Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Divorce Doesn't Make One a Failure

Divorce doesn’t make one a failure

Washington Post

While I’m away, readers give the advice
On failure, shame and selfhood:

A letter-writer who was first in the family to divorce, saying, “I feel like a failure,” struck a chord with me. My favorite quote (and philosophy) is from “The Wizard of Oz”:

Dorothy: “Oh – you’re a very bad man!”

Wizard: “Oh, no, my dear. I – I’m a very good man. I’m just a very bad Wizard.”

Everything is relative. Everyone is usually a success at being what he is – and often fails miserably at being what he’s not, from students at the wrong college with the wrong major to gay men trying to fit into a straight lifestyle.

As for being the first to divorce, I wonder how many weren’t, but wanted to be – and should have been.

– Arizona

On a kiss that’s just a kiss:

Our first kiss was chaste, but I was very aware that I wasn’t enjoying it. I just let it happen, feeling strangely disengaged.

He was a good man and I thought I was being kind, even generous.

Subconsciously, I think I felt that way on my wedding day, too.

Thirty years and four children later, I am much wiser. I thought I was being selfless, but I was robbing him.

I am still with that good man, that good, deserving man who, because of my “generosity,” will never know what it is to feel loved by a woman truly attracted to him.

I ultimately did find myself feeling a profound connection with another man. I didn’t act on it, but it made me realize for the first time what I might have had with someone else. I felt a real sense of loss, even more for my husband than for myself.

We should all take our time in relationships and give ourselves permission to feel what we feel without judgment. We owe it not just to ourselves, but to those who believe we might be right for them.

– Anonymous (E.)

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Divorce Rates Are Falling - But Marriage Is Still on the Rocks

Divorce Rates Are Falling—But Marriage Is Still on the Rocks

Studio shot of bride and groom figurines
Antonio M. Rosario—Getty Images
Kay S. Hymowitz is the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. She is the author of four books, including Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age and Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Is Turning Men Into Boys.

Hand-wringing is an appropriate response to the state of marriage today.

Tuesday’s New York Times’s Upshot section featured an article by Claire Cain Miller entitled “The Divorce Surge is Over, but the Myth Lives On.” The piece got a good deal of attention, but Miller manages to reinforce some myths of her own.
That’s not to say the piece is wrong in its basic facts. The divorce surge is over. (Or most people believe it is: this paper offers an alternate take.) In truth, the rise in divorce has been over for 20 years. Divorce rates peaked in the early 1980s when Ronald Reagan was president and the Internet was only a mite in the eye of wierdos hanging out in California garages. In fact, this “news” may well be older than many of its readers who were probably not even been born when divorce rates were already on the downswing.

It’s also the case that people remain strangely attached to the idea that half of all marriages end in divorce despite numerous stories over the years showing otherwise. Miller links to one of those stories—from 2005, that is, nine years ago. I myself published a book that took stock of the trends in 2006. Family scholars have talked about the turn-around in divorce rates repeatedly. Yet the myth lives on. If you want proof of that, check out the media reaction to the Times piece: a “fascinating story” in the words of the Clarion Ledger; “surprisingly optimistic numbers,” marveled the Huffintgton Post.

So why has this particular myth been so difficult to extract from the hive mind? Why are people so (ahem) wedded to an idea that is not only untrue but has been for almost a generation? Two reasons. The first will no doubt sound clich├ęd: Hollywood. In la-la land divorce is about as common as Botox. When beautiful, famous people split up, fan magazines, entertainment networks, and social media sites spring into action, making sure we see albums of photos of crying, stoic, rehabbed, and then newly partnered, actors and actresses claiming they’ve never been happier. Social psychologists refer to a cognitive bias they call the “availability heuristic.” Striking events—plane crashes, Ebola cases, the Kardashians—make the weird seem more commonplace than it is precisely because the brain is so impressed by it. Of course, the availability heuristic gets some help from the television shows and movies these same famous people write, star in, and produce about marital crackups that often bear a striking resemblance to their own.

The second reason the myth lives on is not only more troubling but exemplified by the Times article that seeks to dismantle it. The younger generation, whether they know divorce is declining or not, believes that marriage is on the rocks. From their vantage point, they’re right. While fewer American adults have been divorcing over the past decades, a growing number of people in their own cohort have grown up apart from one parent, almost always their fathers.

How can divorce be declining but at the same time more children growing up with single parents? Because—and this is the story that Miller underplays—so many parents never marry in the first place. A little history is in order here: When divorce rates skyrocketed in the 1970s, American were not simply suddenly looking at their spouses and deciding en masse that they couldn’t take it anymore. They were reacting to a changing understanding about what marriage meant. Instead of an arrangement largely centered around providing for and rearing the next generation, it was becoming an adult-centric union based on love and shared happiness, which as an upper middle class grew in size, became closely linked to granite countered kitchens, European and spa vacations, and weddings with 200 guests.

