t take the time to read or write yourself.

And you turn your back on who you are, on God, really, when you think of it. My mother always said, “It’s a sin to waste God’s gifts.” Who are you to sidestep what God gives you???

Parallel and akin to, “Oh- you’re not going to church again? You don’t have one hour for God?” I’ll have an hour next week, right? Dr. McShitbird ended last season in a widely publicized affair with Datia, the 11-fingered Ukranian Foreign Exchange Student turned Candy Stripe-trix. God understands.

My point (there might be one) is that we sometimes make decisions to stop cultivating significant pieces of who we are for spells. It’s okay. I was never empty-handed. I was filled in other ways, and in result, seem no worse for the wear. I didn’t fully stop reading, I didn’t fully stop writing, I didn’t ever stop being Hilly, I just stopped this particular routine and took up others for a while.

I am glad to have this time again, and I’m glad to sit and sip with an old friend.

If you enjoyed this article visit her website here:  http://tippyteacup.com

Visit our website: www.divorcedwomensclub.com.au

Speak to Jenny
Schedule Appointment
 

THAT DIFFICULT CONVERSATION

The beginning of a new year for many people is when they take some time to really think about what they want to do and achieve in terms of career, health, fitness, travel, lifestyle, family and experiences for the year ahead.

It is also when many people follow through on a decision made some time previously to have that very difficult conversation with their partner.  “I want a divorce.”

When they reach that particular point in time, that moment of truth when they know they can no longer continue to live a lie or pretend that everything is OK.

Being the person to instigate having this difficult conversation is extremely painful and there will never be a ‘right’ time.

Most of my clients who have made the choice to end their relationship can remember clearly when and where the conversation took place. They can remember what they were doing, what they were wearing and the words they chose to speak out loud, the words that had been going through their mind for weeks or months before.

The fact is there is never a right time, or a better time and putting off the inevitable can mean that another year passes, another year living a life you no longer want.

I had a lady come to see me about the conflict and struggle she was having about starting this conversation.  We spent some time together to ensure she was absolutely congruent with this decision, which she was, however every time she decided she was going to tell him she couldn’t go through with it.  He was a very good man and she did care for him as a friend which made it even more difficult.  I suggested she write everything down that she wanted to say, as if she was having the conversation with him, read it over and over until she felt comfortable to broach the conversation, fold the piece of paper and put it in her bra, close to her heart.   She rang me the next day to tell me she took a very big deep breath, put her hand on her heart and had that difficult conversation.

If you are considering having this ‘difficult conversation,’

  • Be respectful of the other person’s feelings
  • Choose a time and a place where you will not be interrupted
  • Be honest in your communication, this is not the time for sugar coating how you feel
  • Being honest maintains a level of trust, even if it means acknowledging an affair, an attraction, or that your feelings have changed
  • If you have children choose a time when the both of you can tell them what is happening and reassure them that they are loved and this decision is not because they have done anything wrong
  • If there is any doubt in your mind suggest a trial separation to give both parties the time and distance to think things through
  • If the decision is made to proceed to divorce be mindful that the days, weeks and months ahead will be extremely challenging and emotionally stressful for everyone involved
  • Reaching resolution more quickly is achievable when both parties are agreeable, still difficult and challenging but will considerably shorten the time, emotional angst and financial outlay
  • Ending your relationship may also mean losing extended family, friends and colleagues,

I am not particularly proud of how I handled my separation, it was a very difficult time and many people I love dearly were hurt and confused by my actions.

If you are considering having that difficult conversation hopefully this post will help you hit the pause button just long enough to consider the possible implications of how you choose to end your relationship and approach the situation with respect, honesty and consideration for everyone involved.

Visit our website here:  http://www.divorcedwomensclub.com.au

Speak with Jenny
Schedule Appointment
 

EMOTIONAL MASTERY

Emotional Mastery!!!!

Is there really such a thing, are we able to be in control of our own emotions? Is it something ‘anyone’ can do? The answer is Yes!

Before I go on and I will come back to this in another email, our emotions are there to serve us, they have a very real purpose and it’s good to know there is nothing wrong with us when we are an ’emotional mess.’  More about this in the next newsletter.

