Make Your Missouri Divorce Less Painful: 5 Do's & Don'ts

Make Your Missouri Divorce Less Painful

Preparation, getting the right support, and making sure you educate yourself on the right and wrong things to do can make the process a little less painful. Let’s take a look at some of the best and worst things you can do during the divorce process.

Here are 5 Do's and Don'ts of Missouri Divorce

DO be fair and equitable

Unfair settlements can hurt everyone, including kids. Strive to make sure your assets and custody arrangements are good for everyone, including your children.

DO make sure you have a support network

Don’t do this alone! Make sure you have friends, family or a support group to act as your sounding board. During even the smoothest divorce, you will face a roller coaster of emotions, so ask for help when you need it. You can support all of your children through this process more easily if you have your own emotional reinforcements. Just as you need friends who have your back during a divorce, you need legal and financial advice as well. Don’t try to figure out the best settlement options via Google; talk to an attorney who can give you advice based on your specific family and financial situation.

DO empower yourself

Educate yourself about divorce, the process, and the financial implications. Talk to an attorney and find out every step, how settlements can work, and options for child custody and support. You’ll feel more confident knowing what’s possible and what happens next. DON’T Use your kids as a wedge Your kids are hurting too, but they shouldn’t be asked to take sides – they should be neutral parties to the divorce. Most importantly, don’t say negative things about your spouse to your children or withhold time with them to punish your spouse. Your kids will need the support of both parents right now.

DON'T stay in the dark about your finances

If you haven’t been involved in financial planning or discussions during your marriage, you can go in to the divorce process at a disadvantage. Make sure you know the assets you and your spouse own, including property, bank accounts, insurance policies and retirement plans. You’ll also need this information to plan and budget for your life after the divorce.

Mary Neff is an experienced problem solver.  She works hard to support her clients so they can clearly and gracefully navigate one of life’s most challenging transitions.  Mary is a licensed Missouri and Illinois family law attorney, mediator and collaborative law practitioner.

Reach out to Mary to discuss your divorce options and how you and your spouse can divorce amicably.  Mary can be reached by phone at 314.454.9100, by email at mneff@aegislaw.com, or visit her website at https://aegislaw.com/who-we-are/mary-neff/com

The Drama-Free Divorce

There’s something to be said for the “drama-free” divorce.  Well, maybe not drama-free, since getting a divorce tends to be a very emotional chapter in the lives of most couples.   But in my opinion, a divorce with minimal drama ought to be a goal.

The Cost of Drama in Divorce

It’s not that I don’t like drama.    Drama has its place.  A lot of my favorite TV shows, films and books are drama-filled and can be quite engaging.  I just don’t see a benefit to bringing all that drama to the table in a divorce.  Drama-filled divorces are the stuff dreams are made of.  Unfortunately for you, these are not your dreams; they are the dreams of litigation attorneys who are more than willing to turn your contention into billable hours.  While you’re burning through your children’s college funds to pay for your bitter divorce, the litigation attorneys are now able to afford to send their kids to college without taking out student loans.  So, unless you’re expecting your divorce story to get picked up by a Hollywood producer as the remake of War of the Roses, and you’re getting big bucks for the movie rights, it may be in your best interest to keep the drama to a minimum.

Emotions and Divorce

I understand that when things go South in our lives, marriage-inclusive, our tendency is to look around for someone to blame.  It’s the American way.  The first response of most human beings facing the break-up of a relationship is anger- at our partner, at the way things have turned out, maybe even anger at ourselves for making a bad choice of a mate.  When you walk into a divorce attorney’s office loaded for bear and wanting to get even for the pain and disappointment your spouse has caused you, some attorneys will take you at your word and get your case filed in court before the ink is dry on your contract.  A client motivated by anger may be oblivious to the high cost of litigating a divorce.  At the onset, you may think it’s worth it, just to punish your spouse for hurting you.  But most people come to their senses relatively soon, and many realize that they are now stuck in a process that moves rather slowly and inefficiently but costs a lot of money.  For the most part, clients in litigation feel like they have very little control over what happens in that process.  There are a lot of hoops to jump through, and clients seldom understand why all those things are necessary.   The court system takes a rather “one size fits all” approach to cases, by necessity, based on the sheer volume of cases that are filed, so once you are in that system, you are forced to move along with the herd.

