Bill in Massachusetts could make Sex during Divorce Illegal

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Bill in Massachusetts could make Sex during Divorce Illegal

If caught red handed between the sheets during your divorce, the law could have something to say about that if a new bill in Massachusetts passes, as it could make sex during divorce illegal. One stipulation of the proposed law is that you must have children living in the house with you and the divorce hasn’t been finalized yet. So after the divorce is finalized it’s perfectly legal to bring someone home if children are in the house, but it isn’t legal if divorce proceedings aren’t final? What kind of logic is that?

If a judge signs off on this tryst then you are off the hook, according to the bill. Wake a judge up in the middle of the night and see what kind of mood he is in to put his signature on an order like that. The bill actually reads like this “In divorce, separation, or 209A proceedings involving children and a marital home, the party remaining in the home shall not conduct a dating or sexual relationship within the home until a divorce is final and all financial and custody issues are resolved, unless the express permission is granted by the courts.”

State Sen. Richard Ross (R) filed the bill in the early months of 2013. He did so for a constituent of his Wrentham Selectman Robert Leclair. This bill was extended in March and will be on the floor of the state legislature in June. Senator Ross filed it on behalf of his constituent but according to a report he does not “support it.” Leclair, once the president of Fathers United for Equal Justice and having gone through a bitter divorce, is the primary architect and promoter of this bill. According to Russia Today, Leclair spoke of the bill saying that the bill would safeguard children during the divorce process. This law would have to be approved by the state legislature and the governor in order to be passed into law, a prospect that seems rather unlikely.

Certainly this bill will have personal liberty advocates up in arms. But it seems to be merely a way for a powerful man to publicly humiliate his wife by way of forcing a politician to propose an unjust or quixotic bill. This bill is a waste of state legislature’s time and the taxpayer’s money. In addition, bills such as this make a mockery of the legislative process. Certainly everyone except Leclair finds this utterly ridiculous. We’ll see if a defamation suit is filed by his ex-wife in the aftermath of this menagerie. For advice on getting through your divorce read, Conscious Divorce: Ending a Marriage with Integrity by Susan Allison.

Dealing with Infidelity and Deciding Whether or Not to Divorce

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Dealing with Infidelity and Deciding Whether or Not to Divorce

Besides the death or illness of a loved one, infidelity and divorce are some of the most painful experiences one can go through. Usually a whole host of emotions is thrust upon someone when confronted with a spouse’s sexual infidelity. Anger, frustration, jealousy, but also hurt, shock, uncertainty about the future, perhaps wondering what it was that drove them into the arms of another. Once you’ve been cheated on, sometimes the wondering can take up your day-to-day life and crowd out the other, important things like family life, career and so on. If you’ve recently come to understand that your spouse has been unfaithful, and you are struggling with exactly how to deal with the infidelity, and deciding whether or not to divorce or try to work it out, here are some ideas on how to sort things out, and a little insight into how to operate while in this vulnerable, wrathful or perhaps even volatile state, to make sure that the outcome of your actions at this stage set you up for the best possible outcome in the near future. First, realize that it might be wise to get tested for STDs. Those who practice infidelity often skip protection with their other lover or lovers. Go to your regular doctor, explain to them what the situation is and have yourself tested.

Whether or not you decide to divorce, you should look into your legal rights, custody, assets and think about getting a lawyer or having an accountant give you a glimpse of what you might be looking at in terms of a settlement and custody if you have children. The sooner you start gathering documentation to support your case, the better protected you will be no matter how the matter proceeds. Some people feel like it’s natural to bottle up. They don’t want others to think less of them for being cheated on, or feel it’s a blow to their ego. But that’s the exact opposite of what one should do in this situation. In fact, it’s the support of close friends and family that will help you vent, sort out the matter, give you advice and help you through this difficult time. What better therapy is there than talking the matter over with a good friend? Everyone needs caring, support and love especially during a trying time such as this. Men in particular will bottle things up inside, or turn to substance abuse. But that only hurts themselves. Learn to talk about the issue with the appropriate people, seek out support and you will receive it. Generally, people are more than happy to help, and wish you’d ask. Research has shown that a strong social network can help relieve extreme stress, which is not good for one’s mental or physical health, and can help you overcome trying times such as this more easily.

