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You have probably heard about Rachel Canning, the New Jersey teenager who sued her parents to pay for her tuition for private school and college after moving out of their home.  At the time she sued her parents, Ms. Canning was 18 years old – an adult – making the case especially surprising to most parents.  Ms. Canning lost the first round of her lawsuit when a judge declined to order her parents to pay child support and for her private school tuition  - most likely because Ms. Canning “voluntarily” left her parents’ residence.  The judge was also probably reacting in part to the widespread negative media coverage.  Ms. Canning since withdrew her claim for college tuition and reconciled with her parents.

When the story broke, comments about Ms. Canning on social media called her “spoiled” and “over entitled.”  But, were her claims truly that outrageous or unusual?  Not really.  Courts in New Jersey routinely order divorced parents to pay for their children’s private school tuition and college education.  The leading case is Newburgh v. Arrigo, 88 N.J. 529 (1982), in which the New Jersey Supreme Court held that a parent’s duty to provide an education for their children includes a college education, making New Jersey probably the most draconian state when it comes to child support.  Ms. Canning’s case was somewhat unusual because her parents were not divorced or separated.  However, legally they still owed Ms. Canning a duty of support and had the judge found that she left her home for good reasons, then he would have been well within the law had he ordered her parents to pay for her private school and college.  Therefore, the answer the questions posed above is “yes” -- if you or your child lives in New Jersey.

In contrast to New Jersey, courts in Pennsylvania cannot force parents to pay for their children’s college education.  Courts in Pennsylvania used to be able to order divorced, separated or unmarried parents to pay college education under Pennsylvania’s Act 62, 23 Pa. C.S. § 4327.  That changed in 1995, when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court declared Act 62 unconstitutional, as a violation of equal protection, because it did not impose an equal obligation on married parents to pay for their children’s college educations.  Pennsylvania courts, however, routinely require separated, divorced or unmarried parents to pay for private school tuition for emancipated children (i.e. children still in high school or under 18 years old) if the parents had previously voluntarily enrolled the child in private school.  

The imposition of college cost on parents can obviously have a significant financial impact on them.  While most parents want to help their children with college expenses, not all are able to do so.  Having a court unilaterally impose those costs can create a significant hardship.  Thus, we advise our clients to avoid being subject to New Jersey law if at all possible.   In one case, I advised a Pennsylvania client whose wife moved to New Jersey with his child after separation to preemptively file for child support in Pennsylvania, even though he would be the party paying support.  The client worked in New Jersey and could have been served with legal papers while working in New Jersey, potentially subjecting him to New Jersey’s support laws.

Divorce isn't like it's portrayed on television or in the movies

Most potential clients who consult with our firm have common fears and concerns about getting divorced.  Most of those fears arise out of the myths of divorce that are reinforced on television and in the movies.  This article is meant to dispel some of the most common myths under Pennsylvania divorce law.  

Won’t we have our dirty laundry aired in court?

The answer to this questions is probably “no.”  First, most divorce cases settle without ever going to court.  Second, at least with regard to divorce proceedings, bad behavior is not really relevant or considered by the court. Pretty much everyone going through a divorce has some skeletons in their closet or complaints about their spouse’s behavior (you are getting divorced, after all). And, the court doesn’t have the time or inclination to hear your secrets. Child custody cases, however, are another story.

 My ex cheated on me, shouldn’t that work to my favor in the divorce?

The corollary to this question is the one from the guilt-ridden spouse, saying in effect that “I cheated . . . shouldn’t I give him/her everything he/she wants?” This question is really similar to the previous question about “dirty laundry.”  Unless someone is actively pursing a “fault divorce,” which is very unusual for a variety of reasons, the answer again is “no.” Infidelity has little to no impact on both divorce and custody cases, often to the great disappointment of the spouse who was wronged.

 Will I have to appear in court?

Court appearances are only necessary if you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, support or custody of your children. If you are able to negotiate a settlement, no court appearance is necessary in Pennsylvania.

Isn’t my spouse going to get 50% of everything I own?

