The courts are evolving. They are developing a new, enlightened attitude toward alimony.
Take the case of the stay-at-home wife. She has been out of the workforce for twenty years. She has made a home for her husband and children. She has done most of the work of bringing up her children.
If it should happen that she lands in divorce court, seeking alimony, the courts are increasingly unsympathetic to her situation.
Emma Johnson reports in Forbes:
Getting divorced but you haven’t worked for 20 years?
Your skills are outdated and your kids still need you at home?
Devoted yourself to supporting your husband’s career?
Judges could care less.
Get a job, honey.
Increasingly, this is what what’s happening in divorce courts across the country. Nearly every state is revisiting its laws on alimony — or “maintenance” — in divorce cases, and the trend is universal: more limits on length of support, and standardization on sums doled out. And in many cases, maintenance is denied all together, even for women who have not worked for decades.
Yes, doled. More and more, that is how courts see it, according to my friend Morghan Richardson, a New York City family attorney.
“Judges increasingly look with suspicion at post-judgment alimony requests,” Richardson says. “They see that women have just as much opportunity to earn as men do, and they should — even stay-at-home-moms who haven’t worked for decades.”
I have been hearing similar stories for years now. How prevalent they are is subject to debate, but certainly it happens.
Why the change in attitude?
It’s because feminism has won. It’s because women have more opportunity than ever before to be self-supporting and self-sufficient. These superior creatures do not need to depend on any man.
At first glance, the new attitude looks like a backlash against feminism, engineered by oppressive patriarchal judges.
In truth, it’s just the opposite. Often, it’s feminist judges who deprive women of alimony.
Why should that be?
These judges are contemptuous of any woman who did not do what feminism told her to do, but who chose to depend on her husband for financial support.
Johnson quotes the view of her friend and divorce lawyer, Richardson:
“I’ve been in court where a judge would outright admonish my clients for not working or looking for work, telling them that ‘care-taking for a child does not absolve you from supporting yourself.’ This is a harsh reality check for some stay-at-home moms, who sometimes have a real sense of entitlement about the decision to stay home. On one hand, that was a marital decision, but on the other hand, the marriage is over,” Richardson says. “There is little sympathy for women who quit their jobs to stay home from the courts, particularly when the magistrate is a woman who has worked her way up as a lawyer — most likely having to put her own children in daycare to earn a seat on the bench.”
Richardson recently had a client who was stunned to learn she was expected to return to work after having been home with her now-teenage sons for 15 years. The woman — now in her late 40s — eventually took a job stocking shelves at her cousin’s store to make ends meet, even though her husband earned more than $200,000 per year.
Let’s see. Women are free to choose. They are free to choose the way they want to live their lives.
Except that they are not.
Apparently, the feminist party line has it that a woman who does not conduct her life the way feminism wants her to conduct it, who takes on the role of housewife, should, if the opportunity arises, be punished.
Feminist judges look down on housewives with contempt and punish them for not doing what feminism told them to do.
Since feminists believe that a marriage based on traditional roles is destined to fail they feel a special kind of Schadenfreude when it happens. If they are judges and hold the power over these women’s lives they take the opportunity to teach them a lesson.
If this is true—and I hope that it is very, very rare—it means that some feminists consider that the work entailed in making a home and raising children is worth, precisely, nothing.
Say it ain’t so….