Over 200 participants from Israel, the US and Canada, including Orthodox rabbis, judges, lawyers, scholars and women’s rights activists met to discuss solutions to the problem of agunot, women chained to an unwanted or non-existent Jewish marriage because their husbands refuse to give them a get (Jewish divorce).
As an Israeli women’s rights lawyer who has represented hundreds of agunot in the Israeli rabbinical courts during the past 33 years, I was impressed by the presentations and particularly encouraged by the call for community action.
Summit organizers expressed the hope that new scholarship as to halachic solutions and new political changes might bring about real change. High-profile speakers included Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, recently retired Supreme Court president Dorit Beinisch and the prolific and well-known Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.
“This is a game to them, and they enjoy the game,” said Lisa Helfend Meyer, a partner with the boutique law firm Meyer Olson Lowy & Meyers in Los Angeles.
One important caveat: If your controlling spouse is also a physical abuser, the first step— even if you’re not ready financially — is to get yourself and your children out of the house.
If you’re physically safe, it’s time to make your financial preparations. You’re moving to reclaim your independent financial life. In short, have your own cash, be ready to do the unthinkable, and check your emotions at the door.
“By studying variation in parental divorce, we are hoping to learn more about how early experiences predict the quality of people’s close relationships later in life,” said R Chris Fraley of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
It is difficult to say, in part because even some states where gay marriage is legal aren’t counting gay divorce, for a number of reasons. In Iowa and Massachusetts, for example, divorce forms don’t provide a way to indicate they are being used by a same-sex couple.
“The dissolution forms have not changed, and still read husband/wife,” said Polly Carver-Kimm, spokeswoman for the public-health department in Iowa, where same-sex marriage became legal four years ago.
For the future bride Shannon Sweeney, 28, a chilly chasm between her mother and father, who were divorced a decade ago, has required her to consult each parent separately and delicately on each issue. This confounds her fiancé, Tyson Seely.
“He has no idea what I mean when I say, ‘I will talk to my mom and then I will talk to my dad.’ My parents won’t get on the phone together and they both want to be asked everything first,” said Ms. Sweeney, a researcher and Ph.D. candidate in planning and public policy at Rutgers.
Hostile conflict, the quality of parenting over time, and the parent-child relationship all make a huge difference in the way children cope with divorce.
These three factors can certainly strongly impact a child in a family with an intact marriage as well. However, a healthy balance among these factors seems to be even more critical when the parents are no longer spouses. The disruption of divorce can truly test the resilience and relationship skills of each family member.
In a USA Today article from March 2001, Karen S. Peterson shed light on how Viagra causes marital discord: “As the prescription drug energizes tens of thousands of couples, it also destabilizes others,” she wrote. She goes on to quote a divorce lawyer, Dominic Barbara, who said that Viagra was causing a new type of infidelity.
“[There are] cases of men taking Viagra, but their wives were no longer interested in sex. And now, a lot of middle-aged women are having affairs with older men who were impotent before there was Viagra,” Barbara explained.
Some opponents told the court that same-sex marriage will undermine conventional marriage among heterosexuals. So what do the data say about how legalizing gay marriages affects conventional marriages?
A 2009 study by University of Sherbrooke economist Mircea Trandafir investigated the