Monday, December 29, 2008

Divorces Are Down, Both Nationally and Locally

I always scan the newspaper for divorce stories. I have been wondering how the economy as effected the divorce rate. I was pleasantly surprised to see a story on the front page of the Arizona Star on December 4, 2008 by Gabriela Rico entitled, "Divorces Are Down, Both Nationally and Locally" See full story at
http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/270077.php Ms. Rico says, "In these scary economic times, couples seem to be sticking to the "for worse" part of their marriage vows and deciding their differences may not be so unreconcilable after all.
Nationwide, divorce filings are down and Pima County appears to be following the trend.
From January through November last year, 4,338 couples filed a petition for marriage dissolution in Pima County Superior Court. That number dropped to 4,261 for the same time this year.
In November alone, divorce petitions in Pima County dropped to 295 compared to 349 in November 2007, according to Pima County Clerk of the Court records."
She goes on to say, "many couples are signing up for mediation or counseling instead of rushing to divorce court. Pima County Superior Court offers mediation to couples who have filed for divorce, and requests for those sessions are also up, said Ford Nicholson, clinical services supervisor with The Family Center, which is part of the court's Family Law division. From January to October 2007, the program received 86 petitions for mediation. During the same time this year, 107 petitions have been received. ‘The focus is to help people try to work on their marriage,’ Nicholson said."
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. WM 12/29/08

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Disability Compensation Benefits for Injured Workers*

Workers’ compensation benefits are paid to a worker who has a job-related injury or illness. These benefits may be paid by federal or state workers’ compensation agencies, employers or by insurance companies on behalf of employers.

Disability payments from private sources, such as private pension or insurance benefits, do not affect one’s social security disability benefits.

But workers’ compensation and other public disability benefits may reduce your social security benefits. Other public disability payments that may affect your Social Security benefit are those paid by a federal, state or local government and are for disabling medical conditions that are not job-related.

Some of these are civil service disability benefits, military disability benefits, state temporary disability benefits and state or local government retirement benefits that are all based on disability.

Some public benefits do not affect or reduce your social security disability benefits.

They are:

• Veterans Administration benefits

• State and local government benefits, if Social Security taxes were deducted from your earnings

• Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

On the other hand, injured workers are also entitled to certain benefits under the workers’ compensation law. Here are the types of workers disability compensation:

• Temporary Total Disability - This benefit is payable when the injured worker is unable to work during a period when he/she is under active medical care and has not yet reached what is called “maximum medical improvement”.

In most states, compensation is paid at two-thirds of the employee's average weekly wage, not to exceed statutory weekly maximums above which no worker is entitled to compensation. It is common worker’s temporary total disability weekly benefit to be capped by these statutory compensation limits.

• Temporary Partial Disability - A worker may be eligible for temporary partial disability compensation when he or she is able to do some work but is still recuperating from the effects of the injury, and is, thus, temporarily limited in the amount or type of work which can be performed compared to the pre-injury work.

• Permanent Partial Disability - Compensation is awarded for certain types of permanent conditions which do not cause the worker to be totally unable to work.

• Permanent Total Disability - In order to receive this type of compensation, the employee must prove that he is unable to return to work in any capacity, and that this is a permanent problem.

On the other hand, there are rulings in many states to the effect that a worker, who can perform only occasional, sporadic or undependable work, may still be deemed to be permanently totally disabled. Frequently, states’ workers compensation law permits lawyers to offer evidence of a workers age, education, training and experience in seeking to prove that the worker is incapable of substantial gainful employment.

• Disfigurement/Mutilation - A states’ workers compensation law may permit the employee to be compensated for disfigurement or scarring, frequently in the absence of any actual impairment, and sometimes in addition to actual impairment.

Disabled workers and employees are entitled to a number of benefits under the law. To know more information about how these benefits may be applicable to you as a disabled employee, you need to consult a disability compensation lawyer who is knowledgeable with these issues.

*Written By:
Manuel Salvacion, website located at http://www.socialsecuritylawattorney.com/Disability-Compensation-Lawyers.html .Our professional lawyers and legal staffs are is capable of providing expert assistance in your Social Security Disability problems.

*This post is listed for informational purposes only. The Metts Law Firm, LLC did not contribute to the contents or warrant the information provided. This is not intended as legal advice or the offer of legal representation. Please contact
Metts Law Firm, LLC at 803-929-0577.

Divorce: "Divvying Up" the Debt*

In any divorce, financial matters can be the stickiest issue for couples to get around. When you carefully consider all of your debts without bias or hard feelings, the both of you can eventually reach an agreement that is fair to all.

Contacting an experienced attorney is the fist step in getting the best divorce advice for your particular situation. Next, you will want to make a list or spreadsheet of all your joint and individual debts, sorting them into three separate columns. Be sure to include the names of your creditors and the balances owed along with the account numbers. Prioritize which are the debts you will need to pay first, such as utility bills and mortgage or rent.

Once you have listed all your debts, assess your individual incomes. Whoever earns the most will naturally be better able to pay a larger chunk of the debt. This is can be a very crucial detail, particularly in the case of women and divorce, since they will many times be the ones to stay home and care for the children throughout their marriage.

Get a copy of both your credit reports. Decide which, if any, debts can be eliminated or paid off immediately. Be logical about how debts are assigned and try to be sensitive to your spouse’s future plans such as going back to college or starting a new business.

Finally, obtain information with regard to debt consolidation and bankruptcy (as a last resort).

Once you and your spouse have sorted out a fair plan, have your lawyer incorporate it into your divorce settlement or judgment of divorce. While there is no such thing as an “easy divorce,” staying civil and calm throughout the debt division process will certainly help to speed things along for the both of you.

*Written by Nathan Dawson
About the author:
Nathan Dawson writes for http://www.lifeaftermarriage.coma great online source for finance information.


*Metts Law Firm, LLC is not responsible or liable for the content in this post. It is intended for informational purposes only, and not as an offer of legal advice or representation. Anyone seeking a divorce should contact an attorney to get advice.

Monday, December 22, 2008

How to Divorce and Not Wreck the Kids



One of the interesting things about the internet is how a community is formed. Everyone is reaching out to contact and yes promote their ideas and projects. I participate in this process and after screening the emails try to "spread the word" about material I think is helpful. I recently received an email from Suzannah of Bountiful Films about their documentary that will be Thursday January 8th, 9pm on CBC's (Canadian Television) Doc Zone, How to Divorce & Not Wreck the Kids. Suzannah emailed me that the show, "follows three couples who actually divorce on camera, giving viewers unprecedented access to an intensely private process. We at Bountiful Films intend to show Canadians that despite being overwhelmed by anger and grief, couples can make clear and powerful choices. They can purposefully choose options designed to diminish conflict that make it possible to still function together as parents Watch as they end their marriages utilizing three such options: collaborative divorce, mediation and a do-it-yourself kit."
She goes on to review the film synopsis: "The end of a marriage doesn't have to be the end of a family. Parents contemplating divorce are barraged with "divorce from hell" stories – the kind that leave children scarred for life. But there is another reality. Grass roots Canadians are at the heart of a quiet revolution – couples working on "good" divorces, which acknowledge that the end of a marriage isn't the end of a family. How to Divorce & Not Wreck the Kids takes viewers directly into the heart of one of the most emotionally devastating life transitions, as three courageous Canadian couples determined to keep the needs of their children front and centre, separate on camera. Roland and Carolye use a do-it-yourself divorce kit. Mike an d Melissa work with a mediator. And Lionel and Sally use a new and controversial process called collaborative divorce. How to Divorce & Not Wreck the Kids delivers the latest compelling evidence to convince separating parents to keep conflict away from their kids."
You can get more information about Bountiful Films or view the trailer their web site at http://bountiful.ca or at http://www.youtube.com/user/BountifulFilms or embedded below:



As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. WM 12/22/08

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Does it help to hire a Disability Attorney?

