Divorce: Kids’ Health Is Compromised By Parental Divorce

Divorce is hard, especially on kids.

And according to Dr. James Sears of “The Doctors” TV show, parental separation can also compromise kids’ mental and physical health.

“Some of the things I’ve seen are depression, anxiety, oftentimes changes in sleep habits, nightmares, insomnia, bed wetting, distress,” he said on Thursday. “The lack of sleep and poor nutrition is a perfect recipe for an immune system that isn’t going to work as well and kids get sick more frequently — about 20 to 30 percent more frequently kids will get sick if there’s divorce.”

So how can you make the transition easier for everyone in the family?

Written by Huffington Post. To read the full article, click here.

Safeguarding boards to report SCR decisions to new expert panel

Heads of local safeguarding children boards (LSCB) must inform a new panel of experts within two weeks if they decide not to conduct a full serious case review (SCR) following a serious incident.

Operating guidelines for the new independent panel of experts on serious case reviews, which launches today, state that LSCB chairs must also provide an explanation to the panel of why a SCR has not been ordered.

The experts will then look into the details of the case and can ask for a meeting with the LSCB chair to discuss the case. It will also scrutinise any decisions not to publish SCRs. The launch of the four-person panel – made up of family law barrister Elizabeth Clarke, air accident investigator Nicholas Dann, journalist Jenni Russell and NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless – comes just three months after it was announced in revised Working Together guidance, published in April. The idea of an expert panel came out of Lord Carlile’s call for a rethink of the independence of LSCBs following his inquiry into the Edlington case in November.

Written by Neil Puffett. To read the full article, click here.

Child protection and proportion

It is not uncommon for dreadful crimes to prompt public demands for some sort of dramatic response from the authorities. Usually, nothing comes of them. But the murder of Sarah Payne by a convicted sex offender in 2000 is different. Eight years after that appalling crime, the demands from Sarah’s mother that the Government take action appear to have borne fruit. The Home Office begins a trial scheme today in which parents in parts of Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Cleveland and Warwickshire will be able to ask police if anyone with access to their child is a convicted paedophile.
So is this a British version of America’s “Megan’s Law”, named after the victim of a similar child murder in the United States? In fact, it is a very different animal. The US law allows states to publish the names, addresses and pictures of convicted local paedophiles. This information can even be found online, accessible to anyone with internet access. Access to such information in Britain under this trial scheme will be far more limited. Details will only be given out to parents and guardians, who will have to prove their identity. And any parent maliciously sharing the information given to them could face prosecution.

Written by The Independent. To read the full article, click here.

The high cost of same-sex divorce

While same-sex couples across the country fight for the right to marry, others are fighting for the right to divorce.
A patchwork of state marriage laws and the federal Defense of Marriage Act has made the process of unraveling a relationship extremely difficult — and expensive.
A same-sex couple who marries in one state and later relocates to a state that doesn’t recognize the marriage, for example, may be unable to get a traditional divorce. Often, they either have to move to the state where they married to establish residency or dissolve the marriage outside of the court system. Some states call this a dissolution of marriage instead of a divorce.
In most cases, this means filing a civil lawsuit — or multiple lawsuits. With no threat of a trial or a judge to make a ruling, couples often get stuck in negotiations and the lawyer fees can really pile up, said Kevin Maillard, a law professor at Syracuse University specializing in nontraditional families.

Written by Blake Ellis. To read the full article, click here.

Why Both Sides Want Gay Marriage Settled By The States

The Supreme Court may rule on gay marriage this week. Advocates both for and against are glad the issue didn’t reach the court any sooner.

They didn’t want a repeat of the abortion issue. With its landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, the high court stepped in and guaranteed a right to abortion but also triggered a backlash that has lasted for 40 years.

With same-sex marriage, by contrast, legislators and voters in nearly every state had the chance to make their feelings known before the Supreme Court weighs in.

“People forget that durable rights don’t come from courts, they come from consensus and strong support from society,” says Jonathan Rauch, author of Denial, a recent memoir about growing up gay. “We are winning the right to marriage in a bigger, deeper way by winning it in the court of public opinion.”

After losing political battles in a majority of states, gay marriage supporters have won a number of legislative victories and ballot measures in recent years. Sensing momentum is in their favor, it may not be surprising that they’re glad they’ve had time to make their case to the public.

Written by Alan Greenblatt. To read the full article, click here.

Persistent backlog in L.A. County child abuse probes has led to a crisis, report says

A persistent backlog of child abuse investigations in Los Angeles County has led to a “crisis,” with four in 10 open inquiries stretching beyond the state’s two-month deadline, according to the county chief executive’s office.

