Humans of New York or HONY for short is a blog by Brandon Stanton that is funny, inspiring, beautiful and addictive, attracting over a million followers in just three years.
Here’s how Brandon Stanton spends several hours each day: He walks up to total strangers in New York City, requests permission to take their pictures and then asks questions so personal they might make Oprah Winfrey blush.
Mr. Stanton — a hybrid of interviewer, photographer and eager chronicler of street life — said this week that he was still stunned by the runaway success of his book, which has more than 145,000 copies in print.
“It seemed like a stupid idea, just taking pictures of people on the street,” he said. “But there’s a comfort, an affirmation, a validation in being exposed to people with similar problems.”
Mr. Stanton is a 29-year-old Georgia native with no training as a journalist. He has owned two cameras in his life and admits he has never learned the technically correct way to use them. When he moved to New York in 2010, he was friendless, nearly broke and recently relieved of his job as a bond trader in Chicago.
Yaniv Soha, the acquiring editor,[St Martin's Press] said Mr. Stanton has the rare gift of being able to connect with random people. “It’s about the stories as much as it is about the photos,” Mr. Soha said. “It’s really about his ability to relate to people and convey what makes them individual.”
Humans of New York: A blog, a bestseller, a philosophy, a slideshow from the Washington Post.
In 2010, Brandon Stanton set out to create a photographic census of the biggest U.S. city. A blog of his daily encounters has grown to 1 million readers, and he has a new bestseller, called
Stanton talked with The Post’s David Beard about a few of his images — and what he’s learned on his journey.
Stanton remembers this photograph fondly. It was pouring in Central Park. She let him under her umbrella and told him, in a raspy voice: "When my husband was dying, I said: 'Moe, how am I supposed to live without you?' He told me: 'Take the love you have for me and spread it around.' "
ABC News did a wonderful video of Stanton and his work which you can see here. Photog Gone Viral
[M]illions of baby boomers, who experienced record divorce rates in the wake of no-fault laws, are now aging. Men in particular often end up alone and estranged from their children. A current spouse or partner (assuming there is one) friends or siblings may be unable or unwilling to commit themselves to a care-giving role. But for some “exes” their original marital commitment still means what it said.
Caregiving for an ex. "Till death us do part"
in many cases it did appear to be a selfless act. As we said, many women did it for their children, and it is not uncommon for mothers—of any age, to act so unselfishly when it comes to relationships with their children. There were very few women in our sample who took on the role because of lingering feelings for the ex-husband—or out of feelings that he had no one else who would do this and they felt it was the morally right thing to do. A couple of women noted that they had some guilt about their ex-husbands’ conditions; at least a few noted, for example, that maybe these men would not have ended up in such bad straights had they not divorced them. Most women we interviewed did not regret their choice to provide care to their ex-spouse.
Jan, 64, said that he and his wife had decided not to have children because he had two by his previous marriage and she fooled him by pretending to menstruate, using sanitary towels, "to conceal the truth". "Even during sex, I never noticed anything," he said.
"That person has deliberately deceived him for years, even scammed. Presumably she has also forged documents used here to get a residence permit. The children, who for years have lived with her, are devastated," said his Liliane Verjauw, his lawyer.
As most people know, divorce is a painful experience. When women are lulled into believing that it can be liberating they are unprepared for the wave of negative emotion that descends on them after they get divorced.
If you expect to feel liberated and end up feeling an anguish that goes well beyond anything you can imagine, the pain of divorce is going to become excruciating.
Our culture is so thoroughly involved in the business of eliminating all negative emotion, numbing us to it, that we often forget that sometimes anguish shows that we have grasped the reality of our lives.
Kramer.com v. Kramer.com Joint Custody from a Distance
These days, the cool aloofness of technology is helping temper sticky emotional exchanges between former spouses. And for the most part, according to divorce lawyers and joint-custody bearers, handling the details via high tech is a serious upgrade.
E-mail and texting alone have practically revolutionized post divorce family relationships.
But since their divorce in 2005, the arrangement has been fraught with disagreement. When Ms. Thomas requested court-mandated parent counseling, the judge ordered the two to use an online tool called Our Family Wizard instead. Now, lawyers supervise e-mail exchanges between her and her ex, ensuring that each party responds to the other in a timely manner. All e-mails are time dated and tracked. Parents can create a shared expense log and receive automated notices and reminders about parental obligations.
Divorcé's Guide to Marriage - Study Reveals Five Common Themes Underlie Most Divorces.
Want great marriage advice? Ask a divorced person.
People who lose the most important relationship of their life tend to spend some time thinking about what went wrong. If they are at all self-reflective, this means they will acknowledge their own mistakes, not just their ex's blunders. And if they want to be lucky in love next time, they'll try to learn from these mistakes.
Over the continuing study's 25 years so far, 46% of the couples divorced—a rate in line with the Census and other national data. Dr. Orbuch followed many of the divorced individuals into new relationships and asked 210 of them what they had learned from their mistakes. (Of these 210, 71% found new partners, including 44% who remarried.) This is their hard-earned advice.
Boost your spouse's mood
Of the divorced people, 15% said they would give their spouse more of what Dr. Orbuch calls "affective affirmation," including compliments, cuddling and kissing, hand-holding, saying "I love you," and emotional support. "By expressing love and caring you build trust," Dr. Orbuch says.
She says there are four components of displays of affection that divorced people said were important: How often the spouse showed love; how often the spouse made them feel good about the kind of person they are; how often the spouse made them feel good about having their own ideas and ways of doing things; and how often the spouse made life interesting or exciting.
