Monday, May 29, 2006

Swimming Against the Tide of Historic Change

Divorce ruling could apply to old cases

Lords decision means women may go back to court to claim more money

Clare Dyer, legal editor
Monday May 29, 2006

The Guardian

A landmark House of Lords ruling last week could open the way for hundreds of divorced women to go back to court for more money, according to leading lawyers.

The principle laid down by the law lords that women who gave up a well-paid career to raise children were entitled to compensation for their sacrifice has come too late for partners who divorced with a clean break. But those still receiving maintenance from high-earning former husbands could go back to court to ask for a big increase, lawyers said, even if their divorce was years ago.

This week the Law Commission, the official legal reform body, will unveil proposals to give unmarried partners who live together the right to claim limited financial support and a share of property when the relationship ends. The consultation paper, commissioned by the government, will stop short of recommending full divorce rights but will suggest a safety net to prevent hardship. A draft bill is due in August next year.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/gender/story/0,,1785195,00.html

My first thought is that this ruling (similar to the recent one which made anonymous sperm donations illegal) was more of the tendencies of Great Britain to hold back the forces of historic change. Men clearly do not wish to be constrained by society in their behaviors. They wish to have sex freely, married or not, and if a pregnancy unexpectedly occurs, they wish to have the sole up or down vote on whether to be an involved father or not, pay child support or not, marry the mother or not, whatever.

Yet there is no obvious advantage for women in any of this.

Thus societies that allow men to avoid the responsibility to provide for womens' security and welfare, while still allowing men legal rights to the children women alone bear, will continue to decline in numbers.

Men just can't seem to accept the fact that this is something that woman is the final arbitrator of: IF, WHEN and how MANY children she'll ultimately bear. The old days are gone FOREVER as reproductive technology changed the equation.

Okay.

Women now control their own bodies, reproductive choices and there isn't anything that is going to change that. If anything as the technology improves, it will get worse. Men will NEVER be in charge of those decisions again. Involvement with children will be a gift women chose to share with men, MAYBE, always contingent upon you being on your BEST behavior.

Okay, just to be clear.

So what to do?

I think the more sensible, but politically more difficult, way to handle it would have been to accept the irreversible nature of the change and allow women, who wished to be mothers but didn't have a husband, to access reproductive services and public benefits freely, openly, and without finger pointing on an as needed basis. This would have had the benefit of keeping women who wished to be mothers happy, the countries' population numbers stable as the idea caught on and having children through anonymous sperm donations lost its stigma.

Most importantly it would have shown men that if they wished to play at being head of a family (becoming a father), they would have to pay (through a marriage). Those who were actually concerned with being fathers would have married to do it as they have in the past and toed the line thereafter. Those who weren't would not have and thus have no rights or responsibilities to any children they carelessly spawned but could keep all their money/property for themselves (outside of taxes) and that would have shut them up.

NOW Great Britian has alienated most men by this ruling and while it has made most women happy, I see it as just a question of time before the law gets subverted by men from its original intent. Which is to provide women with the security that would allow them to bear children (and be a stay-at-home mother to them if they wished) without having to worry about economic penalties at some later date.

I guarantee you that looking back a year or two from now, women will have gained little or no real benefit from this law.

Just my opinion.

But anyway...

There is nothing so unusual about this ‘new’ law in Great Britain which allows women, who gave up their career to bear children and then become stay-at-home mothers, to be compensated adequately in the event of a later divorce. Frankly I think it makes a lot of sense as Great Britain, which is trying to get their population numbers up like every other industrialized country, has finally seen which sex is directly at fault for their declining birth rates and it’s clearly selfish men.

Women will have few children if they have to charge back to work again immediately after birth, not to mention the constant delays that inevitably ensue if she is forced to jockey for positions in her career choice. Frequently the time involved in this translates into no kids. We only need to look at the successful career women such as Maureen Dowd or Condi Rice in our own society to see the impact this has. As how many men at that ‘uber’ level would be alone with no children???

Anyway, their American cousins and many other countries have been following this formula for awarding alimony for years. Actually it doesn’t impact a lot of people as few couples today can afford to NOT have both parents working. Yet for the high-income men whose wives do stay home to bear and raise their children, then yes, it’s a good thing for those women and children and should be encouraged. Only a stingy cheapskate would be against his kids having their mother around when they are young and then him compensating her for that sacrifice later. Most of these men, who will be impacted by this, are worth millions, so too bad about them if they don’t like it.

