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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.

Split

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

Pregnant Man Files for Arizona Divorce

 

You know times have changed when you see a headline starting with “pregnant man.” But in today’s world, where gender roles are continually being debated over, and the institution of marriage is being redefined state by state and law by law, it is no surprise that new scenarios in divorce will eventually come to the forefront.

The Blurred Lines of Marriage, Gender, and Divorce Laws

Transgendered couples’ laws are still in their infancy when it comes to marriage and divorce. So it’s no wonder that when it comes to a divorce in this type of situation, the lines are still completely blurred. Thomas Beatie, a transgendered man, was born a woman in his native state of Hawaii. He underwent an external sex change to become, for all intents and purposes, a man before he married his partner, Nancy, in 2003.

After learning that Nancy was unable to bear children, and still having female reproductive organs, Thomas bore their 3 children, making headlines when photos of him pregnant with a mustache were leaked online. Legally married in Hawaii, which recognizes same sex marriages, the couples have since moved their family to Arizona.

The Difference a State Makes

After moving to Arizona, to live the couple recently decided to file for divorce. While Hawaii recognizes their marriage as legitimate, they also recognize Beatie as a man. Arizona’s law, however, does not recognize same sex marriage and the courts have questioned the validity of their marriage. While Beatie’s lawyer has admitted that this scenario was new territory for Arizona law, he argues that if one state recognizes the legality of the situation, who is Arizona to refute the validity?

While it would technically be cheaper for Thomas to have the state not recognize his marriage and bypass having to pay any spousal support, he and his lawyer state that the case is not about the divorce laws themselves, but about validation for Thomas concerning his marriage.

This case, as with many others concerning either same-sex couples or transgendered couples, will continue to make headlines as they push the boundaries of the court courts and law structures. The social pressure on law makers to allow for same sex couples to experience the same rights in marriage as well as sharing in the divorce procedure has greatly increased in the last 10 years. Stories like this and others will grow more common as a collective push is made to increase the rights couples and transgendered marriages like Thomas’.

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.

2nd & 3rd Marriages Destined to Fail?

The rate at which first marriages are lasting for more than 25 years is steadily flirting around the 50% mark. This means that the number of people on their second or third marriage is becoming larger by the minute. Statistics have shown that in the U.S., 50 percent of first marriages, 67 percent of second, and 73 percent of third marriages are ending in divorce.

There are many different theories as to why these numbers are so staggering. One common explanation is that a significant number of people enter into a second or third marriage “on the rebound” of a first or second divorce. This means that they are so used to having a significant other that they rush into another relationship, either not fully knowing their new spouse, or not being 100% sure that they even want to be married to this person.

The divorcees in question are usually vulnerable; they do not wait a sufficient time to recover from their divorce or to get their priorities straight before taking their vows again. They enter their next marriage for the wrong reasons, not having internalized the lessons of their past experiences. Time heals all wounds, as they say. However, many are just not willing to wait for whatever reason.

Reasons for the Fall
Now, obviously there isn’t just one clear cut, factor to account for such high rates of second and third failed marriages. There are some individuals in second and third marriages who consider divorce manageable and not necessarily a tragedy. They have handled it once, so they will handle it again. They may even recognize the warning signs earlier than they did first time around and are quicker to react.

One of the other popular theories for the increase of first marriages during recent decades is the gained equality between the genders. Women have become more financially independent and more self sufficient in the workplace, and men have become increasingly more domestically independent.

Gender roles and stereotypes are breaking down, and a stigma is no longer being placed on the stay at home father, or the businesswoman who works 50 hours a week. With the economy coming to a slow rise, these things aren’t frowned upon.

Therefore it shouldn’t be surprising that if and when these individuals move on to a second or third marriage, they are likely to feel inclined to protect themselves emotionally and financially.

Food For Thought
These reasons reflect the logical and statistical side of why the divorce rate among second and third marriages is so high, so here are the more human interest aspects of the divorce rate.

Usually, second and third marriages are later on in life, meaning children and family have been established in prior relationships. So in these later nuptials, its safe to say that there is less glue holding the marriage together. Children typically act as a stabilizing factor, and when children are absent the marriage is prone to be less sturdy and withstand the storms that marriage brings.

In the U.S, an overwhelmingly high percent of children are born in first marriages, and to spouses that are 35 and under. Most couples in a second marriage do not have common children to bind them together. Conversely, not having shared responsibility for kids means it’s easier to leave when you are going through a rough patch.

