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Wallerstein's Divorce Study

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The Impact Of Divorce On Families

As a licensed mental health professional, I work with many individuals, couples, and families who are affected by divorce. I see the devastating effects that breakups can have and am dedicated to helping people develop the skills to cope with experiences like divorce.

Major Disruptions

The decision to divorce causes major changes in the lives of all family members. Some upheaval is inevitable. The main trouble areas are:

1. Financial: Money becomes a huge problem for most people. The cost of a divorce is extremely high, and two households cost more than one.

2. Career: Being less focused at work and spending time away from the job for divorce-related appointments takes its toll.

3. Logistics: Running your home is more difficult because you no longer have a partner to help with daily chores.

4. Emotional: Most people have periods of depression, sadness, anger, and fatigue.

Lots of Feelings

People who are experiencing the breakup of their marriage can expect to have a wide variety of feelings. Some call it "the crazy time" and there is even a book about divorce with this title. The following complaints are common:

. Poor concentration

. Nightmares

. Sleep problems

. Fatigue

. Mood swings

. Feeling tense

. Nausea

. Gaining-losing weight

. Feeling nervous

. Somatic complaints

Divorce profoundly affects children. In Surviving the Breakup, author Judith Wallerstein describes the experience of 60 divorcing families. She outlines the following key issues for children of divorcing families:

Fear: Divorce is frightening to children, and they often respond with feelings of anxiety. Children feel more vulnerable after a divorce because their world has become less reliable.

Fear of abandonment: One-third of the children in Wallerstein's study feared that their mother would abandon them.

Confusion: The children in divorcing families become confused about their relationships with their parents. They see their parents' relationship fall apart and sometimes conclude that their own relationship with one or both parents could dissolve, as well.

Sadness and yearning: More than half of the children in the Wallerstein study were openly tearful and sad in response to the losses they experienced. Two-thirds expressed yearning, for example: "We need a daddy. We don't have a daddy."

Worry: In Wallerstein's study, many children expressed concern about one or both of their parents' ability to cope with their lives. They wondered if their parents were emotionally stable and able to make it on their own. Over half of the children expressed deep worries about their mothers. They witnessed their mothers' mood swings and emotional reactions to the events in the family. Some children worried about suicide and accidents.

Feeling rejected: Many children who experience a parent moving out of the home feel rejected by the parent. The parent is usually preoccupied with problems and pays less attention to the child than in the past. Many children take this personally and feel rejected and unlovable.

Loneliness: Since both parents are preoccupied with their problems during the divorce process, they are less able to fulfill their parenting roles with their children. The children may feel like their parents are slipping away from them. If the father has moved away and the mother has gone off to work, the children often feel profound loneliness.

Divided loyalties: The children may perceive that the parents are in a battle with each other. The children feel pulled in both directions and may resolve the dilemma by siding with one parent against another.

Anger: Children in divorcing families experience more aggression and anger. It is often directed toward the parents, expressed in tantrums, irritability, resentment, and verbal attacks. Many children see the divorce as a selfish act and feel very resentful about the resulting destruction of their lives.

More than one-third of the children in Judith Wallerstein's study showed acute depressive symptoms such as sleeplessness, restlessness, difficulty in concentrating, deep sighing, feelings of emptiness, compulsive overeating, and various somatic complaints.

The symptoms that many children may have during the divorce process either moderate or disappear within 18 months after the breakup. Of the symptoms that remain, the most common are:

1. Manipulative behavior was reported by about 20% of the teachers of the children in Wallerstein's study.

2. Depression was diagnosed in 25% of the children and adolescents. The symptoms of depression in children include:

. Low self-esteem

. Inability to concentrate

. Sadness

. Mood swings

. Irritability

. Secretiveness

. Isolation

. Self-blame

. Eating disorders

. Behaving perfectly

. Being accident-prone

. Stealing

. Skipping school

. Underachieving at school

. Sexual acting out

You should consider finding a therapist to work with if most of the time you feel:

. Alone

. Depressed

. Numb

. Exhausted

. Isolated

. Hopeless

. Overwhelmed by your children

. Overwhelmed by your feelings

. You are sleeping too much or too little

. Worried

. Anxious

. Afraid

Garrett Coan is a professional therapist,coach and psychotherapist. His two Northern New Jersey office locations are accessible to individuals who reside in Bergen County, Essex County, Passaic County, Rockland County, and Manhattan. He offers online and telephone coaching and counseling services for those who live at a distance. He can be accessed through or 201-303-4303.

