Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Victim #100: A Second Wife Speaks Out

To whom it may concern.

I am a second wife. My husband pays permanent alimony to his first wife. The first time I heard about permanent alimony was during my divorce from my first husband 15 years ago. My attorney brought it to my attention, and felt we should persue this in the settlement agreement. After all I was married for 14 years. The whole concept sounded as proposterous to me then as it does today, and it gave me the creeps quite frankly.

Even though there was no love lost for the soon to be ex-husband, my sense of fairness was offenend and I did not lower myself to persuing this. I declined all rights to permanent or temporary alimony, and my attorney was not very happy with me. While it has not always been easy for me in the years that followed, and while I recognize that 3-4 years of rehabilatative alimony is absolutely appropriate (I should have asked for that), there is NO reason for permanent alimony. I find this law offensive for many reasons and like to state why I do.

*It is unconstitutional and prevents the afflicted person (as well as his new wife and possible new family) to live life the way they would like to. The lifelong finanical burden keeps the ex-spouse (short of beeing independently wealthy, and most ex-spouses are not independently wealthy but hard working citizens), a slave to his job. The opportunity to persue life and happiness as he/they would like has been taken away. The ex-wife and ex-husband at one time had the right and freedom to spend as they saw fit, to save as they deemed necessary, to work on building their dream as they envisioned it, since their money was their money. Not so with permanent alimony...in our case $3,5000.00 goes right out the door to the ex, every month, year in and out. NO END in sight.

It is a harsher sentence in some cases then a prisoner receives for crime. Prisoners at some point get parole and a fresh start. The ex-spouse remains financially tied down to the former spouse and is denied the chance to live life independently. Some divorces are mistakes, we all make them, they get settled in court and then you move on. A mistake or delusion of marriage should not be punished with a life long sentence. That is an absurd concept and simply NOT APPROPRIATE.

*When medical emergencies arise, no matter what, the alimony has to be paid first. In my case I was diagnosed with breast cancer 5 years ago and while we had medical coverage, alternative and certain surgical treatments were not or only partially covered. We ended up with about $20,000.00 out of pocket expenses...money we did not have and money we had to go further into debt for....BUT hey, she got her alimony while sitting around doing nothing.

*It is expected essentially of the ex-spouse to support 2 households. At $42,000.00 a year in permanent alimony, (that is the amount in my husbands case) that is roughly I believe the average income many people actually work for, she sits around, is miserable, BUT does nothing.

*Even if the second marriage is longer in years then the first marriage, the ex-wife wife always comes first because NO matter what, alimony has to be paid to her before all else..

*It puts undue pressure and financial concerns for life on the second wife as it does on her now husband. It leaves the second wife with the feeling of having to share her husband. The marriage turns into a trio.

*It does not allow for the ex-spouse to financially move on. That also afflicts the new family. ALIMONY first...always...for life...no matter what.

*There is no longer a use for this archaic law that once meant to protect woman. Woman today are educated. Many ex-spounses collecting alimony are college educated (my husbands ex has degrees). Yet she does absolutely nothing BUT collect alimony, and she like many others, will never do anything because of this financial perk. Many were not divorced at old age but in the prime of their lives, when going back to work is or was quite possible.

*It limits the new family in building their new future due to the financial burden of monthly life-long alimony. It can create resentment at times.

My husband gladly paid his child support to his daughters and that is a seperate issue and absolutely necessary and appropriate. There should be NO discussion about the moral obligation of child support. It is a different issue however from life-long alimony. Especially when this occurs after settlements. Many states or other countries give rehabilitative alimony for a set amount of time, there is nothing wrong with that....there is alot wrong with lifelong punishment in the form of alimony.

Child support is appropriate BUT it ends at some point. Rehabilitative alimony is appropriate BUT it ends at some point. Lifelong alimony is NOT appropriate, it does NOT END. It prohibits both ex-spouses from moving on...this law truly MUST be CHANGED. It is modern day slavery to the ex-spouse and his new family that is afflicted with it. Put yourself in their shoes and I believe you will see the burden that comes with this law.

The spouses afflicted and burdened with this permanent alimony payment are not dead beats that like to whine for the heck of it. They have paid their dues, they were willing to accept an appropriate amount of responsibility but they do not want to be punished for life.

In life we need closure to things that are done and over. Closure is an important emotional state for everyone in order to truly move on. Closure is denied to the ex-spouse by having to continue to pay aliony for life. My husband was married for 18 years and would even be happy with paying alimony for 18 years but not for life.

Please...somebody put an end to this INSANITY!!!