One big reason that divorce rates began to fall after 1980 was that people, almost always those with less education and less income for the required accouterments of marriage, took the logic of the divorce revolution and ran with it. If marriage and childbearing were no longer tightly linked but rather discreet—even unrelated—life events, and if they were not earning enough to enjoy the middle class status objects enjoyed by their more educated peers, then why marry at all? Why not just have kids without getting married? While college educated women continued to demand a ring before they became mothers, the percentage of poor women having kids outside of marriage was already on the rise; now working class women, many of them temporarily cohabiting with their child’s father, also bypassed the chapel on the way to the maternity ward. In his forthcoming book Labor’s Loves Lost, Andrew Cherlin quotes one young unmarried father this way: “You need way better reasons than having a kid to get married.”

By missing this larger picture, Miller ends up adding single parents—who after all have a null chance of divorce—to good news numbers about marital stability. Sheela Kennedy and Steven Ruggles from the Population Center at the University of Minnesota try to take into account the new reality in a recent paper. Their findings are sobering: “because cohabitation makes up a rapidly growing percentage of all unions,” they write, it has “an increasing impact on overall union instability.” And by accepting that marriage and children are unrelated, she can ignore the biggest problem with this rising instability. Experts have shown us in a virtual library of research papers that the children of single parents are at greater risk of everything from poverty to school failure to imprisonment. Their large numbers will almost surely help perpetuate inequality, poverty, and immobility.

“Despite hand-wringing about the institution of marriage, marriages in this country are stronger today than they have been in a long time,” Miller writes. As it happens, hand-wringing is an appropriate response to the state of marriage today.

That is, for anyone concerned about inequality and America’s lower income children.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The 50% Divorce Rate Stat is a Myth, so Why Won't it Die?

Danielle TellerPhysician and researcherAstro TellerHead of Google X

The divorce rate in America is rising. Do you think that statement is true? If you do, you’re not alone. As Claire Cain Miller recently pointed out in an article for The New York Times, we hear about the rising divorce rate in the news all of the time. This is curious, because as it happens, the divorce rate isn’t rising.

By most measures, the divorce rate in America has been declining since around 1980. You’d think that something as simple as counting the number of American marriages that end in divorce would not require the qualifier “by most measures,” but it turns out that there is no universally accepted method for doing the counting. For instance, the widely quoted 50% divorce rate in the US probably came from a best-guess prediction that has yet to come true, or from a shortcut method of comparing the number of divorces and marriages in the same year. This is not considered to be an accurate method for assessing the divorce rate because it does not compare equivalent groups. In 1980, for example, older couples may have been divorcing at a high rate because of the introduction of no-fault divorce laws, while younger couples might have been putting off marriage because more women were pursuing careers. Even if the number of marriages that year were twice the number of divorces, that is not the same thing as saying that half of all marriages end in divorce. As for the prediction model, Dr. Rose M. Kreider, a demographer in the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch of the Census Bureau, told the New York Times in 2005, “At this point, unless there’s some kind of turnaround, I wouldn’t expect any cohort to reach fifty percent, since none already has.”
Even if everyone could agree on the best way to calculate the divorce rate, complete demographic data about marriage and divorce are unfortunately no longer available for analysis. In 1996, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) stopped collecting yearly statistics on marriage and divorce due to budgetary considerations, and some states, such as California, do not report divorce rates. The Census Bureau can provide estimates based on questionnaire data, but this relies on self-report, and people are reluctant to provide information about marital status. The quality of data available for analysis is therefore weaker now than it has been in past years.

Despite the paucity of good data and arguments over statistical calculations, most social scientists and demographers would agree that divorce rates are declining or stable, that a 50% divorce rate has not yet come to pass, and that young couples today are so far on a course to have fewer divorces than their parents’ generation. Why, then, do we keep hearing about rising divorce rates in America?
One of the reasons is that a rising divorce rate fits the world view and agenda of some segments of our society, whereas a falling divorce rate doesn’t fit as neatly into anyone’s agenda. If you self-identify as conservative, you may have had a negative reaction to this article so far, because it seems to be saying, “High divorce rates are no big deal, and reports of the marriage crisis in America are overblown.” On the other hand, if you consider yourself to be liberal, you may be thinking, “Some couples need to get divorced. Should that be half the number of couples who are divorcing now or twice that number? I don’t know.” In other words, people who see divorce as a social scourge want to emphasize how dire the situation has become in America, and people who see divorce as a necessary evil don’t worry too much about the divorce rate.
This dynamic plays out in the popular press, where much of the news about marriage and divorce is derived from the National Marriage Project, founded at Rutgers University in 1997 and now based at the University of Virginia. A core mission of this organization is to “identify strategies to increase marital quality and stability.” In support of its mission, the National Marriage Project creates a sense of crisis around marriage and divorce rates and promotes marriage as a solution to a range of social problems (pdf).

According to Philip Cohen, a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, the media have become hooked on publications from the National Marriage Project as a quick and cheap sources of easily digested print. This would not be a problem if media outlets disclosed the biases of their source, but as noted in our book Sacred Cows, that doesn’t usually happen. For instance, between 2009 and 2012, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, USA Today and the New York Times all published articles originating from a report by the National Marriage Project claiming that the economic recession was saving marriages.

