Law Firm-Initiated (Small) Study Paints a Grim Picture of Impact of Bitter UK Divorces on UK Children

According to a recent study apparently conducted in the UK, one third of children whose parents divorce become estranged from the parent that they do not live with primarily.

The study attributes this to very bitter, hostile divorces taking place under a statutory framework apparently emphasizing blame and competition.

The study reports that the goal of twenty percent of divorcing parents is to make their spouse as miserable as possible – without regard to the impact of their behavior on their children.

Fully half of the studied parents opted to litigate timesharing arrangements “despite knowing it made matters worse for their children”.

As a result of such attitudes and conduct, according to twenty-five percent of the parents participating in the study, their children were so disturbed by their parents’ divorces that the children became self-destructive or even suicidal.

A leading UK law firm thinks the current statutory scheme in the UK needs to change and proposes out-of-court “conflict clinics” for resolving parenting disputes, rather than litigation.

The study was conducted on behalf of that UK law firm.

The study was based on interviews of only two thousand divorced parents and two thousand children of divorce.

The intent behind the study was to “review” the impact of a twenty year old UK statute applicable to child-related issues in divorce.

The study’s conclusions are quite disturbing, but it is not entirely clear whether the study conformed to scientifically sound methodology, including using a statistically significant and random sampling of subjects and ensuring freedom from bias.

It is also unclear whether the study holds any relevance for US statutory schemes regarding parental responsibility and timesharing, and the application of those statutes by judges to families appearing before them.

Read more in this UK Times article: Third of children lose touch with parents after divorce and this UK Daily Mirror article: Divorce kids lose fathers.

Posted in Uncategorized

How to Break the News of Divorce to Your Spouse: Tips from a Mediator

Some spouses will be taken completely by surprise and shocked. Others will have been considering divorce themselves for some time. Others will be at various points across the spectrum in between these two extremes.

Your spouse’s reaction will depend on where on the spectrum he or she is currently “at”.

You should wait for a block of quiet, private time, and ensure there will be no interruptions.

Don’t assign blame. Just explain that your marriage is not working any more, but that you want to resolve things amicably and fairly.

After you reveal your decision, do not let yourself be baited into a debate about it, and don’t attempt to defend your decision.

And don’t dive into negotiations. It is too soon. Your spouse needs time to accept and adjust.

Read more in this Psychology Today article: Telling Your Spouse You Want a Divorce.

Posted in Uncategorized

Husband Allegedly Murders Wife and then Kills Himself Over Divorce

There was no reported history of domestic violence in their home during the fifteen years they were married.

Husband didn’t appear like the “violent type”.

But as their relationship fell apart and Wife got involved with another man, Husband started making threats against Wife – and their Children.

Then Husband reportedly began purchasing weapons.

In the end, Husband allegedly shot Wife to death at her job – and injured two of her co-workers. Then Husband killed himself.

The couple’s now-orphaned Children are staying with relatives.

Read more in this [Portland] Oregonian article: Gladstone man’s threats increased through divorce proceedings, wife’s friend says.

Posted in Uncategorized

Financial Issues Sometimes Overlooked in the Heat of Divorce

Input of financial planners who work with people who are going through divorce produces the following checklist of financial items worth addressing in the divorce but often overlooked:

  1. health insurance expenses after the divorce
  2. mental health counseling expenses
  3. personal credit (without a joint creditor)
  4. expenses for hiring third parties to help with tasks your ex used to do
  5. expenses of maintaining the marital residence on your own
  6. impact of taxes on property distributed to you
  7. expenses of getting yourself equipped to return to the workforce
  8. increased children’s expenses later on as they mature
  9. legal expenses for your future disputes because this may not be the last of them

Read more in this New York Times article: Financial Decisions to Make as You Divorce.

Posted in Uncategorized

Warning to Seriously Ill Women: Be Prepared to Be Divorced … Now

Why do people divorce?

According to a recent study, one reason is that one spouse, specifically the wife, develops a serious illness such as cancer or multiple sclerosis.

The overall divorce rate across the general population, including couples where one of the spouses has cancer, is 11.6 percent.

But, among married couples where the wife is seriously ill, the divorce rate rockets to a whopping 20.8 percent.

By contrast, amoung married couples where the husband is seriously ill, their divorce rate plunges to 2.9 percent.

Serously ill women are more likely to become divorced or separated than their seriously ill male counterparts – on the order of six times.

According to the study, older seriously ill women were more likely to be left than younger women, and shorter marriages were more likely to crumble than longer marriages when the wife became seriously ill.

The study concludes that men are reportedly less able to adapt to the role of caregiver than women.

Read more in this Reuters article: Men more likely than women to leave partner with cancer

Posted in Uncategorized

American Baby Allegedly Abducted to China by Father is Recovered and Returns to US

Allegedly abusive American Husband goes to China in 2007 to teach English, leaving behind in New York his undocumented Mexican immigrant Wife and their Baby.

