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The Internet Has Transformed Modern Divorce 277

stern writes "The internet may be contributing to divorces (thanks, Facebook!) but it's also reducing the pain, especially the bitter fighting associated with joint custody. Calendars are now much easier to coordinate, and if one parent denies a court-ordered phone call to another, there's no way to hide the fact that the call didn't happen. Because of these and other technologies, divorce has changed radically in the last ten years. From the article: 'When [one divorcee] requested court-mandated parent counseling, the judge ordered the two to use an online tool called Our Family Wizard instead. Now, lawyers supervise e-mail exchanges between her and her ex, ensuring that each party responds to the other in a timely manner. All e-mails are time dated and tracked. Parents can create a shared expense log and receive automated notices and reminders about parental obligations.'"
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The Internet Has Transformed Modern Divorce

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  • Re:Sigh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SteveFoerster ( 136027 ) <steve AT stevefoerster DOT com> on Saturday November 24, 2012 @06:49PM (#42083845) Homepage

    I'm sad my parents didn't divorce sooner. Heck, I wish my mother had had the sense to get away from my abusive father within the first year of her marriage.

    Does that mean you were born by then, or do you just really, really love your mom?

  • Unfortunately .... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 24, 2012 @06:59PM (#42083883)

    I'm a divorced parent myself, and I found myself at least partially agreeing with one of the people who commented on the original article on the NYT web site. He said he doesn't understand America's insistence on joint custody and co-parenting with these toxic relationships that end in messy divorces.

    I can't speak for the accuracy of his claim that in "other cultures", it's usually a winner take all scenario where one parent walks away and disappears, and the other steps up to raise the kid. But I definitely think there are times when this really is the best outcome for the kid.

    It seems like we've made an automatic assumption that it's universally best for the kid(s) to spend as much time as possible with both parents, and on the surface such a suggestion sounds plausible. But not all marriages end simply because both people were immature and foolishly got married too quickly. Many times, one parent has a drug or alcohol addiction and becomes unbearable to live with. Other times, like in my own situation, the other parent suffers from mental illness (and contrary to what you may hear - medications for such things as bipolar disorder don't ever fully bring some people back into reality).

    Our court systems essentially force these unfit parents to pretend they're able and willing to parent anyway, and the kid(s) pay the price.

    I'm not against the idea of using tools like texting or email, or even some sort of moderated message system, if it helps parents work through the details of sharing custody in cases where it's the situation they're both striving for anyway. But I literally had my ex-wife tell the attorneys she was perfectly happy to sign all of her parental rights away. Yet the Family Court judge declared such a thing unacceptable, and made us come up with a shared custody arrangement instead. Something really is wrong with a legal system that believes they made a "better choice" by doing this. My ex moved to the other side of the country with some younger guy and only came to visit our daughter a total of 2 times in 10 years since then. She has a very small child support obligation she practically never pays, which has built up over time to total up to close to $20,000 so far. Reality is, my current g/f and I are raising my daughter -- not my ex-wife. And it would be foolish to ask her to make any kind of important legal decision on my kid's behalf since she practically has no idea about who she is and her needs anyway.

    I suppose I could fork out the money to go back to court and fight to get full custody, and at this point, they'd probably grant it based on a decade of evidence of how things went.... but it's VERY irritating on principle that this could have been settled from the beginning when SHE said she wanted no part of being a mom during the divorce proceedings.

  • Re:Sigh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @07:22PM (#42083987) Journal

    Marriage is a bad idea.

    Twenty-three years into it, I have to say that I disagree. Though I wasn't a likely candidate, marriage (and later, a daughter) is one of the few life choices that I can say was an unqualified success, thanks to my improbable success in finding such a great mate.

    That reminds me, my anniversary is in two weeks, and the old girl wants a tablet computer. I better get to picking out a good one for her.

    If people were meant to be monogamous they wouldn't have invented marriage in the first place.

