“Social Progress Can Be Measured By the Social Position of the Female Sex”

–Karl Marx

The Miami Herald reported on April 29, 2015 the following:

An alimony overhaul that brought together people once bitterly divided on the issue has created an even deeper rift between two powerful Republican lawmakers who blame each other for a failure to get the bill passed this year.

The legislative meltdown resulted in a failed attempt at alimony reform.  Prior to the session, the consensus of opinion was that alimony would be substantially reformed and that a formula would be established for alimony amounts based on the length of marriages and the amounts of money spouses earned.  It is appropriate, therefore, to look at the philosophical underpinnings of this alimony reform and to consider contrary views that have been expressed regarding this subject.

Jeff Landers writes for Forbes Magazine on May 17, 2013 the following “ . . . unfortunately for most divorcing women, recent legislation proposing sweeping ‘reforms’ to alimony would not represent progress, at all. . .”  Landers points out that alimony has a rationale that is sound.  He states that many women give up their potential career and earning power and instead invest their time and labor into the family.  He notes that the typical woman seeking alimony has directly or indirectly aided her husband’s career by taking care of the home front which allowed him to invest in his career and increase his earning power.  Further, many women have given up education and employment opportunities.

According to Landers, at the time of the divorce in certain marriages, the husband is typically at the peak of his earning potential and the wife is relatively unemployable.  Lastly, even though assets may be divided 50-50, the husband has the earning power to replace some or all of those assets over time while the wife, because of her lack of earning power, will be liquidating assets from day one and will ultimately go broke.

Landers advises brides-to-be to communicate openly and thoroughly with their fiancés about finances and for couples to have well executed prenuptial agreements that specify what they will consider marital property and what will be held separately.  He further recommends postnuptial agreements and thinks it’s important that the husband and wife both sign one that clearly outlines how the woman would be compensated in the event of divorce for having given up her profession.

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney