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  • Below is a Dear Abby column that brings up a common question in people who are contemplating divorce. Do you agree with Dear Abby’s response? Share your thoughts.

    Dear Abby:

    My wife of 16 years, “Barb,” and I argue constantly. We have few common interests and don’t enjoy our time together. Our love life is nonexistent. We have gone to three marriage counselors, and it hasn’t helped. I think it’s time we faced the fact that we’re never going to be happy together. When I bring this up with Barb, she gets angry and says if I want a divorce I’ll have to get a lawyer. Divorce will be difficult and costly enough without having to drag lawyers into it. I’d like us to use a divorce mediator to work out the details. It will save us a lot of money and, hopefully, make the divorce less acrimonious. I don’t understand why Barb wants to stay together when she’s so unhappy and we’re unable to make things better. How can I make her see that separating will be best for us and the kids included? – “Former” Husband in Colorado

    Dear “Former” Husband:

    Your wife may prefer the evils she’s living with to the unknown. However, when a marriage is over, it’s over. And when it reaches the stage that yours has, what both parties need to be most concerned about is preservation of assets. I have seen both kinds of divorces – one in which the warring spouses spent so much money in litigation there was little left for each of them when it was over; and the other, in which the couple agreed their marriage was broken beyond repair and arranged their divorce with as little cost as possible. I don’t have to tell you which people are doing well now. So clip this and share it with your wife.

    Share your thoughts.

  • Using Facebook during a divorce carries a risk that you will post information that can be used against you during the proceedings.

    If you are in the midst of a divorce, or are seriouslyconsidering filing for divorce, you should take a moment and reconsider your relationship with some of your friends. Especially your relationship with Facebook, as it may not prove to be much a friend during your divorce.

    For many people, Facebook and other types of social media, such as Twitter, are an essential part of keeping up with and communicating with friends and family. You post important information and pictures, view posts from your friends, and use it as a means of tying together that sometimes far-flung network of people who are important to us.

    But you also do something else. You create a record. A rather indelible record. Unlike a letter, where the time it takes to draft, and possibly revise, generally leaves you with a more thoughtful document, one that you can always decide not to send.

    The immediacy of social media produces an unedited version of everything.

    You Have the Right to Remain Silent

    In a criminal trial, because you have the entire machinery of the State posed against you, you are granted the right to remain silent. This prevents you from mistakenly making statements that can be taken out of context and leave a judge or jury with the impression that you are guilty.

    Divorce is a civil proceeding, and there is no right to remain silent; however, you may want to remember that line from the Miranda Warning about “Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.”

    Only think of it this way, “Anything you post on Facebook can and will be used against you in a divorce court.” A stupid post or tweet, made when you are upset, takes on a life of its own, and once the genie is out of the bottle, you may never be able to get it back in.

    The danger that lies in Facebook and other social media is that of the inadvertent consequences of an ill-thought-out post. You may upload a picture or write about some event, dinner, vacation or party you attended, and not realize how it may look in six-months.

    If something embarrassing happened, if you were with someone, you have now created a permanent record. And no matter what your privacy setting, if it is important and damaging, the other side will find out. No matter what, they will.

    Something as innocent as pictures from a vacation or fancy dinner with your new “friend” could later be used to damage your credibility when it comes to issues of support, child custody or the division of marital property. It becomes difficult to claim poverty when there are pictures from an expensive resort or a trendy restaurant.

    If you feel you must maintain your social media presence during a divorce, take a moment before you post to consider how it would look projected on a screen in a large font and imagine what a judge might be thinking as he or she reads it.

  • Many fathers who do not have primary physical custody of their children have questions about what the mother can do while the child is in her care–Can she cut the child’s hair? Does she have to tell me when she leaves town with the children? Can I stop her from having my children around her boyfriend? Can she change school districts?

    The ability to make decisions about your child, and what they are doing, is called legal custody.

    Most divorces leave parents with joint legal custody. This means that both parents can be involved with decisions regarding important decisions affecting the child’s welfare.

    Normally, the parent who has physical custody of the child can make routine decisions about the child when the child is with them. Parents with joint legal custody must share the decision making on important decisions.

    What is an important decision varies with each family. In most families cutting a child’s hair is more of a routine matter, but for religious, or other reasons, it may be important enough for the parents to have to come to an agreement on it.

    Decisions that are normally regarded as important decisions, which require collaboration of the parents, are education choices, religious upbringing, and major health concerns. For example, the custodial parent would have to ask and reach an agreement with the other parent before allowing the child to undergo surgery, but does not need to consult the other parent in an emergency or routine medical decision.

