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Linked lives: divorce and migration

Many of us living in here in Dallas began our lives elsewhere. No matter where we started out, this is where we are all making our homes today. This might be where we all stay, as the U.S. migration rates continues its half century of decline.

Thomas Cooke, a professor of geography at the University of Connecticut, has spent nearly a decade trying to figure out why migration has slowed so dramatically. He says Americans only move about half as much as we used to 50 years ago. The conclusion Cooke has come to after much research and study is that divorce and child custody are major contributors to the decline in migration.

Cooke's analysis of demographic data of Americans since 1968 indicates that divorced people with children are less likely to move; the separate lives of the two parents are still linked after the divorce.

"People make decisions based on what their loved ones are doing," he said. "So the idea of linked lives is focused on people who care about each other." While divorced spouses certainly don't have the feelings for each other that they once had, the emotional importance to them of their children never fades, typically keeping the lives of the parents intertwined.

Cooke notes, too, that fathers have changed. A generation or more ago, courts generally awarded full custody to moms. Today, the dads often share custody and are typically more engaged in the lives of their kids than fathers were in the past.

If you begin with the premise that your spouse will remain a part of your children's lives well beyond a divorce, it might well impact your conduct and goals in divorce. You can discuss the details of your custody issues with a Dallas family law attorney experienced in protecting kids and parents both.

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