October 19, 2014

False Allegations of Domestic Violence in a Child Custody Case

The State of Arizona considered recently an addition to its list of factors in determining the award of custody to a parent in a divorce case. This proposed addition addresses an issue that I have seen many times in my many years of managing high conflict custody cases: the false allegation of domestic violence in a contested custody case.

A false allegation of domestic violence in a custody case often takes the form of an initial filing for an Emergency Order of Protection prior to, or at the same time, that a divorce is being filed. The parent filing the falsely alleged OP believes that he/she will gain an advantage in the divorce case by having the other parent removed from the marital home and estranged from the children.

I see these false claims in OPs being made by parents actively committing Parental Alienation.

Arizona tried to provide to injured parents a remedy for these kinds of false claims by including the following important factor for the Court to consider in awarding custody:

12. WHETHER A FALSE ALLEGATION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE OR CHILD ABUSE
PURSUANT TO SECTION 25-403.03 HAS BEEN MADE BY ONE PARENT AGAINST ANOTHER IN ORDER TO CAUSE AN UNNECESSARY DELAY, TO INCREASE THE COST OF LITIGATION OR TO PERSUADE THE COURT TO GIVE CUSTODY PREFERENCE TO ONE PARENT

My review of the current Arizona statutes suggests that the Legislature was willing to address the issue of false claims of domestic violence, but that the statute now requires a conviction for filing a false claim in order for the Court to apply this factor. In addition, the Court may consider: "whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay, to increase the cost of litigation or to persuade the court to give a legal decision-making or a parenting time preference to that parent."

A tip of the hat to the State of Arizona for this legislation. This kind of language in the child custody statutes may have a chilling effect toward a rational parent attempting to misuse Orders of Protection to gain an advantage in a custody case.

In my view, an irrational or pathological parent that is seeking to alienate children from a loving, healthy parent will alienate and file false claims of domestic violence, no matter the language of any statute. It's my job as your attorney to aggressively knock out these false claims, and to vigorously demonstrate to the Court that no parent that alienates their children from the other deserves to have the custody of the children.

October 8, 2014

Spousal Support in Divorce: The New Law in Illinois

A new law in Illinois as of January 1, 2015 changes how spousal support is determined for divorcing couples whose combined gross income is less than $250,000. This new law raises some interesting issues with respect to the global finances of divorce, so let's examine briefly the new law of spousal support in Illinois.

The law, which was developed by the Illinois State Bar's Family Law Section Council, creates a protocol for calculating maintenance based on the income of the parties and the length of the marriage. The law that has been in use for years essentially placed a high degree of discretion with the trial judge; parties to divorce sometimes had very little guidance as to what a given judge would award for maintenance, or if any award was to be granted.

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Under the new law, a maintenance award should equal 30 percent of the payor’s ( the one who pays maintenance) gross income minus 20 percent of the payee’s (recipient) gross income, not to exceed 40 percent of the parties’ combined gross income when added to the payee’s gross. Where the parties both earn higher incomes, there is a threshold percentage that "caps" the award at no more than 40 percent of the combined incomes. Longer marriages benefit from longer terms of maintenance; shorter term marriages see a lesser time period involved.

Sound complicated? The new law was intended to create a formula that judges could apply in maintenance cases that would allow for predictability and relative "fairness" from county to county. Judges still have some discretion in these matters, though I will expect that many judges will start to follow the formula by rote. Judges that use a lot of creativity in their discretion sometimes get appealed by the offended party, and so the nature of many judges will be to adhere to the new formula.

If you're considering filing for divorce, and have questions about the financial issues in divorce (maintenance, child support, division of property) contact my law office at (630) 232-2400 to make an initial consultation. I'll help you navigate the landscape of the new maintenance statute, and any other concerns you may have about your divorce case.

October 6, 2014

DuPage Divorce: Mediation

One of the interesting aspects of divorce litigation is the requirement that parents mediate their child custody issues, with the judge assigning a mediator in the initial weeks of the case should the parents not have an agreement as to legal custody (joint vs sole) and parenting time. In some cases mediation is beneficial. I am a trained mediator, but I can also say that mediation is not a panacea, it is not always a process that results in resolution. Many times, mediation fails. So, when the parents are bitterly oppositional, or when the issues are just not amenable to mediation, what should a parent do?

