<![CDATA[Forward Motion 411 - Family Conflict]]>Wed, 02 Mar 2016 13:55:15 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Two Dads Show What True Love Means ]]>Sat, 10 Oct 2015 15:17:14 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/family-conflict/two-men-show-what-true-love-means
<![CDATA[The Temper Fence (An Allegory)]]>Fri, 02 Oct 2015 22:22:50 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/family-conflict/the-temper-fence-an-allegory Picture
He was a young boy with a nasty temper. One afternoon, his  father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he would be required to hammer a nail into the fence.
The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He proudly shared this accomplishment with his father. The wise father praised him and suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You've done well, son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.” You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will later regret.

<![CDATA[Divorce Process (Legal)]]>Sun, 02 Feb 2014 23:32:25 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/family-conflict/divorce-process-legal]]><![CDATA[They Said It Would Never Last: How To Stay Married]]>Mon, 02 Dec 2013 23:00:29 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/family-conflict/they-said-it-would-never-last-how-to-stay-marriedStay Married by Using These Tips
Two Americans, who eloped in 1932, have recently been recognized as America’s longest married couple.  As everyone asks John and Ann Betar (yes, that’s them) their secret to marital longevity, one has to wonder if their marriage could have made it had they married in 1992 instead. The world is different. Even though they remained married through the turbulent 90’s, they were most likely insulated from much of the change. Anyway, John and Ann have been generous enough to provide the world with tips for a long marriage along with their love story. The details might be where the secrets lie.

The Details:
  • They raised 5 children together:  Today bringing up baby is a team effort more so than it was in the 1940s. Gender roles were quite clear on who would clean the house and care for the kids and who would fund the entire project. The societal infrastructure supported the model it promoted – making it much easier for each half of the couple to pursue the established role without a fight. 
  • She was 17 and he was 19:  Young marriage today is looked down upon. Maybe it was then? (Anyone who was around should let us know.) Trying to imagine a 17 and 19 year old making a marriage work today is difficult at best. What about school? What about all of those hopes, dreams, and parental expectations? The average age for marriage today is 27 years for women and 29 years for men. By the age of 27, Ann and John had already survived the 7 year itch and the birth of several children. Today’s young adults are encouraged to “find themselves” in their twenties and settle down later. Is this good advice if you want to be married once and only once? Maybe – maybe not – no one really knows since this is the first generation to try this out. 
  • John says the recipe for a happy marriage is, “Don’t hold a grudge.  Forgive each other. Live accordingly.” Sage advice.  Sweet advice.  It still seems to be the day-to-day problems that cause the rift that leads to divorce. And the day-to-day problems seem to be bigger since everyone is busier, more obligated, and more connected than they were even a few decades ago.  It’s hard to not hold a grudge when a good man sits down after dinner to relax and watch t.v. (or surf the web) while his wife is cleaning up the dinner, caring for the kids, helping with the homework, and getting kids to bed. Men haven’t seemed to have kept up with the changing times. Yes, there are exceptions. Some men do work to care for home and hearth alongside their wives, but many do not. They haven’t figured out that private realm work (e.g., kids, housework, etc.) is an all day job. Only the public realm work ends at 5 p.m.  Would John have been the dad who didn’t just “help” around the house but actually saw it as his responsibility? 
  • "The key is to always agree with your wife."  No woman would disagree with this advice from John.  Especially if the advice to the wife is to listen to and acquiesce to the wishes of your husband.  Marriage is still a give and take proposition and the more shared values a couple already possesses will mean less arguing over conflicting values. It seems like obvious advice but, really, a lot of people with extremely diverse values marry today and wonder why they are constantly arguing about what matters the most to them.
  • He’s 102 and she’s 98. If you want to be America’s longest married couple, you need to marry young and forget to die. This takes concerted luck. Not effort, really, but being nice to each other probably helps this all along nicely. Happy people live about 35% longer, so take the time to make each other laugh and make the effort to make each other happy.  Is it work?  Not if you’re both happy about it – but it is indeed effort. 
  • “We always hold hands.”  Marriage in the 1930’s and marriage today seem to have this in common. Hold hands; stay connected and like each other enough that you want to hold hands. How can you get divorced when you’re holding hands?   

<![CDATA[Divorce FAQs]]>Thu, 31 Oct 2013 23:35:20 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/family-conflict/divorce-faqsPicture
If you have a question about home life and your pending divorce, feel free to send it to us and we’ll do our best to find you an answer.

