Archive for the 'General Divorce News' Category

October 21st, 2014

No Agreement on Same-Sex Marriage, Divorce at Vatican

After a two week long meeting at the Vatican aimed at improving outreach to modern families, the Catholic Church released a document Saturday that drastically revised previous phrasing on homosexuals and divorced families.

Pope Francis had convened over 200 bishops in a special assembly, known as a synod, to debate how the church viewed diverse families, including single mothers, gay couples, divorced and remarried couples. The draft of a “relation” was delivered at the end of the congregation.

An initial draft, released October 13, included a three-paragraph section at the end entitled “Welcoming homosexual persons.” The early writing detailed how the Church should be “accepting and valuing their (homosexuals’) sexual orientations” and that gays have “gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community.”

Conservative bishops expressed alarm to the first draft; the text released to the public on Saturday renamed the section “Providing for homosexual persons,” and changed references to same-sex “partners” to “these people.”

The updated version also states that the Church must meet gays with “respect and sensitivity,” but ultimately emphasizes there is no comparison between the marriage between man and woman to a same-sex union.

“In seeking to be merciful, some want to open up Catholic teaching on marriage, divorce, civil unions, homosexuality in a radically liberalizing direction,” said conservative Cardinal George Pell, as reported by the New York Times. “We’re not giving in to the secular agenda.”

While the synod’s writing is not a final decision, it assisted in opening debate within the Church, as Francis had aimed. The majority of bishops approved the initial draft, but a vote of two-thirds is mandatory for the assembly’s agreement.

Francis published the report revealing the vote tallies on each section, so to be transparent to readers.

The next synod will be held in October 2015 when a final relation will be issued.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

November 15th, 2013

Pope Francis Requests Survey on Views Towards Divorce in America

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In a move that could signal a drastic change in the Catholic Church’s views towards divorce, Pope Francis asked his American bishops to conduct extensive polling of divorced members of the church, according to a report this week from CBS News.

Divorce has been a constant source of stress for the Catholic Church in recent decades, which has alienated many Catholics, and Pope Francis has made it known that he wants the Church to be more welcoming to all members, sources report.

And the Pope’s request for a comprehensive survey of Americans’ views on issues like divorce, same-sex marriage, and contraception, is an unprecedented move from the Vatican, according to experts on the religion.

“I think it’s definitely recognition that the teachings of the Church on these particular hot button topics are not being received as the Vatican would like them to be received,” said Father Martin, a Catholic expert.

American bishops were reportedly told to gather responses to a 38-question survey over the next three months. The responses will be mailed to the Vatican so Catholic authorities can review the information before holding a major summit on Catholic family life.

Church clergy, however, were quick to tell sources that the survey request does not necessarily signal an upcoming change in Church doctrine on these social issues.

But others believe the survey is a step towards potential changes in Church doctrine, or at the very least, a step towards discerning what Catholics actually practice in their everyday lives.

The survey reportedly asks questions like: “What questions do divorced and remarried people pose to the Church concerning the Sacrament,” and, “Is there a law in your country recognizing civil unions for people of the same sex and equating it in some way to marriage.”

In recent weeks, Pope Francis made waves by saying that the Church should reduce its single-minded focus on issues like contraception, abortion, and same-sex marriage, and instead focus on making people more comfortable with the Church.

Catholic teachings, however, leave little room for interpretation on these matters. For centuries, contraception has been considered a sin, and Church member who successfully divorce lawyer are not allowed to remarry in a Catholic Church.

And while the survey may not lead to dramatic shifts in Church policy, it at least signals that the Church is not a totalitarian regime, and respects the views of non-clergy.

In the words of Father Martin, the “great saints and martyrs were often not popes and bishops, they were lay people and they were people who were mothers and fathers and lawyers and doctors.”

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

October 25th, 2013

Harvard Study Finds That Divorce Filings Could be Contagious

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A Harvard study recently discovered that having a friend who recently filed for divorce could make you more likely to seek a separation from your spouse, according to an intriguing report from The Atlantic.



