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Prominent Novelist Offers Reflective insight on Divorce


Divorces can be intensely personal. The breakdown of something design for happiness for ever can feel like a weight on one’s life and past decisions. The reality of a family breaking apart, the process and the attempt at the next phase after divorce can be a draining period in one’s life. For those gifted with the skill of writing this can become a rich area for reflection. Memoirs often encompass periods of tragedy, delving into one’s own personal failures and low points allows all of us to relate to the natural ebb and flow of ups and downs that personal choices can bring.

Recently, prominent British author Rachel Cusk released a memoir book chronicling her recent marriage and subsequent break up. She is well known throughout the UK and has had fiction as well as prominent non-fiction works published. This recent memoir titled Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation deals with her reflections on her marriage, separation and divorce, having 2 children, and how to move forward.

Displaying the personal for the world

Rachel Cusk’s first personal memoir published in 2003 chronicled her personal experience into motherhood. Writing a brutally honest reflective piece she became a target for backlash calling her “petty”, “self-absorbed” and a bad mother. It became a staple of honest motherhood books and was subsequently copied by many other women.

It can be a daunting thing putting ones personal life to the public, especially when it has to do with doubt, failure, and personal hurt. Her new memoir chronicling the breakdown of her marriage, separation and divorce offers another raw glimpse into a deep reflective thinker as she trudges through a familiar painful process.

Relate-able pains

Obviously slanted through the female prospective, “Aftermath” and books like it can provide a deeply relate-able example to other mothers that go through the divorce process. Aftermath deals deep emotional issues, depression and Cusk’s thought on feministic ideas throughout family relationship, through her own eyes. Her questioning nature and self doubt, even as a highly educated and successful women, can serve as an example for women questioning their past, present, and future when considering or even just entering into the divorce process. Everyone feels some sense of comfort when we know there are others struggling with the same serious issues in their life. Regardless of professional critiques of Aftermath: On Marriage and Separation, the introspective nature of Cusk’s writing, as raw and unabashed as it is can potentially be the kind of personal crutch that recently divorced women need to let them know they truly are not alone with their worry and fears after something as emotional trying as divorce.

Harboring sorrow and guilt over personal situations such as divorce is natural. Many divorced couples often seek therapy individually. Having a relate-able objective person to listen can go a long way in easing the psychological pains that can often permeate a person’s mind after an emotional split of a family. We can often find relief in the literary pages of other people’s similar situations. We hear stats about how thousands of couples are divorced every year, yet the divorce process can seem so constricted within one’s own world. Divorce is common enough where support groups, message boards, and friends in a circle should be able to help support someone going through a divorce. Being there for someone can mean infinitely more to them then they may realize.

The Dilemma of Divorce and Only Children


The prototypical nuclear family used to consist of 2 kids and 2 decimal points of a third child…

Post World War 2 and during the baby boom era, large families were encouraged and an accepted part of the American society. Our culture, from TV shows to advertising was built around the dynamic of the family. As the 1960’s and 70’s came and went, we saw this dynamic drastically change.

Women’s equality had a trickle-down effect that changed more than just work and marriage. The residual effect of a more progressive society has had a direct correlation on how we think of defining a modern family. Within the past 35 years, as of 2004, the amount of only-child families has almost doubled. The U.S. Census Bureau has not kept detailed information about the nature of how or why the number of only-child families has increased, whether by choice or circumstance. There are currently 20 million single-child families in the U.S. The percentage of American women having only one child has more than doubled in 20 years, to almost one quarter. The single-child family is the fastest-growing family in the U.S. As the divorce rates have risen as well in the single child family. what effects does this have on the child? And what can you do to help?

Easing the emotional stress

Any only child will feel grief stricken during the breakup of the family triangle. Along with this emotional schism will be the adaptation to a totally different routine. Only children have no peer or close sibling to lean on. As parents in this situation, there is no clear cut way to best handle the divorce process with only children.  There are ways to help emotionally ease only children that are entering into the sometimes harsh reality of a now fractured close knit family.

