Monday, December 29, 2014

Thoughts on Gone Girl

Last night I saw the movie Gone Girl. I had read the book last year with my book club. Both the movie and book should be required reading for divorce lawyers and family law judges.

The story is intricate and twisted and both the book and movie are well done. Spoiler alert – you may want to stop reading now if you haven't read the book or seen the movie yet.

The story revolves around Amy Dunn who fakes her own death to frame her husband Nick in order to get back at him for having an affair. In the end she brutally kills a former (and creepy) ex-boyfriend she manipulated into helping her, framed him for rape then returned to her husband.

Until halfway through the book/movie, it seems the case is building that Nick did indeed kill Amy. Then midpoint we find out that Amy has been framing Nick all along.

More information on the book and film can be found on Wikipedia.

What I keep thinking about is not the main plot line but a back story about Tommy O'Hara, another of Amy's ex-boyfriends. When Tommy wanted to break up with Amy, she wrapped twine around her wrists to make it look like she had been tied up and then purposefully had sex with O'Hara. Afterward she went to the police and filed rape changes against him. The story highlighted Amy's need to control and manipulative tactics The poor guy's life was ruined. O'Hara had to state on any job application that he was a sex offender and whenever he moved had to report it to the police. He was completely innocent but that didn't matter – the accusation and evidence of sex was enough.

The reason I keep thinking of Tommy O'Hara is because tactics such as Amy used are not uncommon at all. Spring's actions were very similar. She attempted to ruin my life, and succeeded in doing so financially, through false accusations. She tried to frame me with the police and made false accusations, utterly false I'll add, of abuse. Nothing was proved of course and she later stated under oath that I had had never touched her but the damage was done.

Spring's  actions not only hurt me, the person who had given her everything, but her own children as well. And for what? For money and to satisfy her need for control and power. This make her actions far worse than Amy's treatment of Tommy O'Hara in Gone Girl. Sadly, what Spring did is all too common in divorce cases. The law says that Spring should pay retribution and be in jail for her actions. Instead the Court awarded her massive amounts of money and has required me to work until the day I die for her.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Michael Boulette's Family-In-Law blog

I have been perusing Michael Boulette's Family-In-Law blog which I mentioned in my last post. I must say it contains a wealth of information relating to family law both in general and, especially pertinent to me, specific to Minnesota. Boulette is a rational thinker which is all too often rare is discussions relating to divorce.

I have added the site to the Reform and News Links section and in doing so took the opportunity to rearrange the layout somewhat.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

More on Reform in Minnesota

Supporting hints of reform in Minnesota, Michael Boulette in March asked, Is the Minnesota Court of Appeals Calling for Spousal Support Reform?. In the case of Thomas vs Thomas, even the Court was disturbed by the fact that the law allowed a young wife with no dependents to live off a large amount of spousal support (alimony) for the rest of her life.  This is quite similar to my case.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Alimony Reform in Minnesota

Maybe there is some hope in Minnesota. An article on the Meinerts Law Office web site states that a bi-partisan group of lawmakers in Minnesota has drafted spousal support (as alimony is called in Minnesota) reform legislation. Among the proposed reforms are:
  • Eliminating any preference for permanent alimony, in some cases
  • Mandatory consideration of a recipient’s prospective ability to provide self-support when setting alimony
  • “Bridge-the-gap” alimony lasting no more than two years
  • “Rehabilitative” alimony, but only if accompanied by a specific, identified rehabilitation plan
  • “Durational” alimony limited to periods less than length of marriage
  • Restrict long-term spousal support awards to marriages of 20 or more years, to marriages lasting between 7 and 19 years if justified by “clear and convincing evidence” and to marriages of less than seven years duration if necessary because of “exceptional circumstances”
  • Retirement of the person paying alimony may be grounds for modifying or terminating maintenance
  • Cohabitation of the person receiving alimony may be grounds for modifying or terminating maintenance
  • Except in “exceptional circumstances,” no spousal maintenance award should result in the payor’s net income being less than the recipient’s
This would be a great start. I'll be writing the legislators.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Maryland Alimony Reform

I added a link to Maryland Alimony Reform on the Reform and News Links page. The site doesn't appear to be well updated but the blog section does tell a compelling story of injustice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Lifetime Alimony Forces Man Into Jail

A 2013 article in Bloomberg titled, "Jail Becomes Home for Husband Stuck With Lifetime Alimony" describes the all too common case of a man ordered by the Court to pay an unjust amount of alimony. After alimony, child support and taxes, he is left with $100/month.  The story is so bizarre - you really need to read it - that I am sure most people would conclude that it just can't possibly be true even though it comes from a highly reputable news organization. 