Many people generally believe they have no control over their emotions. ” He made me so mad”, “she always makes me angry.” We have all made these comments or something similar from time to time, and yes when someone did something that really got under our skin it does trigger our emotions and can really fire us up.

I would like you to consider that you already know how to be emotionally masterful, and in these examples just notice if you can remember situations where you may have done something similar.

You are on the phone have a conversation with someone, perhaps it’s someone you really don’t like and you are being nice and polite through the conversation and occasionally you just put you had over the phone, and yell at them and or call them an idiot and then you calmly remove your hand from over the phone, return to the conversation and carry on as if nothing has happened.

If you have kids and you are on the phone and they start playing up, similar to the example I have just given, cover the phone, yell at kids to get to their rooms, then start talking again as if nothing has happened.    

These are examples of how you changed your emotional state!

We all change our state many times throughout the day.  If I get up in the morning and not feeling like I can be bothered going for a walk but I do it anyway and before I know it, everything feels different, my breathing changes, my posture changes, my focus changes, I hear birds in the trees, I feel the breeze on my skin and life suddenly feels good.

Here is a very simple explanation of how you can change and manage your emotional state.  Simply changing one of these three, will change the others.

The mind and the body are linked in such a way that

  • What you think affects your feelings and your physiology
  • What you feel affects your physiology
  • What you do with your body, your physiology affects your thinking and your feelings

Take a moment to think about some of the resources you already have (like going for a walk (physiology) that you know when you do them or when you think about them they have a positive affect on your emotional state.

Have fun with this and I’ll dive into more about this emotional “stuff’ next time.

Are you ready to become emotionally masterful?  Click the link below to find our how

The Keys To Unlocking Your Personal Power

http://divorcedwomensclub.teachable.com/p/the-keys-to-unlocking-your-personal-power/

Visit our website:  http://www.divorcedwomensclub.com.au

Schedule a time to chat with Jenny Schedule Appointment

Jenny is an absolute advocate and champion for women rediscovering themselves through the process of divorce.

 

HINDSIGHT

I  was speaking to my daughter last night about the Steps To Separation Workshops we are running and she said she thought some people might be too embarrassed or ashamed to go along to a workshop either before they leave a relationship or in the early stages of separation.   And I get it!

I didn’t want anyone to know what was going on for me and I didn’t really talk to anyone about it for way too long.  Pride, shame, embarrassed, confused, lost and very, very lonely are just some of the emotions and feelings I was experiencing at that time.

When it comes to separating from someone you loved and shared a very big part of your life with many of the choices and decisions that most people make are emotionally driven, so many things said in anger, and this is like adding fuel to a fire that is already out of control.

With hindsight what would I have done differently.

With hindsight I would have reached out for help rather than keeping everything bottled up inside.

With hindsight I would have spoken to professionals before my marriage had reached that ‘tipping point.’

With hindsight I would not have turned to my friends, some of whom had been divorced, to seek their advice.

With hindsight I would have spoken to professionals about the divorce process.

With hindsight I would have done many things differently and perhaps with hindsight there would be fewer regrets that appear from time to time.

With hindsight the choices I made have had a massive influence on my life and those closest to me.

Ultimately there are always consequences with decisions and choices we make. Every decision and choice sets us off onto a particular path and once on this path it is rare that we can undo what we have done.

We can take detours along the way but inevitably the journey will take longer than necessary, there will be more obstacles and challenges than there need to be, more people get hurt, and the people we love the most get caught in the middle.

If you are about to head out on the separation and divorce journey, STOP, BREATHE, pick up the phone and give me a call.

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

FINANCIAL ABUSE IN RELATIONSHIPS

I stumbled across this article by David Koch and I feel strongly that it is such an important discussion and needs to be shared. 

Sadly what David speaks about in this article is far too common either because one party has placed all their trust in the other partner to manage the finances or as in this article the actions of a partner are clearly financial abuse.  

I have also spoken to several women who 1. had no money of their own and I recall one lady telling me she didn’t have access to any of their accounts or credit card and had to call her husband so he could give a salesperson the credit card details to pay for her purchases or were unaware of the debt the other party had accumulated which is often termed as Sexually Transmitted Debt.

