Don’t Play the Blame Game

Don’t Play the Blame Game

When you’re getting a divorce, it can be so easy to point fingers and blame your spouse for what is happening. But let’s face it, it does take two people to make or break a marriage. You both have to take responsibility and most importantly, understand that the future is bright!

 

So, why do we point fingers and place blame during a divorce? And how can you overcome this tendency and move forward without tearing down your partner and them tearing you down?

 

You’re Grieving

Whether you realise it or not, your divorce is causing you to grieve. Researchers agree that there are five stages in the grieving process: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Right now you may be engulfed in the waves of emotions that come along with grief. And yes, even if this divorce is something you WANT, you can still grieve.

Chances are, you and your spouse haven’t been happy for a while and it has finally culminated into issues that can no longer be ignored. In fact, your grieving process probably started a long time ago as you realised that your marriage was declining and headed toward separation and divorce. If you have been laying on the couch feeling stuck and depressed, you deserve better…and so do your friends, family and kids.

It’s important to allow yourself to feel these emotions. Don’t fight it, because even negative emotions are natural. The important thing to remember is not to allow your grief to change who you are and how you treat others. It may be that your grief is causing you to lash out and place blame because it feels like that’s the easy thing to do.

Instead, try to relinquish control and allow yourself to be engulfed by your grief. Acknowledge how you feel. Acknowledge where you are in your life. Acknowledge that it just plain sucks, no matter how you look at your situation. And then, rise above your grief and take your first step forward…and before you know it you will have started the process of moving in the right direction.

 

You Feel Like You’ve Failed

No one likes to fail. Even if you’re placing blame on your spouse, deep down inside you know that it takes two people to make things work – or fail. You know that you have just as much of a part in your marriage failing as your spouse does. We know. It hurts to hear those words. You may even be shaking your head and thinking, “Nope, not me. Not in my marriage!”

But if you really think about it, we’re sure you can think of ways you could have been a better husband or wife. Life is hard. Marriage is hard. It takes work, and a lot of us didn’t realise we were signing up for so much work to make our marriage succeed. At first, it can seem so easy. You’re in love, you have fun, you get along most of the time, and you can laugh off arguments and makeup.

But then you have the same argument 50 more times. Work, kids, sex, bills, extended family and so much more add stress to your marriage. Your daily life becomes mundane and more like a routine. Maybe one of you gains weight. Maybe one of you stops doing as much around the house. Maybe it’s worse than any of that and one of you is unfaithful.

Anger can easily become deeply rooted in your marriage over time. Then one day you think the D-word. Divorce. Then one of you says it aloud. Slowly, slowly things continue to get worse until it feels like there is no other way out. And maybe you’ve given it your all. Maybe you’ve tried counselling. You’ve tried bargaining with one another to each do better.

Society tells us that failure is giving up. In fact, we love to be so very positive and encouraging that we say “The only time you ever fail is if you quit.” And isn’t that what divorce is? Quitting marriage? It’s no wonder that divorce is such a tumultuous subject. No one wants to quit and ultimately fail!

It’s time that we change that perception. Instead of treating divorce as a failure, maybe divorce is a success. You were brave enough to stand up and say “No. This isn’t for me. I made a mistake and it’s time to move forward.” There is so much power in changing the way we view divorce and failure, and we challenge you to overcome the idea that you’ve somehow failed.

 

It’s Tough to be Accountable

While we stand firm in our belief that divorce doesn’t mean you failed, we also believe that credit should be given where credit is due. And the same goes for blame. We love to point fingers and play the blame game because it takes the focus off of ourselves. It’s like saying “It’s ALL their fault. NOT mine,” without actually using those words.

We love to distract ourselves and others from thinking that maybe we are at fault, too. Just think about it. In any other instance of your life if you make a mistake, even a super obvious one, it’s so hard to be accountable! Our instinct is to make excuses and try to detract from the fact that we messed up.

