Co-parenting Tips for Summer

As summer vacation time arrives your kids may be doing cartwheels around the house because they’re so happy they don’t have to go to school for the next couple of months. Meanwhile, you may be cringing because summer vacation also means a vacation from routines and schedules if you co-parent with your ex.

Follow these great co-parenting tips for summer and everyone can enjoy their time off and still maintain a schedule.

Plan ahead with the other parent. With 3 months off and vacations in the mix, it’s best to plan ahead and to synch up with the other parent. This includes coordinating vacations or any special gatherings where your child should be present. Some parents may choose to spend two weeks with their child while others may do a week at a time. Once you know the other parent’s plans you can work out a schedule that will hopefully work for everyone. If not, compromise is the name of the game.

Get on the same page about any summer expectations. If one parent allows a child to sleep in until noon and not do any of the summer reading homework while the other does just the opposite, it sends a mixed message to your child and can lead to disgruntled children and frustrated parents. If your ex is amenable, discuss any summer expectations so that the rules are the same no matter which parent your child is with at the time. Most children thrive on consistency, and this is a great way to avoid too many battles with your kids over screen time and sleeping in.

Have a master calendar for yourself that contains everybody’s schedule. With so many events, activities, camps, vacations, etc., it’s nearly impossible to remember what’s happening when or who is supposed to be where when. If you have a master calendar for yourself that contains everybody’s schedule (including your own) you can see what’s going on and where everyone will be.

While some people do this on their phones, it’s best to do it on an actual paper calendar that you can see and touch. Although technology is great we all know phones can fail or break at any time. Then what happens to your calendar? Having an actual paper calendar that you can see and write on will help to better organize everyone’s summer schedule. Bonus: your kids can check the calendar and know where they are supposed to be, and when, so they can help you with reminders!

Make memories. Summer is all about making memories. This means giving your child your full attention when they’re with you. Stay off of social media, focus on them and try to plan fun activities you’ll both enjoy. This also means to allow the other parent to make memories and not become jealous. Children cherish time with each parent. Don’t make it a competition and don’t belittle whatever activity your child does with your ex. These are special times you won’t get back, so make the most of them!

While you may still hit some co-parenting bumps in the road over the summer, following these tips can make it a smoother ride for everyone.

Are you being emotionally abused in your marriage?

are-you-being-emotionally-abused-in-marriage

Domestic abuse comes in many forms: physical, emotional, psychological, and financial. Unlike physical abuse, emotional abuse may not be as visible and may be easier to ignore. Despite this, its effects can be just as damaging.

What is emotional abuse?

In order to recognize emotional abuse in a marriage, you need to understand what it is and what it entails. Emotional abuse is when a partner uses any words or behaviors that demean you, belittle you, control, punish or manipulate you in any way.

Verbal abuse is perhaps the most common form of emotional abuse. It is not often immediately recognized because the victim may not be fully aware of what is happening. The abuser may say something subtly or try to mask the words as a joke. Although this type of abuse may not be as obvious, it is still hurtful.

Other forms of verbal abuse are more obvious. Blatant criticism like telling a partner he or she is ugly, overweight, or stupid is demeaning and abusive.

Constantly undermining a partner and devaluing their worth is also a form of emotional abuse. If a partner makes you feel as though your thoughts and feelings don’t matter, you are a victim of emotional abuse.

Other Examples of Emotional Abuse

Many times emotional abuse is difficult to detect because the victim will try to brush it off.Besides name calling and devaluing a partner’s self-worth, emotional abuse can come in many other different shapes and forms.

Emotional abusers have no interest in what you have to say or what you think. They will effectively shut you down every opportunity they get. This means there is no room for conversation; only a one-way monologue.

If you are being emotionally abused, you may be constantly accused of doing or saying things you never did. Along the same line of thought, the abuser may also deny conversations or events, making you doubt your own reality. This form of control can make you feel as though you are going crazy.

In order to recognize different forms of emotional abuse, you need to understand that the abuser is using his or her words and actions as a way to control you. The first few times it happens you may think it’s just a fluke. If you pay attention, over time you will notice a destructive pattern that is taking its toll on you and can no longer be hidden.

