Posted by: bridget | 27 March 2007

Only in Florida

A man recently sued to end his alimony payments to his ex-wife after she underwent a sex change operation and changed her (his?) name.  Florida law (as does that of many states) stipulates that alimony is paid for a set term of years, to expire earlier only upon death or remarriage.  The ex-husband argued that he agreed to pay alimony to his ex-wife, not to a man.

While this pachyderm really dislikes the idea of alimony, she finds it difficult to follow Mr. Roach’s argument.  The provisions for termination of alimony are few and enumerated; there is no way that this can even fall into a penumbra of alimony law.  The Constitution is silent on such matters (as they are quintessentially state, civil matters); Mr. Roach lacks recourse in that area.  She wonders why he does not argue for a reduction in alimony.  The sex change should be  per se evidence of serious psychological problems that Ms. Silverwolf brought into the marriage; therefore, she should be ineligible for alimony, having committed fraud on the marriage.

Thoughts?

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Responses

  1. What a bizarre case! I like your fraud angle the best, though I would not want to be the judge on this one.

  2. Not knowing anything about the law, I think the guy (who has kept his “equipment”) should give away all his money and start all over (perhaps in a monastery).

    By the way, I appreciated your thoughts on another blog that sex is only safe/healthy within the covenant of marriage. In my personal and professional experience, sex outside of marriage is just a recipe for personal destruction.

  3. Thanks, Neil. I agree – I would not want to be the judge.

    Hi, PistolPete. Thanks for stopping in. :)

    Are you referring to the guy who is normally a guy or the girl who is now a guy?

    What is your profession (if you don’t mind my asking)? Thank you, by the way – glad to know that not everyone thinks I’m crazy for being in my mid-20s and holding that opinion.

  4. What about the idea that if a person can afford an elective surgery which must certainly have cost over $10,000 there is no “need” for alimony. Alimony is by concept designed to give the one party with lesser means, a grace period to adjust to the new lives. Equitable distribution should take care of the relative dividing of the estate.

  5. Great comment, Voice! I was wondering that myself.

    The only “justification” would be if, for example, the ex-“wife” was making $100,000/year, while the ex-husband were making, say, $3 million/year. In alimony, judges consider the relative disparity in means, not an absolute floor of wealth.

  6. Alimony has been discontinued in many of the states for that reason, as the equitable distribution of property takes the combined inputs into consideration during the course of the marriage. Typically a spousal mantainance is allowed for three to five years.

  7. Sometimes, equitable distribution of property does not equalise the relative inputs into marriage. Imagine a woman who graduates from law school while her husband is still there. She makes a decent salary but all of it goes to his tuition and their living expenses. He graduates; she has a kid and stays home. All money goes towards paying off tuition debt.

    They divorce shortly afterwards. They have no assets, but she has contributed a lot to the family for which she should be compensated – his tuition, time off for the kid, etc. If they only divide up the assets (which are minimal), she is left with not very much and he is enriched. So you need alimony as a way to stretch out the payments owed from one spouse to the other.

    To me, I guess, I can see a few limited purposes to alimony, mostly when one partner puts a lot of money into the marriage that translates into something that is not an asset – such as paying down a debt, paying for college, or spending time with a kid. Other than that, though, it’s beyond ridiculous.


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