Thursday, June 24, 2021

Persistent Misconceptions About Alimony

There is a persistent misconception that alimony is compensation provided to a wife for her raising the children while the husband pursued a career. There is little, if any evidence to support this. Indeed, there is much to refute it. 

The book, The Marriage Buyout: The Troubled Trajectory of U.S. Alimony Law by Cynthia Lee Starnes (which I have not read) seems to support this notion if you look at it's conclusion posted online:

Many  of  the  primary  caregivers  at  work  in  today’s  homes  are  going  about their business unaware that if their marriages end they are likely to become the law’s suckers, set free to alone bear the long-term costs of  the  role  they  thought  was  part  of  marital  teamwork.  Archaic  alimony  laws  are  to  blame.  Alimony  is  often  the  only  available  tool  for  ensuring that divorce does not impose all the long-term costs of marital  roles  on  caregivers  while  freeing  the  other  spouse  to  enjoy  all  the  long-term benefits. Yet in its current incarnation, alimony is not up to the  task  before  it.  Beset  by  myths,  disdain,  and  neglect,  the  law  of  alimony  inspires  orders  that  are  unpredictable,  inconsistent,  short-lived,  and uncommon. Alimony’s problems are exacerbated by the absence of any contemporary rationale to justify its existence in an age of no-fault divorce and supposed gender equality. Concerned commentators have offered  an  array  of  alimony  theories  and  reform  proposals,  but  none  has  carried  the  day.  Meanwhile,  grassroots  alimony  reform  groups  in  numerous  states  are  working  hard  to  publicize  alimony  horror  stories  and promote legislative reform to limit alimony, most recently succeeding in Massachusetts

In my own case the court ordered custody evaluator concluded that Spring was not the primary caregiver during the marriage and the vocational evaluator concluded she could make just as much money as me. Yet she was able to walk away from the marriage with well over half the assets (none of which represented her earnings), no responsibility for the children whatsoever, and massive alimony income. 

96% of alimony payers are men. Women do not stay home to raise children 96% of the time. 

As I stated, Spring, received far more than half of marital assets at the time of divorce with no responsibility for the children. Even if somehow she deserved more why was that not handled as at the time of the divorce rather than through alimony? Two reasons:

  1. Lawyers and the whole divorce industry make far more money if the divorce drags on. 
  2. Misogynistic beliefs that women are unable to handle money so need an income rather than a settlement.  

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