Dangerous Words (or Lack Thereof) in a Marriage

Marriage counselors and divorce attorneys tip off about about dangerous statements (or lack of same) in a marriage which could signal the beginning of the end of a marriage. They aren’t constructive, hurt the other’s feelings and may fuel anger and resentment.

“You’re being ridiculous”.

Such dismissal of a spouse’s sharing of their feelings discourages open communication and damages the bond.

“I don’t care anymore”.

Well, if true, where can the couple go from there?

“You never” …

This kind of overgeneralization is in essence just an attack.

“If you hadn’t” …, “I wouldn’t have to yell at you”.

Again, this is simply casting blame.

           Resounding silence.  

Not communicating doesn’t fix anything.

“I want a divorce”.

Again, this doesn’t leave much room for retreat or course change.

“I don’t need to tell you where I went”.

Do you have something to hide?

“Why can’t you be more like” …. ?

Comparisons to third parties are just pointless.

“I wish I never met you”.

Ouch.

If you want to try to improve your marriage, healthier communication is key. If you and your spouse need some help to achieve this, a marriage therapist may be able to help.

Read more in this Huffington Post piece: If Your Spouse Says These 9 Things, Your Marriage May Be In Trouble .

 

Husband Charged in Wife’s Murder Six Years Later, Shortly Before Receipt of Inheritance Expected

Husband and Wife marry and have two Children together.

Wife accumulates sizeable estate.

Husband reportedly improves his backgammon game.

Wife eventually has enough.

Wife obtains a purely religious divorce and a domestic violence restraining order of protection against Husband.

Wife schedules a meeting with her attorney to amend her will … to disinherit Husband to the extent allowed by law.

But Wife doesn’t make it to that meeting. The evening before, the forty-something Wife dies in her bathtub on New Year’s Eve of 2009.

Husband is the prime suspect, but police are unable to establish a solid legal case against him and decline to charge him.

Husband’s substantial inheritance is locked up in a trust though, release of funds in which are tied to the pressing criminal charges in Wife’s death or the passage of six years without charges being pressed.

With just two months left, Husband confides in his Girlfriend about the ill-gotten gains he will soon receive.

Girlfriend in turn reveals all to law enforcement authorities.

And Husband is finally charged with felony murder in Wife’s death.

And confined.

Read more in

  1. this New York Post article: Man busted in wife’s killing told girlfriend what he’d done, sources say
  2. this New York Daily News article: Husband of wealthy NYC mom found dead in bathtub pleads not guilty to murder charges in her 2009 death — just 2 months before he could claim her $4M fortune and
  3. this New York Times article: Husband Charged in Wife’s 2009 Killing on Upper West Side .

How Divorce, Separation, Abuse and/or Being Trapped in Unhappy Relationships May Affect Your Health

No less an authority than Prevention magazine asserts that divorce affects your health … in eight different ways.

  1. Anxiety
  2. Drastic Weight Change
  3. Metabolic Syndrome
  4. Depression
  5. Cardiovascular Disease
  6. Substance Abuse
  7. Insomnia
  8. Chronic Health Problems & Mobility Issues

The article urges paying attention, and getting that annual physical to prevent progression.

Well, I have to say yes and no to the above.

Divorce may affect your health. In these ways and others.

Or even an informal separation that doesn’t require a court order.

So might feeling trapped in a miserable marriage.

Or being stuck in an abusive marriage.

And ditto all of the above regarding a romantic relationship that never culminated in marriage.

And probably the death of a spouse too

And maybe a big move – or job or career change.

Am I denying the association with divorce? Or trivializing these health issues?

Definitely not.

Indeed, if anything, based on my experience, I would prescribe an even more aggressively proactive strategy, both for purposes of an actual divorce or separation, and for the next phase of life.

More on even more aggressively proactive strategy in an upcoming post.

Read more on the above in this Prevention magazine article: 8 Surprising Ways Divorce Affects Your Health .

 

Mother Allegedly Responsible in Her Previous Three Children’s Deaths Seeks to Regain Custody of Her New Three Living Children

Single Illinois Mother has three Children and a Boyfriend, who is not their father.

Mother also has history of mental illness, largely untreated, and substance abuse.

Boyfriend has history of domestic violence and drug use.

Boyfriend allegedly drives Mother’s car into a lake … with Mother’s three Children in it.

Allegedly, neither Mother nor Boyfriend makes any move to rescue the Children.

Children drown.

Boyfriend is convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Mother is convicted of child endangerment, but released from prison after five years.

Upon Mother’s release, she marries Husband.

And Mother and Husband have three more Kids together, now ranging from two to five years of age.

Husband has a history of domestic violence and drug use. Mother even sought an order of protection from Husband while she was pregnant with one of their Kids.

One of Mother’s physicians recognizes Mother and notifies the local child welfare agency of her situation.

At which point Mother’s three living Kids are taken into child protective custody.

At a juvenile dependency hearing, the Illinois family court finds evidence of abuse and neglect, despite a lack of visible current injury or physical harm. The Illinois family court further concludes that it need not wait until serious harm befalls the Kids to intervene on their behalf.

The Kids are left in child protective custody.

At subsequent hearings, the Illinois family court will determine whether the Kids remain in child protective custody or similar placement, and whether Mother and Husband’s parental rights to Kids should be terminated.

Read more in

Grandfather Arrested for Abandoning Five Year Old in the Desert With a Loaded Gun

Arizona Grandfather sets out with five year old Granddaughter in his new pickup truck. Only the pickup truck breaks down.

So Grandfather and Granddaughter continue their travels in the desert heat on foot.Granddaughter eventually tires and is unable to continue.

So Grandfather finds a well-camouflaged spot to leave Granddaughter and places his loaded pistol in her hand in the firing position, actually cocked.

Grandfather leaves Granddaughter, instructing her to “shoot any bad guys”.

And then heads for a cheeseburger and some alcoholic refreshments. And that is where he is found by law enforcement officers.

Having failed to seek any assistance or attention for Granddaughter. The state’s child welfare agency is notified, but Granddaughter is released to her mother.

Grandfather is, however, arrested on charges of child abuse and child endangerment.

Read more in:

  1. this Reuters article: Arizona grandpa leaves girl, 5, in desert with gun: police and
  2. this Arizona Republic article: MCSO: Man left granddaughter, 5, in desert with loaded gun .

What to Do With the Home in Divorce

This question comes up in many divorces. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

First, the possibilities. In general, traditionally,

  1. one spouse retains temporary possession, usually with the minor children, and the house is sold and the net proceeds split at some future point in time, usually when the youngest child completes high school, here in Florida or
  2. sale to a third party and splitting of net proceeds or
  3. buyout of one spouse’s net equity interest in the home by the other spouse who wishes to remain in it

In recent years, foreclosure, deed in lieu of foreclosure, short sale and other similar options have expanded the list of possibilities.

Which of the above possibilities is best? This varies based on a number of variables in any given situation.

Such as fair market value, outstanding mortgage amount, amount of equity, appreciation since purchase, anticipated future appreciation, property taxes, property insurance, costs of maintenance and repairs, community fees and assessments, miscellaneous property expenses, the wishes of both spouses, and so on.

Anything overlooked? Yes! A big one. The total income of spouse in possession / spouse buying out the other spouse. And their creditworthiness (credit score and debt load amount). In other words, can they (reasonably comfortably) afford to stay in the home.

For this purpose, income can include both child support and spousal support if applicable.

But the spouse seeking possession must consider that sometimes alimony and child support are not consistently paid in full and on time. Indeed, sometimes, quite the opposite.

This can create stress … and threat of foreclosure. An especially bitter pill to swallow if more secure assets were bargained away in favor of the home.

All the possibilities and all the relevant variables should be carefully evaluated, preferably with the input of a financial professional, before settling on any course of action.

Read more in this New York Times article: Divorce and the Shared Mortgage .

 

Senior Divorce Dominates Divorces

In 1990, people over 50 were not all that likely to get a divorce.

