Handling Divorce as a Lady at 40 Plus

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Handling Divorce as a Lady at 40 Plus

Divorce for women forty and over is different than for women under forty according to Erica Manfred, author of the book, History; You’re Not: Surviving Divorce After Forty.  The sheer difference between handling divorce as a lady at 40 plus is that you have less opportunities than at earlier times. Some women have to re-enter the workforce. But if she’s been home caring for the house and children, or had a gap in employment, she may be in for a rude awakening when hitting today’s job market. If she hasn’t had a family yet and wanted one her chances are diminished.

The difference today from years ago is that there are plenty of single, available men who are also divorced. But the herd is a bit thinner than what women encounter at a younger age. If you need to reestablish your career consider attending college, community college, nursing school or some form of higher education. Civil service examinations are good avenues for employment. Networking with friends, family, acquaintances and others are good ideas as well, both for employment, and career advice.

Many people stay married for the sake of the children. They wait until the kids have grown up so as not to injure their psyches. But according to Ms. Manfred, “The kids are never grown.” What she means by that is that children are distraught by the divorce of their parents no matter what age they’re at. The kids begin to question their childhood, whether they grew up in a happy household for instance, or if it was all a lie. Now holidays are also separated into two. This will be quite awkward. Problems soon creep up in their own relationship. And they worry about who is going to take care of one or both parents once they get older and can’t take care of themselves. If you need to break the news, no matter what age, both of you should tell the children together according to Manfred. Deliver the news with empathy and understanding. Make sure the timing is right.

Surprisingly, 66% of over 50 divorces are initiated by women. This is because often the man has had bad habits, which she could ignore when he was out and about. But now that he’s home all the time it becomes a problem. There’s infidelity with younger women. And there are those men who recede into themselves and just sit on the couch and watch TV, while she still wants to live an active lifestyle and social life, go out, do things, meet people, and so gets tired of having no connection with him. It may not seem easy but for many divorce makes them much happier.

When Your Child is Emancipated Do You Still Have to Pay Child Support?

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When Your Child is Emancipated Do You Still Have to Pay Child Support?

When you first hear that your child is becoming emancipated, hope can dawn on many a cash strapped parent and ex-spouse. One question usually comes to their mind. When your child is emancipated do you still have to pay child support? But the issue isn’t that simple. It’s more complicated. Your child support responsibility doesn’t automatically end due to emancipation. Instead, you have to petition the court in order to terminate child support. Proceedings from this point vary according to state law. Child support laws vary considerably from state to state. In some states the minute a child turns eighteen child support is over. Whereas in other states it’s when the child turns twenty one or it could even depend on when they finish college. Emancipation itself is a different issue, but the laws on child support will influence the court’s ruling. There are states that require child support be paid to an emancipated child. Even though an emancipated child is supposed to be financially self-sufficient the court could decide that they receive a stipend monthly until they become a certain age. The original child support order may run in tandem or be extinguished due to this. It pays to have an experienced attorney on your side to help navigate this complicated issue.

Make sure you attend your child’s emancipation hearing. Your input won’t be heard otherwise and they may make a decision that is unfavorable to you. It doesn’t matter whether or not you support your child’s decision to become emancipated. You will be able to give your testimony and take part in the decision making process. Your input will be considered. Have with you a copy of your divorce decree. The judge may ask to read it in order to get better acquainted with the case. If they see for instance that this father is paying $400 per month in child support, the judge may redirect that money to the child. Or the court may decide that each party should contribute $200 per month to the child. The age of your kid is one of the most important factors. This will weigh heavily on the judge’s head. If it is a seventeen year old boy the judge may believe that the money being paid to the child is warranted, even if they can support themselves. The judge may also consider the position of each parent. If a parent is against the emancipation they may not grant the child support to the child. If you are angry at your ex-spouse, don’t direct that anger at your child or let that anger cloud your good judgment. Make sure that throughout you have the child’s best interest in mind. For more advice on child support read, Child Support Dollar$ and Sense for NCPs: Practical Advice, Guidance, Resources, and Much More for Non-Custodial Parents Juggling Child Support Issues by Marty Vaughn.

Marriage Doesn’t Fight Poverty

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Marriage has been on the decline in America in recent years, particularly due to the financial strain of many households and couples. And in the wake of the Great Recession poverty has made a dramatic rise. This is particularly worrisome considering the number of children caught in poverty’s icy grasp. Some have suggested that marriage and a stable family life could provide more financial stability and less poverty, particularly child poverty. But researchers are now finding that marriage doesn’t in fact fight poverty at all. For instance, research out of Ohio State University states that over two thirds of single mothers who married divorced somewhere between 35 and 44, leading to more financial hardship than if they had just stayed single. The mates available to women in lower income areas provide little financial stability. The Ohio State researchers found no further advantages to single mothers who remarried. Though it may seem like a step in the right direction, just because a couple is married, doesn’t mean they provide a financially stable household. And how stable is the relationship? Studies have shown that children growing up in high conflict households are much worse off than single parent ones.

