2017 Jim Stout (blue hat) with President (gold hat) and President-Elect (silver hat) Orange County California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists
About half of the people will recover from their divorce. About half will not (at least for a long while after their divorce is so called “final”). It is estimated that 50% of family law legal fees will be incurred after the divorce is final. Divorce disputes go on and on and on. To clarify that statistic, “post divorce” family law legal expenses include custody and child support disputes that involve parents who were never married but have broken-up. In other words half of all family law legal expenses are post-divorce or post break-up and used to modify existing court orders. This is contrary to the frequent articles in the Huffington Post that tout divorce as a rough patch that you can generally “move on” from.
SAME SEX DIVORCES ARE THE SAME
One might expect that same sex divorces are different than heterosexual divorces; but on the contrary, they harbor the same level of hostility as straight divorces. Just like straight couple divorces, same sex spouses use the kids as weapons to punish each other at the same frequency as straight couples. They abhor paying alimony and are just as hostile too. Most importantly, the judges don’t handle them any differently. So much for the hope that somehow same sex marriages/divorces would be more successful that straight marriages/divorces.
THE RETURN OF THE STAY AT HOME MOM
The share of mothers who do not work outside the home rose to 29% in 2012, up from a modern-era low of 23% in 1999, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. In 1967 the share of mothers who did not work outside the home stood at 49%; by the turn of the millennium it had dropped to just 23%. Many thought this number would continue to fall as women sought to “have it all”. Instead, the proportion of stay-at-home mothers has been rising steadily for the past 15 years.
MEXICAN ARTIFACTS CIRCA 2016
JULY 19, 2016. The evil spirit jumped from me and into my ex wife! said the man to me while we sat side by side drinking beer at a Mexican bar in Ensenada, Baja California.
You see, the man said, I love chicas and I had an evil spirit inside of me.
– I swigged my bottle of Tecate lite, and encouraged him. He knew I was a divorce lawyer. We were safe in this bar: no terroists would blow up this place; the Ensenada cops don’t shoot you if you bribe them with 2 twenty dollar bills; and the cops here don’t get shot.
He told me his story: I loved my wife and I betrayed her time and time again. I knew it was wrong, I knew it was evil, I knew justice was waiting. I did evil. It was unforgivable. I demolished her. She demolished me. I apologized.
– I looked up at the list of food on the plaster wall behind the bar, I raised my eyebrows at the bartender, he lifted his head and made eye contact, “Dos tacos de pescado,” I ordered 2 fish tacos. The nice bartender smiled.
The man continued: The moment my ex wife discovered my secret life, the evil spirit of betrayal inside me, leaped out of me, and my ex wife sucked it deep into her soul, she embraced it, nurtured it and used it to demolish me and herself.
– With a flat smile, I nodded that I understand, I have compassion for you.
The evil spirt now inside her, made her furious at me and at herself said the man. She felt entitled to revenge at all costs. With the help of others, my ex wife put her head down, her butt up, and charged at me like a bull hell bent on stabbing the bullfighter. I stepped out of the way and in front of our son, but she still pierced my heart, and Bam! into the brick wall behind me. Our son was safe! The brick wall fell on everyone watching; hurting many and teaching all.
– I ate my fish tacos, put a cigarette in my mouth, the helpful bartender snapped open his metal lighter, a blue flame sprung up, I smelled kerosene. He lit up my cig, just like America in the black and white 1950’s, when everyone smoked indoors.
My ex wife wanted it to be over, so did I, but the damage I caused plus the damage she caused, would take years to heal. The same amount of energy used to demolish each other, was required to recover. Only now, we had no “evil spirit” to energize us.
– I sprinkled salt on the back of my hand, licked it up, sipped my lime-spiked beer and took a puff on my cigarette; I was in heaven. My face lit up and my expression conveyed to the man: Sir, I know your family will recover.
You think my ex wife and I will accept a good spirit to provide energy to rebuild the damage caused by the evil spirt?
I said, “yes the good spirit is inside both of you now and has already began”.
According to The New York Times’ Claire Cain Miller, the conventional wisdom that half of all marriages end in divorce and that the divorce rates are climbing is wrong — divorce peaked in the 1970s and 1980s, and has dropped ever since.
“It is no longer true that the divorce rate is rising, or that half of all marriages end in divorce,” Miller wrote. “It has not been for some time. Despite hand-wringing about the institution of marriage, marriages in this country are stronger today than they have been in a long time.”
The drop started in the 1990s. About 70 percent of couples who got married in the 1990s made it to their 15th anniversary, which is 5 percent higher than the amount of couples who made it to the same anniversary in the 1970s and 1980s, Miller wrote. The trend is expected to continue into the 2000s. “If current trends continue, nearly two-thirds of marriages will never involve a divorce,” Miller wrote.
But there exists statistical data that completely contradicts Miller’s conclusion. A study by Sheela Kennedy and Steven Ruggles Breaking Up is Hard to Count concludes just the opposite.
Moreover, the Miller article is incomplete. The article does not take into account divorce in the retirement years since the married couple who according to Miller are not going to divorce as much as the generation before them, have not yet reached the age at which they will likely divorce. People are divorcing at the same rate as their parents, but at much older ages. Senior divorces (those who divorce when they are over age 65) are on the rise, and as the people who married in the 1990’s and 2000’s reach their retirement years, it is expected that half will eventually divorce. In other words it is too soon to tell if younger people will stay married their whole life. They may stay married longer, but will eventually divorce at the same 50% rate.
The article points out that some of the decline can easily be attributed to a decline in the number of people who are getting married, a decline that is higher among groups that also divorce at a higher rate.
Regardless of what Miller suggests, marriage is in shambles because people don’t want to get married anymore. By missing this larger picture, Miller ends up adding single parents—who after all have a null chance of divorce—to good news numbers about marital stability. Sheela Kennedy and Steven Ruggles from the Population Center at the University of Minnesota try to take into account the new reality in a recent paper. Their findings are sobering: “because cohabitation makes up a rapidly growing percentage of all unions,” they write, it has “an increasing impact on overall union instability.” And by accepting that marriage and children are unrelated, she can ignore the biggest problem with this rising instability. Experts have shown us in a virtual library of research papers that the children of single parents are at greater risk of everything from poverty to school failure to imprisonment. Their large numbers will almost surely help perpetuate inequality, poverty, and immobility.
“Despite hand-wringing about the institution of marriage, marriages in this country are stronger today than they have been in a long time,” Miller writes. As it happens, hand-wringing is an appropriate response to the state of marriage today.