The instability and uncertainty of a divorce can hamper a toddler’s need for routine. When parents separate, new rituals and routines need to be created to foster a child’s sense of security and family.
Anyone who has had children will remember the terrible twos: the domineering behavior, inflexibility, stubbornness, extreme emotions, indecision, and the need for things to be done just in a certain way. Characteristic behavior of toddlers is well described by the authors of the classic child development study Child Behavior: The Classic Child Care Manual from the Gessel Institute of Human Development. A child at two and a half years old gives orders and wants exactly what they want when they want it. If a toddler decides "Mommy do it" they will not accept Daddy as a substitute. If they decide "me do it" then no-one is allowed to help them no matter how difficult the task. In Child Behavior the authors describe this phase as one of "disequilibrium" where toddlers find it very difficult to adapt to change, and crave structured domestic routines. These rituals make toddlers feel safe and secure. The rigid sequences of events and rituals can be as elaborate and impenetrable as a Japanese tea ceremony.
It is important in the context of divorce that a very young child’s inclination toward ritual and routine should not automatically be misinterpreted as a preference for one parent over another. In fact, divorce is an opportunity for both parents to help the toddler to create new rituals and routines to ease transitions and give the toddler a sense of comfort and stability.
Crankiness, irritability, defiance, signs of regression, clinginess toward one parent, and physical resistance to the other parent are common patterns displayed by toddlers when parents separate. In their book, In The Name of The Child, Janet Johnston and Vivienne Roseby describe how parents can develop collaborative strategies to ease transitions between parent's households using rituals and routines. (read more)
For more information on child custody please call Law Offices of Warren R. Shiell - Certified Family Law Specialist at (310)247-9913 or visit our website LA Family Law or visit our FAQs on Child Custody
MIAMI — In the waning days of this year’s legislative session, Florida lawmakers and advocacy groups are pushing to overhaul the state’s alimony law in a bid to better reflect today’s marriages and make the system less burdensome for the alimony payer.
Florida joins a grass-roots movement in a growing number of states that seeks to rewrite alimony laws by curbing lifelong alimony and alleviating the financial distress that some payers — still mostly men — say they face. The activists say the laws in several states, including Florida, unfairly favor women and do not take into account the fact that a majority of women work and nearly a third have college degrees.
Last weekend, I finally embarked on the monumental task of cleaning out the garage, one of the many pending "requests" from my beloved a.k.a my weekend shift manager. To be fair, it was a reasonable request and it was long overdue. After a couple of hours, while I was on a break, I came across the following article from the Wall Street Journal with the title, "Meet the Marriage Killer" by Elizabeth Bernstein." The piece was about how nagging by wives was as potent a cause of divorce as adultery. It defined nagging as the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request and the other person repeatedly ignores it and both become increasingly annoyed. Some people I know, might characterize this as the definition of marriage? At first blush, it sounded like something you might read in the Onion. The article went on to say, "Nagging can become a prime contributor to divorce when couples start fighting about the nagging rather than talking about the issue at the root of the nagging, says Howard Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Denver and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies." The same expert also published research in the Journal of Family Psychology indicating "that couples who became unhappy five years into their marriage had a roughly 20% increase in negative communication patterns consistent with nagging." Oh really, Dr. Markmam. Finally, the article suggested various ways to curb the nagging problem and gave the example of one wife whose solution was to write her requests on post it notes with a smiley face. Based on my experience with my college room mate I can attest to the fact that this is not a solution.
As an experienced divorce attorney in Beverly Hills, I decided I needed to know more about the nagging and its relationship to divorce. That's a lie. I was procrastinating. I was not ready to go back to cleaning the garage. I decided to do some google "pseudo" research.
I first turned to the Onion to find out whether "nagging" was, in fact, listed as a prime contributor to divorce. Apparently not. The Onion cited a study which found that 31% of those divorcing said they wanted to resume having sex.
More google "pseudo" research" led me to an editorial in a 1899 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association with the title "Nagging Wives and Nervous Husband's" which briefly considered the effects of nagging on the nervous disposition of husbands. In Shakespeare's time, it apparently led to nervous prostration and even insanity. The editor defined modern nagging as "an expression of an ill regulated and ill balanced nervous system which led to motor restlessness and egotistical inability to see the rights of others." I wondered whether this editor's marriage had made it to the end of the century.