There are many advantages of having an attorney to assist in applying for disability. Most attorneys will not charge a fee to evaluate the case. Additionally, most attorneys work on contingency, which means the ATTORNEY DOES NOT GET PAID UNLESS YOU WIN. So an applicant has nothing to lose and everything to gain by consulting a disability lawyer. Further the attorney can assist with getting the necessary medical documentation, work history, etc. to prove disability.

The Disability Mystery

Social Security Disability Insurance is a federal program designed to provide financial assistance in the form of monthly compensation to workers who can no longer work due to an injury, medical condition, etc.
Requirements

When applying for disability benefits, the following information is necessary when you initially contact the Social Security Administration. You may apply in person, on line or by phone.

1. Original copy of birth certificate or any valid document of applicant’s age

2. Social Security Number

3. Names, addresses, and phone numbers of all medical care providers, hospitals, etc. that provided services relevant to your injury or medical condition

4. List of jobs and companies done in the past

5. Proof of income (W-2 from employer or federal tax returns if self employed)

These documents are used by the SSA to determine whether you have earned enough work credits to qualify for benefits. If you have, then they can determine if you meet the legal definition of disabled to actually get the disability benefits.

A group of individuals from the State’s Disability Determination Services made up of a health care specialist and expert disability will evaluate the information provided. To determine if an applicant is disabled, they will consider the following:

1. Whether the applicant’s injury or medical condition prevents “substantial gainful activities” or employment

2. Whether the applicant’s injury or medical condition is included on a list of impairments developed by the SSA and listed on their website (www.ssa.gov) If not, they will consider the severity of the existing injury(s) or medical condition(s)

3. Whether the applicant is currently working

4. Whether the applicant can perform similar jobs that he/she previously had for the last 15 years or has transferable skills to do other types of employment

Most applicants will be denied benefits when they first apply. It could be for a number of reasons.

To resolve these issues, applicants should consult an attorney. Most attorneys offer a free consultation regarding Social Security Disability.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Virtual Divorce Next?


An AP story on November 15, 2008, entitled "Husband’s Virtual Affairs Push Real-Life Wife to Seek Divorce" caught my eye. See the entire story at either
http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/267323.php or
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081114/ap_on_fe_st/eu_britain_virtual_affair
The article states that "a virtual affair is ending a real-life marriage in southwest England.
Amy Taylor filed for divorce when she discovered her husband cheating in Second Life — an online community where players adopt personas called avatars, mingle with others and teleport themselves into a series of artificial worlds. ‘I caught him cuddling a woman on a sofa in the game,’ Taylor told the South West News Service press agency. ‘It looked really affectionate. He confessed he'd been talking to this woman player in America for one or two weeks, and said our marriage was over and he didn't love me any more.’"
The article goes on to say that "the online drama shows how emotionally invested some people have become in their virtual identities, said Ellen Helsper, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute who has studied the impact of the Web on relationships. ‘For a while there was this impression that as long as it's online, it doesn't matter. But research has shown it's not a separate world,’ she said, adding that infidelity was ‘just as painful, whether it's electronic or physical.’"
The distraction of the internet and internet relationships have long been a cause of divorce but this is a new angle. There are already many web sites that allow a person to complete divorce documents online. Perhaps the next step is for people to experience a virtual divorce online to see if a real divorce is appropriate for them. Time will tell!
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at www.center-divorce-mediation.com WM 12/15/08

Monday, December 08, 2008

Obama’s Family and Audacity of Hope

I thought it was important to read "Audacity of Hope" by Barack Obama to better understand what he thinks and stands for. He is an excellent writer. He writes like he speaks. Although the book was a few years old, it is consistent with what he said during the campaign. I like seeing a movie about a book before I read the book. I find I am less disappointed and the book fills in the blanks. "Audacity of Hope" was the same for me. He had one of the best description and analysis of the history of American foreign policy I have ever read. What I was not expecting but should have was his discussion about family. He wrote about not just the American family but his family. The opposition tried to portray Obama as elite and not a typical American. In fact he is very typical of a father and husband in an intact family. Many of you will recognize yourself. His discussion of his daughter’s birthday party, brought back many memories for me. I was going to quote some of what he said but when I tried, I found I could not do it justice. Get the book and read the chapter on Family. It is worth it. It is worth quoting some of what he said about family.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 12/8/08

Monday, December 01, 2008

Marriage, Divorce, and Mediation in China

We recently went on the Tucson Chamber of Commerce trip to China. It was wonderful! I loved walking on the Great Wall, feeling the vitality of the Shanghai, the exotic quality of the Forbidden City, and the warmth of the people. I realized that in China my nonverbal communication skills were better than my verbal skills. As always I was curious about marriage and divorce and asked our young guide about marriage and divorce in China. The wedding dresses are red and not white. Although that is changing. There is no formal wedding ceremony but a big meal. What surprised me the most was when she said there was mandatory mediation before a couple could get divorced. I googled divorce in China and found the following interesting article Divorce in the People's Republic of China: Analysis of a new law Journal Contemporary Family Therapy by John W. Engel. See article at : http://www.springerlink.com/content/p15q386333r2768q/
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 12/1/08

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Attorney Bernie

One of my favorite attorney songs is My Attorney Bernie by Dave Frishberg. You can hear it on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5GUZmUaGOA

Lyrics go like this:

I'm impressed with my attorney Bernie I'm impressed with his influential friends He's got very big connectionsand I follow his directionsBernie knows his way aroundand so I always do what Bernie recommendsI am blessed with my attorney Bernie I'm impressed with the way he runs the storeHe's got Dodger season boxesand an office full of foxesIt's amazing all the different thingsyour average guy might need a lawyer forchorus: Bernie tells me what to doBernie always lays it on the line Bernie says we sue, we sue Bernie says we sign.. we sign I'm in touch with my attorney BernieIn a clutch he can speed right to the scene and if I'm locked up in the jailwith just one phone call for my bail He said to call his club collector deal directly with his answering machineWhen I dine with my attorney Bernie He buys wine from the rare imported rack That's 'cause Bernie is a purist Not your polyester touristBernie waves the glass around awhile then takes a sip and always sends it back(chorus) I admire my attorney Bernie I admire any guy who knows his stuff Sure we blew a couple ventures with a counterfeit debenture But you win a few, you lose a fewand like Bernie says, you keep on hanging tough Thanks to you my attorney Bernie Thanks to you I'm considered well to do Sure I made out like a bandit Just exactly like you planned it But like Murray my accountanttold me yesterday, I owe it all to you(chorus) On the dotted line!
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 11/24/08

Monday, November 17, 2008

Alec Baldwin

30 Rock with Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin is one of my favorite television shows. I had read about his comment about his daughter on the answering machine and have read many articles about a husband or wife’s dissatisfaction with the adversary or traditional divorce process. I always ask myself if they would have had the same feelings if they had used mediation. Mediation is a more confidential process and we rarely see news stories about mediated divorce but back to Alec Baldwin. Baldwin has written a book entitled A promise to Ourselves, A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce which was reviewed by Jennifer A. Kingson in the October 13, 2008, New York Times. See entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/14/books/14king.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
Kingston says, " Survivors of a gory divorce think their stories are the worst of all, and the actor Alec Baldwin is no exception. He may have a bit of a leg to stand on - though Christie Brinkley deserves at least honorable mention - if only for the ugly public spectacle of his custody battle with the actress Kim Basinger.
Kingston goes on to say, "Mr. Baldwin gives poignant expression to the shortcomings of the law in deciding matters of the heart. For the bitter-with-baggage fathers whom he intends as his readers, he dispenses some advice (get a prenup), but the primary value of the book comes from his deeply felt observations about living through a divorce. ‘When someone is sick, our society usually offers some means of care," Mr. Baldwin observes. "When illness afflicts a marriage, however, the professionals who arrive on the scene often are there to prolong the bleeding, not to stop it.’"
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 11/17/08