How awesome would it be if we just raised a hand, owned our mistakes and said, “Yep. I did that. I was wrong.” Marriage is no different. Part of the healing process is acceptance. Not only acceptance that your divorce is in fact happening, but acceptance that you do also have fault in the marriage ending.

Only once you acknowledge this can you begin to move forward. And you don’t have to shout it from the rooftops or hang a sign around your neck. Just accept it in your heart and stop pointing the finger at your spouse. If someone asks what happened, they don’t need details. You’re not required to spill the details of how each of you messed up. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you expected.

 

It’s Easier to Focus on the Past

We also place blame because that allows us to focus on the past. We can look back and pick apart everything that went wrong. When really, the truth is that the future scares us. When you got married, you had a vision for the future. Now that future is uncertain. Will it be good? Will it be bad? The stress is probably already rising in your chest just thinking about it.

So instead we look back. We try to figure out what went wrong and we try to consider where it all began. How could we have done things differently? Was there a pivotal moment that it all began going downhill? But you cannot change the past! No amount of thinking and calculating will change where you are now. And if you and your spouse have agreed that your marriage is irreparable, then it is time to move forward.

Every time you place blame – even just thinking about it in your head – you drag yourself back into the past and away from the future. And the thing is, the future is imminent. It is coming whether you like it or not. You have to train your mind (and your mouth!) to let the blame go. At first, it may be a real struggle. But over time it will become a positive habit that helps you to move forward. It makes more room in your head to plan for an amazing future.

 

Understand that it’s Normal

Another struggle with blame is knowing that placing blame is wrong. Every time you open your mouth and say something bad about your spouse, you feel a twinge of guilt. Those feelings just pile on top of all the negative thoughts already in your mind and make it worse.

But blame is so very normal! It’s what you do with those instincts to place blame that matters. It all comes back to accountability and the desire to feel like we haven’t failed. It’s OK to feel the need to place blame, and it’s ok to have weak moments in which you give in and push it all back onto your spouse. It happens, and you’re human.

The important thing is to strive to rise above this tendency. Be purposeful in thinking positive thoughts and feeding your mind with dreams of the future. Think those thoughts full of blame, and then remind yourself that it goes both ways. Vent to a friend and then thank them for allowing you to get your feelings out. Follow up by acknowledging that you also have fault in your marriage ending and that everything will work out exactly how it’s supposed to.

It’s so easy to look at divorce as an ending. It might even feel like your life is over and you don’t have a future. But that’s just not true! It’s time to change your perspective and realise that there is a lot out there that is much bigger than the two of you. You’re just a blip in this great adventure we call life.

That’s not to make you feel like your situation is insignificant. We know that for the two of you, this is the most important thing you may ever have to face. But life is so full of possibilities. We want to help you realise that your life is not ending with this divorce. This isn’t a funeral. You are closing one chapter and beginning another one. Your new chapter is full of blank pages that you can fill up however you wish.

Instead of feeling like life is coming to an end because it didn’t go as expected, start to think of ways you can make your future bright. What goals do you want to accomplish? What will make you smile again and give you joy? Chase those things in your life and get out of your rut – slowly at first, but then with more confidence. Start each day with positive thoughts and a mentality that looks toward the future instead of dwelling in the past and what could have been.

About the author:

Tanya Somerton Tanya Somerton is the ‘Divorce Angel’, and helps facilitate a seamless and amicable divorce and separation with the aid of her ‘Army of Angels.’

Providing step by step processes which limits cost and conflict. 

Tanya is also the Director of TLC Investment Group, a finance and mortgage company.

The author of the Book, ‘The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering independence through Divorce’. Tanya helps with pre-divorce planning, cost-saving strategies and life after divorce. Purchase your copy here

Streamlining the Divorce Process

Streamlining the Divorce Process

If you’re facing an imminent divorce, you probably want the process to be over sooner rather than later so that you can separate and move on with your individual lives. While we understand your desire to move quickly, (we’ve been there, too!) it is so important to think clearly and create a plan as you look toward the future.