The Effects Of Divorce On American Families

The American family has come a long way and has changed a lot overtime. Liberals and conservatives have their own views on the American family today. It is very tough to raise a family nowadays. However, there are some easier ways to raise a family today as well. Some of the things that will be the subject of discussion are divorce and its effects, welfare, abusiveness on children and wives, and few other resource related information.

One tough thing about today's American family is divorce. If we take a glimpse of history, in 1816, one marriage out of one hundred ended in divorce. Then between the years 1869-1888, divorce increased up to one hundred and fifty percent. And the worse, between the years 1960-1980, the divorce rate increased up to two hundred and fifty percent. Divorce rates peaked in 1981 and then started to decline a little during the mid 1980's. However, divorce rates now are as high as they have ever been. Now, fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce.

Researches have discovered five basic reasons for the increase in divorce. The first reason is in modern societies individual happiness is regarded to be important so when people are unhappy with their marriage, they break-up and split. The second reason is it is easier to get divorced financially. The third reason is that women's economic independence has contributed. The fourth reason is the stigma of divorce has lessened so people are not worried socially. The last reason is the change of laws. The "no fault" laws have contributed to increases in divorce rates.

Divorce does not affect just the husband and wife but leaves a hard effect on children and more than one million children suffer their parental divorce every year. One of these effects is the parental loss. The children lose the loss of skills and resources of one of the parents. Another effect is there is huge economic loss. Another effect is the children's lives are more stressful. Children have to be more social and make an emotional adjustment. Another effect is children experience more problems in school and with friends. And one of the last effects is divorced children in the long run make less relationships, and if they do marry then the probability of getting a divorce is much higher.

Another problem with the American family today is the abuse of children and wives. There is way to much abuse in families today whether it be physical or even worse, sexual. Abusive men always have an excuse on why they abuse and batter their wives. The three main excuses is the denial of responsibility, blaming the wife, and the denial of injury. Men who batter their wives should fight an even fight with a real man, not a tiny woman. Another is the denial of wrongness. In a survey conducted by Prof. James Ptacek, a sociology professor at Suffolk University, fourteen of the eighteen men interviewed gave the excuse of denial of wrongness. A couple examples of denial of wrongness was the terrible cooking, the availability of sex, not bring deferential enough, on not knowing when to be silent, and not being faithful.

However, in the past, spanking has been a normal thing in society and even for children in today's society spanking here and there and in the buttocks can be helpful and has no harm.

Many American families think life is just the name of an easy-going parent-child relationship whereas it means an emotional bond, usually mutual, between the caregiver and cared-for, a bond in which the caregiver feels responsible for others' well-being and does mental, emotional, and physical work in the course of fulfilling that responsibility. Caring is very important in family. Without caring there is not much love throughout the family. There isn't much caring anymore as there use to be because of the structure of families and the changes of who is at work. Nowadays both parents have full-time jobs. You basically need two parents to have full-time jobs in America today to just get by and survive. However, both parents with full-time jobs, means that parents aren't as close with the children as they use to be. Children don't receive the attention and care that they need when they are young.

Another thing that there is a lot of in today's society is step families. Sixty percent of divorced men end up marrying again. At least one third of children born after 1990 will live in a blended family before they turn eighteen years old. By 1985, seven million children under the age of eighteen lived with blended families. Today more than forty percent of marriages have step children. Step families are not always a bad thing because sometimes they can turn out for the better. However, divorce can really screw up a child and if both parents re-marry the child will have four adults to look up to when they are younger and they won't know what to believe or who to believe. A major problem with step families is that a sometimes a child can be left out of one of the step families.

One more noticeably negligible but on the whole a substantial problem with American society is welfare. In 1996, the welfare system was changed and that was because welfare was becoming a big burden on tax payers. There were many problems like women were rewarded to have babies out of wed lock, welfare was not regarded as a right, sometimes welfare is awarded for five years only, teenage mothers were asked to live with parents to get benefits and many another.

Therefore, there had been many reasons and in fact some of these prevail even today because of which we are seeing today a destroyed American family system. And amongst these many another reasons, divorce and its plague outstands.

Ismail Ahmed is a Legal Advisor and SEO based Content Writer of

Families Don't Have To Be Ruined In Order To Get A Divorce

If you have been divorced or have heard about a nasty one, then I am preaching to the choir when I outline the emotional and financial devastation that can be wrought on emotionally vulnerable couples who get involved in the adversarial system that IS divorce court. I was a child of a litigated divorce. I taught emotionally disturbed children from dysfunctional families for many years, I was a divorce attorney for eight years, and now I only do divorce mediation. Having witnessed our legal system from all sides, I can safely say that the whole context of how family disputes are settled in court today is not in the best interest of families. This is a call to arms. I am not even going to pretend this is an unbiased "news" article.

