Eva Mendes says the number one reason for divorce is sweatpants.  That got a lot of pushback on social media but I think I know what she meant.  Sweatpants is just a symbol for a way of life.

In the sixties, some men grew their hair long.  Others objected to that.  But it wasn’t really the long hair they were objecting to.  They were really objecting to the hippie lifestyle and liberal belief system that long hair represented.

Think of a complicated set of beliefs as a suitcase.  Then use another word as a handle to carry that suitcase around.  For example, lawyers use the handle res ipsa loquitur meaning “the thing speaks for itself”.  This is a presumption that helps prove something by circumstantial evidence.  An example is if you see a broken flower pot on the sidewalk and a ledge above with flower pots, you can presume the flower pot fell off the ledge even though you didn’t see it happen.  But that’s too complicated to explain to the judge every time, so a lawyer might just say “res ipsa” and the judge knows what the lawyer means.

I think that Ms. Mendes was using sweatpants as a shortcut to say that you have to work at a marriage.  She meant you can’t just have an I-don’t-care sweatpants attitude about your relationship.  You have to bring a yoga pants attitude to your marriage.  That means you need to care about your spouse and your marriage.   And that means doing things like saying “I love you”, showing affection, talking, and being interested in their life.

In court papers, lead law firm Jones Day and others that helped Detroit navigate its historic debt restructuring made a case—at the request of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes—for why their hourly billing rates and final tab are reasonable. Officials at Jones Day, who pointed out they had already cut $17.7 million from their tab, defended the $53.7 million in fees charged for roughly 17 months’ work.

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There is a perfect winter storm of depression brewing.  Got the blues?  You are not alone.  There are good reasons you may be feeling sad right now.

Holiday Depression

You may get depressed at this time of year because it reminds you of bad experiences of past holidays.  Or you may get depressed because you have had better holidays in the past.   Or you just may be comparing this holiday to an imagined holiday like the ones in the Norman Rockwell paintings or the happy holidays you think your friends are enjoying.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

At this time of year I’m driving to the office in the dark and driving home from work in the dark.  The days are shorter.  There is less sunlight.  We feel good when we are in the sun.  We feel bad when there is a lack of sunlight.

Divorce Depression

It is usual for people separating and divorcing to feel depressed.  The future is uncertain and scary.  Finances are usually a mess. You may be heartbroken.

So, what can you do, if all three events are hitting you at the same time?  Ride out the storm.  It will take time.  You will have grief.  And pain.  But eventually, the storm will be over, and your new life will make all this seem like a distant memory.

While driving to the office this morning, I turned on “The Kane Show” on Hot99.5 FM.  Kane invited callers to tell him and his entourage about a relationship dispute and they would decide who was right and who was wrong.

What a great idea!  I have often said that people in relationships have different agendas and they need a good conflict resolution system.

Marriage counselors can help, but they cost money, and frequently tell you that you are both right (in alternative universes), which may be true, but  it is not very satisfying.

Divorce is the ultimate conflict resolution system, but it has some serious drawbacks.  It’s expensive and time-consuming.  Sometimes the judge doesn’t tell you who was right and who was wrong.  And even when the judge does tell you, the judge frequently gets it wrong.

So we have decided, as a public service, that you can post your relationship conflicts in the comments section, and we will tell you who is right and who is wrong.  We reserve the right to be arbitrary and capricious, but at least it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

We have court-ordered parenting classes for people going through divorce in Maryland, but Oklahoma is trying something different.  Their classes will discuss divorce and emphasize reconciliation in an attempt to convince people to stay married.

State Senator Rob Standridge, who sponsored the new law, says not every marriage can be saved, and the law is not designed to force couples to stay together.  But some couples can successfully reconcile and that may be best for their children.

Do you think we ought to try something like this in Maryland?

Neon Light by Blake Shelton is one of many country songs about divorce that we wish we’d written! Alas, we’ll stick to our skill as divorce lawyers!

Neon Light

by Blake Shelton

Ever since you left me
I’ve been ridin’ ’round, cranking up a little country gold heartbreak
Cried and dried these tears
I don’t know how much more missin’ you I can take

I prayed, prayed, prayed
For a sign, sign, sign
Now there it is in the window
It’s about time, damn time

There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel
It ain’t all that bright, but even though it’s subtle
It’s got me feeling alright, gonna make it a double
There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel, tunnel, tunnel

I take a shot of I don’t care what you’re doing now
Chase that one with a cold screw you
When that’s done, I just might wash it down
With a big pitcher of someone new

That blonde, blonde, blonde
At the bar, bar, bar
See if she wants to try and break my heart, heart, heart

There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel
It ain’t all that bright, but even though it’s subtle
It’s got me feeling alright, gonna make it a double
There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel, tunnel, tunnel

When we were together
I thought life would suck forever
Even though I knew better than the pain would never end
They say the night’s darkest just before the dawn
Gets kissed by the day break, got down on my knees

And I prayed, prayed, prayed
For a sign, sign, sign
Now there it is in the window
It’s about time, damn time

There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel
It ain’t all that bright, but even though it’s subtle
It’s got me feeling alright, gonna make it a double
There’s a neon light at the end of the tunnel tunnel tunnel

John Gottman says there are just four prescriptions for a happy marriage:

  1. Turn toward your partner (both physically and psychologically).
  2. Say positive things.
  3. Celebrate the hard times you’ve been through.
  4. Look at the Goldfinch (look if your partner says there’s a Goldfinch in the backyard).

The good thing is that these simple steps are within your control.  They are not hard to define like a “spark” or “that special something.”

Boca Divorce Attorney Jodi Furr Colton brought my attention to a Psychology Today study that correlates heightened aggression between spouses with their blood sugar.

The researchers gave 107 married couples voodoo dolls and pins for 21 days.  They were told to place as many pins in the doll as needed each night depending on how angry they were with their spouse.  They also blasted each other with noises through headphones while completing assigned taskes.  Their blood glucose levels were monitored.

It appears that the lower your blood sugar, the more hostile and cranky you are.  Others are more irritating to you and you are more irritating to others.  So if you and your spouse are getting on each other’s nerves, try eating some food.

I dance
I fall down
I get up again
I go on dancing

— Hopi saying