What I have tried to do for my case here on is show the evidence. Because in many ways my story is even more bizarre. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Divorce and Health

I ran across an article on the Harvard Medial School site from a few years back titled, "Marriage and men's health" which quotes a sobering statistic. Among Americans:
men who divorced were 37% more likely to die during the nine-year study than men who remained married
Not only is 37% is depressingly high but it is significant to note that is the average. Although evidence is lacking, and truthfully it would be almost impossible to obtain, it seems reasonable to me to assume that the more unjust a person is treated in a divorce, the higher the death rate will be. I know a married couple at work who both went through divorces before they got married. Her ex is one of his best friends now. That is only possible because the divorce was done fairly without either party reverting to unethical or criminal acts in order to garner more money. I would assume my friend's ex's increase in death risk is at the low end if any. Given that Spring committed perjury and fraud and her lawyer Nelly Wince knowingly lied in court and neither Judge Mearly nor the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board did anything about it, it doesn't bode well for me at all. Add to that the fact that I have to pay permanent alimony until the day and the picture looks even bleaker.  (the silver lining here, and there is always one, is that the earlier I die the less money goes to rewarding criminal actions) 

Now posting about divorced induced deaths is not really the most cheery thing to write about during the holiday season but I look at it as another brick in building the case for divorce reform. And a fairer more just divorce system is truly a happy thought. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Conspiracy Theories vs. Institutional Corruption

An article in this month's Scientific American, titled, "Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?" reviews research done by University of Miami political scientists Joseph E. Uscinski and Joseph M. Parent as explained in their 2014 book American Conspiracy Theories (Oxford University Press).

Disturbingly, 43 percent of Americans without a high school education believe in conspiracy theories. The number only falls to 23 percent for those with postgraduate degrees. These conspiracy theories cross the political spectrum ranging from belief that President Obama was not born a U.S. citizen to Monsanto conspiring to destroy family farmers.

As defined by Uscinski and Parent, a conspiracy theory is characterized by: “(1) a group (2) acting in secret (3) to alter institutions, usurp power, hide truth, or gain utility (4) at the expense of the common good.”

So do I believe there is a conspiracy within the divorce industry to rob the innocent and reward the evil? Absolutely not. Just because the divorce system is institutionally corrupt does not mean that there is an organized group of people consciously acting to usurp power. A better analogy would be the culture of bribery that existed in many countries. It is culture not conspiracy.

Unfortunately, because it is a culture, those that commit the worst acts can justify their actions by telling themselves, "that is just they way it works." When Nelly Wince knowingly lies in court it is not part of a conspiracy. She just believes she is trying to get the best deal for her client. The fact that her ethical oath forbids her to lie and criminal law states that her actions constitute fraud don't even register with her because lying by lawyers in court is quite common. The fact that the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board took no action against her despite overwhelming evidence shows just how commonly accepted it is for lawyers to break the ethical oath.  This is similar to how gang members sometimes believe armed robbery, rape or even murder is just what people do to gain cred. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Lee Kallett from Florida Pays Permanent Alimony

Some people may think the unjust nature of what happened to me and my children is unusual but the truth is that is quite common. Lee Kallett of St. Pete Beach, FL posted a video describing his case, one which is very similar to mine.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Karen McCullah - Why Everyone Should get a Prenup

Karen McCullah is a screenwriter (her works include Legally Blond) and author who wrote an article in Elle earlier this year about the injustice of her having to pay alimony to her ex-husband. 
But 18 years later, when I divorced my husband, I had a successful writing career and some money in the bank. He got to take half of it. But it isn't even the fact that I had to give him half that I find so egregious. It's the alimony he demanded I pay him on top of it that makes me very, very angry—like scream-really-loud, get-drunk, and eat-gratuitous-carbohydrates angry. On the first day of every month, I have to write him a mother^#%*ing check for six thousand dollars. I've been doing this for two and a half years. I've got five more left.
I totally agree with her. But she is one of the (relatively) lucky ones. I can only wish my alimony payments ended after seven and one-half years.  Mine go on until I die.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Same-Sex Divorce

In 2012, I was one of the voters who rejected the Minnesota Gay Marriage Amendment which would have banned same-sex marriages. In truth though I would have rather voted to ban all marriages as I knew that same-sex marriages would inevitable lead to same-sex divorces. I only voted down the amendment because banning same-sex marriages seems blatantly discriminatory and just plain mean to me. Sadly, as an NPR article and story that came out today states, now a whole new segment of the population will find out just how costly and unjust the divorce system can be. 

The lawyers, judges and others who profit from a dysfunctional divorce system no doubt are glad but it is at the expense of the good, the innocent and society as a whole. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

New Jersey Women for Alimony Reform - NJWAR

Added a link to New Jersey Women for Alimony Reform - NJWAR on the Reform and News Links page. The group seems to be aligned with NJ Alimony Reform. Their goal is to reform alimony laws in New Jersey because way too many honest and hardworking people, including myself, are forced to spend the rest of their lives working for the benefit of the dishonest.   

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

And Now For Something Completely Different - A Business Card!

I figured that if I am going to be contacting legislators as I mentioned in my last post, I better have a business card. Old school yes, especially for an online site, but still good to have for meetings and to include in letters.  (also you can get them ridiculously cheap)

Okay the design is a bit stark but it matches the site and I did it all on my own. And the point of all of this is to change the laws to increase justice not exercise my (limited) design skills.

Sunday, November 16, 2014 – A Six Month Retrospective

As was launched six months ago, I think the time is right to provide a retrospective on progress made and some thoughts on where we will go from here.

I am reasonably happy with the site so far. It was hard to envision how the site would turn out when I first stated it, but I think I hit the right balance in telling my story, commenting on injustice within the divorce industry elsewhere, and advocating for reform. I have hopefully neither degenerated into ranting nor have hidden the reality of what has happened to me, my children and so many others who have suffered due to rampant criminal behavior within the divorce industry. is a hybrid website and blog that in many ways is a story. Stories are powerful agents of change and that is exactly my purpose. All postings and pages serve to support the main goal of the site – justice for all within the divorce system. I have tried to refrain from posting for posting's sake and in this I believe I have succeeded. Unlike many blogs where old postings are no longer relevant, I think this site in its entirety is useful for both those wishing to enforce current law as well as those trying to reform it.

