What is Fair Alimony in the 21st Century?

What is fair alimony in the 21st century? Alimony was originally designed to protect a woman and family from falling into poverty after a divorce. It originated during a time when women were mainly at home caregivers  where many lacked proper educations allowing for sufficient employment. However, in recent times the majority of women work and nearly a third have college degrees.

Florida lawmakers are pushing to overhaul the state’s alimony law in a bid to better reflect today’s marriages and make the system less burdensome for the alimony payer. Florida joins a growing number of states that seek to rewrite alimony laws by curbing lifelong alimony and alleviate the financial stress that some payers — still mostly men — say they are forced to take on.

“It can strangle the person that is paying it,” said Alan Frisher, the founder of Florida Alimony Reform, an organization of 2,000 members, several of whom testified recently at legislative committee hearings. “Oftentimes, we can’t afford to pay that amount of alimony. It can provide a disincentive for the receiver to ever go back to work, to make more money or remarry. I don’t think anybody should have to be an indentured servant for the rest of their lives.”

The legislature in Massachusetts, which had some of the country’s most antiquated alimony laws, passed without opposition a measure to rewrite the laws and make them more equitable.

Commissions in other states have been set up to collect data and stories about the hardships of long-term alimony payments and presenting them to lawmakers to hopefully make the necessary changes to bring the alimony laws to the 21st Century and to take into account current household dynamics. … <Read More>


Amish at the Altar

 

A recent National Geographic episode entitled “Amish at the Altar” brought insight into the very private and modest marriage practices of the Amish community. The strict rules of their community have fostered many long, happy marriages. Maybe mainstream Americans could integrate some of these modest and humble practices of the Amish lifestyle into their lives and marriage practices. Although many of these practices may seem extreme and old fashioned, one can’t ignore the extremely low divorce rate. Perhaps the Amish are onto something…… <Read More>


Returning Home For a Better Life or Parental Kidnapping?

 

Parental kidnapping has been an issue many people across the country and the world have had to face. Iraq veteran and New Jersey resident Michael Elias alleges that he has experienced it firsthand.  Elias, who returned home from Iraq three years ago, alleges that upon his return, his former wife told him she wanted a divorce. However, if only Elias could foresee what was to come—an international custody battle with his former wife, who is now living with their two children approximately 7,000 miles away in Japan.

Upon divorce, Elias and his former wife were granted joint custody by a Bergen County Court. In order to prevent either parent from taking the children out of the country, the Court directed that the children’s passports be surrendered. With the children’s passports surrendered and a court order of joint custody, Elias thought he had nothing to worry about. 

However, during a routine exchange of the children a few months later, Elias waited for his children to be dropped off for his parenting time. What he didn’t know what that he former wife and their two children were on a plane to Japan, violating the custody order. Since Elias’s former wife worked at the Japanese Embassy, she was able to get new passports for the children. How did she obtain new passports for the children legally and now that she is in Japan with the children, does it really even matter?

Japan is not a party to the Hague Convention on Parental Kidnapping, so what is Elias supposed to do?… <Read More>


That’s not my daughter. Can I get a refund?

For the most part, the headline sums up what Eric Fischer asked Connecticut’s highest court, following a divorce from his wife. According to ABC news writer Christina Ng, Fischer discovered that the daughter he was raising was not biologically his. In the case, the court ruled that Fischer could sue the biological father, Richard Zollino, for $190,000 – the cost of raising the girl for 15 years. Fischer v. Zollino, 303 Conn. 661 (2012). The numerical figure was based on an expert witness’ calculation.

During his marriage, Fischer claimed to have seen red flags regarding the girl’s paternity. On the ride back from the hospital when the girl was born, his wife’s friend and business partner, Zollino, joined the couple in the limo. Awkward. Additionally, Zollino was present at the girl’s music recitals and graduation; however, he was not present at events of the couple’s other daughter. Creepy.

For 15 years he suspected, but never said anything. Finally, he obtained a hair sample from the girl and submitted it for a paternity test along with his DNA. The results came in October of 2006 and stated that he was not the father. The couple divorced soon after in 2007, and a test later proved that Zollino was the father.

Initially, Fischer looks at fault for not officially questioning the paternity earlier in the marriage. It seems there should be a time cap on challenging paternity. Or should there? The first thought that came to mind was that Fischer held the girl out as his own by attending major events in her life and by financially providing for her.… <Read More>


Sanctity of Marriage?

In today’s world the phrase “sanctity of marriage” is often thrown around in response to gay marriage legislation, but what does this concept really mean? A variety of explanations may arise, however the idea is pretty straightforward—marriage is a sacred institution.  With changing times and cultural norms, one may wonder, is this notion of the sanctity of marriage still relevant today?

It is shocking how legislators and voters can continue to stand behind the sanctity of marriage as a defense for not passing marriage equality acts. If people are worried about homosexual couples cheapening the marriage institution, one should look to the most recent celebrity scandal of Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries, ending their highly publicized marriage after just 72 days. This and many Hollywood stories like it, truly begs the question, how sacred is today’s marriage?

If any heterosexual couple can get married or divorced for an array of right or wrong and moral or immoral reasons, why can’t gay couples marry for the right reasons? The institution of marriage used to be about commitment and love to another person until “death do they part”, but as made clear by today’s standards, only half of heterosexual couples actually reach it that far. So wouldn’t homosexual couples that get married until “death do they part” uphold the sanctity of marriage better than all the divorcees of the heterosexual world? A re-evaluation of the idea of what constitutes this “sanctity of marriage” concept is crucial to reflect today’s times.

 

 … <Read More>