The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: A 25 Year Landmark Study


Twenty-five years ago, Judith Wallerstein began talking to a group of 131 children whose parents were all going through a divorce. She asked them to tell her about the intimate details of their lives, which they did with remarkable candor. Having earned their trust, Wallerstein was rewarded with a deeply moving portrait of each of their lives as she followed them from childhood, through their adolescent struggles, and into adulthood. With The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, Wallerstein offers us the only close-up study of divorce ever conducted–a unique report that will change our fundamental beliefs about divorce and offer new hope for the future.

Wallerstein chooses seven children who most embody the common life experiences of the larger group and follows their lives in vivid detail through adolescence and into their love affairs, their marriage successes and failures, and parenting their own children. In Wallerstein’s hands, the experiences and anxieties of this generation of children, now in their late twenties to early forties, come to life. We watch as they struggle with the fear that their relationships will fail like those of their parents. Lacking an internal template of what a successful relationship looks like, they must invent their own codes of behavior in a culture that offers many models and few guidelines. Wallerstein shows how many overcame their dread of betrayal to find loving partners and to become successful, protective parents–and how others are still struggling to find their heart’s desire without knowing why they feel so frightened. She also demonstrates their great strengths and accomplishments, as a generation of survivors who often had to raise themselves and help their parents through difficult times.

For the first time, using a comparison group of adults who grew up in the same communities, Wallerstein shows how adult children of divorce essentially view life differently from their peers raised in intact homes where parents also confronted marital difficulties but decided on balance to stay together. In this way she sheds light on the question so many parents confront–whether to stay unhappily married or to divorce.

The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce should be essential reading for all adult children of divorce, their lovers, their partners, divorced parents or those considering divorce, judges, attorneys, and mental health professionals. Challenging some of our most cherished beliefs, this is a book that will forever alter how we think about divorce and its long-term impact on American society.

Judith S. Wallerstein is widely considered the world’s foremost authority on the effects of divorce on children. The founder of the Judith Wallerstein Center for the Family in Transition, she is a senior lecturer emerita at the School of Social Welfare at the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author, with Sandra Blakeslee, of the national bestsellers The Good Marriage and Second Chances, and with Dr. Joan Berlin Kelley of Surviving the Breakup. Julia M. Lewis is a professor of Psychology at San Francisco State University where she is Director of the Psychology Clinic and Coordinator of the Clinical Psychology graduate program. She is a co-principal investigator of the 25 year Children of Divorce Project. Sandra Blakeslee is an award-winning science correspondent for The New York Times.

Read more about Judith Wallerstein’s class work on Wikipedia.

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Divorce and Money – How to Make the Best Financial Decisions During Divorce


In her book, Divorce and Money: How to Make the Best Financial Decisions During Divorce, author Violet P. Woodhouse outlines important strategies for protecting your finances during divorce. Currently in its ninth edition, Ms. Woodhouse’s book has been hailed by Steve Crowley, host of American Scene and author of Money for Life, as “the right book to read to keep your property, your rights, plus your sanity…”

Proper financial and tax planning is crucial to weathering the economic fallout from divorce. Violet P. Woodhouse is not only one of the most highly regarded family law lawyers in Orange County and Southern California, she is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Her expertise and success at guiding individuals through financially complex divorce issues have earned her recognition as one of the nation’s leading financial advisors. Ms. Woodhouse is also the author of Divorce and Money: How to Make the Best Financial Decisions During Divorce.

Read more about Violet Woodhouse on her website.

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Collaborative Divorce: The Revolutionary New Way to Restructure Your Family

collaborative-divorceAbout half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, and most of these divorces result in unnecessary collateral damage. Now there is a better way.