There are of course many things about the site I wish were better. Most prominently is that I wish the writing was better and more polished. I am rarely satisfied with anything I write and should really spend more time reviewing and rewriting but time is a luxury I do not have. I apologize for my many grammatical errors and unclear wordings. I also feel many of the pages could use revision simply because of the passage of time.

The site as it stands is pretty much caught up to the present. It is complete in structure at least until I can think of something else to add. What will the future bring? Time will tell but here are my current thoughts:

Law Enforcement - Continue to seek out a law enforcement agency that will look into my case. I have no intent of giving up on this given the clear evidence of criminal behavior I have seen. I will admit this is a long shot but I feel it is my duty as a citizen to at least bring the evidence I have to those responsible for enforcing the laws. The local county attorney was basically obstructionist but there are other agencies at the state and federal levels. After all, Al Capone was not prosecuted by the Cook County Attorney.

Judicial – It is obvious to me that the judicial system is badly broken. There may be options at the state Supreme Court level where my concerns and evidence can be submitted. As with law enforcement, there is little chance this will lead to anything positive in the short term but at least it makes it clear to those at the top of the judicial branch that unethical behavior by judges and the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board does not go unnoticed.

Legislative – This will be a primary focus going forward. There is a growing movement for divorce reform by states and Minnesota needs to get on board. To date, I have not contacted legislators but now that the site is relatively complete that will change.

Other – Other avenues of pursuit include contacting ethics professors at law schools who may want to use my case in their classes, creating a technical notes page about how the site was created including the tools I used and helpful tips, and maybe, just maybe create a non-profit to advocate for divorce reform in Minnesota. The latter is a step I am very hesitant to do as I am not much of an advocate and I would hate to expose my family to what I am sure would be harsh attacks by those opposed to reform.  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I undated the legislation section, mainly with some thoughts on what marriage is evolving to in the long-term.   

I left in the comment that it is work in progress as it may need some filling out and definitely needs editing. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Feminism in Sweden Is Good for Men

Supporting Saturday's post, I saw an article on the Surviving in Sweden blog called, Is Feminism Actually Good For Men, Too? which points out that feminism makes joint custody more likely and alimony extremely rare. No wonder pretty much everyone, men and women, in Sweden considers themselves a feminist. I have no doubt that at some point we will follow their lead in this matter. Lawyers, judges, law enforcement officials, and politicians who do not understand this and who work against it either actively or through inaction are on the wrong side of history. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

New Section - Legislation

I have added a Legislation section, accessible from the left column, At its heart exists to promote reform and thus reduce the high level of unethical and criminal activity that is currently so prevalent within the divorce system.  The mechanism of this reform could be law enforcement or judicial action but it will most likely be legislation. Hopefully, this section can provide a framework for legislators to use in drafting laws.

The Legislation section is currently a work in progress. 

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Gender Equality and Divorce

I think it is significant that alimony is rarest in countries with the highest rates of gender equality. Scandinavia is always at the top of the list when it comes to gender equality. Alimony (or spousal maintenance) is also quite rare for these countries. For example The Wikipedia article on divorce in Sweden states:
The fundamental idea is that divorce effectively severs all forms of economic relations between spouses. Each spouse is therefore individually responsible for his or her own financial support after divorce. Maintenance is seldom granted except in certain circumstances. It must be shown that the spouse is financially needy and that the marriage has resulted in the need for maintenance.
Now, one can always argue that alimony is rare in Sweden because of gender equality but I think that is a stretch. A judicial system that encourages and rewards unethical and criminal behavior will never lead to equality. If this site has shown anything it is just how poorly our laws are written, how arbitrary justice is, and how prevalent criminal activity is within the divorce system.   

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Players - Bennie Sonsang

Due to the fact that County Attorney Bennie Sonsang has for the last several years sent me Father's Day cards containing the statement, "Studies show that children who receive financial and emotional support from both parents do better in school and life", (which I completely agree with) I wrote him asking him if he sends similar cards to Spring.  What followed is series of almost surreal correspondences with Mr. Sonsang where he, in my view, clearly incriminates himself as a corrupt official. Judge for yourself

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What Makes A Marriage Last

Randal S. Olsen wrote an article titled, "What makes for a stable marriage?"
on a study by Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon of Emory University titled, "‘A Diamond is Forever’ and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration" highlighting the seven most significant factors for making a stable marriage. 

The article was discussed on Slashdot.

Oddly, my marriage to Spring fell into lowest divorce risk category for nearly every measure and not one was high. The statistic the study did not measure, which I think would be enlightening, is disparity of income. Spring made significantly less money than me. This was by choice as the vocational evaluation said she could make just as much as me if she wanted to. Given the way the divorce system works, she had little risk of losing money and a good chance of coming out set for life. (which sadly is exactly what happened) Even her legal costs were paid for by my income so she could out-litigate me without spending a dime of her own earnings. 