This is one of the most common misunderstandings about divorce law. In Pennsylvania divorces, marital property is divided equitably (i.e. according to what the court thinks is “fair” after considering a list of factors), not equally (i.e. 50-50). Property is divided 50-50 in “community property” states, which Pennsylvania is not. Plus, only martial property is divided equitably, not everything. Certain property you own may be considered non-marital, such as property you acquired before the marriage, by way of gift or inheritance, or post-separation. Analyzing the marital estate and equitable distribution can be quite complicated.

 Am I Going To Lose My Home?

Many people going through a divorce are afraid they are going to be kicked out of their house or are going to lose their home. There is some truth to this concern.  In most cases, both parties are permitted to remain in the marital residence while the divorce is pending, even if the home is technically owned by only one party.  Usually, however, one party will voluntarily leave the home because living together has become too uncomfortable. In the end, the court will almost always allow one party to retain ownership of the marital residence if they want to and can afford to “buy out” the other party’s interest through equitable distribution or otherwise. Ultimately, however, one party or the other is going to have to find a new place to live.  

 Can’t it take years to get divorced?

Yes, it can. I have a case right now that I took over from another attorney that has been going on for eight years (though I haven’t had it that long). That, however, is an exception. In general, cases take anywhere from six months to three years to resolve, depending on the parties, the other attorney, and the details of the case.  In cases that take over a year to resolve, there is usually a reason one spouse or the other is intentionally delaying the divorce. For example - to keep heath insurance coverage, to remain in a home they cannot otherwise afford, or to get support that they will lose post-divorce. Other times, a spouse is not being cooperative with revealing marital assets, thus delaying the divorce. The good news is that other than getting remarried, once you are legally separated from your spouse, you can generally go about living your personal life as if you were not married.  

 Will I have to pay alimony forever?

Indefinite (lifetime) alimony is rarely awarded in Pennsylvania. Most likely, if you are the higher-earning spouse, you will have to support your ex for some period of time, depending mostly upon your ages and the length of your marriage. A typical marriage of ten years might result in support/alimony payments of two to four years. The amount of alimony is set based on each party’s respective earnings or earning ability, and is usually modifiable based on a change in employment and earnings. The courts’ decision to award post-divorce alimony is factor-based.

 Wouldn’t it be better for my kids if we stayed together?

Probably not. Yes, divorce is extremely difficult on children, but so is living with parents who are constantly fighting. If you and your spouse can work together to ease the transition on the kids, avoid conflict in front of the children, and keep them out of your disputes, your kids will most likely be better off.

 Won’t I only be able to see my kids every other weekend?

This is usually a fear of fathers, but more frequently now mothers have this same concern.  You have to examine your personal situation.  If you travel frequently for work or are planning on moving a significant distance away (i.e. an hour or more) from your spouse and your children’s school, then the answer is probably “yes.” However, if you have been actively involved in their lives, work a regular schedule and live nearby, it is likely you can get equal (50-50) or even primary custody of your children. Courts are much more inclined nowadays to assume both parents should be equally involved in their children’s lives.  Ultimately, however, it will depend on your individual situation.    

 Doesn’t it cost a small fortune to get divorced?

Most people have heard horror stories about divorce costing fifty or a hundred thousand dollars or more.  While such cases do exist, they are much more of the exception, than the rule. And, they almost always involve highly litigated child custody issues that generate the vast majority of the fees and costs.  However, there is no getting around the fact that divorce can seem expensive. A typical divorce can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars for filing fees for a non-contested, do-it-yourself divorce, to ten to twenty thousand dollars for a more complex divorce involving a relatively large marital estate and several litigated issues. That may sound like a lot. Consider, however, that if you are selling a home, which is a relatively routine and non-adversarial transaction, the realtors will take 6% of the sales price of the home off the top. If your average home costs $300,000, that’s $18,000 for comparatively minimal work. An attorney can provide great value in a divorce, essentially more than paying for their services, by saving you tens or even hundreds of thousand of dollars or more compared to going it alone.

 Can’t I just process the divorce myself?

