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Posts Tagged ‘Family’

Grace Hightower De Niro, wife of Robert, or Bobby as some may say, stopped by (Katie Couric’s talk show) to talk about her marriage – and how she met the award-winning actor.

“What is your secret to a happy, long lasting marriage?” Katie asked.

“I would say a lot of give and take, standing your ground, because then you keep the respect you started out with,” Grace said.

The pair have been together for 21 years…..

From “Katie”

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Read and act accordingly…

Third of family break-up children lose contact with fathers in ‘failing’ court system, poll

Tens of thousands of children a year are losing contact with their fathers because of “failing” family court system and disastrous custody arrangements, a study has found.

Source: The Telegraph

One in three children whose parents separated or divorced over the last 20 years disclosed that they had lost contact permanently with their father.

Almost a tenth of children from broken families said the acrimonious process had left them feeling suicidal while others later sought solace in drink, drugs or crime.

They complained of feeling “isolated” and “used” while parents admitted having used children as “bargaining tools” against each other.

Lawyers said the study showed that the court system itself was making family break-up more acrimonious with children used as “pawns”.

They warned that so-called “no fault” divorces were encouraging warring parents to channel their “bloodletting” into disputes over contact.

The poll of 4,000 parents and children was carried out to provide a snapshot of the workings of the family court system exactly 20 years after the implementation of the landmark 1989 Children Act.

It found that a third of children from broken families had been tempted by drink or drugs while as many as 10 per cent had later become involved in crime.

A quarter of the children said that they had been asked to lie to one parent by the other and 15 per cent said they had even been called on to “spy” for their mother or father.

Meanwhile half of parents polled admitted deliberately drawing out the legal process for maximum benefit and more than two thirds conceded that they had used their children as “bargaining tools”.

About 250,000 couples, both married and non-married, separate every year affecting 350,000 kids, according to the Department for Children Schools and Families.

“The adversarial nature of the system invites people to come and use the courts system as a punch up and the children get used as pawns,” said Sandra Davis, head of family law at Mishcon de Reya, for whom the poll was conducted.

“It polarises parents and it puts children in the middle of the antagonism.

“Some fathers back off because it is too painful to carry on litigating, they give up.”

Tim Loughton, the Tory Shadow children’s minister, said: “This is alarming evidence of the very detrimental impact it is having on the welfare of the children themselves.”

“Clearly, the court system is failing and is positively encouraging conflict – and continuing conflict.”

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Conservative leader and founder of the Centre for Social Justice, warned that young people were bearing the scars of a divorce “boom” and a resulting lack of father figures.

“It is a mess, it needs a complete overhaul,” he said. “It is an organisation locked in secrecy and deeply unhelpful to the parents and the children and all too often able to exacerbate the problems that they are about to face.”

David Laws, the Liberal Democrat children’s spokesman, added: “In too many cases the children become caught up in the crossfire between two warring parties in a system which sometimes encourages the parents to take entrenched positions.”

Miss Davis called for compulsory mediation for parents hoping to use the divorce courts rather than the current ”tick box” exercise for those seeking legal aid.

But a spokesman for the Children’s Society said that compulsion “goes against everything we have learned from many, many years of experience”.

Delyth Morgan, the children’s minister, added: “Divorce and separation can have a devastating impact on children caught in the middle.

“But this survey, looking as far back as 20 years ago, simply doesn’t reflect what support is available for families now … we have acted to give families comprehensive counselling, practical and legal support.”

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The Purpose of Life

There’s more for you out there. Don’t get stuck in the past. Live.

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You are what you think about all day.

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We’re smack in the middle of wedding season across most of the country. Statistically, more couples will tie the knot in June than any other month but the official popular ‘season’ runs from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day – kind of like vacation season. According to The Wedding Report, nearly 2.1 million couples got married in the U.S. in 2010; on the other end of the spectrum in that same year, there were at least 872,000 divorces according to the National Vital Statistics System for the Center for Disease Control (although, according to their site, some data is missing from their report).