In a more equitable marriage (and don't think for a moment that Spring was the primary caregiver to the children as even the custody evaluator ruled parenting was joint and to say she was a homemaker is just wrong) there would be financial hardship to obtaining a divorce. For Spring, she had everything to gain and little to lose. Other than her relationship with her children but for Spring that simply wasn't a factor. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Aparently It Is Not much Better in Canada

One would think Canada would be more in line with the majority of western democracies than the United States when it comes to divorce but according to this opinion in the National Post apparently not.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Players - Father Goodhue

I added a new page for Father Goodhue, the last person Spring and I received counseling from for our marriage.  Unlike our attempts with Lisa Guider and Pastor Kurt, for which we had many meetings, we only had a few sessions with Father Goodhue before Spring, as she did with the previous counselors, walked out.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Power Really Does Corrupt

There must be something in human nature, at least most human natures, that lusts after power and control. There is a well known adage that power corrupts, however, there has always been a question as to whether positions of power tend to corrupt individuals or whether corrupt individuals are attracted to positions of power.

Innovative (and entertaining) research led by John Antonakis at the Université de Lausanne in Switzerland as described in AlphaGalileo  shows both are important but even honest people tend to become corrupted by power. Antonakis concludes, "We think that strong governance mechanisms and strong institutions are the key to keeping leaders in check. Organizations should limit how much leaders can drink from the seductive chalice of power."

Judge Mearly is probably the poster child for this in my case. He is almost a comedic caricature of a power hungry and arrogant judge. His total lack of respect for common courtesy, truth and the law is incredible. 

The lawyers, especially Nelly Wince and to a lessor extent Jon Wurst, are also prime examples of people in positions of power who have no hesitation using it in order to hurt others. In their warped view, trampling others makes them seem more important. But it is the institutions that allow for such corruption that are the real problem. As I have said many times, there will always be bad people. A good society not only has good laws but laws that are respected and followed. That the divorce system, not only allows for but rewards behavior that is illegal and highly detrimental to civil society is the real issue. 

Spring is another example of how power corrupts. I think she clearly wanted to control me (as well as the children) and the fact that I am now legally bound to work until I die for her benefit no doubt gives her great satisfaction. The very fact that she lied, committed perjury and fraud shows just how detrimental power is. The fact that she able to get away with it is sad evidence of just how corrupt our institutions have become.  

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Players - Pastor Kurt

I have added a page to the Players section for Pastor Kurt, the second marriage counselor we met with. Pastor Kurt is a good person, who unfortunately was probably in a no win situation given Spring's state of mind at the time. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

TED - You Can Move Beyond Your Past

Last week on the TED Radio Hour there were two powerful  TED speakers who both showed that your past does not define you. Zak Ebrahim is the son of a terrorist who grew up in a violent and hateful environment but chose to devote his life to understanding and peace.  Shaka Senghor was young man full of rage who went to prison for committing murder but was able to transform himself into an advocate for non-violence.

How does this relate to injustice in the divorce system? If Ebrahim can overcome his upbringing then a lawyer can certainly choose to act ethically even if he or she operates in an unethical environment. And if Senghor can reform himself after murdering a man then surely those who committed perjury, forgery or fraud or who simply knowingly lied can redeem themselves.

Zak Ebrahim

Shaka Senghor

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

The Daily Beast - Is Alimony Anti-Feminist?

The Daily Beast asks: Is Alimony Anti-Feminist? The author, Kell Goff, discusses reaction to New York Daily News Columnist Linda Stasi’s article linking Robin William's death, in part, to alimony payments. I have discussed the same article. The comments are an interesting and somewhat entertaining read.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Abuse and Being a Victim

I have been thinking a lot about a statement in my last post where I commented that despite Spring being violent and controlling, that I never felt like a victim of her abuse. The question I have been mulling over is: why? After all, Spring was violent enough early in our relationship to cause me permanent physical damage (my septum is shifted far enough that the airflow through my left nostril is only about half what it is through the right one) and throughout the marriage and divorce she tried her best to control me. In fact, one of the marriage counselors, a minster she knew, flatly told her that her behavior was evil and passive-aggressive and the professional marriage counselor we met with asked me if I was sure I wouldn't be better off without her.

I think the key reason I did not feel like a victim was because I truly believed that I could help her and things would work out in the end. I had hope. I believed that I had helped her overcome overt violence and honestly, although perhaps egotistically, believed that I could help her overcome her other demons. And just as important, I had married her and chosen not to leave her. I wasn't quaking in fear from feeling trapped. It was just the way it was.

I wonder how others in similar situations react. I am sure many feel abused and certainly Spring's behavior would qualify as criminal domestic violence. It would be easy to say that a woman would feel abused and a man wouldn't but I don't think that is accurate. I know many men that under their wife's thumb, far more, in fact, than the other way around. Although I recognize this view may reflect my gender and experience, most evidence does not show much, if any, difference in gender for the perpetrators of domestic violence and abuse.

Ultimately, I think that it drove Spring crazy that she couldn't make me fearful. Abusive, controlling people get no satisfaction if they cannot induce fear and Spring could not achieve this with me. She couldn't induce fear through violence nor could she do it through bad behavior. In the end, she used the divorce system to hurt me. In fact, hurting me was the whole point of the divorce. Sadly, since the divorce it has become clear she desires to hurt the kids just as much.

Now that I have lost the vast majority of every material asset I accumulated both before and during the marriage and have became a de facto slave for Spring, it might come as a surprise that still don't feel like her victim. I think Spring is a person who has a very broken moral compass and major behavioral problems. I am simply sad for her and feel bad that I failed to help her.

