How Do I Cut Ties With Ex?


cut-ties-with-exGetting a divorce or court order is only one step in moving into a new life after divorce or break up.  The real divorce from any relationship is the cutting of the emotion, mental and physical ties that bind you to your ex.  How do you cut ties with ex?

Acceptance is the answer.  The real work is in the acceptance of your new place in life.  This acceptance is mandatory and will entail being able to cut ties with ex. Acceptance comes from acknowledging that your marriage or relationship is over with no hope or wish for it to continue. Acceptance allows you to live in a way that reveals a freedom from the past. It means living in the present and the future. It takes work, but before you can do this work, you must put in place new rules that will lay the groundwork for a completely new relationship with your former husband or parent to your children. These rules are there to protect you from any further hurts or upsets. You must build a new structure that empowers you instead of disempowering you.

These ground rules are meant to protect you and prevent any situations that could lead to an upset. The less you have to do with your ex, the better. That is not to say that you cannot have a relationship with your ex, but it has to be radically different from the one you had while married or together. There are women and men who cannot have their exes in their lives for any reason other than the children. Their emotional ties to their exes are still strong, and they need to isolate themselves in order to break those ties. Others will have the ability to accept their new life and still have regular and more complex contact with their exes.  Either way setting ground rules that determine the nature of this new relationship is important.

After 28 years of working with clients separating from their exes I find that the rules originally found in The Real Divorce: Cutting the Emotional Ties that Bind, by Shelley Stile, May 06, 2008 a composite of what I tell my clients and what these rules might include:

Communicate with your ex via writing and/or brief phone calls. Keep all communication limited to only what is necessary for the kids or legal matters.

When an upset is looming or when your ex starts to speak to you in inappropriate ways, stop the conversation and hang up or walk away. Let your ex know this new ground rule: you will speak to one another in respectful ways and will not tolerate anything else or the conversation is over.

Ensure that your home is just that: your home. It is not a place to hang out with the kids. It is not your exes’ home. When he or she is in your house make certain they realizes that they are a houseguest like any other.

Keep your conversations highly impersonal and to the point. Protect your privacy. Do not discuss your fears, concerns, or personal issues, because that only maintains the emotional tie between the two of you. Don’t talk about anything that opens the door to more connections or emotional entanglements. Keep it business-like.

use you two are friends, not family members. Always insist that the subject of your ex is forbidden.

Do not involve the children in any communication between the two of you. Don’t send messages through the kids. Keep your children protected.

Stay out of each other’s lives. You don’t need to know where your ex goes, what your ex does, what your ex is thinking, or whom your ex is seeing… and your ex doesn’t need to know those things about you either.

Don’t look to your ex for advice or support. This might be the hardest tie to break. Handle it yourself by getting support from friends or family. You aren’t married or together anymore, and you will only be left disappointed.

Consider your child support or your alimony as your money and not a gift from him or an obligation. Your money, no matter how it is acquired, is your money. The courts determined that support, and it doesn’t give your ex the right to comment upon or berate you about finances. If you are experiencing any problems with support checks, take it to your family lawyer. Never beg or put yourself in an inferior position. Keep your true financial position to yourself.

Be careful of maintaining relationships with your exes’ family. Blood is thicker than water. If you have developed a friendship with a member of your exes’ family, make certain it is because you are not a spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend anymore, so do not exhibit any behavior that mimics that role. All too often, people continue to do things or relate in ways to their exes that were part of their former relationship. If your ex needs support or someone to talk to about personal matters, they need to call a friend and not you. You are not there to assist them as you did when you were together. You are not together and not their friend either, at least not right now, if ever.  Cut ties with ex and begin your new life with determination.

Contact Stacey Balduf, Esq. to help guide you in making the best choices for your future.  What you set up now will affect your life’s journey for a long time to come.

See also:





Texting During Divorce, what you should know. texting-during-divorce-balduf

  •  “Don’t worry you will never see your children again.  We are out of here.”
  • “I hate you, your kids will know all about your “friend”
  • “You deserve it, yes, I tore up your papers”
  • “If you leave I don’t know what I will do”
  • “I’m sorry it was all my fault.  I’m a mess”

Texting during divorce: Talking to a spouse or partner directly becomes so emotionally difficult you may start using text messages as your main source of communication. While it can feel easier or safer to express difficult feelings by text or email, separating and divorcing couples should use these methods of communication only if they are careful about what they are writing before hitting the send button.

