Divorce,Co-parenting & Custody

If you are a single parent that has experienced divorce and/or child custody battles, than this section will provide you the necessary tools and information that you may need to empower yourself as you go through this process.  In many cases, it’s not a done deal once the judge hits their gavel.  It’s a continually evolving process that doesn’t end as soon as your child turns 18.  I have had many of my own battles with divorce and have experienced the following things:

1)  Separation and Divorce

2)  Child custody battles up to and including visitation scheduling, education and religious conflicts, determining extracurricular activities, medical and dental decisions and more

3)  Child Custody modifications

4)  Child Protective Services  and More!

This does not replace the advice that is NECESSARY from a licensed legal professional or from a licensed therapist. These are my opinions based upon my experiences.

There’s a lot more that you can learn in this forum and my goal is to create an open dialogue or at least an open window so that you can see the bigger picture from the everyday issues that involved divorce.

Dallas Single Mom’s Top 5 Books on Divorce and Coparenting

  1.  Co-Parenting Nightmare
  2. How to Parent Successfully with your Ex! Even if They’re a Jerk! by Jill Darcey
  3. Avoid the Ten Biggest Divorce Mistakes
  4. New Beginnings for Divorcing Parents – Workbook Co-Parenting Divorce Workbook
  5. Cooperative Parenting and Divorce Parent’s Guide
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5 Tips to Communicate Effectively With Your Divorce Lawyer

Heather Buen : February 17, 2014 4:18 pm : Divorce

CommunicateNo one likes getting divorced, but sometimes life doesn’t give you a choice if you want to stay sane. And that means you’ll have to hire a lawyer to help you out. Knowing that you’ll have to talk to a lawyer can add a whole new level of stress to your life, but it doesn’t have to. Communicating with lawyers isn’t as difficult as you might think. Here are 5 tips to help you learn the trick.

Attorney-Client Privilege

When you’re going through a divorce, you need your lawyer to know all the facts. If your lawyer doesn’t know pertinent details—like your spouse making a certain amount of money or the circumstances around the time your son broke his leg—he won’t be able to represent you as well as he could otherwise.

Be as honest as you can be while communicating. When you’re as honest as you can be, your lawyer can plan out a good defense should your spouse’s lawyer bring up a situation that puts you in a bad light. It’s never a good thing for a lawyer to be surprised in court—especially when you can do something about it. Tell them everything. The more they know, the more they can help you. And if you’re worried about your lawyer knowing too much and revealing private information, don’t be. Attorney-client privilege protects the information you give your lawyer, so they can’t reveal anything you say without your permission.

His Secretary

Every decent lawyer has a secretary in charge of their schedule. Get to know your lawyer’s secretary. Befriend him or her. Remember little details about them, to show them that you care. If your spouse misses a child support payment or something happens to one of your children, you’ll have to go through the secretary first to get to your lawyer, and if they’re on good terms with you, you’ll probably get in to see your lawyer a lot faster than you would otherwise.

Your Questions

If you have any questions about the court proceedings, paperwork, or any other legal matter, don’t be afraid to ask. Your lawyer is your legal counsel, and as such, they are there to counsel you. However, they can’t counsel you unless they know your questions. If you don’t ask questions and let them know your knowledge about legal matters (even if you know next to nothing), the best your lawyer can give is general advice and hope that it’s enough. Make the money you’re paying worthwhile.

Types of Communication

Face-to-face communication is important for the first couple of meetings with your lawyer. That type of communication is the best way to get a read on a person. After those first few times, though, you don’t need to meeting in person regularly. There are many other valid ways to communicate, like through phone or email. Make use of them, because oftentimes, they’re a lot more convenient for the types of questions and advice you need.

Efficient Communication

To go along with the above point, make sure you’re making the most of your money. You’re paying your lawyer for the amount of time they spend on your case, including phone calls and emails they have to respond to.

By saving some of your questions until you can ask multiple questions in an email, rather than sending a bunch of emails with one question in each of them, you’ll save yourself a nice chunk of money, and your lawyer will be appreciative, because no one likes answering five or six emails from the same person in one day.

Getting a divorce is never a fun experience, but by knowing how to communicate with your lawyer, it can make the process a lot less stressful. From Dallas to Kingston, personal injury lawyers, divorce lawyers, and criminal lawyers all speak the same language, and by following these tips, you can pass that language barrier and learn to communicate with them.

