Saturday, December 26, 2009

Google Trends Divorce

Google Trends provides insights into broad search patterns. You input a term and it shows you how much the term has been searched on a given day. I checked divorce and the peak for 2009 was Jon and Kate plus divorce on June 24th. If there is a Tiger Wood’s divorce it will probably top this. For 2009 it was A-Rod’s wife filling for divorce. You can see the graph for 2009 at http://www.google.com/trends?q=divorce&ctab=0&geo=us&geor=all&date=2009&sort=0.
Not surprisingly for the word marriage, gay marriage tops the list for most recent years.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM(162) 12/26/09

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Divorce Etiquette

Is divorce Etiquette and oxymoron along with military intelligence? Apparently not. There is even a book called Divorce Etiquette by Monique DeVere. The cover of the book is a little to racy to show here. As usual I Googled it and found divorce360.com which provides help, advice and community for people contemplating, going through or recovering from divorce and the issues around it, including separation, divorce laws, spousal support and emotional issues. Their web site about divorce Etiquette is http://www.divorce360.com/divorce-articles/after-divorce/general/divorce-etiquette-101-what-to-say.aspx?artid=1505. It discusses issues like How do you tell people about your divorce? Should you send "divorce announcements" saying you are no longer married? How do you update your personal information without being rude? We mark marriages, births. We do not mark divorces. Why? Should we have divorce rituals? If so, what should they be? Should friends and family send divorce cards? What about maiden name changes? Should you announce these? What about etiquette for divorce parties in which you're invited and asked to bring a gift, like an engagement party? I am sure there are thousands of more questions? Do you have any questions or even better yet answers?
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM(161) 12/19/09

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ron Lieber and Divorce




The New York Times is my favorite newspaper and I read it every day. I have been following the recent articles about divorce by Ron Lieber. The articles give very good practical advice. I recommend that you read them and follow Ron Lieber’s latest articles. You can go to this link to see more about Ron Lieber and his articles.


http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/ron_lieber/index.html?scp=1-spot&sq=ron%20lieber&st=cse

The articles I have recently read and their links include the following:

Money Talks to Have Before Marriage
Published: October 23, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/your-money/24money.html

Financial Decisions to Make as You Divorce
Divorcing couples often don’t think of all the financial problems that can arrive after the split. Here’s a list of issues to discuss before the paperwork is final.
Published: November 14, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/14/your-money/14money.html

Experienced in Love and Money
Some advice from those with firsthand experience of divorce may help you avoid the financial pitfalls of a split.
Published: November 21, 2009
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/21/your-money/21money.html

Bucks: How to Pick a Divorce Lawyer
Readers weigh in on the best way to pick a divorce lawyer.
Published: November 20, 2009
http://bucks.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/20/how-to-pick-a-divorce-lawyer/

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com WM(160) 12/08/09

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Divorce Cakes

As promised in a previous blog, I am following up on Divorce Cakes. The following web site says it all. Check it out. http://smaknews.com/Entertain-Me/31-awesome-cakes-to-celebrate-your-divorce/
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM(159) 12/1/09

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Divorce and Google ABC

As you know, I am a great fan of Google. I was recently doing a search when I noticed something I should have noticed before. I knew Google suggests searches as you type in words but I never paid attention to what happen if you just type in a letter. I started typing in divorce rate and stopped at the r in rate. I then realized I could get the top searches for the letter r. For fun I typed out divorce and then the first letter of Divorce. The following are my results:

D - Decree, Dance, Documents, Definition, Depression, Deposition Questions, During Pregnancy

I - In - Texas, California, Florida, the Bible, Virginia, Georgia, NC, Colorado

V - Virginia, Video, Visitation Schedule, Virginia Process, Vermont Process, Versus - Annulment, Separation, Legal Separation, Dissolution,

O - Online, Ohio, On Children, Oregon, Online Texas, Of Lady X, Or Separation, Oklahoma, Ohio Laws, Online Free

R - Rate, Records, Rate by States, Records Texas, Rate in2008, Recovery, Rate in America 2008, Records in California, Records in Florida, Rate Statistics

C - Care, Court, Costs, Cakes, California, Child Custody, Checklists, Calculator, Counseling, Court Episodes

E - Effects on Children, Entrance Dance, Effects on Children Statistics, Effects, Etiquette , Essay, Emotional Stages, Emotions, Education Class in Utah, Emotional Support

I was particularly interested in following up Divorce Cakes and Divorce Etiquette. I will probably do a future blog on both.

I also just did what came up for divorce and got the following results:

Divorce - Advice, Papers, Statistics, Process, Rate, Records, Law, Lawyers, Care, Court.

I was disappointed that mediation did not come up but if you type in divorce m, it is the first combination that comes up.

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM(158) 11/24/09

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Divorce and Basic Training

It has been 40 years since I did my basic training at Fort Bragg. I learned many life lessons. Some good some bad. One that I remember is cleaning the barracks each morning. There was a reward if you your platoon did the best job cleaning. The reward was usually being the first platoon when marching so we did not have to eat dust or experience an accordion effect. I remember Gregg Machado polishing the fire extinguisher until it gleamed or trying to control the floor buffer. Very often no matter what we did, we did not win. I am not sure how we found out but we did learn the trick to winning. The drill sergeants would take a grease pencil and put marks in the barracks. If you found and removed the mark you won. If you did not find the mark, no matter how well you cleaned you lost. The lesson for the army, divorce, and life is you must know the rules of the game.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM(157) 11/17/09

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Separating Roles - Wife to Mother, Husband to Father

When clients call to inquire about our divorce mediation services, they are very anxious. During that telephone conversation I try to reassure them and give them hope. The potential clients often feel that all the marriage is not working, but their spouse is a good parent. I usually tell the person that we will help them separate their roles as Husband and Wife and maintain their roles as Mother and Father. They seem to like hearing that and say that is what they would like to happen. In fact that is what happens. The emotion of the marriage is gone and the parties can concentrate on being even better parents.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM(156) 11/10/09

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

But I don’t want a divorce



In most divorces one party does not want the divorce. This almost always leads to the statement, "Why must I (fill in the blank) when I did not want the divorce?" It is a good question but the answer is not one the person wants to hear. It often comes down to who can handle the pain of the marriage the least. The person who asks the questions, rarely asks why did my spouse want the divorce and even if that question is answered the person rarely understand or accepts the answer. The person who does not want the divorce does not understand how he or she may be driving his or her spouse crazy. This is not to say that all the fault really lies with the person who does not want the divorce. In many cases the person who wants the divorce does not realize that his or behavior has triggered the behavior in the other spouse which he or she does not like. Marriage is a dynamic process with each party influencing the behavior of the other party. So what does this all mean in a divorce and more particularly a divorce mediation. It means that the couple should look ahead not back. Discussing how they got to this point is not as important as deciding where they want to be. There is no point in doing a "marital audit" of all the things that went wrong or who was responsible. It is too slippery a slope.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM (155) 11/3/09