Effects of emotional abuse

Emotional abuse can affect you both mentally and physically. Here are some signs to watch for:

  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Lower sex drive
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

If you feel as though you are suffering from any of these issues, it’s time to take action and stop being a victim.

What to do if you’re being emotionally abused

If you are being emotionally abused you don’t have to continue taking the abuse. There are steps you can take to regain your self-worth.

  • Talk to a friend or therapist. You need to tell your story. Talk to a trusted friend to get their opinion. If you feel as though your friend will not be objective, see a therapist. He or she will not only listen to you but will give you an unbiased analysis as well as the advice on how to proceed.
  • Confront your abuser. This may be tough, especially if the abuse has been ongoing. Confront your abuser and let him or her know that what they’re doing is not okay. Assert your self-worth. Using statements like, “I will not be talked to that way” or “I am not stupid (etc.)”, not only lets your abuser know you recognize what is going on but also that you won’t stand for it any longer. Also, try to have an honest conversation about what is happening and the need to change the situation.
  • Find positive influences in your life. If you’ve been broken down by an emotional abuser, find positive influences in your life and things that make you happy. This will help the healing process.

As much as you may try and want the relationship to work, it takes the interest and effort of two people. Without that, the relationship may not be worth saving.

5 Wonderful Family Water Adventures in Beautiful Orange County

If you love going to the beach with your family but are looking for a little different spin on things, we’ve got you covered! In today’s blog, we’re giving you some fun family water-based activities the whole family will enjoy. And they’re all conveniently located either in or close to Huntington Beach so you spend less time driving, and more time having fun!

Family Surfing Lessons

Everyone can learn how to “hang 10” at the Banzai Surf School in Huntington Beach. Here you can opt for group lessons or private lessons for the whole family.

Wonderful Family Water Adventures in Beautiful Orange County

Image: yelp.com/Banzai Surf School

There are as many instructors provided as needed to keep everyone safe, and anyone under the age of 8 will have their own personal instructor. If you are planning on taking a lesson, opt for the morning over the afternoon as the afternoon can become too windy. The Banzai Surf School is available for lessons year-round and can even be booked the same day. The school prides itself on having ninety percent of students standing up on the surfboard during their first lesson.

Banzai Surf School

Banzai Surf School

Phone: (714) 813-2880

Hours: Mon – Sun: 7AM – 7PM

Accepts Reservations: Yes

Currencies Accepted: USD

Website:

Sign-Up: Banzai Prices & Signup

Kayaking Huntington Harbor (OEX)

Kayaking is a great family water adventure. You can rent a kayak from OEX Sunset Beach and start paddling your way across Huntington Harbor.

Wonderful Family Water Adventures in Beautiful Orange County 2

Image: yelp.com/Mardy S.

The typical rental here is a 2-hour kayak rental to paddle through the canals of Huntington Harbor. There are five islands and approximately nine canals to get through so a two-hour ride is usually recommended. You can choose to kayak the old fashioned way or try one of the kayaks that are powered by a foot pedal system. Take a break by picnicking in one of the parks you pass or stop for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants. OEX Sunset Beach is open daily from 9a.m.-5: 30 p.m. for rentals.

OEX Sunset Beach

OEX Sunset Beach Logo

Phone: (562) 592-0800

Store Hours: Mon – Sun: 9AM – 6PM
Rental Hours:Mon – Sun: 9AM – 5:30PM

Accepts Reservations: No

Currencies Accepted: USD

Website:

Services: OEX Kayaking, Kayak Fishing and Stand Up Paddle

Kids Paddle Camp (Pirate Coast Paddle Company)

If you’re looking for a fun activity for your kids, why not paddleboard camp? Pirate Coast Paddle Company in Newport Beach offers a 5-day camp that teaches kids the basics of paddle boarding.

Wonderful Family Water Adventures in Beautiful Orange County 3

Image: yelp.com/Chris K.

Each day of the camp focuses on a new skill so that by the end of the week the kids will be knowledgeable paddle boarders. There are several sessions held throughout the summer. Pirate Coast Paddle Company also offers kayak rentals for the whole family as well as paddleboard rentals for adults.

