Regardless of the steps parents have taken to minimize the stress divorce has on their children, some children may need coping tools and post divorce therapy to come to terms with this huge life change.
The Divorce Resource Centre of Colorado promotes peaceful resolutions and believes mediation is the pathway to changing the way society divorces. Peaceful resolutions are possible not just for the divorcing couple but also for their children. A collaborative divorce can lessen the stress on children of divorce since it often takes less time and children witness their parents coming to an agreement outside of the contentious nature of the courtroom.
If your child is having problems, how do you know whether they are likely to resolve on their own over time or when it’s time to seek outside help?
• Your child's symptoms aren't fleeting and persist over several weeks
• Your child's symptoms interfere with his or her normal functioning
• Your child's symptoms interfere with the normal functioning of your family
• You feel angry, exhausted, or disappointed with your child a lot of the time
• People you trust have expressed concern
• Your child asks to see a therapist (unusual, but not unheard of)
• Problems with eating or sleeping with no medical basis (including nightmares that don't go away)
• Excessive difficulties with separation
• A consistently (and persistently) sad or melancholy mood
• Physical complaints with no distinguishable cause (such as headaches or stomachaches) that don't go away with reassurance
• Disinterest in friends or trouble getting along with peers
• Deteriorating school performance
• Difficulty concentrating
• The new appearance of agitation or fidgetiness
• Extreme or unrealistic fears/phobias
• Excessive or public masturbation
• New or extreme accident proneness
• Decrease in self-esteem
• Fatigue or apathy with no medical basis
• Excessive weight loss or weight gain with no medical basis
• Aggressive behaviors toward self or others (such as biting, hitting, or scratching)
• Risky or acting out behaviors
• Constant rudeness and "talking back"
• Heavy drinking or drug use
• Excessive lying
• The appearance of obsessive or compulsive rituals (such as hand washing or pulling out hair)
• Preoccupation with death
• The wish to die ( Important note: If your child expresses a feeling that life is not worth living, get help right away -- do not take it upon yourself to determine if this is a "real" or "serious" problem.)
Bottom line: If you’re unsure, you can schedule a consultation. If your child does not need therapy, a well-trained clinician will tell you.
The Divorce Resource Centre of Colorado works with various trusted and vetted therapists who practice different methods to address the stress divorce has on children. Please contact us to learn more about these and other divorce professionals whose work compliments mediation.
The relationship between certified divorce financial analysts and family law attorneys can be complicated. Each are trained to reach the best possible outcome for their clients and both are regarded as experts in their fields. Despite the appearance of competition, we believe cooperation between attorneys and CDFAs can best serve divorcing spouses.
Attorneys who handle a large number of divorces are not in the business of ensuring that every financial stone has been turned over. Once the divorce is finalized it is up to the parties to make sure the division of assets and any payments agreed upon are made. If a divorce attorney with a hefty caseload sees the value in a certified divorce financial analyst, it is usually only as a post settlement referral.
Attorneys must recognize that their clients assume they are financial experts in addition to being experts in negotiation and divorce law. An attorney must decide if they can be all things to all people. It’s a struggle between being a subject matter expert or wearing many hats. Your clients want to know that you can handle their complicated financial situation but also want to know you can also deftly handle child custody, maintenance and property division too. Lawyers have proven themselves in the study of law, a discipline of staggering breadth and can benefit from bringing in a CDFA with the financial expertise they didn't gain in law school. The client benefits and the attorney has more time to spend on the legal ramifications of divorce without being sidelined with burdensome research.
Many attorneys and CDFAs believe that since they are working with the same clientele, there must be competition and it’s an all or nothing proposition. Either the client works with a divorce attorney OR chooses mediation and works with a CDFA, or other advisor. We believe the choices are not mutually exclusive - but complementary.
Money stresses are often a major contributor to divorce and the financial implications post divorce are best understood and explained by a CDFA with rigorous financial training. If necessary, a CDFA can testify to matters in court as a neutral expert, or may work on behalf of both parties or for one spouse. Contrast this with a paralegal who works at the direction of the lawyer. Your clients will appreciate that you understand the consequences of financial projections and trust your expert opinion to bring in a professional.
While CPAs do an excellent job of estimating tax ramifications today, they are not accustomed to making future projections – like where their clients will live post-divorce or what future housing will cost. CDFAs look at the lost income effects, investment vehicles, and events that trigger taxes as well as the percentage of assets that clients plan to use for living expenses that triggers a taxable event. CDFAs, unlike CPAs, are client facing and expected to be able to distill financial speak into digestible pieces.