In Collaborative Divorce, Pauline Tesler and Peggy Thompson, two pioneers in the field who train collaborative professionals around the world, present the first complete, step-by-step explanation of the groundbreaking method that is revolutionizing the way couples end their marriages. Working with a team of caring specialists that includes two lawyers, two coaches, a financial consultant, and a child specialist (if necessary), you and your spouse focus on building a consensus that addresses the needs of everyone who will be directly affected by the divorce. This exciting new paradigm empowers you—not lawyers or a judge—to shape the outcome of your divorce. Collaborative Divorce is essential reading that will inspire you to approach divorce as a vehicle for conflict resolution, healing, and positive, long-term change.

“The end of a marriage is both common and, for many, emotionally devastating. In this brave and visionary work, Tesler and Thompson do the nearly unthinkable: they chart the path to a humane and compassionate divorce. In so doing, they reveal that much of divorce’s destructive power is not intrinsic, but comes instead from the adversarial system in which we’ve all been schooled. Change the system, as they describe in clear and convincing terms, and the pain of divorce can be drastically reduced. Collaborative Divorce is one of the rare books with a vital lesson, powerfully taught, that will make the world a better place.”
–Thomas Lewis, M.D., assistant clinical professor, University of California, School of Medicine, and author, A General Theory of Love

Pauline Tesler, M.A., J.D., has been a specialist in family law certified by California State Bar Board of Legal Specialization since 1985. She is a fellow of the America Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and she lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband. For more information, please visit

Peggy Thompson, Ph.D., has been a licensed psychologist specializing in families and children for thirty years. For the past fifteen years, she has been actively involved in the development and practice of collaborative divorce. Peggy lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband. For more information, please visit

Read more about Pauline and Peggy at their website.

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Why Can’t You Read My Mind?

why-read-my-mindBernstein, a psychologist specializing in couples and family therapy, and Magee (The Power of Positive Confrontation) offer partners a way to renew the spark in their relationships in this succinct self-help guide. They claim that one of the most significant steps is to focus on yourself rather than your partner by ridding yourself of toxic thoughts, “negative thoughts that have lost their basis in reality and have gotten out of control.” Examining nine toxic thought patterns (such as jumping to conclusions, labeling one another and playing the “blame game”), the authors provide well-researched explanations, relevant examples and practical alternatives to transform negative thoughts and behaviors into positive and constructive ones.

Most people think that poor communication is the reason why so many relationships end, but it’s actually the way we learn to think about our partners and our problems that kills trust, erodes intimacy, and cripples communication.

In Why Can’t You Read My Mind?, psychologist Jeffrery Bernstein reveals–for the first time–the nine toxic thought patterns at work in virtually every relationship, and shows couples how these distorted, negative, and exaggerated thoughts can poison their love and end their relationships. With warmth and wisdom, Dr. Bernstein offers a simple yet powerful approach for breaking that toxic thinking cycle and helps readers establish new and more positive thinking habits for solving their problems and dealing with the stresses of everyday life.

Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist specializing in couples and family therapy in the Philadelphia area. He has spent the last two years conducting seminars for couples using his discoveries about the toxic thinking problem in relationships, and has helped hundreds of couples on the brink of separation and divorce think their way back to love. SUSAN MAGEE is an award-winning writer of fiction and nonfiction and co-author of several books, including The Power of Positive Confrontation and When the Little Things Count. Bernstein and Magee live with their families outside Philadelphia.

Read more about Jeffrey Bernstein at

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Taking Space: How to Use Separation to Explore the Future of Your Relationship

taking-spaceWith the high rate of divorce and breakups, marriage and family experts point to the fact that people don’t learn from the mistakes of a failed relationship and assume the next relationship will be better, making little effort to fix or understand what didn’t work.

There are plenty of self-help books for committed couples on how to enrich a marriage and scores of guidebooks on how to manage through a divorce, but very few focus on partners with differing degrees of commitment where the separation process itself is viewed as an opportunity for self-growth.

