Entries in Divorce (16)


Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes Split Spotlights Scientology Divorce Rituals

George Pimentel/Getty Images for Creative Artists Agency(NEW YORK) -- The divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, both bold-faced names and members of the Church of Scientology, shines a light on one aspect of their religion.

For many of the world's religions, the rituals surrounding divorce are as structured as those governing marriage. Jews seeking a divorce must sign a ritual contract. Mormons married in the temple must undergo a "sealing cancellation." In some Muslim sects, witnesses must be present for a divorce, and in others a husband recites a formula of denunciation three times to end a marriage.

The Church of Scientology, however, is much clearer on the rituals and practices of marriage than it is on divorce, according to experts and the church's own official website.

Rather than focus on divorce, the church concentrates on improving couples' relationships through therapy.

"Church members believe that tension in a marriage comes from 'overts' and 'withholds,' unstated, undiscussed issues or problems," said Stephen Kent, a religion professor at the University of Alberta.

"Communication is therefore a good way to rebuild a marriage that's crumbling. Couples can take a course called How to 'Improve Your Marriage' and in dire situations auditors, or counselors, can lead couples through exercises," he said.

"There's no real annulment in the church. Many members have been divorced, even founder L. Ron Hubbard was married three times," Kent said.

The church does not allow members to have contact with disconnected, or excommunicated members of the faith, making divorce inevitable sometimes when one spouse wants to continue in the faith and another wants to leave the church, according to Kent.

"If one person wants to stay in church, he can't have contact with someone who holds doubts or criticism of the group. The doubter is called a PTS, potential trouble source."

Cruise has been divorced twice already. He was previously married to Nicole Kidman and to Mimi Rogers, an actress who became a professional poker player. Cruise and Holmes, who have been married for five years, have one daughter together, 5-year-old Suri.

Representatives for Cruise and Holmes would not comment specifically for this story.

"This is a personal and private matter for Katie and her family," Holmes' publicist said in a statement. "Katie's primary concern remains, as it always has been, her daughter's best interest."

"Kate has filed for divorce and Tom is deeply saddened and is concentrating on his three children," Cruise's publicist said in a statement. "Please allow them their privacy to work this out."

Cruise and Holmes were married in a Scientology ceremony in 2006 in France.

According to the church website "wedding ceremonies are performed by a Scientology minister with similar protocol to weddings in other churches: the bridal procession, the traditional role of the parents of the bride, best man, matron or maid of honor and the traditional seating of respective families and friends."

Couples can chose between "one of several different wedding ceremonies with varying degrees of formality. Each of these ceremonies includes traditional vows of loyalty and devotion," according to the website.

In one version of the ceremony, called the "Double Ring," a minister tells the couple "that through your love together, with your agreement upon its reality, and by your communication of these two beautiful truths, you have completed the ARC Triangle, and thereby consummated the only true marriage."

ARC refers to "affinity, reality and communication," according to the Church.

Before Cruise and Holmes were married, Holmes delivered the couple's daughter in a "silent birth" in which no one around the mother talks during the delivery.

"It's basically just respecting the mother, you know, and helping to be quiet -- not the mother. The mother makes as much noise ... you know, she's going through it," Cruise told ABC News in 2006. "But why have other people make noise? You know, you want that area very calm and to make it very special."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Can Facebook Ruin Your Marriage?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It turns out the kiss of death for marriages might be more like a poke.

A third of all divorce filings in 2011 contained the word "Facebook," according to Divorce Online. And more than 80 percent of U.S. divorce attorneys say social networking in divorce proceedings is on the rise, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Divorce lawyer Marian Rosen, who practices in Houston, said she's increasingly seen social media cited in divorce proceedings and child custody battles.

"We've had instances where they pull up Facebook in the course of a deposition," Rosen told ABC News, adding that in addition to proving infidelity, she's seen cases in which children's profiles are cited as evidence to suggest bad parenting. "Once it's out there for the world, it's very difficult … to erase from the past. There are going to be trails that can be followed."

