Saturday, December 26, 2015

Combat Position to Open for Women

Recently U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that gender based restriction will be lifted for all positions in the military, including combat roles.

It is about time.

I am a bit amazed that people even argue against it. The arguments against women in combat roles make exactly as much sense as, for example, restricting combat roles to people over six feet tall (who are obviously better able to handle the equipment), or with perfect eyesight (if your glasses get knocked off you put your squad at risk), or who have a college degree (smarter soldiers make better decisions). The augments agaisnt women in combat roles are embarrassingly silly.

The next step is to eliminate gender based restrictions for draft registration.

Hopefully, we also eliminate bias in divorce, including alimony awards.

Discrimination based on gender is not only morally wrong but demeaning to women and shameful for men.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Breakups Are Tougher On Men

Although I always take generalizing by gender (or race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) with a grain of salt, YourTango has an interesting article on 3 Sad Reasons Men Stay In Bad Relationships WAY Longer Than Women. To her credit the author does provide some good supporting references.
...because science shows that breakups are actually much tougher on men, it’s the Y-chromosomes that seem to be more likely to stay in a relationship long past its expiration 
In fact, the NCHS shows a staggering 80% of US divorces are initiated by women.
On average, and I emphasis on average, men invest more emotional and financial resources into a relationship/marriage and women get more out of it should it end. The wedding ring is a proxy for the relationship. Men typically buy it and ask the woman to marry him. Women keep it once they divorce. We will not have true gender equality until men and women, again on average, invest equally into the relationship/marriage as well as equally take out of it should it end. Once that happens, the gender discrepancy on who files for divorce will disappear. 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

More On Women Pushing Alimony Reform

Even though well over 95% of alimony is paid by men, women are often the most outraged by it and are pushing for reform as much or more so than men. Not only do they believe it is highly unjust when the court orders them to pay alimony directly but also when they have pay indirectly due to their husband having an obligation to a former spouse.  Indeed many women are effectively prevented from marrying the person they want because such a marriage would obligate them to pay alimony to their husband's former wife.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Progress NJ

Progress NJ is a new alimony reform site in New Jersey.
Progress NJ is a 501(c)(4)s non-profit advocacy organization that provides a voice in Trenton for alimony payers and others dealing with New Jersey’s divorce system. The group fights for improvements to both the divorce and family law, and works tirelessly with policymakers in New Jersey, with the goal of bringing family law into the 21st century.

There website is quite professional and their mission reasonable.

It is always nice to see some momentum in the right direction. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

You Ain't No Muslim, Bruv!

During the recent knife attack in London's Underground, a man, presumably Muslim, was heard to shout,  "You ain't no Muslim, bruv!" at the attacker after he was subdued. When I heard this on the radio, it sent a emotional chill through me. As I discussed in my last post, there are so many whose thoughts and actions run counter to any sense of morality that it is refreshing to see someone so clearly and so spontaneously point that out to a person who had just stabbed several innocent people.

The flip side to this is Donald Trump with his desire to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. This is such an idiotic statement that one wonders how he can even remain in the presidential race. Yet his poll numbers actually went up after he said it. I wish someone had yelled out, "You ain't no American, Dude!" when he uttered the words.

You Ain't No American,

Now I won't say Trump's statement is as bad as the London attacker's actions but the thinking behind both is common - hate for a group of people because they are in a group you aren't. It doesn't really matter if the group you hate is Christians, Muslims, Jews, men, women, westerners, foreigners, etc. The thought pattern itself is immoral.

This may not directly relate to the the purpose of this site but I do think that immoral thought patterns are not only a foundation of hate and prejudice against groups but also a foundation of all immoral acts including, for example, the perjury and fraud committed by many of the people involved in my case.  

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Moral Continuum

The recent mass shootings in San Bernardino, at the Planned Parenthood office in Colorado Springs and the coordinated attacks in Paris have me thinking once again about morality and the nature of evil.

The way I view morality is as a continuum. Every person's average morality as well as every individual act lies somewhere on that continuum. No one is 100% good or evil all the time (they say even Hitler loved children - at least good Aryan ones) so our average morality falls somewhere on the line.  The key to life is consciously thinking about where everything you do falls on the line.  Killing innocent people? Pretty much at the evil end. Beating your kid? Also pretty bad. Kicking the dog when it is your way? Cheating on your work expense report?  Stealing office supplies from work for your kid? Claiming false tax deductions? Calling in sick when you are not? How about committing perjury or when a lawyer lies in court?

