WBEZ | Divorce http://www.wbez.org/tags/divorce Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en From Deadbeat To Dead Broke: The 'Why' Behind Unpaid Child Support http://www.wbez.org/news/deadbeat-dead-broke-why-behind-unpaid-child-support-113864 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/img_2876-edit_custom-7d9b022cb3179d07b6163e3609164fc23ff458da-s1600-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><div id="res456671311"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Harrelle Felipa with five of his children and a granddaughter." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/19/img_2876-edit_custom-7d9b022cb3179d07b6163e3609164fc23ff458da-s1600-c85.jpg" style="height: 408px; width: 620px;" title="Harrelle Felipa with five of his children and a granddaughter. (Jennifer Ludden/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>On a recent Saturday afternoon at his West Baltimore rowhouse, Harrelle Felipa fields a steady stream of interruptions as he breads a large plate of fish and chicken for dinner.</p></div></div></div><p>His 4-year-old son wants to recite his letters. The 3-year-old brings him a toy that&#39;s broken. The tweens play Minecraft on the Xbox while Felipa&#39;s teen daughter checks her email. Felipa says he loves it.</p><p>&quot;This is what my life consists of,&quot; he says. &quot;I arrange my life around these guys.&quot;</p><p>It&#39;s not the typical image of a &quot;deadbeat dad.&quot;</p><p>Yet 47-year-old Felipa owes $20,000 in unpaid child support. Over the years, he has lost his driver&#39;s license for that (for two months), and spent time in jail for missing a court appointment (for two weeks).</p><p>He is part of a shift: Despite a two-decade crackdown on delinquent dads &mdash; an enforcement push that officials say has largely worked &mdash; the U.S. has more than <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/19/456632896/how-u-s-parents-racked-up-113-billion-in-child-support-debt" target="_blank">$113 billion in child support debt.</a> The Obama administration, and others who support changes to child support enforcement, say this isn&#39;t because men won&#39;t pay.</p><p>&quot;That problem has been solved,&quot; says Vicki Turetsky, the head of the federal&nbsp;<a href="http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css">Office of Child Support Enforcement</a>. That&#39;s thanks to welfare reform in 1996, which included tougher rules that tracked down men with money.</p><p>The problem today, Turetsky says, is the many men without money. They don&#39;t earn enough, and they&#39;re accruing mountains of debt in back child support.</p><p><strong>Caught Between Parenting And Mounting Debt</strong></p><p>Take Felipa in Baltimore, for instance. He had his first child young, at 14. His own father wasn&#39;t around, and he says being a dad makes him feel complete.</p><p>Like so many families today, his is complicated. He has five young sons with a woman he calls his &quot;ex-fiancée.&quot; The boys have lived with him much of the time while their mother has worked as a restaurant manager.</p><p>Felipa&#39;s child support debt is for two teens with his ex-wife. The son lives with her, and Felipa has full custody of their 15-year-old daughter. Yes, you read that right: He owes child support for someone who lives with him full time.</p><p>It&#39;s not clear why; he&#39;s been asking the court to change it.</p><p>Maryland enforcement officials can&#39;t comment on specific cases. But they say custody and child support are often dealt with separately, the rules vary by state and are confusing, and changing a child support order can take many months. Some parents also have no right to a lawyer. Felipa says tensions over his child support situation helped lead to the breakup with his fiancée.</p><p>Felipa admits it&#39;s tough getting by with so many kids. He&#39;s paid child support sporadically, most recently when he was employed as a truck driver.</p><p>&quot;I was making $1,300 every two weeks and they were taking five [hundred]-something out every two weeks,&quot; he says. &quot;After the taxes and all that, can you imagine what [that] left me?&quot;</p><p>Current federal guidelines allow states to garnish up to 65 percent of a parent&#39;s pretax income for child support.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/1001242-Assessing-Child-Support-Arrears-in-Nine-Large-States-and-the-Nation.PDF">One study found</a>&nbsp;that among parents with reported annual incomes of $10,000 or less, the median child support order represents 83 percent of their income.</p><div id="res456663547"><div id="responsive-embed-child-support-income-20151117"><iframe frameborder="0" height="549px" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/child-support-income-20151117/child.html?initialWidth=774&amp;childId=responsive-embed-child-support-income-20151117&amp;parentUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2F2015%2F11%2F19%2F456352554%2Ffrom-deadbeat-to-dead-broke-the-why-behind-unpaid-child-support%3Fft%3Dnprml%26f%3D456352554" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;" width="620"></iframe></div></div><p>Felipa says his child support order didn&#39;t leave him enough for child care. His hours were tough, leaving at 4 or 5 in the morning, sometimes not getting back until 8 or 9 at night. He hated leaving the kids with a sitter.