The evidence provided was that divorce rates fell between 2007 and 2008 after rising from 2005 levels. We have graphed the crude national divorce rate, or the number of divorces per 1000 members of the US population, for those years. Note that this measure of the divorce rate, like all measures, is flawed. Because it uses the total population as the base, it includes children and unmarried adults, which confuses interpretation; a lower divorce rate could result from a baby boom, or more pertinent to the current situation in the US, a lower marriage rate. The other problem is that several states have discontinued reporting divorces, and missing state numbers could distort the overall national profile.
Bearing in mind these limitations, our chart does indeed demonstrate that the divorce rate declined after the great recession began in 2007. However, when taken in context of overall trends and year-to-year variability, this change in divorce rate does not seem significant enough to warrant multiple stories in major national newspapers
(California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota and Oregon have data missing from some of the years in the chart.)

Based upon rather odd logic, the director of the National Marriage Project, W. Bradford Wilcox, stated that thrift and meals at home were the cause of recession-strengthened marriages. It may well be that fewer people divorce during economic recessions; the data on that subject are murky and conflicting. However, a one-year blip in the divorce rate should not be used as evidence that the divorce rate is rising any more than a subsequent blip should be used as evidence that economic hardship makes marriages stronger.

Promoting marriage is not a bad goal. Most people would like to be happily married. It is also completely reasonable to worry about so many American marriages ending in divorce. No matter what the circumstances, divorce is painful for families and communities. The problem is that social and political agendas have muddied the water so much that we can’t have reasonable discussions based on rational facts. We are all being misled, not just about the trajectory of divorce rates in America, but about every aspect of our lives that powerful special interest groups care to manipulate. In the words of sportscaster Vin Scully, statistics get used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.

In an ideal world, we could rely on a free press to present unbiased information in a thoughtful and measured fashion. We don’t live in that ideal world, but perhaps we can start by requesting improved transparency and disclosure by popular media about the biases of its sources. To that end, here is our disclosure: This article represents the opinions of two left-leaning egghead authors of a book about society’s attitudes surrounding marriage and divorce. Our goal is to promote rational discussion about marriage and family life in our country. Unfortunately, we can’t provide a single definitive statistical analysis of divorce, because none exists. But hopefully we have helped to clear up a small, persistent misapprehension: The divorce rate in America isn’t as high as 50%, and at least for the moment, it isn’t rising.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

5 Common Myths of Divorce

You hear various types of divorce stories. Some divorces end amicably and some end dreadfully. Along with the stories come myths that are not necessarily true in all divorces. Each couple who has divorced or is in the process does not go through the same emotions.
I divorced my first husband many years ago because love no longer existed. The blame was not put on one person; we were both to blame. Marriage was just not for us. But, our divorce was respectful. Nevertheless, not every divorce ends the same way.
Though each divorce ends differently, here are five common myths of divorce:
  • Having children will prevent divorce. It is never a wise decision to have a child as a way to prevent a divorce from happening. Two things can occur: there is no divorce but both parties are noticeably unhappy or the divorce takes place anyway. When a married couple has exhausted all options to save their marriage and divorce is the only way out, then let it take its course. Having a child to hold onto a spouse is irresponsible and selfish. Children are a blessing, not a game.
  • Disagreements always lead to divorce. Most couples argue. My husband and I argue, but it doesn’t mean we have divorce in mind. Having disagreements once in a while is only natural. Couples share differences of opinions and have every right to express them. Opinions may lead to an argument. However, when couples truly love each other and respect one another, they pull back from the disagreement. Many people fail to understand marriages are not always a fairytale, though there are many fairytale moments. Disagreements are inevitable, but not always the reason for divorce.
  • Divorce is always expensive. Not all divorces are expensive. Many couples choose to handle their divorce outside of court. They hire lawyers that will help them set up a mutual agreement. That approach reduces the costs of divorce.
  • Children will always stay with the mother. For the most part, children do stay with the mother. But this is not always the case. A mother doesn’t have to be unstable or incapable to handle her child to lose custody. If the judge handling the divorce case decides the child is in better hands with the father, the mother will lose custody. Moreover, once a child is of a certain age (each state has a specific age), he or she can decide who he or she wants to live with. It’s best when a couple makes all divorce decisions between them as a way to avoid risking losing full custody of the child.
  • Divorce is always one person’s fault. No, divorce is not always one person’s fault. Most divorces are the result of both people. For example, if the man cheats on his wife, the wife is immediately blamed for his infidelity. She does not keep him happy. That's an unfair statement. Sometimes a couple just outgrow each other, and they understand they cannot live together.
When love and respect no longer thrive in your marriage, and you have exhausted every possible option to save your marriage, then divorce is the next step. But when the time comes to divorce, work towards a mature and respectful agreement. Try not to believe in the myths.

Article source: heraldtimesonline.com

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How Our Schools Can Better Serve Children of Divorce

What did you do over your summer vacation?