We who fight on the front lines on a daily basis, working with the emotionally vulnerable who feel as though the rug has been pulled out from under them know that the last thing a family in trouble needs is the "assistance" of counsel who could be throwing gasoline on the fire in order to line their own pockets. Most of you probably don't know that family law attorneys are the ONLY kind of lawyers in California whose fees are statutorily protected by the equity in the family home. Divorcing couples may not be aware that they agreed to a lien on their homes and a possible forced sale at the end of the case when they sign their lawyer's fee agreements. People need to know that they will get more and lose less by cooperating with their ex-partner than by litigating the matter.

Most people know what assets they have. No matter how much they earn, many people live paycheck to paycheck and there are usually no issues of hidden Swiss bank accounts. While this is the norm, any couple with equity in their home who both engage lawyers will soon see why the average contested divorce in our state costs $20,000 in attorney fees PER SIDE! And that is just an average. Most often, the more equity your home has, the higher the fees. Read Charles Dickens' Bleak House and you will see little has changed in the past 150 years.

First, the lawyers will engage in expensive discovery procedures, serving interrogatories and subpoenas for production of documents. There will be depositions and then the hiring of expensive forensic accountants and other experts, just to keep the case going. When couples trust their attorneys, it's hard for them to see they are being manipulated. It does NOT have to be this way!

We need a groundswell of people demanding that the adversarial family law system be replaced with mediation. My own practice demonstrates what a sham the adversarial alternative is. I have a 100% track record with over 150 couples. When a lawyer has a powerful intention to help people find their bottom line fairly, efficiently and economically, cases settle without the expense, drama and irreparable harm to children and their co-parenting relationship, harm that is most always the result of a bloody and adversarial battle. Lawyers who are paid by the hour have no incentive to wrap it up. There is an inherent conflict of interest between the attorney, who wants to earn more money, and the client, who wants to save more money. When you are working on a flat fee, there is motivation to help couples come to a reasonable resolution without dragging it out.

Experienced attorneys know what the outcome of most cases will be. This is a community property state, and everything that falls into that category is evenly divided, and separate property is also well defined by statute. It just isn't that complicated. Now there may be cases where a business requires a forensic accountant to value, but you don't need to have a battle of the experts to testify why the husband or wife should get more or less money.

We have all seen the critical mass theory at work in our own lifetimes. For those unfamiliar with this theory, the simple explanation is that when enough people move in a certain direction, the rest of the population follows. Think I Pods, cell phones, recycling, health food, ending the war in Viet Nam, etc. It takes some time for the tipping point to be achieved, but whether it is 5% or 20%, at some point, when enough people get behind something, the change manifests throughout society. We can create a transformation in the way legal services are delivered not only in the area of family law, but all across the board. Mediation is applicable to every area where people have disputes.

As with anything unfamiliar, it takes a certain amount of education to show people the possibilities before they are willing to get on the bandwagon. But if law schools taught would be lawyers to encourage cooperation when marriages break down, more and more couples will hear the message of peaceful divorce and not necessarily think that divorce court fights. We need more divorce attorneys who take their responsibility to protect their client seriously. I have never understood how these "zealous advocates" can justify draining a client's college fund for their kids so that the attorney's child can go to private school while the client's child is lucky to have lunch money. When people are informed and demand better than what is currently available, more and more law students will study mediation and develop a skill set that supports working with people who are breaking up.

It is my mission to help transform the way people get divorced in this country. I am asking you to join me in this crusade. Encourage your friends and family to work together if they have to get divorced. You can split a pie two ways or if lawyers are involved, 4 ways. Which way will you get more? Do you really have to pull the child apart? Don't you think YOU are in a better position to say how your child should be raised instead of lawyers, judges and other "experts." You don't want to start World War III with the parent of your children!!! Your child needs to be your primary focus, not how much money you can get out of paying or not being there when dad comes to pick up the kids. That kind of high conflict drama is totally unnecessary. Not only do consumers need to demand a new kind of divorce, but more lawyers need to recognize the damage caused to families by the legal practice as it is set up now. I hope more attorneys will walk away, as I did, and say, "NO MORE!"