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Voodoo Divorce



This goes under the category, I thought I heard of everything in divorce. I was re-posting our listing in Craig’s List and decided to do a search of divorce to see other listings. What to my surprise did I found among many listing for document preparers but the following listing :
Extreme Voodoo Spells by Isaura
Broken-Hearted Emergencies, Immediately Resolved!
My Readings And Spells Are Known To Be 100% Accurate & Effective!
The Answer To Unconditional Ever-lasting Love.. Store & Restore Romance, Passion, Desires
Do you feel powerless to create positive change in your own life?
Are you being given visions, or dreams, or simply intuitions, that you don't understand?
Are you frustrated by a relationship that seems to be going nowhere?
Need to gain back trust, love, or effection?
I have been helping people find their path to true love and happiness for over 16 years through spells and advice. I can guide you to your deepest desires, no matter how difficult they seem to be I can empower you with the strength you need to take on life and love's most difficult challenges.
My next step was to google divorce voodoo and I found 456,000 hits including an Amazon listing for the following:
Voodoo Divorce : Put a Hex on Your Ex Through Preparation and Knowledge by Stephen Rue Esq.
Clearly, some people are not happy with the divorce process or the results of their divorce and want to try something else. Let me know if anyone has tried Voodoo Divorce and what were the results.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM (154) 10/27/09

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Driving and Divorce

I have always been impressed by how nice the people are in Tucson. If you are in a supermarket and you ask a clerk for an item, the clerk will almost always ask you if he or she can take you to the item. However, that all seems to change when they get behind the wheel of a car. In particular no one has patience with the car in front of the them making a left turn. Before the green arrow can be seen the car in back of me is tooting its horn. Many times I am waiting because it is a leading green arrow or the conditions are not safe. Why do people personalities change when they drive a car. This made me realize that people’s personalities often change in different circumstances. Clearly, getting a divorce is one of them. Nice people can be become horrible people when they are getting divorced. I guess couples must pretend they are in a supermarket and not behind the wheel of a car.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM (153) 10/20/09

Friday, October 9, 2009

Project Runway and Divorce


I must admit that I not only watch but enjoy Project Runway. Not only is it fun but Tim Gunn’s catch phrases, "Make it work", "Carry on," and "This worries me" and Heidi Klum’s "One Day "You Are In, Next Day You Are Out" apply to divorce as well as fashion. It was a pleasant surprise when I saw a recent show which was season 6, episode 8 where the challenge was for designers must convert an old wedding dress into a fashionable new look. See more about episode at http://www.mylifetime.com/on-tv/shows/project-runway/project-runway-episodes. This is not only a metaphor for divorce but good advice. When we are working with couples in mediation we tell them this is an opportunity for a fresh start and to allow them to move on.

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM(152) 10/09/09

Friday, October 2, 2009

Expresss Divorce - No Magic Wand

Funny things make me think about divorce. I was recently in the new Whole Foods store in the upper west side of Manhattan. When we went to check out there were not the ordinary lines where you feel like you are gambling to see which clerk you get. Instead there were four color coded lines with two express and two regular. You watched a TV monitor which indicated the number of the check out clerk who was available. I have read of a similar procedure with banks of elevators. Then I read in the September 24, 2009 New York Times about professional tennis’ longest rally. It lasted 29 minutes with 643 shots and took place at a Virginia Slims event between Vicki Nelson and Jean Hepner. How does all of this relate to divorce? It does because many couples want to get divorce over with as soon as possible. They want to quickly rip off the band aide. Couples often come to me and want me to wave the magic wand and get them divorced instanteously. I would be rich if I can could do it. Couples want the express divorce. They want the Whole Foods checkout and they definitely don’t want a 643 shot tennis rally. If couples cooperate in mediation it can be a quicker process. It is up to the couple. I usually tell couples who can’t resolve their case in mediation to do an expedited divorce. I tell them not to spend their time negotiating in a contested divorce but to go directly to trial. It will be less expensive and quicker.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM(151) 10/02/09

Friday, September 25, 2009

Social Security, Marriage and Divorce - A Bonus

This is my 150th blog. I have always been somewhat amused that our social security system encourages multiple marriages. This issue is highlighted in "Divorce and Social Security: A Rocky Marriage," by Eugene Steuerle and Christopher Spiro. They state as follows:

"A serial spouse can leave the public holding the bill for multiple ex-spouses, all of whom could receive full benefits.
Spousal and survivor benefits—which entitle the lower earner of a couple to half the higher earner’s benefit and to all of the benefit if the higher earner dies—were designed in 1939, before divorce was common. For this reason, the original legislation paid little attention to how the breakup of a marriage would affect such benefits. By 1965, however, divorce could not be overlooked, and policymakers included a provision allowing the lower earner to keep his or her benefits upon divorce, provided the marriage had lasted at least 20 years. Eligibility was extended to those with only 10 years of marriage or more in 1977.
When it was first introduced, the divorce provision was a way to protect a small number of lower earners after their marriages ended. Today, far more people are affected by this provision than its designers could have foreseen. Ten percent of U.S. adults are divorced now, whereas only 3 percent were in 1970. This sharp increase should induce policymakers to reexamine some of the idiosyncrasies of the divorce provision. For example:
A marriage shy of 10 years does not count. The selection of 10 years as the length of time a couple must be married before being eligible for spousal and survivor benefits upon divorce is arbitrary.
Divorced people can face a remarriage penalty. Divorced people who remarry before age 60 can lose the spousal or survivor benefit from a previous marriage. When that benefit is greater than the spousal benefit that would result from remarriage, divorced people face a significant disincentive to remarry.
A serial spouse leaves the public holding the bill. A higher earner who has many marriages, each lasting more than 10 years, can generate much more in spousal benefits than a worker who pays the same amount of taxes and marries only once. Thus, taxpayers in general can be forced to subsidize a person who marries and divorces several times, whereas that person bears no responsibility within Social Security for his or her marriages."
http://www.urban.org/publications/309287.html

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 9/25/09

Friday, September 18, 2009

Spending, Marriage and Divorce

I have always been fascinated in handling divorces when I discover the couples have very separate finances. I use to think this was an indicator that the couples would get divorced. This is not always good logic. It may be that I did not see marriages where the couple had separate finances and stayed together. I was reminded of this when I read an article in the August 16, 2009 New York Times by Catherine Rampell entitled, "I Say Spend. You Say No. We’re in Love." See the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/16/weekinreview/16rampell.html. She says that "Despite the old saying "opposites attract," scholars have found that in almost every way imaginable, people tend to choose mates who look, sound and act as they do. But in the area perhaps most fraught with potential conflict — money — somehow, some way, people gravitate toward their polar opposite, a new study says."
She goes on to ask, "Why do people seek out their opposites in spending attitudes? Most likely, what we hate in ourselves, we also hate in other people...."I can see how this might be one of those kinds of seductive differences in the early stages of courtship," said Stephanie Coontz, a professor at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and research director for the Council on Contemporary Families. "Maybe you say to yourself, ‘This guy makes me feel so free,’ or ‘This gal reins me in.’ "
She rightly states that this is unfortunate because spending decisions are a common source of marital conflict and a major contributor to divorce.
What does all this mean? For me it is another good reason to do premarital counseling.

