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Post-Divorce Financial Tips for Women and Men

Post-Divorce Financial Tips for Women and Men

Going through a divorce is a major life change. Despite dealing with emotions, women and men both have to be prepared to make lifestyle changes. Income, expenses and debt may not have seemed like a daunting task during marriage, but as a single woman or man, paying bills, saving and investing for retirement, planning for your child’s college expenses, and other long-term goals will require savings, investments and financial planning. Below is a post-divorce financial checklist to help you become financially independent and stable following your divorce:

– Close any joint credit accounts.

– Remove your spouse’s name and/or change your name/address on all remaining accounts including:

  • Bank, brokerage and investment accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Driver’s license, automobile title, registration and insurance policies
  • Employer’s records
  • IRS records
  • Life, health, homeowner’s and disability insurance policies
  • Post office (Remember to have your mail forwarded, too.)
  • Professional licenses
  • Social security card
  • Title to real property
  • Utility bills

– Research your health insurance options.

– Open a new bank account. Consider establishing direct deposit or income witholding for child support, spousal support and/or alimony payments.

– Request a copy of your credit report.

– Disinherit your spouse. Write and execute a new will, trusts, medical directive and/or living wills and power of attorney.

– Change the beneficiaries on your life insurance, 401k, pension and IRA accounts

Following your divorce, analyse your finances during marriage to understand your spending habits. Establishing and sticking to a financial plan will be critical in having financial stability. Compass Center for Women and Families’ financial education programs help individuals become self-sufficient and financially stable. Click here to learn more about our individual financial counseling and financial coaching/support program.

* Checklist from Jeff Landers on Forbes.com

Know the Law: How to Get a Restraining Order

Know the Law: How to Get a Restraining Order

A restraining order, or protective order, is a legal order issued by a state court, which requires a person to stop harming another. In the state of North Carolina, courts can issue domestic violence protective orders and civil no-contact orders. The legal system is divided by civil law and criminal law. Domestic violence cases may be both civil and criminal. Pursuing both civil and criminal actions may result in maximum protection.

For civil law cases, the person bringing the case against the abuser is the abused party and s/he has the right to drop the case at any time. Civil cases protect a person from abuse, but does not send the abuser to jail for a crime. If the abuser violates the civil court order, s/he may face jailtime. In criminal law, a criminal act, such as harrassment, assault, murder and/or theft has taken place. A prosecutor brings the case to court.

A Domestic Violence Protective Order (DVPO) is a court order that provides protection from someone you have/had a personal relationship with. There are two types of DVPOs: Ex parte/temporary and Final. Ex parte/temporary protective orders provide immediate protection without the abuser present. A Final DVPO is issued after a full court hearing. In this hearing, the abuser has a chance to defend him/herself. Final DVPOs last for up to one year. You can file for a protective order in the county where you live or in the county your abuser lives.

Below you will find more information from womenslaw.org on how a DVPO can help you:

  • Order the abuser not to assault, threaten, abuse, follow, harass, or interfere with you and your children in person, at work, on the telephone, or by other means;
  • Allow you to live in the home where you and the abuser have lived together and order the abuser to move out and not return, no matter who owns the home or is on the lease;
  • Order the abuser to provide suitable alternative housing for you;
  • Tell the police to remove the abuser from the home and help you to return to the home;
  • Give you possession of personal property including a car and household goods, except for the abuser’s personal belongings;
  • Order the abuser to stay away from any place you request including your school, your children’s school, your work place, your friends’ homes, or any place where you are seeking shelter;
  • Order the abuser not to harm your pet;
  • Give you possession of your pet;
  • Give you temporary custody of a minor child, order the abuser to pay temporary child support, and establish temporary visitation (custody, child support, and visitation only apply if the abuser is the parent of the child);
  • Order your spouse to pay temporary spousal support;
  • Order the abuser to hand over any firearms and prohibit the abuser from purchasing a firearm;
  • Order the abuser to attend an abuser’s treatment program;
  • Order the abuser to pay attorney’s fees; and/or
  • Order the abuser to do anything else you ask for and the judge agrees to.*

*NCGS § 50B-3

Abuse Can Escalate – Get Help Today

Abuse Can Escalate – Get Help Today

Every year in October, thousands rally together and promote “Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” It is critical that we discuss and understand the consequences of domestic violence.