Talk more about money
Money was the No. 1 point of conflict in the majority of marriages, good or bad, that Dr. Orbuch studied…."Talk money more often—not just when it's tax time, when you have high debt, when bills come along," Dr. Orbuch says. Set ground rules and expectations and stick to them.
Get over the past
This includes getting over jealousy of your partner's past relationships, irritation at how your mother-in-law treats you, something from your own childhood that makes it hard for you to trust, a spat you had with your spouse six months ago.
Blame the relationship
The divorced individuals in the study who blamed ex-spouses, or even themselves, had more anxiety, depression and sleep disorders than individuals who blamed the way that they and their partners interacted. Those who held on to anger were less likely to move on, build a strong new relationship and address future problems in a positive, proactive manner.
Reveal more about yourself
"It doesn't have to be emotional," Dr. Orbuch says. "But it should be about issues where you learn about what makes each other tick." Such topics help your partner understand you better.
Dr. Orbuch suggests a 10-minute rule: Every day, for 10 minutes, the couple should talk alone about something other than work, the family and children, the household, the relationship. No problems. No scheduling. No logistics.
An Italian couple are to become the world's oldest divorcees, after the 99-year-old husband found that his 96-year-old wife had an affair in the 1940s.
The Italian man, identified by lawyers in the case only as Antonio C, was rifling through an old chest of drawers when he made the discovery a few days before Christmas.
Notwithstanding the time that had elapsed since the betrayal, he was so upset that he immediately confronted his wife of 77 years, named as Rosa C, and demanded a divorce.
Guilt-stricken, she reportedly confessed everything but was unable to persuade her husband to reconsider his decision.
She wrote the letters to her lover during a secret affair in the 1940s, according to court papers released in Rome this week.
The couple are now preparing to split, despite the ties they forged over nearly eight decades – they have five children, a dozen grandchildren and one great-grand child.
A new study on divorce, looking at the complete spectrum of research on the subject, confirms what most people already know – even if they are not willing to admit it: divorce causes “irreparable harm” to the whole family, but particularly to the children.
There have been plenty of individual studies exposing one or more effects of divorce, but rarely do researchers give an overview of the findings to date – and it makes disturbing reading.
In short, if a society wanted to reduce children’s chances of living a happy and fulfilled it could find few better ways to do it than by promoting divorce. Why then do so many “advanced economies” allow easy divorce?
From the report, The Effects of Divorce on Children from the Marriage and Religion Research Institute
Each year, over a million American children suffer the divorce of their parents. Divorce causes irreparable harm to all involved, but most especially to the children. Though it might be shown to benefit some individuals in some individual cases, over all it causes a temporary decrease in an individual's quality of life and puts some "on a downward trajectory from which they might never fully recover."
Divorce damages society. It consumes social and human capital. It substantially increases cost to the taxpayer, while diminishing the taxpaying portion of society. It diminishes children's future competence in all five of society's major tasks or institutions: family, school, religion, marketplace and government.
Divorce detrimentally impacts individuals and society in numerous other ways:
Religious practice: Divorce diminishes the frequency of worship of God and recourse to Him in prayer.
Education: Divorce diminishes children's learning capacity and educational attainment.
The marketplace: Divorce reduces household income and deeply cuts individual earning capacity.
Government: Divorce significantly increases crime, abuse and neglect, drug use, and the costs of compensating government services.
Health and well-being: Divorce weakens children's health and longevity. It also increases behavioral, emotional, and psychiatric risks, including even suicide.
Sometimes the people in a marriage just need to get away from each for a while. And, if they do so, they can save their marriage.
That's the report by Elizabeth Bernstein in the Wall St Journal, To Save a Marriage, Split Up?
It seems counterintuitive: How can a separation save a marriage? When a couple splits—even for a trial period—isn't that just a pit stop on the way to divorce?
Surprisingly, many marriage therapists recommend a separation, albeit as a measure of last resort. They say that if both spouses set specific parameters, the space and time to think that a trial separation provides just might be what is needed to save the relationship. Still, there are few, if any, statistics that show whether it works or how many couples try separating.
Sharon Gilchrest O'Neill, a marriage and family therapist in Mount Kisco, N.Y., has helped about 40 couples arrange trial separations over the past 20 years and says that about half reconciled and remained married.
[W]hat if the partners took a break before the hatred set in? It wouldn't have to be the formal separation that is often a legal precursor to divorce, but an informal break to give the spouses some space to breathe, think and calm down.
Often, the reality-check that marital separations provide—the prospect of unraveling finances, facing dating again, fully grasping the collateral damage done to the kids—is enough to make people resolve to work harder on the marriage.
"Sometimes having a dress rehearsal for divorce makes them realize they don't want to do it," says Richard Levak, a psychologist who works with couples in Del Mar, Calif.
Bernstein points out some issues to consider before trying a separation:
• Get a marriage therapist. A trained professional can help mediate between the two parties.
• Consult an attorney specializing in family law. Find out how the terms of the separation could affect any eventual divorce. A consultation sometimes scares people into working harder on their marriage, once they face the reality of what divorced life will be like, says Linda Lea Viken, a divorce lawyer.
• Agree on logistics. Who will leave and where will that person go? Who will pay the bills? Who will take care of the kids and how much time will the other spouse be able to see them?
• Consider email your friend. Writing to each other, rather than meeting or talking on the phone, can be a way to defuse the tension.
• Put your agreement in writing. This doesn't require a lawyer. A therapist can do it. It protects one spouse from taking advantage of the other.
The Saturday essay in the Wall Street Journal by Susan Gregory Thomas
The Divorce Generation
Having survived their own family splits, Generation X parents are determined to keep their marriages together. It doesn't always work.
For much of my generation—Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980—there is only one question: "When did your parents get divorced?" Our lives have been framed by the answer. Ask us. We remember everything.