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 9/18/09

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sports and Divorce

It should come as no surprise that many professional athletes get divorced. The August 9, 2009 New York Times article entitled "Taking Vows in a League Blindsided by Divorce" by Greg Bishop discusses this issue. See the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/09/sports/football/09marriage.html. Bishop notes that "inside the Jets’ locker room, James Dearth counts 20 married men among his teammates..suggest 12 to 16 of the married Jets will divorce." He goes on to say "polls, studies and anecdotal evidence suggest that the divorce rate for N.F.L. players is between 60 and 80 percent, which is higher than that of the general population, where nearly half of marriages end in divorce, but comparable to athletes in other sports." He goes on to quote Kris Jenkins, the nose tackle, who lists reasons that football marriages fail: "rampant infidelity, women who target athletes, trophy wives, lifestyles not conducive to marriage and players being surrounded by entourages, which can discourage intimacy." The problem is further agrevated by problems associated with retirement. Bishop notes that "when athletes retire, most face an identity crisis. Many do not retire on their own terms, and once they leave the game, they also leave behind the fame and fortune, the crowds and adoration. Their wives experience a similar loss of status. The dynamic players they married can become passive and withdrawn." What is to be done. The best answer seems to be counseling but the public must change the way we view professional athletes. We must see them more are real people but talented individuals who are not that special. Maybe we should consider paying them less and start treating them like normal people and not celebrities.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 9/11/09

Friday, September 4, 2009

Are You Listening?

People don’t listen well. This is especially true in marriage and divorce. Many people do what I call anticipatory listening. They hear what they think they are going to hear. A possible solution to this problem are two saying my father used. The first comes from the 1955 Danny Kaye movie, "Court Jester." Get it, Got it, Good. The acronym is GIGIG. The other is First you tell them what you are going to tell them, Then you tell them, Then you tell them what you told them. Both of the saying make sure the person listening has a better chance of getting the message. Even when the person hears you, they may not understand. I love the old Abbot and Costello routine, Whose On First, which illustrates this. I have reprinted it below.

Abbott: Strange as it may seem, they give ball players nowadays very peculiar names.
Costello: Funny names?
Abbott: Nicknames, nicknames. Now, on the St. Louis team we have Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third--
Costello: That's what I want to find out. I want you to tell me the names of the fellows on the St. Louis team.
Abbott: I'm telling you. Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know is on third--
Costello: You know the fellows' names?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: Well, then who's playing first?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: I mean the fellow's name on first base.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The fellow playin' first base.
Abbott: Who.
Costello: The guy on first base.
Abbott: Who is on first.
Costello: Well, what are you askin' me for?
Abbott: I'm not asking you--I'm telling you. Who is on first.
Costello: I'm asking you--who's on first?
Abbott: That's the man's name.
Costello: That's who's name?
Abbott: Yes.

Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, who gets the money?
Abbott: Every dollar of it. And why not, the man's entitled to it.
Costello: Who is?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: So who gets it?
Abbott: Why shouldn't he? Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.
Costello: Who's wife?
Abbott: Yes. After all, the man earns it.
Costello: Who does?
Abbott: Absolutely.
Costello: Well, all I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name on first base?
Abbott: Oh, no, no. What is on second base.
Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second.
Abbott: Who's on first!

Costello: St. Louis has a good outfield?
Abbott: Oh, absolutely.
Costello: The left fielder's name?
Abbott: Why.
Costello: I don't know, I just thought I'd ask.
Abbott: Well, I just thought I'd tell you.
Costello: Then tell me who's playing left field?
Abbott: Who's playing first.
Costello: Stay out of the infield! The left fielder's name?
Abbott: Why.
Costello: Because.
Abbott: Oh, he's center field.
Costello: Wait a minute. You got a pitcher on this team?
Abbott: Wouldn't this be a fine team w i t h o u t a pitcher?
Costello: Tell me the pitcher's name.
Abbott: Tomorrow.

Costello: Now, when the guy at bat bunts the ball--me being a good catcher--I want to throw the guy out at first base, so I pick up the ball and throw it to who?
Abbott: Now, that's he first thing you've said right.
Costello: I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!
Abbott: Don't get excited. Take it easy.
Costello: I throw the ball to first base, whoever it is grabs the ball, so the guy runs to second. Who picks up the ball and throws it to what. What throws it to I don't know. I don't know throws it back to tomorrow--a triple play.
Abbott: Yeah, it could be.
Costello: Another guy gets up and it's a long ball to center.
Abbott: Because.
Costello: Why? I don't know. And I don't care.
Abbott: What was that?
Costello: I said, I DON'T CARE!
Abbott: Oh, that's our shortstop!

What listening tools work for you? Do you have any suggestions on listening tools?
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 9/4/09

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Notebook - Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying

For many years, we have had a notebook in our waiting room aptly labeled "Waiting Room Reading." It is a collection of articles about mediation, divorce, and us and other material of interest to our clients. I don’t sit in the waiting room too often and had not read it lately. I recently read the notebook and discovered the articles again. It is a source of lots of material for our blog which will be under the heading of "The Notebook." Keep watching for them. The first article that caught my eye was an article from the December 17, 2006, New York Times entitled "Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying." The article can be seen at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/17/fashion/weddings/17FIELDBOX.html but it is not long so I am reprinting the entire article here.

"Relationship experts report that too many couples fail to ask each other critical questions before marrying. Here are a few key ones that couples should consider asking:
1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?
2) Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?
3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?
4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?
5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?
6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?
7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?
8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?
9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?
10) Do we like and respect each other’s friends?
11) Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?
12) What does my family do that annoys you?
13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?
14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?
15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?"

