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From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: FAQ Women to Avoid for Marriage
Date: 27 Oct 1998 12:53:16 GMT

In <713f03$83v$> (Marg Petersen)

>That is correct.  The marriage *contract* doesn't promise much.
>It is the individuals who are doing the promising.  And no, it
>isn't enforceable by law.

   Well, of course it is.  That's what alimony is all about.

>It isn't.  However, both parties have *outs*.  That is, if one
>spouse isn't earning and *their* promise was to do so, the other
>can leave (get a divorce).  If one spouse is kicking back and
>not living up to *their* promises, that spouse can leave (divorce).
>If there is a divorce, the one who has been *earning* the money
>gets to share their income with the other.  The premise being that
>the arrangement made BY the couple IS acceptable (or was) to that
>couple and the arrangement continues.

   Why should the arrangment continue after it is no longer acceptable
to both parties?

   Face it: the marriage contract historically has been twofold: 1) it
provides for the care of children, and 2) it provides for financial
compensation to women in exchange for loss of reproductive fitness
during the marriage period (ie, loss of virginity and years of youth
lost, both of which are assumed to be essentially marketable
quantities).  All this is implicit in the law, and especially when you
look at things like legal ground for "annulment" of marriage, in which
such compensations are assumed not to operate.

   The few recent decisions in which women with high salaries pay
alimony to men, are basically pseudo-egalatarian window-dressing,
foisted off so that people won't have to face up what is actually the
basis for present law.  Biology, however, is not going to be fooled by
rhetoric.  In any species in which one sex devotes more time and energy
into reproduction, there will be competition in mating for that sex,
and a flow of food/energy resources TO that sex in exchange for mating.
 In the few species in which males invest more energy in rearing young
(seahorses, some shorebirds, etc), there is actually female competition
for males.  I assume that if phalarope birds had divorce courts, for
example, that not only "chick-support-payments," but also
"food-alimony," would more likely go to the male of the species.  That
won't happen any time soon with humans, however.  Not as long as
resources are limited.

                                        Steve Harris

From: B. Harris)
Subject: Re: FAQ Women to Avoid for Marriage
Date: 29 Oct 1998 05:29:19 GMT

In <718mtg$> (James
Buster) writes:

>In article <716hnu$n72$>,
>Marg Petersen <> wrote:
>>True, but then it would behoove the wage earner to get rid of (divorce)
>>the non-wage earner who isn't following through with their part of
>>the original agreement BEFORE there is anything much accumulated, eh? :-)
>This is stupid advice, inasmuch as property accumulated *before*
>marriage, and therefore clearly *not* gained as a result of any
>effort on the part of your spouse-to-be, is usually up for grabs
>after the divorce even in non-community-property states.

   Which is why Bill Gates has presumably gotten his wife to sign the
Mother of all Prenups.  Or if not, is a bigger fool than I think,
despite WINDOZE 95.

    The idea that the purpose of "alimony" is to compensate the
person-at-home for years out of the workforce has a few problems.  The
major one being that alimony can be found paid to people who've only
been married a year or two, even without children.  The other being
that alimony is hardly based on some formula of how much wages a person
has lost out on by staying at home.  The corporate CEO or actor with
the 10 million a year income is hardly going to end up paying the
spouse for 10 years missed from the secretarial pool, if that's where
they came from.  Yes, women get shafted by this formula sometimes, too
(Elizabeth Taylor), but the truth is that men bear the brunt of it.
The law, as Anatole France says, in its majesty and equality, forbids
rich and poor alike from stealing food, sleeping under bridges and in
parks, and so on.

    As for "anullment", I'm afraid that there is some confusion here
between the Catholic version (used as substitute for divorce among
wife-shuckers, see watisface Kennedy), and civil annulment (which
Kennedy will NOT get, even if the Catholics grant him a church one).
The latter is a remedy when there is, at the time of marriage, some
prior (and unrecognized) reason against the marriage, such as fraud, a
pregnancy, bigamy, underage spouse, lack of consent, drug use,
coertion, and so on.  But the truth of it is that in common law there
are two standards for annulment, one of which is used if the marriage
has been consumated, and the other if it has not.  The "used" woman is
protected, even if the couple have lived togeher only a week.  The
reason being precisely that annulment does not carry the same remedies
and rights for the wife (as to alimony!) as divorce does.  That is WHY
the annulment case law is the way it is.

                                           Steve Harris

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