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Securing Your Wellness During Separation and Divorce

With every new beginning, there is change. Some people cope with change more easily than others. Some consider it a challenge and others... a hurdle. In more extreme cases, it can break down an individual physically, emotionally and spiritually. That's especially true for many of my clients. As a family law attorney, I typically deal with people who are considering separation and possibly divorce. But it is possible to survive this stressful time without falling apart. Here's what I recommend:

Step One: Arm Yourself

By the time you have sought counsel, you have thought long and hard about separation and divorce. Whether or not it was your idea, you have contemplated all the different scenarios of your life after separation. You have considered the positive and negative affects this change will have on you and, if you are a parent, on your children. When clients come to my office, I expect them to be fearful of the experience but I encourage them to open their minds. The first step in getting control of your wellness is to become educated. Arm yourself with the law. Divorce is not always the answer. I know it sounds cliché, but thinking with your head and not your heart when it comes to a decision that affects your future -- your property, financial support and your ability to care for your children -- is a must.

Step Two: Reach Out

People who are going through separation and divorce often are embarrassed and ashamed of the fact that their marriage failed. "What will my neighbors think of me?" "What will my peers and colleagues think of me?" Do not be ashamed. Remember, you're not alone. Statistically, at least one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. All reasons for divorce are different. Some have grown apart. Some have strayed. Some have simply fallen out of love. Regardless of the reason, it is imperative that you reach out to those who support you. If you are not at a point where you are willing to open up and reach out to family and friends, seek the advice of a counselor or someone who can be objective and honest with you after learning of your circumstances. Having a support system in place to help you through this change will keep your physical, emotional and spiritual balance in check.

Step Three: Accept the Challenge

When I was growing up, anytime I was confronted with a life-changing event, my mother told me THAT DAY was the first day of the rest of my life... a new beginning. Each time I listened and I felt empowered to embrace the change and prepare myself for the challenge ahead. While I learned to live by my mother's mantra of "today is the first day of the rest of your life," others have learned to live by what is commonly referred to as the Serenity Prayer. It teaches us to accept the things we cannot change, have the courage to change the things we can and have the wisdom to distinguish between the two. Nowhere is this more necessary than in the separation and divorce process. I cannot sugarcoat the harsh realities that people endure in the transition. The change will not be easy. But by accepting the challenge, you have embraced change and have taken the first steps in securing your wellness for the future. Now get ready for a new beginning. Today is the first day of the rest of your life.


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In North Carolina either party may petition for alimony, but the court shall exercise its discretion in determining the amount, duration, and the manner of payment, and shall consider all relevant factors, including the marital misconduct of either of the spouses. The duration of the award may be either for a specified or for an indefinite term.
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