Taking Space: How to Use Separations to Explore the Future of Your Relationship provides struggling couples and individuals with a step-by-step process for managing separations. This model allows people to view and use separations as a proactive way to get space, reduce conflict, and focus on self-growth. This method can even work with a non-cooperating partner. This problem-solving road map teaches partners how to design a separation plan that addresses their specific issues by pinpointing 10 essential tasks necessary to maneuver through an often highly stressful experience. The steps are applied through real-life couple situations. Skills, techniques, and coping strategies to empower individuals to overcome feelings of helplessness and victim thinking help create choices where none have been seen previously.

Once partners have the tools and time to manage psychological and/or physical separations, they are often better able to make an informed decision about the future of their relationship. Taking Space helps couples use separation to learn, develop, and then recommit to their relationship with adjusted expectations, perspectives, skills, and a stronger sense of themselves.

For over 30 years, Bob Buchicchio has been working with couples as a marriage and divorce counselor. In the 1970s and 1980s, even as the divorce rate soared and divorce counseling became a specialty of its own, no models existed for counseling couples in the specific issues surrounding separation and divorce. In his practice Bob saw an increasing number of individuals and couples who did not necessarily want to divorce but wanted,or knew they needed, to take space from each other. At the time, taking space was uncharted territory. How could an individual temporarily separate from their relationship or marriage whether emotionally or physically, in the most productive and least hurtful way? Was this a viable alternative to the rush to divorce?

Read more about Robert Buchicchio at

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Fighting for your marriage


“A divorce prevention society should be formed to place a copy of this book in every hotel room in Niagara Falls-scratch that, every hotel room in this country. Every wife or husband struggling to say married, especially happily married, should read this book.” — Maggie Gallagher, coauthor, The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, & Better Off Financially

Howard J. Markman, Ph.D. has devoted his career to research on the prediction and prevention of marital distress and success. He has worked privately with couples and conducted long term research studies funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation for 28 years. These studies have resulted in over 100 publications in scientific journals, books, and chapters. During this same period, he has been the Director of the Center of Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver as well as co-founding PREPinc an internationally known company that has provided research based help and programs for couples since 1991. Dr. Markman has co-authored 12 books including, We Can Work It Out, 12 Hours to a Great Marriage and the best seller, Fighting For Your Marriage and regularly appears as an expert on marriage, marital therapy, marriage education and divorce in the media, including Oprah, The Today Show, NY Times, Time Magazine, Washington Post, Redbook, Men’s Health, Wall St. Journal, and USA Today.

Read more about Howard Markman at the University of Denver website.

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Divorce Busting: A Step-by-Step Approach to Making Your Marriage Loving Again

divorce-bustingGeneric marriage-saving advice has no place in this book. Instead you will find a step-by-step, nuts-and-bolts approach to getting unstuck and making your marriage loving again.

In this ground-breaking book, Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW gives straightforward, effective advice on how couples can stay together instead of come apart.

Michele Weiner-Davis, MSW is an internationally renowned relationship expert, best-selling author, marriage therapist, and professional speaker who specializes in helping people change their lives and improve important relationships. Among the first in her field to courageously speak out about the pitfalls of unnecessary divorce, Michele has been active in spearheading the now popular movement urging couples to make their marriages work and keep their families together. She is the author of seven books including her best-selling books, DIVORCE BUSTING: A Step-by-Step Approach to Making Your Marriage Loving Again (Simon & Schuster), and THE SEX-STARVED MARRIAGE: A Couple’s Guide to Boosting Their Marriage Libido (Simon & Schuster).

Michele is the Director of The Divorce Busting® Center with offices in Boulder, Colorado and Woodstock, Illinois. In addition to her private practice, Michele is a highly acclaimed and sought-after speaker, known for her life-transforming, energetic and entertaining keynote addresses and seminars for both lay and professional audiences including Fortune 500 companies, universities, religious organizations, the military, professional organizations, and community agencies. She consistently ranks among top presenters at national conferences. Her extremely busy website, attracts thousands of visitors each day.

Ann was thoroughly convinced that her marriage of fifteen years was over. She believed she tried everything humanly possible to straighten things out between her and Steve. Nothing ever worked. The more she tried reasoning with him, the more unreasonable he became. Appealing to his sensitivity brought out only his insensitivity.

