Recently in Divorce Category
A no-fault divorce means that spouses can end their marriage by mutual consent--or allows one spouse to proceed with the divorce whether the other spouse agrees or not, but without having to accuse the other spouse of cruelty, adultery, abandonment, or imprisonment. The old fault rules meant that even spouses who both wanted a divorce, and who could otherwise proceed amicably, had to lie in court about one or the other committing these bad acts.
The new law takes effect September 1, 2010.
A New York Times opinion piece this week illustrates the most common scenario: contentedly married spouses encountering the certainty of future health care costs that they simply can't afford discover that divorce is the only way to avoid financial ruin. In this case, a middle-aged husband has early-onset dementia, with a prognosis of degenerative mental function until he becomes unable to care for himself and must be institutionalized. On the advice of a social worker, the hospital where he receives care, and an attorney, his wife filed for divorce. The alternative was losing all of their joint and her separate assets as his health care gradually becomes more expensive. The wife continues to live with and care for her husband, but legally, they are not married and she is not responsible for his medical costs.
Medical costs are by far the leading cause of personal bankruptcy, according to a recent study in the American Journal of Medicine.
It's long been known that married people are healthier than non-married people, but this University of Chicago study concludes that losing a spouse can contribute to health problems that last for the rest of a person's life and aren't mitigated by remarrying. In fact, the never-married people ended up healthier than those who married and then lost a spouse to death or divorce.
On the other hand, it's not healthy to stay in a bad marriage, either. An Ohio State study about the effects of marital strife on healing showed that after an argument, physical wounds took longer to heal.
I knew it! Baseball is a healthy, positive outlet that is good for people -- and their marriages. Business Week reports that a recent study sponsored by the University of Denver Center for Marital and Family Studies concludes that cities that wanted, and got, major league baseball teams had a 28 percent lower divorce rate than cities that wanted but didn't get teams.
Here's an example: In 1990, Denver's divorce rate was six divorces per 1,000 people. By 2000 -- seven years after the Colorado Rockies arrived in Denver -- the divorce rate had declined 20 percent to 4.2 per 1,000 people. (During the same period, the national divorce rate dropped only 15 percent.) Similar results were found in Tampa Bay (17 percent drop following the Rays' arrival) and Phoenix (30 percent drop when the Diamondbacks took up residence at the BOB).
Howard Markman, a psychology professor at the University of Denver, thought the correlation might be because "[g]oing to a baseball game and not talking about relationship issues, but rather having fun and talking as friends, is one of the ways to protect and preserve love."
I never heard it better told -- and maybe this is one reason my parents just celebrated their 50th anniversary. For me, it's just one in a long list of reasons that I say, take me out to the ball game!
Along with the other woes of the current economy, many people's employment has been affected by layoffs or hour and pay reductions. If you're one of those people and you're responsible for paying child or spousal support that is now going to be more difficult to afford, make sure you act quickly to avoid ending up in deep financial trouble.
It is possible to modify child support payments, which are based on the income of both parents as well as the amount of time children spend with each parent. If any factor in that equation changes, you can ask for a change in support as well. First, go directly to your ex-spouse and see whether you can reach an agreement to modify the amount of support being paid, and whether there's anything you can do to make up for the loss of support, like spending some of your newfound free time watching the kids so your spouse can work or save on child care costs.
If your ex doesn't see things the way you do, you may have to ask a court to modify support. Child support guidelines are set by state law and courts don't tend to deviate much from them, so if you're really earning less, you're likely to succeed in getting support changed. (You can check out a free child support calculator for your state to see what your support should be, based on your current income and timeshare.) But the judge will want to know what you're doing to find replacement work and may schedule you to come back to court to show how things are progressing.
Don't delay on this. Child support arrearages are serious business, and if you become delinquent you are at risk of losing your drivers' license, passport, and professional licenses.
Spousal support is a different story. If you have an obligation to pay alimony, it's likely that your final divorce judgment or settlement agreement defines when that obligation ends. If it doesn't say that losing your job or income is a reason for support to end or change, then generally, you're stuck paying until the obligation is done.