Pirate Coast Paddle Company

Pirate Coast Paddle Company Logo

Phone: (949) 278-0011

Hours: Mon – By Appt
Sat – Sun 10AM – 6PM

Accepts Reservations: Yes

Currencies Accepted: USD

Website:

Services: Pirate Coast Rentals, Lessons and Kid`s Camp

Rent a Duffy Boat and tour Newport Bay

A great way to spend some quality family time out on the water is to rent a Duffy boat at Duffy Electric Boat Rentals of Newport Beach and tour Newport Bay.

Wonderful Family Water Adventures in Beautiful Orange County 4

Image: yelp.com/A.M.

Each Duffy electric boat can fit ten people comfortably, with a maximum of twelve per boat. The boats are touring speed and are as easy to drive as a golf cart. Each boat has a full canopy top to shelter you and your family from the sun. You can bring food and beverage along with you for your trip or choose to tie up your boat and dine at one of several excellent restaurants along the way. Boat rentals range from two to four hours.

Duffy

Duffy Logo

Phone: (949) 645-6812

Hours: Mon – Sun: 10AM – 8PM

Accepts Reservations: No

Currencies Accepted: USD

Website:

Services: Boat Rentals

Dolphin and Whale Watching

Planning a whale and dolphin watching trip with your family is well worth it when you’re visiting Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Safari.

Wonderful Family Water Adventures in Beautiful Orange County 5

Image: yelp.com/captain dave’s dolphin & whale safari

Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari is located in Dana Point, where you’ll see plenty of dolphins and whales without having to go too far out into the ocean. Seeing magnificent whales and playful dolphins up close are memories your family will remember for a lifetime!

Captain Dave’s boats have unique underwater viewing pods that make you feel as though you’re swimming with the ocean wildlife; if for some reason you don’t see any whales or dolphins while you’re out on your trip (which is highly unlikely) you can return for free within one year to give it a second try.

From kayaking to Duffy boats to whale watching, there’s something for the entire family to enjoy in Orange County. The next time you’re looking for a family water adventure give one of these activities a try!

Captain Dave’s

Captain Dave Logo

Phone: (949) 488-2828

Hours: Mon – Sun: 10AM – 8PM

Accepts Reservations: Yes

Currencies Accepted: USD

Website:

Services: Captain Dave`s Dolphin & Whale Watching

How to Thrive as a Single Mom

If you’ve recently become a single mom due to divorce, you might be wondering “Am I up for the challenge?” The answer is yes! You can do it; take life one step at a time, and keep moving forward. You’ll likely encounter challenges and moments of being overwhelmed along the way, but there is always a solution. With that in mind, here are six tips to help you thrive as a single mom.

Look for your tribe. You know the saying, “birds of a feather flock together”, and well it couldn’t be truer when talking about single moms. When you’re a single mom, it helps to find others who are in the same situation. While your other mom friends with a two-parent household can still be there for you, sometimes they will not fully understand what you are dealing with on a daily basis. Also if your new single mom status is the result of a divorce, the friendships you had with other moms while you part of a married couple may change, especially if they’re still friends with your ex. You can find support and help in groups of people who are living the same life you are.

Make sure you have an emergency fund. When you only have one income to rely on, an emergency fund is more important than ever. Many women new to the single mom role also find themselves in total control of the family finances for the first time ever. This can be overwhelming but can be overcome. Craft a budget and figure out how much you can safely put away in an emergency fund on a monthly basis. Most financial experts recommend between 3-6 months of expenses in a savings account specifically as a safety net, to be used in the event of a financial crisis like house repairs, medical bills, car repairs, etc.

Don’t worry about what other people think. We are all judged every day. Whether it’s at work or when we’re simply walking down the street. If you’ re a single mom due to a divorce you may be afraid of how people will perceive you. It doesn’t matter! As long as you are taking care of yourself and your kids, that’s all that counts. Let everyone think whatever they want.

Prioritize self-care. Most moms take care of everyone else first and put themselves and their needs last…constantly. Don’t do this! You need to take care of yourself now more than ever. When you’re a single mom, you’re pretty much on-duty all of the time. Learn to take a break. Even if it’s just a short walk around the block or a few minutes curled up with your favorite book, it’s quality, not quantity. Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. You need it. This type of downtime will help you manage stress and ultimately be a better parent.