After hearing how much attorneys cost, many people think about trying to go it alone. For most people, that ends up being a huge financial and personal mistake.  It’s really pennywise and pound foolish to try to handle your divorce yourself to save on attorney’s fees.  Divorce laws are complex, and without in-depth knowledge of the laws, it is incredibly easy to make a mistake that will cost you tens, if not hundreds of thousand of dollars. I can’t tell you how many times people have come to our office after trying to go it alone in hopes that we can fix their case and financial mistakes. In most cases, it’s too late. Even most lawyers who do not regularly practice divorce law hire divorce lawyers to represent them in divorce proceedings. That should tell you something. Just trying to figure out the paperwork to process a simple divorce can take most non-lawyers days or even weeks. Trying to handle your own divorce is like spending hours trying to figure out how to change the oil in your car, wasting time and getting dirty, just to save $20.00 at Jiffy Lube  - only to find out later that you have ruined your engine.

 Shouldn’t I hire an aggressive attorney?

Probably not, at least if that is what the attorney is best known for. Most non-attorneys perceive the notion of an aggressive attorney as someone who fights about everything and is generally a jerk to the other side.  I promise you that you do not want that kind of attorney.  They waste your money, delay your case, and do not get you better results. I can think of at least one divorce attorney who is well known for those types of “aggressive” tactics. As far as I can tell, however, the only thing her tactics are good at accomplishing is running up her client’s bill. What you do want is someone who can properly analyze your case, knows how to negotiate, know when to litigate, and does so in a professional and respectful manner. You also want an attorney who fits with your personality and style. When considering attorneys, make sure you feel comfortable with the person you hire, because that person will be working with you closely and intimately, usually for a year or more.

 

Cooley & Handy are Divorce Lawyers and Personal Injury Attorneys serving individuals and families in Bucks County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia. We help our clients navigate the ever changing and always challenging legal system with knowledge, experience and a healthy dose of creative problem solving. This newsletter shines a light on some of our latest cases and news of note.

 

Think dating again is hard after being “off the market” for a significant amount of time? It’s nothing compared to trying to restart your career after years as a stay-at-home parent. And that is just one of the difficult financial challenges that individuals face post-divorce.

Divorce not only wreaks havoc on you physically and emotionally, it can also wreak havoc on you financially. That is especially true for spouses who stayed at home and gave up their careers to raise children and manage the home.

In addition to restarting careers, other financial challenges that people can face post-divorce include becoming financially literate, repairing credit, adjusting lifestyles, and setting budgets.

Restarting a career is usually one of the first things that I discuss with my clients who are stay-at-home spouses, even before the divorce is filed. Not only do these spouses need time to prepare professionally (e.g. by drafting resumes, applying for positions, etc.) they also usually need time to prepare mentally for the challenge. After ten, twenty or even thirty years out of the job market, most of these spouse are in denial about their need to restart a career and obtain employment.

For stay-at-home spouses - whose focus is primarily on what happens in and around the home - separation and divorce upend their lives much more drastically than for those who have careers outside the home. Because of this, stay-at-home spouses will often remain in denial for as long as possible. They want to believe that everything will be okay. Or, they may think they can jump right back into a career they abandoned long ago.

Unfortunately, that psychology degree that they obtained twenty years ago and never used is not going to be much help now. The court is going to assume that they will start working immediately and will impose an earning capacity on them even if they are not yet working. This will be used to calculate everything from support to the distribution of marital property. In most cases, there simply won’t be enough income and property to go around. Finding a job will quickly become a necessity. The sooner they realize this and start working on getting back into the work force, the better.

The lesson? Take action sooner, rather than later. Think of something you can do now. Perhaps go back to school while the divorce is pending and you are receiving support. Or, consider taking an entry-level position you might have once considered beneath you. Support may end when the divorce ends - so don’t squander the opportunity.

Becoming financially literate is another thing that many of those going through a divorce need to consider. Frequently, one of the spouses has voluntarily remained financially ignorant, usually because of lack of interest in finance. “I know of a divorcing 40-year old woman who hasn’t the first idea how to calculate her income and expenses to create a budget because it’s always been handled by her parents and husband. She calls her soon-to-be-ex-husband in a panic almost every day because she has no idea how to make sense of simple financial matters.” says Honoree Corder, executive coach and author of “The Successful Single Mom”. In our practice, we frequently represent spouses who have no clue about their finances or assets.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are steps you can take to help get you on the road towards financial stability and security. First, get an idea of how finances work. Maybe take a course at a community college. Or, even easier, buy a book like Personal Finance for Dummies - a great easy-to-read book that will give you all the background you need to manage your personal finances. Then, pay attention to all of the financial information that will be considered and discussed during your divorce process. It will give you a good idea of how things worked in the past and what you can expect in the future. This will help you with budgeting in the future (see below).

