Jan 21

What to Know About Marital Abandonment

Most couples facing problems tend to solve this by trying marital counseling, opting for legal separation, or deciding there’s no way to resolve the issue except for divorce. However, there are some cases where individuals decide to sever their ties with the family altogether, and this is known as marital abandonment. With marital abandonment, one spouse doesn’t simply move out of the home, but they move out with no intent to return, no longer pay necessary support, and no desire to fulfill their responsibilities (whether financial or otherwise). Below are a few important things to know about marital abandonment.


It could be grounds for divorce.

If your spouse has abandoned you and your family, it may be grounds for divorce. Some states allow for at-fault divorces, and in these states, abandonment is considered a viable reason for divorce. The spouse claiming abandonment must provide certain documentation to prove abandonment took place, such as proof you didn’t cause the spouse’s departure, proof you didn’t agree to the separation, and proof they haven’t made any financial contribution to you or the family during this time. If you can prove these things, the court will likely rule in your favor and the divorce will be finalized.


There are different types of abandonment.

When most people hear the term “marital abandonment”, they tend to think of one spouse leaving the other. While this is true, there are other types of abandonment:

  • Constructive abandonment: This refers to when one spouse forces another spouse to leave due to bad behavior, such as physical/emotion abuse, infidelity, and offering no financial support. During this type of abandonment, the spouse who is suffering can file a petition with the courts to prove he/she had no other option but to leave the marriage.
  • Criminal abandonment: If you or your spouse suddenly decide to walk away from a spouse with serious health issues or suddenly refuse to provide care or protection for a child, that is a form of criminal abandonment. In these cases, the court will find the spouse who walked away financially responsible to support the child or the sick spouse.


It plays a role in the division of marital assets.

When it comes to divorce, the courts divide marital assets between spouses. However, in the event of marital abandonment, it could play a major role in the division of marital assets. For instance, if one spouse leaves and doesn’t remain financially responsible for the mortgage or bills, the court may rule in the favor of the spouse who was able to continue paying for the house/bills/etc. This may mean the spouse who walked away will not be entitled to any equity or assets that occurred during the marriage.


The abandoned spouse can still request support.

Although marital abandonment refers to one spouse walking away from their responsibilities, it’s still possible for the abandoned spouse to request support from the other one. Whether you’re looking for alimony or child support, you can still ask the court to grant this to you from the other party. Should the court rule in your favor, your spouse will now be legally responsible to provide this to you. If he or she ignores this court-ordered sanction, it puts them at risk of serving jail time for failure to comply. Oftentimes, this is enough to get the spouse to agree to the terms.


Martial abandonment is a serious issue that many people face, and it’s important to know your rights should you find yourself in this situation. By educating yourself, you can make a better case for yourself and know what’s legally available to you.

Nov 18

3 Ways Divorce Can Affect A Child’s Ability to Sleep

Divorce is getting more and more common in an era where families do not have to stay together to be able to afford the basic functions in life and where divorcee’s are not looked down upon for not staying together. However, it is still stressful and hard for people of any age to deal with. To make this transition as easy as possible for everyone involved, particularly the kids, sleep is key. Here’s a few reasons that the kid in your life might not be getting enough sleep during this period of their life.


Divorce is hard on every member of the family, from the parents who are separating to even the smallest of children. Whether they are dealing with their parents fighting or just dealing with the changes in their lives, it adds stress to any child’s life.

Stress is a huge problem for anyone who is going through a hard time, and it will make anyone have trouble sleeping. Kids don’t have the stress coping mechanisms that adults have built up over their lives, or the ability to recognize that the stress is what the problem is for them. In addition, lack of sleep causes everyone to be less able to handle even the most minor of stressors in their lives, making everything seem a whole lot harder to deal with.


Change of Routine

Kids thrive on routines. Divorce is, by design, disruption of the routines that they thrive on. Luckily, there is an easy way for parents going through divorce to make this change easier on their kids. If you can keep as much of their routine intact as possible no matter where they’re spending their days, they will sleep better in the long run.

This is especially important when it comes to bedtime. Bedtime routines help to train the brain into recognizing when it is time for it to produce melatonin and start getting sleepy. It also serves as time for parents to bond with their children, especially when they are younger. Kids will grow up and remember the time that their parents spent reading to them at night or telling them silly stories to help them relax.


Changing Sleep Space

Parts of these changes for kids of all ages can be both good and bad, particularly the changing of their sleep space. When one parent moves out, kids usually get new beds and bedrooms. This book can lead them to forget some of the things that they were supposed to bring back to the other parent’s house, but great that they get a new mattress or crib, especially if they are sleeping on a hand-me-down. Mattresses should be replaced every eight years to be as supportive as possible for the people sleeping on them – even when those people are significantly smaller than their parents.

If you notice that a child in your life is not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, it might be worth talking to a doctor or a therapist to see if there is an underlying issue that you can work with to find the underlying problem.

Oct 18

The Financial Woes of Divorce

Finances During a Divorce

Finances During a Divorce

There’s a lot involved with getting divorced, and the second biggest question on people’s minds when it comes to divorce is “How much is divorce going to cost?” (The first question is usually about the children, if there are some.) The cost of a divorce will vary on a variety of factors, but in most cases, you can count on divorce to cost thousands of dollars before its finalized. If you want to have a general idea of the cost of divorce, here are the financial woes you need to take into consideration.

Mediation/Attorney Fees

In most divorce cases, couples either hire divorce attorneys or they opt for mediation. Of the two, mediation is often the least expensive option, but you will still need to pay for it. Divorce attorneys vary in price too, so you’ll want to make sure you’re making the right decision when it comes to finding the right one to represent you.


Aside from the cost of attorneys or mediators, you’ll also have document and paperwork fees that will be filed with the courts. Some lawyers will roll this fee into their own expenses while others will make you pay for this cost separately. There’s no right or wrong way to go about paying for them, but it’s something you’ll want to keep in mind when determining your budget.

Filing Fees

Once your divorce has been approved by the courts, you’ll also notice filing fees, which happen to make your divorce legal. Again, the way this cost works will depend on your lawyer, but it’s important to ask questions about this upfront so you’re not hit with a surprise bill when it’s all over.

Child Support/Alimony

In some instances, one parent will be required to pay child support and/or alimony to the other parent. The cost of this will depend on the state you live in and the number of children you have, but if you’re required to pay child support or alimony, you’ll need to factor this into your financial plan. After all, failing to pay child support can keep you from obtaining a passport or force you to serve jail time.

Division of Property

During your divorce, there will be a division of property between you and your ex. This again will be determined by the laws and the court systems in your state. In most cases, the courts decide what is considered a marital asset and what is considered pre-marriage individual property, and then the division of assets will fall into play after this has been determined.


Some married couples opt to sell their house and split the profit (or loss) of the house. In some cases, one person will buy the other person out of the house. There are plenty of options, but it’s important to know that housing will be an expense during the divorce. If you remain in the home, you’ll still need to cover the mortgage payments. If you move out, you’ll need to pay rent in another location. And if you decide to sell, you’ll have the cost of selling the home. Either way, it will be a big adjustment for you to consider.

General Expenses

When you were married, you had a shared income that allowed you to live a certain lifestyle. When you get divorced, this income is now cut in half, and each person will be forced to adjust their lifestyle to accommodate your new budget. This means you may need to make necessary changes, such as trading in a luxury vehicle for one that’s more affordable or quitting that prime gym membership.

Divorce will certainly make an impact on your finances, but if you can at least be semi-prepared for what to expect, you’ll at least be in a better situation.



Aug 18

Tips for Finding a Marriage Counselor

Finding a Marriage Counselor

Finding a Marriage Counselor

Your marriage is important, and if you and your spouse are facing some difficult situations, it may be a good idea for you to find a marriage counselor and try to resolve your issues. However, while there are a variety of marriage counselors out there, it’s very important for you and your spouse to find one that works well for both of you. After all, this is supposed to be a joint arrangement, so you both need to be comfortable with your decision and the person you choose to help you. Be sure to use the below tips to try and find a marriage counselor.


Do your research.

Like anything else you’re looking into, it’s important for you to do your research on marriage counselors in your area. This can be done by researching different people online or by asking friends or family members for recommendations. Be sure you and your spouse do research and then compare what you find. This will allow you both to have an input on who you choose to help salvage your marriage in the best possible way.


Look at credentials.

When doing your research, be sure to look at the therapist’s credentials. Since your marriage is very important, you want to ensure the marriage counselor you choose is experienced and educated enough to help you. By law, these individuals are required to provide you with their credentials, so be sure to look when researching. If you can’t find anything, then be sure to ask the therapist about it.


Have a meeting.

You and your spouse need to be comfortable with your decision, and many therapists understand this, which is why they offer consultations for people looking for their services. Once you have come up with a list of potential therapists, be sure to set up consultations with those you like best. During these consultations, be sure to ask the therapist any question you may have and pay attention to how you feel when with them. If you and your spouse are both comfortable, then you may have found your therapist. However, if there is something that makes you uncomfortable, trust your gut and move on. Therapy is supposed to be very emotional and open, and if you are uncomfortable, it will only dissuade you from being open and honest during your sessions.


Factor in your specific needs.

While you need to put a strong emphasis on your dedication to saving your marriage, you also need to be fully aware of your specific needs and find someone who can help with this. For instance, if you and your spouse both work full-time jobs, you’ll need to find a therapist that has extended hours and can meet you in the evenings. You also need to know how long sessions will be and ensure you can make them fit into your schedule. Finally, you need to think about your specific situation and the therapist’s experience with it. For instance, if your marriage is suffering because of a substance abuse, physical/emotional abuse, infidelity, or any other issue, you want to know the therapist has experience in helping couples cope with the same situation.


Be willing to work.

You and your spouse will be responsible for working hard during your sessions to be open and honest, and most therapists will send you home with “homework” assignments to work on. If you are not willing to do any of this, you can rest assured your therapy sessions will not work in your favor and you may end up filing for divorce.


Finding the right therapist is important to help you salvage your marriage. Be sure to take your time and find the right one that works for each of you, and then be sure to take it seriously to get the best results.

Jul 18

6 Mistakes to Avoid During a Legal Separation

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6 Mistakes to Avoid During a Legal Separation

Before opting for a full-fledged divorce, some couples decide instead to do a legal separation. What this means is that you have filed your separation with the courts to make it legal, but you are also still legally married. For some people, legal separation is exactly what you need to work on your marriage and take the steps necessary to salvage your relationship. However, for others, this legal separation forces you to lean that the marriage cannot be saved, and the divorce becomes inevitable. If you are currently undergoing a legal separation, here are six mistakes you must avoid.


Mistake #1: Keeping joint accounts.

Even if you hope your marriage ends up working out, it’s still important for the two of you to be individuals, and this means handling your own money. If you have joint accounts, you make it easier for one of you to do something stupid that cannot be undone and bring more harm than good to the relationship. As soon as you decide to do a legal separation, be sure to close all joint accounts and instead open individual ones.


Mistake #2: Not following the terms of the agreement.

During a legal separation, a lawyer or legal aid will write up a separation agreement for the two of you to follow. This document will spell out all the rules you and your spouse need to follow while you are separated. If you break any of these rules, you could find yourself facing serious consequences or putting yourself in a bad financial situation. Instead of taking that risk, just make sure to adhere to the agreement.


Mistake #3: Overspending.

While you’re on your own, it may be exciting to want to spend a little bit of money on yourself. While you most certainly deserve it, overspending is not a good idea, especially right now. For instance, if you do end up getting divorced and this big purchase or lavish vacation shows up on your financial history, your ex could accuse you of spending marital assets in a selfish way, and this means you could end up having to somehow put that money back. If you really want to overspend on something, wait until after you have salvaged your marriage or finalized the divorce.


Mistake #4: Oversharing.

Today’s plethora of technology makes it easy for you to share your feelings and life story with people you haven’t seen face to face in years (or ever). However, airing your dirty laundry on social media could come back to bite you in the butt. First, your private life is nobody’s business but your own. Second, any of this information is now public, and you need to be aware that anything you say could come back and be used against you during a divorce proceeding.


Mistake #5: Getting into a new relationship.

Your legal separation is a time where you’re supposed to be focusing on the future of your current relationship, not starting a new one. It is not a smart idea for you to start a new relationship during this time, especially if there is any small chance your marriage could  be salvaged.


Mistake #6: Not being realistic.

As mentioned above, some people can get back together after a legal separation and some can’t. However, what you need to do is just be realistic about your situation and decide on the outcome that must be made. For instance, if you and your spouse are getting along and things are looking up, then maybe you get back together. If neither of you can stand the sight of one another, then it’s best to file for divorce.


