The Emotional Stages of Divorce

April 16th, 2015

In 2014, The United States at 53%, had the 10th highest divorce rate in the world! According to the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology: 50% of first marriages, 67% of second marriages and 74% of third marriages end in Divorce in the United States.

Marriages do not break up overnight. There is not one incident or one party that ends a marriage. Your emotional break up usually extends over several years with the marriage parties continually at different stages in the emotional process.

Just remember,” no marriage is totally bad nor totally good!” Do not go fault finding!  Both partners stay in a marriage for a longer period of time because there are good things about it. Now the couple is divorcing because the “bad” things make the marriage not work anymore.

A new divorce survey by Slater and Gordon Law Firm (survey of 1000 divorced people) recently came out with some very interesting results:

  • The average person will spend about 2 years thinking about a divorce before they file.
  • During this time the average person spends 18 months really trying to fix their marriage and working to save it.
  • 76% try to fix their marriage problems before deciding on a divorce
  • 53% discuss divorce with someone besides their spouse before filing
  • 36% spoke with an attorney before deciding on a divorce

What are the emotional stages a couple will experience leading up to a divorce?

1. Disillusionment of one / two marriage partners ( not verbalized to other partner)

  • Continued, ongoing feelings of discontent, pent up resentments and breach of trust
  • Emotional feelings of anxiety, anger, denial, depression ,fear, grief, guilt ,and  love
  • Real problem but unacknowledged
  • Developing greater distance, lack of mutuality, and increase in arguments
  • Consideration of pros and cons of possible divorce and/or separation

2. Verbalized Dissatisfaction ( no legal action yet)

  • Feelings of anguish, doubt, emotional, grief, guilt, relief, and tension after expression of discontent is now in the open!
  • Marriage counseling and giving “one last try” for the marriage

3. Decision to Divorce ( no legal action yet)

  • Feelings of anger, anxiety of the future, guilt, resentment, and sadness
  • Other partner now in emotional stage one and both parties feeling victimized by each other.
  • Realizes this decision is usually not reversible

Divorce Decision Action (the legal process begins)

  • Feelings of anger, blame, shame, fear, and guilt
  • Emotional and physical separation
  • Going public with decision to family and friends
  • Dealing with the “Children Problem”. No way around this one.
  • Hiring an attorney and start the divorce process

4. Acceptance of Divorce / Single Life ( during the legal process or after)

  • Many life adjustments: emotional, mental, and physical
  • Realization that the marriage was not fulfilling or happy
  • Dealing with your children and helping them to understand they are loved and did not cause the end of the marriage
  • Work on developing the “new single you”, new identity and a plan for the future!

This emotional roller-coaster may take years to complete, but keep focused and you will get through it.  Surround yourself with competent legal professionals who will help you through this life changing event.

Just remember this: the divorce emotional stages are a normal occurrence when going through a divorce.  Outside of a death, divorce is one of the most life changing events in an individual’s life.  This list is very basic and you will probably add many other emotions on to the list You are not alone. It is a grieving process and you will recover.

Modify Your Texas Child Custody and Visitation Rights

April 14th, 2015

Texas family law states that a court may modify a child custody order if the change is in the best interest of the child and one of the following applies:

1. The circumstances of the child or parent have materially or substantially changed since the date of the original child custody order or order to be modified.
2. The child is at least 12 years of age and will tell the court in private chambers with the judge that he/she would like a change.
3. The custodial parent has voluntarily given the child’s care and custody to another person for at least 6 months.

Material or Substantial Change
What could be acceptable as a change for the Texas family courts? Some examples could be a parent’s remarriage, a medical condition the affects a parent’s ability take care of the child, a parent’s criminal acts or convictions, a parent’s change in residence that makes visitation a hardship for the other parent, family violence, drug or alcohol related issues, absence of supervision, and other material changes concerning adequate care and supervision of the child.

Child Wants Change
The child must be at least 12years of age and maybe interviewed in the judge’s chambers. The court will consider the child’s desire but only make a change if it is in the child’s best interest.

Custody Relinquishment
This happens when the custodial parent has voluntarily given up custody of the child to another person for at least six months. This does not apply to a period of military deployment or duty.

After finding one of the three prerequisites, the court must still consider whether the change will be in the child’s best interest. The court will consider factors affecting the child’s physical, emotional, mental, education, social, moral or disciplinary welfare and development. The factors considered for this evaluation are:

1. Child’s emotional and physical needs.
2. Parenting ability of the conservators or potential conservators
3. Plans and outside resources available to persons seeking the modification
4. Value to the child of having a relationship with both parents
5. Visitation schedule that requires excessive traveling or prevents the child from engaging in school or social activities
6. Stability of the person’s home seeking the modification
7. The child’s desires
8. Child’s need for stability and need to limit additional litigation in child custody cases.

Modification within one year of prior court order
A parent who files a motion to modify a child custody order within one year after a prior order was entered must also submit an affidavit to the court. The affidavit must contain, along with supporting facts, at least one of the following allegations:

1. The child’s present environment may be endanger the child’s physical health or significantly impair the child’s emotional development.
2. The person who has the exclusive right to designate the child’s primacy residence is the person seeking or consenting to the modification and the modification is in the child’s best interest.
3. The person who has the exclusive right to designate the child’s primary residence has voluntarily relinquished the primacy care and possession of the child for at least six months and the modification is in the child’

My Kids have been hidden by my Ex! And I do not know where they are!

April 2nd, 2015

This is a “Never Want to Live Through” Scenario: After a family breakup or divorce, your kids are picked up by your Ex and they all disappear! Where are they? Are they in danger? Will I ever see my children again?

After you get over your shock, the main question you will ask is: What can I do to get my children back?

  • Thinking clearly, you must respond quickly. Time is of the essence.
  • Contact the police immediately. You need to tell them that the runaway parent may have taken the children without permission.  Make sure that you have your certified legal court orders that pertain to your parental arrangement agreement concerning your children.  It is important to be able to show the police the specific orders and how important it is to find the runaway parent and kids!
  • Make a list of possible locations the runaway parent may have taken the children. This helps the police in their search.
  • Contact a family law attorney immediately.  After the runaway has occurred, there will be court intervention to prevent any further occurrences. Custody and supervised visitation issues will also need to be addressed.

If you were never married or divorced from the runaway parent, or if you have no legal court orders concerning or establishing custody and visitation rights in place, this could be a serious impediment in securing help to find your children.

At any time this could happen to you! If your legal position concerning custody and visitation with your children is in limbo, go secure a family law attorney and the help you need to protect your kids.

If a custody agreement is in place with the courts, it is legally binding. If the runaway parent violates the agreement terms, this parent is in violation of the law and will likely face some serious legal problems.

Many times, the runaway parent may take the children out of your area and may even cross state lines. This violation in your custody/visitation agreement could be considered parental kidnapping if the runaway parent moved without telling you the new residence of the child or without getting legal permission through the court to move or modify the custody order.

When the runaway parent and children are found, this is what could happen:

  • Custody Arrangements will legally be changed by court orders.  You will most likely be awarded protective orders or custody with the runaway parent receiving supervised visitation or no contact with the child.
  • The runaway parent may also face criminal charges and jail time.

Serving clients throughout Texas, including Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Grayson, Kaufman, Rockwall and Tarrant counties and the communities of Addison, Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, Garland, Grapevine, Highland Park, McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Richardson, Rowlett and University Park, Murphy,Wylie, Lewisville, Flower Mound, Irving, along with surrounding DFW areas.