Family Law Blog

Religious Conservatism Contributes to Higher Divorce Risks

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Traditionally, religion has been found to act as a buffer for divorce risks because most religions tend to discourage divorce and encourage spouses to stay together. However, in many of those states that are very heavily religious, like Southern States, divorce rates are actually much higher than they are in the liberal states, like California and Massachusetts. For years, researchers have believed that the harder socio-economic conditions in the southern states possibly contribute to a higher risk of divorce for people who live in these states. However, research sheds new light on the matter.

According to a study that will soon be published in the American Journal of Sociology, persons living in so-called “red” states that are traditionally conservative by nature, seem to have higher divorce rates. What is surprising is that you don't necessarily have to be hard-core religious to have a higher divorce risk in these red states. Even non-religious people here seem to be at a higher risk for divorce.

According to the research, the answer to this mystery lies in the fact that such religious conservatism often forces young people to get married early. Many young persons in these societies are pressured to get married early, through lack of access to emergency contraception, a focus on abstinence, and frowning upon premarital relations. Even nonreligious people may feel the pressure to get married quickly, because the most desirable catches disappear quickly from the market.

In such situations, younger people may end up getting married much before they are psychologically prepared for the huge life change that marriage is. At this age, they may not be ready to shoulder the responsibilities of married life as well as children in the family.

Not surprisingly, many of them find themselves in a divorce court just a few years down the line. It is this pressure on young persons to get married quickly, that could be at the core of the higher divorce rates in the Bible belt.

Domestic Violence Rates Higher in Police Families

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The rates of domestic violence, murder and suicide are higher among the families of those people who are entrusted with the responsibility of preventing such crimes in the general population. According to an analysis of data by researchers at the University of Utah, the rates of these offences, including domestic violence, were much higher among police families.

According to the researchers, over the past decade, they have been researching murder-suicide trends, and in the course of their research, they have analyzed as many as 730 murder-suicides across the country. In their analysis, the researchers found evidence of something called” suicide contagion,” in which a person who is considering suicide, believes that his family will be devastated by his suicide, and therefore, goes ahead and murders his other family members.

Many of these cases, according to the researchers, have family issues, like entangled or disturbed relationships, at the core of the issue. Usually, there is a spousal estrangement, divorce, separation or evidence or some other family law-related matter that is to be found at the root of such incidents. The researchers say that the number of incidents that their data analysis has thrown up does not even constitute the tip of the iceberg, and that there is much more data to be analyzed from around the country. They plan to continue their studies into such domestic violence and homicide risks in the police force across the country.

The researchers also believe that domestic violence rates are higher in police families, because officers very often do not know who to ask for help with a family-related problem, or believe that asking for help could be misconstrued as a sign of weakness. Society very often expects police officers to be robotic, in control of their emotions all the time and always on duty. People seem to forget that officers are human beings, and could be going through family issues at home that could affect their psychological state of mind.

Los Angeles Child Support Case Gets Tainted by Attempted Murder

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Continuing in a growing trend of child support, divorce and child custody cases gone terribly wrong, a Los Angeles father is being accused of trying to kill his ex-wife, during a particularly contentious child custody battle.

33-year-old William Wallace of Santa Ana was recently charged with attempted murder with premeditation, and solicitation to commit murder. According to the accusations against him, he tried to hire an undercover detective to kill his ex-wife.

According to the charges against Wallace, in August he hired a private investigator to discover unknown information about his ex-wife, so that he could use this information against her in a child custody/child support battle with her. However, during the course of their discussions, Wallace allegedly asked the investigator if he would be willing to refer someone who could kill his wife and then dispose of her body.

He later met with an undercover detective, and asked him if he was he could help him carry out the murder of his ex-wife. According to the charges against him, he told the detective that was willing to pay up to $30,000 for the murder. He even showed the detective a picture of his wife, so that she could be identified and killed.

Wallace seems to have believed that it would be much more financial advantageous for him to dispose of his ex-wife in this manner, than to continue to pay child support payment or to settle the dispute in an illegal manner.

For California divorce lawyers, it has been fairly troubling over the past few months to see a series of incidents, many of them in California, involving violence committed by spouses in the middle of a divorce or child custody battle. Divorce can be a traumatic and stressful event, and in such cases, it's recommended that the parties involved obtain psychological or emotional counseling to help deal with this major transition.

Child Custody Dispute Has Horrific Ending

Saturday, December 28, 2013

No one could have guessed when they saw 35-year-old Dmitri Kanarikov walking with his three-year-old son up to the roof of a 52 story apartment building in New York that his intentions were so horrific. A few minutes after they reached the roof of the high rise, Kanarikov proceeded to throw his three-year-old child off the building. The child fell on the lower rooftop of another building close by, and died. Dmitri followed this by jumping off the building himself.