A legal separation is a good way to make the right final decision on your marriage, but it’s very important you don’t make any of these mistakes while it’s happening.

Jul 18

How to Talk to Your Toddler About Divorce


How to Talk to your Toddler About Divorce

Nobody gets married and hopes one day to get divorced, especially after you have children. However, things happen and people drift apart, and sometimes divorce is the only solution. When you have kids, though, divorce becomes tougher, especially when the children are young. Talking to your child about divorce is important, but when your child is a toddler, it’s hard for them to comprehend what’s happening and why. However, open communication is still key, even if it’s limited, and below are some tips to help you talk with your toddler about divorce.


Pick the right time.

Toddlers have no concept of time, and they often forget things very quickly. Because of this, it’s necessary for you to pick the right time when it comes to talking with your toddler about divorce. For instance, be sure you talk to them right before the separation is happening. This way, your child will not be confused as to why they were told Mommy or Daddy would no longer be in the house, but will see it in action right away. As for timing, it’s also important to do this when your toddler is alert and awake, so keeping them up late or doing it during nap time will only make the situation worse.


Talk together.

Your toddler needs to see both parents as a team, so it’s important you talk to him/her together. Sit down with your toddler as a united front and tell him/her that Mommy and Daddy will no longer be living in the same house. Use this time to be positive with your child, and don’t use it as a time to start pointing blame or talking poorly about the other parent. Again, doing so will only make the situation worse.


Keep it simple.

Your toddler is good at understanding, but complicating things will only confuse your child. Instead, keep the communication simple and straightforward. For instance, “Mommy and Daddy will no longer be living in the same house. Mommy will live (insert place) and Daddy will live (insert place).” There’s a chance your child may ask why, and again, you need to keep this communication simple. Getting into specifics is not necessary at this time.


Stay positive and reassuring.

Repetition is key for a toddler, and following a schedule is something you’ve done for a while. Because of this, you need to stay positive with your toddler. Reassure your child that both Mommy and Daddy love him/her very much and will both still be taking care of him/her. Always talk nicely about your ex with your child around to keep a positive relationship between your child and your ex.


Make it consistent.

Since schedules are important, it’s a good idea to make the custody arrangement consistent between you and your ex. For instance, have you and your ex keep the same days/time for spending time with your child, i.e., Mommy has the child on Mondays and Wednesdays and Daddy has the child on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This will help your child think of the divorce as more routine than anything.


Consider a therapist.

Sometimes even toddlers can take divorce relatively hard, so if you notice signs of trouble with your child after the divorce, consider seeing a therapist

. Your child will have someone safe they can talk to, and it can be just what your child needs to help process what’s happening and help them find a healthy way to convey their feelings.

Although you may not think your toddler will understand the divorce, it’s still important to talk with him or her about it.

Jun 18

How To Financially Protect Yourself During Divorce

Filing for Divorce

Financial Protection During Divorce

While it may seem stressful at the time, doing it will keep you financially stable during the divorce proceedings.

Have a prenuptial agreement.

The best way to protection your finances during a divorce is to have a prenuptial agreement signed before you get married. For many people, this is a very hard and awkward conversation to have, but if each person is coming from a different financial background, it’s often a necessity. However, if you didn’t have a prenuptial agreement signed, you’re not completely out of luck in the finance protection department.

Cancel joint checking accounts.

If you have a joint checking account, the first thing you should do is cancel the joint account and open up separate checking accounts. Be sure to have your paychecks and any other additional income sources rerouted to the new bank account. If you have money in a joint savings account, the courts will usually put this money on hold until your assets have been determined and split appropriately, or that money will be placed in escrow and used to continue paying joint bills (such as home utility bills or debts).

Cancel joint credit cards.

If you have joint credit cards, it’s also important to cancel these and have individual accounts opened for each of you. This way, your ex cannot spend money on your card and expect you to pay the bill. Keep in mind that if there is a hefty balance to a credit card, it may be impossible for you to close the account until the divorce is finalized. If this is the case, ask the credit card company to put a freeze on the account until the divorce has gone through.

Change names on important documents.

