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Kimberly King: “Seek Financial Advice from the Experts”

Seek Financial Advice from the Experts. A family that lives under one roof and shares expenses costs much less than running two separate households. Figuring out how to manage the new financial situation can be daunting for divorcing parents. There are many factors to consider when making financial decisions like spousal support, child support, dependent […]

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Seek Financial Advice from the Experts. A family that lives under one roof and shares expenses costs much less than running two separate households. Figuring out how to manage the new financial situation can be daunting for divorcing parents. There are many factors to consider when making financial decisions like spousal support, child support, dependent status for taxes, child tax credits, custody, and insurance. Seek the experts’ advice on this topic from a certified financial planner who specializes in collaborative divorce.

As you navigate the challenges of divorce, remember to be mindful of your purpose. The ultimate goal of having two happy, functioning families working together is possible. It may take a little extra time to implement therapy and co-parenting agreements. However, if you slow down and address some of these issues ahead of time, you will save yourself and your children a considerable amount of emotional turmoil in the long run.


As part of our series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Survive And Thrive After A Divorce Or Breakup”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Kimberly King, an award-winning author, teacher, and parent alienation prevention advocate. Kimberly helps parents and kids learn how to communicate on difficult topics with her unique kid-to-kid guides proactively.

​​Her work is featured in various magazines and blogs, including; The Chicago Tribune, Social Work Now, U.S. News and World Report, The Health Journal, Modern Mom, PopSugar, and is highly recommended as a resource by national prevention organizations. Please contact her directly for any media requests.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to ‘get to know you’. Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

I can honestly say that I had the best childhood! Happy memories flash in my memory: Jumping in puddles, playing in treehouses, riding bikes, and playing with the neighborhood gaggle of kids on our street. As the oldest of five children, a desire to help and teach seemed innate. I always enjoyed helping my mother with the daily challenges in our home. She was a mom, nurse, community volunteer, preschool teacher, and a gift in my life.

Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I met my first kindergarten class, I was inspired and captivated by their endearing stories and writing. We integrated a “Writer’s Workshop” in my first class, and I have carried that with me to every new classroom. These first students sparked my interest in becoming an author. This year, I am teaching at St. Paul School in Westport, Ct. This class is full of creative writers and I love helping them find their voice.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started this career?

When you marry a Navy pilot, you brace for those challenges and are surprised by the rewards.

Travel was on the horizon, and I was thrilled! I found myself moving from an inner-city classroom in Norwalk, CT, to a Department of Defense school in Sigonella, Sicily.

The surroundings and schools were very different in philosophy and location. However, the responsibilities remained the same. Teachers are so much more than just teachers! We are unofficial counselors, therapists, advocates, support systems, and friends to many of my families.

Your students become your “kids,” and their families become your inner circle. The parents and children who have passed through my classroom were the original motivation for my career as an author of children’s books.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

On my first day of teaching at the young age of 23, we had our first fire drill. I was very anxious and nervous. I lined the kids up and got them all out of the class with speed. Impressed with my speed and ability to be the first-class out, I took a deep breath. Then, I realized my class looked smaller than usual. PANIC set in…Did I count too fast?! I recounted heads immediately and realized I was missing a student.

I ran over to my principal to let her know about my mistake. I was so upset with myself.

She already knew that I left a man behind! But, she told me that he could not leave the bathroom anyway due to intestinal issues. The nurse was with him, and all was ok. My principal said, “Miss King- this is why we practice fire drills every two weeks. I promise you will never make this mistake again. We all make mistakes.” When I got back to the classroom, the student I left behind said, “Miss King, I am sorry, but when you got to go, you got to go!”

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

During my parents’ divorce, my mom always said, “We always need to take the high road and never assume that we know what other people are really going through.”

My parents never participated in any negative talk about each other in front of us. On the contrary, they supported each other and gave praise and positive feedback. They worked together and did each other favors. We celebrated life events together as a divorced family with ease.

I have always tried to live up to this quote and use it to guide my life and work.

The experience with a positive, collaborative divorce as a child and my divorce trauma as an adult inspired me to research and write my second book, “When Your Parents Divorce- a kid-to-kid guide to dealing with divorce.” This book was born out of these juxtaposed experiences.