The important thing is that you must reflect on your actions. You must think mindfully.
If you do not think about whether you are acting morally or not, you will likely not.
The most difficult situation for me to understand is when people so delude themselves that they actually believe evil actions are good. Religion has sadly been used more often than anything to justify the killing of innocents. It is highly likely that the perpetrators of the San Bernardino, Colorado Springs and Paris attacks all justified their actions on religious grounds. There is no magic bullet to overcome religious justifications of immoral acts but education along with a culture of tolerance and non-violence would go a long way

But religion isn't the only justification for evil. Hitler certainly did not use it. Nor did Spring, Nelly Wince, Judge Mearly or the others who committed such criminal acts in Spring's divorce of me. For these types of justifications we need just laws and the willingness to equally enforce them.  Fear of getting caught will not stop a religious fanatic but it will stop a criminal, especially a white color one.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

OMG Chronicles - Gray Divorce

OMG Chronicles has an article on How to avoid gray divorce. I don't actually comment much on other websites but for some reason I felt compelled to do so in this case. My comment is under the name "JoeX" as I pretty much consider myself an average everyday Joe.

[Note that the article mentions Minneapolis attorney "Mark Boulettte" which I presume is a typo for Michael Boulette who runs the Family-In-Law blog which I have mentioned before and is listed in the Reform and News Links section]

I won't repeat my comment here but I would like to address the oft-cited claim in the article that women are worse off than men after a divorce. This doesn't pass the sniff test because if that were true then why are the vast majority of divorces initiated by women? Guy at has an opinion on this.

Although it is dangerous to generalize my view is that:

  • If two ethical people divorce they are both worse off financially due to the cost of the divorce. After that how well each does financially depends on their respective career's earning potential. 
  • If both people are unethical they will likely both end up bankrupt with all the money going to the divorce lawyers and associated scavengers. After that is is a crap-shoot as to which one gets most of the leftover detritus. 
  • If one person is ethical and the other unethical, the unethical one will likely come out net positive and the ethical one net negative. 
Spring divorced me. She acted both criminally and unethically. I and my children suffer financially because I did not stoop to her level. But at least I can look myself in the mirror. At least I can look my children in the eye. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

New Jersey 2014 Alimony Reform

The Zohn & Zohn law firm has a good overview of the new alimony law in New Jersey.
  • So-called permanent alimony was eliminated, and a new alimony category was created – open duration alimony. Now there are four types of alimony: open duration, limited duration, rehabilitative and reimbursement. Open duration alimony is now limited to 20-year-plus marriages. For marriages shorter than 20 years, the alimony term cannot exceed the marriage length, barring exceptional circumstances. I say that permanent alimony was “so -called” because it was always subject to modification or elimination based on the paying spouse’s retirement, the recipient’s remarriage, or other factors.
  • The statute explicitly addresses the paying spouse’s retirement, and acknowledges the assumption that the paying spouse will not have an alimony obligation after reaching retirement age. Retirement age is generally defined by Social Security rules.
  • The statute identifies specific rules for modifying alimony based on a changes of circumstance. If a non-self employed spouse want to modify alimony, the court must investigate the reasons for reduced income and the efforts to become employed at the previous level. If the paying spouse become unemployed, this spouse can apply to the court for an alimony change after being unemployed for 90 days.
  • The statute contains explicit provisions to modify or terminate alimony if the recipient spouse cohabits with another person. The court will look at intertwined finances, joint responsibility for expenses, the length of the relationship and other factors. They court may not reject a finding of cohabitation merely because the recipient spouse does not live with the other person full-time.

Most if it is good, especially the replacement of permanent alimony by open duration alimony and limiting even that to marriages of 20+ years. So if Spring had divorced me today in New Jersey I would, by law, not be burdened with permanent alimony or even open duration alimony as our marriage was less than 20 years.

The bad part is that it doesn't affect anyone who is already paying alimony. That is exactly like if the Emancipation Proclamation had only freed newly born slaves not current slaves.

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.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Oregon Alimony Reform Petition

If you are from Oregon please sign the MoveOn Petition for Alimony reform. The petition was started by  a woman whose husband has to pay crippling alimony to a previous spouse who does not need it.

