The Freedom You’ll Find After a Divorce

The Freedom You’ll Find After a Divorce

The Freedom You’ll Find After a Divorce


For many people, divorce means freedom.

Freedom from an overbearing or underwhelming relationship. Freedom from the obligations to please a person they just can’t please. Freedom from the trappings of a go-nowhere relationship. Freedom to become who they feel they are at this point in life.

That freedom can be exciting, and it can be scary, too. Having both of those feelings is absolutely to be expected and 100% normal. 

I encourage divorcing clients to create a plan for what they will do with the time, space and quiet post-divorce. So often, they see only the leaving and not what life will be like after they’ve left.

They don’t see the potential loneliness, only the open calendar. They don’t see the way a Sunday can feel long and empty when there is no one to share it with. And they certainly can’t see that even if they initiate a divorce, they, too, will experience loss, pain and sadness as they mourn the death of the relationship.

Of course, they also can’t see what comes after that, which is beauty, possibility, and a new sense of self.

The plan you can create to guide your post-divorce freedom should include a small circle of go-to friends that you’re comfortable calling if you need to talk or want to hang out. These are friends who don’t judge your relationship’s end or your newfound singleness.

Some friendships will end because those are the people who only knew you in the context of your relationship. That’s ok. Perhaps they served their purpose, just as your marriage did. Make your peace and give yourself permission to move on.

You’ll make new friends, too. Friends who are in similar circumstances. Friends you’ve been wanting to know but your prior relationship prevented that from happening. Friends you don’t expect to discover but suddenly stumble upon happily.


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At first, though, the people who respond strongly to your breakup – saying, “Oh no!! How are you handling it?” Or making comments about how they never liked your partner anyway. Or other things that just don’t help – these reactions can make it harder to be alone.

You have to be ok with your breakup so they will – and surround yourself with people who support you.

In the aftermath of a divorce, start by getting to know yourself again. Use the free time without your kids or without a partner to explore what you want with your life.

Try new modes of exercise. Take a solo trip. Eat in a restaurant or go to a movie alone. Discover your neighborhood through your eyes. Get a pet. Write a letter to an old friend you’ve missed. Buy yourself an indulgent gift just because you can.

Court your relationship with yourself before you ever begin to go in search of others. Ponder and reflect on your relationship and see what you can discover about yourself and how you relate to a partner. Try to articulate what you could have done differently or what you want to do in a future relationship. And celebrate the successes, because surely there were some.

Once you become solid on your planted feet, you’ll be in a great position to start anew – with dating, with friends, perhaps even with new work. Anything is possible if you take it slowly and map it out.

The biggest mistake newly divorced individuals make is rebelling against the relationship by partying hard, hooking up with too many partners, and basically numbing the pain of the loss. Embrace the uncertainty, and the fear. It’s the only way to move through it to what is waiting on the other side.


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Protecting Your Assets

Protecting Your Assets

Protecting Your Assets

We live in a land of fairy tales. Think of all the movies and popular culture stories of happily ever after, true love, soulmates and other tropes that lead us to believe from a very young age that love is easy, love lasts forever, and everyone has the other person’s best intentions at heart all the time.

If only that were true!

I would not do such a brisk business if we had a smarter sense of what a relationship could be. There is romance in marriage, yes, and marriage can be a wonderful way to go through life.

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Photo by Külli Kittus on Unsplash

It also comes with hardship, heartache and hard times – like any relationship.

Any time we are around the same person day in and day out, year after year, we go through wonderful times and challenging times. And because of the nature of human relationships, there is a role for divorce attorneys.

There is also a role for the prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

But again, back to fairy tales – the perspective of prenups and postnups, as they’re known, has more to do with quashing that perennial idea of perfect romance and long-time love than reality.

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When a couple decides to create a legal contract that protects their property, assets and sometimes, family heirlooms, it is not a statement that they don’t believe their relationship will last. It is not an acknowledgement that they will one day break up. It is not even a pessimistic outlook on the likelihood of lasting love.

It’s just practical action.

Real love can withstand planning and pragmatism. That’s why I encourage all couples to think about what assets they bring to a marriage that they might want to protect just in case.

Prenuptial agreements must be fair and reasonable, and both spouses sign. This happens before the marriage. A postnuptial agreement is similar in that it is intended to protect assets, only undertaken once a couple is already married, and to be enforceable requires different considerations than a prenuptial agreement and cannot be prepared for the purpose of divorce.

Some common protections included in such agreements are funds saved for education or retirement accounts. Both are examples of assets accumulated before the marriage and which each partner would want to keep intact in any event.

Think about if you own a house before you marry and you turn it into a rental property. It’s reasonable to say you want it to remain yours. It’s also ok to add it to the marital assets.

Again, I emphasize to clients that creating such legal documents is not a kiss of death to a marriage. It’s just practical, protective measures in any situation. And hopefully, it’s something you do and forget about it because you never need to go back to it!

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What is Medicaid Divorce?

What is Medicaid Divorce?

What is Medicaid Divorce?

In the past few years, I’ve learned about Medicaid Divorce as a part of my Gray Divorce practice. It’s complicated and sort of rare, but it’s definitely happening, so I thought it would be a good time to introduce this concept during Older Americans Month.

Medicaid divorce is when a marriage ends because one spouse needs long-term care through Medicaid. By divorcing, the couple protects the assets for the healthy spouse, and lowers the amount of assets for the spouse in need, allowing them to qualify for Medicaid support.

It sounds a little shady, but it’s not. It’s a valid and legal way to obtain long-term care for a spouse when there is no other option.


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Most often, couples turn to Medicaid Divorce when one spouse needs nursing home or community-based services. To qualify for Medicaid, an older adult must have limited income and assets, hence the divorce route. (Financial eligibility differs by state.) While only the applicant’s income is considered in a Medicaid request, the couple’s shared assets are factored in, which can hinder a married couple’s ability to acquire state-paid care for a spouse in need.

in fact, Medicaid reviews 5 years’ worth of assets before deciding whether to award support to an applicant, so if you give away assets, even to a charity, or sell them for a nominal amount to, say, an adult child, you’ll be called on the carpet and denied services.

Medicaid Divorce first became a thing because providing long-term care for a spouse was such a financial burden that it often left the healthy spouse impoverished. While spousal impoverishment laws since 1988 have reduced that possibility somewhat, for couples with significant assets, it can still be a very real threat.

If you’re wondering whether Medicaid Divorce is something you should consider, let me know. I’d love to explore the details with you and see what opportunities lie in wait.

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Co-Parenting vs. Parallel Parenting – Which Is Best?

Co-Parenting vs. Parallel Parenting – Which Is Best?

Co-Parenting vs. Parallel Parenting – Which Is Best?

I am really big on the idea of co-parenting and I use that word a lot as I’m sure other family law attorneys do.

But recently, a Friend Of The Court referee told me that not everyone can co-parent and it is fine to “parallel” parent. This got me thinking about my word choice and what it means to me.

When I use the word “co-parenting,” my intention is that parents can get along for the purpose of their children – not that they do everything the same. 

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There should be a level of cooperation between parents, whether that means flexibility so children can attend special events with the other parent on one parent’s parenting time, or agreeing on extracurricular activities.

Those are some examples of quality co-parenting. Others might include striving to have some of the same house rules – the same bedtime or the same ideas about food and snacks. Of course, it’s unlikely that divorced parents are going to do things together or even necessarily in the same way.

But similar overall structure for your kids is important because it sends a message of consistency. I know this is hard. In a divorce, obviously, you ended your marriage because it no longer worked. You did not want to be together. Perhaps you could not get along.

So how can anyone expect divorced parents to be in agreement on how to raise their children?

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The thing is, all of this is a choice. We choose to divorce, and we chose to become parents. We do not stop being parents when the marriage ends, and it is wholly unfair to the children – and sometimes even damaging – to throw innocent children into the chaos of emotional decisions and acting out by adults who are trying to start over. I really don’t think it’s asking too much to have some meeting of the minds of what children need.

Now I am going to contradict everything written above to acknowledge that there is also a school of thought that parents are never going to get along, even when they are married. They will always do different things with their children, even when they stay together and remain in a loving relationship.

They might teach their kids different things – one might do homework with them in the morning while one leans toward evening. Over the past year, I’ve seen parents who have different perspectives on COVID-related questions – one parent thinks it’s ok to have a pod of friends over or that the child plays with outside, but the other parent does not believe that’s wise.

Frankly, in neither situation might the children be harmed, but the risk may go beyond the children to the other parent, grandparents or other caregivers who also spend time with the children. It becomes complicated during these interesting times.

Generally, even when parents don’t agree, when they engage in what is called parallel parenting, they still do what they believe is in their children’s best interests. It is more difficult to look beyond their own inner circle.

I just believe the ideal to strive for is co-parenting. Then that “inner circle,” is more inclusive and encompassing, and does consider the effect their decision may have on the other parent and his ability to parent their children.

In the end, we must remember that even if you stayed married to the other parent, you would not have been in complete unison. We have different styles. A relationship is comprised of two individual people who bring different perspectives and inclinations to the partnership.

It can be as simple as how you give a child a bath. One parent lets the child wash his hair himself while the other parent sees it as great bonding time and massages the shampoo into the child’s hair. Either way, the child still gets clean; and each parent has their own individual experience building their own relationship with the child.

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An American administration overflowing with women

An American administration overflowing with women

An American administration overflowing with women

President Joe Biden has appointed more women to his Administration than any that came before him. And, with a female Vice President, he seems to be sending an important message to the American populace.

That message is that women matter, and women can and should lead. I wholeheartedly agree!!

As history has kept women in neat little boxes and domestic roles, what were we really afraid of? The time has come to reckon with this notion of gender divide and do away with it once and for all.


Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

The right person for the job is the right person for the job, regardless of superficial details like gender, race, sexual orientation, politics or economic origin.

President Biden has nominated 12 women for Cabinet and Cabinet-level positions, including eight women of color. He also published The Biden Agenda for Women, which states as a priority, among other, full inclusion of and equality for women.

“Women — particularly women of color — have never had a fair shot to get ahead in this country,” says the President’s agenda. “Today, too many women are struggling to make ends meet and support their families, and are worried about the economic future for their children. This was true before the COVID-19 crisis, but the current global health crisis has exacerbated these realities for women.”


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It goes on to explain:

“For Biden, it’s a simple proposition: his daughter is entitled to the same rights and opportunities as his sons. He believes every issue is a women’s issue — health care, the economy, education, national security — but women are also uniquely and disproportionately impacted by many policies. As President, Biden will pursue an aggressive and comprehensive plan to further women’s economic and physical security and ensure that women can fully exercise their civil rights.”

We must ask ourselves as Americans why we would oppose such basic ideas as equal access and full opportunity.

What, exactly, makes a woman incapable of something when compared with a man? What has been so threatening about women in leadership positions?

To answer these questions fully, we must finally do away with the notion that if one person ascends the ladder of success, that does not mean that another person is pushed further down the rungs. There can be success for all people, equally and simultaneously. Until men embrace that truth, we won’t emerge onto a new landscape that is fully equitable and inclusive. The time is now to change this once and for all!!


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