Quantum Leap in State Socialism

The American Law Institute recently concluded its ten-year study of family law and has concluded that what America needs today is a quantum leap in State socialism.

Robert Pear writes in The New York Times, 'An influential group of lawyers and judges has recommended sweeping changes in family law that would increase alimony and property rights for many divorced women, while extending such rights for the first time to many cohabiting domestic partners, both heterosexual and gay.'

Translation: those who have should be forced by the State to give even more to those who don't. Being single should not offer any protection from the State. Let's also extend the rights of divorce to cohabitating domestic partners. That way we (family law attorneys) can afford a new BMW for each of our children every year instead of just every other year.

'One conclusion, for example, is that if a spouse has committed adultery, it should not affect a judge's decision about alimony or marital property.'

Translation: let's remove any residual traces of responsibility for the breakup of the marriage, notwithstanding the fact that divorce is not in the best interest of society.

'The report says that a parent's sexual orientation should not be a factor in decisions on child custody, and that domestic partnerships should be treated like marriage in many important respects.'

Translation: if we do this we will have a new, bigger cash cow for family law attorneys.

'The recommendations, developed after an exhaustive review of court cases and consultations with many experts, are addressed to judges, state legislators and other state officials.'

Translation: we (family law attorneys) know what's in our best interest. Now all we have to do is get the State to buy into our newest shakedown scam.

'In general, the institute said, 'domestic partners are two persons of the same or opposite sex, not married to one another, who for a significant period of time share a primary residence and a life together as a couple.''

Translation: we just made up a new legal term with a definition that is so vague that it will include as many people as possible, to maximize our income potential.

'At the end of an intimate relationship, the report said, 'a domestic partner is entitled to compensatory payments' similar to alimony 'on the same basis as a spouse.''

Translation: since we just made up a new class of victims, let's proclaim that these heretofore-nonexistent victims are somehow now also entitled to a share of someone else's income.

'Likewise, the report said, when domestic partners split up, their property should be divided in the same way a divorce court would divide the property of a husband and wife.'

Translation: we (family law attorneys) know that unless you (the State) adopt our recommendations, the possibility exists that sometime, somewhere, someone who deserves nothing will actually get nothing. This cannot be tolerated. We must all work together to ensure that all outcomes are equal, notwithstanding logic, common sense, principles of fair play, and minor details like private property.

'Grace Ganz Blumberg, a co-author of the report, said the recommendations indicated that 'we were more willing to redistribute income and wealth' than many courts and state legislatures have been.'

Translation: it's very easy to be philanthropic with someone else's income, especially when you also stand to gain from that forced giving.

'As a result, said Ms. Blumberg, a law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles , child support obligations would be higher than under current law when a parent having custody of a child earns substantially less than the other parent.'

Translation: this way we kill two birds with one stone. It would generate more of an incentive for women to file for divorce and those already divorced would return to court seeking more child support, thereby generating more income for family law attorneys.

'The institute does not encourage domestic partnership or cohabitation as an alternative to marriage, but says that domestic partners, like spouses, incur economic obligations to each other when they live together for any significant time.'

Translation: people are unable to handle their own economic affairs, therefore we (family law attorneys) must intervene to ensure equal outcomes in all private, personal relationships, whether blessed by the State or not.

'The institute's proposals would expand the number of people who can claim custody of a child or visitation rights. Such claims could be made not only by the legal parents, but also by a 'de facto parent,' defined as an individual who has lived with the child at least two years and 'regularly performed a majority of the caretaking functions' without being paid.'

Translation: your children are not really yours. Custody and visitation are subject to the whims and claims of the State, based on recommendations from 'experts' who stand to gain from all litigation, especially custody battles.

'Under existing state laws, judges usually award alimony on the basis of some estimate of a person's need for help, but the American Law Institute rejects that standard as vague and subjective. The institute says the proper purpose of alimony is compensation for financial losses resulting from the breakdown of a marriage, and it refers to alimony as 'compensatory spousal payments.''

Translation: we should ensure equal outcomes, regardless of fault or common sense. In addition, we should look the other way as the court rewards miscreant spouses, those who earn little or nothing, those who have never worked, those who refuse to work, and the many women who file for divorce simply because they know that the system is heavily skewed in their favor, especially if there are children involved.

'The amount of such payments, the report says, should increase in proportion to the duration of a marriage and the disparity in the spouses' incomes at the time of divorce ' two factors that can be measured objectively. Mr. Ellman said payments under this rule would be 'more generous than the alimony awards that many courts now order. Moreover, he said, 'the usual result in the most compelling cases ' the longest marriages ' would be to reduce substantially the gap in incomes of former spouses after their divorce.''

Translation: let's ensure that those who have lived the good life while never working a single day in their adult lives will still be able to continue to live at the same standard of living after they have divorced the provider.

'The institute also recommended changes in child support, to ensure that children have 'a standard of living not grossly inferior to that of either parent.' Under the proposal, more parents would be required to contribute to the cost of a child's college education, and even graduate and professional education. Parents 'tend to underinvest in the education of children with whom they do not reside,' the report said.'

Translation: let's make many noncustodial parents child support slaves for life, even after the child is an adult, in college, in graduate school, or pursuing a Ph.D. We (family law attorneys) know much better than the parents what is right, affordable, and prudent in any family situation. All we need to do is get the State to order it and you can be forced to work for the rest of your life supporting your (or someone else's) grown children who may have their own spouses, children, homes, mortgages, and careers.

None of this should come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. Radical feminism is all but dead, fatherhood is almost gaining respectability, and the divorce rate has stopped increasing. Family law attorneys needed to turn elsewhere for some of their future cash flow.

The recommendations of this study would create another huge class of victims, increase the number of deadbeat parents, increase incentives to divorce, increase incentives for future litigation, transfer new, huge amounts of income and wealth from people who earned it to people who didn't, make many noncustodial parents child support slaves for life, and line the pockets of thousands of family law attorneys for many years to come.

A small price to pay for equal outcomes, don't you think? The socialist State will agree wholeheartedly.

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