Sunday, November 02, 2008
Photo of John Cleese
I’m going out on a bit of a limb here, I think, with this opinion of mine. I’ve brought up my thinking in private venues but have not aired it publicly, so to speak but here goes.
At the outset, I’m very much pro child-support. Parents who have divorced/parted ways, are legally, ethically and morally bound to support the children of their union and in the manner in which these children would have been raised if their parents had stayed together. This rarely happens. One parent will default or appeal to the courts for alleviation of financial support and the child or children suffer. Studies have proven that after a divorce, children’s quality of life deteriorates, particularly if in the custody of the mother, while the non-custodial parent has a corresponding lifestyle improvement. This is completely unfair to the innocent victims, the children.
That aside, I have enormous trouble with the outrageous alimony paid to the ex-spouses of former marriages/common-law arrangements. Even for a short duration of said union.
I have no dispute with the fair and equitable sharing of joint accumulated wealth accrued within the duration of the marriage. And the equal sharing of communal property attained through both efforts, is fair when the partnership is over.
But when it comes to the break-up of a short, childless, second or third marriage, there are often demands for a huge share of the partner’s wealth, completely out of proportion to any amount that the suing partner brought into the union.
One case in point is that of John Cleese, writer, actor and director of Monty Python fame. And there are many more I can think of, Guy Ritchie and Madonna, Anna Nicole Smith, etc.
He is selling off properties to pay for his recent divorce and subsequent obscene payouts to his ex-wife. His third wife. Properties bought prior to this marriage and with his money.
Don’t these huge settlements make marriage some form of indentured prostitution? As in: I’ll share your bed, but dammit if you leave me or I leave you, you’re gonna pay and pay through the nose for each historical leg-over? This is equality?
Is it the men who are so foolish and besotted as to believe a younger penniless woman is enthralled enough with their looks/physiques/personalities and not their wallets so as not to request a super-tight pre-nuptial agreement?
Is it the women who see their tickets out of poverty in the pockets of the wealthy old boy rather than in their own abilities?
Is it in the overall inequality of our society where women are still deemed to be dependent on men?
Either/or, there is very little room for love, compassion, respect or kindness in such volatile arrangements. And to me, it is a giant step backwards for women.