Repairing credit is also usually on most people’s agenda post-divorce. Divorce involves many large and unexpected expenses, from having to establishing a new household…to selling existing property…to paying legal expenses. At this same time you will be attempting to adjust your lifestyle to live on a severely reduced income. Usually, cash flow becomes a serious issue before those adjustments are possible. Actions taken by your spouse during separation may also ruin your credit. For example, if he or she fails to pay the mortgage on your house or another joint obligation. By the time it is all over, many people have defaulted on credit cards, mortgages, and other bills.

Once the divorce is over, its time to start to repair your credit. Establishing or repairing credit, however, doesn’t happen overnight. But every smart financial decision you make now gets you that much closer to your goal. And you don’t have to do it alone. Seek help from individuals and professionals you can trust. Your therapist or divorce attorney is a great place to start; they are usually connected with financial advisors who specialize in working with individuals in transition post-divorce.

Finally, you will likely need to adjust your lifestyle to your new financial reality and establish a budget. You may have been living large pre-divorce, and in my experience, probably beyond your means. Being on your own now means making substantial lifestyle adjustments.

The first step in this process is to establish a budget. That is the only way to get a clear picture of your financial situation. Start by gathering all of your statements for rent/mortgage, utilities, tuition and all other regular monthly expenses. For many it can be a real eye-opener to see just how much money it actually takes to live “as is.”

Also write down your monthly income – from your job, alimony, child support, pension or social security, any investment income or any other regular source of income. “Once you have a better understanding of where your money is coming from and going to, you will be in a better position to eliminate unnecessary expenses. Having a budget also provides the structure you need in to incorporate saving money for your future financial needs.” (Womansdivorce.com)

I can’t tell you how many people have no idea how much they are spending. Most couples, even those with very significant incomes, live paycheck to paycheck. Often it’s the ones who have been living the high life who are the most reluctant to face reality. I once suggested that a client purchase a more moderate vehicle instead of leasing a new luxury car that she couldn’t afford. You would have thought I had suggested she give up her first-born child!

Without a doubt, the biggest hurdle for many going through divorce and looking to regain their financial footing is to learn how to live within their means. To do that, you need to distinguish between “needs” and “wants.” Decide what luxuries you can do without. Little things really do add up. You may need to give up that BMW or even your daily latte from Starbucks. Prioritize your purchases. And try to “pay yourself” (i.e. open a savings account) to handle unexpected expenses or to pay for gifts for holidays or special occasions.

Finally, there is the issue of simply separating yourself from your spouse and opening up accounts in your own name. For women going through a divorce who opt to retake their maiden names, they need to consider a variety of things. You need to get a new Social Security Card, passport, driver’s license and credit cards. Be sure you let your bank, insurance agencies, credit card companies, and others know that you’ve changed your name (and address, if applicable.) Jeff Landers , from the Huffingtonpost.com, adds, “Titles on all houses and vehicles will have to be modified and recorded with lending institutions, and you will also need to update beneficiaries on your life insurance, 401k, pensions and IRA accounts.” And be sure to have several copies of your certified divorce decree on hand to provide when needed.

Getting your finances under control after divorce is not easy. But taking control of your finances, making decisions for yourself (and your children), can be empowering. Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.

 

10 Leading Causes of Personal Bankruptcy
(by percentage)

• Medical Expenses – 42%
• Unemployment – 22%
• Uncontrolled Spending – 20%
• Divorce – 8%
• Unexpected Disaster – 7%
• Avoiding Foreclosure – 1.5%
• Poor Financial Planning – 1.5%
• Preventing Loss of Utilities – 1%
• Student Loans – 1%
• Preventing Repossession – 1%

The three reasons most frequently cited for divorce are infidelity, financial problems and marrying too young. However, during my years as a family law attorney, I found that there are several other reasons why marriages fail that couples can avoid. If one of these issues is affecting you or your marriage, be proactive and take steps to fix the problem as soon as possible. Once divorce is under consideration, it’s usually too late to save the marriage.

