Conflicts with in-laws Job and career pressures Adultery Conflicts over children Communication Alcohol/Substance abuse Money problems Loss of shared goals
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapist-professionally qualified in family/marriage problem resolution Clergy Friends
Separation-live apart, couple remain legally married Divorce-a court order that legally ends a valid marriage. If finalized, may remarry.
Most states require a separation period prior to having a final divorce Still have legal and financial responsibilities to each other/children Separation Agreement-written document that sets out the couple’s agreed upon terms for custody, visitation, property etc.
Once signed is a legally enforceable contract Does not have to be approved by a court action
More than 1 million each year Second half of 20 th century rate doubled ½ of all marriages end in divorce Divorce-process by which a couple legally ends their marriage and divide up their property
Expensive financially and emotionally Judges often mandate mediation-neutral third party Not always necessary to have an attorney Pro se(do it yourself) If children or substantial property is involved you need to have an attorney
Uses informal discussions and conferences by attorneys and couples. Lawyers withdraw from case if one party decides to contest it in court. At fault divorce-one party must prove that other party has committed a wrong
Grounds for fault: 1. adultery 2. desertion 3. mental cruelty 4. physical cruelty 5. insanity In past, this was used to justify denial support Most states now allow No Fault Divorce
A spouse has only to show that there are irreconcilable differences Most common form of divorce Some states have lengthened the time it takes for no fault divorce to discourage hasty divorces
Can be temporary or permanent Joint custody means both parents have full responsibility for the child’s supervision and equal say in upbringing, education & religion Joint custody unlikely if couple cannot agree on terms of divorce
If parents cannot agree or the court does not approve of their agreed plan The court can make the decision. Tender Years Doctrine refers to the tradition of awarding the mother custody Standard of courts today-Best Interest of the Child Doctrine Over age 12 the child’s wishes are taken into account
During bitter custody disputes or disagreement over a court’s decision on custody-Parents illegally take their child and hide them. Act provides for all states to enforce custody decisions of other states
Women more economically disadvantaged by divorce Men more economically well off after divorce
Also called Spousal Support-money paid to help support an ex after divorce State laws restricting alimony to only ex- wives struck down by Supreme Court Up to discretion of the courts Considerations include couples standard of living, financial status of each spouse
Awarded temporarily to help one spouse get into the labor market
The level of support is determined by the non- custodial parent’s ability to pay and the amount necessary for child’s needs Until emancipation or longer only if agreed upon FSA-Family Support Act of 1988 helps in enforcing child support and requires states to have a clear formula for determining support Allows tracking by Social Security and attachment of wages
In many states, stepparents are required to help support their step children as long as they are living with them In some states, if stepparent has acted in loco parentis(in place of the parent) then they may be required to continue after leaving. Cannot claim custody, may ask for visitation Can adopt if non-custodial parent agrees.