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One piece of advice that I give my clients is to be, along with a good spokesperson for their views, a good listener. Many divorces feature parents that simply don't want to talk to each other, and avoid interaction at all costs. Even when mediation is not likely to result in global agreements on custody and parenting time, it can be a time to listen to what the other parent is verbalizing to the mediator. New facts might be learned. Partially hidden agendas might be revealed. Concessions might be explored.

Keep in mind...everything said in mediation is private and none of the matters discussed in mediation can be used in court.

Once you've stated your issues and concerns and goals, there's one more thing a parent might consider in mediation. Listening. Listen and learn, and if the case comes back to court, you'll be back in the court process empowered with a better sense of agendas, goals, what is in dispute and what is possibly resolvable.

October 5, 2014

Kane County Divorce: BPD Help

I found this post today on a BPD support blog, and it mentions Bill Eddy's landmark book on Divorce and BPD/NPD, Splitting. The gentleman writing in to the blog is experiencing the surreal and chaotic behaviors of a spouse conducting a distortion campaign against him. His questions may have some resonance with some of you.

_____________________

" I bought William Eddy's book on divorces and have read most of it.

I also talked with Michael Roe (who wrote the foreword to the book), but he doesn't practice in San Diego, -- he's in Illinois, but was very helpful to me in at least getting me to understand what I'm up against.

Maybe I will try contacting his office again, given how increasingly horrible things have become since that first contact.

One big question I have is how likely is mediation with a BP likely to actually work? I thought it was probably going to be nearly impossible because of what she is like, but maybe I am wrong? Also, what kind of security precautions do mediators take?

Frankly I wish I could video record my entire life to defend against her. The loss of privacy would be a small price to pay."

September 25, 2014

Illinois Divorce Law Blog Once Again Top Divorce Blog

Law Office of Michael F. Roe's Illinois Divorce Law Blog has once again, for 2014, been named a "Top 50 Divorce Law Blog" by Criminal Justice Degrees Schools, which annually analyzes and rates professional blogs.

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My approach to the blog is to inform my clients and readers of the blog, to educate other professionals in the field, and to illuminate important issues in divorce and custody. Some of these important issues include issues that arise in complex custody cases, cases with high conflict issues, and critical issues in some cases, like Parental Alienation or new legislation that affects financial issues in divorce.

The blog journals many compelling issues, but if you have questions or concerns about your impending divorce case, contact our office so that we can meet and discuss the details of your family concerns, and develop a strategy to manage these issues toward a positive outcome.

September 25, 2014

Kane County Divorce Lawyer: Managing Children in the Early Stages of Divorce

I had a conversation today with one of my new clients about how to manage the emotions of the minor children during the initial stages of the divorce. An article from Dennis Ortman is helpful and I have cited it below. I do feel that along with parents learning how to manage the worries and questions from minor children in the first weeks of a divorce, parents can truly benefit from reaching out to support groups for children through local churches, or accessing a therapist that works with children in divorce.

Divorce can be an emotionally and psychologically difficult process for adults, leaving the parents with few resources to channel to the children. In these cases, it's best to reach out to other resources in the community to provide emotional and psychological support to children, as well as to give them a forum, independent of the family circle, to process their anxieties, worries and concerns.

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HOW CAN I MINIMIZE THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF OUR DIVORCE ON OUR CHILDREN?
By Dennis Ortman

Recognizing that the disruption of divorce is difficult on everyone—yourself, your partner, and your children—there are things you can do to help during this transition time:

1. Avoid fighting in the presence of your children. The conflict will only increase their anxiety. Certainly, you will have disagreements with your partner, but keep them as private as possible.

2. Assure your children that they are not responsible for the problems in your marriage. Younger children normally think of themselves as the center of the universe, creating an illusion of control over their environment to compensate for feelings of helplessness. They may believe that you are divorcing because of something they did.