It was my small way of helping our family and others learn how to create a positive, supportive environment for kids.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

My books are all about helping children with challenging topics. It is always exciting to start on a new book!

My book, I Said No! A kid to kid guide to keeping private parts private is a best-selling children’s book on sexual abuse prevention.

The new and exciting project will teach young children about consent from a very young age. It will include body boundaries and strategies for children to use strong words and say NO to all unwanted touch.

Teaching consent is an essential strategy that many people assume their kids understand. But, the topic of CONSENT can be confusing to both children and adults. A solid understanding of the concept will help keep kids safe as young children and protect them as they grow.

Ok. Thank you for that. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell us a bit about your experience going through a divorce, or helping someone who was going through a divorce? What did you learn about yourself during and after the experience? Do you feel comfortable sharing a story?

During the experience, I fell into a state of constant anxiety.

I learned that I needed a support group and a therapist to deal with this devastating time in my life. Thankfully, the anxiety passed as I learned coping skills. With time, everything did get better.

One thing that helped was disengaging from communication with my x. My therapist gave me a new mantra, “It takes two to argue! Don’t engage!” Upon the advice from my therapist, I forced myself only to communicate one day a week. You have to put up a boundary to have peace and time to deal with your emotions and heal.

In your opinion, what are the most common mistakes people make after they go through a divorce? What can be done to avoid that?

The biggest mistake parents make when going through a divorce is to stop counseling. Yes, most parents engage in marriage counseling, and that may result in reconciliation or divorce. However, during a separation and divorce, I would encourage everyone to stay in counseling.

Hire a family counselor to help you and your family learn how to adjust, grieve, pivot, parent, and stay in a positive space.

People generally label “divorce” as being “negative”. And yes, while there are downsides, there can also be a lot of positive that comes out of it as well. What would you say that they are? Can you share an example or share a story?

A divorce is never easy. It can be as painful and traumatic as the death of a loved one. It can leave you feeling angry, depressed, and hopeless. I lost my career goals and individual interests during my marriage. During the separation, I started practicing self-care. I found time for myself and my interests. I started doing hot yoga, making friends, and getting back to my career goals. I am not saying that being a married woman with three children did not have many beautiful moments.

But, I put everyone else first and lost myself as a result. I know I am not the only mom to feel this way. At the age of 40, getting the opportunity to know and love yourself again is a blessing.

Some people are scared to get back out there’ and date again after being with their former spouse for many years and hearing dating horror stories. What would you say to motivate someone to get back out there and start a new beginning?

I would recommend “dating yourself” first. After a divorce, emotions are raw, and you may be overly needy. You may need time to let your self-esteem and feelings stabilize. I would encourage you to get out there and take care of yourself. Go to a therapist, spend time on daily self-care, learn who you are as an individual.

New beginnings will happen when you are ready!

What is the one thing people going through a divorce should be open to changing?

Be mindful of your tone and attitude while in the presence of your children. The only way to get through a divorce and keep your sanity is to be kind and take the high road. Any other options will cause pain and result in damage to your children.

Ok, here is the main question of our discussion. If you had a close friend come to you for advice after a divorce, what are 5 things you would advise in order to survive and thrive after the divorce? Can you please give a story or example for each?

Going through a divorce can bring out the worst in two relatively normal, kind people. Because this decision brings so much emotional turmoil, preparation is often needed. It’s essential to slow down and take the time to evaluate your emotional wellness.

Adults are often ill-prepared to handle the range of emotions and difficulties that may lie ahead. Proceed with caution and consider these ideas to reduce stress and minimize the emotional impact on your children.

  1. Say No To Parent Alienation

No good parent wants to impart stress or anxiety in his or her children’s hearts and minds. But many parents do not understand the severe impact their negative words, even if sly and subtle, have on children. These negative comments and attitudes, over time, can quickly turn into Parent Alienation.

According to the Parent Alienation Awareness Group (PAAO), “Parental alienation is a group of behaviors that are damaging to children’s mental and emotional well-being and can interfere with a relationship of a child and either parent. These behaviors, whether verbal or nonverbal, cause a child to be mentally manipulated or bullied into believing a loving parent is the cause of all their problems and/or the enemy, to be feared, hated, disrespected and/or avoided.” Parent Alienation is devastating to children and families, and it is illegal in most states.