Financial abuse in any family or relationship is a powerful and dangerous form of intimidation which is a lot more common in Australia than you think… not just celebrity divorces.

What makes financial abuse even more insidious is that the abuser often justifies their actions as caring.

But the bottom line is that financial abuse can leave the weaker partner extraordinarily exposed.

This sort of abuse often takes the form of a partner in a relationship, or a parent over a child, or an adult child over an elderly parent where the abuser completely controls the finances of the other person and refuses to share any of that responsibility or information.

Financial abuse could be;

. having sole access to bank and online accounts.

. controlling PIN codes

. taking out joint loans without a partner’s consent

. restricting access to insurance, superannuation and estate planning documents.

. limiting access to cash and credit cards

. making investment decisions without consultation

. asking a person to sign financial documents without explaining what they are.

We’re not talking about situations where a couple has agreed one partner takes primary responsibility for running the finances but is always happy to keep the other partner informed.

A financial abuser is a partner which has insisted on controlling the finances, is secretive about what they’re doing and will not share information.

To test which sort of partner you have simply ask for them to explain the state of your finances, provide access to all accounts and show where insurance and investment documents are kept.

If they refuse, you need to worry.

If they say, “you don’t need to worry about it, I have it all under control”. You should worry.

Explain that you’re concerned if they drop dead you’d have no idea where anything was and that is just too risky and you’re feeling vulnerable.

If they refuse after that, you’re in real strife and must do something about it. Your partner either has something to hide or they have such a controlling personality it will put you at risk in the future.

What if your partner does die… or leaves you?

We had friends where the husband walked out of a marriage and left his wife with the comment “you be nice to me or you won’t get a cent”. They owned a family business but she had no idea where they banked, what they earned, investments, insurances, estate planning… nothing.

We put a team of professionals together to help her and she ended up okay. But she should never have been in that position.

Sexually Transmitted Debt is just one of many risks. It’s where one partner in a relationship is lumbered with the debts of the other. You’d be amazed just how common this problem is.

One partner will rack up debts on the joint credit card, refuse to pay or skip out and the other partner is left with the responsibility of paying the whole debt. Joint cards or loans don’t mean you’re responsible for your half. It means both people are responsible for the whole debt if the other can’t pay.

Here are some steps to protect yourself from financial abuse;

  • Base financial decisions on economics, not emotions. If you trust each other then there is no problem with formalising that trust by keeping each other informed about financial decisions.
  • Don’t dismiss it. Read it. When you have to sign papers it is better to be one day late than to lose everything in five years time just because you were too busy to read the small print.
  • Going guarantor: If the bank does not have confidence in the principal applicant, why should you? Remember, when you sign as guarantor, you are indicating you are prepared to take over the debt if the borrower defaults.
  • Know where the money is coming from and where it is going..
  • If you have a joint account with your spouse, make sure the bank does not allow payments above a certain amount unless there is joint agreement.
  • Look carefully at how you buy assets… single names, joint names, their name, your name? It could all be extremely relevant for both tax purposes and if the relationship splits.
  • If you are a director of a family company you have a right to see the books. Insist on the accountant showing them to you. If stopped from doing so, you can take action under the Companies Code.
  • Agree on a financial plan. This way both partners have common goals and know where they are heading.

In our relationship, Libby has always run the day-to-day finances and I’ve run the investments. But each of us has full access to everything and make big financial decisions jointly.

If you would love to have a quick chat with Jenny about anything, even your favourite wine, click here to arrange a time

HOW DOES YOUR LANGUAGE INFLUENCE HOW YOU FEEL?

I’m always interested in the metaphors people use to describe what is going on in their lives little realising that the language we use whether that is the way we talk to ourselves, about ourselves or about what is going on in our lives actually shape our experience and perceptions and hold such power over how we manage some of life’s challenges.

On a Soul.TV episode I had a viewer write in with the following, “I have experienced a run of incidents that impacted me negatively and turned my life upside down. I want to know whether these events were all ‘part of the plan,’ because I am struggling to cope with my life.