As the new school year gets underway across the country, it's time once again for students to take out paper and pencil and explain to their teachers all that's happened in their lives since the end of June. For many kids, this is an assignment filled with stories about Fourth of July cookouts, family vacations, and having fun with friends.

But what about children whose parents decided to separate or divorce sometime over the past two and half months? For these children, summer vacation was probably spent feeling worry, anxiety and even anger as they dealt with some pretty heavy topics... Is my parents' divorce my fault? Where am I going to live? Does my mom or dad (whoever moved out) still love me? Why do I have to move? Why can't I go to the same school?

With the hustle and bustle that comes with the beginning of the school year, I know that it can often go unnoticed that a new or current student is experiencing the transition of their parents' separation or divorce. Generally, school district student information forms do provide room for general custody information, but the information sought tends to be limited to providing a second address if parents do not reside together, or information pertaining to any situation in which a parent is not allowed to pick up or visit a child at school. I have never seen a school form that asks something as basic as, "Is this a new arrangement?"

No matter what grade they are in, children whose parents are recently divorced or separated need extra support, whether it's in the form of handing out an extra textbook because the child has two homes, providing a time to meet with the guidance counselor, or helping the student feel included in their new school. Are we doing all that we can? Here are some basic tips we and our school communities can take to keep them from falling through the cracks:

School Forms: In the thick pile of school paperwork required at the beginning of the school year, it would be beneficial to have a box that asks something along the lines of, "How long has the two-home arrangement been in place?" whenever separate parental addresses are given. This is so simple, but also gets right to the heart of the matter. For example, an answer of five years probably means something very different than five weeks in terms of what kind of support a child needs.

Guidance Counselor Assistance: As a divorce attorney, I am asked all the time by my clients for referrals to mental health counselors and family therapists who specialize in working with children of divorce. It would be beneficial for this kind of information to be available from other sources, such as a school guidance counselor. A list of local therapists that could be easily emailed to the parent would be ideal. Likewise, as the first layer of outside support that many children come in contact with, are the school guidance counselors trained and experienced in working with divorced families? As part of school district in-service trainings, this would be a worthy topic to explore.

The Role of Teachers: When it is learned that a child's parents separated or divorced over the summer, reaching out to the child's parents now can be a helpful way to start a more positive dialogue. On the part of the teacher, asking, "How can I help?" can open new doors for parents struggling to come up with effective co-parenting strategies concerning school. Even if it is just making sure both parents are invited to school events and receive school notices, or setting up an appointment for the parents to meet with the guidance counselor, these basic steps may do more than the teacher will ever realize to reduce stress and tension between parents.

Parents: Even if you live two towns over and have parenting time with your child over the weekends and not on school nights, consider yourself part of your child's school community. One of the easiest and most powerful ways to show your child that you are still a part of their life is to show that you care about their experience at school. In other words, attend back-to-school night, look over their school work or help out with homework when your child is in your care, and watch your child in their school sporting event. If possible, combining co-parenting and school obligations can be much more successful for children of divorce if it's a team effort. Open up about your recent divorce to other school parents; there can be a lot of useful tips that might come from others that have already gone through this. A recent Huffington Post article has added comments from divorced readers on tips for making the school season less stressful.

Are you taking these steps? And what about your child's school district? Have you told them about your divorce?

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Article source: suntimes.com 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Answering Your Kids' Hardest Divorce Questions

There is nothing more gut-wrenchingly sad than when your child, wide-eyed and hopeful, asks you this question: “Are you and dad ever going to get back together?”

These and other divorce questions from kids can feel like a punch in the stomach, causing anxiety, guilt and sorrow. There are no magical answers to your kids’ questions because a divorce is undoubtedly very difficult for any child. But the silver lining is, if you put some thought into how you answer these difficult questions, if you have an unselfish attitude by filtering your answers, and if you end every answer with “We both love you,” it makes the sting a lot more manageable.

Here are six common questions kids ask after a divorce, and suggestions on how to answer them.
1. Why did you and mom/dad get divorced?
Because your dad was cheating on me. Because your mom drinks too much. Because dad and I can’t stand each other and we don’t want to live together anymore. This is what you are probably feeling and what you’d like to scream at the top of your lungs. The fact is, you can’t. A better way to answer this very difficult question is by saying something like this: “Your dad/mom and I once loved each other very much, but people change and people grow apart. Neither of us wanted that to happen, but it did. We tried very hard to work things out, but in the end, we both felt it was better. What hasn’t changed is that your dad and I still love you, and both of us will always be here for you.”

2. Do you still love mommy/daddy?
You might and you might not. If you do still love your ex, you might want to say, “There is a part of me that will always love your mom/dad. We share so much history, and most importantly, we share you. I will always love him/her for giving me you.” If you don’t feel like you can honestly say something like that, you could answer, “I don’t love your mom/dad in the same way I used to. I respect him/her and I think he/she is a good mother/father. But now we are just going to be partners in parenting and hopefully good friends, some day.”

