Category : Divorce Issues

Home»Archive by Category "Divorce Issues" (Page 12)

www.MyDivorceDocuments.com | Uncontested Divorce Questions Answered

uncontested divorce questionsContrary to popular belief, not every divorce has to be a drawn-out court affair with dramatic statements and ruthless negotiations. In fact, there are many ways to go about getting a divorce nowadays, and only a few of them involve nasty courtroom brawls. One of the easiest, pain-free ways to get a divorce is by getting an uncontested divorce.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce does not involve lawyers, court battles, or rulings handed down by judges. Instead, an uncontested divorce involves the divorcing spouses sitting down and deciding for themselves how to divide their marital estate.

This is how it works: The spouses going through an uncontested divorce must either agree or be able to agree on how to resolve the issues brought up in the marital settlement agreement.

Points in the marital settlement agreement in need of resolution include:

  • division of assets (like checking and saving accounts, and profits from a shared business)

  • personal property (like home furnishings, electronics, and cars)

  • real property (like houses, condos, and apartments)

  • debts (credit card debt, mortgages, etc.)

  • whether or not to award spousal support, and how much to award

  • child issues (like child support, child custody, visitation schedules, and more)

How much does an uncontested divorce cost?

The cost of an uncontested divorce is quite minimal, since the divorcee doesn’t have to pay for a lawyer. In an uncontested divorce, you must only pay the filing fee (which varies from state to state).

However, the cost of an uncontested divorce can vary based on how you go about pursuing the divorce. These are your choices:

  • Fill out the forms yourself: The upside to filling out the divorce forms yourself is there is no additional cost. But the downside is that the slightest mistake or inconsistency in your paperwork can lead to your divorce forms being rejected, which would delay the divorce process.

  • Hire a lawyer: Some divorcees choose to hire a lawyer to fill out the divorce papers for them, which drives up the cost of an uncontested divorce quickly. True, the divorce papers will be completed correctly, but the cost is usually not worth the minimal labor.

  • Use a divorce forms service: A divorce forms service is not a legal advisory center or other type of legal aide; it is a company that specializes in completing divorce forms. These companies are usually a good option because the services do not cost as much as a lawyer, and the forms are completed by professionals.

However, be wary of false divorce forms services. Scammy divorce forms service companies usually do not have a method of contact on their website (like a phone number, address, or live customer support module). Before making payments to an online divorce forms service, make sure the website has a method of securing your payment.

Can we get an uncontested divorce if we don’t get along?

You and your spouse may not be the best of friends during your divorce, and that’s okay, even in an uncontested divorce. The divorcing couple may not stand the sight of each other, but as long as they can agree on how they want to settle the matters discussed in first section (division of assets, child issues, and more), they can get an uncontested divorce.

If during the divorce, the spouses find an area they cannot agree on, negotiate, or otherwise overcome, then they may have to seek mediation. If the divorce is at a standstill because of certain issues, then the divorce is considered contested, and the couple will have to hire a lawyer.

Is this helpful information, or is there a question about uncontested divorces we missed? Let us know in the comment box below.

4 Divorce Mistakes to Avoid

When life-changing events occur, there is a list of udivorce mistakessual suspects who always have advice to spare, and spare said advice they do. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, best friends, grandparents, coworkers; it’s almost as though there isn’t a single person you know who doesn’t have some advice they must share with you. But in the realm of divorce advice, if you listen to anything, listen and learn from these 4 divorce mistakes.

1) Only think about the immediate future. In the throes of a divorce, it’s easy to be distracted by thoughts of the here and now. Things like where you’re going live, how you’re going to pay bills, buy groceries, and survive are heavy in your mind, and that’s understandable.

However, when dividing the assets and property don’t forget about how things are going to weigh on you in the future. After divorce is finalized, there are going to be taxes to be paid, maintenance to be done, and the unforeseeable future to deal with. So when mulling over which assets to retain, think about how much that brand-spanking new car is going to be worth, say, 10 years from now. (Hint: Cars depreciate in value)

2) Don’t study up on marital finances. It’s fairly common in a marriage for one spouse to become the keeper of the finances. But when divorce comes barging in, that dynamic crashes to a halt. Many a wife or husband have been shortchanged in the divorce process because they didn’t know what to ask for.

So word to the wise: Instead of spending all your time trying to figure out what happened, start using some of that time to track down where every single penny of the marital money and assets went. It’ll be hard work, and it’ll take lots of willpower, but you’ll rest easier knowing you won’t get fooled.