After your divorce has been finalized and your assets have been legally divided by the courts, you need to ensure you change names on any important documents. For instance, be sure to change the name on house deeds or car titles. You’ll also want to go through and make adjustments to the beneficiaries listed on your retirement plans, life insurance policies, wills, and other investment accounts you may have. The last thing you need is for your ex to benefit off of anything happening to you because you forgot to make the necessary adjustment to these documents.


Make smart financial decisions.

Your divorce will be a lifestyle change, and it’s important for you to make smart financial decisions during and after your divorce. For instance, if you and your ex are trying to sell your home, it may be a better idea for you to stay with family until the divorce has been finalized. Otherwise you could end up spending money on the current home you’re trying to sell as well as a new place, and that’s hard to do on one income. In addition, you may want to consider downsizing since you’ll only have one income going forward. Be sure to take a hard look at your own individual finances and create a budget that works best for you.

Check your credit report.

During and after the divorce, be sure to check your credit report often to ensure your ex didn’t incur any debt in your name. While you would hope this wouldn’t happen, it occurs more often than not in some situations. However, keeping an eye on your report allows you to stop an error before it spreads into something much more expensive. Using tools like Credit Sesame to alert you to credit changes can help make this task easier on you.

Getting divorced is expensive, but if you know how to plan ahead, you can keep yourself protected from a bad financial situation.


Apr 18

What’s the Difference Between Legal Separation and Divorce?

Legal Separation or Divorce?

Legal Separation or Divorce?

When facing trouble in your marriage, couples typically have two options: legal separation or divorce. However, these two things are actually very similar yet very different, and it can confuse some people. In the eyes of the law, the difference between legal separation and divorce is that with legal separation, you and your spouse are living apart but still married, while with a divorce your marriage is legally over. There are other factors to consider when determining if legal separation or divorce is the right option for you and your spouse.


Separation vs Divorce

Legal separation is less final than a divorce. Most couples who are trying to decide if their marriage is salvageable often opt for legal separation first. This gives you time to live apart yet still work on the things that are important for you. During a legal separation, you will file this with the courts, and the courts will decide on important factors for you, such as child support, custody arrangements, division or marital assets, etc.


During your legal separation, you and your spouse must live in separate homes. However, during this time, you are still legally married, and neither of you are allowed to get remarried or commit adultery. Should either of you do, you could be at fault of breaking the terms of the legal separation agreement, which could negatively affect you.


In order to receive a legal separation, neither party must be at fault for committing adultery or for abandonment. If this is the case in your relationship, the court may not allow you to file for a legal separation.


Should you and your spouse decide to divorce after the legal separation, all of the details determined during the separation (child support, custody, etc.) will usually just remain the same during the divorce proceedings. This usually allows the divorce to take place in a more expedited fashion and makes it easier on all those involved.


Divorce, on the other end, is a legal separation of your marriage, which means the relationship is officially over. During a divorce, all your assets must be divided, and the court will also decide on child custody, child support, etc., if it has yet to be determined. Once your divorce is finalized, you are allowed to legally remarry, and a divorce is allowed by the courts even if abandonment or adultery is committed by you or your spouse.


Benefits of Legal Separation

Although choosing legal separation or divorce is a very tough decision to make, there are some benefits of choosing legal separation vs divorce:

  • It gives you time to work on your marriage: Sometimes couples face problems that need to be worked on, and a legal separation allows you to work on those issues while still having your time apart. In some cases, couples who are legally separated work through their issues and end up getting back together and saving the marriage.
  • It gives you time to think: The hardest part about getting divorced is the major change it brings to your life, such as living alone and being financially independent. For some people, this time apart allows you to think about what you really want, how you’re feeling, and to see if salvaging the marriage or divorce is the better option.
  • It can be less stressful: Legal separation can be stressful, but some people find that it’s often less stressful than actually getting divorced. Especially if you decide to end the marriage down the road, being legally separated first allows you to have most of the important issues determined ahead of time.
  • Easier on the children: If you have children, it may behoove you to give your marriage a fighting chance for the sake of the kids. That is if you can work on establishing a peaceful marriage. One of the main battles in any divorce is the child custody part. During a separation, you can test out different child custody arrangements should you eventually get divorced.

If you and your spouse are facing some serious issues, it’s time for you to decide if legal separation or divorce is the right option for you.