Monday, November 10, 2008

Divorce TV on Youtube

Divorce TV is now on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/DivorceTV is the Divorce TV channel or you can go to the left of your screen an pick a show. Let us know what you think. See Sample



WM 11/10/08

Monday, November 03, 2008

Happily Ever After? Indeed

A new survey reported by Karen Asp at
http://www.aolhealth.com/healthy-living/relationships/truth-about-marriage-survey reveals some telling facts about marriage in America. She says, "Marriage has been taking a hit in the headlines recently. Everywhere you look, couples are cutting that knot. Yet the outlook for marriage in this country may not be as bleak as you thought, if the results of a new survey from Parade Magazine are any indication. Parade polled 1,001 married Americans aged 18 and over and found some contradictions to the otherwise bleak news about marriage. For starters, a whopping 88 percent of participants reported being either happy or reasonably content in their marriages. Another telling statistic? Over half of the couples said they were happy in their marriages, half of them using words like "joyful" and "loving" to portray their marriages. What's more, 71 percent of couples said they've stayed married because of deep love while 73 percent cited companionship. However, when it came to marital satisfaction, the picture wasn't so rosy. Men actually reported being happier than women with 70 percent saying they never think about leaving their wife. Women, however, weren't so optimistic. Over half admitted to thinking about leaving their husbands. Yet as many of these married couples know, there's good reason to invest the time in that relationship. "People who are in healthy, happy marriages have less stress, better health and are better able to deal with the challenges of life."
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 11/03/08

Monday, October 27, 2008

State of Confusion

In an effort to better understand the 2008 Presidential Election, I have read State of Confusion by Dr. Bryant Welch. One of his theories which is well known to therapists is that people form their own reality. We should give more credence to each person forming his or her own reality in divorce cases. It helps explain why people take the positions they do and why they can be so difficult to change. One of the reasons we usually start a mediation with the husband and wife each independently completing financial and personal questionnaires, then comparing them, and then discussing in a mediation session is so we can try to agree on a common reality. How to come up with common solutions is more difficult but easier when we agree on the underlying facts.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 10/27/08

Monday, October 20, 2008

If Things Fall Apart, Who Gets the Ring?

One of my early cases as an attorney concerned an older man engaged to a younger woman. She broke of the engagement and he wanted the engagement ring back. It brought back memories to see the article in the October 3, 2008, New York Times by Nadine Brozman entitled "If Things Fall Apart, Who Gets the Ring?" You can see the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/05/fashion/weddings/05field.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink.
Ms. Brozan say, "Chivalry aside, in recent years courts have almost always held that the ring goes back to the buyer, no matter the circumstances. The premise is that the engagement ring is a conditional gift — the condition being that a marriage take place. And if it does not, the agreement is rendered null and void. Furthermore, courts have ruled that it does not matter who broke the engagement, the donor or the recipient. "If you have no-fault divorce, you must have no-fault engagements," said Joanne Ross Wilder, a principal in the Pittsburgh law firm Wilder & Mahood. In 1999 she won a ruling in a Pennsylvania case that is viewed as precedent setting: the ring should be returned to the donor. "Before this case, there was a split of opinion in the United States as to whether the donor should get the ring back if he broke the engagement without just cause," Ms. Wilder said. "If you get into who was at fault in deciding whether the ring should remain with the donee or return to the donor, you do a counterintuitive analysis. Isn’t the purpose of an engagement to be a trial period and isn’t it better to break an engagement than a marriage? Whose fault is irrelevant?"
On the other hand she goes on to quote Letitia Baldrige, the etiquette expert who says, "the person who breaks the engagement is responsible for making good. If the woman breaks it, she should send the ring back immediately. If it is the man, he should say, ‘Of course you keep the ring. Should the ring be a family heirloom, the woman should return it. But then he should buy her another piece of jewelry or simply give her a credit at a jewelry shop. Nice people do that."
I have also found who gets the engagement ring is a hot issue in divorce mediation. It can also be diagnostic. I will let you guess which attitude means what! The value of the ring makes the issue even more complicated. Inevitably, the ring is worth less than what was paid for it and the couple argues, as they do with many assets, if it should be valued at the replacement value or the value you could sell it for.
We are known for divorce mediation but do other types of mediation. Perhaps we should also do broken engagement mediation.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 10/20/08

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Key to Wedded Bliss? Money Matters

Not only am I a google junkie but I guess I am a New York Times junkie! The Times seems to be able to say what I am thinking better than I can. The September 10, 2008 article in the Wealth & Personal Finance section by Tara Siegel Bernard, entitled, "The Key to Wedded Bliss? Money Maters," was one of the articles. You can read the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/10/business/businessspecial3/10WED.html?ex=1378785600&en=04325ab78cbe5a84&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink.
It emphasizes my philosophy toward mediation. It is easier to quote then paraphrase. Bernard says,

"If you ask married people why their marriage works, they are probably not going to say it’s because they found their financial soul mate.
But if they are lucky, they have. Marrying a person who shares your attitudes about money might just be the smartest financial decision you will ever make. In fact, when it comes to finances, your marriage is likely to be your most valuable asset — or your largest liability.
Marrying for love is a relatively recent phenomenon. For centuries, marriages were arranged affairs, aligning families for economic or political purposes or simply pooling the resources of those scraping by.
Today, while most of us marry for romantic reasons, marriage at its core is still a financial union. So much of what we want — or don’t want — out of life boils down to dollars and cents, whether it’s how hard we choose to work, how much we consume or how much we save. For some people, it’s working 80-hour weeks to finance a third home and country club membership; for others, it means cutting back on office hours to spend more time with the family."

She goes on to discuss seven guidelines for a success marriage.

1. Talk and Share Goals
2. Run a Home Like a Business
3. Be Supportive of Careers
4. Enjoy, but within Reason
5. Use a Mediator
6. Main Some Independence
7. Invest in Your Marriage.

We often do guideline five, Use a Mediator, when we do Marital Mediation. Many of the divorces we mediate have been caused by financial issues. Many divorces could be avoided by following these guidelines.