This murder-suicide has shocked the nation, and already, a possible motive for Kanarikov’s actions has emerged. According to his ex-wife and the mother of his child, the two were involved in a nasty child custody dispute.

The couple’s divorce had been finalized in August after four years of marriage, which was followed by a hostile and often contentious child custody battle over the custody of the child and the home.The divorce is believed to have been linked to her husband’s split personality change as he became more violent and controlling. Initially, there were attempts at reconciliation, but those failed, and after some incidents of verbal assaults, the wife was ultimately forced to get a restraining order against her husband.

According to the mother, she had pleaded with the judge not to allow Kanarikov unsupervised visitation rights to the child, because he had a history of temper tantrums, and she had been the victim of domestic incidents earlier. However, the judge granted visitation rights, and those visitation rights kicked off in December. By the time of the horrific incident, Kanarikov had already had two separate unsupervised visits with his child, and according to the mother, those two visits went off perfectly well without any untoward incidents.

Excessive Holiday Spending Could Mean Marriage Trouble

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The holidays are undoubtedly a joyous time for families, but for many couples, these can also be a highly stressful time. One of the biggest issues for couples during this time is the amount of spending that one spouse does during the holidays. In fact, according to a new survey, approximately 50% of all married couples in the United States admit that they spend the holidays fighting over how much to spend during the season. The research also indicates that some of that fighting could possibly lead to trouble for the marriage after the holiday season is over.

The research was conducted by McGraw-Hill Federal Credit Union, and was based on questionnaires that were given to 1,000 individuals. The participants included individuals in both heterosexual and same-sex marriages, as well as divorced couples who were remarried or in relationships.

Approximately 40% of heterosexual married couples admitted then they fought frequently over holiday spending. The rates of such fighting seemed to be lower than in the case of divorced couples, with a rate of 43%, and 37% in the case of same-sex couples.

The survey also finds that holiday shopping and spending is a major issue for many married couples. Many couples admitted that they often resorted to stealthy and devious behavior to hide their spending from the partner. Many couples admitted that they often resorted to using secret credit cards that were unknown to their partner, in order to buy things on the sly without their partner's knowledge. They also admitted to frequently lying about the amount that they spent on shopping.

One of the most underestimated factors in any divorce is the breakdown of communication and marriage. Lying about money matters, especially something like shopping during the holiday season, can actually indicate a breakdown in marriage communication.

Gut Instinct Can Be Indicator of Divorce Risks

Monday, December 02, 2013

There have been earlier studies that have found that premarital jitters can be an indicator of trouble down the road. Yet another study now corroborates those findings. According to this new study, persons who get a strong gut feeling about the unsuitability of the marriage just before the nuptials, maybe much more likely to divorce.

The results of the research were published recently in the journal Science. The researchers followed a total of 135 newlywed couples over a period of four years. These couples were evaluated every six months through questionnaires, in which they were asked to evaluate the relationship by using adjectives like “bad,”“good,”“satisfying” or “dissatisfied.” They were also subjected to another assessment in which they were made to sit in front of a computer screen, while different positive or negative words flashed on the screen. The person was asked to hit one key to denote a positive word, and another key to denote a negative. Just before the word was flashed on the screen, the person would see a picture of his or her partner.

The researchers later found that the semi-conscious attitudes that the persons displayed while reacting to the words - and images of their partners - as positive or negative, did indicate the measure of long-term happiness. Those who took much longer to respond to positive words after seeing their partner’s photograph on the screen, seemed to be much less happy in their marriage after a period of four years, compared to those who very quickly responded to positive words.

It's not clear how the results of this test can be used to seriously evaluate a person’s chances of success in a marriage. It may not be as simple as taking a test before making the leap. However, the study does seem to confirm that gut feelings do matter, and that couples who have a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach just before the nuptials, should probably re-evaluate their choice.

Increase in Divorce Filings in January

Friday, November 22, 2013

Over the holiday season, while many people will be enjoying time with families, there will be quite a few people who will be forcing themselves through one more holiday with their spouse. Unfortunately, the fact is that many people, who are planning to separate from their spouses, have already made up their mind, but do not want to make the announcement just before the holiday season for the sake of the children. However, come January, none of those concerns matter anymore, leading to an increase in divorce filings.

Any Los Angeles divorce lawyer will tell you that the month of January is a hectic and busy one. Divorce filings increase after January 1, as persons who have been waiting for the holiday season to file the papers finally make a decision, and make the move.

There are several reasons why people don't file for divorce during the holidays. Usually, plans for divorce are postponed till after the holidays, and very often, it has to do with the children. No one wants to ruin the holidays for the children by announcing a separation.

