By forcing men to pay a divorce settlement, is the legal system suggesting that all women are hookers and need to get paid for being with men?
This is a discussion that I had with Ben from The Modern Man one day as we noticed a string of divorce settlements being broadcast throughout the mass media, where high profile men were forced to give 50% of their money and assets to their wife after a divorce. We wondered to ourselves, "Why does the legal system make men pay for women? Does this mean that all women are hookers who get paid for being with a man? Why don't women pay men? Why is the legal system continuing to enforce a law that developed when women couldn't get out there and earn their own money?"
The Outdated Law That Turns Modern Men Off the Idea of Marriage
The law that forces men to pay a woman a "divorce settlement" is outdated and turns many modern men off the idea of marriage. In most countries, women can now earn their own money and be supported by the government as a single parent, so it's not as if they need to take 50% of a man's wealth after a divorce. A woman should get child support if the couple had children, but taking 50% of the man's wealth just for being his wife means that, according to the legal system, she is a hooker and needs to get paid.
The outdated law that grants an ex-wife 50% of a man's money and assets is enough to make most modern men laugh at the idea of getting married. As one guy said to me via email, "I'll love her, I'll trust her, but I'm not going to marry her and give her the power to take 50% of my net wealth if she decides that she wants to be single again." I understand where he is coming from because even for me (Dan from The Modern Man) in a relationship with my perfect woman, I still can't say that her and I will be together "forever." Why? If you've been paying attention to what is going on with science, you would know that humans are on the verge of being able to live for 150-200 years and by that point, new technology will be available that will most-likely allow us to stay alive indefinitely. If you think that is "wishful thinking" or science fiction, then go and watch the entire Through the Wormhole series (not just one episode). You will see that we're on the verge of being able to live indefinitely.
The question that a lot of informed modern men have now is this, "Is marriage really a good idea when the legal system is still basing its judgment on a time when humans died at 70 and when divorce was shameful and avoided at all costs?" Should we men have to hand over half of our assets and wealth to a woman if the relationship breaks up five, 20, 50 or even 70 years from now? Personally speaking, I am continuing down the path of potentially starting a family with my beautiful girlfriend and may even be open to getting married, but one thing is for sure: I will be protecting myself with a prenuptial agreement.
Marriage Wasn't Always Based on Love
In the past, most men and women got married out of necessity or to secure alliances, land or legitimate heirs. In her book Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage, Stephanie Coontz states, "For most of history, it was inconceivable that people would choose their mates on the basis of something as fragile and irrational as love and then focus all their sexual, intimate, and altruistic desires on the resulting marriage."¹ In other words, the concept of marriage came about to secure benefits, land, alliances and build a more secure life. If you were lucky, you also got to marry someone you loved.
In today’s society, people usually get married because they are in love and are enjoying a great relationship. They want to signal their commit to be with each other for life by "tying the not" and getting married. However, if their relationship falls apart or if the love fades away, they often choose to get divorced. Since women are usually granted 50% of a man's wealth and assets, it shouldn't be a surprise to learn that, according to the American Law and Economics Review, approximately 68.9% of all divorces are filed by women. After all, she can get a huge divorce payout and then start a new relationship with another man, only to go through another divorce later on (and get another payout) if she loses interest. In other words, she is getting paid like a hooker does for being with a client, except she is staying with him for years instead of hours.
According to a report researched at the London School of Economics and published by the Centre for Policy Studies, it seems that women are more likely than ever to marry a man who will improve their financial prospects. As Catherine Hakim, a senior researcher in sociology and the reports author states, “Women’s aspirations to marry up, if they can, to a man who is better-educated and higher earning persists in most European countries, and women continue to use marriage as an alternative or supplement to their employment careers.”² At this point I’m sure the feminists will be up in arms and saying that women deserved to be paid, but it is this kind of research that is turning men off marriage and making them ask, “Do women who get married have ulterior motives?” or "Is my wife going to encourage me to become wealthy, to work hard and to buy lots of expensive things, only to turn around one day and demand half of it in a divorce?"