In the US only 15% of all divorces include any award of alimony and only half collect (and this includes men who collect alimony as well after contributing nothing unique to the marriage, just because they can collect it), so this won’t be a big issue in most people’s lives. I’m sure Great Britain will follow the trajectory of the US pretty closely in this as it does much else since our societies are similar.

As always, men will now try to latch onto this ruling to benefit themselves and attempt to get alimony from so-called ‘high flying’ women, who frequently are just ordinary women who managed to buy a house before marriage or inherited a small sum from a deceased family member, but the bottom line is this sort of ‘sacrifice compensation’ needs to be limited to women ONLY. The ones who actually bring something unique to the marital relationship, womens childbearing capacity, This should not include some man who just up and quits his job one day and decides to lay around on the couch watching TV 24/7. Tossing a stale potato chip to the kids every once in a while during a commercial should not entitle you to anything.
So that aspect of it needs to be carefully monitored, but otherwise this ruling was ‘spot on’.

The other ruling from the House of Lords, which wasn’t mentioned in this article, pertained to fault being taken into account when settling marital property issues. This law is far more likely to affect ordinary people. Yet again, the Lords were spot on in their decision. The US also takes fault into account vis-à-vis property issues (at least many states do); although fault cannot be used to decide custody. Although frankly I think it should be used in the event of a tie-breaker custody situation, everything else being equal, the one at fault should forfeit custody.

Anyway to use fault to decide property issues is completely just. You’re a bad boy or girl during the life of the marriage and it causes a divorce, you should be ‘punished’ and a hit in the pocketbook seems to be appropriate for a capitalist society to use as punishment. I mean what else can we do, flog them??? Not that some of them don’t deserve it, as I could easily see that Charlie Sheen meriting a good whipping for all the stuff he does; yet we are in a civilized society, so must adhere to the norms of where we live.

Unfortunately in some cases...

Last, but not least the most interesting part I find is what they haven’t done yet, but are just looking into, which is the abililty to treat live-in relationships as if they were defacto married ones. I’m not completely sure this is right, especially if children are involved. Yet if it makes parents stop and think before they carelessly expose their children to a casual relationship by moving in with someone they hardly know, then it could morph into a good thing.

Clearly parents should know better but many don’t. So again what else can we do but hit them in the pocketbook when they exhibit unsavory behavior. Again, this is appropriate for a capitalist society to do. Parents who persist in exposing their kids to one live in relationship after another raise the sorts of screwy, unstable adults that impact all the rest of us negatively, so, the House of Lords could be spot on for three in a row.

These are ALL good rulings.

Men don’t like it, don’t marry, don’t have kids, actually go live on a desert island somewhere so you can just die off and not impact anyone else with your behavior. But don’t think that the societies that allow you to become as wealthy as you are will continue allowing you to use them for all your benefits, while giving nothing back but aggravation.

Of course, as I said above, these rulings were the lesser of two evils that the British lords chose to go with, since anything else would have caused too much unheaval in their society over the short-term.

Long-term these laws will just delay the inevitable change that has followed the advent of reproductive technology which has swung the balance of power in favor of women for the first time in history. It's application plays to womens' ONE essential strength, which is that we are the ONLY ones who are the bearers of life and can chose to quite simply not bear any. Thus, we can as passive/aggressive as we wish and still hold all the aces up our sleeves. It's called Anne Boleyn's Revenge for those history buffs out there: ie., "You're never going to have a son Henry or any other kids because me and my girlfriends just decided to form a bowling league and I can't bowl and be pregnant at the same time. Or a shopping league or need to be at work early everyday for the next decade. Truly sorry old bean. Why not get a little dog to play with instead?"

Women don't need to start any wars or invent some new destructive technology to wield this power either, that's the beauty of it.

Men, unable or unwilling to accept womens new status are the source of much of the current unroar, yet they will just have to get over it...

11 comments:

Anonymous said...
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ManMan said...

Now men now can have surrogate mother to bear their children or adopt. So using yout crass logic and inane thinking I would say we should encourage men to use surrogate mother more often especially third world mothers and make sure they are paid adequately. It should be freely given by the government and using our taxes. That way we can increase the population and men can become fathers.

