Tag: unreasonable

Why is child support and alimony rooted in revenge, power, and humiliation?

Why is child support and alimony rooted in revenge, power, and humiliation?

The full question was actually: “Why is child support and alimony rooted in revenge, power, control, and humiliation over the father instead of support for the child?”

This is a good question, but not because your question is based upon accurate information; your presumption that child support and alimony are rooted in revenge, power, control, and humiliation is not universally true in all cases.

There are certainly divorce and child custody cases that arise where a spouse’s request for alimony or a spouse’s or parent’s request for child support are unreasonably, even outrageously high and often based upon false claims of need and ability to pay.

But to suggest that the purposes of alimony are nothing other than revenge, control, and humiliation is simply not true. There are some situations where an ex-spouse (and men can receive alimony, not just women, even though the majority of alimony recipients are women) clearly needs and deserves some financial support from the ex-spouse. The purpose of alimony is to ensure that the ex-spouse awarded alimony in such a situation does not become a public charge, a welfare recipient.

Child support is an interesting subject because there is no one right way to set and implement child support policy. In some jurisdictions, child support is a fixed amount regardless of the number of overnights the children spend with each parent. In other jurisdictions, child support is based upon the child support payor’s income. Other jurisdictions calculate child support based upon the number of overnights the children spend with each parent and/or upon the income of both parents. Still other jurisdictions will consider a host of other factors. Regardless of what factors determine child support, the purpose of child support is essentially the same: to ensure the child’s needs and lifestyle are maintained as much as reasonably possible. Again, the purpose of child support, as is the case with alimony, is to provide support, not to punish or unduly burden or humiliate the payor.

That doesn’t mean that spouses, parents, and courts can’t run amok, with the results being crushingly unfair alimony and child support awards, even awards that are punitive in nature. It can and does happen on occasion, but it is, fortunately, the exception.

What arises more often than you might imagine, however, are alimony and/or child support awards that are based upon a belief that the payor’s ability to pay is far, far greater than it actually is. These poor (literally) payor’s find themselves burdened with a spousal support and/or child support obligation that leaves them with literally just a few hundred dollars per month to live on, after they have met their alimony and/or child support obligations. Such circumstances are grossly unfair but do arise sometimes. The best way to ensure that this does not happen to you is to provide the court with sufficient proof of your real income and/or your true income earning potential, so that it’s not left to the court’s imagination to determine. For some people proving one’s true income or ability to earn is easier said than done, but it is well worth the effort if it means that the court does not stick you with an alimony and/or child support obligation you cannot bear.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Do I have to respond to discovery questions in a divorce?

Do I have to respond to discovery questions in a divorce?

Yes, unless you can persuade the court that some or all of the discovery requests:

  • violate the rules governing discovery, such as exceeding the number of discovery requests allowed;
  • are unreasonable and/or disproportional (given the needs of the case);
  • are not legitimate but instead serve the purpose of causing you annoyance, embarrassment, oppression, or undue burden or expense; and/or
  • are not reasonably likely to lead to discoverable evidence can be sought through discovery.

If the court agrees with these kinds of arguments, then the court can order that you are under no obligation to respond to the improper discovery requests.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Should I be nice to my spouse during a divorce?

That depends on what you mean by “nice”.

Do you mean “with kindness”? Not necessarily kindness, but certainly decency. You are morally obligated to treat your spouse with decency, but you don’t have to go out of your way to make the spouse you are divorcing happy. You don’t have to capitulate to your spouse’s unfair or unreasonable demands.

Do you mean “with honesty and fairness”? If so, then yes: you are morally obligated to be honest and fair with everyone, but again aren’t obligated to capitulate to your spouse’s unfair or unreasonable demands, nor are you in any way obligated to tolerate being treated unfairly by your spouse.

Do you mean “forgiving”? If so, then yes: you are morally obligated to forgive your spouse for the wrong’s he/she did you, but forgiveness does not mean “acceptance”. Forgiving the people who have deceived or betrayed me in the past does not require me to trust them in the future. I forgive them so that I don’t dwell on the hurt done to me, so that I don’t let the injury continue to harm me, so that the one who did me wrong is shown the mercy needed to give him/her the best opportunity to change for the better without eternal regret or shame hampering the repentance process.

Fighting fire with fire will only intensify the pain and misery. Being the better man (or woman, as the case may be), living up to your virtuous values and standards of conduct is the only way to move on with peace and happiness (and you can get back there). Easier said than done, yes, but the only way.

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

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Can you fire your divorce lawyer? Yes!

Fire your lawyer?

What can you do if you think your lawyer is doing a bad job representing you? Can you fire your lawyer? Your question is really two questions, and they’re both good questions:

1. If you think your lawyer is doing a bad job representing you, are you thinking correctly?

Not necessarily. Especially in divorce cases.

Divorce law is not rocket science, and so the odds your divorce lawyer is incompetent could be higher than among attorneys in other, more complex fields of practice. Do not misunderstand me: not every divorce attorney is incompetent, but many of them are.

Second, you’re only hurting yourself if your lawyer is competent and you’re just being unreasonable. Candidly, many otherwise intelligent and rational people develop incredibly unrealistic viewpoints and expectations once they become divorce clients. A common mistake many divorce clients make is equating what they want with they deserve. These clients then become enraged when their lawyers tell them that what they want is not what the law allows or what a judge would consider fair and equitable. I am amazed at the number of clients who believe, or who say they believe, that my job is to get them whatever they want. It’s not. It’s not up to your lawyer. If it were, lawyers would be even more expensive than they are now. Your fate in divorce is in the hands of your judge. A good lawyer will help you make your best case to the judge and do his/her best to persuade the judge to rule in your favor. The best way to do that is to make reasonable arguments based upon reasonable claims.

2. If you know your lawyer is doing a bad job representing you can you fire your lawyer?

Yes, period. You are under no obligation to continue to employ an attorney who is doing a bad job for you. Not only can you fire an incompetent attorney, you should fire an incompetent attorney, and immediately, as soon as you discover that your attorney is doing a bad job. Keeping a bad attorney on the job will only cause your case to go from bad to worse. When it comes to getting good legal representation, hire slowly (meaning do your homework and be very careful and selective in choosing who your attorney will be— and remember that you get what you pay for; cheap divorce lawyers are expensive, if you get my drift), fire fast (keeping a mediocre and incompetent attorney on the job one day longer than necessary is a risk you simply need not take—cut’em loose as soon as you can).

Utah Family Law, LC | | 801-466-9277

Have you ever told a client he/she would be better off settling a case, only for the client to take the case to trial anyway?

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