In her own words
Please support HB 2559 HB 2495 which will create much-needed alimony (spousal support) reform in Oregon. My husband, and thousands of other payers like him, has been strangled by excessive alimony payments to a wealthy college-educated woman for ten years (despite a reduction in his income) with no end in sight. Modifications are terribly expensive to seek and difficult to obtain, even when a payer has lost his or her job. The economic downturn has created a system in which payers go bankrupt trying to support a former spouse, while that former spouse has no obligation to seek employment and suffers no income decline. Our bill would set guidelines for alimony awards, thus reducing expensive and heart-wrenching litigation, and would equalize the system to lessen the punishment suffered by income earners when a marriage fails.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Are Alimony Laws Unconstitutional?

Four men in Connecticut think so and sued the governor over it in 2013. Full complaint here. Unfortunately, the case was dismissed.
"Alimony is an historical anachronism, a remnant from an earlier legal era when the rights of women vis-à-vis their husbands, and in society in general, were radically different than they are today... Connecticut's alimony scheme is unconstitutionally vague, giving no notice to citizens contemplating marriage or divorce what fate may befall them in a divorce proceeding. The Legislature, by failing among other things even to identify the purpose or aim or alimony, has delegated basic policy decisions to the judiciary without any meaningful guidance."

Pretty much the same situation as we have in Minnesota where criminal and unethical actions are the norm due to vague laws and corrupt judges who rule based on personal interest.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Enough is Enough

Fred Silverberg writes about permanent spousal support (alimony) in When Enough is Enough in the Huffington Post. He offers some hope.
While it is true that this is an area where the court has fairly wide discretion, a number of appellate court cases stand for a rather vague, but still applicable, legal principle: "enough is enough." Simply put, at a certain point in time, the paying spouse may obtain an order to reduce or stop paying simply because a balancing of the equities finds that payment has gone on long enough....By the same token, these cases seem to hold that the passage of time alone can be a "changed circumstance."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Criminals With Firearms vs. Lifetime Alimony

Life can sometimes be surreal. Criminals who posses firearms illegally get less than the minimum sentence more than half the time. In Minnesota at least.

But if you lived a responsible life, worked hard, were kind and a good parent, you can end up losing nearly everything and have to pay alimony until the day you die to an utterly undeserving person who committed perjury and a lawyer to blatantly lied in court.

This happens because in Minnesota judges can rule however they want.  If you get a bad judge the law matters very little. Justice matters not at all.

And don't think there are only a few bad apples involved with Family Court - it is a truism that:
Bad people flock to positions where they can follow their true nature

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Martian and More Thoughts on Sexism

I saw the movie The Martian the other night. Although I can't say it was the most profound movie I have ever seen, it was thoroughly enjoyable and did make some good points.

What I liked:

  • The movie was witty. I always like that. 
  • Sexism/racism is absent without mentioning it. The commander of the mission is an ex-military woman, the head of NASA a white man, the mission director a black man. The brilliant young astrophysicist is a young black guy. The head of JPL is an out of shape Chinese-American. 
  • The end of the movie makes a really good moral point. I won't spoil it for you and, besides, it works in the movie better than if I just told you.  
I work at an incredibly diverse company so in many ways the social structure of The Martian, which is set in the near future, reflects my current reality. In fact, I do not recall once in the past 27 years at my job where I have not had at least one woman in the line of command above me. I know not all people are exposed to the same level of diversity as me but that is the world I come from and am in. Maybe this is the reason I find it so shocking that people would use gender or race as a tool to achieve injustice. I am not so naive to think that sexism and racism do not exist but when it is explicitly used as a tool by educated people who should know better it is very sad. 

How was sexism used agaisnt me? Spring and her lawyer Nelly Wince explicitly argued that I should be required to support Spring for the rest of my life, despite the fact that employment evaluator ruled that she could make just as much money as me and the custody evaluator rulling that parenting during the marriage was joint, because women are less capable than men. How ironic. But I guess is is no surprise than greed trumps morality. 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

False Accusations

On NPR this morning - For Students Accused Of Campus Rape, Legal Victories Win Back Rights.

The unfortunately reality today is that there is is little risk to making false accusations whether about rape of any other matter. It s often quite effective. Many completely innocent people have had their lives ruined, often spending time in jail due to false accusations of rape or other crimes. Yet the person making the false accusation is almost never punished.

Another example is a recent event at the University of North Dakota where a man, who was not a student, started a fight at fraternity and then falsely claimed he was assaulted and harassed for his sexuality. No charges agaisnt him were filed.

The poster child for false accusations is of course Family Court where perjury and lying are endemic,  the rewards for doing so vast and the risk practically non-existent.

