Thursday, April 12, 2007

Older Parents

"LATE in 1996, while rehearsing for a production of “A Christmas Carol” in New York, Tony Randall was giddily anticipating becoming a father — at the age of 77. “What I look forward to,” he said during a break, “is when the kid is 15 and we go out in the yard to play ball. I’ll only be 90.”

But Mr. Randall never made it. He was 84 when he died in 2004, leaving behind not only a 7-year-old daughter, Julia, but also a 6-year-old son, Jefferson.

In December 1996, inspired in part by Mr. Randall’s well-publicized late fatherhood (his wife was 26 at the time), I wrote an article for The New York Times about men having children at a stage in life when their peers were usually contemplating a move to Florida or their next cardiogram. One proud papa dubbed them start-over dads, or SODs for short." By Thomas Vinciguerra, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 4-12-07 NVS)

April 12, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chinese Divorce

"Divorce, once nearly unheard of in China, has become more common than ever as women such as Wu gain financial independence and shrug off the diminishing stigma of leaving their husbands. Legal barriers to divorce have fallen away -- couples needed permission from their employers until just four years ago -- and the Internet has become a resource for discontented spouses seeking guidance. More broadly, experts say, the increase in divorce points to an embrace of individualism in this country, which in many ways remains only nominally communist." By Maureen Fan, Washington Post Link to Article (last visited 4-10-07 NVS)

April 10, 2007 in Divorce (grounds) | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

DNA Stalkers?

"They swab the cheeks of strangers and pluck hairs from corpses. They travel hundreds of miles to entice their suspects with an old photograph, or sometimes a free drink. Cooperation is preferred, but not necessarily required to achieve their ends.

If the amateur genealogists of the DNA era bear a certain resemblance to members of a “CSI” team, they make no apologies. Prompted by the advent of inexpensive genetic testing, they are tracing their family trees with a vengeance heretofore unknown.

“People who realize the potential of DNA,” said Katherine Borges, a co-founder of the International Society of Genetic Genealogy, “will go to great lengths to get it.”

Unlike paper records, which can be hard to come by and harder to verify, a genetic test can quickly and definitively tell if someone is a relative. But not all potential kin are easily parted from their DNA. Some worry about revealing family secrets. Some fear their sample could be used to pry into other areas of their lives. Some just do not want to be bothered.

Those cases inspire tactics that are turning the once-staid pursuit of genealogy, perhaps second only to gardening among American hobbies, into an extreme sport." By Amy Harmon, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 4-10-07 NVS)

April 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Cost of Supervised Visitation

"Custody battles are rarely gentle affairs, but if you are poor, such fights can carry an added frustration: waiting months to get a court-approved visit with your own child. In cases involving allegations of domestic violence, which are increasing, or other issues, such as drug abuse and long absenteeism, judges often require that child’s visits with the noncustodial parent take place only in the presence of a professional, like a social worker. But when judges order supervised visitation, neither the court nor other government agencies pay for the service, a growing problem in New York City and across the nation.

Because he cannot afford to pay for supervised visitation, which routinely costs $100 an hour, Juan Manuel Fernandez, 51, of Washington Heights, said, he has not seen his two daughters, ages 6 and 11, since last October. A year ago, he said, his wife walked out, moved the girls to New Jersey, and told the court he was threatening her. He denies the accusation, but the judge in his case ruled that supervision was necessary. So now he is waiting for free supervision through a nonprofit agency, which can take months." By Leslie Kaufman, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 4-10-07 NVS)

April 10, 2007 in Visitation | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)