Co-Parenting …With Big Brother? …

Washington state Couple are devout Christians, with libertarian leanings. They subscribe to what may be characterized as minority views regarding certain health matters.

Couple has two toddlers, Twins. The Twins were born at home, with no one but Couple in attendance. Strike one against Couple.

One of the Twins has eczema, a chronic skin condition. The medical community favors treatment with steroids.

Steroids can have lasting and severe side effects, however, particularly with use over extended periods of time. As a result, some people prefer to use natural and other alternative treatments.

Couple are among the people who prefer natural treatments. Strike two against Couple.

Couple are breastfeeding Twins. The government is of the opinion that Twins are “too skinny”. Strike three against Couple.

Washington state’s child protective services (CPS) removes Twins from Couple and takes them into custody, asserting that they were neglected and poorly nourished.

Twins were ultimately returned to Couple’s custody … but CPS was to monitor the family over time.

Couple, fearing ongoing government intrusion into their privacy and parenting, left Washington and headed for California.

Where they were apprehended by law enforcement. And arrested. And Twins were taken back into so-called protective custody yet again.

Now Couple is on trial. Whatever the outcome, will this be the end of it? And is Couple the proper target of child protective services action?

Read more in

  1. this Natural News article: Holistic Christian families now criminalized in America; parents having to flee with children and
  2. this King5 NBC TV news article: Bellingham couple’s child custody trial begins .

South Dakota Rejects No Fault Divorce for An Individual Spouse, Even With Domestic Violence

Since New York finally adopted no fault divorce, it is universal in this nation … at least as long as both spouses are on the same page.

In South Dakota and Mississippi, if only one spouse in a couple wants a divorce, the no fault option is not available.

In South Dakota, this means that a victim of domestic violence who wants a divorce must testify about the abuse in court, in the presence of their abuser who does not want the divorce.

This unconscionable dilemma led a South Dakota legislator to introduce legislation to help victims of domestic violence get a divorce over the objection of their abuser.

The bill failed to muster sufficient votes to pass though. Opponents worried that the legislative proposal would make it easier for any spouse to obtain a divorce, which they view as damaging to South Dakota.

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Divorce Trivia

The proverbial “7 year itch” just may have some basis in fact. According to a statistical analysis at a finance website, divorces tend to occur, on average, in the eighth year of the marriage.

More persuasive, divorces in second marriages also tend to take place, on average, in the eighth year of the second marriage.

Read more divorce trivia in this Houston Chronicle article: The 7-year itch is real & other surprising divorce facts, based on data provided by: Infographic: Divorce Statistics .

Divorce Rates By Profession

Divorce statistics abound. But not so much by profession.

A recent study, however, does exactly that. And dispels the notion that physicians experience divorce rates higher than others engaged in grueling professions.

In fact, medical doctors in general were less prone to divorce than other health care professionals, such as dentists, health care executives, and nurses, and less likely to divorce than attorneys and non-health-care professionals.

Among health care professionals, though, pharmacists were least likely to get divorced. And among physicians, surgeons and psychiatrists were most likely to divorce.

One interesting side note is that women medical doctors were more prone to divorce than male physicians.

The lead researcher speculated that the reason for this is that female physicians experience greater stress, due to greater responsibilities in family life, in addition to professional stresses and demands.

The study found a correlation between number of hours worked and divorce, for women, … but not for men.

Read more in this Washington Post article: Divorce among doctors isn’t as common as you think, study finds .

Billionaire’s Wife Attacks Prenup to Pursue $1 Million Per Month in Support

A billionaire Illinois Husband is divorcing his Wife, with whom he has three children.

Despite having entered a prenuptial agreement before their wedding in 2003, the couple’s divorce is very contentious.

Wife is seeking to have their prenup thrown out on grounds of coercion by Husband. Indeed, Wife’s assertions seem to fall just short of accusing Husband of domestic violence, through subtle references to a bedpost perhaps broken by Husband.

And Husband asserts that Wife is seeking an outrageous amount of support for herself … and trying to pass it off as child support.

Wife also alleges that Husband pressured her into closing her business so she could devote more time to her family, thereby cutting off her own independent income.

Husband counters that Wife’s businesses would have failed anyway but for his infusions of money into them … and that he “removed” the bedpost, as comic relief, during their heated negotiations.

Well, there is no disputing that there is an awful lot of money in dispute in this case.

Under their prenup, the Wife reportedly netted $25 million as a wedding gift, with another $1 million token of Husband’s affection each year.

But Wife now seeks $1 million per month, arguing that that is what it would take to maintain their children’s standard of living during the marriage. A billionaire’s standard of living.

Wife is also seeking permission to relocate their children from Chicago to New York … where it might cost a bit more to live the same lifestyle as in Chicago.

Read more in this Chicago Sun Times article: Another round of accusations in billionaire’s divorce battle .