According to the North Carolina Council for Women, for the past five years, more than 1000 calls have been placed to police dispatchers in Orange County related to domestic violence incidents, while less than 500 individuals sought out services.

In July 2012, Michelle McClinton of Chapel Hill filed a domestic violence protective order against her boyfriend. In October, she filed a motion to set aside the court order, despite her boyfriend’s violent criminal history. Friends and family of McClinton were aware of the couple’s abusive relationship. Last week, McClinton stabbed her boyfriend to death and is being charged with first-degree murder.

McClinton’s story is just one of many in our county that proves abuse can escalate to the point where retaliation, or sometimes defense, occurs and the victim is then engaged in a crime. In 2012, there were 122 total domestic violence related homicides, seven of which involved a party that had received protective orders from a court.

It is important to discuss domestic violence in the public sphere and seek out resources to help others. Compass Center for Women and Families offers domestic violence crisis services, including support groups and a 24-hour crisis hotline: 919-929-7122. If you or someone you know may be experiencing abuse, we are here to listen and lend support.

Open Dialogue with Teens

Open Dialogue with Teens

The Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina reports 87% of teens say it would be easier to avoid sex if they could have open, honest conversations with their parents about it. With pop culture putting out hundreds of sex-driven messages a day, it is necessary for parents to push the boundaries on conversations with their children.

Don’t know what to say or how to say it?! That’s ok, there is help! Advocates for Youth can help you get the conversation started. Take a look!

October is Let’s Talk Month. Don’t forget to keep talking, your teen wants you to!

Upcoming Compass Center Support Groups

Upcoming Compass Center Support Groups

Compass Center offers support group services for adults and children. These are an opportunity for individuals with shared experiences to come together, offer support to one another and work on their own healing process. Below are upcoming groups that we will be offering.

Self-Esteem Group: This 8-week group is open to women who want to work on building their self-esteem and encourage others in their own journey of personal growth. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, and confidential environment. Topics discussed in the group include self-compassion, self-care, and building connections with others. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Screenings for this group are ongoing. Contact Connie at 919-929-3872 or groups@compassctr.org for more information.

Domestic Violence Support Group: This 8 week group is open to women who have experienced or are currently experiencing abuse in an intimate partner relationship including emotional, verbal, economic, sexual, or physical abuse. Topics discussed include dynamics of domestic violence, the relationship between thoughts and feelings, boundaries, managing emotions, self-esteem, and self-care. The group is free. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. Child care can be offered as needed. The next group will being the week of August 19th, weekday evening. Contact Connie at 919-929-3872 or groups@compassctr.org for more information.

Divorce and Separation Support Group: This 8 week group is open to women who have experienced or are contemplating separation and/or divorce. The group will address common issues that women face during this process such as grief, loss, anger, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, legal and financial concerns, parenting/co-parenting issues, and managing change. The focus of the group will be to provide support, encouragement, and information in a safe, nurturing, and confidential environment. A screening interview is required to determine if the group is a good fit at the present time. There is a $40 fee associated with this group, but can be waived as needed. Child care is offered upon request. Screenings for this group are ongoing. Contact Connie at 919-929-3872 or groups@compassctr.org for more information.

Art of Healing Workshop for Survivors of Domestic Violence:  This Group is offered on the first Saturday of every month. Survivors of intimate partner abuse are invited to participate in these afternoons of art-making, processing, and community. Participants will be gently led through easy art and writing activities with a focus on expression, hope, healing, and strengths. No previous art-making or writing experience is required.  Childcare can be offered upon request. Registration is required for each session. Contact Connie at 919-929-3872 or groups@compassctr.org to reserve your spot in the group.