2. THERAPY

Do you need a therapist? Yes, you do! A good therapist can listen, provide a fresh perspective, help you address issues, and teach you coping strategies to reduce stressors. Putting positive strategies in place can pay off in the long run. Learning to minimize stress will help you be a more effective parent and a more positive role model for your children.

When married couples separate, there is an immediate shift in the family. Married couples are usually attached emotionally, financially, and structurally. The dysfunction of the marriage will typically carry over during a separation and divorce.

3. Sign Up for Collaborative Parenting Classes

Parenting during a divorce is hard! Why not seek help and reinforcements? A united front on parenting decisions provides stability and predictability that kids need. It is comforting for children to know that Mom and Dad are still “on the same page” regarding the decisions that affect them directly, like school, plans, schedules, discipline, routines, health, religion, and overall family wellness.

Collaborative parenting helps parents get ahead of the disputes and also helps prevent the children from playing Mom and Dad against each other. The co-parenting concept takes patience, time, and planning to develop and implement. When you disagree, which you will, keep it private. Adult discussions about child-rearing must be done between the adults, not in front of the kids.

4. Practice Self-Care

If you don’t have a routine of self-care, now is the time to develop one. Self-care is the practice of taking care of yourself: mind, body, and spirit. Try to find the time to do positive things for yourself. Read a book, go to the gym, take a yoga class, meditate, walk in nature, go to the beach, connect with an old friend, volunteer, and get back out there. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t do a great job of taking care of others. A happier parent is a better parent.

5. Seek Financial Advice from the Experts

A family that lives under one roof and shares expenses costs much less than running two separate households. Figuring out how to manage the new financial situation can be daunting for divorcing parents. There are many factors to consider when making financial decisions like spousal support, child support, dependent status for taxes, child tax credits, custody, and insurance. Seek the experts’ advice on this topic from a certified financial planner who specializes in collaborative divorce.

As you navigate the challenges of divorce, remember to be mindful of your purpose. The ultimate goal of having two happy, functioning families working together is possible. It may take a little extra time to implement therapy and co-parenting agreements. However, if you slow down and address some of these issues ahead of time, you will save yourself and your children a considerable amount of emotional turmoil in the long run.

The stress of a divorce can take a toll on both one’s mental and emotional health. In your opinion or experience, what are a few things people going through a divorce can do to alleviate this pain and anguish?

A divorce can drive you into a dark and unhealthy place. Therapy, yoga, meditation, support groups, and self-care will all help you find your center and move forward positively and peacefully.

Grab a copy of any Brene Brown book! Rising Strong by Brene Brown has helped me process residual feelings of guilt and failure.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources related to this topic that you would recommend to our readers?

YES! Books are an effective way to help children and adults during the challenges of life.

For more book lists please visit me at www.kimberlykingbooks.com

FOR KIDS AGES 3–7​

  • When Your Parents Divorce: a Kid to Kids Guide to Dealing with Divorce by Kimberly King
  • I Have Two Homes by Colleen Le Maire and Marina Saumell
  • It’s Not Your Fault, Koko Bear by Vicki Lansky
  • Mom’s House Dad’s House for Kids by Isolina Ricci, PhD
  • My Mom and Dad Are Getting a Divorce by Florence Bienenfeld
  • Sesame Street: Little children, Big Challenges
  • Two Homes by Claire Masurel

FOR PARENTS:

  • The Co-Parenting Survival Guide: Letting Go of Conflict After a Difficult Divorce. Jeffrey Zimmerman, Ph.D. Psychologist
  • Co-parenting 101: Helping Your Kids Arrive in Two Households after Divorce. Deesha Philyaw & Michael D. Thomas
  • Death of the Relationship and the Beginning of the Rest of Your Life by Ismail Yassai, PhD
  • Mom’s House, Dad’s House by Isolina Ricci, PhD
  • Parenting Apart: How Separated and Divorced Parents Can Raise Happy and Secure Kids by Christina McGhee

We are very blessed that very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I would be thrilled to meet Ashley Judd. Her bravery and dedication to the movement were essential in bringing awareness and education to the epidemic of sexual assault and sexual abuse. I would love to collaborate on my new book about CONSENT for Kids.

Thank you for these great insights and for the time you spent with this interview. We wish you only continued success!

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