"Using new data from the American Community Survey and controlling for changes in the age composition of the married population, we conclude that there was actually a substantial increase in age-standardized divorce rates between 1990 and 2008. Divorce rates have doubled over the past two decades among persons over age 35." So are the findings from a study done by Sheela Kennedy and Steven Ruggles from the Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota.
The study contradicts findings from the US Census data and other federal sources over the last few decades that concluded divorce rates had peaked in the late 1970s and have been declining.
The good news? "Among the youngest couples, however, divorce rates are stable or declining." In other words, the younger generation is working harder at getting right something us older folks have failed at. They are taking seriously their choice of marital partners and not allowing their heads to be led around by their hearts. Which will result in a decline of gray divorce and a flattening out of divorce rates. Good news for our grandchildren.
If you marry with the expectation that you will live the next 50 years with butterflies in your tummy and knees that go weak every time you see him you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The infatuation you feel when the marriage is new will turn into "real love." If, that is, you are grounded and down-to-earth about your expectations of "love."
Real love is a conscious choice that requires use of the rational part of your brain that understands marriage is about showing up, taking your commitment seriously and being willing to redefine what love is as the years pass.
If your husband cheats and leaves you for another woman, the courts aren't going to hold him responsible. You aren't going to clean his clock financially. You aren't going to be awarded enough alimony to sit back and live off of him the rest of your life. A husband is not a financial plan, he is a husband and when or, if he gets ready for a divorce assets will be split equitably and you will be expected to come up with a new financial plan of your own. A plan that doesn't include his money.
I received an email from a woman over the weekend. She was highly upset because her pro bono attorney had failed to represent her properly, meaning she didn't come away from the divorce with most of his salary and all of their marital assets. Granted she would have been awarded some alimony if she had bothered to show up for the divorce court hearing but, she would have gotten far less than she thought she deserved.
Due to no-fault divorce laws anyone can get a divorce, any time they want a divorce. Due to changes in alimony laws, that is now no longer a sure thing either.
It is for this reason that none of us, a man or woman is safe putting all of our financial eggs in one basket. It is also for this reason that I encourage women not to quite their day job and stay home to raise the children. We no longer live in the 1950s where divorce courts punished spouses for bad behavior. Folks, things have changed and if your marriage ends in divorce, man or woman, you won't be taking your spouse to "the cleaners."
Dividing marital property can be a nightmare and the most litigious aspect of the divorce process. First it has to be decided what is and isn't marital property. Each spouse may have a differing opinion about this. For example, gifts given during the marriage can cause a lot of conflict when dividing property during divorce. He may feel that since he paid for her new car that it is his property. She may feel that since it was a gift it is her property.
None of us go through the process of dividing marital property without learning a few lessons. Do you have a story to share...a lesson you learned that will benefit those who are just beginning the arduous task of dividing marital property
The trauma a child of divorce experiences usually begins long before there is an actual divorce. It will begin with parental disagreements, anger and continue to worsen throughout the divorce process and can often last for many years after the divorce is final. Below are resources you can use to better understand what your child needs from you during your divorce.
For some it can take months, maybe even years to realize that divorce is their only option. Coming to the decision to divorce is not easy; neither is telling your spouse you want a divorce.
You will struggle with what to say and how to say it. You will worry about hurting your spouse and their reaction to the news. If you have children you will be unsure how to break the news to them.
Sharing your decision to divorce is complicated; there is no easy way it can be done. The conversation will hurt you, more importantly it will hurt your spouse. The trick is to avoid making stupid mistakes or allowing your spouse to find out in a more hurtful manner.
There is a right way and a wrong way to tell your spouse you are divorcing them.
I receive heart breaking emails regularly from women whose husbands file for divorce out of the blue. Women who were happy in their marriages and assumed their husbands were also happy. The most devastating thing you can do to a marital relationship is assume there are no problems based on your feelings alone.
It is easy to become complacent or assume that all is well in a marriage when in reality your husband is hiding his true feelings. Before you know it you find yourself in a situation where he has one foot out the door and you are scrambling to fix problems that may not have solutions.