3) Lose sight of the big picture. From the moment someone says, “I want a divorce,” life is never the same for either spouse. Due to this stressful time, it’s easy to lose sight of what is really important in life.

We suggest taking a moment early in the process to sit down by yourself and calmly think about what you need to survive on your own after this divorce. During this time, create a list of the things you absolutely will need, and the main things you want out of the divorce. Your list can include anything from “peace of mind,” to “a parenting plan that works for my children and me,” to something as simple as “the house.” Keep this list and during the divorce process refer back to it to make sure you’re making decisions that will get you where you want to go.

4) Let emotions take over. As any good attorney will tell you, divorce should be treated as a business transaction instead of a personal matter. It’s certainly possible to use divorce as punishment for your ex, but for your sake and (if you have any) your children’s sake, don’t do it.

If your emotions are behind hiring combative lawyers, and hiding assets, then it’s time to revisit divorce mistake #3. To avoid falling prey to your emotions, pursue relaxing, expressive activities, like journaling, hiking, going out with friends, or even seeing a therapist.

Getting a Divorce in a Covenant Marriage | www.MyDivorceDocuments.com

covenant marriage divorce

If you’ve never heard of a covenant marriage, or if you know very little about covenant marriage, it’s probably because it is only offered in 3 states. Covenant marriages are offered in Arkansas, Arizona, and Louisiana, but the concept of the covenant marriage has been around for quite some time.

What is a Covenant Marriage?

A covenant marriage is different from a “regular” marriage because the couples in covenant marriages essentially waive their rights to a no-fault divorce. Covenant marriages are said to be more binding than regular marriages because they are based on covenants, not contracts.

A covenant is a solemn, usually religious, agreement, whereas a contract is a legal agreement. Proponents of covenant marriages believe “regular” marriages are contract-based marriages, which do not hold marriage as sacred and permanent an institution. Due to the deep religious affiliation covenant marriages have, covenant marriages have certain laws imposed upon them that make it difficult to divorce.

Guidelines of a Covenant Marriage

A covenant marriage requires couples to attend premarital counseling, and to fill out special covenant marriage paperwork. During the premarital counseling sessions, the couple is advised of the severity of committing to a lifelong marriage, the legal restrictions on divorce, and how to deal with marital issues.

The prospective spouses then must file an intent to enter into a covenant marriage. The intent (or declaration) involves a few documents that demonstrate both parties’ willingness to enter into a covenant of marriage. All this paperwork includes disclaimers about the stipulations of a covenant marriage, like the difficulties of divorcing out of a covenant marriage and more.

Divorce in Covenant Marriages

The first step in seeking a divorce in a covenant marriage is to seek marriage counseling. The covenant both parties agreed to when they wedded includes a clause about always seeking counseling should issues arise.

There are stringent divorce grounds in a covenant marriage; but since only three states offer the covenant marriage option, here are the specific grounds:

Arkansas: There are 4 grounds for divorce.

  1. Adultery

  2. Conviction of a felony or serious crime

  3. Physical or sexual abuse of one of your children

  4. Living separate and apart for at least 2 years; living separate and apart for 2 years and 6 months, if there are children; or living separate and apart for at least 1 year if there has been a form of abuse

Arizona: There are 8 grounds for divorce.

  1. Adultery

  2. Abandonment for 1 year or more

  3. Imprisonment or death sentence due to conviction of a felony

  4. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse

  5. Living separate and apart for 2 consecutive years

  6. Being legally separated for 1 year

  7. Substance and/or alcohol abuse

  8. Both spouses agree to the divorce

Louisiana: There are 5 grounds for divorce.

  1. Adultery

  2. Imprisonment or death sentence due to conviction of a felony

  3. Abandonment for 1 year or more

  4. Physical or sexual abuse

  5. Living separate and apart for 2 years; under legal separation, living separate and apart for 1 year, or 1 year and 6 months if there are children.

Myths, Realities, and Thoughts About the Divorce Rate

divorce statisticsEvery now and then, American media will plaster the U.S. divorce rate all over the news outlets. No doubt you’ve seen or heard the shocking news that the divorce rate in America is at 50%, meaning half of all marriages stay in tact; or, if you’re a glass-half-empty kind of person, then  50% of American marriages end in divorce.

This news sparks floods of opinions from pundits from all sides and shades of every spectrum known to man; “Are Americans experiencing a moral dilemma,” or “Are we simply the epitome of depravity?” No one is quite sure, but here’s one thing we are sure of: The divorce rate has not hit cruise control at 50%.