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 8/26/09

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Netflix and Marriage

I previously did a blog in which I suggested two TV remotes. Now with more and more people using Netflix, the two remote solution does not solve the control issues. What to watch was never solved with two remotes. In an article in the March 29, 2009 issue of the New York Times by Michael Wilson and entitled, "Hey, Who Ordered Gigi?" many of the Netflix problems for couples is discussed. See the entire article at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/fashion/29netflix.html
Wilson say, the shared Netflix queue is the new trench on the front lines of American marriage. He goes on to say, " Men and women from perfectly happy partnerships report their own dysfunctional cohabitation within the confines of the queue. Once upon a time, these sorts of disagreements were sorted out in the aisles of a video store, before a movie was selected. Now, when the conversation begins, it’s already too late. ‘It comes down to who gets the queue,’ said Michelle Newton, 37, a homemaker and mother in Leland, N.C. ‘Let’s say there’s a couple things I want to see," she said. In that case, she will sneak into the queue and move her movie to the top, often dashing the hopes of her husband, Grant, a reactor operator at a power plant, at the last moment. ‘My husband had looked at the mail and thought a guy flick was coming in, and it’s a chick flick,’ Ms. Newton said of a recent dust-up. ‘He’ll go back through and move stuff back up the queue. It’s who keeps up with the queue, as awful as that sounds.’ They recently cut back from a two-disc $13.99 monthly subscription to the austerity plan of one disc at a time, $8.99, putting all the more pressure on who wins the battle of the queue.
The solution may be two televisions with earphones. This is a lot easier than my idea of a split screen in movie theaters.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 8/19/09

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tucson Mediates

Many mediators are interested in changing the culture of dispute resolution. Some of us have gotten together to promote mediation. One of the first things we did was to set up a web site. It is called http://www.tucsonmediates.com/. The web site discusses mediation and list mediators by specialty. We hope it will make people more aware of their dispute resolution options. Check it out and let me know what you think!

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 8/11/09

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Divorce and Your Health

Tara Parker-Pope, recently wrote an interesting column in the August 4, 2009, New York Times entitled "Divorce, It Seems, Can Make You Ill." You can read the entire article at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/04/health/04well.html She quotes a study which says, "When your spouse is getting sick and about to die or your marriage is getting bad and about to die, your stress levels go up," said Linda Waite, a sociology professor at the University of Chicago and an author of the study, which appears in the September issue of The Journal of Health and Social Behavior. "You’re not sleeping well, your diet gets worse, you can’t exercise, you can’t see your friends. It’s a whole package of awful events."
I have always felt that stress is related to ones health. Certainly, divorce is on of life’s more stressful events. Ms. Parker-Pope discusses whether is it better to be divorced or stay in a bad marriage. I have always felt it is better to have a good divorce rather than a bad marriage and stress is bad for children.
Ms. Parker-Pope sees both sides of the issues. She goes on to say, "None of this suggests that spouses should stay in a bad marriage for the sake of health. Marital troubles can lead to physical ones, too...."‘I would argue that if you can’t fix a marriage you’re better off out of it," said Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, an Ohio State scientist who is an author of much of the research. "With a divorce you’re disrupting your life, but a long-term acrimonious marriage also is very bad.’"
Either way, it is always a good idea to manage your stress. I firmly believe there is less stress in mediation than in litigation.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 8/5/09

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dear Abby - Notice of Divorce

Believe it not I enjoy reading Dear Abby. I read it each morning after Doonesbury. I like the following exchange about divorce:
"Dear Abby: How does one share the news of an impending divorce with friends and family? Due to our financial circumstances and the particularly amicable nature of our breakup, my husband and I still live together and we will probably continue this arrangement for a while, so there aren’t a lot of obvious indicators. I hate the thought of the news being passed through the local grapevine as nasty – and potentially untrue – gossip. How do other folks manage it? – Soon-To-Be Divorcee in Louisiana
Dear Soon-To-Be Divorcee: Here’s how: by presenting a united front. The first people to hear the news should be your parents. Then inform other family members and friends. The message you need to convey is: "The two of us have agreed to end our marriage. While this may come as a surprise to all of you, our decision is mutual. While we care for each other and intend to remain friends, we no longer want to be husband and wife. If you love us as we know you do, please do not ask for further details because we both would rather not discuss it at this time." If anyone should be insensitive enough to question you further, your response should be unanimous: "We’d rather not talk about it."
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 7/29/09

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rereading Getting to Yes

When I get a new computer or computer program, I read the manual but it is not always meaningful. If I try it out and then come back to the manual, the manual is more meaningful. I found the experience also helpful with improving my mediation skills. Many years ago when I started mediating, I read "Getting to Yes" by Roger Fisher and William Ury. I recently reread the book and I found it very helpful. In particular I liked their following four basis points of principled negotiations.

People: Separate the people from the problem.
Interests: Focus on interests, not positions.
Options: Generate a variety of possibilities before deciding what to do.
Criteria: Insist that the result be based on some objective standard.

In particular I find focusing on interests no positions as very important. The book uses a variation on one of my favorite examples.


"Yet all too often negotiators end up like the proverbial children who quarreled over an orange. After they finally agreed to divide the orange in half, the first child took one half, ate the fruit, and threw away the peel, while the other threw away the fruit and used the peel from the second half in baking a cake. All too often negotiators "leave money on the table" - they fail to reach agreement when they might have, or the agreement they do reach could have been better for each side. Too many negotiations end up with half an orange for each side instead of the whole fruit for one and the whole peel for the other. Why?"

If the children had used interest based problem solving, they would have had twice as much of the part of the orange they wanted.

I am going to use more oranges and interest based problem solving in my mediation!

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 7/22/09

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mediation is hot, hot, hot


It’s summer and hot and mediation has suddenly become hot! Just in the month of July, we’ve all heard about President Arias of Costa Rica mediating the dispute between the old and new Presidents of Honduras,
(http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/08/world/americas/08honduras.html) we’ve heard Tom Friedman, the New York Times op-ed columnist call for the various ethnic groups in Iraq meet immediately with a mediator to reach decisions on allocating oil wealth, (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/15/opinion/15friedman.html) and even the editorial board of the newspaper in our home town, little ole Tucson, AZ, has encouraged the City Council and a developer with whom a downtown development deal had been reached and then not reached, to sit down immediately with a mediator. (See editorial on page 16 of the July 7, 2009, issue of the Arizona Dailey Star.
Wow! Mediation has become the buzz word of this summer. Finally, the media is telling the public what mediators have been saying for years-mediation is quick, confidential, and inexpensive when performed by an experienced mediation professional. Mediators know that parties need to tell their stories, not just state their positions. Experienced mediators know how to move the mediation forward from telling stories to cooperative problem-solving.
So, Jon and Kate of Jon & Kate Plus 8 fame, be cool this summer and find a mediator who can mediate your divorce. There are lots of great mediators in Pennsylvania where you live, who can get you and your kids through this difficult time with sensitivity, confidentiality, and knowledge of the legal, financial, and psychological issues associated with divorce. That the cost of mediation is so much lower than litigation is added value.

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson , Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ MGM 7/15/09

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Honeydew or Honeydo?

