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The current statute for review -http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2013a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/DF14C3B93C0EBF9387257A8E0073C4E0?open&file=1058_enr.pdf
The story behind the statute: http://www.denverpost.com/2013/10/18/new-law-changes-alimony-landscape-for-divorcing-colorado-couples/
In the past, most alimony awards provided for payments to former wives by breadwinning former husbands. As the culture has changed, so that now most marriages include two wage earners, women are viewed as less dependent, and yet the courts have failed to update outdated laws and merely rule based on "suggested formulas" and "statutes" that actually do more harm then good, for both parties and the family as a whole.
If you are seeking a divorce in Colorado or another "statute" state and you are going for "spousal maintenance" the court webpage provides you and your legal council with calculators to help prove your need in numbers prior to trial. With our courts taking 9 - 18 months to even go to trial or before a judge you will have plenty of time to secure your "calculated financial revenge".
Both men and women fall victim to these court rulings. (Although more often then not it's men who receive the order to pay) This suggested statute leaves no recourse when the ex-spouse decides to move forward in cohabitation, or conceals income from the courts. Even with proof the courts in Colorado turn a blind eye and default to the "original order".
- Cohabitation is a living arrangement in which an unmarried couple lives together in a long-term relationship that resembles a marriage. Couples cohabit, rather than marry, for a variety of reasons. Top reason to keep their ex-spouse making payments. -
Great Article that aligns with others having the same opinion, and what they did to create change and equal rights- http://fairdivorce.co.za/spousal-maintenance-does-more-harm-than-good/
Here are the stats-
Re-marriage after divorce has declined more then 40% across all states and the rate is even higher in Colorado since this statue has been introduced. Reason for the decline is because this is only one of two ways that the payer can stop "payments". This proves that is not just a personal problem, this is becoming an epidemic that many people and families face.
The increase in self inflected death, more commonly known as suicide has increased more then 25% among male payers that have high dollar payments and long term payment obligation. Leaving the "receiver" without any support and many children fatherless. This has to be stopped.
The children of divorce already suffer the most as they are the innocent parties, often caught in the middle of it all. Studies show where there are long term payments (beyond 3 years) ordered, the division amongst one parent and the child actually occurs. Children are often caught in the middle of a "never ending" divorce/financial war. Generally, it is the payer who also suffers this loss. The receiver is known to play the victim and the payer is painted as the bully. The resentment caused for the long term financial punishment awarded by the courts aids in painting this picture of the payer. Children tend to err to the side of the protecting the "victim" parent that paints themselves always in need, ultimately cutting ties with the payer "bully" parent. This is not putting "families" first.
About Me - Myself, the author of this petition am a woman. I have suffered through divorce, like many others in this country. I was a single mom of two for almost four years. During that time, I never asked for "spousal maintenance" and rarely received ordered child support from my ex-husband to support our kids. I personally struggled through every level of heartache one can imagine. I could not afford and attorney and had to do all my filings, pleading etc on my own. Walking through those first few years I thought somedays I would literally die from a broken heart or stress. Looking back, I would not have changed a thing. It made me stronger, a better mother, and a better wife now to my current husband.
I want to make one thing very clear on my position. I am not arguing or minimizing that support when needed should be ordered. There are many situations that this does apply and is fair. Families that choose for one spouse or the other to stay home recognize that it is a job often more challenging than going to work outside the home daily, and that the need to provide updated training or work skills should be awarded. Or the spouse that is disabled. I am speaking to a much larger problem in my home state of Colorado and across our country.
Our Personal Story- My husband was ordered and pays his ex-wife 40% of his income for 12 years, (some get this order for life). In addition, he is also paying 33% of military retirement to for life. During marriage ex-wife worked full time and was the primary bread winner. Ex-husband was active duty Army. Both always worked full time, and had only one minor child together. This spouse while active duty having served 20 years, did less then 2 years deployed. They were married 13 years of his military career, and only one year during the marriage was he deployed.
Ex-wife had an affair, which lead to the separation/ then ultimately divorce. In 2011, the couple separated. Neither party filed for legal separation. The reason for divorce is not accounted for in Colorado, because it is a no-fault state.
During the 4-year separation ex-husband left ex-wife all assets (cars, 401K, furniture, house) ex-husband voluntarily paid bills for the ex-wife and minor child without a court order. Little did he know he was committing financial suicide.
He also worked diligently to paid off all joint marital debts totaling close to $80,000.00. While making his own major lifestyle sacrifices, living in a friend’s basement driving a 21-year-old car. During this time, his ex-wife manipulated the child and played the victim, refused to work to her full potential.
Ex-husband filed for divorce in the mid-year of 2014. This was the year that the court adopted the new "statue/guidelines" for all spousal maintenance as a formula. So, the above facts, including the reason for divorce were all ignored during the hearing and "suggested statute formula" is now in place.