Years ago when their problems began, Ann thought, ” This is just a stage we’re going through.” But, now she knew she was just fooling herself. She sadly admitted that their marriage had gotten progressively worse, not better. As she reminisced about the past, she recalled nostalgically that, despite their difficulties, they occasionally shared good times. Recently, the constant war at home served as a painful reminder that much of what they had together appeared to be lost forever. To make matters worse, their battles had not gone unnoticed by their three children. Bedtimes had become fraught with tears, questions about divorce, unusual nighttime fears and anger.

Desperate for some answers, Ann reflected on what went wrong. Though things were never perfect, Ann thought the birth of Melissa, their oldest child, marked a turning point in their marriage. Initially, both Steve and Ann were ecstatic about their new baby, but their mutual joy was short- lived. Ann became totally immersed in motherhood as Steve spent increasing amounts of time with his buddies participating in whatever sport happened to be in season. At first, Ann frequently expressed her hurt and resentment about his long absences, but since Steve seemed unresponsive, she stopped trying.

Now, five years later, Ann and Steve appear more like roommates; separate bedrooms, few shared activities and, when not fighting, verbal exchanges limited to “Pass the salt.” After watching a talk show about women who feel lonely and alienated within their marriages, Ann saw a reflection in a mirror; she suspected that the camera crew secretly moved in and candidly filmed the story of their lives. She finally realized that struggles with Steve had reached life and death proportions. Simply, if she stayed unhappily married to Steve, she would die a slow and torturous death; if she divorced, she might live.

Read more about Michele Weiner-Davis at

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Eugene and Dolores postmarital agreement

From The American Law Institute, Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution: Analysis and Recommendations

When Eugene and Dolores marry, they are both employed with comparable incomes, and have no children. Thirteen years later, they have two children, ages seven and 11. Dolores has been the primary caretaker of the children since their birth, and has no been regularly employed since that time. The younger child has learning disabilities, and Dolores has borne the primary responsibility for closely monitoring the child’s school performance, and for making sure that the child’s school provides the child with appropriate services.

Eugene, who has been employed as a software engineer, has devoted evenings and weekends to developing a new software product, BugFree. He believes he may soon be ready to license BugFree to a major software company, and hopes to realize significant profits. From a friend who was recently divorced, Eugene learned that under the law of his state his wife would have an equal property interest with him in BugFree, were they to divorce. In recent years, he has had doubts about their marriage. Eugene therefore presents Dolores with a marital agreement, drafted by an attorney he has hired, under which Dolores gives up any marital-property claims she otherwise would have to BugFree. Eugene tells Dolores that, if she does not sign this agreement, he will seek an immediate divorce, because he does not feel he can go forward with BugFree’s development and marketing if he does not retain sole ownership of it.

Dolores is stunned to learn that Eugene is considering divorce and at a loss to imagine how she would live and care properly for the children if divorce were to occur. She strongly believes her children’s welfeare would be seriously compromised were she to return full time to work, yet does not see how she and the children could maintain their accustomed life on compensatory payments and child support alone. As the manager of the couple’s household finances, she knows that their current assets are modest. She is also fearful of the impact that divorce and the accompanying disruption would have on the childre. She is not certain whether Eugene’s threat is serious but feels she cannot take the risk. Unhappily and reluctantly, she signs the agreement.

Five years later, Eugene files for divorce. In the meantime, BugFree has been a success, and Eugene’s interest in it worth several million dollars, which would be marital property but for the agreement. The couple’s other marital property is worth less than $100,000. Eugene seeks enforcement of the marital agreement, and thus allocation of the entire value of BugFree to him as his separate property, with the parties’ other property divided equally between Eugene and Dolores.

