Hello, I would like to share my story and / or situation in regard to divorce and the current laws that depict how this life changing event can either devastate or provide a necessary means to an end. The laws that dictate the terms of this event before August of 2016 were truly antiquated for the current times in which we live. A lot of social norms and belief systems have changed dramatically in regards to divorce but not it’s laws. We as a people have either been in this situation and or know someone that has been affected by this in one way or another and has become an acceptable part of the social structure in which we all are a part. We need to provide fair and definitive laws to both parties involved. In all parts of any law we could arguably find loop holes and or exploit the gray side of the law to tip the scales even though it might not be ethical, but provides a sense of entitlement to one party or the other. My story begins in 2012 upon the time my divorce was filed and still waiting for an end. We were married for 23 years and had no children during the course of the marriage. Over the course of the marriage I provided an income with military service and civilian jobs at what can be termed at most a modest living and she worked sporadically the entirety of the marriage. She developed some health problems and I felt obligated to my conscience to support her even though the marriage was emotionally over. When her medical condition was brought to an end and she felt she had no obligation to support the marriage in any way shape or form I filed for divorce. When I filed for divorce, it like so many others that you may have experienced or heard about became a full blown depicted television drama that included deceit, greed, vindictive behavior, harassment, unknown debt, speculated adultery, vicious slander, habitual gambling and stress that required medical intervention. My perception of marriage and relationships as a whole has dramatically changed forever! The combined cost to both parties was 6 figures due to extravagant demands, various appearances in court, mediation and attorney communications during the course of a three-year time span at which point was issued my divorce decree. The decree issued life time support, separation of assets and debt just as in so many divorces to this date. I have since moved out of state to be closer to my family and have been fulfilling my court ordered obligations even though I am walking the razors edge financially trying to start my life over. I have become involved in a relationship and cannot proceed to the next level in fear of being brought back to court and ordered to pay more spousal maintenance due to the law is more available income. She on the other hand has been in a relationship since 2012 and is exploiting the loop hole of cohabitation with no intention of getting married because the support will discontinue. After the new law was instituted regarding cohabitation was put into effect, I filed a motion to either terminate and or reduce my maintenance and I am awaiting a decision from the court in December on the basis of the Cohabitation law that was just passed. In her rebuttal to my motion she expresses that she doesn’t consider a 4-year relationship to be considered a long term relationship and extensively expressed that more support is needed and her cohabitee is currently unemployed. During the motion hearing the judge said he did not care for the new law because in his words, “Has no teeth and institute’s pure speculation”. In that statement I have contemplated what a long term relationship is in some kind of time frame. There is no definitive answer, as it will be different for everyone. With that taken into account you have to draw a line in the sand somewhere and have an understanding or legal definition of relationships and what would be considered as same as marriage so this blatant disregard for acknowledgement can be put into a conceivable consideration for a fair and adequate decision to be reached for both parties concerned. This issue among others in the divorce law can’t be put into a one situation fits all category. I fully understand this, but the matter of entitlement needs change with the current social structure of today not that of years past.
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