Until we treat false accusations and perjury as the crimes they are the innocent will suffer.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Passolt v. Passolt

In my last posting, I commented on a Family-In-Law article about upcoming Minnesota Supreme Court cases that may affect spousal support, aka alimony. The article made a passing mention to the 2011 Court of Appeals case of Passolt v. Passolt, in which television anchor Jeff Passolt successfully argued that his ex-wife Lisa was willfully underemployed. The court agreed.
"The district court erred by concluding that, in granting maintenance, it was not permitted to consider wife's prospective ability to become partially or fully self-supporting"
 No. A10-1151.
Court of Appeals of Minnesota.
The Passolts divorced after a 30 year marriage. Mine was 18. Lisa Passolt had a worked part-time as a fitness instructor and was only making about $3000 per year at the time of the divorce. In my case, prior to planning the divorce, Spring was making much more than that, had a good education, strong business management experience, and a vocational evaluator found she could make just as much money as me. Lisa Passolt was the primary parent during the marriage. The custody evaluaor ruled in my case that parenting was joint.

Justice is arbitrary in Minnesota. Judges can simply rule however they want without restriction. They may rule based on clearly illegal criteria including gender, race, ethnicity, or how well they know one of the lawyers. As long as they do not state they are ruling based on illegal criteria they can get away with it. This inevitably leads to corruption.

Jeff Passolt was only successful because the judge in the original case stated that Lisa Passolt was likely to become self-supporting within a year. If this had not been written there would have been no basis for an appeal. This is how utterly ridiculous the system is.

Our funding fathers devised a constitution based on a balance of power between the legislative, executive and judicial. It is a check and balance system. It is high time for the Minnesota legislature to check the judicial.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Spousal Maintenance in Minnesota - Family-In-Law

Michael Boulette writes about current cases before the Minnesota Supreme Court that that may affect spousal maintenance (alimony) in Minnesota on his Family-In-Law blog.

The first upcoming case is Curtis v. Curtis, in which the former wife is arguing that she should be able to keep the $2.2+ in monies she received as part of the settlement in low-risk, low-income investments and her husband should make up the difference to account for the 7% in return she had planned to make from them.

The interesting part, however, is not the battle over the return rate for the investments but, as Mr. Boutelle points out, whether the Court will use this case to review why spousal support is awarded at all.

The part that really gets me in the whole matter is that in the Curtis vs. Curtis case there appears to be little doubt that the wife was the primary parent who raised the children and the issue over what the return rate should be is at least a fair question. It doesn't seem like a it is a good case to overturn spousal maintenance. My case would make a far better challenge as to the appropriateness and fairness of spousal support. After all, in my case:

  • The custody evaluator ruled that Spring was not the primary parent during the marriage.
  • The vocational assessment showed that Spring could make just as much money as me. 
  • Spring received some assets, for example part of my pension, that were earned pre-marriage. 
  • There is good evidence Spring committed perjury.
  • There is absolute evidence Spring and her lawyer Nelly Wince committed serious fraud. 
  • Spring repeatedly broke Court orders. 
  • Spring failed to reply to my attempts to negotiate spousal support within the Court mandated time-frame. 
  • On top of Spring receiving a huge amount of assets at the time of the divorce, she also received a massive amount of spousal support that by Court order will go on until I die. I have little hope of ever retiring or being able to remarry as that would make my new wife liable for spousal support to Spring should I become disabled. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who thinks this is not outrageous. 
I wish I could figure out a way to get my case to the Supreme Court but reality is that without funds, large funds, it is nearly impossible to even get a case heard.  

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Lying In Family Court

Lying In Family Court is an 2008 article from the High Conflict Institute that sadly still rings true today.
Divorce Courts rely heavily on "he said, she said" declarations, signed "under penalty of perjury." However, a computer search of family law cases published by the appellate courts shows only one appellate case in California involving a penalty for perjury: People v. Berry (1991) 230 Cal. App. 3d 1449. The penalty? Probation.

The Separated Parenting Access & Resource Center also discuses this issue with an article geared toward lawyers.
...perjury prosecutions are virtually non-existent, and there is little likelihood that any criminal perjury prosecution will occur in the future... Even more disturbing, however, is the fact that our family court judges appear to be reluctant to find a person who has presented perjured testimony to be in contempt of court. 
The question is why is perjury ignored in Family Court? The reality is that Family Court has become the primary arena for criminal activity in our society. Because there are huge rewards and little risk for committing crimes, the the divorce industry attracts criminals. If you are a bad person why not commit perjury in court like Spring did to get as much money as you can from husband and children? If you are an unethical lawyer why not commit fraud to get more money for yourself and client? There is virtually no risk in doing so and because of this Family Court and the whole divorce industry have become a cesspool of criminal activity.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Dorothy Williams Pays Alimony in Flordia

Although it is rare for women to have to pay alimony, they are sometimes faced with the same unjust treatment in family court that men and children more commonly suffer when it comes to alimony. (I include children as victims because alimony by its very nature more often than not reduces the amount of money the responsible and supportive parent has available to benefit the children) Reform it isn't about men vs. women, it is about reducing corruption within the divorce system and equal justice for all.