When we communicate electronically, we lose the ability to hear and see voice tones, body language and facial expressions. When I see email or text exchanges between my divorcing clients, I’m usually struck by how something I consider a simple miscommunication can be interpreted by my client as a slight or some other type of threat. Oftentimes, the party in receipt of that “threatening” email reacts in a way that inflicts similar pain. It can begin with misunderstood intentions and end up spiraling out of control. This becomes even more important when it comes to texting during divorce.

All of the back and forth texting during divorce creates messages that can be admissible in a court proceeding.  This includes one you may not want to be reviewed. What if a Judge were to see all your text communications with your children or spouse?  What would they see, how would it be perceived?

Sometimes texting is the best method of communication.

The good news is that there are ways to use texting effectively:

  • Keep your response brief. This will reduce the chances of a prolonged and angry back and forth. The more you write, the more material the other person has to criticize. Keeping it brief signals that you don’t wish to get into a dialogue. Just write your response and end your message. Don’t take their statements personally and don’t respond with a personal attack. NEVER defend yourself to someone you disagree with, you don’t have to and it seldom comes out in the written text the way you will want it to.
  • Avoid negative comments. Avoid sarcasm. Avoid threats. Avoid personal remarks about the other’s intelligence, ethics or moral behavior. If the other person has a “high-conflict personality,” you will not be able to reduce the conflict with personal attacks. You will only make the situation worse. High-conflict people feel they have no choice but to respond in anger – and keep the conflict going. Personal attacks rarely lead to insight or positive change.  You could end up looking like the aggressor in a situation when it began by some conduct of the other party not seen in the text communication. You look bad, they look innocent!
  • Angry texts present an angry person.  While you may be tempted to write in anger, you are more likely to achieve your goals and make the right impression with the Court by writing in a friendly manner. Consciously thinking about a friendly response will increase your chances of getting a friendly – or neutral – response in return. If your goal is to end the conflict, then being friendly has the greatest likelihood of success. Don’t give the other person a reason to get defensive and keep responding.

Contact Stacey Balduf, Esq. and let her experience and guidance work for you.  Serving Syracuse, Oswego, Wampsville, Auburn and Central New York

See also:





children's-sake-balduf-divorceAre you really staying together for children’s sake, or are you afraid of coming to terms with your life (and in that case hiding behind your children)?

People come and talk to be at the start of a matter and begin by talking about what they think they should do for their children’s sake with this in mind, I often tell my potential clients in the free consultation you have only two doors to walk through.  The first door points to a path that continues the life you have and the second door opens to a journey that will change your life and the life of your family forever.  The first door offers a path that is familiar and the second door is gray, murky and unfamiliar.

Let’s explore the first door.  Is your current life a positive environment and example for your children sake?  If your children came to you and described their life as your life is…would you encourage them to stay together and “suck it up”? Would you suggest to them that the current life they have is what is best for them?  For your children’s sake. Is your current life the example you want to set for your children?  Whether positive or negative, marriages often follow a lineage as they are passed down from generation to generation. Remember your child’s marriage will most likely reflect what you did in your marriage and not what you tell them marriage should be.  So, might your marriage be an overall positive environment and the example you want for your children, although a challenge at times? Truthfully, sometimes the answer is yes.  The matter that brings you to the point of considering separation, after further reflection, may be something that can be affectively addressed within a marriage.  Marriage does matter. Marriage is something worth making successful…when you can make it work.  However, when marriages are not working…isn’t door two the only direction left?