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 10/13/08

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Candy Dish


There is a candy dish in the middle of the round table in our office. We keep it filled with purple and white lentils. They are a bitter sweet chocolate. Some clients never eat them but I have noticed that the candy can be diagnostic. When clients get anxious, they go for the candy! As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 10/05/08

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Top Ten Myths of Divorce

I always keep my eye open for interesting material on the web. The Rutgers Marriage Project is a useful source of information. See http://marriage.rutgers.edu/ In particular I found the following very interesting. As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 9/28/08

The Top Ten Myths of Divorce

Discussion of the most common misinformation about divorce
by David Popenoe

http://marriage.rutgers.edu/Publications/pubtoptenmyths.htm
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Because people learn from their bad experiences, second marriages tend to be more successful than first marriages.
Although many people who divorce have successful subsequent marriages, the divorce rate of remarriages is in fact higher than that of first marriages.
2 Living together before marriage is a good way to reduce the chances of eventually divorcing.
Many studies have found that those who live together before marriage have a considerably higher chance of eventually divorcing. The reasons for this are not well understood. In part, the type of people who are willing to cohabit may also be those who are more willing to divorce. There is some evidence that the act of cohabitation itself generates attitudes in people that are more conducive to divorce, for example the attitude that relationships are temporary and easily can be ended.
3. Divorce may cause problems for many of the children who are affected by it, but by and large these problems are not long lasting and the children recover relatively quickly.
Divorce increases the risk of interpersonal problems in children. There is evidence, both from small qualitative studies and from large-scale, long-term empirical studies, that many of these problems are long lasting. In fact, they may even become worse in adulthood.
4. Having a child together will help a couple to improve their marital satisfaction and prevent a divorce.
Many studies have shown that the most stressful time in a marriage is after the first child is born. Couples who have a child together have a slightly decreased risk of divorce compared to couples without children, but the decreased risk is far less than it used to be when parents with marital problems were more likely to stay together "for the sake of the children."
5. Following divorce, the woman’s standard of living plummets by seventy three percent while that of the man’s improves by forty two percent.
This dramatic inequity, one of the most widely publicized statistics from the social sciences, was later found to be based on a faulty calculation. A reanalysis of the data determined that the woman’s loss was twenty seven percent while the man’s gain was ten percent. Irrespective of the magnitude of the differences, the gender gap is real and seems not to have narrowed much in recent decades.
6. When parents don’t get along, children are better off if their parents divorce than if they stay together.
A recent large-scale, long-term study suggests otherwise. While it found that parents’ marital unhappiness and discord have a broad negative impact on virtually every dimension of their children’s well-being, so does the fact of going through a divorce. In examining the negative impacts on children more closely, the study discovered that it was only the children in very high conflict homes who benefited from the conflict removal that divorce may bring. In lower-conflict marriages that end in divorce—and the study found that perhaps as many as two thirds of the divorces were of this type—the situation of the children was made much worse following a divorce. Based on the findings of this study, therefore, except in the minority of high-conflict marriages it is better for the children if their parents stay together and work out their problems than if they divorce.
7. Because they are more cautious in entering marital relationships and also have a strong determination to avoid the possibility of divorce, children who grow up in a home broken by divorce tend to have as much success in their own marriages as those from intact homes.
Marriages of the children of divorce actually have a much higher rate of divorce than the marriages of children from intact families. A major reason for this, according to a recent study, is that children learn about marital commitment or permanence by observing their parents. In the children of divorce, the sense of commitment to a lifelong marriage has been undermined.
8. Following divorce, the children involved are better off in step families than in single-parent families.
The evidence suggests that step families are no improvement over single-parent families, even though typically income levels are higher and there is a father figure in the home. Step families tend to have their own set of problems, including interpersonal conflicts with new parent figures and a very high risk of family breakup.
9. Being very unhappy at certain points in a marriage is a good sign that the marriage will eventually end in divorce.
All marriages have their ups and downs. Recent research using a large national sample found that eighty six percent of people who were unhappily married in the late 1980s, and stayed with the marriage, indicated when interviewed five years later that they were happier. Indeed, three fifths of the formerly unhappily married couples rated their marriages as either "very happy" or "quite happy."
10. It is usually men who initiate divorce proceedings
Two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women. One recent study found that many of the reasons for this have to do with the nature of our divorce laws. For example, in most states women have a good chance of receiving custody of their children. Because women more strongly want to keep their children with them, in states where there is a presumption of shared custody with the husband the percentage of women who initiate divorces is much lower. Also, the higher rate of women initiators is probably due to the fact that men are more likely to be "badly behaved." Husbands, for example, are more likely than wives to have problems with drinking, drug abuse, and infidelity.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Teenage Marriage



Politics often raises collateral issues. All the recent publicity about Sarah Pallin’s daughter raised the issue of teenage marriages. Sarah Kershaw wrote about it in a recent article in the September 4, 2008, New York Times entitled, "Now, the Bad News on Teenage Marriage." See entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/04/fashion/04marriage.html?ex=1378267200&en=ed0bdb5d0469e386&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink.
I had not given a lot of thought to teenage marriage. The article says, "The median marrying age for women in the late 1950s was about 19, according to David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University and an emeritus professor of sociology there. But a marriage between 19-year-olds — or even 17- or 18-year-olds — then would not have been described as a "teenage marriage," he said. It was too routine to be given a special label." I was also fascinated to learn that now "Over the last 35 years the median age for first marriages in America has risen dramatically, from 23 for men and 21 for women in 1970 to 27.5 for men and 25.5 for women in 2006, according to William A. Galston, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution."
She says in the article that "Studies show that today teenage marriages are two to three times more likely to end in divorce than are marriages between people 25 years of age and older. The most comprehensive study on marriage and age that sociologists cite was published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2001, from 1995 data, and it found that 48 percent of those who marry before 18 are likely to divorce within 10 years, compared with 24 percent of those who marry after age 25."
Even though there is a higher likelihood of a divorce in a teenage marriage, fortunately there are fewer of them. That is a good thing.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 9/21/08

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Milky Way


On our way back from Denver to see the Obama acceptance speech, we stopped in Creste Butte, Colorado to visit friends. It is a beautiful town and our friends pointed out the spectacular night sky. I realized I have never seen the milky way before. It also reminded me of testing a telescope when we first moved to Tucson. I realized that you look up at the sky and only see a fraction of what is there. With the help of a telescope I saw the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter. They are always there but we can't always seen them. The same is true for divorce mediation. Solutions are always there but we can't always see them. Sometimes, it takes the help of the mediator. As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 9/14/08

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Divorce Mediation, Obama, and McCain

This is my 100th blog posting. It is appropriate that it has a political theme. We just got back from Denver and where we saw the Obama acceptance speech at Invesco Field. It was truly an historic event. It was also a challenge to get tickets. As you know, I love to google. Out of curiosity, I googled Obama divorce mediation and McCain divorce mediation. I got 131,000 hits for Obama. One of the top hits for Obama was a posting by James Melamed. He is co-founded Resourceful Internet Solutions (RIS) and Mediate.com in 1996. Before this, he served as Executive Director of the national Academy of Family Mediators from 1987 to 1993. The posting is entitled, "Obama’s Message - Mediation’s Political Triumph"and can be found at http://www.mediate.com/articles/melamedobama.cfm. Melamed say, "The purpose of this article is not to endorse a candidate, but to note, as I think is undeniable, that we have at least one candidate (Obama) that is championing concepts of reaching out, capably negotiating, listening, bridging divides, and leading the world into a more collaborative and capable dialogue." I realized this was one of the many reasons I liked Obama. I got 15,000 hits for McCain divorce mediation. The most interesting hit I got was "John McCain's Staff in Damage Control Over 'Wedding Crashers" by James Hirsen on Tuesday, July 19, 2005 from The Left Coast Report, A Political Look at Hollywood. It said "Yes, Arizona senator and aspiring presidential candidate John McCain recently made his cinematic debut in this summer's bawdy romantic comedy Wedding Crashers. The cameo appearance may create a big-screen problem for McCain, though, and it doesn't have anything to do with his Clinton-defending cameo co-star James Carville. It has to do with the flick's thoroughly warranted R rating. In the movie, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn portray divorce mediators who crash weddings and seduce bridal attendants."
See the article at http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/7/19/190255.shtml. Apparently is did not hurt John McCain’s ability to get the Republican nomination. I had used the movie has part of a presentation I did a few years ago at the Connecticut Council for Divorce Mediation. I had totally forgotten that McCain was in the film. I guess he did not get an Oscar like Al Gore. As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 9/7/08