Dorothy Williams in Florida learned the hard way just how inequitable family court can be. But if I may wallow in self-pity for a moment - I wish my result had only been as unfair as Ms. Williams.

To her credit, Williams now advocates for alimony reform in Florida.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Ellen Langer on Mindlessness and Mindfullness

Mindfulness is an often vague term that has been growing in popularity of late. Some people think it is a new idea but the notion has been around since before Buddha who, in fact, was one of the great popularizes of the concept.

On Being recently had an interview with Harvard social psychologist Ellen Langer. Dr. Langer talks about mindfulness from a western scientific foundation and has been since well before the current fascination surrounding it.
 ...mindlessness is pervasive-- Ellen Langer 
The above quote, and similar ones from Langer, make me wonder whether mindlessness is a factor in how people like Spring, Nelly Wince, Judge Mearly and the many others who have harmed my children and me during the divorce process could act is ways that are so contrary to pretty much any ethical value system out there. One of the recurring refrains that goes through my mind is, "How can people act in such an evil manner?" I have pondered this over and over and over. 

I always thought that people may do bad things out of carelessness, passion, or fear but that few people, at least among those who were lucky enough to have been well educated and had a good upbringing, would act in ways that are, to be blunt, simply evil. Maybe they are acting mindlessly - not thinking about their actions at all. Maybe they need to think about their actions, reflect on what is right, and ask themselves if they are acting in accordance with their professed values. Maybe they need to be mindful. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Reality of Alimony

In virtually all cases alimony, other than for a very limited amount of time, is wrong. In my case the award of alimony was criminal. But it is the way the system works. Get a well connected lawyer who knows the judge and you have it made.

This video from Alimony Reform shows how alimony is so detrimental not only to individuals but society as well.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Shelley Kuziak On The FBI and Family Court Corruption

Shelley Kuziak wonders why the FBI is a no-show when it comes to combating family court corruption. I have often wonders this myself. I see stories all the time of FBI going after people for corruption that involved just a few hundred thousand dollars. I wish that was all I was fleeced out of! The thing that is most disturbing is that my evidence is so rock solid, it is simply undeniable.

Although, to be fair, I should point out that I have yet to file a formal complaint with the FBI because from everything I have read it will simply be ignored. Even so, it has been on my list of things to do. I guess I better get to that list.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Supreme Court Justice Stephen Beyer On International Justice

In an NPR interview with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Beyer on a his new book, "The Court and the World," that I head this morning, Justice Beyer made the comment:
"I began to understand the important divisions in the world are not on the basis of race or nationality or country or where you live," Breyer said. "They are really between people who believe in a rule of law as a way of deciding significant issues and those who do not believe in a rule of law — who believe in force."
With all due respect Justice Beyer is only 2/3 correct. The missing 1/3 is people who believe in the pretense of rule by law in order to achieve financial and socioeconomic advantage over others. In short - they believe in corruption.

This site as well as many others make it clear that corruption is rampant in Family Court within the United States.  How else can you explain why I have to pay a massive amount of alimony to Spring despite a less that  20 marriage and the fact that she is college educated and an employment evaluation determined she could make just as much money as me, joint parenting during the marriage (as determined by the custody evaluator), joint custody post marriage, strong evidence Spring committed perjury, and absolute evidence her lawyer lied in court. Not to mention that she is the one who divorced me.

I know an Indian living in the U.S. whose husband left her when she was pregnant. In order to get sole custody of her child she went to India and bribed a judge to gain exclusive custody of the child her husband had abandoned.  It is ironic that by simply paying an above board bribe she was able to achieve justice. I have been punished because I did the right thing both during my marriage and during the divorce process. My reward for doing what is right is that now every day I have go to work for the benefit of those who committed crimes. Where is my justice? Where is justice for my kids?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Tom Lee Not Giving Up in Flordia

State Senator Tom Lee won't give up his efforts at alimony reform in Florida. In 2013, alimony reform legislation made it through the legislature only to have it vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. 

