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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Emotional Disorder May Threaten Marriage

An emotional disconnection disorder can be a major threat to a marriage, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Missouri – Columbia's Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

A personality trait named alexithymia can keep people from sharing or possible from understanding their own emotions and can severely affect any relationship. Researchers found when one spouse suffers from alexithymia, both partners can experience loneliness and a lack of intimate communication.

Nick Frye-Cox, a doctoral student in the department, collected data from both spouses in 155 heterosexual couples. He found approximately 7.5 percent of men as well as 6.5 percent of those women suffered from the disorder. People with this disorder often become uncomfortable during conversations and have difficulties relating to other people. They often are stoic and like to avoid emotional topics, instead focusing on more concrete, subjective statements according to Frye-Cox.

"People with alexithymia avoid forming relationships; however, they get married because they still feel the basic human need to belong, which is just as fundamental as the need to eat or sleep," said Frye-Cox.

This disorder is often found with other conditions people may suffer from, such as those on the autism spectrum as well as with those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorders, eating disorders, panic disorders, substance abuse and depression.

The study, "Alexithymia and marital quality: The mediating roles of loneliness and intimate communication," is scheduled to be published in the Journal of Family Psychology.

If you are in need of a family attorney, call our office today. We can assess your situation and help you explore your best options.

New Law Bars U.S. Adoptions Of Russian Children

A controversial new Russian law could prevent many U.S. families from bringing Russian children to the United States and completing their adoptions, making the children part of their families.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial measure Friday that could affect hundreds of families from the United States seeking to adopt Russian children. According to U.S. State Department statistics, United States families adopted close to 1,000 Russian children last year and have adopted 60,000 Russian children over the past 20 years. The U.S. State Department called the move a "politically motivated decision" that will "reduce adoption possibilities for children who are now under institutional care."

They said they are concerned about statements from the Russian government saying adoptions underway may also be stopped and said they are hoping the Russian government to allow those adoptions to be finalized.

The law, Federal Law No. 186614-6 was approved by unanimous vote December 26 before being signed by Putin today.

The U.S. Department of State is asking families currently in the process of adopting a Russian child to reach out to the Department of State at AskCI@state.gov to provide information concerning where they are in the adoption process.

Stricter laws have been considered since a 7-year-old Russian boy was sent back to Russian by his adopted mom with a note saying she did not want him anymore. According to reports, 19 Russian children who have been adopted into U.S. homes have died after their adoptions. Many of the pending adoptions are those of special needs children in institutionalized care. Their prospective adoptive families are holding their breath, hoping their adoptions will go through. Many of the facilities lack the resources to meet those children’s needs.

The new measure also bars any political activities by non-governmental organizations receiving funds from the United States if those activities affect Russian interests.

The law takes effect January 1 and will include a list of U.S. citizens prohibited from entering Russia as well as suspend the activity of any legal entities controlled by these people in Russia.

The bill was a response to the Magnitsky Act, a law signed into law by President Obama earlier this month barring Russian citizens accused of violating human rights from traveling to the United States and from owning real estate or other assets here.

Adopting a child can be a long and difficult process. If you are considering adopting, it is best to consult a family attorney who can help you navigate the legal waters and help you complete your family. Call today for your free, initial consultation.

Sesame Workshop Creates New Resources For Families Going Through Divorce

Sesame Workshop announced a project to help children, especially those between the ages of two to eight years old to deal with a divorce and all that surrounds it.

In the United States, nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sesame Street's press release said divorce affects 1.5 million children yearly and in response, Sesame Workshop launched the multi-media resources named Little Children, Big Challenges: Divorce to help children transition through what can be an often difficult and confusing time in a family.

They said the project began with research, including consulting a board of experts including some in child development, early childhood and mental health fields to help determine what the main content messages should be and how to best approach the subject.

"With our new resources on divorce, Sesame Workshop continues a 43-year-long history of tackling the most relevant and challenging issues for children," said H. Melvin Ming, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop. "During difficult times, it’s vitally important that children feel supported and develop coping skills that will help them throughout their entire lives. Sesame Workshop is committed to providing the highest quality resources to families dealing with life’s challenges."

The project includes a DVD, a parent or caregiver guide, a kid’s book, an online toolkit as well as a mobile app with resources and tools to help parents and caregivers.

They plan to distribute the kits to military and veteran families as well as the general public through faith-based programs, schools, counseling programs and parenting programs.

Some of the tips offered to parents and caregivers address when and where a good time to discuss issues with the child may be, how to help the child cope with the how they may be feeling and who a parent should reach out to if they are facing these issues.

If you are facing a separation or divorce, it is important to retain a family lawyer you can trust to help you through this difficult time and look out for your best interest. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Find more about this resource here >>>

Supreme Court To Hear Two Cases Involving Same-Sex Marriages

The Supreme Court announced Friday it will hear two cases involving same-sex marriage.

One of the cases involves the federal Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA and the other case it will consider is the California voter-passed bill from 2008, Proposition 8, which made it illegal for homosexual couples to marry in that state. DOMA, which passed in 1996, bars federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in states where they are legal.

This marks the first time the Supreme Court will consider cases relating to same-sex marriage and could affect residents across the country. Same-sex marriage has been legalized in nine states along with the District of Columbia while 31 states have amended their state constitutions to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

The Obama administration initially supported DOMA, an act that former President Bill Clinton signed into law, but has recently spoken out against it, saying the act is unconstitutional.

At stake is many of the legal benefits afforded to married couples, such as marital assets in case of one person's death, death benefits for a surviving partner and legal rights for both parents of children in such relationships.

If you are in need of a Missouri family attorney, contact our office today for a free, initial consultation.

Study Shows Students Want To Marry Before Parents Believe They Are Ready

A study released this week showed college students wanted to marry at 25, younger than the average age of a first marriage in the United States.

The study was conducted at Brigham Young University and gathered data from 536 college students, 446 of their mothers and 360 of their fathers from five college campuses across the United States (BYU was not one of the campuses). Many of the parents surveyed actually felt 25 was too young for the students to marry.

In the survey, researchers said they found moms had the highest financial bars to reach before their child was ready for marriage, including to be financially independent. Many parents want to make sure their child has an education before getting married as well.

The college students, on the other hand, seemed to believe 25 was a great age to marry.

Researchers said the skipped sampling BYU students because much of the population is Mormon and the Mormon population, on average married two years before the general population. The study was published in the The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

If you are in need of a family attorney, whether you are planning a marriage or dealing with other issues, contact your St. Louis family attorney today for a free, initial consultation.

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Jeffrey A. Heater
Attorney at Law

5205 Hampton Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63109

Phone: (314) 541-7421

Fax: (314) 932-7672


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