    "Meant" by whom? That's the great thing about being human: we get to make choices about how we're going to live.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @07:39PM (#42084035)
    Anyone can find a match... even the insecure. Someone that has insecurities needs to find someone that's not going to do things that play into those insecurities. Flirting online, etc... It's all a matter of boundaries. The fact of the matter is, if your mate is unhappy due to any behavior you have, you need to either work it out with them, stop doing it, or end the relationship so they can find someone that wont do those things. Insecurity is relative... could you be married to a pornstar? There are men who are... and they get to know their wives are getting railed by 12 dicks all day long. How about if you're wife is a flirty bar tender? It's between the couple what's cool and what isn't.

    I think the problem with facebook is that its a new phenomenon and it's effect on already existing stable relationships was to reveal behaviors that previously had been something the spouse would never see. So suddenly the dynamics of a 20 year marrige are thrown up in the air. That's a difficult situation. Facebooks effects on newer relationships is the same, though less detrimental because the couple has less time invested. Eventually, as relationships grow with tools like facebook existing from the start, it should have less of a sudden shock that it's had on some relationships that it's new to.
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Saturday November 24, 2012 @08:05PM (#42084155) Homepage

    Way to anti-darwinize the situation. But it doesn't quite work that way. A person who would do anything they can to avoid playing into someone else's insecurities is bound to trip up from time to time... even if it is imagined by the other party. "Why didn't you answer the phone?!" "I was pooping..." "Oh yeah...sure... a likely story..."

    Crap like that gets old very very fast. People just need to mature. And people don't mature without cause. No one changes without cause. It's why the "popular kids" in high school end up so weird much of the time -- what they were doing was working for them so they didn't bother to grow or change. Those who struggle continue to grow.

    Easy solution to the facebook problem... don't do it. I don't. It's an obvious trap. MySpace was too. I don't get why people are so addicted to it. "Look at me!! I'm social! I have 1000 very close friends!!!" Do these clowns know how ridiculous they look? (Speaking of which, why the hell does it seem like more than half of the men capable of wearing facial hair have to wear it as a goatee? Shit's getting old man... and looks too much like a pubic mound.)

    -1 troll... I know... I deserve it. Reality isn't nice. There *isn't* someone out there for everyone. That's a ridiculous dream. Presently there are more women than men and women STILL think they are all special and beautiful. Sorry, but no. Just no.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 24, 2012 @09:14PM (#42084431)

    This came up during Thanksgiving dinner at a friends house. A couple who has been married for ages talked about if having friends of the opposite sex was okay. Their take on it was that yes, it is okay, as long as you are not "running energy" with the other person (i.e. tempted). They also felt, and I agree, that if you have a friend, of course you want to introduce that person to your spouse.

    Now, take me. I'm a huge flirt. I go out with a female friend of mine and she laughs at how often I flirt with women (even when she and I are out together - we look like a couple) and how they catch my eye. Sometimes I don't even know I've done it until she points it out. I'm not shy about it in the least. I think I notice and appraise every woman that comes within view. I seem like I'd be a real dog, and when I'm not in a committed relationship, I *am* a real dog.

    But... when I'm in a committed relationship, other women might as well be men for all I notice them. The flirting stops, except for with the woman I am dating, etc. It's almost like I'm a different person. This isn't something I chose to do and I wasn't raised in any particular way in this regard.

    However, there was one exception. When I was married there was one woman who, for whatever reason, I felt myself immediately attracted to, and it was obvious (to me) that it was mutual. This is so unusual for me (even now) that this shocked me. It still kind of does. I solved the problem by just staying the hell away from this woman.

    So what does my experience tell me about being "naturally tempted"? I don't know. Yes, I felt *something*. I don't know if I was ever tempted to cheat though. And it only happened once in seven years of marriage (and never in my previous and subsequent committed relationships).

    For me to have a moment of weakness (read: got tipsy) with this woman would have meant I started drinking already knowing that I was tempted.

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