At a recent Red Cross Bloodmobile, I was chatting with another donor. (I finally got my four gallon pin after being differed for visiting Mexico! It was her first time.) We were kidding that I would not be able to do any chores at home the rest of the day. She asked me what chores I had. When I told her, she said they were on my honeydo list. I thought she was talking about honeydew melons but she explained to me what a honeydo list was. As usual, I googled honeydo and found the following at http://everything2.com/title/honeydo%2520list :

"Almost any man (and some women) who has been married or involved in some type of long-term cohabitating relationship has had experience with one of these. A honeydo list is that list of things that your significant other (usually wife/girlfriend) has put together for you to do. The name obviously comes from "honey, do this...honey, do that..." etc. Oftentimes the author of the list will make one of these when said author is going to be out and about and leaving the significant other at home. "Do this while I'm gone, please."
Things that might potentially appear on a honeydo list:
Take out the garbage
Fix that loose doorknob (could potentially be any doorknob in and around the house)
Do some laundry
Fix that broken drawer
Rake the leaves
Shovel the snow off the driveway
Feed the pet dog/cat/fish/bird/hampster/python/tarantula/Richard Simmons
Mow the lawn
Tape that soap opera I watch, pause through commercials if you can
Do some dishes
Clean out all the ashtrays
Get rid of rancid leftovers in the fridge
Water the flowers
Return those DVDs/Videos (they're lying about that whole end of late fees thing!)
Fix the loose board on the floor in the den
Unclog the garbage disposal
Go get some milk, we're out
Pick up some bread, too, the low carb stuff please
Pick your dirty clothes off of the bedroom floor
Pick up the dry cleaning
Bury that body, it's starting to smell
Clean out and organize the junk drawer"

So what does this have to do with divorce or mediation? Think about the following: Do you appreciate tasks your significant other does on the honeydo list? Who will do these tasks if you are divorced?
As always, you can post a comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website or participate in our Presidential poll located below the directions. WM 7/2/09

Thursday, June 25, 2009

British Divorce and Bad Financial Guesses


It was interesting to read an article in the May 26, 2009 New York Times by Landon Thomas, Jr. entitled, "For Wealthy British Husbands, ‘Mr. Tooth Calling’ Brings a Chill." Divorce attorneys seem very much the same on both sides of the Atlantic or as they say the "Pond" as well as anywhere in the United States See the entire article at
www.nytimes.com/2009/05/26/business/global/26divorce.html What I found most interesting in the article was the discussion of one of his cases where the former husband tried to abrogate the divorce settlement because he called the market wrong. This is happening everywhere with the Madoff problems and the fall of housing prices. In a divorce it may now be better to edge your bets and share the potential upside and downside.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 6/25/09

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Divorce Rate and the Economy



Andrew J. Cherlin, author of "The Marriage-Go-Round: The State of Marriage and the Family in America Today," wrote an excellent OpEd piece entitled "Married with Bankruptcy" in the May 29, 2009 New York Times. You can see the entire essay
at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/29/opinion/29cherlin.html. Cherlin says that "in times of economic crisis, Americans turn to their families for support. If the Great Depression is any guide, we may see a drop in our sky-high divorce rate. But this won’t necessarily represent an increase in happy marriages, nor is the trend likely to last. In the long run, the Depression weakened American families, and the current crisis will probably do the same." He goes on to say that "But history suggests that this response will be temporary. By 1940 the divorce rate was higher than before the Depression, as if a pent-up demand was finally being satisfied. The Depression destroyed the inner life of many married couples, but it was years before they could afford to file for divorce. Today’s economic slump could well generate a similar backlog of couples whose relationships have been irreparably ruined. So it is only when the economy is healthy again that we will begin to see just how many fractured families have been created."
Many divorce professional are struggling. If Cherlin is right, this is only temporary. We must prepare for the pent up demand and the flood of cases that will come.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 6/18/09

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Divorce, Children, and Religion

Religious issues often come up in divorce cases. It is not unusual to have a provision in a divorce agreement about a religious divorce or how the children will be raised religiously. The Arizona Court of Appeals recently ruled that "one parent in a divorce case can't block a decision by a former spouse to send their child to a religious school." The case was discussed in detail in an article in the Arizona Daily Star by Howard Fischer. See the entire article at
http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/294901. Fischer said that "the judges rejected arguments by Gerald Romine that the push by his wife to have their children get a religious education interferes with his constitutional right to direct their education and upbringing. What's more, the judges said an objecting parents even can be forced to pay the child's tuition at the religious school. The only real issue, Judge Daniel Barker said is what is in the best interest of the children."
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 6/11/09

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Process, Content, Results

I have always been interested in the concepts of process, content or result. When we do co-mediation and are asked why, we tell the couple that I am an attorney and my co-mediator is a psychologist and the attorneys are result oriented and psychologists are process oriented. When we do comediation, the couple gets the benefit of both. I have also discussed process vs. content with a good friend who is a psychiatrist. He believes that in marriages one partner is often process oriented and one is content oriented. It is better to focus on process in a marriage and in a divorce. David Foreman discusses this in an article entitled , " Marriage Counseling Session - Process vs. Content." See entire article at
http://ezinearticles.com/?Marriage-Counseling-Session---Process-vs.-Content&id=959790
He states, "couples are completely involved in content when the real trouble is the process - the underlying patterns of behavior and attitude that are tearing at the fabric of the relationship. The content is always changing - when it's not the dishes it's why one partner ignored the other at a party - but the process remains the same. It's what's at the root of their problems. They thought it was about stacked dishes. But they can't even address the issue of the dishes until they address the way they speak to each other. If you leave dirty dishes in the sink you don't deserve to be put down. This is not about dishes, it's about attachment and the pain that happens when that attachment is broken.
Process is how things are said and how people react and feel. The content is usually irrelevant. Care about process and your relationship will grow."
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 6/4/09

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Divorce Health Insurance

Health insurance is one of the big issues in divorce but couples don’t always think about until they come in to see us. The problem is one of the partners can’t continue on the existing family health insurance plan. The person can always get COBRA (few people know this acronym stands for Comprehensive Budget Reduction Act and the letter have nothing to do with health insurance) coverage for 18 to 36 months depending on the plan. The cost is still significant and there is a problem with preexisting conditions or conditions that develop during the 18 or 36 months. An article in the May 16, 2009 New York Times by Lesley Alderman entitled "Buying Health Insurance Begins With Homework" is an excellent discussion of some options other than COBRA. You can read the entire article at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/16/health/16patient.html. It is the same advice we usually give clients. I keep watch what is happening in Washington about health insurance and hope they fix the problem.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 5/28/09

