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Divorced Barbie

One of the large components of starting my own blog was the inspiration I found while reading existing blogs that seemed to have similar general overtones about divorce and a wholesome life that can follow.

There were a lot of blogs to weed through at first when I searched for blogs that were similar to what I was looking for, but a large amount of them seemed to center on either hateful themes (such as women bashers) or who after a few years (or more) were still grappling with how to put together their lives. I can’t read a blog continually and permanently bashing anyone or anything, and though I’m here to tell you first-hand about self-pity, it does get stale after an unnaturally long period of time.

So it was refreshing to land on the sweet shore of blogs who though they were still occasionally smarting from post-divorce wounds, had found a way to cope and even thrive. It is these select blogs that write with such determination to continue their lives in a rich and rewarding manner (and even in joy), that have helped me (and I’m sure many, many others) come to the realization that my experience is not unique in a general sense. By my reading these positive-light blogs, I have found community, strength, determination and wisdom along with a steady diet of intellectual enrichment.

One such blog that I read yesterday comes from The Divorced Encouragist who authors Relative Evolutions. She wrote about a forwarded joke centered on the Barbie doll and why it is so expensive to purchase Divorced Barbie. You can read the post here and I urge you to read it through before reading more of my post.

What prompted me to comment was the fact of how true it is that men are still trapped in the divorce laws from an earlier legal age. While laws are continually being updated to insure the post-divorce rights of women and the couple’s children (and rightly so!), laws that keep up to date with regards to the post-divorce rights of men, and men that are fathers, have been allowed to remain stagnant and are antiquated. Thus, these laws are unjust, causing severe and lasting emotional trauma and suspend a lot of males in a refined purgatory of needless suffering.

Do not mistake the meaning of this post. My meaning is to heighten the awareness in the inequity of 21st century divorce laws, and through intelligent commenting following the post, to bring to light  aspects of what is just, what might be wrong, what might be perceived to be wrong, and to bring into focus ideas and actions that might spur change of these laws – real or not.

Again, I ask that you read the original post from which the idea for this post came from before continuing, and rather than to originate more content, I will end with what I wrote as a follow-up comment on the blog.

I wholeheartedly invite your thoughtful, and tasteful, comments.

My Comment:

As statistics have shown that married relationships have transformed from a lifetime commitment to temporary arrangements, I feel that it is prudent for the legal system to keep in step with this fact.

The norm is no longer for a woman to stay at home raising junior and having the dinner repast and a cocktail ready for her male counterpart – the majority of females have a career that brings in a necessary second income and spend just as much time out of the home as do males. Junior is most likely at an after school day care until one or the other parent picks them up after work.

Luckily, I do not myself pay either alimony or health insurance to my ex thanks to a savvy, and contemporary leaning, female lawyer. However, I am a distinct minority and have male friends and acquaintances who continue to pay through the nose after their own marriages have been dissolved. Many are court forced to live in near squalor and have no resemblance whatsoever
to their former married lifestyle due to the enormous amount of money that they must blindly hand over to their ex because the marriage had “irreconcilable differences”.

Even more shamefully, children, in the vast and overwhelming majority of cases, are de facto placed in custody of the mother, which adds immeasurably to the unreasonable avalanche of grief placed upon the father. In the meantime, though the female no longer has the same exact level of the full and rich lifestyle that she had become used to when they had a union, in the vast majority of cases, she most times still has access to the house, the furniture within, the appliances, the garage, the family car, the same neighborhood, the same health benefits, a weekly automatic deposit from the male’s paycheck, junior sleeping with her when the lights go out …

Slowly, some states have been deluged by divorced men and divorced dads who have been organizing for years and lobbying various legislative branches in an effort to overturn antiquated divorce laws and replacing them with modern divorce laws reflecting the startling difference in what the roles in marriage used to be and now take into account the financial ramifications for both parties. These groups of men have been pushing hard for equal treatment and to that effort, many states have begun to repeal and amend out of date laws.

