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Should You Keep His Name?

This post is dedicated to all the ladies of Riverside who took a man’s last name, divorced, and don’t know whether they should keep the new last name. And thanks to recent law changes, all the guys who are in the same boat.

In an interesting new trend, many women aren’t going back to their maiden name or keeping their married name—they’re choosing new last names. That name may be a maternal grandmother’s name or another relative important to that person. It’s a reflection of what matters and a symbolic way to truly start over.

Going back to your maiden name can feel like moving backward, and keeping your married name can feel like being stuck in something that didn’t work. So it does make sense why many women, post-divorce or separation, are choosing entirely new last names.

That being said, it may not be the wisest choice for everyone. Think of all the documents, the confusion, and the questions you’ll get. Realize that when your last name is different than your kids’ there are a thousand processes that will naturally be harder.

Here are a few tips:

  1. No matter what your name is, inform everyone. Make a long list of all the people, organizations, companies, etc. that need to know your legal name. Check them all off quickly.
  2. Talk to your friends and family. It’s your decision, but it can be nice to get feedback. It’ll also lessen the blow if it’s an unwanted surprise.
  3. Make a choice and stick to it. Once your name is legally changed, make sure people know and request to be called only that.

What Kids Want Most

Divorce is not for the faint at heart. It can be a traumatic experience for everyone involved, and most parents agree that putting your kids first is the hardest part. It’s not hard because you don’t want to; it’s hard because you’re not sure how best to do that. Author Honoree Corder shared with HuffPost the three things kids want most when their parents divorce. If you can remember these three things, it should be much easier to know how to make sure the divorce process is as painless as possible for your children.

  1. They want you to be happy. A parent that isn’t happy, not matter what type of mood it is, makes an unhappy kid. Children feel most secure and content when their parents are content. So if you’re not happy, it’s not just hurting yourself. Focus on self-improvement for your kids’ sake.
  2. Attention. It’s a word typically with a negative association, but it is true that kids of most ages simply want our time and attention, even when they won’t admit it. Do what they want to do, set a weekly time, or figure out what you can do together. Take every step necessary to spend time with them.
  3. Get along with your ex. Once again, you may think this is/isn’t for your benefit… but it’s actually for your kids’ benefit. He might no longer be your spouse, but he’s still their dad. And no one wants to see their parents fight. Be friendly when it isn’t easy; be nice when she doesn’t deserve it. Take baby steps to building a mutually respectful relationship. Your kids will appreciate it, notice and model your behavior.

About Dayn Holstrom

Dayn Holstrom is a hard working, compassionate problem solver who welcomes the opportunity to serve you in any way he can. His maximum availability to your questions and concerns begins with your free initial consultation. He is well-seasoned in all matters related to family law and a skilled negotiator and litigator.

Five Ways to Say Goodbye to your Relationship/Marriage

If you get to the point where there is no hope to save your marriage, how do you bring up the subject of divorce? Here are five suggestions. In every situation you need to find a quiet place for the discussion. Make sure just the two of you are alone and there will be no interruptions so you have plenty of time to talk. Be aware of using statements that are not accusatory, but instead discuss your specific feelings using “I” statements.

Here are five suggestions for discussion starters:

1. If your partner does not expect the breakup.

I know you have probably noticed that I have been acting differently lately. I’m sorry I haven’t shared with you my feelings. I didn’t want to hurt you anymore, so I didn’t say anything, but now I feel I must. I think we both know that our marriage has actually been over for a while, neither of us are happy. It’s difficult to say this, but I think it’s time to call it quits.

2. If your partner has done something you cannot forgive.

I hope you understand that I have really tried to forgive you. This relationship is one of the most important parts of my life. I wanted to make it work, but I just can’t get over the pain. I still love you and I know you are a good person who made a bad decision, but I need to move on.

3. If you simply need to get out.

I have been avoiding this conversation for a long time. There is no easy way to say what I have to say. I just can’t be married anymore. This has been the hardest decision I have ever made. I know it seems selfish. You are a great person, and I don’t like hurting you, but I need a new start somewhere else.

4. If you have been hanging in there so you wouldn’t hurt your partner.

I know we have discussed this before, and I have tried to make it work, but it’s not working. This is heartbreaking for both of us. It is so difficult to say this, but a clean break is probably the best way for each of us to find happiness again.

5. If you need to get others involved.

I know we both have tried to work this out because we want what is best for our family. We have done all we can, but I really can’t be in this relationship anymore. We have tried to talk about it, but it never goes anywhere. I’m hoping that you will consent to counseling so we can come to some peaceful agreements.

When To Stop Talking About It

Here’s a painful truth: most people don’t want to hear about your messy divorce every single day. In fact, talking too much about the ended relationship can actually damage your other relationships, which is the last thing you want to do.

Especially if you’ve been cheated on or truly hurt, you may be one of those people who wants to tell everyone. It can be therapeutic and seem like the best way to cope. But, there’s a big difference between speaking truth by relaying facts to those who ask, and becoming an emotional, venting, wreck every chance you get.

Resist the urge to tell their employer, or post it on social media. Don’t believe us? We see it hurt people in divorce trials in Riverside all the time. Take it from blogger Tracy Schorn, who recently shared these three tips with HuffPost about why you shouldn’t over share:

1) Any communication can, and probably will, be used against you in court. If you’re exposing a legal issue, consult one of our attorneys first. Don’t use Twitter because you think that’s effective. You have to be very careful what you say when you know you’ll be in a courtroom soon.

2) You look crazy. Yes, unfortunately no matter how you tell the story, you’re the one who’ll look nutty. Every single time you bring it (him/her) up, you’ll look more and more desperate for attention and like you’re losing it.

3) Gives them the upper hand. Don’t let your ex affect your mood. He/she doesn’t deserve that anymore. Be strong and don’t let them get to you. Focus on you and your new life.

About Dayn Holstrom

Dayn Holstrom is a hard working, compassionate problem solver who welcomes the opportunity to serve you in any way he can. His maximum availability to your questions and concerns begins with your free initial consultation. He is well-seasoned in all matters related to family law and a skilled negotiator and litigator.

Top Female Divorce Mistakes | OC Divorce Lawyer

Let’s preface this post by saying that our attorneys do absolutely everything in their power to make sure our clients make zero mistakes when it comes to divorce. But with or without an attorney, people make mistakes. Let’s take a look specifically at the mistakes females make most often, according to HuffPost Divorce.

  1. Financially clueless. There could be a mountain of debt or a mountain or riches and some wives have no idea. It’s very difficult to start the divorce process without an accurate understanding of your family’s finances.
  2. “Getting started” cash. If you’re financially dependent, you can request “temporary maintenance” to cover divorce expenses. But you’ll need cash before you receive that money. Don’t try to start the process empty handed.
  3. Not using an attorney. We could write books on the countless ways that you can truly negatively affect the rest of your life due to ignorance in or out of the courtroom. Unless you have a law degree, don’t think that you’ll know how to divorce someone.
  4. Reacting emotionally. It’s rarely the answer. Stay calm, think rationally, and ask your attorney what the best way to handle the current situation is.
  5. Settling too soon. Reaching a settlement isn’t always a bad idea, but far too many women hate the divorce process, want it to be over, and settle too soon. This leads to them not earning nearly what they should have. Women need to be financially secure for their future, and for their children. Settle when your attorney tells you it’s time.

When to Pick a New Lawyer | OC Divorce Lawyer

The very last thing you want to deal with throughout a divorce process is an incompetent Family Law attorney. Believe it or not, we see clients daily who’ve tried countless other attorneys in Riverside, Corona, or Orange County. In fact, we’ve known people who have gone through ten attorneys before settling on one that truly had their best interest in mind and delivered what needed to be done.

So how do you know it’s time to find a new divorce attorney? Here are the red flags:

  • Delegation: It’s a good term when it comes to business, but you want an attorney who is doing the work him/herself. Attorneys who consistently pass off work to other attorneys, or who try to get your spouse’s attorney to do the work, aren’t nearly as invested as they should be.
  • Forgetful: You’re allowed to forget small details, because divorce is not your job. But you ARE paying your attorney to not forget little details, because they can be extremely important in a case. If your attorney blames you for not reminding him, isn’t sure if you sent in court documents, isn’t sure how long billable hours truly last.
  • Thorough: Your divorce attorney should be organized, filling you in every step of the way. If you ever feel out of the loop, move on.

Respect: He/she needs to respect your individual needs and your situation. If you feel like your attorney is simply going through the motions as he always does, your paying way too much for that time of laziness.

Socializing & Mingling After Divorce: Problems & Solutions

Many men and women who have recently gone through a divorce are reluctant to enter into the social arena again. They often have negative feelings about themselves. First, they are older now than when they last were single and out socializing, so their looks have changed. This can cause consternation. There are often suffering from feelings of low self-esteem due to the failure of their marriage. If there are children involved in the family separation that can exacerbate the situation.

It’s important; however, if you should find yourself in this situation that you not become isolated, especially if you are a single parent. It’s easy to feel guilty leaving your children at home with a babysitter while you go out. After all, they are also dealing with the stress of the divorce. It’s true you do need to give extra TLC to your children, but you can’t forget that if you become lonely and depressed, you will not be as focused on them as they need you to be. Take some time for yourself and get out of the house. It’s okay to have some fun. You will probably be a better parent for it.

If you are not going out because you feel dreadful or unattractive, you can change that. Start by eating healthy and exercising. Plan fun activities. Make sure you get outside every day for an hour.

Money might be tight after a divorce, so you might not want to, or simply cannot, spend it on a babysitter. There are solutions. Perhaps you have a friend or family member who would enjoy helping you out by watching the kids. Another idea is to find, or start, a co-op babysitting group. Friends take turns watching each other’s children. Kids often look forward to spending time with other children, and you can enjoy the time away knowing they are safe and happy.

Finally, remember you are still a special person!

Get together with friends and family. If you have children spend quality time with them. When the time is right, get out there and start dating again. Life goes on!

The Dating Advice You Should Ignore

The process of divorce is challenging enough, and then you find yourself living an entirely new life with new rules. The post-divorce adjustment can be quite challenging, and we’ve seen plenty of our Riverside clients struggle to make the transition easily. Here are a few pieces of advice!

Jackie at Divorced Girl Smiling names three things you should NOT struggle with:

  1. Guilt: Many post-divorce parents feel guilty leaving their kids for a short time to go on a date. Let it go! Divorce doesn’t mean you should no longer enjoy life. Find a decent babysitter and your kids will be completely fine without you for a few hours. Don’t punish yourself by not letting yourself have some fun too.
  2. Money: Post-divorce or separation finances can be tough, especially if you’re a single parent or co-parenting. Instead of letting money stop you, bring the child to a friend’s house to be watched. Your friends want you to date and they’ll be more than happy to help! Or meet your dates on your lunch hour at work when your kids are already being watched.
  3. Fear: Many people will tell you that if you’re scared you must not be ready. Not true! Everyone is going to be scared of dating, that’s also what makes is exciting. It could go well, horrible, fantastic… you never know. But don’t let the fear hold you back. If you made it through a divorce, you can make it through a date!

Dating Mistakes to Avoid Post-Divorce

These tips can help post-divorce dating avoid some major speed bumps:

  1. Take it slow. You might think you’re over your ex, but that may not be true. You might think being single is awesome and you’re not lonely or looking for companionship at all, and that might be false. You might think jumping into a relationship with the first great guy/girl you meet is a great idea. It’s not. Taking it slow is always the safer, smarter way to go.
  2. Move past the past. Not everyone is going to be like your ex. Don’t stereotype all people of one gender, because that’s not fair. You won’t run into all the same problems, so have a positive attitude. But know what you’re looking for and what you’re not.
  3. No pity party. Allow yourself the time to heal and then be HAPPY being single. If you can’t learn to be happy on your own, odds are you aren’t ready to date.
  4. Do not settle. This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people are ready to put a ring on the first person they meet in Riverside after the divorce papers are signed. You do NOT want another divorce, so wait until you couldn’t be surer you’ve found the right one.
  5. No games. Even if you only had a 72-day marriage (hey Kim K), you’re too old for games no matter your age. Be authentic, honest, and communicate with the people you’re dating. This will make the dating world exponentially easier and less complicated. No one needs complicated after a divorce.

Finally, the best way to meet someone is through other people. Let your friends, family, coworkers, etc know that you’re looking to date. They know you BEST and they’ll only set you up with people they think would make a great match for you.

To Keep my Divorce Attorney, or to Find a New One

Finding the right lawyer for you during a divorce is so important. You need someone you can depend on, and someone who understands your goals. This can be a difficult search, and if you find that this lawyer is not what you expected, finding a new one can be even more difficult.

If possible you should stay with one attorney throughout the entire divorce proceedings. Changing lawyers can be costly in time, stress, and money. Nevertheless, if you discover that this person is not dependable, nor trustworthy, get a new lawyer.

Here are some tell-tale signs that perhaps this attorney is not the best one for you are:

  1. Gives you cookie cutter answers – such as, “This is the way it’s done”, or “Oh, they always do that.” These answers exemplify a lawyer who is not interested in your case; he/she is just out for the money.
  2. Takes no responsibility – Constantly blames others when things go wrong. You might hear, “That was not my doing, somebody else made a mistake. You want a problem solver, not an arrogant pass –the-bucker.
  3. Neglectful – Hard to get on the phone, or email not returned in a timely manner. You will be left in the cold, not knowing what is going on.
  4. Deceitful – If he/she gives you pie in the sky adages, such as, everything will be great. Especially if you know that is not true. They are just trying to appease you, not please you.

You are going through enough; you need a lawyer on your side. If you notice these signs from your attorney, find another one.

Before You Date

If you’re excited to start dating again post-divorce, you should be! There are tons of hot spots in Riverside and Orange County to meet other singles and it can be a great time. However, the game changed a bit (or more) since you were last single, and there are some things you need to be aware of. Have you heard of Tinder? All of the under-30’s have, and they’re probably using the app to date.

Here are some tips from HuffPost readers to help you keep up:

  • You know what you don’t want. Your last marriage showed you that. If you’re still unsure of what you DON’T want, you’re probably not ready to date again. Use dating as a time to figure out what you DO want.
  • Work on you first. If you still have emotional baggage form your divorce, you’re not ready. You should be able to talk about the split without it causing you to get upset.
  • Don’t cling. You may feel lonely and it could cause you to cling to the first halfway decent person you meet. This could lead to a quick ending because most people don’t like clingers, or it might lead you to picking a new unsuitable partner.
  • Ask lots of questions. The best way to get to know someone is to ask questions. You’ll know them by what they say and HOW they respond.
  • The first person you meet won’t be your next husband. Even the 10th may not be. Be patient. You’d rather spend many more years dating than go through another divorce 10 years later.
  • Online dating takes thick skin. You will message people who will never respond. You’ll talk to someone and then he/she will suddenly decide to stop talking to you. People say hurtful things via the Web. Know what you’re getting yourself into.

Best Place in the World to be a Mother-& the Worst

Mother’s Day is coming up on May 11th, and in preparation the Save the Children organization disclosed its 15th Annual State of the World’s Mothers global report. This report gathers information on women and children in 178 different countries, and includes a Mother’s Index which ranks them in order of best and worst places to be a mother.

Ranking was based on factors including infant mortality rate, gross national income per capital, maternal death rates, and percentage of women involved in politics. The United States didn’t crack the top ten this year, landing at number 31. The U.S. has fallen significantly from number 30 in 2013, and number 25 in 2012. This decrease in the rankings can be boiled down to a few major factors, such as mother and infant death rates, and percentage of women in politics.

Taking a look at the top ten places to be a mother, it’s easy to deduce where the U.S. falls short. Finland takes first place, followed by Norway and Sweden. Scandinavian countries dominated the rankings due in part to their maternal death rate; less than 1 in 12,000 women are affected by maternal death, while women in America face a 1 in 2,400 chance of dying due to pregnancy related causes. This could be attributed to American women dealing with more high-risk pregnancies, because of more cases of hypertension and obesity.

In addition, American children under the age of 5 face a 7.1 in 1,000 risk of death, while the under-5 mortality rate in Finland is only 1 in 345. Statistically speaking, an American child is three times more likely to die before their fifth birthday than a child living in country from the top 3. The rest of the top ten in descending order are Iceland, Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Germany, Australia, and Belgium. These countries succeed not only in child and maternal health, but also in education of women and response to emergencies and disasters.

Among the worst places to raise a child was Somalia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Niger. Majority of the countries in the bottom ten are in the middle of political conflict, which renders the areas unfit for raising children. Healthcare is also a factor in mother and child safety; many children and women die from diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and malnutrition-conditions which are largely preventable.

As a result, the infant death rate in Somalia is 1 in 7, while 1 in 16 women die due to pregnancy related causes. However, all hope is not lost for these countries. Last year, the worst place to be a mother was Afghanistan, but after providing education for female citizens the country rose 30 spots in the ranking and after providing women and children with basic health care, Nepal increased 60 places in the rankings. Bettering mother and child living conditions in these countries seems to rely on improving education and health care for women.

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