1) Traveling for Work or Working Too Much – You’d be surprised by how many divorces are caused by careers that require frequent travel or long hours. Based on anecdotal evidence, I would say this is the second most common cause of divorce behind infidelity. Spending significant time away from a spouse and family creates a rift in a relationship. Couples drift apart because they no longer feel connected; they no longer share common experiences and no longer act like a team. The non-traveling spouse often feels abandoned in the home and solely responsible for the care of children. For the spouse who travels frequently or works long hours, loneliness often pushes them into relationships with others they meet while away.

My unequivocal advice for married couples is to do everything they can to avoid careers that require frequent travel or regular long hours. The extra money will never be worth it if costs you your family.

2) One Spouse Is A Spendthrift or Tightwad – Financial problems are frequently cited as one of the primary cause of divorce, with the implication being that a lack of money is the problem. From my experience, however, marriages don’t usually fail due to a lack of money. They fail because one spouse has an unhealthy relationship with money. Frequently these cases involve parties with significant incomes. In the case of a spendthrift spouse, usually one spouse will be earning a significant income and the other spouse will be spending it as fast (or faster) as it comes in. Any negative change in the parties’ financial situation can trigger financial problems and divorce because the spendthrift spouse will refuse to accept the realities of the situation.

In the case of a tightwad spouse, frequently such couples will have accumulated significant assets due to the spouse’ thrift. At some point, however, the spouse’s thrift will become extreme and he or she will refuse to allow the other spouse to make even reasonable purchases given the parties’ overall financial situation. That refusal will trigger a divorce.

In both situations, the spouses’ psychological relationship towards money becomes exaggerated over time until the marriage reaches the breaking point. If this issue is affecting you, you might try talk things out with your spouse to try to set budgets or expectations. This is a problem that can be easily solved if caught early.

3) Treating Your Spouse Like a Roommate – When I lived with a roommate, we would keep separate bank accounts and split the rent and bills each month. When I married, my wife and I combined our finances and acted like a team, working towards the same goals. It never ceases to amaze me how many divorcing couples had the “roommate” model of finances. Frequently they are surprised when I explain to them that the court won’t view their money as separate. They have been acting as a financial unit all along; they just didn’t know it and their relationship didn’t get the psychological benefit of it.

My advice is that if you are married you should combine your finances. While each spouse should be able to spend some money as they see fit, you have to realize that if you are married, you are a team – both emotionally and financially.

4) Leading Separate Lives – Infidelity is typically cited as a top cause of divorce. Infidelity, however, is usually a symptom of an already troubled marriage. For most couples, it’s also the tipping point that signals the end of their relationship.

Couples who do manage to move past one partner’s infidelity usually take the time to understand why it happened. Cheating is frequently the result of one partner feeling unnoticed, unappreciated or unloved. Loving couples make both social and physical intimacy a priority – even with work, children and chores filling their busy schedules.

When a couple spends less and less time together, they literally grow apart. Spouses can also grow apart when they take on entirely separate roles in the family, such as the traditional breadwinner/homemaker arrangement. Often, when one spouse exclusively stays at home caring for the house and raising the children, that becomes the primary focus of his or her life. The other spouse is often neglected and their relationship suffers. Similarly, when one spouse spends little time at home and takes little responsibility for housework and caring for the children, the stay-at-home spouse’s resentment builds. In both cases, a disconnect grows between the couple
 
We’re not advocating that you and your partner be together 24/7. Rather, we’re just saying “Make time for the two of you. Just the two of you – without children, pets, or friends.”

5) A Controlling Spouse – A significant amount of the cases we handle involve spouses that I would call “control freaks”. Verbal, physical and emotional abuse often arises out of one partner’s need to control the other. Judith Orloff, MD identifies control freaks as “people obsessively trying to dictate how you're supposed to be and feel. Their comments can range from irritating to abusive.”
Many of these people have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

To successfully deal with a controller, Dr. Orloff recommends picking your battles and asserting your needs. Don’t sweat the small stuff and focus on “high priority issues that you really care about rather than bickering about putting the cap on the toothpaste.” Again, it comes down to open communication in a caring, direct manner.