Believe in yourself. It’s easy to get down on yourself and think that you can’t make the single mom thing work. Feel confident that you can be an awesome mom and remember no mom is perfect. But if you do your best and are taking care of your kids, that’s all that matters. If you need a confidence boost, have lunch with a best buddy who can lift you up or try listening to an inspirational podcast.

Be present with your kids. As a single mom, you’re with your kids a lot. But, are you present with them? There’s a big difference. Simply being with them is not enough. Being present with your kids means putting the phone away and getting rid of any other distractions so that you can focus on them. Talk with them, do an activity with them, interact with them. That’s what being present with them is all about. The precious time you spend is well worth it.

You can thrive as a single mom and you will. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint!

How to Get Your Groove Back After Divorce

A divorce is a life-altering event that can leave many people feeling empty when all is said and done. Despite the many changes that come along with divorce, there are things you can do to get yo ur groove back and make your life even better than it was before you got divorced.

Get busy. The worst thing you can do is sit around the house and watch TV all day. Keeping busy will not only keep you from thinking about the end of your marriage but will also open up new doors. Fill your schedule with dinners with friends. Get out and meet new people; consider taking up a hobby that maybe you hadn’t had time to explore.

The possibilities are endless. As you’re keeping busy and finding new activities you’ll start reinventing yourself and may discover interests and skills you never knew you had. Think of this time as a beginning, not an end. When you do, you’ll see the difference.

Get control of your finances. All of your joint bank accounts and credit cards should have now transformed themselves into your own personal accounts. This can be overwhelming, especially if you have leftover expenses from the divorce that you are still trying to pay.

If you weren’t the one who maintained the family finances and checkbook, you may feel an extra weight on your shoulders. While you can try to navigate your finances on your own, you may also want to look into getting a financial advisor to help. He or she will sit down with you and help determine your expenses as well as how much you should be trying to save each month. Once you set a budget and new financial goals, you can begin to manage things on your own. It’s an empowering feeling to be in control of your finances.

Start a journal. Anyone will tell you it’s not good for you to keep all of your feelings and emotions bottled up inside; you need to have an outlet. For some people that outlet is social media. But, that venue is not the best to share, or in many cases overshareyour most private thoughts. Writing in a journal is a better alternative. You receive the benefits of getting your feelings out without the whole world having access to them on social media.

Work out. If you worked out when you were married and through your divorce then you know about the benefits of exercise and those feel-good endorphins that it releases. If you have never worked out, there’s no time like the present. Those feel-good endorphins are just what you need to help get you out of the slump you may be falling into.

Scientific studies have shownthat regular participation in aerobic exercise can decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. It only takes about five minutes of aerobic exercise to stimulate anti-anxiety effects!

Practice self-care. Self-care is incredibly important both during and after your divorce. You can practice self-care by doing the things that make you feel good; this can come in many shapes and forms. Perhaps you want to have a spa day or buy a new outfit or get lost in a new book. Maybe you want to do something as simple, yet rewarding, as taking a hot bath.

Also in the category of self-care are things like getting enough sleep, not drinking too much, and eating healthy.This is a great time to get back on track; take the time to do it and you’ll feel that much better.
Remember, you can get your groove back after divorce. Treat the process as a marathon, not a sprint and you can achieve anything!

5 Fantastic Local Boutiques in Huntington Beach

Boutiques are fun places to shop; they offer unique items and clothes that you won’t find at a chain store in the mall (or anywhere else, for that matter!) Huntington Beach has some amazing boutiques you’ll want to check out when you’re looking for something special. Here are 5 boutiques you will love in Huntington Beach:

Luna Boutique

Luna Boutique, located on Beach Boulevard, is your go-to spot for stylish women’s fashions and accessories.

Fantastic Local Boutiques in Huntington Beach

Image: yelp.com/Luna Boutique

Luna Boutique is a charming neighborhood boutique that offers Orange County stylites a trendy boutique without the trendy attitude and hefty price tag. They have a huge selection and you’ll find lots of casual wear clothing, as well as items that are perfect for a night out. The staff is attentive and friendly; they’ll help you find the perfect outfit or item from their selection of dresses, tops, bottoms, sweaters,jackets, intimates, swimwear, jewelry,and accessories. Top brands sold here include Blue Life, Jetset Diaries, Free People, Mink Pink, Novella Royale, Amuse Society and many others.

