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Alimony, not a rose-colored paradise at all

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Nature_Girl posted 9/1/2013 17:17 PM

This article tells it like it is:

There are so many things wrong with how alimony is calculated these days. Furthermore, I've learned that it's possible to appeal final divorce decrees, so if the payor doesn't like the amount of alimony they're ordered to pay, they can drag their spouse back to court and appeal to have that amount lowered.

BEWARE, all of you SAHM who are just beginning the divorce process. Beware!

inconnu posted 9/1/2013 17:53 PM

Unfortunately, life can change drastically during/after a divorce, and alimony is not guaranteed. From what I've seen here, it's rare for people to get it long-term, and that really depends on what state you live in.

The most disturbing part of that article, if true (since it seems the author is trying to sell his book, so he might be a bit biased there), is that with any reform they are trying to take away the judge's right to rule on individual cases, and instead have a blanket ruling. Of course, again that could just be in the states the contributor to Forbes mentions in his article. Different states could have different laws.

Frankly, as someone who was a SAHM for 20 years, and did get temporary alimony, I don't think there should be long-term or permanent alimony, unless there are special circumstances. I also know there are others on SI who think otherwise. But for me, I didn't want to be financially or legally tied to ex any longer than necessary. It was necessary to get some sort of spousal support at first, and honestly I could have used it a year longer than I got it. But I'm a big girl, and I can, and did, go out to find a job, and manage my own life.

As for the ability to appeal the ruling after a divorce, talk to some of the BHs here at SI before you judge. Some of these men got screwed royally in court, because some judge decided that the wayward wife who destroyed the marriage was somehow also entitled to years more of support. An appeal is the only way these men have a chance at not taking such a large financial hit. It's not always about the man trying to duck out on his responsibility, ya know.

Nature_Girl posted 9/1/2013 17:59 PM

No, Inconnu, it's not. For them. For me? It is. I don't want to be tied to STBX for the rest of my life, either. A decent alimony schedule would have allowed me to finish out a degree and be self-sufficient. STBX does not want that. I am virtually unemployable, a statement I make after having unsuccessfully looked for work for almost a year. This is my reward for standing by his side loyally for two decades, giving up my career, supporting him financially when he couldn't hold down a job, never questioning him, defending him when even his own family would wonder WTH was wrong. But STBX - who was the cheater & abuser - won't even entertain the notion of me being able to take care of myself financially.

I rue the day I ever gave up my business. I never thought I'd be in this position today, one which it appears several other SI spouses are also in. I'm not asking for forever alimony. All I wanted was the chance to legitimately get back on my feet.

soveryweary posted 9/1/2013 18:29 PM

Nature girl, were you denied alimony/spousal support?

Nature_Girl posted 9/1/2013 18:44 PM

Not denied, just not decreed enough to work AND finish out a degree without killing myself in the process. Further, my attorney believes, based on experience & conversations with opposing counsel, that STBX will appeal the SS ruling once finalized in order to eliminate it. I'm really feeling low today, so discouraged.

nowiknow23 posted 9/1/2013 18:52 PM


inconnu posted 9/1/2013 19:01 PM

I'm sorry, sweetie. I didn't mean to drag you down any further. It took me a lot longer to find that first job than I thought it would, too. And I had to get creative to get it. I knew I presented better in person than on paper, so I started going to a weekly job ministry meeting. One of the great things about this one is that they let employers seeking employees come in and make presentations at the end of the meetings. I was lucky enough to not only hear about a job I was interested in, and could do, but talk to the office manager on the spot. I really think that's how I got the interview, and got that job.

From there I moved on to the next job. I have to view these jobs as stepping stones. I knew I wasn't going to get a dream job from the start, kwim? But I can work my way up towards a much better job, and future.

I know it's discouraging to even think about, but if I can do it starting at age 47, after being a SAHM for 20 years, than I believe most people can do it too.

lieshurt posted 9/1/2013 19:47 PM

I don't think there should be long-term or permanent alimony

I feel the same way. I think people need to remember that it's not just women who can pursue alimony. Had I not divorced when I did, my exwh could have pursued it in our divorce. He was perfectly capable of working, but managed to be unemployed most of the time. There was no way in hell I was going to be stuck paying him monthly support.

newlysingle posted 9/1/2013 23:48 PM

This is interesting. In my case, STBX stepped up and offered quite a bit in alimony. I'm taking more than half his income for the next 5 years. The reason is because he was dead set on two things. One, that my dd attend this private school he wanted her to go to and the second was for us to stay in the marital home.