Mar 18

When You Know You’re Filing for Divorce

Filing for Divorce

Divorce decree, gavel and folder shot on warm wooden surface

Sometimes your relationship gets to the point where divorce is the only solution. When this occurs, you need to ensure you’re prepared for what’s to come before you actual file the paperwork. That’s because divorce can be a very lengthy, emotional, and stressful process, and if you’re not completely prepared from the beginning, it could take a toll on how the rest of it is handled. When you do the following, it can help you be more prepared for what’s to come.


Be sure about your decision.

The last thing you want to do is tell your spouse that you want a divorce when deep down you really don’t. Before you start planning for your divorce, it’s important to make sure this is exactly what you want. Be sure to try talking with your spouse first about your feelings to see if your unhappiness is something you can work on. You should also try couple’s counseling and see if a professional can help you work out your differences. If you find that all of this doesn’t change the way you feel, then you’ll know you’re making the right choice.


Have your finances in order.

If you and your spouse share money, you’ll want to ensure you have finances set up for yourself. Divorce can be very expensive on its own, but you’ll also need money to cover your living expenses going forward. While you don’t want to start stealing money from your joint account, you do want to be prepared with what you can. Open a checking or savings account in your name only, or open some credit cards in your name only. This way, you’ll have access to finances if your joint account becomes frozen during the divorce proceedings.


Know where you’ll go.

When you and your spouse live comfortably in your home, divorce will make one of you need to leave. Deciding who will need to find another place to live isn’t always easy, and if you’re the one willing to leave, then you need to be prepared with where to go. This is when it’s important to either have another place of your own ready, or when you need to get family or friends involved as a temporary place to go. If you are the one asking for divorce, it may be better for you to line this place up ahead of time so that it doesn’t become awkward when you tell your spouse it’s over.


Keep calm and collected.

Divorce can be stressful, and it can take a toll on your personal and professional career. If your divorce is coming out of the blue to your spouse, then you can expect some type of drama to occur. While you may want to give into the drama, it’s important that you don’t. Not only do you need to stay calm and collected, but you need to be mindful of how you act and what you say, as all of this can come back to haunt you when the divorce proceedings occur.


Even if your decision for divorce seems to come out of the blue, it’s extremely important that you use this information to be prepared for what will come.

Mar 18

What to Do When You Can’t Make Child Support Payments

When the court rules that you’re required to make child support payments to your ex, it’s something that you’ll need to do. How much you need to pay will depend on a variety of factors, including what state you live in, how many kids you have, how much money you make, and what type of custody arrangement is in play. However, things happen in life that can put a damper on your finances, and this may make it impossible to make your child support payments. If this happens, here are some steps you can take.


Talk with your ex.

The first thing you should do is talk with your ex about the situation. For instance, if you were recently fired or things changed at work that reduce your finances, talking with your ex can be the best thing for you to do. Depending on your relationship, your ex may understand and you two can do what you can to work it out. Being open and honest about it early can be more beneficial than simply ignoring the situation, dodging your ex, or being rude about it. You may be surprised with how they handle the situation too.


While talking, you may be able to work out a different schedule with your ex. For instance, maybe you can’t afford to make the whole payment right away, but maybe you can if you break it up into more than one payment. Talk to your ex about this option and see if this could be a solution to paying child support.


Get a modification.

When your situation changes, you can go to the court and ask for a modification. This will create a legal agreement that may allow lower your child support payments. Typically, there needs to be a significant change in circumstances for this to happen. The courts will require you to provide proof of why you cannot pay, so be ready to provide documentation they ask for. It’s also important to understand that asking for a modification doesn’t mean you’ll actually get one, so don’t assume the court will rule in your favor. However, it’s still important to know this is an option.


Make your own modifications.

It’s important to understand paying child support is more important than anything else that’s financial in your life. For instance, if you find it hard to make child support payments, but you’re spending hundreds of dollars a month on eating out or taking trips, then it will be time for you to change your lifestyle and make your own modifications. Although you may not enjoy this, it’s very important that you put your child first. If you don’t make payments to keep up with your lavish lifestyle, your ex can take you to court and you can find yourself with garnished wages in order to make your payments happen.


Take on extra work.

If you can’t make your child support payments, it may be necessary for you to take on some extra work to make some extra cash. Maybe there are things you can do around the neighborhood to make some extra dough, or maybe you can start to sell some of your