Having a working relationship with a CDFA frees up attorneys to focus their time on the legal issues of their divorce cases without learning or relearning financial issues regarding divorce, ie tax implications, cash-flow, etc. Additionally, CDFAs can prevent their clients from signing a marital settlement agreement that might hurt them in the future.
If an attorney makes a financial mistake, they could face a claim of malpractice. Ensure against this by hiring a CDFA since they are certified in all the financial nuances of divorce, including taxation and pension valuation. By working together as a team, the lawyers are able to shift some of their malpractice liability to the CDFA who must maintain professional liability insurance coverage.
The Divorce Resource Centre of Colorado is led by Deb Johnson, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and Suzanne Chamber- Yates, a certified divorce coach and Collaborative Divorce Facilitator. Both are professional mediators who have worked with many attorneys in the Denver Metro area.
If you are interested in continuing the conversation of how a CDFA can assist your legal practice, let's schedule a time to talk. You can reach us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Selling a home while going through a divorce is unique and not every realtor has specialized knowledge. That's why you may want to hire a realtor who is credentialed in this area. Consider all of the factors that could contribute to financial disaster. First, the marital home is usually the couple’s largest asset. Second, many couples, even if they are not divorcing because of money, are not immune from a financial battle over what will happen to the home. Third, selling a home is already an emotional process and in the case of divorcing spouses, compounded by the emotional and physical separation of divorce. Finally, divorce has an effect on the open communication a realtor needs to facilitate a sale that benefits both parties.
Thankfully, there are certifications you can look for when selecting a relator. One of the most highly respected is CDRE or Certified Divorce Real Estate Agent, bestowed upon agents who complete the Ilumni Institute’s rigorous 5 day certification program. A second certification, offered by Carol Wilson is a Certified Real Estate Divorce Specialist designation. A Realtor uses CREDS or REDS after their name to signify they have completed this coursework.
Questions to Ask a Realtor who Specializes in Divorce
No matter what designation your realtor has, you should ask each agent specific questions about their references, number of homes sold, and experience selling homes during divorce proceedings.
It’s also a good idea to ask hypothetical questions about potential conflicts that might arise and ask how they would handle the situation. For example, what if your soon to be ex spouse wants to spend money to make improvements before the sale but you prefer to sell the home as is? Ask the realtor how he/she would handle this dilemma and evaluate whether they could help come to a solution that both of you can live with.
Realtors who specialize in divorce understand can explain legal jargon and tax issues. CREDS, REDS, or CDRE designated agents are trained in the legal and tax aspects of the divorce process as it relates to real estate. They learn obscure legal rulings, regulations and tax implications. This specific training allows them to help their divorcing clients take advantage of tax laws that are specific to selling a house in the divorce.
A successful home sale during divorce requires more than proficiency in legal and tax implications. After all, the sale is just as much emotional as it is strategic. This is where an agent’s soft skills are tested. If possible, schedule an in person meeting to assess the realtor’s communication skills. E-mails and phone calls only reveal snippets of how the realtor will be able to address your unique situation.
Look for an agent who is fair, level-headed, listens and is good at negotiation. While you could read reviews, any realtor who is worth talking to should be willing to share references from other divorcing couples who they have helped.
Even if your income was relatively consistent before the divorce, there is a good chance that the divorce is going to have financial repercussions.
Post divorce you may need to pay attorney or mediation fees, child support, spousal support, divide up savings and investments, etc. It is possible that you will end up with considerably less money after the divorce or more financial obligations – like taking care of children on your own. A realtor who specializes in divorce is aware of these possibilities and will help you determine what you can afford and if the mortgage payment would be sustainable.
To recap, the sale of your marital home warrants due diligence. Divorcing couples should take the time to interview and select a credentialed agent who is experienced, well regarded, and has the soft skills necessary to negotiate the sale. Despite the need to “wash your hands” of the home, the sale should not be rushed without considering these factors. A realtor who is CREDS or CDRE certified is in the best position to understand your emotional and financial needs.
A few common objections to seeking out a therapist include,
Let’s face it. Many of us are not self-aware and often our friends and family don’t want to, for good reason, involve themselves in our lives, Not that you were soliciting their advice anyways, but even if you were, how candid or helpful do you think they will be? They may be struggling with problems that you’re unaware of and unable to offer support even if they wanted to.
So you’re the do-it-yourself kind of person and you’ve never met a problem that you didn’t tackle yourself? The human brain is a complicated beast and your happiness is not a weekend warrior kind of project. How well can we really understand everything going on in our brains, especially when we are stressed with a divorce?