 

This is not the time to make rash decisions, and we want to help you streamline the process of divorce. With a clear mind and the ability to truly focus on your future without dwelling on the past, it is possible. That’s why we put together Five Steps to a Seamless Divorce that will help you get to the other side of your divorce with your finances in line and a healthy outlook for the future.

Facing Your Emotions

One of the greatest battles during a divorce is confronting all of the emotions that come along with the decision to get a divorce. Even if you and your spouse decide together that your marriage isn’t working, there are still deep-rooted emotions that span the length of your relationship.

 

After all, no matter how much you’ve grown apart, you still remember the days that you couldn’t imagine life without your partner. You still remember your wedding day in detail, and probably still very fondly. There are happy, wonderful memories that flash through your head and cause you to smile, even in the darkest moments.

This can be so confusing when you’re also deeply hurt, disappointed and maybe even guilty. You may each feel like you’re giving up, like the other person is giving up and you may even wonder if you’re making the right decision. It’s important to accept that confusion is completely normal, among many other emotions you’re feeling.

And you know what, it’s OK to hold onto those fantastic memories you’ve shared together over the years. Just because things didn’t work out the way you each expected doesn’t take away from the good times you DID share together.

Maybe not right now, and maybe not even next year, but one day you’ll be able to look back and appreciate what you had while you had it…and you’ll also appreciate that you were able to let go and move forward with your life when that chapter ended.

Still, when your emotions are at a peak, and while you’re in the middle of a divorce, it can be very tough to make clear decisions. As we have seen so many times, spouses often just want to get their divorce over with quickly. While quick can be good, you also need time to heal.

And to an extent,  these couples are in such a rush that they miss opportunities to begin the mending process. NOW and even save money and make each of their futures better.

 

Consider Counseling

If you’re struggling with emotions, and really even if you think you’ve got it all under control, we highly suggest you pursue counselling prior to settling assets. We’re not talking about marriage counselling together to “figure out your problems” because we know that ship has sailed!

 

We would love to see you pursue individual counselling to help you work through your emotions before making big decisions.

 

After all, you should never make big, important changes and decisions when you are in the throws of any emotional turmoil. But isn’t that so backwards for a couple getting a divorce? Of course, you’re feeling every emotion possible…but you can’t just wait to get a divorce until those emotions pass. That’s not how it works.

But it IS why we are here. Our Army of Angels includes counselors that can talk to you once, twice or even ten times. They will counsel you for as long as you need to begin healing. They will listen, offer their professional input, feedback from other couples they’ve helped and even their thoughts from personal experiences with divorce. If nothing else, at least you will have someone to open up to who understands what you are going through.

Have you ever heard the first step to solving your problem is to admit that you have one? Well, you may be trying to be strong for your family, friends and kids but now is not the time for that. You don’t have to put on a “brave face” to impress anyone. You owe yourself the chance to begin the healing process NOW instead of when your divorce is finalised.

Counseling can help to get all of your feelings out and work through the emotions before allowing them to impact financial decisions. It is so important to keep your emotions separate from long-term financial decisions, and we can’t stress that enough! You and your partner may be separating, but for now, you still have to work as a team to split your assets in a way that makes the most sense for BOTH of you.

 

Think About Your Children

If you don’t have children, go ahead and skip down to our next tip. But according to the Australian Institute for Family Studies (AIFS), around 47% of divorces will involved children under the age of 18. So there is a 50/50 chance that someone reading this is divorcing with children still at home.

 

Knowing that your children are entrenched in your divorce with you and your spouse can deepen the emotions you feel. All of the guilt, anger and sadness you feel is magnified when you think about your children. You probably feel like you’re failing them as a parent.

