Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Men Rewarding Themselves with Undeserved Financial Rewards

This is an old post I thought would be appropriate to re-post again particularly since I am reading about so many men who have contributed little or nothing to their families filing and receiving spousal support and/or alimony.

We need to remind Judges of the historical origins of spousal support and alimony and why it is rarely justified in the case of men.  Child support, of course, is a totally different issue..

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Unfair Manipulation of Marital Settlements and/or Spousal Support

I don’t know maybe I’m crazy but I find the article below to be a perfect example of men working the legal system to benefit themselves by misusing the common sense body of matrimonial laws that were crafted to protect women (who were more financially vulnerable) during the early periods of our history. These laws are basically holdovers from the time when women did not work outside the home, when husbands controlled any property she had, while her primary focus was on raising the children and/or running the household for the benefit of her family, including her husband. Clearly when women were in that situation, you had to have laws for equitable divisions of assets and/or spousal support.

Also these laws made sense in the context of a society where women faced the additional problem of discrimination in hiring if we did wish to work outside of the home. Men NEVER faced this work discrimination situation just because they were men; nor did they stay at home with the children running the household and missing out on educational and professional opportunities due to focusing on their family.

Thus, I believe we should rarely, if ever, consider spousal support for a man and place stricter limits on division of marital assets for everyone. This division should depend upon what each spouse actually contributed to the assets of the household or the negative impact their contribution to their family had on their own career or professional advancement and that it occurred during the life of the marriage.

For example, a man obtained a professional degree in a lower-paying profession, worked in that profession for years obtaining a fair salary, paid into a TDA for retirement, took no time off from work for family-related matters: sickness, child care, etc., He spends most of his money putting it into his own investments/retirement account or buying cars or other expensive electronics gizmos for himself such as big-screen televisions to watch the game on or some expensive hobby for himself. One example: he decides to buy a ‘working farm’ that he can putter around on every weekend claiming it’s a vacation home for the family. Even though every other member of the family hates it but him and never wants to go there.

Remember, even though women spend more on shopping what are we shopping for most of the time? Usually we aren’t shopping for expensive gizmos for our own use, but food, clothing for our families (including our husbands as I shopped for my ex-husband ALL the time buying his clothes), pharmaceuticals and other household related items.

So can someone explain to me WHY a man who does what I outlined above should get HALF of the marital assets (as he didn’t add anything to those assets spending MOST of his salary on himself) or why he’s entitled to spousal support (since he already has a professional career, albeit a lesser paying one then his ex-wife and took no time off from work to raise his kids or run the household) Thus, his marriage had NO negative impact on his earning power whatsoever?

Basically unless he can make the case that he spent time on his family and out of the job market which hurt his career/earning capacity OR maybe he saved some money for the higher earner spouse by being home with the kids and avoiding the payment of a maid/nanny for a substantial period of time, then he should get out of the marriage just what he contributed, his own salary, investment/retirement account and whatever clothes, cars/gizmos he purchased over the years.

After carefully reviewing this article, there was no mention of ANY of these men helping with children or tending the household while their wives worked. Or any sacrifice any of these men made for their families which might have been a mitigating factor entitling them to spousal support or even a 50/50 division of the family’s assets, mostly contributed by their ex-wives.

Additionally only ONE of the women in the article, who was forced to give 50% of her assets to a man, was a high earner in my opinion. Most of them inherited their assets or had invested in a home BEFORE marriage, which they were then forced to sell their one asset (which they obtained before marriage) in order to pay off an ex-husband with no mention of what these men sacrificed for their family that might have contributed to the lesser earning power or assets for these men.