Prepare the child

It is often advised that parents break the news to children together rather than one parent doing it separately. This is especially true in the case of only children.  Explaining together that this decision was mutual and a tough one to make will help the child understand that even though separating, the family is all going through this together. Keeping the family in the same room talking about a major decision like this will emphasize that even though there will be a change in living situation, both parents are still equally and fully apart of the child’s life.

Building the predictable routine

Understandably an only child’s routine will go through a period of change and adjustment. The age of the child will dictate the varying degree of emotional adjustments and problems the child may go through. Attempting to add any instances of routine and predictability to these new situations will help ease the child into a new life style, while still keeping the same values as if the parents still lived under one house. Also maintaining certain habits in the only child’s routine will help with a sense of comfort-ability and familiarity.

Be prepared for questions

The individual age and maturity of an only child will dictate the level of questions, but make no mistake children; especially only children will have questions. Taking the time to fully explain and answer your child’s questions can help assuage the fears of the unknown that may be swirling around in the child’s head. There can also be the mistake of only child parents leaning on their children in times like these. Parents can sometimes treat the only children as more of an equal then they should transferring some of their own fears to a child who may not be mature enough to emotional handle a certain level of stress

Families with an only child can often be seem close knit, even if the parents in essence do not have a happy marriage. The potential effects of a divorce on an only child can be more detrimental in only children. The impact of divorces can be seen resonating throughout many different facets of an only child’s life and for years down the road. Being prepared as a parent with an only child can help soften the blow, remember these children do not have an equal counterpart in the family to lean on in situations where they might feel they cannot go to their parents. Older brothers and sisters sometimes substitute as pseudo parents especially for budding adolescents, but only children have only outward experiences and contacts to learn and lean on. Protecting the blow that divorce can cause will help only children remember that even though apart, their parents will always be there for them.

Divorce and the Military: What You Need to Know


We constantly look with respect towards our military personnel. Some of these brave men and women sacrifice everything to protect the very rights and freedoms we hold dear in this great nation. We often forget that after, before, and during their active duty, these men and women also juggle personal lives. Relationships, finances, and happiness are not put on hold while they serve our country.

There are also many factions of the military, having a family while being an active member or stationed somewhere can be a strain on one’s life. Being in a faction of the military adds extra rules and restrictions to a person’s life. When it comes to divorce in the military there may be some stipulations different from regular citizenship. Knowing your situation and how the divorce process pertains to it will help ease this stressful process.

Residency Requirements and the USFSPA

Legally speaking, divorce applies the same way it does to any other non-military citizen. However, when it comes to residency issues when applying for divorce, many states will relax some of the residency requirements and stipulations allowing for active military personnel that are stationed around the country and remote places to file for a divorce in the place they are stationed.

Besides knowing the divorce process, military couples should understand and be knowledgeable about the United Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA). This s a federal stature implemented for military personal that is a guide for potential divorce couples that have either one, or both, members in the military. It says that the divorcing spouses should look to accept the state’s specific divorce rulings and laws on specific issues in the dissolution of a marriage. Mainly child support, spousal support, and military/retirement pension plans. One important USFSPA stature is that, while states have always viewed retirement and pension plans as like any other marital asset, the USFSPA allows states to classify military retirement pay as property instead of income.

Pensions and Retirement: How Military Benefits are Handled in Divorce

Retirement payments through the military are paid directly through the Defense Accounting and Finance Service. For an ex-spouse to be eligible to receive retirement payments, the couple must have been married 10 years combined with an overlapping 10 years of military service. For example, if a couple have been married 14 years and 8 of those years either of the spousal parties have served in the military, then the ex-spouse would not be eligible to receive retirement payments.

Another situation to watch for is how different states view the amount of time a marriage has been deemed to last. Depending on the states view of when the dissolution of a marriage happened, it may change the length of official time your marriage has lasted for and, consequently, could possibly change what benefits you or your spouse are eligible for. However, not being eligible for direct payment as an ex-spouse does not necessarily mean you may not be entitled to a portion. Throughout the divorce proceedings, an agreement can be reached by the divorcing parties to divide a retirement/pension. Usually the awarding of retirement military pay may be in addition to child support or spousal support.

