A letter to a Legislator from one burdened with oppressive alimony :
I served in the Armed Forces, with the United States Air Force for more than twenty years. I was decorated several times and Honorably Discharged. I am currently a Disabled Veteran. After I completed the Troops to Teacher Program in 1995, I became a High School Teacher with the Air Force Junior ROTC Program, teaching Aerospace Science. I am Proud To Serve Again.
My 22 year marriage was dissolved by my wife (the Petitioner) on May 11, 2005.This was her second marriage to an Armed Forces member. Prior to our final divorce, my spouse abandoned the home in June 2002. She returned to the house August 2002, and then left again in May 23, 2003 for good.
This is not what I had in mind when I took my marriage vows. Nor, did I realize how long and costly a divorce in our great state could be. I also did not realize just how involved the State of Florida would become in a persons PRIVATE decision to end their marriage.
On April 11, 2005 I signed a Marital Mediated Settlement Agreement to speed up the process of getting Divorce and put closure to our relationship. Even by Default I had to do it, or the Court would. I signed the agreement in the adversary attorney's office. I did this Under Duress, Undue Influence and Unconscionable Bargaining. I did it because of previous threats of imprisonment, as a result of a court system where most of the judges are trained to ignore men's rights, and men are assumed to need to pay. I think it is fair to presume that undue influence is present in alimony, because the man really has no choice but to sign the divorce contract. The "NO FAULT DIVORCE" law is destroying our families and society.
I am now under a court prescribed income deduction order that takes $10,000.00 from my 10 month teaching salary. My Air Force pension was garnished by 32.5% and my future Teacher pension by 50% as well. After a perfect life credit, I was forced into bankruptcy by the court and the former spouse's attorney. To comply with the Equitable Distribution and under threats of imprisonment I was forced to sell my house, my vehicles, etc.
I have served proudly to protect the citizens of this great country and I continue to serve society as a teacher. However, the district court has ordered me to pay my ex-wife for the rest of my LIFE. The statute has given the judiciary VERY BROAD DISCRETION when ruling on alimony. It is a VIOLATION of the Separation of Powers Act. I never imagined I would be sitting here writing to the legislators of Florida. I have never been a very political person. This statute is nothing but a form of state sponsored slavery, when I have to pay her for the REST OF MY LIFE under the threat of imprisonment if I do not pay.
I will be 57 years old next year on October 31. I earned my pay, paid my dues, served my country. I believe I deserve some kind of a peaceful retirement. I also, do not have the financial resources to continue to pay attorney's fees to keep returning to court for modifications. This is the MADNESS this statute creates. There is never any CLOSURE of the marriage dissolution.
All this statute do, is to create a "welfare" for the recipient. It gives the ex-spouses NO INCENTIVE to become a productive member of society. My ex-wife will receive $18,450.00 per year from the court prescribed income deduction order for permanent alimony, and from my pensions. She does not have to lift one finger to earn any of that money. Quite a nice retirement and income for her, but I have to continue to work to pay her.
This statute is based on a law that is much older that you or I. It is based on laws that were in effect when women had no rights, nor opportunities that they enjoy today. It was based on laws when men owned their women. We both know that is not true today. My ex-wife is a Teacher aide, is in good health, she has a future Florida Retirement and a Social Security Pension. She is more than capable of earning a good salary. My children are of majority age.
There are many in our great state in the same situation, and their voices are beginning to be heard by members of the legislature. This law is archaic. It needs to be changed to reflect the way society is today. There are women in our state that have become "victims" of this statute by either being forced to pay their ex-husbands or have become the 2nd wife of the husband that is forced to pay alimony for the rest of their lives. The numbers of people affected by this archaic law are growing everyday. The judiciary is out of control.
Please abolish this archaic law.