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.