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Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
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mpr Offline
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Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
A Harvard professor did an interesting analysis of Florida governor Rick Scott's veto of legislation to end permanent alimony and encourage joint custody. I thought I'd share it with you guys.

Original article here.

“[Governor] Scott scuttles Florida alimony overhaul, citing child custody clause” describes a veto by Florida’s Governor Rick Scott of a bill passed by the state’s legislature that could have reduced alimony profits and custody litigation in the state.

See this Florida family law chapter for a description of the current law. Florida is unusual in offering “permanent alimony” after potentially just 7 years of marriage. This leads to stories like the following, from the Summary chapter:


"A 50-year-old business manager who was between jobs told us about his first consultation with a top practitioner in Florida, a state that offers permanent alimony. His wife earned $220,000 consulting to government agencies and was divorcing him after more than 20 years of marriage (the youngest child had just turned 18 and thus aged out of the child support system). 'The lawyer told me to go out immediately and rent the most expensive apartment in the city. She said ‘Start seeing this therapist right now. She is going to come testify that you are clinically depressed and will never be able to work again. My retainer is a non-refundable $10,000.'"


Florida offers unlimited child support profits, albeit at a smaller percentage of the defendant’s income than Massachusetts or Wisconsin. The precise profitability of a child is based on the division of the child’s time between the two litigants. Florida has no guidelines regarding a child’s schedule with the two litigants. As in other states with unlimited child profitability, profitability that is dependent on the schedule, and no guidelines for the schedule, this typically leads to 50-100 percent of the litigants’ combined assets being spent on legal fees. As in other states, however, it is typical for there to be a “primary” or “winner” parent and a “secondary” or “loser” parent. The child spends most of his or her time with the winner parent and the loser parent pays all of the child’s bills as well as most of the winner parent’s bills (assuming the winner parent wasn’t unwise enough to procreate with an impoverished defendant). Florida is a better-than-average state for men seeking to profit from the family law system. Census 2014 data show that 16 percent of Floridians profiting from child support are men, compared to only 3 percent in Massachusetts or 2 percent in Maryland.

The law that was passed by the legislature, Senate Bill 668, risked reducing the profitability of divorce lawsuits for both plaintiffs and attorneys by suggesting that alimony cashflow be a function of “time served” in the marriage. This is an increasingly common practice in other U.S. states, except where states, such as Texas, have gone to a German-style “no alimony” system. The proposed 50/50 custody default “premise”, not in any way binding on judges, would have brought Florida into line with just a handful of states, such as Alaska, Arizona, and Delaware that have a 50/50 custody presumption or guideline. (Note that largest studies of children of separated parents show that a 50/50 schedule is best for children (references; discussion).)

[If you dig into the text of the law, it is plain that there would still be plenty to fight about. Judges are encouraged to consider domestic violence allegations, for example, when awarding custody of cashflow-positive children. Judges are encouraged to speculate regarding what a defendant might be able to earn in a hypothetical perfect world: “‘Potential income’ means income which could be earned by a party using his or her best efforts and includes potential income from employment and potential income from the investment of assets or use of property.” This speculation is to include what “a party could reasonably expect to earn from the investment of his or her assets or the use of his or her property in a financially prudent manner.” (This does raise the question of why a judge who actually did know what different investment classes are going to return would continue to work as a judge. He or she could become infinitely rich on Wall Street with leveraged futures and options investments based on that knowledge.) Judges are instructed to hear evidence from both sides regarding what is “the customary retirement age” in an alimony defendant’s occupation and whether the alimony lawsuit loser’s “retirement is reasonable upon consideration of the [payor’s] age, health, and motivation for retirement and the financial impact on the [alimony recipient]”.]

The governor’s veto letter is interesting. for what it reveals about American attitudes toward family law. First is that years of litigation is the natural end of a sexual relationship between two Americans. There is no suggestion that American parents could separate via an administrative process as in some European countries. Some of the most successful lawyers whom we interviewed thought it was nonsensical to have litigated no-fault divorces, i.e., lawsuits that the plaintiff has a 100 percent chance of winning. Here’s an excerpt from Angie Hallier, a top Arizona litigator:

"Existing divorce law in the United States says the only way to end your marriage is for one party to file a lawsuit against the other. … Divorce, by law, starts as an adversarial act. … Our legal system was set up to address wrongs. It deals with criminals. It decides who’s in the wrong when there’s a car wreck, or whether someone is guilty of medical malpractice when healthcare goes awry. When divorce laws were first written, somebody had to be in the wrong before a divorce could be granted. … Today, the litigation model of divorce still stands, despite the fact that no-fault divorce is the norm. … This adversarial system helps no one in the end."