No matter the external situation in a couple’s life, divorce can cause major upheaval. With so many specific laws pertaining to where you are and how long you have been married, it is important to know the rules and regulations that may influence your divorce. At MyDivorceDocuments, we can provide insightful information to help you understand exactly what challenges, legal or otherwise you could possibly face throughout the divorce process. Visit today and arm yourself with the knowledge that can lessen your stress about going through the divorce process.

California’s Most Misunderstood Divorce Laws


The ins and outs of any law can be detailed and confusing to anyone, especially anyone not practicing law. Therefore there are a bounty of misconceptions that come along with understanding any law. When these laws involve divorce, they can become infinitely more difficult to navigate and properly understand. Anything from property, assets, debts, child custody, alimony and more, are typically involved in divorce filing and proceedings. In California, the laws are just as hard to understand as anywhere else in the U.S. This being said, it is one of the states that has the most people confused about certain laws and asking the most questions. For that reasons, here are the top 5 questions asked in reference to divorce Laws in the Golden State, answered and debunked.

If we have a joint account that has occurred debt but my name is not on the credit card,  do I owe this debt incurred during marriage?

Marriages are seen as business partnerships under the law. The old adage, “what’s yours is mine” rings true for this frequently asked question. You can ultimately be held accountable for the debts that either spouse incurred during the marriage. This legal rule is put into effect in this manner because it in turn protects creditors from a spouse claiming that the debt acquired during the marriage belongs to the other person and not to them. If the debt was incurred while married, it does not matter whose name is listed on the credit cards.

If we have equal custody, does child support still need to be paid?

When parents share custody of children, even if the court has mandated that the custody is 50/50, child support can be ordered by the court. Gross incomes of both parties and actual timeshare of the child have the biggest impact on this decision. If the incomes of the parents are not almost equally matched, there will be some kind of child support exposure for the greater earner.

How long should I wait until I get remarried?

It is imperative that you get a court to issue a judgment that terminates your marital status before you pursue anything as far as another legal marriage. The earliest you can terminate your marriage and be returned to the status of a single person is 6 months from the date a filed divorce  petition is served on the other spouse and no sooner.

If either of us remarry, does the child support amount increase or decrease?

The simple answer to this question is that the income of a new spouse or partner of a parent obligated to pay support cannot be used as a factor to reduce child support.

Do you have to be married for at least 10 years to get a part of your ex-spouse’s pension rights?

Any of the earnings that are acquired from the date of marriage to the date of separation is considered community property. This means that under the law, all money acquired and used towards retirement benefits, pensions, profit sharing and stocks, will be community.  The length of marriage has no bearing on your right to the community property acquired from date of marriage to date of separation. The moment you are legally married, is when those rights go into effect.

There are a number of other questions that are commonly asked when California divorce is brought into question, however these ones are some of the top questions that are often misconstrued when answered. Hopefully these condensed answers have helped you with any questions or concerns you may have. Remember, your local courthouse that specializes in family law, will always be able to help you with these types of questions or concerns.

Common Divorce Law Terms Defined


Properly understanding and becoming knowledgeable in anything takes time. Research, studying and fully immersing oneself into something is the only way to truly pick up all the relevant information needed to know enough on anything. Divorce is no different. Attorneys who specialize in family law have studied for years to become as well informed on the subject as they are. Filing for divorce can be an emotionally trying event and process in general. However, going into it, knowing some of the basics is a much better way to enter, than going in and not knowing anything about anything. There are terms, laws, details and specific stipulations that are unique to each individual state. Some courts rule differently on the same issues due to this. Knowing some of the lingo and the processes for some of the most common occurrences in Family Law is a good way to get filled in and begin to understand just how divorce works. So, here are a few terms explained and dissected to help you along the way.

Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
This is a pleading document, filed with the court that initiates the divorce process. The person filing the Petition is called the Petitioner and they are the ones who are asking the court to dissolve their marriage or to legally sign off on the divorce requested.This petition must be filed to get the divorce process started. Without this form, no filing can begin, this is single-handedly the most important document in the process.

Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA)
This document, commonly known as the MSA , is the end goal of every divorce.  It is a contract entered into between the parties in question in the divorce filing.  It’s purpose is to draw specific guidelines between both parties as to how all of the community and separate assets and debts will be divided amongst them. It also addresses alimony if this is necessary, this varies on a case to case basis. The Marital Settlement Agreement is usually adopted as an order of the court by entry of the Final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, which means that it can be enforced not only as a contract, but as a court order. In the event that the parties cannot agree on the terms of the MSA, the case will be set for trial by the courts. In cases such as this, assets and the like are divided up as the courts see fit, and sometimes both parties do not come away with property that they had hoped or expected to. This is another reason why the MSA is beneficial.

Final Decree of Dissolution of Marriage
This document is filed at the end of the divorce process; this is essentially the closing of the book, whereas the petition for dissolution is the opening. It is an order entered by the court granting the Petitioner a divorce from the Respondent. The final decree generally describes each party’s rights and responsibilities after the divorce with respect to property, debts and custody of any children. It essentially maps out absolutely everything for both parties, wiping out any type of discrepancies, concerns or anything of that nature. The details of those rights and responsibilities are typically laid out in an MSA or Parenting Plan, which the Final Decree incorporates by reference and adopts as an order of the court.

These terms and definitions should help you along the way. Getting to know the law is far from an easy process, however, learning small pieces of information such as these can really help you as you go through the process. It’s your duty to yourself to fully understand just what is happening in the entire filing process. Legal representation will be there to help you along the way should you opt for it, but it will do nothing but bolster your side of the case if you know the lay of the land.

Divorce Law Explained: the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act


Many spouses seeking a divorce have a multitude of questions concerning paperwork, lawyers, fees and a laundry list of other things. When children are involved in the mix, the amount of questions and concerns between spouses increases tenfold. Each state has standard guidelines, rules and stipulations concerning custody and child support. However, when it comes to the matter of children and child support when parents are in different states, the rules change a little. There are a number of different laws and addendum’s that have been put in place to ensure that the rights of the children in these cases are not overlooked.

Uniform Interstate Family Support Act
The UIFSA was put into place to limit the jurisdiction that can properly establish and modify child support orders and address the enforcement of child support obligations within the United States.The act provides a new framework for states to use in collecting child support where the child and the parent reside in different states. It made it easier for state courts to exercise jurisdiction in establishing and collecting child support.

Under the legal definition of the act, support is broad enough to include child support, spousal support, health care, and related costs and attorney fees. More significant, the Act refers to a “tribunal” rather than a court, because its provisions apply to any administrative agency that has the power to establish and enforce child support orders. Many states have child support enforcement agencies with these powers. Each state’s’ Family Law Court will decide who is to rule on matters such as these.

Statewide Implementation

In cases where more than one state is involved in the establishing, enforcing or modifying a child or spousal support order, the Act is implemented to determine the jurisdiction and power of the courts in the each of the states. The Act also establishes which state’s law will be applied in proceedings under the Act. The Act establishes rules requiring every state to defer to child support orders entered by the state courts of the child’s home state.

The Act also provides various direct interstate enforcement mechanisms. This means that, it allows a caretaker parent to have an order mailed to the employer of the obligated parent, which will require that employer to withhold pay for the benefit of the child. Furthermore, it allows the caretaker parent to have an order mailed to an out-of-state court to get the other state to enforce the order. This is only done in severe cases or cases where a parent has failed to pay support for a lengthy period of time.

Child custody and child support laws are some of the strictest and highly enforced. When divorce proceedings take place, these are usually the issues that are highly debated amongst parents. The separation of spouses can sometimes come with an out of state move, for whatever reason. This Act ensures that any child in this circumstance, is protected. The best interest of the child is the priority of the court, no matter which state.

Weird but True Divorce Stories from around the Web


Love can make people crazy; the world provides us many examples. Divorce however can induce behaviors that go beyond the scope of any sense of normal rational thinking. Even though it is the process of breaking up a bad or fruitless marriage people getting divorce sometimes feel to go out with a bang instead of agreeing this was a mistake and parting ways. The tug and war within relationships, even those entering the divorce process, excuse me, especially going through the divorce process can provide some hilariously disastrous results. If you’re going through a divorce or having a rough time processing the end of your marriage take a look at some of these extreme examples when keeping it real at the of the divorce process goes wrong.

