Posts Tagged ‘domestic abuse’

Inequality enforced by the family courts

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

My ex-husband apparently lost his job recently. (He continues to refuse to comply with court orders to provide documentation, but our child has started receiving the “dependent child” allotment from the unemployment office in our state.) Partly as a result of this recent job loss, the ex was allowed to drop child support (other than the state-enforced allotment) and has been ordered to pay only thirty-five percent of our son’s uncovered costs (medical, school, etc). I have to pay the other sixty-five percent.

The justification for this unequal apportionment was that I’d be making more (possibly) with my salary than he’d be making with his severance package and the unemployment payments. I wasn’t allowed to point out to the court that I’ve been ordered to pay the ex more than half of my after-tax salary (tax-free to him) in alimony. Even if he were entirely unemployed (that is, even if he didn’t have the part-time job(s)), he’d still be “making” more than me.

All along, the ex had the money and the power in the relationship. Throughout the three and a half years of our divorce, his attorney was allowed to shout, even scream, his lies at the judge, while my attorney was repeatedly interrupted and shouted down. In three and a half years, I was barely, if ever, “heard” by the court.

It is unfortunate that this situation is so common. I’ve actually done much better than have many other women in my position. But the family-court system has again displayed its well-documented tendency to enforce power-unequal relationships and to continue previous abuse on behalf of the abusers. How sad, that people like my son go to the courts for protection, only to be treated so shabbily.