What month has the most divorces?

THE EVIL SPIRIT JUMPED OUT OF ME AND INTO MY EX WIFE

MEXICAN ARTIFACTS CIRCA 2016Trump Cup Ensenda Baja California

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”.

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Who gets custody now? Dramatic changes in children's living arrangements after divorce.

Who gets custody now? Dramatic changes in children’s living arrangements after divorce. This article reexamines the living arrangements of children following their parents’ divorce, using Wisconsin Court Records, updating an analysis that showed relatively small but significant increases in shared custody in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These changes have accelerated markedly in the intervening years: between 1988 and 2008, the proportion of mothers granted sole physical custody fell substantially, the proportion of parents sharing custody increased dramatically, and father-sole custody remained relatively stable. We explore changes in the correlates of alternative custody outcomes, showing that some results from the earlier analysis still hold (for example, cases with higher total family income are more likely to have shared custody), but other differences have lessened (shared-custody cases have become less distinctive as they have become more common). Despite the considerable changes in marriage and divorce patterns over this period, we do not find strong evidence that the changes in custody are related to changes in the characteristics of families experiencing a divorce; rather, changes in custody may be the result of changes in social norms and the process by which custody is determined.

The greater social and legal acceptance of shared custody in recent decades came about when parents began shouldering more equal parenting responsibilities. State legislatures, courts, and parents themselves began to value the opportunity for a child to continue a strong and meaningful relationship with both parents. The new approach sought to avoid treating one parent as merely a visitor, and to reduce the trauma of marital dissolution for children. Sharing custody also became a way to circumvent the brutal dynamics of adversarial child custody litigation.

An important 2014 study shows that child custody norms are significantly changing in the 21st century, with the proportion of parents sharing custody rising dramatically. In fact, we reached a major milestone in the past decade: for the first time since the mid-19th century, custodial arrangements that did not provide sole custody to mothers constituted a majority.

The vocabulary of child custody is also adapting to shared parenting.

“Decision making” and “parenting time” are replacing “legal custody” and “physical custody.” The modern terms reflect a cultural pivot toward mutual child rearing responsibilities rather than declaring a winner and a loser. On balance, then, it appears that our society has adapted the best-interest-of-the-child standard to provide some variant of shared custody. In custody cases today, both parents increasingly enjoy significant, though not necessarily equal, amounts of parenting time.

The problem with presumptions, and a better alternative

Legally enforceable presumptions, such as the one proposed and rejected in North Dakota or the one that the Governor of Minnesota vetoed in 2012, are problematic. An equal parenting presumption shifts the starting point for a custody determination from the child’s best interests to how the parents will divide the 168 hours in a week so that each parent handles half the child rearing.

A 50/50 presumption alters the critical issue from what’s best for the child to how we can treat the parents equally. That’s not the same question at all. A legal presumption of equal parenting time effectively converts the current focus on the child’s welfare to a best-interests-of-the-parents standard.

There is another alternative, better than having a judge decide the child’s best interests and far better than a legal presumption.

In the past few years, separating and divorcing parents have begun taking matters into their own hands by crafting “parenting plans” for their children. These blueprints for post-divorce child rearing allocate parenting time and decision-making authority for each child, depending on the child’s particular needs and circumstances. A good parenting plan also sets out dispute resolution options (such as mediation or a parenting coordinator) for the inevitable time when the parents will face unanticipated child rearing problems.

Many states – Arizona is a leader on the issue – are redefining the issue of parenting after divorce from a demand for custody by one parent to a requirement that both parents work together to create a “parenting plan.” These plans further the public policy goal that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, and that both share in the responsibilities of raising their children.

Parenting plans may be crafted from scratch, or they may be customized from a menu of templates and sample plans available from court or private organization websites. Parents often negotiate these plans by themselves, with the help of a mediator, or through counsel. The plans should be flexible but fairly detailed, describing each parent’s area of responsibility in providing for the child’s residential and physical care as well as emotional well being, both at the time the plan goes into effect and as the child ages and matures.

Unlike a court custody order, a parenting plan can include mechanisms to adjust to children’s developmental changes as they age and to other significant family transformations.

Parenting plans are homemade custody resolutions, and courts remain a last resort for deciding contested custody cases. But the parenting plan movement is providing approaches towards sharing custody more in keeping with child development research and less likely to lead to further damaging litigation.

The failed North Dakota “equal parenting time” initiative sought a rigid resolution of the most sensitive

Our society is gradually adopting shared parenting by choice, not by mathematical formula. We should encourage the movement toward parenting plans rather than legal briefs, mediation rather than litigation, and sharing the parenting rather than dividing the child.

Read More

Who gets custody now? Dramatic changes in children’s living arrangements after divorce.

Who gets custody now? Dramatic changes in children’s living arrangements after divorce. This article reexamines the living arrangements of children following their parents’ divorce, using Wisconsin Court Records, updating an analysis that showed relatively small but significant increases in shared custody in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These changes have accelerated markedly in the intervening years: between 1988 and 2008, the proportion of mothers granted sole physical custody fell substantially, the proportion of parents sharing custody increased dramatically, and father-sole custody remained relatively stable. We explore changes in the correlates of alternative custody outcomes, showing that some results from the earlier analysis still hold (for example, cases with higher total family income are more likely to have shared custody), but other differences have lessened (shared-custody cases have become less distinctive as they have become more common). Despite the considerable changes in marriage and divorce patterns over this period, we do not find strong evidence that the changes in custody are related to changes in the characteristics of families experiencing a divorce; rather, changes in custody may be the result of changes in social norms and the process by which custody is determined.

