DON’T LET FEAR AND ANGER DERAIL YOU

My job as a family law attorney is to try to help people get through the worst time in their lives.  Their most personal relationship is crumbling – the one they thought would last forever.  They are afraid  for their children.  They are forced to divide assets that they may have slaved their lives away to accumulate. They fear what the future might look like and wonder how they will survive.  Their whole world is being torn apart.  They feel powerless. 


In difficult times it is easy for us to get caught up in fear, anger, and all the negatives, and lose sight of the fact that family, friends, good health, and a connection to our community are our truest source of riches.

We need to remember that while we cannot control outside circumstances, or how other people may act, we do have the power to control our own attitude.  This power is something that can never be taken from us.  Despite our current difficulties, we can focus on the positive aspects of our lives.  We can try to be more forgiving of ourselves and others.  We can take small steps to live a healthier lifestyle.  We can be grateful for what we do have.  This certainly isn’t an easy task, but it’s the key to being able to weather the storms of life.


Finally, “being of service” is the ultimate cure for fear, anger, resentment and self-pity.  Helping others enables us put our own life in perspective.  It reminds us that we are not alone in our suffering.  There are many others whose lives are even tougher than ours.  By stepping up and showing kindness and compassion, we can ease the pain of others  — and heal ourselves in the process.  Being of service empowers us and allows us to move forward.

If you are caught in the downward spiral of a crumbling relationship and negative thinking, I’m here to tell you that there is a beacon of light at the end of the tunnel.  Your problems are only temporary, and there are things you can do to get you through this difficult time.  Focusing on what is good in your life; maintaining a positive attitude; exercising; getting enough sleep; eating well; turning to family, friends, and faith; becoming active in your community; getting counseling; trying to be more forgiving of yourself and others; being of service; and being grateful for what you have, instead of being resentful for what you lack — these are the things that will get you through.  And one day, you may just wake up and discover that you have become a stronger and happier person than ever before. 

The Law Office of Gary J. Frank has been a fixture in the Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona for over thirty years.  Gary Frank is a Family Law litigator, a mediator, and a former Judge Pro Tem.  Our firm handles a wide array of cases, such as divorce, custody, relocation, paternity, child and spousal support, division of property and businesses, modification and enforcement actions, grandparent and non-parent rights, and all matters relating to families and children.  If you are in need of a consultation, please do not hesitate.  Contact us today.  You can reach us by telephone at 602-383-3610, or by email at [email protected], or through our website at www.garyfranklaw.com.  We’d be honored to help you.

 

HOW TO BOUNCE BACK FROM DIVORCE

 

Divorce is a life-changing experience.  Anyone who has been through the experience will agree.  But although it is certainly difficult, it doesn’t have to be devastating.  With a positive attitude and good coping strategies, you can survive the transition and build a happier life than you ever thought possible.
1.    Accept that your life has changed:  Don’t live in a state of denial.  Accept the fact that you are now single and life will be different.  Look for ways to build new friendships and support systems.  Force yourself to get up off the couch.  Take small steps.
2.    Be open to counseling:  Pain, fear, and anger come with the territory when we go through a divorce.  After all, we are human.  But there are excellent psychologists and counselors in every city who can help you work through your feelings and find healthy ways to cope.  You would go to a mechanic if your car broke down.  They are experts at fixing the problem.  So, why wouldn’t you look for a good counselor to help you with trouble in your life?  Counselors have worked with hundreds, or thousands, of people whose problems are similar to your own.  They have developed techniques that work.  A professional counselor can assist you in overcoming the obstacles you are facing, and help you find your way to a better life.
3.    Join a support group:  If you are newly divorced, or in the process of ending your marriage, it may feel like you are the only person to ever have experienced such wrenching distress and loneliness.  But you are not alone.  Don’t try to navigate those difficult emotions all by yourself.  Look for a divorce support group in your area.  It’s not as uncomfortable as you think.  There are others who have experienced what you are feeling, or who are going through the same thing as you are now.  They can be a great source of friendship, inspiration, and support.  You may even meet new lifelong friends.
4.    Become involved in positive activities:  A person going through divorce can feel that he or she is literally drowning in troubles.  It is easy to fall into a pattern of obsessing over your problems and your misery.  You may find yourself “living in your own head.”  The best remedy is to become involved in something bigger than yourself.  Find an interesting job.  Volunteer with a charitable organization.  Join a gym, take yoga, or sign up for a Zumba class.  The choices are unlimited.  Once you become immersed in a positive activity, your own problems seem much smaller.
5.    Take time to exercise:  That old saying, “Strong Body, Strong Mind” . . . Modern science has proven it to be true.  The beneficial effect of exercise on the mind is now universally accepted by doctors, scientists, and behavioral health experts.  Exercise releases endorphins – the body’s own natural “feel-good” drug.  Exercise makes the heart and muscles stronger, lowers our blood-pressure, and provides a sense of well-being.  So, why wait?  Start an exercise program today.
6.    Choose healthier foods:  Food is what fuels our body and our brain.  You can feel better, happier, and stronger simply by reducing or eliminating sugary sodas and fatty fast-foods, and replacing them with fresh vegetables of every color, along with fish, poultry, and lean meat.  This is an easy and delicious way to change your life.
7.    Get a good night’s sleep:  There is no more important factor on our mental functioning than sleep.  The problem is that, as a society, we are all sleep-deprived.  Your first step in bouncing back from divorce should be to make sure you get between 6 to 8 hours of sleep each and every night.
8.    Find a hobby:  Yes, we need to be able to support ourselves, but there is more to life than work and chasing children around the house.  Find an outlet, something you like to do – and pursue it.  It might be a sport, such as softball, running, or golf.  It could be music, or art, or reading.  Whatever gives you pleasure.  Having a hobby breaks up your day, and can make your life more enjoyable and exciting.
9.    Plan for the future:  For someone going through divorce, it is often hard to see beyond today.  But planning for the future is crucial, and doing so can alleviate stress and anxiety and give you a sense of empowerment.  Find a CPA or divorce financial planner to help you prepare a budget and map out a game plan for saving and investing your money.  It may take some discipline today, but you will thank yourself tomorrow.
10. Create a New Mental Picture:  You are more powerful than you think.  None of us has the power to control all the circumstances of our life, but we can absolutely control our response to those circumstances.  Take action, despite the fear.  You will soon begin to see yourself as someone who is capable of controlling your own destiny.  Divorce may be the end of your old life, but it is the beginning of your new life.  You have the power to make that life great.

Gary J. Frank is an Arizona Attorney and former Judge Pro Tem with over thirty years of experience in dealing with divorce, custody, and parenting issues in Family Court.  If you are in need of a consultation regarding any matter involving Family Law, contact us today.  You can reach us by telephone (602-383-3610), or by email at [email protected], or through our website at www.garyfranklaw.com.  We look forward to hearing from you.

WHY FEAR & ANGER ARE YOUR WORST ENEMY IN FAMILY COURT

In my thirty-plus years as a Family Law attorney, I have found that the predominant and most destructive emotion among parties to a divorce or custody case is FEAR.
Fear is a primal human emotion.  It comes into play when we feel threatened – and when a marriage is crumbling and people are considering divorce, there is plenty to feel threatened about:  “How am I going to survive without my spouse’s income?  Do I have to give her half of my money and property?”  “Will he be able to take proper care of the children when I am no longer there to supervise?”  “Who gets to stay in the house?”  “What will happen when my spousal support ends?” . . .
It’s no wonder why people are fearful – when a marriage is unraveling, both the husband and wife face a scary and uncertain future, and so do the children.  Add to that the adversarial nature of a court proceeding, and you have a very combustible mix.  All it takes is one little spark to ignite a raging fire.
When people are feeling out of control and not communicating (as is the case with most divorcing couples), the fear that is building up inside them can easily morph into another human emotion – ANGER – and that anger can manifest itself in any number of ways:  Discussions can deteriorate into shouting matches; a spouse can “shut down” and become unwilling to talk; a person can become obstinate and unreasonable; or one spouse may seek to hurt or punish the other.  Anger can lead to territorial battles over money or property, or even time with the children.
We are all human, and these responses to fear are certainly understandable, but they are unhealthy and can lead to contentiousness and long-term problems.  I’ve seen it a thousand times:  An angry spouse runs out and gets an attorney to use as a “hired-gun,” with the goal of inflicting maximum damage. — The other spouse retaliates by bringing in their own “hired-gun.” — And before they know it, the parties are waging an all-out litigation war, with money spilling to the ground like water from a barrel shot full of holes.  In a war like that, nobody wins.  Often, given the parties’ seething anger and lack of communication, the stage is set for a series of future battles, where the former husband and wife return to court over-and-over again, during the course of many years, to re-litigate issues involving custody of children, or parenting time, or support.  Hard-earned money that could have been used for retirement, or the kids’ college education, now goes to pay attorneys in an endless war of attrition.
A divorce may include very complicated issues, such as custody; parenting time; child support; alimony; division of property and debts; appraisal of real estate; or valuation of businesses, stock options, and retirement plans – just to name a few.  Working through these types of issues takes patience and emotional intelligence.  It takes a willingness to put aside fear and anger and address the needs of the parties and the children in a calm, business-like manner.

As I see it, the job of the attorneys in a divorce case is to help the parties carefully untangle the twisted web of issues involving custody, support, property division, and finances without ripping the fabric of “family” (the children will still have two parents, even after the divorce is finalized).  Where children are involved, the lawyers’ primary responsibility is to help the parents build a bridge so that when the divorce is over they will be able to communicate effectively for the benefit of the children.  If the divorce does not involve children, then our job is to find a way to divide assets and debts in a manner that leaves both parties as financially intact as possible.  Obviously, the lawyers cannot accomplish these goals without a buy-in from both parties.  If their actions are ruled by fear and anger, then they will be unable to make responsible decisions, and settlement discussions may be out of the question.  In representing clients over the years, I have seen instances where a party or his attorney elects to take a “slash-and-burn” approach.  When that happens, my job is to aggressively protect and defend my client’s interests.  That means getting tough.  However, even in the midst of the most hotly contested legal dispute, it is in everyone’s best interest to keep the door open to reasonable settlement negotiations – because, in the end, it is the client’s life, and the client’s future, that are at stake – and, in too many cases, when the battle is over and decisions were dictated by fear and anger, the only winners are the lawyers.  But that doesn’t have to happen.  Take charge of your emotions.  Keep your cool.  And approach divorce as if it were a business negotiation.  If you can do that, then you are in control.

Gary J. Frank, is an Arizona Family Law Attorney and former Judge Pro Tem with over thirty years of experience in dealing with divorce, custody, parenting time, support, and all other issues in Family Court.  He also has many years of experience as a Family Law Mediator.  If you are in need of a consultation regarding divorce, child custody, or any other area of Family Law, please do not hesitate to contact us by telephone (602-383-3610) or by email through our website.  We look forward to hearing from you.