Three years ago, 20 percent of divorce filings contained the word "Facebook." By 2011, it had risen to 33 percent, according to AAML. Despite the increase, the top Facebook mentions were the same: inappropriate messages to "friends" of the opposite sex, and cruel posts or comments between separated spouses. Sometimes, Facebook friends would tattle to one partner in a relationship about bad behavior by the other.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Hell Hath No Fury Like…Ex-Wives?

Michael Bezjian/WireImage(NEW YORK) -- Reality TV star Brandi Glanville admits she wanted to “kill” singer LeAnn Rimes, who ran off and married Glanville’s ex-husband, Eddie Cibrian, and now acts as stepmother to Glanville’s children.

“I thought I was going to physically hurt her,” said Glanville, in an interview with Radar Online, after Rimes turned up at soccer games to see Glanville’s boys, Mason, 8, and Jake, 5, play.

“I remember walking up to soccer practice and there she was with my baby in her lap,” said Glanville, one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  “My blood was boiling, and I thought I was going to kill her. I really thought I was going to physically hurt her....She was sitting in my soccer chair, under my tent. She’s got my kid on her lap, and she’s with my husband, and that was that little moment of total irrational fury.”

In a culture in which half of all marriages end in divorce, stepchildren and half-siblings and the interplay of emotions between wives can wreak havoc on a mother’s feelings, said Judy Kuriansky, a psychologist and relationship expert at Teachers College at Columbia University.

“It’s really a normal feeling, but the obviously normal response is not to say it,” said Kuriansky. “But the feeling is common -- anger, resentment, the sense of betrayal, and to have to deal with the emotions on your own.

“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” she said. “You want to get rid of the woman who sabotaged you.”

Glanville was married to Eddie Cibrian for eight years before he had an affair with Rimes while filming the Lifetime movie Northern Lights in 2009. First there were denials, but then came the incriminating photos. The two soon divorced their respective spouses and married each other in 2011. Rimes had been married to Dean Sheremet.

“This is what movies and TV shows are made of,” said Kuriansky.

Real-life jealousy does, indeed, make for great fictional drama. On the latest episode of AMC’s Mad Men, wife No. 1 Betty Draper stirs up trouble with wife No. 2 Megan Draper after her three children spend a weekend at Don Draper’s lush Manhattan apartment.

Betty, who is unhappily married and has ballooned up from her model figure, spies lean and sexy Megan in a state of undress while picking up her children.  Back at home, Sally asks for help on a family tree project and Betty reveals that Don had a third wife. “Ask Megan about it,” she tells Sally, cryptically.

Confused and feeling betrayed by not knowing the truth and feeling as if she’s been used as a weapon by her mother, Sally lashes out at all her parents for keeping secrets.

Both the real housewife Glanville and the fictional character Betty Draper see the new, beautiful family unit replacing the crumbling old one.

“The family looks so happy with the good-looking husband and the children in tow,” said Kuriansky. “That would press anyone’s button.”

But, she warns, parents should take care not to suck their children into the angry vortex.

“And it’s not just mommies, but daddies, too,” Kuriansky said. “Any parent who sees another treating their children as their own would act the same way. It’s territorial and anthropological.”

“It’s normal to have the mama bear feeling,” said Kuriansky. “Anyone who gets near, you want to kill, especially if the [step-mother] is really close....But it’s always the children who suffer, because they are torn. Be careful not to use them as weapons. In a healthy environment, the parents work it out.”

As for Don and Betty Draper, tune in next week to see how their rivalries get resolved -- or escalated.

But for Glanville, she admits that she is no longer so upset with Rimes.

“We’re never going to be best friends,” she told Radar Online. “But she’s good to my kids. They love her, and that’s all I could ask for. If they didn’t like her, I’d be in court right now, fighting. It’s not about me -- it’s about them.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Spouses Use Spy Tools to Get Custody of Children

MAGAN CRANE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The spy shop has become a new tool in the arsenal for feuding couples calling it quits in America. From phone tracking and GPS, to hidden cameras and microphones, America’s divorce lawyers have seen technology play a prominent role in their cases.