When marriages are angry, conflicted, or terribly mediocre, parents often default to staying together for the purported sake of the children. I wonder whose sake it’s really for. As our children grow older, they tend to replicate relationships similar to what their parents modeled. As parents we’d never say we want our children to suffer or struggle in their relationships. Yet that’s the greater likelihood. It’s not what we say, but what we do that matters. Telling our children, they deserve healthy, respectful, and loving partnerships isn’t taken to heart if we don’t have the courage to live up to our own words. What we model for them is very much what we might expect for them in their future relationships. From this perspective we might question the sincerity of the expression “for the sake of the children.” When marriages are angry, conflicted, or terribly mediocre, parents often default to staying together for the purported sake of the children. I wonder whose sake it’s really for. As our children grow older, they tend to replicate relationships similar to what their parents modeled. As parents we’d never say we want our children to suffer or struggle in their relationships. Yet that’s the greater likelihood. It’s not what we say, but what we do that matters. Telling our children, they deserve healthy, respectful, and loving partnerships isn’t taken to heart if we don’t have the courage to live up to our own words. What we model for them is very much what we might expect for them in their future relationships. From this perspective we might question the sincerity of the expression “for the sake of the children. If we want our offspring to have joyful and successful relationships, we need to provide them with the best example we possibly can. Living in mediocrity or worse burdens children with very confusing messages about relationships and happiness. It certainly instructs them that loving marriages and partnerships are not their birthright.”   Mel Schwartz LCSW. For the Sake of the Children Divorce isn’t failure; living in unhappiness is failure. Posted Aug 31, 2015

Door two, the journey that will change your life and the life of your family forever… gray, murky and unfamiliar.  What determines whether you take this journey? This is answered differently for each individual but I can say that FEAR is what stops almost everyone who does not.

The fear of harm to the children (children’s sake), fear of not having the necessary resources to live separate lives, fear of not knowing what life will look like or fear of being alone.

My advice…face those fears.  I sit with my client the very first meeting after they retain me and we walk through the worst case scenarios.  We face the “elephant in the room”-FEAR and we defeat it.  How?  In almost 30 years I have never met anyone who couldn’t do what they have to do.  There are tools to help you, there are laws to help you, there are communities to help you, there are professionals to help you.  An amazing thing happens when you realize that you can survive the worst case scenario… anything after that a gift.  You won’t be controlled by fear your life will be directed by choices and plans. And it doesn’t hurt to remember one last fact:  Divorce is not harmful to children.  People are harmful to children.


You may also wish to see:

How do I talk to my kids about divorce?


The best representation or cheapest? Legal costs.

balduf-divorce-lawyer-costLegal costs. It always amazes me when a client tells me that they are not going to talk with me about their concerns in person or by phone because they do not want to be charged.  The comment almost always comes across as if I am wrongly charging them when I do my job.  This truly saddens me, and not because they don’t want to pay, but because they are not taking advantage of the expertise that I have to assist them.

Some of the most important issues require information and discussion and do not have easy yes or no answers.  Complicated matters require more than one meeting and an email or two to have clarity.  Yes, ask your questions, but also take the time to have the valuable discussions so that you get the answers you need and can make the choices that will affect the rest of your life.  What may seem crystal clear to you is not always as clear to others.

Yes, a divorce costs money.  I set forth in a FREE consultation- how that works.  I work very hard to charge as little as possible because I am aware that a family is splitting into two households with the same income they used for one.  This is always challenging.  But please remember, whether you hire me or any other professional…you often get what you pay for.

There is a Judge in Oswego County (New York State) who tells the parties at the onset of each divorce matter that if you are not going to listen to your lawyer or if you know better than they do—fire them and get a different attorney or represent yourself, otherwise you are just wasting what money you are spending.  This is good advice, so I am passing it on to you.

See also:

What Will A Divorce Cost Me? Can I Save Money?


Family and Divorce. Family Support.  Is your family gathering around you? divorce-family-support


When your family gathers around you how will that affect your divorce and your future. Will it look anything like this…

  • Dad gets you the best family law lawyer in town—pays the retainer.

  • Mom tells anyone who will listen that your Husband is no longer welcome in her home.

  • Brother’s offer to beat the p—out of your Husband.

  • Your Sister has given you names of new doctors for the children so you can keep your Husband out of the loop.

  • After a couple beers or glasses of wine at a family gathering family members vent all their hurt and anger about Husband.

  • When mediation is brought up, Dad says “no way!”.

OR Is this a possibility….

  • Dad listens to you and ask how he can help. Offers financial assistance as you request.

  • Mom and family talk about what they can do for the children.

  • Family members offer to go with you to meet with lawyers and take notes for you.

  • When your family sees your Husband they are cordial and familiar, especially in front of the children.

  • Husband is invited to a birthday party for one of the children.

  • Family is supportive of a resolution that offers you what you need as well as your children and Husband.

NOW…ask yourself and your family….

Which picture puts your children first?

Which picture allows you to move on with your life?

