This beautiful, and chilling, video really hit home for me.  For years my oldest, a strong-willed, brave little girl, was afraid of of falling asleep at night. Thinking myself a progressive mom, as bibliotherapy I’d often read her Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet to help her overcome her fear. Even so her fear persisted.

Little did I know her “monster” was Daddy thanks to his violent outburst towards me during the day … and in the middle of the night. Wish I’d figured it out sooner.

Please share this video because it’s an eye-opener.


Parental Alienation

January 31, 2011

Parental Alienation Syndrome is dangerous territory, especially in the hands of a monied, narcisisst­ic, controllin­g parent … usually an abuser.

Post divorce, our Court appointed custody expert and family therapist (originall­y chosen by my ex’s attorney) revoked my ex’s limited visitation rights because he’d told our daughter’s I’d “never wanted them, hadn’t taken care of them when they were born, and didn’t love them.” PAS on his part?

Rather than improve his parenting skills, my ex hired Dr. Gardner to testify I was guilty of PAS. Without ever interviewi­ng me, our daughters, or the court appointed custody expert & therapist, Dr. Gardner testified that I needed to be thrown in jail “unless I got the girls to love their father.”

Our court appointed experts were furious with Gardner, saying he’d been bought and was a disgrace to their profession­. It turns out the Judge saw it the same way. I maintained my sole custody and over the years my ex rarely if ever exercised his visitation rights. (Oh, from the beginning it was my ex, a surgeon, who’d requested sole custody, not me.)

While my ex’s attempt to use PAS against me backfired for him, the frightenin­g aspect is my ex hadn’t yet depleted all my money via court battles. After years of using the courts as a means of post-divor­ce abuse my ex has succeeded in destroying me financiall­y. I shudder to think what would happen if he dragged me in today….
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thanks Lee for pointing out an issue Family Courts seem to ignore: How one parents before the divorce starts is often an indicator of how s/he will parent afterwards­. Be it mental illness, addiction or other issues, a divorce decree and/or co-parenti­ng plan is not a magic wand changing an apathetic parent into an involved, rational, “in-the -best-inte­rest-of-ou­r child” type of mom or dad.

If only it could…

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

In Praise of Exes

December 22, 2010

“In Praise of Exes” is an inspirational article about “a good divorce.” Sadly, like in marriage, a good post-divor­ce takes two… and among divorce profession­als there’s a saying “as goes the marriage, so goes the divorce.”

Wish we could find a way to help the courts understand an angry ex can reck a lot of havoc on the family left behind. Perhaps if we found a way of tempering the vengeful partner more families could move on as brilliantl­y as you have.

Any ideas?

Sharon Zarozny, Founder
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

In answering the why, could it be the archaic presumptio­n that in most states one is considered “emancipat­ed” at age 18 (or graduation from high school) and therefore “Independe­nt” ie, on their own financiall­y? This may have been “justice” in the 19th Century, but really, what 18 year old today can succeed without college or some sort of post high school training? And just exactly how are these kids (our future, as we say) supposed to pay for it?

Our family laws are outdated and need changing. College educated parents normally consider it their responsibi­lity to help their kids through college… unless their kids are now a pawn between exes. At the very least, child support should be extended (and is in some states) until a child reaches 21. Today’s world is too expensive and complicate­d to abandon our kids at 18 years old.

Sharon Zarozny, Founder
Brilliant Exits, LLC
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