Paul McCartney and His One-Legged Hooker
A classic, high profile example of men being "taken to the cleaners" by a woman during a divorce is the marriage and subsequent divorce between Paul McCartney and Heather Mills (a one-legged prostitute from England). If ever there was a case of a woman who could easily be perceived as an expensive hooker, Heather Mills fits the bill perfectly.
According to the judgment summary published by BBC News, Paul McCartney and Heather Mills were married for just under 4 years. For this period of time Heather Mills felt she deserved to get £125m. In the end the judge awarded her with £24.3m, of which £16.5m was to be given to her as a lump sum and £7.8m to be given to her in assets³. The question is though, what could this woman possibly have contributed to her husband and the marriage in a period of less than 4 years, that could be worth the £125m she was asking for, or even the £24.3m she was awarded? He is Paul McCartney from the Beatles, arguably the best band that ever existed. How on Earth could she have contributed anything to that?
The way I see it is that the legal system made McCartney, like millions of other husbands, pay his woman like she was a hooker or one of those women who get paid for giving the "girlfriend experience."
Let's break it down:
- Sex on average twice a week x 4 years = sex 416 times.
- £24.3 million pound payout / 416 times having sex = £58,413.461 per sexual encounter.
That is one very expensive one-legged prostitute! Heather Mills now goes down in history as one of the most expensive hookers to have ever lived and she did it in modern times, with all of our media and intelligent, well-educated judges and lawyers. The modern legal system paid Mills for being with one of the coolest guys on the planet. In my opinion, that is a ridiculous divorce settlement based on an outdated law that suggests women need to be paid for being with women. In the end, Heather Mills was awarded £16,643 for every day she was married to Paul McCartney; and that was over and above all the perks that came along with the “job” such as expensive gifts, 5 star vacations, fame and Paul McCartney pulling strings to help her advance her own career by arranging for her to interview Paul Newman on Larry King Live, broadcast by CNN on 17 April 2004, etc.⁴ The old rocker got rolled.
Of course it’s easy to say that Heather Mills and Paul McCartney are celebrities and the divorce rules that apply to the rich and famous do not apply to everyone else. However, there are countless ordinary women who have received the same, if not better, perks from their divorce. Other examples include, Alan and Melissa Miller who were married for only 2 years and 9 months and had no children, yet she was awarded £5m for her “services”. As Marcus Dearle, a family lawyer who works at the firm that represented Melissa Miller stated, "What actually happened, at the end of the day, was that the judge focused on the high standard of living that Mrs Miller and Mr Miller enjoyed, and also the fact that a lot of money was earned in that very short... marriage."⁵
In other words, is it fair to say that Melissa Miller, Heather Mills and all women who are being awarded big payouts are simply being paid to keep them in the “high standard of living” they have become accustomed to? If this is the case, does that make these women (who are paid money for being with men) simply a legal (and very expensive) prostitute? After all, if a person gets fired from their job, it’s not likely that their ex employer is going to keep sending them their paycheck for years just because they’ve become accustomed to a “high standard of living,” is it? So why does this happen time and again and why does the legal system make men pay for women? In my opinion, the legal system is outdated and if you are going to get married, make sure you protect yourself.
The Argument From Women
Women lose value on the dating and mating market as they age because their attractiveness is based on their youthful appearance first and personality second. However, the opposite is true for men. As guys hit their 30s and 40s, their value on the mating market increases because they are more masculine, more established in life and are usually able to provide a better life for themselves and the woman. So, it's no surprise that some women want the divorce settlement laws to stay in place. If a woman invests her time and body into a man by bearing offspring and letting her youthfulness and beauty fade during a marriage, it can be difficult for her to get back out there and attract a high quality man after a divorce. While most people aren't comfortable discussing the facts about a woman's value on the mating market, it is what's really at the heart of the 50% payout. The legal system is basically saying, "When a woman commits to a man, her value usually decreases, making it harder for her to get back on her feet after a divorce."
