Thursday, February 18, 2016

Michael Boulette on Minnesota Alimony Reform

Michael Boulette has a good summary of current efforts to reform Minnesota alimony laws on is his Family-In-Law blog posting: “Alimony Reform” Comes To Minnesota (Maybe)

Currently, the most promising reform in Minnesota is to treat cohabitation the same a re-marriage, which in Minnesota would end alimony. Indeed HF 1333 proposes to do just that. However, as Boulette points out, "cohabitation" can be tricky to define.

Although I totally support HF 1333, it is a band-aid not a solution. The real issue is that alimony itself needs to be reformed. Today alimony is all too often a reward for bad behavior or even blatant criminal activity such as in my case.

There is simply no way any alimony was justified let alone permanent alimony in my case. To review:

  • My ex-wife divorced me. 
  • At the time of the marriage I was 30 years old; she turned 30 a few months later. The marriage lasted less than than 20 years.
  • Prior to her filing for divorce, we had been to three marriage counselors, two of which we met with extensively. Both of these were vetted by her and in fact one was a friend of her family. She walked out on all three because they were questioning her actions especially her drinking. 
  • 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.
  • Joint custody of the children was awarded post-marriage. (although in reality they were with me more)
  • There was strong evidence my ex-wife committed perjury. I asked the Court several times to talk to the children in order to refute allegations she was making but the Court refused.
  • There is absolute evidence her lawyer lied and committed fraud in court. You do not have to take my word on this - Look at the evidence
  • Virtually all marital assets came from my income. Her income was used solely for her benefit. 
  • My ex-wife has never used a single dime of her income to benefit the children during the marriage or after. 

Despite this, I lost a huge amount of assets in the divorce (including many pre-marriage assets) had to pay over $100,000 in legal costs (including many of her costs), was required to pay child support, and am required to pay a massive amount of permanent spousal support until the day I die. I will never be able to retire nor remarry as that would require my new wife to pay support to my ex-wife should I become disabled. 

What happened to me and my children is a tragedy. It is simply wrong. The laws need to change. 

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