expert online series

Net Pioneer Dean Hughson, Creator of the Divorce Page,
on Online Resources and Bridging the Gender Gap


MsgId: jcafe(1)
Date: Thu Apr 10 18:53:29 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 38.254.181.90
Don't miss tonight's special chat, featuring divorced dad and net pioneer Dean Hughson, creator of the Divorce Homepage. In 1991 Dean learned about divorce in the worst way --he
had one against his will. From this experience he decided to develop resources
for others in the midst of divorce, and created one of the first divorce
communities and help sites on the World Wide Web. Dean soon found that even
those with the money to pay for high-priced attorneys lacked basic information on
the impact of divorce, including the chaos it brings to families and the damage it
inflicts on our society.

Tonight Dean Hughson will be here to answer your questions, and to discuss one of his favorite
subjects: Bridging the Gender Gap. "When it comes to divorce, Hughson says, "nobody wins."

The chat is from 10-11 PM ET.

MsgId: jcafe(2)
Date: Thu Apr 10 21:56:51 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Hello all. Am I the first here?
MsgId: jcafe(3)
Date: Thu Apr 10 21:59:20 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Hi, Dean, welcome!
MsgId: jcafe(4)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:00:08 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

It's time to start our interview, and I'd like to begin by asking you how you got into this line of "work" --webmaster to the divorced and divorcing?
MsgId: jcafe(5)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:00:17 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Having a divorce against my will taught me we lacked resources. So I decided we needed a DIVORCE HOMEPAGE.
MsgId: jcafe(9)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:03:30 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

I found even attorneys and professors didn't have the skills to survive divorce and thrive. The Web is a great resource.
MsgId: jcafe(10)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:04:04 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Back when you created your Homepage, your resource was just about the only one out there. What did development of your Homepage teach you about the needs of the divorced and divorcing?
MsgId: jcafe(11)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:05:22 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

One thing I learned is that Internet is a community. We need to have places to be 'heard' especially when we are hurting. Divorce is a hurtful thing/lonely thing for many.
MsgId: jcafe(12)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:06:28 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

I guess that when one feels disenfranchised, that sense of community is all important. And, I suppose the anonymity of the web allows people to express more, in a certain way.
MsgId: jcafe(13)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:07:39 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Well, I was amazed. People, like you and me, bare their souls on the 'net. People have told me things that I am sure they wouldn't tell their therapist or attorney. I listen and care.
MsgId: jcafe(14)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:08:40 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Dean, the issue we would like to address tonight is the gender gap. Anyone who's spent anytime researching the divorce issue on the web will realize the extreme polarization between men's rights and women's rights groups. Each side feels that they have been especially persecuted in the process. As the recipient of so much electronic communication regarding this issue, how do you feel?
MsgId: jcafe(15)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:09:21 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

Hi Dean: I notice the title of this interview is on the Gender Gap. Have you given any thought to how men and women--especially moms and dads--can be more open to seeing the other's point of view?
MsgId: jcafe(16)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:11:02 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Terry, thanks for your question. I encourage folks to learn to talk and listen. The problems are human--not men or women problems. All hurt when a marriage unravels.
MsgId: jcafe(17)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:12:05 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

A lot of folks misunderstand people...men AND women hurt emotionally and physically when things are not going well in their marriages. We need to encourage divorce prevention
MsgId: jcafe(18)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:12:10 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Yes, Dean, but men and women do, often, face different issues. Can you give us the lay of the land: What are the most frequent complaints of each gender in the divorce process?
MsgId: jcafe(19)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:16:07 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Men complain about access problems with kids. Women complain about men not being involved with the kids enough. Second wives complain about money problems.
MsgId: jcafe(20)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:16:58 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Also both men and women complain that they don't feel they can marry again. They worry about meeting new people.
MsgId: jcafe(22)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:17:51 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Also, nearly all complain about the court system that encourages 'battles' .
MsgId: jcafe(21)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:17:16 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

