Category : Divorce advice

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Don’t Settle! Know The Warning Signs Ahead Of Time

As an online divorce review site, we like to help our clients not just by empowering them to make the right decision on attorneys or forms completion services, but also in finding the courage to escape a life of settling for less than what you deserve. In a recent post for DivorcedMoms, Terry Gaspard tackled this very subject and pointed out the five signs of settling:

  • The relationship brings you down.
  • You feel you have to change yourself.
  • You are in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship.
  • You’ve been cheated on repeatedly.
  • You sacrifice too much.

What wonderful advice! While each is important to remember, sacrificing too much is one that we’d really like to focus on today.

No one said that relationships were easy and that there wasn’t a give-and-take that had to be accomplished to make them work. However, sacrificing too much of who you are and what you want out of life is a direct indicator of broader problems in the relationship.

It is a sign that your spouse fails to take your life goals and ambitions into consideration; a sign that what is important to you, is just not that important, period.

In a healthy, committed relationship, both people make sacrifices for each other, not just because that’s what they’re supposed to do, but because they love and respect the person they married.

If you feel like you’re sacrificing too much, it’s generally because the other person isn’t sacrificing anything at all. They are either getting their way all the time, or they’ve lost sight of the spark that made both of you remarkable people, and they’re now content to a tranquil life of domestic boredom.

Either way, that’s bad for you, and you deserve better. They deserve better. And if you can’t make them see that, then the marriage is on a bad road.

If you’ve reached the end of that road and you’re not sure what to do next, make sure you check out our online divorce reviews for attorney referrals and forms completion, depending on whether your divorce will be contested or not. Best of luck to you, and remember: don’t settle!

Are All Failed Relationships Bad?

As an online divorce review site, we like to stay abreast of what is happening not just in the world of divorce but also in the aftermath. Picking up the pieces, moving on, learning your lesson — call it what you will, a divorce is only successful if you learn from it, and we’re as committed to helping you do that as we are helping you find the best sites on the web for handling your divorce.

Recently, Dr. Sherrie Campbell offered her expertise to readers at HuffPo on the value of failed relationships. What she had to say was pretty thought-provoking. Among the highlights:

  • The wrong relationship prepares us for the right one.
  • If a relationship didn’t bring us what we wanted, it did teach us what we want.
  • We learn about our patterns.
  • Self-respect.
  • Grief promotes growth.

We agree with all of these points, but would like to focus on this one:

If a relationship didn’t bring us what we wanted, it did teach us what we want.

This highlights two realities of first marriages:

  • They’re often entered into quickly (as in they “didn’t bring us what we wanted,” or put another way, we marry before we know what we want).
  • They’re only beneficial if we actually learn from them.

With my own divorce, I felt like there was nothing beneficial about it for a number of years. It seemed like a waste of four years of my life, and it put a taint on the time before that. But then one day, I found the right relationship and it clicked in to place. My divorce wasn’t the worst thing ever; it was the second best thing behind my wife and the child we had.

If it hadn’t been for looking at the qualities that I hated from my first spouse and doing a lot of soul searching on myself, I would have never found a relationship that worked. I would have simply put myself in a new relationship that was much like the old one. And I already knew how that turned out!

So we encourage you, if you’ve recently gone through this or if you’re reading our online divorce reviews and asking, “uncontested or hire an attorney?,” don’t give up on love and don’t write off a bad relationship. They can often be the key to finding happiness and purpose. Good luck!

Prenuptial Agreements: The Ins And Outs

It’s been a while since we’ve covered the prenuptial agreement here at (MDD). As an online divorce review service, we like to take an active interest in all aspects of marriage and divorce, and with a growing number of people in their 20s and 30s considering this option, we thought it appropriate to weigh in.

Should you get a prenuptial agreement if you plan on getting married (again)? 

Divorced people certainly tend to be more cautious about love than their first-time-married counterparts. That’s because they’ve been stung by love once, and even if something new and good comes in to their lives, that nagging thought of deja vu is hard to abolish. But divorced or not, if you’re getting married the prenuptial agreement can be a warning sign. It’s one or both of you saying, “Yeah, this might not work out,” before the marriage even has a chance to fail on its own merit. It’s very difficult to put that thought in your head and not have it turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.