Thinking of Divorce? Time to Update Your Medical and Estate Planning Documents

No one likes to think about death or illness. That’s human nature under the best of circumstances.

They want to think about it even less during or right after a divorce. That’s understandable.

And exactly the reason that I remind every client to do this anyway no later than immediately upon their divorce. Possibly even sooner.

There really is no more convenient time. All the assets are freshly inventoried and itemized. That’s half the work.

A Wall Street Journal columnist dramatically illustrates the importance of updating will and beneficiary designations to avoid unintended windfalls to your ex or your ex’s family upon your death after divorce.

In some states, statutes override seemingly obsolete bequests and beneficiary designations, but others don’t. Besides, laws can change. Why leave something this important to chance?

But this isn’t just about gifts and inheritances.

Imagine the worst imaginable scenario. You become seriously ill or injured and medical decisions have to be made by someone else.

Would you want the decision-maker over your life and health to be your ex? Or someone in your ex’s family?

Again, some states have statutes that prevent this, but some don’t. And laws can change.

Something this important is worth a little time and should not be left to chance. The stakes are simply too high.

Read more in this Wall Street Journal article: After Divorce, Separate Your Estate Plans Too

Mother Loses Custody and Wins Attempted Murder Charge regarding One Year Old Baby Who Weighs 10 Pounds

Father and Mother have Baby together. Baby was born premature.

When Baby is one year old, Mother takes Baby to hospital.

At that time, Baby weighs 10 pounds … the amount a six week old baby should weigh, about half of what a one year old baby should weigh.

Baby was determined to be “severely malnourished” and, in essence, dying.

Mother allegedly neglected Baby’s medication, oxygen and failed to keep his doctor appointments.

Baby is removed from Mother’s care and placed into custody of child welfare agency. Agency places Baby with Father’s sister.

Baby has gained thirteen pounds in one month.

Mother has been charged with attempted murder of Baby. Mother has two other babies in her care. Mother’s family is barred from contact with Baby.

Mother’s family vows to pursue winning back custody of Baby.

Read more in

  1. this Fox 10 Phoenix article: Mother Charged With Attempted Murder Of One-Year-Old Malnourished Baby
  2. this Fox 31 Denver article: Dad of 1-year-old who weighed 10 pounds speaks out; child is recovering and
  3. this Yahoo News article: Mother Charged After 1-Year-Old Weighing Only 10 Pounds Admitted To Hospital

 

Social Security Benefits 101 for the Divorcee

People who are divorced may be able to claim social security benefits based on their own work record and/or their ex-spouse’s work record.

The impact of this is that they may be able to begin collecting one of their benefits, the lesser one, at a younger age, while still building up their other benefit until a later age, before switching to that benefit.

Your remarriage can squelch your right to a benefit based on your ex’s work record.

Also, if your ex-spouse is still alive, your ex must already have applied for their own benefit.

For some people, these so-called dualie options can make a significant impact on their total benefits received.

Read more in

  1. this USA Today article: Getting remarried may affect Social Security and
  2. this Motley Fool article: Regarding Social Security Benefits, What Widows and Ex-Spouses Must Know .

 

Two Questions Foretell Whether a Marriage Will Stand the Test of Time

And here they are:

First, on a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being the best, how happy would you be if you and your spouse split up?

It seems self-evident that the answer to this one will correlate highly with the divorce rate.

The second question is a bit more provocative.

On a scale of 1 – 5, with 5 being the best, how happy would your spouse be if you and your spouse split up?

In a six year study of roughly 3,600 couples, the highest rates of divorce were among couples where the spouses answered this question wrong. In other words, they misjudged just how happy their spouse was in their marriage … especially where they overestimated their spouse’s happiness in their marriage.

This group had twice the average divorce rate across the entire study group.

While there’s more than one possible explanation behind this result, the simplest is that the couples in this group do not have good rapport with each other.

And this points to the obvious: check in with your spouse and find out how they really feel about your marriage. If you are both happy, that’s great and you’re done. If your spouse is not as happy as you thought, maybe you can improve things. If your spouse learns that you are not as happy as they thought, maybe they will be motivated to improve things.

Read more in this Yahoo Finance article via Business Insider: How you and your partner answer 2 questions can help predict if your relationship will last

Juvenile Justice in Texas Has Advanced by Leaps and Bounds

As recently as 2007, Texas’ juvenile justice system was a horror. Abuse and sexual abuse and neglect were rampant.

Once brought to light, Texas revamped its entire juvenile justice system, and has made tremendous progress at serving the needs of Texas’ delinquent youth.

Today, the needs of misdemeanor offenders are addressed closer to home rather than in far-flung state facilities.

The budgets of local juvenile probation departments were augmented so that they could provide more services and residential facilities at the local level.

And juvenile crime has decreased by one-third as a result. Recidivism is lower and for less serious offenses.

There is still room for improvement, yet much that other states could learn from Texas’ example.

Read more in this New York Times article: The Texas Way on Juvenile Justice .