Great article!
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


Nouveau Poor

December 21, 2010

Perhaps because it’s Christmas, the term nouveau poor has been on my mind a lot lately. I miss the joy of shopping for just the right gifts that will bring delight to my loved ones. This year shopping feels more like torture than a treasure hunt.

Being a coach, I’ve been trying to  “reframe” my situation by coming up with a chic name to enhance my declining status. When I came up with “nouveau poor” I excitedly googled it hoping  to buy the domain name. Amazingly, not only is the name taken, it’s also trademarked for a line of clothing.

Thanks to Google, I also stumbled upon the clever video (below) discussing the discrimination the “Nouveau Poor” face courtesy the “Old Poor.”  I chuckled a bit watching it, but some of it hit too close to home.

Single parenting brings its challenges. For me, the most difficult piece is raising my daughters totally on my own thanks to an ex who hasn’t even paid child support for nearly 5 years. (While at the same time maintaining his lifestyle and paying his high priced attorney to block any attempts at collection.) It’s taken a huge toll, hitting home today when my oldest pointed out I’ve turned into Scrooge.

Alarmed,  I asked her why she thought so, and she calmly explained “You’ve grumbled you don’t like Christmas, we can’t do gifts this year, and we won’t get to go to MA to see all our cousins. It kinda ruins things for us.”

Sadly, that’s totally true. However, the Me of Christmas Past was a very generous, loving Santa. The Me of Christmas Present  is fraught with the difficulties of having been on the “mommy track” too long, an ex who doesn’t meet his obligations, and a legal system that’s become so complicated only the monied are entitled to protection, and going Pro Bono (self-representation) is considered legal suicide.

Since I can no longer afford an attorney (or Christmas), I’m struggling to accept America’s form of (un)justice given the “No Money, No Rights” setup  … unless for example you are the victim or perpetrator of a crime that harms society… like murder or robbing a business. Why isn’t family devastation life-changing enough to qualify for legal protection in our judicial system?

Furthermore, while families are hailed as the foundation of our society, and marriage is considered essential to our country’s economic security, head down the Divorce Isle (even when circumstances present no other option) and it’s “No money? Sorry ma’m, the system is not set up to help. You need to beg, borrow or steal to get a lawyer.”

In such situations, I haven’t a clue as to how our lawmakers believe “with justice for all” can prevail, especially when  a monied abuser pairs with a rambo-type attorney hell bent on protecting the abuser’s money by impoverishing the rest of the family. It boggles the mind how such a lawyer is even entitled to be called a “family law attorney” when his/her sole goal is placing his/her client (because s/he can pay exhorbent legal bills) well above accountability to a family’s needs or society’s morals.

Think I’m exaggerating? Not according to recent articles in the Washington Post and the Huffington Post titled:Access to Justice in the U.S. is at Third-World Levels.” Not a comforting thought should you need to pursue your rights.

My apologies for the “bah humbug” attitude, but should life demote you to the ranks of the nouveau poor thanks to divorce, job loss, being foreclosed upon given the mortgage industry’s shady practices, medical bills, whatever … I just wanted to let you know you are not alone.

And media, like The Onion, is pointing out our plight. Wishing you a chuckle.

And please, someone comment. It sure would make my day!

So true. My daughters were young when I divorced so my focus was on them, not me. Now, years later I find there are triggers to the grief I never had time to walk through. I tell clients you need to grieve to heal, yet I didn’t follow my own advice because I was trying to present a strong front for my daughters. Amazing how buried feelings never die…

Sharon Zarozny, Founder
Brilliant Exits, LLC

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Having divorced an abusive, controllin­g, severely narcissist­ic spouse who’s dragged me through the courts (divorce & post divorce) for nearly 15 years (yes it’s true, and that’s not a typo) I know how difficult it is to adhere to Stacy’s advice, but it is crucial to your child’s well-being­.

That said, I know how hard it is to take the high road when your ex is bashing you to the kids. I tell my clients when things get really tough, repeat this mantra to yourself: “I love my children more than I hate my spouse… I love my children more than I hate my spouse….­”

My nasty separation began when my daughters were 3 and 6. I read all the parenting materials through the years and was awestruck when at 16 my youngest voiced what the experts say. She desperatel­y wanted to speak to her father so I drove her out to his house. His wife (the mistress and mother of a love child they had while he was married to me) wouldn’t let her in the house to talk to her dad. My daughter sat down in his driveway and sobbed: “I don’t get it. I’m half him, half you. I love him but I hate him. Am I crazy to still love him?”

Proof that when you bad mouth your child’s parent, you bad mouth that part of your child. Not doing it is the greatest gift you can give your child.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

It’s National Anger Management week and, in it’s honor, the British Association of Anger Management is offering 2 free Keeping Your Cool Kits. Why? According to the Association, managing anger is a primary key to controlling stress, anxiety and depression.  Despite what Hallmark would have you believe, a British survey discovered:

          • The average family has their first argument at 9:58 Christmas morning.
          • Over 1/2 of all families have disagreements.
          • And 1/8 of couples said fights over the holidays made them want to split up.

My favorite recommendation? Remember Christmas is simply one day out of the year. Repeat to yourself to keep things in perspective.

And now, some tips from the Association’s Keep Your Cool Over Yule Kit:

Rules to Beating Anger

  1. STOP, think, take a look at the big picture.
  2. It’s OK to have a different opinion.
  3. Listen actively.
  4. Use your emotional support network (Anger Buddies).
  5. Keep an anger management journal.
  6. Don’t take things personally.

Have kids? When things get heated send them on a walk, suggest they put their head phones to good use listening to music, and let them get lots of sleep so they aren’t so grumpy.

Ditto for adults.

I couldn’t agree more with your statement “Scars left by a hearing or trial can have an impact for many years, not only on the other parent, but also the children.” Both my daughters were scarred, yet in different ways.

When they were only 9 and 12 years old my ex dragged our daughters into court. My oldest, who couldn’t wait to tell the judge what she thought, left the Judge’s chambers traumatize­d.

When I asked her why she was so upset, she explained it was “bring your wife to work day” and the Judge had brought his dying wife to work with him. When I asked her why she thought that, she said: “Well, the Judge was black and his wife (the only other black person in the room) was very sick and on a breathing machine. I was scared she was going to die at any moment so all I could do was cry”. No one had told my daughter about the court reporter..­.

Last year, 8 years after the fact, my youngest daughter wrote her college admissions essay about going to court to “tell the Judge” which parent she wanted to live with. My heart ached reading her account of how painful it was to choose one parent and betray the other. I doubt that’s what the Judge asked her to do, but that was her perspectiv­e which is all that really matters.

Sharon Zarozny
Brilliant Exits, LLC
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Your goal as a coparent

December 2, 2010

A word of caution: I cried when I watched this video. Watching it may inspire you to do what you can to work things out with your spouse. It might also help you envision your life coparenting post divorce. In any event, it models the best way to facilitate kids transitioning between mom’s and dad’s.