Category : Divorce Expectations

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The Future of Marriage: Roles, Contracts, and Divorce


Our belief in marriage and its value stems from, for most of us, a very religious background. The hypocritical nature of all the swirling modern facets of marriage has led some to contemplate other options. The rise of divorce, same-sex marriage, and the redefining of traditional roles in a modern relationship only heightens the contradictory and hypocrisy of still trying to define marriage in traditional archaic terms. Pardon the following pop culture reference but it serves as a jumping off point to a more subtle yet possible ground breaking shift that the future of marriage may one day find itself firmly entrenched in.

Contractual Nuptials

Take Katie Holmes and Tom Cruises whole scenario: Marriage, kids, divorce, rumors, etc. A specific rumor recently popping up when talking about their divorce alludes to the very real possibility that Katie Holmes signed a 5 year marriage contract. Forget for a moment the mysterious black spot that is Scientology and whatever that has to do with could and focus on the marriage contract aspect of it. It’s a fact of life that Hollywood celebrities and the rich in general exist under a different code of rules and boundaries then the average middle class family. But the proposition of marriage contracts is not that far fetched.

Marriage contracts, after all are not something conjured up form pure fantasy, we have shadowy forms of agreements that mostly have to do with someone’s possessions and their ownership when entering into a marriage. But along with pre-nuptial agreements, should we be thinking about a paradigm shift in the way marriage is defined and applied? In a realistic sense the idea of a contractual marriage or any other pre-determined agreement about the possible split of a union is not something that should be scoffed at. In New Mexico just last year considered the idea of implementing 2 year renewable marriage contracts, set with defined provisions about the potential splitting of assets and custody of children if there was a divorce. After 2 years if the couple was happy they could renew their marriage contract, if not the contract would simply end. It breaks all our stained glass romantic thinking that has been embedded into the fabric of what we traditionally expect in a partnership with the opposite sex. (Or same sex depending on your sexual preference)

Climate Change?

Consider for a moment the cliff upon which traditional marriage sits upon in this technology driven society. The very definition of marriage and traditional gender roles has been a hotly contested topic for the last decade; and with the social views of society swaying towards more progressive lines of thinking a prognosticator would not be a fool to project the overall legalization of gay marriage is inevitable.

Economic reasons also have a lot to do with the changing in marriage climate. Couples are waiting longer than ever before getting married as the average age for both men and women has hit all-time highs.  28.7 average age of first marriages for men and 26.5 in women. In the same respect there seems to be a growing gap in marriage that is similar to the economic gap in the United States. The more educated and older you are when you marry the more likely you are to stay together. The less educated and earlier that marry are more likely to eventually file for divorce.

So what will become of marriage? We often overreact as a society, taking the needle of the future to the extreme realm of eventual possibilities. More than likely we will continue stagger through the contradictory nature of using historic rules and ideas to define and continually changing faction. Our human emotions would not become any less responsive just because the judicial and legal definition of marriage and how it is experienced is changed. For those on both sides of the fence when it comes to the debate around marriage the battle will be ongoing. To try and change something that crosses over so many aspects of our nature would be met with only more mutinous and heated debates. What is clear is that half of marriages do not work, what is never clear is why we are so always so vehemently resistant to change where it is clearly needed.

Can Divorce Be a Private Affair?


For the rich and famous, being in the public eye, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week is normal. However, we mustn’t forget they are still people too. They go through the same trials and tribulations as anyone else that we may know. Their issues are just magnified because of the lens that they can never escape. So, is it fair that their lives are publicized for the world to see? What, under the law is to remain private? When divorce is thrown into this mix, its safe to say that nobody wants to air their dirty laundry to the world, famous or otherwise. So is it even a possibility for divorce filings to remain out of the public eye, for anyone?

Divorce Behind Closed Doors
Keeping divorce information private is something that in most cases, both spouses and lawyers would like to keep from being plastered on the front page of the local newspaper. The Good news is this is very much a possibility. Court records can be sealed and divorce documents can remain private. However, unless a juvenile case is the focal point of any filing, it is impossible to seal an entire judgment. This means that no matter what, reports will be filed and the majority of those are public record.

There are different laws in different states in terms of allowances of what and what cannot be filed in terms of a judgment pertaining to divorce. One way to keep judgments private is by going to “private judges.” To clarify, through arbitration and divorce mediation, orders are made by the arbitrators or mediators and these orders reference certain divorce related documents. It takes some effort if both parties want things private but as soon as one says no, it’s public.

