Should the answer be an overhauling of divorce laws?
No automatic halving of assets upon divorce.
What you brought with you to the marriage, what you contributed during the marriage - that is considered during a divorce.
In most states, only the assists accumulated during the divorce are considered marital assets. So only those get split. Assets that a person has prior to marriage and those that a person inherits are sole property and not split if there is a divorce.
If one partner came with $20,000 and the other partner $200,000, and their earnings during the marriage stay at roughly those ratios; then if they part, the $20,000 person leaves with 10%; not 50%. [Simplistic example to make a point.]
The above assumes that the $20K and $200K is the only assets they ever have and that no additional assets are ever accumulated during the marriage. PlusÖ. That 20K and 200K is separate property. Neither has any claim whatsoever to the otherís money.
In this arrangement, what happens if the person coming into the marriage ends up disabled? If they then end up dependent on the person with lower income, then how do you divide thing if we assume that money is the only thing that counts in marriage? Is that fair to the lower income person who then ends up not only financially supporting both of them but also becomes the care taker of the other?
Marriage is supposed to give a buffer for situations like this, and child bearing and child care. Life can get messy.
If we were to make the financial aspects of marriage like your suggestion, then any women who was a SHAM with the agreement of their husband would be an absolute fool to be a SAHM. It would mean that the only thing that is valued is money.
Hereís the way it works right now.
Person A comes into the marriage with $20,000 and person B with $200,000. During the marriage, they accumulated $100,000 in marital assets. And per B inherited $30,000 during the divorce.
During a divorce:
Person A has sole property of $20,000 that they brought into the marriage and the $30,000 that they inherited. So person A keeps their sole property of $50,000
Person B has the sole property of $200,000. So person B keeps their own $200,000.
And person A & B split the $100,000 of marital assets 50/50.
That seems like a fair distribution.
The higher earner can choose, if they want, to give more. But it is not required.
Marriage is a financial arrangement as much as anything else. Itís very hard to measure how much one person contributes to the marital union because not all contribution is financial. IMO, marriage laws in community property states are just fine. And if a couple wants to tweak them they can with a pre and/or post nup. Or they can just live together.
Marriage laws should be left a they are for those who find value in the way marriage is legally structured. And there is a LOT of value in it. People who marry and stay marriage are better off financially, their children do much better in all aspects of life. So leave it alone.
And those who want to can tweak it.
Childcare would be figured in at a reasonable amount, determined by the courts.
By childcare, do you mean child support? Child support is not only for child care.
I know it seems like a giant reform to make; but there is so much ill-feeling in our society about getting taken financially in the aftermath of a divorce; that it seems we need to do something.???
There are things that are changing. But I donít think that your suggestion above is a good one at all.
One thing that I think really causes problems is that most people have no idea what the marriage laws actually are. They just marry and think its all unicorns and fairytales. Thing like what the law actually is, financial planning, etc. should be taught in high school.
And people need to be realistic. If a man wants a wife who is a SAHM, then he has to realize that he is making a financial commitment to support her and the children. If he does not want that obligation, then donít ask a woman to be a SAHM. And women have to realize that at any time they can be put in a situation where they have to support themselves, their husband and their children (or some combination of that). (Of course the genders can be swapped.)