We need judges to recognize who the most egregious of these attorneys are and sanction them, instead of holding them up to young lawyers to emulate. We need an informed public to tell their legislatures that it is NOT OK to give the Family Bar the right to drain the family home of equity through litigation that only comes to an end when there is no more money to be made. The system is broken, and we need to fix it. Generations of children have been caught in the middle of fighting parents who are often encouraged to fight by lawyers who stand to gain. The more we focus on and promote mediation as the rightful solution to family law issues, the more momentum we will build. Who is with me?

Ms. Rachman has been a family law attorney since 1996. For more information about how divorce mediation works please go to where you can hear a very informative audio program about the differences between mediation and litigation. If you are considering divorce it is important to have all the information before you proceed. You only get one chance to have a "good" divorce and you owe it to your children to consider mediation.

Collaborative Divorce Redefining Families Instead Of Breaking Them Apart

If you watched the Oscar-award winning movie "Juno," you might recall the husband say, "We can get a Collaborative divorce. I hear it's all the rage."

He's right. There are twenty times more collaborative professionals now than just ten years ago. And this explosion is changing how people get divorced from Canada to the Far East.

Here's why. One of the biggest advantages of Collaborative divorce is that you get to stay out of the courtroom. In fact, both clients and their lawyers sign a document promising they will reach an agreement without going to court.

Immediately, this sets the mood that it won't be an "us" verses "them" battle. Instead, it's a team approach where you, your spouse and your lawyers sit around a table openly discussing your needs. Your Collaborative team can also include a divorce coach, a financial expert and a child specialist.

Together, you and your team come up with creative solutions that help you feel more confident about your future.

For instance, in traditional litigation, a court often requires you sell your house and split your assets. In a Collaborative divorce, you might decide it's better to rent the house for a couple of years and then buy it from your ex or sell it at a later date. You get to explore all your options and decide on what's best for you and your family.

Working with a team of Collaborative professionals does something else. It keeps you clear-headed and focused throughout the process. As an attorney, I believe this is crucial.

Time and time again, I see people enter the divorce process drowning in their emotions. They're so consumed, they can't evaluate their situation properly. The result: they make decisions they later regret.

Instead, a Collaborative team helps you see clearly during this trying time so you make ideal long-term decisions.

And in a Collaborative divorce, you keep total control of the process. You dictate the pace of the meetings and the settlement terms. This saves you considerable time and money.

That's why when physician Jayna L. divorced her husband after 14 years, they chose the collaborative model. She said, "I have other friends that are in the process of divorcing and are going through that horrible time where one lawyer writes up a contract and then sends it to the other, and the other one tears it up and it goes back and forth."

Because we did it all together we were able to agree on things, I think, much quicker . . . it was much more amicable, no animosity was caused by the process, which I know can happen.''

More importantly, your children don't become courtroom bargaining chips or suffer added emotional stress either.

Your team's coaches and child specialist help you understand what your children might not admit. This gives children a voice in the process which relieves much of the grief, anger and fear divorce often brings.

What's more, the collaborative model understands after a divorce, you don't stop being a family. The model redefines your family structure - knowing you still have a future together.

That's why you won't hear cold court terms like "custody" or "visitation." After all, you don't want to "visit" your children, you want to spend time with them, right?

And the reality is, you want to attend their school concerts, watch them blow out the candles on their birthday cake and someday dance at their weddings.

I'm not saying that Collaborative divorce leaves you all holding hands and giving each other group hugs. Sure, meetings can get stressful and you'll need to walk out for air. You're human. Divorce is difficult. But that's when your trained team becomes invaluable.

They gently guide you back to the issues at hand so you can move past the tough emotions that are sure to surface. And with a clear head, you will develop fair solutions that let everyone - you, your ex and your children - heal faster and confidently look forward to the future.

To see if the collaborative model is right for you, download your free "Collaborative Divorce Knowledge Kit." In this kit, you'll discover more about the collaborative model, read about families who chose collaboration, and directly compare this model to litigation.

This comprehensive kit is available for a limited time through the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals website at:

Talia L. Katz, JD is the Executive Director of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP), an international non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public and professionals about Collaborative Practice. She spent fifteen years as a family law litigator before choosing to practice as a Collaborative attorney. She can be reached at or (602) 953-7881.

Garrett Coan is a professional therapist,coach and psychotherapist. His two Northern New Jersey office locations are accessible to individuals who reside in Bergen County, Essex County, Passaic County, Rockland County, and Manhattan. He offers online and telephone coaching and counseling services for those who live at a distance. He can be accessed through or 201-303-4303.

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