Monday, November 30, 2015

Museum of Political Corruption Being Built in Albany, New York

NPR's All Things Considered Program today has a story about the founding of the nation's first Museum of Political Corruption set to open in 2019. BUT, you can buy logo gear now!

The museum was founded by Bruce Roter, a  music professor at the College of Saint Rose in Albany. Roter is using humor (check out the website) as a learning tool.

I love the concept. I often think that my own somewhat jaded humor is what has saved me from being destroyed by the judicial and legal corruption that has so harmed me, my children and so many others. The day you cease to find at least something humorous in adversary is the day you start to die.

I only wish Roter named it Museum of Corruption rather than the Museum of Political Corruption so he could include judicial corruption as well.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Relative Impact

At times I am amazed at how easily the legal system and our society as a whole tolerates blatant criminal activity and unethical behavior in the divorce industry.

One of the recent big scandals here in Minnesota has been the shutting down of Community Action of Minneapolis, a non-profit which was set up to help those in need,  after a state audit showed that its longtime chief executive Bill Davis misspent more than $800,000 in taxpayer money on travel, a celebrity cruise, spa visits and even a personal car loan. The audit caused an uproar and political allies of Davis quickly abandoned him. The organization was subsequently shut down.

I wish the divorce industry could be likewise audited. Davis misspent $800,000. I, as an individual, lost more than that due to clearly criminal and unethical actions by Spring, Nelly Wince, Judge Mearly and others who acted in their own self-interest rather than according to the law and commonly held standards of ethical behavior.

Community Action of Minneapolis was shut down because they operated for their own benefit rather than helping the poor as they claimed. The divorce industry likewise often operates for their own benefit rather than promoting justice as they claim, albeit on a vastly larger scale and with a much greater and more deleterious impact. Unethical and criminal actions the divorce industry transfer unbelievable amounts of money from the good and law-abiding to criminals and devastate innocent lives, many of which are children. So why was Community Action shut down but criminality in the divorce industry so tolerated? Because, the people committing the unethical acts, whether they be lawyers, judges, or county attorneys are all members of the legal community. Within that community, the bad ones take care of their own and the good ones turn a blind eye because of their friendships, lobbying money, and often revolving door between practicing attorneys, judges and those who work for the government. It is truly a cesspool.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Women And Alimony

For my third posting in a row on how alimony hurts women I bring you a very well written article by Meghan Demaria: The Women's Rights Issue You Might Not Know About, But Definitely Should.

Demaria refers to several articles, all of which I have linked to/commented on as well, but summarizes them far better than I can articulate.
Today, many women — including married women — are essential parts of the workforce, and may out-earn their partners or spouses. Alimony reform would help both men and women who are divorced, and it would help states bring what many see as outdated laws up to speed.
The biggest injustice by far is lifetime alimony that is awarded to an ex-spouse, like Spring, who was not the primary parent and who has the same earning potential as the person paying alimony. Especially, again like with Spring, when there is absolute evidence of fraud having been committed by the person receiving the alimony.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Women Who Pay Alimony

As a follow on to yesterday's posting Divorce360 has an interesting article on Women Who Pay Alimony.
“How often do gold diggers marry money? Every day. In the end, there are cases where they want as much as they can get. I have seen grasping men and grasping women, too. This not something that is endemic to one sex or the other,” she said. “It’s all about what’s in it for me.
The legal system is supposed to ensure justice but, as this site has made clear, it often operates in a manner antithetical to that ideal. For the unethical, divorce court is where they are able to take money from the victims they prey upon. The innocent, honest and hardworking people whose lives they ruin are a small price to pay. The children they destroy merely collateral damage.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Women Driving Alimony Reform

Reuters today has one of the best articles I have seen recently on how alimony hurts working women: How bread-winning women are driving alimony reform.

Tarie MacMillan, who is 65 years old, is in a similar position to me as she is required by the Court  to pay permanent alimony.
MacMillan was ordered to pay her ex-husband $7,000 a month 15 years ago. Even so, she has joined the crusade to lobby state legislators to change the legal obligation to provide financial support to a spouse before or after marital separation or divorce.
Hopefully the outrage women like MacMillan along with the women whose husbands or companions pay alimony to a former wife feel will, quickly I hope, finally result in reforming a system that is so tragically unjust.

The article also provides some interesting information on current alimony statistics.
Alimony, otherwise known as spousal support or maintenance, is an ongoing payment by the higher-earning spouse to the lower-earning one. It has changed and shifted over the 40 years since the Supreme Court ruled that it had to be applied equally to both genders.
Yet it is still heavily weighted toward men paying women. Only 3 percent of around 400,000 alimony recipients are male, according to the 2010 census, up a half a percent since 2000. Recipients claimed $9.2 million in payments in 2013 on their tax returns.
Unlike child support, which is common when divorcing couple has kids, alimony awards have always been very rare, going from about 25 percent of cases in the 1960s to about 10 percent today, said Judith McMullen, a professor of law at Marquette University. In one study of Wisconsin cases, she found it was only 8.6 percent.
I'm feeling rather unlucky.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Divorce, Sucide and Insurance

On NPR this morning, Can Life Insurance Affect The Propensity To Commit Suicide? I have talked about divorce and suicide in general, the tragic suicide of Chris Mackney and the possible link between alimony and the suicide of Robin Williams.  

Although not mentioning divorce per se, the NPR segment talks about how tempting it can be for people in financial straits to commit suicide in order to financially take care of their families. Most insurance policies do pay out in the event of a suicide although there is a restriction on newly opened ones. 