Later, Husband contacts Wife and invites her and two year old Baby to China to reconcile.

Within a day of Wife’s and Baby’s arrival, Husband reportedly disappears with Baby. Husband takes up with Chinese Girlfriend.

Husband leaves Baby with a babysitter and fails to pick her up. Baby ends up in a Chinese orphanage. After Husband allegedly abducts her.

Wife and Mexican Embassy official show up where Husband is staying. Husband goes after them both with knives, but is not prosecuted in China.

Wife obtains a New York State court order, awarding her sole custody of Baby.

China is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and does not recognize foreign child custody orders.

Wife obtains a US visa by virtue of being a victim of domestic violence. Husband is deported from China.

Warrant is issued in US and Husband is arrested by US federal authorities for international parental kidnapping.

A combination of US nonprofit agency attorneys, private attorneys, Chinese private investigators, the Mexican consulate in China, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the US State Department, and Wife’s resourcefulness, initiative and determination culminated in Wife finding Baby, abandoned in the Chinese orphanage.

Read more in this New York Times article: Family Fights Odds, Retrieving Kidnapped Girl.

Posted in Uncategorized

Support Collections Rise Dramatically Because State and County Cooperate to Train and Place Unemployed Deadbeat Parents and Ex-Spouses in Jobs

Noncustodial parent and/or former spouse behind in child support or alimony payments?

Well, Pennsylvania has come up with a proven, working solution.

A county support enforcement agency cooperates with the state’s job-finding and job-training agency.

The state and county each invest some funds into the program.

But the payoff is tens and tens of thousands of dollars and more in collected support payments that would not have been made but for the resulting job placements of noncustodial parents and former spouses.

The pilot program has been around for a few years, but has had wider participation due to the economy.

Read more in this Erie [PA] Times News article: Crawford OKs continuation of jobs program for those who owe support payments.

Posted in Uncategorized

Tribe Thwarts American Indian Father’s Efforts to Gain Custody of Daughter in State Child Welfare Agency’s Care

Mother gives Daughter up for adoption upon Daughter’s birth.

Daughter has been in the custody of state child welfare agency for all of her two years.

Father seeks custody of Daughter. Father is an American Indian.

Father seeks to invoke the Federal Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA), which applies to children of American Indian heritage.

In the first trial over custody of Daughter, Father’s tribe sends a representative to testify in state family court that Daughter is not formally enrolled as a member of their American Indian tribe – and is no longer eligible for membership. The tribal representative represents that ICWA is not applicable to Daughter.

Father disagrees. Court orders a new child custody trial so that Father may have an expert testify otherwise.

For the new trial, Father subpoenas the chief and other leaders (the real decision-makers) of his tribe, to testify that Daughter is eligible for enrollment in the tribe.

The tribal leadership then asserts sovereign immunity in federal court to challenge Father’s subpoenas, arguing that enrollment decisions are internal matters of Indian affairs about which tribe officials should not be compelled to testify.

Father responds that the tribe waived that argument by previously furnishing a representative to testify on the very same subject in the state’s family court at the first trial.

Read more in this UPI article: Tribal sovereignty issue in custody case and this Providence [RI] Journal article: Narragansett Indian Tribe tries to block subpoena of tribal leader.

Posted in Uncategorized

Worst Parental Dispute of All: Parents Ask Court to Decide Whether Baby Should Live or Die

Mother and Father have 1 year old Baby.

Mother and Father are separated.

Baby has condition as a result of which his lungs constantly fill with fluid and then have to be suctioned out.

Baby is in the hospital on a ventilator.

Baby’s prognosis does not look good.

The hospital and doctors recommend taking Baby off the ventilator and allowing him to die.

Father believes Baby has some quality of life and does not want to take Baby off the ventilator.

So Father seeks a court order prohibiting taking Baby off the ventilator.

As the case is progressing, another medical specialist is being consulted.

Read more in this CNN article: Father fights mother over baby’s life.

Posted in Uncategorized

Baby Taken into Custody for Doing Drugs … Protective Custody, That Is

Police receive anonymous tip indicating that the odor associated with pot is emanating from a certain home.

Police go to investigate.

At the home, police find various drugs … and a Toddler.

Police contact the local child welfare agency (Agency), which takes Toddler into protective custody.

The Agency tests Toddler for drugs.

The test reveals that Toddler has more than one type of illicit drug in his system, including marijuana and methamphetamines.

Toddler’s parents are arrested for felony child abuse.

A juvenile dependency action will presumably be commenced as well to determine a suitable placement for Toddler … for a while. His parents may be otherwise engaged.

Read more in this Albuquerque KRQE CBS TV News 13 article: Parents busted over toddler’s dope test.

Posted in Uncategorized