Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mediation the Cairn for Getting Divorced

Recently, I was hiking in Sabino Canyon on the Rattlesnake Trail. I notice many cairns on the trail. A cairn is a mound of stones piled up as a memorial or to mark a boundary or path and this case not a small rough-haired breed of terrier from Scotland. I had do go back to my Boy Scouts Handbook for Boys to remind me of what the different cairns mean. They include: This is not the trail. Turn right. Turn left. Danger Help. See pictures above. It occurred to me that a trail and cairns are a metaphor for getting a divorce. Hopefully, it will not be the Rattlesnake Trail. The couple must follow a trail and if not careful can get lost. Mediation is the cairn of divorce. It helps you on the trail and keeps the couple from getting lost. As always, you can post any comment about this blog or Divorce Mediation, or just Mediation by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM (208) 2/26/11

Friday, February 25, 2011

US Military Personell and Divorce Rates

According a recent article, the divorce rate among soldiers has increased in the last year as military marriages suffered continuing stress from two ongoing wars.

There were an estimated 10,200 failed marriages in the active duty Army and 3,077 among Marines, according to the Associated Press. The divorce rate was originally 3.3 percent, but has risen to 3.5 percent in the last year.

The information shows 3.7 percent of more than 84,000 married Marines divorced in fiscal year 2008, increased from 3.3 percent in 2007. Some veteran and family groups believe the Pentagon figures are too low because they do not take include those who divorced after leaving the service.

Repeated deployments have been blamed for stresses on military couples. Spouses at home left to care for their family without their spouse.

According to the article, women in the military usually experience higher rates of failed marriages than men. Army women divorced at a rate of 8.5 percent and for men it was only 2.9 percent.

Mental health surveys taken in Iraq, showed 15 percent of troops said they intended to divorce when they got home. And all the services have started programs to help couples make it through this difficult time.

The Army has a couples course, and a family course that helps couples with children to stay close and parent well. The Marines have offer workshops to teach couples to manage conflict, solve problems and communicate better.

If there are any legal questions you may have, I encourage you to, please contact my San Jose Divorce Lawyers office. My San Jose Family Lawyer offices assists many people who are going through family law related issues. We have many Affordable San Jose Divorce Lawyer solutions for many different budgets. We help many individuals through this very chaotic period in their life. Proudly serving the following cities, Fremont, Milpitas, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Mountain View, and Santa Clara.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A No-Win Situation: A Parents Destruction of a Child's Life

I met a woman this past week who shared her tragic experience of her parent's divorce. She was 18 when it happened and one of her sisters was 4 years old. It was a bitter, contested divorce, with both parents using the children as spies and messengers. She shared with me that after her youngest sister would visit with their father, her mother, regardless of the hour of night, would wake her and demand to know who her father was with, what they did, and even forced her to show her where her father was living. Had she refused, she feared she would have been beaten. As a result, their father would scold the younger sister for being a snitch, and complain to her that she should keep her mouth shut. Now, as young adults, neither daughter has a relationship with their father: there is a complete lack of trust, and resentment by and between father and daughters; Mother continues to bad mouth father to their daughters (even as adults), causing resentment and animosity between mother and daughters. At her own wedding, the woman told me that she was in tears, pleading with her mother to stop making a scene in the Church because of her father's presence. Her child's birthdays are torture for her because she fears how her parents will behave and who they will bring.

In short, beyond robbing their children of a childhood, they continue to torture them, emotionally, with their selfish behavior. They are not, in and of themselves, bad people. They are people who either cannot or will not see beyond their own hurt and anger, such that they are blind to the collateral damage they have caused and continue to cause. They are people who learned to handle conflict in an unhealthy manner, perhaps from their own childhood experiences. This family, or even any one member, would do well to work with a divorce coach, even now that the divorce is long since over. Learning how to disengage from the battle and how to become the safe place for yourself and your children gives an opportunity for healthy growth, regardless of what the other parent is doing. A child can also learn these tools, especially as an adult having lived through the nightmare, that will help model for their own children how to disengage and redirect offensive behavior in a conflict.

I have never met a parent who's goal was to harm his/her children, physically or emotionally. In divorce, taking care of yourself and your children, while battling an offensive and/or attacking spouse is a tremendous challenge: so many hidden traps and pitfalls. Having a guide makes all the difference between a healthy divorce and a destructive one. I am so blessed to be and have qualified guides in my practice for my clients. I am so blessed to have the opportunity and the resources to prevent these types of experiences for future children of divorce.

Ketubah Update

Great minds think a like! In the February 11, 2011 New York Times Samuel G. Freedman did an article about ketubahs (actually the plural in Hebrew is ketubot) on entitled “Christians Embrace a Jewish Wedding Tradition.” For the article see
The article goes on to say that couples are using the ketubah as a way of affirming the Jewish roots of their faith. “Embracing this Jewish tradition just brings a richness that we miss out on sometimes as Christians when we don’t know the history,” said Mrs. Austin. “Jesus was Jewish, and we appreciate his culture, where he came from.” Beyond its specific basis in Judaism, the ketubah represented to the Austins a broader concept of holiness, of consecration. “We wanted a permanent reminder of the covenant we made with God,” Mrs. Austin said. “We see this document superseding the marriage license of a state or a court.”
Non Jewish couples are also using other customs like the huppah or wedding canopy. The article did not say so but I bet couples also have the groom stomp on a glass at the end too with the guests shouting "Mazel Tov!" If the couple gets divorced, will the couples be get a “get” or Jewish divorce too! Only time will tell.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog or Divorce Mediation, or just Mediation by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM (207) 2/19/11

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mediation and the Jump Ball

I was always tall for my age so was encouraged to play basketball. I was awful. Thought too much and did not play automatically. Played Biddy Basketball for the Laurels AC with our orange and black uniforms. I was also the third string center for West Rocks Junior High School team in Norwalk, Connecticut. I was the only player not to score any points. The only basket I made was nullified for a goal tending violation. My ongoing claim to fame was to have been on the same team and Calvin Murphy. He was only 5’ 8” but went on to play for the Houston Rockets and made the Hall of Fame. Ed Mewing was our coach. I continue to follow basketball. As a graduate of the University of Connecticut, I can’t resist watching our Women’s Basketball team. As a resident of Tucson, I follow the University of Arizona’s Women’s Basketball team.

What does
this all have to do with mediation? As I have recently watched the games, I realized that the jump ball or now the opening tip is only used to start a half. When I played basketball and two players both grabbed the ball, there was a jump ball to determine possession.

Now since about 1981, most competitions use the alternating possession rule to settle all jump ball situations after the opening tip. This uses a possession arrow on the scorekeeper's table. Whenever such a jump ball situation occurs, the team whose basket that the possession arrow is currently pointing to gets the ball. The arrow then swaps to point to the other team. At the start of the game, the arrow points to the team that lost the opening tip.
In mediation and in particular divorce mediation, we have to determine possession. Who has possession of the children, the cars, the home, the bank accounts and much more. More often than not and especially in a litigated divorce, the dispute is settled with an approach similar to a jump ball. In mediation we don’t always alternate possession but we often use that or another approach which is less competitive than a jump ball. It not only speeds up the process but seems to work better.

As always,
you can post any comment about this blog or Divorce Mediation, or just Mediation by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM (206) 2/12/11

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Happy Marriage

Enjoyed Tara Parker-Pope’s January 2, 2011 article in the NewYork Times entitled “The Happy Marriage is the ‘Me’ Marriage.”
She says,

“A lasting marriage does not always signal a happy marriage. Plenty of miserable couples have stayed together for children, religion or other practical reasons.
But for many couples, it’s just not enough to stay together. They want a relationship that is meaningful and satisfying. In short, they want a sustainable marriage.
‘The things that make a marriage last have more to do with communication skills, mental health, social support, stress — those are the things that allow it to last or not,” says Arthur Aron, a psychology professor who directs the Interpersonal Relationships Laboratory at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. “But those things don’t necessarily make it meaningful or enjoyable or sustaining to the individual.’
The notion that the best marriages are those that bring satisfaction to the individual may seem counterintuitive. After all, isn’t marriage supposed to be about putting the relationship first? “

This may explain why I see so many couples in mediation who seem to have a happy marriage but are getting divorced.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog or Divorce Mediation, or just Mediation by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at WM (205) 2/5/11

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Divorce is more than just a word

Remember when you were sick as a child and you would go into your parents bedroom knowing your mom would take care of you? Remember that feeling of comfort and love and safeness you felt as your parents would make sure they took care of you, give you the right medication, and tuck you back into bed? A child of divorce doesn’t always feel that sense of comfort. Going into mom’s bedroom in the middle of the night is not the same when there is a stepparent involved. Don’t get me wrong, a stepparent can be the greatest person in the world but it changes the dynamics.

Moments like these are difficult to understand if you aren’t a child of divorce. So for all of you out there dealing with divorce, whether in the courtroom, in your office, or as a friend, remember the children who are the real victims in the divorce. Even today as I sit here as a child of divorce, and a mother who divorced, life isn’t the same and never will be.

When a major life change occurs, why do we assume our children are just going to “be okay”. As professionals, parents, relatives and friends we need to take an active stance in making sure we all try to adjust to this new life change called divorce. It’s amazing how one word can describe a lifetime of change.