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Expert Witnesses Are Partisan

When mediating a case, we often have an issue which requires an expert. This usually relates to a valuation issue. The problems with experts was highlighted in a recent article in the August 11, 2008 New York Times by Adam Liptak, entitled, "In U.S., Expert Witnesses Are Partisan." You can read the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/12/us/12experts.html?ex=1376280000&en=a15f509cff4cff3d&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink. The article stated that, "Judge Dillard, of the Johnson County District Court in Iowa City, did what American judges and juries often do after hearing from dueling experts: he threw up his hands. The two experts were biased in favor of the parties who employed them, the judge said, and they had given predictable testimony." It went on to say that, "The two sides have canceled each other out," the judge wrote in 2005, refusing either expert’s conclusion and complaining that "no funding mechanism" existed for him to appoint an expert...American lawyers often interview many potential expert witnesses in search of ones who will bolster their case and then work closely with them in framing their testimony to be accessible and helpful. At a minimum, the process results in carefully tailored testimony. Some critics say it can also produce bias and ethical compromises." Litak points out that, "In most of the rest of the world, expert witnesses are selected by judges and are meant to be neutral and independent." In fact in Australia the lawyers have a new way of hearing expert called "hot tubbing." He states that, "in that procedure, also called concurrent evidence, experts are still chosen by the parties, but they testify together at trial — discussing the case, asking each other questions, responding to inquiries from the judge and the lawyers, finding common ground and sharpening the open issues.. and also "England has also recently instituted what Adrian Zuckerman, the author of a 2006 treatise there, called "radical measures" to address "the culture of confrontation that permeated the use of experts in litigation." The measures included placing experts under the complete control of the court, requiring a single expert in many cases and encouraging cooperation among experts when the parties retain more than one. Experts are required to sign a statement saying their duty is to the court and not to the party paying their bills." The American system is in sharp contrast to the how we use experts in mediation. For example, when getting an appraisal for the value of the marital home, the parties agree in advance who the appraiser will be and how they will be paid. This avoids the necessity and cost of each party getting an appraiser and then having to get a third one anyway. As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. This has been our 99th blog. Not sure what 100 will be yet! WM 9/3/08

Monday, September 01, 2008

Mediation versus Litgation

The two biggest differences between mediation and litigation are (1) mediation allows the parties to decide the outcome of their legal issues, while with litigation Judges decide the outcome of the legal issues; and (2) mediation is generally less costly and time consuming than litigation. For parties who have children, mediation may be particularly attractive as a means of making the process easier for them.

Mediation is a problem solving process where a neutral third party helps the parties facilitation discussion that allows the parties to mutually discuss and compromise as a way to settle issues such as child custody, child support, and property division. As a Certified Family Court Mediator, we can help you determine if mediation is right for you.

Litigation involves using Judges and Courts to decide the legal issues. The parties have to worry about witnesses, evidence, testifying and proving their version of the legal issues. Speaking with an attorney can help you explore your case and determine which is the best alternative for you.

We welcome you posts regarding questions and experiences with mediation and/or litigation in South Carolina.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits

The biggest concern that any body who is applying for Social Security Disability benefits is how to qualify. In general to qualify for benefits, you must first have worked in job for a sufficient time to be eligible for benefits, and you second must show that you suffer from a medical condition or injury that prevents you from working for a minimum of one year. To determine if your employment is sufficient to qualify you for benefits, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your work history can be evaluated to determine if you may qualify for disability benefits.

An attorney can also help you obtain and evaluate your medical records to evaluate the seriousness of your medical condition or injury in terms of qualifying for Social Security Disability benefits. As an attorney, I often I find that many people may have a condition sufficient to qualify for benefits, but their medical records don't sufficiently document all of the the concerns or complaints. It is possible to address multiple medical problems with your doctor during your appointment, which are not documented in the medical file. Anyone who has applied for disability can tell you that the medical records are extremely important in proving disability. They are even more important when trying to prove the start of the disability, which determines how far back the Social Security Administration will pay benefits.

Because this is such an important part of the process, we will assist you in trying to obtain the necessary medical documentation to help win you case, prepare you for each step of the process, and handle every aspect of the process.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Olympics Metaphor for Divorce


I am always looking for metaphors for divorce in life. Watching the Olympics on television, I found quite a few. The synchronized diving is a perfect example. Is the team which is jumping off a 10 meter platform "in synch" on the way down like a couple getting divorced? Does the couple have a problem when they are not in "sync." The swimming race shows a green line across the pool which is the world record time. Many couples in a divorce have a green line and want to set a world record divorce settlement. The swimming and diving are shown from many angles. Should we look at divorce from many angles? As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 8/29/08

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cost of Not Settling



Parties in all law suits, which unfortunately, also include divorces, must make a decision to settle or litigate their case. There was an interesting article in the August 8, 2008, New York Times by Jonathan D. Glater entitled "The Cost of Not Settling a Lawsuit." See chart above and the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/08/business/08law.html?ex=1375934400&en=dad0bb582570506d&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink. The article premise is "that is the clear lesson of a soon-to-be-released study of civil lawsuits that has found that most of the plaintiffs who decided to pass up a settlement offer and went to trial ended up getting less money than if they had taken that offer." It cites Randall L. Kiser, a co-author of the study. The study will be published in September issue of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.
See http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=1740-1453&site=1. The study suggests that "lawyers may not be explaining the odds to their clients — or that clients are not listening to their lawyers." It goes on to say "Law schools do not teach how to handicap trials, nor do they help develop the important skill of telling a client that a case is not a winner. Clients do not like to hear such news." It concludes by saying "The findings are consistent with research on human behavior and responses to risk, said Martin A. Asher, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania and a co-author. For example, psychologists have found that people are more averse to taking a risk when they are expecting to gain something, and more willing to take a risk when they have something to lose. ‘If you approach a class of students and say, I’ll either write you a check for $200, or we can flip a coin and I will pay you nothing or $500,’ most students will take the $200 rather than risk getting nothing, Mr. Asher said. But reverse the situation, so that students have to write the check, and they will choose to flip the coin, risking a bigger loss because they hope to pay nothing at all, he continued. ‘They’ll take the gamble.’" Is there a lesson here for couples going thru a divorce? We often advise clients that it is better to choose the devil you know rather than the devil you don’t know. Clients often think they are right and therefor will prevail. Sadly for them, this usually does not happen. I like mediation because in most cases this dilemma can be avoided. As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 8/25/08

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Divorce, Voice Mail, and Email

When mediating a case, I advise clients not to problem solve (I don’t like to use the word negotiate) by email or voice mail. I have always felt that problem solving requires instantaneous feed back and response or it becomes a monologue and not a dialogue. Email is acceptable for transmitting or confirming information such as pick up times for children. Along this line this line, I was fascinated to see the front page article in Saturday, August 2, 2008, New Times by Matt Richtel. entitled, "Don’t Want to Talk About it? New Service Sells Missed Calls," which discusses a new technology that is as bad for divorce as email.
See the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/02/us/02sly.html?ex=1375416000&en=559c26cce622f2df&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink. The article discusses a new service called Slydial. which allows callers to dial a mobile telephone but avoid an unwanted conversation or as the article say "unwanted intimacy" because the incoming call goes undetected by the receiver and goes directly to the receivers voice mail. The name Slydial says it all. The article quotes James Katz, head of the Center for Mobile Communications Studies at Rutgers University as saying, "You pretend to be communicating, when you are actually stifling communications," This is my very point. Couples think they are communicating when they are actually doing the reverse. I must now advise clients, not only not to email but not to leave voice mail messages. As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 8/17/08

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Is Divorce Morally Acceptable?