Marriage is now like any other professional sport – was a time that Americans loved it for it’s purity and what it used to represent. But now, it’s been reduced to just another business arrangement fraught with pecuniary gains and losses refereed by a broker of some sort.

  1. 01/05/2011 at 3:07 PM

    I’m divorced and probably do not fall into the purely positive glow of blogs you enjoy but I echo your sentiments here. When we divorced everything split down the middle. We made similar salaries so it made sense. I seemed to have a judge from the 1940’s however who was astounded that I did not alimony. I had no need. Why would I ask for something I didn’t need when I was capable of supporting myself? I wish more women would keep their independence instead of expecting someone else to foot their bill. Not only in marriage, but in life.

    • 01/05/2011 at 4:03 PM

      Hi startedover@28 and thank you for taking the time to comment.

      I believe that you have hit a point very well when you wish that “more woman would keep their independence instead of expecting someone else to foot the bill”. I insist on repeating that mantra to my eleven year old girl over and over and over!

      Unfortunately, I wonder if there are females who, despite their independence, during the divorce proceedings use the legal system to ‘take to the cleaners’ their pending former spouse – even though they are well equipt to support themselves.

      This is not to say that those in honest financial need should not fight for every penny, but for someone who is able to move on – can carry their own health insurance, can reasonably downsize to an apartment, who have a steady income, they should not be allowed to financially rape someone with the aid of the courts all for the sake of spite.

      Both parties should be expected to become financially responsible and should suffer the equal burden of having to live off of one income.

      Too often judgments are rendered based on a ‘former lifestyle’. In too many instances, while the former lifestyle of the woman is taken into consideration, men must, and are forced many times, to take on a second, part-time job to pay court imposed expenses going to his ex. This leads to additional stress, a fomenting of anger at the ex, much less time with his children (causing distance), and in a cruel irony, being taken to court at a future date by the ex based on his additional income and she wants more support because he is making more money!

      What about a man’s ‘former lifestyle’?

      Again, thank you for writing!

  2. 01/05/2011 at 5:20 PM

    I completely agree with you – with exceptions of course. In the case of my parents who divorced after 27 years of marriage, my Dad was forced to pay a monthly alimony to my Mom for a five year period. He of course didn’t think he should have to pay her anything, however, they as a married couple agreed that my Mom would be a stay at home parent as they were of the opinion that it would be best for myself and two brothers. My Mom dropped out of University and was “unemployed” for those 27 years. So when they divorced, she had no schooling and no resume to put together based on a decision they had made as a couple. So in that instance, yes, I do believe my Mom had every right to collect alimony in order to get herself back on her feet. It allowed her to secure her own apartment after the house had been sold, it allowed her to go back to school and she is now a nurse. I think another exception would be whether or not there was unfaithfulness during the marriage. If she was the unfaithful one, then no, she should not be entitled to alimony. However, if he was unfaithful, then yes, I do believe alimony should be paid for a certain period of time – should he be deemed the provider. I hope that the court system catches up to current day divorces. Most of the divorces I know of within my circle of friends never included alimony of any kind because both parties were working and able to support themselves. Funny thing is – it’s the judges they have to convince, the judges are astounded that no alimony is being applied for. Wow – this could have been a post. Sorry for taking up so much room – but all in all – I agree with you 100%.

    • 01/05/2011 at 6:20 PM

      Hi msbrookie,

      The example you provide about your parents is a fine one. If someone is left stranded, they should, of course, receive some sort of payment that will allow them to establish a career and then able to generate their own income. I agree (and I’m glad it worked out for them).

      As to paying because someone cheated on their spouse … I’m kinda on the fence about that. I can’t speak personally about that type of experience but I’m not so sure that I can agree with you.

      Being unfaithful does indeed break a promise of fidelity a couple makes on their wedding day. But the breaching of that ‘marriage contract’ is a matter for the church – not the government.

      Being sexually active outside of the marriage is not breaking any federal or state law – not that I’m aware of. It’s reprehenisible certainly, but it’s not an offense that you can be legally arrested for.

      When a male, or female, cheats on their spouse, should that be the basis for supporting an argument surrounding a monetary windfall for the party that was cheated on?

      I agree that a lot of times it is the judges who might be caught off guard with reference to a female not asking for alimony payments. However, if I were the lawyer, knowing this information about judges fully expecting to rule over the payment of alimony, I would more than likely exploit that point and go for alimony no matter if one needed it or not! In a vast majority of cases it would be granted.

      Thus, the need to overhaul the system in order to provide a just equality.

      Thank you, you’ve made great points and made me think a little more!

  3. 01/05/2011 at 10:41 PM

    Thanks for the shout out!

    Indeed, “what about a man’s ‘former lifestyle’?”

    Once upon a time, a divorce lawyer told me that he believes men ultimately “make out” better following a divorce. To this day, I’m confused about that statement. My own eyes have been unable to verify the claim.

    • 01/06/2011 at 1:13 PM

      You are so very welcome! I have to admit that I would be the first one to laugh out loud over the Divorced Barbie joke but it also had me thinking about how true to life it seemed. So, thank you for the inspiration to write this post.

      Yes, what about a man’s former lifestyle? It seems to me that it is never put on the table during divorces for discussion and that’s just plain discrimination.

      How about the guy who is forced to live in a one bedroom apartment in a less than desireable neighborhood and have his kids over for a visit? Doesn’t that knock Daddy down a few pegs in the kids eyes? They’ll associate Mom with the beautiful house she gets to stay in, and Dad with everything they don’t want! Dismal and disheartening come to mind.

      Yea, men really make out in a divorce.

  4. 01/07/2011 at 3:04 AM

    Wow, this is a great point (and I love that blog too. a goodie!)…and it IS really true. Unless it’s something like the example of 27 years of marriage, as above, I do think it should be fair and not just fall on the man’s shoulders (or whomever the bigger breadwinner is, whether it is man or woman). Great post and debate on this one!

    • 01/07/2011 at 10:58 PM

      Again, I have to agree with the point above – 27 years without a career certainly deserves alimony in order to educate one’s self and become self sufficient.

      Here’s something I just read about that caused me to boil over (given this post I put up): a woman who divorced her husband, shortly thereafter remarried. A few years after that, she divorced her second husband. She went back to court and WON ALIMONY REINSTATEMENT FROM HER FIRST HUSBAND!

      I’m agast and wondering if this could happen to anyone else!!!!????

  5. 01/07/2011 at 9:33 PM

    the whole point of feminism, in this liberal feminist/lawyer/divorcee’s perspective, was to attain equality with men. that means you take the good and the bad in equal doses. i’m living proof – when i graduate from my degree program and (gods willing) get hired, i will start paying my ex-husband alimony. i’m glad to do it; i’ll be in a far stronger economic position than he will with my law license, and if it helps him get a new start to get a check from me, so be it.

    the old way of looking at divorce patronized women, treating us as second-class and weak. it also demonized men unfairly. now that we are a lot more egalitarian as a society, it’s high time that family law caught up.

    • 01/07/2011 at 11:05 PM

      That’s an interesting point you bring up that I never knew could exist – the prospect of FUTURE alimony. Never knew that could happen.

      It bring up all sorts of prickly thoughts – what if the person going on to higher education decided to NOT continue to pursue a higher education in order to get around paying future alimony? Could the courts force one to go back into school and get that degree in order to satisfy paying a higher alimony payment?

      And I totally agree with your points about divorce continuing to look at women as second-class citizens, weak and unable to fend for themselves, and also with the broad blanket of opinion demonizing men and placing blame squarely on their shoulders in the case of divorce.

      I also took the time to read your blog – geez, pretty damn clever with fighting spirit behind it. Nice attitude and love your writing style – I’ll be visiting often.

      Thanks for coming by.

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