Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Alimony Laws Need To Keep An Ex In The Life Style She Has Become Accustom To! ~by Helen
Ever wonder why the bride is smiling on her wedding day? I'll give you men a hint. It is not just because she doesn't have to fake like she likes sleeping with you anymore. The real reason is dollars and cents. Financial security, gentlemen. Admittedly, I questioned whether Legal Pub would publish my position on the forbidden topic of Alimony. After all, no matter how you phrase it, alimony, maintenance or spousal support, it is still seen as a dirty word to most men. However, it actually is an obligation established by divorce law or family law in many countries including several states in the U.S. Simply put, alimony is the extension of the obligation to support a spouse after separation or divorce. In other words, boys, if you are going to play, you are going to pay!
Historically, post-divorce or permanent alimony was based on the notion that the marriage continued because divorce a mensa et thora, was tantamount to a separation. Since divorce did not really end a marriage, the husband's duty to support his wife remained. The word "alimony" comes from the Latin word alimonia, and was a rule of sustenance to assure the estranged spouse's food, clothing, housing and other necessities. Early law originally assumed that spousal support was a right under the fault-based system. With the adoption of no fault divorce, alimony became conditional approach in most states. New York is the only state that has not adopted no-fault divorce law. Despite the arrival of no fault divorce, alimony (in some form or another) is still available in at least 25 states and the District of Columbia. In Massachusetts, permanent alimony awards continue. However, alimony has moved toward a need basis in order to allow a dependent spouse to enjoy the same standard of living she had during the marriage.
Alimony is not just for gals. In the 1970s the Supreme Court outlawed gender bias in alimony awards. As a result, the percentage of male alimony recipients grew to 3.6% in 2006. Massachusetts and Louisiana consider the salaries of new spouses in determining the amount of alimony paid to the previous partners. Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson and Victoria Principal illustrate a male's opportunity to receive a multi-million dollar settlement in lieu of alimony. (So guys, don't complain about paying alimony. It is only because you spend so much time working that you are ordered to continue to support your ex. You should have taken some time off to do some work around the house. Than maybe you wouldn't be in this situation.)
Alimony is not uniformly treated in the states. Texas, Montana, Kansas, Utah, Kentucky and Maine have specific guidelines on the amount and/or duration of alimony. In Texas, alimony is awarded only where the marriage was ten years or longer and the payments are limited to three years. Furthermore, alimony is limited to the lesser of $2,500 per month or 20% of the payee's gross income. In Delaware, spousal support is not generally awarded in marriages of less than 20 years. In Kansas, alimony awards are limited to ten years and one month. In Utah, the time a spouse receives alimony cannot exceed the number of years of the marriage. In Maine, alimony is awarded for a time period of half the length of the marriage barring extenuating circumstances. Massachusetts, California, Nevada and New York simply list the "factors" a judge should consider when determining alimony. (These states are real friendly to ladies!)
In my view, unanimity of alimony rules should be adopted in all 50 states. Alimony should be left to the discretion of the family court judges subject to a few guidelines. For example, if a man runs true to his colors and cheats on his spouse, alimony should be awarded for life. If the man controls his zipper and is just a jerk, than alimony should be capped at twenty years. Like the law in Massachusetts, Judges should be prohibited from ordering an earlier end date to any alimony award. Most alimony awards in Massachusetts are made for life. Given the promiscuity of men, this is unlikely to change. In the rare case of a faithful man, support should be limited to twenty years as a gal should be able to get back on her feet by then. Keep in mind, alimony is separate and distinct from child support. As a mother, I feel that child support should be used for the exclusive benefit of the kids. Alimony is different. It allows a woman to be kept in the lifestyle she was accustomed to during the marriage, less the cheating. Regardless of who ended the marriage, alimony is exclusively the ex-spouse's obligation. Alimony should not terminate upon remarriage. After all, if another man is stupid enough to marry a bitter divorced woman, he gets what he deserves. No reason why a gal can't collect alimony from more than one man. After all, the goal is to keep us in the lifestyle we are accustomed to living and the divorce lawyers happy.
Judges can be a gal's best friend in states that allow alimony. In the rest of the states that don't allow alimony, legislative reform needs to be broached. Otherwise, girls, move to a state that has alimony and file for divorce in that forum.
Update 1-11-10: Comedian Chris Rock's Rebuttal. Beware of Adult Language: LINK.