As a coach my job is to dig deeper to get to the heart of what is really going on for my clients. In this particular example we don’t know what those run of incidents were, exactly how they impacted her negatively and what her life being turned upside down looks like. There is also a whole lot of very important information missing from the question she asked and there would be a whole lot of questions I would be asking to help her gain more insight, investigate further the mysterious ‘plan’ and in the process she may realise that she has inadvertently given responsibility for taking control of her life over to some nebulous ‘plan.’

We don’t always like or want the things that happen in our lives, our partner decides to leave us, we are made redundant in our job, we are impacted by financial circumstances, someone we love dearly gets ill, all of these things are part of the human experiences and out of our control.

I do believe however that the biggest difference in people are those who take personal responsibility for their life, their decisions, good and bad, and question themselves and their actions.  ‘What is the lesson here for me?,’ “What could I have done differently?” Using language that is empowering will help find solutions to  problems and discover the steps to take to change the things that are simply not working well.

Over the next week or two take particular notice of the language you use on a daily basis. If you find yourself using metaphors to describe something, write them down and think about what they mean to you and also pay particular attention to the way your language affects the way you feel and what events and circumstances show up during the day.

Jenny xx

Sign up now to receive your copy of my ebook? 6 Steps To Getting Your Life Back On Track 

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

 

 

ARE YOU SURRENDERING YOURSELF IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS?

In most relationships, whether they be with a spouse, family and friends or work colleagues we compromise ourselves in some way, to either keep the peace, avoid confrontation or to be accepted, liked and even loved.

Most relationships involve a great degree of compromise simply to allow the other person to maintain their individuality, pursue their own interests and have a different circle of friends. All of which I believe contribute to making the relationship not only more interesting but more importantly allowing both people to grow as individuals within the relationship.

For separated families to put their children’s very best interests ahead of personal feelings or opinions also involves compromise and when the relationship is strained this can be incredibly challenging.

And of course, some things are just not worth making a big deal about much of the time but at what point does ‘biting your tongue’ become something much more?

At what point does compromising become problematic?

Where does it start and where does it end?

Generally when the stakes are high! And they are if our usual response is to avoid any sort of confrontation or voice our opinion on a particular topic, or stating to someone that what they did really pissed us off and when our voice is no longer heard.

This can happen in relationships in very subtle ways. For example if you are telling your friend, partner or work colleague about something that happen during the day and not only are they not listening, they will cut you off mid sentence to tell you something about themselves.

When this becomes a common pattern real communication will cease to exist and the relationship itself will be compromised.

Or conversely

  • When you are too afraid to express your true feelings
  • When your opinion no longer counts
  • When you have been put down so many times that you just keep everything to yourself
  • When you are ridiculed for your opinion
  • When you no longer even know how to express your needs
  • When you no longer feel that you deserve to have an opinion
  • When you no longer even care because you feel worthless
  • When you no longer even know what you think

What most of us don’t realize until we’ve allowed our own sense of self-worth and self-respect to reach rock bottom is that in every moment, situation, and relationship that we do not honor and value ourselves, we are compromising who we really are and thus abandoning, betraying, and ultimately hurting ourselves far more deeply than we know.

I thought I would share with you some tips on Finding Your Voice Again, from my “6 Steps To Getting Your Life Back On Track” ebook.

I remember quite some time ago seeing the movie ‘Runaway Bride’ with Richard Gere and Julia Roberts. There was one particular scene in the movie that really stood out for me and it relates well to this step, finding your voice again.

In this scene Richard Gere asks Julia Roberts ‘how do you like your eggs?’ and she replies ‘how do you like yours?’

This also reminds me of a client who broke down in tears and said to me, ‘I don’t even know what my favourite colour is!’

In the role Julia Roberts played in this movie she had absolutely no idea how she liked her eggs, she had never allowed herself to realize that she could choose to have them anyway she liked and asked for them just the way she liked them.

“How do you like your eggs?”

Exercise

Time to make your voice heard.

Over the next few weeks I would like you to begin to pay particular attention to the times, when for the sake of keeping the peace, or perhaps thinking it’s not that important, you stay silent rather than speaking up or voice your opinion on some topic.