Numbers Never Lie, Statistics on the Other Hand…

According to the U.S. Census Population compendia published in 2012, the percentage of divorced spouses in 2010 was 10.4%. Although the census data excluded members of the Armed Forces, 10.4% is quite a different figure from 50%.

So why on earth do people say the divorce rate is 50%? Well we’re glad you asked, because it’s really a strange and interesting quasi-science.

Calculating the Divorce Rate

Statisticians have various methods to calculate the divorce rate, according to the National Numeracy Network.

  • Method 1: Calculate the ratio of divorces and marriages per year

  • Method 2: Calculate the percentage of divorces that occur per year throughout the entire population

  • Method 3: Calculate the percentage of divorces that occur per year throughout all marriages

  • Method 4: Calculate the percentage of divorces occurring in a group of people who married within the same year

According to a New York Times article, most social scientists (as they are called) prefer to use Method 4 to find the current divorce rate and project the future divorce rate. But, as it turns out, the divorce rate is very time-specific and cannot reliably be used to predict future divorce rates. The reason is because each generation has different social variables that influence their marriage and divorce rate.

Custom Divorce Rates

Like every person realizes one day, there are multiple sides to a single story; divorce is no different. Each generation has different life-altering events and obstacles to overcome, just like each generation has different famed cartoons or celebrities.

A Wall Street Journal essay, published in 2011, put it best: “Every generation has its life-defining moments . . . For much of my generation– Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980– there is only one question: “When did your parents get divorced?” “

The essay included a graph from the National Marriage Project, depicting the rises and falls of the divorce rate. The points of time are connected by a continuous line, but in the light of the highly time-specific nature of the divorce rate I wonder, “Should we depict the divorce rate as a single, long-term event?” I also wonder how the projected 50% divorce rate affects couples currently on the fence about filing for divorce.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the divorce rate? Is a reliable indicator of the state of America’s family structure, or should we even put stock in the idea of a divorce rate?

The Evolution of Child Custody

history of child custodyLittle more than a decade ago, it was estimated that 90% of child custody was settled with the mother gaining full custody of the children. This obvious imbalance in custodial arrangements has made fathers all over America wonder at the horrible injustice and sex discrimination perpetrated by American courts.

But the courts didn’t just wake up one day and decide mothers were better parents; and family court judges are not battling Oedipus complexes. The reason about 90% of mothers received child custody in the past is due to a little thing called the Tender Years Doctrine. But we’ll get to the Tender Years Doctrine in a bit; first we have to make our way through a short history of the evolution of child custody law.

From Ancient Rome to 2013 America

Roman common law, established around 439 B.C., dictated that children of a marriage were the property of the father. This meant if a Roman husband and wife divorced, the children stayed with the father and the mother left.

Jump ahead hundreds of years to English common law, established around 1000 A.D., which upheld the same child custody outline as Roman common law. Simply carry the same basic common laws over into the founding of America, and you have the basis of American custody laws. The law theory pertaining to child custody was that the father was the only suitable parent to teach the children the ways of the world.

However, hundreds of years later during the time of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800′s, the question of what was best for the child became the focus.

Tender Years Doctrine

The Tender Years Doctrine replaced old Roman and English common law child custody arrangements by giving mothers custody of children, until the age of 6. This change was spurred by the Industrial Revolution’s impact on family structure.

The Industrial Revolution caused men to seek jobs away from the remote villages the English people lived in up until that point. The absence of husbands and fathers forced women and mothers to handle the housekeeping and child rearing completely by themselves. When divorces occurred during this time, the courts saw how impossible it would be for fathers to continue to take full custody of the children.

The Tender Years Doctrine stated that children under the age of 6 were too young to leave their mother’s love and care. However, once children grew older, they were of sufficient age and maturity to follow their fathers to industrial towns to work. In America, the Tender Years Doctrine extended the mother’s custody indefinitely, which is the cause of the statistic describing mothers retaining child custody 90% of the time after a divorce.

Do We Have a New Doctrine?

The 1960′s marked the beginning of the divorce spike, which peaked in the 1980′s; but the divorce revolution also sparked a child custody revolution in the U.S. The new child custody doctrine is defined not by the gender of the custodian (a.k.a. the parent granted with child custody), but by the best interests of the child.

So far, this new “best interests” custody doctrine adopted by American family law courts has created the joint custody option. The first joint custody statute was implemented in California in 1979; by 1991, joint custody was written into more than 40 state statutes.

But here’s the catch: Many people are still seeing mothers gaining preferential custody rights in the divorce process. This claim produces many questions, like “Is this still true today?”

Check back with us later this week for the answer to that question.

Get Divorced On Other People’s Money

money for divorceThe average cost of a divorce in America is estimated to cost between $15,000 and $30,000; the scary part of this estimate is that the figures represent the average cost of a divorce and not the cost range of a divorce. For people long-embroiled in a divorce battle, this figure may seem like but a pleasant memory in comparison to the figure they are currently facing.

It is no secret that divorces can be the nastiest experiences in the world, especially when robust finances are involved. But what about those spouses whose separate finances are less than robust? What chance do they stand in getting a fair shake in this expensive legal system? These are the very questions that birthed a new business sector called divorce financing.

People Will Finance Your Divorce?

In case you were wondering if you had missed something in the business world, divorce financing is not a business with a long history. In fact, divorce financing has only been around since 2009. Currently, there are two major players who are solely in the divorce financing market, BBL Churchill and Balance Point, and they each take a unique approach to divorce financing.

The Church of Divorce

BBL Churchill basically loans clients the money needed to cover all the legal expenses incurred during their divorce, and any necessary living expenses. After receiving a money retainer, BBL Churchill will loan divorcees anywhere from $2,000 to $1,000,000 if the divorcee meets the requirements.

To take out a loan with BBL Churchill, a divorcee must be represented by a qualified divorce attorney, have a joint net asset pool of $400,000 or more, and must have been married for at least 12 months to the divorcing spouse.

The BBL Churchill loans have a fixed interest rate for the term of the loan, and do not have to be paid back in monthly increments. The loan is repaid in its entirety by the divorce settlement.

Finding Balance in Divorce

Balance Point Divorce Funding invests in clients’ divorces, rather than loaning money to clients. The money from Balance Point is used for hiring attorneys, forensic accountants, and asset investigators, and for the client’s necessary living expenses. Balance Point usually invests about $200,000 in their client’s divorce.

To be funded by Balance Point, clients must have combined marital assets of $2 million or more, must not have marital assets affected by pre- or post-nuptial agreements, and be in need of $200,000 or more in funding.

If Balance Point decides to invest in a client, the invested money will be returned in full and more upon reaching an agreeable divorce settlement.

With the cost of living inching up each year, it’s no wonder divorce financing and other legal financing became a thriving new market. Just two years ago, legal financing companies were estimated to have $1 billion invested in clients’ legal actions. Divorce financing may just be the future of divorce in America; we only hope other divorce financing companies that crop up operate ethically.

If you were in a divorce with a spouse who out-earned you, and you needed money to get a fair settlement, would you hire a divorce financier?

Do Fathers Have Custody Rights?

fathers rightsParents: Have any of you parents found yourself with your foot shoved far into your mouth? Yeah, so has every other person at one point in time. But trips to the playground seem to coincide with sudden cravings for the taste of feet. The huddle of parents watching their children play is a breeding ground for innocent-enough small talk, until one person makes the assumption that the divorced father just has visitation.

Each person in the group suddenly is interested in the look of their shoes, eyes widen, and lips slowly are pressed into a thin line. If the seemingly-innocent comment was fresh of your lips, your eyes mirror the apology currently flowing from your mouth.

The Truth About Father Custodians

If the father had heard this before, and is aware of the statistics, they probably were not too offended. After all, the 2009 U.S. census reports only about 17.8% of fathers gain full custody rights of the children after a divorce. It was just your luck that you bumped into the 1 father out of 6 who was the custodial parent. But, if you are the father fighting for custody, don’t let past statistics guide your choice to fight the good custodial fight.

Historically, fathers were the preferred custodian of any children in a divorce or marital split (which we discussed at length in a previous blog); but at the turn of the century, mothers became the championed custodial parents. Ever since the switch in child custody doctrines (read the blog and you’ll understand), the number of custodial mothers have all but stomped out the number of custodial fathers.

In custody battles, fathers may dejectedly say or think, “What’s the point of fighting for custody? The courts never favor the father.” But we are here to say, “Buck up, soldier. These days, fathers have just as many rights to custody as mothers.”

Fighting the Good Fight

We don’t normally endorse any kind of animosity or battling, but when a child’s true best interests are at stake, we fully support fighting the good fight. And besides, single fatherhood is quickly gaining momentum in American society.

