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A divorce can be accomplished in a number of different ways.  There is the process of mediation which lets the couple work with an unbiased third party who elicits an agreeable solution.  There is also a collaborative divorce option, which allows each party to employ a lawyer who assists in negotiating a final divorce agreement.

These amicable processes can offer a lot of benefits that are not available to those who resort to litigation.  The most practical benefits are the money and time that can be saved by avoiding the courtroom.  The paperwork and meetings and other processes can be shortened and scheduled to fit each spouse’s schedules.  It also protects children from being forced to see their parents fight.  Instead of fighting, the spouses can come together to make a workable and enforceable solution to difficult topics like custody, spousal support, and the division of property.

The other option for creating a divorce agreement is by litigating or carrying out a lawsuit.  One spouse will file a petition for divorce which might not be the wish of the other spouse.  As such, it is more of an adversarial process that can be more stressful and costly.  Yet, divorce cases that begin in litigation are commonly settled out of court.  Even given the many benefits of amicable processes, there are scenarios were it is more appropriate to litigate.

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Posted on in Divorce

If you feel as if you are in a bad marriage and cannot seem to escape, you are not the only one. According to a new study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and as reported by the Huffington Post, "the fear of being single may drive adults to stay in bad relationships or settle for less-than-desirable partners, all because they’d rather have someone than no one." The fear of being alone trumps the need for divorce for these people, and is more a factor in their reluctance to pull the trigger on divorce than morality or societal pressure.

Researchers that contributed to the study first had to determine that fear of loneliness was a commonly shared attribute. "Of the 153 participants in one study, 40 percent said they feared not having a long term companion," reports the Huffington Post. Significantly fewer respondents broke down this fear of being alone into more specific fears—just less than 20 percent reported a fear of spinsterhood, for example. Those who fear being alone, the researchers concluded, very often "prioritize relationship status above relationship quality, settling for less responsive and less attractive partners and remaining in relationships that are less satisfying," according to the Huffington Post.

While it may seem a wise decision to avoid divorce if you are afraid of being alone, according to Psychology Today, staying in a bad marriage can be just as psychologically damaging. "Divorce, although tumultuous and potentially scarring, at least provides the possibility of better days," reports Psychology Today. Addressing your fears of being alone is the first step toward reconciling the marriage. Once you’ve addressed these fears, you can decide whether it’s worth it to you to work on the marriage or begin divorce proceedings. "If we can work through the fears around separation," reports Psychology Today, "then we are electing to stay in the marriage not from fear but from choice."

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Posted on in Divorce

Infidelity doesn’t only pertain to an act of physical cheating. Emotional affairs have long been a major factor in divorce rates across the country, in which one or both partners embark on an intimate relationship with a person of the opposite sex outside of the marriage, but in which no actual physical infidelity occurs. According to InfidelityFacts.com, 41 percent of people in American marriages admit to having either a physical or emotional affair. Considering that statistics citing physical infidelity are much lower, one can conclude that emotional or non-physical affairs are a component of thousands of American marriages.

According to US News and World Report, however, there’s another type of infidelity: financial infidelity. One of the most important foundations in a marriage, according to US News and World Report, is trust. A significant amount of trust needs to come from both sides in a marriage, especially when it comes to shared finances. Marriages are built around shared goals, and usually married couples have jointly made budgetary decisions. "When you discover that your partner has been making financial moves that undermine that hard work and those goals," reports the US News and World Report, "it can be an incredibly bitter pill to swallow."Financial Infidelity Can Lead To Divorce

Financial infidelity can refer to a number of offenses: that one partner is making financial moves of which the other is unaware; that one partner is far outspending the other on personal items such as clothing or recreation; that one partner is not keeping up his or her end of the budgeting bargain, such as a failure to pay bills on time.

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Posted on in Divorce

joint custodyIllinois law directly acknowledges that neither separation nor divorce should affect either party’s parental rights or responsibilities, unless the court finds a good reason to do so.  However, the top priority for family courts in this state is to ensure that custody arrangements are in the best interest of the child or children involved.  In determining the best interest of the child, courts look to many different factors, such as:

  • The wishes of the parents;

  • The wishes of the child;

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Everyone had a different experience growing up.  Whether you had one parent, two parents, or another legal guardian, your childhood was unique.  Recently, there has been a rise in a new kind of family unit, one where grandparents are the primary caregivers of their grandkids.

A new research study by US2010, a project that is reviewing changes in American society, uncovered this news.  The ongoing research is managed by sociologist John Logan and funded by Brown University and the Russell Sage Foundation.  Their data showed that over 7.5 million children in the United States lived with their grandparents in 2011.  That averages to one in every ten children across our nation.

The factors that have lead to this increase over the last 25 years are vast.  AARP expert on multi generational and family issues, Amy Goyer, cited the recession as the primary cause.  It is mutually beneficial for many generations to share housing costs and other expenses.  Grandparents are cheap and easy babysitters that can allow parents to work longer hours and keep a better portion of their paychecks.  There are other contributing factors such as:

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People often consider pets to be family members.  That deep affection means that cats and dogs can be sore subjects during divorce cases.  Who should have custody of the family pet when they family has split?  The fact is that legally, pets are often looked at as property when dividing assets during a divorce.  There are certain facts that can be influence the decision of where Fido ends up.

The owner of the pet is often given precedence in any pet custody case.  It is similar to the determination of separate property or marital property.   If the pet was purchased before the marriage, then it may be considered a separate asset not subject to division.  But the initial purchase won’t be the only way to pay for a pet; there are also considerations about who pays for the pet&s food and medical expenses.

The other way that custody is decided is based on who provides care for the animal, much like when determining child custody.  That could mean that the person who takes the animal to the vet or the person who takes the animal for walks can have an easier time claiming pet custody.  Another way to show who the primary caregiver of a pet is who cares for the animal during the split.

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It is often thought if a marriage lasts ten years or longer, the likelihood of divorce is less. However, according to a report in the Huffington Post, a few factors can challenge marriages that have lasted decades.

 Nothing in Common

After the children have left home for college, many couples feel that they don’t have much in common anymore. The marriage is now less about parenting and more about being friends and companions. This is where the true connection between the couple is bared and unfortunately, sometimes there is not enough there to keep both spouses in the relationship.

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As prenuptial agreements become more and more popular, many married people may be thinking that they wish they could have a prenup. But it’s not too late; a prenuptial agreement created after a couple is married is called a postnuptial agreement, but is, essentially, the same as a prenup.

People who choose to enter into a postnuptial or postmarital agreement do so for many reasons. One reason is if one spouse creates a business, the business partners may ask the spouse to sign and agree not to make a claim on the business should the other pass away or if they become separated. This will prevent a fight over the company from occurring if the couple divorces, and prevent a fight between the business partners and spouse if the spouse who took part in the business passes away.

Spouses may also choose to sign a postnuptial agreement if they have separate properties, which they use to buy a joint property. The agreement will ensure that the spouse with the separate property will still get the same benefits that he or she would have if the properties had stayed separate rather than purchasing joint property.

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Posted on in Divorce

The happiness of any marriage is dependent on both spouses becoming a team against all obstacles and supporting each other through difficult times.  But it also might be deeper than that.  Marital satisfaction might be set in your DNA based upon a new study published on October seventh of this year.

Divorceis very likely; the CDC has said that half of all marriages end in divorce.  One of authors of the study offered their reason for initiating the study about why divorce is so common. UC Berkeley psychologistRobert W. Levensonstated in a press release that "an enduring mystery is, what makes one spouse so attuned to the emotional climate of the marriage, and another so oblivious."  The hope is that this study will start to uncover the reasons.

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There are many kinds of abusive relationships.  The most obvious type of domestic abuse is violent behavior like hitting, kicking and yelling.  But there are other ways that a spouse’s behavior can be covertly abusive.  Passive aggressive spouses can be just as disruptive to a marriage as outwardly abusive spouses.

Passive aggressive behavior is used to avoid conflicts, suppress feelings of anger or try to control a situation.  It is covert because it can mask emotions and feelings to a point that the person’s behavior may seem nice at times.

Since passive aggressive behavior can be hidden, it is helpful to know what the typical traits are of a passive aggressive person.  Identifying the behavior is the first step to stopping the destructive cycle of hurtful actions and words.

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Posted on in Divorce

Being divorced is a difficult transition.  It is hard to move on from the life you used to know.  But there must have been some reasons that your relationship with your spouse did not work.  And now that you are single again, there are things you can change the next time around.  And if you are a parent, there is even less opportunity to mess around and take this next step lightly.

The first consideration is to make sure that you know why you’re dating in the first place.  Having a clear purpose in your new life will help you stay on track and eliminate distractions.

But always keep in mind that you are dating again to have fun.  This is not a search for lost keys, so do not make it a job.  It should be a hobby that should be spontaneous and enjoyable.  Hobbies like learning a new language, trying new sports, and other exciting activities will put you in front of new people and new connections.

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Posted on in Divorce

Many children are being raised in single parent homes today. Sometimes it cannot be helped because parents are in the military or they are deceased, but other times it is because the mother simply does not know who the father is. Sometimes, it is a sore subject in divorce when the woman becomes pregnant at the end of the marriage or in the divorce process because there is no longer a guarantee that the husband is the father.

LucyPaternity testing is easier than ever, now, and should be done at the very least so that every child has two parents on his or her birth certificate.

Here are some frequently asked questions about paternity testing from the American Pregnancy Association:

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Posted on in Divorce

The impacts of going through a divorce can have tremendous mental and physical impacts on all of the people involved. A recent study by researchers in Finland has found that the use of antidepressants increases right before a divorce. The study explored both males and females who ended up divorced, and they found that the use of anxiety pills, antidepressants, and other psychotropic drugs would "peak" several months before the actual divorce date.

LauraFour years prior to the date of the divorce was the typical start date for increased use of medication to help cope with marital problems and other issues. The use of these drugs also tended to decrease after the divorce had been finalized. In an attempt to manage increased levels of stress leading up to a divorce, it’s not surprising that individuals would reach out for medical assistance when the symptoms of anxiety or depression became overwhelming.

The researchers determined that people are nearly twice as likely to be on some form of these medication right before a divorce when compared with those individuals not facing divorce. Well-being and the impacts of divorce have been explored in numerous academic and research studies in order to better understand how people are preparing for and coping with the effects of divorce. This study would indicate that the problems associated with depression and anxiety reach a "fever pitch" point several months before a divorce is finalized.

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Posted on in Divorce

The Huffington Post recently wrote about a new concept in family law that was actually developed by a real estate attorney as an alternative to marriage. Instead of "entering into wedlock", Paul Rampell says couples should enter in a "wedlease".

Kerry wedleaseRampell says part of the problem with the institute of marriage is that legal structure of marriage has not adapted or expanded as society has changed. There has been no improvement to that legal structure.

Citing marriage as a "legal partnership that lasts a lifetime", Rampell says that lifetime partnership is reason for the high rate of divorce, "People, circumstances and all sorts of other things change. The compatibility of any two people over decades may decline with these changes to the point of extinction," he says.

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If you ask your divorced friends what led to their divorce, most of them will tell you that they stopped talking to each other. According to a report in Psychology Today, the most common predictor of divorce is the lack of communication, which leads to hostility in the relationship.

THeresa You, You, You

When the going gets tough, most people have a hard time taking responsibility for their part of the problem. No one wants to admit that he or she has done something wrong. This is where the blame game begins. With that blame comes judgmental statements such as:

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Posted on in Divorce

TheresaDivorce is not a pleasant experience. It is full of emotions, even if it&s amicable. While there is not a divorce rule book that dictates what each party can and can&t do, there are a few things, according to Psychology Today, that you should and should not do while going through a divorce where children are involved.

Don’t Make your Child Choose

Your child will be traumatized enough, knowing that their parents are not going to be together anymore. They will internalize their feelings and some children may go so far as to blame themselves for the break up of the family. The worst thing that you can do is make the child feel as if they need to choose sides between the mother and father.

