Lots of stuff in the news this week regarding divorce settlements and what to do with men who don’t pay their maintenance. Personally I think the man who owns one of the largest green companies and who is worth over £100 million should have simply handed over 1% of his wealth to buy his ex wife a house. Now he will have to pay her more and even though they were divorced years ago, I don’t think it’s fair for him to abandon her and his son – who I note he paid no maintenance for whilst he was living the high life.
In addition, I think husbands who refuse to pay divorce settlements should indeed be hunted down. Sanctions have been put in place by the law commission which proposes legal reforms to ministers. Making husbands pay would save millions of pounds in welfare because single-parent families created by divorce often have to rely on benefits. It is mostly the husband who is the wealthier former spouse, but not always. At the moment prison is the only option – which is no good for the children and expensive for the state to implement – and frankly a ridiculous idea all round. There should be other alternatives such as the removal of the passport – not sure about curfews – what about deduction of the money at source?
The very difficult thing is that finances can be easily hidden and for abandoned women, the prospect of a lengthy and expensive court case and the hiring of a forensic accountant is well nigh impossible.
Divorcing is painful at the best of times, but they current system for dividing up the assets is hopeless. For women who find themselves in the unenviable position of being virtually unemployable in their late 40’s after years of child rearing, whilst their partner forges up the career ladder and then leaves them high and dry, it is deeply unfair. That is not to say that I don’t think women can’t go out to work again, of course they can, but if their lives have been centred around the children then perhaps there should be more financial acknowledgement of that.
Why don’t we introduce a system whereby the women’s commitment to bringing up the children is financially recognised?
Lets work it out shall we? Based on some research information I received today women do 6,570 days of continuous duty as a mother, generally in addition to doing a job – so even if they are not stay-at-home-mums, the commitment is huge:-
547 days of negotiating over haircuts and TV time
2,340 of saying “have you done your homework
Football pitcch sized area of bedroom floor cleared and vacuumed
Cleaning the equivalent of Buckingham Palace 10 times over
6,500 pairs of socks washed
5,290 beds made
According to a YouGov Poll 80% of women with children under the age of 18 are responsible of the majority of the childcare. Looking after a baby for 7 days a week is in breach of Article 5 which specifies that “per each 7 day period every worker is entitled to a minimum uninterrupted rest period of 24 hours plus the 11 hours daily rest referred to in Article 3” All this work often goes completely unrewarded.
So lets just say that if you are a SAHM with young children and you weren’t going to add costs for being a driver, a chef, a cleaner and a carer, let alone for sexual services offered to your partner – even if you accepted the minimum wage for the mere basics over 18 years that would come to:-
£6.50 x 157,248 hours = £1,022,112
If we all got paid that, or negotiated a pro-rata sum depending on whether you go back to work, or your partner becomes the stay at home dad or you split up before your child is 18 you would still get a reasonable return on your investment.
It would save all the hassle of the courts, the public humiliation of who is more deserving, the private agony of how you are going to survive on a significantly lower income than you had been used to and ALSO it would make things a lot more simple and fair when you split up.
It’s something we need to instil in our children – perhaps arrange a contract. It will be very sad if the stay at home mother becomes entirely obsolete and all our children are looked after by strangers. Would we be even more disconnected than we already are?