The No Fault Divorce

gavelDivorce Warriors Unite!! Hey did you know there is such a thing as divorce insurance. If you’re interested here’s the site. http://www.safeguardguaranty.com/. John Logan is the President & CEO. Nice guy. I’m sure he can help you out for your next marriage. Hey it’s a great wedding gift too!

I have always thought it amazing that both parties in a divorce usually feel they have been wronged – no matter who left whom. Like many injustices we experience, we want the world to know the divorce wasn’t our fault. Unfortunately, there is no way to place legal blame in California and many other states. I remember how mad I was when I started filling out the paperwork to file for divorce. I kept looking for the box that said “Cheater” or “Adulterer,” but the only choices were “Irreconcilable Differences” or “Annulment.” I wanted to blame him, and there were no categories for that. I felt gypped.
At least in car accidents you have the choice of no-fault or you can cast 100 percent of the blame on the poor fool that rear-ended you. Not so in divorce, even though I sure felt like I had been rear-ended. It’s a little ironic. A total stranger can rear-end you by accident, and you can sue him for damages. Depending on the circumstances you can put him in the poor house, take his license away, and ruin his driving record if he is found at fault. But your own spouse can ruin you financially, devastate you emotionally, and turn your world upside down, and you can’t even legally have the satisfaction of blaming him for causing you so much pain and anguish. You don’t get to legally say it was his fault or her fault. Instead you have to check the box that says “Irreconcilable Differences” (code words for: OUR FAULT)! I hated this description because it made me feel like I was somehow responsible for the divorce, when he was the one who left. I was mad about that at first; Why should I be blamed for something I didn’t do? I hadn’t learned yet how I had contributed to the divorce.
In the end, you find out it doesn’t help to try to blame the other party. You both suffer financially, emotionally, and in many other ways no matter who or what caused the divorce. What is needed is no-fault divorce insurance: something to protect you against the ensuing damages. But I’m here to tell you, you are your own best insurance plan.

Should I Change My Name?

Sorry guys another girl post today…

After divorce you are faced with so many decisions and whether or not you should change your name is always a consideration. For me, I wanted the association with my children and so I did not change my name back. It wasn’t until I remarried that I changed it. The reality for us women is that we loose a bit of our identity when we get married and if you’ve been married a long time you don’t look forward to loosing it again to those friends who only know you by your married name. It’s a real pain in the you-know-what sometimes. These deicisions we women have to make can drive you batty.
Chime in…what are some of your thoughts on changing your name after divorce? I’d love to hear from you.

Fishing Down the Mainstream – Online Dating

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Hey there fellow Divorce Warriors,
Online dating wasn’t really at the level it is now when I was back in the saddle. So, consequently, I never tried it. Some people swear by it. Here’s an article that may resonate with some of you. Enjoy!

Friends love to set us up on blind dates. As good as their intentions are though, there is something to be said about anonymity when dating.
The thing about Internet dating is that you prescreen your date not your friends. But don’t be naive. What you see isn’t always what you get. How truthful are people when they post their profiles on the Internet? How can you be sure the self-proclaimed knockout blonde is a knockout, or a rich dude is really rich and is in fact a dude? The same caution that applies at a nightclub needs to be practiced online. People are just as likely to falsify their income, marital status, and employment, online as offline.
Internet dating is a pretty disposable way to weed through people. Before Internet dating, there were the personal ads, which always seemed to have a desperate connotation associated with them. I conducted a survey at various area Starbucks and online medium to see if people’s perceptions have changed over the years. Here’s what I found:
66% of people polled said they view people who do Internet dating as Adventurous. 33% of people polled said they view people who do Internet dating as Desperate.
Internet romance activities are much more mainstream than ever. According to a March 2006 study conducted by PEW/Internet’s they found that 31% of American adults say they know someone who has used a dating website and 15% of American adults – about 30 million people – say they know someone who has been in a long-term relationship or married someone he or she met online.
When meeting someone offline for the first time is it a good idea to practice some common sense rules of dating: Meet in a public place Do some background research on your date before you meet (even if it means paying for a background check) Ask for photos Ask for phone numbers Trust your gut instinct

