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Divorce is not always the simple choice

Updated on June 19, 2010

Think long and hard when making big decisions.

It's all over the news. High profile divorces. Media frenzy over the scandalous relationships and huge settlements that celebrities are keeping gossip mongers glued to television sets watching talk show after talk show to hear the "scoop". Adulterous affairs are running rampant in our society. Politicians wives standing next to him while he admits to "making bad choices" and "hurting his family." We can't seem to get away from it. Now New York has passed the no fault divorce rule. For years one had to give reason, make some guilty of some sort of crime against the marriage and prove it to dissolve the marital vows. No more in New York. However, it is really that simple?

In the "real" world, divorce can be an extremely painful event for not only the spouses involved, but for the children, extended family, neighbors and friends of the couple who are no longer the family they once were. Many times people must choose who they are going to stay in touch with. It is a rare occassion that divorced couples can come to terms with the situation and stay friends. I have met some who have, I applaud them, it is very hard. The truth of the matter is that feelings are often too bruised to overcome. Words are exchanged that simply cannot be taken back after the fact, even if apologies are issued.

A very despicable practice that has been reoccurent for many, many years is the practice of the "empty nest" divorce. The children are grown. The female set her life and her career aside to be mother. She is either out of the work force for many years figuring that she could pursue an interest now that her major job of raising a family was complete and enjoy some alone time with her spouse. It was an investment for their future. This is their GOLDEN time. But that is not to be. He quits his job, somehow the money invested disappears and he decides that he does not want to be married any longer. The wife, dazed, thinking, okay, mid life crisis, empty nest syndrome, tries to give him his space and figure out what they should do. She is out of the work force too long, she cannot support them or even herself for that matter in today's economy. Motherhood's pension is happy, well education, well balanced adult children, it is not financial. It is the most underpaid, underrated, yet difficult job in the world. You cannot eat or pay your mortgage on the benefits of being a good mother for 25 years. What to do now?

It doesn't get better. She will eventually sit back and watch him walking around with a new women, often 10 to 20 years her junior. This women seems to think she is entitled to help toss the old wife out since this poor man has had to bear the burden of her for all these years. She is going to help him "recover" and find himself again. So we have some mixed signals. Enter the courtroom. The male is now powered by the youth and beauty of his new life. The female spouse was a weighty anchor, she ruined his life. He owes her nothing. She sat around and lived off his generosity for all those years. After all, what did she do? Sit home and watch television with the babies? Fueled by his lady love and courage, he is ready to fight for HIS time. Sometimes he is correct, some wives are not deserving of a good settlement. Some men ARE the abused parties in the situation. There are always THREE sides to every story. His, hers and the truth. But more than often, it is the faithful wife who is left out in the cold.

Our society is still in the dark ages with its treatment of women. Women have to fight for the same salaries as men. Men still earn on an average far more than women for the same occupations. Women will work for 8-10 hours, then pick up the children, cook dinner, take them to soccer practice, do homework with them, do laundry, pack the lunches for tomorrow and clean the house all in one day. Most men come home and lay on the couch watching sports after working 8-10 hours. Come on, admit it, I did not say ALL guys, but most. Our society STILL blames the mother if a child is misbehaving. If a husband chooses to put on wrinkled clothes, people still mutter, doesn't his wife iron his shirts? Sorry folks, my husband is a very intelligent capable man, if he wants a pressed shirt, the iron and ironing board is in the same spot it has been in for year, he can help himself. Of course, I admit to ironing his shirts if he asks me to. I love him after all, if he asks me for help and I am able to do something, of course I will. But it is NOT my job to do his work for him. I work part time, not full time outside of the home. Therefore I DO assume most of the responsibilities for the children and household duties. However, he is NOT my child, I have 3 children, not four. Our society is backward. It is still assumed that I should take care of him as if he is my child.

So why is it alright for a man to hide his money and give his wife a terrible settlement for alimony? Raising his children, cooking his meals, doing his laundry, supporting his business decisions, caring for his physical needs, doing his shopping or any other requests he may have had over the years is not worth anything? I know of at least ten cases where the male spent a few years planning his divorce. He found his mistress, he switched careers, going to a lower paying position. He told the wife he made "investments" that went sour, when in fact, the money is somewhere under someone else's name, probably the girlfriend or some she knows. Then he decided he was ready and there was no paper trail, nothing for her to go to court for. She took the scraps and left to rely on the goodness of friends and family who would take her in. Things get ugly, feelings are hurt, people are bewildered. They know not what to do. It often becomes a question of morality. What kind of morals do we have that we will stand by and say nothing? But then if we say something, we are told it is none of our business and are accused of taking sides. There are no winners in some divorce cases.

It is far worse when there are young children involved and they become the "pawns". I personally have contact with 4 women who repeatedly go to court because of situations with the ex husband based on visitation issues and child support problems. Now if they are not receiving child support, that should be easy in court. It is NOT. You would be amazed at the nonsense there dead beats bring to court. AND they are granted so many extensions, its crazy. So how do the children eat and where do their school supplies come from while the extensions are in effect? I have a friend who has not received child support in years on a regular basis, cannot afford to give her children birthday parties, yet the ex husband gives the children parties every year and takes them on vacation. But the court gives him extensions on the support? How does that work? She is paying all of the bills, yet he still is granted the right to make decisions? I can't figure that one out either? It just seems that women are second class citizens here in the United States.

I find it amazing that I go to Special Education Meetings for my son, the meeting goes far better when my husband accompanies me. I have a Masters Degree In education and graduation credits in Special Education, yet the meeting holds MORE weight if my husband attends. This is a sad state of affairs. Women are the backbone of society. There is no circle of life without BOTH men and women. Women are intelligent and logical. There are great women in history. Many women fought hard for equal rights. That was many year ago. Why are there still no many imbalances?

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the men who do the right thing and take care of their families before they move on the live a new life. I would also be wrong to not take note of those men who are "raked over the coals" by their wives during a divorce settlement while she goes off and marries some wealthy guy leaving him alone, broken and without his children, sadly watching the new husband enjoy his babies. I am also sorry for them. Noone should be treated badly just because their spouse hired a shark of a lawyer and they chose not to.

My goal of this article is to ask the women who have been treated unfairly to stand up for themselves and other women. Tell your stories. The courts need to know that this is just not right. Why should a women be punished because she worked a job that did not offer monetary payment at the end? Motherhood is the most important job in the world. Women are criticized for putting their children in day care, yet punished if they stay home with them. Really? Is that fair? Women put up with men who should have been tossed out the door years ago for the sake of family harmony. So their children do not have to be sent from house to house, so they don't have to move back to their parents house with their kids. Women put up with adultery and other nonsense for financial reasons, because they KNOW they will NOT get a fair share simply because they cannot afford the lawyer fees it would take to get a fair share.

True, some divorces HAVE to happen. In cases of abuse, I pray that the spouse gets the help to get out of there. That does not happen enough either. She stays because she does not have the means to get herself and her children away. Everyone says go to a shelter, but that is sometimes even worse than what she is already dealing with. Options for women are poor and slim. It simply is wrong.

Even in the best of circumstances where both spouses are in agreement, divorce can be expensive and messy. It is not the simple solution people think it is. It takes a long time and costs alot of money. It also causes heartache. Maybe in the future the divorce rates many lessen with people waiting longer to get married because they might think longer and harder about the commitment they are making. They may truly understand that it is for better and for worse, in sickness and in health. It is not to be taken lightly. There are two people in a marriage and they both need to work for its survival. But in the event that it does not make it, the division should be fair and just, noone should be left desecrated. It is just not right.


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