To keep your marriage out of divorce court it is important that you stay aware of not only your feelings about the marriage but your husband's feelings also. Nothing, especially when it comes to marriage should be taken for granted. You should "check in" periodically, take an inventory of sorts just to be sure you and your husband are on the same page.
There are alternatives to using a divorce attorney to obtain a divorce. Whether or not you need such resources will depend on many things related to your situation. If you and your spouse agree on all issues and want to get through the process smoothly and quickly the following resources will be helpful.
If you are divorcing Pro Se because you can't afford an attorney the following resources will definitely be helpful.
Your local court's website:
Most jurisdictions now have information available on their court's website to help Pro Se litigants navigate divorce without an attorney. Call your local court clerk to get information needed to find this resource.
Independent Paralegal Services:
These services, if available in your area will help you fill out legal paperwork associated with your divorce. We all know that you have to "file for divorce" with the court. A paralegal service in your area can prepare your petition for divorce allowing you to file with certainty that no mistakes have been made. They can also help should you need to file motions or request modifications.
Online Divorce Services:
For the fraction of the cost of an attorney an online divorce service can give you legal advice throughout the process. Fill out all paperwork related to your divorce and walk with you through every step of the process. Be sure to do your research though. You want to contract with a service that is licensed to file in your state and has good knowledge of divorce laws in your state.
Local Legal Clinics:
In my area, once a month a group of attorneys hold a "class" for those litigants who wish to divorce but can't afford or don't want to use an attorney. If there are a local clinics or classes in your area you family court clerk will have information to offer.
My ex and I were in and out of family court for years. The last few times I didn't use an attorney, I went Pro Se. I found Google to be a never ending resource when it came to filing motions, petitions and learning my local court's procedures. If you use Google correctly you can find samples of divorce petitions, petitions for contempt and so forth from your local family court. With time, effort and Google you can request a modification in child custody or child support. There is nothing you can't find or learn to do if you are willing to put in the effort.
I can remember thinking and feeling like life would never be "normal" again. My divorce threw my entire world off kilter and it took a couple of years for me to regain my balance. I felt fuzzy in the head and desperately wanted my world to be set right again. Which meant I was fighting the change and increasing my level of fear and anxiety that came along with no longer being married and doing myself no favors.
I had become one and the same with my marriage. There was no individualization, we were, my marriage and I an enmeshed entity. My marriage took care of my physical, social and emotional needs. I had a partner to fall back on if I stumbled. A partner to help me in my parenting duties. And we both made decisions based on what was best for our marriage.
And then that was gone. That sudden shift from married to single is hard to face and even harder to accept as permanent. I became me without him, me without the marriage and I had no idea who ME was outside those two things.
It's tricky and emotionally hazardous to take steps forward when you also have to build a new identity for yourself. It takes patience, time and the willingness to slowly venture out as a newly single individual. Divorce will knock you down but that doesn't mean you have to stay down.
As difficult as it was I can now say that it was a blessing in that I learned valuable lessons about myself, my fortitude and my ability to survive adversity. If you are suffering that same since of disequilibrium and missing your "normal" be patient with yourself. The world stops spinning, you grow accustomed to who you are outside your marriage and you will look back and be grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn the same lessons I did.
I received an email from a 73-year-old woman asking me for advice about her divorce. Her divorce was final nearly 30 years ago. Her husband had cheated and left her for another woman. Thirty years later this woman is still ANGRY and looking for revenge.
An unwanted divorce is never easy. It is especially heartbreaking if you lose a spouse you love to someone else. Bad things can and do happen to good people. Life isn't fair and sometimes the good guy gets the raw end of the deal.
What do you do when that happens? You can stew in it or, you can get over it and move on. The choice is yours to make. Divorce can either be an obstacle that keeps you stuck and stagnating in fear and anger or, it can be an opportunity to see what is waiting on the other side of "plan B."
Divorce is an opportunity for personal growth and improvement. It's an opportunity to do things you've always wanted to do but were held back by the constraints of marriage. How you choose to handle the changes divorce brings about can lay a very strong foundation for a positive and fulfilling future.
Don't allow divorce to cause you to become someone that will one day look back and regret the time lost and life wasted.