In a further indication of the problems faced by the county’s Department of Children and Family Services, Chief Executive William T Fujioka said in a report released this week that shifting workers to combat the delays “appears to be slowly creating a back-end crisis,” depleting resources for other critical tasks. Among the duties handled by back-end workers in the department are foster care placements and home visits.

The assessment by the county chief executive’s office is the most detailed analysis to date by county officials of the backlog of cases—which involve more than 10,000 children according to recent figures—in the troubled department. The findings contradict department Director Trish Ploehn’s statement earlier this year that the longer inquiries have resulted in higher quality child abuse investigations. The report, distributed to county supervisors last month, was not released until The Times appealed to County Counsel Andrea Ordin.

“The county’s high [child abuse investigations] backlog appears to be contributing to poor outcomes in the [child abuse investigations] unit,” the chief executive’s report said.

Written by Garrett Therolf. To read the full article, click here.

Is Divorce Bad for Children?

Many of the 1.5 million children in the U.S. whose parents divorce every year feel as if their worlds are falling apart. Divorcing parents are usually very concerned about the welfare of their children during this troublesome process. Some parents are so worried that they remain in unhappy marriages, believing it will protect their offspring from the trauma of divorce.

Yet parents who split have reasons for hope. Researchers have found that only a relatively small percentage of children experience serious problems in the wake of divorce or, later, as adults. In this column, we discuss these findings as well as factors that may protect children from the potentially harmful effects of divorce.

Rapid Recovery

Divorce affects most children in the short run, but research suggests that kids recover rapidly after the initial blow. In a 2002 study psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington of the University of Virginia and her then graduate student Anne Mitchell Elmore found that many children experience short-term negative effects from divorce, especially anxiety, anger, shock and disbelief. These reactions typically diminish or disappear by the end of the second year. Only a minority of kids suffer longer.

Written by Hal Arkowitz and Scott O. Lilienfeld. To read the full article, click here.

Rob Reiner, gay marriage activist, ‘elated’ by Prop. 8 ruling

Actor-director and political activist Rob Reiner, who cofounded the group that led the court battle against Proposition 8, said he was “elated” when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that defenders of the same sex-marriage ban had no legal standing in court, clearing the way for gay marriage to resume in California.

Speaking in a phone interview from a Connecticut set Friday, Reiner discussed the future of same-sex marriage in the United States, saying his group –– American Foundation for Equal Rights — would look for ways to continue its effort nationwide.

“To me, the concern at this point is how do we take these two landmark rulings on DOMA and Prop. 8 and fold that into ultimately a real try to find a way to use those two rulings and move ahead to allow marriage for gays and lesbians throughout the country,” Reiner said. “Right now we’ve got 13 states and D.C. and we have to find ways to make this available to everybody in America.”

Reiner said AFER would potentially look at bringing another gay marriage-related case to the courts that would address the constitutionality of the issue, in order to avoid a prolonged state-by-state fight.

Written by Kate Mather. To read the full article, click here.

Child Support and Taxes

Will the fiscal cliff changes affect your child support payments? As divorce mediators, we can tell you – the short answer is probably, but not quite yet. And having a clear support agreement in place will minimize any potential problems.

You may have already seen changes to your take home pay. Currently, Social Security is financed by a 12.4 percent tax on wages up to $113,700, with employers paying half and workers paying the other half. So your maximum share in 2013 is $7,049. Our government reduced the share paid by workers from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent for 2011 and 2012. However, this benefit expired on December 31. So, if you are first determining child support using the current child support guideline program, until the new guidelines are released for 2013 (sometime in the spring), the program will underestimate the employee portion of taxes (the old 4.2% instead of the updated 6.2%). Parents can consult with a divorce mediator to help calculate child support for this and any future years. A divorce mediator can help save you time, money and decrease stress when addressing child support, as well as other areas such as issues of parenting (child custody), division of assets and liabilities, and spousal support (alimony).

Written by Randi M. Albert, JD and Michelle Weinberg. To read the full article, click here.

Redrawing the Family Debate

NEW YORK — When the television series “Mad Men” debuted in 2007, virtually everyone it portrayed was steadily (if not thrillingly) married, children tended to grow up with their fathers, women kept to their place, and nobody was known to be gay.

And then, over eight plot years, the future happens.

Women rise and seek equality. Marriages are fled more easily. Children start to grow up without fathers. Grandparents step in to help single mothers. Gay people peek out of the closet, and some straights seem unfazed. Marriage and childbearing are delayed for careers. Couples cooperate in child rearing without marrying. Double-income households let children slip through the cracks.

For a fictional series set half a century ago, “Mad Men” does a remarkable job of reflecting America’s present-day struggles with changing family patterns. It takes care to show how progress and decay walk arm in arm, how good change can sour into bad.

Written by ANAND GIRIDHARADAS. To read the full article, click here.