"Whatever happens, we're never going to get divorced." Over the course of 16 years, I said that often to my husband, especially after our children were born. Apparently, much of my generation feels at least roughly the same way: Divorce rates, which peaked around 1980, are now at their lowest level since 1970. In fact, the often-cited statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce was true only in the 1970s—in other words, our parents' marriages.
Such sentiments bring to mind a set of statistics in "Generations" by William Strauss and Neil Howe that has stuck with me: In 1962, half of all adult women believed that parents in bad marriages should stay together for the children's sake; by 1980, only one in five felt that way. "Four-fifths of [those] divorced adults profess to being happier afterward," the authors write, "but a majority of their children feel otherwise."
But a majority of their children feel otherwise. There is something intolerable about that clause. I can't help feeling that every divorce, in its way, is a re-enactment of "Medea": the wailing, murderously bereft mother; the cold father protecting his pristine, new family; the children: dead.
After hearing about my background for some time, my distinguished therapist made an announcement: "You," she said, "are a war orphan."
Orphans as parents—that's not a bad way to understand Generation X parents.
Sure, you have your marital issues, but on the whole you feel so self-satisfied about how things have worked out that you would never, in your wildest nightmares, think you would hear these words from your husband one fine summer day: “I don’t love you anymore. I’m not sure I ever did. I’m moving out. The kids will understand. They’ll want me to be happy.”
But wait. This isn’t the divorce story you think it is. Neither is it a begging-him-to-stay story. It’s a story about hearing your husband say, “I don’t love you anymore” and deciding not to believe him. And what can happen as a result.
Even though the rate of divorce in the US has remained largely stable in recent years, American divorce lawyers and academics have joined Middle East analysts in picking out Facebook as a leading cause of relationship trouble, with American lawyers now demanding to see their clients' Facebook pages as a matter of course before the start of proceedings.
"We're coming across it more and more. One spouse connects online with someone they knew from school. The person is emotionally available and they start communicating through Facebook," said Dr Steven Kimmons, a clinical psychologist and marriage counsellor at Loyola University Medical Centre near Chicago.
A 2010 survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) found that four out of five lawyers reported an increasing number of divorce cases citing evidence derived from social networking sites in the past five years, with Facebook being the market leader.
Two-thirds of the lawyers surveyed said that Facebook was the "primary source" of evidence in divorce proceedings, while MySpace with 15% and Twitter with 5% lagged far behind.
Those statistics included not just evidence of infidelity but other legal battles, such as child custody cases in which parents deny using illicit drugs but boast of smoking marijuana on their Facebook pages.
Photographs harvested from social networking sites – including those posted by friends or colleagues on their own pages – are a particularly rich source of damning evidence, according to divorce lawyers.
Talk about the changing times. Purloined love letters, lipstick on the collar, mysterious phone hang-ups don't provide the evidence to divorce lawyers anything like the new
Flirty messages and photographs found on Facebook are increasingly being cited as proof of unreasonable behaviour or irreconcilable differences. Many cases revolve around social media users who get back in touch with old flames they hadn’t heard from in many years.
Facebook was by far the biggest offender, with 66 per cent of lawyers citing it as the primary source of evidence in a divorce case. MySpace followed with 15 per cent, Twitter at 5 per cent and other choices lumped together at 14 per cent.
A surprising story: Kids of Divorce Have Double the Risk of Stoke
Turns out that severe and chronic stress in childhood can alter the body's regulation of the hormone cortisol which makes people vulnerable to a range of diseases over time
Yes, the stigma of children of divorce no long stings, that is Until They Start Dating.
Upon publication of her book For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered, renowned social scientist Mavis Hetherington conceded that in her studies the grown children of divorce had a higher divorce rate when they grew up. But she hastened to point out that, on the bright side, those who married people from intact families had more stable marriages than those who married other children of divorce. Her critic, demographer Linda Waite of the University of Chicago, replied in a USA Today article, "Then what she is really saying is that if you are a divorced person, nobody should marry your child."
Do you need a perfect marriage? Does anyone have a perfect marriage? Elizabeth Marguardt says Why Your 'Good Enough" Marriage is Good for Your Kids.
It is these marriages -- what some call "good enough" marriages -- that matter so much. To any still-married parent who is considering divorce who may be reading this, I want to affirm that your "good enough" marriage is doing a world of good for your kids.
Not long ago, with my co-investigator Professor Norval Glenn of the University of Texas at Austin, I conducted a national study of young adults from divorced and intact families. That study, reported in my book Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce (Crown, 2005), revealed a great deal about what divorce does to children as well as what marriage does for children.
I don't know what to make of this report based on U.S.Census data, but the comments offer glimpses into lives that are altogether fascinating.
Given that the researchers drew from data on more than 3 million adults from U.S. Census data, it's likely this effect is not just a statistical fluke, but the hows and whys of this phenomenon are open to debate.
From one perspective, there could be something about boys that makes parents want to stick it out, either because they enhance marital relations or make the prospect of a fatherless home more frightening.
More recently, however, psychologists have debated whether daughters might make mothers more willing to leave a bad marriage because they provide social support that empowers their mom.
"One dynamic I've seen is that women don't want to put up with a controlling or abusive husband because they're afraid to model this as an acceptable form of marriage to their daughters," said Susan Heitler, a Denver-based clinical psychologist and author of "Power of Two." "There is a lot of individual variation, though; it could go both ways."
Do keep in mind that 73% of divorces are initiated by women.
Research on family structure suggests a variety of mechanisms, or processes, through which marriage may reduce the need for costly social programs. . . . Based on the methodology, we estimate that family fragmentation costs U.S. taxpayers at least $112 billion each and every year, or more than $1 trillion each decade. . . .