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Divorce Graffiti

When I was about 20 years old, I visited my sister in California. My first trip west of the Mississippi. While I was there I purchased a small book for $1.00 called "Graffiti, Selected Scawls from Bathroom Walls" collected by Robert Reisner. I recently came across the book. I looked in the table of contents to see if there were any mediation or divorce or marriage graffiti. Surprisingly, there were none. The closest was the Love topic. It in included, "Love thy neighbor but don’t get caught," "Chaste makes waste, " and "If it moves, fondle it." I went to my next source, Google, and was suprised not to find anything other than, "Two very rich people got divorced, and their lawyers lived happily ever after." I can only speculate why there is no Divorce Graffiti. Has the internet replaced the bathroom wall? Has graffiti become an spray art form and divorce does not work on a subway car? If you have seen some divorce graffiti, share is with me or let me know why you think there is so little divorce graffiti.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 5/21/09

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Divorce Script


Recently, I was asked to do a presentation at an organization’s meeting. I was surprised to get an email saying that I would be getting my script sent to me. I emailed back and asked if there would be teleprompter too? Low and behold, a few days later I got a script of the remarks of everyone speaking at the meeting! I printed it out in a 24 point and was ready to go. I casually mentioned this incident to a friend who advised me that lots of organizations are now doing this. As always I wanted to apply what I learned to divorce mediation. I wondered what it would be like if we had a script for each divorce? Would it make the process easier or harder? We probably will never know.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 5/14/09

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mediation Bumper Stickers


My last blog about divorce bumper stickers lead to me to check for mediation bumper stickers. I found the following:

Mediate Don’t Litigate (I always wondered where this phrase came from. The above picture explains it was Einstein!)
Trust Me, I’m a Mediator
I Love Mediators
I am in Training to be a Mediator
Real Men Become Mediators
Peace Love Mediation
Eat Sleep Mediation
Mediators Kick Ass
Let’s Talk About Mediation
Mediators Rule
Mediators Do it until Everyone Is Satisfied
Mediators Do it in Separate Rooms
Mediators Do it with a Flip Chart
Mediators Do it with an Assistant
Mediators Do it Consensually
Mediators Do it Confidentially
Mediators Won't Tell Anyone about it Afterwards
Mediators Won't Do it for You, but They'll Help You Do it for Yourself

There seems to be a difference between divorce bumper stickers and mediation bumper stickers that follow the differences between litigated divorced and mediated divorces. In general the mediation bumper stickers talk about how great mediators are and less about the process. The last few are sexual in a cute way.
Let me know if you have seen some other mediation bumper stickers.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 4/30/09

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Divorce Bumper Stickers





As I was driving today, I saw a bumper sticker which said "I Love My Wife. It made me think, are there divorce bumper stickers? As always, I googled "divorce bumper stickers." Above are some of the bumper stickers I found online.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 4/23/09

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Divorce Handbook

Wouldn’t it be great if marriages came with instructions, rules or a handbook? Arizona actually has a booklet called the "Marriage Handbook." You can get it online at https://www.azdes.gov/marriage/pdf/PPP-1038AHBPPD.pdf or in person at the court service centers. As is often the case, I did not realize how many such publications existed until I Googled "Divorce Handbook" and got 16,700 hits. Now I wonder what is the impact of these books? Unfortunately, it does not seem to be much. This made me wonder how can you educate people about divorce and if you can at all. People do not seem to be interested in a topic until it directly effects them and by then it is often too late. What do you think?

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 4/16/09

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Out of Control Divorces

Connecticut seems to get more than its share of out of control divorces. I don’t know if it is its proximity to New York or something else but as a former "Nutmegger" or that I know most of the attorneys or that I am a Huskie basketball fan, I am still fascinated. The latest is the Douglas-David vs. David divorce. It has gotten lots of headlines because of the Wife’s claim that she needs $53,000 per week alimony and the $43,000,000 prenuptial agreement is not enough. She wants more of the $329 million.

Most people don’t realize how public the divorce docket is. You can go to http://civilinquiry.jud.ct.gov/DispDetail.asp?DocNum=HHD-FA-07-4032144-S And see all the motions filed on the case. It is amazing in a case like this how many motions have been filed. There were 82 docket entries from August 2007 to March of 2009. There are seven appearances by attorneys or law firms.

Tracey Cohen wrote about the divorce at http://www.walletpop.com/blog/2009/03/19/could-you-live-on-53-000-a-week/?icid
She said, "It's hard for to feel sorry for a woman who is receiving a $43 million divorce settlement, and is still claiming that she can't possibly survive on such a small sum of money. Marie Douglas-David and former investment banker George David are getting a divorce, and of course, fighting over the money. His net worth is estimated at $329 million. They were married in 2002, and for doing less than 7 years of hard time, Marie wants a lump sum of $100 million and $130,000 a month alimony. That's $1.56 million a year in alimony, plus that nice chunk of change up front. The problem is that in 2005, in the middle of the marriage (after they had a number of break-ups and reconciliations), Marie signed an agreement saying she'd get $43 million when they divorced. Of course, George is a heartless bastard who clearly wants her to starve, because she can't possibly live on only $43 million! The 36 year-old says her weekly expenses are over $53,000, and those must be paid! The weekly expenses include maintaining four homes (one on Park Avenue, one in Sweden), $4,500 of clothing, $1,000 for hair and skin treatments, $8,000 for travel, and more."

I often wonder if a case like this could have been mediated. What do you think?

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 4/8/09

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Divorce is a Luxury in a Bad Economy 2

There are articles almost every week about divorce in bad economic times. I have been meaning to note the New York Times article on December 29, 2008 by J. Emilio Flores entitled "Breaking Up Is Harder to Do After Housing Fall" that I found particularly interesting. You can read the entire article at
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/30/us/30divorce.html?partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
One of my favorite lines is, "With nearly one in six homes worth less than the mortgage owed on it, according to Moody’s Economy.com, divorce lawyers and financial advisers around the country say the logistics of divorce have been turned around. "We used to fight about who gets to keep the house," said Gary Nickelson, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. "Now we fight about who gets stuck with the dead cow."
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 3/29/09

