Saturday, October 31, 2009

WSJ: The New Art of Alimony:

Long viewed as payment for life, divorce settlements are facing strict new limits as some ex-spouses—primarily men—protest the endless support of a former partner. For richer, for poorer, forever?

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34 Comments:

Blogger Topher said...

In the 21st century where marital contracts are voluntary and earning power is not restricted by gender, alimony is ridiculous. No one is entitled to "back payments" for compromised income during the married years.

7:41 AM, October 31, 2009  
Blogger Locomotive Breath said...

Apparently a woman is considered to have become completely disabled by just a few years of marriage. Who knew?

10:16 AM, October 31, 2009  
Blogger GawainsGhost said...

Here in Texas we don't have alimony. Or we do, if the wife leaves the workforce for a number of years, to raise children for example, but then it is only for a limited amount of time, long enough for her to go back to school or get re-trained and re-enter the workforce. After that she's on her own.

Of course, she is entitled to community funds and community property, half his income and half the equity in the house, at the time of the divorce, but he is not required to provide for her for the rest of her life.

The Baby Boomers, good grief. In their quest to overthrow convention, they've only managed to screw everything up royally.

My grandparents were married for 65 years. My parents for 45 years. Most of the friends I have would be lucky to make it to 4.

This is why I don't play that game. If she does not intend to be my life partner, my helpmate and the mother to my children, then she isn't worth 50%. But what guarantees do I have that she won't just change her mind and walk out with half of everything? None. Or run around behind my back and slap me with child support for some bastard that isn't even mine? None.

No way I'm going to make that deal.

2:10 PM, October 31, 2009  
Blogger Larry said...

Yeah, when I read Paul Taylor's story in this morning's dead-tree version of WSJ I quickly concluded that Massachusetts' alimony laws suck big time. Aren't these issues adequately predicted by lawmakers prior to passage? Good grief.

3:35 PM, October 31, 2009  
Blogger Sad_Dad said...

Allimony should be use only long enough for the women to get back on her feet again, then she should be on her own.

6:04 PM, October 31, 2009  
Blogger Trust said...

@Sad_Dad said... Allimony should be use only long enough for the women to get back on her feet again, then she should be on her own.
_______

Agreed. And for those who say "what about their sacrifices for the marriage?" my answer is this: if one does not wish to continue being married, then a consequence of that choice is you no longer receive the benefits of marriage.

I think people would work harder on their marriages, be less petty, and divorce less if the court didn't reward them so much. Why fulfill your obligations to your husband when you can liberate yourself from your obligations and the government will force him to continue fulfilling his obligations?

Do we really even need to ask why women intiate over 70% of divorces?

6:28 PM, October 31, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

And men are still lining up to get married. Men are truly the stupid sex.

I guess the woman in the white dress up on the pedestal - yeah, that one with the stinky cunt - is worth anything and everything.

Men are smart with regards to modifying the world to their ends (= technology, also for the benefit of women), and they are endlessly stupid with regard to manipulation by women.

And life goes on.

6:32 PM, October 31, 2009  
Blogger fred said...

Lots of snarky comments here with no note of how the notion of alimony (and WHY?) has changed over the years...
And now, with man men out of work and many women still holding their jobs, there is a different slant--again.

If a woman stays works for years so that her husband can become a doctor, and then, he dumps her to marry a nurse, do we discount that as 'shit hapens"?

ps: lots men now collecting alimony.

8:31 AM, November 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

"ps: lots men now collecting alimony."

------

Are they? I know there have been a few cases that have been splashed all over the media (maybe because it's so rare, kind of "man bites dog"), but I don't think it happens a whole lot.

If a man stayed home while the wife worked, a judge is more likely to tell him it's time that he got off his lazy butt and started working.

8:45 AM, November 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

"If a woman stays works for years so that her husband can become a doctor ..."

-----

What's interesting: If the woman works while the man is making good use of his time, the man pays upon divorce.

If the man works while the woman is not making good use of her time, like watching Oprah (or even if she is making good use of her time), the man pays upon divorce.

I'm starting to see a pattern emerge here.

8:47 AM, November 01, 2009  
Blogger Trust said...

@Tether said... "And men are still lining up to get married. Men are truly the stupid sex."
___________

I think a lot of it is lack of awareness.

I got married 5 years ago, and I was aware of all the stats about how women intiate 2/3 of divorces. But men and women alike, from kindergarten through university, as well in most media since, and indoctrinated with a women good, man bad mindset.

People are programmed to see women as the victims, and the 2/3 of women who initiate divorces as having lousy husbands.

What's more, until you actually get married, you really don't know how your partner is going to behave after the wedding day. You may see the disaster of high divorces and marital misery, but you think it is because people marry the wrong person.

