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.
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.
When a Chicago real estate agent and her husband decided to end their marriage, they made a conscious decision to put their egos aside and to focus on the children. As the parents of two boys, the wife said, she and her husband faced their divorce and parenting negotiations with the same goal they had during their marriage: to be a good influence on their children.
2006 NBA Finals MVP Dwayne Wade spent more time in court than on the court this week. The Miami Heat basketball player has been in Chicago most of the week testifying in a trial to determine custody of his two young boys. This has been an on-going issue for many years. Wade and ex-wife Siohvaughn have been going through separation and divorce for the last three years.Though the divorce was finalized last summer, an attorney was appointed by the court to represent the specific ongoing interests of the children. Counsel has recommended sole custody be awarded to Wade, though it is up to the court to make the final call. Siohvaughn's child custody lawyer solicited testimony from Wad this week, asking questions in attempt to paint Wade as the stereotypical absent father. Wade admitted his ex-wife had taken an active role in managing the boys' daily needs during the marriage.
As a follow-up to the story we discussed in our September 3rd post "Bridget Dumps Bernie - Interfaith Divorce Tough on Kids," news has been released this week that the Chicago man under a restraining order preventing him from taking his daughter to church was cleared of charges relating to his alleged violation of the restraining order.A Cook County judge ruled yesterday that the father was not in violation of the court order when he took his daughter to church in January, prior to the completion of child custody proceedings. Contempt of court could not be proven given the video captured by the television crew does not actually show the daughter in attendance at the service.
It seems more unmarried couples chose to live together during the recession -- a 13 percent increase from 2009 to 2010, according to the results of ASES, the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey. At the same time, the number of marriages continues to decline, as did the divorce rate. Ifyou are part of an unmarried couple in Illinois, take note: Your cohabitation won't last if it was based on financial need.
Chicago native and NBA star Dwyane Wade entered court recently in the next phase of his divorce proceedings. The divorce from his high school sweetheart was finalized in June, with the question of custody of the couple's children left open. The current court proceedings will determine where the two boys, aged 8 and 3, live and which parent has primary responsibility for their upbringing.
In this post, I am looking at the specific results of a study I talked about in my September 14 post. The study, which appears in the October issue of the Journal of Family Issues, looked at the economic roles of women in marriages and the effect that two economic factors in particular -- work and earnings -- have on the stability of a marriage. The data was not examined on a state level, so Illinois results are not available. Still, the national results are interesting, and I invite readers to comment below.
New research, published in the October issue of the Journal of Family Issues, shows a link between a wife's income, hours worked and the likelihood of divorce. If happiness has a price (see my September 8, 2010 post), it seems divorce does as well. In this post and the next, I will discuss the results of this study that I believe will be of interest to families in Illinois.