Q.  I recently filed for divorce and am wondering if it’s okay for me to date. I don’t want anything too serious but I do feel like I need to move on.

A.   Good Question. As a rule of thumb, don’t date until your divorce is final (or at least for 6-12 months out).  This gives you a chance to grieve your ending relationship and prepare yourself for a future one. Many people say they start dating right away because they are lonely. If you’re lonely find a good therapist or friend for the short term.

That said, if your divorce drags on for longer than 6-12 months, you might want to go ahead and start dating. You most likely will have grieved the old relationship by then and would only have to worry about additional drama and complicated issues.  Bringing a new significant other into the divorce process can complicate issues, create unnecessary drama, and stir up bad behavior from the other side. This will sometimes prolong the time it takes for the issues of your divorce to be settled.  Is I worth it? Only you can decide that.

Q.  I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the past 6 years (since my son was born). My husband is telling me I need to find a job because he is going to divorce me. I’m in a panic!  I don’t want to put my son and baby daughter in daycare but don’t know my rights in this situation. Please help!

A.  If you have been a stay-at-home mom and can afford to continue doing so through the divorce action, do so. It is best for your children to have a familiar home life as they work through your divorce.  Because you have children, it would be wise to ask for a Temporary Order.  This order will clearly state what he is required to provide to you as far as child support and alimony are concerned until your divorce is final. Remember, this is a temporary order and is subject to change at the time of the divorce. A Temporary Order will also clearly state who has custody of the children and when – which is a very good document to have. (For those of you who have been working throughout your marriage, don’t quit your job. Just try to keep your household and daycare situation as stable as possible for the sake of your children.)

Q. I am in the midst of a big hairy divorce and am pretty bummed. My ex took half of our furniture and took our one good car; leaving me with the old wreck of a car from his college days. I can’t live like this. Am I in trouble if I go buy some replacement furniture and a car that actually runs?  

A.  Purchase what you need but don’t go overboard or your ex may try to use your purchases to show the court that you can pay more alimony (or don’t really need the alimony you are requesting). The courts can be very strict about not wasting assets during the divorce proceeding so keep this in mind as you make your purchases.

If you have a question about home life and your pending divorce, feel free to send it to us and we’ll do our best to find you an answer.

Please remember information provided on this website is general, and not specific to your situation. It provides an excellent resource to you if you’re unsure about how the divorce process works. This advice doesn’t take the place of the advice you would receive from an attorney but might help you decide whether you need to hire one. 

<![CDATA[Divorce Court Etiquette]]>Wed, 30 Oct 2013 23:16:19 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/family-conflict/divorce-court-etiquettePicture
Divorce can create a lot of anxiety. You aren’t sure how much money you will have, what belongings you’ll end up with, where the kids will be spending their time, or what will happen to your house. You might also be worried about having to make a court appearance. First, be assured that not every divorce case ends up in court or even goes to trial. But if yours does, you want to be prepared to successfully present your case. Most people haven’t spent any time in a courtroom but realize the courtroom is an unusual environment with its own set of rules and etiquette. Knowing a bit about what is expected from you in court can reduce your anxiety and help you navigate your hearing with ease.

Court Etiquette
  • Be on time.  A lot of the time, you will show up at the same time as a bunch of other people who also have a hearing. Take a seat in the courtroom and wait for your name or case number to be called. 
  • Dress up. Wear business casual when appearing in court. You won’t be sorry.
  • If you filed the action (i.e., complaint, paternity action, etc.), you (and your attorney if you have one) will most likely sit on the left side of the courtroom.
  • When the judge enters, everyone rises.
  • Don’t ever interrupt the judge or your attorney if you are in court.
  • Never respond to what opposing counsel says. Stay quiet and let your attorney address the issues.
  • The judge may ask you to speak to your case:
                 Do Not:  cry; attack your ex; lose your temper; get confrontational with the opposing attorney; be                                                impatient; attack anyone verbally; approach the bench without permission; or be rude.                                         Do:  describe behaviors and facts; remain calm; be honest when answering questions; say, “I don’t                            know” if you don’t; and say Your Honor when addressing the judge.
  • You can bring friends and family members along for support. They will sit behind you in the audience if you have an attorney. Remind them to stay quiet and to not interrupt the court proceedings. 
  • After court is adjourns, documents will be need to be prepared to file in your case. When your attorney asks you to review documents, do it. Be careful to check for accuracy and truth. If something is left out, contact your attorney immediately and find out if it was omitted as strategy or was simply forgotten and needs to be added. 