[E]ven very small increases in stable marriage rates as a result of government programs or community efforts to strengthen marriage would result in very large savings for taxpayers. If the federal marriage initiative, for example, succeeds in reducing family fragmentation by just 1 percent, U.S. taxpayers will save an estimated $1.1 billion each and every year.
Ross Douthat reviews a new study and concludes that Divorce spreads like a virus and that there are societal consequences to individual choices.
Fascinating stuff from a new study, entitled “Breaking Up is Hard to Do, Unless Everybody Else is Doing It Too”:
To explore how social networks influence divorce and vice versa, we utilize a longitudinal data set from the long-running Framingham Heart Study. We find that divorce can spread between friends, siblings, and coworkers, and there are clusters of divorcees that extend two degrees of separation in the network … Interestingly, we do not find that the presence of children influences the likelihood of divorce, but we do find that each child reduces the susceptibility to being influenced by peers who get divorced. Overall, the results suggest that attending to the health of one’s friends’ marriages serves to support and enhance the durability of one’s own relationship, and that, from a policy perspective, divorce should be understood as a collective phenomenon that extends far beyond those directly affected.
There’s no escaping peer effects: If your friends or neighbors or relatives get divorced, you’re more likely to get divorced — even if it’s only on the margins — no matter what kind of shape your marriage is in. And inevitably, the ripples keep on spreading, to the next generation and beyond …
My friend Diane Fener, an attorney in Virginia Beach, Va., maintains a busy schedule when she travels to New England to see her parents.
“I make the circuit,” she said. She visits her mother, who for two years has lived in the dementia unit of an assisted living facility in Rhode Island. She visits her father in his apartment about a half-hour away in Massachusetts. And his second wife, Ms. Fener’s stepmother, in a nearby nursing home; she, too, has dementia. And the man who was her mother’s second husband for nearly 20 years.
“Four stops,” Ms. Fener said. “I don’t get as much time with each of them as I’d like.”
Years after parents split, their children may wind up helping to sustain two households instead of one, and those households can be across town or across the country. Further, unmarried women (whether single, widowed or divorced) face significantly higher poverty rates in middle and old age, according to a study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (PDF) that AARP published last year.
Diane Fener and her sister and brothers each contribute money to support their mother and father. “I don’t resent any of it,” she said, “but if they hadn’t gotten divorced, their budgets wouldn’t be as strained.” Neither would their offspring’s.
I am, alone of all my friends, a big milk drinker. Yes, the milkman still delivers my milk in glass bottles each week straight from Crescent Ridge Farm.
But I'm not going to lord it over them that milk drinkers have longer lives because of the reduced incidences of coronary heart disease and stroke, up to 15-20%
But I will warn them against sunbeds. Even before studies showed that tanning beds definitely cause cancer, DEFINITELY cause cancer, I wouldn't go near them given my red hair and pale and freckled skin. I used to use those self-tanners but now I can't be bothered.
A large independent review has show that organic food 'has no health benefits' over conventionally grown food, but when it comes to certain fruits and vegetables, I discern a far better flavor.
But the worse health news of all is that Divorce damages your health - and getting remarried barely helps.
Divorced people have 20 per cent more chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer than married people, according to the study of 8,652 people aged between 51 and 61 by Professor Linda Waite of the University of Chicago.
They also have 23 per cent more mobility problems, such as difficulty climbing stairs or walking short distances.
Do they have a 'right' to health care? Do the obese? Do alcoholics?
No says Theodore Dalrymple in the Wall St. Journal There is no 'right' to health care - for anyone.
If there is a right to health care, someone has the duty to provide it. Inevitably, that “someone” is the government. Concrete benefits in pursuance of abstract rights, however, can be provided by the government only by constant coercion.
The question of health care is not one of rights but of how best in practice to organize it. America is certainly not a perfect model in this regard. But neither is Britain, where a universal right to health care has been recognized longest in the Western world.
Not coincidentally, the U.K. is by far the most unpleasant country in which to be ill in the Western world.
I wondered about this talk of right to health care because if you have a right, how can the government can decide who gets what medical procedure?
Econoblogger Megan McCardle describes it far more vividly
The other major reason that I am against national health care is the increasing license it gives elites to wrap their claws around every aspect of everyone's life. Look at the uptick in stories on obesity in the context of health care reform. Fat people are a problem! They're killing themselves, and our budget! We must stop them! And what if people won't do it voluntarily? Because let's face it, so far, they won't. Making information, or fresh vegetables, available, hasn't worked--every intervention you can imagine on the voluntary front, and several involuntary ones, has already been tried either in supermarkets or public schools. Americans are getting fat because they're eating fattening foods, and not exercising. How far are we willing to go beyond calorie labelling on menus to get people to slim down?
These aren't just a way to save on health care; they're a way to extend and expand the cultural hegemony of wealthy white elites. No, seriously. Living a fit, active life is correlated with being healthier. But then, as an economist recently pointed out to me, so is being religious, being married, and living in a small town; how come we don't have any programs to promote these "healthy lifestyles"? When you listen to obesity experts, or health wonks, talk, their assertions boil down to the idea that overweight people are either too stupid to understand why they get fat, or have not yet been made sufficiently aware of society's disgust for their condition. Yet this does not describe any of the overweight people I have ever known, including the construction workers and office clerks at Ground Zero. All were very well aware that the burgers and fries they ate made them fat, and hitting the salad bar instead would probably help them lose weight. They either didn't care, or felt powerless to control their hunger. They were also very well aware that society thought they were disgusting, and many of them had internalized this message to the point of open despair. What does another public campaign about overeating have to offer them, other than oozing condescension?
