A Laughing Matter?

Humor and Mediation

Imagine the scene: Husband and Wife and their divorce Mediator erupting in thunderous laughter with one another. Sound strange? What if I told you this was a pretty regular occurrence during my divorce mediation sessions? OK, maybe not thunderous laughter but humor and friendly jabbing at the very least.

Getting to that agreement can be tough and I really believe it has so much to do with the skill of the Mediator. Can they bring the parties together to form a meeting of the minds? How do you do this?

The parties have to respond to the Mediator in a positive way. They have to be comfortable to open up and trust the facilitator. In other words, the Mediator has to get the parties to want to come to the table and be motivated to work together. They have to LIKE the Mediator. Are they a relatable, normal person?

An obvious method to establish a common bond is to inject humor into the equation. Obviously a divorce doesn’t automatically make one think of uncontrolled laughter but if we can’t laugh in even the most difficult of times life would be pretty miserable.

Timing is everything and to crack a joke at the right moment can really relieve any tensions that are building up. This is my secret trick that has helped couples come around and get to that all important agreement. Laughter truly is the best medicine.

Having said that, it is still super important to be sensitive to the serious nature of the situation and to proceed with caution. You don’t want your “comedy act” to be misinterpreted and actually make the situation worse. That is why an intuitive Mediator is key.

If you would like to learn more about a smart, fast, affordable, semi-pleasant divorce experience please contact divorceharmony.com


Managing Your Post-Divorce Budget

post divorce budget

Managing your post divorce or post separation budget may be the scariest part of the entire breakup process. How are you supposed to survive when your expenses have doubled and your income has been cut in half?

You are in essence starting from scratch. Even if you have had a successful method for your budget for 50 years-you will still need to rework that process one you are in divorce mode. Things are much, much different now. Additionally, your interests and activities may shift with divorce. This can lead to different expenses and income as well.

First, it would be wise to make a detailed list of all of your expenses. If you are unsure of your weekly grocery bill for example, go back and look at receipts to get an accurate average. Really examine what you are spending money on each month and see if there is anything you can cut back on. The necessities of shelter and food should take priority over entertainment for example.

post divorce budget

Next, list all of your income streams. This list should include any spousal support and child support. Now compare your expenses and income. Are you bringing in more than you’re sending out? Crunch those numbers. Even if you happen to be bringing in more than your spending, during divorce it’s a good idea to remain conservative in your spending.

An important thing to remember when formulating your budget is to stick to the numbers. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Dollars and common sense should prevail. Don’t make rash decisions based on what you happen to be feeling in the moment. You will regret it later when things fall into place.

If you are in need of budget advice we are here to help at divorceharmony.com


Riding The Divorce Roller Coaster

Divorce Roller Coaster

Who is a fan of roller coasters? The rise and fall, the anticipation, the feeling of freedom, the fear-all that and more bottled up in one thrilling ride. Is your divorce akin to riding a roller coaster? In many ways, yes.

While roller coasters can be lots of fun-the dips and peaks-typically folks going through a divorce would rather not deal with low dips. These dips can be devastating and cause major trauma. Even if you wanted the divorce, these feelings and emotions can get the best of you.

A great way to manage this uncharted territory is to realize that many people have come before you and have experienced the exact same emotions within the same time table. In other words, there have been many passengers of the roller coaster.

Additionally, knowledge is power. Learning how to deal with crisis and that’s its only temporary can do wonders for your state of mind. At Divorce Harmony we provide many resources so that you can become aware of the different stages of grief that typically accompany divorce. Whether it’s through our coaching program or referring one of our highly regarded therapists.

You may not be in control of how the roller coaster turns, but you can control your reaction to it. By controlling your reaction you can be proactive in your divorce. Making time to focus on your future and life moving forward.

Roller coasters can be thrilling and produce feelings of euphoria. Hopefully your new life will also provide you with amazing new experiences and opportunities. In other words, take full advantage of the thrilling parts of the ride and prepare and know what to expect for the lower part of the ride.

For more information on how to deal with the roller coaster of divorce please contact us at :divorceharmony.com


The Secret To Successful Mediation

Personalize and Empathize

What do we all want when it comes down to it? More than anything else we want to feel like we matter in this world. We want to be remembered, noticed, acknowledged that we are here. Ask anybody worth their salt in the service industry and they will tell you the same thing. Human beings want to feel special!

As mediators we are taught to listen actively, communicate effectively and structure the mediation to come to a mutual agreement using the skills we were trained with. This is all well and good and is the backbone of our special practice.

I find that many clients have a need to communicate with me on a deeper level. Some are at the lowest point in their lives and just want someone to reach out to at this perilous time. I never back down and cherish the opportunity to assist them and just listen. Keeping in mind that I am a neutral and never project an image of taking a side either way.

It’s important to make each party feel special in their own way. We can do this by addressing them by their names, personalizing dialogue, addressing their concerns in a caring and comforting manner and most of all-expressing empathy for what they are experiencing.