But consider this, the decision to get a divorce didn’t happen overnight. And even if it DID, the circumstances that led to the decision definitely didn’t. It’s not like you woke up one day and decided to get a divorce because you feel like it. No. Slowly, slowly over time you and your spouse grew apart. Maybe you started bickering more or began spending more and more time apart. Either way, your children have seen these changes. Depending on their ages, they are probably very aware that mummy and daddy aren’t happy together.

So many parents try and stay together “for the kids” and we implore that you consider the other possibility…the possibility that you divorce for the kids as much as you are doing it for yourselves. You kids deserve happy parents who function at 100%. If you’re unhappy in a marriage, you’re definitely not being the best parent you can be to your kids.

So, while it’s important to consider that this affects your kids as much if not more than it affects each of you, please remember that this is for the better. Together, you can show your kids that you’re still a team and you’re both still there for them 100%.

There are many parenting classes available to parents divorcing so that you can learn how to help your kids cope and move forward. You may also pursue individual counselling for your kids with a counselor who specialises in divorce – like those who are part of our Army of Angels.

 

Know Your Assets and Liabilities

Once you’ve worked through your emotions and cleared your head, you might think your next stop is a lawyer’s office. But it’s not! Before you even talk to a lawyer, you should have a clear picture of assets and liabilities.

 

Lawyers are experts in law, but that doesn’t mean that they should be making financial recommendations to you.

 

Instead, set the framework for your divorce in advance of speaking to a lawyer. Know what your entire financial picture looks like. Know what you want the future to look like. It’s so important for you and your spouse to sit down together and review ALL of your assets and liabilities whether they are individual or shared. If this is not possible, do the best YOU can do to put together a financial picture.

Take a look at all loans and outstanding debt, and then look at your savings. This includes superannuation balances and even college savings you’ve set up for your kids, etc. It’s also important to consider each of your individual incomes. And who is currently responsible for which debts until this is sorted? How will you split the assets? Will anyone be paying child support or spousal maintenance based on your individual circumstances and income and how custody will be split?

Many couples go straight to a lawyer’s office to solved all of these dilemmas. But, not you. You’ll have an entire team working to help you – an Army of Angels – that will help you review every aspect of your life. And it doesn’t end there. We will also help you assess what the outcome will be for the future.

When you’re done, you’ll feel a new emotion – relief. You still have a long way to go, but for now, you know how the assets and liabilities will be divided and what’s in store for the future. Then you can go to your lawyer or ours, with a plan in place to streamline your divorce process and your lawyer can help you make it happen from a legal standpoint. This is where our Divorce Roadmap Session answers all those questions.

When we approach the process of divorce, we want to see it streamlined and as amicable as possible – but not rushed or uncontrolled. And there is a difference! If you can work through your emotions and create a plan for the future, there will be a much better outcome for everyone. We want to help you make decisions from a place of love, forgiveness and amicability.

If you would like to know more about what we do please watch our latest video.

About the author:

Tanya Somerton Tanya Somerton is the ‘Divorce Angel’, and helps facilitate a seamless and amicable divorce and separation with the aid of her ‘Army of Angels.’

Providing step by step processes which limits cost and conflict. 

Tanya is also the Director of TLC Investment Group, a finance and mortgage company.

The author of the Book, ‘The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering independence through Divorce’. Tanya helps with pre-divorce planning, cost-saving strategies and life after divorce. Purchase your copy here

Daddy Has a New Girlfriend, What Should You Say and Do?

Daddy has a new girlfriend

What are the right things to say and do to support your child?

Daddy has a new girlfriend!

Remember the feelings of anticipation and hope with that new life growing inside of you. You dreamt of being the perfect parent and having the ideal family. Then this tiny bundle was born, and your feelings made the world move slower, and your heart beat faster. This little person, your responsibility. While it was one of the hardest things, you have ever done, the reward was unspeakable. The love you felt had no bounds, and there is nothing you would not do to keep your child safe and secure.

