Striving for Gratitude and Patience in Divorce

Striving for Gratitude and Patience in Divorce

Gratitude is a choice – we can let the sadness and heaviness bring us down or choose to find the silver lining, no matter how hard it is to spot.

There is one judge who always asks disputing couples in court to look at each other and think back over the years to when they decided to marry.

“You had a life together,” the judge says. “There must be some goodness there. And no matter how hard it is, look at that goodness. Remember it. Realize it wasn’t all bad.”

November is often considered a month to focus on gratitude, and I believe gratitude and patience are important assets in divorce. First, you can’t be angry and appreciative at the same time. One must outweigh the other.

Yes, divorce can be a time of grief, loss and disappointment. Things didn’t turn out the way you had hoped. But like that judge said, it probably wasn’t all bad, and if you can reflect on the more precious moments of your time together, perhaps you can feel less like a failure, and less hurt by the dissolution of the relationship.

Feelings of gratitude help move us through in constructive ways, whereas feelings of anger and hurt only lead us to be vindictive and want to strike back at the one who caused us pain.

When you’re going through a divorce, it’s important to have gratitude for the experiences that you have. For the good times and loving moments, yes, and for the way the relationship brought you to this point. Appreciate all that you have learned from being married to this person. If you have children, have gratitude for their presence.

And as you go through the divorce, have gratitude for the team that supports you, whether that’s your parents, your best friend, your lawyer, whoever holds your hand through the process. Gratitude is a choice – we can let the sadness and heaviness bring us down or choose to find the silver lining, no matter how hard it is to spot.

Even if you had some missteps along the way, lashed out at those who were there for you or spent much of the time feeling sorry for yourself, it’s never too late to reach out to say thank you. In divorce lawsuits, and frankly in life, things can’t always go your way. But just because you didn’t the exact outcome you had hoped for, it doesn’t mean your professional team wasn’t properly supportive.


Consider all the benefits you’re getting from the steps that you took. One of my clients commented once that something I said was so important, she expressed so much gratitude to me, and it made me feel not only appreciated but recognized for my hard work and dedication. Her case was difficult, and even she was difficult at times, but I knew why. Her expression of gratitude was so heartfelt and it meant so much to me.

This month – and always!! – find ways to be grateful. There is always something good lurking in the corners of your life. Make sure you notice it and let anyone who made it happen know how much you appreciate their attention to the details of your life.

A conversation with Michelle Sarao: How to organize homes and lives after a divorce

A conversation with Michelle Sarao: How to organize homes and lives after a divorce

A conversation with Michelle Sarao: How to organize homes and lives after a divorce

In the Collaborative Divorce process, we build a team of professionals who can guide the divorce process in a fluid manner. Recently, I met a woman whose business fits so perfectly into this idea of a divorce team.

Michelle Sarao, through her business Divorce Rx, helps divorcing people organize their homes and their lives. Based in New York, Michelle recognizes that a divorce is a complete upheaval of a person’s life – emotional as well as physical.

Michelle Sarao

What better time than that to welcome an organizer into the midst of the unraveling, and let her guide you to a more methodical approach to the separation and rebuilding?

This type of organizing can focus on the divorcing people – helping them rearrange their physical space or divide up their shared belongings. It can also help the newly single adults get organized in their new life – manage their children’s schedules, learn how to be focused in managing all the activities and responsibilities as a solo parent.

Basically, Michelle helps people prevent the logistics of their life from falling through the cracks.

“When you are going through a divorce, the first thing you do is start assembling your team,” says Michelle. “Financial, legal, mental health, parenting coordinator, divorce coach. But then the physical space and coordination of what happens with your children, and the transition from one household to two, those details and ideas can slip through the cracks. That is where I felt there was a need to step in.”

Every situation has a unique imprint, says Michelle. She meets clients where they are, looking at what will be most helpful in this moment, right now, taking it one step at a time. A divorce can create confusion and stasis – she helps people move forward, one step at a time.

As an entrepreneur myself, I felt this concept was brilliant and definitely needed! In speaking with Michelle, I thought it would be helpful to gather some of her best tips in this blog to share with people contemplating divorce – or who have already been through one but still feel a sense of disorganization. Here’s what Michelle has to say:


Regarding your physical space, a divorce begins with dividing your things. “Oftentimes, even in the most amicable divorces, people are emotionally tied to their stuff,” she says. “You’re already experiencing loss. No matter what you’re feeling about the divorce, it’s a loss. People have a hard time letting go of things. To have someone work with you and your soon to be ex-spouse as a neutral party to help divide things can be helpful, to help you stay on track.”


Dividing up physical belongings can stall a divorce – and it’s senseless to pay lawyer fees to have them sit in your home while you divvy things up.


Whether moving to a new space or staying in your current space, going through what you have and purging can be cleansing.


Get rid of the storage unit idea. Not only is it another expense, it’s the place people put things and forget about them. You will eventually have to go through it all – and likely discard most of it – so why not do it now?


If you just can’t part with goods but you don’t want to go through everything, label your boxes and mark your calendar for three or five months later to actually go through the items.

Michelle Sarao

Organizing is not just for physical items, Michelle says. It’s important for financial documents as well as for calendaring.

“It’s often the women who have no idea where the financial stuff is that they’re asked to bring into the lawyers,” she notes. “They’re paralyzed; they don’t even know how to find it or what questions to ask.”

While divorce coaches can help with that part of the process, Michelle can support clients through it as well.

“The biggest thing I do with people is just have a plan that is realistic and broken into manageable steps.” Once someone leaves the marital home, there is empty space to fill. That’s part two of Michelle’s work. She comes in to help the person who stays rearrange the furniture and fill the space – and she helps the person who left fill the new space where they will start their new life. “If you were not the one who wanted the divorce, it smacks you in the face when you see the couch is gone,” she says. “It’s a reminder of your loss. There are a lot of physical empty spaces – a whole closet that’s empty, drawers where silverware has been taken, empty walls. I help that person reimagine and arrange what you have before buying new things.” It’s better to move around what you do have and live with it for a few months than quickly buy new items, she says. For the person leaving, “talking it through is the first step,” Michelle says. “Then, it’s about finding resources – realtors, designers, etc.”

A member of the National Association of Productivity and Organization and of the National Association of Divorce Professionals, Michelle has resources far and wide.

Divorcing couples don’t realize all the details of this split when they embark on it. As granular as the photo albums and shared photographs – who wants to let go of their baby’s earliest pictures, or that family vacation they took to Hawaii?

Michelle Sarao

Michelle finds solutions. “Both parents want all the pictures. I have someone who is fantastic and will scan the pics and set them up for both parents,” she says.

A divorce is a transition from one stage of life to the next, but it’s not without heartache and emotion, and those very heavy phases can cloud judgment, obscure clarity. Michelle works with people at a vulnerable time to make the details easier – and less painful.

“There are areas of life you might not have thought of – who has the kids’ passports, can you get a second passport, do the children have toothbrushes at both houses? You don’t know what you don’t know,” she says. “I tell you what’s coming, I can help you get prepared, save time and money, relax and exhale.”

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