Luna boutique

Luna Boutique Logo

Phone: (714) 962-9749

Hours: Mon – Fri: 11am – 8pm
Sat: 11am –7pm
Sun: 12pm – 5pm

Currencies Accepted: USD

Website:

Model Citizen

Model Citizen is known for its wide variety of women’s clothing and accessories.

Fantastic Local Boutiques in Huntington Beach 2

Image: yelp.com/Lauren P.

Located in beautiful downtown Huntington Beach, Model Citizen carries an assortment of contemporary apparel, accessories, and gift items. Here you’ll find everything from casual and comfy tops to dresses that are perfect for a night out on the town. If you like what you see but aren’t sure how to make it all work, Model Citizen also offers private styling sessions to help you find the perfect outfit. Besides being open seven days a week, Model Citizen can also be booked for private parties and fundraisers.

Model Citizen

Model Citizen Logo

Phone: (714) 960-6870

Hours: Sun-Mon: 11am – 6pm
Tues: 10am –9pm
Wed: 11am –7pm
Thurs-Sat: 10am – 7pm

Currencies Accepted: USD

Website:

Smocking Birds Children’s Boutique

When you looking for children’s clothing and accessories, look no further than Smocking Bird Children’s Boutique on Pacific Coast Highway.

Fantastic Local Boutiques in Huntington Beach 3

Image:yelp.com/Stephanie H.

This one-of-a-kind baby and children’s boutique offers the cutest styles of children’s clothing along with accessories that will make your baby the best-dressed on the block. Smocking Birds organic baby clothes and toys from brands like Milkbarn, Kickee Pants, and Silkberry Baby.

There’s no need to go to big box stores when you’re looking for toys and books because Smocking Bird carries those too. You’ll find well-known brands like Melissa & Doug as well as Cloud B. You can also find some nifty baby items like the Lollacup and RuffleButts, seen on the show “Shark Tank”.

Besides offering a wide variety of baby clothes and accessories, Smocking Bird’s also holds a special kids’ club event the third Tuesday of every month where parents and children can enjoy stories, music, crafts, and goodies!

Smocking Birds

Smocking Birds Logo

Phone: (714) 600-2162

Hours: Mon – Sat: 10am – 8pm
Sun: 11am – 6pm

Currencies Accepted: USD

Website:

Merrilee’s Swimwear

Merrilee’s Swimwear has made a name for itself in the world of swimwear fashions.

Fantastic Local Boutiques in Huntington Beach 4

Image: yelp.com/Paisley T.

For the past 40 years, Merrilee’s has been designing and selling swimwear and beach fashions to Southern California and the world. Merilee’s is known as a one-stop shop for all your beach needs and original swimwear.

From sandals and beach towels to beach bags and cover-ups, you don’t need to go anywhere else to find your beach necessities. Located on 5th Street in Huntington Beach, Merrilee’s also sells fun beach-inspired gifts as well as candles and other items for the home. Life’s a beach at Merilee’s!

Merrilee’s Swimwear

Merrilees Swimwear Logo

Phone: (714) 960-8433

Hours: Mon – Sat: 10am – 9pm
Sun: 10am – 8pm

Currencies Accepted: USD

Website:

Irene’s Story

Irene’s Story brings the chicest and trendiest fashions to the Huntington Beach area. With its location on Pacific Coast Highway and several other stores in California, Irene’s Story sells items that are carefully selected to reflect its customers.

Fantastic Local Boutiques in Huntington Beach 5

Image:facebook.com/Irene’s Story

For over ten years, Irene’s Story has sold a variety of fashions to women whether they are looking for something fancy or something a bit more casual.

Besides clothing, you’ll also find accessories like bags, jewelry, hats, and scarves to complement your outfit. You’ll also love the curated selection of items for your home, items from blankets to candles. Tell your own story with items from this boutique that has plenty to offer.

Boutique shopping in Huntington Beach has never been better with this wide range of stores to help showcase your own personal style.