Eloise Hamilton has always been fascinated with law. In college, she studied the subject briefly before switching to business, but she still loves to maintain her knowledge of all things law, by visiting all kinds of law sites like Ontario Injured. She seeks to inform the general public about the finer details of law in a way they can understand.

Disclaimer: All guest posts and guest authors are prescreened by Dallas Single Mom. All opinions presented are 100% the opinion of the author as applicable. Opinions expressed are not necessarily representative of this site.
Looking for guest bloggers or to guest post for more exposure? Check out MyBlogGuest


Single Mom’s Anti-Survival Guide for Valentine’s Day

Heather Buen : February 11, 2014 2:54 pm : Daily, dating, Divorce, Relationships, single moms, Valentine's Day

Why does everyone think single women or single moms need a survival guide for Valentine’s Day? There are 16 million entries that come up in Google Search for “survival guide for Valentine’s Day.” If you don’t have the tools necessary to manage yourself why should anyone put up with your hot mess? You don’t need to SURVIVE since this is not a war zone (unless you created that in your head). Don’t be afraid to to shine like the great white light that you are on the one day out of the year devoted to love.  Spread that joy around for another 364 days. Dave Mann founder of Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie – a music review site based out of DC said this in response to my question about his thoughts on Valentine’s Day,

“i think v-day is cool for elementary school aged kids. Cause they don’t care about the commercial side of it. there are really no strings attached with those young kids. all they want is to know that they have a valentine and most of the kids (if not, all?) give valentines to each other. personally, i think v-day should have stopped after elementary school..possibly the term “it’s complicated” started with valentines day, it should never be complicated, right?”


Photo by  Knox Knox

Photo by Knox Knox

This is my Anti-Survival Guide to Valentine’s Day. After reading stories about surviving the day when you are alone I was wondering what everyone did on the other 364 days they are alone? I was browsing around Craig’s List Personals ads as they are close to the bottom feeder of personals that I have ever seen in my life and I decided to do a search for the term, “Valentine’s Day!” I was surprised at the number of men and women putting out personal ads that they are available for a date on Valentine’s Day.

Some with the headline of “I want to get wasted on Valentine’s Day” to “I’m looking for a Valentine’s Day date to disappoint this year.” if that works for you go for it, but let’s look at the facts. Approximately 1 in 5 people get dumped on Valentine’s Day and 1 in 6 people get cheated on or cheat on Valentines’ Day. According to the same survey by AYI.com, a ton of people would go out on a blind date on Valentine’s Day with 51% of women and 70% of men willing to take the risk on Valentine’s Day.

To gain insight on this year’s Valentine’s Day, online dating site AYI.com surveyed over 1,000 people and analyzed over 55,000 responses to some of their most popular multiple-choice questions.


Don’t get so Angry if you are alone on Valentine’s Day. Photo by Knox Knox

Would I go out on a blind date on Valentine’s Day? No. overpriced entrees, long wait times, cold food and couples on their smartphones as we all jam pack together in a crowded restaurant is not my idea of fun.

Opt for ordering takeout from a great restaurant and create a great setting at home without the rush and commotion. My favorite choice is Outback Steakhouse. They have some good specials but I would NOT dine in that evening. A boyfriend of mine in 2001 went to Outback for Valentine’s Day and waited hours for a table. They have conveninent online ordering and you can drive by and pick it up.

The Steak Menu for Two includes a Bloomin’ Onion appetizer and Classic Cheesecake to share, paired with two of Outback’s favorite steak entrées.
Choices include:
-Two 6-ounce sirloins
-Two 9-ounce sirloins
-Two 6-ounce filets
-One Bone-in Ribeye & one filet, one of Outback’s most popular combos
-And for a truly impressive meal, lobster tails are 50% off when added on to any of the above

Plus, for those in need of more than a great meal this Valentine’s Day – perhaps to make up for a past Valentine’s Day fail – enter the #BloominDoOver sweepstakes for a chance to win a $50 Outback gift card for a date do-over. Beginning Monday, Feb. 10th, enter to win by following @Outback and sharing a date disaster story (Valentine’s or otherwise) via Twitter using the hashtag #BloominDoOver. 10 winners will be selected at random each day from Feb. 10th – 13th, and 20 winners will be selected on Feb. 14th. So Visit OutbackOnlineOrdering.com and order now.

Would I go get a cup of coffee on Valentine’s Day? yup – quick and easy for a blind date if I treated VDAY like any other day.  This is also great for first dates which is what a blind date is?