More than 80 percent of the nation’s top divorce attorneys say they’ve seen an increase in the role electronic data and social networking sites play in divorces, according to the American Association of Matrimonial Lawyers.

One of the primary reasons is that do-it-yourself snooping has become relatively cheap and easy. Surveillance equipment can cost less than $300. It is simple to mount a microphone in a child’s blue jeans, as one Texas mother did, or hide a camera in a child’s favorite doll.

“The one thing that’s exchanged between the warring parties is the child,” said attorney John Kinney. “So, the child becomes, in effect, some sort of Trojan horse.”

Duke Lewton has been on the other end of those devices in a vicious battle over his seven-year-old daughter, whose mother rigged her teddy bear with a microphone and told her to carry it at all times.

“[She] removed a few stitches, placed a recording device inside of the little bear’s head and then you could access a USB port on the side of the head...and download all of our conversations that we had had through the weekend,” Lewton told ABC News.

Lewton’s wife was fined $10,000 for violating wiretapping laws and the tapes were thrown out of court. But the law is murky; in 38 states it’s legal to secretly record in a public place. Federal wiretapping laws protect the privacy of your cellphone conversation and your computer, but sometimes judges allow it anyway.

Leah Wagner lost custody of all five of her children after her spouse recorded her every move. Wagner’s husband used at least seven hidden tape recorders in her car and house, including one in a bookcase.

He wanted her to lose her temper and purposefully picked fights, trying to irritate Wagner because he knew the outbursts would be recorded.

“I put on some colorful little tantrums in response to his provoking me,” she told ABC News. “I had no idea I was being set up.”

The setups make modern divorce technologically treacherous, damaging already frayed feelings whether or not they are admissible in court.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Polyamory on Rise Among Divorce-Disgusted Americans

Hemera/Thinkstock(TOPANGA, Calif.) -- Jaiya Ma has a rich life -- a successful career as a sexologist, a healthy 2-year-old and two men who have sex with her. And soon, there may be another woman who will become part of this unconventional, but loving, polyamorous family.

For the last 10 years, Ma, 34, has lived with Jon Hanauer. But five years ago, she met Ian Ferguson at a dance class and fell in love.

Now, all three live together with Eamon, her son with Ferguson, at their home in Topanga, Calif.

Hanauer, 49, urged Ma to find a new lover after their relationship stalled and she fell hard for furniture designer Ferguson, who is 44. A year later, she was pregnant with his child.

Both men helped deliver Eamon in a birthing tub -- an experience Ma described as "orgasmic."

The triad lives with open communication and an even more open marriage. Both men have had affairs with other women and Ferguson has now asked to bring another woman into the family.

"Jealousy comes up," Ma admits. "But we are all fairly harmonious. We are lucky that we are all have the tools and mechanisms to deal with jealousy and communication and never play the blame game."

Polyamory -- or "many loves" -- is not common, but the practice is growing, say advocates, especially among younger Americans who have grown up with a high divorce rate.

Polyamorists believe that people have the right to form their own complex relationships with multiple partners. The most vocal want the right to marry -- as a cluster.

One of the largest advocacy groups Loving More, based in Loveland, Colo., publishes a magazine and holds conventions and retreats for the like-minded. Founded in 1985, the organization has more than 45,000 in its active database.

Just recently, Mo'Nique, an Oscar-winning American actress, discussed her open marriage with ABC's Barbara Walters.

She said polyamory is not just an excuse to have "hook up and have casual sex."

Ma and Hanauer met in 2000 during tantric yoga classes in Cincinatti, Ohio, and fell in love taking a teacher training course.

They had had open marriage, but after one hurtful relationship, Hanauer retreated emotionally, but encouraged Ma to find another lover. In 2007, she met Ferguson at a dance class and the attraction was immediate.

Divorced, Ferguson had just discovered polyamory, and after a year he showed an interest in a sexual relationship with Ma. While still discussing having children -- Hanauer was not sure he was ready -- Ma got pregnant with Ferguson's baby.