Now, twice as many people over 50 are divorcing.

And people over 65 years old are still more likely to divorce.

Even as divorce rates among younger people have leveled off – or declined.

What gives?

  • Couples in this age range are significantly more likely to be in second marriages, which are inherently less likely to succeed
  • longer life expectancies discourage staying longer in unhappy marriages indefinitely
  • less stigma is associated with senior divorces now
  • women are more independent now financially
  • relentless retirement togetherness can be the straw that broke the camel’s back

Read more in this New York Times article: After Full Lives Together, More Older Couples Are Divorcing .

Protecting Your Privacy in Your Divorce

For some people, nothing could be worse than having their dirty laundry or private financial affairs out there in the public eye. They will likely cringe at the mere mention of the word divorce. Especially if they live in a state with a strong policy favoring public access to information.

For such people, you really can’t beat having a prenuptial agreement. A prenup can go a long way toward settling a divorce case in advance. Avoiding the need for public drama.

Even affirmatively prohibiting it. In part by mandating non-court methods for divorce, including mediation, collaboration or arbitration.

For issues not addressed in the prenup, or incapable of being nailed down for all time in a prenup (think child support or custody).

For enforcement or modification proceedings, differences in interpretation or changes in circumstances.

If a prenuptial agreement accomplishes nothing else, it can memorialize a commitment toward amicable resolutions … requiring privacy.

This can avoid relying on a spouse’s good graces to decide whether to litigate or not, or bluff for leverage.

The details may vary from one state to another, but in every state, privacy is greatest outside of the divorce courtroom litigation process.

Similar privacy concerns suggest consideration of trusts over wills as primary means for inheritance of estates.

Read more in this Atlanta Daily Report article: More Couples are Turning to Alternative Dispute Resolution to Prevent Invasive Financial Disclosures in Divorce .

 

UK Divorce Court Awards Wife Attorney’s Fees of US $225,000 Due to Husband’s Grossly Improper Behavior in Case

UK Husband and Wife are divorcing after twenty plus years of marriage.

Husband is successful and has accumulated about US $2 million in assets.

This divorce has been particularly contentious.

Husband has gone above and beyond merely selling or giving away Wife’s possessions, without her permission, threatening to leave her penniless and out on the streets, and calling her a prostitute.

No, during the course of thirty – count ’em – hearings, Husband has allegedly actually gone so far as to physically assault both Wife and her attorney.

Evoking displeasure in pretty much everyone else involved in the divorce proceedings.

Oh, and earning him criminal charges. Over which he has reportedly skipped out on his bail and fled the country, rather than face up to his sentencing.

That’s not all that hasn’t gone Husband’s way in connection with his divorce.

The UK divorce court awarded Wife half of the couple’s accumulated assets … plus roughly US $225,000 in legal fees.

And departed from custom by identifying the parties to the media, due to Husband’s unacceptable conduct in the case.

Read more in this UK Daily Mail article: Judge who believes in privacy of divorce court names and shames ‘abysmal’ company boss who assaulted his ex-wife and threatened to put her ‘on the street’ .

Divorce on Photographic Grounds

Chinese Husband and Wife are married and have a very young Son together.

Wife files for divorce. Her grounds?

Husband constantly snaps photographs of Wife and Son.

Without sensitivity, discretion or judgment.

During childbirth. While breastfeeding.

During vaccinations. Even going so far as to request a repeat injection for the sake of a better photo.

Even during Son’s performance of … bodily functions.

Apparently Wife just could not take it any more and filed.

She requested hefty child support, but the family court judge presiding over the case felt that both could contribute to Son’s support more or less equally.

Grounds are largely fading into the background (no pun intended) of modern divorces, at least in the US. But sometimes a divorce filer just can’t resist seeking validation and therefore cites their grounds anyway.

Read more in

  1. this PetaPixel article: Wife Cites Husband’s Obsession with Photography in Divorce Filing and
  2. this Bokeh article: Exasperated Wife Divorces ‘Photography Obsessed’ Husband .