Good News: You Have Divorce Process Options

The good news is, there are other processes, like mediation or collaborative divorce, that can offer you a more personalized approach to getting a divorce.  Even though you are dealing with the same issues, in the same situation, these processes are designed to help you let go of your anger and to take a more reasonable, problem-solving approach to untangling the finances and the child-related issues and to craft a future for you and your spouse that allows both of you to survive, and even thrive in your future as co-parents.

If you are facing a divorce or legal separation, you owe it to yourself to explore divorce process options, such as mediation, collaborative divorce, or kitchen table negotiation, to find the process that best suits your needs.

About the author:

Marjorie Carter is a collaboratively-trained family law attorney, mediator and former member of CFLA.  Marjorie is committed to guiding her clients through the legal process by taking a reasonable, peacemaking approach, helping them to find creative solutions that respect their own values and integrity.

Special Considerations: Grief During Divorce When You Have a Special Needs Child

Parents of special needs or medically complex children move through their life with a certain amount of grief always present.  Grief is the name of the process we are hard-wired to experience when we face loss or transition.  Parents are deeply connected to the hopes and dreams they have for their children often years before they have them.  Some say it is important for parents of special needs children to grieve the child they didn’t have, the child associated with their hopes and dreams.  I advise parents to also grieve for the parent they didn’t get to be.

Similar to the way parents have hopes and dreams for their children, married couples have hopes and dreams for their partnership.  When a marriage ends and the couple has a special needs or medically complex child the grief is compounded and can feel overwhelming. 

5 Ways to Manage Complex Grief During Divorce

There are a number of practical business matters that need to be addressed in a divorce, grief can complicate and delay this process if it is not acknowledged and dealt with.    Below are 5 ways to manage complex grief during a divorce.

  1. Talk about it! Shutting down your grief by working more, drinking more, spending more time on your phone etc. will not actually make the grief go away. 
  2. Reach out and Get out.  It is important not to be isolated during a divorce.  Many parents of special needs or medically complex children are already isolated from their community or family and are at risk of feeling even more alone when they go through a divorce. 
  3. Increase respite care.  Increase the time you already have or if someone wants to know what they can do to help, ask them to babysit.  You may have to train someone new on how to take care of your child’s special needs but it will be worth it - you will need time to find and prepare documents, attend meetings and process the loss and transition ahead.
  4. Increase self-care.  Unapologetically, without guilt or shame, do things that nurture and re-charge you.
  5. Find a therapist.  Complex and compounded grief may be too much for someone to handle on their own.  Be brave and find a therapist to help you through the process.

Your Divorce Process Matters

Collaborative divorces allow for flexibility and creativity that you are unlikely to find through the courts.  In a collaborative divorce you are not bound by standardized forms or one-size fits all protocols.   If you are raising a special needs child you already know that many people do not understand the additional time, energy and money you put into meeting your child’s needs.  If you have decided to move forward with a divorce you will need a team who understands the many complicated issues involved with ending your marriage while also preserving a safe and consistent environment for your child.

About the Author: Dena Tranen

Dena Tranen, LCSW is a trained collaborative law professional, licensed clinical social worker and former member of CFLA. She works as a mental health coach, therapist, and co-parenting specialist. To learn more about your Missouri divorce process options give her a call today.

Special Considerations: Getting a Divorce When You Have a Special Needs Child

Getting divorced when you are the parent of a special needs or medically complex child can seem like a daunting task that could put an unbearable amount of additional stress on an already stressed-out family system.  Many couples with a special needs child make the default decision to stay in an unhappy marriage because the unique issues they face seem impossible to manage on their own or in separate households.