Not all of the symbolism of a prenup is bad. Take, for instance, the frequency with which younger people rush in to love and marriage. By introducing a prenup to the conversation, you can jar an idealistic fiancee out of the hysteria that love causes and lead them to a reasonable, concrete conversation about the validity of getting married at this point in your lives as well as the future.

You may ultimately decide that you don’t need a prenup, but just bringing it up can do some good in terms of financial planning and setting life goals.

It’s also a time when you can both start thinking about long-term decisions regarding your children. (Even if you don’t have them yet!) 

So would we get a prenup if we were serious about getting married? 

At one time, the answer would have been a resounding no. Now we’ll just begrudgingly move it to a “depends.” It probably isn’t a good idea to get one when you’re young and in love and just starting out, and neither of you have any real assets of your own to claim. Should you experience divorce once or twice, however, it’s not unreasonable to bring it up with a spouse. They have to understand the experiences that you’ve been through and be sensitive enough to address the subject.

For more on prenups and other divorce forms, check out our LegalZoom review, and good luck, whatever you decide!

Can You Save Your Marriage If It’s In Trouble?

As an online divorce review service, we often look at attorney referral services and forms completion programs and share our honest opinion about the best and the worst, the ins and the outs. Doing this may make it seem like we’re “pro” divorce, but in reality, we’d love to see you save your marriage if you can, and it’s what you really want.

However, once two people consider “calling it quits,” it’s admittedly hard to bring it back from the brink. Still, if you really want to give it your best shot, the first thing you must do is stop thinking solely about what’s wrong with your spouse and why you’re not happy living with them. Instead change your own outlook.

Recently took a look at five last-ditch efforts that could save your marriage. Among these were the following:

  1. Work on you.
  2. Let go of destructive reactions.
  3. Trust that your spouse has a good heart.
  4. Look for the exceptions.
  5. Establish clear boundaries.

While each of these are great advice — and you can read more on them here — we’d like to focus on number three because it’s so integral to the rest of the list.

Your Spouse Has A Good Heart.

When you assume that your spouse means well in the things that he or she does, it starts to work in the other areas as well. If they’re doing the best they can, it makes you want to do the best you can (hence, No. 1, “Work on you”).

When you assume that your spouse is essentially a good person who wants to do right by you, it’s tougher to be angry at them when things go not-according-to-plan (No. 2).

Changing the way you think about your spouse and giving them the benefit of the doubt will make it easier to let some things go, like how he/she puts the toilet paper on the roll. Soon, you’re noticing what they do for you already instead of the little things they do wrong (No. 4).

Finally, by doing these things, you can start getting to the heart of the matter — the deal breakers, the things that really matter if they are to keep you happy for the whole of your lives together. In so doing, you’re establishing the boundaries that DivorcedMoms encourages in No. 5.

In Summary

Taking the advice above, it’s fascinating how big of a difference can be made with one simple step — giving your spouse the benefit of the doubt and assuming that underneath the rough stuff, they’ve got a good heart. If you can look at them and see it, then the marriage may be worth saving. If not, then we encourage you to look at our online divorce reviews for the best sites and ways to handle your case.

Divorce Proofing A Marriage In Six Steps

Divorce ProofingAs a do-it-yourself divorce service, we see a lot of cases where marriages have fallen apart simply because the parties involved didn’t think it through before they took this major step to forever (theoretically) change their lives. So many of the divorce issues that we see could have been avoided had couples taken the time early on to “divorce-proof” their marriage. Here are six of the most common ways to do just that.

Fools Rush In — Don’t Be One. 

Many cases of divorce could be prevented if couples just took the time to get to know each other before saying, “I do.” While it’s hard to define a “right time” and a “wrong time” — each relationship is different — you should never consider marriage before your first fight.

Talk About The Tough Stuff.

Money, sex, religion, politics — if you’re “getting along well” but haven’t discussed any of this stuff, then you’re not ready to be married. Beliefs cut to the core of who we are. No matter where we come from, we have experiences and systems that define us. Entering in to a supposedly lifelong commitment while refusing to tackle these topics is a surefire recipe for disaster.

Listen To Your Friends And Family.

Ideally, your friends and/or family know and care about you more than anyone else in the world. They’re there for you before a relationship, and if it comes down to it, they’ll be there after a relationship. Heed their advice. Seek their honest opinions. Let them know honesty is important to you, and then back up your talk by valuing their opinions.