As the culture of divorce has changed over the years, it has been assumed that one of the reasons is there is no longer as much as a stigma about getting divorced. I have rarely seen any confirmation of this assumption and was interested to see the Op-Ed article in the Saturday, July 26, 2008, New York Time by Charles M. Blow entitled "America Moves to the Middle." See the entire article and graphs at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/26/opinion/26blow.html?ex=1374811200&en=8bc56570af496353&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink. In particular look at the graph the top or on the last row on the second from the right in the article. It shows that 70% of people now believe that divorce is morally acceptable as opposed to 59% in 2001. Blow states, "While more bemoan the worsening state of moral values in the country, we are increasingly shifting our opinion on what is morally acceptable. Now most believe that getting divorced, ...(is) are morally acceptable." It is also interesting that this has not reflected an increase in the divorce rate. I have been advised that this is because the marriage rate is also dropping and that there is a difference in the rate of divorce in different socio-economic groups. In any event, hopefully, people who want and need a divorce are now feeling less social pressure in requesting a divorce. I don’t think the personal pain will ever go away. As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 8/17/08

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Celebrity Divorce Again

Celebrity divorces define the culture of divorce. After a horrendous trial, the Christie Brinkley case settled. According to the July 10, 2008 Daily News story by Christina Boyle and Tracy Connor. "Brinkley got the kids, the property and the satisfaction of having exposed her cheating husband as a skirt-chasing egomaniac. Cook got $2.1 million, most of which will end up in his lawyers' pockets. He lost his Sweet Freedom, the little fishing boat Brinkley gave him on his 40th birthday. So ended one of New York's nastiest divorce battles - a Hamptons soap opera that featured sex, lies and Web cam video. After 12 years of marriage, eight days of testimony and one very long night of negotiations, the supermodel and the architect finally agreed on how to part ways. Both claimed victory, but Brinkley was the one beaming - and flashing the V for victory sign - outside the courthouse in Central Islip, L.I., after the deal was announced. ‘I have won custody and decision-making, and that's all I ever wanted,’ Brinkley said before going home. The 54-year-old cover girl said she was ‘pleased’ with the outcome, but she also called it ‘very bittersweet.’ ‘It really is the death of a marriage, but it's also, I think, a new start for all of us.’ Cook, 49, was brusque.
‘I've got everything I've been asking for two years,’ he said, even though he had petitioned the court for joint custody. The pact gives Brinkley sole legal custody and decision-making power over 13-year-old Jack and 10-year-old Sailor Lee. It is believed Cook is keeping his current visitation rights - every other weekend and one school night a week with extra time in the summer. He ceded his claim to 18 properties Brinkley bought with her millions during their marriage and he has to give up the boat where he spent the Fourth of July with gal pal Suzanne Shaw and son Jack. The vessel will be sold, and the couple will split the proceeds." See the entire article at http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2008/07/10/2008-07-10_christie_brinkley_peter_cook_divorce_end.html

The A-Rod divorce is next. See article in New York post at http://www.nypost.com/seven/07072008/news/nationalnews/a_rods_wife_hurls_splitter_118824.htm
where you can even view the court papers!

I wonder after reading this why the case could not have been settled earlier. Unfortunately these cases are fueled by anger. Wouldn’t it have been better for the children. Mediation would have allowed confidentiality. How many couples will fight in their divorce case because of reading about this case. One of the more telling comment may have been, "Cook got $2.1 million, most of which will end up in his lawyers' pockets."

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 8/13/08

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Divorce Recovery

Frank Williams of Divorce Recovery was a recent guest on my Divorce TV show. You can get the schedule of when this and the other programs will air by going to http://www.divorcetvaz.googepages.com/ I knew a little bit about the Divorce Recovery program but was amazed when I learned more. The program which will be celebrating its 30thanniversary this year has had 1500 volunteers and has helped 15,000 people. People get divorced and often suffer thru the results with no held. Divorce Recovery believes that going through a separation, divorce and the ending of a close relationship is not easy. Divorce Recovery is a support program to help individuals who are ending close relationships. You can learn more about Divorce Recovery at their website at http://www.divorcerecovery.net/
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 8/9/08

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Marriages of Limited Duration 2

On February 27, 2008, I blogged about marriages of limited duration. As is often the case, I thought I had come up with an original idea. As Sherlock Holmes said, "there is nothing new under the sun." I was recently reading "Devil May Care" which is the thirty-sixth James Bond novel and is written by Sebastian Faulks writing as Ian Fleming. I was surprised to read in the book that Shitte Muslims believe in such marriages which are called "mutaa." Of course I googled Muslim marriages of limited duration and came up with a January 20, 2007 article in the Washington Post by Nancy Trejos entitled "Temporary ‘Enjoyment Marriages’ in Vogue Again With Some Iraqis." See the entire article at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/19/AR2007011901850.html?referrer=google
Ms. Trejos notes that "According to Shiite religious law, a mutaa relationship can last for a few minutes or several years. A man can have an unlimited number of mutaa wives and a permanent wife at the same time. A woman can have only one husband at a time, permanent or temporary. No written contract or official ceremony is required in a mutaa. When the time limit ends, the man and woman go their separate ways with none of the messiness of a regular divorce."
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 8/5/08

Friday, August 01, 2008

Up to Parents


We like to call your attention to helpful website we come across. http://www.uptoparents.org/ is an excellent resource for parents. It puts together information found in many books into an easy to use set of exercises. It is a good supplement to Parenting Education programs required by the courts.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 8/1/08

Monday, July 28, 2008

An Ideal Husband



Maureen Dowd wrote a wonderful column in the Sunday, July 6, 2008, New York Times entitled "An Ideal Husband. See the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/06/opinion/06dowd.html?ex=1373083200&en=fbf7febd9931c3f7&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink I usually read her columns first when I start to read the New York Times. Women I discussed the article with said what she said was obvious. Men did not. She discussed a lecture given by Father Pat Connor entitled, "Whom Not to Marry."
She quotes some of this rules which I repeat here.
1. Never marry a man who has no friends.
2. Does he use money responsibly? He is he stingy?
3. Steer clear of someone whose life you can run, who never makes demands counter to yours.
4. Is he overly attached to his mother and her mythical apron strings?
5. Does he have a sense of humor?
6. The strong silent type can be charming but ultimately destructive.
7. Don’t marry a problem character thinking you will change him.
8. Take a good, unsentimental look at his family - you will learn a lot about him and his attitude toward women.
9. Are his goals and deepest belief’s worthy and similar to yours?
10. Does he possess those character traits that add up to a good human being - willingness to forgive, praise, be courteous?
Others like the column too and wrote some great letters to the editor on July 10. See them at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/opinion/l09dowd.html?ex=1373342400&en=102e7802513dc05f&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
In particular I like the following letter by Susan Striker:
I am a twice-divorced woman, and after my second divorce I sat down and wrote a message to women, including these words of advice:
Never marry a man who yells at you in front of his friends.
Never marry a man who is more affectionate in public than in private.
Never marry a man who notices all of your faults but never notices his own.
Never marry a man whose first wife had to sue him for child support.
Never marry a man who corrects you in public.
Never marry a man who sends birthday cards to his ex-girlfriends.
Never marry a man who doesn’t treat his dog nicely.
Never marry a man who is rude to waiters.
Never marry a man who doesn’t love music.
Never marry a man whose plants are all dead.
Never marry a man your mother doesn’t like.
Never marry a man your children don’t like.
Never marry a man who hates his job.
Never marry a man who doesn’t give you lovely and romantic gifts for your birthday and Valentine’s Day.

