Saturday, April 15, 2006

Alimony Aids Destruction Of Family Structure

"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal. Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

The focus is the profit motive of many alimony recipients that is destroying the lives and finances of millions of spouses across the nation. This is due to being forced to provide a particular life-style on a permanent basis to a former spouse. It is this lifetime alimony penalty that in turn contributes to the destruction of the family structure.

The current lifetime payment provisions of the present dissolution statues encourages women to get married with the expectation that if they don’t like the arrangement all they have to do is to have some children, be married for a few years and then they can simply initiate a “no-fault” divorce with the courts granting them a separation bonus of at least one-half the assets, life insurance policy on the husband payable to her, half or more of any pension benefits and numerous other grants. This in addition to obtaining a lifetime income flow of alimony plus child-support for which they have no requirements to account for how it is being used. All because the paying spouse had the unfortunate misfortune of having had a marriage gone bad.

Alimony was not intended to provide a lifetime meal ticket to one spouse…only for the necessities of life over a short rehabilitative period of time to get them back on their feet. Texas allots a rehabilitative period of up to approx. 3 years. If this is determined to be equitable in Texas, Indiana or Alaska, what is the justification for the other states to impose it for a lifetime?

What is the effect of this lifetime alimony penalty? Simply this:
  1. With no fault divorces so easy to obtain, spouses have no incentive to stay in a marriage. No longer is there any commitment to stay married for “better or worse.” Why try to work things out when it is so easy to walk away? The grass is always greener on the other side isn’t it?

  2. Women avoid getting married because they stand to lose the alimony cash flow so they opt for live-in arrangements.

  3. Men knowing that they face a 50% chance of divorce along with its support penalties are deciding that marriage is detrimental to their financial health and future. They too opt for a live-in arrangement.

  4. More couples than ever are now co-habitating rather than getting married.
And who are the victims? The spouses who are saddled with the lifetime support payments.

When you get divorced, the judicial system probes every aspect of your financial life to determine what portion should go to your spouse. They find all sorts of ways to split up your assets and future income. For the well off, this can be quite involved, but for the majority of the remainder, it can create quite a hardship by the time they allocate all of assets and income streams and leave you struggling for the rest of your life with no closure or relief in sight.

The courts not only encourage this activity but help perpetuate it because it is a multi-billion dollar industry that only benefit attorneys' of which group the judiciary is a standing member. Legislators, who are by and large attorneys, make the laws that the courts enforce. The courts are for the most part run by the judiciary who are all attorneys appointed by the legislators.

If the courts were interested in preserving the families, they would not encourage the adversarial nature of court proceedings. But, if it weren't for adversarial-type proceedings, how would the attorneys run up such large and exorbitant fees. Of course, the defendant in these type cases has the additional burden of having to pay the cost of not only their defense, they have to pay the attorney's fees of the ex-spouse who is prosecuting them.

But what is a fair and equitable solution? The government has already established a basis by which they pay the survivors of those killed in action. Would you think that what is good enough for the military is good enough for the rest of the population? Here’s the plan they have:

“The VA provides tax-free income for a surviving spouse and surviving children through Dependents Indemnity Compensation (DIC). In 2005, this was $993 per month for the spouse and $247 per month for each child under age 18 and is paid until the spouse remarries.”

If this is good enough for the government, how does the judiciary justify mandating a greater amount from the spouse responsible for making the support payments? There appears to be a double standard in existence.

* The Marriage Strike by Wendy McElroy,

* Judicial Accountability Reform Needed. Follow the link in the article for more behind the reform movement.
* Panel rebukes ex-judge

* ALIMONY: Peonage or involuntary servitude? by Alfred J. Sciarrino and Susan K. Duke

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