Thursday, April 18, 2013

Another Example: Don’t Date Women With Minor Children

Not long after I posted my last entry on Dr. Laura, I heard something on her show that made me cringe. On Wednesday, April 17, during the third hour, she got a call from someone going by "Devon", age 42. He got married in October, which I know a lot of men would say was enough of a mistake in the first place. He;s been with the woman for five years.  He states that he loves her three children (12, 11, and 6) as his own. THREE CHILDREN for whom another man is supposed to be paying (that other man walked out on the family), but Devon has been covering the bills for them. He never should have dated this woman in the first place, but they had a child together born four years ago. WHAT A MESS!

He goes on to tell Dr. Laura he bought a house in Florida, a different state, a month before getting married. He'd had a house in Michigan, but he got another electrical engineering job in Florida, hence the new house.

Please note that Florida has no-fault divorce. Also, under Florida law, any property that was acquired before the spouses married or that was received as a gift or inheritance is not considered marital property. The house was acquired before the marriage. Dr. Laura has repeatedly noted that inheritances are separate. Does she stick the the law when it comes to what is brought into the marriage? Let's see...

Florida divorce laws require an "equitable distribution" of the marital property. That really means "whatever a judge decides". Let's see… a woman with four kids vs a man… hmmmm. I wonder who a judge is likely to favor?

Back to the call.

Devon's been working and saving since he was 16, and paid CASH for the house, a fixer-upper costing $112,000. None of that was paid for by his wife. None of it came from income earned during the marriage. He bought it before marrying her. His wife said she wasn't going to move to Florida unless he put her name on the deed to the house. She claimed he must not be serious about the marriage unless he does that. To that I say she's not serious about the marriage if she's trying to get something that isn't hers, and put that before the marriage. I do wonder where she's been living the past five years, and if she's paid any of the mortgage or rent, or has her name on the deed there?

The reason he didn't want to add her to the deed, as he told Dr. Laura, is that if it doesn't work out he'd have to move out and lose his life savings and go find somewhere else to live, "and I don't think that's fair."

He's right!

Dr. Laura responded "you have no marriage if you don't put her name on the deed." That implies to me that marriage is being defined as men giving women money. But she might have meant is that he wouldn't have a marriage because, as she went on to say, she's not going to come with you. "You're going to be alone."

Dr. Laura pointed out that if he didn’t think he made a wise choice in marrying her then he shouldn't have married her. Well, yes, of course, but any listener to her show knows that if he'd called Dr. Laura when she was pregnant and said she's not going to give the baby up for adoption, Dr. Laura would have told him to marry her ASAP. Perhaps what she really wanted to say is that he shouldn't have knocked her up in the first place, which is true. He shouldn't have even dated her. She should be living in her parent's home and working to support her kids.

She might be a good mother and wife. But something could happen… it could be as simple as bumping her head, and she could leave this guy penniless. She'll have that power if her name is on that deed. He's worked for 26 years and saved up to have the money to buy the house, and the law says it is all his, but his wife wants to legally get her hooks into it.

Dr. Laura went on to explain that a man is supposed to save up and buy his family a place to live. I agree, but he's also supposed to stay with his family and have it be his place, too, but putting his wife on the deed makes it much more likely he won't be able to. How? Well, if she's not on the deed, then it is more likely should wouldn't be able to force him to sell the house or take over the house from him, and let's get real... that makes it less likely she'll divorce him. But if she IS on the deed, she'd have less reason to work through dissatisfaction with the marriage, as it would be easier to kick him out of his own home.

Let's look at the flip side of the coin. Dr. Laura also says, in general, that it is a woman's job to birth & nurture a man's children and take care of the man's sexual needs. but I highly doubt she'd insist the wife should have to sign a legal document that would allow him to take HER kids away from her and compel her to provide him sex should he leave. And if you think this isn’t a fair comparison, you're right, because this guy's been looking after her kids for five years while she hasn't contributed a dime to the house. He's already been providing and protecting.

Women are far more likely to file for divorce, and since this marriage has a 75% chance of ending in divorce (as Dr. Laura frequently says of these situations), Dr. Laura is telling him to do something that will give him a 75% chance of blowing his life savings.

Our usually stellar host goes on to say "She took a bigger gamble because she made a baby with you." How is that the bigger gamble? That he won't provide for the kid? He already has been AND HER KID for the last five years. The courts can force him to keep doing so. That he won't protect them? She can hire someone or get another man.

Dr. Laura says putting her name on the deed is in the category of providing. But as long as the wife stays with him, she'll have everything anyway! She IS provided the home if she stays with him.

"I would advise her NOT to come live in a home that isn't hers." But what is his wife doing NOW? Is she living in her own house? If so, let her sell it, and put that money into the Florida house under the condition she be placed on the deed.

Dr. Laura said it is in his power whether it works out or not. That is only true as long as his wife is willing. His power is entirely reliant on his wife's agreement. He could be the best husband in the world, and she could still kick him out and take it all, and she might if she simply bumps her head and decides she wants sole control over the house and family.

Yes, a man is supposed to provide and protect, but that only works if a woman keeps her end of the deal. The law can force a man to keep his end of the deal. It can’t force a woman to keep her end of the deal.

Devon WILL be continuing to provide for her (where has she been living for the last five years if he hasn't?) as long as she stays with him. If HE decides to leave, he's going to be held to alimony and child support anyway. She doesn't need to be on the deed. The laws are stacked against men/earners. Of course, I (and Dr. Laura) would have told him not to get into this situation five years ago in the first place.

Don't get yourself into a situation like this.

I don't think the guy should put his wife on the deed, but in all fairness, Dr. Laura is trying to keep that family together, and although I was bothered by how this call went, almost everything Dr. Laura does on her show is GOOD STUFF and I love listening.

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