Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Alimony Misinformation

Sometime I get a little irritated when I see statements made without any factual basis. For example, Adinolfi Lieberman P.A. lawyer Kimberly Packman states
Ninety-seven percent of the time, it is women who seek and receive alimony after a divorce.  Women typically invest more time and energy into maintaining a household, forgoing career development. Without spousal support after divorce, the economically weaker spouse could be left destitute while the other partner walks away without any financial obligation.
The part about women seeking and receiving alimony 97% of the time is true but stating that women typically invest more time and energy into maintaining a household is at best misleading. You could just as well state that men do most the work maintaining a household because they typically do the yard work, shovel the snow, take care of the cars, take care of the finances, pay the bills, take care of the dog and coach the kids' teams. The point is that there is no evidence that women put more time and energy into maintaining a household.

In my case, I was clearly the person doing most of work maintaining the household including most of the stereotypical female tasks. On top of that, I paid much of Spring's way through college and helped her start several businesses that she later lost interest in. Yet, somehow I am the one paying alimony, and am ordered to pay it until death. This despite the fact that an employment evaluation stated Spring could make just as much money as me and the custody evaluate ruled that parenting during the marriage was joint. Not to mention that custody post-divorce was joint yet Spring does virtually nothing for the kids.

The misinformation out there is just incredible. And sorry to say this Ms, Packman, but it is simply unethical for a lawyer who financially benefits from an unjust system to make unsubstantiated statements that encourage injustice and excessive litigation.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

California Alimony Reform

I added a link to CalAlimonyReform.org to the Reform and News Links page. As evidenced by the why page, the motivation for the site seems similar to mine. Expect in my case my ex-wife is the one who divorced me and the court order against me is five-ten times worse.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Thoughts on Equality

Many people who have experienced injustices such as I have from legal and divorce systems, become quite prejudiced in their views.  They may conclude, for example, that all lawyers, judges and prosecutors are immoral criminals. Or they may view all people of the opposite sex as evil. Somewhere deep in human history the mental construct of lumping people together in a group and believing that all members of that are group exhibit a particular characteristic must have offered some evolutionary advantage. Maybe it was better than wasting precious calories on thinking. This is the basis of sexism, racism and all other discriminatory behaviors. It is discouraging that so many have not evolved their thinking beyond this.

Despite what has happened to me, I don't believe I have fallen quite that low. I still  have my integrity. However, the injustices I have experienced have made me a bit more perceptive to the inequities of our world.

Some thoughts

NPR ran a fascinating story on a white person named Jamaal, a traditional black name. Jamaal name gave him a perspective on racial discrimination that few white have ever experienced because people assumed he was black until they met him.  Ironically, he also saw first hand reverse discrimination when he obtained a teaching position interview because the district wanted to hire more people of color

The Homicide Monitor is a interesting look at homicides around the world. One fact is that men are the victims of homicide far more than women. In the United States, over 3/4ths of victims are male. Yet somehow society seems not to care. Certainly if most homicides were agaisnt women it would be in the news every day. In our society male lives simply do not matter as much as female ones and very, very few people think this is wrong. Have you ever heard anyone criticize that women were included with children for first dibs on the lifeboats when the Titanic sank?

Take a look at this article from 2013 on the 144 female soldiers killed since 9/11. Clearly the article believes this is a tragedy. They don't even mention the thousands of men killed.

I recently heard on the radio about a boat that sank in the Mediterranean that was full of refugees. Hundreds of men were killed but they they labeled the death of a dozen or so women as a tragedy.

In another radio segment I heard someone state that the Oregon Trail was difficult, especially so for women. Really? Why on earth would it be more difficult for women?

Prejudice and discrimination are so ingrained into our society people do not even recognize it. They become so sensitized to discrimination agaisnt one group they fail to see it when it goes against the way they want to lump people together.

Real discrimination does exist against women, men, blacks, whites, Jews, Muslims, Catholics, homosexuals, and virtually any group  of people you can think of. The fight should be against discrimination wherever it occurs and whomever it hurts.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Alimony on Wikipedia

Wikipedia has an interesting article on alimony, especially the section on alimony reform. But even more interesting is the article's talk page on which you can see a fascinating discourse by the authors on the subject.

As a side note, I found a page on what appears to be a personal site that looks like a version of the alimony reform section of the Wikipedia alimony page or possibly an older version of it. Or maybe it is just how the author would have written it.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

First Husbands Advocacy Group

I stumbled across First Husbands Advocacy Group which is an very active Facebook site advocating for alimony justice in Florida and across the country.