3. Why do we have to be the only kids who have two houses?
Kids often feel like they don’t know any other kids whose parents are divorced, which we all know isn’t the case. The best answer makes it clear that they aren’t alone, and that there are lots of other kids in their same situation. Make sure to tell them, “We are still a family. We might not be the traditional family, but we have love and warmth and security in our home, and you have those same things in your mom’s/dad’s home. You aren’t ‘different.’”

4. Will you and mom/dad ever get remarried?
Be firm on this one. No need to give a child false hope. “No. Your mom/dad and I will never be remarried. But we both love you very, very much and we will both always be here for you.”

5. Why does mom/dad hate you?
Because he/she is a bitter, unhappy person who can’t let go of the past! Sound like something you want to say? Don’t! Instead, go with, “Mom/dad is very angry right now, mostly at the situation, not at me. Give him/her some time and hopefully he/she will act a little friendlier towards me. The most important thing for you to focus on is that mom/dad loves you.

6. Did you love mommy/daddy when you had me?
This is perhaps one of the most important pieces of information you can share with your child. I think it’s wonderful to tell your children stories of how you felt when you first met their mom/dad, how and why you fell in love, funny stories that happened when the two of you were dating, how he proposed, and my favorite, the story of your child’s birth. Kids love this so much, and it helps build self-esteem and self worth. The knowledge that you and your child’s mom/dad loved each other at one time is the biggest gift you can give them.

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Article source: suntimes.com 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Crazy Divorce Stories!

Hi Everyone!  Thank you for reading my blog!  Did you know that I'm the author of not just one, but thirteen books?  For more information, please visit www.charlesirion.com, www.irionbooks.com and/or www.summitmurdermystery.com

9 Divorce Stories Too Ridiculous To Make Up


There's nothing like divorce to bring out the crazy in people.

Need proof? Below, we've assembled some of the most ridiculous responses to a Reddit thread asking divorce lawyers to reveal the craziest demands and antics they've had to deal with. Read what they had to say -- and try not to weep too hard for the sad, sorry state of humanity.

1. "I had a couple arguing for three hours over who got the kids on Christmas day, only to discover at the end that they were both Jewish." -msc2436

2. "Our case fell apart over a massage chair. They had two kids, but they couldn't let go of the damn chair." -lawschoollorax
massage chair
(Image credit: Shin Taro via Getty Images)

3. "Took the couple two hours to decide who would get the groceries left in the fridge. Estimated value of the groceries was around $40. Two hours of my time, opposing counsel time, and mediator time added up to about $1,000. It all came down to a Costco/Sam's Club-sized jar of peanut butter. (Who keeps peanut butter in the fridge?!)" -ammjh

4. "I was in a mediation where it took the couple an hour and a half to split their personal property, retirement accounts, real property, and custody of their six-month-old son. The rest of the day, about four hours, was spent arguing about how to split the time with the dog. For the kid they just put, 'as agreed upon by the parties' but the dog had a strict calendered schedule working out holidays and strict pickup/drop-off times. I was ashamed to be a part of that unbelievable display." -FattyBinz
spoiled dog
(Image credit: Tim Kitchen via Getty Images)

5. "My dad was a divorce attorney for some time. He said people would argue over $150 patio furniture for hours on end at a $300/hour rate (each side). It's not about the patio furniture, it's about sending a message to your b*tch of an ex-husband/wife." -spaceflunky

6. "I had a case where the estranged wife was calling my client's employer repeatedly, accusing him of theft and other white-collar crimes, [in an attempt] to get my client fired. The thing is, the children were with her, and she was also demanding child support. Which is based on his income. For the job from which she was trying to get him fired. (Fortunately, the employer was onto her BS and my client wasn't let go.)" -JournalofFailure

7."Marriage proposal from wife's new boyfriend while he was being questioned during her divorce proceedings. Classy." -KnowsTheLaw
(via Fuse via Getty Images)

8. "I dated a divorce lawyer and my favorite story from his work was the man who was super pissed that the division of assets was 50/50 and that his wife's lawyer had a forensic accountant who found his multiple offshore money stashes. In retaliation, he demanded half the dog. Not joint custody. Half of the dog, who was his wife's much beloved, very spoiled little buddy. He burned through thousands of dollars of legal fees just to make her cry, by demanding that the dog be put to sleep and its ashes split, 50/50. People are delightful!" -TheNightWitch

9. "I had a client completely sandpaper/key the finish off a brand new Maserati that was given to the wife pursuant to settlement agreement because he hated his ex so much. He also took off the tires. I also had a guy who funneled money over to his girlfriend, thinking he was slick hiding it from his wife. Girlfriend broke up with him and kept it." -RuskayaPrincesa

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Article source: Huffingtonpost.com

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

7 Steps To Choosing The Right Divorce Lawyer

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It's difficult to know where to turn when you're faced with divorce. Few of us have any prior experience with the legal ins and outs associated with this difficult process. In my divorce coach practice, I've heard too many stories of time and money wasted as clients go through lawyer after lawyer trying to find the right one. And yet, finding the right divorce lawyer is key to what could be a faster, less-expensive divorce, compared to a long, drawn-out emotional and financial nightmare. But if you don't know what to look for in a divorce lawyer, how do you know you're investing all of your money, hopes and dreams in the right one?

