Friday, November 1, 2013

A Friday Funny

Here's a funny post I read that is a perfect example of the differences in communication between men and women. This is exactly why it's SO important to verbalize your problems with one another before, during and after a marriage.

Wife's Diary:

Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird.
We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner.
I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset
at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it.

Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet
so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn't say much.
I asked him what was wrong; He said, 'Nothing.'
I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset.
He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me,
and not to worry about it.
On the way home, I told him that I loved him.
He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can't explain his behavior. I
don't know why he didn't say, 'I love you, too.'

When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he
wanted nothing to do with me anymore.
He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant
and absent.

Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed.
About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt that he was
distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else.
He fell asleep; I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that
his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.

Husband's Diary:

A two-foot putt... who the hell misses a two-foot putt!?

Friday, October 18, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 019: Today I am sharing an article someone posted online yesterday. It's a "how to learn from your mistakes" point of view and quite appropriate for my field. Enjoy.
Tips from a divorced man:

Friday, September 20, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 018: "I think a dysfunctional family is any family with more than one person in it." - Mary Karr
This might sound harsh, but its truth is apparent. It's how you handle the dysfunction that separates the good dysfunction from the bad.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Love Conquers All

Amongst all the failed marriages and dysfunctional families, there are true love stories.  These stories give hope to those people who think love does not exist. If this story doesn't make you believe, then I'm not sure what will.

Longtime couple die 11 hours apart -

Friday, August 23, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 018: "You better check yo self before you wreck yo self!" - Rapper Ice Cube  
Crudely put, but true in its meaning. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Back To School Tips

With school right around the corner, it's imperative that divorced parents understand the difficulties awaiting their children. School presents a stressful situation for children of divorce. Children may feel shame, embarrassment, anger or depression. It is highly recommended that parents reach out to their children's teachers and school to inform them of the new family dynamic. The school can observe any new and unusual behavior from the children and report it to the parents. More importantly, the school needs to know about the parent's time-sharing schedule, especially if it occurs during the school week. By thinking ahead, you can help your children avoid some stress. Check out this article for some good back to school tips:

Friday, August 9, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 017: Friends may come and go, but family is forever. Strengthen those family bonds as they will be tied to you for infinity.

Friday, July 26, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 016: Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and do something that you just don't want to do. You'll be a better person for it afterwards. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 015: Communication is the key component in all relationships. Period.
(Friday-ism on a Saturday - close enough...)

Friday, July 12, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 014: For all you Heat fans, some insightful words from Pat Riley. "If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges."

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Happy Endings for All

A victory for same sex couples came at the end of June when the Supreme Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act. One major portion of this Act prevented gay and lesbian couples, who were legally married in their home state, from receiving federal recognition for the purpose of receiving federal benefits. The repeal of Section 3 of the Act now affords same sex couples the same federal benefits granted to heterosexual couples. Those benefits include social security benefits for widows/widowers, joint income tax filing, tax deductions for children and immigration protections for binational couples.
However, with the right to marry also comes the right to divorce. Divorcing still remains a complicated matter. The problem lies in the laws of each individual state. If a couple, who married in a state that legally recognizes same sex marriage, is trying to divorce in a state that does not recognize same sex marriage, there is no definite answer yet as to whether the domicile state (the state where the couple resides) will still grant the couple a legal divorce. However, the repeal does provide them a pathway to challenge the state's laws. This all might sound very confusing and it is.  The good news is that the federal government is finally taking a step in the right direction.
So, why is this relevant to my blog: Well even as a same sex couple you can still attempt a divorce through a mediation. A family mediator can hash out all of the couple's assets and liabilities and even set up a timesharing schedule for any children. (Any Parenting Plan can be formally filed with the court.) Even if an agreement can't be legally recognized by the court system, it still is a contractual document that the couple can rely on.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 013 (Yes, it's a Tuesday but won't be near a computer on Friday - hence this post): Don't forget to stop and smell the roses. It's too easy to get caught up in the daily grind of life. So take a moment, an afternoon, or a whole day or two to just enjoy life. Take a "ME" day - you deserve it!

