These top ten rules were the most commonly wished for, compiled from the many times Kara Bishop, the author, has conducted this exercise (3 times a year for the last 5 years). Read more.
Love, lust, cohabitation, marriage, divorce…relationships, like people can be complicated. Most of us want to be in a good relationship, but it is often hard to know when we are in one. Oftentimes, we can’t even decide if we are in love or in lust. Many of us question ourselves, our mates, and what we want. We compare what we experience with what we know of the relationships of our parents, friends and others we have seen, perhaps in movies or on television. Many of us have never observed or personally experienced a good relationship. This can foster a belief that they may not exist at all. This is reflected in the marriage statistics. In the United States today, the marriage rate is the lowest it has been in many years and about 46% of the adult population is single. Yet, most people want to be in committed relationships.
With such strong desires for committed relationships why is the American divorce rate nearly 50% of all first marriages, 60% for those who try for a second marriage, and 75% for those who go for three times around? The number of couples co-habiting has increased dramatically in the last 30 years. Couples use the “try it out” method of relationship to see if they are compatible, and with an 85% failure rate, it has the worst odds of all. Cohabitation actually increases the chance of failure if the couple does marry. What’s going on?
No one enters into a relationship with a plan for failure. Many do enter into it for wrong reasons, no reasons or with a naïve idea of what it means to be in a relationship. First marriages are usually between young people who have no idea who they are much less what they want from a relationship. Let’s face it. A good relationship is not easy to come by. It takes work on the part of both partners. What if you are trying and your partner is not or vice versa? What if today you try and get nowhere and give up, and then tomorrow your partner tries and you have none of it? This scenario is very common and will lead directly to the divorce courts.
Divorce and/or separation can be an extremely stressful time in your life. Feelings of nervousness, irritability and being unable to relax affect one’s ability to sleep and add to your stress levels. These feelings which are generally stress related have a biological effect which involves the influx of calcium into your cells, resulting in a temporary, drastic change in the cells’ internal magnesium-to-calcium ratio. Normal cells at rest contain 10,000 times more magnesium than calcium. If the amount of cellular magnesium falls however, calcium flows into the cell when NOT required. Such an imbalance, puts the cell into a hyperactive state leading to nervousness, inability to relax and a hard time falling asleep.
Magnesium is the anti-stress mineral and is known as a sleep aid which has proven to alleviate stress, anxiety, insomnia and even depression. One of the most absorbable forms of nutritional magnesium is magnesium citrate powder which can be taken with hot or cold water just before bedtime and can be found in most health food or vitamin stores.
In a recent study entitled: “Changes in brain protein expression are linked to magnesium restriction-induced depression-like behavior” published in Amino Acids magazine, 2011 Apr edition, the findings provide evidence of low magnesium-induced alteration in brain protein levels and biochemical pathways, contributing to depression like behavior.
In another study published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, Jan 201 edition entitled “The effect of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc on primary insomnia in long-term care facility residents in Italy”: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial found that the administration of nightly melatonin, magnesium, and zinc appears to improve the quality of sleep and the quality of life in long-term care facility residents with primary insomnia.
Divorce may be difficult, even under the best of circumstances. And according to the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, historically, the number of filed divorces decreases during times of economic decline. Their study shows that among married Americans who were considering divorce or separation prior to the recession, 38% said the recession caused them to put aside or postpone their plans.
Deteriorating home prices, unemployment, increasing health care costs, declining values in investment and retirement accounts, the inability to pay off debt, and a need to band together in tough times may all add to the challenges of breaking up and splitting assets.
It’s been nearly a year since I started my “new normal.” Looking back on this time in my life, it’s amazing to me how far I have come in just a short period of time. Certainly the beginning of the divorce process was challenging, devastating, and stressful, but I’ve found light at the end of the tunnel.
Once I got past the initial shock, I took time to reflect on how I wanted to move forward and began making a plan. In my mind there were two paths to take—I could sit around and feel sorry for myself day after day or I could wake up each morning excited about the endless possibilities in my future.
One of the things that helped me most during this transitional period was establishing a routine early on for me and my two kids. It’s refreshing to set a schedule according to what you want to do and when you want to do it, and not having to answer to anyone else. For the first time in a long time, I felt complete control over my life and the decisions I made. I also felt a true sense of accomplishment once certain goals were achieved. Something as easy as successfully doing the before and after school routine with two kids all by myself made me feel fantastic. At times, it’s all about the baby steps and making lists. You can only do one thing at a time and although occasionally there is an intense feeling of being overwhelmed, once you start to tackle the list, the feeling you have at the end of each day is unlike any other. You know that everything that was accomplished, was completely done by you.