Next, I searched "history of nagging" and came across some more highly polemic material. A web site called a "Brief History of Struggle" had a rather original page called a "Brief History of Nagging," which attributed nagging to the utter powerless of married women in patriarchical societies starting with Socrates whose wife was such a nag that he was forced to take up philosophy in the city squares and gymnasia of ancient Greece.
Another web site had a rather more sinister take on nagging. It reviewed the "Scold's Bridle," a book by Jenny Paul, which set out to dispel the myth that nagging wives or "scolds," as they were called in the middle ages, were forced to wear a bridle to shut them up. The author found that the historical record did not support such a punishment. The bridle, often with spikes, was usually reserved for witches. Punishment for scolds was only a "ducking stool." Well there's a relief.
Anyway, it was time to get back to work, so I searched to see what the Bard, always good for a quote, had to say about nagging. There was nothing even from Taming of the Shrew, the greatest work ever written about a nagging wife. Instead, I found this gem with the title," Nagging wife, sausage help man win $4.2M lottery" It claimed that a wife in New Zealand nagged her husband to buy a lottery ticket which he finally did with minutes to spare before the ticket sales closed on Saturday night. "My wife had been nagging me all week to get a ticket, so I when saw the Lotto sign ... I sprinted in to get the ticket before they closed," said the man. The couple who live in Auckland had fallen on hard times. The husband discovered that he had won $4.2 million when he went out to buy a barbecued sausage at his wife's "request." The man said he didn't have enough money to buy his wife the sausage. So he decided to check his Saturday lottery ticket in case he'd won a small prize. "I could not believe it when they said I was actually the big winner," he said. Note how the wife now requests the sausage after he's won the lottery.
It was time to go back to the garage. What had I learned? Was nagging a medical condition or the inevitable consequence of the gender struggle in a patriarchical society? Was it inherently a subjective term that said as much about the lack of responsiveness of the "naggee" as it did about the persistence of the "naggor." Did it invariably lead to a nervous disposition, divorce or other cruel and inhuman punishments. And what was the solution? Would we have to change the power structure of society or could it be banished with post it notes plastered around the kitchen?
I preferred to look at the positive. Sometimes it just gets things done. We got western philosophy, a couple in New Zealand won the lottery and we finally cleaned out all the crap from the garage.
DECATUR, IL, THE YEAR 2083—According to students in Mr. Bernard's fourth-period U.S. history class, it's "really pathetic" how long it took for early-21st-century Americans to finally legalize gay marriage.
The class of 2086 said it was "laughable" that people against gay marriage were given a legitimate political voice in the early 21st century. The classroom of 15-year-olds at MacArthur High School—all of whom were born in the late 2060s and grew up never questioning the obvious fact that homosexual couples deserve the right to get married—were reportedly "amazed" to learn in their Modern U.S. History: 2081 Edition textbooks that as late as the 2020s, gays and lesbians actually had to fight for the constitutional right to wed.
Valentine's Day is upon us. Some of us will receive flowers, others jewelry and others may receive more expensive gifts such as a new car. Wouldn't that be nice? You would think that a gift is a gift but in California that is not always the case. As a divorce lawyer in California, I hate to rain on your parade but if you receive a diamond necklace from your husband as a gift, the law may not treat it as a gift if you ever get divorced.
This is very common where a divorce turns nasty. Suddenly the gift giver and their lawyer decide that all the gifts of jewelry etc. during the marriage were not gifts at all but property of the marriage.
The reason for this is that in a community property state like California there is a presumption that all property acquired during marriage is community property and must be divided equally in the event of a divorce. Certain types of gift are an exception to this rule but the exception is narrowly defined.
In California, gifts of jewelry and other items of a personal nature are separate property if they are not substantial in nature taking into consideration the circumstances of the marriage. In other words, a $10,000 diamond ring from a millionaire is probably a gift of separate property. The same diamond ring from a spouse making an average income with no other valuable assets in the marriage is probably not. In one California divorce case, In re Marriage of Buie & Neighbors, the court found that a gift of a Porsche was not an article of a personal nature as contemplated by the law.
Another exception if where there is something in writing indicating that a gift was intended. In California, a gift is separate property if there is a writing which expressly declares that giver intends the nature of the property to be changed from separate to community property. The legal term for such a declaration is a "transmutation." It is difficult to say whether your typical gift card would meet this standard. A hopelessly unromantic divorce lawyer receiving such a gift would therefore ask their spouse to append a declaration of transmutation under the declaration of love at the bottom of the card, "Please honey, just underneath where you say, "I love you, xxxx" do you mind writing “I give to you all and any interest I have in this diamond ring.”"
The Globe And Mail reported a bizarre story about an ex-wife in Indiana who created a fake facebook profile to spy on her ex-husband. Through this fake profile she soon became his on-line confidante, and he slowly revealed to this "confidante" a plan to kill this ex-wife. The ex-wife quickly reported him to the authorities. However, in a surprising twist, all of the charges were dropped once the ex-husband proved that he had made the whole scheme up, knowing that his ex-wife was still tampering with his life. Read the article here.
If you thought the fight over same-sex marriage has been tumultuous, just wait for the era of same-sex divorce. With New York State’s new law allowing same-sex marriage, not just for residents but for out-of-staters as well, a bumper crop of weddings is sure to follow — and, eventually and inevitably, a sizable number of divorces.
But Americans are a roving sort, and people who marry and move to places hostile to their union could find, in disunion, a legal limbo. A couple who marry in New York and seek a divorce in Texas could find themselves fighting not just each other but also Texas’ attorney general, Greg Abbott. He has tried to intervene in two same-sex divorces, arguing that if the state does not recognize the marriage it won’t recognize the divorce, either.
If blocked in Texas, the unhappy couple can’t head back to New York for a quick split either. New York’s same-sex marriage law does not require residency to wed, but the state does require residency of at least 90 days to obtain a divorce. A stay like that is out of the question for most people.
“Where can you get a divorce?” asked Tobias Barrington Wolff, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. “The answer might be nowhere, perversely.” Read the rest of the article.
Failing to give marriage top priority over job-related stress is a major cause of divorce. Money problems, longer work hours, and unemployment or other work setbacks can lead to spouses making less time for one another and feelings of resentment or dissatisfaction. A recent article in the Chicago Tribune suggests some ways to avoid common work-related problems that can breakdown a marriage:
Communicate dissatisfaction in a way that's not judgmental.
Remember that everyone is vulnerable to job or financial loss. Going into marriage with lifelong expectations of lifestyle or job security is unrealistic.
Divide the workload at home. Working as a team strengthens marriage.
Both partners have to be committed to encouraging sex and accepting sexual advances.
Try to compartmentalize. Once you leave work, leave the work stress behind.
The New York State Court of Appeals has ruled that a woman can keep over $7.6 million in proceeds from her divorce settlement, even though they were ill-gotten gains of a Ponzi scheme perpetrated by her ex-husband. In February 2009, federal authorities arrested Stephen Walsh, a former executive at WG Trading, a commodities firm, for defrauding investors of more than $550 million. Janet Schaberg divorced Mr. Walsh in 2007 after 25 years of marriage. The federal government has not accused Ms. Schaberg of having any knowledge or participation in her former husband’s 13 year long Ponzi scheme. Nevertheless, the Securities Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission attempted to seize Ms. Schaberg’s millions of dollars of stolen money in order to return it to the victims of the Ponzi scheme. The federal appeals court asked New York State’s highest court for guidance on the divorce issues. Judge Victoria A. Graffeo, writing for the New York Court of Appeals, ruled for Ms. Schaberg. Judge Graffeo based her ruling on upholding the finality of business transactions and maintaining the reasonable expectation that ex-spouses are free to move on with their lives after divorce settlements have been reached. Read the New York Times article here.
Do housing prices make it more likely that a couple will divorce? Maybe. According to an interesting new study published in the American Economic Review, it depends on whether you own your home. The study found that when house prices decline, people who own their homes are less likely to get divorced, whereas people who rent are more likely to get divorced. The researchers used educational status as a proxy for homeowners and renters because college graduates are more likely to be homeowners than high school drop outs. The study predicted that a 10% drop in house prices would lead to a 20% increase in divorce rates amongst renters, but a 29% reduction amongst homeowners. The likely explanation is that declining house prices tend to trap an unhappy couple in their homes. On the other hand, couples who are renters are more likely to find two affordable apartments if they divorce. This study corroborates similar findings in the United Kingdom. If the findings in this study are true, it may have interesting consequences for public policy. Policies to speed up the foreclosure process and restore liquidity in the housing market may actually increase the divorce rates.
NEW YORK, June 2, 2011 (NYDN) – According to a Divorce Online study, the number of couples filing for divorce increased from last year by 10 percent. Managing director of Divorce Online Mark Keenan explains that to obtain a successful divorce petition, a couple must provide at least three reasons for the split.
The firm’s press release offers insight into how online gaming addiction impacts the deterioration of a marriage saying, “The increase could be a consequence of people staying indoors more because of the recession.” As a result of unemployment and/or restraints on budgets, spouses choose video games as a pastime.
The press release also offers another explanation as to why 5 percent of their clients blame online gaming as a reason for their divorce. “As a means of escape from an already unhappy relationship,” people may turn to online video games instead of spending time with their spouse. Read the rest of the article here.
Patricia Kluge, a 62-year-old socialite, winemaker and one-time adult film actress, reported debts with her third husband of about £30 million, despite selling her 300-acre estate in Virginia.
She admitted defeat after a £10 million fire-sale last year of paintings, Roman statues, Qing dynasty antiques, a Chippendale commode, a four-poster bed from Hedingham Castle and a George III crystal chandelier.
Liquidating jewellery including 64 carats worth of diamonds, platinum and diamond earrings, and a sapphire-and-diamond Cartier watch, also failed to keep her afloat.
Asked last night where all her money had gone, Miss Kluge would only say: "That's a very long story". Her husband, Bill Moses, has said: "We spent too much, too fast." Read the rest of the article here.
Fox Business has an article about seven common money mistakes made after divorce:
Breaking up is not only hard to do, it can be brutal on your finances.
Legal fees and creating two households from one are just the initial costs of separation. And while some expenditures are necessary, others can be emotionally charged and careless and can lead to serious debt.
We have previosly written about how people end their divorces. Here is another article from the New York Times on what one high profile couple did. Read article CHARLES Bronfman and his wife, Bonnie, are inviting 100 of their friends to an elegant evening of cocktails for what they hope will be a once-in-a-lifetime event.Image
After 33 years of marriage, Steven Simkin and Laura Blank divorced in 2006. They agreed to split their considerable wealth equally. She got the apartment on the Upper East Side; he got the house in Scarsdale, N.Y.
Afterward, they spoke infrequently, mostly concerning their two grown sons.
More than two years later, Ms. Blank received a voicemail message that stunned her: Mr. Simkin wanted to revise their settlement. She refused, and he sued.
While divorce agreements are generally ironclad and rarely rescinded, this challenge has now reached New York’s highest court. Deeply divided appellate justices requested what is considered an unusual review of settled law involving contracts.
What made Mr. Simkin’s call for a do-over even remotely possible has its roots in Bernard L. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.
When the couple split their assets evenly, the largest chunk of money was invested with Mr. Madoff. Mr. Simkin kept much of his funds in the Madoff account, which was held in his name. Ms. Blank, who said she had no interest in investing with Mr. Madoff, received her settlement proceeds in cash. Read the article.
Guardian.co.uk reports - Last week the government's independent Justice Review Panel published its interim report on the family justice system in England and Wales.
It is a welcome and broad review of a system that is, as noted by the panel's chair, David Norgrove, under serious strain. Too many cases involving separating families take too long to resolve, with children sometimes waiting more than a year for their futures to be determined. The panel has rightly pointed out that lengthy, complicated legal processes are emotionally and financially draining for parents and distressing for children.
Its recommendations, now out for consultation, are thoughtful and intelligent. They include a positive emphasis on encouraging separating couples to consider non-court dispute resolution services, and on assessing whether they need parenting information.
So far, so good. But the government, apparently too impatient to wait for anything as slow as a fully consulted, well-considered and balanced review – even one commissioned by itself – introduced new rules on mediation for separating couples on Wednesday.
Under the changes, first announced by the justice minister Jonathan Djanogly in February, couples wishing to go to court should now first attend a meeting with a mediator who will assess whether their case is suitable for mediation. Read the article.
You receive the divorce Judgment in the mail. You property and finances have been divided but you still feel a lack of finality. The problem is that lives cannot be divided like property. Children cannot be divided. Your feelings and memories cannot be divided. It takes time to feel whole again and you ask yourself, "how am I going to move on from here?"
One place to start is to examine what we usually do to mark life changing events. We usually ease the anxiety and trauma of life changing transitions by the observing some kind of ritual. Joseph Campbell explains that the function of ritual is to give order to human life at the deepest levels. Ritual is a way that people individually, or through institutions, such as religion transition from one state of life or being to another. Most rituals involve an element of gain and loss. The most important events in our lives are marked by rituals: birth, childhood to adulthood, marriage and death. We even have housewarming parties to celebrate a new residence.
Most people begin their marriages with an elaborate and well orchestrated ritual that both symbolizes and makes concrete their union. The marriage ceremony is one of the most well known examples of ritualizing a transcendent moment in life. One could argue that divorce is no less a transcendent moment. The ubiquity of divorce is a relatively recent phenomenon in our society, but for the most part we have not developed any meaningful rituals to mark divorce.
Some older cultures and religions do understand the deeper meaning of divorce and have created rituals. The Jewish religion has a well defined ritual for divorce which involves the writing, witnessing, and delivery of the get before three rabbis. In his book, Divorce Is a Mitzvah, Rabbi Perry Netter describes the process. The get is a Jewish bill of divorcement that terminates a marriage. The get has exact format requirements- twelve lines of the same length, justified on both the right and left margins, on a paper that is longer than its width and has margins on all four sides. The text of the get contains the Hebrew date, place, name of each party, the formula for separation and divorce, and signatures of two witnesses. The ritual itself takes place in front of three rabbis, and involves the writing of the get, the delivery of the get from the husband to the wife’s hands, the husband’s recitation of a formula of release, and the wife taking four steps away from her husband. The Jewish ritual is based on the idea that an instrument is necessary to achieve psychological closure from a relationship, and that closure must be accomplished in the presence of God. It is a ritual of termination no less sacred than that of a wedding or funeral. The ritual is described by Rabbi Netter as “giving a voice to the pain of radical disappointment, the feelings of failure, the moment of separation between the couple, the death of the marriage, and the need for closure.”
In modern society, it usually falls to individuals to create their own rituals. Many people have their wedding and engagement rings re-designed as a symbol of being un-married.
Creating some kind of ritual that symbolizes the ending of the divorce is, however, only the beginning of the healing process. After a divorce you will need time to heal the emotional, psychological, spiritual scars left by the divorce. Therapists, friends and family can help you through the process. Therapists suggest a number of ways of seeking closure after your divorce:
1. Take practical steps to establish your independence, e.g. update your mailing address, revert back to your maiden name, re-decorate your house.
2. Spend time and share you feelings with close friends and family.
3. Join a divorce support group in person or on the Internet.
4. Develop new hobbies and interests, or rekindle old ones.
6. Eat well and nutritiously.
7. Look at the positive aspects of your experience.
Take a look at this New York Times article about the role of marriages in the upcoming 2012 elections-
Cheri Daniels, whose aversion to politics appears to be the reason her husband, Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, is dithering about running for president, had no shortage of stories during her much-hyped speech in Indianapolis last week. There was the one about her driving a dump truck, the one about how she attended a senior citizen’s prom, about how she took a prize for cow milking at the state fair.
But the story Mrs. Daniels did not share is the one that politicos and pundits are dying to hear: the one about how she married her husband — twice.
Mrs. Daniels is the subject of intrigue over an episode nearly two decades old: In 1993, she left her husband and four daughters and moved to California to marry another man — only to remarry Mr. Daniels in 1997. And so she is the latest example of a political wife dealing with delicate marital matters, and whether it is possible to keep them private.
Her story is already being twinned with that of Callista Gingrich, third wife of Newt Gingrich, whose admissions of infidelity are well-known. And if either woman needs a kindred soul, she might look to Maria Shriver, California’s former first lady. Last week, four months after her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, left office, the couple announced they were separating — a move perhaps unthinkable had he still been governor.
Conventional political wisdom dictates that politicians do not win or lose elections because of their spouses. But political couples with iffy marital histories face especially difficult questions: How much do they have to reveal to voters? And how much, in the end, do voters really want to know? See the article.