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Should alimony be capped?

 
 
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 10:15 pm
I am beginning to think that alimony should be capped. The ceiling should be a figure that allows for one to live in comfortable (but not opulent) conditions for one's lifetime.

In short, I think the limit of reasonable spousal responsibility here is financial support. Not a windfall. Spouses should be seen as individuals who can help support each other, not potential lottery tickets.

Any thoughts?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 3 • Views: 2,638 • Replies: 20
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 10:24 pm
What about the classic case of the med student supported through college, med school, and internship. Suddenly, she's not up to standard as a doctor's wife. She's earned the payoff.

I don't really know. It almost has to be case by case. Housewifes have a rough row to hoe, gettin back into the job market, especially at an advanced age. Other spice are able to to quite well. It just depends on the particular case.

Then, there's the punishment aspect. Was she cheatin'? Was he running around? These features usually manifest as extortion during the property settlement, but could overlap into alimony considerations.
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 10:37 pm
roger wrote:
Housewifes have a rough row to hoe, gettin back into the job market, especially at an advanced age.


I think that's a good reason for alimony to exist, but if it is capped at an amount that allows them to live out their life without working I think it's covered isn't it?

For example, Heather Mills is complaining that her settlement (close to $50 million) doesn't allow her to spend $17,000 a year flying first class. She rejected a 32 million dollar voluntary settlement as inadequate.

I think the 32 million was a very reasonable offer that she could easily have supported herself and their daughter with for life. For example, the $70,000/year for the daughter didn't even include tuition (paid separately).

At what point is it no longer about "support" and about getting rich?
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 10:41 pm
I don't "get" alimony, because it is extremely rare here (I thought it non-existent, but checked, and found that spousal support IS paid, usually briefly, in a small number of cases: http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/media/media990309.html )


I do not really understand why one adult would pay another adult money to live on?


Perhaps it happens at property settlement here? Roger's case scenario would be covered to some extent because disputed property settlements take into account the relative contributions of the couple to the relationship.....eg a person who worked to support another on the way to a high-paying job, while sacrificing their own chances for such a job, would be seen to have contributed a great deal to the couple's finances.




CHILD support is paid here........would that come under alimony in the US????


Child support is paid according to income and how much time the child spends in the care of each parent.

It is paid by both genders, though, as women still tend to care for the kids more hours than the fella does, men tend to pay more often, though this is gradually changing. It's paid 'til the kid turns 18, IF the other parent has an income other than government benefits.


So...what's with alimony?



So....Heather Mills here would get some sort of minor financial settlement, and child support.


I think she got waaaaaaaaaay more than she was reasonably or morally entitled to.
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 10:45 pm
dlowan wrote:

I do not really understand why one adult would pay another adult money to live on?


Because one of the adults may forgo a career in order to take care of the home and family and thusly not have any real way to earn a living without a trade. I think the concept is fair and important. What I object to is when it's not support anymore, and is about getting rich.
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Sglass
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 10:46 pm
Is the daughter hers or theirs?
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 10:47 pm
Theirs but the settlement doesn't include child support, which is $70,000/year (without nanny and tuition, which is also paid) in addition to the settlement.
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Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 10:53 pm
dlowan wrote:

I think she got waaaaaaaaaay more than she was reasonably or morally entitled to.


Beyond that she's been very ugly about it. Calling the settlement "sad" and inadequate and at the end of the trial she poured an entire jug of water on the head of the lady who was representing Paul.

Of course, she also claims she will be using the money to support charities.

She can't have it both ways, she can't play the charity card for sympathy and claim it's not enough. If it's not enough then why is she fishing for sympathy saying she'll use it for charities?
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roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 10:54 pm
Robert Gentel wrote:
dlowan wrote:

I do not really understand why one adult would pay another adult money to live on?


Because one of the adults may forgo a career in order to take care of the home and family and thusly not have any real way to earn a living without a trade. I think the concept is fair and important. What I object to is when it's not support anymore, and is about getting rich.


I really think this is the only situation that should involve alimony.

Dlowan, child support is completely distinct from alimony. Child support normally has a termination date or age involved. The parent responsible for payment may not use it as a tax deduction. Alimony may indeed be for life, or subsequent marriage, whichever happens first. Alimony is a tax deduction for the person obliged to pay.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 11:09 pm
roger wrote:
Robert Gentel wrote:
dlowan wrote:

I do not really understand why one adult would pay another adult money to live on?


Because one of the adults may forgo a career in order to take care of the home and family and thusly not have any real way to earn a living without a trade. I think the concept is fair and important. What I object to is when it's not support anymore, and is about getting rich.


I really think this is the only situation that should involve alimony.

Dlowan, child support is completely distinct from alimony. Child support normally has a termination date or age involved. The parent responsible for payment may not use it as a tax deduction. Alimony may indeed be for life, or subsequent marriage, whichever happens first. Alimony is a tax deduction for the person obliged to pay.


Yes...women here generally end up financially worse off, over time, than the men. Partly because we have lower pay, in effect. As I said, the way we seem to try to address the fairness issue if one has not worked outside the home is through property settlement, including division of accrued superannuation to some extent (women here tend to work, but have super interrupted by baby breaks and the need to go part-time.)






Do you guys still have "fault" divorce? Here, people just separate for a year, and that's it.....they can be divorced.

I am wondering if the move to no-fault divorce in the seventies has affected azttitudes to stuff like alimony?
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 11:25 pm
Divorce laws depend on the state. There's lots of variation.
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martybarker
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 11:29 pm
WA state is a no fault state. I supported my husband financially for the first 5 years of our marriage while he attempted to run his own marketing business. Within months of looking at buying a 700,000.00 house and him receiving a raise he left me for another woman.

What did I get? 2 years spousal maintenance with a bonus 3rd year at half. The ex agreed to throw that in just to be nice. I shouldn't complain being that I make enough to support myself. It irritates me less everyday that passes that I'm in a 30 year old house thats worth less than half of his condo with a view.
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martybarker
 
  1  
Reply Thu 20 Mar, 2008 11:43 pm
As far as child support goes in WA state there is a cap. Even though my ex's salary now exceeds the max on the calculation chart the children only need a certain amount of money to live.

So basically he makes about twice as much after payment of child support than I do with the child support and the kids live with me primarily.
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Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Mar, 2008 12:03 am
dlowan wrote:
roger wrote:
Robert Gentel wrote:
dlowan wrote:

I do not really understand why one adult would pay another adult money to live on?


Because one of the adults may forgo a career in order to take care of the home and family and thusly not have any real way to earn a living without a trade. I think the concept is fair and important. What I object to is when it's not support anymore, and is about getting rich.


I really think this is the only situation that should involve alimony.

Dlowan, child support is completely distinct from alimony. Child support normally has a termination date or age involved. The parent responsible for payment may not use it as a tax deduction. Alimony may indeed be for life, or subsequent marriage, whichever happens first. Alimony is a tax deduction for the person obliged to pay.


Yes...women here generally end up financially worse off, over time, than the men. Partly because we have lower pay, in effect. As I said, the way we seem to try to address the fairness issue if one has not worked outside the home is through property settlement, including division of accrued superannuation to some extent (women here tend to work, but have super interrupted by baby breaks and the need to go part-time.)


As Roger said, it depends on the state ... each is different.

Spousal maintenance/support/alimony can involve an element of property settlement, in the sense that often a court will look at the property awarded of the party seeking support to see what income it produces, along with other income, as a factor to determining whether spousal maintenance should be awarded.

Courts consider the standard of living of the parties established during the marriage when determining the level of maintenance to award.

Quote:
Do you guys still have "fault" divorce? Here, people just separate for a year, and that's it.....they can be divorced.


The trend is away from fault based divorce. Arizona is a no-fault state.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Mar, 2008 12:18 am
Ticomaya wrote:

Courts consider the standard of living of the parties established during the marriage when determining the level of maintenance to award.


And this part is the key to my objections, I think it should be limited to being able to comfortably feed and shelter one's self. The judge in the McCartney case said that because Mills had been flying first class since she was 25 it was reasonable to expect to continue to be able to do so.

When Larry Fortensky (a former construction worker if I remember correctly) and Elizabeth Taylor divorced he claimed he had become accustomed to a lifestyle that he was subsequently entitled to through alimony. Thankfully, for her 8th marriage she had a prenup and he "only" got a million or so, but he tried to pull the "lifestyle" argument anyway.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Mar, 2008 04:37 am
Isn't it interesting how no one becomes used to a poor lifestyle if they marry someone who's wealthy who then falls on hard times before they divorce?

Fault divorces still exist but they are becoming rarer. And even in no fault states things like cheating are still brought up at times in order to try to get a bigger settlement.

One encouraging trend is toward mediation, to take a lot of the work out of the courts.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Mar, 2008 06:33 am
Robert Gentel wrote:
Ticomaya wrote:

Courts consider the standard of living of the parties established during the marriage when determining the level of maintenance to award.


And this part is the key to my objections, I think it should be limited to being able to comfortably feed and shelter one's self. The judge in the McCartney case said that because Mills had been flying first class since she was 25 it was reasonable to expect to continue to be able to do so.



Agreed. He made most of his money long before they were married to begin with. What she earned through the marriage was fame. There isn't any reason she couldn't parlay her earned fame into enough cash to support herself.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Mar, 2008 06:39 am
jespah wrote:
Fault divorces still exist but they are becoming rarer. And even in no fault states things like cheating are still brought up at times in order to try to get a bigger settlement.


I'll just add on to this and mention that while many states are considred "no-fault" that only means that someone doesn't need to be found at fault as a reason to divorce. Every state that now allows no-fault divorces also still has "at-fault" laws on the books too.

Also, I'll mention that the trend is away from mandating spousal support. The laws and society as a whole are clearly shifting away from it but the courts are much slower in adopting (the same holds true for child custody in divorce cases).
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Mar, 2008 07:20 am
In Germany marriage is regulated in the Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) - since the 19th century.
And so is alimony (§§1361, 1569, 1578, 1582 BGB).

In 1962, the Düsseldorf appellate court (one out of the three highest courts in our state) made a list of what is to pay for child supposrt as well as alimony (and all other payments possible in family law).
This list is since then accepted by all other appellate courts in all other states, renewed every two years .... and is the basis to calculate how much money children, spouses, parents .... can get.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 21 Mar, 2008 07:24 am
"Fault" is no reason for divorces in our law since 1976. (Instead, we now have the "broken marriage principle" ['Zerrüttungsprinzip'].)
0 Replies
 
 

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