Is Family Law Fair? Things You Need To Know Before Getting Married Or Getting A Divorce
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By Jeffrey Krus, P.E.
This is a very difficult question to answer because it depends on the perspective of the parties involved. In other words, moms may feel a certain way about certain laws, whereas dads may feel differently about same.
Let’s take a look at Alimony for instance. Most likely, women, in general, feel that this is fair based on the fact that maybe their salary is lower than that of their ex husbands, etc…whereas men, in general, would feel that it is unfair, as the Law privileges women for no reason, and it takes the money that the men earn by working hard to give it to their ex wives.
Further, if we take a look at Child Custody, we’ll see how complicated and complex this is. Every state has a list of factors according to which Child Custody is awarded. This list is technically called “Determining Factors”. Please, consult the Determining Factors in your state for the compete list of factors. Some of the factors may vary from state to state, however, the majority of these factors will be endemic to most states.
Let’s examine some of the Child Custody factors. One of the factors is “the love and affection” that a parent has for the children. While this is nice factor to use, it is very difficult to measure such emotions, as people display their emotions and/or love differently.
Moreover, there is the biggest Flaw in the Law: whoever spent more time with the kids prior to divorce becomes the “primary care giver” of the children, and, therefore, has a greater chance of being awarded sole custody of the minor children. While this may seem fair at first glance, a more profound look divulges the fact that this is not fair to the party who worked so hard to earn money for the household. This is true irrespective of whether the parent staying home is the dad or the mom. In other words, this is unfair irrespective of the gender of the parent.
In my case, personally, I did not wish to work full time while my ex stayed home with the children. In fact, I asked my ex spouse so many times to work at least part time so that I could spend more time with our kids. I also expressed the possibility that we could alternate working. Effectively, I could work for a year while she took care of the kids, and then, I could have stayed home with the kids, while she worked.
She just refused, and the result was that she took advantage of the situation. So, here we see that the Law has a Flaw! What are your choices as a parent/husband in this case? Do you acquiesce in order to avoid a divorce, or do you try to push your wife to work so that both of you would: (A) spend an equitable amount of time with your kids, and (B) be viewed as an equal “care giver” by the court, should there be a divorce.
The sad reality is that one of the parents, whether it is the mom or the dad, may try to use the Law to his or her advantage. If the Law were more equitable, such issues would not occur as often.
During my divorce, I went to the library and read up on Family Law. I encountered a site that published statistics regarding divorce in all 50 States! it was very interesting to see that the State of Minnesota, I believe, had the highest ratio of Shared or Joint Custody, and at the same time, it had one of the lowest divorce rates in the country. The explanation is very simple: when a parent sees that there is no advantage that she or he may get from the divorce, then she or he may try to make the marriage work instead of rushing into a divorce.
In other words, if a parent realizes that she or he is going to get Sole Custody of the Minor Children, Spousal Support or Alimony, and Child Support, then that parent takes the enticing deal and divorces easily without necessarily contemplating the impact of the divorce on the children or the family as a unit. However, if none of these incentives is offered, then that parent will cogitate over a major decision such as a divorce.
The lesson here is that the Law should not give all to one parent, and virtually nothing to the other parent!
Here is how Family Law operates, which, you will see, defies any logical thinking. It really makes you wonder who wrote these Family Laws?
In essence, here is what happens when there is a divorce that involves minor children. The Law gives the Children and Child Support to one parent, and leaves the other parent with nothing!
Family Law has its preference, as to which parent should get custody of the minor children. This may not necessarily be, and in fact isn’t most of the time, the wish of the parent who does not get custody of the children. Then, to add insult to injury, the law dictates that the parent who does not get custody of the children pay the other parent child support. Here is the fallacy in the reasoning: first, the law forces that parent not to have custody of his or her children, and second, it forces her or him to pay child support to the other parent for a decision with which she or he is not agreeing.
I would, however, concur with the Law if one of the parents willingly conceded custody to the other parent. However, most of the time, this is not the case. Some of the Laws ought to be revisited, and rewritten.
When the Law metes out justice, and hence, Child Support, it does not check how the money is spent and on whom! In other words, the parent, who is awarded Child Support, may use or misuse the money in any way that she or he pleases. Now, how fair is that?
The idea behind Child Support is to ensure that the children are well taken care of, and that there is a financial balance for the kids between Dad’s house and Mom’s house. However, the Law does not make the effort to look into how the money is spent. This is deplorable, for any party might just misuse the money and spend a big part of it on him or herself!
Again, these Laws ought to be revisited. It is very sad to think that some people take advantage of the system to get as much money as they can without having to work! How fair is it to the other party who has to work, pay Child Support, and yet pay for his or her kids’ needs while under their own care?
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