I’m not saying that all of a sudden you become someone who challenges everyone or everything. The purpose of this exercise is simply one of creating more self-awareness. It can often be some of the little things that we let go without comment that eventually lead to becoming our natural way of responding in most situations. Your voice is important and your voice deserves to be heard. It’s time now to find YOUR voice again.

Next time you go to a restaurant with friends or family, take particular notice of how you read the menu. How do you choose what you are going to order? Do you wait to find out what everyone else is having?

Or as you read the menu do you imagine what the food will look like and taste like? Perhaps you may find it really difficult to make a decision at all. This is just one example of any number of different situations that you may begin to notice how you make decisions and when you choose not to say something even though you disagree.

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

 

A DIVORCE COACH’S GUIDE TO EASING THE PAIN

  • Divorce is a tough time for everyone, but pain can be mitigated by avoiding these pitfalls 
Divorce is devastating for everyone involved, but lessening that pain may be possible if we avoid the most common pitfalls along the way.  By Jo Hartley
Divorce is one of the most stressful things anyone can go through, and it’s not hard to see why. With assets to split, child custody arrangements to be made if you have kids and an emotional rollercoaster to ride, it’s not for the faint-hearted.

Yet, divorce in society is unlikely to change anytime soon.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in 2015 there were 48,517 divorces granted in Australia, marking an increase of 2,019 (4.3 per cent) from the 46,498 divorces granted in 2014.

Similarly, divorces involving children represented 47.5 per cent of all divorces granted compared with 47 per cent  in 2014.

Regardless of this increase in numbers, one thing remains the same: the mistakes that people make when it comes to working through their divorce.

It’s something that Jenny Smith is all too familiar with.

As a separation and divorce coach, Smith helps guide people through their divorce, equipping them with tools and strategies to navigate through even the worst of days.

Smith offers her clients coaching throughout their journey, as well as access to skilled professionals such as financial advisors, legal experts and meditation staff.

Through her service she aims to mitigate the mistakes that divorcing couples most commonly make.

Using kids as ammunition 

Unfortunately, when children are powerless victims, it’s common for parents to use them as tools to manipulate and control situations,” says Smith.  “It causes the most heartfelt grief and pain, not just to the children, but also to the other parent.”

Smith advises that parents need to remember that the consequences of their choices will have a direct influence on their children when it comes to issues of trust, life choices and beliefs about relationships and marriage.

Unfortunately, when children are powerless victims, it’s common for parents to use them as tools to manipulate and control situations”

“Children are not equipped to handle these sorts of confrontations and many will feel they are to blame,” she says.

Smith acknowledges that it takes a certain level of maturity and personal responsibility for couples to put their own issues and pain to one side, but notes that it’s important to work together.

“Keep in mind that children will have a long list of milestones coming up that you’ll both want to be part of,” she says. “Also, thinking longer term, there’ll likely be engagements, weddings and their own children one day.”

Poor communication

While there are many couples that manage to communicate well through divorce, Smith notes that it’s not the norm.

“When communication blocks are put up, it’s a no-win situation for everyone.  Most people have no idea of the long-term implications and, subsequently, the risk of emotional and financial costs spiralling.”

In any communicative situation, Smith recommends asking yourself ‘what is the outcome I want from this?’, or ‘what is it that triggers my emotions in our communications’?

“Being self-aware is critical,” says Smith.  “I call it taking a helicopter view so you can observe yourself in the situation and learn from it.

“Creating change always has to start with us and, even though we can’t control others, we can control ourselves and who we choose to be in any relationship.”

The end of a relationship is the perfect time to assess what you really want next time around from both a personal and partner perspective

Rushing into a rebound relationship

There are many reasons why people may rush into a rebound relationship during divorce. The most common reasons relate to a sense of self-worth or loneliness.

While it’s normal to want to feel loved or needed, Smith says it’s important to remember that it’s unlikely you’ve met the love of your life.

“The end of a relationship is the perfect time to assess what you really want next time around from both a personal and partner perspective,” she says.

Before leaping into a relationship, Smith suggests really getting to know yourself, as well as recognising and acknowledging your own contribution to the failure of your prior relationship.

Consider if you failed to express your needs, enforce your boundaries, or put your own dreams and goals on the back burner to support your partner.