Relationships become increasingly tangled and complicated with subsequent marriages, and it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain an even keel when on your third marriage. The luster and grandeur of marriage is somewhat lost after the first time, and becomes hard to maintain.  On a day-to-day level, maintaining those relationships is not easy and frequently generates animosity. It is just harder to keep the love alive as the years go on and previous marriages have worn the soul. Making your first one count is the best advice that anyone can give those who are married or even contemplating a divorce.

Post-Divorce Holiday Tips

As a recent divorcee, you know you’re in trouble when the malls begin to adorn everything with red bows and garlands. When normally you’d be “Ho, ho, ho, and a cup’o cheer,” now you might find yourself feeling more “Bah Humbug!” Don’t worry, you’re not a horrible person, you’re just going through a particularly excruciating transition in your life. You’ll make it through this holiday season, but if you want to make it unscathed, here are a few tips about how to make the holidays something worth smiling about, even post-divorce.

Setting the Tone for Your Holidays

First things first: It’s highly likely you will turn into an emotional wreck a few times this holiday season; but that is okay. Accepting this and the (awful) feelings you will experience in waves is the first step to preparing for the holidays after a divorce. But here comes the hard part: You must not let yourself fall apart and become crippled by these emotions. The only thing to do, that is emotionally healthy, is to allow yourself to think through these feelings.

Think of it as a preemptive strike against depression and the ruination of your holidays. After all, you’re divorces, not dead, not imprisoned, or and not a social freak. Think of this holiday season as a time when you can do whatever you want. You can create a new holiday tradition, decorate however you want, and spend the holidays with whoever you want. See? It’s not so bad.

Say Hello to Friends You Know

So in the same vein as allowing yourself to emotionally heal, it is a wise choice to surround yourself with family, friends, and loved ones. The alternative is holing up and becoming the holiday miser of the family. No one wants to be known as the crazy uncle or aunt, so do yourself a favor and reject the urge to become a holiday recluse. If you were to shut out the world for a couple of months all you would achieve is steeping in your own misery and pain.

Aside from resisting the call of the hermit, forcing yourself to be around those who love with will help heal those divorce wounds. After a divorce people tend to feel unlovable and undesirable. There is nothing more damaging to the psyche than cultivating poor self esteem and self-loathing. So break out of the cycle and let yourself be loved!

Stick to the Plan

One of the most comforting things about the holidays is the routines and traditions we fall into. One of the worst affects of divorce is ruining those routines and traditions we fall into. So building off of the previous tip, we suggest making a list of the normal holiday routines and traditions you follow each year, and continuing those traditions.

Mind you, you can skip a routine or tradition or two if they are too painful to follow through with, if you never liked it anyway, or if you just don’t want to. Remember: Divorce is a new beginning for you, not the end of your life. The holidays are a time for celebration, warmth, and, well, cheer. Don’t let a divorce ruin the holiday season for you.

Religious Conversion in Marriage & Divorce

Religion can often be a large factor in why spouses do not see eye to eye. One of the top 3 reasons, besides infidelity and financial matters, for divorce is conflict pertaining to religion. Many couples who are of different faiths typically marry under the notion they will raise any children from the marriage under one or sometimes both religions. One of the many solutions couples have found to this dilemma is to draft up a legal document stating the stipulations under which their family will be governed, as far as religion is concerned.

However, this written agreement would not be enforceable during marriage and it may not be enforceable in the event of a divorce either, depending on the language, the judge, and the jurisdiction. If you’re married and your spouse does not want to follow the terms of your initial agreement about the children’s upbringing, in many instances, the battle will end in a stalemate. There is no civil legal form to enforce this marital problem, so what do you do?

Loopholes & Lawsuits
So, even with a contractual agreement, signed by both parties, if a conflict does arise with regards to the religious upbringing of children, the matter has no weight unless a divorce is pending. It almost begs the question, “What is the point of the agreement, and how do couples solve the issue without dissolving the marriage?” The civil courts will not rule on a premarital contract regarding religion without a termination of marriage proceeding, i.e. divorce or separation. So, if your spouse changes his or her mind after the birth of the child, then you have a problem on your hands.

Divorcing a Religion

Some courts in New York have upheld these “agreements” to raise children with a specific religion, but again, the courts only ruled on the issue in a termination of marriage proceeding. Sometimes a judge wants to acknowledge the agreement and enforce it or a part of it, no matter who has primary custody.  In other situations, the courts first look at custody and then consider whether the agreement is viable

In many states, a civil premarital agreement does not address any custody, parenting, and support issues for future children, and this obviously includes religious rearing. Religion is generally determined by the parent of primary residence when couples are divorced or separated. Divorce often leads to bitter custody disputes, but when religion and the indoctrination of the child are dependent on the sole custodian, custody battles are intensified.