Monday, June 24, 2013

50 Shades of The Grey Divorce

A new trend has started and it's not in books. It's in divorce! More and more couples over the age of 50 are divorcing. This baby boomer generation has created the "Grey Divorce." Al and Tipper Gore, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman - just to name a few.  These couples have become empty-nesters and their expectations for marital success shift. Their marriages are no longer satisfying their individual goals and feelings of self-fulfillment. These divorces can be more complicated than those of their younger counterparts as issues of social security benefits, retirement funds and alimony are often involved. However, a grey divorce is typically a good candidate for mediation as the couple just desires to go their separate ways without too much animosity.
(Read more below)
50 Shades of Gray Divorce

Saturday, June 15, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 012: "Any fool can be a Father, but it takes a Real Man to be a Daddy." - Philip Whitmore Snr. In Honor of Father's Day. Wishing all the Fathers, Grandfathers, and to-be-Fathers a wonderful holiday. Your hardwork as a parent should be celebrated too!

Friday, June 7, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 011: Family conflict won't resolve itself. The longer you let an issue sit, the worse it becomes. Don't be afraid to have the "talk" - whatever that might be. Push your anxiety aside and tackle your issue head on. Your family will benefit from your actions.

Friday, May 31, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 010: Quality over quantity wins every time. Whether we're discussing time, performance, family or friends, it's the depth of the activity or the relationship not the amount of each that we have.

Friday, May 24, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 009:  Do something you're proud of before it's too late.

Friday, May 17, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 008: Change must come from within. If you don't like the direction of your life thus far or where your life is headed, then change it. Life is made up of choices. Only you are the one who can truly change the course of your future.

Friday, May 10, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 007: In Honor of Mother's Day:
"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts."  - Washington Irving

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Permanent Alimony Wins the Fight

Alimony recipients can rest easy. The Florida Alimony Reform Bill was recently vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. He did not agree with the bill's retroactive application towards families and divorcees. Specifically, he stated that bill would "tamper with the settled economic expectations of many Floridians who have experienced divorce." He further noted that the current Florida law "ensures that spouses who have sacrificed their careers to raise a family do not suffer financial catastrophe upon divorce." Gov. Scott appreciated the forward-looking nature of the bill. However, its retroactive application was its ultimate demise.

Friday, May 3, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 006: They are listening to you - your children that is. They absorb every single word we say and action we do. So if you have something not nice to say, do it away from your children.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 005: "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away." - Anonymous

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bye Bye to Permanent Alimony?

Calling all permanent alimony payors and recipients! The Florida Legislature is currently debating whether permanent alimony needs a major overhaul. The decision rests in Governor Rick Scott's hands now. If the bill is signed, it will eliminate permanent alimony as is and create limits on the award of alimony based upon the length of the marriage. It will also change the definitions for short-term (up to 11 years), moderate term (11-19 years), and long-term marriages  (20+ years). In essence, all marriages 20 years and over will have a rebuttable presumption of permanent alimony, unless circumstances can prove otherwise. Alimony would not exceed 38% of the payor's gross monthly income.  For all moderate term marriages, alimony would not be presumed for either party. And for all short term marriages, there would be a presumption against alimony. Other proposals include capping the alimony payments to no more than half the length of the marriage, ceasing payments after the payor retires, and retroactively applying the law change to divorce judgments entered into before July 2013.  Lastly, the bill calls for equal time-sharing ("custody") of minor children apart from any exceptional circumstances.
Proponents of the bill stress the need for a fairer and more consistent framework for alimony. They further defend the bill explaining that the new guidelines would remove judicial discretion and the quality of one's attorney, by creating a more equal system. However, the bill's opponents believe the changes are "anti-women" as the majority of alimony recipients are women who chose to stay home and helped advance the careers of their spouses. Moreover, opponents argue that alimony awards should be a case-by-case decision free of concrete guidelines. 
Do we think this bill is gender neutral? Does the alimony system need a "one size fits all" structure? How fair is it to the couple whose payor spouse is close to retirement age? These are all legitimate concerns.
As a family mediator I will remain impartial. But I invite your comments about this controversial bill, which teeters on the edge of a decision.
Read more about the Florida Alimony Reform Bill:
Miami Herald 4/18/2013

Friday, April 19, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 004: In light of this week's tragic events, I feel compelled to remind everyone to put family conflict aside and hug one another. We don't know what tomorrow holds, but we can tell our family today how much we love and care for them.