“We have to know ourselves really well and divorce provides plenty of opportunities to see ourselves in a whole different light and not always in a good way.”

Seeking the right kind of professional advice 

Education and information is key in helping you make decisions about your divorce, however, seeking the advice of a lawyer immediately is not always recommended.

“We have to know ourselves really well and divorce provides plenty of opportunities to see ourselves in a whole different light and not always in a good way.”

“Once couples start the separation journey at this point there’s a higher risk of ongoing litigation and conflict, along with higher legal fees that may escalate,” explains Smith.  “Children in the relationship can become a negotiation tool, too.”

Smith says it’s essential to have a great team of professionals on your side who can help you to take steps prior to you seeing a lawyer. Subsequently, this will also prepare you more for the journey ahead.

“You need people who are experts in their field, not your mum and dad, sister, brother or your mate or girlfriend who has been through divorce. No divorce journey is the same and the experience is different for everyone.”

http://www.sbs.com.au/topics/life/relationships/article/2017/04/20/divorce-coachs-guide-easing-pain

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world

Show Me The Money! The Only Way To Mediate Property Settlement.

When couples separate, there are financial issues which need to be discussed and resolved. Usually issues regarding payment of expenses, income and property. Some are urgent and need immediate attention and others are longer term decisions about how to separate the financial arrangements on a permanent and final basis. Making these decisions can be emotionally draining and complex. This is where the mediation process can prove extremely helpful and mutually beneficial. Negotiating property and financial matters can be stressful and overwhelming especially where there are short term financial pressures to pay bills and conflict about how to fairly distribute any assets. It can even be distressing if the other person has been in control of the finances and you feel in the dark.

Here are some things to think about to prepare yourself for the mediation process regarding money.

  1. Make a list of all your bills that are coming up.
  2. Even if you can’t prepare a cashflow of your family and personal expenses and when they fall due just make a list of all the expenses you know about on an annual, monthly and weekly basis. Mediation can address the urgent issues first so that everyone has peace of mind to focus on the long term division of the property.
  3. Identifying what is included in the property pool.

Property of a relationship will include:

All assets (things you own) held by you and your former partner in joint or separate names such as:

  • Family home, holiday home or rental properties
  • Investments like shares and companies
  • Cars and boats
  • Furniture and household effects from stereos to cups and saucers that you want to keep
  • Personal items like jewellery and musical instruments that you want to keep.

All assets in your own or your former partner’s control such as:

  • any business, company or trust
  • superannuation
  • a share in an extended family business or investment property.

All debts in joint or separate names such as:

  • mortgage debts
  • credit cards
  • hire purchase agreements.

It needs to include everything including any property held in your own name prior to entering into the relationship, or property you have acquired since separation.

Negotiating the division of the pool by way of a property agreement.

The best way to divide your assets is through a mutually negotiated property agreement in mediation. This allows you to be part of the decision making process and helps to minimise the cost of lawyers and avoid a negative outcome through court. It will be much quicker and less emotional for you and your children, helping you to move on quickly with less to deal with.

Think about your main concerns and wishes about your property division, consider who has contributed what to your property and life together and your personal future financial needs right now and tomorrow for you and any children. Your mediator will ask you questions about your financial circumstances and financial needs. You will need to prepare for the joint session of mediation to resolve your property agreement. You may wish to break it into separate parts or deal with everything on the one day. How that is done will be designed by you with the mediator. The preparation will involve further gathering of information, exchanging documentations and starting to weigh up your options before the joint session.

Formalising the agreement to achieve a property settlement.

Once you have agreed on how the expenses are to be paid and a property settlement it is still the law to have the financial agreement legally formalised. It is not generally possible to change your mind and seek a different property agreement once it is done and dusted. Once you are satisfied with the outcome, you can sign the financial agreement as a Deed or file the documents with the Court if you are signing Consent Orders. This is the milestone to moving forward.

Reaching a mutually agreeable property settlement should be your main aim when you attend mediation. Approaching your mediation with an open mind and an attitude of willingness to reach an agreement will assist the process of settlement to progress with as little angst or as few roadblocks as possible. No one wants the issues of a financial arrangement to be more difficult or emotional than it already is, so with preparation, co-operation and some thought concerning your part in the process it will go a long way towards reaching the agreement which is mutually beneficial and helpful in moving forward without Court.

Is it time to get creative about how you mediate your money disputes?
Contact SHAW Mediation and let’s talk about how we can help you.

Shaw Mediation Services

Level 36 Riparian Plaza
71 Eagle Street
Brisbane QLD 4000
Phone: 1300 768 496
mediate@shawmediation.com.au

Level 30/91 King William Street
Adelaide SA 5000
Phone: 1300 768 496
mediate@shawmediation.com.au

Level 26, 44 Market St
Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: 1300 768 496
mediate@shawmediation.com.au

DIVORCE IS TOUGH – EVEN TOUGHER ON TEENS!

Guest Post By Rosalind Sedacca, CCT

We all know divorce is tough on families. Everyone is affected, especially the children. In most cases, the older the children, the more complex the reaction and more difficult the adaptation. There are many reasons why.

Older children have a longer history in the former family unit, regardless of how healthy or toxic it has been. Perhaps they remember better times when Mom and Dad interacted with them and each other with more joy and harmony. Even if there were no good times to look back upon, older children were accustomed to the existing family dynamic, knew their place in the structure, and felt a sense of comfort in “what is.”

Resisting change is a natural part of being human. For teenagers that resistance is compounded by a tendency to test boundaries and rock the status quo. Divorce or separation naturally makes all children feel powerless over their circumstances. For teens, who are feeling their oats and less likely to listen to parental authority, this is especially hard to accept.

Teens are also more judgmental and opinionated than younger children. Consequently they are less likely to blame themselves for the divorce (as younger kids frequently do) and more apt to take sides and blame one of their parents. Many therapists see teens side with the parent who is more permissive, taking advantage of the weakened parental structure to try to get away with more rebellious behaviors. Some teens choose to side with the more powerful parent – often Dad – to bolster their sense of security, even if they were emotionally closer to Mom.

Anger is a common reaction from older children. If they are not given the opportunity to vent, express their feelings and be heard, this anger often manifests as physical rebellion, drug or alcohol abuse or other inappropriate behaviors. To complicate matters, communication is often more difficult with teens who are acting out because they are usually less talkative, more likely to keep their feelings held in and more moody than their younger siblings.

With this in mind, how can parents bridge this communication and credibility gap with their older children? Amy Sherman, a therapist in private practice who has dealt extensively with troubled teen populations, makes these suggestions:

1. Make your family a democracy. That means opening the door to listening to and “hearing” your older children, even if you don’t like what they are saying. Kids need to know they can express themselves without being disciplined or made wrong. At the same time, she warns against being too permissive which inevitably leads to exploitation from teens who are always testing their boundaries.

2. Whenever possible, both Mom and Dad should talk to the teen together, discussing issues as honestly as is appropriate. All children are natural manipulators. Don’t let separation or divorce give them the opportunity to divide and conquer. Mom and Dad talking to the kids together, on the same page regarding family rules and values, is your best insurance for keeping older children as allies. Co-parenting after the divorce is your optimum goal. When that is not possible, keeping both parents in their parental roles goes a long way toward maintaining stability within a transforming family structure.

3. Children need and actually appreciate structure, even teens. It creates the security they crave, especially at challenging times. Try to maintain boundaries as close to the pre-divorce reality as possible. When both parents share basic guidelines and agreements within the family structure, regardless of which house the children are in, they will feel safer and more secure. Your children will also feel more cared about and loved which is vitally important as the family moves into unknown changes and transitions.

Remember, children of all ages mirror what they see. If your children are acting out, look within the family system for the cause. Get the help you need in making internal changes, and they are more likely to follow suit. At the same time, be patient, tolerant and understanding with yourself and everyone else within your family. This too shall pass!

* * *

Rosalind Sedacca’s acclaimed ebook, How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce? A Create-a-Storybook Guide to Preparing Your Children — with Love! 

 

If you would like to chat to Jenny about anything at all, even your favourite wine click here to schedule a time https://calendly.com/jenny-smith-1/what-s-going-on-in-your-world