3. Frequently assure your children that both you and your partner love them and will never abandon them, even if you live apart. Children need to maintain an emotional bond with both parents. It is important that you and your spouse assure them with both words and actions.

4. Resist the impulse to blame your spouse for the divorce or elicit your children as allies. Children experience an impossible bind if they believe they must take sides in your dispute.

5. Do not burden your children with too much responsibility. Let them continue to be children. During the transition you may feel overwhelmed and need more help from them. Be careful not to overburden them.

6. Do not lean on your children for emotional support. That will overburden them emotionally and divide their loyalties. Seek your support from family, friends, and therapy.

7. Do not let your children manipulate you. You may feel guilty for causing them pain and want to make up for it by overindulging them. Your children need to know that you are still the authority in the family, even if you are feeling distress.

From the book by Dennis Ortman

September 23, 2014

Notes from Forensic Forum: Parental Alienation

Notes from last week's Forensic Forum in Chicago: A most excellent program; cutting edge information and illuminating insights into managing PA cases.

Dr. Warshak captured in two hours the important clinical and legal management issues with PA cases. Judge Michele Lowrance made an important observation: many "targeted" parents act out in court; they cry, are angry, and show disappointment with the court. The alienating parent learns to be charming and composed. The result: the targeted parent gets reprimanded by the court, empowers the alienator, and fuels the PA fires further. Good observation and a word to the targeted wise. Says Dr. Warshak: "alienated parents need to learn to have a thick skin."

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One observation that wasn't made I will make here: the best GALs contribute heavily to the early phases of the case, and the ultimate outcomes. Much deserved attention was placed by the panel on the roles of clinicians and 604(b)s in PA cases, but in my view, a wise and experienced GAL can be influential in an initial intervention and a properly managed outcome.

To my clients this morning I said that the tide is starting to turn in recognition and management of PA cases. Judges are being educated (thanks to Judge Kevin Busch for a sound and learned presentation during the panel segment) and problems with prior clinical protocols are being discussed. Clinicians like Dr. David Finn (Illinois) and Dr. Warshak (Texas) are developing cutting edge and clinically sound protocols for managing PA cases, and creating forums where targeted parents and their victimized children have a forum for reunification. As of yesterday, I am optimistic for what the future PA management landscape looks like, and I grieve a bit today for those in the past who lost contact with their beloved children through the inability of the courts to discern a toxic alienation fact pattern.

September 21, 2014

High Value Marital Estates: Dividing Artwork

My practice centers on high conflict divorces and complex child custody cases. In a number of my divorce and custody cases, there was also a high value marital estate that had to be valued and allocated, including marriages with business interests, stock options, and valuable investments and works of art. With my JD/MBA training and years of experience in financial issues, I am most comfortable with all property valuation and division issues in divorce cases. The WSJ highlights today the difficulties with allocating art in various jurisdictions ( Illinois law does not apply herein ).


Daniel Grant of the WSJ: Sept. 21, 2014

Who gets that painting?

Of all the fights that can erupt during divorce proceedings or when a family member leaves behind a large estate, some of the biggest take place over the artwork.

Make an Inventory. For divorcing couples, the first step is to develop a detailed list of all the art bought before the marriage; bought during the marriage; art sold and at what price; and art that hasn't been sold, says Raoul Felder, a divorce attorney in New York City.

Art bought or obtained before the marriage is usually not considered marital property.

Hiding artworks or failure to disclose relevant documents could lead to lawsuits. If fraud is determined, "half or more of any undisclosed and unallocated assets may be awarded to the other spouse," warns Valerie L. Patten, a family and art law practitioner in Palo Alto, Calif.

Hire an Appraiser. "The love of art grows exponentially after the appraiser's report comes in," especially if items have grown in value, says Dallas-based lawyer Ike Vanden Eykel.

A couple may agree on one appraiser, or each may hire their own. Mr. Felder warns that appraisals can be far apart. Parties can agree to split the difference between two conflicting appraisals or take the differences into account when negotiating which partner gets which piece.