There’s Value in Volunteering: 5 Reasons Why You Should Get Involved

There’s Value in Volunteering: 5 Reasons Why You Should Get Involved

Although job seekers often do not see the value in volunteering, volunteering is an opportunity for personal development. In “Don’t Overlook Volunteering as a Valuable Career Tool,” Laurie Morse-Dell explains that many individuals searching for a job believe they should spend their time building relationships and exploring career opportunities. However, volunteering is an opportunity to further market yourself, gain skills and grow your network. Below are 5 reasons why you should volunteer, as outlined by Laurie Morse-Dell.

  1. Volunteering helps fill in gaps on your resume: Are you between jobs? Did you just graduate from school? Employers will ask about what you have been doing since you left your last job. Volunteering is a great way to fill in these gaps and also bring up talking points on leadership and relationship building in an interview.
  2. Volunteering shows that you take initiative: Employers want to see someone who doesn’t sit around waiting for an opportunity to come to them. Volunteering while job searching shows the ability to solve problems and step up.
  3. Volunteering introduces you to a community network: While volunteering, you will come into contact with a lot of people. If volunteering in an area of interest, these contacts could be a direct link to your next employment opportunity. Further, you will get leads just by having conversations with fellow community members.
  4. Volunteering builds your references: Volunteer positions that build your skills or expertise are great for applying for jobs. The volunteer coordinator or director will be hands-on in managing your projects and when the times come will be thrilled to write a recommendation or be listed as a reference.
  5. Volunteering boosts your experience: Whether you are searching for a job or not, gaining experience is always valuable. If there is a skill you are looking to gain, you could search for volunteer opportunities that cater to those skills. Event planning, website design or marketing are examples of skills that are in high demand.

Compass Center offers dozens of ways to get involved. Volunteers have moved on to serve on our Board of Directors, and some have even joined our staff. Click here to learn more about our volunteer opportunities.

What success stories do you have from your volunteer experiences? What worries do you have about volunteering instead of actively being a full-time job seeker? Share below!

Who Are You Accepting on LinkedIn?

Who Are You Accepting on LinkedIn?

6431448699_e660c09aca_bClients often come to Compass Center seeking career advice on job search techniques and/or how to prepare for a job search. As the world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn remains a leading resource for job seekers. LinkedIn elevates social networking by providing an online platform for professional contacts. But to what extent should limits on professional contacts be pushed? Inspired by a Harvard Business Review blog post, we will explore the three categories of a suitable LinkedIn connection.

The Sharers
Sharers help you stay in the know. LinkedIn places relevant content in your personal feed, so having multiple sharers helps ensure you’re receiving the best news – whether it be local news, industry trends or job opportunities.

The Connectors
The Connector is someone that is extremely plugged in. By adding someone that you already know in a professional capacity, you are able to benefit greatly. Connectors are great for offering introductions to their connections, making suggestions on how to better your profile and inform you of groups or meetups.

The Leaders
Leaders are viewed as experts. They understand social media, especially LinkedIn. They are a combination of Sharers and Connectors. The best leaders are willing to answer questions you may have about bettering your profile, as well as connecting you to groups and other professionals.

LinkedIn isn’t designed to be another Facebook or Twitter. The more strategic, exclusive and intimate connections that can be made, the better.

Question: What do you take into consideration before accepting a LinkedIn invitation?

Photos from Martha’s Day – July 8, 2013

Photos from Martha’s Day – July 8, 2013

On July 8, Compass Center for Women and Families celebrated its one year anniversary with Martha’s Day, a day-long celebration in honor of Martha Pearson, a victim of domestic violence. Martha’s Day was generously supported by Vimala’s Curryblossom Café, DSI Comedy and A Better Image Printing. Chapelboro.com attended and took these wonderful photos!

You can still support Martha’s Day through the end of July. Visit www.compassctr.org and donate online. Please write “Martha’s Day” in the “In Honor” section of the online donation form.

