Family Law Blog

Facebook Misbehavior Can Complicate Your Divorce, Child Custody Case

Friday, October 18, 2013
Facebook is frequently being cited as a factor in divorce and child custody cases, and not surprisingly, your San Jose divorce lawyer will advise you to deactivate all your social networking accounts while your case is still pending. That's because human emotions very often take over, causing people to make potentially dangerous mistakes on Facebook that could ultimately cost them their case.

A recent example is a case out of Alabama, when a man who threatened the mother of his child on Facebook over a child custody dispute, finds himself behind bars. The 31-year-old man allegedly made terrorist threats against his ex-girlfriend on Facebook. He posted statuses using vile language, and alleged that if he didn't “get his hands” on the baby, he would get his hands on his ex-girlfriend in the courtroom, and “shoot her.” The post was laced with expletives. He also posted pictures of himself using a rifle.

Police soon received anonymous tip after he posted these statuses on Facebook, and forwarded the information to the local Sheriff's office. An investigation was launched, and the man was arrested. Investigations found that the man had made several such posts on Facebook, threatening his ex-girlfriend with violent acts.

The man could have maintained a cool head, and waited for his hearing before a Family Court judge. In fact, he and his ex-girlfriend were due to appear before a judge to argue about custody. However, his chances now look very bad after his arrest. He has admitted to making the threatening posts, and it has been confirmed that he was not in possession of any weapons.

Such foolhardy behavior on Facebook will not go unnoticed, and you can be quite sure that lawyers for your ex-spouse will be monitoring your behavior on Facebook, Twitter or other social networking sites to gather ammunition for their case.

Having Divorced Friends Can Increase Your Own Divorce Risk

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Having friends who are divorced can actually increase your own risk of going through a breakup. In fact, according to research conducted by a team consisting of researchers from the University Of California San Diego, Harvard University and Brown University, having a divorced friend can actually amplify your own divorce rate by as much as 75%.

In fact, according to the research, you don't even have to be close friends with a divorcee to amplify your own breakup date. Just having a casual acquaintance who is a divorcee can increase your own breakup risk by as much as 33%.

In other words, divorce is possibly quite contagious.

Individuals who are divorced influence not only their friends, but also their friends’ friends. According to the researchers, understanding why divorces affect friends could actually help facilitate better understanding of the adverse effects of divorce. It could also help in the development of strategies to help reduce the negative impact of divorce, and also develop better coping skills for people who have been through a breakup.

According to the researchers, the study's findings could also provide more clues about why approximately 43% of marriages in the United States end in divorce, and whether this is an individual or social problem.

The good news is that the reverse may also be true. In other words, having friends who have strong and healthy marriages, possibly spells better prospects for your own relationship. Having a social circle that is full of strong relationships, increases stability in your own marriage, and might help to enhance the durability of your own marriage.

Divorce Takes Heavy Mental Toll on Males

Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Divorced males are likely to suffer a much heavier mental toll after the event, compared to females. The results of a new study seem to contradict the widely- held belief that females are somehow much more vulnerable to the heavy emotional and mental toll after a traumatic life event, like a divorce.

The results of the study were published recently in the Journal of Men's Health. The researchers found that divorced men had much higher rates of depression, alcohol and drug addiction, and mortality compared to females.

Although women are traditionally believed to suffer from the greatest emotional aftereffects of a divorce, there has been research to indicate that men are not necessarily immune from such consequences as well. For instance in both the genders, divorce is linked to a variety of psychological and mental health problems. Earlier research has found that a healthy marriage is essential to a male’s life expectancy.

According to the researchers, the heavier emotional toll of divorce on a male could be the result of societal pressure. Society judges males to be self-reliant and resilient creatures, who do not feel any negative emotional fallout from a divorce. This kind of attitude does place immense pressure on males to put up a strong front after a divorce, even when they're feeling traumatized within. In fact, the results of the study seem to confirm that males also feel the traumatic effects of a traumatic life event, like a divorce, or bereavement.

In fact, the researchers believe that these mental health consequences are so severe that they're calling for the development of more strategies to help diagnose and identify divorce -related health problems in males.

Increase in Cohabitation Rates As Remarriage Loses Lure

Saturday, September 21, 2013

A new analysis of federal data proves that remarriage rates around the country are dropping substantially. In fact, according to the analysis by USA Today, those rates dropped approximately 40% over the past couple of decades.