Lee's new proposed legislation includes:

  • Requiring a judge to “make specific written findings of fact regarding the relevant factors that justify an award of alimony.”
  • Changing the calculations for alimony amounts to make it less easy to get. That includes considering what an ex-spouse could be making if he or she is otherwise “voluntarily unemployed or underemployed.”
  • Excluding undistributed “earnings or gains on retirement accounts” when determining income for alimony purposes.
  • Creating a legal presumption that “approximately equal time-sharing with a minor child by both parents is … in the (child’s) best interest.”
  • Requiring a judge to consider “the frequency that a parent would likely leave the child in the care of a nonrelative … when the other parent would be available and willing to provide care” when deliberating custody time. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Family Court Corruption

Don't believe Family Court is corrupt? Watch this:

The comments by the Clinton, New Jersey divorce lawyer John W. Thatcher are especially telling:
"When you have money, when you have assets, and when you have big income these big firms have absolutely positively no interest in resolving your case, even if you want to. Everybody in the matrimonial business, all the lawyers are buddies. Everybody knows everybody. So if you and I are opposing matrimonial lawyers and Joe Schmo comes in with millions of dollars, you and I are like, you and I go back to the Mercedes dealership and buy another car. We know we're going to make huge dollars and we work it with each other that way."
As I have emphasized in the past, not every divorce lawyer and judge is corrupt but because the system itself rewards those that are, corrupt lawyers and judges are quite common. Common to the point that the divorce system can rightly be classified as institutionally corrupt.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Some Progress in South Carolina

Alimony reform is gaining some traction in South Carolina. Governor Nikki Haley has singed a bill that sets up a committee to recommend reforms to the current alimony laws in the state.  The committee's report is due by the end of the year.

I would love to see the committee adopt the the South Carolina Alimony Reform organization's common sense and equitable primary legislative goals:
1) Graded term limits for allocation of alimony payments based on the length of the marriage. At no time should alimony payments exceed more that one half of the length of the marriage with exceptions for mental and physical disability.
2) Alimony should be offset by the amount of spousal Social Security once the ex-spouse is eligible to begin drawing it and by the amount of retirement that is awarded to the ex-spouse if alimony is still being awarded at retirement age.
3) Alimony should end if the ex-spouse's passive or active income exceeds your own.
4) If the payer returns to court to request a reduction in alimony the court can never increase your payments due to your return to court.
5) The second marriage spouse's income should not be considered during alimony settlements.
6) Everyone should have the right to retire without the burden of alimony.
7) Have a durational alimony so people can retire at a reasonable age with a safety valve for those that really need alimony due to physical or mental disabilities.
8) Eliminate the 90 day cohabitation clause and change it to simply "Sharing a household, expenses, and vacations, etc. with another as a romantic couple as witnessed by friends and neighbors will be just cause for alimony to be terminated."

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Why Women File For Divoce Far More Than Men Do

As reported in The Pacific Standard,  the The American Socialogical Institute has published a study on why women file for divorce far more than men do. Many people have assumed this is because women are more sensitive to relationship difficlties than men are.  The ASA study found this not to be true.  (And seriosly - only a true sexist would think so. It is like saying men are more suited to lead governments and businesses.) What the study did find is that women who are married inniciate breakups far more often than their husbands.  If they are not married, men iniciate the breakup about as often as women do.

The study fails to mention the obvious reason. Women receive 95+ percent of alimony.  It is all too tempting to cash out of a relationship for many women.  And if they need to commit a little perjury or fraud like Spring that is not about to stop those without a moral compass.

I will note that I know a lot of women who are divorced and acted quite ethically during the process. But unfortuneately there are many who do not.  Sadly, money is a powerful motivator for evil.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

NOW On Alimony

Some people believe that eliminating alimony hurts women. Nothing could be further from the truth. Equality under the law can only benefit women. Indeed the National Organization for Women (NOW) has long advocated for reform of marriage laws and against lifelong alimony in most cases.