Co-Parenting Complexity

For all parents, one of the scariest parts of a divorce is the co-parenting plan.  When parents of special needs or medically complex children get divorced there are additional issues that may arise in the process. Some of these issues may include:

Because of these and other unique circumstances associated with divorce when there is a special needs child it may be necessary to deviate from the standard parenting plan or child support formulas provided by the courts.  If this is the case, the collaborative divorce process is almost certainly the best route for the whole family. 

Consider a Flexible & Support Divorce Process

Collaborative divorces allow for flexibility and creativity that you are unlikely to find through the courts.  In a collaborative divorce you are not bound by standardized forms or one-size fits all protocols.   If you are raising a special needs child you already know that many people do not understand the additional time, energy and money you put into meeting your child’s needs.  If you have decided to move forward with a divorce you will need a team who understands the many complicated issues involved with ending your marriage while also preserving a safe and consistent environment for your child.

Dena Tranen, LCSW is a trained collaborative law professional, licensed clinical social worker and former member of CFLA. She works as a mental health coach, therapist, and co-parenting specialist. To learn more about your Missouri divorce process options give her a call today.

Understanding Grief in Divorce

When two people get married they emotionally attach to dreams, hopes, fantasies and plans of what their life will be like.  For some, getting and being married is a central part of their religion or spirituality.  Getting divorced forces people to let go of deeply held hopes and dreams and re-negotiate their world view.  The name for this process is grief.

The Grieving Process in Divorce

Grief is an inevitable and essential part of any divorce.  We don’t learn how to grieve, we do it automatically, whether we know it or not.    Many people associate grief narrowly with death, and while it is true that we grieve for those who have died, we also grieve many other losses throughout our life as well.

Getting a divorce involves a legal, financial and emotional separation.  Each of these separations comes with it’s own unique type of grief.  Some people fight the experience of grief, they get hung up on being right or get lost in the minutia of one particular issue.  Despite our best efforts, the deep and painful feeling states associated with grief must be felt in order for us to transition to the next chapter of our lives.  

Regardless of the degree of certainty you have about needing to get divorced, you will still have to grieve.  You may normally solve problems by “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” or finding ways to be grateful and yet, if you are getting a divorce, you will have to grieve.

There are several different states of grief.  Many people start grieving by being in a state of denial, which serves as a protective shield against the initial impact of the shattered dream.  Fear, anxiety, guilt, sadness and anger are other emotional states that are part of the grieving process, each allowing you to complete a different task so that you can acknowledge and accept the loss and successfully move forward.

Engage a Professional

It is common for people to reach out to a trained mental health provider during times of loss and transition.  Sharing your story with a therapist can be a powerful way to make sense of and eventually be free from grief and pain. 

The emotions in divorce can be difficult to navigate. Certain divorce processes are better suited to help with these emotions in divorce. Collaborative divorce is a supportive divorce process that traditionally includes a mental health professional, financial specialist, and two family law attorneys.

Dena Tranen, LCSW is a trained collaborative law professional, licensed clinical social worker and former member of CFLA. She works as a mental health coach, therapist, and co-parenting specialist. To learn more about your Missouri divorce process options give her a call today.

IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO – ENGAGING YOUR SPOUSE IN A NON-ADVERSARIAL DIVORCE PROCESS

You may have decided to divorce, done your own research and determined that the best path forward for you and your family is a non-adversarial divorce process such as mediation or a collaborative divorce.  Unlike divorce litigation, which you can begin without the cooperation of your spouse, a non-adversarial divorce requires the commitment of both of you to work towards an agreement outside of the courtroom.  If your spouse has only consulted with a litigation lawyer, friends and family, or has not thought about the divorce at all, s/he may be far from on the same page with you in thinking about a cooperative process.  Before you give up hope and proceed to litigation, you may try the following tips to encourage your spouse to consider working with you towards the best outcome for all in your family.