You can spend years dating and even living with someone, and never know how they will be as a spouse. It goes back to what I said above about how people are swayed in their demeanor by the laws and level of security.

It's not that men are stupid. Men are simply ill-informed. When they have a girlfriend who treats them wonderfully and they are happy with her, and given all the women-worship in the media, they really think as long as they are a good husband that things will work out. After all, that's what they are taught, and women swear to this.

9:37 AM, November 01, 2009  
Blogger Trust said...

JG is right. They are more likley to report one woman who gets shafted by alimony than any of the thousand men that got shafted worse on the same day.

If a woman gets alimony, she's entitled.

If a man gets alimony, he's a freeloader.

9:39 AM, November 01, 2009  
Blogger Art Deco said...

The last I heard is that only about 4% of divorce cases incorporate alimony payments as part of the settlement. What is warped and bizarre about the case to which you link is that a divorce settlement agreed upon 27 years ago was reconstituted at the request of one party at a severe cost to the other and over his objections; it is unbelievable that this is lawful. It sounds more like another case of abuse of judicial discretion than it does a case about the problems posed by alimony.

4:24 PM, November 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Art Deco:

You must live in a state with a low incidence of alimony awards.

American men pay 7 billion dollars per year in alimony.

Here are aggregate IRS figures for the year 2004:

http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/04statab/fedgov.pdf

Scroll down to No. 477 and look at the line "Alimony paid" near the bottom.

7 billion dollars is the GDP of a lot of smaller nations. Or more. And American women are just taking this all in.

5:17 PM, November 01, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5:55 AM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

And, by the way, that is just "official" alimony that was court ordered and that meets all the requirements as a deduction.

A lot more money flows in less formal ways and alimony that is not deductible is often hidden in other orders (the big one is child support - no one can tell me with a straight face that an order for Puff Daddy or Daryl Strawberry to pay $30,000 per MONTH will all be spent on the child).

5:57 AM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger br549 said...

Worth repeating, I have friends who are on their third marriage. I can only assume there are many who can say the same thing. It doesn't make a particle of sense.

A statement I used to think was but a joke; a man marries a woman because he is in love with who she is, how she is, and with that, decides she's the one. (Until I did that very thing). A woman marries a man, all the while believing that once the contract is signed and the ring applied, she can change him, mold him, make him into the person she truly wants him to be. And if that doesn't work out, she can rob his ass blind and walk away. The fully sanctioned ultimate flip off.

I think men voluntarily jump off the "best behavior wagon" before the knot gets tied. Evidently, most women don't. But when they do, seems they can do it with a vengeance.

Of course it isn't like that across the board, but considering the percentages, forget it.

6:02 AM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger Sad_Dad said...

Women should not get allimony just because she sacrificed for the marriage, I think in most cases the man sacrifices more, working longer hours missing the important times with the children in all.

6:15 AM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

"Sacrifice" is a myth when you take a look at concrete, real cases.

Most Western women today do whatever the hell they want and then justify it in a sanctimonious way.

If a woman quits work, it's probably because she doesn't like to work. Period.

And I notice that many working women wheedle a situation in which the man's money pays the mortgage and the woman's money is for her (with the justification that "he makes a lot more than her" which is just a huge coincidence that it turned out that way).

6:24 AM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger TMink said...

The stats I found indicate that 26% of divorces involve alimony and about 3% of those payments are paid to men.

fred, that does not qualify as lots. It is statistically insignificant. Alimony is basically men paying women.

Trey

9:12 AM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger Jeff Y. said...

Alimony is child support for adults. Makes no sense whatsoever.

12:25 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger Target said...

My uncle paid alimony to my aunt for something like 30 years after their divorce in the 1970s. He probably could have gotten it modified or eliminated later on, but he never did.

She never remarried, she never got a job, she never got any training to get a job, she leeched off him until the day he died. Then the old cow moved in with her daughter.

It's hard to understand why that is in place. Are women that helpless and stupid?

12:34 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger NKVD said...

I spent 40 grand on my divorce to prevent my wife from getting alimony - as my lawyer, a wise man told me "Child support is moral, reasonable and what a good father does. It eventually ends. Alimony is forever."

Following excellent legal advice I was able to prove in court that my now-ex was not eligible for alimony. It was difficult, a protracted case, very painful, but in the end, it was worth it.

What did I learn? Never get married. Never. I am not willing to give away half of my property again, nor go through the agony of a divorce again.

I tell anyone who will listen to me that once the state gets involved in your relationship it can go very bad, very quickly.

4:46 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

If someone invented a pill that would completely erase men's sexual drive, the 80% of women who live off men would be sunk.

