divorce-rate-400-08345978d-300x200It is commonly stated that nearly 50% of all marriages end in divorce, but is that true? Not exactly, although the media attention given to high-profile celebrity divorces can make it seem that way. The divorce rate, like many other things, runs in trends and can be influenced by societal changes at any given time.

For a look at the history of the ups and downs of the divorce rate read “How the divorce rate has changed over the last 150 years.” It’s interesting to note the cultural issues that may have influenced those changes through the years.

child-support-400-08812515d-300x200Divorce may end your relationship with your spouse, but it does not end your role as a parent, and with that role comes the obligation to support your children in all ways — physically, emotionally and financially.

Depending on the type of custodial agreement you and your ex agree on — or the court deems to be in best interest of your children — one of you may be ordered to make child support payments. Quite often it is the father who is responsible for child support, although in today’s age of two-income families, mothers can easily find themselves in this situation, too. That being said, both parents could benefit from reading “What Dads Need to Know About Child Support” to better understand the process.

atty-meeting-prep-400-04880101d-201x300For many people, the decision to divorce comes after months or even years of assessing their situation and giving careful consideration to all other options. But, no matter how long you have lived with the possibility of divorce, taking that first step to end your marriage is very emotional. Emotions can easily cloud your judgment and prevent you from thinking clearly so, before you meet with your divorce attorney for the very first time, it pays to be prepared.

In order for a divorce attorney to successfully defend your rights in a divorce, he or she must be aware of the facts relating to your situation and have a clear understanding of the marital assets and debts involved. Providing your attorney access to this information from the start can help you avoid delays in your divorce proceedings. For an idea of what kind of documentation would be helpful, read “What To Bring To Your First Appointment.”

 

holidays-post-divorce-400-06208347d-300x200Adjusting to the changes in your life after divorce can be challenging at any time of year, but during the holidays it’s even more difficult. Everything about the season screams family, friends and traditions, and serves as a reminder of just how much has changed in your life. The trouble is the emphasis at this time of year in particular is on what you are missing, rather than on what your life can be now that you’re moving on from a failed relationship.

There are coping mechanisms you can use to keep the holidays from getting you down and keep you focused on the positives  — like establishing new traditions — as you move ahead. Dr. Kristen Hick, a clinical psychologist, shares her advice in “10 Tips for Surviving the Holidays After Divorce.”

divorce-health-insurance-400-04163321d-300x200It is common in a marriage for one spouse to opt for family coverage under their employer’s health insurance benefits. This way, the employee’s medical expenses as well as those of their partner and children are covered. But divorce changes that – health insurance policies don’t extend to ex-spouses. There’s no need to panic, just understand your options and plan accordingly.

Under most circumstances, family coverage remains in effect as long as a couple is married, even if they choose to live separately pending finalization of their divorce. Of course your spouse does have the option to switch to an individual or an individual with children plan, but usually such changes are allowed only during open enrollment periods. If you are covered under your spouse’s medical insurance, make it a point to be aware of the open enrollment dates for that plan and use the interim time to investigate all your options to find the coverage best suited to your health and your finances.

To get an idea of what alternative coverage is available to you read the Forbes.com article, “What You Need To Know About 3 Key Options For Health Insurance After Divorce.”

kids-of-divorce-400-04210196d-300x200As you go through a divorce, your attention understandably can be centered on your own problems and emotions. You’re hurt, angry, sad and uncertain of what the future holds. On top of that, you’re determined not to let your soon-to-be ex get the best of you in the divorce settlement. In the midst of all this, it is sometimes difficult to give sufficient attention to what your children really need from you at the moment.

Often, a parent’s first reaction while in the divorce process is to assure their children that the divorce is not about them and it is not their fault; it’s a situation between the adults. But divorce affects everyone in the family and placating your children just won’t work. In an article entitled “Divorce is never easy – but here’s what your kids need from you,” Dr. Kevin Leman explains what your children really need and how you can help them navigate this highly emotional time in their lives.

detox-divorce-400-04055398d-223x300For most couples, the decision to divorce comes only after all attempts to save their marriage have failed. Once it becomes clear that divorce is their only solution, they just want the relationship to end so they can begin the process of moving on with their new lives. Only the most narcissistic among us want the process to drag on.

A drawn-out divorce can be costly and emotionally draining. There are legal strategies you can employ to protect yourself – and your children – from additional pain. Read “Detox Your Divorce With These 5 Smart Legal Moves” to learn how you can keep your divorce process civil and as brief as possible.

August-divorce-400-07677880d-300x199A team of researchers at the University of Washington recently conducted a study analyzing divorce filings in that state for the period from November 2001 through December 2015. Their findings? Divorce filings by American couples peak during the months of August and March before declining significantly at year end. As interesting as this data is, it begs the question why are divorce filings more common in these months – especially August – than any others?

One possible reason is that for many families, summer means more time spent together on vacations and long weekends. There’s an old saying that familiarity breeds contempt. It could be that for couples already experiencing problems in their marriage, this extra time together puts a spotlight on their differences. Another thought is that kids soon will be returning to school and that routine could help them cope better with their parents’ divorce.

For more insight on possible reasons behind the uptick in divorce filings as summer ends, as well as tips on how to help your children cope with your breakup, read “Back To School Divorce: 4 Reasons Parents File For Divorce In August.”

copiing-400-07316868d-300x200Divorce can be complicated and all-consuming. The one thing no parent wants to do, however, is to lose sight of their children’s wellbeing during the process. As your emotions run the gamut between hurt and anger, it’s important to remember that your children, too, are affected by this change in your family dynamics.

One of the worse things you can do is to hide the truth from your children. Telling your children that you or your spouse is “going away for a little while” won’t soften the blow; it will only give them false hope. What they need most at this time is the support of both parents. For pointers on how to help your children deal with your divorce, read lifehack.org’s article by Dr. Magdalena Battles entitled, “How to Raise Healthy, Happy Kids After Going Through a Divorce.”

Teen drivers - photo of uniformed police officer walking up to white vehicle pulled over to side of the streetIt’s unnerving for any driver to be stopped for a traffic violation and even more so for inexperienced drivers. The driver’s manual doesn’t cover what to do in this situation but as parents we want our teens to be safe on the road, whether they’re moving with traffic or being pulled over by a police officer.

When it comes to your child’s driving skills, you can teach by example and reinforce what they learned in driver’s ed and behind-the-wheel training. But even experienced drivers make mistakes and risk being pulled over – your teen is no exception. To prepare him or her for that situation, see “You’ve Been Pulled Over, Now What?” on our Community News page. The article lists steps any driver should take when faced with a traffic stop.