  1. Don’t try to negotiate the substance of the issues with your spouse.  It’s not unusual to want to jump to the finish line, of decision making, what will the custody schedule be, who will keep the house, etc. This can lead to an immediate impasse and the impression that you will be unable to reach agreements outside of court.  Instead, focus only on making the decision of how you will get divorced, whether that be negoti ating on your own, mediation or a collaborative process.  Wait until you have that process firmly in place before proceeding to substantive negotiations.
  2. Don’t do anything that might alarm your spouse.  Making threats, moving assets, cutting off access to funds, are steps that are sometimes taken out of fear, but which increase distrust and can lead to a snowball of adversarial actions.  Try to maintain an even keel and the status quo while you make these important decisions.  You may want to discuss with your own lawyer in advance the pros and cons of taking any action that might appear draconian to your spouse, before doing so.
  3. Share information. There are a number of good resources, which your collaborative lawyer can provide, to give to your spouse that outline the divorce options and pros and cons of each.  These include materials that you can find on websites such as mediate.com, collaborativepractice.com and https://stlouiscollaborativelaw.com.  Give your spouse time to do his/her own research after providing this information.
  4. Encourage a consultation with a collaborative lawyer, collaborative coach, or a mediator.  Your spouse does not have to agree to use mediation or the collaborative process. S/he only needs to agree to make an initial appointment to take the first positive steps in that direction.  In an initial mediation appointment, which both of you attend, the mediator generally outlines the mediation process, provides you with details about how the process works, and allows you the option of then making the decision to proceed with scheduling additional mediation sessions at that time, or going home to think about it.  This is a relatively inexpensive and non-threatening way to introduce non-adversarial processes.  Similarly, your spouse could make an appointment on his/her own for an initial consultation with a collaborative lawyer.  While many litigation lawyers do not take the time to do so, most collaborative lawyers spend time in the initial consultation helping the client understand and evaluate the non-adversarial options. An initial meeting with the two of you and a collaborative divorce coach can also serve this purpose and is a non-threatening way to begin a divorce process.
  5. Enlist the aid of other trusted professionals.  If you have a marriage counselor, therapist, financial consultant or other trusted advisor who is familiar with the divorce process options, that person may help your spouse to evaluate whether any of the non-adversarial options are advisable for him/her.  If the advisor is not familiar with the options, your own collaborative lawyer may be willing to talk with the advisor to education him/her in the process options in order to assist you.

It is difficult to make decisions when emotions are high, and trust is low.  By providing your spouse with the resources to support him/her as s/he evaluates the options, you may be able to reach an agreement on the most effective and efficient process for both of you in moving through the divorce in as healthy a way as possible for your family.

Collaborative divorce is one of several non-adversarial divorce options. Explore our site to learn more about this process. You may also want to learn about the difference between collaborative divorce and litigation.

Sue Amato is a collaboratively trained family law attorney and she is available to discuss your Missouri divorce options. Sue can be reached at (314) 727-7122.

Website: http://amatofamilylaw.com

Property Division in Divorce: How to Figure Out Who Will Get All the “Stuff”

Even in relatively short, and certainly during longer marriages, couples acquire and accumulate property.  This property might include cars, real estate, furniture, artwork, and miscellaneous “stuff.” Some of the items (for example, kitchen dishes, utensils, and glassware) may not have a lot of value if one went to sell them but could cost a fair amount of money to replace. When divorce is on the horizon, people often wonder how all of it will be divided and they want to make sure they get their fair share.

If your divorce is litigated in court, property division can be very complicated and contentious.  All property must be (1) “characterized” or identified as marital or joint (with both parties having an interest), separate (belonging only to one party) or partly marital and partly separate, (2) valued, and (3) allocated (awarded) to one or both parties.   Each of these determinations can be both complex and time-consuming and, consequently, expensive.