During a long marriage, a woman will often given up her own career, education and aspirations and decide to support her husband in pursuing his career or financial dreams. Sometimes this support is active, where the wife participates in her husband’s business and other times the support is passive, where she stays at home, runs the household and raises the kids. It is for this reason that the legal system tends to take an overall approach to divorce and assume the best about women (i.e. that she is 50% responsible for the wealth and assets that the man has acquired). However, what if the woman's input was worthless? Should she be given an equal share of what he owns even if she has done nothing for it other than be with him? Somehow, this just doesn’t seem fair and in the opinion of most people (men and women alike), divorce settlements should be based on more than just assumptions.
Some women will argue that a woman is giving up her chance to earn money and build a career by sticking by a man, but that decision is her choice. If she wants to get out there and build a career, be a businesswoman or change the world, then she should do that. However, if she decides to relax at home and experience the joy of being a stay at home mum, then she shouldn't expect to pocket half of the man's wealth in return. Sure, if a couple get divorced the man should pay child support for their offspring, but giving her half of his stuff regardless? That's just silly and outdated. For all we know, she could have been a terrible mother and a horrible wife. Why should she be paid for that?
£36 Million For 33 Years of Marriage
Vira Hladun-Goldmann and Robert Goldmann were married for 33 years. Robert was a successful banker before meeting Vira and he continued to work hard, while his wife lived a life of luxury and "supported" him all the way. In the end, she was awarded £36 million for 33 years of marriage. Six months later, Robert Goldmann died of a massive heart attack. He was 66.
It is impossible, but also unfair to say that the only one contributing to the marriage was Mr Goldmann.⁶ However, surely she shouldn't have been paid so much just for being his wife. What is she, a hooker? Has to get her payment for being with him? I doubt that she contributed £36 million to his net worth. She might have loved him, yes, but love isn't the same as building a successful career. Did she help him make the trades in his banking career? Did she run the business meetings with clients? I doubt it. The legal system made him pay for his hooker. It's an outdated system and I, for one, do not like it.
Divorced Women Living in Poverty
Don't get me wrong; it's not all peaches and roses for divorced women. According to a report on the Social Security Bulletin (USA), recent data showed that “around 20 percent of divorced women aged 65 or older live in poverty. Differences in poverty rates are even larger at the oldest ages—22 percent of divorced women aged 80 or older are poor...”⁷ Clearly, the longer a woman stays married to a man, the more difficult it becomes for her to support herself if they get divorced. According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, research shows that after a divorce, a woman’s household income drops significantly (especially in the first year after her divorce), while men experience the exact opposite where their income continues to grow. ⁸ However, in most cases this only happens because the woman is usually the one left with the responsibility of caring for the children and cannot do that while still having a full time job, while the man is only expected to pay child support so he can carry on working as before. So, there is the possibility that laws are in place to protect women in those circumstance. Yet, despite that, a man having to give 50% of his assets and wealth to a woman shouldn't be applied as a blanket law.
In a poll taken by GFK Roper and commissioned by Divorce360.com, 43% of fathers don’t pay child support. So, it seems that in order to prevent this from happening, the law would rather give the woman 50% of the man’s wealth and “be done with it.” The fact is, in many ways the law is actually hurting women more than it’s helping them. By giving ex-wives 50% of their husband’s wealth, they are turning a large majority of single men off the idea of marriage. Another consequence is that guys who get divorced are becoming more stubborn about not paying maintenance or child support. In the end everyone loses when blanket 50/50 laws are enforced.
I Won't Get Married Without a Prenuptial Agreement
I'm not yet sure if I want to ever get married, but I do plan on sticking with my girlfriend for life. If we do marry, we will definitely be getting a prenuptial agreement signed beforehand. That's not a sign of my lack of belief in the relationship, but a smart decision based on how much the world has changed and will continue to change.
Prenuptial Agreement (noun): An agreement made by a couple before they marry concerning the ownership of their respective assets should the marriage fail.
My girlfriend has already stated that she doesn't ever want have ownership over what I have built and that is fine, but if I do marry her, the outdated legal system will automatically give her the right to claim 50%. So, if she changes her mind later on, she will be legally entitled to 50%. During a break up or divorce, both men and women can suddenly become very nasty, mean and selfish, so just because her and I are in love and she only wants the best for me now, that doesn't mean she wouldn't change if we ever went through a break up. She could easily turn around and say, "Give me half" and the outdated legal system would enforce that "right," even though she is not responsible for all the work (approximately 15,000 hours of work) that I have put into The Modern Man since starting it 2005. The legal system would basically say, "Pay up. All women are hookers. You married her, so now she is entitled to her 50% share of everything you own and have built." It's ridiculous and is the #1 reason why I won't be walking down the aisle (if I ever decide to) without having a prenuptial agreement in place.