</p><p>&quot;Sometimes you get that gut feeling, and when they cry, I just couldn&#39;t do it,&quot; he says. &quot;I felt something wasn&#39;t right.&quot;</p><p>So, in a move not likely to get much sympathy in family court, Felipa quit working. For two years he&#39;s relied on food stamps and other aid while his child support debt has ballooned.</p><p><strong>&#39;Income That Doesn&#39;t Exist&#39;</strong></p><p>&quot;When people have orders that they can&#39;t comply with, it doesn&#39;t motivate them to work and pay. It does the opposite,&quot; says Turetsky of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/css">Office of Child Support Enforcement</a>.</p><p>She says too many men quit jobs, turn down promotions, or go underground when courts set child support orders too high. One problem, she says, is that when there&#39;s no evidence of income, many jurisdictions &quot;impute&quot; it, often basing payments on a full-time minimum wage job.</p><p>&quot;I&#39;m going to call it magical thinking,&quot; Turetsky says. &quot;You could call it the income we think you should have. But the bottom line is that it is income that does not exist.&quot;</p><p>The child support system was set up four decades ago, and Turetsky says it seems stuck there &mdash; as if a man with no college can still walk into a factory tomorrow and pull down middle-class wages. In fact, a large majority of child support debt is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.urban.org/sites/default/files/alfresco/publication-pdfs/1001242-Assessing-Child-Support-Arrears-in-Nine-Large-States-and-the-Nation.PDF">owed by men who make less than $10,000 a year</a>.</p><div id="res456663291"><div id="responsive-embed-child-support-debt-20151118"><iframe frameborder="0" height="422px" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" src="http://apps.npr.org/dailygraphics/graphics/child-support-debt-20151118/child.html?initialWidth=774&amp;childId=responsive-embed-child-support-debt-20151118&amp;parentUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.npr.org%2F2015%2F11%2F19%2F456352554%2Ffrom-deadbeat-to-dead-broke-the-why-behind-unpaid-child-support%3Fft%3Dnprml%26f%3D456352554" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; border-style: initial; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; font-size: inherit; line-height: inherit; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;" width="620"></iframe></div></div><p>&quot;We&#39;re asking that [women and children] become dependent on men who are just as poor as they are,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://cffpp.org/staff/">Jacquelyn Boggess</a>&nbsp;of the Center for Family Policy and Practice.</p><p>When parents face incarceration for nonpayment, it can burden entire families. Boggess has seen men&#39;s mothers, even their ex-girlfriends or wives, step in to pay to keep a father out of jail. And child support debt never goes away, even if you declare bankruptcy or when the children grow up.</p><p>&quot;We found that there are 20- and 30-year-old children who are paying their father&#39;s child support debt, so their father can keep whatever small income they may have,&quot; she says.</p><p>Another quirk in the system is that many men rack up child support debt while in jail. After Antonio Martin&#39;s ex-girlfriend lost her company health insurance, she had to give the government Martin&#39;s name, as it was a requirement in order to get Medicaid coverage for their daughter. Martin was serving seven years for robbery when the child support order came.</p><p><img alt="Felipa prepares dinner for his family at their home in West Baltimore, Md." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/17/harrelle-cooking-c9f69523fb7cf41adb984a51d291a2fc7fcc1b58-s700-c85.jpg" style="height: 225px; width: 300px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" title="Felipa prepares dinner for his family at their home in West Baltimore, Md. (Jennifer Ludden/NPR)" /></p><p>It was &quot;$183.50 twice a month,&quot; he says. &quot;So in my mind I&#39;m thinking, upon release I&#39;ll start paying this amount of money.&quot;</p><div id="res456413992"><div><div><p>Enforcement officials say that happens a lot. Some parents don&#39;t realize they can file to defer payments. But many states consider incarceration &quot;voluntary employment,&quot; and no excuse to suspend child support. Martin&#39;s debt added up, month after month.</p></div></div></div><p>&quot;When I came home and I got the first letter,&quot; he recalls. &quot;I was seeing it was $4,000 on there.