<![CDATA[Neighbor Fights and How to Solve Them]]>Thu, 20 Jun 2013 03:40:38 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/family-conflict/neighbor-fights-and-how-to-solve-themPicture
Love your neighbor as you love yourself; an age-old adage that is easy to remember but often difficult to do. Neighbors can be a lot of fun and they can also be a big nuisance.  Many times a relationship with a neighbor can sour the entire neighborhood or, at the least, make your life miserable. These neighbor disputes often spin out of control – which is not good for you, your neighbor, or even your neighborhood. But what can you do if the neighbor is making your miserable (or, ugh, says you are the one making the misery)?

The list of what causes neighbor fights is endless. However, most conflicts will fall under one of these headings:

  • Quit Being Noisy: Noisy neighbors may have late night parties, kids playing basketball in the backyard during naptime, adults yelling abusively, a boy band in the garage, etc.  Some of these disputes will overlap with some of other conflict causing headings.

  • Control Your Animals: A few actual cases have involved a rooster who loved crowing all day long, neighbors who suddenly acquired horses/sheep in a residential neighborhood (oh the smell!), barking dogs, and  cats who use a neighbor’s yard as the litter box. 

  • Control Your Kids (and Husbands): Disputes can be based on everything from small children making noise during the daytime when a neighbor who works nights is trying to sleep to children defacing property. In one instance a neighbor’s husband chased a raccoon into his neighbor’s yard while they were away so he and his friends could watch the ensuing dog fight. His neighbors returned home to find two wounded dogs and a dying raccoon locked in their dog kennel.

  • I Hate Your Yard:  Some visual offenses block the view of your neighbors while others anger them because of your neglect (e.g., old junker cars missing tires, unkempt yard, debris or trash pile-ups, etc.).

  • You Have Boundary Issues: Sometimes neighbors don’t agree on where their property ends and the other guy’s property begins. In one case, a neighbor wanted to put up a fence and the other neighbor refused to allow any type of fencing at all.  However, property boundaries may also involve neighbors who spray their property for bugs fighting with neighbors who are trying to grow an organic garden for personal consumption. 

Most conflicts have at least two sides to the story. Once you add a few extra neighbors, you may see a small conflict balloon into a large one. The best way to handle neighbor conflict is to actually make friends with your neighbors before conflicts arise. Visit with your neighbors when they’re out in their yards, host a neighborhood cook out, or have a few neighbors over for dinner. People are often more tolerant of each other if they have taken the time to get to know them.

If you are friendly with your neighbors, a problem may be easily resolved by heading over to their house and chatting with them. This isn’t always effective, but it’s worth trying if your neighbors are approachable. Don’t send anonymous notes or letters; this would most likely offend and upset them without moving toward actually resolving the problem. Carefully consider asking the authorities to intervene but only if there are laws being broken that support your position.  If these remedies fail to produce peace between neighbors, consider using mediation to resolve the dispute.

Mediation is a process in which you and your neighbor would sit down and work out your differences. The mediator does not make any decisions, the responsibility and right to fix the fight remain in your arena. The mediator is specially trained to guide you through the fight and toward potential ways to solve the problem at hand. Mediation will cost you a lot less than suing your neighbor and may save your relationship with your neighbor while preserving peace in your neighborhood.

Contact us to hire a mediator for your neighbor fight.

<![CDATA[Dear Fox News: Women as Breadwinners. Read the Report.]]>Fri, 31 May 2013 21:00:09 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/family-conflict/dear-fox-news-women-as-breadwinners-read-the-report
I had to watch this twice.  I could have sworn I'd stumbled into something published by The Onion. And yes I have a reply for these....well, we'll call them men although we use the term loosely.

If you actually read the report, the women who are primary breadwinners are largely supporting a family in which there is no man present. She isn't just bringing home the bacon. She's cooking it, serving it, doing the dishes afterward, and changing the diapers when it comes out the other end. And we won't even start to talk about finding a good daycare situation for your child when your household income is somewhere near the $23,000 median that represents income for households headed by women. So don't cry about how the economy has left men unable to remain in the role of Supreme Breadwinner. It's the men, not the economy in most cases, that left the women in the precarious role of primary breadwinner. A quote from the report, "These “breadwinner moms” are made up of two very different groups: 5.1 million (37%) are married mothers who have a higher income than their husbands, and 8.6 million (63%) are single mothers."  A woman can find herself in the single mother role by death, divorce, or desertion but she is still trapped in the economic realities we, her society, choose to create for her. Our structure does not support women who choose to stay home and care for their children once the man is removed from the picture. And then they wonder why women feel the need to secure a job that pays well. Read the report. 