No matter what obfuscations they come up with, no matter what appeals to men's chivalry (that work, by the way), no matter what the rationalizations in their own mind ... women live off men. Working women also live off men.

5:06 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger Tether said...

And if they don't get it from you out of trumped-up child support or "asset reallocation" in the case of a divorce or alimony or even informal prostitution (otherwise known as "dating") they will get it out of you in a very certain way:

Through taxes.

Men pay the bulk of taxes and women get the bulk of benefits. Benefits from taxes are either neutral (going to both sexes) or for women only on a de facto basis (for instance WIP and all the various welfare programs for single mothers). Money to universities is either gender neutral (less and less today) or it goes to "women's centers" and women's studies programs (that are just a front for one-sided activism for women).

And on and on. They'll get you through taxes.

5:12 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger Topher said...

Target -

"It's hard to understand why that is in place. Are women that helpless and stupid?"

They are not. But they are human, and humans are very efficient at working with economic incentives. They are also very efficient at avoiding unnecessary effort.

Your aunt is incentivized - she can not work and get money, or she can work and get money. She is taking the better option.

There has rarely been shame for a woman to not work, not like there is for a man, so she has no social pressure to get a job either.

The same reasoning applies to
alimony laws pretending that long-term live-in arrangements don't count as reconstitution of one's single-or-spoken-for status: alimony recipients have no incentive to get married again as long as they can double-dip from two people instead of one.

It's all a matter of incentives, and habit. People who get something for nothing quickly acquire an entitlement mentality, and by the time the habit forms, it is exceedingly difficult to change it. Helen, maybe you can shed some light on the psychological processes of "entitlement laziness"?

6:26 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger Topher said...

I am no leftist, but I must admit that Communist takeovers have their perks.

When the Soviets took over Russia, they obliterated centuries of church dominance of marriage policies and instituted a true no-fault divorce system. Russian spouses could divorce by mutual consent or one-party appeal to a court, and once granted both spouses were entirely free of legal encumbrances.

Also, Orwell wrote that when the anarchists took over northern Spain in 1936 they abolished tipping as it was patronizing, and all servers received a fair wage with no funny games played after the bill arrived. (Tipping is a sore spot for current and former service industry workers I know - I'm told the tip amount is never enough. I have no problem tipping generously for reasonable service but I am continually admonished that big tippers are more attractive to women, which I believe is simply a proxy analysis of how easily a woman might get a man to spend his dough on her.)

6:32 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Good insight, Topher (I actually mean that - as opposed to my usual sarcastic comments).

As to marriage - that is pretty much a trap for men today. Why exactly are you getting married? - think that one through.

6:37 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

And if it's because she's your "soul mate", give it a few years. Or more. My experience, having done that, is that you will see things differently. Especially if you live with her.

And if your "soul mate" puts subtle pressure on you that you better get married soon or she may be gone, she may not be your friggin' soul mate, you idiot.

7:23 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Sorry, forgot to put quotation marks around the last instance of "soul mate" (because I believe that's some invention of the mass media that weak men buy into).

7:24 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger Topher said...

JG,

Where did I say I was getting married? I'm not planning on it anytime soon.

8:51 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger Topher said...

"And if your "soul mate" puts subtle pressure on you that you better get married soon or she may be gone, she may not be your friggin' soul mate, you idiot."

As I said, I don't have any matrimony in the works, but a lover's ultimatum is usually a sign you are better off without them.

Same with the tipping thing - I am generous with tips when service is acceptable, but a woman who would judge me harshly because she disagreed with my tip is too petty for me to deal with. When I tell the tip-pressuring girls this, they get all angry and offended that I would disregard their advice - further cementing their true entitled colors.

8:56 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger JG said...

Topher,

Those were meant as two separate comments. The marriage thing wasn't directed at you.

I try to write clearly, but I always stumble into never-before-thought-of confusing ways of writing.

8:57 PM, November 02, 2009  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

Thank goodness my ex remarried about 5 years after she divorced me. We had a pre-nuptial that said "no alimony", but I am not sure how well that would have fared when she lost her job a year and a half ago.

In any case, it is the women who typically push the marriage, and they also tend to break the marriage. As noted, they seem to file for divorce somewhere around twice as often as the guys do. I am of the view that they shouldn't be incentivized to do so.

My girlfriend (of 10 years now) is convinced that my ex went into our marriage figuring from the first that if times got tough, that she would bail. Indeed, about halfway through, I was in law school, and I told her that one of my profs was one of the top divorce attorneys in town. She remembered that years later when she filed for divorce and used him (and, yes, he was that good).

12:17 AM, November 08, 2009  

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