    If parents with joint legal custody cannot decide on an important issue affecting their child, one party can petition the court to decide. The court will make a decision based on the best interests of the child.
    Many fathers do not like their ex-wife’s new boyfriend. After the divorce is final, the ex-wife is allowed to have the children around her new partner. If you feel the new boyfriend is abusive or harmful to the children you should document what is occurring and ask your ex to keep him away from the children.
    If she does not do this, or if the children are hurt or abused while in the care of the boyfriend, you should immediately inform your state’s child protective services and petition the court for an order prohibiting contact with the abusive person.

    If you know of issues that may come up or know of a disagreement between you and your ex-spouse that will lead to a dispute, you should inform your attorney so that a procedure to resolve the issues can be incorporated in the custody order entered at the time of divorce.

    Fortunately, child custody orders can be revisited after the divorce is finalized. If there is a change in circumstances, your ex wife refuses to cooperate with you, or she refuses to abide by the custody order, the issues can always be revisited by the judge.

    If you have an about child custody, legal custody, parenting plans, contact 858-863-3380

  • I share a waiting room with other businesses in the building. Because of this, periodically I see former divorce mediation clients sitting there. When I walked past today I saw Tony, a (really handsome) fireman waiting to see his therapist. He looked unusually sad so I asked him how things were going with his custody battle.

    He stood up, shook his head and asked if we could talk for a second. As we walked into my office he told me that his ex had taken him back to court because she wanted more child support money. She went as far to file false child abuse charges in order to get full custody.

    He teared up and told me he was devastated because it looked like she was going to win this time. “I’ve explored every option, worked with every professional, every-everything to see my son and I’ve failed.” He was desperate not to lose his son, “She’s brainwashed him to think I am a bad father and now he won’t talk to me, take my calls, respond to my texts. I will never see him again.”

    The stress of settling into a custody arrangement can put a strain on the parent-child relationship, sometimes to the point it appears permanently damaged. While it may be less than ideal, most relationships do go back to normal once the family moves past the divorce crisis.

    What you need to remember is that your child is also experiencing the trauma of the family breakup and needs a little extra love during the chaos. Developing a plan to connect with your children or repair the parent-child relationship is possible. You just have to be deliberate about making it happen.

    Relationships that are not tended to and nurtured on a regular basis tend to become problematic and eventually can break down. TheSuccessfulParent.com advises divorced parents to make sure the time spent with kids is characterized by interacting in a way that shows caring, dependability, trust, empathy, acceptance, energy, and time.

    Tips to Repair The Damage

    TheSuccessfulParent.com suggests incorporating three types of activities with your kids to help repair the parent-child relationship: play, conversation and outdoor activities.


    Regardless of your child’s age, kids like to play. Getting involved in activities that you know your child likes (video games, coloring, Lego’s) is a natural way for the two of you to connect. (continue reading below)

    Younger children don’t have a strong ability to communicate with words, so play is especially important. It’s their way to let you know what is going on in their emotional worlds. Getting on the ground with Crayons and paper, dolls, and army men will reveal much more than what they are able to say through words.

    For teenage kids, letting them show you their online world is considered play to them. Learning to play their favorite games may not be fun to you but it is an easy way to stay connected to them.


    Conversation during divorce is critical because it will give your child a chance to express feelings, identify problems and solve conflicts. Kids don’t like to be forced to talk about their emotions. Instead, let them lead the direction of conversation. Your role should focus on showing genuinely interest in what they have to say, expressing understanding and empathy.

    Participate In Outside Activities

    Another way to enhance the parent-child relationship is to participate in activities outside the home (eating out, movies, playing sports). This includes getting involved in school activities. Showing up to watch them perform in a school play or sporting event will make them feel important and loved.

    Do all you can to stay connected to your children after a divorce. Perseverance pays off so keep the lines of communication open, even if you are the only one reaching out. A time will come when they need you and because of your efforts, your child will know you are there.


  • Go ahead -admit it. There have been times when you knew someone was attracted to you, but then started second-guessing yourself. You wondered whether or not you were getting the signals straight, and if you should respond with interest. When you were chatting at the train station, were they really interested, or were they simply being friendly? Is that co-worker three cubicles over going to ask me for a date, or is that just my imagination?

    Nothing will improve your dating prospects more than a quick lesson in body language interpretation. Reading between the lines is the quickest way to know if someone likes you. When Cupid shoots his arrow, emotions manifest through bodily signs that are completely out of conscious control. But, unless you are fluent in decoding this secret language, you will miss it altogether.