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According to sources, researchers at Harvard, Brown, and UC-San Diego recently released the results of a long-term study that found people with friends who obtain a divorce are 75 percent more likely to seek a divorce.

And the trend seems to extend beyond close friends, too. According to the report, having an acquaintance go through a divorce increases your risk of divorce by 33 percent.

Due to these alarming results, the head researcher, Rose McDermott, writes that the divorce may “spread between friends.” She also observed that “[c]lusters of divorce extend to two degrees of separation in the network.”

The researchers discovered what they called “network contagion,” or the effect that the divorce of a close personal friend can have on one’s own relationship. Sources note that network contagion has also been found to play a role in people’s weight and the number of children they choose to have.

In addition, past studies have discovered that children from divorced parents are more likely to call a divorce lawyerchildren with parents who stick together.

This study, however, represents the first effort to gauge how a person’s social network influences his or her romantic relationships. And, remarkably, the influence not only extends to friends of a divorced couple, but also friends of those friends, with little regard for geographic distance.

The researchers hope their findings will help divorce professionals aid couples in reducing the negative effects of divorce. They also expressed hope that the findings would help strengthen the relationships of struggling couples.

According to McDermott, the researchers “suggest that attending to the health of one’s friends’ marriages might serve to support and enhance the durability of one’s own relationship.”

Of course, the study has been met with some criticism. Sources are quick to note that the researchers based their data on a survey of residents of Framingham, Massachusetts.

And despite the fact that this survey has been described by the Pew Research Center as “one of the country’s longest-running and most influential longitudinal surveys,” the surveyed group is more white, educated, and health than the median American.

As a result, the results may only apply to a certain subset of the American population. And while the social networking effects of divorce may certainly have a similar effect on other people, the data remains somewhat unclear.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

October 17th, 2013

Five Mistakes People Seeking Divorce Should Try to Avoid

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Divorce can be a trying time, especially for couples who choose to go it alone, so it may help potential divorcees to consider a few key mistakes to avoid when filing for divorce.

Of course, in order to help avoid some of these mistakes, many people choose to hire a divorce lawyer to help guide them through the difficult process.



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A recent report from the Huffington Post suggests that people filing for divorce should avoid five common mistakes while going through the separation process.

First, the report says couples should meet with a financial planner before going through divorce mediation. Sources say many people fight, for example, to keep their homes, when they can’t afford the homes in the first place.

It’s much wiser to approach mediation, or any divorce negotiation, with a clear idea of the assets you can afford to keep after reaching a divorce agreement. Make sure what you’re fighting to keep is actually worth keeping in the first place.

Second, people preparing for a divorce should get organized before they tell their spouse the news. This doesn’t mean you have to be dishonest, it simply means that you should prepare for the pending financial stress.

To this end, before you inform your spouse of your decision, sources suggest making a detailed inventory of your financial records, credit history, and future job prospects. Planning before a divorce is just as important as the separation process itself.

Third, sources recommend creating a support network early in the divorce process. Filing for divorce may be a very wise decision for many people, but it can also be emotionally trying.

So your best bet is to consult the aid of a therapist, or share your burden with friends or family, well before you begin to experience emotional trauma. Emotional health, just like financial health, is best protected by taking preventative measures.

Fourth, sources advise couples to not file for divorce in the heat of the moment. Some couples may simply be experiencing a difficult time, and would be best advised to take a few weeks to honestly assess the state of their marriage.

Of course, many couples may quickly come to the conclusion that divorce is their best option. Still, it’s important to catalog the specific reasons why you want a divorce, so you’re not making a poor decision.

Finally, sources recommend sticking with your job and not reducing your hours. Judges frown on this behavior, especially when it appears that one spouse is trying to secure more alimony from the other.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

October 10th, 2013

Affordable Care Act Could Lead to Increase in Divorce Filings

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The Affordable Care Act, also known by the more loaded term “Obamacare,” may expand health insurance to millions of uninsured Americans, but could also have some unintended consequences.