But I assuredly do feel like a victim from the legal system. The fact that Spring and her lawyer Nelly Wince were able to use perjury, fraud and lies to take so much from the children and me is a such a nightmare that it is difficult to convey the true horror of it. The abusive party is the divorce system. It is Nelly Wince, Judge Mearly, the LawyersProfessional Responsibility Board and all the others who committed, aided and abetted the crimes and unethical acts that were committed. Certainly the laws need to be changed, but first current law must be followed and not treated like a joke by the legal system. When judges refuse to even talk to the children to determine if allegations are true or not and evidence of the highest possible caliber is simply ignored, it really doesn't matter what the law is. The divorce system treats the law much like Al Capone did. This has to change or it will destroy our society.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Domestic Violence - A Perspective

Violence, especially domestic violence against a spouse or child, is something that I find abhorrent and difficult to understand.  All the media attention to the Ray Rice story has prompted me to reflect on the realities of domestic violence as well as the way the issue is used and misused today in the divorce system.

As a society we have come a long way. I have read books from the 1800s that quite seriously stated that it was important to hit your wife every once in a while to ensure she knew her place. In the 1950's sitcom The Honeymooners,  the character Ralph Kramden, played by Jackie Gleason, was famous for making empty threats of physical violence against  his wife Alice such as, "One of these days... POW!!! Right in the kisser!" or "BANG, ZOOM! Straight to the moon!" Sadly, for many of those watching, the threats from their spouse was not so empty.  Spousal abuse wasn't even considered a serious problem issue in those days, it was a subject for comedy.

When I was younger, and even today to an extent, there was a lot of debate regarding corporal punishment of children. Many people assumed  and many still assume that if you don't spank your child when they do wrong they would turn out bad because they learn they can get away with doing wrong.  In my view, hitting a child is child abuse, pure and simple. How someone can strike any child, let alone their own child, is bizarre to me. Hitting a child encourages the child to be violent; it does nothing to correct bad behavior.

Spring grew up in a family where corporal punishment was normal. In addition, she was regularly threatened by her siblings. She once told me that for a period of time her brother threatened her with a knife every night before bed. This may explain, in part, her subsequent violent behavior.

My parents were not ones to strike their children. I was taught that we were better than that - violence was what bad people did.

One of the things that strikes me about the Ray Rice case is that the fiancee he beat up is now his wife. My initial gut reaction was to ask why on earth did she marry him knowing how violent he was? It is crazy. But sadly it didn't take long for me to understand. All I needed to do was to breathe through one nostril. I get a good breath through my right nostril but the airflow through my left is maybe half that. The reason is because Spring slugged me. So hard that it shifted my septum enough to impede the airflow through one nostril. So hard that an ENT doctor today isn't even able to put a scope down that nostril. And this was before we were married.

So what the heck was I thinking in marrying Spring? The fact is that despite my shifted septum, despite the bruises, despite the dodges from objects she threw at me, I didn't feel abused.  And I still don't. I am a guy and a product of my culture. We aren't abused by women no matter what the damage. And it isn't like I was cowering in fear which is my image of an abused person. My reaction to her violence was to try to change her behavior. And I think I succeeded. Gradually she became less physically violent. Before we had children she told me she was worried about how her reaction would be to a crying child. By that point she not only had stopped being violent to me she was self-reflecting on her behavior and recognized that it would be wrong to strike the children. I took this a a good sign. In my mind I had helped Spring be a better, a much better, person.

Hoping to change an abusive person is a common reason people stay with someone that abuses them. My guess is  that the reason Ray Rice's wife Janay stuck with him is that she always hoped to change him for the better. To feel you help someone be a better person can be incredibly alluring. It was for me.

Unfortunately really changing the behavior of an abusive person is very difficult. Abusive people want control. Because I was not cowering in fear, I think Spring changed her tactics from violence to using me. She lied incessantly, stole money, committed forgery, and made me do the bulk of housework and raising the children. It was her way of satisfying her need to dominate me. Ultimately I think she divorced me because I just took it. I turned the other cheek. That she could not take. So in a final act she went for the jugular and turned me into an income source. I have to pay her a huge amount of money every month until the day I die. That kind of control must be incredibly pleasing to Spring.

When it comes to domestic abuse almost all the attention is given to abuse by men upon women. The fact that we have a federal law called the Violence Against Women Act is a pretty good indication of that. Other than the title, the act itself is gender neutral but it has never once been successfully used against a female abuser. When it comes to women committing violent acts against men we are in the Honeymooners era. It is a subject for comedy. Ironically, the Centers for Disease Control states, More Men than Women Victims of Partner Abuse.

The horrible reality of domestic violence along with the false perception that it really only is perpetrated by men against women has led to a surreal situation in the courts where false accusations of abuse are incredible common. The statistics show that the vast majority of allegations of domestic abuse are simply false. As because there is virtually no negative consequence to making a false allegation of abuse, they have become routine in divorce cases.

Spring accused me of being abusive. She repeatedly implied in affidavits that I was violent. (but on the witness stand and under oath she did state that I had never once been violent - sadly this did not matter as the damage had already been done) I practically begged the judge to talk to the children and marriage counselors about the veracity of her allegations as they would have all strongly contradicted her but Spring's lawyer always objected. Spring was the only one in the marriage that was abusive in any sense. Not only does it make me sick that she was able to get away with this but my heart aches for my children knowing they have to live with the knowledge that their own mother did such an incredibly horrible and immoral thing.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Alimony Reform is Coming - I really hope so

This is a bit over a year old but highlights the tragedy of (mostly) women not being able to get married because of permanent alimonyDeborah Leff Israel, to her credit, did something about it - she started the Florida chapter of the Second Wives Club, now called the Florida Women for Alimony Reform. 

