When is having sex with the boss a good idea? (Melinda and MacKenzie)

We are informed that sex between a high-income senior worker at a company and a lower-income junior worker is bad. Yet MacKenzie Scott, then a secretary (“administrative assistant”) at D.E. Shaw, turned sex with Jeff Bezos, a vice-president at the firm, into a multi-$billion fortune. And recently we’ve learned that Melinda Gates, who had sex with the founder/CEO at her employer (Microsoft), will soon join the ranks of strong independent female billionaires. Nobody is saying that it was a mistake for these women to have sex with their respective bosses. Nor is anyone criticizing the bosses for having sex with subordinates and then paying them $billions.

(What if the boss is already married and only “high income” rather than rich? Sex with the boss can still be far more lucrative than continuing to work, depending on the state (see Real World Divorce for each state’s child support formula and this calculation of how much better Ellen Pao would have done by having sex with her boss compared to suing Kleiner Perkins).)

How are people supposed to distinguish between bad-sex-at-the-office and good-sex-at-the-office?

An immigrant friend has been writing about Melinda Gates pulling the ripcord. A sampling:

[14-year-old] read Bill Gates’ divorce tweet and reacted: I so hate it how Americans always describe these things in this annoying sugary way: “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple” or “we’re no longer a perfect match.” A Russian woman would have said directly: “He got boring” or “He is crazy, I don’t want to deal with him anymore” or “he is running out of money” or “screw him, I am out of here.” In fact, I don’t think any European would talk like Americans do. They wouldn’t probably even say anything because who cares?

I am anticipating a firehose of stories: “Melinda Gates is the real founder of Microsoft, while Bill with the rest of the white men took all the credit”, “Melinda breaks the next layer of the glass ceiling in philanthropy”, “The rising tide of female billionaires: here is how divorce can empower you too”.

From a U.S.-born friend:

So I heard Bill Gates is having a massive parasite removed. The surgical process should cost about 65 billion dollars.

The actual complaint for divorce (“petition” in Washington State) filed by Melinda Gates:

Related:

Full post, including comments

The haters who said that polygamy would follow same-sex marriage

Back when same-sex marriage was the subject of referenda (eventually rendered irrelevant by the Supreme Court), the haters said that same-sex marriage was the camel nose under the tent for polygamy. This was an outrageous calumny. See “Polygamy Is Not Next” (TIME, 2015), for example and “No, Polygamy Isn’t the Next Gay Marriage” (Politico, 2015): “Opposing the legalization of plural marriage should not be my burden, because gay marriage and polygamy are opposites, not equivalents.”

From CNN, six years later: “Three dads, a baby and the legal battle to get their names added to a birth certificate”:

This isn’t news, actually, but we’re just hearing about it now…

The judge ruled in their favor before their daughter Piper was born in 2017. Jenkins believes they are the first polyamorous family in California, and possibly the country, to be named as the legal parents of a child.

The journalists want us to know how much better this is than when there are two squabbling opposite-sex parents:

The dads and their children share a bustling house with two Goldendoodles named Otis and Hazel.

“We’ve had zero negative feedback from coworkers and friends. Everyone seems to just be delighted about the arrangement and that’s because they know us,” Jenkins says. “I think some people will look at this and say like, ‘Oh, this is exotic. It’s going to harm the child.’ But people who know us know that we have been taking care of these kids as best as we possibly can.”

That however hopeless things may seem as a young gay man struggling to fit in, the world is changing. And that he’ll someday find more love under one roof than he ever imagined.

(If two dads are good, maybe three are better! See The happiest children in Spain live with two daddies,)

From my inbox, “How Polyamorists and Polygamists Are Challenging Family Norms” (New Yorker): “Campaigns for legal recognition may soon make multiple-partner marriages as unremarkable as same-sex marriages.

Some excerpts:

The next year, in an online forum, they saw a post from a woman in her early thirties named Julie Halcomb that said, “I’m a single mom, I’ve got a two-year-old daughter, and I’d like to learn more.” Rich wrote, “If you want to know more, ask my wives.” Angela had opposed adding a third wife, but when she got off her first call with Julie she said, “O.K., when is she moving in?” Julie visited, mostly to make sure that the kids would get along, and joined the household permanently a week later.

Their living arrangements attracted other unwelcome attention. Neighbors called the police, and Child Protective Services interviewed the children. Since there was only one marriage certificate, the police couldn’t file bigamy charges. “They said, ‘We don’t like it, but there’s nothing we can do,’ ” Julie recalled. “But we had them at our door constantly. One of the kids would have an accident at school—we’d have them there again. They were constantly trying to find signs of abuse.”

At the family’s largest, Rich had four wives, but when I met him, a couple of years ago, he and Angela were divorcing, and another woman, April, had come and gone. Rich, Brandy, and Julie were living with their kids—six, including Rich’s and Julie’s from earlier relationships—and saw Angela’s two every other weekend.

