The following is a guest post from Janet Smith.

positive effects of divorceI had been married to my husband just shy of 30 years, when I decided to file for divorce. It was a tough decision after being married for so long, and considering the history we had together. However, his drinking and angry mood changes had become too burdensome, and he had no desire to change.

I am a 54 year-old disabled woman who had been a stay-at-home mother for most of my four children’s lives. I was in need of double hip replacements, and severe arthritis in my hands and wrists made it impossible for me to hold any job that required me to use my hands very much, and I was worried that I would not be able to secure gainful employment after the divorce. After consulting with my divorce attorney, I learned several important things that are considered in a divorce settlement if you are disabled. Below, you will find some information you may not be aware of.

Length of Marriage

If you have been married for a short period of time as a stay-at-home mom, say ten years or less, you may find that your divorce settlement is not what you were hoping for. You are probably young enough to be trained for employment, or to go back to school and get a degree. The longer the marriage, however, the less likely you are to be able to return to the work-force, and earn a suitable living. Being disabled makes this an even more daunting possibility. Judges usually allow higher maintenance allowances to women who are disabled, and have not worked during a long marriage.

Chances of Securing Meaningful Employment

Disabled women stand a much lower chance of earning a suitable income than their able-bodied counterparts. There are far fewer choices for the woman who is physically limited in some way. For instance, if she needs to use a wheelchair, or scooter, the number of job opportunities plummets, even though there are laws against discriminating against the handicapped. For instance, my arthritic hands and wrists keep me from running a cash register, or working where a large amount of writing is required. Judges take this into consideration when coming up with the divorce settlement.
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The divorce rate in America continues to riseIn today’s modern fast-paced society, over fifty percent of marriages will end up in divorce. With that alarming rate, it’s no surprise so many researchers have been studying the effects of divorce, not only on children but the mates involved. What effects of divorce have been found?

First, let’s consider the effects of divorce on perhaps the most vulnerable of parties involved, the children. The effects on children can be devastating, as often times they feel responsible for the parents separation, due to a lack of understanding on what divorce is. This confusion and sadness often leads the children involved in a downward spiral of guilt and sadness.

One of the first effects noticed with the children of a divorce, is school work. Most often these children tend to perform poorly at math and social skills. With the stress, and lower self esteem that divorce causes, this directly effects their school work. And they often perform well below their classmates who’s parents are still together.

Another interesting effect is the rate of smokers who had parents that divorced. In one study, 48% of smokers had parents that had divorced. And even more troubling, was that women were 39 times more likely to smoke if they had had parents that had divorced.
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