Also, as I said above, I don’t consider a teacher to be a low-paying profession that need to be compensated by a spouse that is an attorney just because one profession pays more then the other. A teacher is a professional position (at least in the US) paying anywhere from $40,000 to $65,000 depending upon the district you are employed in. The purpose of spousal support is NOT, nor should it be, to be used as a means of income transfer from one spouse to another just because one person chose a high-paying profession then the other one. Spousal support is supposed to be used to support a spouse who would have no income or a much lesser one (ie., a clerk in an office or a cashier/waitress in a restaurant) precisely BECAUSE they devoted themselves to their home and family and thus, didn’t have the time or money to devote to education and becoming a professional. Generally this would apply to a stay-at-home parent (usually a mother) who devoted herself to bearing the children of the marriage and then stayed home to raise them. I don’t have any sense in this article that any of these men getting awarded these settlements did ANY of this…

One of them is described as a teacher, who just chose a professional that made less money then his lawyer wife. There is no mention of him devoting any additional time to any children of the marriage or to the family in anyway; that might have impacted his earnings ability. Another is a man who clearly worked and made good money but then chose to spend most of it on expensive cars. Another was in a short-term marriage for three years to an actress who was working as an actress before she married him. A third was just married for seven years (another short-term marriage) and then his wife was forced to pay him out of an inheritance she received from a family member.

Child support, of course, is a differing situation but I heard no mention of this in the article.

So based upon all these observations, these are outrageous examples of men who worked the system and got undeservedly enriched.


The Sunday Times

April 30, 2006

Superwomen pay price in divorce court
John Elliott

HIGH-FLYING career women are discovering a costly downside to their success — divorce settlements that force them to pay out huge sums to their less wealthy ex-husbands.

Law firms are reporting an increasing number of cases in which men earn windfalls through divorce as women outperform their husbands in the workplace.

One London law firm, Mishcon de Reya — which handled the divorce of Diana, Princess of Wales — is currently dealing with 10 cases where the wife earns more than the husband.

Sandra Davis, head of family law, said the wives were “serious players, businesswomen who are going to have to pay money to their spouses”.

Dawsons, another London law firm, is dealing with six divorces in which the woman is earning well into six figures. Suzanne Kingston, head of family law, said:“There’s the possibility of a spousal maintenance order to the husband . . . most women don’t imagine they would be liable for this, so it surprises them.”
The rate of change has been rapid. “Twenty years ago there were no reported cases of men obtaining money from their wives on divorce — now it is routine,” said Simon Bruce, head of family law at Farrer & Co, the Queen’s solicitors.

Among the high earners who have paid out to ex-husbands is Kate Winslet, the actress. A payment of about £500,000 was agreed to finalise her divorce in 2001 from Jim Threapleton, her husband of three years. 

For Susan Singleton, a mother of five from Pinner, Middlesex, her divorce three years ago meant handing over nearly £900,000 to her ex-husband Martin after 20 years of marriage. As a lawyer, her earnings are over £200,000 and dwarf those of her former husband, a teacher and organist.
Singleton’s divorce settlement forced her to remortgage the £1.9m family home for £1.1m, and she also pays school and university fees of £50,000 a year. “I’m in the same position as a lot of men who work very hard, earn a lot of money, and then the person they happen to have been married to gets a share of that, even though they haven’t really built it up,” she said. “Why should the spouse who earns less get a share of the higher-earning one’s income?” Martin Singleton said: “I was urged to get more by my solicitor but settled for less so she didn’t have to sell the family home. I wouldn’t want to seem greedy, I only got what I was entitled to.

Financial experts predict that in coming decades more women will have to pay out former husbands, as greater numbers are promoted to top jobs. Last year the number of female millionaires in the 18-44 age bracket overtook the number of men — 47,355 compared with 37,935, according to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business research. Women will own 60% of the UK’s personal wealth by 2025, up from 48% now, the researchers found.

In a divorce, women can also be required to hand over money inherited from their parents, as Barbara Dowell, a 48 year-old marketing executive from Rutland, discovered last year. Dowell, who has one child, said she inherited £500,000 in 2000, only to hand over about half of it to her husband on divorce, after 14 years together.
To fund this the family home was sold for about £300,000, and she lives in a rented house and pays school fees for their son, whose residence is shared.
Dowell said: “I am now funding him (the husband) through my inheritance. It makes me extremely angry.”