Deal With Your Personal Issues First.

Never look for another person to “fix” you, and never think you’re capable of fixing another person. Many decisions to file for divorce started with this kind of logic. Real change must come from within.

Spend Time Together.

The more you spend time together, the more you will learn about what you have in common. You’ll also learn a lot about your differences, which is just as important. And if you should have any disagreements —

Fight It Out.

Couples who don’t fight have no idea how to resolve the inevitable conflict. If you’re impressed by how little you and your significant other fight, don’t be. It likely means you’re avoiding.

While we offer DIY divorce to ease the time and the costs on couples heading for a breakup, we would prefer to see healthy relationships. By sticking with the above divorce proofing tips, you can avoid the situations that lead to the end.

Three Vital Things Divorcees Know That Young Couples Don’t

divorceMaking the decision to file for divorce is one of the toughest that a man or woman can ever make. When a marriage ends, most people replay the circumstances leading up to it over and over again in their heads. This creates quite a bit of wisdom and introspection that would have been handy from the beginning. Here are three of the most vital tips.

First: Don’t Lose Sight Of Who You Are As Individuals.

In religious circles, the marrying of two people creates a union where “two become one.” It is a nice sentiment, but if you want to stay “one,” you’d better learn how to stay individuals. Having experience outside of each other gives you things to talk about, and talk is communication (a pretty awesome thing to have in a marriage). Most do-it-yourself divorce cases that we see get that way because of communication issues, so it can’t hurt to have a night out with the girls or a night in playing cards with the fellas. It will certainly bring you closer.

Secondly: Realize That You Both Will Change Over Time.

This doesn’t mean that you have to stop loving one another. To the contrary! One of the great things about a committed, quality marriage is growing in your love for one another and in your interests. If you accept your partner for who they are and respect the person they’re becoming, it can take care of a lot of major issues. Life circumstances are tricky to navigate, but with communication (See No. 1) you’ll thrive.

Finally: Don’t Let Outside Forces Drive A Wedge

Young couples have such difficulties getting along when outside (family) forces rear their often ugly heads. Parameters must be set early in the marriage. You should communicate and demonstrate to your loved ones that you are now your own family unit and that must take priority over other forces (namely, their influence). By prioritizing your marriage in this way, you’ll actually be strengthening bonds with family members and each other.

If you’re past the point of saving your marriage and you need help in reducing time, costs, and turmoil, let us help you with a DIY divorce. We can walk you through the process and get you taken care of right away.

V. Day D. Day

divorce on valentine's dayThe colors red and pink are smeared over every store in America right now, and the reason is Valentine’s Day. The sticky sweet quasi-holiday may be making you see red, but chances are if you’re recently divorced, February 14th will also make you blue before the clock strikes 12 p.m. It would be one thing if Valentine’s Day was a real holiday warranting paid time off, but it’s not.

Where did this rogue holiday come from and what can we do about it? We’re glad you asked.

Origins of a Quasi-Holiday

As it turns out, we know who to blame for Valentine’s Day, but we’re not sure about how the holiday came about. There are a few theories, though.

Theory #1: First is an renegade priest by the name of Valentine who lived during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius II, circa 278 A.D. Claudius II made a decree prohibiting young soldiers from marrying, because it was believed unmarried soldiers were more fearless than married soldiers. However, the priest Valentine defied this decree and performed secret marriages for young soldiers. Emperor Claudius II finally caught Valentine and executed him for his defiance; Valentine died for his religious beliefs and was martyred as St. Valentine on February 14th.

Theory #2: The second version of the story piggybacks on the first version. Valentine was a priest caught helping Christians escape persecution during Claudius II’s reign. Valentine was imprisoned, where he either:

  1. fell in love with the jailor’s daughter
  2. formed a strong friendship with the jailor’s daughter
  3. cured the jailor’s daughter’s blindness, or
  4. a combination of 1, 2, and 3

Then, on the eve of Valentine’s execution, he wrote a note to the jailor’s daughter and signed it “From Your Valentine.” And thus a tradition of professing love and sending valentines was created.

The Valentine’s Day Effect

Today, Valentine’s Day has a number of celebratory traditions various people follow, including the newest Valentine’s Day tradition of divorce., a website that matches users with attorneys, reported divorce searches on their website goes up 40% around Valentine’s Day. The Valentine’s Effect is a yearly tradition observed by divorce attorneys, but this year a few lawyers have decided to celebrate in a new way.