Identification of property as marital or separate

To determine what property is marital the court will try to determine when it was acquired (if during the marriage, it’s probably marital), whether it was inherited by or gifted to one party and kept separate from the other party during the marriage (this is probably separate property), or whether it was brought by one party to the marriage and then shared with the other party (this might be part separate and part marital).  Property that is part separate and part marital might include retirement assets or real estate.

Valuation of property

Each item of property must also be assigned a value.  Some property can be valued using online resources (like Kelley Blue Book for cars) or even by the parties (an owner of real estate can estimate its value). More valuable property (for example, real estate, artwork or antique furniture) may need to be valued by a professional appraiser.  Arguments often erupt over property valuations because one party or his/her appraiser may arrive at a value wildly different than that arrived at by the other party or

His/her appraiser.  A “battle of the appraisers” at trial then ensues, leaving it to the judge to decide who is right. This is a very expensive scenario.

Division of property

In a litigated divorce, the judge will decide who gets what and in what proportions.  One party could be given a greater percentage of the property if there is marital misconduct, or if other circumstances are present which persuade the judge that an unequal division is “equitable” or fair. Judges often split the assets equally between the parties even when there is bad conduct by one party.

Complicated and a bit maddening, right?

Division of property in collaborative divorce – the story of the lemon

In collaborative divorce, making decisions about property is so much more civil. There is a story in collaborative circles about dividing an item of marital property: a lemon.  In a litigated divorce the judge is likely to order that the lemon be cut and one-half of it be awarded to each party. On the surface, this would seem to be fair.  When one considers, however, that one of the parties wanted the juice of the lemon to make lemonade and the other party wanted the zest of the lemon to make pie, the result no longer seems fair or equitable since the lemon is now unusable by both parties for their respective intended purposes.  This is why, in collaborative practice, the parties focus on the needs and interests of each.  Why do you want the lemon? Do you need all of it or will less than the whole meet your needs? Could you take the peach instead?

In the collaborative process the parties can together assign values.  If they can’t agree on value, they can together choose one or more appraiser(s) to assign value(s) and decide how they want to use those values.  Most important, the parties can, with the help of the collaborative team, decide who gets what and in what proportions:  one party might get more of one asset and less of another, or it will be a 50-50 split of all property, or that one party will stay in the house for a period of time and that it will then be sold, or any number of creative solutions that make sense for your family.

When you and your spouse focus on your respective needs and interests, as you will in the collaborative process with the help of your collaborative team, you can reach unique solutions that are individualized for your family.  As much as a judge may want or try to do that, he or she is unlikely to reach a result that is exactly right for your family. And you will have spent a lot of money in the process.

Choose collaborative divorce.

Deciding upon and transitioning property in divorce can be daunting.  Certain divorce processes support a better planned transition than others.  To learn about your Missouri divorce process options contact one of our experienced St. Louis Collaborative Law professionals today.

Cynthia Garnholz is a St. Louis family law attorney, collaborative law professional and trained mediator.  She is experienced with helping one or both spouses achieve settlement.  To learn more about your Missouri divorce options give her a call or visit her website.

Phone: 314-725-5430

Website:  http://GarnholzLaw.com

Protecting Your Credit After Divorce

Many people overlook the importance of credit after divorce.  From start to finish divorce can feel more like a whirlwind than an orchestrated and well-planned process.  Most couples will only realize the importance of protecting their credit after divorce.  The best approach to protecting your credit is to be proactive.  I've outlined the basics of understanding your credit and steps you can immediately take to protect it.

3 Steps to Protect Your Credit Before, During, & After Divorce

What is Credit?

Credit refers to your ability to borrow.  Your credit is a reflection of your reputation as a borrower.  When you try to obtain loans or a line of credit your “credit” gives the lender information that tells them how likely you are to repay the loan or line of credit.

