Importance of Sleep in Divorce

Sleep is crucial in divorce to ensure that information is retained and appropriate decisions are made that can affect the rest of one’s life.  Both the Slow Wave sleep of Delta and REM are required for optimal processing of material taken in and new skills that are learned. There are three parts to memory formation and these are Acquisition where new material is obtained, and Consolidation when memory is stabilized in the brain. During sleep the neural connections that form memory are strengthened and this stage is called Recall. The hippocampus is the region of the brain that goes over the events of the day. When there is poor quality of sleep, Researchers at University of Berkeley found that memories do not travel from the hippocampus to the prefrontal cortex, where long-term information and memories are stored. Not retaining information can impact divorce hearings or cause complications post-divorce if a client feels that he never received important facts.

In Delta sleep, the growth hormone is released and is the stage that consolidates new memories and learning. Cell growth and repair of cellular damage occurs in Slow Wave sleep. Too little Slow Wave Sleep can cause weight gain, increases the risk of pre-diabetes, and affects the functioning of the immune system. Not having enough deep sleep can affect a divorcing person’s health.

 In the REM stage of sleep, it is as if a secretary is going through memory files and sending less important ones to the archives. New research indicates that REM increases activity in the right hemisphere of the brain which is linked to creativity. Some inventors, such as Thomas Edison, have gotten ideas and answers in their dreams.

Insomnia decreases the ability to focus and take in facts. Various studies indicate poor quality of sleep hinders being able to recall facts. Irritability and poor judgement can occur when a person is sleep deprived. If a person is getting out of control, it may not be entirely due to stress, but also because of lack of sleep. Here are some tips to try:

Bright light can hinder the release of melatonin, so do not use the computer for at least one half hour before bedtime. Exercise earlier in the day and develop a bedtime routine to wind down and relax. Listening to a relaxation CD can help. Sleep in a cool, dark room and recharge cell phones and other devices in another room. Write in a journal or jot down future tasks on a to-do-list to deal with a later time. I did hypnotherapy on a client where he mentally put worries and jobs that needed to be done, in a box high up in his closet. They were temporarily out of his mind to give him much needed sleep. A few homeopathic remedies have worked well on me. Bach’s Flower SLEEP Rescue Remedy works well at bedtime or when waking up in the middle of the night. For persistent thoughts swirling around in your brain, Bach’s White Chestnut helps to quell them. There are other natural sleep remedies and a naturopath can steer you in the right direction.

Six percent of the population has clinical insomnia, and much of this is due to medical problems such as chronic pain and fibromyalgia. The stress of divorce can increase these flare ups or the dosage of prescribed medication may need to be tweaked. A healthcare provider can work with you on medical conditions as well as diagnosing others, such as sleep apnea. This is when the muscles in the back of the throat occlude the airway and the person repeatedly wakes up or goes into a lighter stage of sleep.  After ruling out any physical conditions, a life coach or having short-term cognitive therapy can help you form strategies and behaviors to increase the quality of sleep. When your thoughts are muddled or you snap at everyone, evaluate how much sleep you are averaging each week.

Wendi Schuller, uses her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, to author the book The Women’s Holistic Guide to Divorce that helps women regaining their strength of inner peace and wisdom. She can be reached by email


When Divorce Leads to Tax Problems

As if going through a divorce isn’t unpleasant enough, there are times, more often than most people realize, that you find yourself owing money to the tax man as a direct result of your divorce.

It can happen in a number of different ways to BOTH spouses.

Spousal Support Is Taxable Income

First, for the lower income spouse with custody of the children: child support is not taxable in the hands of the spouse that receives it, but spousal support is.  If the terms of the separation or divorce agreement entitle the lower income spouse to spousal support then that spouse needs to make provisions to pay the taxes on that income.  If they don’t, then when they file their taxes they will discover they have taxes payable.  Depending on the amount of spousal support received, the number may be significant.

Child Support is NOT tax deductible

From the paying spouse’s perspective, spousal support is a deduction from the payer’s taxable income, but child support is not.  The fact that child support is no longer tax deductible in Canada comes as a surprise to many.  If they were counting on that deduction to reduce their income, and that deduction isn’t there, now the paying spouse can find themselves owing more in taxes than they expected.

Failing To Make Tax Installments

The single most common way that both spouses can get into trouble after a separation or divorce stems from a failure to recognize that the household living expenses and income have dramatically changed.