The problem with the private school is that it is 8:30-2:30 every day with no before/after school care and no transportation. So it is up to me to do those things. I also still have an infant at home. I am planning to get a second degree during this time though. The career that I had pre-children doesn't work for me now as it required a high level of travel. I am now pursuing a two year degree in the medical field.

Anyway, I agree with everyone else that it is important to be self-sufficient and I also don't want to be tied to STBX longer than these 5 years. However, I'm grateful that he wants me to be in a good place to support the kids when it's done.

I was fortunate that he agreed to this without a fight at all. He is terrible with money and knows it. He even admitted to me that he was glad to know that at least his income would be put to good use. Sad, but true.

SBB posted 9/2/2013 05:41 AM

Alimony/spousal support doesn't exist in Australia. The sad clown earns almost $300k (more than double my salary) and only has to pay c$8k child support - if I had them 100% (currently its 50/50) that would go up to c$15k because the calculator is capped at $120k. I suspect the thinking is what high earner would leave their other parent of their children destitute? The sad clown, that's who.

Unfortunately for me the timing of it means we had virtually no assets and all of the investment was in his career. In the salary he now enjoys and it will ensure he enjoys a comfortable retirement.

It is ridiculous. It is hugely unfair. There should be a function where we get some reward for our investment in their financial future but it would be very difficult to rule on and would need to be done case-by-case.

Logically I get it. Morally and in practice it is so fucking unfair I could scream. Especially for SAHM. There should be a mechanism in place for those situations where the assets don't allow for an evening out of the intangible marital assets. That would be a nightmare to administer.

But we can't just lay down and die. We always have options no matter how unpalatable. I don't want to have a second jobs cleaning toilets in my 50s but it is something I will need to consider if I want to be able to afford the good cat food for me to eat in retirement.

It sucks. I don't like any of the options and I'm still mad about it. Doesn't change it though.


cmego posted 9/2/2013 07:31 AM

I was caught under the earnings "cap" too. I did receive several years of full spousal which is allowing me to go back to school. For that, I am very thankful. Very.

But, I also followed my ex around the country for his career, we both decided that I should stay home and raise the children once they arrived, I worked up until that point, plus put inheritance toward purchasing our houses..and my ex turned out to be gay. So, the entire 15 year marriage while I was giving up earning potential, he also knew the marriage should have never happened. It was all fraud.

I try not to think about the unfairness and just push through school so I can hopefully earn a decent amount of money in my future. No matter what, I will never earn close to what he earns, I lost huge amounts of my inheritance, plus I lost of the years of earning potential. By the time I start work, I will have been out of the workforce for 13 years.

I understand the complication of all the different circumstances surrounding spousal support. I wonder if this is the future, though? I know I will talk to both of my children about having pre and post nuptial agreements when they marry.

NO spousal support in Australia? Wow.

ruinedandbroken posted 9/2/2013 07:52 AM

I do think there should be lifetime alimony in certain situations. I don't think a wayward should ever get alimony. Ever.

invictus posted 9/2/2013 09:36 AM

Alimony is "calculated"? Geeze. Wish I had known that!!!

My Ex tried to "be relieved" of the alimony payment and my claim for his life insurance benefits but the court denied the motion.

Do your best to make certain the wording that awards your benefits in the finalized decree is explicit and if possible, set out for the length of time you require it.

I was married (stay at home mom) for 31 years and the divorce decree states that I will receive alimony until I die or am remarried. The amount is about the same as the payment on one of the four cars we had at the time of the divorce. (I didn't want any of the cars. I knew I couldn't afford a car payment.)

The title of the book Jeff Landers wrote pretty much says it all...

Divorce: Think Financially, Not Emotionally What Women Need To Know About Securing Their Financial Future Before, During, And After Divorce.

Securing your financial future AFTER divorce can be a nightmare. Wish I'd read that book!

That said, the website ( and quite possibly the book are tools specifically created for affluent women. What are the rest of us poor suckers stuck with?

[This message edited by invictus at 10:08 AM, September 2nd (Monday)]

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