What that means is that the average divorcee /widow/ widower is much less likely to get remarried, compared to his counterpart just a couple of decades ago. Remarriage is losing its shine, and instead, these persons are choosing to cohabit with partners the second time around.

According to the analysis, which compared data from 2011 with 1990, just 29 out of every 1, 000 divorced or widowed Americans in 2011 remarried. That was a drop from 50 per 1, 000 divorced or widowed men or women back in 1990.

The analysis shows that this trend is not restricted to older Americans. The trend is clearly visible across age categories. The biggest drops in remarriage rates are seen in the below 35 age group. In this category, there was a 54% drop in remarriage rates among people between 20 and 24, and a 40% drop among people between the age of 25 and 34.

People, who got married later, are much more likely to put off remarriage. According to the study, the average age for the first marriage now is approximately 27 for women, and 29 for men. When these people get divorced, there are options available to them that seem much more attractive than remarriage. Cohabitation affords these people all the benefits and advantages of a marriage, without any of the legal constraints and hassles involved.

However, even if you are in a cohabitation agreement, it is highly recommended that you sign a cohabitation agreement that clearly defines all responsibilities and obligations in the event of the breakup of a relationship.

Military Deployments Increase Risk of Divorce for Service Members

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Life as the spouse of a serviceman or service woman is never easy, and frequent military deployment can exacerbate the tensions in these marriages. According to a new study that was reported by the Rand Organization, the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken a heavy toll not just in terms of the number of service members killed or injured in the line of duty, but also on the marriages of these personnel.

According to the study, the US military members who have experienced multiple deployments overseas in combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan may have a much higher risk of divorce. This risk of divorce seems to rise proportionate to the length of time these service members have served in combat zones overseas.

The negative effects of deployment can be seen in both genders, but the effect seems to be much heavier in the case of female military members. Female servicemen and servicewomen seem to have a much higher risk of filing for divorce in the same situation. The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Population Economics recently.

Overall, the research found that any deployments to an overseas combat zone increased the risk of divorce among servicemen and servicewomen, but the effects were much stronger, when military personnel were deployed to combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among the couples that were studied as part of the research, couples, who had married before the September 2001 terror attacks and experienced deployment overseas of 12 months to war zones, were approximately 28% more likely to file for divorce within three years of marriage, compared to other couples who had experienced deployments before the 9/11 attacks.

Stepfathers More Likely to Get Divorced

Friday, August 23, 2013

Living in a blended family has its charms, and also challenges. According to a new study, husbands who are also stepfathers are more likely to file for divorce, compared to men in traditional marriages.

According to the study, more than 61% of the male respondents in the research admitted that they initiated the process of divorce in their second marriage. In all these cases, the men were part of blended families, and played the role of stepfathers to at least one child. In contrast, the rate of men who filed for divorce in traditional marriages is just 30%.

There are several reasons why stepfathers felt the need to initiate divorce. At least two- thirds of the men in the research admitted that arguments over the children was one of the main factors that led to divorce. Others mentioned that they constantly felt under-appreciated, and at least one-third reported that they did not find their responsibilities as parents very clear.

Those findings are also corroborated by other research, especially one that was conducted earlier this year by researchers at the Brigham Young School of Social Work. In that study, researchers were able to identify the factors that help make for a successful relationship with stepchildren.

The researchers found that those blended families in which parents, including the mother as well as the stepfather, agreed on how to parent the children and also agreed on minimizing arguments, were much more likely to be successful. The researchers also found that it was very important for mothers to encourage their children to speak out about any frustrations that they may have about the new family situation.

Native American Man Loses Child Custody Lawsuit

Friday, August 16, 2013

In a child custody case that Los Angeles family lawyers saw as a test of government laws that grant extra protections to Native Americans, a little girl who was handed over to her Native American biological father has now been handed back to her adoptive parents.

The 27-month-old girl, had been living with her adoptive parents since her birth, and was handed over to her biological father in 2011.The girl was born as a result of a relationship between her parents, a Native American and non-Native American woman who were engaged. However, the woman broke off the engagement before the marriage, and asked the father if he wished to relinquish his rights as the biological father of the child, or pay child support. The father chose to relinquish his rights to the child.

The man changed his mind when he found out that the child had been placed for adoption, and had been given to a non-Native American in South Carolina. He then moved to sue for custody of the child from the adoptive parents.

