Sunday, October 27, 2019

Another Try In Florida

For years Florida has been trying to pass alimony reform into law. Several times a bill has made it through the legislature only to have it vetoed by Governor Rick Scott. A new effort is now underway.
On Thursday Boca Raton marital and family law attorney Alan Elkins, speaking for Florida Family Fairness, which annually spearheads alimony reform pushes, denounced permanent alimony as unfair, charging it creates a “culture of dependence” for those receiving it and a “life sentence” for payers. He contended that Florida’s guidelines are so broadly interpreted by individual judges that the questions of how much alimony should be paid, and for how long, vary tremendously from judge to judge, even within any given judicial circuit, and shouldn’t and needn’t do so.
Reform is being fought by a group of divorce lawyers which is unsurprising because anything that reduces inequity and pain in family court is certainly not in their financial interest.

Disappointingly The National Organization of Women (NOW), which once advocated agaisnt alimony as it perpetuated the view that women are inferior to men, is now advocating against any alimony reform. 

Although about 98% of alimony is paid by the man it is often the case there their second spouses pay alimony because legally once married they are obligated as well. I cannot marry the woman I am with because of this. If I became disabled or ended up with Alzheimer's, my new spouse would be required to pay alimony to Spring even through Spring left me, was not the primary care giver for the children and has never used a dime of her income for the children despite the employment evaluator stated she is able to make just as much money as me. Yes, that is how unfair it is.

There are a few case where alimony is paid for by women. One is cited in the article.
Alicia del Rey of Marion County, also representing Florida Family Fairness, turned traditional gender roles upside down when she spoke of how she’s being forced to pay permanent alimony to a man whom she said was an abusive and irresponsible husband who “squandered our assets” and has never been able to hold a job.
“I would have never imagined that I would be paying permanent alimony to my abuser ex-husband and be forced to pay him for the rest of my life,” she said, recalling how in 2011 she finally got the courage, after 30 years of marriage, to seek divorce. “Thus far I have paid this man over $41,000, the money I need to pay my mortgage, plan for retirement and fund my goal to go back to graduate school to provide a better life for myself and my family.”
“The most discouraging part is there is no end in sight, and I have no path that allows me to free this abusive ex-husband,” del Rey said.
I can only hope such stories will encourage those who oppose alimony reform to realize that the purpose of reform is to advance equality and justice for all regardless of gender.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Why No Equity?

Stephen Frenz, a longtime Minneapolis landlord, has been convicted of perjury. It is unusual for someone to be convicted of perjury but Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman stated, "He lied to the court and he abused the system and he was hurting a lot of people, and he has hurt a lot of people."

Compare this to my case. My ex-wife Spring certainly committed perjury but I have no illusions she would ever be convicted.  Her lawyer, Nelly Wince, lied numerous times both in court and in writing but none of it was sworn testimony so there isn't even an opportunity for a perjury conviction.

But I have never imagined that either Spring or Ms. Wince would ever be convicted of perjury. In fact, in Spring's case, the best I can hope for is for an end to alimony and the return of monies obtained criminally.

For Nelly Wince, the matter is different. She committed fraud. Specifically fraud upon the court as she lied to the court. Fraud upon the court is so serious that there is no statute of limitations on it in Minnesota. I have the evidence. I should by all rights be able to sue her to recover my losses as well as punitive damages.  This, as far as I can determine, happens even less often then convictions for perjury. Maybe it is time for this to change. Family law attorneys should not be above the law.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Why People Commit Suicide

If you ask most people why a person would commit suicide, they will typically assume depression or other mental health problems. The reality is far more complicated.
Around 43 percent of the variability in suicidal behavior among the general population can be explained by genetics...while the remaining 57 percent is attributable to environmental factors.
One cause of suicide often ignored or at least overlooked is self-sacrifice. The classic example is the proverbial story of a soldier jumping on a grenade in a foxhole to save his squad. Another is the suffragettes in both the United States and the United Kingdom who starved themselves to death in protest of their lack of voting rights. Or the IRA members who died on hunger strikes to protest Margaret Thatcher's decision to incarcerate them as criminals rather than prisoners of war. The iron lady relented. 

A more recent example is that of Tunisian  Mohamed Bouazizi  who set himself on fire to protest police corruption. His act of self-immolation was the spark the ignited the Arab Spring.

We do not know how many people who commit suicide do so out of self-sacrifice. It would be difficult to determine and there are no studies on the matter. My guess, however, is that is is far greater than most people assume.

Suicide is often not so much a call for help as it is a call for justice.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Reverse The Genders

Using my "is it sexist if you reverse the genders" test,  take a look at this card I ran across being sold at a store:

Imagine the outrage if the the picture was of a king and the phrase was something like, "God created Man, Women were an afterthought". This would be rightly viewed as highly sexist. So why is the above funny?

Even more pernicious is when violence by women is viewed as humorous. For a striking (pun intended) example take a look at this commercial for Dannon Oikos Greek Yogurt from the 2012 Super Bowl.

Most people think it is funny. What if it were the woman teasing the man and he gave her black eye? That would result in a strong boycott agaisnt Dannon and legal action against the company in many countries.

We have a long way to go before we achieve gender equality.