July 2011 | Cordell & Cordell

Archives for July 2011

Ministry supports troubled marriages in NC

Volunteers from several North Carolina churches have joined forces to help couples facing difficult times in their marriages, The Mount Olive Tribune reports.

According to the publication, there were more than 35,000 divorces in the state in 2009 and nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, but community members want to help married couples battle that statistic. In particular, they want to help the region’s large number of military families.

Whitley Church in Princeton started an outreach program for the spouses of servicemen and women, but the program has grown to include couples from every aspect of the community.

“When folks get married, the problem is that they have no clue on how to be married,” Scott Jennings, marriage and family life pastor at the church, told the news source. “People get married but don’t learn how to be married.”

Jennings brings his own experience with divorce to the program. He struggled with alcoholism and adultery, and he and his wife got divorced. However, he got his life on the right track and the couple was remarried two years later.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the divorce rate nationwide is 3.4 per 1,000 total population.

Financial issues strain relationships, can lead to divorces

It is very common for married couples to merge their finances, but J.D. Roth of Time magazine argues that this may be a recipe for relationship disaster as financial conflicts can lead to major problems such as divorce.

“If you and your spouse are happier with joint finances and if it strengthens your marriage, then use joint finances,” Roth, who has separate finances from his wife, writes. “But don’t combine finances just because you think it has to be done that way. It doesn’t.”

According to New York Life, when a marriage goes down the path to divorce, financial disaster can occur regardless of the couple’s money situation. The emotional pain of divorce and the financial impact is also closely linked. After a divorce, the company suggests that ex-spouses revise their wills, become disentangled financially and review all of their other assets.

When it comes to post-marriage finances, it is bad form to discuss child support with the child, says the Seattle Times. The terms of this complicated financial situation regarding a noncustodial parent should only be discussed parent-to-parent, even when children inquire about the money or ask for items that are supposedly covered by these payments.

Mom flees with children violating visitation plan

A Michigan father is waiting nervously after the mother of his children has reportedly fled with their 11-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, according to WOOD News.

Wendi Carpenter of Holland, Michigan, was supposed to return the children to their father at the Holland Department of Public Safety building after a scheduled visitation during the summer. The agency was asked to help with the exchange of the children.

The news source reports that the woman is believed to have fled the state with the children, Luke and Cambria. Authorities were looking for them in a 2006 Toyota Highlander, but that vehicle was recovered in western Missouri where Carpenter has a family member living. A nationwide warrant has been issued by the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s office for custodial interference.

The father has custody of the children in Colorado, the Holland Sentinel reports.

Holland Police spokesman Captain Bob Buursma told the publication that law enforcement officials do not have any information that would lead them to believe that the children are in great danger, and Carpenter’s motivations are not known.

Massachusetts Alimony Reform Makes Waves

Massachusetts’ new alimony reform bill could be the model for future alimony laws in other states, and its provisions could be a welcome relief for ex-spouses burdened with alimony payments for years, says a divorce attorney in a recent Huffington Post article.

The bill, which survived the Massachusetts House of Representatives, could mean an end to lifetime spousal support after a divorce if it passes the Senate. This new post-divorce law could inspire other states to do the same.

“It is high time that the rest of the country took note,” the attorney wrote. “Why is it that one person is permitted to sit back and collect alimony long after the marriage, and often requiring the other spouse to continue working to support that individual?”

Massachusetts has long been on the cutting-edge of family law. The state passed a law allowing same-sex marriage in 2004, becoming the first U.S. state to do so. Since then, Iowa, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington D.C. and New York now allow it.

Regarding alimony law, the divorce lawyer hopes that a system will spread that limits the amount of time spousal support is expected, as this provision is designed to help the other spouses survive financially until they can support themselves.

Divorces made easier cheaper in Tennessee

The Tennessee Supreme Court has approved an easier, more straight-forward divorce system for couples without minor children or pension plans, The Commercial Appeal reports.

Starting September 1, eligible adults can file for uncontested divorces without lawyers thanks to new forms that avoid using confusing legal terms and include easy-to-read instructions and information about what will happen in court. This paperwork can also be downloaded online for more convenience.

The forms will not replace attorneys, but they will serve as a helpful resource when starting the divorce process. The goal of the new system is to make access to the legal system easier, especially for people from low socio-economic communities.

“The legal system should be accessible to all Tennesseans, regardless of income level,” Chief Jusice Cornelia A. Clark explained to the publication.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, there were 56,441 marriages in 2009 and 25,879 divorces. Henderson County recorded the highest rate of divorce that year, recording 792 divorces at a rate of 29 per 1,000 population. The county with the next highest divorce rate was Tipton. The region’s 641 divorces in 2009 were at a rate of 10.6 per 1,000 population.