A special federal law called the Indian Child Welfare Act worked in his favor, and the man was given custody of the child in 2011. This was even though he had never met his child prior to being given custody. The law was enacted in 1975, after a study found that as many as 35% of Native American children were being separated from their homes, and placed in adoptive care because of the lack of culturally appropriate and sensitive child custody laws.

However, the Supreme Court recently overturned that decision, ruling that the language of the law protecting Native American custody refers to a parent who already has custody of the child, and loses custody of the child. In this case, the father never had custody of the child, and in fact, had never met the child before custody was granted to him.

Long Distance Couples Work Harder on Marriage

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Typically, long-distance relationships are believed to be more difficult, and more strained than normal relationships. However, that doesn't seem to be true at all. In fact, according to new research, persons in long-distance relationships are more likely to work harder on their relationship, and probably less likely to visit a Los Angeles divorce lawyer.

The research was published in the Journal of Communication, and finds that people in such long-distance relationship tend to work harder, and have much stronger bonds, and better communication. The wider geographical gap between the partners in the relationship tends to encourage them to engage in deeper communication, than persons in a normal relationship.

The researchers surveyed dating couples in long-distance relationship as well as normal relationships, and asked them to report their daily interactions with each other. The interactions were not just face-to-face, but also involved phone calls, video chat, text messages, e-mail and other forms of communication. The researchers found that persons, who were in long-distance relationships, had better communication and a deeper bond with each other.

The researchers believe that this is possibly so because these couples tend to idealize their partners behaviors, and are more likely to disclose themselves more in the relationship.

According to statistics, as many as 3 million married couples in the United States are currently in long-distance relationships. Traditionally, these relationships have been given a lower chance of success, because of higher levels of stress and jealousy, and a number of other negative issues that could possibly impact the marriage. How the study finds that this is just a misconception. Long-distance relationships could actually be more successful than relationships involving couples located close to each other.

Avoiding Conflict in Senior Years Contributes to Lower Rates of Divorce

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Overall, senior citizens above the age of 65 have lower divorce rates compared to younger persons. That could be because they are more likely to look at ways of diffusing conflict to settle an argument, as opposed to allowing the dispute to blow out of proportion.

Those are the results of a new study that was conducted by researchers at San Francisco State University. According to the research, as couples grow older, they are much more likely to settle disputes and resolve disagreements simply by changing the subject. This serves as a very effective way of defusing a potentially conflict state, and calming down a situation that has the potential to become very nasty.

In fact, the research only confirms the findings of earlier studies that have indicated that as couples age, they tend to avoid conflict and use more positive ways of handling conflicts. This could be partly because many older couples understand that they do not have many years together, and they want to make the most of the time that they do have together.

The researchers assessed the results when married couples used a type of technique called the “demand-withdraw pattern,” as they became older. In this kind of technique, one partner simply blames the other partner for the unresolved problems in the marriage, and pressures him or her to change. The other partner will simply avoid talking about the problem, and withdraws from the situation altogether.

Among younger couples, this kind of technique can be counter-productive, and could actually destabilize the marriage. However, the researchers found that older couples benefit from a situation when one person simply changes the subject and avoids discussion altogether.

Post-Recession Divorces May Improve the Economy

Thursday, June 06, 2013

The nation seems to have gotten through the worst of the Great Recession but the specter of unemployment, decreased property values and stagnant wages still haunts the country. The recovery will probably be ongoing for some time. During the height of the economic challenges, many sectors of American culture were impacted and may never be the same again: driving habits, vacation choices, eating in restaurants, purchasing new cars, moving back home with mom and dad and delaying marriage. The financial downturn seems to have impacted divorce rates as well.

For many people, a divorce may have been the appropriate move emotionally but the recession made going through the process prohibitive. From 2007-2010, as property values dropped, jobs were lost, tuition rose, and businesses shuttered, many Americans may not have been able to seek a life after divorce. In other words, they may have been stuck. This may be a reason why divorce rates actually declined slightly during the recession (NPR). This may soon change according to an article published on Slate.

Not only may divorce rates increase post-recession but this may be good for the economy says Slate writer Matthew Yglesias. He argues that divorce may be a sign of a stronger economy and that the new houses that are furnished and bought or rented will provide "An income boost" that "could create a wave of household formation that drives nationwide incomes even higher." Yglesia's article was published in January of 2012 and recent divorce data is still be gathered. Whether or not his prediction will come true remains to be seen. But, while it may seem cynical to root for marriages to falter, if a couple has been holding off on divorce for fear of economic uncertainty in their own household and in the nation at large, perhaps now is the time to take the leap.