What God Has Joined Together, Recession Makes Hard to Put Asunder
For Some, the Downturn Keeps Divorce on Ice; Ms. Brewster, Husband Share a House Divided
A May survey by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, a national organization for financial professionals who work on divorce cases, found that the recession was delaying divorces, and inspiring "creative divorce solutions" in living arrangements.
"People are saying, 'I've put up with it for the last 10 years, I can put up with it for another year,'" says Gary Nickelson, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. In a poll of 1,600 of its members, the group says, respondents estimated that divorce cases in the six months through March were off 40% from normal levels.
Divorce can be deadly says study
A new German study shows that people who divorce die years sooner than others, putting them in company with smokers, the homeless, and the poorly educated.
Divorced people on average have a life span nine years shorter than others, according to the study by Rostock University’s centre for demographic research released this week.
“We assume that being divorced strongly influences lifestyle,” study contributor Gabriele Doblhammer told daily paper Der Tagesspiegel on Wednesday. “Married people seem to have a more regulated lifestyle than singles, and the divorced embody a combination of factors that can lead to an earlier death.”
In an extraordinary Family Court judgment, the girl - who has said she wishes that her father would die - was instructed to see her father who is dying from liver cancer and has up to 12 months to live.
The girl, who is almost 11 years old, lives with her mother and has not seen her father since late 2003.
The mother has an intense hatred of the father and doubts that he is ill, despite doctors' statements that the man has inoperable cancer.
An expert told the court that if the father dies without he and the child being able to say goodbye, the child will come to regret this later in life when she has emotional independence from her mother and "has had time to reflect on the appalling way in which she was drawn into the conflict between her parents".
Justice Le Poer Trench said he had agonised over the decision but felt the child should be given an opportunity to see her father.
A court officer will supervise the once-a-month visits and determine their duration.
It was also suggested to the father that he might write a letter to the child and make her a DVD to view in the future should she want to learn more about her father in the future.
They call him 'Doc' at the prison for his four doctoral degrees.
For decades he was dean of two law schools including Notre Dame.
When his wife died in 2003 from ovarian cancer, Link said
"I certainly got a call from the Holy Spirit. It wasn't on a cell phone, but it was a pretty clear call. When the Holy Spirit calls, he doesn't ask how old you are. He just has another job for you."
Urged by his wife, he became a volunteer at the Indiana State Prison where he will continue as full time chaplain after his ordination.
When he began sending the men birthday cards, one inmate, "this big, tough-looking dude," came to his office crying with thanks. No one had ever sent him a birthday card before.
"If you had said to me 10 years ago when I was dean of the law school that I'd first of all go to the seminary, and second that I'd be here working with maximum security prisoners, I would have said you had a bad mental problem," he said.
How much does divorce cost us as a society?
According to a new study it's at least $112 billion/year
“Even a small improvement in the health of marriage in America would result in enormous savings to taxpayers,” he
continued. “For example, a 1 percent reduction in rates of family fragmentation would save taxpayers $1.1 billion.”
“These costs are due to increased taxpayer expenditures for anti-poverty, criminal justice and education programs, and
through lower levels of taxes paid by individuals whose adult productivity has been negatively affected by increased
childhood poverty caused by family fragmentation,” said principal investigator Ben Scafidi, Ph.D., economics
professor at Georgia College & State University.
UPDATE. David Freddoso looks more deeply into the study and finds that the cost of divorce and illegitimacy are greater that the annual cost of the Iraq war.
family fragmentation is the second leading case of poverty in the United States, after lack of full-time work
the very cautious assumptions behind the study ensure that the final result underestimates the cost to taxpayers.
--Marital stability does not just avert great public expense, as Scafidi shows, but it also defends communities from much broader economic ills — to say nothing of its social, moral, or religious significance.
Let's hope this doesn't catch on. It's appalling.
the wife of a major Broadway theater operator — had taken to YouTube to spill the secrets of a marriage in an apparent effort to gain leverage and humiliate the other side.
“This is absolutely a new step, and I think it’s scary,” said Bonnie Rabin, a divorce lawyer who has handled high-profile cases. “People used to worry about getting on Page Six (the gossip page of the New York Post.) But this? It brings the concept of humiliation to a whole new level.
Trisha Walsh Smith's video here.
A professional degree can be hazardous to marital health concludes a soon-to-be-pubished survey after analyzing National Science Foundation survey of more than 100,000 professionals.
Women MBAs More Likely to Divorce Than Men
Women with M.B.A.s are twice as likely to get divorced or separated as their male counterparts. The picture isn't much rosier for women with law or medical degrees--\Prof. Wilson also found that female professionals abstain from marriage at double and sometimes nearly triple the rate of men.
Ms. Hewlett believes more is at play than just a prevailing image that high-earning women are a threat to men. Suggesting that highly successful women are attracted to similarly successful men, she put forward the idea that such women "can't summon up the TLC and support that high-earning men need."
Her advice? Well-educated, highly compensated women should be targeting particularly loving and supportive men.
Jonathan Clements who writes the "Getting Going" column in the Wall St Journal has some fine advice for those who are contemplating a divorce.
Five tips on how to divorce the right way
Avoid the legal arms race because it will hurt both of you. As you negotiate a settlement, every dollar of legal costs incurred likely means 50 cents out of your pocket. Trust me: There are cheaper ways to work through your anger.
Having the ex-spouse around the corner might seem uncomfortably close. But if you have children, it probably means you will see less of your former spouse. There are no awkward drop-offs and pickups. Instead, the kids just walk back and forth.
Maintain a reservoir of goodwill, because you'll need it. It will be your week with the kids, your boss will have other plans -- and you may need your ex-spouse to bail you out.
