What to do BEFORE You File for Divorce or Separation

March 23, 2017

  OK, You’ve Decided to Divorce By Steve Litt, LCSW First, sit with the decision for a few days. Make sure you are not just very hurt and angry. If the decision is clear, a few more days won’t change that. You may have been thinking about this for a long time. I offer that there are things for you to do before you make the big announcement. Don’t declare your intentions yet and don’t file anything yet. In the meanwhile, BE NICE! Do your research before you act. When you stack cannon balls, how you set the first row determines how the subsequent rows will look. So it is with divorce. What you do at the beginning shapes the course and shape of what is to come. The Second thing to do is talk to professionals like lawyers and marriage counselors who are specialists. Do some checking around, every lawyer and therapist is not qualified to help. This could be the most important choice you make. Ask about your rights in a divorce. Ask for details of how the legal jurisdiction you live in functions. In some jurisdictions there are long waits to get to court. Some offer mediation or arbitration options. Some states have a do it yourself method for simple divorce. You do want to know all that you and yours will be facing. When the cost

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February 17, 2017

By Steve Litt, LCSW family-932245_1280 In announcing his upcoming divorce a great guy I know asked what’s it mean when she said “ I don’t want to be divorced from you. I want to be divorced to you”? Designer Divorce. Increasingly people are finding that divorce doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. It was so much easier when less people we doing it, say in the 1960’s. A divorce meant a lifelong estrangement. We weren’t going to talk, visit, go to the same places to eat, share family holidays and events. Nope, we were divorcing and that was the end of the relationship. Talk through the lawyers and just handle the money issues by mail or notes. Some people are still using that older version of divorce. There are times when that is a great idea. Not talking can reduce the toxic level of conflict that led to a divorce. I worked with one divorced couple where he was willing to be cordial and claimed he was over it. She, however, just had a hard time being in the same room with a guy who beat her with

December 28, 2016

I hope you are as excited about our new offering of Divorce, Version 4.0 which offers a free upgrade from 3.0 last revised in 1952. While 3.0 was much better than the older version of leaving the folded up clothes outside of the teepee, the required resources to carry on a lifetime of avoiding each other were too burdensome. Still, look how far we’ve come since Version 1.0, first launched by Henry the VIII. Most would agree that those beheadings and trials were costly and brutal.  In announcing his upcoming divorce a great guy I know asked what’s it mean when she said “ I don’t want to be divorced from you. I want to be divorced to you”? Designer Divorce. Increasingly people are finding that divorce doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone. It was so much easier when less people we doing it, say in the1750’s or 1950’s. A divorce meant a lifelong estrangement. We weren’t going to talk, visit, go to the same places to eat, share family holidays and events. Nope, we were divorcing and that was the end of the relationship. Just talk through the lawyers and handle the custody and money issues by mail or notes. Some people are still using that older version of divorce.

September 29, 2016

  By Steve Litt LCSW Gof Thrones couple   Start softly and be gentle. Sounds good doesn’t it? Cue the Barry White music…on 3. Just teasing. I am not talking about sex this time. Sorry. This piece is about how to begin a conversation with someone you love when there is a complaint. First think about what you want to accomplish by bringing up this complaint. It should almost always be that you want something to change, but not at the expense of hurting your partner. Starting softly sets the tone. Try it the next time you have a complaint. A gentle beginning might sound like, “Hey, Babe, is this a good time to talk? If it is, I would love to have a few minutes with you to work on something.” Follow that with, ” I was listening to the radio the other day and some financial guru was saying we all need to put more money in savings. I would like us to talk about that because I like the idea.” That’s so much better than, “You must think money grows on trees”,

July 24, 2016

By Steve Litt, LCSW If you are starting a private practice you probably know there are many ways to fail. Here I give you 50 that occur to me. I am open to hear any additions you might have. PLEASE!! Of course, I have made a lot of mistakes in my 49 years of practice, the biggest may be telling you how many years I’ve been at this. Some are obvious and some you may not agree with. The idea is get you thinking about how to be successful. I want you to succeed. My life has been wonderful and a great deal of that is a direct result of my private practice and the flexibility and freedom it has offered me. The 50 1. Spend too much on furniture and rent. 2. Rely on someone else to build and maintain your website. 3. “Specialize” in everything. 4. Only go into the office when you have appointments. 5. Only do PR when your caseload is low. 6. Only bill monthly. 7. Only take insurance. 8. Refuse to take insurance or learn how to help your clients with claims. 9. Stay in your office and only go to required CEU workshops. 10. Work alone and don’t share your struggles with others. 11. “Coach” folks and avoid the problems of a state license. 12. Dress like the dork that you really are. 11. Take your time returning calls because you are only working those hours. 12. Limit yourself to a structured week, let oth

July 7, 2016

Wills and Trusts It is going to happen, so get a will or a trust started now. By Steve Litt, LCSW, Professor Emeritus at DFI stevelittlcsw.com Plan now for your and your spouse’s death. If you aren’t married, but are living together as a committed couple, this is even more important. Marrieds have more protections and get more breaks in the law. A will or trust can greatly help unmarrieds. Too many of us ignore financial or estate planning for death. There aren’t enough of us with wills, especially if we are younger. Plan financially for the death of the other. Discuss how to manage finances, where the money is, who to ask for help with taxes, probate, and insurance. Don’t pretend that you will live forever. Ways to start a will There are many internet sources for writing your own will. With a little checking it’s easy to find something that will be a fit. You do get what you pay for, but unless you have complicated estate and trusts there is no need to spend thousands. There are even free sites. Whenever I want to do something I got to Wikihow or YouTube and see if there is anything useful on that site. There are also software packages that work well. I am no

May 20, 2015

Power Off (and On) to Empower Your Relationship By Rebecca Moravec, LPC “Technology is the knack of so arranging the world that we do not experience it” Rollo May, The Cry for Myth It is 8:00 p.m. My husband and I are settled in on the couch with the TV on. He is searching e-bay for who knows what on his Mac Book and I am scrolling through instagram on my smart phone. We are connected to so many devices and yet, we are obviously not connected to one another in this moment. This isn’t a new revelation—the idea that technology is causing us to walk around like zombies as we live in a virtual world. We know it…and yet we stay glued to our screens. So what do we do? When is it time to power off? And can we use technology to connect with our partners? Here are some ideas: Power OFF: 1.) Power off at meal times. Sharing a meal together is a great time to catch up on each others day. Put all devices away—sit at a table if you can—and tell each other the highs and lows of the day. It is important for you to know what is going on in your partners every day life! 2.) Power off when you get into bed. You don’t need to scroll through facebook or check your email that one last time. Put your devices away and spend some time cuddling….who knows where it might lead! 3.) Power off while you are watching a movie. Allow yourself to fully engage in a movie (or show) so that you aren’t asking your

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October 29, 2014

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