One of these potential consequences is that the rate of people filing for divorce could rise, thanks to the financial freedom potentially afforded by broader access to health coverage, according to a report from the Washington Times.


According to sources, fear of losing health insurance is one of the primary reasons couples choose to stick together and refrain from filing a divorce.

And this fear of losing health insurance is supported by a recent finding by the University of Michigan that, every year, roughly 115,000 women lose their health insurance after reaching a divorce settlement.

The Michigan study also discovered that 25 percent of divorce women who lose coverage through their former spouse’s insurance fail to find new health insurance for at least six months after completing their divorce.

Even though the workforce continues to grow more diverse, many women still do not have employment outside the home, or work for companies that do not provide health coverage. In addition, the cost of getting COBRA coverage through a former spouse’s plan can be incredible expensive.

The problem is particularly acute for middle-income women eyeing a divorce. Low-income women are often able to turn to Medicaid, and wealthy women can simply afford their own coverage. And older women tend to have an even more difficult time securing insurance after divorce.

But this calculation could soon change, if the Affordable Care Act is as successful at broadening access to health care as it promises. And if it indeed expands access to health care, many couples who have decided to stick together for health insurance reasons could decide to finally split, sources say.

When the law kicks into gear on January 1, 2014, women mulling a divorce can enter the healthcare exchange to determine if they’ll be able to find affordable health insurance. If so, many couples may decide to go their separate ways.

Of course, while the new law could help many struggling couples, it could also create complications for filers and their divorce attorneys.

Sources believe the government’s health care plans could leads to lower alimony settlements, and could also lead to arguments about the quality of plan the spouse paying alimony can afford. But the law also offers much promise for couples who have stayed together out of financial necessity.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

October 3rd, 2013

Man Upset With Divorce Allegedly Injects Young Son With Heroin

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A man in Washington state who was reportedly distraught over his pending divorce allegedly tried to kill his 4-year-old son by giving him a dose of heroin, according to a shocking report from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.


Sources say the man going through a divorce, 37-year-old Eric Lehtinen, was discovered by his estranged wife on a bed in a locked Redmond, Washington, house with his young son. Both the man and his son were reportedly unconscious.

After making the startling discovery, the mother reportedly removed a blanket from her son and found a syringe filled with what looked like drugs on his chest, according to documents filed with the local court.

When emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene, both the boy and the father were non-responsive. The boy was immediately taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital, where he is currently seeking treatment. Sources do not know if he will suffer long-term damage from the incident.

Shockingly, medical staff at the children’s hospital reported finding puncture wounds on several parts of the boy’s body.

And blood tests revealed traces of ketamine, morphine, and codeine in his system, in addition to heroin.

Sources say Lehtinen is already out of the hospital, but is sitting in jail after being charged with attempted murder in the first degree. His bail was set at an appropriately lofty $3 million after prosecutors argued that he was extremely dangerous.

In their words, a man “who is willing to inject his 4-year-old son with heroin in an attempt to kill” his own son is “dangerous man willing to do anything.” The judge didn’t disagree with this assessment.

Ten days before the child was overdosed with a cocktail of dangerous drugs, he was reportedly living with his mother in San Francisco. The mother and her husband had been married for six years, but she had filed for divorce months before.

According to reports, one of the reasons the woman filed for divorce was her husband’s drug addiction, which included abuse of heroin.

But her husband claimed that he was clean, so the mother let her son stay with Lehtinen while she visited Seattle for a job interview.

Lehtinen, however, was distraught over the pending divorce, and court documents say that the father poisoned his son in a terribly misguided effort to delay the end of his marriage.

But, if anything, Lehtinen sealed the end of his marriage, and possibly the end of his relationship with his child. If he is found guilty of attempted murder, the father could be sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in prison, sources say.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

August 28th, 2013

Collaborative Divorce Proves Cost Effective for Many Couples

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While many couples bristle at the sound of the word “divorce,” the separation process doesn’t have to empty your bank account, or drag you through an emotional roller-coaster.