The court systems made it very easy for her to calculate her new. "spousal maintenance" income prior to the hearing. At the time of hearing the ex-wife made sure to be unemployed "but looking” claiming to be in a destitute financial situation, stating she should be able to work and be on her feet within the year”. During the trial and months prior her boyfriend at the time and "now fiancé" was contributing more than $5,000.00 per month into her bank account. That money along with her ex-husbands total debt payoff, his asset relinquishment, and payments made for 4 years of separation were NOT accounted as income but as “gifts” to the ex-wife. As of today, (almost 3 years later) she does co-habituate in TX. To friends, family and her ex-husband claiming to be "engaged" To the court "single and in need". She stated to the ex-husband that she would continue to do so until the money runs out, at which time then she will remarry. Unfortunately, this is the case for many families in Colorado and across the USA.
Fast forward today Oct 16th, 2017. Ex-husband filed modification for spousal maintenance based on the, lack of need for support and co habitation in Feb 2017. The ex-wife waited more than 6.5 months to comply with supplying documents required by the court, (she has an attorney, and docs were to be completed within 30days) thus allowing her time to paint the picture of "single/ in need" again. Although, nothing she submitted is worth any value of actual bills, etc. The court has failed in holding its own deadline dates / discovery documentation seriously for accurate and fair trials.
In August of 2017, 7 months after filed for modification, (has yet to see a judge or have a trial) he is now been diagnosed with stage 4 throat cancer, and is undergoing treatment. The ex-wife has been relentless through this process filing after filing. The most recent filing she stated, " from what she has been told, his cancer is not that serious". He is undergoing chemo weekly and radiation daily. Has lost over 30 lbs and has not been able to eat even soft foods in over 35days. She is also filing to "rebuttal" any and all documentation of his caner, the severity. Trying to minimize the long term impact this will have on is health and ability to earn "her money".
Per the current statute and court order, the ex-husband has no relief to this continued abuse from what spousal support is causing. Even if he fully recovers he has to suffer 10 more years working a high stress job, he does not have the same rights and privileges as the ex-wife. Unable to move on with his life, he is bound by earning potential, not quality of life.
This is so far from that which maintenance was designed to do. Help the spouse in need, allowing them time to get on their feet. He has now paying ex-spouse (already 8 years, 10 more to go), has been stripped of the rights to focus on his own health, right to privacy without fighting the ex-spouse for relief from monies he is not currently earning, and is unable to pay. While racking up major medical bills now suffers hefty attorney fees along this already difficult journey. Adding more financial stress and harm to the payer.
The ex-wife has had more than enough time and money to get back on her feet, she is also in good health. In fact, she travels regularly, despite being so destitute. Their child is now grown, no longer a minor and ex-wife has been engaged and living with her significant other for last 2 years. The ex-wife has made no effort to support herself or earn more money, because when she does the "payments stop". Thus holding the payer financially hostage. UNEMPLOYMENT DOES NOT ALLOW THIS TO TAKE PLACE. TO RECEIVE PAYMENT BENEFITS YOU MUST BE ACTIVELY SEARCHING FOR A JOB, DOCUMENT PROOF AND BENEFITS ARE TIME RESTRICTIVE.
I am petitioning the court change the, "suggested statute “surrounding spousal maintenance to align with the intent for which is was designed. To help families dissolve the marriage and give both parties a chance to recover, and to rise to each parties’ full potential for being self-supporting. To be held harmless of the marriage obligations to a party they are no longer married too.
The current laws "statutes" are limiting and harmful at best.
- There should be a short-term limit on which a one ex-spouse is obligated to pay the other ex-spouse. Three-year max payable term, is enough time for any persons to receive skills and training necessary to support one’s self. This should be based on case by case, not a "one size fits all statute" Taking into consideration documented facts, joint debt, physical health, child support, ability to work, division of marital assets, skills needed to obtain more or current training to aid in full earning potential. One former spouse should not be a financial slave to the other. Three year term stops the abuse.
- The "lifestyle of the marriage" should be removed and not considered, when ruling. It is divorce, each party should be held responsible and accountable to adjust as necessary to becoming a single person. Working towards self-sufficiency in meeting their own needs, holding the other party harmless for their needs. No one should be forced to support a former spouse for long term. Dissolution by definition is the act of officially ending a marriage, organization, or agreement. The process of making something end or disappear.
- The "until death or remarriage" clause be removed. The traditional institution of marriage has changed drastically over the last 5 years. We need to protect ALL parties through divorce and separation. If the parties in the case are deemed in need of support they should not lose support for cohabitation or remarriage. This will also aid in the ability of all parties to move forward freely in their own lives. This will solve the problem within the civil courts being "bogged down" by filings trying to prove cohabitation in order to terminate maintenance. Allowing the court spend its time being more effective in its use of time.
*** The receiver should not be punished for getting remarried because the ruling was based on true need, not a standard formula of "one size fits all". Likewise, the payer should not be punished for long term payments when the receiver is co-habituating, and the courts continue to fail to recognize this as the “new way around", termination of maintenance. This statue is simply outdated, bias and harmful to all parties.
With a max term of 3 years the court can rule in favor of what support was deigned to do, enable all parties to recover from divorce and become self-sufficient.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, share this and sign this... It takes all of us to make a change. It's time to stop the injustice, stop allowing people to take advantage of the system. Let's help create laws that support Equal rights for all!
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