Self-employed earners, who are responsible more making their own tax installments, stop paying their income tax installments in order to make ends meet, figuring that eventually they will catch up. For people that are self-employed, the tax man becomes an “involuntary creditor” – that’s the government’s term — and it means the government doesn’t offer people credit. Rather people simply don’t pay their taxes which makes the government their creditor.  Individuals going through separation and divorce often find themselves very short on cash and the government is one of the first bills they stop paying.  It doesn’t take very long for self-employed people to accumulate very large tax debts, and then the government adds interest and penalties.

Cashing Out Investments

Another option that people use to try and reduce or limit the amount of debt they incur is to cash out investments.  The most common investment people have is RRSPs.  If you withdraw the funds in small amounts only a small amount of tax is withheld.  Unfortunately a series of 3 or 4 small withdrawals over the course of a year can add up to a large amount that when added to the person’s other forms of income may create a very large tax burden.   Investments that result in capital gains can trigger the same problem.  The gain is not taxed at all when the investment is sold, but when it is reported on a tax return a significant tax debt may be owed.

Tax Debt Solutions

So, what can you do?

Understand the rules. If you pay or receive child or spousal support, remove funds from registered savings accounts or are required to make installments, keep all of these matters in mind and budget for any expected taxes payable.

File your tax returns on time.  You can try and negotiate interest relief or a reduction of penalties if you find yourself in that situation.  Whether or not you will be successful depends on whether or not you filed your tax returns.  Believe it or not, the government takes a very hard line against people that don’t file their taxes.  Of course they want you to pay your taxes, but it is more important that you file them when required in order for the government to know how much you owe and to try and collect the unpaid amounts.

If you do not have the means to pay your taxes, or if you have also accumulated other debts along with your tax liability, you may want to consider a consumer proposal, or perhaps personal bankruptcy.  Tax debt is a debt just like any other in a bankruptcy or proposal.  Canada Revenue Agency does have the power to place a lien on your home or other assets or seize a bank account, so if you know you have a potential significant tax debt it is important to talk to a professional bankruptcy trustee sooner, as opposed to later, about making an arrangement with your creditors, including CRA, through a consumer proposal.

Separation and divorce are among the most common reasons that Canadians file for bankruptcy or make a proposal to creditors. And tax debts can be one of the debts they are dealing with.

Ted Michalos is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and a Licensed Bankruptcy Trustee. As a co-founder & President of Hoyes, Michalos & Associates, he speaks regularly at local commerce and professional events about insolvency issues and has testified before the Canadian Senate on issues of bankruptcy legislation. His expertise focuses primarily on helping individuals solve their financial problems.

Mindfulness in Divorce

A way to keep one’s sanity in the divorce process is by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness is mainstream and not in the sole domain of gurus. It not a New Age thing, but has been done for over a millennium, especially in Buddhism. Mindfulness is about being focused on the happy activity you are doing with the kids and casting worries aside. It is experiencing and being fully in the moment, whether strolling the cobbled stone streets of Tuscany or baking brownies with a child.  Mindfulness is being engaged in an endeavor without being on autopilot because your thoughts are elsewhere.

Mindfulness is useful in divorce. When concentrating on the divorce session, one is able to take in the information, process it, and make rational decisions. Being immersed in the present lessens fear based reactions of when one’s mind is drifting into worst case scenarios.  Staying focused in the moment allows one to clarify confusing points, ask pertinent questions and not make decisions in haste.

Mindfulness is looking at the here and now and not dwelling in the past which cannot be changed. The what ifs, such as “What if I had only…..” is detrimental and not going to alter your current circumstance. Mentally living in the distant future also causes one to miss out on life now. When I was in a toxic marriage, I was dreaming about being on my own after my last child graduated from high school. Instead of doing something about my marriage (fix it or divorce sooner), I was not fully present, enjoying every moment of my sons’ childhoods. It is fine to have goals and direction, but not to be on a permanent vacation from what is happening today.

While in my divorce situation, mindfulness enabled me to take each necessary step forward to complete the small tasks, rather than taking a giant leap into the future. I felt less scattered and more in control when practicing mindfulness in divorce.