In fact, many couples opt for a collaborative divorce, a process that takes place outside the courtroom, often with the aid of a local divorce attorney, and that may help filers avoid the cost and hassle of a competitive divorce.


According to a recent story from U.S. News & World Report, American couples are increasingly turning to collaborative divorce in order to escape the potential difficulties of the traditional divorce process.

In brief, a collaborative divorce requires the cooperation of both parties, who work in tandem with an attorney (or attorneys) to determine how to split their assets, and to make child custody decisions.

The collaborative divorce process does take a bit of patience from both spouses, and a willingness to bargain in good faith, but it doesn’t necessarily require that everyone get along.

According to divorce attorney Michelle Crosby, the idea of a perfectly amicable divorce is “a bit of a fallacy.” She wisely notes that it’s “always a lot of work” to make a divorce amicable “because there is a reason that couples are getting divorced.”

Nevertheless, couples who can agree to pursue a collaborative divorce can enlist the aid of divorce attorneys to make the process as peaceful as possible.

One of the biggest potential advantages of a collaborative divorce is the relatively low cost. According to sources, the average divorce costs filers between $15,000 and $30,000. But the average price tag for a collaborative divorce is a mere $7,500, according to reports.

Collaborative divorces typically involve fewer attorneys, instead enlisting the aid of therapists trained in the divorce process. These therapists often include financial specialists or professionals who are well-versed in the treatment of children in divorce.

Of course, collaborative divorce may not be for everyone. Some couples may prefer divorce mediation, which is similar to a collaborative divorce, in the sense that it occurs outside the courtroom, but differs because it takes place with the aid of a single mediation service or mediator.

And some couples may still need to pursue the more traditional route and fight their divorce in court, which remains quite common and is often the best option if two spouses cannot come to an agreement with the aid of a mediator or divorce specialist.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

August 12th, 2013

Controversial Study Says Most Women are Happier After a Divorce

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Researchers at London’s Kingston University made headlines this week after announcing that women tend to experience much more happiness after a divorce, according to a report from the Huffington Post.


The findings seem to refute the traditional notice of women after divorce, who are often portrayed in popular culture as emotional, depressed, and upset.

But researchers at Kingston surveyed 10,000 female residents of the United Kingdom, all between the ages of 16 and 60, over the course of twenty years, and discovered that women are “significantly more content than usual for up to five years after divorce,” sources report.

The academics who conducted the study were quick to note that they only studied the short-term impact of divorce on happiness, but the scope of the survey is hard to ignore.

Interestingly, men also reported feeling a bit happier after completing the divorce process, but their increase in happiness was much less noticeable than the increase experience by women.

And researchers also addressed one of the primary oddities of the discovery: Since divorce often has a negative financial impact on women, people have long assumed that it makes them less happy.

Nevertheless, the researchers “took into account the fact that divorce can sometimes have a negative financial impact on women, but despite that it still makes them much happier than men,” according to Professor Yannis Georgellis of the Kingston Business School.

Georgellis noted that one possible explanation for this seemingly counterintuitive phenomenon is that “women who enter into an unhappy marriage feel much more liberated after divorce than their male counterparts.”

Indeed, the emotional relief experienced by many women after leaving an unhappy marriage may often outweigh the perceived financial trauma.

Of course, the researcher’s findings have stirred a bit of controversy, particularly because they seem to contradict findings made by scientists in 2002.

That year, officials at the Institute for American Values announced that married adults suffering through an unhappy marriage were no happier after a divorce than couples who decided to stay together.

That institution, however, defined itself as being “devoted to contributing intellectually to the renewal of marriage and family life,” so it may have had a horse in the race.