Want proof that we’re not as self-aware as we think we are? As stated by Dr. Tasha Eurich in this article, 95 percent of people believe they are self-aware. In reality, only 10 percent to 15 percent actually merit the “self-aware” badge.
Furthermore, how long have you been trying to heal yourself? Are you giving yourself enough time and grace? What steps are you taking to get to a better mental space?
Talking about your thoughts and feelings with a supportive, trained professional has been shown to aid in healing. Having someone who listens and can help you understand why you’re making the choices you’re making and how to adopt new ways of reacting can be instrumental to get you from intention to fruition.
Therapy is not reserved just for those with diagnosed mental conditions. Comparing what is going on in your life with anyone else is an exercise in futility. If something is impeding your ability to live a happy fulfilling life, then it needs to be addressed. We rely on doctors to help us with our physical health so why would we think we can go it alone when it comes to our mental health?
This could stem from a bad experience with therapy, or a loss of trust if you’ve confided in a friend or family member. There is likely shame from a failed marriage and people’s typical response to a divorce announcement reinforces that it is something to feel bad about. Consider, the oft used, “I’m so sorry” or “That must be very difficult” when in reality, continuing in your marriage would have led to an even worse outcome that the filing of divorce.
Even though divorce is common, society has not fully embraced that it is not always an acrimonious battle. Consider how common it is when someone announces that they’re looking to file for divorce and someone responds, “You’ll need a lawyer. I know a great divorce attorney” or the person, similar to their approach with therapy, “I just need to figure some stuff out online or with a book. I can do a DIY divorce.” Of course there are instances where you should hire a divorce attorney or the division of assets is so simple a DIY divorce works, but there are also instances where mediation and therapy would be most beneficial.
The Divorce Resource Centre of Colorado has established relationships with therapists and can make a recommendation for one that may best fit your individual needs. We understand a holistic approach to divorce is one way to “change the way society divorces, one couple at a time.”
When faced with a divorce we look for answers in self help books, friends, family, exercise, mediation, and therapy. Any or all of these methods can be useful but what if you hire a life coach? Is there something stopping you from seeking the help of a life coach after your divorce?
Perhaps it is unclear what a life coach does. Besides that, do you specifically need one? Lastly, maybe you think it’s indulgent to hire a life coach. Let’s address each of these reasons in order.
A life coach is someone with experience who brings enthusiastic support, an objective perspective and insight to help you identify what is holding you back from living your best life. A coach helps you grow by examining your current situation, identifying limiting beliefs and potential challenges and devises a custom plan of action designed to get you where you want to be. Life coaches are not meant to help you overcome mental health challenges as they are not trained therapists. Instead a life coach can help you map out the steps you need to complete to take better control of your life. They are sometimes called mentors or in the case of December’s featured Power Partner, a “life choreographer”
Beyond the available methods listed to help people navigate their divorce and post divorce life, are you a good candidate for a life coach? Sure they can help people, but are you THAT person?
Here are a few signs that a life coach may be able to help you:
1. You are not sure where to begin to get your life back on track.
A life coach can help you get to the starting point where you can begin to map out the steps you need to take.
2. You have a vision of what you would like your life to look like but you are unclear of how to create a plan of action.
A coach can organize and clarify what you have envisioned so you can plot next steps.
3. You need accountability.
A life coach will remind you to stick to your plan and will check in with you often. Your success is their success.
4. You’ve tried the go it alone route and it causes you unnecessary stress and burnout.
A life coach provides that level of support you are not going to get, nor should you expect, from others in your life such as family and friends.
5. You think it’s indulgent to hire a life coach
Wrong! An indulgence is doing something that you enjoy even if it has negative consequences. Common negative consequences include regret or shame. Charging an expensive necklace on your VISA when you don’t have the money to pay it off would be an indulgence. You might be wracked with stress and regret once you realize you won’t be able to afford something that is a need and not a want. Taking care of yourself after a divorce is not an indulgence. By exploring how you can get to a better place mentally you are practicing self-care which will lead to growth, insight and taking steps to recover from the major life change of divorce.
Our December Power Partner, Lora Cheadle is a life choreographer who empowers high achieving women to reveal their smart, sexy, spiritual selves so they can fall in love with their bodies, themselves and their lives, and enjoy everything they’ve worked so hard to create.
Before you hire Lora or any other life coach, get to know them through their blogs, books and events to see if your personalities mesh well. The Divorce Resource Centre has come to know life coaches and other partners who help divorcing couples and will refer our clients to those that have our trust and respect.