Understanding the Impact of Low or No Credit After Divorce

Your credit determines your ability to buy something without requiring an all-cash payment or a cosigner.  So, if you have a low credit score or you have no credit history of your own, then it will be difficult to qualify for loans independent from someone else.  Little or no credit can make it difficult to obtain a loan for buying a house, renting an apartment or buying a car.  The inability to obtain these items independently can make it hard for people to begin a financially independent single life post-divorce.

How Do Lenders Acquire Credit Information?

Lenders, credit card companies, insurance companies, landlords, and even some employers will pull your credit report.  Your credit report is a collection of information that tells them things like:

Your credit report is the master document behind your credit score.  It serves as your reputation for paying your debts and bills.

3 Steps to Protect Your Credit Before, During and After Divorce

Critical Fact to Understand About Your Credit After Divorce

It’s important to remember that divorce won’t affect your credit directly, but for the reasons mentioned above, divorce can affect your credit indirectly.  The best action you can take is to be proactive, be informed, and make sure you know the loans and accounts you are responsible for.

Be mindful that when your name is tied to a debt you are responsible for the payment - even when the divorce decree states your former spouse is responsible for it.   So, if your former spouse fails to make a timely payment, or fails to make any payments after the divorce, then your credit can be impacted by their non-payment.

In most situations, the financial institution only cares about the name(s) associated with the debt.  Unless your name is removed from joint debts in the divorce process, the financial institution will come to you for payment when your former spouse fails to pay.

Transitioning to the divorce process while planning for your financial future is multifaceted and requires a multipronged approach.  Certain divorce processes support a better-planned transition than others.  To learn about your Missouri divorce process options contact one of our experienced St. Louis Collaborative Law professionals today.

Nicole Davis is a certified divorce financial analyst, trained mediator and collaborative law professional.  She is experienced with helping couples achieve a good financial settlement.  To learn more about divorce finances give her a call or visit her website.

Phone: 314-272-0727

Website: https://www.reliancefinancialadvisor.com

How Do I Get A Simple Divorce?

SO, YOU WANT A SIMPLE DIVORCE?

 I often hear this from prospective clients, usually in relation to the anticipated cost of getting divorced.  As in, “how much will it cost me for a simple divorce?”  My answer is normally, “it depends,” and that begins a rather lengthy conversation about what, exactly it depends on.

In my experience, there are several things that can contribute to making a “simple” divorce complicated.  At times, we’re dealing with complex issues, like sorting out the value of a business, separating marital assets from non-marital assets, or spousal support.  In other situations, the issues may be rather straightforward, but one party may not be emotionally ready to get divorced.  It’s not at all unusual for parties in a divorce to be at different stages of readiness in relation to the divorce.  Often, one party may have been ready to leave the marriage six months, or even a year ago.  Sometimes even longer than that.  So, it can take the other spouse a bit of time to get up to speed.

If one spouse is still grieving the loss of the marriage, he or she may not be anxious to get to the finish line.  The reluctant spouse may, wittingly or unwittingly, create obstacles that make it more difficult to finish the process, and that can frustrate the spouse who was ready to be divorced on Day 1.

SO, HOW DO I CHANGE THAT?

Let’s look at the constants first:  You can’t change the situation itself.  It is what it is.  You can’t change the issues that need to be resolved.   The same issues must be dealt with, one way or the other.  You can’t change your spouse, although you certainly may have tried.  Let’s face it, if you could change your spouse, you probably wouldn’t be looking for a divorce attorney.

SO, WHAT CAN I CHANGE?

You can determine how you will conduct yourself during the divorce proceedings and how you will interact with your spouse.    Making a good faith effort to act according to your own values and integrity can go a long way in keeping matters simple and minimizing the stress and drama that can often accompany a divorce.

You also have the ability to select the divorce process you would prefer to use to resolve the issues in your divorce.  In some cases, when the issues are simple and both parties are emotionally ready to do so, parties are able to sit down together and discuss the issues in a reasonable, rational way.  That is usually called the kitchen table process.  Most divorcing couples need a bit more support than that, however, so many couples elect to use mediation or the collaborative process. 