In 1993, Indiana became the first American state to pass a child custody law in favor of joint parenting plans. Since then, the other U.S. states have passed similar custody laws championing joint parenting plans. As a result, the amount of single fathers grew by 37.9 percent between the years of 1990 and 2000; the rate continued to increase by 27.3% between the years of 2000 and 2010.

The Pen is Mightier

Although the world we live in might seem to enjoy horrific wars, the pen really is mightier than the sword; this is true especially during a custody battle. Nowadays, courts are focusing more on the best interests of the child, instead of the genders of the parents and child involved.

The courts generally consider the best interests of the child to be factors like:

  • maintaining the same standard of living

  • living in a stable, familiar environment

  • living with the parent who cared and provided for the child on a daily basis

If the father provide examples of all the factors above (and the other state-specific requirements), then he has a good chance of gaining custody. However, don’t take our word as divorce law. If you’re embroiled in a heated custody battle, you should probably seek legal guidance.

We try our best to be helpful and informative at MyDivorceDocuments.com, but we can’t cover everything without hearing from you. If you have a question or comment, let us know in the comment box below. We’ll do our best to get you the best information available.

Divorce Talk: Telling the Kids

If children understand and identify with anything, they understand and identify with the fictional characters in their favorite movies and books. Northbrook psychologist Dr. Leigh Weisz, who specializes in children’s issues, understands this better than anyone. Weisz also understands what children need to hear, and how they need to hear about their parent’s divorce, which is why she wrote “Kara Kangaroo’s Candy,” a children’s book about divorce.

From One Kangaroo to Another

From the moment the relationship between the parents starts to become strained, to the moment the parents utter the word “divorce,” the children intuitively sense there is trouble in paradise. Similar to how animals have an innate sense of direction, children have a sensitive barometer of the emotional climate in a room.

This superpower all children have is one of the innovative elements discussed in “Kara Kangaroo’s Candy.” In fact, the book was written because Weisz could not find the perfect book to address divorce for her office. “Kara Kangaroo’s Candy” was written to help children cope with divorce, and for parents to understand how to approach the topic with their children.

Tips to Talking with Your Child

An article on PyschologyToday.com put some practical research to an even more practical purpose. Researchers interviewed children individually at length about their parent’s divorce, and the children’s responses have been published to provide parents with divorce pointers. However, we won’t completely ignore Weisz’s helpful info in this list, so don’t be surprise if you see a mix of both source’s advice.

Tip #1: Obtain some good vibrations. Take into account that your child is picking up signals like a metal detector on a volcanic island. Also take into account that although your child is, well, a child, their instincts kick into high gear to fix problems that are being ignored in the family. So do yourself a favor and be honest with yourself and to your child during this difficult time. Also do not forget to emphasize, reiterate, repeat, and go over again the fact that the divorce is not the child’s responsibility or fault.

Tip #2: Plan the family pow-wow. As it turns out, children vividly remember when they were told of the divorce, and they remember it forever. It’s suggested to actually give some thought, if not plan detail for detail, where and how you will deliver the news. Compose yourself for the task so your children don’t forever remember their parents blurting out through sobs they are filing for divorce.

Tip #3: Don’t direct the flow of feelings. As a parent it’s hard not to process your child’s feelings for them; like when they fall off their bike and run to you with a scared, confused expression on their face, the common response from you is, “Oh, that scared you, didn’t it?”

When having the divorce talk, do not try to help them out with their feelings as if divorce is a bike fall. Let your child tell you how they feel, and don’t try to fix the feeling just yet; this is something they will have to heal for themselves over time, and no help from you will make it any easier. Also, you cannot know how the child is feeling until they pin it down and tell you. By trying to paint them as sad or hurt, when they are just shocked, but understanding, it will make it harder for them to honestly face their feelings with you later.

As I’m sure you are aware, there are mounds of other tips about breaking the big news; some of these advice tidbits are sought out and some are rather forced, but we hope these were both palatable and helpful.

If you’ve been there and done that, and want to share what worked for you, feel free to share your experience below.

Steps to a Strong Marriage Foundation

83163694While it’s helpful to pinpoint what causes divorce and relationship dissolution, what is perhaps even more beneficial is knowing how to create a solid marriage. Every relationship is unique and there is no specific roadmap that eliminates the possibility of throwing in the towel and filing for divorce. There are, however, general surefire ways to give a romance the best shot at succeeding by setting a foundation to build a strong marriage.