Because the parties’ circumstances at divorce are not different than was contemplated at the time they made their agreement, Section 7.05 is unlikely to present any bar to its enforcement. The contract doctrine of unconscionability, however, is applicable. Dolores, in reliance upon the marriage, had left her employment and made herself financially dependent upon Eugene, so that their potential divorce was a much greater threat to her welfare than to his. In addition, Eugene’s threat was effective in part because it exploited Dolores’s responsible concern for the welfare of their children. Under the circumstances present here, Eugene’s threat to divorce Dolores if she did not sign, as a tactic to obtain her consent to a very one-sided agreement that denied Dolores any claim at all on the fruits of Eugene’s marital labor in BugFree, renders the agreement unconscionable, and thus unenforceable.

Source: Chp 7. Agreements. pp 949.

Learn more about postnuptial agreements.

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Case Study: Financial planning with a marital mediator

David works very hard at the VA hospital, where he earns $80,000 per year as an administrator. Stacey works as a real estate agent and has sporadic income ranging from $45,000 – $65,000 a year. They have two high school age children who will be attending college.

Stacey feels their house is a dump, and wants to do a major renovation. They had done a small renovation 2 years earlier, but the cost was more than they expected, and David did not feel he had any control over the expenses or the process. David doesn’t want to go through the same thing this year with a bigger project. He is afraid it will make him hate Stacey. He is quite concerned about how they will meet college costs for the children.

With the help of a marital mediator, David and Stacey make a plan. They agree to jointly choose the renovator, the scope of the project, and how they will fund it.

Stacey provides data to David shared in the mediator session that shows the money spent will increase the equity in their home dollar or dollar. The couple sets monetary limits for each component of the work, and sets a process for cost overruns.

The couple’s agreement about the renovation and the process they will take in doing it is memorialized in a signed agreement. David feels he is more an equal participant in the planning of the renovation, and he is “on board” with it. Stacey feels supported and now feels that David respects her judgment that the renovation is a prudent thing to do and one that will give them much joy in the long run.

This case study is fictional and does not represent any real person.

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How Controlled Separation (CS) Can Save Your Marriage


Until now, couples facing the dilemma of deciding whether or not to stay in an unhappy marriage had three options: individual or couples therapy, separation, or divorce. Should I Stay or Go? provides these couples with a fourth option–the Controlled Separation (CS). Should I Stay or Go? explains CS and shows how it can be used as a tool to help couples make the best decision for both partners.

Lee Raffel is a practicing psychotherapist for over 35 years. She is a published poet and author of I Hate Conflict (McGraw-Hill, 2008) and Should I Stay or Go? How Controlled Separation (CS) Can Save Your Marriage (McGraw-Hill, 1999). Lee is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, Board Certified Diplomate in Psychotherapy and Behavioral Medicine, and relationship coach, mediator and educator.

A recognized expert on marriage and interpersonal relationships, Lee has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning New York, hosted a radio show, and appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS nationwide addressing Controlled Separation. She also has been featured in Psychotherapy Networker, O – The Oprah Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Chicago Sun-Times, and radio and newsprint nationwide. Lee has also presented a radio show titled Should I Stay or Go? Straight Talk About Troubled Relationships.

Lee, proprietor of Awareness Counseling Services, Inc., maintains a private practice and as founder of Fresh Perspectives Training Institute®, presents numerous programs on the complexity and possibilities inherent in conflicted relationships. She also is available to offer workshops on Controlled Separation, and troubled family relationships. Her provocative insights and timely strategies have been utilized nationally and internationally for people at risk of destroying their meaningful connections.

Lee says that much of what she has learned about healthy relationships has come from sharing 24 years with her husband, Mark, who initiated much laughter and made every day a fruitful experience even when there was sorrow. Mark died suddenly on December 12, 2000. Since then, Lee continues to reinvent herself over and over again.


