Sunday, October 29, 2006

M is for 'More Equal'

The Onion, the comedic revision of the news, inadvertantly sounded a true note this past week when they published "DNA Evidence Frees Man after 15 Years Of Marriage". For men in the system, the humor is bitter. Without irony, men are informed that in the courts there is equal representation, and equal rights, and then the judge turns to the woman's attorney and says 'the burden of proof is on the defendant [he means the man] in these cases'. I have heard it with my own ears.

Women posters on this very blog have indicated that my experience may not be everyone's, but this is not about experience - it is about the law - and the law is clear:

Child support and Alimony are treated as judgements - being good against property and income to 65% of your income stream - without trial or hearing. What that means is your assets and your income will be siezed.

Child support and Alimony disputes do not appear in front of a jury - you get one biased judge.

Legal fees are almost always paid by the man by tradition - the law says that 'ability to pay' is used to help determine who pays - and this would by itself force the man to pay, but the fact is that if you are indigent (Been There!) they still heap the fees on you. So guess what, it is ALWAYS worth a woman's while to take men to court, irregardless of the facts.

And of course, there is no court appointed representation for you when the court has reduced you to penury. You stand alone, possibly still paying your ex's legal fees.

Oh, and bankruptcy does not apply to support and alimony payments.

And as we noted above, the burden of proof falls on the 'defendant'. That means that you will be lucky to be able to prove your ex's income, while she gets to drag all of the last couple year's bank statements out of you, and go over your every expense. Once the court hearing is over, if you managed to retain any money in any account, she will get the sherriff to attach to it.

But consider, why did the judge say 'the burden of proof falls on the defendant?' Surely he meant 'the burden of proof falls on the person claiming changed circumstances', or some similar thing. But the fact is, under the conditions of our legal system, a man would almost never show up in court against a woman: You are considered guilty before hearing (not trial), and you get to pay her fees, and you bear the burden of proof. A man stands no chance in this court - and would never choose to pead a case in this kangaroo court.

So the judge said just right - the burden of proof falls to the defendant, who is always a man.

But back to The Onion article - in which a man was forced to play husband for years until DNA evidence freed him. If you haven't seen it, compare it with the real life case of Steve Barreras recently publicized by Wendy McElroy at Hate Male Post. Steve is 'a corrections officer in law enforcement' - you would think if anyone could get a fair shake it would be him. Right? In 1999 he got divorced, and his ex quickly claimed that she had had a child by him, and demanded and got support. Steve would like, reasonably, to see the kid. But the ex doesn't want him to. Turns out she made up the kid. HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT TOOK FOR HIM TO PROVE THE KID DIDN'T EXIST? It took till the end of 2004. Over four years of slavery for a child who didn't exist, because the burden of proof is... wait for it... The Man's. Oh, and there is a falsified DNA test involved too, and a kidnapping... Read the article, it is a priceless example of the way the system works - and most of us probably wouldn't get the kind of consideration that Steve got, as an officer.

My best to you in your struggles.


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