&quot;</p><p>That was two years ago. With his criminal record, Martin has struggled to find work. His debt is now approaching $6,000. Martin recently completed a job training program at the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.cfuf.org/">Center for Urban Families</a>&nbsp;in Baltimore, hoping to find any job he can to start paying down his debt. Eventually, he hopes to get certified for work in plumbing or carpentry.</p><p><strong>Balancing Responsibility And Reality</strong></p><p>Among the Obama administration&#39;s proposed changes to child support rules is a provision&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-11-17/pdf/2014-26822.pdf">barring states from letting child support pile up in prison</a>. There is wide support for that, even among conservatives.</p><p>&quot;Everyone agrees yes, we should be tough,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://www.brookings.edu/experts/haskinsr">Ron Haskins</a>&nbsp;of the Brookings Institution. &quot;But if a father goes to jail for five years, should he owe $15,000 in child support when he comes out? You know that guy&#39;s never going to have $15,000 in his whole life.&quot;</p><p>More controversially, the administration wants to make sure child support orders are based on a parent&#39;s actual income.</p><p>&quot;We can&#39;t be naive when we&#39;re dealing with parents who have walked away from providing for their children,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="https://www.aei.org/scholar/robert-doar/">Robert Doar</a>, of the conservative American Enterprise Institute.</p><p>Doar, who used to head child support enforcement in New York state, says there will always be some parents who go to great lengths to hide income. He does support suspending debt during incarceration and more job training programs &mdash; but worries the proposed changes would make it too easy to dismiss cases as &quot;uncollectible.&quot;</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re talking about poor, single parents, often moms,&quot; he says. &quot;And the child support collections that they get, when they get it, represents 45 percent of their income.&quot;</p><p>Republicans on Capitol Hill have filed bills to&nbsp;<a href="http://waysandmeans.house.gov/house-senate-lawmakers-announce-bill-to-reaffirm-congress-role-in-welfare-policy/">block the proposed regulations</a>. They worry they&#39;ll undermine the principle of personal responsibility, a hallmark of child support enforcement measures in the 1990s. They also say any regulatory changes should be made through Congress, not the administration.</p><div id="res456414569"><div data-crop-type=""><img alt="Harrelle Felipa (right) speaks during the Responsible Fathers meeting at the Center for Urban Families in Baltimore. His child support debt has accrued to $20,000 after he quit a job to be a stay-at-home dad." src="http://media.npr.org/assets/img/2015/11/17/responsible-fathers-meeting-jtsuboike-0308-edit_custom-42c20c167079f05c3f6a0a4661b6f031cb8e85d1-s1600-c85.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Harrelle Felipa, right, speaks during the Responsible Fathers meeting at the Center for Urban Families in Baltimore. His child support debt has accrued to $20,000 after he quit a job to be a stay-at-home dad. (Jun Tsuboike/NPR)" /></div><div><div><p>Meanwhile, Harrelle Felipa continues to do the best he can. His youngest will head to school soon, and the boy&#39;s mom &mdash; Felipa&#39;s ex-fiancée. &mdash; recently lost her job. So Felipa is looking to work again. He&#39;s been volunteering at an elementary school and is talking with the principal about a paid position. This time, he hopes what&#39;s left in his paycheck after child support will be enough.</p></div></div></div><p>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/11/19/456352554/from-deadbeat-to-dead-broke-the-why-behind-unpaid-child-support?ft=nprml&amp;f=456352554"><em> via NPR</em></a></p></p> Thu, 19 Nov 2015 16:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/deadbeat-dead-broke-why-behind-unpaid-child-support-113864 StoryCorps Chicago: ‘We want a gay child, but we’d welcome a straight one’ http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-%E2%80%98we-want-gay-child-we%E2%80%99d-welcome-straight-one%E2%80%99-113986 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/91ea8933-4bb3-4578-955d-6ca929856023.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Nelson Long and Alison Smith were two weeks away from their wedding when they visited the Chicago StoryCorps booth in August. Both Nelson and Alison are children of divorce, and both have a parent who is gay. Alison grew up as a preacher&#39;s daughter in southern Illinois and Nelson grew up in a small coal mining town in West Virginia. They had very different childhoods, but the experience they share is an important part of their relationship.