Instead of supporting marriage, there are lots of other ways to fight poverty. Investing in education, particularly sex education will help alleviate the problem. Financial education and how to handle money in a responsible manner could help too. Investment in free or subsidized contraception for young mothers will help stem unwanted pregnancy. More employment programs and job skills programs, investment in research and development to create new industries, paid job leave, universal daycare and preschool, raising of the minimum wage would all help stem the tide of poverty. Breakfast and lunch programs can also be essential in bringing and keeping children in school. As for marriage, there should be relationship education in schools so that students can learn about issues surrounding a healthy, stable, and happy relationship. Mentorship opportunities should also be available to single mothers with children. Putting people together who aren’t going to last, who are just going to get divorced will serve to increase the poverty issue. Instead, let’s educate people about relationships, love, marriage and children. Let’s support programs to help those in need to help themselves. And let marriage be a committed union for love as it should be instead of for financial stability which will never keep two people together or provide for a happy household. To learn more about financial hardships read, The Other America: Poverty in the United States by Michael Harrington.

Can Living Together before Marriage Prevent Divorce?

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Can Living Together before Marriage Prevent Divorce?

7.5 million U.S. couples, mostly 20-somethings are cohabitating today as a way to make sure they’ll stay together, in hopes of preventing future divorce. The reason is most of them grew up in the 1980’s when a lot of divorces took place. Millennials and Generation Y growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s for the first time saw a record number of divorces due to a chipping away at the stigma and, what’s more, no fault divorce laws coming into vogue across the nation. These generations want to stave off marriage in hopes of making sure the person they are living with is the one for them. Divorce is of course a financially and emotionally shattering event in one’s life. But there seems to be some controversy in whether or not living together before marriage prevents divorce. According to Clinical Psychologist Dr. Meg Jay of the University of Virginia, who in a New York Times article wrote of what she calls the “cohabitation effect,” a phenomenon of cohabitating couples getting married and becoming less satisfied than those who did not live together, and so are more prone to divorce. According to Dr. Jay instead of getting married 20-something couples merely move into the direction of cohabitation instead of making it a point to focus on, discuss and decide on their relationship and where it is going, what she’s termed “sliding, not deciding,” meaning couples just drift into cohabitation rather than making it a serious decision as perhaps couples in past generations might have.

Sliding works like this: sex leads to leaving a tooth brush at someone’s place, then some personal care products and sooner or later the couple has moved in together. “Mission creep” is another term used for the same phenomenon. The couple seems naturally to fall into cohabitation. But according to Dr. Jay research has shown that the sexes view cohabitation differently. Women see it as an avenue to marriage while men see it as a way to have a relationship. What’s more, Dr. Jay says that the standards they hold for a spouse aren’t as high as one they hold for a cohabitating partner. As the relationship develops a new stage will sooner or later crop up, what Dr. Jay calls “lock-in” which she defines as, “the decreased likelihood to search for or change to another option once an initial investment has been made.” Once the couple is established, they are splitting the bills, have a group of friends, and even have pets. It is harder to extricate one’s self. Also, entering into dating after you’ve been lodged into this type of relationship is scary. If the relationship at home is of a lower quality than one would have if one were looking for a marriage partner, it seems as though it’s easier to settle for what you have at home than to get rid of that person and set out to seek a spouse. So people in this group settle for what they already have, says Jay.

Jay argues that 20-somethings and others stay in mediocre relationships for years, not being really happy simply out of convenience and a fear of the unknown. She says relationships that would have lasted only a few months now drag on for years, and so in her view wastes those 20-something years. Still, cohabitation seems likely to stay, not only for social reasons, or fear of divorce, but also financial ones. Lots of 20-somethings having to forgo marriage for longer bouts of education just to be marketable in the job market have staved off marriage for career. Some 20-somethings are so overburdened with work and school that they don’t have time to develop their love lives. In this sense, a default mode or staying in a non-traditional or even a non-monogamous relationship in order to get one’s needs met while still keeping one’s grades up and earning a paycheck could be more practical for 20-somethings. A whole shift in how people engage in their love lives is not based merely on the younger generation experiencing their parent’s divorce but in shifts in our economic system and other factors as well. People are also living longer today. Being married to one person for the rest of one’s life is looking less and less like an attractive option. What once only lasted a few decades can now go on and on for even half a century or more. There are many more options open today for young people due to the proliferation of internet dating and dating apps. What’s more, a generation of young women, college educated and able to support themselves are in a peculiar situation. Many don’t see themselves supporting a man. They aren’t tethered to men for financial support and so can choose and steer the course of their own romantic relationship with far less of the stigma that once occurred in the past. Dr. Jay may be on to something in one sense. But there also may be many more factors at play complicating the issue. Some psychologists and others are calling this the end of marriage. Others believe marriage will only change. Some are proposing different scenarios such as an open marriage, marriages that expire after a certain number of years but that can be renewed, even situations such as “monogamish” where couples have a few rules about when they can stray outside of the marriage. How marriage plays out in America in the future is anyone’s guess. One thing is clear, we are at the beginning of a tremendous transformation in this category of life that isn’t projected to change anytime soon. For more pick up a copy of the book, The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter- and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Dr. Megan Jay.

