Tuesday, December 23, 2008

10 Top Stories for 2008

This month, our web site, divorce360, marks the end of its first full year.

In 12 months, we've launched the site, redesigned channels and focus pages, improved our search engine optimization and added everything from a business directory to a social networking area.

In many ways, working for a web start up is very much like my old job as a newspaper editor. Thing change daily, and you never stop trying to make it better for readers/users.

To celebrate our first year, we examined traffic and arrived at a list of top stories, blogs and community advice on the site.

Along those lines, I've put together some of the more interesting stories we've published on the site this last year.

1. Facebook Has Potential to Serve Divorce Papers.
The Internet has given us a whole new way to interact with people. Beyond digital copyright law, there are other legal ramifications. Using social networking to serve legal documents might be a new -- and gray -- are of law, but it's coming, as our recent story can attest.

2. Two First-Borns? Bad Match. Birth Order Can Help Marriage.
Studies have shown that birth order makes a difference in how you see the world, but how you see your spouse? Apparently so. There is strong connection between birth order and divorce rates,” explained John Curtis, Ph. D. and former family counselor turned management consultant and author. The most successful marriages -- "the oldest sister of brothers marries the youngest brother of sisters.”

3. How You Sleep Hints at your Feelings about Marriage
Want to check if your partner is really happy? Consider the way you and your spouse sleep at night. Do you snuggle up against each other in a spoon? Then you're very comfortable together. Do you hook legs? You're great friends. "The way partners share a bed says a huge amount how much they really like each other, trust and feel safe with each other," says Dr. Mark Goulston of the University of California. "Analyzing sleep positions can highlight trouble spots they may not even be aware of."

4. Recession Hurts Divorce Settlements.
It's hard enough to deal with the emotional issues when you and your partner decide to split. But when the recession causes financial ones, how can it be any tougher? First the recession was hurting divorce settlements as they were being negotiated. Then, because of the financial crash, job losses and the mortgage crisis, couples began returning to court to renegotiate the settlements they had.

5. Baseball Can Save your Marriage
Want to save your marriage? Try going to a baseball game. Okay, it's a little more complicated than that, but not much. Essentially, here's a study that says if you share a hobby or pastime with your spouse, you're more likely to maintain your relationship. It's kind of a no-brainer when you think about it.

6. Older Couples Divorcing to Save their Retirement
One of the saddest stories this year is about older couples having to make the tough decision to divorce so that the sick spouse doesn't run down the financials for the well one. Couple that with the tough economy, and this may become an even bigger problem.

7. Men Don't Understand the Cost of Cheating.
If you didn't know about this study, the story about former presidential candidate John Edwards teaches this harsh lesson. Here's a guy with everything, and he chucks it all -- including his chance on the national political stage -- for a younger blond. This study shows you why: Men just don't get what cheating will cost them.

8. Hurricanes, Natural Disasters, Can Cause Divorce
As if the news isn't bad enough these days, here's proof that hurricanes -- or any natural disaster -- can cause such a strain on a marriage that it can put it over the edge. But it doesn't have to end that way. Dr. Gilda Carle, Ph.D., relationship expert and Suddenly Single advice columnist for Match.com, suggests that the outcome depends on the couple, “Sometimes, a crisis or disaster can bring a couple closer together as they recognize what’s really important in life."

9. Many Couples Start New Year with Divorce.
Most people want to lose a few pounds in the new year, but some folks want to get rid of a whole person. Apparently January is a big month for divorce, particularly for couples with youngsters. They make it through the holidays and announce their uncoupling just after the new year.

10. Office Affairs on the Rise.
Apparently men and women working together can cause a number of issues -- including this one, a rise in the number of affairs at the office. "You have a common focus and lots of opportunity to get to know each other ... ,” said Tina Tessina, author of "Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage (Adams Media 2008)." “You are together, working on something. It has nothing to do with a personal relationship at all. It’s a pseudo intimacy.”

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