Artworks then may be divided equally by value, or other assets can be made part of the bargaining—the house, the vacation home, the car, even primary custody of the children.

‘Serious art collectors might roll over in their graves—or never marry—if they knew what feuds their purchases were destined to inspire’

And as Mr. Vanden Eykel says, "You don't want to leave things up to a judge to decide, because the court may only order that everything be sold."

August 7, 2014

Kane County Divorce: Co-Parenting Strategies

In my practice there are many cases where a co-parenting outcome is not appropriate. Behavioral issues, parenting deficits, or mental health issues require that the fit and healthy parent be awarded the primary custody of the minor children, for the children's own developmental wellbeing. However, in some cases a co-parenting or shared parenting model is appropriate, and I have developed, in consultation with some excellent clinical co-parenting models, some very beneficial shared parenting agreements for parents.

From tiem to time, articles come along that discuss strategies for shared parenting, and Rosalind Sedacca, CCT, recently posted the following article:

" If you’re a parent, divorce doesn’t end your relationship with your former spouse. It only changes the form in some specific ways. It is still essential to create a working relationship focused on the optimum care and concern for your children. Every co-parenting relationship will be unique, affected by your post-divorce family dynamics. However, there are guidelines that will enhance the results for children in any family. Here are some crucial points to keep in mind to maximize your co-parenting success.

Respect your co-parent’s boundaries:

Chances are your former spouse has a different parenting style than you, with some conflicting rules. Rather than stress yourself about these differences, learn to accept that life is never consistent and it may actually be beneficial for your kids to experience other ways of doing things. Step back from micro-managing your co-parent’s life. If the kids aren’t in harm’s way, let go and focus on only the most serious issues before you take a stand.

Create routine co-parent check-ins:

The more co-parents communicate with one another about the children, the less likely for small issues to grow into major problems. Select days/times for phone, email or in-person visits. Discuss in advance visitation transfer agreements. List who’s responsible for what each day, week or month. Food, homework, curfews, health issues, allowances, school transportation, sport activities, play dates, holiday plans and more should be clearly agreed upon, when possible – or scheduled for further discussion. Once you have a clear parenting plan structured – follow it to the best of your ability. But allow for last-minute changes and special “favors” to facilitate cooperation.

Use an online co-parenting scheduling tool to reduce possible conflict due to misunderstandings. These tools also simplify planning and scheduling throughout the year.

Encourage your child’s co-parent relationship:

Regardless of your personal feelings about your ex, your children need a healthy connection with their other parent. Keep snide comments to yourself and don’t discuss your parenting frustrations with your children. Encourage your kids to maintain a caring, respectful relationship with their other parent. Remind them about Mom or Dad’s birthday and holiday gifts. Make time in the weekly schedule for phone calls, cards, email and letters to keep the children’s connection alive when your co-parent is at a distance. Your children will thank you when they grow up.

Be compassionate with your in-laws:

Remember that a Grandparent’s love doesn’t stop after divorce. If your children had a healthy bond with your former spouse’s extended family, don’t punish them by severing that connection. Children thrive on family attachments, holiday get-togethers and traditions they’ve come to love. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can be a great source of comfort to children during stressful times and a sense of continuity with the past. Dissolving those relationships is hurtful to both your children and the other family. Think long and hard before making such an emotionally damaging decision.

Above all, be flexible. When you allow calls from your co-parent when the kids are in your home, they will be more receptive to your calls when the tables are turned. Remember, you are still a parenting team working on behalf of your children. That commonality should enable you to overlook the thorns in your co-parenting relationship and focus on the flowering buds that are the children you are raising."

* * *

Rosalind Sedacca, CCT is a Divorce & Parenting Coach, founder of the Child-Centered Divorce Network and author of How Do I Tell the Kids about the Divorce?