Apparently what Hallier calls “this adversarial system” is helping at least some folks in Florida because nobody seriously contemplates replacing it! Certainly during our March/April trip to Ft. Lauderdale we saw plenty of billboards advertising the services of litigators, primarily those claiming to specialize in lawsuits regarding the profitability of children.

Second is the conflation of marriage and divorce with child custody litigation: “I would like to commend Senators … for their diligent efforts to reform Florida’s dissolution of marriage and alimony laws … child custody laws have evoked passionate reactions … because divorce affects families in many different ways.” In fact, the typical American child whose life is disposed of by a family court is not the subject of divorce litigation because the biological parents were never married and, indeed, may be only slightly acquainted.

Third is that spending 100 percent of the parents’ assets on legal fees through years of litigation results in some kind of thoughtfully customized schedule for children. The Governor writes “when a divorce involves a minor child [again, the conflation of marriage with child custody and child support litigation], the needs of the child must come before all others. … Our judges must consider each family’s unique situation and abilities and put the best interests of the child above all else.” (Again, note the use of the term “family” to describe two litigants who might have been acquainted for just one evening.) “Every child and/or family is unique” is a constant refrain throughout the American custody and child support litigation industry and yet the outcome of nearly all the cases is the same: every other weekend with the loser parent. (Texas is the only state that has been willing to tell litigants “You’re not special and your kids are probably not special; if you don’t agree on a schedule for your kids then you’ll find one in the statute [a 57/43 winner/loser time split].”)

What are the practical implications for citizens? If you’re the higher earning spouse and want to avoid giving your current partner an incentive to sue you, but without going to a state that imposes an income tax, move to Texas (no alimony; capped child support). If you’re a Floridian seeking to profit from the family law system, apparently one safe way to do that is to become a divorce litigator. The governor will apparently work to ensure that there is plenty at stake for parents to fight about. (A competent divorce litigator in Boston makes at least $1 million per year, according to a lawyer interviewed here; Florida is probably somewhat less lucrative due to the lower child support stakes.)

The legislature seems to be intent on shutting down the permanent alimony system and may yet succeed. Alimony is taxable whereas child support is tax-free. These two factors make out-of-wedlock children almost surely more profitable and lower risk than marriage+children. Lawyers we interviewed pointed out that their plaintiff clients were able to find higher-income partners for unmarried sex than to agree to a marriage. Thus child support revenue for a single child will be higher if the child wasn’t conceived as part of a marriage. Florida’s child support formula makes it more lucrative to have multiple children with multiple partners than multiple children with the same partner, e.g., if suing partners with a net annual income of $120,000 per year, three children with the same partner yield $637,260 over 19 years but $982,908 if there are three different co-parents (Florida gives a winner parent a cash incentive to discourage children from graduating high school on time as the cash continues to flow to age 19 only if the child has not yet graduated).

Foreigners can profit from Florida’s system most easily as explained in the “American Child Support Profits Without an American Child” section of “Child Support Litigation without a Marriage”:

The second method can be used by foreigners temporarily in the U.S., e.g., for seasonal resort employment. Businesses on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, for example, rely heavily on young Bulgarian, Serbian, Russian, and other Eastern European workers. If one of them were to have a one-night encounter with a hotel guest earning at least $250,000 per year, then return to Eastern Europe, she could be assured of at least $40,000 per year in child support under the Massachusetts guidelines. This is more than six times the average net salary of $528 per month in Serbia and more than eight times the average net salary of $400 per month in Bulgaria. We asked Jerry Nissenbaum, a Massachusetts divorce litigator, what practical steps would be required for this to work. He responded “She’ll go back to Bulgaria and stay a year or so to bond with the child and not let dad bond (she doesn’t want to get stuck here). Then she comes back with the baby, files a complaint, gets the $40,000 order. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue will collect it for her and send it to her US-based bank account that she can use with a debit card in Bulgaria, or wherever she is in the world.”

Due to Federal funding conditional on successfully suing residents, the Florida Department of Revenue will presumably be equally happy to assist any foreigner with a child support claim against a Florida native. (Note that a plaintiff shouldn’t wait more than two years after the child’s birth to notify the Department of Revenue and/or file a lawsuit through a private attorney. The Florida guidelines limit retroactive support to “24 months preceding the filing of the petition,” unlike in some states where a plaintiff can wait until a day before a child’s 18th birthday and successfully sue for 18 years of child support cash.

