Have harsh financial times fallen upon your divorced family? Are you a single mom or dad wondering how you will afford to keep your children entertained this summer during summer visitation? Are you worried your kids will have to go without sports activities, day camps, and trips to the zoo due to a lack of funds?
Did you know that many recreation organizations offer fee assistance, and you and your kids may be eligible. All you need to know is where and how to look for assistance.
Below are a few guidelines to help you in your research.
1. Check with your city's sports and recreation centers.
By googling the city I live in and "fee assistance recreation", I quickly discovered that my city's parks and recreation department offers subsidized programs for low-income families. My city has 27 parks most of which offer swimming, day camps and summer activities for children. Enough activities to keep your children busy all summer long.
To apply you must complete required application forms and provide proof of your financial circumstances, ie: bank statements, child/spousal payments, monthly bills including utilities, mortgage/rent, insurance etc. For circumstances that are more difficult to explain, you can also enclose a personal letter that details your family's situation.
2. Check your local YMCA Chapter.
The YMCA offers severely reduced membership and program costs to families in need, which are valid for three months (after which you can reapply if necessary). Their financial assistance applies to day camps and all registered programs and sports activities as well.
Your financial circumstances may feel embarrassing to you; hence, you don't want to bring it up with other people. But remember everyone goes through tough times. Right now during this recession, thousands of other families are in the same shoes as you.
At the end of the day, this is about minimizing the effects of this tough financial time on our kids and allowing them to enjoy their summer.
If you know of any other resources for single parents in these circumstances, please add them in the Comments Section of this blog post.
Think of it. A father could be sitting in his own home, not agreeing to a divorce, not unfaithful to his marriage vows, and not abusive, and the next thing he knows, the court has taken his house, his children, and a lot of his money, and then forced him to pay his wife's legal fees and even her psychologist's fees. And he can be threatened with jail time if he resists.
One in four men who were divorced in the previous year said they "never saw it coming" according to an AARP poll. Only 14 percent of divorced women said they experienced the same unexpected shock.
Dr. Lori Buckley says, "The warning signs are usually there, but the male mind is simply not very adept at recognizing them. When women make up their mind that the relationship is over, they stop talking about the relationship. Men interpret a woman's lack of complaining as satisfaction. But more often, it's because she's simply given up."
And just because a man has been married for many years and is starting to create some wealth is no reason to relax. That is exactly when divorce statistics swell. One divorce lawyer attributes this to wives deciding, as they approach age 40, that it's 'now or never' when it comes to gaining their freedom and independence outside of marriage.
It's the same phenomenon as rich guys trading in their long-time partners for trophy wives. Only it's the women who are shedding men.
Will you be a victim of Sudden Divorce Syndrome? Did you truly not see it coming or, will you ignore the warning signs?
According to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri, 50% of all first marriages will end in divorce, 67% of all second marriages will end in divorce, and 74% of all third marriages will end in divorce.
Those are some sad statistics that everyone getting married for the first, second, third or even fourth time should consider before taking the plunge again.
I know a man who divorced his first wife and married a woman who has been married and divorce four times. I can't even imagine what the odds are against that marriage working.
I can, however tell you how to increase your odds for success. Learn from your mistakes. If you want a new relationship to work, take responsibility for the role you played in the break-up of your marriage.
It is easy to divorce and easy to blame an ex-spouse for the problems in the marriage. What isn't easy is examining your role in the problems and working on yourself and the way you inter-act with the person you are in a relationship with. It is hard work but there is good reason to tackle the work. It might keep you from becoming another statistic.
An issue dealt with more frequently over the past is whether it is a parent's duty to help with a child's college related expenses. Most feel that it is a parent's duty only when that parent voluntarily assumes the duty and should not be a part of their child support responsibility.
With the increase in the cost of secondary educational expenses, some states feel that child support should continue past the age of majority if the child in enrolled in college full time.
Since non-custodial parents are generally less willing than custodial parents to pay for college, the issue of college expenses has become a major concern when negotiating a divorce settlement.
Have you negotiated with your ex-spouse the cost of your child's college education?
When I went through the divorce process I had an attorney. I was of the belief that since I had an attorney that I was being protected. I thought that, although the process was painful emotionally, I was at least going to come out well legally because I had hired someone who would protect my legal rights.
I learned from experience that hiring an attorney does not automatically mean you are going to be protected. Due to my inexperience with the Family Court System and my naive notion that an attorney would care as much for my interests as I did I paid, legally, financially and emotionally.
The best advice I can give is to be pro-active when it comes to your divorce. Being pro-active and protecting yourself is as simple as the following steps:
- Go here, scroll down until you find your state and then print out, read and learn your state's divorce laws.
- Go here, read and familiarize yourself with the steps involved with divorce in most states. Ask your attorney exactly what steps will take place during your divorce and then communicate regularly with your attorney about what he is doing to make sure you are able to navigate each step in a beneficial way.