An all encompassing piece of wisdom is to remember that a marriage is not a happily ever after fairy-tale that will never let you down. Like the ever changing events in one’s life, people evolve too, and so should a relationship. Constant work and progress is necessary to nourish those strong bonds that sealed a couple together in the first place.

Steps to Strength

Some things couples can do to make sure they are putting their best feet forward include fostering good habits of communication and compassion. Licensed Master Social Worker, Nathan Feiles, offers tried and true suggestions in his blog featured on PsychCentral. Here are a few gems.

Acceptance of Flaws: It can be tempting to make someone your project by striving to change, fix, and perfect. Trouble with this scenario is that it doesn’t work and is often met with resentment. People have flaws only they can change, if they take it upon themselves to do so. As Feiles says, “The trick is to be with someone whose flaws you can handle.” Accepting someone means accepting all of them, the good and the bad.

Similar Values: At the same time, there are certain flaws or, more accurately, differences that could significantly impact the relationship. Having drastically differing values from your partner tends to mean much more conflict and misunderstanding. “While some values are likely to not align, hopefully the foundational values of your relationship are,” explains Feiles. For example, a couple would most likely fair better when they have similar religious and political slants. While opposites sometimes do tend to attract, sharing important values and beliefs provide a solid foundation.

Good Listening Skills: Name some top qualities you value in your best friend, and one of them is bound to be a good listener. When there are problems or successes in life, we all need an open ear and mind to share them with and support us. Since a marriage is similar to spending every day with a best friend, the list of desired qualities is similar. Listen to your husband or wife with sincerity and empathy, and they will feel loved and want to return the favor.

Marriage Maintenance

The key to successfully fulfilling all of the above guidelines is to keep them in check and updated. Taking stock of what kind of maintenance your marriage requires and what needs tweaking keeps it from sliding down the slippery slope that could lead to an even slipperier divorce process. All of the work that goes into marriage upkeep requires patience and dedication. Luckily taking care of loving strongholds of acceptance, shared values, and listening skills, ensures a stable foundation from which to grow and build.

Alimony & Sexism

76755050When the word sexism pops up, it’s common to tag it as a women’s problem; women face injustices in the workplace, and in home-life expectations. But sexism affects men as well. Questions and activism are on the rise regarding the fairness of alimony, and the regular handouts men are oftentimes required to pay ex-wives after filing for divorce. A centuries old system, alimony is beginning to be labeled as out of date with the changing times and gender roles of modern society.

Although every divorce case is different and requires special discretion, many states still require husbands to pay lifetime alimony, with few exceptions. It is especially deemed unjust by these husbands when the wife is fully capable of supporting herself if she so chose. The alimony law’s unfairness in these cases brings up the question of its value and promotion of a different kind of sexism that holds firm to strict gender expectations that are no longer appreciated.

“It’s not fair; it’s the law”

The main argument against lifetime alimony law is that ex-wives are reaping these monetary benefits for no good reason, other than the law states they should because it’s stuck in a 1950’s mentality. Opponents, consisting of both men and women, as discussed in an NPR article, are in favor of modifications, such as the new law in Massachusetts that customizes and determines alimony according to marriage length.

One such alimony opponent discussed in the article is Tom Leustek, a New Jersey based professor whose ex-wife has a Ph.D. Still, he was ordered by a judge to pay her lifetime alimony, since she had ended up quitting a high-paying job to start a less financially rewarding psychology practice. Leustek argues her earning potential is still alive and well. He quotes the judge, who said, “It’s not fair, Mr. Leustek; it’s the law.” That was the turning point leading him to take up activism through a group, called the New Jersey Alimony Reform, that seeks to modify the law in a similar way Massachusetts did.

Stuck in the 1950’s?

The term sexism comes into play when you consider the state of marital affairs of the past, in which most women in America stayed home to care for the house and children, while the breadwinning men trotted off to work. It was and continues to be a limiting stereotype that is still in the process of being eradicated as more and more women step into the workforce and increase their opportunities.

Businessman Raymond Posa is another alimony questioner who faced a similar situation to Leustek’s, agrees that the divorce law needs to change with the times. Referring to the assumptions made by alimony enforcement, he says, “It’s like you’re incapable of getting on your own two feet, and you need to depend on this person for the rest of your life?” If women are making their own money, it makes sense for the patriarchal notion of depending on a man to fall to the wayside where it belongs.