Child Custody & Privacy
Regarding child custody and support issues, if both spouses cannot decide on an agreement and sign off on a legally binding contract saying as such, then they would need to go to a courtroom to have a judge decide the outcome of the issue. This would in turn, decrease the likelihood it would remain private. Typically, when there is a child involved, both parties usually want to keep things private, as this is in the best interest of the child.  When this is the motivating factor, it is more likely both parties will work together to achieve that.

Keeping divorce a private affair can be hard, but it also can be done. When small children, assets, property and anything of a personal nature are involved, many people want to keep the decisions being made to one another and handle it in house. Civil and private divorces are usually the most successful and  offer the most hassle free method of filing  for divorce.

77 Year-Old Marriage Ends


In a time where marriage is thought to have a 50% chance of ending in divorce, we often look to our grandparents’ generation for inspiration. Often asking the question of “How did they stay together?” or “What was different about those eras?” we find ourselves trying to figure out some sort of secret formula to make relationships and marriage work.

In truth there is no magic, the magic is a myth; people fall in love for different reasons, meet under different circumstances, and mesh together over many different facets of life that combine their personality traits and the environment in which they traverse together in. Sometimes someone can tell right away if someone is a match, and sometimes it takes decades for spouses to come to the conclusion that maybe this just isn’t working.

Age of the Absurd

In an age where celebrity marriages last a week, pet custody battles range up to thousands of dollars, and marriage is increasingly marginalized in society, comes a story that may be sad to some. But in truth, it’s just another example of what makes a marriage successfully, and that, no matter the situation, age, or how much you get along with your spouse, the truth is always more important than any other choice.

In 2012 we have seen our share of celebrity divorces dominate the news. Game shows, reality programs, and everything in-between have shown us the stark reality of just how absurd some people can be. Those with any significant amount of logic understand the real world without cameras can even be more stressful than those propped up scenarios involving people that are made to think they are “important.”

An Exercise in Real World Truth

Going back to our grandparents’ generation, we can stand amazed at how their families were able to keep it together. That is why this story seems so familiar despite its first glance perception. In 2012 an Italian man wanted to get divorced from his wife. He claimed to have discovered letters between his wife and another man, and when confronting his wife she admitted to the affair but begged him to stay together. Nothing totally out of the ordinary there right? The twist is that the man is 99 years old. The wife is 96. They have been married for 77 years, and the affair took place nearly 60 years ago. Despite his wife’s pleadings for them to stick together in their marriage the man is moving ahead with the divorce. When the divorce papers go through they will become the oldest divorced couple on record. Opinions on this anomaly situation will vary from “Why would they get divorced now?” to “What difference does the affair make 60 years later?”

The truth is, as always, that the truth wins out. No matter the shape, form, or age of a marriage, the same rules apply. There was no special relationship glue in the 1950’s and this story proves it. People are human, and are hurt by deception. Even at age 99 and over, something happened 60 some odd years ago that broke the trust and hurt a spouse. The truth and communication in a relationship and marriage is always the most important facets in its eventual success.

Disability & Divorce

The law has often been behind the times as far as rulings go on specific cases. Family Law is no exception. Many of the laws do not account for special and rare circumstances. There are many disability laws and regulations implemented in other areas of law, however, there are next to none when it comes to the matter of divorce. That is until now. The Illinois Supreme Court opened the door to divorce for people who need guardians because of mental disabilities just this month, and the realm in which Family Law now covers has broadened because of it.

For years, Illinois has been against guardians seeking a divorce on behalf of the mentally disabled people under their protection. That meant the disabled person could not get a divorce unless his or her spouse started the process. To say that this is a double standard would be an understatement. However, guardians were still looked upon as just that, and in no way were they an extension of the disabled person in question.

Before the Law was Implemented

The ban, when in place, affected people with severe brain damage, but it also covered those who could make their wishes known; for example those with Alzheimer’s, or anyone with a mental illness whose effects are not 100% permanent on a daily basis.

The court’s new ruling said an outright ban is no longer appropriate. It could leave vulnerable people “at the complete mercy” of spouses who abuse them or exploit them financially. Guardians will now be able to file for divorce and then a judge will decide if there is clear and convincing evidence that it would be in the disabled person’s best interests. In some cases, that will mean weighing the evidence without any help from the person directly affected. But in others, the people with disabilities will be able to speak for themselves. This obviously depends on the type of mental illness and the severity.