</p><div>&nbsp;</div><p dir="ltr"><em><a href="http://www.storycorps.org">StoryCorps</a>&rsquo; mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 12:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/storycorps-chicago-%E2%80%98we-want-gay-child-we%E2%80%99d-welcome-straight-one%E2%80%99-113986 Divorce in the Philippines http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-07-01/divorce-philippines-112300 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Brandice%20Schnabel.jpg" style="width: 533px; height: 400px;" title="(Photo: Flickr/Brandice Schnabel)" /></div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/212845096&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 23.9999980926514px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">The ongoing Greek debt negotiations</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Greece&rsquo;s prime minister sent a letter to the country&#39;s creditors today saying he was prepared to make new concessions and accept most of a deal that was put forth over the weekend. Greece is expected to hold a referendum this weekend to see whether the Greek public is willing to accept the austerity measures. We discuss the ongoing debt negotiations and the implications for the EU with Gideon Rachman, a columnist with the Financial Times.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong>Guest:</strong> <em><a href="https://twitter.com/gideonrachman">Gideon Rachman</a> is a columnist with the Financial Times.&nbsp;</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/212844614&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 23.9999980926514px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">World History Moment: the birthday of the automobile</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Friday July 3rd marks the birthday of the first automobile. Worldview resident historian and author of &#39;On This Day in Chicago History&#39;, John Schmidt has the story.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong>Guest:</strong> <em><a href="https://twitter.com/JRSchmidtPhD">John Schmidt</a> is the author of &#39;On This Day in Chicago History&#39;.&nbsp;</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/212842759&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 23.9999980926514px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">Divorce remains illegal in the Phillippines</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Other than Vatican City, the Philippines is the lone holdout among nations when it comes to legalizing divorce. There is a movement to revive failed legislation to allow divorce, but currently in the strongly Catholic country, couples mainly can only dissolve their marriages through annulment. The process is costly financially and in many other ways. Columnist, Ana Santos, found this out firsthand. She shared the struggles of ending her marriage in a recent feature article for The Atlantic titled &ldquo;Ending a Marriage in the Only Country That Bans Divorce.&rdquo; Santos is a former Persephone Miel fellow at the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. She&rsquo;ll talk about the religious, political and societal obstacles to ending the ban on divorce in the Philippines.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong>Guest:</strong> <em><a href="https://twitter.com/iamAnaSantos">Ana Santos</a> is former Persephone Miel fellow at the&nbsp;Pulitzer&nbsp;Center on Crisis Reporting.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/212841969&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 23.9999980926514px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: rgb(255, 244, 244);">The music of Hans Werner Henze</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Global Notes goes classical this week. July 1st would have been the birthday of German composer Hans Werner Henze, a man whose artistic credo was that music should contribute to contemporary society. Henze was a post war modernist who was once criticized for not having enough &ldquo;chaos&rdquo; in his music. Morning Shift and Radio M host Tony Sarabia brings us the music of Henze for our weekly Global Notes.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong>Guest:</strong>&nbsp;<em><a href="https://twitter.com/wbezsarabia">Tony Sarabia</a> is the host of <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/118782724828266/?fref=ts">Radio M</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZmorning">WBEZ Morning Shift</a>.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 15:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2015-07-01/divorce-philippines-112300 Morning Shift: The state of marriage http://www.wbez.org/morning-shift-state-marriage-109748 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/by firemedic58.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We take a look at the state of the institution of marriage and how divorce could be helping the economy. Plus, the music of Foul Tip.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-marriage/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-marriage.