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U.S. News Archive
October 29 - October 31, 2001



This page contains news for the period October 29, 2001 through October 31, 2001.  

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Wednesday, October 31, 2001

Colorado lawmaker introduces bill that mandates one-year counseling before divorce is granted

A story published today by the USA Today reports that a bill requiring divorcing parents to get a full year of counseling before a divorce is granted will be considered next week by the Colorado legislature.

Hearings are scheduled Tuesday on the bill, the latest piece of controversial legislation introduced in state assemblies in the last few years to shore up marriages and reduce divorces.

"We want counseling that will focus on the negative effects on children," says Republican state Rep. David Schultheis, the bill's sponsor. "It is easier to get out of a marriage than a Tupperware contract."

While many divorce courts do require some brief type of divorce education when children are involved, this is the first legislation that would mandate such intervention statewide and for such an extended period of time, says Diane Sollee, founder of the Coalition for Marriage, Family and Couples Education. "This would be landmark legislation."

Colorado House Minority Leader Dan Grossman, a Democrat, says the bill is "pretty likely" to pass the Republican-controlled House but unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. "This is a dangerous precedent: government intrusion into marriage."

State legislators "keep introducing bills to reform divorce laws," but most are not successful, says John Crouch, a divorce lawyer who runs Americans for Divorce Reform, which both tracks and advocates change.

British singles are not settling for traditional one-bedroom flats anymore

A story published today by the London Telegraph reports that singlehood has become a major force in the housing market in Britain. The number of single-person households is nudging seven million, compared with 5.7 million a decade ago. A new survey by the Henley Centre shows that the number of child-free single people buying large, multi-bedroom detached houses on new estates.

Laing Homes, which commissioned the survey, has found that almost half the large family-size houses in some London developments are being sold to people who live alone. A sector that for so long has been dominated by the stereotypical image of cosy child-centered bliss is being diluted by space-greedy singles.

At Montagu Road, an estate of 24 three-, four- and five-bedroom houses at Edmonton, North London, no fewer than 13 have gone to buyers living alone. Laing is also building in Oxford, where 10 singles have already bought on a development of 50 family-size houses by the canal.

Marjorie James, who works for the Arts Council, has just moved into a three-bedroom house in Edmonton. "I felt cooped up in the flat I was in before," she says. "I want to be able to eat, sleep, live and dine in different rooms. My family often comes to visit me, and I have a daughter who comes and goes, so I need separate rooms for them."

There is a feeling among singles that the consumer world has geared itself to families for too long, inadvertently marginalizing them and overlooking their needs. They want to break free of the one-bedroom flat, give themselves space to hold dinner parties and to invest their large disposable incomes on status symbols.

"Size is a way of saying they have arrived and can afford large houses just like anyone else," says Steve Lidgate, the managing director of Laing.

"They do a lot of entertaining. They don't use their houses just to sleep in, but maybe to have breakfast and dinner meetings, maybe to work at home. They might need a study - somewhere to do their hobbies. Often they want stonking great master bedrooms, while other bedrooms are turned into living areas."

Dr. Michelle Harrison, who led the Henley Centre's research, says it is a myth that single people want small houses: 28 percent of new homes now have four or more bedrooms."

Another space-rich single is 34-year-old Andrew Ashby, who has bought a large three-bedroom house at Waterways, Oxford, where he has three living-rooms.

"People think single blokes live in bedsits and behave like they do in Men Behaving Badly. But we earn a lot of money, read style magazines, and I have a lot of friends and family," he says.

"But it isn't just young singles. There are a lot of older and divorced singles who don't want to go back to living in tiny places. My mum is alone and she is buying a five-bedroom house so that she can have her grandchildren to stay. We are becoming a nation of people living on our own."

British kids run away due to poor relationships with parents

A story released today by Sky News (U.K.) reports that according to a report released by the Children’s Society, one in nine youngsters in the UK will run away for at least one night before the age of 16.

According to the study, poor relationships between parents and their children are the major cause of young people running away from home. The study also showed that communication problems in families often reach crisis point at times of major change such as separation or divorce.