July 11, 2014

Shared Parenting Challenges and Benefits

My practice centers, in part, on complex custody litigation, sometimes involving psychological issues, addiction issues, domestic violence, and negative parenting behaviors. In some cases, I need to aggressively manage a custody case for my clients to ensure the optimum result for the client and the children. This may mean sole legal custody and restricted visitation for the other parent. In other cases, where the parents are loving, competent, and willing to cooperate, a shared parenting plan can really work out well. I have developed a number of shared parenting models that I can apply to specific family situations. While Illinois custody law does not support presumptive shared parenting (as other states do), if this is good for my client then I am going to be aggressive about creating an optimum shared parenting plan for my clients. Shared parenting can be advantageous for parents and kids, as well as challenging in some respects. The following article from a clinician discusses some of the reasons why:

" As a therapist and writer specializing in divorce, I’m often asked, “When does co-parenting get easier?” While there is no simple answer to this question, most experts probably agree that while families usually adapt to co-parenting over time, it never really gets easier. Most co-parenting arrangements, especially after an acrimonious split, can be exhausting and exasperating. Put simply, the challenges change as children grow and develop. Consequently, it’s key for parents to keep in mind that the tools necessary to succeed need to be modified considerably as children age and mature.

Clearly, research by child development experts demonstrates numerous benefits to children when their living arrangements enable support from both parents. One reason is that parents who co-parent tend to experience lower conflict than those who have sole custody arrangements. Studies show that conflict is what creates the most pain and anguish for children after parents’ split, and that keeping parental disagreements to a minimum is a key aspect of helping kids become resilient.

Co-parenting, at its best, is a wonderful opportunity for children of divorce to have close to equal access to both parents – to feel it is okay to love both of their parents. Dr. Joan Kelly, a renowned psychologist reminds us that the outcomes for children of divorce improve when they have positive bonds with both parents. These include better psychological and behavioral adjustment, and enhanced academic performance.

However, few authors mention that while co-parenting is the best decision for children, it takes two special parents to navigate this arrangement over time. Interacting with each other at drop-offs, making shared decisions, or even speaking to an ex who you’d rather forget can be a challenge.

In order to succeed at co-parenting, it’s wise to be realistic about the difficulties that may arise as your kids go through childhood and adolescence. For instance, it might be hard to differentiate between the impact of your divorce and normal adolescent rebellion.

For instance, my two children spent close to equal time with both myself and their father until they reached adolescence, when they both protested their schedule. When my daughter was thirteen, after her father’s remarriage, she choose to spend most overnights at my home, while her brother started spending more overnights at his father’s house because it was located near most of his friend’s homes. Fortunately, my ex and I agreed that it was in their best interests to revise their schedule. As a result, our kids thrived as they felt their needs were being respected.

There are numerous benefits of co-parenting for kids:

Children will:

Feel a sense of security. Children who maintain a close bond with both parents and are more likely to have higher self-esteem.

Have better psychological adjustment into adulthood. My research shows that adults raised in divorced families report higher self-esteem and fewer trust issues if they had close to equal time with both parents.

Grow up with a healthier template for seeing their parents cooperate. By cooperating with their other parent, you establish a life pattern that they can carry into their future.

Have better problem solving skills. Children and adolescents who witness their parents cooperate are more likely to learn how to effectively resolve problems themselves.

The key to successful co-parenting is to keep the focus on your children – and to maintain a cordial relationship with your ex-spouse. Most importantly, you want your children see that their parents are working together for their well-being. Never use them as messengers because when you ask them to tell their other parent something for you, it can make them feel stuck in the middle. It’s best to communicate directly with your ex and lessen the chances your children will experience loyalty conflicts.

The following are suggestions based on my own experience and advice from experts. First of all, it’s paramount that you gear your parenting plan to the age of your children and that it is consistent. Try to develop routines for them leaving and coming home when they are young. As they reach adolescence, strive to be more flexible and adapt to their changing needs.

Tips to help kids live happily in two homes:

For children under age 10:

Reassure them that they have two parents who love them. If they balk at going to their other parent’s home, you can say something like “Even though mom and dad aren’t married anymore we both still love you and are good parents.”

Maintain a cordial, business-like relationship with your ex so that your children won’t feel intense divided loyalties. It’s important not to express anger at your ex in front of your children so they don’t feel stuck in the middle

Help your kids anticipate changes in their schedule. Planning ahead and helping them pack important possessions can benefit them. However, keep items to a bare minimum. Most parents prefer to have duplicate items for their kids on hand.

Encourage your younger child to adhere to their parenting time schedule – being consistent with their schedule will help your kids feel secure. Younger children often benefit from avoiding frequent shifts between homes.

Show enthusiasm about their visit with their other parent. It’s important to put your differences with your ex aside and to promote your children’s positive bond with them.

For children over age 10 – to young adulthood:

Allow for flexibility in their schedule. At times, teens may have difficulty juggling their busy life with school, extracurricular activities, friends, and jobs if they start working.

Encourage them to spend time with their friends and extended family (on both sides). Avoid giving them the impression that being with their friends is not as important as spending time with you.

Plan activities with them that might include their friends at times – such as sporting events or movies. Encourage opportunities for them to bond with peers at both homes.

Respect your teens need for autonomy and relatedness. Dr. Emery writes, “Teenagers naturally want more freedom, but they also want and need relationships with their parents, through your adolescent may be unwilling to admit this."

Keep in mind that communicating with your former spouse is going to be necessary for the length of your children’s childhood into young adulthood. This may include special events, graduations – and perhaps even weddings. It’s important to keep clear boundaries so that your children wouldn’t harbor fantasies that you will reconcile. For the most part, this means less personal sharing and focusing on exchanging information, cooperation, and make good decisions about your children.

Finally, modeling cooperation and polite behavior set a positive tone for co-parenting. When children are confident of the love of both of their parents, they will adjust more easily to divorce.

Keeping your differences with your ex away from your children will open up opportunities to move beyond divorce in the years to come. Ask yourself this question: how do you want your children to remember you and their childhood when they are adults? "

Do The Struggles Of Co-Parenting Ever End?
By Terry Gaspard, Featured Columnist - July 07, 2014

July 2, 2014

How to Spot a Narcissist: Illinois Divorce

Marriage and Family Therapist Holly Brown has written a spot on article about identifying and avoiding a long term relationship with a narcissist. If you are in a marriage with a narcissist, and need counsel as to how to end a marriage that is causing you and the children emotional suffering, contact our offices. Michael Roe is one of the country's leading lawyer specialists on personality disorders and divorce. In the meantime, here are the signs of the narcissistic personality to be aware of:


How to Spot a Narcissist
By Holly Brown, LMFT

A lot of people assume narcissists are easy to spot, that they talk obsessively about themselves, for example, or never seem to care what you have to say. Those are the obvious narcissists. This post is about the charming narcissists who can fly under the radar until you feel like you’re in too deep to get out.

I’ve written before about how to know you’re involved with a narcissist, and on strategies for handling the narcissist in your life. This post, hopefully, will help you avoid entanglements with people who could cause you a lot of pain down the line.

It’s the kind of post my characters Rachel and Marley might have benefited from, in my novel “Don’t Try to Find Me” (due out next Tuesday!) And it might be particularly useful for those of you who are currently dating and trying to find a partner. Maybe you’re on the fence about someone, and this could help you make a decision one way or the other.

When it comes to narcissists, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Getting out early might be your best move. Okay, on to the tips:

1) TRUST YOUR GUT!

I can’t stress this one enough. If your gut is telling you that something is off, if another person inspires some sort of anxiety that you can’t quite comprehend–then look deeper. You might feel like, “Hey, there’s no reason for me to be uneasy, it’s all going great, he/she is such a good catch!” But ask yourself why no one has caught them.

When you’re talking to a bright, witty, charming, interesting narcissist, you will feel swept up. You might feel a certain exhilaration, a loss of control, even. Temporarily, this can be a positive feeling.

Long-term, though, what it means is that YOU ARE NOT PARTICULARLY RELEVANT. The narcissist is merely looking for an audience. The reason you don’t feel entirely present is because you don’t have to be. You’re a prop, a way for the narcissist to feel temporarily good about himself/herself. Essentially, you’re being used.

2) You don’t feel truly listened to or empathized with. It all feels somehow…surface.

