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Survey: relationships reach peak stress level at 3 years

A survey of 2,000 British adults in relationships indicates that relationship stress peaks at the 36-month mark for most couples. Surveyors report that 3 years into a relationship is when minor irritations stop becoming endearing and start becoming a problem in relationships. Married couples who fail to address these irritations with their partner may become alienated or seek divorce.

One indication from the survey is that romance falters in the face of busy schedules. Reuters reports that 55 percent of busy people in longer-term relationships say that they schedule their romantic time.

Compliments also fall from a high of 3 compliments per week during a new relationship to 1 compliment per week at the 3 year mark. The downward trend reportedly continues for relationships that are longer than 5 years, with 30 percent of those individuals claiming never to receive compliments from their partners.
The top ten “passion killers” according to the survey are:

  1. Weight gain or lack of exercise
  2. Money or stinginess
  3. Anti-social working hours
  4. Hygiene issues
  5. In-laws or extended family issues
  6. Lack of romance
  7. Alcohol (drinking too much)
  8. Snoring or anti-social bedtime habits
  9. Lapsed fashion
  10. Bathroom habits, such as stray nail clippings

Couples who address these “passion killers” with their spouse may be able to avoid the turmoil of a costly divorce. Those who cannot repair their marriages should seek the advice of an experienced divorce attorney to help guide them through the divorce process whether that process is through alternative dispute resolution or litigation.

The survey was commissioned by Warner Brothers to promote the release of its upcoming film “Hall Pass” in which a wife gives her husband permission to have an extramarital affair.

New Jersey rep. seeks to end Japanese child abduction problem

New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith is pushing to end a growing child abduction problem for Japanese-American families. Japan is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Prevention of Child Abduction and child abduction to the country has increased along with the increase of international marriages and divorces.

In many cases, a mother who is a Japanese national will abduct her children to Japan after losing a child custody dispute with her U.S. husband. These abductions happen even if the father has custody of the child in both countries and such abductions leave a father with no recourse to regain custody of his children. “It is our understanding that no U.S. citizen child abducted to Japan has been returned to the United States,” a U.S. embassy official in Tokyo told TIME Magazine.

Chris Smith hopes to change the pattern of abductions. The New Jersey Republican chairs a subcommittee that oversees human rights issues and wants to establish an Office of International Child Abductions within the U.S. State department, TIME Magazine reports. The office would take on abduction cases and recommend sanctions against uncooperative nations.

The abduction trend is becoming so pronounced that many countries ban Japanese mothers who live abroad from taking children to Japan for any purpose. This makes it hard for women who have no intention of abducting their children to bring the children to Japan on family trips to visit relatives.

One woman said that she abducted her son from the U.S. to Japan to prevent him from being abused by his father. She said that there were no physical signs of the abuse so she abducted her son because she feared that she could not prove the abuse in court, “I don’t know what the answer is,” she said, “but we need to find a solution that’s in the best interest of the child.”

Ohio House bill protects child custody rights of military parents

Losing custody of a child or having your visitation rights reduced is difficult for anyone. However, parents who are up against child custody arrangement modifications while they are away from their families due to military service face a uniquely heartbreaking challenge.

When National Guard and military reserve personnel are mobilized, or when active-duty service members are deployed, child custody disputes frequently arise. Unfortunately, men and women who are separated from their families for extended periods of time due to military service are not able to devote the necessary attention to protecting their parental rights.

However, a bill before the Ohio House of Representatives seeks to solve this problem. Specifically, Ohio H.B. 121 would not allow a permanent modification to a child custody order when the custodial parent is unavailable because of active military service. The bill would require the custody order that was in place before the military parent was mobilized or deployed to be reinstated within a specified time after that parent returns.

Further, Ohio H.B. 121 would give service members with visitation rights the ability to petition the court for permission to allow those rights to be delegated to a third party during the military parent’s absence.

People who support the bill argue that it would balance child custody and visitation rights with the noble duty to serve one’s county. They insist that physical absence due to military deployment should not be the primary cause for loss of custody or significantly reduced visitation rights.



