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Category: Doing Divorce

Angela Dunne provides practical advice based on real examples of what she and her clients have faced through the transition of divorce.

Doing Divorce

Angela Dunne provides practical advice based on real examples of what she and her clients have faced through the transition of divorce.

The Favorite

“Why does everyone think we have a favorite?” Sophia said.  Anna replied, “Yeah.  It’s like asking a parent if they have a favorite child.  Everyone knows you can’t pick and that you love them the same.”  In a rare moment, my girls sat on the kitchen stools chatting happily at me while I made dinner.  Topics moved from homework to plans with friends and took a surprising turn when, after asking about my day, they started talking about being kids of divorced parents. My daughters obviously know my profession and they also know that I often write parenting advice for
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New Beginnings

I love new beginnings.  I delight in shaking the Etch-A-Sketch clear and starting over.  I appreciate every month flipping the calendar to a fresh start.  I enjoy crawling into bed when freshly laundered sheets await.  I particularly enjoy the start of a new year when I spend days preparing pages of goals for the upcoming year.  Well, a divorce can change that. During a divorce, every single layer of life is changed.  And I mean – every. single. one.  New beginnings are everywhere.  Although in the middle of life-altering upheaval, they don’t feel like new beginnings – the just feel
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Annual Review

The carefully circled letters reveal the thought put into the markings: A  B  C  D  F.  The feedback being noted is a gift for the recipient.  The steady handwriting with words of positive performance over the past year and notes for focus in the year ahead show care in the critique. Every year my team members fill out peer reviews of their colleagues.  They evaluate areas of client care, team support, and the demonstration of core values.  I meet with everyone individually and, with the help of the peer evaluations, we discuss the whole picture.  We see blind spots and
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Easy

“You have it so much easier because you only have your kids half the time.” He made this statement a couple of times during our conversation.  The first time it fell out of his mouth I felt like a victim of Little Bunny Foo Foo hopping through the forest being bopped on the head. It didn’t sting so much as shock my system. The next time he said it, the normally dormant lava bubbles in my gut started to boil as anger crept up my spine. These words were uttered by a dear friend of mine who has seen some
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Quiet Client

I walked into the courthouse thinking about the thousands of times I have walked these halls over the last 25 years. The quiet reverence in the courthouse could confuse you for thinking you were in a library or a bank, except for the always visible police officers on duty. Suited-up lawyers talking in hushed soothing tones while their nervous clients populate the wood benches along the corridors outside the courtrooms. I glance up toward my favorite part of the courthouse – the ceiling of the rotunda with the comforting view of golden pink illustrations of eight murals revealing the history
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New Year, Same Me

I snapped the last plastic bin lid into place and sigh as I put the last of the magic away for the next eleven months. I take in the stark space now devoid of twinkle lights glowing and glittering nutcrackers standing watch on shelves and mantels. In the bareness, a fresh start feeling slowly emerges in the back corner of my brain. I suddenly see a new way I can rearrange my living room furniture that hasn’t moved since I moved in 7 years ago. I log on to Shutterfly to order picture prints to update framed memories around my
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Holiday Helpers

We all play the parts perfectly.  Oscar-worthy really.  My daughters (13 and 11) shuffle around the house excitedly until he is found.  They call out for me and I come either blinky-eyed on the weekend mornings or fairly distracted weekday morning while I finish slipping in my earrings.  “Max came” they will cry out.  “What? Where is he?  What did he do last night?”  And repeat until Christmas Day. Max the Elf is at mom’s house.  Chippy, recently more grown up and now called Charles, is at dad’s house.  Max is loving.  Chippy is mischievous.  Max thoughtfully brings little Christmas
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Reflections on a Holiday That Wasn’t

My Christmas tree died a week before Christmas.  The branches were weighed down to the floor in a giant 8-foot droop. The star on top tilted to the left along with the sagging sapless branches. I should have known it was a sign.  I should have known it would contribute to the sadness that would settle down over my usually happy holiday home. My daughters left my home the morning of December 19th and didn’t return until the late evening of December 26th.  It was my first attempt in 14 years at not being with my children on either December
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Hard Holidays

It was so much harder than I expected. I had successfully navigated the Christmas holidays all seven years prior as a divorced parent with my two young daughters.  Now, in my 8th year as a divorced parent, the Christmas season was upon us.  Their dad made a request to take the girls away for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I cannot explain my response in any other way than I thought it was the right thing to do.  I said yes. Their stepmother’s father had passed earlier in the year.  As the first holiday season approached after his passing,
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Grateful

Light me up a pumpkin spiced candle, let my feet crunch as I walk over brightly colored leaves, and zip me into a parka when the fall wind nips at my nose.  I love all that is fall.  I love this season, and in particular, this week of Thanksgiving, where with it brings reflections on gratitude and abundance.  During times of transition or grief, it may be difficult to feel gratitude or see the silver linings, but perhaps take pause and really look. Why I Am Grateful for my Divorce Did I just write that subtitle?  Did it just get
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