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Archive for Saturday, February 3, 1990

DAMAGE OF DIVORCE

February 3, 1990

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Divorce is getting uglier all the time, according to a couple of prominent divorce attorneys, and the trend isn't likely to turn around.

With half of all American marriages ending in divorce, one might think the splits might get more civilized, less emotional, but just the opposite seems to be true, according to attorneys Raoul Felder of New York and Val Gabaldon of West Palm Beach. Their clients often are wealthy and sometimes are celebrities, but the attorneys say the things they have observed may also reflect a general trend among American divorces.

Recent movies depicting divorce warfare, they say, have nothing on real life. ``I've had several suicides and one man who dropped dead before the case was closed," Felder said. "You see them deteriorate and crumble bit by bit. I also had a husband who ran over his wife's dog, a wife who put her husband's cat in the microwave and another woman who put his cat in a washing machine.''

Both attorneys say divorce is much more vicious than it used to be. They speculate that the materialism of today's society may make people go to greater lengths to protect their possessions. But the saddest part of the modern divorce wars, the attorneys say, is that some couples will fight over their children in the same way they would fight over a favorite piece of furniture, using the child to get back at their spouse. Some even go so far as to falsely accuse a spouse or ex-spouse of child abuse. Legislation, in fact, has been introduced in the Kansas Legislature to make such false reporting a crime because it has become an increasing problem.

Everyone who has been divorced or observed the divorce of family or close friends and this includes virtually everyone probably has seen some of the animosity viewed by the New York and Florida attorneys. Hopefully, their experiences aren't the norm for American divorces, but their stories still are food for thought.

There may be no such thing as an "easy divorce," but surely there are ways for divorcing couples to mitigate the emotional and physical damage done both to each other and the children involved.

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