Archive for March 2011

Is the economic recovery increasing the divorce rate?

Here is an interesting article from the Orlando Sentinel. Apparently with the improving economy, people are feeling freer to get divorced.  That seems counter-intuitive to me. One would think that a bad economy would encourage divorce, but many of my colleagues have also noticed the trend that many couples have been holding it together because they didn’t think they could afford the divorce in the troubled economic waters.

The article quotes sociologist Brad Wilcox of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia,

“There’s a sort of pent-up demand for divorce after people get through tough times,” he said. “We saw that in what happened after the Great Depression, when the Depression lifted and divorce increased toward the end of the 1930s.”

I would be very interested in knowing what you think. Are people you know holding their marriages together for the recession? Will economic improvement encourage people to divorce? Comment below and tell me. I genuinely want to know.

Court: No gay marriages in CA during appeal

It seems that the gay marriage litigation will continue.  The ninth circuit court of appeals refused to allow same-sex marriages to take place in California while it considers the constitutionality of the current state ban.  I imagine that the 9th Circuit, no matter what it decides, will not have the last word on this issue.  I see it going all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States.  Whatever happens, it will have far reaching effects on the practice of family law in California.

See the San Diego 6 report: Court: No gay marriages in CA during appeal.

“Whitest Kids You Know” divorce skit

Here is a funny video about divorce from “The Whitest Kids You Know.” Perhaps we should all take a moment and consider the effects divorce can have on children…

Will He Let You Move?

Good article with tough questions about move-away cases. I note that in California­, it has gotten a lot harder for a primary parent to move than it was a few years ago. I am involved in a case right now where the primary question is the detriment issue. I feel bad for judges that have to decide these tough cases.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The Klingon Divorce: Lessons to Be Learned

I came across this funny video on YouTube.  It strangely reminded me of a divorce mediation I conducted.

The caption read, “N’Gos tlhogh cha! A simple procedure… This would save millions in attorney fees.” The mediation of which I am referring involved a couple that simply had to get out their emotions and frustrations before they could settle anything. I remember after a long period of haggling over what seemed to be trivial issues, the wife stood up and said, “I hate you and never want to see you again.” She then quickly settled on all issues over which they had been haggling for months. She didn’t care so much about the settlement as much as she cared about making sure he knew that she was finished with him.

Now I am not recommending that we move our divorces into violent Klingon style combat. However, I am suggesting that the simple expression of the hurt and anger can sometimes be important. I am a big believer that mediators and conflict managers such as myself cannot be afraid of conflict. We have to be able to embrace it, understand it, and work within it.

So many attorneys become mediators because they can’t handle conflict. They believe that moving into alternate dispute resolution will protect them from conflict. However, this thinking is wrong. Models like collaborative divorce or mediation, while going a long way to manage conflict, do not eliminate it. To be successful in such models, the professionals need to have the stomach for the raw emotions of hurt and anger to be expressed. Otherwise, they will invariably fail as conflict managers. It’s like a surgeon who faints at the sight of blood.

For me, the joy of conflict resolution comes largely from my ability to roll up my sleeves and get knee deep into the “muck” of emotions and humanity that is so present in divorce cases. It’s not that I enjoy the pain people are feeling. Rather, I enjoy the sheer humanity of it all. It is so rewarding to work with people in pain work through their conflict and come out better on the other side.

Great series on behavioral finance.

I have been following an excellent series by my friends and colleagues, Justin Reckers, CFP, CDFA, AIF and Robert Simon, Ph.D. I recommend this series highly to clients and divorce professionals. It really does a good job of showing how one’s biasis and emotions can complicate and influence financial decisions. In my experience, 95% of the hard work in divorce negotiations is emotional. If the negotiations were purely math driven, my job would be a lot easier. However, math is really small part compared to the emotional baggage people often carry into the room. Here is a link to a great article on Cognitive Bias in Financial Negotiations of Divorce.   Thanks Robert and Justin for your excellent work.