I feel sorry for any sons that have a mother like you. Damn feminist, your sons will eventually become men who will get screwed by the system you helped create.

A few words you should learn the meaning of: Misandry, Fascism, Feminazism and Dementia.

Statistics: Single mothers in the UK still provide the highest number of violent criminals and murders. What life givers! Great for our prison system and society as a whole, as it help employment levels in these sectors.

Men remember that there are always other oriental fish in this world. Go abroad, marry abroad and live abroad. The UK sucks. You can still find Italian women that are still feminine, and we all know about Asian women. The world is your oyster.

Anonymous said...

Hi, NYMOM.

"Women now control their own bodies, reproductive choices and there isn't anything that is going to change that. If anything as the technology improves, it will get worse. Men will NEVER be in charge of those decisions again. Involvement with children will be a gift women chose to share with men, MAYBE, always contingent upon you being on your BEST behavior."

I would not go so far as to say "never" here. The same reproductive technology that has given women most of the control over reproduction at the present time will eventually render actual physical childbearing unnecessary. Though I'm sure I won't be alive to see it, I would be very interested to know how laws will evolve to serve the interests of children and the family when childbearing itself is no longer a "unique" contribution and neither gender has any clubs to use against the other with regard to children.

"This should not include some man who just up and quits his job one day and decides to lay around on the couch watching TV 24/7. Tossing a stale potato chip to the kids every once in a while during a commercial should not entitle you to anything."

Do you really want to perpetuate negative stereotypes about stay-at-home parents, exactly as Mr. Nemko was doing?

"It's application plays to womens' ONE essential strength, which is that we are the ONLY ones who are the bearers of life and can chose to quite simply not bear any. Thus, we can as passive/aggressive as we wish and still hold all the aces up our sleeves."

NYMOM, this is the classic radical MRA "marriage strike" philosophy turned around. The thing is, if men really are less interested in having children than women are, as I know you believe and which I personally doubt, then it doesn't work very well the way you've set it out.

Thanks,
Anne

NYMOM said...

Sorry I was away on vacation and just got back yesterday so missed that vulgar comment which I just removed. I told people already that I am not allowing any more vulgar language or senseless nonsense to be posted on this blog.

If you have something interesting to add to the debate or ideas (as I've said in my introduction) to assist mothers, fine. Otherwise don't bother posting.

NYMOM said...

"Now men now can have surrogate mother to bear their children or adopt."

Yes men can, however I believe few will do so. As my feeling remains that few men are that interested in children. Most will not go through the trouble and expense of locating a surrogate and/or arranging an adoption.

Just like we went through the whole emotional trauma route 20 years or so ago about agreeing to allow single men to adopt. We finally got the laws to allow it in most states and guess what, 20 years later few single men, gay or straight, have adopted kids.

So people's essential natures don't change because technology does.

AND don't think this business of going to third world countries to use their young women as egg donors or surrogate mothers is going to be allowed to continue much longer. I guarantee you that those countries will get fed up with it as well. Just as soon as the information becomes widely disseminated amongst the common people there, they'll veto this nonsense, so don't be making plans for much longer thinking this will be continuing. It's a fluke or short-term condition, like cheap oil used to be which will end as soon as people in those countries become aware of what's going on.

BTW, you don't need to feel sorry for any of my sons. A. I don't have any. I'm a grandmother and not having any more kids, and B. even if I did have any sons, I'd still feel the same way.

You don't encourage your children to take advantage of others just because they can. It's like telling me if my kids owned slaves I wouldn't be against slavery because it benefitted my children.

No, a moral wrong is wrong whether or not your kids or you are advantaged by it.

NYMOM said...

"I would not go so far as to say never here. The same reproductive technology that has given women most of the control over reproduction at the present time will eventually render actual physical childbearing unnecessary".

First of all this is a mistake most people make. The assumption that technology has given women our control over reproduction.

Women have NOT been given OUR control over OUR reproduction by technology. This is something that the female of every species, as well as our own, has ALWAYS had.

It is our birthright.

Not something men, feminism, technology or laws have 'given' us; like a gift or something that women need to be grateful for...

No.

Wrong. That's ours, not something we've been given.

AND again, as I've said before, technology might allow men to bypass women someday in order to have their own children; however, I don't think most of them will bother doing it. Frankly I don't find men to be that interested in children and if it becomes costly and/or troublesome to have them, I believe most will just forego the whole thing.