Read more about Lee at

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Getting Past the Affair: A Program to Help You Cope, Heal, and Move On

getting past the affair

Discovering that a partner has been unfaithful hits you like an earthquake. Long after the first jolt, emotional aftershocks can make it difficult to be there for your family, manage your daily life, and think clearly about your options. Whether you want to end the relationship or piece things back together, Getting Past the Affair guides you through the initial trauma so you can understand what happened and why before deciding how to move forward. Based on the only program that’s been tested–and proven–to relieve destructive emotions in the wake of infidelity, this compassionate book offers support and expert advice from a team of award-winning couple therapists. If you stay with your spouse, you’ll find realistic tips for rebuilding your marriage and restoring trust. But no matter which path you choose, you’ll discover effective ways to recover personally, avoid lasting scars, and pursue healthier relationships in the future.

Dr. Douglas K. Snyder is Professor of Psychology and Director of Clinical Training at Texas A&M University in College Station. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University in 1974, received his doctoral degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1978, and interned at Duke University Medical Center. Prior to his appointment at Texas A&M, he served on the faculty at Wayne State University in Detroit and at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where he also served as Director of Clinical Training and Associate Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Snyder has been recognized nationally for his research on marital assessment and for his outcome research on marital therapy. He is the author of the widely-used Marital Satisfaction Inventory. He has published one of the few controlled studies comparing behavioral with nonbehavioral approaches to couples therapy. A four-year follow-up study of his couples treatment research funded by the National Institute of Mental Health was recognized by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy as the Outstanding Research Contribution in 1991. Dr. Snyder is coeditor of a text on Treating Difficult Couples published by Guilford Press, and is coeditor of a text on Emotion Regulation in Couples and Families published by the American Psychological Association. He has two additional books with Guilford Press that address working with couples recovering from an affair, including Getting Past the Affair: A Program to Help You Cope, Heal, and Move On, and Helping Couples Get Past the Affair: A Clinician’s Guide.

Dr. Snyder received the 2005 Award from the American Psychological Association for Distinguished Contributions to Family Psychology. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association in Divisions of Family Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy, and Evaluation and Measurement. He is also a Fellow of the Society for Personality Assessment. Dr. Snyder has served as Editor of the Clinician’s Research Digest and as Associate Editor for the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology and for the Journal of Family Psychology. He also serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals in clinical psychology and family therapy. Dr. Snyder lives in College Station, Texas, where he also engages in private practice.

Read more about Douglas K. Snyder at the Texas A&M website.

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Case Study: Risk versus security and marriage mediation

Brian has always been the entrepreneurial type. During their 25 year marriage, he has engaged in a number of business ventures, and his income has fluctuated greatly. He does not get nervous about borrowing money to live on when times are lean. Julie is more conservative. She has been working as a librarian for many years, and is looking forward to retirement with a small municipal pension. Brian and Julie have a paid-for house, and little other savings.

Brian’s friend has offered to include him on a new venture. Julie feels strongly that he should stay with his current job, which seems steady and provides and adequate income. Brian is bored with his job and wants new challenges. They are constantly fighting over this and are both starting to contemplate divorce.

In this case a marital mediator or other professional may be able to help the couple consider some options they had not thought of. The house is the most important thing to Julie, which she views as security. She feels that as long as she has the house and her pension, she will be all right. Brian and Julie decide to transfer title to the house to Sally so that it is insulated from any future claims of the new business. With that in place, the couple feels more comfortable going forward with their marriage, and Julie begins to relax and enjoy Brian’s new-found zeal for his work.

This case study is fictional and does not represent any real person.

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Case Study: Early marriage struggles and marital mediation

Mark and Jane got married eight years ago. They have two young children. Their initial love and attraction has turned into constant bickering and argument. They now realize how different they are from each other. Every interchange seems to be a battle and is affecting every aspect of their lives. They wonder what happened to the love and affection they felt towards each other at the beginning of their relationship.

They have been arguing about money, and how to spend it. Mark thinks his hard work is not appreciated. Jane feels overburdened with taking care of the children, her part-time work and taking care of the most of household duties. They each feel the other is not contributing enough.

They do not want to give up on their marriage, and have heard that mediation can be effective in working through the practical problems they face. They hope by learning to appreciate each other’s efforts their love for each other will start to grow again. They have tried individual therapy, marital counseling, and group therapy, without results.