Yes, the closing of manufacturing jobs may have curtailed a man's ability to provide for his family minus a college education. And the report also mentions men believe that it is better for young children to have their mother at home in larger proportions than do women. But the haunting words of the ABA President keep coming to mind when I think about well educated, skilled women who opt to stay home with their children but then find themselves in need of employment in the future. No one will hire them! No wonder women feel a need to work at least part time after their babies are born. It's the only viable way to actually care for your child if your marriage becomes one of those divorce or death statistics. "About three-quarters of adults (74%) say the increasing number of women working for pay has made it harder for parents to raise children, and half say that it has made marriages harder to succeed."

Just read the report: like these men should have done before babbling their heads off in a national venue. If you want the structure where mom stays at home with the kids - you'd better create the structure to support that family when Dad can't or won't stick around. Saying you want the stay at home mom structure while keeping child support to a bare minimum, keeping death benefits to a bare minimum, removing medical insurance options from the family when dad dies or divorces, creating the myth that a woman's skill are "rusty" and unusable 6 months after she has quit to stay at home, and discriminating against older women when they attempt to reenter the workforce are not the actions to take that would support a woman staying at home to care for her children even when that is the desire of her heart. 

Read the report. 

<![CDATA[Custody Evaluations]]>Fri, 01 Mar 2013 03:20:49 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/family-conflict/custody-evaluationsPicture
You’re getting divorced and you can’t agree with your ex-spouse-to-be regarding what is best for your children. The two of you continue to argue over custody issues: where the kids should live, what parent time should look like, etc. Someone suggests you engage the services of a Custody Evaluator. It sounds like a fabulous solution! In some cases it is a fabulous solution. In many others it is a recipe for disaster. What do you need to think about before asking the courts for a custody evaluation? What are the benefits and the risks?  What will the Custody Evaluator do? Are there valid issues here or is this conflict part of your emotional divorce?

Divorces can be time consuming and costly. Adding a battle for custody on top of all of your other issues simply add to the expense, conflict, and grief. A Custody Evaluator is not a magician - in all honesty you can save a ton of money and grief if you understand how the courts view and make decisions on custody. Read Custody Issues: Where Should The Children Live? to get a clear understanding of whether a fight for custody is in your and your children's best interests. 
Before you ask the courts for a Custody Evaluation, you should understand that the evaluation will: 1) be expensive (between $4,000 to $20,000); 2) add about one extra year onto the length of your divorce process; 3) create additional animosity between you and that ex-spouse, and 4) will most likely result in the two of you sitting down and making all of the decisions by mutual agreement anyway. On the positive side, a Custody Evaluation can be used at trial as support of your position - should the Evaluator agree with you. However, there is always the risk the Evaluator will agree with your ex-spouse’s perspective. And the Custody Evaluator’s recommendations are not always adopted by the judge, should your case be one of the few (less than 4%) that ends up in trial.

Custody Evaluations are invasive on your privacy. The evaluator is ordered by the court to determine the best living arrangement for your children, so the evaluation will entail examining how the both of you parent, whether the children are emotionally bonded to one or both parents, whether both parents are capable of providing for the physical needs of your children, and whether both parents are willing the make the children reasonably available to a non-custodial parent. This means the evaluator will want to see you in a variety of settings (including your home) and will ask some fairly personal questions of both of you and of your children. It is typically a very stressful process for everyone involved.

Before you ask for a Custody Evaluation you might want to consider using a mediator to help you formulate the best plan for you, your ex-spouse, and your children. Click here to arrange to meet with one of our experienced mediators.  If you are struggling with not wanting to let your children see their other parent, do some careful thinking: if your ex-spouse was a good parent and the kids are emotionally bonded, you need to remember that children need both of their parents. If you believe you have compelling reasons to want to limit parent time or to assume complete decision-making authority, and you are unable to reasonably discuss your children’s best interests, you may be in need of a Custody Evaluation.  

<![CDATA[Everybody Has a Bad Day at Some Point...]]>Thu, 28 Feb 2013 18:05:52 GMThttp://www.forwardmotion411.com/family-conflict/reach-out-when-you-can]]>