Nevertheless, the recent research is bolstered by the experience of divorced women across the country. Divorce isn’t always the right decision for couples going through tough times, but when a marriage needs to end, women often feel quite liberated after signing the divorce documents.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

July 19th, 2013

Indiana Children Shuttled to Cyprus During Child Custody Dispute

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A remarkable divorce saga pitting a mother in Indiana against a father in Cyprus has two young children wondering which part of the planet they will eventually call home.

And the child custody dispute has reached a breaking point after both parents accused each other of trying to steal the children, according to a report from the Indianapolis Star.


The trouble started years ago when Charis and Marla Theocharides met during college in Arizona and started a family in the United States. After having children, however, the couple moved to Cyprus, an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea.

But after the relationship started showing signs of wear, Marla decided to move back to Indiana, and she took her two children with her.

After Marla absconded with the kids, Charis accused her of kidnapping the children. The U.S. State Department advised Marla to return the children, and she complied, according to reports.

Shortly thereafter, though, Marla filed for divorce in South Bend, Indiana. The state court judge granted her the divorce and also gave her full custody of the couple’s children.

But Charis believes that an Indiana court lacks the power to force him to return his children to the United States when they are currently living with him in Cyprus. He also says his former wife has abandoned her right to the children.

“For the last three years, I have been alone here with my kids. Their mother chose not to be here,” said Charis in a recent interview. “And suddenly, she just appears.”

Indeed, on the advice of a Cyprus court, Marla moved back to the island in April. She also claims, “I never left my kids. They were taken from me. I have been to Cyprus seven times in the last 2 years to see my children, and he does not cooperate.”

Interestingly, Marla has established a charity to raise money for her efforts to regain custody of her children, 7-year-old Katerina and 4-year-old Marcus, but Charis has dismissed these efforts as simply a rouse to “collect money.”

But Marla says her former husband filed kidnapping charges against her simply to “keep me away from my kids,” and also notes that if “money was important to me, then I would be in the USA right now working, where I have a job and can support myself.”

Only time will tell which party ultimately prevails, but the bizarre mix of Indiana and Cyprus family law likely means that the child custody dispute will last a very long time.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.

July 10th, 2013

Scientists Say Divorce has Stronger Impact on Younger Children

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A new study says that young children whose parents get a divorce have a harder time developing strong relationships with their parents than children who are older at the time of a divorce, according to a recent report from the Huffington Post.


The research, which will be published in the September 2013 issue of the “Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,” discovered that children who were younger than 5 years old at the time of their parents’ divorce had a “greater level of insecurity in their parental relationships” than older kids.

Sources say the findings are a result of two students completed by R. Chris Fraley, an associate professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and graduate student Marie Heffernan.

Fraley and Heffernan reportedly surveyed more than 7,000 people, asking questions about their personalities and their relationships with their parents. More than 33 percent of the people surveyed had seen their parents go through a divorce, sources report.

In Fraley’s estimation, children who go through a divorce at a very young age sometimes have a difficult time feeling secure with their parents. And a “person who has a secure relationship with a parent is more likely than someone who is insecure to feel that they can trust the parent,” says Fraley.

Fraley also noted a child who trusts his or her parents is “more comfortable depending on the parent and is confident that the parent will be psychologically available when needed.”

Of course, sources are quick to note that all young children are not necessarily permanently harmed after seeing their parents divorced.

But the research does suggest that parents of children under the age of 5 must be more aware of how divorce affects children, especially how it changes the trust relationships between both spouses and their kids.

If the parents make a conscious effort during the divorce to maintain a relationship of trust, they may be able to help prevent the negative effects predicted by the recent study.

As Fraley notes, people’s “relationships with their parents and romantic partners play important roles in their lives,” which is why these relationships must be strengthened, according to sources analyzing Fraley’s findings.

“This research brings us one step closer to understanding why it is that some people have relatively secure relationships with close others whereas others have more difficulty opening up to and depending on important people in their lives,” concluded Fraley.

Copyright © 2010 TotalDivorce, LLC. (as licensee). All rights reserved.