Have a frank conversation with your spouse without blame or shaming, to simply find out why they cheated. Has it got something to do with your relationship? Studies have shown that a minority of these relationships turn around and become stronger after an infidelity, as people realize where they’ve gone wrong and are motivated to fix it. The majority of infidelities, particularly serial infidelities, end in divorce. Trust yourself, your observations and feelings. Honestly, there is no right or wrong in this situation. Everything is up to you as to whether to proceed and try to fix the marriage, have a long separation or divorce. Some couples, due to financial hardship, stay separated for long periods of time. They also do this to avoid the emotional suffering divorce can bring. Still, it’s important to note that any change in your spouse’s income could affect an eventual settlement, depending on state law. What’s more, it may become more difficult to eventually divorce. There are many gray areas however. Protect yourself. Find out what the law is. Get expert advice. Don’t have unprotected sex with your partner. Don’t jump into anything until you’ve dealt with your feelings on the matter, grieved and healed. Give yourself some room and space to cogitate and really get to the heart of how you feel about your whole relationship and the affair. Don’t jump into revenge sex or a no strings attached relationship right away. If you are emotionally healed, it may be okay as long as you are protected. But otherwise you may be hurting yourself far worse. Don’t blame others or make threats and don’t seek revenge. Instead, reflect upon your own life, sort out your feelings, and decide how is best to proceed so that you can live the happy, healthy and well-adjusted life you deserve.  For more on this topic read, Getting Past the Affair: A Program to Help You Cope, Heal, and Move On — Together or Apart by Douglas K. Snyder Ph.D., Donald H. Baucom Ph.D. and Kristina Coop Gordon Ph.D.

Helping a Friend through a Divorce when you’ve Been There

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Helping a Friend through a Divorce when you’ve Been There

For anyone who has been through a divorce, it changes you in deep and profound ways, some good and some not so much. But being a veteran of one gives you insight that those who have never been there can’t hope to gain. When you have a friend who is going through the same thing, you certainly want to reach out and help, to be there for them and give them advice and comfort since you know how it is, as you’ve been there. Here are some ideas on how to make your efforts more impactful and focused so that you can help your friend the best you possibly can. A lot of those people who have been there, done that want to dole out all of their hard won advice on their friend without considering how the friend themselves may be feeling. Don’t give advice if your friend hasn’t asked for it. Not even a little. Ask yourself who this drive is benefitting, you with all of your knowledge, or your friend who isn’t ready to listen? If they are still in a raw stage they may feel like you are rubbing it in, being judgmental or criticizing. When they ask for advice then give it. But don’t give unless asked. You can also share your knowledge in other ways, like sharing your own personal experiences.

Think about divorce situations that are relevant, and that your friend is currently experiencing. If for instance you hit a snag in your custody case and your friend is having a similar issue, or your ex-spouse was hiding assets and your friend believes their ex is doing the same, let them know what you learned and what happened. Discuss what worked and what didn’t in your divorce, but only if and when your friend is ready to listen. Ask things, framing it in “Did you think of” or “Have you thought about.” There are a lot of resources nowadays for those going through a divorce such as support groups, women’s support groups, dating after divorce groups and more. The Transition Network for instance gives emotional and social support. Meetup has many of these which you can find in you or your friend’s area. There are also symposiums, workshops and guest speakers who talk about getting one’s finances, emotional situation or legal situation in order. Why not help your friend find these if he or she is in need of more information or support? Divorce nowadays is so draining financially and emotionally, and such a complex situation that we often need all the help we can get, and in different realms of the issue.

Go out with your friend to take their mind off of their problems. They may want to sit and wallow for weeks and months on end in the house, but ultimately that isn’t going to make them feel any better. Buy them a latte. Take them to the spa, a movie, a night out, a meal, a concert or a comedy club. Treat them extra specially, they’ll need it right now for what they are going through. Give them little gifts or cards on holidays or their birthday. Bake them something, make them dinner, do something special to let them know how much they mean to you, that they will get through this, and that you have their back. Be there for when they need to vent. Don’t judge, give advice or explain, just listen. Sometimes nothing is better than having someone listen and validate your feelings without any commentary or judgment. Statements like “Of course you would feel this way,” can do a lot to help your friend feel better. If someone you know who went through a divorce helped you, and passed along words of wisdom, why not share them with your friend? Let them know that sooner or later things will get better. If you are dating again, let them know that when they are ready you can help them with that, too. Since you’ve had the same experience, your friend is more likely to lean on you. Be there for them. Hollow out a little time for them. Treat them how you wanted to be treated when you were in their situation. But realize, too, that everyone reacts differently to divorce and allow them to grieve and heal in their own unique way. To help your friend or anyone else you know through this trying time, pick up a copy of Growing Through Divorce by Jim Smoke.