The concept of people such as Spring who were not the primary caretaker of the children, who wasted assets during he marriage, and who are perfectly capable of working receiving lifetime alimony after divorcing their spouse is outrageous. It has to change. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Bob and Maureen McDonnell Conviction

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife were convicted this week on federal corruption changes related to gifts received from Jonnie Williams Sr., the former CEO of Star Scientific, a dietary supplement company. 

The jury conviction was decisive. McDonnell was convicted on 11 counts of conspiracy, bribery and extortion. His wife Maureen was convicted on 9 counts . 

Although there is a huge controversy regarding the conviction, there is little doubt as to whether they are guilty. The controversy arises over the fact that what the McDonnnells did is commonly done and politicians are simply not often convicted on such matters. So maybe we are seeing a little progress in this country. 

The total amount of cash and gifts the McDonnells accepted, $177,000, is amazing to me because the that is less than the alimony I have paid to Spring over the last five years let alone everything she took as part of the divorce. Think about this - Spring and her lawyer have taken far more money and assets from me than the McDonnells were convicted of receiving and, although I don't know all the details of the McDonnell case, I can't image that the evidence against them is stronger than I have against Spring and her lawyer Nelly Wince. I am pretty sure that my children would testify that their mother knowingly committed perjury and the evidence against Nelly Wince is, I think, unquestionable. 

Why is such corruption not only tolerated but openly so in divorce court? Two reasons in my opinion. Firstly it is very lucrative to the lawyers and judges and secondly there isn't anyone in law enforcement who cares enough to stop it. Even honest and talented law enforcement officials would rather prosecute people who are widely viewed as bad such as sex traffickers or, as in the case of  the McDonnells, people that will generate a lot of media attention. Quite simply they want to make a name for themselves. My case would draw little attention and garner little acclaim for the prosecutors even if Nelly Wince was convicted and put behind bars

Monday, September 1, 2014

Players - Lisa Guider

I  have added a page to the Players section for Lisa Guider, the first marriage counselor we met with. Despite the fact that she did not succeed in keeping the marriage together, I really liked Lisa. She did her best and in the end the issue probably wasn't solvable as Spring really had no interest in being married or making our relationship work.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Older than My Father

26 years ago this month my father died of a heart attack. I am now older than he was at the time of his death.  Furthermore, my paternal grandfather died when my dad was still in high school. My brothers and I have always joked with humorous disregard that the men in our family die young.

On the positive side I don't smoke, have a fairly healthy diet, keep my weight in check and am physically and mentally active. On the negative side, having nearly all my money taken from me via unethical and criminal actions by Spring and her lawyer along with the fact that I have no possibility of retirement other than death adds, shall we say, an element of stress to my life that my father never had.

I do wonder sometimes what would have happened if my father had lived. He was a lawyer who worked a a prosecutor, city attorney and trust officer.  If he were alive when I married Spring I wonder if he would have advised me to get a prenuptial agreement. (I have already advised my eldest, who is now an adult, of this)

I do know that my dad would have been appalled at the actions of Nelly Wince, Spring's lawyer, as he truly believed that rule of law was the key to a stable and prosperous society. During the Watergate scandal, my dad, who was a Republican, viewed Attorney General Elliot Richardson's decision to resign rather than follow Nixon's order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox as an act or true heroism. The law was sacrosanct for him. Lawyers such as Nelly Wince who subvert the law for their own gain should be disbarred  and face criminal charges. Where are the Elliot Richardsons today?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sometimes Justice Works

Meri Jane Woods was convicted in Pennsylvania of downloading child pornography in an attempt to frame her estranged husband. She was busted because the time stamps for the images were from after her husband had been forced out of the house due to a protection from abuse order the Court had earlier granted at the request of Ms. Woods. I would say it highly likely the abuse claims were just as false. 

There is a Reddit discussion on the topic here

It is nice to see that once in a while justice does triumph. I think it is clear that my ex-wife Spring and her lawyer have committed crimes just as bad but sadly they have only benefited from their acts at the expense of me, my children and society. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Patent Trolls - Best Study Yet on Their Impact

I have posted on patent trolls a couple times previously. Now a new rigorous study (PDF) by Harvard University and the University of Texas makes a strong case for the detrimental effects of such activity. Patent trolls, known as NPEs (non-practicing entities)  are an area of the justice system almost as financially detrimental to the country as the divorce system. The study finds, "NPE litigation has a negative real impact on the future innovative activity of targeted firms." That means it hurts our economy and our future. And by "our" I mean everyone. That includes you. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Robin Williams - Was Alimony a Cause of his Death?

As I am sure you know, Robin Williams took his own life on August 11. Although there are reports that he suffered from depression and was in the early stages of Parkinson's disease, there are also many reports, including this one at the New York Daily News, that suggest alimony payments to his former wives was a key contributor to his death. As the author, Linda Staci, states, "ex-wives who were allowed to attach themselves to Williams’ bank account like comatose patients on feeding tubes would be enough to make Gandhi angry and depressed." She also goes on to say, "<alimony> is a concept that is fundamentally anti-feminist." I couldn't agree more with her. 