Not many are aware of the rules that coincide with religion and raising children within a marriage. However, even with said documentation, the law does not fully regulate religion and marriage. These papers will show proof of said agreement, but the problem is finding a judge willing to enforce the agreement in an intact marriage.

If your religion is a large part of your life, it is not a great idea to get involved with someone of another faith, unless they are willing to convert. When people have children, they often revert to and have a renewed sense of pride in the religion they grew up with. They often want to give their children the guidelines, traditions, and values that they grew up with themselves. Setting ground rules and sticking to them is a gamble; but discussing the place of religion in your family at length and theorizing all possible scenarios is good planning.

Divorce Means No Insurance

The dissolution of marriage comes along with many changes for both parties involved. One of the many drastic changes is the difference in lifestyle. The division of assets puts a brand new perspective on a lot of everyday things when spouses are no longer together. Sometimes the division of assets affects the woman in a divorce more severely than the man, and this is because many marriages still see the male as the breadwinner and the woman as the homemaker. Therefore, a divorce for many women also means losing health insurance protection.

Without health insurance, many women are left stranded to fend for themselves should an injury occur or some type of medical emergency. Most insurance plans through a place of business is far less expensive than that of an independent plan. This presents yet another problem as women who have been homemakers for so long probably do not have sufficient skills to obtain a job, and consequently the benefits that come with it. Paying out of your own pocket for health insurance is costly to say the least.

Crunching the Numbers
A recent University of Michigan study revealed that roughly 115,000 American women lose their private health insurance annually after a divorce, and about half of them do not get replacement coverage.

Women who fall into this category often find themselves out of insurance for a significant amount of time. The stats show that women’s overall rates of health insurance coverage remain depressed for more than two years after the divorce. When conducted, the study looked at data that spanned four years and observed women who were married, remained married, or divorced at some point during that time. They found that approximately six months after divorce, 15 to 20 percent of women lose their health insurance coverage.

Women from moderate income families, meaning those making between two or three times the federal poverty level (or about $46,000 and $70,000 for a family of four), are at high risk of losing insurance in a divorce. Under the law, these families technically make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to purchase private health insurance coverage. This becomes a dilemma for many families, and they begin to struggle.

Other Ways to Survive
Not having health care altogether is not the only option for divorced women who were dependent on their spouse for insurance previously. Federal law allows ex-spouses to extend their coverage through the Federal Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, also known as COBRA, for up to three years. But premiums for this kind of coverage are expensive because the individual picks up the entire cost of the policy. However, this does allow the ex-spouse to be insured, and gives them ample time to find a policy through either new employment or of their own accord. Some states even employ programs that allow an ex-spouse to simply pay the premium of the employer-based insurance, rather than the costly COBRA plan.

So, all is not lost, but be alert during a divorce, since the division of assets can often mean that the luxuries and the small things we often do not think about are taken away. Always be prepared, and where ever possible, discuss with a spouse just how you will be taken care of post-divorce, health care especially.

Divorced: Forever Changed

 

The definition of marriage has long since been the union of two people in holy matrimony, those two people being clearly defined under law as a man and a woman. However, with change being at the heart of the nation right now, and ever intertwined with the platform of the leader of the free world, it was only a matter of time before the law was changed in order to catch up to the times.

Civil unions and common law marriages have often been the extent to which same sex couples were allowed to be joined under the law, and only in certain states. This is changing, and more traction is being garnered for marriages and divorces alike between same sex couples to be recognized under the law.

Change
One of the key components to any legally binding agreement is the piece of paper telling all those who inquire that it is recognized as such. Divorce papers, marriage certificates, and even birth certificates are all things that tell the world that an event has been recognized under law.

With the mass amount of change coming under many of the clauses comprising family law, the Washington state Health Department will be changing marriage and divorce certificates in response to the same-sex marriage law that takes effect December 6th. This new change means that words such as “bride,” ”groom,” ”husband,” and “wife” will likely be erased from these documents, to not discriminate against any gender or otherwise. The department wants to use gender-neutral terms in order to be more progressive, to adapt to the ever-changing world, and to be correct under the law.

Replacements
All signs, as of now, point to the replacement words on all certificates being something in the area of  ”Spouse A” and “Spouse B”, with names being inserted next to these titles, to ensure no confusion on any further documentation. But the forms will still include gender so the state can track the number of same-sex couples in the state.

The face of divorce is changing one step at a time. With these new changes to the documentation, the law is seeing changes that are enlarging the umbrella everyone falls under. When these laws were conceived and first instituted, they were closed off and put each person in a box. The bottom line is, this is simply not how anyone is meant to be “categorized.” With the ambiguity of the new documentation, everyone can be free from being squeezed into a predetermined box and can be better identified under the law.