However, if your case involves a spouse whose behavior has crossed the line to abuse (mental or physical), my advice would be to get out of the relationship as soon as possible.

6) Depression or Other Psychological Issues – Psychological issues are not frequently cited as a primary driver of divorce. However, my gut tells me that undiagnosed psychological problems are a major factor in divorce. While I am not a psychologist, it’s apparent to me that many people involved in the divorces have an underlying mental illness or psychological problems.

Depression for example, is known to cause marital strife. “Depression that affects one partner has an effect on the other partner, the relationship and ultimately the entire family. Nearly 15 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older, is affected with a major depression in a given year,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health. "Depression can lead to other problems," agrees Constance Ahrons, PhD, professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. “Affairs aren't the only problems. Often, one partner may get so depressed he stops working, and that can lead to a cascade of other problems.” The unaffected partner often has to pick up the slack for the depressed one. That leads to feelings of frustration, anger and ultimately, resentment.

The good news is that most depression and other psychological problems are treatable. People beginning to have problems in their marriage need to seriously consider whether depression or some other potential mental illness is the cause. If that’s a possibility, they need to push their partner to see a therapist.

Bottom line? There are many reasons to get divorced. And one major reason not to: love. If you are committed to making your marriage work, keep trying. Be positive. Have fun.Talk openly to each other. Add a little romance to your everyday life.


Just like beginning of a relationship can produce an emotional high, the end of a relationship can be an emotional crash, especially where the decision to end the relationship was not your own. Relationship withdrawal can involve depression, isolation, feelings of worthlessness, and shaken confidence. People going though it will often think that they will never find love or happiness again.

Even the person ending the relationship can have mixed emotions about the decision, including regret and second thoughts. It feels like you didn’t know what you had until it was gone.

Neil Sedaka got it right: “Breaking up is hard to do.” Whether or not you are the one who decided to end a relationship, when you separate from someone you love(d), the experience can be painful and paralyzing. But there is light at the end of the tunnel…and a lot of advice on how to survive the breakup.

Broadly, psychologists emphasize that you can’t rush the healing process following the end of a relationship. Every person, and every relationship, is unique and each recovery has its own timeline. You need to make sense of the loss and establish a new day-to-day routine that does not include the other person. As Loveadvice.com puts it “you ache for the love you were getting that's now gone. All these feelings have to work themselves out of your system. It's a process you must go through, similar to grieving or getting over an addiction, and some researchers say that it can take up to half as long as the relationship lasted.”

There are steps, however, that psychologists recommend you take to help reduce the severity of the healing process.

“Learn to love yourself first,"  says Suzanne Lachmann, Psy.D. in Psychology Today. “The first step to moving through your grief is to understand that you’re not alone. Talk to your friends, loved ones, or a trusted professional. Read books and articles to help you find the words you need to describe your experience so that you can feel less alone in it. Having an effective way to communicate about your experience can help you better manage the overwhelming nature of the loss.”

A recent study by David Sbarra, published in Psychological Science, found that higher levels of self-compassion (defined by self-kindness and an awareness that you are not alone in your pain and grief) translated to “less divorce-related emotional intrusion into daily life.” As one study participant says, ”it is just something that happens, and I guess it is happening more often than not these days so...that is what the situation is...and you tell yourself you’re not the only person to experience this.”

Second, give yourself permission to feel bad. Accept that you will have feelings. Don’t try to suppress them or be frustrated that you can’t get over it. You are going to feel bad, maybe longer than you think you should, and that’s OK.

Third, avoid the break-up myths. You won’t necessarily feel better because the relationship was bad for you. You may even miss a person who was bad for you. It doesn’t mean that you should get back together with him or her or that the breakup was a mistake. Allen Young, an eHow contributor, offers some practical advice on breaking up: “Make the decision to separate, and stick to it. Waffling will ultimately only cause more hurt on both sides, so make sure you are committed to the breakup before you take the first step.”

Fourth, take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, and get out of the house. Don’t succumb to the temptation to cut yourself off from the world and wallow in your misery while eating ice cream. Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today: “Do something everyday to help yourself heal. Exercise, read, watch some self-help TV/DVD's, learn to meditate, and never underestimate the power of positive prayer. Pick things that you know will be fun or beneficial and do them. Don't wait for the mood to come over you, take one action and then take another.”

