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Study seeks to learn more about the impact of divorce on work

Divorce is among the most stressful life events a person can go through. Experts have studied its effect on children, finances and mental and physical health. Now a University of Minnesota professor, who is divorced herself, wants to try to quantify the impact that going through a divorce has on a person's job.

The professor, who teaches organizational behavior at the university's Carlson School of Management, will be surveying participants three times over the course of about a year. She and her colleagues are looking for people who work full time and are going through a divorce.

One thing she hopes that her research will do is encourage employers to find ways to support employees who are going through a divorce. She feels that there isn't enough of that right now. Workplace solutions could include allowing flexible schedules and providing privacy for phone calls.

Participants in the study will answer questions about how much they have told colleagues about their divorce, whether their boss has been supportive and how the divorce has impacted their ability to concentrate. The study will also look at what people do to help stay productive and keep a positive attitude.

Of course, the results are a long way off. However, the professor says she expects to see the impacts of a major life transition like divorce "trickle down to work."

It can be very difficult to juggle work life and everything that can be involved in a divorce (like meetings, phone calls and court dates). Many people also have the added responsibilities that come with living on their own and having primary custody of their children. Of course, there's also the emotional component that can make functioning at all a challenge sometimes.

It's important to reach out for help from family and friends as well as from your boss and co-workers. This is no time to risk jeopardizing your job by trying to take on more than you're able to. Family law attorneys understand these issues and often work around their clients' schedules to make life a little easier during this time.

Source: Star Tribune, "U professor wants to know: How is divorce affecting your job?," Gail Rosenblum, Feb. 08, 2016

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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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