Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Feminists Against Alimony

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Your skills are outdated and your kids still need you at home?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….


Lindsay Harold said...

What the judges should be considering is that a stay at home mom DOES work AND that her work in staying home all those years allowed her husband to build his career to its present state.

There's a certain amount of work that has to be done in any household. There has to be money to live on, someone to care for the children, someone to do housework, someone to educate the children, etc.

If a family divides this labor such that the wife stays home and cares for the children (and possibly educates them as well) and takes care of household chores while the husband makes the money, then the money he makes is due in part to the support of his wife. If she had worked to provide some income, more of the other work of caring for the children and the house would have fallen on him. Because it didn't, he had more time and energy to devote to building a career.

So much of the money he makes after years of this arrangement is due to his wife's work in their marriage. She helped build his career by taking the other family duties. If they divorce, she certainly has a right to a share of his income that she helped him build.

n.n said...

Feminists against family. It's amazing that anyone is able to overcome the "friendship with benefits" stage. However, the focus on returning women to taxable activities is predictable of a left-wing movement.

That said, marriage should not be entered into lightly, and divorce should not be forthcoming. Family is the the first level of social organization for self-evident reasons. While that has changed for a minority with the pseudo-normalization of womb banks and sperm depositors, and government entitlements, it remains the natural order and predominant behavior of human beings with cause.

Sam L. said...

Ah, the War On Women by women!

Ares Olympus said...

How many women get alimony anyway? It doesn't seem to be a Minnesota thing. Sure, child support until kids are 18, but alimony, I don't know anyone divorced who got alimony. Maybe its just not polite conversation?

My parents divorced when I was 11, with joint custody, and my "homemaker" mom got the house, dad kept his pension, mom got child-support. She went back to work after more than a decade, with my younger sister going to an aunt's house during summer breaks for a few years.

But I'm sure what saved us was a mortgage free house, strangely you could actually by a house with saved cash in the 1960s! And we'd buy used-cars from extended family when they'd upgrade. We had reduced lunch tickets at school, but I never thought we were poor.

So anyway, I don't have any basis to decide what proper alimony might be, or how long it should last.

I suppose nothing is fair, except to the divorce lawyers who get all the money and whining rights for whatever "victim" they're currently representing. They just have to make sure the divorees know they are being victimizes and what the "deserve" if only they could prove what a bad person the ex was, document, document, maybe get a restraining order in there to really raise the steam, so both sides goading pity-parties and resentments all the way to the bank.

Anonymous said...

Alimony should be brief and rehabilitative, and provide a path to independence and emancipation for both parties. Any disproportionate investment in career, etc, should be dealt with through asset allocation. And let's not forget, staying hone with one's children is a privilege many are unable to enjoy, including, in many cases, the spouse who works outside the home to provide that opportunity. The world is changing. It is imperative that women, if they hope to be equal, always provide for their own financial independence and security.