Dean, with all the people who have contacted you on your site, you must have developed some profound thoughts--I'm not being glib--about marriage and divorce. Can you share these with us?
MsgId: jcafe(24)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:18:56 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

profound thoughts? Divorce is forever. I encourage folks to read the book "DIVORCE BUSTING by weiner-davis'..if you can still divorce after you read this book, you probably need a divorce.
MsgId: jcafe(25)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:19:13 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

That is a "chicken and egg" problem, isn't it?
MsgId: jcafe(26)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:20:05 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

"Chicken and egg" refers to lawyers promoting court battles.
MsgId: jcafe(27)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:22:49 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

I am still stuck with the though that 'divorce itself is profound'...what a waste of energy,eh?
MsgId: jcafe(28)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:24:13 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

What I mean is, can lawyers really be to blame for the antagonistic, angry feelings of the spouses during a divorce. Without lawyers, do you think people would be able to have amicable settlements?
MsgId: jcafe(29)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:24:17 EDT 1997
From: Big
At: 207.172.106.167

Comments please on divorced mothers who make the Dad feel so guilty he doesn't want to visit.
MsgId: jcafe(32)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:26:40 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

Big, being there for your kids is the most important thing. Forget about your ex.
MsgId: jcafe(31)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:25:44 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Dean, still, people do get divorced, and they must get past it. How can we help the genders to come together and have empathy for each other? And also,
how can we use the Internet as a vehicle for this goal? Often, it seems as if all the hostility on the
web accomplishes just the opposite.
MsgId: jcafe(33)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:27:44 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

There are a lot of radical people on the 'net. some don't like men and some don't like women. one needs to learn to sort through the weird stuff. there is a lot of good info and empathy on the net. your site is an example.
MsgId: jcafe(34)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:28:41 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Terry good advice to Big. I tell people 'look up the word divorce and practice it'. focus on the kids, not on the ex.
MsgId: jcafe(35)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:28:51 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Dean, what do you have to say to Big, whose ex makes him feel guilty. What support can he find, online and off, and how should he handle the situation?
MsgId: jcafe(36)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:29:36 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

anyone here read the book 'Naked at the Gender Gap' by Asa Baber? He was talking about this problem in 1975..good book to check out.
MsgId: jcafe(37)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:30:25 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

What, specifically, does the book say? What is its premise?
MsgId: jcafe(38)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:30:52 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Big, there are some places that can help you learn how to handle your feelings towards your ex....Single Dads comes to mind..parents without partners is another good group. all can be found at my site.
MsgId: jcafe(39)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:31:59 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

The book pointed out the inequalities of divorce even then. Men were treated as wallets, women as baby sitters. No one thought about the kids....only the divorce process and the courts.
MsgId: jcafe(40)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:32:50 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

You can find the Divorce Homepage at http://hughson.com/

It links to the very best divorce resources on the Web.
MsgId: jcafe(41)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:33:38 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Dean, how has the situation changed in the past 20 years, since the book was written? Do you see any progress?
MsgId: jcafe(42)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:34:14 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

anyone found the usenet groups helpful? alt.support.divorce soc.men soc.women alt.dads-rights
MsgId: jcafe(43)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:35:23 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Men aren't afraid to seek custody. Women are learning to be assertive about an equal cut of the economic pie. People are making new step families easier I think. And one can find love online...I did through a fax machine
MsgId: jcafe(44)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:36:11 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Hae you, personally, found these news groups to be supportive and helpful? Are there any other bulletin boards you might refer people to, including any on the online services?
MsgId: jcafe(45)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:36:33 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Divorce used to be a negative word in our society. It is more accepted now..in some ways it is sad..we need to encourage love and committment more I think.
MsgId: jcafe(46)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:36:54 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

You found love through a fax machine --you must tell us how.
MsgId: jcafe(47)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:38:09 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

I agree that divorce is too accepted. I'm concerned that my seven-year-old will grow up to think that it is just as "okay" to divorce as to have a commited relationship.
MsgId: jcafe(48)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:39:11 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

a friend told another friend in mexico city I was divorced. He sent a fax to me with a picture of a beautiful woman. I was intriqued and started talking to her. we have been married over 5 years now....if this middle aged obese guy can do it,anyone can.
MsgId: jcafe(49)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:39:55 EDT 1997
From: Big
At: 207.172.106.167