Some people may think that my planning has gotten out of control. But to me, it is the only way that I feel like I can manage my busy life with my children. I have never really been the type of person who just lays around and waits for something to happen, but I think I have taken planning to a whole new level. I tend to make plans way in advance and, although at times I admit to being a little neurotic about it, planning helps give me a sense of control. I feel more prepared to deal with the everyday life, anticipate certain challenges and get excited about what the future may hold.
Kristen Kart is the publisher of Pittsburgh Better Times. For more information, you can contact her directly at email@example.com.
By Donna Cheswick
Many of my clients are confused about the role of alimony in divorce and its impact on their financial circumstances. Some have expressed the view that alimony is not available in Pennsylvania, while others assume that it is an entitlement. This article identifies common situations where alimony or some form of support might be awarded to a spouse.
Alimony is generally available in Pennsylvania in two forms: alimony pendente lite (APL), which literally means pending litigation, so this form of alimony is available until property issues are decided and a divorce decree is issued; and, true or permanent alimony which might be awarded by a Court after a divorce decree is issued. In addition, spousal support can be awarded to a disadvantaged spouse prior to the filing of a divorce complaint when both spouses are legally separated, which usually means they are physically separated and living apart, but there is no pending divorce case. In deciding the issue of whether and to what extent spousal support or APL will be awarded, Pennsylvania courts will generally follow an established formula or guidelines that takes into consideration, among other things, the earnings or earning capacities and other support obligations of the parties. The Court can deviate from these guidelines for compelling reasons based on the particular circumstances of the parties, and both spousal support and APL Order are modifiable based on the changed circumstances of the parties.
By Antoinette de Janasz
My divorce left me in debt, without a car, in a dilapidated apartment, and with two children to raise. Things could only get better, or at least that was my mantra to keep me going!
My children were my first and foremost priority. The divorce was very hard on them, made harder by the mud that was slung at me by their father. Keeping up with our traditions and rituals helped my kids keep a sense of family and gave them some much needed security. Any doubts I had about the divorce were erased when my son told me that I never laughed when I was married to their dad. I made it a point to laugh more after that, even when there was nothing to laugh at.
I tried to keep my financial hardship from them but they were old enough to figure it out. Especially when I had to discourage their friends from snacking at our home because they would eat our week’s food supply in one afternoon! Teenagers are like locusts!
By Daniel Casciato
Pittsburgh-based journalist, author, editor, and publishing consultant Gina Mazza lives by the philosophy that everything happens for a reason, and as she writes in her book, “Everything Matters, Nothing Matters,” it’s not about what happens to us in life—it’s our response to it and, more importantly, who we are going through it. Her book is the story of her inward journey to fully embracing creativity and higher consciousness. It offers principles for finding balance, embracing the sacredness of every day and living an intention-based life with gratitude.
It’s not lost on her that the book launched just a couple of months after Mazza and her husband of nearly 20 years separated. It was “a supreme opportunity to road test the veracity of my life philosophy,” Mazza says. “Our core beliefs are most profoundly tested when a crisis or moment of truth arrives—that’s where the rubber meets the road. The book’s principles served as a continual blueprint towards my own self-realization through the divorce process. It helped me through it immensely.”
The most challenging part of the whole divorce process for her was dealing with ongoing betrayal and dishonesty; that was an affront to her emotional sensibilities and, being an emotion-based person who feels things deeply, she says that it was no walk in the park.
“In spite of that, my goal was to go through the experience with as much grace, dignity and integrity as possible,” she says. “Ultimately, I reached a point where I wouldn’t accept being bullied anymore—that was my lesson to learn. After I made that decision and took action in that direction, everything shifted.”
No one plans to get divorced. But more than one million children in the U.S. will experience its affects this year alone. Divorce has become a reality in our culture and innocent children are coping with the consequences every day.
The good news is that divorce need not wound and scar your children if you put their emotional and psychological needs first when making crucial decisions. It’s misguided parents – angry, resentful, hurt and mistrusting – who unintentionally set their children up for painful outcomes. These parents don’t understand that every decision they make regarding their divorce will affect the well-being of their children in countless ways. The emotional scars are not only harder to see, they’re also much harder to erase.
Here are five keys to helping your children move through and thrive after divorce.