As Polish Knight pointed out to me, (and I must admit I hadn't thought of it until he did) women themselves will probably use the artificial womb technology more then men. They'll do it to have children w/o disfiguring their bodies through a pregnancy. The same way MOST women jumped on the technology of bottle feeding formula to not disfigure their breasts.

"Do you really want to perpetuate negative sterotypes about stay-at-home parents"

I NEVER claimed to support stay-at-home PARENTS but stay-at-home mothers. I do happen to believe that children benefit from having their mothers around in their early years. She's the one who has invested the most in them up to that point and God, evolution and nature itself has already designated mothers as the one most likely to always act in her childrens' best interest.

That's the way it has been for million of years in every species as well as our own, with the exception of a few snakes, bugs and penguins which I don't care about...so I'm not going to second guess evolution the way others always like to do.

Women can chose to allow their childrens' fathers or other caretakers to raise them if they wish (I would never outlaw these choices), but as far as I'm concerned it's the second best option and always will be.

"...this is the classical radical MRA marriage strike turned around..."

Again wrong.

My observation is new as women were never credited with having any power before this.

As I don't consider the MRA marraige strike to be something radical or new. As men have been trying to get out of marriage since the time of Augustus Caesar. Probably even before that, but the Romans just kept better records then other civilizations, so we know more about them.

We have to face the fact that men contribute nothing unique to society when they don't marry today (actually if you want to be honest about it, even when they do marry they bring little to the table nowadays)...Women, on the other hand, even w/o marrying still clearly wish to have children. Actually the out-of-wedlock birth rate is growing faster then the in-wedlock rate and many believe will soon surpass it.

So women are still fulfiling the vital role of providing the next generation, even when men fail to hold up their end of the social contract because they've decided to go on strike.

Overall if you want to be honest, you could make the case that for a capitalist society, we are better off w/o people marrying since having two households is better then one since two spend more on goods and services.

However, we still need children.

Our government is ONLY interested in people marrying because marriages USED to be the ONLY way to produce the new citizens every society needed to flourish. Thus, in a society like ours where men refuse to marry, guess what, their value goes waaaaay down.

Most women on the other hand, retain the same value.

Combine that observation with the higher rates of crime, civil unrest, wars and other violence perpetuated by societies with a lot of men and societies populated mainly by women start to look a lot more attractive.

That's why I also mentioned but you overlooked it that it was foolish for England (a rapidly depopulating country) to make it illegal for single women to use anonymous sperm donors any longer. Actually they should have made it easier for women to obtain these, even offering a bonus to women for having children (even if single).

But men as always, would rather cut off their noses to spite their faces, then relinguish control of anything...their motto as always remains if they aren't in charge of it, it just can't happen.

They and you continue trying to ignore the fact that women contribute something unique to the world and men simply do not. AND until they can accept the fact of women's uniqueness and more valuable contribution as being the bearer of life, this power struggle will continue.

Those days of women being second-class citizens are over.

Anonymous said...

"Women have NOT been given OUR control over OUR reproduction by technology. This is something that the female of every species, as well as our own, has ALWAYS had."

You just got through stating that women now control their own bodies (thru effective birth control and safe abortion, if I understand you correctly) and that this is something new, and that you believe that developing technology with even increase that control. Of course technology HAS given women control over reproduction. How many women in times gone by actually WANTED to give birth to ten-plus children? Queen Victoria, mother of nine, considered childbearing the dirty little trick God plays on women for enjoying sex. My own grandmother didn't even want the one child she had, but if she wanted to make love with her husband she had to assume the risk and the consequences. And she was far from unique. This is no longer the case today.

"So women are still fulfiling the vital role of providing the next generation, even when men fail to hold up their end of the social contract because they've decided to go on strike."

I've seen little evidence that "men" in general are on strike, although doubtlessly they have more to lose on average by risking marriage than does the average woman. Only a few on the fringe, relatively speaking, are decidedly shunning marriage.

"Overall if you want to be honest, you could make the case that for a capitalist society, we are better off w/o people marrying since having two households is better then one since two spend more on goods and services. However, we still need children. Our government is ONLY interested in people marrying because marriages USED to be the ONLY way to produce the new citizens every society needed to flourish."