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 7/28/08

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Divorce Police

Clients often ask me how divorce agreements get enforced. I always tell them, there is no divorce police and unless one of them enforces the agreement, nothing happens.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 7/24/08

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Will Dad Ever Do His Share? - In the News

Achim Lippoth for The New York Times
Parenting is a big issue in divorce mediation. More and more couples are doing joint parenting. This is an issue in intact families as well. Lisa Belkin wrote and excellent article in the Sunday, June 15, 2008 New York Times Magazine section. See entire article at http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/15/magazine/15parenting-t.html?ex=1371268800&en=dd093a16387568a1&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 7/20/08

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wonderful Wedding - Anniversary Waltz

The June 13, 2008 issue of Arizona Jewish Post, www.azjewishpost.com , had a great article about Wonderful Weddings which quotes couples as to what makes a good marriage. The following are some of the quotes:
"A great understanding of one another and respect are the keys to a successful marriage."
"A good sense of humor is the key to staying married.
"They have happily made it to their golden anniversary owing to the philosophy that each person should be prepared to give more than 50 percent."
"We just love each other."
"Respecting one another and growing together. You either grow together or you grow apart."
"The love turns into friendship, I enjoy being with her. She is my best friend."
There’s nothing left to fight over. We enjoy every day, and that’s what it’s all about."
"We respect each other and try to listen once in awhile instead of just talking."
"Our marital success also hinges on compromise."
"Having trust and caring for each other in sickness and health, during ups and downs in family life and enjoying each other at all times contributes to an enduring marriage."
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 7/16/08

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Best Divorce Mediators - Super Mediators - Master Mediators

Each year I get a publication listing the Best Attorneys. I have always been bothered that there is not a similar list for the Best Divorce Mediators. I have decided to do my own list and post the names on this blog below. I am asking Advance Practitioner Members of the Association for Conflict Resolution from a state to designate whom they feel are the Best Divorce Mediators in his or her state. If a person gets two designations, I will list them. I am open to suggestions for doing this a different way. It is a work in progress and I will keep adding names and states. Please post a comment with your designations or suggestions. As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 7/12/08
CONNECTICUT
Barbara Aaron - Hartford
Michael Becker - Westport
Fran Califore - Hartford, New Haven, and Norwalk
Roberta Friedman - New Haven
Mary Marcus*, Ph.D. - Norwalk
Walter Marcus** - Norwalk
Deborah Noonan*** - Norwalk
Barbara Stark - New Haven and Norwalk

* My wife but still one of the best!
** Nominated by someone else
*** Mentee and business associate but still one of the best!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

DIY Divorce Blog Moves

DIY Divorce in Florida Blog Moved!

It's official. DIY Divorce blog has moved. All new posts will only be on the new blog. You can visit the new blog for constantly-updated free information to you help you represent yourself in a Florida divorce or other family law case.

If you want to have a successful do-it-yourself divorce, check out my free Special Report. Just sign up over in the right column and I'll send it to your inbox right away.

I also offer a complete Step-by-Step Guide to Florida DIY Divorce - The Florida Divorce Professor's Crash Course on Divorce Law & Procedure.

You don't have to struggle alone. Let the Florida Divorce Professor help you.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Divorce is a Luxury in a Bad Economy

Is divorce recession proof? In bad financial times, financial pressure contributed marriage breakup. In good financial times, couples felt more comfortable getting divorced. In a recent article in the June 8, 2008, Newark Star-Ledger, reporter Susan Todd discusses the issue. See the entire article at
http://www.nj.com/news/ledger/index.ssf?/base/news-13/1212899714115560.xml&coll=1
She says that "earlier this year, divorce moved into the not-right-now category usually reserved for things like expensive vacations." In particular the housing slump is creating a problem. Those couples who are getting divorced are coming up with new settlement solutions. More couples are deciding not to sell their houses or to delay finalizing the divorce. She quotes divorce mediator, Michael Grodjeski as saying, "(The couple) end up getting suck living together. It’s not easy, but don’t forget couples who come to mediation tend to be more amicable about their divorce...They can continue to live together, not happily maybe, but they are trying to make the best of things" Do you have any new solutions to these issues? As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 7/8/08

Friday, July 04, 2008

Should You Divorce Him?

I thought the following quiz, "Should You Divorce Him?", in LIfe Scripts, something you would find interesting

"To divorce or not to divorce... that is the question. According to the American Law and conomics Review, more than two-thirds of divorce cases in the U.S. are filed by women. Infidelity and ysical or verbal abuse are often the cause. However, other women simply feel like they're not getting the most out of their marriage. Are you one of them? Take this divorce quiz and find out."

http://www.lifescript.com/quiz/quiz.asp?bid=50316&cat=Divorce&trans=1&du=1&gclid=CJ6q-Ire55MCFSQtagodlxmEWQ&ef_id=1350:3:c_abe4695e3f660da21e1f4d5e1ac83f0d_646380545:4WYDUUNIYX0AAEZHMGkAAAAc:20080609155820

As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 7/4/08

Monday, June 30, 2008

Florida Divorce Laws Change July 1


Florida divorce law no longer includes custody and primary residential parent. On October 1, 2008, Florida law dramatically changes with respect to children and divorce. There is no "primary residential parent" anymore. Every family must now write a parenting plan that contains all the child-related terms. If you do not write your own, the judge will do it for you. DIY has written about parenting plans in the past. Now parenting plans will be mandatory in Florida. DIY Divorce now offers a customizable Florida Parenting Plan that meets the requirements of the new October 1, 2008 law changes.

Other changes took effect on July 1st. It is now possible to have the court order a partial equitable distribution when the situation warrants it. There is no more "special equity" in Florida. And, like real property, there is now a gift presumption for personal property.

Probably one of the most important change is that court fees increased. The filing fee for the petition increased about $50. There is now a filing fee for counter-petitions and you must pay $10 to have a summons issued.

STORMS CAN’T HURT THE SKY: THE BUDDHIST PATH THROUGH DIVORCE


My good friend and colleague, Barbara A. Stark, an attorney and mediator in Norwalk and New Haven, Connecticut wrote the following review that I thought you would be interested in.