    Understanding the language of attraction doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s just a matter of knowing what to watch for. Once you’ve learned the signals, you’ll never have to wonder again whether or not your encounter has potential for more intimate moments.

    The Missing Link

    It’s time to upgrade your listening skills. The first step is to stop relying on what you hear someone say and start paying attention to what you see. Interestingly, 93 percent of what is communicated between two people is nonverbal. That’s right, only 7 percent of communication is the spoken word. We regularly neglect a significant part of language-the 23 percent that comes from tone of voice and the 70 percent spoken through body language. If you become fluent in all three areas of language, you’ll be able to see obvious signs of attraction that you might otherwise overlook.

    Strike a Pose

    When assessing someone’s body language, there are only two things you need to watch for in order to recognize their level of interest in you: specific body positions and biological reactions in their eyes.

    When someone is attracted to you, their body will communicate it loudly and clearly. There are five key body positions to watch for. If you see any of them happen when you are near, it means only one thing-they like you! The more signals you see displayed, the stronger their attraction:

    1. The trunk of their body will face you squarely

    2. Their foot will be pointed in your direction

    3. Their leg will be crossed toward you

    4. They will invade your personal space (the invisible 20-inch circle around you)

    5. They will touch you for any reason (take lint off your shirt or feel the fabric of your blouse, for example)

    The Eyes Have It

    The eyes have a body language all their own. A major telltale sign of how someone feels about you is the gazing pattern with which they look at you-the social gaze or the intimate gaze. Both involve the eyes scanning your face. However, each one has a distinct pattern as well as a significantly different meaning associated with it.

    Most people give no thought to how they are looking at you. Because their eyes simply react naturally to their feelings, the way they take you in will vary.

    The social gaze is the typical eye contact people use when they are having a conversation with someone for whom they have no romantic feelings. Basically, this is a look in which someone scans only your eyes, going back and forth from eye to eye. That’s it. If you get that look, forget it; they don’t view you romantically.

    The intimate gaze involves the social gaze, plus something new. As with the social gaze, the person looks at your eyes first. Then, because they are curious about you, they can’t to resist caressing the rest of your face and hair with their eyes as the two of you talk (for example, eye to eye to mouth to eyes to hair to eyes, and so forth).

    This is one secret you will want to keep to yourself. They will never know that you are sizing up their intentions by following their gazing pattern. Heck, you have to look at them when they’re talking, so why not maximize your interaction by unveiling their core feelings about you?

    Revealing Hidden Reactions

    A person can try to hide or manipulate all of the physical and emotional signs of attraction, but they are unable to conceal the physiological signs (a racing heart or perspiration, for example). Because biological reactions occur inside the body, they are usually not apparent to anyone but the person experiencing them. But there are two exceptions: dilated pupils and watery eyes. Both, coincidentally, are linked to interpersonal attraction. Even better, they are
    very noticeable when you look for them and most people have no idea that these signs of interest even exist.

    The first “secret” sign of physiological attraction is dilated pupils. The size of someone’s pupils adjusts depending primarily on two things: light and attraction. The darker a room, the larger a person’s pupils will be. When someone is attracted to you, their pupils will enlarge more than is expected for their surroundings. To make this determination, all you have to do is compare their pupil size with others in the same surroundings.

    As an aside, medications can also alter the size of pupils. So, if you think someone’s interested, but their pupil size is small, don’t worry. Instead, watch for other signs of attraction – in particular, body language.

    Another physiological reaction that indicates that someone is attracted to you is watery eyes. It’s almost their way of cleaning off their eyes in order to capture a clearer picture of you.

    One last thing to remember: body language is a two-way street. If you want to invite dating prospects to you, position your body in the five ways mentioned above to communicate your interest. Nervousness has a way of making people want to assume a closed body stance. When you let this happen, you will appear as though you’re not attracted those who find you appealing.

    Proficiency in body language will take a little practice, but as soon as you remember what to look for, you’ll never have to wonder if someone is attracted to you – you’ll immediately know. No longer will you have to wonder what they’re thinking-you will know! So, if you are stressing over his motivations, it’s time to stop. You are no longer a woman who waits patiently for the words that reveal their interest. No, now you are a “decoder woman!”

    Giveaway “actions” show someone is attracted to you:

    • Leaning forward in your direction
    • The front of their body will face you
    • They will tilt their head
    • They will sit on the edge of their chair
    • Touching their face during conversation
    • Grooming behaviors (fixing hair, straightening clothes, checking teeth)

    Luckily, all you have to do is watch the reactions of their body when you’re near them and you will know their thoughts.