Caution: Rant ahead. Proceed with care.
There is so much about the legal process of divorce that is just not fair. I’m feeling that very acutely right now, as I received an email from someone in my life who is now in the same no-win property situation I found myself in. In both cases, the spouse was dishonest and actively hiding information. In both cases, the judge awarded the marital home to the partner with the agreement that they would assume the full note and make payments. In both cases, that failed to happen. This puts us in the position of owing money on a home we do not own and cannot sell. Speaking for my case, I truly felt as though I had no option other than foreclosure. My ex had disappeared again, I could not afford to pay lawyers any more, and the courts could only change the ownership of the house, not the names on the loan.
I am disgusted by the fact that actions that would be deemed illegal against a stranger are allowed against a spouse. It is not unlike the way it was (and still is in some cultures) where a husband could forcefully take his wife without it being termed rape because of the legal contract between them. Why is it that a marriage contract makes despicable behavior tolerable in the eyes of the law? Why is it that just because I called him,” husband,” he could embezzle my money, steal my files, and abandon joint responsibilities without more than a slight slap on the wrist? If someone came into my home and did the same, they would be sitting in a jail cell, learning how to do pull-ups on a bunk bed.
I propose we need a new law: marital treason, the act of betraying one’s marriage (there used to be a similar law called petty treason). This would include adultery, deception (financial and otherwise), and acting in a way that is in opposition to a marriage. Once convicted, the treasonous spouse would be required to pay restitution (enforced by payroll deduction) and forced to serve community service in a cause chosen by the spouse. For those, like mine, who like to run, their passports would be confiscated until the requirements of their conviction had been met. It seems as though the only time the law takes divorce seriously is in the case of child support (don’t get me wrong here, I strongly support hunting down deadbeat parents). Also, please understand I’m not whining for alimony or excess; I just want what was stolen from me. The marital treason law would seek to identify and hold responsibility to those who chose to betray their marriage through deception. It’s only fair.
Okay, I feel a little better now. Just had to get that off my chest.
- Clean Up, Aisle 5 (lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com)