Irene’s Story

Irene's Story Logo

Phone: (714) 969-2244

Hours: Mon – Fri: 10am – 9pm
Sat: 11am –6pm

Currencies Accepted: USD

Website:

How to Rebuild a Stable Financial Future After Divorce

By Bart Zandbergen, CFP®

I have a special guest on the blog today, Bart Zandbergen, CFP®. Bart is a Senior Partner with Optivest. He has great passion for helping clients realize financial goals and dreams through integrity, focus, and genuine care for their well-being.

Prior to joining Optivest, Bart spent 25 years as a Certified Financial Planner® and Registered Investment Advisor with Financial Management Network, Inc. where he was selected as one of America’s Best Financial Planners by the Consumers’ Research Council of America. Bart is a Five Star Wealth Manager and has been recognized for his integrity and skill in Orange Coast Magazine for five consecutive years. Bart holds a FINRA Series 7 license as well as a Life/Health/Disability Insurance license. He obtained his CFP® certification from the College for Financial Planning in Denver, Colorado and has received his Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Certificate.

I hope you enjoy Bart’s terrific blog on creating a financially stable life after divorce!

Navigating the rough road of divorce can be a strain, physically, emotionally and financially. From a financial standpoint, it can be especially stressful if you were not involved in the financial decision-making during your marriage or didn’t have a good understanding of your financial situation as a couple.

If your divorce is complete, it’s time to start rebuilding your financial house piece by piece. For some, this can be a scary situation, but you can be confident in your ability do it, albeit with some professional help!

Let’s address how you might go about getting your financial fresh start after divorce.

First, you’ll need to an inventory of your current financial situation. Detail out your assets, income and expenses, and create a budget. A budget is essential when you start life on your own, especially if you were not the spouse managing the money when you were married.

Also in this step, I would encourage you to write out your financial goals and future plans. Do you have any big expenditures coming up in the near future? When do you want to retire? What would you like your retirement to look like? These are all questions that are good to think about as you start to address your financial situation and plan for the future.

Next, find a financial planner or wealth advisor to help you map out a financial plan; I recommend a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®). CFPs have completed extensive training as well as met experience requirements and are held to rigorous ethical standards. They understand the complexities of the changing financial climate and know how to make recommendations in your best interest.

This step is critically important if you have received a lump sum of money from your divorce settlement. Before spending any of that, I highly recommend you find a trusted CFP® to help you create a plan for your money.

A CFP® will also help you create a path to retirement.Many people find themselves having to reset their retirement date or modify their retirement plan after divorce. A CFP® will help you address important retirement issues from your divorce, such as:

  • Whether you’re eligible for spousal social security benefits, and if so, when you can file for them.
  • If you have a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO), how that works and what it means to you.
  • How to manage any joint assets you continue to hold with your ex after divorce.

There are some additional topics you will want to discuss with your financial advisor as well:

  • If you have debt, you will need a plan to pay it off and bring it zero as soon as possible. If you are still investing and are carrying debt as well, your advisor might recommend putting your investing on hold until your debt is payed off. Make sure your advisor knows about your total amount of debt.
  • A plan to rebuild your savings, if they have been depleted. A good rule of thumb is to have 3-6 months’ worth of expenses in an easily accessible savings account.
  • Your tax situation
  • The best types of funds and ETFs for your retirement portfolio moving forward
  • An investment plan tailored for your specific personal situation

I know this can all sound daunting and overwhelming if you were not involved in managing your investments and finances during your marriage. One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to start the process immediately after divorce. I have seen many individuals make the mistake of burying their head in the sand because it hurts too much to think about, or they wait until the alimony and child support run out and reality hits.

The first few years after your divorce are transitional ones, so gather your strength and address your financial situation head-on. Though difficult, you will find yourself and your family on a better path to the future, full of excitement and hopes and dreams.


Bart Zandbergen, CFP®
Senior Partner, Optivest Wealth Management
(949) 363-8686
bart@optivestinc.com
bartzandbergen.com
optivestinc.com

Divorce after 50: How Gray Divorce is Different

Gray Divorce

Divorce among couples who have been married a long time (twenty years or more), also known as gray divorce, is on the rise. Statistics show the number of people over 50 who are getting divorces has doubled since 1990. Today more than 15% of couples over 50 are divorced with one in every four divorces in the U.S. classified as “gray divorces”.