"Those who will not risk cannot win." -John Paul Jones
04-17-2016 11:48 PM
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The Black Knight Offline
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
The biggest reason I don't have kids, don't want kids, and I am borderline paranoid to the point where I turn down many bangs is because of shit like this. It's one of my biggest incentives to leave the US as well.

Some Eastern European slut doing summer work in Martha's Vineyard has a ONS with a guy making 250k in Massachusetts and that nets 40k/year for almost two decades?

FUCK THAT!

I'm generally against federalizing things but we need something like the following as simple straight up law across the entire US:

1. Middle-class/frugal lifestyle caps on child support. Enough to cover decent day care, food, clothes, and that's it. Caps at X amount; to never exceed 10-15% income. Income is based on current monthly earnings. NEVER PAST or FUTURE EARNINGS.

Woman should NEVER be rewarded extra for getting knocked up by a well-off dude. It incentives women to engage in highly selfish behavior and produce children just so they can be an ATM. Women need to know upfront that they will get the absolute minimum for survival purposes if not less due to percentage restrictions. Fucking a well-off dude shouldn't be like playing a high-stakes slot machine with decent odds of winning.

2. No alimony except for people who stay in marriages and raised children until adulthood. Alimony is limited to 1 year and is based on 20-30% of spouse income with caps. Enough to give other person time to move out, find work, and adjust to new life. A woman who gets to be a housewife and mother for two decades and the provisioning that comes with it is NOT entitled to indefinite provisioning. Why? My Post - Women and men are NOT EQUAL

Other options:

3. Post-pregnancy confirmation mandates woman informs man immediately and man must give consent for pregnancy to go to term. No consent? No financial support. Of course, many men would tell women to fuck off and tons of bastards would be born. Not a good thing in the long run.

4. Vasalgel (male birth control) comes out, all men get it and unplanned pregnancies become a thing of the past. The 2019 Feminist Wars will be sparked due to the FDA approval of Vasalgel.
(This post was last modified: 04-18-2016 03:17 AM by The Black Knight.)
04-18-2016 03:10 AM
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
I would be really interested in chronological events listed with names of the people who made it a profitable endeavour to tear families apart and have bastard children en-mass in order for the state to gather funds.

Surely this;

Quote:The second method can be used by foreigners temporarily in the U.S., e.g., for seasonal resort employment. Businesses on Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard, for example, rely heavily on young Bulgarian, Serbian, Russian, and other Eastern European workers. If one of them were to have a one-night encounter with a hotel guest earning at least $250,000 per year, then return to Eastern Europe, she could be assured of at least $40,000 per year in child support under the Massachusetts guidelines. This is more than six times the average net salary of $528 per month in Serbia and more than eight times the average net salary of $400 per month in Bulgaria. We asked Jerry Nissenbaum, a Massachusetts divorce litigator, what practical steps would be required for this to work. He responded “She’ll go back to Bulgaria and stay a year or so to bond with the child and not let dad bond (she doesn’t want to get stuck here). Then she comes back with the baby, files a complaint, gets the $40,000 order. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue will collect it for her and send it to her US-based bank account that she can use with a debit card in Bulgaria, or wherever she is in the world.”

..is well known around Eastern Europe? I can't imagine the gold diggers over there not knowing about this.
04-18-2016 03:41 AM
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tomtud Offline
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
Men in the USA have been castrated for the most part. I don't see them fighting this system.
This being the case, I don't see any man who has a brain getting married at all in the USA. It simply isn't worth it.
04-18-2016 05:26 AM
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Phoenix Offline
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
As I see it, 'child support' should actually be that. Not 'child claim to riches'.

Also alimony simply shouldn't exist outside of contract, but that's morally settled as far as I care. If any state attempts to enforce 'lifetime alimony' on you, the question shouldn't be "how is this fair?", but "how well can you enforce this if I'm somewhere on the other side of the planet?".

There should be one, fixed rate of payout per child, ending at age 15 tops. It shouldn't be in any way linked to the father's subsequent activities (including his earnings) whatsoever.

That fixed rate should be based on the child receiving the bare minimum of: food & shelter. That's it. And that's indexed against an ordinary city, not where the mother wants to live. And the father is responsible for 50%. If the mother wants more than that, I guess she'll just have to be lovable and get married before breeding. Outrageous idea right...
04-18-2016 06:33 AM
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
The state does it to ensure no one man becomes too powerful, it was never about the provision and care of women and children. Without divorce and child support laws you'd see like one rich guy with 100 women & 200 kids and would quickly rival the power of the state. It's essentially the anglosphere equivalent of China's one child policy without sounding totalitarian. I'm at a crossroads myself, I'm 33, well off and want kids but don't want to be ruined by the state.
(This post was last modified: 04-18-2016 06:56 AM by [email protected].)
04-18-2016 06:55 AM
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JayR Offline
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits & Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
The National Parent's Organization has been following this bill and posting updates regularly. Here is their post about the veto:

http://www.nationalparentsorganization.o...oes-sb-668

Quote:But, in refusing to allow the bill to become law, he disgracefully allowed the narrowest of interests groups to dictate state policy. The legislature passed the bill by almost a 2 – 1 margin. It passed similar legislation overwhelmingly three years ago. By now it must be clear that shared parenting corresponds to the will of the majority of Floridians. Scott’s veto is a slap in the face not only of good sense and good policy, it’s a slap at democracy, the rule of the people, by the people and for the people.