Follow these seven steps to find the divorce attorney that's the right fit for you:

1. Be realistic.
First, you need to realize that divorce is a legal process with the sole purpose of dissolving your assets and resolving custody issues. Your divorce attorney's job is to represent you to the best of his or her ability in this process. While you might want them to listen to your anger, frustration, pain and sadness, that is not their job. They are not trained to be your therapist or coach, and they don't want to be. Since your attorney has higher rates and the clock is always running, it's a gross misuse of your money if this is how you're using them. And divorce attorneys have seen it all. What seems immensely important to you might barely register for them within the scope of the legal process. So be realistic about the role of your divorce attorney, and what you can expect from them.

2. Stay focused on the goal.
Your ultimate goal in this process is to get divorced, and hopefully you can do so without any major depreciation of your lifestyle. Don't let your emotions jump in and run rampant when it comes to negotiating over material things that don't mean much to you in the big picture. If you do, your divorce will be longer, more litigious, and definitely more expensive than otherwise. Is it worth it? No. So keep your focus on getting divorced as quickly, and with as little financial damage, as possible. Ask yourself, what kind of divorce will do that for me?

3. Know what you want.
Before you rush out to hire a divorce attorney, consider other alternatives to traditional litigation. If you aren't completely entangled with children and finances, you could hire a mediator to help you negotiate the terms of your divorce. Mediation is the fastest, cheapest way to get divorced, and you might not need to hire an attorney at all! If your negotiation is more complicated, you'll have to hire a divorce lawyer to negotiate a settlement with your spouse's attorney. Or you could consider a collaborative divorce. A collaborative divorce is focused on negotiation with the goal of preserving a co-parenting relationship. Your last resort is a litigated trial. Typically, these are the cases when neither side will compromise. So you need to determine what type of divorce attorney you need based on your unique circumstances. Realize that any divorce attorney you talk to will try to steer you in the direction of their own specific expertise. It's up to you to know what you want first, so you can make the right choice.

4. Identify at least three potential attorneys.
Don't jump to hire the first lawyer you meet. They are not all the same. Find at least three divorce attorneys that you can interview before making your decision. Clearly, you need to hire a lawyer that specializes in family law and one that's experienced in the specific type of divorce you think is best for you. The ideal attorney has the legal knowledge and experience you need, helps you understand the process, communicates and negotiates well, solves problems creatively and is experienced in your specific court system. So you need one that's local to you. Regardless of whether or not your divorce is headed to trial, your attorney needs to be experienced with the family law judges in your jurisdiction so that he or she can advise you appropriately on legal strategy. How do you find potential attorneys? Ask you friends for personal recommendations. Ask your trust or estate lawyer for divorce attorney recommendations. Go online to the numerous websites that provide client reviews of attorneys local to you.

5. Interview and research potential attorneys.
Start with an initial phone call. Ask them about their experience and specialization within family law. Ask them about what type of client they typically represent. Ask them about their rates. Most divorce lawyers charge an hourly fee and require a retainer -- a fee charged in advance. Some lawyers will also negotiate fees based on anticipated settlements. Don't waste your time (or theirs) on a meeting if they're out of your cost range. Most divorce attorneys provide a free consult to discuss your specific situation and what their legal approach would be. So take advantage of it to gather as much legal advice as possible! Typically, the attorney you meet with will not be handling the day-to-day issues related to your case, so ask to meet the colleague or associate that would. The divorce process can also include financial experts, parenting coordinators, coach facilitators, and forensic appraisers. Find out your attorney's access to these resources and if any would be relevant to your case, as it will affect overall cost. And even if you have no intention of heading to trial, look at the attorney's trial record and history of success in court. This track record is an indicator of your attorney's success in negotiation.

6. Look for red flags.
Unfortunately, many attorneys will tell you what you want to hear just to close the deal. While this is your life, it's a business for them. There are no guarantees in this process, so if an attorney is making promises, don't believe it. If an attorney talks about high-profile clients or divulges confidential information based on other cases, it's highly likely they'll do the same to you. If they aren't respectful of other divorce attorneys you're interviewing, it's a sign that they won't be to you either. And if during your consult, they're constantly distracted by phone calls and emails and can't focus their sole attention on you, they likely won't during your divorce case. Make sure the lawyer you choose acts according to the professional ethics of the industry and treats you with the respect and attention you deserve. This might be their business, but it's your life.

7. Make your choice.
The divorce attorney you choose to represent you is local, professional, knowledgeable, responsive and communicates well. This attorney is someone you trust and feel comfortable with. This attorney supports your basic philosophy toward divorce and has a style that works for you. This attorney recognizes the importance of your children and puts them first in the legal process by not making unreasonable child support demands or custody arrangements. This attorney is affordable. Divorce is a highly personal and emotional process, the outcome of which can have a significant impact on your life. This is an important decision, and there are no guarantees in this process. However, if you follow these steps, you'll find the right one -- the one who listens to what you want, advises you well and has your best interest at heart.

