Saturday, November 28, 2009

Therapy Brings Happiness

Therapy Brings Happiness

A recent study suggests that a single course of therapy can bring more happiness than winning the lottery or getting a $40,000 pay raise.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Military Divorce Rate On the Rise

According to the Defense Manpower Data Center, the divorce rate for married service members increased by more than 38% from September 2001 to September 2009.

In 2001, the divorce rate for married service members was 2.6%.  By 2008, the military divorce rate had increased to 3.4%.  For 2009, that rate increased to 3.6%.  The rate for military women is an astonishing 7.7%, while the rate for men is 3%.

According to Joe Davis, spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, when a married couple is faced with "eight years of war, preparing for war, being at war, coming home and having to think about going back to war again — and when you have children — it just has a tremendous impact on the family unit."

April Cunningham, a spokeswoman for the department of defense, referred to the increase over last year as "relatively small."  According to my math, the overall rate increased by 6% in a single year.  If you told me my taxes were going up by 6%, I would not consider that increase "relatively small."

Some people criticize that the actual military divorce rate is much higher due to the inaccurate manner in which the defense department counts divorces as the difference each year between the number of married service members.

This would not come as a surprise, since a recent field survey in Iraq showed that nearly 22 percent of young combat soldiers questioned said they planned to get a divorce or separation.  This is a 77% increase over  2003, when 12.4% of young combat soldiers said they planned to get a divorce or separation.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Social Abandonment - He Refuses to Go to My Social Events

Thank God for no-fault divorce states.  New York actually still requires a reason justifying the divorce.  So much for mere "irreconcilable differences."

Apparently, "social abandonment" is not sufficient grounds for terminating the marriage.  When Novel Davis filed for divorce from her husband, Shepherd, she argued that the divorce should be allowed because he abandoned her - socially.    Among other things, Shepherd refused to eat meals with Novel, celebrate holidays together or attend family functions.

It's a shame, but New York law will require Novel to come up with a better reason before granting her divorce.

Jon concedes primary custody to Kate

Okay, so Jon and Kate's divorce will be finalized by the end of the year.

Jon showed up to an all-day Saturday mediation with a dozen roses as a peace-offering.  But, Kate refused to accept them.  So, I likely won't advise my clients to use this approach.  Although, I do encourage everyone to be nice, especially when you want to reach an agreement regarding your divorce rather than financing a messy and painful trial.

I thought it was interesting that Jon conceded primary custody to Kate.  I don't know the details of their time-sharing plan, but it seems that he could take a couple of kids each night.  It could be like a round-robin.  For me, I can handle my two girls nicely.  But, I don't know what I would do with eight little ones running around.

I wonder if the couple is going to follow a nesting concept, where they allow the children to stay in the house and the parents rotate in and out.  I remember a special where both parents said that the house was "for the children," not for them.  Does the same feeling still hold?

The last challenge for the couple is determining a child support number.  In Florida, the statutory chart for child support guidelines only go up to six children.  Eight is literally "off the chart."  Good luck Jon.

Divorce statistics, joint custody, and time-sharing

Professor Anne-Marie Ambert recently published a study that detailed some interesting Canadian divorce statistics.

Canadian divorce rates divorce rates peaked in 1987, went down over time, and are now holding somewhat steady.  First marriages now have a 67% chance of lasting for life.

That is much better than the old adage that "50% of marriages end in divorce."  I have said that to several of my clients.  Canadian divorce attorneys can now say that only 33% of marriages end in divorce.

Professor Ambert also reports that 70% of Canadian divorces are initiated by women.

The report also included some really interesting findings regarding equal time-sharing or "joint custody" between parents.  At present, both parents have substantial time sharing each parent (defined as at least 40% of overnights with the children) in fewer than 10% of cases.  That figure, however, is  rising.

Professor Edward Kruk has opined that 40% time-sharing with a parent is the minimum time necessary for mutual bonding.

The report also includes as finding that only 10% of children live a majority of the with their fathers.