Suicide can be especially tempting for those who have seen their retirement savings, children's college funds and more taken from them to pay for a divorce. Those who have to pay alimony, especially when alimony was awarded unjustly, feel especially victimized. Suicide is often viewed as the only way they can provide for their children, get out of being forced to work for the benefit of someone else, and fight back against injustice.

Divorced men are three times more likely to commit suicide than the general population which, although I have not seen a study on the matter, makes sense given that approximately 98% of alimony is paid by men. But all those victimized by the divorce system, including children, are often so devastated financially and emotionally that they come to the conclusion that our society lacks fairness and justice. With such a mindset suicide can often seem to be a powerfully attractive option.

My local county attorney Bennie Sonsang's office made it painfully clear to me that the only way I can end being forced to work to reward criminal activity is to kill myself. You may think I am making this up but I assure you I am not.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Paul Raeburn On Divorce Corp

From last year but still relevant Paul Raeburn writes on Divorce Corp.
A man is jailed for criticizing a judge on his blog. Another is found in contempt of court for expressing frustration in private Facebook comments. An evaluator charges $7,500 for a single interview. Judges order divorcing parents to sell their homes. Lawyers contribute to judges' campaign funds to receive favorable treatment in court.
Raeburn states, "I'm inclined to think that most of what the film depicts is accurate," Well, I know it is accurate. One of the most difficult challenges in reforming divorce laws is that people have a hard time believing it is so bad. I can tell you from experience it is Saddam Hussein's Iraq bad. Really, really bad.  How our society can tolerate a divorce system that operates without regard to justice is just tragic. The money lost to fraud, the pain inflicted upon the innocent, who are often children, and the cost to society is simply horrific.

Raeburn  goes on to say:
What is shocking in this film is the depiction of lawlessness in the family courts -- the lack of oversight that allows judges to insert themselves in the most personal and arbitrary way into people's private lives, their relationships with their children, their finances, and even their right to express themselves privately outside of the courtroom.
Someday we will either reform the divorce system or it will infect all of our society. If the latter, our society will become one that only Saddam Hussein would love. I hope this site, my efforts and the efforts of all who desire justice will prevent that future from becoming reality.

Unchecked Corruption Inevitably Leads to Tyranny

Saturday, November 7, 2015

It Is Hard To Discuss Alimony Reform...

It is hard to discuss alimony reform rationally. A letter to regarding alimony reform in Florida is a prime example. The writer states:
When a wife has left a job to care for children and handicapped her earning ability, it is grossly inequitable to give the substantially less income post-divorce than the man she previously supported with her homemaking and child care services.
as if this is the simple a fact in all cases. I can assure you that in my case Spring never left a career to care for the kids. The custody elevator stated that parenting was joint during the marriage and I would argue I was in fact the primary parent. Furthermore, I helped Spring on many occasions with her work whereas she never helped me with mine. I did the majority of the housework. Yet she is receiving massive permanent alimony that will go on until the day I die.

The writer also states:
There is a proposal to include a provision for a presumption of “equal time-sharing” with the parties' children. This means that felons, alcoholics, drug abusers and pedophiles, to name a few, will be presumed to have equal time-sharing.
I can't respond to the better than Robin DesCamp who commented:
Wow - so dads are assumed to be all of those things? Oh wait - were you referring to moms? You've lost me.
Both the letter and the majority of the comments (exceptions include Robin DesCamp's comment) show that most people are simply incapable of having a rational discussion on alimony reform. Humans have this sad tendency to irrationally blame groups rather than individuals when bad things happen. Just because you were mugged by a black man does not make all black men criminals. Just because your husband divorced you for a younger woman after you put him through medical school and worked as the sole care giver for the the children does not mean all women who receive alimony had the same experience.

My view is that, under current law:

  • Assets earned during the marriage should be split jointly upon divorce. 
  • Temporary alimony may be awarded for one party in order for the person to be trained in order to become self-sufficient.
  • Alimony until retirement may be awarded to those incapable of working. (e.g. the person receiving alimony has multiple sclerosis) 
However, I think it is hard to argue that in my situation where despite the fact that my ex-wife divorced me, the Court appointed custody evaluator determined she was not the primary caregiver to the children, an employment evaluation determined she could make just as much money as me, strong evidence that she committed perjury and absolute evidence her lawyer lied in court, she was awarded massive permanent alimony that will go on until the day I die is in any way justified. She walked out of the marriage with enough money to retire for the rest of her life and I am being forced by the Court to work the rest of my life for her. This is just wrong. This is why we need alimony reform. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Divorcesource On How Divorce Hurts Children

From the Divorcesource Blog comes a rather depressing article on the negative impact of divorce  especially on children.

My kids were the main reason I did not want a divorce. Despite Spring's drinking, constant lying and irresponsibility, I knew what the impact would be on the kids. Sadly her criminal actions in Court have made it all the harder for them. I am sure Spring believes she "won" in the divorce. Yes, she won money but lost both her integrity and the kids.
Divorce ends the fairy tale of marriage, and makes children, if any, into victims. Children never get over the loss of their family, and their lives will never be the same. When Mom and Dad part and live separate lives, a child’s world is never the same, and he or she must navigate a fractured world. For that young boy or girl, the fairy tale is officially over.
Yes, kids do “move on,” but they are affected by it forever. In fact, Judith Wallerstein, a well-known advocate of children of divorce, stated that even 25 years later, children of divorce are 40 percent less likely to marry. They had romantic problems so many years later after the divorce.