More than three years ago, a group of mothers, an adult child, and a handful of non-profit organizations petitioned the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights, alleging a discriminatory pattern and practice of United States courts in custody and visitation cases. The petitioners, including one from Illinois, claim that the courts' tendency to award custody or unsupervised visitation to child molesters and abusers violates the mothers' human rights. In the three years since the petition was filed, reports say that the number of cases is growing and the IACHR has failed to act on many of them.
In our last post, we began the discussion of how certain social media channels have been in the news lately - cited as contributing factors to divorce and legal separation. Divorce attorneys are beginning to subpoena and use private communications over Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace in court proceedings to establish patterns of infidelity on behalf of clients who have been cheated on and are seeking for an advantageous divorce settlement. In this post, we continue our coverage of National Public Radio's interview with Marriage Therapist Tara Fritsch.fTherapist Fritsch points out that prior to the advent of social media and texting, it wasn't nearly as easy to begin an affair. You couldn't necessarily call up a co-worker or an old flame out of the blue without fear that the person's spouse or children might answer the phone and start asking questions. Public flirtation at the office was always under close scrutiny of co-workers. Now it's easy to have a completely intimate and detailed conversation over social media channels or via text with someone sitting right across the aisle from you, or even at home while in the same room as your spouse.
The rise in popularity of various forms of social media is sometimes blamed for the destruction of marriages these days. The popularity of sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter are easy targets when determining the catalyst of and assigning blame in a divorce. Also, the advent of texting and smartphones has made it easier than ever to reconnect with an ex. However, marriage counselors will often say that people cause legal separation and divorce, not technology.It happens every day. You get the message: "John Doe wants to be friends on Facebook." Innocent, right? In many cases this is true. Social media can be a great form of entertainment and an efficient means of keeping in touch with friends. Sometimes a simple online friendship turns from innocent to intimate at an accelerated rate. In a recent interview with National Public Radio (NPR), Marriage Therapist Tara Fritsch claims that online relationships can be accelerated two to three times as fast as in-person courting, as the lack of face to face interaction reduces inhibitions and allows people to open up emotionally on a greater level sooner in the relationship.
A tragedy unfolded in the Chicago suburb of Bloomingdale last week. A 43-year-old woman, said to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, killed her 4-year-old daughter and tried to take her own life. Reports are sketchy, but it seems the girl was the youngest of the woman's three children. The older two had been the subjects of protracted custody battles that authorities believe contributed to their mother's mental state.
Imagine a lovely suburban Chicago home, a divorced man sitting at the kitchen table with his three children. "Kids, I have some news," he says. "You know that Betty and I have been seeing quite a lot of each other, and, well, we're getting married." The oldest sits back, registering mild shock. The middle child snaps, "She's not moving in here. This is our house." The youngest asks if their mother knows yet, following up with a question about how Betty's kids feel about it.
In Illinois and elsewhere, separation or divorce can be hard on a family, especially on children. Often, parents will find a counselor to help their child through the difficult time -- a trained professional who can work with the child to resolve trust and anger issues, to sort through the push and pull that especially accompanies custody disputes. The basis of therapy is confidentiality: What happens in therapy stays in therapy. That confidentiality helps to establish trust, and trust between the counselor and the client is essential if the therapy is to be effective.
A custody hearing will be held in McHenry County later this week in a case involving an 11-year-old boy, his father's family and his long-absent mother and her family. The mother was absent because she was in prison for attacking her husband (the boy's father) with a sledgehammer in 2001. Released in 2009, she has not sought visitation or custody rights. The issue came up only because the father, whose permanent injuries did not keep him from caring for the child, passed away a couple of weeks ago.