Kid-ney or not kid-ney

We’ve all heard of returning wedding rings, or the splitting of assets and other such positions when divorces arise in couples. Here’s that scenario with a slightly organ-ic twist. A long island surgeon donated a kidney to his wife in 2001 which saved her life. After being embroiled in a bitter divorce for 4 years, part of his settlement was that he either wanted his kidney back from his wife or be handsomely compensated for it.  A separation over custody of body parts, that’s a new one. In his defense, the wife did admit to having an affair.

Mommy dearest

Being tight with your family is always a good thing. It’s always nice when you’re close to your parents, even as you get older, move out and attempt to start a family of your own. However there is a line that you generally don’t cross. In the realm of “What in the world were they thinking” marriage moments, an Italian groom decided he wasn’t ready to part with his dear mother yet, so he did what any normal person would do and brought her with him on his honeymoon with his new wife. Needles to say the wife filed for divorce shortly after citing “excessive emotional attachment.” In the man’s defense he claimed he couldn’t leave his mother alone for “health reasons.” But for guys, as a general rule, leave your mom at home when you’re going on your honeymoon, just to be safe.

Bird Chatter

Just when you think no one is listening in. A woman in China filed for divorce after suspecting and then getting confirmation that her husband was having an affair. The odd part is how she ultimately was convinced. The couple owned a pet Mynah bird, after some time she kept hearing the bird say things like “divorce” “I love you” and “be patient.” She also claimed the bird become increasingly talkative whenever the phone rang. Just goes to show you that you can’t always trust your pets with secrets.

Every relationship, failing or not has a different dynamic. Some are just taken to more extreme places then others. Reality can sometimes surprise us in its bizarreness.

Divorce can be no laughing matter to most people going through it. Crazy divorce stories aside, there are many different divorce laws created for divorce proceedings. In the United States each state has separate rules and stipulations involving the divorce process. Knowing the possibilities and preparing the future can help alleviate some of the stress that you might be going through. To learn about the laws in your state, or to begin your divorce process online, visit

Common Law Divorce: Myths Debunked

As more states begin to adopt into their laws the notion and recognition of common law marriage, naturally the notion of divorce is also going to appear. The U.S has an alarmingly high rate of divorce, and those of the same sex who are joined in matrimony are no exception. In some states, individuals can live together for a particular number of years and will be recognized by the state as “married,” even if they’ve  never had a legal wedding ceremony. Therefore, when those couples split up, it’s necessary to receive a common law divorce. By understanding the basics of common law divorce, individuals can learn how to obtain one.

Full Faith & Credit Clause
FFAC is the name usually given  to Article IV, Section 1 of the United States Constitution. This Clause addresses the duties that states within the United States have to respect the “public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.” The clause’s application to state recognized and legal, same-sex marriages, civil unions, and domestic partnerships is however, unresolved, and so too is its relationship to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. As of the present, 39 states passed laws and constitutional amendments that define marriage as consisting solely of a man and a woman. Most explicitly prohibit the state from honoring same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries

Obtaining a Common Law Divorce

Now, even though there are some states that do not legally recognize common law marriages, there are states that do, all under certain circumstances. Only eleven states in the U.S. have provision for common law marriages, so unless you live or previously lived in one of those states with your partner under the conditions described by that state’s laws for the formation of a common law marriage, you’re not legally married and thus don’t have to file for divorce. Once a couple has been recognized as married through the common law marriage, they must obtain a divorce in exactly the same way a legally married couple would. They will have to petition the courts to work out issues such as child custody, division of assets and property.

Many hear “Common Law” and automatically think that the divorce process will be different for divorce amongst same sex couples. The opposite is true of this. In fact, obtaining legal certification of marriage between same sex couples is far more difficult than dissolving a marriage. This is due to the fact that many states simply do not legally recognize the act. There are so many myths and falsities floating through the subject of this, and to set the record straight, is to say that divorce, no matter who the spouses are, is entirely the same.

Technology: Changing Family Law Forever

Technology rules the world, plain and simple. Technology has its hand in everything in today’s day and age. It was only a matter of time before new laws were drawn up and integrated into the new and rapid growth of electronics and technology in the world. Divorce rates continue to grow in the U.S, just as the laws do. So it should be no surprise that new

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.