The greater social and legal acceptance of shared custody in recent decades came about when parents began shouldering more equal parenting responsibilities. State legislatures, courts, and parents themselves began to value the opportunity for a child to continue a strong and meaningful relationship with both parents. The new approach sought to avoid treating one parent as merely a visitor, and to reduce the trauma of marital dissolution for children. Sharing custody also became a way to circumvent the brutal dynamics of adversarial child custody litigation.

An important 2014 study shows that child custody norms are significantly changing in the 21st century, with the proportion of parents sharing custody rising dramatically. In fact, we reached a major milestone in the past decade: for the first time since the mid-19th century, custodial arrangements that did not provide sole custody to mothers constituted a majority.

The vocabulary of child custody is also adapting to shared parenting.

“Decision making” and “parenting time” are replacing “legal custody” and “physical custody.” The modern terms reflect a cultural pivot toward mutual child rearing responsibilities rather than declaring a winner and a loser. On balance, then, it appears that our society has adapted the best-interest-of-the-child standard to provide some variant of shared custody. In custody cases today, both parents increasingly enjoy significant, though not necessarily equal, amounts of parenting time.

The problem with presumptions, and a better alternative

Legally enforceable presumptions, such as the one proposed and rejected in North Dakota or the one that the Governor of Minnesota vetoed in 2012, are problematic. An equal parenting presumption shifts the starting point for a custody determination from the child’s best interests to how the parents will divide the 168 hours in a week so that each parent handles half the child rearing.

A 50/50 presumption alters the critical issue from what’s best for the child to how we can treat the parents equally. That’s not the same question at all. A legal presumption of equal parenting time effectively converts the current focus on the child’s welfare to a best-interests-of-the-parents standard.

There is another alternative, better than having a judge decide the child’s best interests and far better than a legal presumption.

In the past few years, separating and divorcing parents have begun taking matters into their own hands by crafting “parenting plans” for their children. These blueprints for post-divorce child rearing allocate parenting time and decision-making authority for each child, depending on the child’s particular needs and circumstances. A good parenting plan also sets out dispute resolution options (such as mediation or a parenting coordinator) for the inevitable time when the parents will face unanticipated child rearing problems.

Many states – Arizona is a leader on the issue – are redefining the issue of parenting after divorce from a demand for custody by one parent to a requirement that both parents work together to create a “parenting plan.” These plans further the public policy goal that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, and that both share in the responsibilities of raising their children.

Parenting plans may be crafted from scratch, or they may be customized from a menu of templates and sample plans available from court or private organization websites. Parents often negotiate these plans by themselves, with the help of a mediator, or through counsel. The plans should be flexible but fairly detailed, describing each parent’s area of responsibility in providing for the child’s residential and physical care as well as emotional well being, both at the time the plan goes into effect and as the child ages and matures.

Unlike a court custody order, a parenting plan can include mechanisms to adjust to children’s developmental changes as they age and to other significant family transformations.

Parenting plans are homemade custody resolutions, and courts remain a last resort for deciding contested custody cases. But the parenting plan movement is providing approaches towards sharing custody more in keeping with child development research and less likely to lead to further damaging litigation.

The failed North Dakota “equal parenting time” initiative sought a rigid resolution of the most sensitive

Our society is gradually adopting shared parenting by choice, not by mathematical formula. We should encourage the movement toward parenting plans rather than legal briefs, mediation rather than litigation, and sharing the parenting rather than dividing the child.

Read More

Pros and Cons of Never Getting Married

A new report by the Pew Research Center predicts that as many as one in four millennials will never get married, in part because they aren’t as financially stable and in part because they don’t regard marriage as highly as did their parents’ generation. Here are some pros and cons of never getting married according to the Onion:

PROS OF NEVER GETTING MARRIED

Less pressure for side-by-side burial plots
Don’t have to sacrifice your goat on wedding day
Avenges all the mistakes your parents made raising you
Will get to have sex with a different attractive person every night for the rest of your life
Children can grow up steeped in dizzying ambiguities
Rebuilding America by avoiding needless tax benefits
Can live life unfettered by oppressive institution that represents undying love for person you care for more than anything in world

CONS OF NEVER GETTING MARRIED

Codependence less adorable without signed contract
Any children you have outside of marriage become public property
Have to go through life without the sage counsel of mother-in-law
No wedding ring to throw onto poker table
One less thing to exclude Rebecca from
Easier for partner to disappear with kids to Mexico
Will one day have to introduce 85-year-old woman as “girlfriend”

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Older couples divorce to avoid alzheimer's related medical bills ruining their finances

alzheimersDivorce among older couples is on the rise in our country due to spiraling medical and long-term care costs. 

As a reminder, Medicare only covers up to 100 days of nursing care. If you and/or your spouse need nursing/long-term care, you either:

1) Pay out of pocket (until your assets fall below a low threshold) and/or

2) Tap into your long-term care insurance (if you have it).

If you don’t have long-term care insurance, you pay “out of pocket” until most of your assets are spent down and Medicaid steps in as a last resort. If you’re married, all liquid assets must be tapped – regardless of who’s name appears on the account – until most of your combined net worth is spent down. Only then does Medicaid (an aid-based program) step in.

Wife and Husband got married 11 years ago, purchased a home together but kept their investment assets separate. Life was good until wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease three years ago. Since then, husband engaged personal caregivers to help. Monthly caregiver bills now top $3,000/month.

The best way to safeguard their financial future and guarantee nursing care for wife is to divorce and only than would medicaid kick in to cover wife’s medical expenses. Husband would no longer be liable to pay wife’s medical bills after divorce. This is of particular concern since husband could live another 20+ years.

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