All three moved to a larger home, which Ferguson helped pay for, and together they took birth classes for a home delivery. All three sat in the birthing pool during labor.

Meanwhile, Ma's son Eamon is doing well with this unconventional setting.

"Within our family it's great," she said about three parents raising a child. "Oh, my god, it works well. It's amazing to watch."

So far, there isn't much research on how the children of polyamorous families fare, but Elisabeth Sheff, a sociologist at Georgia State University, is conducting the first large study of these children. Her work reveals that they can thrive, if their families are stable and loving.

Ma said that she does worry about society will judge her son as he gets old enough to start school. "We live in a culture that doesn't support that," she said. "And we are not anti-monogamy."

"It's a concern," said Ma. "I think often that there are so many different families today. The modern family has stepdad and gay dads and two mommies. What is family and how do we explain that to children?"

Luckily, she said, their family lives in the Los Angeles area where "there are many different kinds of families."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


In Sickness and in Health — Does a Cancer Diagnosis Up Divorce Risk?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SALT LAKE CITY, Utah) -- A 2009 study from the University of Utah Medical School suggested that a cancer diagnosis is likely to also have a negative effect on marriage, and more specifically, that a cancer diagnosis in a woman makes her partner more likely to leave.

The study shows that among five hundred patients with brain cancer or a handful of other cancers, marriages were seven times more likely to break up if it was the woman who got sick.

Overall, this study and others have not found that couples with a cancer patient are more likely to split up than non-cancer couples, but the gender disparity noted was alarming, Dr. Marc Chamberlain, chief of neuro-oncology at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and co-author of the study, told ABC.

“If the diseased partner was female, then there was a much higher rate of abandonment. It’s a striking observation that’s somewhat appalling for the male gender,” said Chamberlain.

The study was not geared to say why the marriages broke up or even who was doing the leaving, but Chamberlain speculated that it might have to do with our culture’s expectation for the duties a wife performs in terms of child care, running the household and being a supporting partner.

“When that structure collapses as it does with such a devastating illness as brain cancer, it may be that men feel abandoned and feel the need to replace that elsewhere,” he said.

This change in roles can be difficult to handle for both genders, however, and anecdotally oncologists report that they see their fair share of marital difficulties regardless of the gender of the patient.

Especially in younger patients, the diagnosis can drive a wedge into the relationship, said Dr. Jay Brooks, an oncologist at Ochsner Medical Center in Baton Rouge, La.

“Many people have confided in me that once diagnosis of cancer made, they began a separation process from their spouse even in cancers with very good prognosis and cure. I think best way to handle this is to recognize and acknowledge this — speak with professional social worker about your feelings,” he said.

A quick search of cancer support forums will yield a number of stories that fit into the cancer-as-homewrecker narrative, but oncologists note that the majority of what they observe in their patients is precisely the opposite:

“I also think it is important to mention those partners or spouses who often blow me away with their support,” said Dr. Jennifer Litton, an oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“Many of my patients are young, with small children and their husbands are now doing the laundry, handling more childcare responsibilities than they have in the past and many are always there at their wife’s or partner’s appointments,” she said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pat Robertson Says Alzheimer's Makes Divorce OK

Win McNamee/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson stunned 700 Club viewers this week when he said divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's disease was justifiable.

Robertson, chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network and former Republican presidential candidate, said he wouldn't "put a guilt trip" on someone for divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's disease, calling Alzheimer's "a kind of death."

The remarks sparked outrage throughout the Alzheimer's community.

"To condone abandoning one's spouse in the throes of this mind-robbing illness is absurd," said Dr. Amanda Smith, medical director at the University of South Florida Health Alzheimer's Center in Tampa.

"While Alzheimer's certainly affects the dynamic of relationships, marriage vows are taken in sickness and in health."

An estimated 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease – a figure expected to rise sharply as baby boomers enter their older years. And about 80 percent of Alzheimer patients who live at home are cared for by family members.

Robertson's comments came after a viewer asked what advice he should give a friend who had been seeing another woman since his wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

"I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her," Robertson said.