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No Fault Divorce in Arizona

Just another of our many disagreements.
He wants a no fault divorce whereas
I would prefer to have the bastard crucified.
In about 1972 there was a movement to make divorce no-fault. Some states left fault in order to get a divorce or as a basis for determining the results of divorce. For example, New York requires fault to get a divorce but not to determine outcomes. Connecticut is just the opposite. Arizona did not require either. However, that may change. An article in the March 2, 2009, Arizona Star by Howard Fischer reports that "Adultery may be making a comeback in Arizona's divorce courts, along with a few other fault-finding concepts banished more than 30 years ago." See the entire article at
http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/282402.php. He goes on to say "Legislation being pushed by Sen. Linda Gray, R-Glendale, would allow either party in a divorce case to introduce evidence of "misconduct" by the other spouse. The change made by SB 1206 would not affect whether a judge grants a divorce. The sole grounds for a court making that decision would remain that the union is "irretrievably broken." But it would remove a prohibition against judges considering "marital misconduct" when it comes to child support, dividing up community property and alimony, or spousal maintenance." The article goes on to quote Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Colleen McNally, who presides over the Family Court Division who questioned the need for a change. Judge McNally said, "the law already allows a court to consider "waste," where one party has burned up a marital community's assets...When you get to the point of child support, I don't understand that connection. If nothing else, the legislation, if enacted, would turn what are supposed to be fairly routine court hearings into longer, more-involved arguments. You're really inviting the parties to start bringing up who had the affair first and all these other issues It's really going to expand the litigation. What's worse is that those accusations will take away from efforts by Family Court judges to get the parents to focus on the children. Turning hearings on child support into forums for charges and countercharges regarding who was wrong "really has a negative effect on the kids."
What do you think about fault in divorce cases?
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 3/15/09

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Non-Divorce Divorce or Separating without Divorcing

Couples are not getting divorced at the old rate. I realized that couples must be making informal agreements on how they will proceed with their lives. I assumed this would be called a non-divorce divorce. I learned a long time ago that someone else has usually come up with this before me. I test this theory with Google. I googled non-divorce divorce and came up with 54,000,000 results. The number four result was an article entitled "The Non-Divorce Divorce" by California attorney Kayla Boucher Horacek. . You can see the article at
http://ezinearticles.com/?The-andquot;Non-Divorceandquot;-Divorce&id=495010#. Her contact information is Kayla Boucher Horacek, c/o Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer, 201 South Lake Avenue, Suite 700, Pasadena, California, 91101, 626-683-8113 http://www.PasadenaLawOffice.com
I have decided that we can help these couples by mediating their no-divorce. Over the years, I have already done this with couples who did not want to get divorce for emotional or health insurance reasons. I look forward to mediating more of these cases.
Kayla has said it better than I could so I have reprinted the entire article below.


The "non-divorce" divorce is a mutual verbal agreement between two married individuals who want to keep their marriage in tact, but fully accept that the relationship is over. The goal is to feel divorced while continuing to live together and not get a divorce. In other words, the couple does not want to go through the divorce process, but they don't want to reconcile either. They don't want to hire attorneys, file papers, argue over custody or support, lessen the time their children see either of them, or lose one-half of their financial assets. So, they decide to remain as if they are married. They live in the same family home as roommates, participate in their children's lives as they had before they wanted a divorce, and maintain/preserve the marital estate.
Of course, most couples who attempt the "non-divorce" divorce are those who have children and/or those that have been married a considerable period of time and do not feel it is beneficial to disrupt the community on an emotional or financial level. Or at least they feel that the costs of a divorce clearly overshadow the costs of remaining together-even when there is no love left.
I cannot speak to the negative psychological effects that could result from this "solution." However, I can certainly speak to the negative legal effects and problems that could arise.
First, if you never decide to separate in family law terms (that is, one party making a conscious decision that the marriage is irrevocably over and communicating the intention to end the marriage), there is never a date of separation. The "date of separation" is important in family law because it marks the end of the community. From that date there is no longer a collection of community assets or community debts-instead, a spouse's separate property and debts begin to accumulate, as they did before marriage. Your spouse will continue to be entitled to one-half of all of your property and you will be liable for one-half of your spouse's debt. Therefore, if you are both managing your finances separately without full disclosure and mutual agreement, you could be adversely affected. What's more, your spouse will continue to be entitled to all benefits they were when you were happily married, including possible rights to the family home, life insurance, devises/gifts from a will or trust, and health insurance, to name a few.
The determination of a long term marriage (which can yield indefinite spousal support) is also associated with the date of separation. For example, if your marriage is eight years in duration, and you attempt a non-divorce for 3 years, followed by a real dissolution, the court's characterization of the marriage as long term will probably be contested and require substantial litigation.
Living as financially independent roommates could also present a problem with expenses. Unless you agree to distribute both of your respective incomes in a way that benefits the community, one spouse may not have enough to support his or her lifestyle. Regardless, if you are still residing in the family home with your spouse, the courts will not grant any spousal or child support. Since you have avoided going to the courts entirely, a support award is virtually impossible anyway.)
In the same way, no child custody or visitation orders will ever be established. This means that after attempting the "non-divorce" divorce for a year or so, and after resorting to the real thing, a parent may have a hard time making a case that he or she should be the primary custodian. This is because even if one parent is the primary caregiver during the non-divorce, this fact will be hard to establish if both parents were living in the same home all the while.
For the aforementioned reasons, the non-divorce presents significant legal problems. Spouses who try this "solution" cannot be guaranteed that one spouse will not attempt to obtain a legal divorce down the road. If this occurs, a spouse will not be afforded some of the protections that a traditional divorce provides. In order to ensure that you make an educated decision, you should speak to an attorney who specializes in family law matters. He or she can point you to two potential solutions-a post-nuptial agreement or a legal separation. Both options will cost some amount of fees and time in mundane paperwork, but will allow you to live whatever lifestyle you want with protection and peace of mind.


I also found the following video:
http://video.aol.com/video-detail/getting-a-non-divorce-divorce/280315152
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 3/8/09

Friday, February 27, 2009

Marital Torts





A recent article in the February 11, 2009 New York Times by Joshua Robinson and Jack Curry entitled "Legal Dispute Hinges on Whether Alomar Has H.I.V." reminded me that we often include in our divorce agreements language stating whether the couple waives a post judgement claim for a marital tort. You can read the article at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/sports/baseball/12alomar.html. I use marital tort as a euphemism for "did one of them give the other AIDS or a STD." It is not a type of dessert. It is an important issue but an awkward issue to bring up. It raises an issue of infidelity that might not have otherwise come up. I started raising the issue after I heard of a case in which a party discovered that their former spouse gave them AIDS. In that case a party made a claim against the former spouse for giving the party AIDS. The former spouse successfully raised the defense that the party who got AIDS had released the claim in the general release paragraph of the divorce agreement. Divorced spouses also bring tort claims against each other for misconduct that occurred during the marriage As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 2/27/09

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Valentine's Day 2009

The logo for my Divorce TV show is the above broken heart. Since the shows originates from Tucson, Arizona, I always thought it would be appropriate to have a cactus shaped heart. I pondered how I could get one and even thought of cutting up a cactus. I was pleasantly surprised to find the following heart shaped cactus in the Arizona Star on Valentines Day.



It then occurred to me that I should have used Google Images to find a heart shaped cactus. When I googled it I found lots of them. See them at http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=heart+cactus&btnG=Search+Images&gbv=2
I am now planning to use the heart shaped cactus as part of the introduction to the show.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. Learn more about mediation at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 2/22/09

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Divorce, Pensions, Beneficiary, and the United States Supreme Court

Divorce related cases don’t often make it to the United States Supreme Court but Kennedy vs. Plan Administrator for Dupont Saving and Investment Plan did! It is a important reminder to follow up the actions taken in a divorce.
The Supreme Court stated in its syllabus that "The decedent, William Kennedy, participated in his employer’s savings and investment plan (SIP), with power both to designate a beneficiary to receive the funds upon his death and to replace or revoke that designation as prescribed by the plan administrator. Under the terms of the plan, if there is no surviving spouse or designated beneficiary at the time of death, distribution is made as directed by the estate’s executor or administrator. Upon their marriage, William designated Liv Kennedy his SIP beneficiary and named no contingent beneficiary. Their subsequent divorce decree divested Liv of her interest in the SIP benefits, but William did not execute a document removing Liv as the SIP beneficiary. On William’s death, petitioner Kari Kennedy, his daughter and the executrix of his Estate, asked for the SIP funds to be distributed to the Estate, but the plan administrator relied on William’s designation form and paid them to Liv. The Estate filed suit, alleging that Liv had waived her SIP benefits in the divorce and thus respondents, the employer and the SIP plan administrator (together, DuPont), had violated ERISA by paying her. As relevant here, the District Court entered summary judgment for the Estate, ordering DuPont to pay the benefits to the Estate. The Fifth Circuit reversed, holding that
Liv’s waiver was an assignment or alienation of her interest to the Estate barred by §1056(d)(1)
Held:
Because Liv did not attempt to direct her interest in the SIPbenefits to the Estate or any other potential beneficiary, her waiver did not constitute an assignment or alienation rendered void under §1056(d)(1)."
You can read the entire opinion at
http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/08pdf/07-636.pdf
If you don’t want these results make sure you follow up what you agreed to in your divorce.
As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. You can get more information at our web site at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 2/15/09

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Elder Mediation

The Center for Divorce Mediation & Alternative Dispute Resolution, Inc. also specializes in Elder Mediation. Elder Mediation is a new approach to helping seniors and their adult children resolve life-cycle issues. We encourage families having trouble with elder issues to use mediation to reach a binding agreement resolving those issues, thereby strengthening the family. The family jointly hires a member of the Center to act not as a lawyer or counselor for either, but as a mediator. During a series of meetings the family works with the mediator to identify their issues and work out a mutually satisfactory plan to address them, including exchange of information and whatever sharing of responsibility they consider best for them. Each family member is free to consult with a lawyer or other advisor at any time, but the family members are encouraged to consult with a neutral financial planner or other expert, rather than hiring dueling experts. The process is designed to help the family, with the assistance of the mediator, approach their dispute as a problem to be solved through brainstorming by all participants.
Typical issues addressed are: the selection of care giver for the elderly parent; inheritance or estate planning issues; financial decisions such as who will manage the finances for the elderly parent; the wish for an elderly parent to continue driving despite multiple auto accidents; residence issues, medical treatment decisions, and guardianship/conservator issues.
Once an agreement is reached, the Center will write a draft of a Mediation Agreement for each member of the family to review with his or her legal advisor before signing the Agreement.
Elder Mediation works only if the family is willing to make a good faith effort to reach agreement. There is no legal obligation to agree. Any commitment to mediation and to make the resulting agreement work comes voluntarily from the family.
The process of negotiating and writing a legal agreement can strengthen a family. A stressful, destructive pattern of unresolved conflict can be transformed into supportive, creative problem solving of difficult life-cycle issues through mediation.

Read further about Elder Mediation in an article in Lawyer’s USA at
http://www.lawyersweeklyusa.com/index.cfm/archive/view/id/430813#



As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. You can get more information at our web site at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 2/8/09

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tips for Getting a Divorce in a Bad Economy Part 1


As the economy worsens couples contemplating divorce face even more problems than normal. We estimate it costs 30% more to live separately than together. Many couples cannot afford to get divorced. I have compiled the following "tips" to help them. Please send me your suggestions.
1. Try Harder: See if you can save your marriage. Try marital mediation or marital counseling. It may be covered by your health insurance. If not, your religious affiliation or local non profit organizations may have free counseling. We offer marital mediation. See more at our web site at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com./
2. Use Mediation: It will not only cost you less to get the divorce but will probably save you money in the long run. You can get more information at our web site at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/
3. Represent Yourself: Most courts allow you to represent yourself in a divorce. It is called either pro per or pro se. The courts either have kits you can use or can refer you to the place you can get them. They are online in Arizona at http://www.sc.pima.gov/?tabid=119 . The court web site also has a Family Law quick guide at http://www.sc.pima.gov/?tabid=113. There are also many books available which will walk you thru the process.
4. Consider Bankruptcy: Consult with a bankruptcy attorney to see if bankruptcy is best for you. It is probably better if both husband and wife file. If you don’t want to file for bankruptcy, try negotiating with your creditors.
5. Use One Attorney to Prepare Documents and Another Attorney to Review Them: One attorney cannot represent both of you but if you both agree on all the issues, one attorney can represent one of you and prepare all the documents. I suggest the person not represented by that attorney get his or her own attorney to review the documents. It should not cost much to do this.
6. Consider Creative Housing Solutions: Even before the recent economic problems couples did this. If your house allows it live in separate areas of the house and work out a schedule when you do not have to be in the house at the same time. You should consider what impact this has on your children. Move in with a parent or friend or house sit. I have not heard of anyone doing this but it might work. Consider a Kate and Allie living arrangement. This is named after the 1984 television show in which Allie Lowell divorces her husband and gets custody of their two children, and moves in with her best friend, Kate McArdle, also divorced and raising a daughter. They form a unique kind of family unit. The show starred Susan St. James and Jane Curtin. In the ultimate version of this show the husbands could live together and the wives could live together!
7. Short Sales: Negotiate a short sales, in which the bank agrees to cut the loan amount to the sale price.
8. Disaster Scenarios: Have your divorce agreement include "disaster scenarios", automatic adjustments to support payment schedules a party loses their jobs. Job loss adjustments should be temporary and might include a postponement rather than an elimination of support.

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. If you have any suggestions on how to divorce in bad economic times, please comment. You can get more information at our web site at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 2/1/09

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lights, Camera, Action: Divorce TV

The Association for Conflict Resolution’s Family Mediation News published in the Fall 2008 issue an article by me entitled, "Lights, Camera, Action: Divorce TV." It discusses how I produce my own public access television program about divorce. You can see the entire article at

As always, you can post any comment about this blog, Divorce Mediation, or Tucson Arizona by following the directions at the right in the green column or at the bottom of this website. You can get more information at our web site at http://www.center-divorce-mediation.com/ WM 1/25/09