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Article source: huffingtonpost.com

Friday, January 31, 2014

How to Deal With Your Ex at Your Children's Special Events

Hi Everyone!  Thank you for reading my blog!  Did you know that I'm the author of not just one, but thirteen books?  For more information, please visit www.charlesirion.com, www.irionbooks.com and/or www.summitmurdermystery.com


Does the very thought of seeing your ex at your child's special events make you so angry you'd rather make an appearance at traffic court?

Birthdays, sporting events, school conferences, getting your child situated in their college dorm, weddings...regardless of how long you have been separated or divorced, each of these special events can cause you to experience wide swings of emotions that can feel overpowering. Feelings of anger, anxiety, frustration and resentment can eat away at you emotionally before, during and after the special event takes place.

I remember when my oldest daughter graduated from college. Since my ex had parenting time with our young son that weekend, he drove with our son to the college several hours away and I drove with our other daughter. When my daughter and I arrived at the older daughter's college residence, I was surprised to discover that my former brother-in-law who I had once been very close to had shown up from another state and was sitting on the front porch with my ex. Since he had quit speaking to me early on during the divorce, the pain and anger I felt came to the surface.

Biting the insides of my cheeks to keep my emotions in check, I spent the time before the graduation ceremony in another part of the house and then ended up sitting at the graduation with my daughter's roommate's mom and her relatives -- on the opposite side from where my ex, son, other daughter and former brother-in-law were all sitting together.

How can you deal with your ex at your child's next special event?

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Think of your Ex as a Very Difficult Business Associate -- You know, the one who steals the limelight for your hard work, waits till the very last minute to tell you something important and who forms secret alliances in the men's room to report every small mistake you make to the people in power. As much as you would like to smack him with a stapler to make a point, you choose not to because business is business!

Insist on Respectful and Civil Communication -- If you and your ex had to deal with each other about a business matter, you would need to find ways to communicate clearly and get your critical points across in a well-defined and civil manner, avoiding emotional confrontations. By thinking about what potential hot-spots you may encounter and deciding ahead of time what specific actions you will immediately take when your ex tramples over your boundaries, you'll find it easier to focus on your child and less on worrying that an argument will erupt.

Remember that your Personal Life Belongs to You -- Now that the ties of marriage have been broken, it's up to you to claim and insist on the right to your privacy. Remember that you no longer need to explain things to your ex, defend your decisions or try to change his mind -- those days are over! Consistently enforce the rules of engagement that all communication with your ex needs to be related to your children's specific needs or necessary financial transactions so that anything else your ex brings up is off-limits and merits an immediate time-out.

Cut Off the Oxygen Flow from Everyone Else's Opinions -- It's very common to share your anger and frustrations with relatives and friends during the nerve-fraying times of stress that come along with separation and divorce. However, once the divorce is over, many of these same people will continue to offer their advice and opinions about your ex's actions and behaviors. Although these may be tempting to listen to, opinions and advice from relatives and friends keeps adding more fuel to the firestorm of emotions you have previously experienced.

Resist the Urge to Find out More about your Ex's Current Life -- Encourage your relatives and children not to share any more details than you truly need to know. Less really is more, and you will be better off in the long run for it.

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Article source: huffingtonpost.com

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Crazy Divorce Story!

Hi Everyone!  Thank you for reading my blog!  Did you know that I'm the author of not just one, but thirteen books?  For more information, please visit www.charlesirion.com, www.irionbooks.com and/or www.summitmurdermystery.com 


Man With 69 Kids And 12 Wives Is Dragged To Divorce Court ('Wonder Why?' Said No One)

A Zimbabwaen businessman with 69 kids may have one less thing to juggle soon -- one of his 12 wives has asked for a divorce.

Sixty-one-year old Peter Remi Gore was taken to divorce court in Zimbabwe by wife Sethekele Gore, the mother of seven of his children, reported myzimbabwe.co.zw.

According to the report, Gore begged the court for a divorce, saying, "I am no longer interested in the relationship despite Peter's vast wealth which he claims to be pampering me with. All I want is peace in my life." She also asked for $1,150 in monthly child support.

This is only one of many unusual divorce stories we've heard. In 2012, a man in southern Israel divorced his wife after she brought home 550 cats, and later that year, a woman in Nigeria divorced her husband after six years of marriage because he talked too much.

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Article source: huffingtonpost.com

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Woman Sues Lawyers for Letting Her Divorce Hubby

Hi Everyone!  Thank you for reading my blog!  Did you know that I'm the author of not just one, but thirteen books?  For more information, please visit www.charlesirion.com, www.irionbooks.com and/or www.summitmurdermystery.com

Solicitors should have respected her Catholic faith, she says

So, divorce means the end of marriage? A British woman was apparently shocked to hear about this, the Independent reports. Jane Mulcahy even filed suit against her former lawyers for failing to explain the whole divorce thing. Mulcahy said they should have respected her Catholic faith and advised her to seek judicial separation, which is a notch down from full divorce. "The most striking of Mrs. Mulcahy's many allegations of negligence against her solicitors," noted the appeal judge, was that their advice failed to mesh with "her firmly held belief in the sanctity of marriage." 