Making big lifestyle changes like getting married or divorced often has obvious tax consequences. But one of the biggest tax consequences can be the headache of simply changing your name: a mismatch between the name on your federal income tax return and Social Security Administration records can cause problems come tax time.

If you change your name as a result of marriage or divorce, you’ll need to make sure that you take the proper steps to update the change with Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Here are a few tips for dealing with the SSA and IRS after a name change:

If take your spouse’s last name or if both spouses hyphenate their last names – or if you use a new combined name – after marriage, you must notify the SSA. If you change your name back to your prior name after a divorce, you’ll also need to notify the SSA.

To notify the SSA, file a form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card(downloads as a pdf). You must provide documents to prove your identity, support the requested change, and establish the reason for the change.

In the case of a marriage, the SSA can only accept an original or certified copy of a marriage certificate. If you don’t have either, try requesting one from the state or country recorder where you got married.

In the case of a divorce, the SSA can only accept an original or certified copy of a divorce decree. If you don’t have either, again, you can request one from the state or country recorder where your divorce was finalized. And since I get asked this quite often, I’ll point out that there is no such thing as a common law divorce: if you are legally married (common law marriages are still legal in some states), you must obtain a bona fide divorce in order to be divorced.

You can file the form, together with your original documents, at your local SSA office (you can find yours here) or you can mail the form and your original documents to your local SSA office. If you choose to mail your documents, be sure to use a traceable method so that they don’t get lost. Your original documents will be returned to you.

You should receive your card within 10 business days from the date on your receipt. The new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name.

Again, these tips apply to folks changing their names due to marriage or divorce. If you’re petitioning to change your name legally (as Gerald Ford did) or if you’re simply changing your stage name (a la Snoop Dogg to Snoop Lion), the rules are a bit different.

Your marital status as of the last day of the year determines how you file your federal income tax return with the IRS. So, if you get married on December 31, 2012, you’re married for tax purposes for 2012. The same rules apply for a divorce. Those rules apply whether or not you change your name.

Original Article

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Yes, you read right. The article we’re reposting today points to research that something good can come out of a nasty divorce. But how can that be? Read on and find out and let us know what you think.

Nasty Divorces’ Silver Lining?

May 19, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

A new analysis suggests daughters of ‘bad divorces’ may enjoy stronger marriages than those of so-called good divorces—which underscores the need to take a close look at the impact of all divorces, writes marriage advocate Beverly Willett.

My ex-husband and I had a messy divorce. For years I fought—unsuccessfully—logging weeks in New York courtrooms to keep my family intact after I learned he was cheating. It was a nightmare, but I’m glad I did it. When I’d married 20 years earlier, I’d said my vows for life.

Now, research suggests that my drawn-out, contentious “bad divorce” and its fallout may have an unlikely silver lining: it could mean that my two daughters will enjoy happier marriages than if I’d attempted to go quietly into the night and achieve a so-called good divorce.

The finding was included in a working paper released last month by the late Norval Glenn, a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, and Elizabeth Marquardt, director of the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values, which sought to assess just how “good” the “good divorce” is for children.

Perhaps surprisingly, in-depth research into how divorced parents’ postmarital relationships with one another impacts their kids is limited (PDF). Over the past few decades, however, the most notable exception may be the work of psychologist Constance Ahrons, author of The Good Divorce, who coined the term—which describes divorces in which, over time, both parents remain involved in children’s lives after they split, contain their anger, and avoid involving the kids in their divorce conflict.

In her research, which began in the late 1970s, Ahrons found that roughly half of the ex-spouses she interviewed managed to establish amicable, well-functioning “binuclear” families, which in turn promoted the well-being of their children. Despite significant limitations of her investigation (98 couples, all from Wisconsin), therapists, courts, the media and other professionals have since extended her premise, proselytizing that “good divorces” can insulate children from negative consequences of family breakup. Some followers have even hinted that “good divorces” outshine mediocre marriages. Ahrons’ study tested neither of these hypotheses.

