Friday, June 11, 2021

Divorce Statistics

A reader sent me some really interesting divorce statistics:

  • 900,000 people divorce each year nationwide;  18,000 avg. per state/year.
  • 600,000 ex-spouses pay alimony (IRS 2017**); 96% are men, 4% women estimated.

    • 19,000 alimony payers have $0 annual income.
    • 351,000 alimony payers have annual incomes $1 - $100,000.
    • 210,000 alimony payers have annual incomes over $100,000.
    • $12.7 billion annual alimony payments (IRS 2017), calculates to $21,200 avg. alimony payer/year.
    • A majority of alimony payers live on 1/3rd or less of their gross income in a subsistence life style.
    • Big picture, there are so few alimony payers in the US with 12,000 avg. per state, no meaningful alimony reform is likely in the foreseeable future.

  • 300,000 couples over age 50 divorce annually, and in 2030 will balloon to more than 400,000 busted marriages.
  • 16% of divorce cases request alimony; given in 6-15% approx. or 150,000 cases per year.
  • 85% of the time wives begin the divorce proceedings as they want out, and some do it for the security of the money while getting rid of you.  The result after divorce, most parties get screwed.

    • Post-divorce 100% of alimony payers experience a drop in their lifestyle standards.  Those with incomes less than $100,000/year really suffer as they cannot afford to live on 1/3 of their gross salary.
    • The recipient ex-spouse who was fortunate enough to divorce a payer spouse with an income over $100,000/year, generally may have an increased lifestyle (as 25%+/- cohabitate) often with another mate on $100K plus, with a nicer house, more expensive food, and nicer vacations after the divorce.
  • Child Support:
    • 85% of custodial parents are mothers, and 45% of children living with a divorced mother live at or near the poverty line. 
    • Only 50% of custodial parents are awarded child support, and only 45% receive the full amount.
    • $28.8 billion annual child support collected for 15.6 million children (2017 OSCE report), or $1850/ child in IV-D program.
    • $7 billion (27%) of the money collected annually for child support is spent by federal and state Child Support Enforcement agencies for enforcement.  (2009 OCSE report).
    • There is $89 billion in uncollected or past due child support.
    • 11,000 approximate child support-related suicides annually, and alimony-related suicides TBD.

Divorce is a $50 billion/year nationwide business spent on CS/alimony payments and legal expenses, with the courts spending $21 billion/year of the total.  This is why the avg. divorce costs $50,000.

**   The 2017 IRS archive records show 600,000 alimony payers who listed alimony as a tax deduction on their 1040 tax form filings, but this count includes both permanent and limited term alimony payers.  To clarify, the 600,000 payers we are considering are alimony only, and do not include child support.  So let's say of the reported total paying alimony, the best low estimate is that 50% of the 600,000 are permanent payers, so there are 300,00 - 500,000 permanent alimony payers nationwide.

Great, although quite disturbing information. 

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Friday, June 4, 2021

Robert McNair

I love the story of Robert McNair. He was kicked out of a library when he was 9 years old because he was black. He went on to get a PhD in Physics from MIT and then became an astronaut.  Now the library is named after him. 

The old adages apply:

It's not over until it's over

Hope springs eternal

The truth is the truth is the truth. And as long as you tell the truth, you'll be okay in the end.

and good old:

It's not over until the fat lady sings. 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Half Of Americans Believe Courts Are Corrupt

Half of Americans believe courts are corrupt. I suspect that family court is a big part of that. I would hazard to say most people who go through family court in contentious divorce cases learn just how common crime and corruption is. It is simply ubiquitous. Litigants commit perjury and fraud to garner money from there ex-spouse or harm them physiologically. Lawyers and judges encourage endless litigation in order to maximize the amount of money they receive.  Lawyers who commit crimes are virtually immune from punishment. Indeed, as my case shows, judges often reward lawyers for committing crimes and honesty is penalized. Evidence of lawyer malfeasance is simply ignored by judges and law enforcement because it is "just the way the system works". 