Fifth, don’t let your anger control you. You may be tempted to seek revenge on your former spouse or romantic partner or punish him or her with fights over money, children, or property. Those actions are counterproductive and can inflict more serious damage on yourself and children.

Finally, confront your and your family’s fear of the future. If you have children, reassure them that the breakup is not their fault and let them know that you will continue to provide for them in the future. If you are married, consult with a divorce attorney to learn your rights and know your options. It will give you peace of mind and help protect you moving forward.

And Know That The Whole World Is Watching

Used to be, you could tear up photos, shred letters and be done with the reminders of a relationship-gone-bad. But in today’s world, it takes a lot more effort to delete those digital memories you posted on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and more.

As NBCnews.com says, “Facebook is making breakups sadder.” Correspondent Nidhi Subbaraman of TODAY, recently spoke with Corina Sas, a human-computer interaction researcher from the University of Lancaster. “I think Facebook is particularly problematic, because shared friends and a constant stream of updates makes avoiding an ex and letting go much harder.”

“I stayed friends with my ex on Facebook, but I have avoided Facebook completely since we split. Before, I would log in everyday, and we would talk. Now its been almost 2 months since I have been on. I don’t even know if we are still FB friends, because I haven't been on. It has helped me emotionally, to be off the grid. I figure if she wants to know anything about me, she can text me or call me” states one FB poster.

But not everyone feels the same way. Some are not ready to delete all digital traces of their ex online. "I follow his Facebook and I still check it," one responder said.
To delete, or not delete, is a very personal decision. Just realize that your personal life is out there for the world to see.

Surprising Number Of Divorcing Parents Are Open To Reconciliation

A study conducted by University of Minnesota researcher Bill Doherty,
published in Family Court Review, queried 2,500 divorcing parents about possible reconciliation.
About one in four individual parents believed their marriage could be saved with hard work. One in ten couples were open to receiving help.
Interestingly – males were more interested in reconciliation than females.

“A corvette. A home in the Hamptons. A Hermes handbag. Oh, and marriage. Because marriage, too, is fast becoming a luxury good,” writes Nancy Cook at The Atlantic.com.  

Growing financial and job insecurity due to rapid technological changes and globalization isn’t just killing the middle class –it’s killing traditional marriage, at least among the working class and the new downwardly mobile.  Many Americans simply can’t afford the financial and emotional cost associated with traditional marriage when they are worried about their own survival in the new economy.

Just a few short decades ago, marriage was a traditional rite of passage. In a largely male dominated society – where the man was the breadwinner of the family – marriage often improved economic stability for both partners and was the mark of middle-class status.

Since 1990, the divorce rate among adults aged 50 and older has doubled. Now roughly 1 in 4 divorces involve persons aged 50 and older.  In Japan, the trend is referred to as “retired husband syndrome.” In the United States it is known as “gray divorce.”  

Is Viagra partially to blame?

“Emily Nichols is 20. She lives in Oregon and attends community college. She doesn’t have a job right now for health reasons. She found out several weeks ago that she is pregnant. She and her boyfriend Andy are taking it one step at a time. One step at a time, however, doesn’t entail marriage, at least right now.” - Oliver Read, Generation Next, on PBS.org.

Emily is a member of Generation Y or Millennial Generation. Though there are no precise dates for when this post-Gen X demographic group starts and ends, it is generally considered to encompass people born between the early 1980s the early 2000s. As a group, they’ve endured their share of bad press: they’ve been labeled spoiled, narcissistic, and immature. TIME magazine has referred to them as the “Me Me Me Generation."

While the Supreme Court debates the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that gives states the right not to recognize same-sex marriage or unions entered into in other states, lower courts across the country are facing a growing number of same-sex couples seeking to dissolve their unions. In states that do not recognize same-sex marriages, such as Pennsylvania, dissolving those unions is proving to be challenging, if not impossible.

Not being able to legally separate or divorce can wreak havoc on these couples’ personal finances. It also usually means that one of the parties loses control over assets, such a business or financial account, that he or she help build during the union.

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