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Founder of firefighter support group works to prevent divorce

July 19 marked the end of the 31st annual Firehouse Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center. The four-day event was chock-full of things you would expect when firefighters from all over get together to hold a convention. It is the largest of its kind on the east coast with over 10,000 participants.

Tucked away somewhere amidst the throngs of people, thermal imaging cameras and hydraulic rescue tools was a woman with the mission to help other women married to firefighters. The 41-year-old wife of an Ohio firefighter is also the founder of FirefighterWife.com. The organization she created has now become the largest online community for firefighter wives throughout the nation.

The woman says that she initially started blogging early in her marriage. She says that she needed a place to vent about the irregular work hours and constant stress she felt as a result of her husband's line of work. Today she says the mission of the organization is to help prevent firefighters and their wives from getting divorces and to "strengthen, ignite and rescue firefighter marriages."

This is not just a website where women can anonymously badmouth their husbands or the firefighting profession. In fact, the organization has a standing rule against husband bashing. The goal of FirefighterWife.com is to provide a place where wives can share their difficulties being married to husbands who frequently work around death and destruction. The organization shares tips and advice on how to deal with those struggles. The wife of a Baltimore County firefighter says that the group has helped her let go of the fear that she felt by the constant danger her partner faced.

Divorce is never an easy issue for either spouse. There are often high emotions and anger which prevent some spouses from making good long-term decisions. That is why it is good to seek the counsel of a third party who is able to consider the matter more objectively.

There will be important decisions that need to be made regarding the custody of children, child support payments, visitation rights. Issues related to the division of property also need to be addressed. Couples need to determine whether they are going to sell the marital home and split the proceeds, for example. Of course, these represent only a few of the hurdles divorcing spouses may experience.

Source: Baltimore Sun, "'Fire wives' find shared experiences" Alison Knezevich, Jul. 19, 2014

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