Imagine yourself being strapped into the passenger seat of a plane, out of sorts because of the delay from a never-ending storm. The view out of the portal window is bleak as the plane finally rises, and the world below reduces to the size of train-set hamlets. Suddenly everything connected to the earth is gone. The clouds envelop the plane and block any orienting view for what can seem like an eternity. Gabriel Cohen, in his new book, Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky: The Buddhist Path Through Divorce uses this travel experience as an analogy to the longer and more frustrating stages of divorce Cohen’s audience, those who are going through a break up, will be lucky to settle into this book’s supportive pages. Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky serves as a reminder that just as the plane breaks through the clouds, revealing a blue sky above the cloud cover, above the chaos and devastation of divorce there is also always a place of calm and hope. No matter how terrible the storm below, the miracle of the sky is always there whether invisible or not. In this self-help book, designed for the Buddhist novice, Cohen sets the stage for his readers’ expectations as they travel the path to the book’s concluding pages. The book begins by posing the questions: How does the happiness of marriage become the suffering of divorce? Where does this particular kind of suffering seem to come from and, looking deeper, where does the suffering really come from? How can the divorce (and non-marital breakup) experience evolve into a less damaging and traumaticexperience? Can a person live through divorce and achieve peace and happinesssufficient of be ready for the next relationship, avoiding repeating the same mistakes?Blending two strands of narrative, Cohen weaves together information about thebasic principles of Buddhism with an engaging account of his own divorce. Relativelynew to Buddhist teachings (Cohen stumbled into his first Buddhist class during hisdivorce to hear a lecture on "How to Deal with Anger"), the book is an abbreviatedsurvey course on Buddhist history, principles, and techniques. Anyone familiar withBuddhism should not look to this book as an addition to the library of higher awareness. But the person not as familiar with Buddhist principles is gently guided to the understanding that Buddhist teachings "are not just pie in the sky abstractions but practical instructions … not just how to think better but how to behave better." The book supports and encourages a person’s taking responsibility for the suffering caused by divorce, and having compassion particularly for the ex or soon-to-be ex spouse. In between the Buddhist tutorial, Cohen maintains our interest and curiosity by describing the unraveling of his own marriage, his many-faceted experiences with the resulting grief, and his personal lessons from trying to live Buddhist principles. The narrative of his personal journey serves a more important function. By describing his actions, thoughts, and emotions while going through his painful process, Cohen gives the divorcing reader the opportunity to identify with his experiences and to feel less marginalized. Many descriptions worthy of underlining help to support the plane’s-eye view of the emotional disaster we call divorce, particularly for the person who feels that the divorce has been "done to" him or her: "Marriage makes me think of a seesaw: you have your ups and your downs, but through them all you trust your partner to support your weight. If one spouse suddenly jumps off, the other comes down hard. The whole solemn institution, which seemed so solid and permanent – We’ll love each other for better or for worse, until we die – is revealed as merely a fragile, tenuous, utterly voluntary agreement." The reader is prodded by Cohen to "challenge every statement" in the book and to test what he says. The book comes together in the concluding chapters with a "plan of action." Short on specifics, the plan is an aspirational checklist of principles to remember and use while going through the divorce experience (which for some means just surviving it) such as: refrain from acting out of anger, practice meditation, think about the difference between real love and attachment, reflect on impermance and change. Rather than setting a "holier than thou" tone, Cohen includes a chapter ("Anatomy of an Email") describing how he fell off the wagon a year after beginning his Buddhist journey by engaging in an angry, discouraging e-mail exchange with his wife. While Cohen emphasizes that forgiveness is an important part of emerging from the suffering of divorce, he is careful not to offer panaceas. The bad behavior of the other spouse is not excused, but the journey to a place of compassion for him or her is encouraged. Anger and sadness cannot be denied but acknowledgement and recognition help to contain those emotions and allow the move from suffering toward happiness. The bottom line, from Cohen’s practical, true-life perspective, is that in the Buddhist view, suffering arises chiefly from the sufferer’s mind, not from outside circumstances. This recognition and the taking of responsibility, if not for the situation one finds oneself in, at least for the emotional reactions to it, are critical steps in recovering from divorce. The practice of meditation is the primary Buddhist approach to creating a space where life events can be put in perspective. It provides the stability necessary for the insights that support personal growth. The mental image of the sky as the calm, stable part of the mind is always there as a refuge despite the roughness of the storm. This is the promise of the Buddhist approach to divorce as described by Cohen. Buddhist perspectives and teachings are not stand alone remedies for most people. Traditional therapeutic intervention and supportive friends provide critical support for people during divorce. Storms Can’t Hurt the Sky
offers a new perspective for many to experience and a way to grow from the painful grieving process resulting from divorce. It may even inspire some to further explore Buddhist teachings and readings (the book has an excellent resource list) in the quest for a fuller life, in which divorce is in the past and a better relationship is a future possibility.

As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 6/30/08

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Divorce Images

I love Google. It is one of the most innovative and user friendly websites. Google is a great source for everything. It is fun to search. I often google my name and the names of my family. I also like to check out images. I googled divorce images and came up with some of the following: As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 6/26/08















Sunday, June 22, 2008

Googlism for: marriage

Googlism.com will find out what Google.com thinks of you, your friends or anything! You can search for your under Who What Where or When. Below are the googlisms for Marriage. As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 6/22/08

marriage is like bubble gum
marriage is good for you
marriage is
marriage is worse for women than men
marriage is defined by god in the bible
marriage is none of the government's
marriage is better than you think
marriage is to take second place
marriage is dying by peter j
marriage is for keeps
marriage is part of god’s plan
marriage is a sacrament
marriage is good for women's health
marriage is no fairy tale
marriage is slavery rather than
marriage is murder
marriage is wrong as well
marriage is cool again
marriage is an onion
marriage is my vocation
marriage is doing
marriage is on the
marriage is recognized
marriage is sent to an early grave by a series of little digs
marriage is a one
marriage is no panacea
marriage is none of the government
marriage is under siege in our country
marriage is like a hundred $k in the bank
marriage is worship because of spirit mingling
marriage is worth £60
marriage is a feast where
marriage is divine
marriage is a powerful legal and social institution that protects
marriage is valid" has been
marriage is a new hampshire imperative why?
marriage is the closest kind of friendship
marriage is the union of
marriage is good for your health
marriage is worth $100
marriage is no proof of love
marriage is wrong?
marriage is in trouble
marriage is all about presenting little saints to god may 07
marriage is alive and well
marriage is honorable
marriage is accused of duping
marriage is healthy?
marriage is to me
marriage is the key weapon against poverty
marriage is ready to go to the mission field
marriage is dumb
marriage is troubled
marriage is for love
marriage is a divine institution established by god for man?s good
marriage is forever
marriage is still important
marriage is in trouble helpsite
marriage is serious business
marriage is presided over by clergy and is considered by its participants to be a sacred union in the eyes of their deity and their faith
marriage is risky this article is based on information from the national marriage project at rutgers
marriage is none of the government's business
marriage is to let your mate take first place
marriage is dying peter j
marriage is the best way for most men and women
marriage is murder by nancy pickard
marriage is alive and well author
marriage is part of god’s plan marriage between a man and a woman has been an integral part of god’s plan from the beginning
marriage is deemed illegal
marriage is a bond that should be entered into for love and companionship after you know who you really are
marriage is no fairy tale adrienne ball is a senior majoring in anthropology and is the ids arts editor
marriage is worth divorce and money
marriage is slavery rather than just a happy family affair
marriage is murder intrepid duo dares to go where few have survived
marriage is a good thing
marriage is irrelevant
marriage is an onion marriage is an amazing thing
marriage is doing fine
marriage is on the rocks
marriage is recognized from your marriage guide
marriage is prohibited
marriage is no panacea this editorial appeared in usa today on february 27
marriage is none of the government?s business
marriage is multicultural
marriage is like having an
marriage is ok?
marriage is a feast where the grace is sometimes better than the dinner
marriage is that we fall in love with a personality
marriage is a powerful legal and social institution that protects and supports intimate family relationships by providing a unique set of rights
marriage is not what you think
marriage is a new hampshire imperative in new hampshire we must
marriage is good for your health february 26
marriage is unjust
marriage is valid
marriage is not over
marriage is not for everyone
marriage is an institution ordained of god
marriage is wrong??" i have a bf and we're really close ok
marriage is all about
marriage is honorable #31
marriage is accused of duping signers pam belluck
marriage is considered valid
marriage is healthy? x
marriage is to me by tarascorpb
marriage is the key weapon against poverty both on screen and off these days
marriage is separate property
marriage is an institution of god
marriage is coming
marriage is troubled it is a fact
marriage is still not easy
marriage is the foundation of the family unit