NOW's current Statement of Purpose:
WE REJECT the current assumptions that a man must carry the sole burden of supporting himself, his wife, and family, and that a woman is automatically entitled to lifelong support by a man upon her marriage, or that marriage, home and family are primarily woman’s world and responsibility — hers, to dominate — his to support. We believe that a true partnership between the sexes demands a different concept of marriage, an equitable sharing of the responsibilities of home and children and of the economic burdens of their support. We believe that proper recognition should be given to the economic and social value of homemaking and child-care. To these ends, we will seek to open a reexamination of laws and mores governing marriage and divorce, for we believe that the current state of `half-equity” between the sexes discriminates against both men and women, and is the cause of much unnecessary hostility between the sexes.
NOW's Statement of Purpose from 1966:
We reject the current assumptions that a man must carry the sole burden of supporting himself, his wife, and family, and that a woman is automatically entitled to lifelong support by a man upon her marriage, or that marriage, home and family are primarily woman's world and responsibility -- hers to dominate -- his to support. We believe that a true partnership between the sexes demands a different concept of marriage an equitable sharing of the responsibilities of home and children and of the economic burdens of their support. We believe that proper recognition should be given to the economic and social value of homemaking and child-care. To these ends we will seek to open a reexamination of laws and mores governing marriage and divorce, for we believe that the current state of "half-equality" between the sexes discriminates against both men and women, and is the cause of much unnecessary hostility between the sexes.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Random Thoughts On Sexism

I dropped my youngest son off at college this weekend and will be taking my eldest to his school this coming Friday. Getting them ready and being quite busy at work as well has put more than the usual pressure on my time.

For today's post I want to put down in words some of the random thoughts I have had over the last few weeks related to sexism.

At a wedding shower for a friend, the mother of the bride-to-be told me once when she flew with her husband and daughter when her daughter was quite young, she sat with the daughter, "because I'm the mom." To my ears this sounded like a strange statement and I asked her about it. She said she could count on one finger the number of times her husband had changed a diaper. This seems not only quite sexist to me but certainly not in the realm of my experience.  I pretty much changed all the diapers for my kids and often those of my nieces and nephews when I was present.  It may sound strange but I liked changing their diapers because I had a martial arts type of game I would play while changing them that always made them break out laughing. I loved seeing them laugh. For Spring changing a diaper was a chore.

When I was dropping my son off at college I met one of his suite mates and his family. The mother went to make his bed, "because I'm the mom." (yes, I head the phrase twice in one week!) Well I let my son make his own bed because, "I'm the parent." But I did just finish washing his bed sheets and making his bed at home.

I actually taught Spring how to use a washing machine. She never learned growing up.

Spring one tried to convince me that woman could never be President of the United States. That was surreal.

Recently two women passed through Army Ranger training. They were the first women to do so. Not only is it amazing to me that it took so long but that there is any controversy whatsoever about whether combat positions should be open to women. If a person, man or woman, can  meet the physical and mental requirements they should be allowed in. It really is that simple. The people arguing against women in combat are using the exact same logic used to prevent women from receiving university degrees despite having met all the qualifications not too long ago. Besides didn't they ever see Alien/Aliens?

Private Vasquez 

I wonder how many people believe it is sexist and unfair that 98% of Americans casualties in Iraq/Afghanistan have been men. I do. Any person who truly believes in equality has to.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Yale Law School on Judaical Corruption

We like to believe our judicial system operates ethically with rare exceptions but that simply isn't the case. This site has shown beyond a doubt just how common corruption is in family/divorce court. But judicial corruption is far more widespread as this Yale Law School report from 2009 shows.
Recent surveys and events indicate that judicial corruption could be a significant problem in the United States... This analysis suggests that our institutions are particularly ineffective at preventing and uncovering judicial bribery in civil disputes and traffic hearings.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

More From Susan Settenbrino

Yesterday I posted a video of a presentation by Susan Settenbrino on judicial bias and the political process. Settenbrino also has a four part series of videos on Divorce Corp's  Family Law Report detailing unethical and corrupt behavior within the family law court system. it is a great series and well worth watching.

One of my concerns about this site is that some may find it anti-lawyer or anti-women so I have striven to emphasize that justice and equality means justice and equality for all. Good lawyers, like all the great civil justice leaders, many of which were lawyers, know this. Settenbrino, I think, clearly does as well.

People who commit discrimination and other illegal acts often "win" in the sense that they garner money or power but what they do not realize is that next time they many be on the losing side of injustice. But to be clear, even for those who commit injustice, I do not advocate committing injustice against them as some form of retaliation. Switching the perpetrator and victim of injustice just perpetuates the cycle of injustice. What I want is to reduce injustice overall.

Part 1 - Misconduct by Judges

Part 2 - Recusals

Part 3 - Politicians in Robes

Part 4 – Lack of Oversight

Friday, August 14, 2015

Susan Settenbrino On Judicial Bias and the Political Process

Lawyer Susan Settenbrino talks about judicial bias and political influence in the process.