Don't get me wrong, I love and trust my girlfriend. We are madly in love, have been together since October 2012 and for the first time in my life, I am actually open to having a family. I rejected the pleas from so many women for years who each wanted to marry me and start a family with me, but about 8 months into my relationship with my girlfriend, I suddenly began to become open to it. She's an amazing girl and ticks every box that I have in terms of what I want in a woman. I really couldn't ask for a better girl. If I do marry her (both of us aren't sure that it is necessary, but we think it might be fun if we really want to do it), that will mean that I am fully committing myself to the relationship for life. I'm giving her my word that I won't ever cheat and that I will do everything I can to make us both happy, keep us safe and allow us to fulfil our dreams. However, I also know that is becoming increasingly difficult to make a 100% guarantee to stick together "for life" in a relationship, especially when our lifespans are on the increase. Living to 150 (or longer) is not the only problem a modern couple faces though.
By 2035, computer games will have become so realistic and complex that you will be able to enter into a virtual world and have what feels like a real life in there. The nanotechnology running through your body and the fully realistic graphics will make it all feel 100% real (e.g. just like in the movie, The Matrix), even down to the sexual experience. Yes, you will be able to have virtual sex that feels completely real. It's not science fiction. The characters in the "game" will be just like people you meet in real life; they will be complex and react to what is going on just like a normal human would. In the virtual world, you might have a bunch of girlfriends or even get married and start a family with a woman. The sex, the things you do and what you experience will all feel 100% real. Sounds like fun, right? Yet, when your wife goes into a virtual world to hang out and have sex with her "other men" while you sit on the couch watching TV, how is that going to make you feel? Are both men and women going to be okay about that? Will having realistic sex in virtual worlds tear marriages apart, or will it be a good thing?
"...when your wife goes into a virtual world to hang out and have sex with her "other men" while you sit on the couch watching TV, how is that going to make you feel? Are we going to be okay about that? Will having realistic sex in virtual worlds tear marriages apart, or will it be a good thing?"
If you think that living indefinitely or going into virtual worlds that feel exactly like this world is science fiction, then watch the entire four seasons of Through the Wormhole and read The Next Big Thing Is Really Small to learn how nanotechnology is going to change the world more than TV, computers and iPods combined. When you become aware of what is happening and on the horizon, you realize that life as we know it is changing (whether we like it or not) and it will continue to change. Some people will say, "Oh, you just have to believe in love and stick together forever," but we humans are not accustomed to living with a spouse forever. When we do begin to live for 150, 200 and even 500 years, will it become boring to just be with one person? Will the idea of marriage change? Will we make 20 or 30 year commitments to each other, so that it is agreed at after the 30 years have past, we will then go our separate ways?
In my opinion, every guy should be doing his best to protect himself going into a marriage because relationships are likely to change over the next 30 years and because the legal system is out of date. These days, a guy shouldn't go into a marriage and expect that the love will last forever and that a woman will be nice about not wanting to take half his stuff if they divorce. As long as the legal system continues to make men pay women for being with them, we men need to be smart about our actions and make sure that we are protected in the event of any changes.
Is it Time to Scrap 50/50 Divorce Settlements?
Whether you’re a man or a woman, the debate about 50/50 divorce settlements is heating up. The fact is, the legal system is stuck and is confused about how to handle divorces in these changing times. This problem doesn't only apply to just country; divorce and the law has become a "sticky" subject worldwide and most people are afraid to even touch it. Women needing to get paid for being with men is still partially accepted, even though people won't openly admit it. It's completely outdated and is demeaning to both men and women.
On the one hand, there are voices such as that of Baroness Deech, a long-time lawyer and a crossbench peer in the House of Lords who is clearly against the 50/50 split. According to Beech, this type of settlement is, “unfair to men and demeaning to women” and that “women of working age without young children to support should be expected to look after themselves.”¹⁰
At the same time, lawyers such as James Pirrie, who represented Julia McFarlane (a housewife who was awarded a payment of £250,000 per year for life), is clearly happy to keep the status quo exactly as it is. In his own words, he described the judgment awarded to Julia McFarlane as "groundbreaking."¹¹. Sunder Katwala, the general secretary of the Fabian Society (a British socialist society) feels that, “outcomes should vary in divorce cases according to relevant circumstances,” while philosopher Mary Warnock says, “Divorce is easy only if the protagonists are selfless and loving. In which case, why get divorced?”¹²
From philosophers, to economists to the layman (or woman) on the street, one thing is certain; a 50/50 divorce settlement is still a heated debate and far from being settled. What do you think? Are all women just gold diggers and hookers at heart; and should men have to “pick up the check” for a failed marriage? Should men be forced to pay for women or should women only get money in the case of child support?
My Overall View on Marriage
I think that marriage is a beautiful thing when it is entered into with the right intentions. My parents are still married (same with Ben and Stu from The Modern Man). I have plenty of friends who are happily married and some who are unhappily married. As for me, I lived the bachelor lifestyle for many years and had an amazingly fun time (some photos), but the love that my girlfriend and I now share tops it all. We are one of those couples that fall more in love each day and I am grateful for that. However, despite all the nice and fluffy feelings of love, the current legal system is a huge turn off for me and for many men when it comes to marriage. My girlfriend and I both don't like the idea of her automatically becoming "entitled" to half my stuff. It's just so outdated and for lack of a better word, ridiculous! She has openly said that she doesn't want to get into that position and have that sort of power over me, but the legal system entitles her to it.
The current laws turn marriage into an opportunity for women to do a bad thing (i.e. divorce a man to get half of his stuff just because she feels like it). It brings out a dark side in women that wouldn't be there if the legal system didn't view women as being hookers who need to be paid for being with men. Imagine if Heather Mills (the one-legged prostitue that divorced Paul McCartney from The Beatles after four years of marriage and got paid £24.3m) wasn't entitled to get money from McCartney. Would she have tried harder to fix their relationship problems? Would both Paul and Heather become better people by fixing the problems in their marriage, rather than ending it with a payment for her "services"? I think the current system encourages women to give up on marriages too easily because the reward of divorce is huge if the man has assets or savings in the bank. In my opinion, it takes all the romance out of marriage and turns it into a ticking time bomb.
¹ Coontz, S. (2006). Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage. Penguin Books, Retrieved from http://www.stephaniecoontz.com/books/marriage/chapter1.htm
² Woods, J. (2011, January, 05). Do women really want to marry for money? The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/8239530/Do-women-really-want-to-marry-for-money.html
³ Mills awarded £24.3m settlement. (2008, March, 17). BBC News. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7300931.stm
⁴ Heather Mills. Wikipedia. Relationship with Paul McCartney, Marriage. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heather_Mills
⁵ Ex-wives win key divorce rulings. (2006, May, 24) BBC News. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/5010888.stm
⁶ Rock, L. (2006, February, 5). Divorce deals – by Mrs 50 Per Cent. The Observer. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/money/2006/feb/05/uknews.theobserver
⁷ Butrica, B.A., Smith, K.E. (2012). The Retirement Prospects of Divorced Women. Social Security Bulletin, 3 (1). Retrieved from http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v72n1/v72n1p11.html
⁸ Lyle, B. (2012, October, 22). After Divorce Women Rebound Faster But Stay In Poverty Longer. The Huffington Post. Retrieved fromhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/brendan-lyle/after-divorce-women-rebou_1_b_1970733.html
⁹ Kimball, M. (2013). 43 Percent Not Paying! Divorce360.com. Retrieved from http://www.divorce360.com/divorce-articles/statistics/us/43-percent-not-paying.aspx?artid=173
¹⁰ Doughty, S. (2009, September, 15). Scrap the 50-50 divorce payouts that rob men, says law chief. Mail Online. Retrieved from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1213523/Scrap-50-50-divorce-payouts-rob-men-says-law-chief.html