This needs to change. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

A Non-intuitive Relationship

Although my experience in family court and the experience black men have with the police may seem worlds apart, there is a commonality that leads me to conclude they are but two aspects of the same societal problem. 

Let's look at some of the similarities

Laws

Although there is certainly room for improvement in both areas, it is clear that current statutory law does not give either law enforcement  officers or lawyers any immunity from crimes they commit. The laws are simply ignored. 

Wall of Silence

Although many members of law enforcement and the legal system may not have themselves committed a crime directly. they have committed a crime by remaining silent when they know of a colleagues who committed a crime. Not reporting a crime constitutes covering up a crime, which is a crime itself. Many, if not most, law enforcement officers and lawyers have turned a blind eye to crimes by their colleagues. 

Evidence

Evidence is supposed to matter. Often it does not. 

Public Outrage

The conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd only happened because of the public outrage that erupted after the event. Sadly, it is unlikely there will be any similar public protests against lawyers who commit crimes. Crimes, I may add, which kill just as many if not more innocents as crimes committed by law enforcement officers although in an indirect manner. 

Institutionalized Crime

Both  law enforcement and the legal industry have institutionalized crime. It has, in many areas, become normalized.  Like government racism in a small town in Alabama during the 1950s, they probably don't even know it is wrong. That is the most dangerous thing. 

Friday, May 14, 2021

Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts (FCVFC)

The  Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts (FCVFC) is a non-profit fighting for the rights of children who have been victimized by family court. Just the fact that such a group exists is an indication of just how corrupt our family courts have become. Their mission is:


In this regard, FCVFC assesses the legal needs of protective parents and their children and strives to bring together expert professionals that address those needs through the following areas: forensic analysis, analytic evaluation, strategic intervention, litigation and attorney oversight, and financial forensics.

The Foundation for Child Victims of the Family Courts also serves as an advocate for the health and socioeconomic wellbeing of clients, and advances the cause of child protection through research, education, publishing and speaking.  In every aspect of FCVFC’s organizational operation, the following Pillars of Excellence are adhered to: Fairness, Compassion, Victory, Faith and Courage.

Interestingly, they have a "Rogue" Gallery" listing at least some judges it deems corrupt. 

Note that their services are not free and I cannot comment on their value. 

When legal systems become corrupt, justice disappears.  

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Non-Equal Protection

You might think that the death penalty is strongly related to the homicide rate. You would be wrong. What it is strongly related to is previous death penalty convictions in the county.  This is similar to permanent alimony in Minnesota. Although statistics are lacking due to there being no proper tracking mechanism in the state, the lawyers and legislators I have talked to all agree that in Minnesota, permanent alimony varies widely by county. In some counties it is virtually unknown, whereas in others it is quite common. 

For those who are well versed in numbers, I think our repeated events model will be very convincing and show that the numbers cannot be squared with equal protection of the law.

There is a common root here - it is a legal system which operates inconsistently depending on who you are, where you are from, what you do, or who you know. 

One of the key tenets of a just legal system is fairness. If I lived two miles away in another county I very likely would never had to pay any alimony let alone permanent alimony. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Pay For Justice?

Despite the fact that I am basically a socially liberal type of guy, I do find it a bit exasperating when I hear stories in the media that utterly fail to get to the heart of the matter. For example, a recent story on NPR is about how beneficial it is for renters going through eviction to have an attorney. The conclusion, for some, is because having an attorney has an "incredibly strong evidence base" we as a society should provide free attorneys to people who receive eviction notices. The only question is who should pay for the lawyers, renters or the general public. 

The real question is why do you need a lawyer at all? Think about it. If having an attorney makes so much difference it means one of two things:

  1. Either you should be evicted and the lawyer got you out of it in which case having a lawyer serves to unjustly punish the landlord.
  2. The eviction notice was unjust and the lawyer prevented an unjust eviction. Which means... you have to pay lawyers to receive justice. Seems like a shakedown to me.  
In either case, lawyers get paid. They always do.