Ms. Settenbrino makes a strong case for just how dysfunctional our legal system is. The laws and rules to protect against injustice are more often than not on the books but that is a moot point when they are simply ignored. Settenbrino shows us how to at least start fixing the problem.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Misinformation on

Not to criticize but I noted that has some very misleading information
"Yes, permanent alimony can still be awarded. There is nothing stopping a couple from negotiating and agreeing to an award of permanent alimony. Outside of this situation, permanent alimony is rarely awarded. The same factors controlling an award of long-term, rehabilitative maintenance applies to permanent alimony: the recipient ex-spouse must have no realistic chance of employment, and the marriage must have been over a long period of time."
As I have repeatedly pointed out, I have to pay a massive amount of alimony to Spring despite a less that  20 marriage and the fact that she is college educated and an employment evaluation determined she could make just as much money as me, joint parenting during the marriage (as determined by the custody evaluator), joint custody post marriage, strong evidence Spring committed perjury and absolute evidence her lawyer lied in court.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Yes Virginia - it Really Is that Bad

I don't usually tell people much about my situation but I did yesterday with a colleague and friend I've known for years at work. She had recently divorced. (Her husband left my friend and their kids for another woman that he secretly had a child with) Their divorce was fairly straight forward although he is trying to reduce child support because of his new child, but there is no alimony.

My friend knows the girl I have been dating for the last four years and make a joke about getting married. Without thinking too much I told her that I legally can't. I then had to clarify that for all practical purposes I can't because that would require my new spouse to pay alimony to Spring if I became unable to work.  Then I had to tell her the whole story of how despite the fact that Spring divorced me, the custody evaluator ruled parenting during the marriage was joint, a vocational evaluation stating Spring could make just as much money as me, good evidence of perjury by Spring, absolute evidence that her lawyer Nelly Wince lied in court, joint custody after the divorce, as well as many other injustices, I am required to pay a massive amount of alimony to Spring until the day I die. I have no possibility of retirement or remarriage.

My friend had this incredulous look. She could not believe that I had been so unjustly treated or that it was even possible that anyone could be treated so unjustly by the court system. I told her that it is hard to believe but that is the way the system works. I even mentioned the story I posted earlier in the week as well as the Robin and James Hair story that I have mentioned before.

The reality of how the divorce system works is so inconceivable to most people that they simply think that it can't possibly be that bad. Even people who have been divorced, if both parties were at lest marginally ethical, have a hard time believing that anyone could be so unjustly, even criminally, treated by the divorce system as I and my children have. It is not plausible in their minds. It doesn't pass the sniff test. Nonetheless it is sadly, tragically true. This difficulty is believing how bad the system is one of the main reasons the injustices persists.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Florida Alimony Reform - 72-Year-Old Alzheimer Patient Ordered to Pay Lifetime Alimony

From Florida comes a heartbreaking story of a 72-Year-Old Alzheimer Patient Ordered to Pay Lifetime Alimony.

The fear that I might end up in the same situation is the reason I cannot in good conscious ever remarry. The financial reality of paying lifetime alimony means that I will never be able to retire.

The woman in the video says she can understand temporary alimony but in my case that wasn't even warranted for as an employment evaluation stated Spring could make just as much money as me and the custody evaluator ruled parenting during the marriage was joint. Yet I actually pay more per month in alimony than this poor guy. How can one conclude that the divorce system is anything but evil to the core?

Sunday, August 2, 2015

2nd Wives Club of South Carolina

The 2nd Wives Club of South Carolina is an organization lobbying to abolish lifetime alimony in the state.
We are women (and their partners) who believe that the alimony laws in the state of South Carolina are outdated, specifically the awarding of permanent alimony as the most common form of alimony awarded. Many of us have been directly harmed by these laws. We may actually be the ones paying our spouse's alimony, because he has suffered a financial downturn. We may not be able to retire, along with our spouse, because our husbands owe their ex-wives so much in alimony each month that retirement is impossible. We may be struggling to put children through college, perhaps step-children whose mother is receiving the money in alimony that should be going toward the childrens' college education. The ways in which the old laws are one-sided are endless. Even short marriages can result in permanent alimony.
That is exactly my situation. I cannot remarry because that would oblige my new spouse to pay alimony to Spring should I become unable to work nor can I ever hope to retire. I now have two children in college and Spring refuses to use one cent of alimony or the money she received from the divorce, let alone her income, to help pay tuition.

The 2nd Wives Club of South Carolina even have their own line of gear.