Why do gray divorces happen?

Sometimes people think if a couple has been married for the majority of their lives it’s a case of ‘til death do us part. But, the numbers show that’s not the case. Couples who decide to divorce later in life have usually been unhappy for some time, but they’ve just gone along with it for one reason or another. But,there comes a point when they want and need a change. For many, their kids are grown up and it’s just the two of them now. Either one or both partners decide they don’t want to live the rest of their lives unhappy, so they divorce. The majority of the time it is actually the woman who initiates the break-up. Another reason cited for gray divorce is thatmore and more Americans are living longer and healthier lives and want their remaining years to be the happiest they can be. If that means divorcing, then that’s what they decide.

Gray Divorce Issues

Although all divorces bring their own problems, gray divorces carry a unique set of issues.

Financial Issues

Since the divorce is happening later in life, there is less time to recover financially. If you are retired and on a fixed income, there is now only one fixed income every month, not two. For some this leads to financial problems instead of relaxing and enjoying the retirement years.

Because of financial problems some are forced to go back to work to make up the difference. Sometimes it can be difficult for older people to re-enter the workforce and compete with the college graduate crowd. Also, they may not earn what they need to get by.

Family Issues

Dealing with adult children and divorce can also be difficult. Although they are grown, children of gray divorces are also impacted. Some may feel as though their parents stayed together for so long because of them and are now splitting up because they have moved out of the house. This can cause feelings of guilt. Also, since those children are adults they understand the ins and outs of divorce and may feel the need to side with one parent over another. The most important thing is to let adult children remain neutral and have relationships with both parents if they choose to do so.

If you find yourself later in life and wish to divorce, it’s important to seek the advice of a divorce lawyer who understands the effects of dividing retirement assets relative to you target retirement date. It is also important to consult with a financial planner, preferably a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), who can analyze the impact a divorce will have on your income and make recommendations for both now and in retirement.

Our Top Picks for Holiday Fun in Orange County

Our Top Picks for Holiday Fun in Orange County

The holiday season is in full swing in Orange County with plenty to do and see for the entire family. You don’t want to miss out on these fun and festive events that will certainly get you in the spirit of the season!

The Chill at the Queen Mary

Where can you find a 38,000 square foot ice adventure park complete with skating, an ice track, and Amsterdam Bumper Boats? Nowhere else but at The Chill at the Queen Mary!

Holiday Fun in Orange County 1

Image: yelp.com/ Tracy C.

This is the spot for winter fun this holiday season. Besides the winter ice activities enjoy a tribute to cultures all around the world as well as a global sampling of food, music, and live entertainment. All of this takes place at the world famous Queen Mary in Long Beach. You can buy your tickets online, but don’t wait too long. This fabulous winter event will close for the season on January 7th.

WinterFest at the OC Fair

The magic of the season comes alive at WinterFest at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa.

Holiday Fun in Orange County 2

Image: yelp.com/ Native_Inspired

Whether it’s ice tubing down a 150 foot mountain or catching a glimpse of Santa and his reindeer as they fly over the fairgrounds, there is truly something for everyone at WinterFest. There are carnival rides as well as a massive snow and slide play area for the kids. Don’t forget the nightly fireworks, snow fall and tree lighting. A model train exhibit and light maze are just a couple of the new items you’ll find at this year’s WinterFest. Get your tickets online. The WinterFest is open through January 7th.

Holiday Zoobilation at the Santa Ana Zoo

Sure you’ve probably visited the Santa Ana Zoo before, but have you seen the Holiday Zoobilation?

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Image: facebook.com/Santa Ana Zoo

The zoo is transformed into a winter wonderland complete with snow, music, and special decorations. Come see the mischievous monkeys, train and carousel rides.This event is almost over, so be sure to stop by the Santa Ana Zoo soon. When 2017 is over so is this seasonal exhibit as it only lasts through December 31st.

Holiday lights on Birch St. in Brea

Going to check out holiday lights is a tradition in Brea where an entire neighborhood lights the night.

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Image: yelp.com/ Wu N.

