Saturday, May 28, 2016

Half of Misogyny on Twitter Comes From Women

A study in the U.K. has found that half of sexist tweets come from women. Based on the amount of press the study has received, this shocking to some people. Dr. Helen Smith is not one of them.  Nor am I. If you think men are more sexist than women you are at best uninformed. That or, ironically, you are sexist.

Humans like to categorize. They like to say all men/women/blacks/whites/Asians/gays/whatever are this or that. When you think that way you are being prejudiced which is nothing more than missing the trees for the forest. It is not viewing people as individuals but as part of a group. That is wrong.

Sadly our laws, which are supposed to treat people as individuals, often fail miserably. This is especially true when it comes to divorce and alimony.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Unethical Amnesia

A new study (and here) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates that when we act unethically, we’re more likely to remember these actions less clearly. They call it "unethical amnesia" and it may help explain how people can act unethically without being racked by guilt.  In essence, such people forget they acted unethically.

One of the things that amazed me during my divorce was the sheer amount of unethical and criminal actions committed by so many people. From Spring committing perjury, to Nelly Wince's fraudulent actions, to Rachel Corinth's attempt to use my kids to steal money, to corruption at the Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board, unscrupulous actions abounded.  Unethical amnesia is a concept that makes sense. I would guess it applies to anyone who does bad things. People do not think they are bad; they suppress it through a combination of rationalization and ethical amnesia.

But of course there are people that do act ethically. People who care about others. People whose actions are driven by their conscious. It is sad that our family law system so often rewards those who act unethically and punishes those who do not.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

It's The Law!

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has signed into law HF 1333. The bill allows for modification of alimony upon romantic cohabitation in addition to remarriage. I personally know several people, including spouses of people paying alimony to a former spouse, this will benefit. Not only that but it will make Minnesota a little less of an anti-marriage state as it will reduce the likelihood of people not getting married just to continue getting alimony.

Of course people will still game the system (let's be real here) but it is a major step in the right direction.

I am amazed and pleased with the rapidity that  this law went through the legislature as well as the level of support it achieved. I can only hope this a a harbinger of more fundamental reform.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Minnesota Senate To Vote On Cohabitation Bill This Week

The Minnesota Senate is scheduled to vote on the SF 3420, the companion bill to HF 1333 that passed the House last Wednesday, early this week. The vote was originally schedule for Monday but it looks like it will now be Tuesday.

The bill will allow judges to consider cohabitation (and to be clear this is romantic cohabitation not just having a roommate) in addition to remarriage as grounds to terminating divorce. Given the level of support HF1333 had in the House, I believe the bill should pass easily.

I am surprised and encouraged not only with the level of support for these bills but the rapidity with which they have moved through the legislative process over the last few weeks. But realize it is a modest first step toward more comprehensive alimony reform. Still, I can only be encouraged that the time has finally come reduce some of the most glaring injustices within the family court system.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cohabitation Bill Passes Minnesota House!

Minnesota House bill HF1333 which allows for modification of alimony upon cohabitation with a non-relative of the alimony recipient passed today by a vote of 112-9. Not only is this great news in its own right but it indicates wide support for alimony reform in the Minnesota legislature.

The companion bill in the Senate, SF 3420, is moving forward with every indication that it is just as widely supported.

For more information visit Minnesota Alimony Reform.

Very good news indeed!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Not Every Ex is a Psychopath

Although I don't believe Spring is truly a psychopath, I'll admit that she has many times done things where I have called her a "psycho" in my thoughts.

Why? Well here is an example. Recently I opened a letter addressed to me yet without a return address. Now normally I do not open letters without a return address because when I first stated my career I was trained not to. You see at the time the Unabomber was active and I was working in a position that was pretty much his preferred target. Ever since I have been in the habit of tossing anything without a return address.

But I absentmindedly opened this one and in it I find a printout of a spreadsheet of costs that Spring apparently expects me to pay her. At least that is what I assume it is because there was no letter or note inside stating this or anything else. This costs are for such things as her increase in car insurance after my eldest received his driver's license and other such nonsense. Why she would expect me to pay these costs is beyond my understanding.

The divorce decree, just to complicate things, not only required me to pay massive spousal support, child support, insurance for the kids, etc. but also required Spring to pay each month back to me a small amount for the kids insurance and medical/dental costs. (there was no mention of my paying the increase in her car insurance once the kids received their drivers licenses) She quit paying anything about a month after the divorce was finalized.

Like most people my medical and dental deductibles have gone up. Both kids have had their wisdom teeth taken out, received college vaccinations, have had to go to the doctor for various illnesses. And, of course, I am the one that takes them to the doctor and dentist.

On top of that, Spring had no involvement with let alone paid any costs associated with them choosing a college or paying for it. I did all the college visits. I went to the parent orientations. I take them to school (both go out of state) and pick them up. Spring has told both that she will never use any of the money eared by me and transferred to her for their college costs let alone use her own income.

Yet she sends me bogus bills to pay her more money. The only reason I can think of is to harass me. But why on earth would she want to harass me? She left me not the other way around. There is something seriously wrong with her morality.

But is she a psychopath?

Yesterday, I read a pretty interesting article in Discover magazine titled Into the Mind of a Psychopath. The article was about Robert Hare, the person who created the psychopathy diagnostic test.

The test includes 20 items: glibness/superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, need for stimulation/proneness to boredom, pathological lying, conning/manipulation, lack of remorse/guilt, shallow affect, callousness/lack of empathy, parasitic lifestyle, promiscuous sexual behavior, early behavior problems, lack of realistic, long-term goals, impulsivity, failure to accept responsibility, many short-term marital relationships, juvenile delinquency and criminal versatility.

A clinician scores each item with 0 (no presence) to 2 (definitely present). Psychopaths score 30 to 40 points. The general population typically scores less than 5. The average score for prisoners is 23.

Now I am not a psychologist (although I did minor in it in college) and I won't attempt to rate Spring but in my opinion she clearly gets top scores for pathological lying, manipulation, lack of realistic long term goals, lack of remorse and parasitic lifestyle.

People love to categorize. But categorization often distorts reality. People are not either a good person or a psychopath. There is a continuum from a totally good ethical person to the worst psychopath you can think of. I do not think Spring is so bad that she ranks as a clinical psychopath but she is pretty clearly more toward that end of the spectrum than is the bulk of humanity.

So maybe when Spring harasses me in the future I shouldn't think "psycho" but rather "psycho tendencies".  Unfortunately that just doesn't roll off the tongue quite so easily. What I really want is for the divorce to just be over. Then I wouldn't have to think of her at all.