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Posted on in Children

There’s been quite a bit of buzz in the news lately about the aging population. In fact, it could be argued that the Baby Boomers haven’t made the news in quite this way since their teenage years—and the influx of trend stories does not seem to be slowing any time soon. According to Time magazine, citing statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "in 2010 the average life expectancy rose from 78.6 years in 2009 to 78.7 in 2010." But it’s not just that people are living longer—the real boon is that people are staying healthy longer, meaning that the final years of the average American’s life are not spent tied to a hospital bed in pain. David Cutler, the Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics at Harvard told Time that "where we used to see people who are very, very sick for the final six or seven years of their life, that’s now far less common. People are living to older ages and we are adding healthy years, not debilitated ones."  

There’s a lot people can do with the extra time on Earth, and one of them, interestingly enough, is to adopt. According to the Huffington Post, a significant number of Americans are "bucking the idea" that being 50 or 60 is too old to be a parent. Adam Perman, author of "Adoption Nation" told the Huffington Post that the "boomers’ embrace of adoption [is] ‘a trend that’s clearly happening,’ although he does not know of any group tracking the ages of adoptive parents." While there’s not yet research that has polled Boomer adoptions, Pertman believes that a significant contributing reason for this is that "the world has changed, but our biology hasn’t." Women are living well into their 80s, he said. "They can have a child when they are 50 and still live to see their grandkids."

And this could be good news for children who need adopting. Older parents, with more money, and, presumably, patience, "are very often happy—actually seek out—the adoption of an older child. This serves all parties and society," Pertman told the Huffington Post.

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Children of divorced parents clearly have more hurdles than those from families whose parents are together. Aside from the winter holiday season, at no time in the year is this more obvious than during the summer. Children whose parents have split are often shuttled back and forth between the parents’ houses, oftentimes over state lines, a trip that can feature solo plane rides or long drives. Psychologist Brian Rooney told the Chicago Tribune that trouble in this scenario can arise for children of divorce because of their expectations. "They can range from realistic ones like, ‘Gee, I can’t wait to get away to Dad/Mom’s house, we’re going to do all kinds of stuff,’ to a feeling of being sent away to serve time." Rooney says it’s important for both parents to address these expectations and consider them when making summer plans with and for children of divorce.

In order to manage these expectations and subsequent emotions, the most important thing to do is to plan ahead, keep promises, and not to overblow or underemphasize the importance of the time apart. According to divorceandchildren.com, talking to your kids—especially if you’re the non-custodial parent who’s spending a significantly increased amount of time with your kids over the summer—is a good first step. If you make plans with them to go on vacation, or even just to the museum for the afternoon, it’s crucial to follow through. "Children need to be able to count on your word," reminds divorceandchildren.com.

Another great piece of advice for the non-custodial (but summer-sharing) parent to keep in mind is to not overdo it. "Sometimes parents may feel guilty about not having enough time with their children. When this happens, they may fall into the trap of trying to pack every moment of their time together with fun-filled, exciting activities," reports divorceandchildren.com. When this happens, the child can actually feel overwhelmed and run-around. The most important thing a child needs is quality one-on-one time with the parent. The time doesn’t have to be filled with activity to make it count.

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KerryFor couples who make the decision to live together and not legally wed, the end of the relationship can be costly, whether the relationship ends because they decide not to live together or because one person dies. The state of Illinois does not recognize common-law marriage, leaving both parties unprotected.

There is no property division for separately owned property and no palimony. If one of the couple becomes a stay-at-home parent to care for children of the relationship, there is no law defining loss earning capacity. If one person becomes sick and is hospitalized, their partner has no legal say in their care. And there is no right to inherit the estate if one person dies.

Unless a couple is married or has entered into a civil partnership, the law does not recognize the living-together relationship. That’s why it’s important for unmarried couples to work with an attorney to prepare documents which will protect both parties. A cohabitation agreement should have the following:

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A three year-old girl is the focus of an international child custody battle that has landed in the courtroom of a federal judge, who issued a ruling based on treaty that was signed by the United States and Sweden, where the child’s father is a resident.

According to the Des Moines County Register, both parents had joint custody of the child in Sweden. The mother brought the child to the U.S. in May of 2012 in an agreed upon 90 day visit to see her mother in Iowa.  When she failed to return to Sweden with the little girl, the father filed a motion with the Iowa courts.

Kerry

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