Your parenting styles are different, but you worked together. With the same core values of bringing up a happy and healthy child.  As a couple, even though your backgrounds were different and the way you were brought up, you found common ground. One the disciplinarian and the other fun, loving and playful. Your child was safe, feed and warm and growing into a lovely person.

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5 Things Confident Women Do To Succeed After Divorce

5 Things Confident Women Do To Succeed After Divorce

Divorce is such a taboo word, how can you succeed after divorce?

In my dealings, there are 5 things confident women do to succeed after divorce and l want to share them with you. These things are continually discussed in conversation when positive people talk about their previous relationship. They are now rebuilding their lives with energy and gusto to get on with their exciting futures. These women feel empowered and grateful.

Saying l was divorced made me feel and think, l was a second-class citizen. I felt people looked at me differently like l was a failure. Women saw me as a disappointment and men looked at me as if l was damaged and must be hard to live with.  This may have been in my head, but for some time, this was how I felt. I look back now and realise these were my issues and no one else’s.

 However, dealing with the stresses and conflict that goes hand in hand with ending a relationship, can produce erroneous thoughts. Lucky for me, this was at the height of my breakup and didn’t continue for long. How l showed up in the world has to do with no one else but me! And l needed to change my way of thinking and acting.                                                                                                                                                

Talking to other successful people who have survived divorce there seemed to be five traits they all had in common:

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How to Maintain the Best Investments Out of Your Divorce to Secure Your Future

How to Maintain the Best Investments Out of Your Divorce to Secure Your Future

investments

Not all investments are the same

Let me introduce you to Michelle.

Michelle and her husband of 28 years have separated and have just settled on their financial agreement after dividing their investments. If you have read my book The Jelly Bean Jar, you would know l break divorces into three categories: A Your decision, B Partner’s decision, C Joint decision. Each of these categories has different connotations for the partners, involved, and that is why ‘no two divorces are the same.’ Depending on the class you fall into will depend on your emotional state. How long it takes to recover, and ultimately the team of professionals l engage to best deal with your circumstances. Ultimately this team with help to achieve your seamless outcome from your divorce journey.

Now getting back to Michelle, she falls into category B. Michelle had no idea, her husband was unhappy. She was ill prepared for the disaster her life was to become when he asked her for a divorce. The couple had worked hard all their life and had two adult children. Together they had acquired a property portfolio of four investment properties around Australia and owned their own home. They both have substantial superannuation and if they had stayed together retirement was only a few short years away. Feeling frantic about her future Michelle, found out some months later her husband had a new partner. The ex-husband remained in the family home, and she moved out and was renting a two bedroom unit. Her hopes, dreams and wishes for an enjoyable retirement out the window in four words….I want a divorce. Not to mention the reality of being alone and scared about what her future holds.

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Taming the Devil Inside

Taming the Devil Inside

Devil inside

Taming the devil inside

Over the last six months, my team and l have been working with Katie.  Katie has lived in the same house with her husband for the past thirty years, and the couple has two adult daughters together.  They have had a turbulent relationship, but like most of us, they continued to work through their ups and downs hoping for peace and memories of what brought them together to endure. Their connection, however, got to the point of no return with accusations coming from both sides. Until one day, Katie’s husband decided he had, had enough and wanted out. Such a massive decision after dedicating yourself to each other for three decades.

 

No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Sometimes a relationship we think is perfect can be anything but, for the couple involved. I never form any judgement on the people l work with; I just want to see them move on with dignity and pride and be empowered to find strength and the willingness to continue living with joy and happiness in their lives. Looking in the mirror and taking responsibility for the mistakes they have made, and then using that wisdom to preventing the same issues arising in other areas of their life.  However, l have witnessed a trait which has worried me. A trait which can cloud people’s decision making.  Having them react in a way, you would hope they could control however emotions take over, and their actions can have lasting effects on their futures. (more…)