In mediation, the parties use the services of a neutral mediator to guide them through their negotiations to reach a settlement.  The parties have attorneys to give them legal advice, but the attorneys aren’t usually directly involved in the settlement negotiations.  In the collaborative process, each party works with their own collaboratively-trained attorney, and other team members, including a neutral mental health coach to assist the couple in their communication during the settlement negotiations.  If one party is angry or sad about their spouse’s decision to leave the marriage, the involvement of a coach can be invaluable in helping the reluctant party deal with his or her emotions sensitively and therapeutically.  That can pave the way for more focused and productive settlement negotiations.   Many collaborative teams also include a neutral financial specialist to assist them in negotiating the financial settlement including the division of property, spousal support, child support, valuation of separate and marital property, and other complex financial issues.

SO, WHAT’S MY NEXT STEP?

If your goal is to have a “simple divorce,” the key is to find the best fit, for you and your spouse, in terms of the process you choose, and in the divorce professionals you select.  Review the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law website for more information, and a list of family law attorneys trained in mediation and the collaborative processMany attorneys in the St. Louis Collaborative Family Law Association offer an initial consultation at no charge, so you will have an opportunity to determine the best fit for you, in the divorce process and in your choice of an attorney.

About The Author: Marjorie Carter

Marjorie is an attorney and former member of CFLA.

5 Ways to Cope with Your Feelings During Divorce

When people think of springtime, they think of flowers, sunshine, warm weather, and fun times. School will let out in the next few months. Perhaps your neighbors are planning a summer getaway and a part of you is wishing you were enjoying life as much as they appear to be enjoying it. While it may appear that people are preparing for some R & R, you may be going through tougher times whether it’s by divorce, separation, or seeing your ex bringing a new romantic partner into his or her life.

When it seems like everyone around you is carefree, here are 5 ways to cope with your feelings during a divorce.

1. Denial isn’t just a river in Egypt.

Anger is a natural emotion. Many people have the misconception that anger is a bad thing when it’s not. In fact, there are basic universal emotions all human beings experience: anger, sadness, gladness, and fear. Sometimes, talking with friends or family members can have its limitations. It’s time to seek the guidance and support from a mental health professional. Counselors and therapists provide guidance and emotional support for people at all levels of need. Therapy is a great tool to explore your emotions.

2. It’s ok to have a pity-party…temporarily.

There’s no timeline on how long you must feel, however, there are warning signs for when feeling sorry for yourself is more harmful than helpful. When life feels unenjoyable and you notice yourself becoming more irritable, have thoughts of self-harm, show disinterest in doing things you used to love doing, feel fatigued, feel worthless, and have trouble sleeping and eating. Consult with your medical provider to assess if you may be going through depression.

3. Boundaries.

This is a great topic to discuss if you decide to see a therapist or to contemplate on your own. You may be going through a new experience where you are figuring out who is genuinely seeking to be emotionally supportive and who is not. Take into consideration who you let into your inner circle of family and friends who are emotionally supportive and objective. Keep in mind as well that you want to maintain boundaries in the workplace. Who wants to be the topic of discussion around the water cooler at work?

4. It’s ok to have fun and be happy.

Sure, sometimes you see people moving on and moving forward without you. You may even feel that you are obligated to feel sad. You may also have feelings of guilt depending on how you’ve transitioned into a new stage of life as a divorced person or finding love again with someone new. There may be challenges ahead but happiness takes time.

5. Create a routine.

By having a daily routine you learn healthy habits such as taking a stroll in your local park, walking your dog, maintaining good health, taking your medication as prescribed, exercising, eating nourishing meals, and going to work. Some people take building a daily routine to another level and include fun activities such as spending time with loved ones on a Saturday afternoon for a date night. Creating a daily routine helps decrease feelings of anhedonia (no motivation) and increase feelings of happiness.

About The Author: Tiffany Sidney

Tiffany is a mental health professional and former member of CFLA.