Florida seems to be the battleground for alimony civil rights at the moment. It is all deja vous-ish in that it seems like we have been here before. The right for women to vote, African-American civil rights, same-sex marriage - it is well worn path. Let's hope the road to justice when it comes to divorce and alimony will get us there sooner rather than later.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Florida Alimony Reform Stalls

I recently wrote about pending legislation on alimony reform in Florida, but that legislation has stalled due to a budget impasse in the Florida legislature that caused the session to end three days early as reported by by Family Law Reform, Inc.

Family Law Reform, Inc., which is listed in the Reform and News Links section, is a site that lobbies for alimony reform which appears to have been founded in late summer of last year. Although it mostly concentrates on Florida it does contain national news and links. Their goals seem very much in alignment with those of DivorceInjustice.org.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Anita Hill on Equality

Marketplace on Friday ran an interview with law professor Anita Hill, whose biggest claim to fame was her accusation of sexual harassment by Clarence Thomas at his Supreme Court nomination hearing.  Although the veracity of Hill's allegations has not been been completely proven, I think the evidence is pretty clear that her testimony was truthful.

Hill suffered quite a bit of backlash after her testimony but admirably, and doggedly, managed to use the publicity to become a strong advocate for gender and race equality over the years. Her speeches and writings have not only changed the debate about equality and fairness in the country but has changed they way we act.

Yet there is one thing that bothers me. Everything I have heard from Hill talks about discrimination agaisnt women or discrimination against blacks. Discrimination is a term for injustice agaisnt a group because of that group's identity. It doesn't really matter if that group is women, blacks, men, whites, native Americans, Irish, Hispanic, Catholics, Jews, gays or any other way you want to categorize people. And ultimately it doesn't even matter if there is a group. What really matters is that injustice is committed against an individual. The greatest advocates for justice, such as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela, understood and emphasized this.

I don't really feel like the injustice that occurred to me was because of my gender, race, or religion. In some ways it would be easier if it was because then I would have a group to identify with. What happened to me was simply due to criminal actions by corrupt people. It happened for reasons of power and money. The same as for all injustice.

Friday, May 8, 2015

xkcd on Marriage

xkcd, one of the best comics out there, has a chart on marriage:

which shows that the majority of Americans did not support interracial marriage until the mid-1990s, a full 30 years after banning it was made illegal nationwide by the Supreme Court. Same-sex marriage, however, is still banned in many states despite the fact that the majority of people have believed it should be legal for some years now.

The Court used to lead public opinion on social justice, now if lags far behind.

Although I cannot find relevant polls, I think it is a good bet that the majority of people turned against permanent alimony about the same time as they decided it was okay for women to be doctors. Especially in cases like mine where parenting during the marriage was ruled as joint, custody was joint, an employment evaluation stated the person receiving alimony could make just as much money as the person paying, and there is overwhelming evidence of the most heinous fraud.

It would be nice if the Court caught up.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Progress With a Caveat in Flordia

The Florida Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill that would end permanent alimony. The bill is very similar to one that was vetoed by Governor Rick Scott in 2013 with the most notable exception being that it does not apply retroactively. 

I am happy progress is being made but it is heart wrenching to think that those who have already suffered so much will most likely be required to suffer onto death. 

Every ray of hope seems to bring dark shadow. But, still, progress is progress. This reminds me of a quote by the Roman statesman and general Quintus Sertorius:
Many things which cannot be overcome when they stand together yield themselves up when taken little by little
It will be a long battle to achieve divorce reform in the United States. Justice is never easy as there are always entrenched powers that will stop at little to maintain the current state. 

Monday, May 4, 2015


NPR had an interesting story on political corruption and its evolving definition this morning.

In 1976, Chief Justice Warren Burger stated that the standard for corruption is, "the reality & appearance of improper influence stemming from the dependence of candidates on large campaign contributions."

Last year the current chief justice, John Roberts, significantly watered down the definition to be,  "a contribution to a particular candidate in exchange for his agreeing to do a particular act within his official duties."

Many lawyers are uncomfortable with this narrowed definition. The public, according to the article, typically define political corruption as:
"Someone is corrupt when they're in public office just for their own interests" 
I would agree. 

This is political corruption. Corruption in the courtroom, although less visible, is far more pernicious and prevalent. One of the most depressing things I have ever read is a an FAQ on American Judicial and Legal Corruption by Dr. Les Sachs. I am not sure I am 100% with him on how absolutely pervasively corrupt our legal system is, but my experience is surely moving me in that direction.