Four Tips For Healing After Divorce

by Julia M. Garwood, Certified Family Law Specialist
Garwood Family Law and Mediation

Allow yourself time to grieve and reflect after a divorce. San Diego mental health professionals in the Collaborative Family Law Group can help.

Allow yourself time to grieve and reflect after a divorce.

The divorce process can be grueling and cumbersome. The best way to allow yourself to heal is by starting fresh in order to move on and start the healing process. The following are just a few tips that can help you overcome divorce.

Julia Garwood, Family Law attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, San Diego, Collaboartive Family Law Group of San Diego

1. Visualize what you want in your life.

When you have been in a long term relationship you may have put everyone else before yourself. It is time to change that! Put yourself first. Think about what it is you enjoy the most or what your interests are. Set new goals or simply work on old ones that you had set on the back burner. It is time to make those goals a reality. Decide what steps you need to take in order to achieve a goal and visualize yourself achieving that goal.

2. Open yourself up to new experiences.

Being independent can be a scary thought after committing yourself to someone and doing everything together as a couple. You are an independent man or woman. Let that inspire you.

You would be surprised at the amazing experiences that may come from saying “yes”. Open yourself up to a new hobby, a date with someone who may not be your type, a new cuisine, or even moving to a new neighborhood. The bottom line is allowing yourself to experience new things.

3. Allow yourself to grieve.

There is no handbook on how to approach life after a divorce. Everyone deals with it in their own way. Focus on yourself and make your well-being a priority. Your healing is the first step in rebuilding your life.

Too often, we deny ourselves the time to grieve. We allow everything to come in the way and bury the pain. Confront it. It is okay to be upset or hurt. It is part of the process.

Allow yourself the time to have those nights where you might just curl up with a pint of ice cream and cry. You are only human. These emotions are normal. Soon you will see the need to cry will fade away.

4. Reach out to other people.

You are not alone. There are others around you that can help. It may be a parent, a friend or even a co-worker. It does not mean you are weak. It shows you have the strength to acknowledge that you need help in order to heal and overcome divorce.

End of the Year Divorce Survival Tips

by Julia M. Garwood, Garwood Family Law and Mediation

The holidays are a time for celebration and holiday cheer. Members of the Collaborative julia-garwood-photoFamily Law Group of San Diego understand that holidays can be challenging for divorcees. No need to simply try to survive them. Use these holiday survival tips to help you thrive instead of just survive the holiday season!

End of the Year Survival Tip #1: Positive Thinking

Positive thinking is an excellent tool to carry with you during the holiday season. It can help mend some of those emotional strains and provide you with a strong foundation for any challenges you might face. But positive thinking takes more than just an impulsive desire to be happy. It takes a dedicated mind set and a change in lifestyle. You’re not going to be able to achieve positive thinking by simply wanting to be happy. Positive thinking is accomplished through continued effort and long-term persistence.

Smile: Changing your mind set might be as simple as making yourself smile. Facial movements can influence emotional experience. Try smiling during a holiday gathering; you will come to find that the event will become much more enjoyable.

Contribute to the Community: During this time of the year there are many people in need. Giving to the less fortunate can relieve your mind. Volunteer in your local shelter and give back to your community. When you help someone less fortunate, it provides both of you with some positive thinking for going beyond just surviving the holidays.

Exercise: This doesn’t mean you have to sign up for a marathon. Simply walk in the park, enjoy the beach, or do some yoga. Certainly any of these activities will do the trick.

Rekindle an Old Hobby or Start a New One: Chances are during your marriage one or more of your hobbies had to take a back seat. There is no better time than the present to reach back into your past and pull forward some of these enjoyable pastimes.

End of the Year Survival Tip #2: Make A Plan

Unfortunately, there are going to be some challenges during the holiday season that you can’t avoid. It is important for you to do an internal evaluation, define what boundaries you need to set, and make a plan to help maintain your “positive thinking” attitude.

Holiday Traditions Plan: Traditions have a special place during the holiday season. It is sometimes difficult for recent divorcees to either continue a long-time tradition or to stop an annual tradition. Do you let a tradition go, or try to force yourself through something that is no longer enjoyable? If you are unsure about how to approach a tradition, simply look to your first tool in the End of the Year Survival Tip. If it is going to make you unhappy, don’t force yourself through it. It doesn’t have to mean the tradition is over, it can just mean you are taking a break from it this year or start a new tradition.

Children Plan: It is important that you and your ex establish a mutual plan for where your children will spend specific portions of the holidays and coordinate your gift-giving. Having a clear plan in advance is beneficial to everyone involved and can help avoid crisis situations and decisions that can threaten your ability to enjoy the holidays.

End of the Year Survival Tip #3: Outdoor Activities

There is no better way to get through the holidays than to get out and enjoy yourself. With a positive attitude, a plan, and a list full of fun activities, you are ready to thrive this holiday season!

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • San Diego Zoo
  • Balboa Park
  • Mission Bay
  • La Jolla Shores
  • Legoland
  • Your Local Library

 

Is Mediation or Litigation the Right Choice for My Divorce?

Julia Garwood, Family Law attorney and Certified Family Law Specialist, San Diego, Collaboartive Family Law Group of San Diego

by Julia Garwood, Attorney at Lawjulia-garwood-photo
Family Law, Mediation and Collaborative Divorce
Garwood Family Law and Mediation

When heading toward the end of a marriage, many people ask what the difference is between divorce mediation and litigation. And beyond that, which one is right for them. There are numerous differences between divorce mediation and litigation, however the primary three include cost, decision-making and privacy.

Cost

Mediation is often much less expensive. Litigation can cost as much as six times the amount as mediation.

Decision-Making

A judge makes all the decisions in the case of litigation. This includes decisions about your children, division of property, alimony and even pets. However, through mediation, you and your spouse make the decisions together.

Level of Privacy

Mediation occurs in a private conference room and details never have to be disclosed publicly. Because of the public nature of the courtroom, when your divorce is litigated, all information is public record. That means all the details, including your finances and “dirty laundry,” are available to the public.

In order to help you decide whether mediation or litigation is right for you and your personal situation, below is a list of frequent situations when mediation and litigation are used.

Mediation is often used when:

  • You and your spouse mutually have decided to get a divorce.
  • You and your spouse can have a rational conversation in the same room.
  • You both realize that divorce is happening and you’re able to rationally approach the outcome.
  • You’re both willing to try to agree on issues like alimony, child custody, division of assets and child support.
  • Cost is a factor and you and your spouse want to incur as few costs as possible.
  • You both want to be active decision makers regarding the details of your divorce and don’t want to leave the final decisions for a judge to make.

Litigation is often used when:

  • One or both of you aren’t open to mediation.
  • One or both of you have difficulty conducting reasonable conversations.
  • There is a history of domestic violence or child abuse during the marriage.
  • Either you or your spouse has a drug or alcohol problem, impeding rational thinking and decision-making.
  • One or both of you is stalling or gathering information on the other spouse and don’t have any intention to settle. Sometimes spouses agree to mediation to stall the process or to gather information for later use against the other spouse during litigation.

While we’ve included some basic guidelines above, every situation is different. Consulting with a divorce attorney who is trained in Collaborative Family Law and/or a Certified Family Law Specialist including members of professional associations such as the Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego, is the best avenue.

Developing Diversity in Divorce Goal of Statewide Conference April 25-27

CPCal working to meet the needs of the modern family

Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR
619-997-2495 or gayle@falconvalleygroup.com

 

(SAN DIEGO) – Collaborative Divorce professionals throughout California will focus on broadening the reach of the Collaborative model to an increasingly diverse array of families at its statewide conference April 25-27 in San Francisco, California.

A team of ten members from the Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego will take a leadership role in the conference, including attorneys, financial specialists, and mental health practitioners. They include Julie Mack, attorney/mediator and President of CFLG San Diego; attorneys Adryenn Canton, Hildy Fentin, Julia M. Garwood, Meredith Lewis, Frann Setzer, Nancy Taylor, Colleen Warren, and Shawn Weber; and financial advisor Ginita Wall.

“Our model offers a way to meet the needs of non-traditional families in the legal system,” said Mack. “It allows for flexible, respectful solutions to common family law challenges involving marriage and divorce. We strive to address the legal and psychological factors affecting a wide range of families.

“The Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego is eager to let people know we offer them a range of choices for legal, financial, and mental health services all with the ultimate goal in mind of preserving the health and well-being of the family, however the family model is defined for them. The Collaborative model is especially well suited to addressing issues that aren’t always typical and often prove challenging in the court system.

“We urge families struggling to address these issues to give the Collaborative Process a chance. Even if they are skeptics, they have nothing to lose by giving our alternative a try,” said Mack.

The collaborative process is being used in divorce and family law, domestic partnerships, same sex marriages, employment law, probate law, construction and real property law, malpractice, and other civil law areas.

The Collaborative Family Law Group of San Diego (CFLG San Diego) is a non-profit group of legal, financial, and mental health professionals trained in the Collaborative Process offering an alternative to litigated divorce.

CFLG San Diego’s members work together to learn, practice, and promote collaborative processes for problem solving and the peaceful resolution of family law issues, with an eye toward preserving the emotional, as well as the financial, assets of the family. Its goal is to transform the resolution of family law issues through respectful, collaborative processes that protect the integrity and health of family relationships and eliminate the need for families to resort to litigation.

CFLG is online at www.collaborativefamilylawsandiego.com, and LinkedIn.

 

 

Tips for Empty Nesters When the Kids Leave for College

Many parents are working through the transition in their lives created when their children leave for college. As CFLGSD member and family law attorney Julia Garwood notes, things change. They no longer know when the kids are home, whether they are eating or sleeping properly, who they are hanging out with, and other everyday activities.

Many couples find themselves in the situation where the kids are gone and they are left with a spouse that they no longer know – except in relationship to the children. It can be a crucial time in your marriage. Unfortunately, some empty nesters find themselves contemplating divorce or separation because they’ve spent so much time being parents that they forget how to be lovers. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

College Empty NestersGarwood has excellent advice for parents who might feel confused or even overwhelmed by the changes created due to your child’s new “freedom,” and your own new “freedom” as a result. Read her excellent tips here to help survive the transition to becoming a happy empty nesting couple.