Alimony Reform – Alliance for Freedom from Alimony
The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads in part “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States.”
“When you are ordered to pay alimony, you are held in bondage by the state; they actually have a claim on your body and it’s involuntary servitude which violates the 13th Amendment,” said Dick Lindsey, chairman of AFA. “When you pay alimony, you receive nothing in return, while your ex-spouse is not required to do anything other than cash the check.”
The AFA is looking for guidelines within state statutes that specify the requirements when deciding one party’s need for alimony and outlines the length of time and the amount of payments.
In many states, such as Florida, alimony is left open-ended and the decision is left up to the judge; there are no specific guidelines.
Even though state and federal constitutions have equal protection clauses that say we are all equal in the eyes of the law, men pay alimony in 99% of the cases, according to AFA.
“So (family law courts) are violating our constitutional rights,” Lindsey said.
Supporters of alimony believe it helps the other party sustain the lifestyle they were accustomed to during the marriage. Lindsey said alimony is in fact designed to sustain the lifestyle for one ex-spouse (the wife in 99% of alimony cases) but it comes at the detriment of the paying spouse and destroys his lifestyle.
Lindsey cited case history examples from Florida where the ex-wife has an alcohol or drug addiction, claims she can’t get a job and needs support and the man is forced by the family courts to make payments each month that help her “sustain her lifestyle.”
“There is no place in today’s world for that type of destructive system,” he said. “Alimony destroys the family ties. It bleeds off the family assets. It’s a very strong, mental anguish type of punishment that is used to punish you even though there may be no wrongdoing on your part.”
Lindsey used Texas alimony laws as an example of how all states should treat alimony. In the absence of a disability, alimony is limited to a maximum of 3 years in Texas.
A court may not enter an alimony order that requires a monthly payment more than $2,500, or 20% of the paying spouse’s average monthly gross income. There are also requirements that the recipient makes good faith efforts to be self-supporting.
Unfortunately, Texas is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to fair treatment of alimony awards.
“In most divorce courts alimony is wide open and left totally to the discretion of the system, which is unfairly biased against men and fathers,” Lindsey said.
That’s what the Alliance for Freedom from Alimony is looking to change.
The divorce lawyers for men at Cordell and Cordell handle many domestic litigation issues, including alimony. Contact the Cordell & Cordell office nearest you or learn more information about alimony on DadsDivorce.com.