Her former husband was not available for comment.

Liz Haskell, 56, from Woodbridge, Suffolk, said she paid her ex-husband £50,000 last autumn after seven years of marriage ended. Haskell, who said she inherited her assets, said: “It was a slap in the face — I feel cheated by the system.
So often it’s just rich men you read about having to pay off women with their millions.”

Her former husband was also not available for comment.

One divorcee from Berkshire in her late fifties, who asked not to be named, described her former husband as a “creature” whom she hoped encountered anthrax. “He only married me for what he could get out of me,” she said. “He squandered his own earnings on Porsches and Jaguars (and) didn’t contribute to the family.”
The mother of two, who said she had inherited her wealth and owned the family home outright before she met her husband, said she had been forced to sell up for £700,000 and split the proceedsThe woman, who married 22 years ago and divorced in the late 1990s, added: “He abandoned the children . . . we’re living in a house the size of a postage stamp now.”
Nicola Horlick, the City fund manager and mother of five, now divorced from her husband Tim, argues that divorce law needs reviewing. “There are an awful lot of people getting upset,” she said. “Fathers who don’t believe they have enough access to children; men who believe they have paid out too much — and wives who believe they have paid out too much.”


silverside said...
I don't think it is often realized that 20-30 years ago, an abuser would often imprison his wife at home and not let her work. Now, he's just as likely to "let" her work, but pimp off her wages through harrassment and threats (emotional abuse)or even physical violence. Then he can show up at court (assuming she leaves him), and claim to be a male June Cleaver.

These men always have options. We live in a society that always overvalues male labor relative to female labor. Except for the most uneducated, unskilled and/or disabled, men can always support themselves quite well, at least relative to women, when they want to. Women have to have a lot more education, work experience, ambition, hard work, and just plain luck to get anywhere close to what men in the same line of work make. But just as soon as we bust our asses, thinking we can have a nice life, nice car, nice home of our own, here are the guys trying to bust us down the ladder again, but this time through a new scheme called "fairness" in divorce. BS. Same old crap on women stuff.
NYMOM said...
I'm not even sure if there is any 'abuse' going on here as basically most of these couples appear to be very ordinary people, nothing extraordinary about any of them with the exception of the actress (nor were any of these men even mentioned as helping out around the house as a June Cleaver type, like your lazy loafer ex-husband) that's the worrisome part...The only thing different about these women from you and me was that they either came into an inheritance or had a paid off house that could be leveraged...

I mean it's obvious if the legal system offers you some extra money from your partner during a divorce, you are going to accept it...as one said he was only getting what he was 'entitled to'...
That's what so aggravating about the whole article...MOST of the scenarios they are describing are just ordinary women, not these "high flyers" they refer to...

I mean just because you managed to buy a house on your own before marriage or your parents passed away and left you a small inheritance does that put you in the category of being a 'high flyer' now????

AND just because you happen to have a better paying job then your spouse, does that mean you have to give them a portion of your salary, savings, whatever, automatically upon divorce? I mean there has to be some common sense discovery/investigative aspect to this in order to ascertain whether that person actually contributed something to the family that caused a disadvantage and put them into a lower income position due to that specific family contribution...

Otherwise men can go off into all kinds of 'hobby' jobs like your ex...and fool around on a 'farm' all day playing with baby animals and then turn around and claim spousal support or half of whatever YOU have from your hard-earned income and investment savings...I'd love to be able to fool around with animals on a farm all day, that's what I did on a few vacations...went to a dude ranch in upstate NY actually and had a ball: riding horses, swimming, playing with dogs, rabbits, feeding baby goats, going on hayrides, cookouts, etc.,...

I mean that article mentioned the male teacher was also an 'organist'...and as soon as I heard that my antenna went up as I thought 'musician'...I know a LOT of women supporting these layabout 'musicians'...who do absolutely NOTHING but hang out with their friends 'jamming' and getting high all day...they aren't even providing child care so the women still have to pay for that...

