Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Family Law System

"His first duty is to the courts and the public, not to the client. And where ever the duties of his client conflict with those, he owes as an officer of the court in the administration of Justice, the former must yield to the latter." Corpus Juris Secundum Vol. 7, Section 4.

Lawyers, Judges and Legislatures

First lets examine how laws come into existence. It all starts with our legislators who for the most part are lawyers. They create the statutes that regulate dissolutions of marriages. Family law attorneys derive their income by the very adversarial nature of the breakup of the marriages.

This nature emanates from the existence the multitude of laws regulating the dissolution and is, in most cases, designed and perpetuated to keep the parties at odds rather than attempting a mutually agreeable reconciliation and settlement. While some states are attempting to make dissolutions more equitable and granting rehabilitative alimony for up to three years (such as Indiana, Alaska and Texas) most of them are not. Permanent lifetime alimony is the norm for marriages of about 10 years or longer..

The adversarial state exists because of an endless loop of causation derived from the modern day situation in which the law has become the arbitrator and mediator of all disputes in our society. People cannot solve problems among themselves without a law; the legislatures (lawyers) create resolutions in the form of laws that are supposed to be applied by the courts; these resolutions cause more problems, creating a need for more laws, and thus the cycle begins anew.

The adversarial system of litigation exists to add nothing but complexity to an already complex society with its sole purpose being to allow the lawyers to generate a lot of fees. Its advantages exist only for the wealthy that can afford the expense that is involved in litigation.

For the average person forced into the family law judicial system, the adversarial system exists in name only and its advantages are not available to the income-challenged for whom it is suppose to be a safe haven.

* The Marriage Strike

* Multi-Lingual Madness ~ Gov't 'Aids and Abets' Illegal Aliens (Part 1 of 8) You can find links to the other 7 parts here.
* Simkanin travesty witness files judicial misconduct complaint

* Double Standards?

* Adultery law change defeated
* Ex-wife remarries, puts alimony case behind her

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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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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Marriage Agreements: One Reader's Viewpoint

“If the legislature clearly misinterprets a constitutional provision, the frequent repetition of the wrong will not create a right.” — Amos v. Mosley

Here are the comments from one of our readers that present a different point of view toward the marriage agreement:

“If you work for an employer who has you to do a job that requires a skill set in very low demand, then you do not have the right to a salary after the employer fires you or lays you off. You get six months to a year's unemployment and that's it. The understanding between you and the employer is that you are being paid to do a job that will not advance your career, will not improve your skill set, will not give you seniority and certainly will not provide for you if the employer cuts the relationship. This is the risk the employee assumes when taking that type of job. The employee can decide to stay or find a better arrangement.

And so it is with marriage. If you decide that staying at home is best, then your decision to do so is a risk you assume, including losing out on other possible career moves. If your spouse insists that you stay and home, you are free to find a better arrangement, or assume the risk that comes with staying at home.

There is an argument that basically says that women (and this argument is always applied to women no matter how gender neutral the law is) are never responsible for themselves or accountable for their actions. Women will never be equal to men as long as this attitude of irresponsibility and unaccountability prevails.

When the women's movement first started and National Organization of Women (NOW) was in it infancy, the group attempted to have alimony laws abolished. Since the early 70's NOW has abandoned that position. But I find it interesting that they admitted early in their quest for equality that women would not be equal to men unless they were willing to assume the same risks as men.

As for women being discriminated at work, I say that's complete hogwash. I work on Wall Street in the computer side of the business. I have been in positions that required hiring large number of people many times over the past 25 years. Each and every time I ask recruiters for resumes I get an abundance of quality resumes - all men. In 25 years I have seen the resumes of only 3 women, two of which I hired. Again, currently, for whatever reason, women are unwilling to do the same things and assume the same risks as men.

And as for the nonsense of women not being in the top positions, again that's hogwash. After my divorce I had the pleasure of dating a woman who owned her own business, had taken it public and decided to retire, all within five years. She had a net worth of about $30 million. This woman was willing to do what was necessary and willing to take the same risks that many men take. And the rewards were plentiful for her. Her take on the state of women is the same as mine. Most women are unwilling to take on the same risks as men. In fact, when she was running her business, she was the only woman on board of directors and the only woman in the management team. She did all the hiring. I think that says enough.

* The Pro Se Way
* Advanced Trial Handbook: Helpful "Trial Tips" to Hone Your Litigation Skills

* Weak women, bad men and the Bill of Rights
* Divorce secrecy vote is imminent Opponents claim bill is designed to help billionaire

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