The progressive symptoms of Alzheimer's can put stress on relationships, leaving caregivers to cope with the loss of intimacy and other aspects of adult romantic relationships, said Dr. Jason Karlawish, a professor of medicine and medical ethics and assistant director of the Penn Memory Center in Philadelphia.

"There's no question that this is an issue," said Karlawish. "But to a spouse who's struggling with this kind of issue, I would want to say after the patient has left this world, you want be able to look back and say you treated that person with dignity."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Marriage, Divorce Lead to Unhealthy Weight Gain

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LAS VEGAS) -- Forget the "freshman 15."  New research suggests marriage and divorce can lead to significant, often unhealthy weight gain.

A study of more than 10,000 people found that marital changes can leave both partners packing on the pounds, with the most worrisome weight gain in newlywed women and recently divorced men.

"After marriage or divorce, both men and women gain weight.  But women tend to gain more weight after marriage, and men tend to gain more after divorce," said study author Zhenchao Qian, a sociology professor at Ohio State University.  Qian and postdoctoral student Dmitry Tumin presented their findings at the American Sociological Association annual meeting in Las Vegas.

Previous studies have linked marriage -- considered a healthy union overall -- with weight gain, and divorce with weight loss.

"But those studies looked at average changes in weight, so you couldn't get a good picture of who was gaining or losing, or maybe gaining a lot of weight," said Qian.  So Qian and Tumin sought to uncover how gender and age factor into the marital mass equation.

Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth -- a biannual survey of men and women from 1986 to 2008 -- the researchers tracked body mass index of people who were never married, stayed married or divorced.  Within two years of marriage or divorce, some BMIs ballooned.  Although they can't tell why from their study, Qian and Tumin have a theory.

"After marriage, women will take care of their families and maybe eat the way their husband does or their children so," he said, explaining that the change in routine can trigger weight gain for some women.  Men, on the other hand, "tend to be healthier after marriage in terms of diet," Qian said.

Married men are also more likely to go for routine checkups.  After divorce, Qian said, men may lose that protection.

Susan Heitler, a marriage counselor in Denver and author of, has another theory.

"Joy and grief are strong emotions that can lead to an increase or decrease in appetite," Heitler said, adding that newlyweds often gain small amounts of weight because they're content.  But in people who are newly divorced, depression can cause substantial weight gain.

"There's an impulse to self-soothe with food combined with a drop in self-control that comes with depression or grieving," Heitler said.  "People will think, 'Not only do I feel like eating a candy bar, but I just don't have the will power to say no.'"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gray and Gay: Coming Out in Middle Age

Trinette Reed/Photodisc(WASHINGTON) -- Growing up in the Iowa farm belt, Dr. Loren Olson always thought of himself as "heterosexual, with a little quirk."

He wondered why he had to work so hard at masculinity and attributed his feelings of being a "man-imposter" to the death of his father in a tractor accident when he was 3.

Olson went on to have a satisfying 18-year marriage and two daughters but, inside, he always knew something wasn't quite right. He describes "always editing my behavior and thoughts." But long after many men acknowledge their sexual orientation, he came out after the age of 40.

In his new book, Finally Out: Letting Go of Living Straight, Olson, now 68 and semi-retired psychiatrist, examines the lives of closeted gay men, many of whom have sex with other men but deny they are homosexual.

A 2006 study that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine revealed that 10 percent of men who called themselves heterosexual have had sex with men, many of them married.

Olson's book weaves memoir with an online survey of 132 men who have sex with men. In seeking responses, he intentionally didn't use the word, "gay." He provides insight into their mindset and sexual habits: They avoid the intimacy of kissing and anal sex in their relationships.

"My sexual attraction, behavior and sex identity are all in alignment," Olson said. "Many men struggle to line these three things up in a way that gives them peace and comfort."

Olson also noted a real "disconnect" between the older and younger generation of gay men.

"There are a lot of really out and proud gay young men, but they don't know we exist or they don't really sense that we are authentically gay," Olson said. "They think we should have figured it out or are intentionally hiding and don't have the guts to come forward as they did."