Other times, it is financial concerns that can put off divorce plans. During the end of the year, many employees are eligible for holiday bonuses, or year-end bonuses, and these can make the financial pangs of a divorce much easier to bear. Separation can become financially stressful, as you have to move out and start bearing all household expenses on your own. In other cases, people simply wait to see whether the marriage has a chance of working out over the holidays. It’s natural to want to wait for a little bit of the holiday magic to be sprinkled over your relationship.

In many cases, waiting out the holiday season is just a formality, and people typically do end up filing for divorce as soon as the new year rolls around.

Research Claims Yearbook Photo Predicts Divorce Risk

Sunday, November 17, 2013

How broadly you smile during a high school yearbook picture could predict how successful a marriage you have in the future. At least that is the conclusion of new research that analyzed college yearbook photographs.

The researchers went through hundreds of college yearbook photographs to gauge the intensity of people’s smiles in the photographs. They found that people, who smiled broadly and openly for the camera, seemed to have much more lasting marriages, and a lower risk of divorce, than those who smiled weakly or did not smile at all in these photographs.

During their analysis, the researchers focused on subjects who had broad smiles that made it seem like their eyes were smiling too. The subjects were then asked about whether they were divorced, and the researchers were quite surprised find that those who smiled the least in the photographs, were approximately 5 times more likely to divorce later in their lives, compared to the persons who smiled the most for their yearbook photographs.

It may seem surreal that the way you pose for a high school yearbook, could actually affect your divorce risk down the line. However, Los Angeles family lawyers have a very simple explanation for this. According to the researchers, it is likely that people who smile broadly for their yearbook photographs are simply more compliant with what the photographer is asking them to do. This kind of obedience is very often the secret of a long and successful marriage. It could also be that people who smile much more openly and brightly have a much more sunny and pleasant disposition, and are much more optimistic about life. They are also much more likely to be more social. The researchers claim that all of these are characteristics of people who have long and successful marriages.

Child Support Battle Gets Out Of Hand

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Defining matters involving child custody and child support payments at the time of the divorce is extremely important, and it is very important to resolve these matters in the interests of the parties concerned. Failure to do so right at the time of the divorce can lead to ugly situations down the line. Recently, three women were jailed after launching an assault related to failure to pay child support.

The assault occurred at a restaurant, and injured seven people, including several people who had nothing to do with the dispute in question at all.The incident occurred in Pennsylvania, where a woman frustrated at the lack of child support payments by the father of her child, entered a diner looking for the man. She found him there, and after an altercation with her, the man promptly left the restaurant. It is not yet clear if the man worked at the restaurant. The woman then left the restaurant, and returned with two of her friends. They then proceeded to attack other staff members at the restaurant.

One of the women poured a pan of boiling sauce on one of the staff members, leading to serious burn injuries to the face, head, neck and hands. The employee had to be rushed to the hospital for treatment of her injuries. Another woman was armed with an aluminum baseball bat, and proceeded to attack several of the staff members at the restaurant.

By the time the women were subdued, at least seven people at the restaurant had suffered injuries. The women were arrested soon after, and jailed on charges of aggravated assault.

Issues of child support and child custody can be very emotional, and unless these issues are resolved at the time of finalizing the divorce, things can very quickly get out of hand, like it happened here.

Divorce Increases Risk of Accident Mortality

Saturday, November 02, 2013
There seems to be a never-ending stream of interesting research literature involving divorce and other family law-related issues recently. In fact, one recent study holds that people who are divorced are much more likely to die in accidents, compared to married persons.

The research was conducted by sociologists at Rice University and the University of Pennsylvania. The research determined that divorced people were as much as twice as likely as married people, to die from preventable causes of accidental death as defined by the World Health Organization. These causes include fire, smoke inhalation, poisoning, plane crashes and accidents. In fact, according to the researchers, compared to married people, single people are twice as likely to die from some of the most preventable causes of accidental death, like poisoning. They also have a likelihood of dying in the least preventable causes of accidental death, like car crashes, that is the same as for married people.

The study involved a total of 1.3 million adults above the age of 81. These people had either been killed in or survived accidents between 1986 and 2006, and the data came from the National Health Interview Survey.

According to the researchers, it is interesting that marital status so heavily influenced a person's risk of surviving an accident. It is likely that married people receive positive support from their spouses that reduces their risk of fatal injuries. Besides, spouses may discourage risk-taking by a partner, and may also offer immediate support that dramatically lowers a person’s risk of dying after suffering injuries.

The researchers believe that their study very firmly proves that social relationships, and especially marriage, do help prolong life, especially in cases where death occurs due to preventable factors, and could reasonably be avoided.