Who is Affected?
At first the restriction on divorce was meant to only affect people with severe brain damage, such as might be sustained in an accident, but ultimately the law affected people who had the ability to make their wishes known. Such individuals’ mental illness may come and go, or perhaps the person’s condition was Alzheimer’s disease. Mental disability rights advocates say that those conditions in themselves should not automatically bar people’s guardians from filing for divorce on their behalf.

Many of the advocacy groups feel that this recent ruling is a step in the right direction toward fully protecting the rights of the disabled. Under the new rules, the guardian of a disabled person will be able to file for divorce on that person’s behalf, and it will be up to a judge to determine on an individual basis what is in the best interest of the disabled partner.

Incorporating disability into laws, such as the ones under the Family Law statute, is a sign that the laws are coming into their own and becoming more adaptive to everyone. With a broader scope under the law, more and more people will have equal rights when it comes to the dissolution of marriage.

Tips for Moving on After Divorce

Moving past a relationship can be tough. This cliché has been reproduced in our society for hundreds of years. Love had and lost is a true theme of the human nature. We are all destined to encounter these types of situations at some point in our life.

All people react differently, but no one is immune to the negative emotions that surround this feeling of failed interaction between man and woman. Because it is inescapable to avoid these pains at one point or another, and divorces have become a prominent situation in our society, it has been stressed more and more as to how we can successfully move past these situations. What can you do to help yourself emotionally persevere?

Find a listener, and Forget About Revenge

Communication most likely was a part of the problem in your marriage; don’t let it follow you as you free yourself from a divorce. Two way constructive communications is important, not only for you to express how you feel but to get an outside and honest opinion about some of the things you may question. A long marriage can cloud your judgment and opinions in dealing with your now ex-spouse. A friend who can be objective and is willing to listen to you can be helpful because it is someone you can trust. However, no one should feel guilty about seeing a professional if they really need someone to talk to. We all have questions and problems within our life, and (truth be told) could all use someone with a professionally trusted opinion to help guide us at certain points in time.

Don’t get sucked back into revenge thoughts. We have all had those feelings. Wounded and left with no way to feel better except to inflict damage on the parties that wounded us. These are natural feelings; although they serve no purpose but to perpetuate the negativity and unhealthy behavioral pattern that might have led us into a harmful marriage in the first place. Most likely, no matter the situation, you can shoulder part of the blame for the way things turned out. Coming to terms with your role and accepting a portion of the blame will help you keep a level head and begin to understand that the best form of medicine is to start moving on.

Put more energy into your social life and broaden your horizons

Marital problems and significant schisms in your relationship can set your social life back from where you want it to be. A divorce can also do damage to your attitude at work and affect your productivity. In your post divorce life, focusing on your work or social life can be a helpful distraction and could possibly lead to positive things as you navigate new waters after many years of traversing rough seas. Nautical cliché references aside, many of us need distractions in trying times. Broadening our horizons and trying new things socially can help you both move on from the past and begin to create a positive future.

Moving forward through any negative phase in life can be emotionally stressful. Oftentimes we have to hit a certain “bottom” before we realize how low we have sunk. Avoiding these worst case scenarios and prolonging our misery will only keep setting us back on our road to recovery. Seeking out good listeners, someone to talk to, and trying new things will create positive distractions for as you attempt to dissociate from problematic time in your life. Moving on is never easy, but it’s up to you on how you react to these types of situations

Prominent Novels for Coping with Divorce


In our world we look for examples, build on experience, and need templates to sometimes show us the way. Self-help books fly off the shelf like Apple products, waiting to be sucked up as if they have some sort of ancient Atlantian knowledge we would never be able to figure out on our own. Experience cannot be substituted or duplicated. Step by step instructions do not allow us to learn or assist in coping with situations we may be experiencing. When it comes to human behavior and life’s trial, acute insight can help us feel we are not alone in our particular current struggle, allowing us to cope honestly and truly and learn from our past. In no situation can this be truer than divorce.

For every spouse or family, the nature of their separation is different.  Therefore people take on or experience different forms of mostly the same emotions. Grief, guilt, loss, anger, these are just some of the common resonating feelings that most people feel form a broken marriage. Luckily there are a select few who can masterfully put these feelings and their experiences into words, so that those of us who may be experiencing the same indefinable emotional tendencies, can learn more about ourselves and how to succeed in future situations.

Eat, Pray, Love

Now known for its motion picture adaption, starring Julia Roberts, “Eat, Pray, Love” tells the story of a Elizabeth Gilbert and how she made a difficult, yet momentous decision to turn away from the typical American successes, or trappings in her case, house, marriage, security, and venture out into the world to find herself. Traveling across the world and immersing herself in different cultures, this heartfelt memoir has connected with millions of readers, helping them follow their hearts and stay true to what their true purpose might be.

Falling Apart in One Piece: One Optimist’s Journey Through the Hell of Divorce

A story about a woman’s struggle to cope after her husband, after ten years, announced he wanted a divorce. Being left in a new house, alone,  starting a new job, and with a new baby, author Stacey Morrison tells and emotionally charged story about how she fretted, scrambled, and willed herself to open up and learn about this life-changing experience.


An unflinching look at how discord and divorce can creep up within a relationship and leave someone in shambles, author Susan Finnamore was taken by surprise when her husband, suddenly announced, he needed happiness without her. Simultaneously funny, sad, and deeply poignant, Finnamore tells the story of a woman who experienced the worst, but came out the other side changed.

There are many novels and memoirs that connect us with those who are or have experienced the worst in their respective journey. From hitting bottom and coming out the other side a new person, the struggle in coping with this life changing event has and will continue to be documented. Divorce situations, no matter how different, they vary from family to family, create relatable experiences through each person’s unique perspective. Anyone going through a tough divorce should always know that there are memoirs like these out there to help remind them that there are millions of people who have fallen and picked themselves back up to come through a better person, and ready to reach back out to the outside world.

Strange Divorce Ruling

There have been a number of landmark cases that have set precedents for divorce and divorce laws. However, the majority of those were positive and propelled divorce into the 21st century. This being said, across the world, divorce is still seemingly catching up, and in a few rare cases, falling behind, thanks to the laws that were decreed so long ago before the new age of technology.

One instance of a set back in divorce laws is that of Mr. and Mrs. Prest, a case coming out

When to Introduce the Children


Divorces aren’t fun for anyone involved. The dissolution of a marriage and the breakdown of a family is devastating. However, being happy and true to oneself is of the utmost importance in these situations, and to life in general. Rebuilding your life after a divorce is part of the healing process, and for many this includes romantic interests.

When divorcees do meet that special someone, often times, telling their new significant other about their past divorce is one of the hardest things they ever have to do. Right on par with this hard task is telling them about your children; and harder still, introducing your special someone to said children.

When & How
It’s important to take things slowly when children are involved, especially if the children are of a very young age. When and how to introduce the kids to your dating partner and their kids depends on several very calculated variables:

1) Time is Precious

Waiting a significant amount of time is always best when thinking about introducing a significant other to the children. The simple fact of the matter is depending on how long after the divorce this new relationship is formed, the children are more than likely still going through the healing process. It often takes children longer than parents to fully adapt and comprehend to new situations. Making sure that your significant other is in for the long haul, and can handle children in all settings is something you want to know before introducing these components of your life. Having a slew of “special” people meet your children and have nothing pan out can damage both you and your children in terms of mental stability.

2) Relationship Status

Introducing a significant other to anyone important in your life, let alone your children, is important. However, determining what the new relationship is before all of this introducing is even more important. Establishing ground rules, and setting goals is a good thing to do in the infancy of a relationship. Knowing that both parties are on the same page helps, because if one person is not looking for anything serious, introducing children should be out of the question entirely.

3) Establishing Terms

If introducing the new person in your life to your children is indeed what you want to do, it’s important that the two of you weighed all of the options, discuss, and agree on how it will occur, together. Knowing that both parties are completely in sync with how the process will work is beneficial to all involved. Perhaps only one day a week with the whole new blended family is best, perhaps more. As long as everyone involved, including the children, know what is going on then the process should go smoothly.

In conclusion, it’s best to hold off involving your kids in a new relationship without exploring all options and variables beforehand, as it may cause them further trauma, and possibly sabotage your new relationship too. Wait until you are certain and secure as a couple, and until you both have realistic expectations. If it’s really something that is important to you both, then waiting will not be a problem. The best and smoothest transition is what the overall goal should be, so do all you can to achieve it.