Are the choices you are making and the behavior of your family supporting your long term goals.

Which picture employs the best use of financial resources?

            The first example is an attorney’s dream client.  The matter will drag on and have lots of complicated and emotional moments, therefore requiring lots of time from your lawyer.  That means a lot more money in their pocket and a lot less for you to begin the next leg in your life’s journey.  Have a plan, one based on reason not emotion.  Then hope your family supports these long term goals.  Everyone “wins” under these conditions.

See also:




negotiating-divorce-settlementDivorce is one of the most emotional times in a person’s life and yet is also when you have to make permanent, life-altering financial decisions in your Divorce Settlement.  Don’t make these decisions based upon guilt or fear.  Empower yourself!!!  There are Seven Important Factors to Remember When Negotiating Your Divorce Settlement.  You Want to Strive to Be an Empowered Decision-Maker, and in Control of Your Financial Future to the Extent Possible Under NY State Law.

1. Money Will Almost Always Become an Issue in Divorce and Divorce Settlement Agreements

You may be thinking that you didn’t need to read that here, you know that already.  However, it is likely that you are underestimating how much of an issue it will become.

Even with the promise of fairness from your soon to be ex-spouse, or of a deal that sounds too good to be true, you still should do your homework. It is extremely important to remember not to make offers during negotiations out of feelings of guilt or fear, or simply to “get this all over with”.  Seek out the appropriate professional legal help so that years from now you will not feel badly that you agreed to something too quickly or without thought to its impact on your future.  Also, part of doing your homework is to budget, budget, budget!  Make a plan for the future, not just the next few months.  You will gain confidence if you have an attorney who will work with you to prepare an estimate of your monthly budget to determine if you can afford to retain certain assets.  You don’t want to end up living out of your car….

  1. A So Called 50/50 Division of Property is Not Always Equal Even in Settlement Agreements

For example, you both might want an antique bed, one party will get the bed the other will get one half of the monetary value of the bed at the time of the settlement.  It is unlikely that the person who got one half of that monetary value will feel they got a satisfactory 50/50 split of the asset.  Also, a $200,000 house does not always equal $200,000 in other property or investments.  There are tax implications affecting many assets and their values very differently.  Overlooking this fact may mean that you get less property than you should, or end up with future tax hits that you are not prepared for or even aware of.

  1. You May Need to Divorce Your House

Whether or not to retain the family’s often largest asset should not be an emotional one.  Although difficult, this decision should be made by considering the responsibility and the money involved.

Before entering into a settlement agreement find out if you can qualify for a refinance or mortgage on your own.

Many people often believe IN ERROR that a lender will simply remove their ex-spouse’s name from loans-this is seldom the case!

If you do qualify you should still, ask yourself:

* How does this fit into your budget?  Can you afford the monthly mortgage?

*Can you afford the regular expenses for living in the house?  What about unexpected maintenance such as roofs, appliances etc.?

*Who is going to have the time and energy to maintain the home, lawns, cleaning, repairs, snow?

*Will you be left with any repairs or “stuff” left from prior to the separation?

  1. Understand the Value of Your Investments and Retirement Assets.

There are no do-overs in divorce actions.  Get advice on the market risk of your investments         when deciding which investments you want to keep and which you will waive interest in. There can be hidden or unknown costs associated with many types of investments.  There are also often tax consequences down the road.  Seek out professional assistance from Certified Public Accountants, Investment Professionals as well as your attorney so that years from now you do not feel you made mistakes because you agreed to a settlement too quickly.

  1. Request that the Payor of Child Support and/or Maintenance, Spousal Support is Life Insured

In the event that the payor dies if you do not have life insurance these payments generally end.  To suddenly be without that income could be financially devastating. Also, attempt to get the same life insurance even if you are the Payor.  What happens if the Payee dies and you have the children?  There will be no one to provide child support.  What will this mean for you and your children financially?

  1. Divorce Decisions May Have Significant Implications for Your Tax Return

Do your research before entering into a settlement agreement regarding the tax consequences of your proposed choices?  Have a professional complete at least your first tax return after your divorce is final.

  1. Retain an Attorney Who Knows More than the Law.

Plenty of lawyers know who to draft and file papers for Divorce.  However, finding attorneys who are knowledgeable and take the time to consider the factors set forth here are rare.  But finding one will make all the difference for your financial future and the well-being of your family.

See related blogs:

Can Custody Agreement Be Changed?

NY Divorce?


balduf-ny-divorce-lawyer-What are the general requirements to get a NY Divorce?

Do I have to live in NY to get NY Divorce?

Spouses seeking a divorce in New York must meet some basic requirements to get NY Divorce.  The first is a residency requirement. To satisfy the residency requirement, there are four options:

  • you or your spouse have been living in New York for a continuous period of at least two years before beginning the divorce process

  • you and your spouse are both residents of New York as of the day you begin the divorce process, and the “grounds” (the legal reasons) for the divorce occurred in New York

  • you or your spouse have been living in New York for a continuous period of one year before starting the divorce process, and the grounds occurred in New York, or

  • your marriage was performed in New York or you lived in New York as a married couple, and you or your spouse lived in New York for one continuous year before starting the divorce process.

    See also:


The best representation or the cheapest? Legal costs.


Custody Agreement, Can It Be Changed?

Even after working out custody agreements, clients will often contact me weeks, months or evencan-agreement-change-balduf years after a divorce or custody order is final as they find themselves unhappy with the arrangement they entered into and are asking…can custody agreement be changed.

Even if they are happy with the current custody agreement or arrangement they may be contacting me because they are being brought back to court by the other party who wants changes. Fortunately for some, and unfortunately for others, custody arrangements are never set in stone and can typically be revisited. Can Custody Agreement Be Changed? Yes.

As parents’ lives change after divorce, their existing custody agreement or orders might not work anymore. When they agree that a change is necessary, the process of asking the court for a new order is relatively simple. When they don’t agree, it can be difficult to convince a judge to make a change.

When parents disagree about changes to a custody agreement or order, only a major change in circumstances since the last custody order will convince a court to modify it. Generally, something must have changed in the home where your child has been living to make the home no longer safe, emotionally or physically or maybe the current order is not be followed or is too vague to be followed properly.

Simply saying that your child’s home presents a danger, either mentally or physically, is not be enough to persuade the court that a change is necessary. You’ll need proof. Proof includes documentation, such as police reports. It can also include the testimony of witnesses, if others have seen the unhealthy circumstances in your child’s home. You can hire a counselor to talk to your child and testify about the impact of the changed home conditions on your child.

Experienced representation is necessary to guide you through this process.

See also:

How do I talk to my kids about divorce?


Can I Get A Same-Sex Divorce?

Beware of a troubling occurrence regarding people who came from their home states to New same-sex-divorce-baldufYork to marry their same sex partner, but now when their marriage is not working out they are finding they may be trapped.  What happens to the individuals who want to get divorced in states that do not recognize same sex marriage and therefore won’t entertain granting them a Same-Sex Divorce?

 A same sex couple who comes to New York to get married and then their marriage fails for one reason or another may find that the can’t get a same-sex divorce in New York because they don’t meet the residency requirements to do so here and they may not be able to get divorced where they’re living now.

This could set the stage for one of two unfortunate things to happen:

  1. The couple perjure themselves (i.e., lie) to the New York Supreme Court and claim that they have resided in New York State long enough to meet the residency requirements (which is illegal and not a good idea), or

  2. They are forced to move to New York and live here for at least a year (sometimes two) to meet the residency requirements

If one cannot get divorced, then obviously this causes a serious problem.

Even with the recent 2015 United States Supreme Court ruling in Obergell v. Hodges an experienced attorney will be needed to help same-sex parties get a divorce that meets their needs.

See also:

NY Divorce?




What Will A Divorce Cost? Can I Save Money?

divorce-cost-save-money-baldufWhat Will A Divorce Cost?  First, start with the question: Do I know what my future costs? How do I save money?

WHAT ARE YOUR NUMBERS…take the time to really understand what your financial numbers are for today and for the future. There are no “do-overs” if you discover that you missed something or didn’t understand something. Working with an attorney who is good at numbers and understands finances, makes all the difference as to whether you get divorced or get a divorced life you can truly live with.  Spending money now on the right advice can save you money in the future.  Remember, you are planning your future NOT just getting your divorce!  You have nothing to loose…contact us for a free initial consultation.

See also:

Will I Have to Pay Alimony or Maintenance?

The best representation or the cheapest? Legal costs.


Older posts «

» Newer posts