Friday, January 06, 2006

Tis the Season for Divorce

Well, divorce is all over the news lately. And for good reason - as pointed out by MIsForMalevolent January is the peak month for divorce.

I do some work with a local agency that is available to parents who would like to try and have a more amicable divorce. It is not a true "collaborative divorce" program as has been described by the media lately. The parties are not represented by their own respective lawyers - though there is always an available attorney to answer points of law. The crux of the program is learning based - understanding how divorce affects children and then the parents go into an unbinding mediation session where they try to come to a resolution on custody. While we will help them to dissolve all of their marital property if they can do so quickly and without much rancor - primarily we deal with issues involving the children.

The success rate of this program is very high but there is a pretty rigid screening process so only those who truly desire to cooperate but are impeded by hurt feelings, etc are accepted. It is almost entirely volunteer - including the advising attorneys and the court approved mediators.

The "traffic" of the agency pretty much dies in December. People become involved in the holidays and often wait to break the news to their spouse after they "get through the holidays." Often their reasoning for this is to not ruin the children's holiday.

But in January we get slammed. It seems the calls start on New Years Day and things don't get back to normal levels until mid February or so. Every year it is this way and we have to turn away even qualified couples due to lack of resources.

So this is a depressingly busy time for me. And for a lot of other people as well.

Soldiers' divorce rates up


Among enlisted soldiers in the U.S. Army, there were 7,152 divorces in 2004, an increase of 28 percent over the previous year and 53 percent since 2000. Among Army officers, the rate of divorce jumped 78 percent between 2003 - the year the U.S. invaded Iraq - and 2004.

A total of 3,325 Army officers were divorced in 2004, more than three times the number that divorced in 2000. The increases are especially meaningful considering the overall number of enlisted military personnel has barely changed over the last five years.

Research has shown that around 20 percent of military marriages end in divorce within two years of one partner's going to war.

Divorce has lasting effects on happiness levels


A study published in the December 2005 issue of Psychological Science shows that divorce leaves a lasting effect on one's satisfaction levels. A person's happiness level drops as she or he approaches divorce and gradually rebounds over time. But the level of satisfaction does not return to baseline (the level of satisfaction felt prior to the divorce).

Putting the children first


For years the national divorce rate has fluctuated between 45 and 50 percent, on the source. Wyoming's divorce rate is 44 percent higher than the national average, according to a national vital statistics report.

Many of these separations involve children. In 2003 alone, nearly 2,500 Wyoming children were directly affected by their parents’ divorces.

The Wyoming Children's Access Network provides parent-education seminars for divorcing, separated and never-married parents. The one-time, 4-hour seminar is offered monthly in Cheyenne, Cody, Gillette, Jackson, Lander, Laramie, Rawlins, Rock Springs, Sheridan and Torrington.

The seminar provides information on the impact of parental conflict on children and teaches parents skills to help with the difficult transition. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and other adults close to the children are welcome to attend as well.

A nominal fee is charged; based on need, the fee may be waived upon request. Pre-registration is required 24 hours in advance. Info: toll-free (866) 726-3700.

Colorado's Restriction of Protections Against Paternity Fraud


On New Year's Day the children and fathers of Colorado got a present courtesy of the state legislature. Effective January 1, a man's right to challenge his paternity of alleged offspring was restricted to the duration of the proceedings of a divorce, separation or child support action.

Once a final order is entered in that proceeding, a new state law says, the putative father is barred from presenting newly discovered evidence of non-paternity -- ever.

State Senate Bill 181, enacted in Colorado's 2005 legislative session, requires that any evidence from genetic testing of parent and child be introduced before the entry of final orders. The new law applies to divorce, child support establishment and enforcement and parentage.

"Women file over two-thirds of all divorces in America," said Richar' Farr, founder of the Internet radio station "And with the increasing number of cases constesting paternity across the nation, this action is simply another example how our elected officials are out of touch with the real needs of the people they are elected to serve. This law benefits no one but the state's treasury," Farr added.

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Blogger Teri said...

That sounds like a wonderful program! Can you share more about it?

I think collaborative co-parenting is great for people who feel the need for attorneys. For those willing to work together without attorneys, who can't get into a program like yours, there are free parenting plans at


2:43 AM  

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