I can't help wondering what goes through people's heads who receive alimony. How is it possible to rationalize that just because you were married to someone that you get to retire to a life of luxury while the Court ensures that the person paying the alimony has to work until death. (at lest that is true with my divorce) And in my case Spring clearly was not the primary caregiver for the children nor was she in any sense a homemaker. The unfairness would depress anyone, including Robin Williams, once dubbed the funnest man alive. 

Here is the man himself in 1991 on the Johnny Carson show defining alimony. Funny stuff but you can sense the underlying bitterness. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

New Jersey Alimony Reform Saga Continues

The Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, New Jersey (across from Philadelphia) has an interesting update on the continuing saga of alimony reform in New Jersey, something I have commented on before. As the author points out reform is difficult because Bar Associations stated purpose is to protect the legal profession not the public. The reality is that a dysfunctional divorce system benefits lawyers while an efficient and fair one one does not.

As bad as the divorce system is in New Jersey I can't imagine it is as bad as in Minnesota where corruption runs rampant and unchecked in the family court system.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Players - Rachel Corinth

I have not been as prompt as usual updating the site because I have been busy with work and kids but I am back with a new page on Rachel Corinth, the Court ordered divorce mediator we met with, in the Players section. 

I have distasteful memories of Corinth. She was bombastic and less than honest. My impression is that her sole motivation was to extract money out of me. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

More on "Alimony - it works both ways"

In perusing the comments (and many are very insightful) to Lisa Murdy's Time article I mentioned in yesterday's post, I ran across several horror stories including one posted by Robin Hair which including her story and a petition on All I can say is, wow, what a nightmare. Her husband was basically hounded to death by his ex-spouse,  her lawyer and the judge in the case. I can say with assurance that Spring, Nelly Wince and Judge Mearly operate in exactly the same manner as their counterparts did in the Hair case. In fact, in many ways they have behaved far worse as there is such strong evidence in my case.

I do salute Robin Hair for having the courage to name names. Society will only improve if people are willing to speak out against injustice.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Alimony - it works both ways

Although men only account for 3% of alimony recipients, the issue and injustice works both ways as a Time article by Lisa Mundy from last year reports. In fact, many women are quite "pissed", to quote the article, about having to pay alimony. And many wives of husbands who have to pay alimony to a previous spouse are just as mad. Injustice is injustice. This isn't about men vs. women. 

In reading the Time article, the part that strikes me the most is that the author assumes that the party receiving alimony was the one who stayed home to raise the children. This is a myth that simply isn't true. In my case, the custody evaluator ruled that parenting was joint and the vocational evaluator determined that Spring could make just a much money as me. Yet I am required to pay an enormous percentage of my salary in alimony until death. The only retirement I can hope for is natural retirement as I often joke. (I often think that my sense of gallows humor is what has kept me alive) My situation is in no way uncommon. 

The injustice in the divorce system is due to crime and criminal corruption. It is about litigants and lawyers lying and committing fraud to get more money. The corruption is so endemic that the guilty simply rationalize their actions away on the basis that everyone acts that way. Sadly their actions destroy, often literally, innocent lives.   

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Players - Jamie Jensen

I have published a page on my junior lawyer, Jamie Jensen in the Players section. I liked Jamie and could have forgiven her actions if she had come to terms with them, but sadly she didn't. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Medical Churning

It may appear that I have a real dislike of lawyers but that is inaccurate. I have a dislike of unethical behavior and corruption no matter where it is found. This site's focus is on the divorce system but that is only because I and my children have first hand experience, quite painful experience, of just how corrupt the divorce industry is. Not only that but I have unquestionable evidence of illegal activities and corruption. Quite honestly I would feel guilty if I did not at least to try to change the system for the better.   

Sadly, however, corruption is widespread.  USA Today has an article that describes the practice of referral churning by doctors, occupational therapists, chiropractors and physical therapists in Brooklyn, New York. As the article points out, either Brooklyn is the capital of pain or has a huge problem with fraud. The evidence clearly show it is the latter. 

Referral churning in the medical field is pretty much the same as in the divorce industry. Bad lawyers direct you to their buddies who are real estate agents, testimony coaches, mediators and parental consultants. The goal is to extract money from whomever has it without regard to right or wrong or the law. The big difference is that medial churning and fraud bilks money out of  insurance companies and the government, in the case of Medicare and Medicaid, whereas in the divorce industry the money comes from individual's pockets. This is significant because insurance companies and the government have an incentive to investigate and prosecute medical fraud. Which they do. 

But who is there to investigate and prosecute fraud in the divorce industry? Sadly there is no one. As the victims are individuals and families they are too small for the police to bother with. County attorneys often come from the very same law firms that have divorce practices (the county attorney where I reside does). so they will not bother. Civil rights attorneys like cases where an underprivileged class of people are discriminated against not where the victim is a responsible hard working person without regard to ethnicity, education level or religious affiliation. This is especially true because false allegations are so common.  

The sad reality is that there is no one with an incentive to clean up the divorce system but are a huge number of people that have a vested interest in perpetuating the corruption within it.The natural result of this is that unethical and criminal behavior in the divorce industry has become endemic and institutionalized. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Divorce Corp Review by Philip Greenspun

Philip Grenspun has an interesting critical review of the movie Divorce Corp which I have mentioned before. I have not seen Grenspun's site before but he seems like an intelligent person.  Based on the comments, his readers seem well informed as well. Although generally positive, as I say Greenspun's review is critical which is a good thing.