Woman arrested in Tupperware property division dispute

After child custody, property division is one of the most hotly debated issues in a divorce. Both parties want to make sure that they get their fair share of the marital property as they begin the next chapter of their lives. However, when they do not agree on what is fair, even an amicable divorce can turn ugly.

A few weeks ago, a news source in Middletown, Rhode Island, reported that a divorcing couple attempting to divide marital property was arguing over who would get to keep a Tupperware container. According to reports, the woman tried to force her way into her estranged husband’s bedroom to retrieve a Tupperware cake container that she insisted belonged to her.

The dispute eventually turned physical, involving pushing and thumb-twisting. It escalated to the point that the police were called to the home. Ultimately, law enforcement officials charged the woman with domestic assault and battery.

While a Tupperware container hardly seems worth a criminal record, it is not unusual for couples going through the divorce process to find themselves in heated arguments when dividing their marital property. Divorcing couples all over the county are having these types of disputes, though admittedly most do not end up in an arrest. It seems as though emotions that people have tried to keep in check up until this point often boil over.

A family law attorney can significantly reduce the stress involved in property division, ensuring marital property is shared in a fair manner. Since Ohio is an equitable distribution state, any property accumulated during a marriage is usually split 50/50 between the parties. If that sort of division would not be equitable for some reason, the court may divide the property differently. Through it all, a lawyer will help protect your interests.



Child support enforcement act being debated in U.S. Senate

A significant number of parents across the nation rely on child support payments to meet the basic needs of their children. They count on these payments to make ends meet when it comes to feeding their children, clothing them and helping to pay for necessary items. Sometimes, however, the parent responsible for paying support is unable to fulfill his or her obligation. When this happens, the parent who receives the support payments may seek to enforce the child support order.

In the past few years, it has been more challenging to enforce an order, as the federal Deficit Reduction Act, enacted by Congress, forbids state and county agencies from using support incentive payments to increase federal child support funds. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act temporarily restored this capability, but that came to an end in September.

Now, commissioners in Lake County are pushing for the approval of legislation designed to permanently restore full funding for child support enforcement efforts. They recently passed a resolution requesting the two Ohio senators to support the legislation, referred to as the Child Support Protection Act of 2011, which has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

What exactly would this legislation accomplish? Supporters claim it would restore full funding for enforcement and enable states to use “earned incentives to fund important work.” This may include investing in technology to upgrade services, staff and program operations and improved client service. Moreover, the legislation would continue a program that rewards efficient, outcome-based child support enforcement efforts, fighting against non-performance of an obligation.

People who are in favor of restoring full funding for enforcement efforts will be closely watching the fate of the proposed legislation over the next few weeks and months.

Working Mothers and Custody

My clients, of both genders, often ask “Does a mother’s job affect a child custody case?”  The simply answer is yes, but HOW does your job affect your child custody case is a more complicated question and depends on the facts of each individual child custody case.

Case 1:  Spouse A is working outside the home, Spouse B stays at home and has primary responsibility for the children.  Spouse A has asked Spouse B to obtain a job repeatedly, but Spouse B either refuses or is unable to obtain employment outside the home.  Spouse B files for divorce and asks for primary physical child custody of the children, with Spouse A having every other weekend visitation.   Is this fair to Spouse A? To the children?

Would your perspective change if you knew Spouse A was the mother?

I have often heard the argument that the Courts are unfairly punishing mothers for pursuing a career. However, in child custody cases, the Court’s responsibility is not to either parent, but to the children.  The scenario above is not a typical case.  In most families, both spouses are employed outside the home.  According to The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 77.2 % of mothers with children between the ages of 6-17 worked outside the home in 2009.  A working mother does not equate to a bad parent and gender of the parent is not a factor to be legally considered in custody.

There are many factors the Courts look for to assess which parent has been the primary parent during the marriage or if both have participated equally, including but not limited to:

  • The amount of time each parent is able to spend with the children;
  • Which parent instills structure in the child’s life;
  • Who is responsible for taking the children to and from school, helping with homework, attends parent-teacher conferences;
  • Which parent is responsible for doctor’s appointments, takes time from work when the child is sick;
  • Are both parents able to attend and participate in extra-curricular activities;
  • Bed-time, morning-time, and meal time activities.