Are You A Government Virgin? (A Post About Orwellian Alimony Terms)
People tend to assume government is good — and fair — until they or someone they know has dealings with the government.
Then they realize the Orwellian absurdity that government often is. (And sorry to drag that word out again so soon after the last time, but that’s the time we’re living in — more and more Orwellian.)
Just one is example is a man in New Jersey, John Waldorf, who sits in jail while unable to pay court-ordered alimony that exceeds his entire income (as stated in the article by Bruce Eden, the civil rights director of an organization called DADS — Dads Against Discrimination).
Lillian Shupe writes in the Hunterdon County Democrat:
Waldorf, who divorced his wife of 11 years in 2011, was ordered to pay $2,000 a week in alimony to his ex. That amounts to $104,000 a year. In addition he was ordered to pay $3,300 in child support. The problem is that Waldorf has only been taking home about $90,000 a year on average, according to Eden. Eden said he has Waldorf’s tax returns dating back to 2000. The highest income reported by Waldorf during the marriage was $147,000 before taxes according to Eden. In most years Waldorf made $90,000 to $120,000 before taxes. His average take home pay has been about $90,000 a year.
The alimony payments are in addition to about $100,000 in legal fees incurred during the divorce process.
It now also appears Waldorf has lost his job because of his jailing. Meanwhile, Waldorf’s ex-wife, who is disabled, has been getting nothing, all while taxpayers are footing the bill to feed and house him as long as he remains in jail.
Eden also questioned Judge Hany Mawla’s motives for keeping Waldorf in jail. He said before Mawla became a judge (he) was involved in Woman Against Family Assault. Eden said his role with the group creates a prejudice that should prevent Mawla from being in family court.
…Eden said Waldorf is essentially being jailed for his debt, which he said is unconstitutional.
Eden got to know Waldorf through NJ Alimony Reform, a group that is lobbying to change the alimony rules in New Jersey.
The group hopes to eliminate permanent or lifetime alimony and restrict the wide discretion judges have in setting alimony payments. Massachusetts became the most recent state to update its alimony rules to bring them in line with modern circumstances. New Jersey’s laws were written when most women did not work outside the home and had no means of support in the event of a divorce, according to the group’s web site.
A comment from the site:
I am a young professional woman. I don’t pay alimony or receive alimony. In 2012, I can’t believe any former spouse actually believes it is their right to take funds from an ex spouse to sustain living. More importantly, I can’t believe there are draconian NJ laws that support that way of thinking. This is all about INDIVIDUAL CHOICES. Marriage is a choice. Having children is a choice. Being uneducated and dependent, is a choice. Acts leading to divorce are choices. No one is forced to do anything. The expectation of someone else being ordered to pay (alimony) for an individuals decisions, is ludicrous. This is big girl and big boy time. It’s time for divorcees collecting alimony, to take accountability for their own decisions. Just like a job, once the position is terminated so do the benefits. Once a marriage ends, so do the perks of the marriage.
Times have changed, as a matter of fact, a long time ago. It’s foolish to give up everything and depend on one person. Is alimony a generation gap thing, a greed thing, a state culture thing? I just can’t wrap my mind around it. For decades women and men have been raised to get an education and be self-reliant, therefore, it must be a greed thing. A gold digger thing. I don’t have any friends that think that it’s a man’s job to take care of them. This way of thinking is so foreign to me and therefore, shocking. The last time I checked, this is the United States; the birthplace of Women’s Lib. I didn’t even know that alimony still existed, until I met the man in NJ who later became my husband. NJ, with all do respect, get with the times.
Another comment from the site — and remember that there’s a difference between alimony and money to support your children (child support):
Personally, I think TX is the state that all states should use as their alimony model. When you’re only paying for 3-5 years, you can get through it. When it’s for life? Really, what’s the point of getting up in the morning when you’re paying your ex more than you’re taking home?
And an exchange:
Without reading hundreds of posts, has anyone asked why if a woman is married and her husband’s income drops, she has to live within the constraints of that income while if she is divorced she gets to keep living a higher lifestyle than her husband? Is that one of the reasons when a major plant shuts down the local divorce rate jumps? I still want MY money says the princess?
I’ve asked the question over and over. Although I prefer alimony recipient than “woman” as I’m a woman paying alimony. It’s almost as if the alimony recipient becomes a protected class insulated from the reality of life in today’s economy.
I also object to judges trying to figure out if it is temporary or permanent. What difference does it make? No one pays the wage earner the difference between their former salary and unemployment or temp/perm disability until they get back to work so why is temporary vs permanent an issue? The state knows what the alimony payer is receiving from them don’t they?! If there’s less money, there’s less money. Common sense and the use of technology (for good) is just too much to ask for apparently.