Nearly $5,000 Raised for Martha’s Day 2013

Nearly $5,000 Raised for Martha’s Day 2013

Laura and Martha

UPDATE: As of August 5, 2013, we reached $5,000 raised for Martha’s Day!

The following is a guest post from Laura Morrison, the inspired leader of Martha’s Day…In early June, I got an itch to celebrate my mother’s upcoming 60th birthday. Originally, I thought I’d write a simple letter to friends, family and colleagues, encouraging them to donate to Compass Center to honor my mother’s birthday and her life. However, when I shared my plan with Vimala Rajendran (owner of Vimala’s Curryblossom Café), something beautiful happened. We dreamt up Martha’s Day.

During our initial, hour-long conversation, Vimala and I whipped up a rough event plan, and she even nailed down a band to perform at the event. Within days, Compass Center staff jumped on board, support from the business community poured in, and Martha’s Day was up and running.

The effortlessness of planning Martha’s Day was an early indicator of the generosity of our community, and the actual event was a testament to the ability we have to come together and make a powerful difference in our community.

In only a month, we united behind Compass Center and raised nearly $5,000 to bolster the services the Center provides women, men and children facing domestic violence. And we did it all in the name of my mother, Martha.

Martha’s Day was transformational. When we suffer tragedy, it’s easy to get lost in grief. Martha’s Day was my chance to climb out of my grief and publicly celebrate my mother – her strengths, and her weaknesses. I was honored to share her story in the hopes of helping others survive what she did not – domestic violence. Martha’s Day helped me turn my mother’s tragedy into beauty.

The event reminded me how beautiful the power of community is. Martha’s Day would not have happened had Vimala not been excited about hosting an event, had A Better Image not sponsored our invitations, had DSI Comedy not sponsored our raffle, had the MahaloJazz 3 not graciously performed for us, and had Compass Center staff and volunteers – as well as my friends and family – not dedicated their time to volunteer at the event. It was only after those pieces fell into place that we were able to come together and raise significant funds for Compass Center.

I was blown away by the number of people who stopped by Martha’s Day to show their support and donate to Compass Center (and even more blown away that some of my mother’s childhood friends attended!). And I was definitely encouraged to overhear conversations throughout the dinner about ending domestic violence.

Martha’s Day was certainly about raising money for Compass Center and supporting an organization that is doing amazing work in our community. But my greater aim in organizing Martha’s Day was to pull our entire community into an open and honest dialogue about domestic violence. In that regard, I can say without hesitation Martha’s Day was a success.

At the event, I challenged attendees to ask themselves a few questions:

  • What role can we play in ending domestic violence?
  • How can we support and empower victims?
  • How can we love and rehabilitate abusers?
  • What can we do to educate our kids about this type of  violence
  • How can we lend a hand in breaking cycles of abuse?

I don’t have the answers to those questions. They are big, heavy questions. Domestic violence is a problem, and when you’ve been personally touched by it, the problem feels huge and unbeatable and overwhelming. But as I looked around at the many folks who attended Martha’s Day, I saw my friends, coworkers, family and strangers, and I was reminded that no matter how big a problem is, if we work together, we can defeat it.

Martha’s Day was a step in the right direction. Now it’s up to us to continue our community conversation on domestic violence and plow forward toward ending that violence.

For photos from the event, click here.

Outsider Finds Community with Teens Climb High

Reem Lily toolsLily was recommended to Teens Climb High as a sixth grader. She was dealing with a history of abuse and neglect, and had witnessed domestic violence in her own home.  She had been recently adopted by her foster mother, and was struggling academically. Lily grew to love the weekly group sessions at Teens Climb High. She grew especially close with another TCH participant, someone who also seemed to not fit in with a lot of other sixth graders, and began to spend time together outside of TCH. Lily participated in TCH’s community service learning project at a senior center and loved it so much she did not want to leave when the work was complete. She asked if she could continue helping out there. On the last day of TCH for sixth grade, Lily talked about how much her self-esteem had improved because of this program and the support she gets from the leaders and the other students. Lily is planning to go on vacation this summer with her new friend’s family.

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