The average age at which gay men come out has fallen steadily in four decades, according to a 2010 survey by the British LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] group Stonewall. In the 60-plus group of those who had already come out, the average age was 37. For men and women in their 30s, the average age was 21 but it was 17 for the 18 to 24 age group.

Gays, lesbians or bisexuals who reveal their sexual orientation typically boost their self-esteem and experience less anger and depression, according to a 2011 University of Rochester study.

But men who come out in middle age face other barriers: financial insecurity, social isolation and being childless or estranged from their families, according to Judy Evans, a spokeswoman for the group Service and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE).

"These older Americans came of age at a time when being gay was labeled a psychiatric disorder and there was overt discrimination," Evans said. "They are really not used to living lives so openly as the younger generation."

When Olson came out, "I felt over the hill as a gay man, clueless about what gay meant and suddenly alone," he writes.

Many men don't ever come out, in part because of the idea that "being gay is associated with being weak and powerless," he said. "Somehow we think we got away from that, but we still haven't. Part of it for my generation is giving up the privilege of being a man."

Olson said he decided to tell his story because it wasn't unique. "I felt I needed to share some of my own secrets to make my story authentic...I needed to say, 'I know where you are; I have been there.'"

Olson said there is no universal path to coming out, but his advice to those in the closet is: "The loss is far less than imagined and the gain is far more."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Does a Tired Wife Lead to Marital Strife?

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- Wives who have difficulty falling asleep at night are more likely to have marital woes, according to a new study.

For the study, presented Monday at Sleep 2011, the 25th anniversary meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies in Minneapolis, 35 healthy, married couples wore actigraphs -- bracelets that measured the time it took each partner to fall asleep after going to bed and the total time each slept over 10 days. The couples also kept a diary in which they recorded positive and negative interactions with their spouse.

The study found that wives' sleep difficulties affected their own and their spouses' marital interactions the following day.

"Wives who took longer to fall asleep the night before reported poorer interactions with their husbands the next day," said Wendy Troxel, assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and lead author of the study. And their husbands reported poorer interactions with their wives.

Several studies have linked sleep deprivation to irritability. And "when you're irritated, the person you're most likely to take it out on is your spouse," Troxel said.

"For sure when someone is sleep deprived they become more emotionally brittle," said Susan Heitler, a Denver marriage counselor and co-founder of "A situation that might have been humorous or just slightly frustrating looks downright annoying. It's like putting on dark glasses, to not have enough sleep."

But, said Troxel, "it's equally possible that how you interact with your spouse during the day could affect sleep at night."

Emotions could cause women to toss and turn in bed as they worry about work, marriage and motherhood, said Heitler. "That kind of lying in bed with an overloaded mind may be characteristic of women in society right now, particularly women with children and a full-time job."

The study, which is still in progress, so far suggests that sleep disturbance affects marital interactions and not vice versa. Surprisingly, when husbands got less sleep, it had the opposite effect. It boosted their marital bliss -- an effect that might reflect what went on after the lights went out.

"The actigraphs only measure the time it takes for someone to fall asleep after they went to bed," said Troxel, adding that the couples were instructed to start the timer when they turned out the lights. "When a husband is sleeping less, it may be because he's engaged in other pleasurable interactions."

Troxel couldn't say with certainty whether sex played a role in men's positive outlook on marriage after a shorter night's sleep because the study is still under way. But she hopes the couples' diaries will shed light on the topic, which has not been well-studied.

Troxel plans to recruit 12 more couples before completing her final analysis, which she hopes will start to uncover how sleep influences relationships and health.

"There's a great deal of research focused on the impact of social relationships on health, and a great deal focused on marital quality and cardiovascular health," she said. "It appears that being married is good, but it has to be a high-quality marriage."

And sleep, the study suggests, could be an important determinant of marriage quality.

"Sleep is a critical health behavior that happens to be one that couples engage in together," Troxel said. "Understanding the dynamic link between relationships and sleep might help us to understand how relationships get under the skin to influence health and wellbeing."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio