Monday, August 9, 2010

"What do you think I owe you?"

When a marriage ends at one party's request, it is often hard to perceive how the party who wants to leave has any claim to the future work of the party who gets left. 

Tonight's topic: alimony.

And alimony in that particular situation, where the party seeking alimony is the one who has left yet still wants to continue a relationship with her ex spouse.  She wants that kind of relationship where she has no responsibilities but he will continue to support her.  It seems the height of cynicism. 

"I don't want to live with you anymore.  I don't want to share meals with you anymore.  I don't want to have Christmas with you anymore.  Oh, but I still want you to take care of me." 

I don't think that position works.  I don't think you can sell that position.  I think there is no market for that position.

If you want out, fine.  But don't expect others to keep picking up your tab.  It doesn't tend to work that way.

Put yourself in the juror's shoes, a relatively randomly chosen group of 12 regular folks, folks you might pass  in the grocery store.  Not your grocery store, but some other grocery store somewhere in your county.  You're going to tell those jurors, those strangers, that you just want the allowance without the chores.  You want the cake, you just don't want to have to bake it.  You want the reward without the work.  I can't think of a more spoiled meme. 

And the jury never buys it.

Sure, you can think of circumstances where this scenario would work: spousal abuse, habitual adultery (on the non-leaving party's part), incurable alcohol addiction.  But that doesn't happen often.  That is not the norm.  There's a reason why that's called the exception.  And it is the exception that proves the rule.  The rest of the time, the leaving party just wants out, wants to move on, wants to see other people, wants to have her own life. 

She's more than entitled to have her own life.  She just has to fund it.

But the jury will tell her that.  Lord knows her attorney won't.  There's too much money to be made until the verdict.

Michael Manely

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