A New Perspective on Valentine’s Day

Michigan attorney Walter Bentley III has offered a free divorce to the person/couple with the best story for Valentine’s Day. Bentley is a lawyer and an adjunct professor of law at the University of Phoenix. Bentley got the idea to offer divorce as a Valentine’s Day gift when one of his law students invited him to their divorce party. Bentley is quoted saying, “Hey, why not help someone move on to that independence on Valentine’s Day?”

And why not indeed. Bentley’s free-divorce contest concluded yesterday, and it’s reported he received about 500 applicants. If any readers are currently seeking a divorce, we’re sorry to report they missed Bentley’s free-divorce offer, but despair not. There are a variety of ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a party of one. Make February 14th a celebration of you by making or ordering your favorite foods, renting your favorite movie, go to your favorite place, and indulging in all your other favorite things.

Tell us how you plan to spend this Valentine’s Day as a reclaimed independent person. If you’re a single Valentine’s Day veteran, share you best tips with others.

Irradicating Irrational Divorce Decisions

Divorce declarationIt has been said that the worst mistake anyone can make during a divorce is to let their emotions cloud their judgement. This is so true that it can be said in any situation, because emotions have a hand in almost all the decisions we make. When you buy an item, no matter how large or small, you base at least a part of your decision off whether or not you like it. You can’t really manufacture an equation to gauge the level of like an item, option, or person musters, you just feel it. So how exactly does one make a totally rational, emotion-free decision?

You can follow the advice of others, or hire someone to do your thinking for you. Or, you could make a few ground rules for yourself to follow during times of emotional turmoil.

The Divorce Rules Charter

There are two life-altering D’s in life: Divorce and Death; while divorce can be avoided, staying married is not always a viable option. Deciding which movie to rent is difficult enough, let alone deciding on who will keep the house or car. So how do you keep a level, emotionless head during a divorce? Draw up a Divorce Rules Charter for yourself (or with your ex if that’s possible without a bloodbath). Here are a few rules we’d include in our Divorce Rules charter:

  • I will not lie. In the divorce process, and basically in life, it’s best to be truthful and honest; this is especially important when money matter are the topic of discussion. In a divorce it may be tempting to hide assets, lie about assets, and unscrupulously try to get all you can, but this guerrilla warfare approach could end up hurting you the most. If you’re in a contested divorce, do yourself a favor and be honest in court and with the lawyers (both your lawyer and theirs). If somehow you are caught in a lie in court, or in a court proceeding, you’d be in deep water and sinking fast. Besides, your mother taught you better.
  • I will vent only to the appropriate outlet. Part of not exploding in rage during a mediation session or in court is having an outlet for your feelings and stress. The other part of not being a human time bomb is having the appropriate outlet, like a counselor or therapist, group of friends, or one really good friend. The upside of a professional “outlet” is although a professional may bring out your less-than-perfect traits, it may be beneficial in moving on to healthier relationships. The upside of the friend route is you have a personal cheerleader, commiserating partner, and at times a reality-checker all in one; just make sure your friend doesn’t let you stay in the resentment/misery-monger phase too long.
  • I will think about what is best for the children first. If you have children from the marriage, think about how your actions and decisions will affect them. By putting the children first, this will cool your jets (hopefully) in your subconscious mission to make your ex pay. Also, a child-conscientious divorce might even pave the way for an amicable relationship with the ex, which really would be the best thing since the ghost of the family will still exist after divorce.

Have any other rules you want to add to the Rules of Divorce Charter?

The Post-Divorce Game of Date or Don’t

78373602For a while after a divorce it may be hard to get out of bed, notice when birds are singing, and enjoy a good romantic comedy. But when it feels like the clouds are starting to break, you may start noticing colors, laughter, and how cute the new bank teller is. Then the internal dilemma is brought forth: Am I ready to date after my divorce?

The magazines and self help books all disagree with each other and often give conflicting advice, except for one thing: Only you can tell if you’re ready to date again. But if you need help deciphering your own signals, we can help. Help is the key word. We can only point out a few clues, you’re going to have to put the puzzle together.

The Decoder Ring

You may feel intrigued by the idea of getting into the dating game, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to get back at it in full swing.

Clue #1: One of the biggest indicators you may really need some more time is the frequency and way you speak about your ex. If you find yourself bringing up your ex in daily conversations, you might need more time to process the divorce. For example, if you find yourself uttering words like “So-and-so used to fold their towels like that!” or “My wife/husband…I mean ex-wife/husband…” then dating isn’t the best activity for you right now. You are still emotionally attached to your ex, and all you can do is let time create some distance and redefine your relationship.

Clue #2: Your dating strategy includes listing all the qualities in a partner you don’t want, whether it be on a dating profile, in an email, or verbally on a date. If you catch yourself spouting off the 32 things you don’t want, stop and consider why you’re not listing the things you do want instead. Yes, it’s healthy to know and communicate what we want and don’t want, but when the communication primarily is concerned with the negatives it says you’re still in the negative. It maybe you are still hurting from being on the receiving end of those negative qualities, or it maybe that you are just angry with the world. Being in either situation and mindset is not conducive to being an honest attempt at a healthy relationship, so opt for more reflection and healing instead of a dinner date.

Clue #3: Dating anyone is better than being alone. This is such a red flag that you are in desperate need of healing and self reflection it’s a miracle a red scare didn’t break out already. Yes, as a divorcee you may feel doomed to be alone for life, but take a deep breath, relax, and recognize that is just your flight instinct trying to take over your fight. Until you are forever bedridden due to old age, you are not old. Life is long, so you may as well fight for control of your life and make it enjoyable. So take out your sickle and hammer, and get to work feel comfortable living for yourself and by yourself.

The Parent Trap: Dating After Divorce

kid in the middleWith the news about how traumatic divorce is on children, as a divorcee you may be afraid to ever pay attention to anything else in life than your children. But after your wounds from the divorce heal, and after your children settle into this new phase of life, you may feel the calling to the dating realm again.

If you are lucky enough to find a person you feel a connection with, best of luck to you and this new relationship. However, luck isn’t really the component to rely on right now, especially if there are children on either side of the relationship.

Monkeys in the Middle

Divorce is difficult for everyone it even remotely touches, and that is the truth for quite some time after the divorce is finalized. Children can be affected by divorce is strange and various ways, but it doesn’t have to guide their future. Most psychologists and researchers find that the way in which the divorce is handled defines the children’s adjustment and future.

Dating does throw divorced families for a bit of a loop, but there are ways to come out of it intact and stronger than ever. The key is the continue to cultivate your children’s confidence and trust in you and the family (even if the structure is not a stereotypical one). Children of various ages tend to react differently to mothers and fathers dating, so it’s important to know what your child is feeling and how to speak to those feelings.

Timing is Everything

The dating realm is an uncertain place, of this we are all sure. So it should be no surprise that one of the post-divorce dating credos is to wait to introduce the children to your new “friend” until you’re out of the dating realm and safely in the relationship realm. In the relationship realm you are exclusively seeing each other, you introduce each other to friends as the boyfriend or girlfriend, and you foresee this person being in your life for quite sometime (if not indefinitely).

This point in the relationship is when you want to start introducing the children to your significant other. If you introduce your new partner sooner, when the relationship is just a fledgling of an idea, the chances are higher that your children will accept this person only to have them person disappear. The uncertainty of people coming and going in their life is a child’s worst fear, because in their mind, what’s to stop you from coming and going too?

Who is This?

After a few group meetings, where your children and partner have the opportunity to meet and interact in low-stress environments, things begin to get serious in the new dynamic. If your children like this new person, they might be inducted into the family. But what is their role? They aren’t stepparent, they aren’t family (yet), but they have some relation to your children.

Before uncomfortable boundaries are crossed, it’s smart to discuss with your children and your partner separately who they are to each other. This is probably the most difficult part if you have young children, because the young children are prone to attaching familial titles with unclassified newcomers. If need be, have the “you only have one mommy and one daddy” talk with your children.

The Next Phase

If things with your new significant other have progressed (over time!) to a more committed, long term relationship, then a new talk needs to take place. This talk must include the range of parental duties your partner will have over your children; to what extent is discipline allowed? Is there a limit to their parental duties? Will there be shared monetary parental duties?

So many questions and new experiences, so little time. Just remember, it’s smart to plan ahead as best you can to avoid as many bumps in the road as possible.