I have noticed that most stories about divorce reform tend to highlight child support not spousal support. The fact that I am paying child support doesn't really bother me that much. As Spring is unwilling to provide anything for the kids then I have no qualms about doing so. That is my responsibility as a parent. Sure it is unfair but I married Spring so I have to take the consequences. What really bothers me is the spousal support which is massive and was obtained via perjury and fraud. And, as I repeat often, I have the evidence. It is tragic for the children and me that Spring has chosen to provide nothing for her children. It is tragic for society that she has obtained a legal ruling allowing her to live as a parasite upon her children and me.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Alimony Reform in Flordia

Last year Florida governor Rick Scott vetoed a very modest alimony reform bill that would have somewhat curtailed permanent alimony and this year it is dead as well. How did this happen? It is significant that one of the main groups fighting against the bill was the Family Law Section of The Florida Bar. That's right - divorce lawyers. The very same people who would have the most to lose in a more just and equitable system. 

Permanent alimony should be outright banned as in almost all cases it enslaves a person until death with no possibility of retirement.  But even long term alimony should only be given in exceptional cases such as where the person receiving alimony is disabled or truly sacrificed their working career to be a full-time parent and homemaker and the person paying did little in those areas. Sadly the most common reason for receiving alimony is irresponsibility during the marriage. It is possibly the only legal way to make a large amount of money by acting immorally. (and quite often criminally) It is certainly the most common. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Players - Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board

I have added a page on the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board in the Players section. I may expand it later.

It could be argued that the legal system is inherently just but as happens in any organization there are a few bad apples and I was just exceptionally unlucky in dealing with more than my fair share of these bad apples. The actions of Lawyers Office of Professional Responsibility, however, makes it very clear, painfully clear, that corruption is institutional and rampant in the divorce system, at least in the County where I reside.   

Friday, June 27, 2014

Rational vs. Gullible

Jayne O'Donnell had an through-provoking article titled, "Voices: Inflating stories about victims," in USA Today recently. The article highlights the danger of blindly believing sad or heart-wrenching stores without rationally analyzing them. Too often swindlers use such stories to fraudulently extract money from people. Not only are they criminally taking money from the victims but they are depriving legitimate charities and those they serve, who have a true need of assistance, by diverting money from good causes to line their own pockets. Add they hurt everyone due to that the fact that the swindlers, by living a parasitical life, contribute nothing to the economy and thus burden everyone else with supporting them. Want lower taxes? Get rid of the swindlers.

And how is this different from what Spring and Nelly Wince did? Answer: It's not.  Spring and Wince from the beginning went down this path. They lied about me being abusive, lied about Spring not being able to find work, lied about Spring's relationship with the children, and lied about how much housework she did. At the temporarily hearing Judge Vaguely initially gave Spring temporary custody of the children. He didn't even talk to the children but just took her at her word.  It wasn't until the custody evaluator's investigation was complete, and he talked to the children, that this was changed. The only difference from the scams detailed in O'Donnell's article and what Spring and Wince did is that those in the article have been punished. Spring and Wince got away with their scam. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Players - Jon Wurst

Back to the bad. I have published a page on my senior lawyer, Jon Wurst in the Players section. Although certainly not as bad as Nelly Wince, Jon is a person seemingly without much of a conscious.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Players - Robert Sturdy

In honor of Father's Day I have published a page on Robert Sturdy in the Players section. Sturdy was one of the very few decent people involved with my case. 

The boys are still sleeping as I write this but I know they have something planned for me today that deals with food as they told me yesterday to not look in the freezer. The boys and I have always enjoyed cooking to an extent and this has expanded since Spring left. Okay, maybe I do most of it but they do enjoy it! Not that the food is fancy but it is creative in its own way. I take a great pleasure when they ask for scones in the morning or tell their friends that our homemade salsa is the best. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ethics Alarms - Unethical Rationalizations and Misconceptions

Ethics Alarm had a great (and long!) list of rationalizations and misconceptions people use to justify unethical actions.  As I have stated before, very few if any people think they are bad no matter how bad their action are. They just rationalize their bad actions away. Not deluding yourself with rationalizations is a key part being a good person. 

Ethics Alarms is an interesting site. Their mission is to examine ethical situations and problems in many areas and professions especially, not surprising given that it was founded by a lawyer, in the legal realm. Note that the homepage contains a good list of ethics sites. Check them out.  

Patent Trolls - a Glimmer of Hope

I have commented on patent trolls before as I believe their extortive patent lawsuits are, like the our family law/divorce system, an area of rampant injustice and criminal activity within our legal system. And like the divorce system it seems for every two steps forward there is 1.9 backward. A post I wrote on a recent setback in the U. S. Senate was also the subject of an article. The article contains a quote by Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Ramierz which gives me some hope:
"[f]laws in the patent system are likely fueling much of the real costs associated with PAE [PAE = Patent Assertion Entity = Patent Toll] activities. ...effective monetization of low quality patents imposes a de facto tax on productive economic activity with little or no offsetting benefit for consumers. High litigation costs add to the problem by allowing PAEs to coerce targets to pay license or settlement fees that are detached from the economic value of the patents at issue. In short, PAEs exploit underlying problems in the patent system to the detriment of innovation and consumers."
Recognition of the problem is the first step. Justice can only be achieved, whether in the divorce or patent systems, if people understand the reality and extent of current injustice and the horrible human and economic costs of such corrupt behavior. This site exists to bring to light such corruption.