The General Rules: Re-Entry Dating

THE GENERAL RULES – What Every Re-Entry Dater Should Know

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Hey Warriors, Another article for you from the archive…enjoy!
So you’re out of the gates and dating again. You’ve been out of the dating scene for ages and are clueless about the rules. What are the boundaries and who’s writing the manual anyway? You need to know.
GENERAL RULES FOR THE RE-ENTRY DATER
The general rules for divorce etiquette and “re-entry” dating are like the general rules in life. They are the unwritten codes of conduct that most of us understand, but don’t always abide. For example, if you are feeling fat, don’t talk about how fat you are around someone who is fatter. That sort of thing. We all understand that you don’t wear your slippers to the bus stop or around town, for that matter. You don’t walk up to someone’s front yard and start picking fruit off their trees; you don’t pick your nose or pop a zit while in traffic, and you don’t name your kid “Osama.”
Knowing the dating rules are one thing, applying them is another. Trust me when I say, you can do this. You can! You are a divorce warrior and it is just a date. Besides you are lookin’ hotter than ever! So before you talk yourself out of it, here are a few pointers for that uncomfortable first date all us new recruits have experienced.
Rule #1: What You Should Wear The general rule is to act your age and dress age appropriately. If you need some help, just comb through a clothing store catalog for some ideas. Go to a department store and see what’s on display. Ask for help. Sales associates love a dating mission. Polish your shoes, and bring breath mints. For men, trim all probing facial hair and unibrows. Pull out the tweezers, for goodness sakes. Ladies too! Now go and have fun!
Rule #2: The First Date Should Not Last Longer than Two Meals A general rule is that the first date should not exceed the length of 2 meals. You can pick which meals, but I recommend starting with just coffee. This date is commonly called the “Meet and Greet” date. It is short and sweet, and if you hit it off, it could turn into lunch. And if the date isn’t going anywhere, you can save your money and get on with your day. It is just safer that way.
Rule #3: Always Have a Plan “B” If you learned nothing else from your divorce, you should have learned to always have a Plan B. This is a must! Anyone who has survived a divorce has had to kick Plan B into overdrive at one time or another. Plan B is what paid the mortgage the first month after you were separated. Plan B is what got you through when alcohol was not an option!
So when it comes to dating, always have someone waiting or something to do later. Have a friend call and check in to see if you need rescuing in case the date is a dud. This is why I never recommend dinner for the first date. If you are the one paying, it can get costly. Spending money on people you will never see again or who may not appreciate the dinner is a bad investment. Spend your money wisely and keep the first date short and sweet.
Rule #4: Do Your Club Research. If you are at all like me, your first naked encounter came way before you actually took off your clothes. I’m talking about that first blast of humility you get when you walk into a bar for the first time in ages. Suddenly the Emperor has no clothes and tag, “you’re the Emperor!” A good rule of thumb is if you’ve never heard the music they are playing, then you are probably in the wrong bar. Better places to go are hotel chains that cater to an older crowd for dinner and dancing.
Rule #5: Topics To Avoid If you just raked your ex over the coals, don’t brag about it. That kind of stuff has no place for impressing a potential date. It won’t be funny to them. Chances are either they themselves were, or someone they know was, screwed in a divorce unfairly, and you become an easy target. Avoid talking about your troubles on a first date, period!WHAT THE RE-ENTRY DATER SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR What is ironic is that by the end of our divorce we crave companionship, but the reality is we are not ready for another relationship, even if we think we are. It is a Catch-22.
We want to date, but the chances of being successful depend on how you define success. If that means having sex, then a meaningful relationship isn’t in your plans, and by virtue of your own definition you will probably be successful. But, if successful dating to you means finding your soul mate, then odds of that happening greatly increase when you seek to understand your own shortcomings. Most divorced people learn this after they’ve been doing the dating thing for a while and nothing solidifies. They soon learn that it is important to take time to rediscover themselves first. (See Chapter 8 – Being Rejuvenated)
So fast forward, you have spent time rejuvenating yourself and you are now ready to date. Let’s get you reacquainted to the swing of dating. Just know this, what you thought worked in your 20s may not work for you now. Besides how long ago was that, a decade or two? The whole scene is different now. To get you up to speed, here are some lessons and principles that will help you meet and grow with that special someone.
DON’T RUSH You’ve heard this expression before, but have you ever really paid attention to it? When a relationship is new, everyone is on his or her best behavior and intentions of being a good partner are 110 percent. Moreover, when the sex is good, a new couple can’t get enough of each other. They enjoy each other’s company and want to spend a lot of time together. Pretty soon they know each other’s schedules and calendars and are thrown into an unspoken commitment. Suddenly, when one person needs space and the relationship it halted, the one left behind feels used. These kinds of romances beg for air. When no space is built into the relationship, it is safe to say it began with neediness. If this situation is all too familiar, then my next bit of advice may shock you. This wouldn’t happen if everyone would just settle down and get out of heat!
Many people think “not rushing” means waiting a month or two to have sex. Not so. Not rushing things means waiting to get to know the other person before you have sex. That can take much longer than two months. In today’s dating scene, waiting this long would seem abnormal to most people. That’s because our society is so impatient, and the expectation is that if you haven’t “gotten any” by the third date, there must be something wrong. Avoid this trap. Don’t let your sexual activity exceed your level of commitment.
Relationships need time to flourish and grow. Most new couples have to endure some bumps in the road before a relationship hits its best cruising speed. So don’t panic if you are guilty of rushing and your partner tells you they need some space. Give it to them on a long rope with no anchor and be highly patient. If nothing else, dating after divorce will teach you patience.
IMPLIED/UNSPOKEN COMMITMENTS–It’s a Trap In my book, you are not committed to anyone until you have talked about whether it is a mutual commitment. If you feel like playing the field for a while, then do that and don’t feel guilty. The general rule here is: Make no assumptions when it comes to commitments. Commitments are not implied at this stage in life. This is difficult for the newly divorced because once you have been divorced, you seek comfort in absolutes, and knowing where you stand in your new relationship is one of them. Be careful though, because this can frighten a potential partner who has been single for a long time. You could come across as clingy.
Too often when commitments are implied, a misunderstanding is certain to happen and one person ends up getting hurt. So before you speak to your partner about wanting a commitment, ask yourself, “What do I want?” Do I want to keep it light with Brian and see what happens with Rich, or do I want to jump back into another serious relationship? If the goal is to find yourself, but have companionship along the way, then now is not the right time to be committed to anyone except yourself.
Try not to confuse having sex with someone as the “implied commitment.” That’s the trap for both men and women. Ask yourself this question: “Would you buy a house without researching the market?” Probably not. You’re going to see what else is out there, run a few comparables, see what fits your budget, check out the location, etc. People who don’t invest the time to really define what it is they are looking for in a relationship, wind up settling for that property near the substation. You should have fun during this phase of your life. You finally have that second chance you so boldly worked to achieve. Don’t give up the farm too quickly. Do your relationship research!
RELATIONSHIP END-ITS It is important to understand that not all post-divorce relationships are equal, and the reasons for their ending can seem unclear to us if we are the one dumped.
The Rebounder Sexship Rebound relationships are based on sex and companionship, henceforth, it is a “sexship”. The rebounder is usually the first person we have a pseudo-relationship with after a major break up. If they are clued in, the rebounder will know their status and will proceed with caution. So here’s the tip: Being the rebounder is risky and is best left to people who want to fill a temporary void in someone’s life. The rebounder should realize there is no future in this relationship. It is what it is.
The trouble with being the rebounder is the rebounder may not realize they are one. Naturally, rebounders may not be too understanding when you suddenly tell them you might have unresolved feelings for your ex.
So how do you avoid becoming the rebounder? Ask your partner the simple question, “What would you do if your ex came back tomorrow?” Their answer should be very telling. The only answer you want to hear is this, “That already happened and it didn’t work.”
As a rebounder, to avoid any surprises, it is good to get dialed in right away on where you stand. Your first clue is where you fall on your partner’s post-divorce relationship list. If you are the first person they have dated, chances are you are the rebounder. Wise rebounders give their partners plenty of time and space, and they don’t rush into anything, including sex, if they want the relationship to last.
The Relationship of Convenience Sexship The relationship of convenience is a “sexship” too and is based on one thing, sex. This relationship works well with two people who are comfortable with each other, but don’t ever want a relationship together and they are both clear on that. Relationships of convenience can end when one party is no longer available for the bootie call (see chapter 7…it’s a good chapter) or the enjoyment of sex with that person runs out. If you were involved in what you thought was a relationship and it ended suddenly, perhaps what you were in wasn’t a relationship at all. Maybe it was a “sexship”.
From the Tuelbox Making the Honor Roll at the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ is not easy. Your GPA is based on your post-divorce dating IQ. The more you know about the General Rules the better your chances of acing the test!

 

6 Challenges to Managing the Aftermath

sunset1Hi Divorce Warriors,

Thought I would share with you an article I contributed to and was published in Details Magazine. The article came out something different from this. Sorry gals, this one has more of a guys slant to it…

The list can go on and on, but these are some of the biggies to managing the aftermath.

1.  HOW TO DEAL/COPE WHEN SHE STARTS DATING
· First of all alcohol is not is option! So, if you are still in love with your wife this is a painful experience. Just remember you are worthy. If your goal is to win her back just remember and it isn’t too late and stranger things have happened. I always say the only way to fight for love is to fight with love. It may kill you, but be her friend. Be her confidant, and be consistent with the kids.
· Now, if you both agree it is time to move on, then just remember and be prepared for the sting. It is just human nature to react when you take the kids back to her and the new bo answers your door or is mowing your lawn. Just remember, to breathe. Remain calm and be as normal as possible. Your goal is to be a nice guy. It will make the new guy wonder why you split and it will work in your favor.
Then, go visit a friend and let it all out. Just get through it.
· When your wife starts dating before you are ready to, start taking care of yourself. Do what you have to do to get yourself straight in the head. Spend time with your kids if you have them, work out, treat yourself to some small reward, keep life simple, and eat right.
· Surround yourself with people who love and care about you.
· Stay busy.
· Take out a female friend. Sometimes just the attention and company of the opposite sex will lift your spirit.
2. HOW TO GO ABOUT DATING YOURSELF – What are the rules to Re-Entry dating?
· How to find Miss. Right. · You must first be in touch with your own soul if you are ever to find your soul mate. Figure out what gives you goose bumps in life. How will people remember you, these are the things that define your soul. · Join a gym, start a project, take up a hobby, take up a low impact sport (cycling…women love bike rides) · Where to go for a date. · I always recommend coffee for a first date. Coffee is something that is inexpensive and can be morning or night. After coffee, you can meander to a book store, or take a walk. Keep it simple. Picnics are a little too romantic for a first date. · How long should the date last? · In the beginning, the date should not last more than 2 meals…preferable in the order, breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Not dinner, then breakfast if you know what I mean. · What to wear? · Comb a Spiegel’s catalog or hit the mall. Sales girls love a dating mission. Bring breath mints and trim all probing facial hair! · Don’t rush into anything. · Wait 2 good years before jumping into your next serious relationship. You wouldn’t buy a house without running a few comparables. So do your research; otherwise, you will end up with the same spouse who happens to have a different name!
3. HOW TO HANDLE THE SOCIAL STIGMA OF BEING DIVORCED
These days there’s only a social stigma if you’ve been divorced more than once. So, learn from this experience. The divorce rate for second marriages is 60%. · Social settings that may get a little awkward for the newly divorced include sporting events for your children, dinner invitations that seem more like a set up, or work related functions maybe. · You’ll come out ahead if you act kind to your ex or take your personal matters up privately if you are both invited to the same function…for example a crab feed for a school fundraiser and both you show up with dates, but let’s face it, who can afford a fundraiser…you’re in the middle of a divorce, remember!
4. HOW TO ANNOUNCE THE SPLIT
· How do you inform? I’m not a big fan of the shotgun announcement with e-cards. People send them for many reasons; one reason is so that you only have to tell the story once. But my friend, it is a personal announcement, so make it personal and tell your friends personally. You wouldn’t send an announcement if you were undergoing a vasectomy or hair transplant. So, my advice is keep it discrete and when the time is right, tell. · Who do you inform? However, a few people need to know immediately: your boss, your children’s teachers, daycares, your children’s coaches. Bosses need to know so they can make adjustments to your workload and understand when you need a mental health day or two. Teachers and daycares need to know so they can monitor your children and if there are any court orders in place. Coaches need to know so they can get the schedule changes to both parents.
5. HOW TO NOT BECOME THE CRAZY BACHELOR
· Who’s to say what motivates some one to go through, what I call, the PIG Theory after their divorce. For whatever reason, if you have to go through this just be educated about it. Know that you will get a reputation if you continue through this phase longer than the socially acceptable norm (4-12 months). There’s nothing worse than an ignorant Pig! · Don’t let your level of sexual activity exceed your level of commitment. · Date many people (not to be confused with screw many people). The last thing you want to do is jump back into a serious relationship and have a crazy girlfriend to contend with. You fought hard and sacrificed much for your freedom, so be smart. · If you find yourself going through this phase, then do the honest thing and tell the women you are dating you aren’t emotionally ready for any kind of commitment and it is, what it is. And guess what? If you score then you’ve achieved Pig status. Maybe you’ll get lucky and she’ll be in this mode too. · If you need the tactile touch of another, go get a massage before your date.
6. HOW TO REGAIN SINGLE FRIENDS YOU LOST WHEN YOU GOT MARRIED?
· This will just happen naturally. By now most of your friends that were single then are probably married now. · It only takes a phone call to reconnect with and old friend. They are not the issue. The issue is all of your friends are married making it hard to do things with them presently. So they may end up taking a back seat in your life for awhile. They will understand and your true friends will always be there for you. · The bright side to divorce is that you will establish new friendships. You will gravitate toward other people who are going through what you are going through. These friends become your pillars of strength and your support network. They are what I call, Chump Friends. They will relate to you better than anyone and will give you perspective…what you need.

Alice in ‘No Wonder’ Land

aliceThere I was newly divorced wondering how did this happen? How did we get to this point? Why is she better for him than me? I found myself asking these questions as if they were part of the Seven Wonders of the World. Well to me, at that time, it was. Anyone recently dumped for someone else knows what I am talking about. You know the hurt, the confusion, and the overwhelming feeling of just getting through the day.
But after several months of self-reflection on where I went wrong, I began to see that it was no wonder at all that we had ended up this way. Did you catch that? Let me repeat what I just said. I said, where I went wrong. I know what you are thinking. He left you, so why was it your fault?
Don’t get me wrong. Any one who cheats has a huge character flaw. There is nothing to debate about that. But here’s where, if you want to move on from the hurt, you have to ask yourself, “How did I contribute to my own divorce?” You have to hold yourself culpable to some degree, in due time of course. Bare with me as I make my point, because if you are at all like me, I’d be cussing me out right now and would be using this article to line my trash cans!
After realizing that perhaps I was guilty of ignoring the red flags in the beginning or that quite possibly I had jumped into something too fast at too young an age, I began to see that it was no wonder I was at this spot in my life. You know the spot I’m talking about – the center of the target waiting to take the next bullet.
I saw the warning signs before the wedding, but chose to ignore them. If you really think about it, maybe you did too. Maybe you ignored the excessive drinking, the drug use, the dead end job, the violent temper, the controlling behavior, or the wandering eye. The hardest part to getting a divorce, is admitting to yourself that perhaps you were wrong about this person when others warned you.
The divorce bull’s eye is no place to hang out, but it is where you will be temporarily after a divorce. It’s the spot where all the sole providers stand when they are barely scraping by financially. It’s the spot where all those who are overwhelmed stand contemplating what it would be like to have a life of their own. It’s the spot where the walls are caving in and everything around you is broken. In short, it’s the spot where you are stretched, pulled, striped, and tapped of time, money, and energy. It’s the spot where you stand alone.
Having a poor picker is only part of the problem. Sometimes a person’s character traits don’t manifest until later in life and you can’t predict the future. Not knowing enough about who you are before you get married is the other part of this equation. Spend time getting to know yourself before you jump back into the fire. If marriage taught you nothing else, it at least taught you this: Marriage will teach you what you don’t want. So learn from that and remember, in order to find your soul mate, you must first be in touch with your own soul.
You divorced for a reason and though you might like to believe this untrue, it wasn’t because you were 100% perfect and he was 100% flawed. Unfortunately, many people rush back into the security of a relationship before they have done the hard work that is required from being alone. Spend the time self-reflecting. It is essential to making a change within.
Everyone knows the divorce rate for first time marriages is 50%, but it is no wonder the divorce rate for second time marriages is even higher at 60%.
So where’s the map to Wonderland? How do you get there from here when all you can do is think about them and how sucky your life is because of him? Don’t despair. This map is within you. It’s buried beneath the surface, just past the anger. It is a treasure hunt to find it, but you must seek the treasure! The riches will reveal themselves from your struggles, that is, if you chose to learn from them.

Divorce Court: 5 Eye-Opening Things…

Divorce Court: 5 Eye-Opening Things You Should Know Before You Go

There’s no denying it, divorce court is sucky. Taking your spouse to court is not fun, especially if you have children together. Splitting of the assets is one thing, but when it comes to splitting of the children it is quite another. Hang tough, you will get through this phase and eventually you will find some common ground with your ex, it just takes tickety-tock, time.

Going to divorce court for the very first time can be a life-altering ordeal. Sitting before a judge with your spouse is never easy. It is a humbling experience and one you never wish to repeat. Yet, the process surprises many people because they simply did not know what to expect.
No body prepares you for court really. It is one of those things that you have to fully experience to understand. Some counties are now trying to alleviate some of the first court jitters by requiring divorcing couples to attend an orientation session before their actual court date to discuss custody and the splitting of assets. Kudos to those counties now doing this; however, now you can have two days of loose stool instead of one. I mean it is a nerve racking ordeal to see your ex in court or even orientation for court.
In today’s entry I would like to point out a few of the unspoken things no orientation can prepare you for. For example, who’s writing the etiquette manual on this anyway? When your day in court is over and it is time to exit the building here’s what no one warns you about…you and your ex have probably parked your cars in the same vicinity and guess what? You get to walk all the way out to your cars together as if total strangers. Or, worse yet, if your ex has no common sense, they will try to strike up an argument about the outcome in court from 10 paces behind you. My advice to you, is get all your paperwork done then and there and then run like your hair’s on fire to your car. Ask for an escort if you feel unsafe and avoid contact with your ex at all cost this day.
1. Debunking the Preconceived Notions about Divorce Court People have preconceived notions about what goes on in divorce court. We envision a long drawn out battle with attorneys taking the floor and submitting photos taken by an undercover agent catching our ex in the act. As much as you would like to believe the judge cares if our ex slept around, or burned your belongings, they don’t. Here are a few preconceived notions we have.

  • I will look better if I make my ex look bad. Quite the opposite happens if this is your approach. Let the facts speak for themselves. Just remember family court judges have heard it all. You hope for an empathetic judge, but you must realize it is just another day in court for them.

 

  • I will get to take the stand. It doesn’t work like that. No one is on trial here. You and your ex sit before the judge and he goes through the division of your assets, and if you have children, the custody arrangements too.

 

  • We have a court date; therefore, we will be the only ones in the court room. Yeah, you and about 25 other couples! Yours is not the only case du jour. There will be a room full of other divorcing couples and the judge only has a few minutes to hear your case. You are truly part of a cattle call and if the judge can get through most of them by lunchtime, it will be a good day! Oh yeah, and because you are part of a cattle call, you will get to hear everyone’s dirty laundry and they will get to hear yours.

2. The Courtroom Experience (before, during, and after)

Before

  • Be prepared. Get all your paperwork in order. Submit all documents to the court you intend to discuss that day. Serve all papers that need to be served. Practice what you want to say and achieve.
  • Be and look professional. You want to make a good first impression with the judge and this is the fastest way you can do that.
  • Get there early.

During – The Do’s/Don’ts of how to act. Know it is going to be awkward. Sitting there in court with your soon-to-be ex is never comfortable. A good judge should be mindful of this, but some forget. It is okay to let the judge know this is difficult for you.

  • Don’t talk over or interrupt your ex. Let them complete their sentence.
  • Do ask for permission to speak
  • Do address the judge as “Your Honor”
  • Don’t loose your temper or say something snide

After

  • Avoid each other. Know that it will be emotional. Tempers may flair.
  • Avoiding each other may be hard to do when you are parked near each other and walk out at the same time. Ask for an escort if you feel threatened.

3. How To Alleviate the Stress of Going to Court Sit in on a few cases days before your case is to be heard. You will see how fast cases are heard and you will see what the judge faces every single day. You will get to see the room you will be in and how the process works.
4. Tips for handling the judge’s decisions Try not to despair. Just because things maybe didn’t go your way in court, doesn’t mean that later you can’t work out a different arrangement. Nothing is forever and things always have a way of working themselves out. And if things went your way in court, then maintain your professionalism and don’t jump up and down. Be considerate of your ex’s position.
5. Top 10 Things You Should Never Say to a Divorce Judge Regarding Child Support (Tomi’s List). 10. That’s too much child support, I can’t afford that. I’d have to get a second job! 9. I don’t have a job. 8. I’m livin’ in my car and you want me to pay their medical insurance? So what if I drive a Porsche! 7. Why don’t I just pay for her boob job too? 6. It doesn’t cost that much to feed those brats! 5. The ultimate denial, “They’re not my kids!” 4, Your Honor, he gets paid under the table, I know because we faked our tax return. 3. That’s a lie! 2. I don’t mean to interrupt you judge, but… 1. And the number 1 thing you should never say after you’ve been awarded child support is……..Yaba Daba Doo!

 

When Opportunity Knocks…

Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways. I believe it does. Why else would my world have been rocked upside this week with huge anticiaption of my big break. So imagine this…I am changing into my running clothes to go for a noontime run with my running girls when my cell phone rings. “Hi, is this Tomi Tuel?  This is CJ from The Morning Show…it’s a fox affiliate. We are wondering if you would be interested in coming on our show day after tomorrow. Oh by the way we are in New York. You’re in California is that correct?”
Wow! Like that is even a question they would have to ask. Oh course I was interested, but how did they get my information, I wondered. I mean, in some cases I have solicited local radio for months on end and get no where, and then this…out of the blue, blahblam! They sought me out. The first time this ever happens to you, it is an amazing thing. You keep pinching yourself.  I could be in New York by tomorrow. I have never been to New York and to get a chance to go at Christmas time was beyond my wildest expectations. If I got this spot, it might be my big break launching sales of my book enough to get some attention.
So, I had all my friends sending positive energy and karma my way. But when I hadn’t got a call back by noon the day before the show was to air, I started to doubt my big trip. As it turned out, the producer was under the wire and brought in another expert. So, my big break didn’t come, yet. I have no doubt it will happen. It isn’t my time yet, but I believe it will come.
My message to you is this, have hope and faith, and don’t give up. All that you are learning through your divorce process can be applied to life after divorce. It’s like that book, All I needed to know in life, I learned in Kindergarten. Hence the title of a future book, All I learned in Life I learned from My Divorce. Divorce makes you stronger and when you have ups and downs in life you can take them in stride, because nothing can compare to the ups and downs while you are in the middle of a divorce. It becomes your benchmark for all other ups and downs in your future.
So, I am being positive that after the new year I will get to New York and be on that show. You too have much to look forward to after the new year. Stay positive. We’re in this together!

It’s All in the Follow Up

No one takes you by the hand in the publishing business, I’ve found out. It is going on four years and well I’ve only received one very meger royalty check. No it’s kind of like college. I remember in one a Marketing Research classes I had. The instructor took a poll that day. Looking back, I wonder now if he was silently laughing to himself to see how many of us actually bought into this. He asked, “How many of you here in this class expect that you will be corporate executives someday?” Without hesitation I raised my hand with about a third of the class. I was surprised when some students didn’t raise their hand and looked blank faced back at him. I guess I had bought into the notion that was what was going to happen immediately after I graduated with my undergraduate degree. I thought I was being primed for that. Maybe that is the ego of a young college kid, but really what I later learned was that I was just nieve and all those other students, the ones that didn’t raise their hand, knew that it took more than just a degree.
My piont is that lesson has been applied time and time again to my life. I remember that lesson as something that humbles me. Because, I am not a corporate executive, perhaps by choice I like to think. I am very content doing what I do, no I haven’t quit the day job…yet. That reality of my life is a constant reminder that no matter how hard you work to get somewhere in life, it is all about the follow up and the relationships you build. I think that is so true in anything. I have been in this business barely four years if you count from the very first day I put pen to paper to scribe my first book. I have been in the promotion end of this business barely six months. And I can honestly tell you, if you want to get anywhere you have to follow up with your contacts. Sometimes several times. I was able to secure my first Borders book signing after 22 emails and 12 months of follow up. I had some issues with the timing of my book’s release and then Borders book buyer didn’t actually agree to buy my book for their shelves. BUT, nonetheless, I still managed to have a book signing and nearly sell out of all my books that night. Not bad for not even being picked up by them at first. This is still being worked out hopefully will bode well with the buyer at corporate.
My biggest endorsement would not have happened if I hadn’t followed up that last time. John Gray, PhD and best selling author of the Venus and Mars books actually endorsed my book. His quote is on the front cover of my book. But I almost missed this huge endorsement. It took nearly 11 months of monthly follow up calls to his office. At one point, my manuscript had been lost and because I followed up I found this out. So I sent another copy. Then another 5 months of calls to check in and see what the status was ensued. Each time his staff was just as nice and could be too and would tell me he had many to get through, it is next in his pile, etc. So the day I decided to call for the last time I had to convince myself to push through it and make the call. I felt like I was a nuisance, and almost didn’t make the call. Again, as they had always been they thanked ME for my patience. I was the one who should have been thanking them. But here was the kicker. They told me that he had endorsed my book, but because they didn’t have the correct email it bounced back and he was heading to Austrialia for an extended trip. Ugh!  I thought I was destined for this kind of luck all my life, when she told me she could forward his email/endorsement to me. So she did and that is the story of how I almost missed the biggest endorsement of my life!
Just today I followed up with Dr. Phil, Ellen Degeneres, The View and about 3 other contacts for various magazine articles. It only takes a few minutes, but the personal phone call is key. So how did I get the contact information…that’s another conversation we will get to tomorrow.

Dating After Divorce – The 5 Biggest Challenges

goal postSo, you’ve been out of the dating scene for ages and are feeling sort of clueless about the rules. What are the boundaries? Where do you go around Sacramento? What do you do? And who’s writing this manual, anyway? Let’s start with the basics.

Challenge #1: Getting Up to Speed
Knowing the dating rules are one thing, applying them is another. Trust me when I say, “You can do this!” No, really—you can! You are a divorce warrior, and this is just a date. So, before you talk yourself out of it, let me just tell you that you are lookin’ hotter than ever!

The First Date After Your Divorce
Here you go. You’ve just accepted your first date for coffee, and suddenly you are flooded with emotions. The last time you accepted a date, it turned into marriage, and that turned into—Yikes! Relax. What you’re experiencing is just First-Date Jitters. They will pass. Just remember: It’s only coffee, it’s not a marriage proposal! This is a useful mantra, incidentally (“It’s only coffee… It’s only coffee… It’s only coffee!”)

What To Wear
The general rule is to act your age and dress age-appropriately. If you need some help, flip through a clothing store catalog or a few fashion magazines for some ideas, or go to a department store. Sales associates love a dating mission. Men should trim all facial hair, including ears, nose and unibrow. Ladies, this goes for you too!

Keep The First Date Short and Sweet
This date is commonly called the “Meet and Greet” date. It’s short and sweet. A general rule is that the first date should not exceed the length of two meals. You can pick which meals, but I recommend starting with just coffee. If you hit it off, it could turn into lunch. And if you don’t, you can still get on with your day and all you’ve lost is the cost of a latte.

Always Have a Plan “B”
If you learned nothing else from your divorce, you should have learned to always have a Plan B. Plan B is what paid the mortgage the first month after you were separated. Plan B is what got you through when alcohol was not an option!

When it comes to dating, too, always have an escape route. Have a friend call and check in to see if you need rescuing, just in case the date turns out to be a dud.

Where to Go & What to Do
The beauty of the old movie-followed-by-dinner formula is that it gives you something to discuss across the table. Looking for something more exciting? Tango by the River offers drop-in dancing and lessons on Thursdays nights (www.rivertango.com). Sacramento’s river trails are another great option—share a bike ride or a nature walk, or, for less than the price of dinner and a movie, you can rent a boat and cruise the river. (Make it a double date, and you can split the cost for an even better rate.) Get online and ask around—there is plenty to do out there.

Challenge #2: Being Open To New Experiences
It may not be comfortable (at least not at first), but stretching outside your comfort zone and trying new things will give you back the confidence you may have lost in your divorce. And confidence is key when you are dating.

I know… A date is probably the last time you want to risk looking like a fool. That’s why I recommend group activities to get you started. You can connect with others while doing fun things, but without the pressure of being on a date.

Challenge #3: Getting Comfortable in Your Own Skin Again
So, how do you bring sexy back after having three kids and enduring the rejection of a disinterested spouse? The process works from the inside-out. And getting in touch with your own soul is the first step to regaining your inner peace (and your outer glow). Here are a few questions to help you do that: Ask yourself, what gives you goose bumps in life? How would people remember you if you died tomorrow? If you were to write a happy ending to your life, how would that story go?

Take care of yourself, and do the things that make you feel good about yourself. It’s just a matter of time before you will blossom!

Challenge #4: Practicing Patience.
By the end of a divorce, we may crave companionship intensely, but in reality, we are not ready for another relationship, even if we think we are. It’s a Catch-22. I believe it’s important to wait two years before jumping back into a serious relationship. Spend this period of your life dating many different types of people. If you don’t, you will pick the same spouse but with a different name!

Challenge #5: Dating as a Single Parent
You’re exhausted from your week and wonder if you even have the energy left over to draw a bubble bath, let alone go out on a date. Making time for a date is important, and sometimes that means letting go of routines. You may have to go grocery shopping on your lunch hour Monday or switch laundry night.

Then there’s the challenge of finding a sitter. It may be tough to find one who can drive herself home at midnight. It’s a gift to find a sitter whose parents will pick her up after your date or one who lives just a few doors down. Cherish that sitter.

Being back from your weekend date by the court-ordered time can limit your plans. I call this the “Cinderella Syndrome.” The distance you can travel and the length of your trips are severely restricted when there is inflexibility with the ex. Luckily, Sacramento is perfectly located for weekend getaways—whether you want to visit the City, relax at Lake Tahoe, or hike the Sierra Foothills, it’s as easy to get there as it is to come home.

From the Tuelbox:
If you want to change your life, instead of waiting for life to change you, you have to be willing to face some challenges. Remember that every challenge you face is a chance to discover something wonderful and new about yourself. Visit tomi at www.tomituel.net.

The Definition of Divorce

dictionary booksI recently read that only two percent of American adults have parents that are still alive and married to each another. I’m one of the fortunate two percent, but my children are not. Divorce has had an impact, in some way or another, on most of our lives, but what does it really mean?

The American Heritage dictionary defines the noun divorce as:
1.The legal dissolution of a marriage. 2. A complete or radical separation of things closely connected, from the verb “vorced.”

Yeah, it’s a radical separation alright. Separation from your pension, your house, your family, your dreams, just about everything and everyone you love. Yes, divorce is a radical separation of things closely connected.

Our lives become intertwined through marriage. We take our vows, “Till death do us part” and it is only natural to assume our marriage will last forever. And when it doesn’t, separation from even the smallest things seems radical.

The dictionary goes on to define the verb “divorce” as:
1. To dissolve the marriage bond between. 2. To shed (one’s spouse by legal divorce). 3. To separate or remove, disunite.

Is anyone else thinking what I’m thinking?

What the heck does it mean “to shed one’s spouse”? I always thought of shedding as something my dog does. “To shed (one’s spouse…)” Definitions like that make marriage and people seem so disposable. Like a Dixie cup. “Okay, I’m done with you, so ta-ta. I’m shedding you now. Bye-bye, in the trash you go.”

This defining verb, “to shed,” equates divorce to snake-like behavior, but as unscrupulous as it may sound, this definition is fitting in some cases. Take the infamous Henry the VIII, who, after tiring of a wife, would “shed” her. Only he didn’t divorce his wives; he had them beheaded.

I think if I had to define “divorce” in my own words, it would be more like this: 1. a pain in the royal behind, in the heart, and in the wallet. 2. From the adjective “sucky.” There’s not a whole lot more to say about divorce than that.

Statistically, divorce will drop your wealth an average of 77%. As a divorced person, you lose economies of scale with living expenses and investments. What were once shared expenses, between presumably two incomes, are now essentially
double.

It’s definitely not a pleasant part of any relationship or life. But, like a lot of things, divorce has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. After you’ve gone through one, unless you’re a complete dummy, you will come away with a better understanding of life, and the big picture.

From the Tuelbox
Take note. Divorce is a radical separation. If you are contemplating divorce or just want to quantify the experience, however difficult or “sucky” you think divorce will be, take that number and multiply it by the rotation of the earth, then hang on! Visit tomi at www.tomituel.net

Tomi’s New Years Resolutions

Tomi’s New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t think any of my resolutions are that crazy this year, but I thought I would share them with you nonetheless. I figured mayby by hearing mine you might be able to trump them, because like I said, they aren’t too crazy.
Last year my resolution was simple: To get paid for having fun. I think I accomplished that. I love my job and I love to write. I will continue to add this goal to my list, but here are the few I came up with:
1. I think I would like to actively pursue date night again with my husbands. Did you catch that typo! I meant with my husband (singular)! Eek-gads, one is hard enough! We have a three year-old and my husband has a crazy work schedule. Going out without the little guy is tough, but I also have a teenager at home who is always willing to babysit—the perks of having kids ages apart.
2. I would like to tythe more. Is that how you spell it? See I don’t even know, so obviously this is a good one for me. Up until now, charity has always begun at home. I need to change this and be more generous. One of my characters in my book, The Bird’s Willow (which I am currently seeking representation for) says this about his relationship to money: I can’t wait to make more money just so I can give it away. That’s a motto I want to live by.
3. I want to spend more quality time with my family. I’m in the process of defining what this means. We spend a lot of time together at home playing with the little one, but I think we need more of a balance of getting out together more too. I need to feel less guilty about growing as a writer when it takes me away from them. Haven’t found the balance yet.
4. I want to reach more people who are experiencing divorce and the aftermath.
5. I want to help my husband more so he can work less and have less stress in his life.
6. I want to see my parents more. I am 2% of the adult population who’s parents are still married and still living. I should be so lucky to have that!
7. I want to do more to give my children rich environments for their creative and academic talents and nurture them.
8. I want to grow and nuture my relationships with friends and colleagues. Would love to have more parties in 2014. Maybe I’ll come up with some theme parties just to get us all together.
9. I want to read more books and watch more movies in 2014.
10. I want to write another book and screenplay in 2014.
Send me your new years resolutions. Truthfully, I didn’t have any until I sat down and wrote this. I came up with all of these in about 15 minutes and I could still come up with more. Try it. It will be good for you and you’ll be glad you did it.
Most of all have a happy New Year!

How to Avoid Being the Rebounder – The One Question You Should Always Ask

man_with_roseMany times when we come out of divorce we don’t know the “re-entry” dating rules, which by the way, are significantly different in our thirties and forties than our twenties. For the newbie, it is difficult to recognize what type of relationship you may be in. We are all vulnerable at this stage and knowing what to avoid is key. No one seeks to be the ‘Rebounder’, but the sad truth is we can get sucked in before we realize our status.

How do you know if you are the rebounder? What single question should you ask? And what single answer do you always want to hear?

Think you might be the rebounder or simply want to check your new squeeze’s commitment temperature? Here’s a sure fire way to get an accurate reading.

We’ve all heard the rebounder is typically the first person we have a pseudo-relationship with after a major break up, but this isn’t always the case. Your guy or gal can still be on the rebound several flings later. Sorry, that just didn’t help did it?

So how do you know if you are just another notch in their belt?

Realizing you might be the rebounder can be very unsettling, and there is no sense in wasting any of your pretty green energy over it. If you suspect you are the rebounder then proceed with caution.

Being the rebounder is risky and is best left to people who want to fill a temporary void in someone’s life. The rebounder should realize there is a risky future in this relationship. It is what it is.

The trouble with being the rebounder is the rebounder may not realize they are one until it is too late. Usually this revelation comes after finding out your partner might have unresolved feelings for their ex.

So how do you avoid becoming the rebounder?

To avoid any surprises, it is good to get dialed in right away on where you stand. Your first clue is where you fall on your partner’s post-breakup relationship list. If you are the first person they have dated, chances are you might just be the rebounder, but as I mentioned, this isn’t always the case.

So what single question can and should you ask to find out?

The answer to this very poignant question can be a potential deal breaker at the beginning of any relationship, so brace yourself and simply ask: “What would you do if your ex came back tomorrow?”

There is only one right answer to this question. You should only hear them say that they have experienced this scenario already, the reunion already took place, it didn’t work out, and as a result, the two of them moved on.

Statistically, most couples get back together one last time before calling it quits for good. So, if the scenario hasn’t happened yet, then it should put you on notice that there is a very high probability that a reunion may still be in store for them in the future and to proceed with caution.

Wise rebounders give their partners plenty of time and space, and they don’t rush into anything, including sex, if they want the relationship to last. Visit tomi at www.tomituel.net.