There are ways to improve mindfulness. Take a mentally and physically stimulating class that demands full attention. Zumba keeps me focused while learning intricate steps. Some divorced people have gotten back into tennis which requires being in the moment. Others have performed challenging feats, such as mountain climbing in Nepal. Meditation has benefited other folks to silence the chatter in their brains and calmly face the tasks at hand.

There are various studies which indicate that mindfulness meditation can alter the brain structure in a positive way.  A study reported in Psychology Research had a control group and one that practiced mindful meditation for eight weeks. Results indicated participants who meditated increased the grey matter which involves learning, forming memories and emotions. This was not seen in the control group.  Another study in Psychological Science   had students either take a mindfulness class or a nutritional one for two weeks.  The participants who completed the mindfulness class did better on a memory test and their Graduate Record Examination for grad school entrance was 16% higher than the control group’s ones.  Consider practicing mindfulness for a smoother divorce and experiencing life more fully.


Wendi Schuller, uses her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, to author the book The Women’s Holistic Guide to Divorce that helps women regaining their strength of inner peace and wisdom. She can be reached by email

Friendships Post-Divorce

Guilt by association. Your friends reflect back upon you – so be selective whom you choose.  Prince Andrew did not and is in hot water for his association with Jeffrey Epstein. In 2011 he left his position of UK trade ambassador over his ties to this billionaire, yet did not sever them. He may be innocent of cavorting around with underage girls, but he certainly is guilty of a lapse in judgment for hanging on to such a shady character. 

Be with people in this post-divorce time who share your ethics. We do not always agree upon political candidates, religion or sports teams, but our basic values ought to be similar. If someone is skating on the edge of the law, then distance yourself from them. We are starting life anew after divorce and do not need questionable people. If pals are doing activities which conflict with your morals, then consider dropping them. Or at least take a break so you can step back and evaluate these relationships.

We are vulnerable after divorce, so listen to alarm bells going off when you are uncomfortable around someone. We may keep a friendship because it is a habit. Being in the company of unethical folks chips away at our psyche or as one woman said it is a “soul ache.” I felt sorry for a divorced dad in the construction business who needed work. I trusted him and the accuracy of his fees. When I started receiving astronomical bills for some big projects, we parted ways. This was after another guy in the same business informed me that I paid more than double the going rate. We were on friendly terms, yet  he still needlessly took a chunk of my divorce settlement for some renovations and repairs. I learned that people have to earn my trust.

 If you are in relationships that you normally would shun, determine if it is because you are lonely.  Strengthen the connections that you already have, such as with family, workmates and supportive pals. Do not start new friendships on the basis that you feel needy, but rather that you both have something to offer.

When you are dating after a traumatic divorce – you may be too trusting. Flattery and attention may seem what one requires, but truly look at the person behind the smiling mask. If they belittle certain types of people or are rude to wait staff, then walk away. One way to see what a date is really like is to check out her pals to see to see how they treat others. There is something to the saying “Birds of a feather flock together.”

Build a supportive team around you that motivates you in achieving goals, whether losing weight or writing the next best seller. Having inspiring pals and acquaintances encourages me to keep moving on after divorce and try new endeavours.  Joining stimulating groups reduces the reliance on relationships that have run their course.

Some women have described trying to make friends post-divorce like being back in grade school.  There is an online site in the UK, that matches people up for purely platonic friendships. So far, I have heard good reports regarding this new trend. Friendship is a two way street and being with someone you feel sorry for can backfire.    

Wendi Schuller, uses her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, to author the book The Women’s Holistic Guide to Divorce that helps women regaining their strength of inner peace and wisdom. She can be reached by email.





Facing Your Ex-Spouse’s Remarriage

Your ex-spouse’s remarriage can stir up a myriad of emotions, from jealousy to feelings of abandonment. You may have thought that you were getting over your divorce, only to be pulled back into experiencing the loss of your marriage again.  It is hard when one spouse has moved on and one still feels stuck.

Distraction is the secret to getting through the day of your ex’s remarriage. Plan on doing something special for that day – to keep you occupied. Sitting around with nothing to do gives more time to brood. Have friends go on a day outing to a nearby city or get pampered at a spa. Hiking or skiing will keep you busy and help take your mind off your woes. If feasible, this is the time to explore the streets of Rome or get lost in a labyrinth of alleyways in some exotic locale. Getting away and having your own adventure is an antidote to this situation.