Conservative Red States have Higher Divorce Rates than Blue States

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Conservative Red States have Higher Divorce Rates than Blue States

Though conservative Protestants across the board say they are against divorce, there is a marked difference between the divorce rates in conservative Protestant red states and blue states researchers out of the University of Texas at Austin found. This research goes against the common assumption that fervent religious belief strengthens marriage. Arkansas and Alabama, the third and second most religiously conservative states have the highest divorce rates in the country. By contrast Massachusetts and New Jersey have the lowest rates, only about six or seven percent per one thousand people annually. The American Journal of Sociology will publish an article soon regarding a joint study conducted by the University of Iowa’s Philip Levchak along with University of Texas demographer Jennifer Glass where these results were discovered. Levchak and Glass painstakingly went through each county in the United States examining the divorce rate in each in the year 2,000. The divorce rate was calculated per 1,000 married couples.  The traits of the county examined were also recorded. The concentration of conservative or evangelical Protestants in the county researchers found was a predictor of the divorce rate in that county. Though researchers have come up with this population as a predictor of a county’s divorce rate, it’s still unclear as to why. Researchers have a few ideas.

Some experts say it has nothing to do with being part of a certain religious affiliation but more to do with poverty. These happen to be concentrated in the rural South, a region with high rates of poverty and wages far lower than the national average. It is poverty they argue that contributes to divorce and their religion has nothing to do with it. There are other scholars who think that the dogma of this religious group that cohabitation is a sin makes people get married earlier, perhaps before they are ready which leads therefore to a higher divorce rate. The relationships they argue are unstable, the couple doesn’t know each other well enough and hasn’t developed the necessary communication and coping skills and so these marriages are more volatile this argument goes. In the Glass Levchak study, this factor had no weight. These researchers say, cohabitation has nothing to do with it. Some experts posited that perhaps a tolerance for increased violence within married relationships was a factor, but the Levchak and Glass study recounts that as a fallacy as well. Levchak and Glass explain that lower income, lower education, earlier marriage and an earlier first birth are the contributing factors that connect religious conservatism and a high divorce rate. Glass elaborated by saying, “Restricting sexual activity to marriage and encouraging large families seem to make young people start families earlier in life, even though that may not be best for the long-term survival of those marriages.”

University of Illinois at Chicago economist Evelyn Lehrer wrote a report earlier to the Council of Contemporary Families saying that every year a woman puts off marriage until her early thirties, she decreases her chances of suffering a divorce at some point. Another result of the Glass Levchak study however was that those merely living in conservative religious areas had a higher propensity for divorce. It turns out that no matter what background young people are from, they are influenced by the social climate in which they live, researchers say. In areas where people get married and have children young there is no outside support from social institutions or schools to put off marriage and kids. Further education and job training take a back seat to marriage and child rearing. Those marriages too that start from a pregnancy that wasn’t planned also have a higher chance of divorcing according to senior fellows Philip Cowan and Carolyn Cowan at the Council on Contemporary Families. The CCF’s and Leher’s report discuss the benefits of putting off marriage and having children until the couple is sufficiently educated and trained to have access to a quality career in order to support themselves and the children they will have.  People in these counties should pressure their elected leaders to do more to provide student loans, business and job training to the young people of these areas, so that they can support their families and preserve their historic way of life. They should also put pressure on the federal government and others to enact more programs to help the poor help themselves out of poverty. On another front, one of the biggest things couples fight about is money. If you are getting married or cohabitating with someone, talk about money without any shame or blame. Establish rules. Start healthy habits. Find ways to cut down on expenses and even save a little for the future, even if it’s just pennies every check it helps. For more pick up a copy of, Money and Marriage: A Complete Guide for Engaged and Newly Married Couples by Matt Bell.