Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Who Owns a Husband?

If anybody still has any doubts that the divorce laws in this country are seriously screwed up, should read about the case of this woman from North Carolina:
A humiliated wife successfully sued her cheating husband's mistress for $9 million because of the "severe emotional distress" triggered by their affair, according to media reports Monday. Cynthia Shackelford, 60, used a little-known law in her native state of North Carolina to bring a suit against Anne Lundquist, the lover whom she claims wrecked her 33-year marriage to husband Allan. Lundquist was charged with "alienation of affections" - or interfering in a marriage - in one of the few American states that allow someone to sue over such a clause. . . The spurned spouse, who gave up her teaching career to look after her former husband and their two children, said she hoped the ruling would deter other would-be mistresses of married men.
The way the article presents the story, one is left with the idea that the woman in question was humiliated by the affair and as a result decided to sue. It's hard, however, to imagine anything more humiliating than chasing after a woman your husband left you for asking to be given money in return. The reason why this rejected spuse is not humiliated by this outlandish court case is that for her the husband is not a real person. He was her cash cow who kept her for years. Now, the cash cow has moved to a greener pasture and the former owner of the animal she has gotten used to milking wants to be reimbursed for her loss of income.

A society that sees it as normal that one human being should work to support another able-bodied adult should be prepared to see cases where former spouses are treated not as human beings but as objects to be used and exploited. The husband in this case is nothing other than an income-generating piece of property. What is more normal than suing somebody over removing your property from your possession unlawfully?


Izgad said...

Are you familiar with the movie Adam's Rib? Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy play a husband and off who serve as lawyers on opposing sides of a case were a woman shoots her husband’s mistress.

Clarissa said...

I haven't seen the movie. But in any case, shooting somebody (which is horrible but still can't be done in a moment of passion) is not the same as placing a monetary value on the husband. Disgusting.

Tom Carter said...

Hmmm...another way to look at it would be that the woman invested 33 years of her life in a relationship with the guy (regardless of who supported whom). The "other woman" knew what she was doing, and so did the man. I suspect the wife wants to wreak vengeance on both of them, and I can understand that. I hope she succeeds. Anyway, it's better than going after one or both of them with a gun, which isn't unheard of in North Carolina.

V said...

---the woman invested 33 years of her life in a relationship

And why do you think the guy did not invest 33 years of his life in the same relationship?

Clarissa said...

I agree with V. When you start viewing people as property and investments, it is not surprising that they tire of being objectified in this way and leave. Running after them asking to be compensated financially tells us a lot about this lady's values and her attitude towards the husband. I don't know how the poor guy stood this crazy creep for so long.

V said...

Let me clarify my viewpoint then. As much as I would not like to live the traditional "man the breadwinner, woman the homemaker" lifestyle myself, I do not deny the right of people to make such a choice for themselves.
However, this choice has to be a result of an informed decision. People have to be aware of the possible consequences, and people have to be aware that it is not the only possible lifestyle.
The legislators also have to become aware that it is not the only possible lifestyle, and reflect this fact in the laws and actual legal practice. By stopping stimulating this lifestyle.
Technically, this means I am in favor of prenups for everyone. If you want to live traditional lifestyle - you make a contract to this effect - "we, the undersigned, are aware that being out of job market for extended periods of time reduces one's chances for gainful employment. Therefore, should we divorce, the homemaker (see, I am making it gender-neutral :) ) will be entitled to alimony not less than certain % of the breadwinner's income, and not more than % of the breadwinner's income."

Clarissa said...

I'm completely opposed to adults (not children, mind you, adults) receiving any kind of alimony under any circumstances. Grown people should learn to live with the consequences of their choices and neither other people nor the government should baby them by way of alimony.

Making people sign the prenups you mention is treating them like little kids. They are grown ups. If the concept of alimony is taken out of the legislation in its entirety, people will have to learn to deal with their issues themselves. And that's always good.

NancyP said...

To be entirely fair, North Carolina is 30 to 40 (or more) years behind the times, so community standards 33 years ago and possibly now may have held up the stay-at-home mom as the ideal, and blamed all marital failure on the woman's failure. Yes, the women shouldn't be that gullible. Yes, the woman should have kept up the teaching certificate and perhaps picked up some other qualifications so that she could get a job (conservative school superintendents are known to fire married women for being married, though not in so many words).

Dina The Nomad said...

I am just tired of this lame "...she stole my husband..." (P.S. I am woman) Dear, if the husband did not want to leave nobody could take him!!!!

Prenups are very wise to have, after all marriage is a buisness contract of a sort. Why not make it clear from the begining??