Subsequent research, including Glenn and Marquardt’s investigations, casts considerable doubt (PDF) on the premise that good divorces eclipse mediocre marriages when it comes to the welfare of children. In 2003 after conducting in-depth interviews with 71 adult children of divorced and intact families, the duo developed a telephone survey that polled (PDF) 1,500 young adults from divorced and intact households across the country—and found that, even outwardly successful children of good divorces carried heavy emotional scars into adulthood. And a newly reported analyses of this data, released in their working paper last month, suggests that while good divorces are generally preferable to bad ones, in two areas bad divorces may be no worse for kids—and in one actually preferable to good ones.

The researchers’ most startling discovery was that daughters of bad divorces were more likely than daughters of good divorces to report, to a statistically significant degree, that they had achieved a “good quality, lasting first marriage.” (The tenor of the divorce had no appreciable effect on marital outcomes for males.) Glenn assumed he’d find the exact opposite: that by modeling poor relationship and conflict-resolution skills, bad divorces would lead to poor marital outcomes; conversely, parents who achieved good divorces would serve as positive role models.

The reasons for these findings haven’t been fully investigated—and to be sure, they are preliminary—but Glenn guesses that children of nasty divorces may be highly motivated to avoid their own marital failures, or remain optimistic by blaming their parents personally rather than the institution of marriage itself.

Child psychologist and author Michael Bradley isn’t surprised by the findings. “Good divorces confuse kids,” he says. They conclude that the institution of marriage is “nuts” because they can’t understand why their parents put them through all the agony of divorce only to turn around and be nice to each other. Girls are often even more baffled, Bradley says, and therefore, can become more jaded by “good divorces.”

On the other hand, kids often better grasp high-conflict marriage. He agrees with Glenn that, in bad divorces, children may retain confidence in marriage by blaming parents individually. By the same token, Bradley says females generally take their marital vows more seriously (like I did) and “stick it out and fight.”

Previous studies suggest that children of divorce display lower academic achievement than those from intact families. Yet Glenn and Marquardt’s also found, to their surprise, that children of good divorces and bad divorces achieved similar scholastic success; in other words, kids of good divorces weren’t better off at school than kids of bad divorces over the long term. Glenn believes this finding may have to do with the fact that all divorced parents may lack the financial resources or time and energy to supervise homework and provide encouragement.

The Glenn/Marquardt study isn’t the only one taking a closer look at the perceived benefits of good divorce on children. Last year in an analysis of post-divorce parenting, Penn State’s Paul Amato and his team found only modest support for the positive effect of good divorces versus contentious ones. Children of good divorces had closer ties to their fathers and fewer behavioral problems—however, the study found no significant differences between good and bad divorces in 10 other areas, including self-esteem, substance use, school grades, early sexual behavior, and life satisfaction. In many arenas, it seems, divorce is divorce is divorce.

Amato concludes that parents in low-conflict marriages might do well to focus their attention on rebuilding their relationships, cautioning that couples’ “willingness to accept the good divorce hypothesis is reason for concern if some parents are lulled into believing that their children are adequately protected from all of the potential risks of union disruption.”

Meanwhile, confidence in marriage continues to erode (PDF), divorce rates remain high, and society continues to focus on the good divorce, with limited attention paid to fully investigating its limitations. Marquardt says this is because “the ‘good’ divorce has emerged as our soothing answer for what to do about the problem of divorce and its impact on children. To question widespread divorce is to invite a firestorm upon oneself. Few want to do that.”

I know about the firestorm all too well. And yet, thanks to my bad divorce, perhaps my own daughters will one day enjoy the lasting marriage their dad and I failed to. With divorce rates for children of divorce much higher than those for children of intact families, it’s one legacy I’d be happy not to pass on.

Original Article

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To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.

Bruce Lee

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