Why Wives File for Divorce More often than Husbands

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Some have been curious as to why wives file for divorce more often than husbands today. Part of it has to do with changes we’ve seen in society. Traditionally women depended on men financially. Getting divorced then could mean a woman’s financial ruin, or a steep decline in her standard of living. Today with so many highly educated career women, wives don’t have to depend on their husband’s support. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, “More working women than men have college degrees.” Another reason, there used to be a social stigma against divorce in the U.S. There was thought to be something wrong with someone who was divorced. But today, with the divorce rate so high and people at various ages finding themselves single again, the stigma against being divorced has plummeted. It was the creation of “no fault” divorce laws in the 1970’s that saw a dramatic increase in divorce. Previous to these laws a serious reason had to accompany a divorce such as abuse, infidelity or even abandonment. Today the divorce rate for baby boomers is around 50%, while for those groups that came after it’s approximately 40%.  Lots of women however still take divorce to heart. They feel like it is a symbol of failure. But the majority of the people in the U.S. are single today. So these attitudes are also changing.

Women’s empowerment and equality since the feminist movement, particularly that of the 1970’s, has seen more powerful women in positions of leadership both in the government, the military and private industry. Women used to feel less powerful and so at the mercy of their husbands. Today lots of powerful women in Hollywood, the corporate sphere and even in the government have endured divorce and are still viable, vibrant members contributing heavily to our society. Gender roles too have changed dramatically. Women no longer feel subservient to their husbands. They feel instead as if they should be their equals. If they aren’t treated as equals or aren’t getting what they need out of the relationship, women feel more empowered to leave the relationship than they have in the past. Still, even in today’s world women still generally do more of the housework. Men may stay longer in dysfunctional marriages only because the lifestyle is far easier than living alone, while a woman doesn’t necessarily have this consideration unless her husband is the one who stays at home. Finally, some men are reluctant to leave a marriage due to their children. They don’t want to upset the children. These men also know that usually the mother gets custody of the kids while the father gets visitation rights. Some men have a close relationship with their children and can’t cope with seeing them less often. This is one of the reasons why shared custody today is far more common than in the past. For more on this topic, read A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce by famous actor Alec Baldwin.

Breaking Up with a Baby on the Way

pregnant-woman

Are you breaking up with a baby on the way? Expecting a newborn can be really stressful on a relationship. What is the reason for the breakup? If it is the man leaving, he could be terrified about becoming a father. There’s the financial burden, the idea of spending the rest of his life with one woman when perhaps he wasn’t ready, and taking care of the child. If it was the mother, it could be hormones, pushing the man away to see if he would come back and thereby testing the relationship, depression, or stress. She could also be lashing out against someone close to her. Or she could see her dreams for her future being difficult to achieve, trading college at least temporarily for figuring out child care. Then there is the place to live, financial burdens weighing down on her. Each parent may also be worried how he or she is looked at in their parent’s eyes, to friends, and society at large. If they are young they may need to leave school and return to finish at a later date, applying more pressure. So with all this pressure building up, it’s easy to see why couples have stress, fights, and breakup. First, determine if the person is serious. You may need to give them some space and time to sort things out. After some time has passed, try to make contact and talk it out.

Next, determine how you feel about each other. Was this a casual relationship? Or was it a long term one? How do you feel about one another? If you two are still in love and willing to try and make it work, come together, talk it out, establish some ground rules. You don’t have to figure out every aspect of your future at once. If it’s over, find out why. See if the real reason is given or one that lets them off the hook. If you suspect your guy is pulling away for instance, because he fears becoming a father, tell him so. And state the reasons why he needs to be there for you, and why he’d make an excellent father. If you can diffuse the situation the relationship may spring back together.  If you truly love your partner and want to save your relationship, there are many books available with valuable advice such as I Love You, but I’m Not IN Love with You: Seven Steps to Saving Your Relationship by Andrew G. Marshall. If the differences are truly irreconcilable, try to remain civil. Remember this is your child’s parent. You will be seeing them no matter what your status. Be friendly. Or at least civil. Try to work out all the details one at a time, visitation, custody, child support and so on. Give yourself some time. Remember, the baby is truly the most important thing to focus on. Go easy on yourself. Grieve. Seek out friends, family, and others in your support network. And make plans to be there for that child, no matter what.