Examine your feelings to determine if it is the wedding itself that bothers you, or something deeper within yourself. The remarriage could be triggering feelings of inadequacy, or not feeling settled in your life or job. Although you may not want to reconcile with your former spouse, a remarriage can shine a spot light on your lack of dates and relationships. You may feel that she does not have the right to happiness when you are still so miserable. Consider talking to a divorce coach if your former spouse’s marriage seems to create a new road block to moving on. Getting a reality check and strategies from a professional can work wonders in illuminating a new path for healing after divorce.

If your children are involved in the festivities do not reveal your unhappy feelings to them. Act neutral (no matter how difficult) with a calm demeanor. Be flexible if the wedding takes place during your shared time and allow the kids to be part of the nuptials. You may end of up having them more if there is an extended honeymoon. Children are not responsible for your feelings or social life, so keep them in the dark about them. It is not healthy if the kids feel that accepting a new step-mother is being disloyal to you. Reassure them that you are okay so that they can enjoy and participate in this occasion.

My sons and I did not discover my ex’s remarriage until after the fact. The husband of one of my friends knows my ex from a service club superficially, and found out about the wedding. They told me about it and I was relieved. Seemed like getting married again would keep the focus off repeated court cases post-divorce, and it did. If you were married to an abusive person, then a remarriage may lessen revenge or post-divorce litigation.

Some divorced people said that their spouse’s remarriage was just the jolt they required to get on with their lives. It was a definite ending so that they could start life anew. The important thing is to acknowledge your emotions, process them, talk about them and do not dwell in them. Enrich your life and build more connections, whether with professional networking groups, or socially. Volunteer and join groups, such as, to get involved with others. Eventually as time passes by, people do feel better. My life was happier post-divorce after my ex-husband’s remarriage.

Wendi Schuller, uses her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, to author the book The Women’s Holistic Guide to Divorce that helps women regaining their strength of inner peace and wisdom. She can be reached by email

Getting Over an Ex-spouse or Former Love

Part of moving on after divorce is leaving your reconciliation fantasy behind. When one is feeling lonely, that makes it tempting to dwell in the past and ponder if an old romance could be rekindled. A few people have wondered if they were too speedy in wanting a divorce and could have hung on longer.  Really think through why the relationship ended. Was there any abuse or lack of respect?  Relationships end when interest wanes.

Sometimes people are too different to really make a go of it. My friend Connie was having a bad patch in her marriage and looked up a former love. They have different lifestyles which may have clashed in the long run. He is happily married with a very active life in the political arena in Washington D.C. He makes the news with the parties he attends and his well-dressed appearance. Connie rarely entertains, is more of a blue jeans type of a girl, and is vegan. When asked if she would throw lavish soirees, serve meat or be elegantly attired on a regular basis, she had difficulty responding. Eventually Connie realized that if they had stayed together, maybe she would not be as happy as she had fantasized. When she and her husband made up, that longing for that past relationship diminished.

Get a reality check – whether from good friends or a relationship coach. Discussing this situation gives insight in understanding why you did not stay together. Join a Zumba class to lessen daydreaming and get more focused on demanding tasks. Meditation helps to clear the mind and become more grounded. Take walks outside and enjoy nature. Get distracted with new challenges, sports or anything that interrupts that movie in your head.

Enlarge your social and professional networks to meet new people. Sometimes loneliness or feelings of abandonment push us into living in the past. has a plethora of groups for a variety of interests. Get active in groups, such a book or movie club. Explore new interests, whether it is culinary arts or pottery. Stay busy.

Building connections helps to make life more enriching. I get a lot out of volunteering and also hear that from others. Be open to a new romantic relationship and not be so rooted in the past. Some people do end up with a former partner decades later when both were single again. It is not impossible, but consider meeting with a counsellor to ensure that this is a positive action for you both. I have read about people marrying the one who got away. That said, I went to a wedding which later ended in divorce. The couple remarried and went through another acrimonious divorce.  What tore them apart the first time did so again. Think carefully why the initial relationship did not work out and start to move on. Put more energy into other relationships to lessen the focus on the one that ended.

reached at (740) 919-1248 or through her website

Wendi Schuller, uses her knowledge as a nurse, Neuro-Linguistic Programmer (NLP), and hypnotherapist, to author the book The Women’s Holistic Guide to Divorce that helps women regaining their strength of inner peace and wisdom. She can be reached by