ALIMONY, CHILD SUPPORT AND WELL BEING OF THE CHILDREN

By Daniel H Moss, Attorney

In divorce cases, most marriages fall into one of several categories:

Children or no children,
Short term (1 to 6 to 7 years),
-Medium term (8 to 18 years)
-Long term (20 years or more).

Without children, alimony is rarely granted in short term marriages. In medium length marriages it may be granted if necessary for vocational rehabilitation. Alimony is usually granted in long-term marriages.

Some of the more important factors in awarding alimony include: the length of the marriage, the ability of the wife to support herself, the needs and station in life, whether there are children to support, the ability of the husband to pay, etc.

The usual justification for alimony involves the mother being the primary caretaker of the children and the home, thereby foregoing a career and marketable skills. The burden of reeducation should not be the responsibility of the state, but shared by the husband who benefited from the wife’s caretaker chores.

The children should also be able to secure a comparable standard of living to which they have become accustomed, rather than being envious, deprived members of society.

The children are the most important part of the divorce equation. The state’s interest in family matters centers upon enforcement of child/spousal support matters. If the primary support provider is lost, and the mother is not reeducated to take up some of the deficit, the family will become socially handicapped and welfare dependent.

The single most difficult and important thing divorcing parents can do for their children is to get along, both economically and as parents. The statistics are clear that children of acrimonious divorces are more likely to end up as alcoholics, drug addicts and/or criminals.

Fathers should understand that their financial sacrifices for their children don’t end with divorce. Mothers should recognize that divorced fathers need to spend as much time as possible with their children, both for the sake of the children and to make their emotional and financial burdens more bearable.

Attorneys, judges and friend of the court personal should continue working on ways to educate the public to these precepts. Counseling, even at public expense, should be ordered in severe cases.