The first few years of a marriage are a very intense period of adjustment. It’s very common for the couple to learn differences about each other and encounter extreme bouts of negativity that they never imagined possible. A newly married couple (and any married couple, for that matter) should try anything at their disposal. Sometimes marriage counseling does not work. It does not mean that the marriage is over or that the counseling was insufficient or even that marriage counseling may not work at a future time. Couples need to try different things at different times in order to break the log jam of disillusionment.

Marital Mediation or other professional support may help break the impasse. The mediator will explain to Mark and Jane that, just like a new hobby, learning how to be married is a learnable skill. The mediator will teach them conflict resolution skills that they can begin to practice at home. Things can improve at home, and Mark and Jane can continue to work on (and enjoy) their marriage. They might even try counseling again (perhaps with a different therapist), and may find that they are ready to gain insight from it.

This case study is fictional and does not represent any real person.

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Case Study: A marriage affair and mediation

John has a job that requires him to travel quite a bit. Diane has a good job at home, and their children are in high school. John recently admitted to Diane that he had slept with several women during his trips during the past several years, but that the relationships meant “nothing” to him. Diane’s face reddened, and then she admitted to John that she was having a very intense “emotional affair” with an old boyfriend that had been going on for eighteen months.

John and Diane were very confused when they came to their first session with the marital mediator. They thought there was no choice but to end their marriage.

In marriage mediation, the mediator led the discussion on the situations that may have caused each of them to stray from their marriage. The mediator also “normalized” their situation, indicating that what they were going though was a common occurrence in many marriages. They learned from the mediator that an affair (emotional or otherwise) did not necessarily mean the end of the marriage. With this knowledge and understanding, John and Diane recommitted to their marriage. In mediation, they discussed the possibility of John taking a lower paying job that would mean less travel.

This case study is fictional and does not represent any real person.

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American Law Institute (ALI) Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution

family lawThis book provides a critical examination of and reflection on the American Law Institute’s (ALI) Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution: Analysis and Recommendations (‘Principles’, arguably the most sweeping proposal for family law reform attempted in the U.S. over the last quarter century. The volume is a collaborative work of individuals from diverse perspectives and disciplines who explore the fundamental questions about the nature of family, parenthood, and child support. The contributors are all recognized authorities on aspects of family law and provide commentary on the principles examined by the ALI – fault, custody, child support, property division, spousal support, and domestic partnerships, utilizing a wide range of analytical tools, including economic theory, constitutional law, social science data, and linguistic analysis. This volume also includes the perspectives of U.S. judges and legislators and leading family law scholars in the United Kingdom, Europe, Canada and Australia.

“The Principles consolidate many of the transformative trends in family law since the 1970’s and recommend further, far-reaching changes. This rich collection of essays by so many distinguished judges, practitioners, and scholars, with diverse viewpoints, will surely raise the level of the national conversation about where family law has been, where it is now, and where it ought to be headed.”
–From the Foreword by Mary Ann Glendon , Learned Hand Professor of Law Harvard Law School

“This is a major contribution to the field of family law as a volume putting the ALI Principles in perspective and providing thoughtful commentary is urgently needed. Without hesitation, I enthusiastically recommend Reconceiving the Family.”
–Claire Huntington, Professor of Law, University of Colorado School of Law

“This book is important and timely. The subject matter is of enormous significance. Not only has the American family been undergoing almost revolutionary reconfigurations over the past generation, public opinion about the ways in which law should reflect these changes has also shifted rapidly. The American Law Institute focused its enormous talents on developing Principles of the Law of Family Dissolution and carefully considered all of the significant questions raised by these changing family forms. The contributors to this volume broadly examine issues contained in the Principles which are sufficiently weighty and complicated that they must be discussed from multiple perspectives.”
–Martin Guggenheim, Fiorello LaGuardia Professor of Clinical Law, New York University School of Law


Read more about editor at the Washington and Lee University website.

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