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NCFM Advisor Gordon Finley, Ph.D. letter published, “Permanent alimony an anachronism; end it”

December 15, 2011
By
Jackpot! Married to the schmuck for only five years and he has to pay me over $3,000 a month alimony until one of us dies! And I didn't even have to have sex with him after our honeymoon. Schmuck...

Jackpot! Married to the schmuck for only five years and he has to pay me over $3,000 a month alimony until one of us dies! And I didn't even have to have sex with him after our honeymoon. Schmuck...

The two letters on Permanent alimony below appeared in The Palm Beach Post on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 and are followed by the article to which they responded. Gordon E. Finley, Ph.D., NCFM Advisor.

Permanent alimony an anachronism; end it

http://www.palmbeachpost.com/opinion/letters/letters-permanent-alimony-an-anachronism-end-it-2030323.html

Writing as a divorce researcher and alimony payer, I want to say that Florida finally appears to be coming out of the Dark Ages of family law and beginning to approach fairness for both the fathers and children of divorce (“Bill in Florida Legislature proposes to end permanent alimony.”)

Permanent alimony is the legal remnant of an ancient society with a high marriage rate, a low divorce rate, long-term marriages, a low non-marital childbearing rate and a family structure consisting of husband/breadwinner and wife/homemaker. Permanent alimony likewise is a remnant of times when men had higher education, higher employment and higher income compared with women. Today, we have a low marriage rate, a high divorce rate, a high cohabitation rate, a 41 percent non-marital childbearing rate and a host of family structures.

Given that today’s gender gaps favor women in education, employment and income, permanent alimony is an anachronism that meets no criterion of fairness.

Let us hope that Florida’s elected officials will recognize our changed social conditions and eliminate permanent alimony.

GORDON E. FINLEY, Ph.D.

Miami

Editor’s note: Gordon E. Finley is professor of psychology emeritus at Florida International University.

Reform system to eliminate punitive assault on men

Thank you for the article on the “nationwide movement,” now reaching Florida, to abolish permanent alimony. Must we be the last to abolish slavery? Florida needs a more just system when determining alimony, both the amount and duration.

As I stated before the House Judiciary Committee last week, it was abusive for a judge to order me to pay my ex-spouse 86 percent of my income to help maintain her in a certain lifestyle. Yes, we are all allowed to make adjustments according to our means. Except that I have no rights, for the standard rules do not apply. Am I being punished for my spouse of 20 years waking up one morning and calmly whispering in my ear, “I am not in love with you anymore”? Does a Florida judge have the power to order punitive damages in a dissolution of marriage?

As commentator Elizabeth Benedict wrote in The Boston Globe, and as I echoed at the hearing, that “what happens in family court in this state is a national disgrace.” Despite the distress that the Florida judicial system has put me through the past three years, I have faith that Florida will recognize the need for reform. I, too, have a dream.

BERNARD R. PEREZ, M.D., FACS

Tampa

Bill in Florida Legislature proposes to end permanent alimony

By Donna Gehrke-White

Sun Sentinel

Court battles over alimony are spilling over into the Florida Legislature .

Lawmakers are considerng a bill that would end permanent alimony in the state. It comes just months after a new law took effect limiting permanent alimony largely to breakups of longer marriages

“Florida’s alimony laws are old fashioned and antiquated,” wrote Hector Torres of Pembroke Pines, in a letter to legislators supporting the proposed law.

Not so fast, says Fort Lauderdale family lawyer Angela Neave: “A woman married for 35 years who stayed home and never had a career does not have a retirement [plan].”

Florida House Bill 549 is part of a nationwide movement away from the traditional payment that typically was given to divorced women in an earlier time, when most wives did not work outside the home. Massachusetts this fall adopted new limits on alimony, and New Jersey lawmakers are considering their own proposed changes.

Today, most divorces in the United States still involve some sort of alimony, but often it’s awarded for a set time to help a spouse retrain for work and become self-supporting, according to those who work in family law practices.

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2 Responses to NCFM Advisor Gordon Finley, Ph.D. letter published, “Permanent alimony an anachronism; end it”

  1. Mad Dog Mike38321 on March 31, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Marrige is male slavery in America, that is why I told my son to never get married.

  2. Ivan on December 18, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Marriege is Scum in America !!!

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