Children in step families are three times more likely to run away or be thrown out of the family home than those living with their natural parents, while those in single parent families are twice as likely to run away or be forced to leave.

"This research shows the most significant factor in running away is the quality of relationships between children and parents."said Ian Sparks spokesman for Children’s Society.

The study, entitled Home Run: Families and Young Runaways, was based on a survey of 13,000 teenagers aged 14 to 16 in 134 schools across the UK. Researchers also carried out interviews with 200 young runaways.

An estimated 100,000 under-16s run away from home or from care every year.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

Women associations in Morocco seek to amend country’s personal law

A story released today by the ArabicNews.com reports that a group of nine Moroccan women associations, unveiled in Casablanca a memo which focuses on reforms needed in personal laws of the country.

Proposals contained in the memo are based on the principle of gender equality in rights, duties and responsibilities. These principles which the group considers as the central axis, should underlie all of the personal law provisions.

The group also felt that the marrying age should be set at 18 years for both men and women and that both men and women should have the right to chose their spouse.

Other proposals introduced in the memo suggested that divorce proceedings should be conducted by a judge in the presence of the two spouses and that properties and other assets acquired during marriage should be equally divided in case of divorce. They also propositioned that housework should be considered as a contribution to these properties and assets.

The group also requested the unification of custody conditions after divorce and to allow both men and women to remarry and retain custody of their children.

Support groups needed for grandparents raising kids

A story published today by the Sun News reports that according to recent figures released by the Census Bureau, about 6 million children nationwide and more than 112,000 children in South Carolina are being raised by their grandparents or other relatives.

Divorce, substance abuse by parents, incarceration and death are among the reasons grandparents are finding themselves parenting their children's children, said Donna Butts, executive director of Generations United, which promotes intergenerational strategies, programs and policies.

The number of grandparents raising their grandchildren in Horry County represents less than 3 percent of total households, most of them in rural areas such as Loris, Longs and off U.S. 378.

The category represents about 4 percent of Georgetown County households, concentrated in the Choppee section and downtown Georgetown.

Although communities are making some progress in addressing the needs of this growing phenomenon, more services - such as support groups and respite care - are needed to help, Butts said. Studies also show grandparents who are raising grandchildren suffer higher levels of stress, experience isolation from peers, are embarrassed about their own children's situation and are depressed, Butts said. The children in those homes also are more likely to have emotional, behavioral or mental disorders, she added.

Grandparents also need help navigating the system when they are forced into parenting roles again, Butts said. Many don't know how to access available services, such as health insurance for the children or legal assistance.

Monday, October 29, 2001

Younger women attacked more in relationships

A story released today by the Associated Press reports that according to figures released by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, women were the victims in 85 percent of the more than 790,000 ``intimate partner violence'' crimes recorded in 1999.

These crimes, perpetrated by current and former spouses, partners and former partners, included 1,218 murders, said the Bureau Sunday in a report that mirrors previous findings on domestic violence.

Younger women, those in their teens to their mid-20s, were particularly vulnerable. But domestic violence victims between ages 35 and 49 are most likely to be killed, the study found.

Julie Fulcher, director of public policy for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said the slightly older women are probably more likely to die at the hands of a partner because they are more likely to live with their abusers, leaving them more exposed to their violence.

``We do know that domestic violence as a pattern of behavior tends to ... escalate over time,'' Fulcher said. ``Domestic violence doesn't generally begin on a first date. It begins with some controlling behaviors.''

The report defined ``intimates'' as current or former husbands or wives, boyfriends or girlfriends, or same-sex partners.

A little more than half of domestic violence crimes -- against both women and men -- between 1993 and 1999 were committed by a current boyfriend or girlfriend, a third by a spouse and the rest by a former spouse. About 10 percent of domestic crimes against men and 2 percent of domestic crimes against women were committed by a partner of the same gender, the report found.

Overall, six women out of 1,000 were victims of domestic violence in 1999 -- a 41 percent decrease since 1993, mirroring a nationwide crime drop over the decade.

However, sixteen out of every 1,000 women between ages 16 and 24 were attacked by an intimate in 1999 -- the highest rate of any age group, the report said.


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