Basically, look at your clients like they are special individuals worthy of your time and consideration. Express interest in them, put them at ease and really listen to them to get to the heart of the matter. At Divorce Harmony, we make a special effort to treat every client with respect and understanding. Please contact us at divorceharmony.com to learn more.


5 Important Things To Consider For An Amicable Divorce

Amicable Divorce

How can you have an amicable divorce? While there is not proven method that works for everyone there are some important things that you may want to think about and consider to have as successful a parting as possible for everyone involved.

1.  Divorce Affects Everyone In Your Life- yes, it affects you and your kids but it also affects your spouse. You are in this process together even if you are splitting up. Acknowledge that they are experiencing some feelings as well and it will do a lot to further your relationship in the future for having an amicable divorce. Having that empathy is priceless. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends just that despite your differences you can see that they are experiencing change as well.

2. Build Your Support Team- And by support I mean a network of close friends and family that want to build you up and help you heal through your amicable divorce. NOT by pointing fingers at your ex to show that he/she was the bad one to make you feel like you are in the right. Support is important because it gives you the space and time to heal.

3. Choose Mediation- Most of the time if lawyers get involved early on you will not only incur major expenses but the entire process will be absolutely more acrimonious-the opposite of an amicable divorce. Stick to mediation where you both can decide what you want to do with your lives. It is empowering to give yourselves the authority to decide on what is most important to you. This empowerment will also lead to a collaboration of sorts between you and your ex. I venture to guess that if there’s children involved you both want what is best for them-even if what is best is not exactly the same for both of you.

4. Think Of The Future Not Just The Present-Things may be heated in those first few months of separation. This is totally normal and understandable. But that being said, it’s vital that you do not make any rash decisions with this heaviness still present.

5. Use The Power Of The Pen-You will have hard moments, that’s inevitable. To maintain that amicable divorce think before communicating anything-even in a fit of anger. Try to write things down in a thoughtful way instead of just saying something in the heat of the moment. Delivery is everything.

If you have any questions about an amicable divorce please contact divorceharmony.com and we will be happy to help.


Estate Planning Considerations in Divorce

Estate Planning

Has it crossed your mind what to do regarding any estate planning documents? You might need to modify some very important paperwork if you are divorcing. And it is much more favorable to consider these changes as soon as possible-like when you think you might be getting divorced. Waiting until after the divorce is processed may cause serious problems for you and your intended beneficiaries down the road.

Estate Planning

The first step in estate planning modification would be to think about the people in your life. Who would you want to play certain roles should unforeseen circumstances arise? This is a very important decision so it’s crucial that you come to these decisions in a thoughtful way.

Another tip is to make sure you change your passwords to important accounts and email. Try to keep things like this private from here on out. And find out from an experienced professional what you can change and when regarding your estate planning. It’s important to make informed moves so you don’t run into trouble later.

The main estate planning documents you should be reviewing are: your will, life insurance policies, trusts, power of attorney and rights of survivor ship in your personal property. Your agreement may reflect that some of these kinds of documents be changed or edited in certain ways.

Estate Planning

In many states there are protections in the law with regard to estate planning. For instance in Florida, in the case of an untimely death during the divorce process when all of the documents have not been edited yet-if the divorce is final the surviving spouse may not receive a disposition of any property or assets unless the agreement specifically says they do. There may be other protections put in place as well. If you would like more information please contact divorceharmony.com. We are here to help navigate this complicated but very important subject for you.


Building Blocks of Effective Communication

Building Blocks of Communication

What makes mediation effective? What do our disputes arise from? What are the building blocks of communication? What are the stumbling blocks to mediation? The answers to these questions are simpler than one might think. But to employ into actual practice takes time, experience and most of all patience and foresight.

The number one tool to ensure your mediation is successful is listening. Make your adversary feel like what they are saying is important and has value. Really listen when in communication. What are they trying to convey? Don’t just sit there waiting for your chance to speak.

Another point to make in communication is-sometimes what they are saying is not exactly the point they are trying to get across. Look for other important clues such as body language and expression to access what is really going on. In the same vain-be aware of your own body language and what it conveys. Are you expressing openness and willingness to engage in effective communication?

It is important to show the other side that you are at least open to the other’s ideas or suggestions. By doing this you show respect and the other side just might bend a little to your position as well. In that fashion it is vital that you do not interrupt the other side when they are speaking and that you really show that you are engaged in their story. A good tool to use is to repeat what they’ve just said to show that you were listening intently.

Your delivery of your position can make an agreement or break an agreement. So it’s not so much what you say but how you say it. Deliver your message with respect, calmness and a respectful smile! This goes for receiving feedback from the other side as well. You don’t have to necessarily accept what they are saying but receive the news with a calm demeanor.