- Request a copy of every document your attorney files with the courts and a copy of every correspondence your attorney has with the opposing attorney. There are attorneys who feel they know what is in your best interest and will take steps without consulting you. Make sure that any documents your attorney files or any communication he has with the opposing attorney represents what you feel is in your best interest.
- Get to know your court clerk. Learn your case number and check with the court clerk a couple of time a month to find out what new activity has taken place in your divorce file.
Attorneys make mistakes, documents get lost by court personnel and the slightest blunder made by anyone involved in your divorce can mean delays, a loss of your legal rights and financial devastation. It's your divorce so, you need to take responsibility by playing an active role in the process.
Dealing with a difficult ex can be very discouraging, frustrating and defeating. If there are children involved, we feel it is our responsibility to try to have a healthy relationship with our ex for their sake. At times, your efforts to co-parent civilly may not be returned, hence the frustration.
If your ex makes you want to pull your hair out or, run screaming maybe it's a combination of the two of you and how you interact with each other. Learning some new skills for resolving conflict might be all that is needed in your situation.
I read recently that us middle aged folks take longer to adjust to being single after divorce. It seems that we have a tendency to linger emotionally, to try and figure out what went wrong, how we contributed to the failure of our marriage...you know, we do a lot of navel gazing. I don't see that as a bad thing but I do understand how it can get in the way of putting the past where it belongs and focusing on living life as a single person.
I thought I would share a few of the things I found hard to deal with after my divorce. My hope is that you will respond and leave a comment listing what you found difficult to deal with as a newly divorced, single person.
Adjustments I Had to Make:
- I missed having someone to share my day with, at the end of the day.
- I felt out of place with all my couple friends. I needed new single friends who I had more in common with.
- Money, boy did it ever take me a long time to get used to not having much discretionary money.
- Dating again was a big hurtle. I was past 40 and in my mind women that age weren't suppose to be dating. I quickly learned that middle aged dating beats dating at 17 hands down.
- Sex or the lack of sex. With all that navel gazing it was a long time before I got back in the swing of things in that department.
- Sex...not the lack of, but the idea of sex with someone new. Enough said about that one!
Now, click on the comments link below and share your hurtles.
"If he cheated WITH you, he will cheat ON you." Something Tori Spelling failed to learn along the way. Tori isn't alone, a lot of people fail to understand that when they put faith and trust in someone they engaged in an affair with they are cheating themselves.
Why would anyone, man or woman expect fidelity from someone who has a history of cheating?
1. According to Judith Ray, a licensed family therapist in Colorado Springs, an attempt to alienate a child from his/her parent is not a gender specific issue. Mothers and Fathers both engage in the behavior.
As Ray says, "Those who are men tend to be narcissistic, characterized by a sense of entitlement, arrogance and low empathy. Female alienators often have borderline personalities, marked by insecurity, neediness, a strong fear of abandonment and chronic emptiness."
2. Parental Alienation occurs when one parent purposefully and willfully attempts to alienate a child from the child's other parent.
3. Never give up on your children. You may find yourself defenseless to fight the other parent in Family Court. You may find very little understanding of Parental Alienation among therapist, a Guardian Ad Litem, your own attorney and others you turn to for help. Regardless of your feelings of powerlessness, never give up on your children.
Nothing is more painful than feeling rejection from your child. It is imperative that you not allow the pain of that rejection to cause you to give up on your child. If you send consistent messages to your child that they are loved by you regardless of the anger they express toward you, your child will one day reach out to you.
Your child is defenseless against the power of the alienating parent. It is imperative that you be the steady, dependable and reliable influence in your child's life. How do you do this?† Whether you are allowed to see your child or not, you can show your child love on a daily basis.
- Send periodic emails expressing your love,
- If you don't have access to email, send a card or note,
- Never fail to send a Christmas gift or birthday gift,
- Refuse to engage in conflict with the alienating parent,
- Reach out to your child on a regular basis in any manner that is available to you.
These things work, I know from experience. I was an alienated parent. I did all these things during the time that my son was alienated from me and he eventually came home. Children grow, mature and begin to make their own decisions about what and who is right for them. If you show your child consistent love and understanding you will one day fall into the "who is right" category.
If you have a friend who is divorced, you are 75% more likely to divorce. If you have a friend who has a friend who is divorced, you are 33% more likely to divorce. As if divorced people don't have enough to worry about we now have to concern ourselves with spreading our ugly predicament to our married friends.
A research team headed by Rose McDermott of Brown University analyzed three decades of data on marriage, divorce and remarriage collected from thousands of residents of Framingham, Massachusetts and below is what they came up with in their study.
"Approaching the epidemiology of divorce from the perspective of an epidemic may be apt in more ways than one," McDermott and her colleagues wrote in a forthcoming article in the journal Social Forces. "The contagion of divorce can spread through a social network like a rumor, affecting friends up to two degrees removed."
With a divorce rate of nearly 50% it is going to be almost impossible for married couples to protect themselves from this new social contagion.