And two single-parent households, require more public help than one married household (which is the main reason why government is interested in people marrying) and if we're talking economics and capitalism then such homes most certainly will have less capital, if any, for discretionary spending and, more importantly, investment. Which is why I always hate to see the cycle of single parenting start in a family, since it is strongly self-replicating and seldom leads upward. At the risk of sounding elitist, which is not my intention, it appears that the more intelligent, educated, successful and upwardly-mobile classes are predominately made up of those who understand that the best way to accumulate wealth and to ensure the success and security of one's offspring is to become educated, to marry at an appropriate time, to have children within that marriage only, and most importantly to REMAIN married.

"...actually if you want to be honest about it, even when they do marry they bring little to the table nowadays..."

Except the proven advantage that children from intact homes possess.

"As Polish Knight pointed out to me, (and I must admit I hadn't thought of it until he did) women themselves will probably use the artificial womb technology more then men."

I agree.

"Women can chose to allow their childrens' fathers or other caretakers to raise them if they wish (I would never outlaw these choices), but as far as I'm concerned it's the second best option and always will be."

Be that as it may be, it is nevertheless rather unfair to characterize the work of stay-at-home dads, many of whom are doing a fine job, in such a derogatory manner.

Hope you had an enjoyable vacation. We're saving ours for the hottest part of the summer, when we hope to escape to Pennsylvania.

Thanks,
Anne

NYMOM said...

"You just got through stating that women now control their own bodies..."

Sorry I took your original response to mean (as you referenced men having children without women) that technology has finally given women control over our CHILDREN. AND I don't accept that as being valid.

Yes, technology has given women control over their reproduction processes but women in every society, in every age, in every species as well as our own, have always had control over the children our bodies produced...this is a misunderstanding of history to suggest otherwise.

Actually it just came to my attention that under Muslim 'sharia' law there is a recognition that children should be under their mother's care at least until the age of 7, some say 9 years old...so although western man talks a lot of crap about how much better he is then his Islamic brothers regarding the treatment of women, I find no equivalence in the west to that bit of common sense...


"but if she wanted to make love to her husband, she had to assume the risks and consequences"

Yes, of course, I'm sure that was the driving force behind the invention of birth control. So WOMEN could have sex without consequences.


"I've seen little evidence that 'men' in general are on strike."

So why did you bring it up then? Just to invalidate what I said I guess. So it's okay to say anything, even if you don't believe it is true, as long as you can use it to invalidate your opponent's argument.

Got it.


"they have more to lose on average by risking marriage then the average women"

Really, like what. Since according to the census only 15% of ALL divorces involved alimony and of that 15% ONLY 7% actually collect it. AND that figure includes men like Halle Berry's husband who cheated on her 29 times and STILL got awarded alimony. I'm still trying to figure out how the Judge figured he deserved that in a short-term marriage, that produced no children, where he contributed absolutely NOTHING...

Actually he could have damaged her career by his behavior if she had continued ignoring it.

In a world where both people generally work in most households, at least in the US and few have assets other then their marital home and maybe a TDA what do men risk exactly????

This is more statistical lies and bullcrap being fed to men about how much they stand to lose in a marriage. MOST stand to lose nothing as most have little...


"two single parent households require more help then one married household"

Exactly my point: the government doesn't CARE about your marital status if you are not producing children...thus, the children are the reason for the focus, not the marital status.

So men being on a 'marriage strike' means diddly squat to the state if women continue producing children without benefit of marriage.


"which is why I always hate to see the cycle of single parenting start in a family"

Even if most of the statistics about single mothers are based upon men's statistical lies???? Like their marriage strike lie? Then how do you feel about them?


I don't consider this blog to be about fairness to stay-at-home dads. This is a site about women in their role as mothers. If you want to hear great things about dads, there are plenty of other places to find that sort of propaganda.

Anonymous said...
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NYMOM said...

Goodbye Anne.

I told you already I'm not interested in this constant back and forth of you trying to invalidate everything I post here.

Thanks but no thanks.

If you have some ideas to contribute to help with the current situation where millions of mothers have lost their children, fine. I'm open to hearing them.

Otherwise don't bother coming here.

Anonymous said...

I love the hostility to men and general presumption that women are better than men on this site. It so reflects British and American society.

No sensible man is going to marry under current laws. We're not going to pay taxes so women can live off public assistance either.

We can always go to other countries where there is more equality and surrogate parenthood is open to us as well. If women don't want equal relationships we can have families without them.