1. Internet and Social Networking – The computer and the internet had a tremendous impact in divorce. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube, and other sites have been used by people to share their innermost secrets with little concern for the consequences of detection by the opposing party. E-mails and texting have had a noticeable impact on divorce, and the wa…y family law attorneys handle their cases.
2. Gay Marriage – Legalizing gay marriage has become the forefront debate in many state legislatures in recent years.
3. Parental Kidnapping – Parental kidnapping, both between states and internationally, has not only been a reality in high conflict divorces, but has had criminal implications as well.
4. Divorcing without a Lawyer – There has been a rise in people filing for divorce and handling legal matters on their own, especially in hard-hit areas where people can no longer afford to hire professional legal services. Legal aid clinics have been dealing with significant budget cuts due to the poor economy, with more and more people having no choice but to represent themselves in court.
5. Parental Alienation – Parental alienation, which courts and state legislatures have recognized as a serious problem, exists in many divorce cases. It happens when one parent systematically alienates the child/children against the other parent, with devastating and long-term results, not only to the child/children, but also to the alienating parent.
6. Displacement of Families – The poor economy and unexpected job losses have forced many people to seek employment in other states, displacing entire families and forcing children into unfamiliar surroundings. This has been occurring more in the last several years than at any other time in prior decades.
7. Fathers obtaining Sole Custody – The significant increase in fathers obtaining sole custody. In addition, there is a considerable increase in the number of couples opting for shared or joint physical custody, sharing their children on an equal or close-to-equal basis.
8. Domestic Violence – In recent years, there has been a rise in domestic violence, especially with the stress caused by the economic nightmare of the past couple of years.
9. Bankruptcy – During the past couple of years, people have been inflicted with a brutal reality: negative equity in their homes, loss of retirement plans, diminishing pension plans, tremendous credit card debt, and job losses. Many couples have stayed married simply because of the financial decay each would face if a divorce action was filed.
10. The Recession – The recession of the past couple of years. Home values crashing, tremendous job losses, and the resulting devastating economic insecurity impacted heavily on divorce.