This bill passed the Florida Congress overwhelmingly, and polls show the public is strongly in favor of the reforms.

The Florida Bar association and women's groups started to freak out when it looked like this bill was about to derail their gravy train, and pulled every trick in the book to secure the veto. The bar association spent a large portion of their annual budget on professional lobbyists at the 11th hour (this was most likely illegal -- dues-collecting bar associations are barred from lobbying the legislature).
04-18-2016 12:04 PM
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
Just strip out the government/court's cut. Make it completely without profit to them.
Only allow public defenders to litigate (edit; both sides get public defender) divorce cases, and they only get paid the same as they get paid for any other case. If a judge receives any profit/money from a divorce, they get executed.

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(This post was last modified: 04-18-2016 12:07 PM by spokepoker.)
04-18-2016 12:07 PM
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Ve!
(04-18-2016 06:33 AM)Phoenix Wrote:  Also alimony simply shouldn't exist outside of contract, but that's morally settled as far as I care. If any state attempts to enforce 'lifetime alimony' on you, the question shouldn't be "how is this fair?", but "how well can you enforce this if I'm somewhere on the other side of the planet?".

Unless you plan on renouncing citizenship and/or never returning to the states I think you would eventually get fucked for not paying, regardless of whether you hideout in Thailand, Cuba or Budapest for an entire decade. US citizens are supposed to report worldwide income for tax purposes and.....they wouldn't forget. They've even started denying passports to guys that owe child support and probably do the same with alimony.

If you ever came back even just to see a dying mother,etc, you would go directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Jailhump

I'm not saying I agree with it, I'm just saying "them's the brakes" after decades of men have sat by and let women get more and more hoping in vain to satiate them. They don't realize the beast they have created until it sneaks up and bites them.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I'm afraid of not trying. Everyday hit every wave, like I'm Hawaiian"
(This post was last modified: 04-18-2016 09:39 PM by azulsombra.)
04-18-2016 09:33 PM
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
(04-18-2016 09:33 PM)azulsombra Wrote:  Unless you plan on renouncing citizenship and/or never returning to the states I think you would eventually get fucked for not paying, regardless of whether you hideout in Thailand, Cuba or Budapest for an entire decade. US citizens are supposed to report worldwide income for tax purposes and.....they wouldn't forget. They've even started denying passports to guys that owe child support and probably do the same with alimony.

But it's important to see this situation as it is: escaping state persecution. Most refugees of the 'political enemy' variety don't ever return to their country of origin, unless the existing state there is overthrown. If people enslave you, you have three choices: submit, fight, or run. But the moral choice is always to run as hard as you can and never come back, unless you are a hero who can unite enough men to overthrow the plantation owners.
04-19-2016 02:33 AM
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
So....... is Rick Scott up for re-election this year?
04-19-2016 10:59 AM
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
Rick Scott is a worthless bag of human waste. I really don't feel I'm exaggerating one iota.
04-19-2016 11:30 AM
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits and Child Custody Litigation
[Image: gov_rick_scott.jpg]

[Image: hqdefault.jpg]

[Image: 12sk1q.jpg]
(This post was last modified: 04-20-2016 12:27 AM by scrambled.)
04-20-2016 12:17 AM
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RE: Florida Alimony Profits & Child Custody Litigation Preserved By Governor's Veto!
Great article blasting the veto, with some details of the tactics used by the opposition, including this beauty:

Quote:Smearing Opponents Instead of Presenting Better Arguments

What did the bill’s opponents have to say that Scott obviously thought was so wise? On Tuesday, while his office was full of advocates supporting the bill, a Florida NOW representative went around poking some of the supporting fathers and complaining that they were being rude, declaring that now the public can see why their wives divorced them. She did not see the contractions either in the outcry should any of those men physically poke her back or in insulting divorced men when she has been divorced four times.

http://thefederalist.com/2016/04/18/flor...vorce-law/
04-20-2016 01:01 PM
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