No Love Interest? I love coffee and so a great gift would be Trader Joe’s Coffee or just stopping by the house of a friend or family member and enjoying a cup of tea or coffee with them. Add some cookies or brownies and you have a sweet treat

For Single Parents, what would make a great Valentine’s Day Date?

How about a family date? Nothing says love like when the guy you are dating will head out with you and the kids to Speedzone or Chuck E Cheese. Or if you aren’t dating someone, do a craft project with your children. Some easy ideas are to create the Candygram or Valentine’s Day card box for your kids with craft items and a shoebox. Or how about a making party boxes for kids in need. Family to Family has an idea for families with Birthday Giving Parties. Spend the holiday creating parties in a box for needy kids.

Accomplish Something

How about accomplishing something this Valentine’s Day? In a previous post I talked about single moms treating themselves on Valentine’s Day. Find something that makes you happy and do it. When you accomplish it, treat yourself. I am volunteering this weekend for the North Texas Food Bank and I’m also volunteering for the American Red Cross. Find a special cause or just donate your time reading to a child or cleaning up a park. It will make you feel better inside that you contributed to something and made a difference.

Watch a NetFlix or Movie Marathon? 

Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season Limited Edition  is coming out on February 18th – Oh Wait that is my ex’s favorite show. Find a series that you would love to watch and watch the entire season in one night on Valentine’s Day. I got rid of cable and so I fell in love with the show The White Queen on the Starz Network so I plan on watching everything there is to know about treachery, power, prestige and sex on Valentine’s Day.  I signed up for Amazon Prime and I found it way better than Hulu Plus for providing access to the latest television series and movies from the cable networks. Of course you have to pay $79 for the year, but for me it’s worth it.

Don’t worry about not getting flowers

I used to sell flowers for a major florist. Every year tons of people would call in to order flowers and most often they heard a promo code on the radio and so when they called in our job as salespeople was to upsell them. If they called at the last minute, we charged extra for next day or 2 day delivery. Most guys had no clue what to put on the card so we had pre-written notes for the card that we selected from. I would say 90% of guys that called in had no clue what they wanted, they just wanted the best deal or the promotion they heard on the radio. A few would have scriptures or something in their mind they already wrote out. Some guys bought flowers for multiple women and wrote the same thing on all the cards. The emphasis on the holiday should be with the people you love and not the flowers or the stuff that is bought. So DON”T buy yourself flowers and have them delivered to yourself (I fielded those calls too). It’s a waste of money and time. A man should buy you your favorite flowers and if he doesn’t know he should ask which ones you like the most. I have always loved light pink roses or exotic tropical flowers that remind me of home and I have yet to get those given to me so I buy them myself.

One person I spoke with summed it up best:

“I buy my gf flowers on a regular basis (at least once a month) and i don’t do the cookie cutter / cliched stuff. I know what she likes, what smells good to her.”

Photo by Knox Knox

Photo by Knox Knox

Build your Foreseeable YOU!

Are you still trying to create the best you? Build  your vision board that day, write in a journal or do something creative. There is a lot that you can do to build a better you on Valentine’s Day. Take some time to reflect on your life and review your resolutions or goals. Remind yourself why you set those goals in the first place. Are those goals still in alignment with your needs? I’ve spoken about goals before, so don’t take your eyes off the prize.

What other tips do you have for singles on Valentine’s Day?

Disclaimer: The above post may contain affiliate links. All opinions presented are 100% my own. For more information, please visit my disclosure page.


5 Tips for a Smoother Divorce

Heather Buen : February 3, 2014 2:56 pm : Divorce, single dads, single moms

Generally if I were to add another tip for a smoother divorce on this list I would definitely say keep healthy and fit. Reason being is that getting sick and having to deal with illness or having no energy to deal with the divorce is not fun and mounting medical bills on top of a divorce wreaks havoc to finances.

Getting a divorce can be hassle, generating far more drama than you ever wanted. Whether you just fell out of love or your spouse cheated on you, there are a lot of factors that make divorces difficult, but you don’t have to make it more difficult than it has to be. Here are a few tips to make your divorce run a little smoother and cut out a little drama you’d rather not deal with.

Cancel Joint Accounts

One of the first things you want to do when getting a divorce is split the money. Typically, financial disputes are one of the biggest sources of contention when a relationship goes sour, so the sooner you can separate the accounts, the better. If both parties are on good terms with each other, you don’t have to wait for the court to split the finances. You can take care of the financial decisions amiably, cutting all the joint assets right down the middle. And with that out of the way, half of the battle is over, and you can move onto the rest.

Check Credit Report

Make sure get a credit report and know your credit score. Have a good idea what the problem areas are in your report, along with the strengths. You might be able to use the information in it during the divorce negotiations.

Get your credit report as soon as you even suspect you’ll be getting a divorce. You don’t want any chance of having your credit score affected if your soon-to-be ex decides to be malicious. If you have documentation of your credit score prior to any vengeful acts, you’ll be able to get everything fixed, and you can stay calm throughout the ordeal.

Fix Insurance Policies

As soon as you can, you’ll want to look into your different insurance policies, for property, health, and life. You need to adjust those to your changing marital status, and you’ll want to remove your ex’s ability to make decisions about you. You’ll also want to fix any policies that your ex benefits from, naming your children as the beneficiaries if you can.

You’ll want to look into changing policies before you actually file for divorce, because in some states, you can’t adjust policies once you file a divorce—you have to wait until after the divorce is settled.

Keep Emotions and Emotional Health in Check

Emotions run notoriously high during divorces, but getting angry and upset during the proceedings won’t accomplish anything. Keep your emotions contained regardless of what happens. You also want to be careful who you express your emotions to and where you express them. Letting mutual friends know what you’re upset about means that your ex will probably find out. You should also refrain from posting anything on social media—even if you’re just telling your close friends and family—because you could be held in contempt of court and punished for those kinds of actions.

Additionally, pay attention to your emotional well-being, because it’s a proven fact that divorce wreaks havoc on the average person’s health and happiness. Do what you can to stay happy and feeling good about yourself, despite your changing marital status.

Spend Time with the Kids

Most importantly, remember to spend time with your kids. Make a plan with your ex for how your want to parent your kids from this point forward. Even if you two aren’t getting along, put your differences aside for the sake of your children. They need to know that both your still love them and will be there for them, and you need to work together to ensure your children will continue feeling that love.

Even the best marriages can end if one or both parties fall out of love, but just because the love isn’t there and you choose to get a divorce doesn’t mean you need to fight all through the proceedings. By using these tips, you can make your divorce smooth and as drama-free as possible, even if you’re separating from adultery or domestic violence. From Edmonton to Atlanta, keep your divorce smooth.

Author byline:

Eloise Hamilton has always been fascinated with law. In college, she studied the subject briefly before switching to business, but she still loves to maintain her knowledge of all things law, by visiting all kinds of law sites like The Defence Team. She seeks to inform the general public about the finer details of law in a way they can understand.


5 Tips to Make Divorce Less Painful for Your Children

Heather Buen : January 14, 2014 10:33 am : Divorce, single moms

This Love is ForeverDivorces: they’re rough for everyone involved, especially if you and your spouse aren’t parting amicably. You need to split your property, which could spark any number of arguments. And then there’re your children. It’s not just a question of who gets them and when. The more important question is how much psychological damage the divorce is going to cause for the kids. Fortunately, you can make it easier for your children to cope with your divorce. Here’s how.

  1. Don’t Place Them Between You and Your Ex

    If the relationship between you and your ex is strained at the best of times and disastrous at the worst, you might be tempted to use your children as an intermediary to avoid direct communication (and probable confrontation) with your ex. Don’t succumb to that temptation.

    You and your ex are the adults in the situation, and if force your child to run messages back and forth, you’re forcing them to get involved in your issues. Let your children be children. Let them deal with issues suitable for their age. Don’t make them grow up faster than they need to.

  2. Let Them Know You Love Them

    Most children caught in the middle of a divorce feel, at some point, that they’re to blame for the divorce. To minimize this belief as much as possible, you need to show your children you love them. Tell them they didn’t do anything wrong, and they are still important to you.

    Regardless of who gets custody of your children, make sure you communicate with your children—write letters or call them if they’re staying with their other parent for an extended period of time, and bond with them through talking and playing games when they’re with you.

  3. Don’t Fight With Your Ex Where The Children Can Hear

    No matter how upset your ex makes you, don’t fight in front of your children. That includes not fighting in places where they can hear you, even if you don’t think they’re paying attention. When your children hear you fight, it can make them feel like they did something wrong—especially if you’re fighting about something they did or something one of you did to them (like forgetting when to pick them up).

    If you need to discuss your children with your ex or some other topic, and you’re worried it will devolve into an argument, take care of the conversation where your children cannot hear or see either one of you.

  4. Let Them Express Their Emotions

    Let your children know they can share their emotions with you. If they’re feeling frustrated about the divorce or their other parent, it’s best if they can let that frustration out, but they need to know they won’t be judged for their feelings.

    While listening to them, though, don’t let yourself use their emotional expression as a way to vent your own frustrations about your ex. Those feelings shouldn’t be shared by them, since your ex is their other parent, and they want to love you both. By listening to your child’s feelings and not trying to control or manipulate them, they’ll feel more confident in expressing their emotions.

  5. Don’t Make Them Choose Between You and Your Ex

    Refrain from talking negatively about your ex in front of you children. You can’t expect your children to share your feelings about your ex. They probably won’t, even if they might get disappointed once in a while. Do what you can to make them feel like their opinions about their other parent are valid.

    When you pick them up after they finish visiting your ex, ask them how it was. Express an interest in their life while they’ve been away from you. Let them know that you love them no matter whom they choose to spend their time with. Don’t make them choose or take sides in the divorce.

No matter how stressful and tenuous your relationship is with your ex, there are many things you can do to make sure your children go through the divorce with as little change as possible. Whether you’re using a family court in Newmarket or one in Toronto, by implementing these tips, your children will have an easier time adjusting to life after your divorce.

Author byline:

Eloise Hamilton has always been fascinated with law. In college, she studied the subject briefly before switching to business, but she still loves to maintain her knowledge of all things law, by visiting all kinds of law sites like Donnell Law Group. She seeks to inform the general public about the finer details of law in a way they can understand.


Mistakes to Avoid During Divorce

Heather Buen : December 19, 2013 11:03 am : Co-Parenting, Divorce, Relationships, single moms

DivorceMore than 90 percent of people in Western cultures marry by the age of 50, but more than 40 percent of American couples divorce, notes the American Psychological Association (APA). The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher. Couples without children are more likely to divorce. In 2012, America ranks as number six on the Top 10 list of countries with the highest divorce rates. With such a high divorce rate, it is wise to think about the worst-case scenario.

Stay at Home Dad Refuses to Leave

Nancy is the primary breadwinner in the home and has been for 10 years. Her husband, Stan, stays at home with their 3-year-old daughter. Nancy recently decided to file for divorce. She knows that taking care of their daughter is a lot of work; however, she feels that Stan is taking advantage of her. He emotionally abuses her and threatens to take their daughter away. Nancy loves her daughter, but she also has to work. Despite the impending divorce, Stan remains in the home. Nancy wants to move out, but because she owns the home, she fears Stan will destroy it. Divorce laws concerning marital property are complicated. A good attorney has the knowledge and experience you need to get the most out of your divorce. Your attorney will also help you obtain the court orders you need to protect your property.

Failure to Respond

One of the most damaging mistakes that an individual makes in a divorce is failing to respond. If you fail to respond to legal documents, a lawyer or your soon to be ex-spouse you could cause irrevocable damage to your case. Divorce is a legal process governed by local rules and state laws. When you file legal documents, you must adhere to the applicable deadlines.

Lisa Fails to Respond

Lisa’s ex-husband files legal papers requesting that the judge terminate his spousal support payments. Jim requests this within a few years of the divorce. The two were married for 25 years. Lisa feels that his request is ludicrous and ignores it. Several months pass and Jim stops paying his spousal support. Lisa learns that the judge granted his request and has terminated her spousal support. Lisa hires an attorney to request a reinstatement of her spousal support. Unlike some, Lisa gets a second chance.

Ex-Spouse’s Bad Credit

Steven divorces his wife after 10 years of marriage. The couple has numerous joint credit cards. Stacy’s credit is less than perfect, whereas, Steven’s is almost stellar. Because Stacy is unemployed, she decides to use these joint credit cards to pay her bills, buy groceries and enjoy the nightlife. Even though Stacy and Steven are divorced, he is still liable for the charges on these cards. Steven should have already closed all of the joint accounts that he has with Stacy.

Diedre Simpson – Author

Diedre is a semi-retired journalist who enjoys the challenge of writing about new topics.

Disclaimer: All guest posts and guest authors are prescreened by Dallas Single Mom. All opinions presented are 100% the opinion of the author as applicable. Opinions expressed are not necessarily representative of this site.
Looking for guest bloggers or to guest post for more exposure? Check out MyBlogGuest

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Disclaimer: The above page may contain affiliate links. All opinions presented are 100% my own. For more information, please visit my disclosure page.

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