Monday, February 13, 2006

C is for Cohabitation

There has been some good news in the world of New Jersey men's rights of late:

Cohabitation is no longer being ignored. Perhaps this is because some anti-male judges have been rotated out of service, or perhaps the voices of men are being heard, but at any rate, this past fall/winter, several decisions showed up where suddenly it mattered that the ex-wife was living with and enjoying the support of new men. The NJ Association of Public Mediators reports on several cases where cohabitation was taken more seriously in their Fall newsletter. Of course I would argue (and have argued) that the whole idea of alimony is wrong, and that cohabitation would be immaterial in a non-slave state, but let us call an improvement an improvement. :)

In particular, I am thinking of Lande vs Lande where the appeals court terminated alimony in a case where the ex-wife was living with her lover "as man and wife with all but the marriage certificate." Of course the ex-wife still gets the chance to prove that she is still financially dependent on her ex-husband. Still, I can't help but wonder two things:
1) When the court will finally understand that having sex with some man doesn't entitle you to their income for the rest of your life, or at least until you have sex with some other man... ...and
2) if the ex-husband was still being forced to pay his ex-wife's legal bills.

I am also happy to see that the appelate court upheld a man's right to discovery in support of termination of alimony in a case where his ex is cohabiting with two men, and recieving financial support from both men. (Schwefringhaus v. Schwefringhaus)

But most amazing is the decision (again, on appeal) in Duchemin v. Duchemin where, when it was discovered that the wife was in fact cohabiting at the time of their divorce agreement, she was ordered to REPAY the alimony that her husband had paid her - but as punishment, he gets to keep his tax credits. (Hm, IRS might not agree on that one - can't tax someone for income they didn't recieve, but the court's heart was in the right place.)

- When have we EVER BEFORE seen a wife ordered to repay? I am sure I haven't seen it. Amazing. Did the husband still have to pay the court fees? Inquiring minds want to know. Of course, again, if marriage/sex wasn't seen as an excuse to rob men, this case would never have happened.

Of course all of these cases went to appeal. This likely means that the lower court decided differently, and that therefore justice was actually only to be had by those who are (or were, before lawyers) well-heeled.

And in case you think it's all gravy for men today, consider Seuss, Jr v. Gonzalez, where the husband has been out of work for three years, but the appealate judge in question keeps the man on the hook for child support because his unemployment is 'temporary in nature'. What was the man thinking?!? This is SLAVERY!, they don't mean that stuff about adjusting support due to a change in circumstances.... ....Not if you are a man. The court basically implies that the man is intentionally out of work for 3 years. Um, and, that's a crime? Oh, yeah, if you are enslaved, it is. If you don't enslave the guy in the first case, his employment status is no-one's business but his own, and his stomach's.

But instead our courts insist on enslaving men, and holding them liable for bills for child support that they cannot afford and do not want, irregardless of income or situation.

So, see, I managed to end on a dark note after all!

Best to all,