Friday, April 12, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 003: Be thankful for what you Do have in your life, not what you DON'T have. We get so focused on the things we want in our lives that we forget to appreciate the things we already have.

Friday, April 5, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 002: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present." - Bill Keane. Remember to put the past aside and live in the moment, enjoying those around you!

Friday, March 29, 2013


FRIDAY-ISM 001: Your family might seem highly dysfunctional, but in the end it's your family that's holding your hand. Put the drama aside and tell a family member how much you love them today.

FRIDAY-ISMs - Something New

FRIDAY-ISM: I'm starting something new, a "Friday-ism." At the end of the work week, it's a good time to reflect on what's really important in our lives. We get caught up in all the chaos of work and the everyday dramatics with family and friends during the week that sometimes we lose sight of what's really important. So my next post will be my first Friday-ism - something that's pertinent to my life at the moment. Feel free to comment or add your own supplements to my thoughts.

Monday, March 18, 2013

What Do I Do Now?

Teetering on the edge of a divorce or separation? Wondering where do I go from here? Besides seeking professional advice from either a mental health therapist, divorce lawyer, family mediator, financial advisor, or accountant, it is important to gather information early.  This document gathering can be done with your soon-to-be ex-spouse/partner or individually. Important documents and statements include (but are not limited to): paycheck stubs, tax documents, bank account summaries, health insurance, childrens' school tuition, mortgage summaries, life insurance policies, car payments and insurance, and retirement plans. Also, gather your other monthly expenses, including rent, utility, cellphone, and cable bills. As tedious as this activity sounds, it will save you a ton of headaches later on. If you want to take the extra step, you can prepare a financial affidavit. Hold on to this affidavit as you will need it once you file with the court. If your income is $50,000 or greater, select the long form, otherwise select the short form.  (Short Form) (Long Form)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Don't Forget About The Kids

Children are the unfortunate victims of a divorce or separation. Amidst the confusion, the children can inadvertently be treated as pawns or their feelings are neglected. Although we may remind our children over and over again that what's happening between Mommy and Daddy is not their fault, our words are not always understood. It's SO important to teach these children that their "normal" is shifting to a "new normal." Children can relate to a story better than they can a live conversation with a parent. So with that...I've posted below several excellent books to read to your children as you and your spouse move from joint parenting to co-parenting. (click on the link next to the book title to learn more)

Nina Has Two Houses by Danielle Jacobs (
Two Homes by Claire Masurel (
It's Not Your Fault, Koko Bear byVicki Lansky (

Elementary School
I Don't Want to Talk About it by Jeanie Franz Ransom and Kathryn Kunz Finney (
A Smart's Girl's Guide to Her Parent's Divorce by Nancy Holyoke (

Middle School/High School
The Divorce Helpbook for Teens by Cynthia MacGregor (

Parents Book
Helping Your Kids Cope with Divorce the Sandcastles Way by M. Gary Neuman (

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Don't Be Fooled - Do Your Homework

Be wary of those who are "jack of all trades." Just because someone appears overqualified does not mean they ARE qualified. The Florida Supreme Court has altered the criteria to become a certified mediator. Basically any Tom, Dick or Harry with a high school diploma can become certified as a family mediator. I mean no disrespect to those who only have a high school diploma. However, to be a qualified family mediator, a person needs a stronger educational background to truly understand how a mediation should be handled. First off, family mediators should have a law degree, which allows them to understand the law and the legal system. This is not for the mediator to give legal advice, but for the mediator to understand the essence of the legal process and be able to communicate it factually to the parties. Secondly, a family mediator should have some background or education in psychology. How can a mediator empathize, be compassionate, and have patience during a mediation if the mediator can not understand the psychological and emotional impact a family dispute, such as divorce, has on the parties involved?
So, do your homework. If you're in the market for a family mediator, choose one with the proper qualifications. A Supreme Court certification alone in family mediation does not necessarily make the mediator qualified to handle your family's affairs.