I'm new at this chat stuff. my name is Big_Red. I;m the grandmother watching my son agonize. Thanks for your comments
MsgId: jcafe(50)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:40:01 EDT 1997
From: Big
At: 207.172.106.167

I'm new at this chat stuff. my name is Big_Red. I;m the grandmother watching my son agonize. Thanks for your comments
MsgId: jcafe(51)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:40:29 EDT 1997
From: Big
At: 207.172.106.167

I'm new at this chat stuff. my name is Big_Red. I;m the grandmother watching my son agonize. Thanks for your comments
MsgId: jcafe(52)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:40:36 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

Dean, any thoughts on how to trust again after you've been "left" for another?
MsgId: jcafe(53)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:40:40 EDT 1997
From: Big
At: 207.172.106.167

I'm new at this chat stuff. my name is Big_Red. I;m the grandmother watching my son agonize. Thanks for your comments
MsgId: jcafe(54)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:40:52 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

While we're on the topic, what are some of the best ways to find love online?
MsgId: jcafe(55)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:40:54 EDT 1997
From: Big
At: 207.172.106.167

I'm new at this chat stuff. my name is Big_Red. I;m the grandmother watching my son agonize. Thanks for your comments
MsgId: jcafe(56)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:41:51 EDT 1997
From: Big
At: 207.172.106.167

I'm new at this chat stuff. my name is Big_Red. I;m the grandmother watching my son agonize. Thanks for your comments
MsgId: jcafe(57)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:42:07 EDT 1997
From: Big
At: 207.172.106.167

I'm new at this chat stuff. my name is Big_Red. I;m the grandmother watching my son agonize. Thanks for your comments
MsgId: jcafe(58)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:42:29 EDT 1997
From: Big
At: 207.172.106.167

I'm new at this chat stuff. my name is Big_Red. I;m the grandmother watching my son agonize. Thanks for your comments
MsgId: jcafe(59)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:42:58 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Big Red, just be there to listen to your kid and love the grandkids. That is a great help. My mom helped me also.
MsgId: jcafe(60)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:43:56 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Finding love online is risky. I prefer 'friends' introducing you to people online or running ads in newspapers and taking a friend with you to meet them. I have arranged a few marriages that way.
MsgId: jcafe(61)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:45:01 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Dean, getting back to the gender gap, man and women do sometimes seem, each, separately, to have legitimate points. Listening to the stories, one feels a lot of injustice on both sides. It can be infuriating.
MsgId: jcafe(62)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:46:04 EDT 1997
From: Big
At: 207.172.106.167

Thanks, Dean. I have my sweetie next week. First time more than overnight. I'm excited
MsgId: jcafe(63)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:46:12 EDT 1997
From: Big
At: 207.172.106.167

Thanks, Dean. I have my sweetie next week. First time more than overnight. I'm excited
MsgId: jcafe(64)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:46:21 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

I see injustice daily. I think though it isn't against men or women but against human beings. I call myself a human rights worker because we are talking about a system that hurts humans--men and women. terrible things though
MsgId: jcafe(65)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:47:16 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Moveaways after divorce is terrible...people not seeing their kids for years and the system does nothing to help. People not getting any financial or emotional support for their kids. these are terrible things.
MsgId: jcafe(66)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:47:29 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

Do you mean, specifically, about divorce, or in general?
MsgId: jcafe(67)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:48:07 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Court systems that favor men or women are terrible. some do...most don't. courts don't like what they are doing. like being the person pulling the trigger on the slaughterhouse floor..must hurt judges to do it.
MsgId: jcafe(68)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:48:27 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

Dean, if you had the power, how would you change the system?
MsgId: jcafe(69)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:48:33 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Yes, you're right, and as you said before, these days, roles are sometimes reversed. Nonetheless, I think it behooves us, as a society, to recognize that the genders tend to face different issues in divorce --and to work to ease the inequity (on both sides) and the anger. This is part of the healing process. But how can we begin?
MsgId: jcafe(70)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:51:11 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

If I had the power I would require mediation for all divorces. If children were involved that is......I would require that the visitation and child support issues be hashed out in mediation with help. get some of the hurt over with there and encourage folks to get to the business of parenting.
MsgId: jcafe(71)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:52:49 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

worst case I saw on the net. guy in australia marries a woman from Germany. She decides to divorce and takes the child back to Germany. Once ever 2 months he flies to Germany and she allows only 4 hours visitation. The law in Germany allows that as 'reasonable visitation'...shame!!!
MsgId: jcafe(75)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:54:55 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Wow, that's a terrible story. But kudos to the devoted Australian Dad for sticking with it and fighting to see his kids.
MsgId: jcafe(72)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:53:21 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

Many people think women get the short end of the stick in mediation. What do you think?
MsgId: jcafe(73)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:53:24 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Yet I have heard it said that mediation itself fosters inequity --that it may prevent women, specifically, from getting their due? Has anyone else heard this point of view?
MsgId: jcafe(74)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:54:51 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

I want to paint a picture of hope though. I see people trying to resolve problems in marriages in different ways than the old days. The Net has resources...reports, information, dial-a-priest, talk to a rabbi..things our forefathers and foremothers didn't know about. things like DIVORCECENTRAL....applauds to you all for doing this.
MsgId: jcafe(76)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:56:29 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

That is a myth. if mediation is done fairly no one gets more than they are due. Divorce attorneys say that about mediation because mediation encourages fairer distribution of the access to the children than the court systems that still favor women 90% of the time at the initial divorce.
MsgId: jcafe(78)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:58:01 EDT 1997
From: Terry
At: 168.100.205.178

I've heard it more in relation to money. I've heard that women tend to get intimidated by their husband and aren't given the full story by the mediator of what they are entitled to under the law.
MsgId: jcafe(83)
Date: Thu Apr 10 23:00:55 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Terry: mediation is good because you still talk to your attorney before final papers. No reason to get hurt on money...your attorney helps you before you sign.
MsgId: jcafe(77)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:56:55 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Well, thank you, and applauds to you, too. I do think we should conclude with a message of hope, and in that spirit, I wonder if you might comment on where those facing divorce can turn, especially, for a warm and empathetic ear online. Can you give us a top ten list?
MsgId: jcafe(79)
Date: Thu Apr 10 22:58:28 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

I am a good example of someone who wasn't prepared for divorce --didn't know any divorced people. Now I know thousands. My experience is that divorce can be a positive thing for some..it was for me but it wasn't my choice. The positive is that I married a beautiful person who loves me and I have met lots of nice folks online.
MsgId: jcafe(80)
Date: Thu Apr 10 23:00:02 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

TOP TEN LIST OF DIVORCE RESOURCES
1. http://www.divorcecentral.com (ha ha)
2. http://hughson.com

for the next 1000 resources just go to http://www.yahoo.com/ and find the new ones daily.
MsgId: jcafe(82)
Date: Thu Apr 10 23:00:54 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Dean, we don't want to keep you on beyond your hour. Perhaps you can just let us know a couple of your own favorite online hangouts (if you wouldn't mind) and we'll call it a night.
MsgId: jcafe(85)
Date: Thu Apr 10 23:03:07 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

I read history and study things..last nite I read about vanilla...the web is like a library. nite to all. keep in touch. dean in las vegas
MsgId: jcafe(86)
Date: Thu Apr 10 23:04:34 EDT 1997
From: Divorce_Central_Moderator
At: 168.100.204.58

Goodnight. Thanks, Dean Hughson, for participating in this week's Thursday Night Live!! at Divorce Central.
MsgId: jcafe(87)
Date: Thu Apr 10 23:05:20 EDT 1997
From: Dean_Hughson
At: 208.211.48.51

Goodnight fellow students of divorce. Visit me at
The Divorce Homepage