Birch Street is known for its extensive holiday light displays. It all started in 1981 when one man decided to decorate his house for Christmas. Then one neighbor decided to join in, followed by another, and another, giving birth to this holiday tradition. You can drive through or park your car and stroll down the street to take in the sights. The holiday lights on Birch Street will stay lit through December 31st.

The Nutcracker at Irvine Barclay Theatre

It’s a holiday classic for the entire family. The Irvine Barclay Theatre is hosting the Nutcracker through Christmas Eve.

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Image: facebook.com/Irvine Barclay Theatre

Take a magical journey to mystical lands with the Sugar Plum Fairy and the rest of the sparkling cast. Renowned guest artists as well as professional company dancers make up the ensemble. Tickets can be bought online or at the box officeat the Irvine Barclay Theater.

Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train to Santa

The Irvine Park Railroad is the place to be for Christmas activities for the entire family.

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Image: facebook.com/Irvine Park Railroad

Come and get your picture taken with Santa, go ice fishing, play carnival games, or let the kids jump around on the moon bounce. While you’re there be sure to taste some great food! There are also free activities inside of Santa’s Village. Hear a story from Mrs. Claus, color some holiday pictures in the coloring corner or take some photos in the picture stands. Santa’s Village and all of the activities are open everyday until December 23rd.

Orange County is bustling with holiday fun for the entire family. Be sure to get in on the fun before the magic of the season is over!

Tips for Navigating a High Conflict Divorce

Tips for Navigating a High Conflict Divorce

When it comes to divorce, some are easier to navigate than others. While some couples can amicably separate with minimal interference, there are others where the situation is anything but friendly. These types of divorce are often labeled as “high-conflict” because they usually involve just that…high levels of conflict. They are often costly as well.

High-conflict divorce can include anything from drawn-out legal proceedings to custody battles. At times it may even include restraining orders and accusations of domestic violence. Sometimes, when children are involved, I have seen them used as pawns.High conflict divorces can seem like a never-ending battle with your soon-to-be ex.

A high-conflict divorce usually happens when you’re dealing with someone who has a high-conflict personality. Psychologists describe people with a high-conflict personality as having four similar traits: unmanaged emotions, extreme behavior or threats, a preoccupation with blaming others, and lots of “all or nothing” thinking.

Psychologists have not been able to pinpoint why people act this particular way, but when you put this personality type into the dealings of divorce you can end up with an explosive situation. There are four specific things you can do if you’re dealing with someone with a high-conflict personality:

Maintain careful and respectful communication. If you’re in the middle of a high-conflict divorce it’s your job to maintain careful and respectful communication. If you are not being treated with respect, it is your right to tell the other person. If you are being bullied in a conversation, end the conversation. If you receive hostile texts or e-mails, your best option is not to respond to them. If you think the communication needs a response (like if it deals with legal proceedings), keep responses as brief and civil as possible.

Work with a skilled divorce team (therapist and family law attorney). You can’t deal with a high-conflict divorce on your own. You need a skilled family law attorney as well as a therapist on your team. The family law attorney will make sure your rights are protected while a therapist can help you work through the emotions of a high-conflict divorce.

Be diligent about self-care. It’s important to take care of yourself when going through a high-conflict divorce. There’s bound to be stress, so exercise is a good way to deal with that component. Also, eating well can help you maintain your health and feel good. Although you may not feel like laughing, spending time with friends to get your mind off things is also a good idea.

Consider parallel parenting instead of co-parenting. Co-parenting involves both parents, who assume joint responsibility for raising their children, after divorce. Co-parenting can be difficult and stressful, even if you have a good relationship with your ex.

So, if every conversation or encounter ends in a full-blown argument, you may want to consider parallel parenting. This is when parents have limited direct contact with each other because they just can’t have healthy interactions. This often helps the child because he or she doesn’t have to see as much arguing.

Co-parenting usually works best when both parents can have healthy and respectful conversations and are able to make decisions together. Often parallel parenting is chosen to allow some dust to settle while still allowing both parents to be involved in their children’s lives. Whether you are co-parenting or parallel parenting, remember to keep the focus on the kids and their well-being.

Keeping these things in mind when dealing with a high-conflict divorce can help you cope during this difficult time.