If you would like more tips on how to have a successful mediation with Divore Harmony contact us today: divorceharmony.com


Divorce In The Age of Digital Convenience

Divorce and Digital Convenience

When dividing up resources in a divorce there is much more to consider in this day and age then just the family home and the car. Who would have thought we would be having serious discussions about our entertainment options and cellphone plans. But these are important things that the modern couple cannot live without and it’s important to figure out exactly how to navigate.

It’s often the case that those cellphone plans are much less costly when you are on a “family plan”. Unlike health insurance which is required to be changed by law when you are divorcing, there is no law that says that you have to close your joint cellphone or Netflix account. And many times the couples’ children are on the plan and they do not want to change the setup for them.

The convenience factor is also a big reason to keep these joint accounts. Think about your “list” on Hulu or Spotify with your movie and music preferences. If you have to start over that could be a big inconvenience. But your ex will have access to your preferences if that is something you care about.

Is it worth the money savings to then have to deal with your ex on who pays for the account, etc? For many, the answer is a resounding yes. Oftentimes you do not even have to converse with them, you can send your portion of the bill through an online method that doesn’t require any meaningful exchanges.

Frequently in mediation when working out divorces, this topic comes up and more and more modern families are choosing to keep their accounts together because they are saving money and it is easier for their kids to keep on with all of their subscriptions without facing a bump in the road where there will be many anyway. Even though it’s small they are coming together on this little issue which sometimes leads to more cooperation which is always a good thing! divorceharmony.com


Divorce And Your Health

Divorce and Health

Divorce is generally not good for your health. This is a fact that shouldn’t be hard to understand. The stress that is put on your body during this trying process can manifest in a variety of health problems including a 23% higher mortality rate. But with all things, knowledge is power and it’s important to understand the potential health risks as you navigate through the minefield.

Research from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health reveals that people living through divorce develop more chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease and mobility issues. This may be because when you’re depressed it’s harder to eat well, exercise and get proper rest. Remember to get that yearly physical to avoid high blood sugar, excess belly fat and high cholesterol. There are ways to control these harmful risk factors.

A recent study found that men and women who have gone through a divorce have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. In fact, women that have gone through a divorce were 24% more likely to have a heart attack. The stress of divorce can lead to inflammation which in turn leads to these sometimes fatal heart issues.

Who wouldn’t be stressed and suffering anxiety when you potentially have to face new job, moving, less money, parenting alone, and just a general fear of the unknown. This stress can lead to drug abuse and/or depression. It’s important to know the warning signs and have someone you can talk to.

Make time for yourself. No matter how chaotic things get you need time to decompress. Also, why not start the process in as manageable a way as possible and go the mediation route? Stay away from two dueling, expensive lawyers and work together. The amount of stress you will avoid is worth it alone. Life is short make the best of what you have in the limited time we are allotted here on earth. Please give us a call if you would like to try the less stressful, healthier alternative to traditional divorce. divorceharmony.com


What To Avoid In Order To Have A Smooth Divorce


See below for an important list on what to avoid during the divorce process. As a Divorce Coach, I’ve seem that this list is quite common and my job is to help you overcome these stumbling blocks so the divorce is a success.

Using Your Emotions To Make Life Altering Decisions In Divorce

This is a big one. Breath, take a a step back. Take a look at the big picture. It’s best not to make huge decisions too quickly. Bad decisions made in the beginning of the process can set the tone for the entire journey and not in a good way. It’s my job as a divorce coach to help you realize what your ultimate goals are.

Giving Too Much Weight To The Small Things

While it’s understandably hard to be objective in your own divorce, there are certain things when looked at from a distance you would realize are not worth fighting over. Is it really worth fighting over who gets the dishes? A coach can help you gain a new perspective where you can see what’s important now and for your life moving forward.

Putting On A Brave Face When You Are Really Falling Apart

Divorce is one of the most stressful and traumatic events of one’s life. It’s important to have family and friends by your side for support but they are not neutral and usually do not have the professional capabilities to help you. That’s where a coach can come in. They can assist you in developing a smart plan to get through this uncertain time.

Wasting Your Hard Earned Money On Unnecessary Legal Expenses

Being a lawyer myself, I can confidently say they are overrated. Most of them are unnecessary and quite honestly not that smart. You have the power and ability and may not even need an attorney. Lawyers are so expensive and and oftentimes add fuel to the fire, prolonging what could have been an easy, fast, inexpensive divorce. A divorce coach can help you think more clearly and not make bad decisions regarding your legal support.

Prolonging The Misery Because Of Bad Or No Communication

How many times have we received an email or text and misinterpreted it’s meaning? With today’s technology it’s so easy to stay in touch but it’s also easy to get mixed or incorrect messages. One of the best ways I’ve seen my clients move forward with their divorces is by learning to communicate effectively with their exes. I can go over that email or text with you before you fire it off to your ex. Changing the tone of just one text has saved my client months of back and forth over nonsense.

For more information contact divorceharmony.com