If your ex ends up with a little more money in the divorce or goes on to do well financially, don't let it eat away at you. In all likelihood, your children will be the ultimate beneficiaries.
Think of your relationship with your ex-spouse as a business relationship. Forget the bad blood. Ignore stuff that isn't your business. Instead, focus on the task at hand, which is raising the children.
Warring couples often suspended hostilities and stayed together for the children, now it seems they stay together for the house.
Divorce lawyers, real estate agents and psychologists who work with ex-couples say they are seeing men and women staying together after the breakup because they just can't afford to live separately, given the slumping housing market.
Some even reconcile.
"They take a breather from each other emotionally -- it's almost better than a marriage counselor."
It's called 'the widow penalty' when the widow of a soldier not in the war zone or widow of a contractor killed in Iraq faces deportation because their husbands died before their immigration paperwork was finished.
Bill Jempty has been stalwart in supporting those widows with a series of posts on Wizbang, focusing on their plight which is due to a quirk in the immigration law. He died defending our country and now we're going to deport his widow.
That a woman here legally, married a soldier or a contractor who died in Iraq, faces deportation because they were married for less then 2 years seems the height of ingratitude.
There are only a couple hundred of women, some with young children, facing the added grief of the widow penalty. It seems to me that we should do right by them before we debate immigration policy for ten million who have chosen not to take the legal path.
An organization has been set up to demand an end to the widow penalty, Surviving Spouses Against Deportation
In three previous divorce settlements, Susan Sangster collected some $40 million, now she claiming that the pre-nuptial agreement she willingly signed with her fourth millionaire husband was invalid because he didn't tell her of the $130 million he had tied up in offshore trusts.
But he left her after six months for a younger woman.
Will his charge that she is a career divorcee finally lead to a recognition of pre-nuptial contracts in Britain?
in a historic ruling the judge has determined that, in the circumstances of the couple's independent wealth, the brevity of their marriage and the lack of children, the case should be heard in one day, which means the prenuptial agreement may well stand.
As divorce lawyer Toby Yerburgh, of London solicitors Collyer Bristow, says: "She will find it very difficult during a one-day hearing to establish good reason why the pre-nup should not be upheld in this case
Some troubles we will never have.
"Right-Wing Publisher's Breakup Is Super-Rich In Tawdry Details"
As part of a temporary settlement, 60-year-old Ritchie Scaife is currently cashing an alimony check that at first glance will look like a typo: $725,000 a month. Or about $24,000 a day, seven days a week. As Richard Scaife's exasperated lawyers put it in a filing, "The temporary order produces an amount so large that just the income from it, invested at 5 percent, is greater each year than the salary of the President of the United States."
Low Road to Splitsville
The real snoops are close to home, gathering electronic evidence. Of course, if you're not cheating, you don't have to worry.
The age-old business of breaking up has taken a decidedly Orwellian turn, with digital evidence like e-mail messages, traces of Web site visits and mobile telephone records now permeating many contentious divorce cases.
Spurned lovers steal each other’s BlackBerrys. Suspicious spouses hack into each other’s e-mail accounts. They load surveillance software onto the family PC, sometimes discovering shocking infidelities.
“In just about every case now, to some extent, there is some electronic evidence,” said Gaetano Ferro, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, who also runs seminars on gathering electronic evidence. “It has completely changed our field.
Tell All PCs and Phones Transforming Divorce
The New York Times explores the phenomenon of real estate enabled divorce in
Buy low, divorce high whereby unhappily married couples are cashing in appreciated homes to underwrite a split.
“She felt that she couldn’t walk out on him until she had the money to move away and buy something on her own,” Ms. Kleier said. “The real estate market allowed her to buy her freedom.”
WHAT COULD BE more natural than a mother down on the rec-room floor, playing with her 3-year-old amid puzzles, finger-puppets, and Thomas the Tank Engine trains? Look -- now she's conducting a conversation between a stuffed shark and Nemo, the Pixar clown fish! Giggles all around. Not to mention that the tot is learning the joys of stories and narrative, setting him on a triumphal path toward school.
A "natural" scene? Actually, parent-child play of this sort has been virtually unheard of throughout human history, according to the anthropologist David Lancy. And three-fourths of the world's current population would still find that mother's behavior kind of dotty.
"Adults think it is silly to play with children" in most cultures, says Lancy, who teaches at Utah State University. Play is a cultural universal, he concedes, "but adults aren't part of the picture." Yet middle-class and upper-middle-class Americans -- abetted, he says, by psychologists -- are increasingly proclaiming the parents-on-all-fours style the One True Way to raise a smart, well-adjusted child.
A contentious debate has bloomed.
Don't you love it when economists start putting numbers on intangibles?
On the plus side
Seeing friends and family every day + $205,000
Chatting up the neighbors regularly + $90,000
Getting married + $120,500
On the debit side
Losing a job -- $344,500
Painful divorce -- $335,000
The conclusion, priceless.
An increase in the level of social involvements is often worth many tens of thousands of pounds a year extra in terms of life satisfaction," said Nattavudh Powdthavee, of the University of London's Institute of Education, which carried out the research.
Actual changes in income, on the other hand, buy very little happiness.
Another case in uncharted legal territory. If a man couldn't marry a man in Florida, does a divorced husband have to pay alimony to his former wife if she undergoes a sex-change operation?
I'm betting the ex-wife will win. Sanctity of contracts and all.
Unhappily married, they were getting a divorce, but couldn't agree on how to split up their property which included a summer house. Then the man took action.
Man chainsaws house in two and makes off with his half in a forklift truck.
If you're happy about your divorce, why not let everyone know with a divorce ring.