The Divorce Year in Review

Sadly, the nation’s eyes and ears have become fixated on celebrities and their ludicrous actions. From week-long marriages to rehab stints, there is no shortage of brain-shrinking fodder that gets more attention on TV. In what would be the honor, or more acutely the exact opposite, let’s take a look at 2 incidences of behavior that would absolutely be an undeniable sign of divorce, and, more than likely be convincing evidence of the need for a complete psychological evaluation.

What Happened to You, Ochocinco?

It’s all fun and games until you cease to catch touchdown passes, start allegedly head butting your spouse, and tattoo your ex’s face on your leg. Chad Johnson has been in the news for more serious matters allegedly assaulting his then wife, Evelyn Lozada, who to be fair is no stranger to reality show type behavior since she earned her “fame” as a direct result of being on a reality television show. But Chad’s questionable decision of responding to his situation, serious charges, and divorce by getting a large tattoo of Evelyn’s face on his leg is nothing if not cringe worthy.

Everything About Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries “Marriage”

If ever there was a social reason why we should continue the search for intelligent life on other plants so part of the global population could either join them or possibly ship families like the Kardashian’s to that planet, this scenario would be Exhibit A. Still getting dragged through the media muddied waters, reporting on their divorce proceedings seem to have become some kind of Newtonian Law that mainstream media must follow, or else the earth’s gravity may reverse. That can be the only explanation as to why any human with normal cognitive reasoning levels would continue to care or think there is a any reason that anything about this situation is worth spreading.

These scenarios are truly frustrating because marriage and divorce is a serious matter. There are numerous psychological and social studies that explore divorce issues, like how to properly cope with the emotional trauma that is associated with the breaking up of the nuclear family. But celebrity divorces seem to ignore the fact that divorce is no joke and should not be taken lightly. Many families will go through the divorce process unprepared emotionally, legally, or financially, and never view divorce as flippantly the way the media seems to view divorce. While it is understandable that not all relationships will work out, the sacredness of marriage and the dissolution of marriage should not be viewed so carelessly.

A Brief History of Divorce

Divorce, as we have discussed in our blogs and throughout this site, is prevalent in today’s society. Many researchers point to every little move as either the end of marriage as we know it, or a sign that people are losing their morals. The fact is, divorce, regardless of its time, place, or numbers, has had a place in society for hundreds of years. Different cultures throughout history have had their own way of dissolving marital unions. Some dissolution customs were pretty harsh, but it was the way of the times when religion reigned supreme. Not to bring religion in to the picture, but marriage and its numerous customs are related to religious beliefs.

Medieval Europe

In the post Roman Empire world, familial life was governed and influenced more by religious beliefs and customs than it was by civil courts. As time passed in the 9th and 10th century, the number of divorces had been greatly reduced by the authority of the church so that it became almost unthinkable to approach the subject. The view of divorce, as the process is known today, was for all intents and purposes prohibited after the tenth century. However, a separation of husband and wife, and the annulment of marriage did exist. What is today referred to as “separate maintenance,” otherwise known as legal separation, was termed “divorce a mensa et thoro” (which translates to “divorce from bed-and-board”). The husband and wife were physically separated and were then forbidden to live or cohabit together; but their marital relationship did not fully terminate.

Lack of Civil Influence

In medieval Europe the civil courts had no power over marriage or divorce. Any grounds for annulment were determined by church authority and were accordingly applied in the ecclesiastical courts. Annulment was given for very limited reasons, and was the only consistent causes for a complete dissolution of marriage. The church held the unwavering belief that the sacrament of marriage made two people inseparable from each other. Applying this theory literally was the propensity of religious cultures at these times, especially the Christian church. As far as governing rules, when husband and wife became one person upon marriage, this act could only be completely dissolved or annulled if they initially entered into the sacrament improperly.

Those medieval notions of divorce are a far cry from today’s western view for sure. But it shows just how far back the desire and situations of dissolving marriages extends; and the truth is divorce and the dissolution of marriage goes back even further. So when we see “new” information or anyone take up in arms about the impending doom of marriage as we know it, know that it is just history semi-repeating itself. As cultures change, the beliefs in society either change as well. Our views on long-standing occurrences that have been in our culture will fluctuate with the times. Divorce has, and will be, around as long as people get married. Failures, as well as successes, in relationships will persist because it is an extension of a our faulty nature.