This sort of behavior is not worthy of even spousal support or 50% of the household assets...

I think the problem is that our legal system is trying to pound a gender-neutral peg into a very gendered and specific hole, if I might say it...and it's not going to work.

The rules of spousal support, alimony or even division of household assets make sense in reference to women, as we contribute something unique to the relationship: our child bearing capacity...PLUS we were discriminated against at one time in the outside the home job market...men don't bring anything of this nature to the table NOR did they ever face discrimination in employment just because they were men...so it doesn't make sense to treat them the same as women in this area...it's almost like taking the historical discrimination history of black men and applying it to ALL men and then giving them benefits and preferences based upon that 'stolen' history...

Oh wait a minute, MRAs are already doing this...

I forgot.

Anyway men are turning more and more into a serious liability these days and that article is a perfect example of what I'm always writing about here...men working the system for their own benefit and using our kids as well as the laws passed for vulnerable women in their role as mothers' to benefit financially for themselves...

Men's most valuable socially constructed role was providing the economic wherewithal for mothers to bear and raise their children within...Now that so many have decided they no longer wish to do this, they are heading into that limbo of 'totally useless entity heading rapidly into extinction'...

I guarantee you that none of these women are going to be marrying again OR wanting to have any children after being taken advantage of like this (and they'll be passing along the info to their daughters, nieces, and other young women impacting their decisons as well...

Additionally since most of those women are pretty ordinary, they will NEVER be able to make up that money again either...it's not like a high flyer who is going to be making that money back over the next few years...it's just gone...

Anonymous said...
I do not understand why the angry posts on what happened above. It seems like what you are saying is that if men make more money, then they should pay spousal support, but if women make more money, then they should not.

This is truly the dumbest article and comments I have seen in my life.
NYMOM said...
I'm saying that Judges must keep in mind the 'original intent' of spousal support and it cannot be used to just reward men in short or long-term marriages just because a women happens to make more money then him.

The evolution of spousal support was an automatic monetary award to women because we had a defined role in a historic moment in time, This society no longer exists.

So today even if men do remain at home for some period, there is no social or legal impediments to them returning to work, as existed for women.

AND I warned you already about your tone.
Anonymous said...
I do not understand why the angry posts on what happened above. It seems like what you are saying is that if men make more money, then they should pay spousal support, but if women make more money, then they should not.

can you REALLY not see the validity of this argument ???

I find it incredible what you people are saying. Have you ever heard the expression:
"Wanting to have your cake and eat it" :)
Anonymous said...
Women have a double shift. Men rarely if ever work this double shift. Women bring in the bacon, thten have to fry it up and wash the pan too in about 85% of cases that I have observed (being "nice"/conservative about this figure). Blind egalitarianism is all this is. A law that was set up to help women is being used against them. Just like the "shared parenting" nonsense (see the Liz Library). The woman does most of the actual work of childrearing and the man "plays" with the kids more - and doesn't have to pay anything.
Anonymous said...
"Women have a double shift."

No, actually they don't. Nobody makes them do anything they do not want to do when it comes to roles in a relationship - and you are generalising massively. What we are talking about is the LAW, not a lifestyle choice. I am truly staggered that anybody can make this double-standard argument - frankly you should be embarrassed in trying to justify this.
Anonymous said...
To be fair to my ex (quoted in the article) he worked as hard as I did (except it was teaching not law) and did a bit more childcare than I did although it probably worked about about equal.

The inequity in my view whether you are male or female is that both of you could work fulltime as we both did but one picked a low earning career eg nurse or teacher and the other built up a business without help from their spouse and just happened to be better off. English divorce law allows the full time working lower earner who has sacrificed nothing to get at least 50% (more in our case). I don't agree with the English law principle of that sharing of assets/income and I would say that whether I were male or female.
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