In Mulcahy's view, the lawyers were responsible for "bringing about the final termination of her marriage, which she wished to avoid." Mulcahy's appeal in the case was struck down, but another unusual divorce case is still underway, the Daily Mail reports. A Kuwaiti woman said it all started when she saw her husband eat peas with bread instead of a fork. So she filed for divorce, saying she could no longer live with the man after witnessing the "shocking sight" of his poor etiquette.

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Article source: www.newser.com

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In Defense of Love: Believing in Marriage in Divorce Culture

Hi Everyone!  Thank you for reading my blog!  Did you know that I'm the author of not just one, but thirteen books?  For more information, please visit www.charlesirion.com, www.irionbooks.com and/or www.summitmurdermystery.com

Great article worth sharing 

By: Grace Carpenter, University of Virginia 

I went to New York City for a few pre-Christmas escapades last week and what I saw shocked me. Not because it was horrifyingly crowded with stiletto-clad fur coats stalking through the streets. Not because the entire city was mobbed with pushy window-shoppers who will literally shove you into a bus just to get to Macy's before the stalking stilettos behind them. Not because the electric bill for Times Square at Christmas could feed an entire third-world country for a month. No, I was shocked because I saw, for one of the first times, real love.

One day this semester, my professor asked us to describe what love is. After a few fairly vague answers, someone raised a hand and voiced an opinion that struck me: "Am I the only one here who thinks that love and marriage don't have anything to do with each other?"

I was floored, and then I realized that I'd been unknowingly nurturing the same opinion since the seventh grade.

I realized that the state of marriage in this country is looking more and more like the New York Yankees -- overly commercialized, drenched in scandal, mostly unsuccessful, and hated by everyone who's not obligated to pretend to like it. And I'm not talking about homosexual/heterosexual marriages separately. I'm talking about marriage as a whole, as an ideal that has been corrupted and contaminated until sometimes it resembles a floppy mockery devoid of meaning, as opposed to a noble tradition in which two people weld their lives because they love each other. In a world in which most marriages dissolve into a series of legal battles and emotionally wounded children, love and marriage really don't seem to have anything to do with one another.

But in the midst of New York City -- the city that never sleeps, the city of romance and riots, beauty and bars, carriages and clubs alike -- from among the throngs of street vendors and stilettos, I saw visible love.

It was in a tea shop on Seventh and 26th, where my companion and I were grabbing a drink just before our bus home. As we sat down, we looked over to our right to see an aged couple, the sight of which almost brought me to tears: the husband, who was in a wheelchair, was physically unable to properly eat his food so his wife, sitting close at his side, was alternately feeding him, and gently wiping his mouth, chin and fingers with a napkin as he ate. The sight itself was pleasant enough, but this was not what struck me. Even as she fed her aged ailing husband, she was smiling quietly the entire time.

I looked closer, and saw the tiny details I will never forget -- the way she looked at him, as adoringly as if he were a strong, young man; the way her hand never left his shoulder, patting his arm comfortingly and massaging his back; the way she dutifully steered his wheelchair clear of danger and smiled at the passerby who adjusted accordingly. She still loved him! Even in his age, infirmity and disability, she loved him and nursed him with a smile on her lips and her hand on his shoulder. It was one of the single most beautiful, most inspiring things I have ever seen.

After the couple departed, I started wondering: Why did they have such a powerful effect? After all, people should be used to seeing couples in love, right? We should be used to seeing married couples support one another, right?

But we're not. Somehow, we rarely see even aging couples who look happy with each other. Instead, we hear heartbreaking divorce stories from our closest friends, and watch divorce reality television, and hear more about wedding costs than success rates. Somehow, the state of marriage has devolved from a loving institution to a series of rhinestone-smothered weddings and a collections tin benefiting whom? No one except law firms and, I guess, dating sites for divorcees. And we're supposed to believe that love and marriage are at all related?

I remember recently asking the question, "Is it possible to be happy and married?"

I suppose I'd heard too many ugly complaints about nagging wives and neglectful husbands. And sometimes, I still wonder if those complaints really do characterize marriage as it currently exists. But sometimes, we find a gem to counter-balance the publicized horror stories. Sometimes, we find something in defense of love -- the sort of love that lasts a lifetime, that makes a woman smile as she nurses her struggling husband -- and we can remember that even though hook-up culture is enticing, it's not everything.

Though the childhood fairytales might have been beaten out of us, and we are no longer naive enough to believe in perfect relationships, we can still hope for a love that will take care of us when we can no longer take care of ourselves. Because it does exist -- you just have to know what it looks like, and be able to see it when it does.

To order my book Divorce Hell, please click HERE
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Article resource: huffingtonpost.com