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-the-state-of-marriage" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The state of marriage" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 09:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/morning-shift-state-marriage-109748 Morning Shift: New book offers lessons on surviving infidelity http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-02/morning-shift-new-book-offers-lessons-surviving <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Noel_Shush -courtesy of ashleymadison.com_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cheating can be a devastating blow to not just your relationship, but your ego as well. How do you pick up the pieces and move on? Also, with the digital age upon us, how do news organizations keep up with the times?&nbsp;</p><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-surviving-infidelity.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-surviving-infidelity" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: New book offers lessons on surviving infidelity" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p> Tue, 02 Jul 2013 10:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-07-02/morning-shift-new-book-offers-lessons-surviving The ever-changing marriage carousel http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/ever-changing-marriage-carousel-103197 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/%28AP%20PhotoMiguel%20Villagran%2CFile%29%20Tom%20and%20Katie.jpg" title="Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise (AP PhotoMiguel Villagran,File)" /></p><p>Growing up in an ethnic/Catholic Chicago neighborhood, divorce simply did not exist. The macabre joke was that the only way out of a marriage was either by death (natural causes) or dismemberment (murder and mayhem). Television in the 1950 and &#39;60s reinforced this marital standard by portraying marriage as a lifelong commitment: <em>The Adventures of&nbsp;Ozzie and Harriet</em> (calm and sturdy); Lucy and Desi from<em> I Love Lucy</em> (frenetic but committed); Rob and Laura from <em>The Dick Van Dyke Show</em> (modern and urbane).</p><p>In todays world much has changed. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the divorce rate of first marriage is around 50 percent; second marriages are at 60 to 67 percent and third marriages are at 73 to 74 pecent. Last February Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes announced they were getting divorced after five years of marriage. The tabloids suggested that the reason for the divorce was a simple one: The couple had entered in a five year contract and time was up! Whether or not this is true, the Cruise/Holmes divorce has sparked a discussion of marriage by contract. Or, as <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/30/fashion/marriage-seen-through-a-contract-lens.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">the <em>New York Times</em> headline succinctly put it</a>: &ldquo;Till Death, or 20 Years Do Us Part.&rdquo;</p><p>I think that the last 40 years of high divorce rates has forced us, individually and culturally, to rethink divorce &nbsp;and the reasons for getting married in the first place. To begin with, the marriage age is at an all-time high &mdash; 28.7 years for men and 26.5 for women. Part of this, of course, is due to hard economic times. At least part of the reason is that people, especially children of divorced relationships, are simply hesitant to take the plunge. Why make the same mistakes as our parents? Why not just cohabitate? Why not mimic the &#39;90s sitcom <em>Friends</em>? That is, live with your pals well into your 30s and just date around? Why not try to be George Clooney &mdash; keep dating, keep moving? Why get married and stay married unless you really want kids? Why risk living with someone that you might grow to dislike? Why put up with the day to day banalities of domestic existence? Why risk being unhappy? Why risk the &ldquo;change partner and dance&rdquo; divorce carousel? After all, everybody knows that it&rsquo;s almost impossible to get like, lust, and love in one relationship. So why bother?</p><p>OK, I admit it &mdash; I&rsquo;m an incurable romantic. Yes, divorce is scary. Yes, the statistics seem to be stacked against success. But, the real purpose behind marriage, partnership and commitment is the deep-set need to love and be loved in return. Psychologists tell us that we only know ourselves when we try to know and be empathetic with another. Love is not always a &ldquo;splendid thing&rdquo; but it is a necessary ingredient in the life process. So, yes love sometime makes fools of us. Yes, sometimes we are hurt and wind up hurting others. But we are human beings, and we need intimacy and we crave affection.</p><p>I think marriage will change, and must change. And, I hope the divorce rate will change as well for the better, of course. Maybe we will move to contract marriages, or short-term renewable marriages. I&rsquo;m not sure, but I am sure that the need and desire for intimacy and love are an elemental part of the human condition.</p><p><em>Al Gini is a Professor of Business Ethics and Chairman of the Management Department in the Quinlan School of Business at Loyola University Chicago.</em></p></p> Tue, 23 Oct 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/ever-changing-marriage-carousel-103197