That’s because narcissists often learn over time that in order to get the approval they seek, they need to give the other person something. But it’s almost like the expression: His smile didn’t reach his eyes. There’s a sense that something else is going on, or being withheld. Again, this is largely something instinctive.

And the reason you are questioning yourself is because it is on this subterranean level. On the surface, you’re not being disrespected. But you’re not being valued either.

3) Consider whether self-involved people often seem drawn to you.

If this is the case, then think about whether this is another person in a long line. You might want to think back to your family relationships while you were growing up. Did one or both of your parents train you, on some level, to be appreciative of others to the exclusion of your own needs? Was an important person in your early life a narcissist as well? Might be time to recognize (and break ) a pattern.

4) You notice that somehow, you’re always ending up doing it the other person’s way.

This might mean that you’re always at the restaurant of their choice, or doing the activity they like. You might find you drive to his/her house much more than the reverse occurs. And you might not even know why this has happened, because the (suspected) narcissist seems nice enough, and willing enough, to do it your way.

But not really. Essentially, they are saying they are open to your ideas, suggestions, and preferences, but then there’s always some reason why that doesn’t exactly work, or why the (suspected) narcissist’s way is actually better. It might be that there’s a subtle pressure to go along in order to please the narcissist–perhaps he/she radiated very subtle disapproval through a variety of cues, and you’re picking up on these and it’s activating some anxiety, and so in order to relieve that anxiety, it’s just better to give in. Which leads to….

5) You tend to want to please people, and this new person in your life seems to feed on that.

While he/she may seem to be validating you (for example, giving you affection and compliments), there’s always something held back, perhaps the suggestion that the relationship can be damaged or lost.

A narcissist can often recognize a people-pleaser, almost like a homing pigeon. A people-pleaser and a narcissist fit together like a lock and a key, often forging a very dysfunctional but enduring bond.

That’s why it’s key to examine your own motivations, reactions, impulses, intentions, and self-esteem. Because narcissists can spot you, so make sure you can spot them back. Then you can get out before the bond solidifies.

June 28, 2014

Divorce Financial and Retirement Asset Planning

The article below highlights some of the issues and concerns that attach to a divorce after a lengthy marriage. Under Illinois law, retirement assets are divisible between the parties; there is a common practice that IRA's, 401(k)s and pensions are to be valued as of the date of the divorce, and allocated between the divorcing spouses equitably.

A person's retirement plan is a lifeline to the future. For many, it is their most important asset, even more emotionally valuable than a house or investment account. With this in mind, it is critical that the identification, valuation, and allocation of all marital assets in a divorce be accomplished properly. Law Offices of Michael Roe has on many occasions, with higher asset estates, worked with skilled and cost effective Divorce Financial Planners to effectuate an allocation model that can be submitted to the court. A properly presented plan that is beneficial to our client can often drive the resolution of the case in the right direction. The article states:

AFTER enduring a divorce four years ago, Mike Miller’s vision for a golden retirement got an unexpected makeover. Mr. Miller had been married for more than 30 years, and now he was single. His longtime dream of a shared retirement was shattered. He was also facing another unwelcome outcome: living in a smaller home and taking fewer vacations.

“The financial belt needed to be tightened,” said Mr. Miller, now 61 and managing director of Integra Shield Financial Group in Minnesota. “It doesn’t go around as well.”

Like Mr. Miller, more Americans are going through so-called gray divorces and the downsizing that follows.

Besides causing depression and dashing dreams, these divorces can sabotage retirement plans as assets are cut in half and expenses as a divorced single rise. For some older people, emerging from divorce with retirement plans intact can be challenging.

“There isn’t much time left to enhance portfolios post-divorce,” said Susan Brown, co-director of the National Center for Family and Marriage Research. “So you have to be careful to get the best settlement you can. Some people may have difficulty recovering.” One solution, she added, is “having a really good attorney and fighting for your fair share.”

The lesson in gray divorce, Mr. Miller said, is realizing that the ship isn’t sinking. “You’re just steering a new course.”

From New York Times CONSTANCE GUSTKE JUNE 27, 2014