The design is simple: a thick gold band with a break in the center and three bands of white gold on one side. One band for the year you met your ex. One band for the year you married. One band for the year of the divorce.
Thompson wears his Divorced Ring on his left middle finger.
When you read Bernando, your heart will break for him .
via Sheila O'Malley.
The first of the same-sex marriages in Massachusetts is breaking up.
Julie and Hilary Goodridge were together for 2 decades before marrying officially in the Bay State. Now they are concerned most about their daughter Annie, 10.
The Financial Planning Association and the National Endowment for Financial Education have teamed up to create an online life-stages financial planning tool.
Life Events & Financial Decisions is definitely a site to bookmark if only for as a checklist for the Business of Life™.
Staying married is a great way to increase your wealth.
Couples who stay married through thick and thin accumulate twice as much personal wealth as people who get divorced or remain single, a new study reveals.
One of the key reasons folks who stay together see their assets grow is that one household is cheaper to maintain than two.
The study by researchers at Ohio State University tracked the personal and marital status of 9055 people from 1985 to 2000.
More on the divorce front, this time from the Washington Post and Elizabeth Marquardt who asks Just Whom Is This Divorce 'Good' For?
Many people incorrectly assume that most marriages end only when parents are at each other's throats. But the reasons can often be far less urgent, like boredom or the midlife blahs. Research shows that two-thirds of divorces now end low-conflict marriages, where there is no abuse, violence or serious fighting. After those marriages end, the children suddenly struggle with a range of symptoms -- anxiety, depression, problems in school -- that they did not previously have. The waxing and waning cycles of adult unhappiness that characterize many marriages are often not all that obvious to children. For the children of low-conflict marriages, divorce is a massive blow that comes out of nowhere.
But when you talk to the children themselves, you find that rampant "good divorce" talk mainly reflects the wishes of adults, while silencing the voices of children. The divorce debate has long been conducted by adults, for adults, on behalf of the adult point of view, but now the grown children of divorce are telling their own, very different stories.
The evidence is piling up and the message from our generation is clear: Divorce divides and shapes children's identities well into young adulthood. It frees adults at the expense of forcing their children to grow up too soon. It has lasting consequences even when divorced parents do not fight.
She certainly can give pause to anyone with children considering a divorce. "Staying together for the sake of the kids" until they are out of the house may be the smartest, kindest thing to do.
Jeff Zaslow points out that there is less drama and histrionics surrounding divorced couples than there used to be. Emailing the Ex in the Wall St. Journal.
"Sure, the same battles still go on. But many ex-spouses these days are finding civil ways to interact. They're "talking" by email to keep emotions in check. They're heeding the lessons of earlier generations of divorced couples, and they're paying attention to research about broken families. In 2005, there are opportunities for improved relations that weren't possible earlier in the divorce boom.
The Internet acts as a moderator according to one family court judge
We're learning from each other.
Divorced couples today have also discovered useful low-tech maneuvers. For instance, knowing that arguments can flare when a parent picks up a child at his ex's house, some now make the exchange in public places. "If they do it at McDonald's, everything is out in the open and they're less likely to raise their voices," says Lawrence Ganong, a University of Missouri professor who has studied stepfamilies for 30 years.
When Dr. Ganong began his research, people assumed divorce was always an adversarial process, he says. "We're much more sophisticated about divorce now. Because there are more people who've been divorced, people ask each other, 'What worked for you?'
Some of the best life advice comes from asking someone who's been through what you're going through, What worked for you.
Suffering matters and children of divorce suffer more and that's not all.
In Divorce Study Breaks New Ground, Maggie Gallagher says,
If you've been in the marriage debate for 20 years, you seldom hear something really new.
But Elizabeth Marquardt (a former colleague of mine at the Institute for American Values) has just released a startlingly original study of children of divorce, "Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce" (Crown). Marquardt is a child of a good divorce herself, with parents who both continued to love, see and support her.
Marquardt has two insights: The first is that suffering matters.
It may seem like good news that divorce rates have declined until you learn that marriage rates have declined even more dramatically.
Couples who once might have wed and then divorced now are not marrying at all, according to The State of our Unions 2005. The annual report, which analyzes Census and other data, is issued by the National Marriage Project at New Jersey's Rutgers University.
Cohabitation is here to stay," says David Popenoe, a Rutgers sociology professor and report co-author. "I don't think it's good news, especially for children," he says. "As society shifts from marriage to cohabitation — which is what's happening — you have an increase in family instability.
The USA has the lowest percentage among Western nations of children who grow up with both biological parents, 63%, the report says.
The usual prelude to a divorce is separation. Now there's controlled separation negotiated by therapists, a movement that's gaining adherents across the country.
Hilary Stout reports on Family Matters in the Wall St Journal (subscription only)
Separation in the U.S. has become essentially a prelude to divorce. But a new approach that has quietly attracted interest over the past few years aims to do the opposite. Controlled separation is usually negotiated in a therapist's office, never in a lawyer's, and its ultimate goal is to save the marriage by putting a concrete limit on the time apart (usually no more than six months) -- and negotiating more than a dozen hot points into a written contract to eliminate the uncertainty, insecurity and second-guessing that can become toxic in a troubled relationship.
In most separations, there are few rules. Legal separations, negotiated by lawyers, generally cover only finances and children. So-called trial separations, in which one spouse simply moves out with no guidance, are generally emotional and unpredictable since no one is ever sure what the other is up to. A marriage and family therapist in Wisconsin, Lee Raffel, developed the idea of controlled separation in the late 1990s out of "sheer frustration," after some three decades of counseling couples.
"I could see that when couples separated, they were having a terrible time," she says. "They didn't know if they wanted to stay or go. They only knew they were unhappy. They didn't know how to solve their problems and they did a lot of nasty things to each other."
It doesn't always work, though. Elsie Radtke, associate director for the family ministries office at the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, says that more than half of the couples she counsels through controlled separation end up divorcing. But she feels that the process benefits those couples too. The split, she says, is often far less acrimonious as a result of the controlled separation.
An 83 year old German woman divorced her husband of 60 years after he was caught having a "quickie" with his younger by 30 years lover after they forgot to pull the curtains in the animal breeding center where the husband volunteered.
The divorce court heard the couple had met over 60 years ago as Allied bombs fell on Bonn and have since raised three children together.
Mrs Meister said: "I had a good husband and he was a good father but that man does not exist any more."It's a sad end for us, but I showed no mercy. I just threw him out."
More and more ex-spouses are carrying for their former spouses, often because there is no one else. Past Divorce, Compassion at the End
I despised what he had done to me," said Ms. Hayes, who, despite it all, became her ex-husband's caregiver when he developed Alzheimer's three years ago. "There is nobody else."
Her efforts are part of an emerging theme as the country ages.
In scenes exhibiting a vivid range of feelings - acrimony, compassion, rekindled love, abiding friendship - sick and dying Americans are being cared for by former spouses.
Hospice workers, academics and doctors say they are seeing more such cases, a development that is not surprising given the nation's changing demographics in the last 30 years.
The number of older Americans who have divorced and are not remarried has risen more than 60 percent in the last decade, according to the census bureau.
In 2003, the most recent year for which the census reports statistics, there were 2,726,000 divorced Americans older than 65 compared with 1,718,000 in 1994.
Bitterness, like that felt by Ms. Hayes, often is not the prevailing emotion. Often a person feels deep ties to a former husband or wife, or feels a responsibility borne of common experience and child-rearing.
"They are acting more like a brother or sister, or cousin or extended family member, or sometimes they have the joy of being grandparents together," said J. Donald Schumacher, chief executive of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, a public policy group representing hospices. He said the presence of former spouses at the hospital or deathbed, isn't uncommon anymore.
I had never heard of cleansing widows, a common ritual in some parts of rural Africa. A widow is forced to have sex with one her late husband's relatives to break the bond with his spirit and save the rest of the village from insanity or disease.
Sharon LaFraniere, writing for the New York Times reports that AIDS is now compelling Africa to challenge this common tradition.
In a number of nearby nations including Zambia and Kenya, a husband's funeral has long concluded with a final ritual: sex between the widow and one of her husband's relatives, to break the bond with his spirit and, it is said, save her and the rest of the village from insanity or disease. Widows have long tolerated it, and traditional leaders have endorsed it, as an unchallenged tradition of rural African life.
In the tragedy of AIDS in Africa - 25 million infected with HIV, 2.3 million dead last year alone, there are small glimmers of hope. Women rights activists prodding political and tribal leaders to change a cultural practice I can only call barbaric, like another common cultural practice, female genital mutilation.
I believe that one of the reasons the Catholic Church is having such success in Africa in attracting new converts and priests is that they offer a higher morality, one that respects and honors the individual man or woman.
Those who think that condoms and "safe sex" are the only way to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa, have failed to examine closely the success in Uganda. Dr. Edward Green of the Harvard School of Public Health has.
Green, who examined the Ugandan experience scientifically, wrote in a recent report:
"Few in public health circles really believed — or even believe nowadays — that programs promoting abstinence, fidelity or monogamy, or even reduction in number of sexual partners, pay off in significant behavioral change. My own view of this changed when I evaluated HIV prevention programs in Uganda and Jamaica."
According to Green, HIV prevalence rates dropped 70 percent between 1991 and 2001.....
He added in his study: "Some reports continue to claim that the world's great success story in AIDS prevention, Uganda, owes its achievement to condoms, but this is not true."........
Nantulya credits Uganda's "zero-grazing" — or marital fidelity — campaign as the major reason for Uganda's success in fighting HIV/AIDS. Green added that according to the Demographic and Health Survey, 95 percent of all Ugandans age 15 to 49 now report practicing monogamy or abstinence.
From the Boston Globe, by Megan Trench
The tragic journey of Patrick Holland, the first child in state history to divorce a parent, passed a hopeful milestone yesterday when the 15-year-old emerged from a courthouse grinning alongside his new adoptive parents.
In a brief but emotional ceremony at Norfolk Probate Court, Patrick was adopted by Ron and Rita Lazisky, his mother's best friends. The couple cared for him after his father shot and bludgeoned his mother to death in Quincy in 1998
Patrick didn't set out to make national news by winning a groundbreaking legal battle last year to divorce his father. He also didn't aim to be a trailblazer by pushing a bill now before the Legislature.
Called Patrick's Law, the bill would automatically terminate the parental rights of a parent convicted of murdering the other. There are similar laws in Florida, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Virginia. The bill would also give children a say in whether to terminate the parent's rights permanently.
Some 79% of men who are engaged to be married worry that their marriage will end in divorce and they will be ruined financially. More than half of them set up secret nest eggs in case their fears become reality. So says a survey conducted by the Indiana Family Institute.
Maybe it's because we live longer and healthier lives that so many people in midlife get divorced. I probably shouldn't have been surprised that 66% of midlife divorces are initiated by women, but I was. Women do the walking. Men don't see it coming was the conclusion of the AARP survey of some 1147 men and women who divorced in their 40s, 50s, or 60s. Other surprising findings...
• 32% of divorced men in their 50s said they felt "feelings of resentment"
• More men than women stayed in marriages and postponed divorce because of the kids: 58% of men vs. 37% of women.