The Austins would like one day to enjoy the legal benefits that married couples take for granted. Brandy and Julie take heart from the success of the gay-marriage movement. “I’ve got a wedding invitation on the way from a friend who’s transitioning from female to male,” Julie said. “I’ve got classmates that came out almost twenty years ago. They’ve been lucky enough to get married. I wish people would be as accepting with us as we try to be of everyone else.”

We already have functional polygamy in the U.S. An American doesn’t need to settle for the highest-earning partner whom he/she/ze/they can find for a long-term marriage. He/she/ze/they can have sex once with an already-married high-income defendant and earn more via child support (see Hunter Biden’s plaintiff) than by getting married to a mediocre earner and enduring his/her/zer/their presence in the apartment 24/7. Soon we can have de jure polygamy?

Full post, including comments

Do all of the Biden grandchildren get to come to the White House?

Canceled biologist James Watson‘s DNA discoveries enabled the Arkansas Family Court (unlimited child support available; a better place to sue than D.C.) to determine that President Biden has a grandchild yielding substantial cash for a retired stripper plaintiff (Daily Mail).

The plaintiff mom is getting cash from the Biden family purportedly for the child’s benefit. Will the cash cow child get some direct benefit by going to visit Grandpa Biden in the White House? That would be some awesome TV: the President of the U.S., his grandchild, the former stripper, maybe Hunter Biden (the child should also get to see the father, right?), and Hunter Biden’s wife.

Snapshot from 2013, before the $64 million fence was built.

Full post, including comments

As American as Apple Pie: child support litigation regarding children age 34, 39, and 42

An all-American story from MarketWatch:

My children’s father recently pledged to pay $10,000 of $20,677 in child-support arrears. … he said divide it between our three adult children. Our adult children are 42, 39, and 34 years old. … If I actually receive these funds as arrears, I plan on giving about half to my children and keeping the rest

The advice columnist:

You obviously kept on the case to ensure the father of your children made recompense, and I applaud you for never giving up on that. … Children only need one good parent to love and support them, and I am sure they have benefited from having you.

Splitting the support 50/50 is generous, perhaps more than generous, even if you were not still helping out your children. This money is designed to compensate YOU. The fact that your ex does not want the money to go to you suggests that he is too big for his breeches, even after all these years. This is YOUR money. … You clearly made many sacrifices in your life to raise three children. YOU deserve every last red cent.

The above dispute was under Texas family law.

Note that the situation can be similar in the utopia to our north:

Canada’s child support system seems to sow discord among Canadians. We interviewed a professor at one of Canada’s top universities. She said that it irked her that her partner paid four times as much in child support to his ex-wife as she was paid for full-time employment as a PhD researcher and teacher. We interviewed a man in his 20s who said that the system via which adult child support was paid to a parent has caused friction between himself and his mother. “I was graduated from college, working, and living in my own apartment,” he recalled. “She was getting $750 per month in child support from my dad for me. I would ask her why it shouldn’t be paid to me.” What was she doing with the money? “She retired from her job in the software industry and was doing a lot of international vacation travel.”

But I am not sure that the Canadians can keep the fight going when the “child” is 42!

Full post, including comments

Frontiers of Canadian divorce litigation: alimony without a marriage, children, or shared residence

“Unmarried Ontario couple had no children and no house but man must still pay support, appeal court rules” (National Post):

Under Ontario law, an unmarried couple are considered common-law spouses if they have cohabited — lived together in a conjugal relationship — continuously for at least three years. But that doesn’t necessarily mean living in the same home, the court found.

“Lack of a shared residence is not determinative of the issue of cohabitation,” the Appeal Court said. “There are many cases in which courts have found cohabitation where the parties stayed together only intermittently.”

The decision comes in the case of Lisa Climans and Michael Latner, both of Toronto, who began a romantic relationship after meeting in October 2001. At the time, she was 38 and separated with two children, court records show. He was 46 and divorced with three children.

Although they maintained their separate homes, Latner and Climans behaved as a couple both privately and publicly. They vacationed together. He gave her a 7.5-carat diamond ring and other jewelry that she wore. She quit her job and would regularly sleep at his house. They travelled together and talked about living together.

Latner proposed several times and Climans accepted. He often referred to her by his last name. However, he insisted she sign a marriage contract and came up with several drafts. She refused.

Throughout their relationship, the two kept separate bank accounts and never owned property in common. Nevertheless, Latner gave Climans thousands of dollars every month, a credit card, paid off her mortgage and showered her with expensive gifts. He provided her and her children with a “lavish lifestyle,” the court found.

When their 14-year relationship finally broke down in May 2015, Climans asked the courts to recognize her as Latner’s spouse and order him to pay her support. He argued she had been a travel companion and girlfriend, nothing more. As such, he said, they were never legally spouses and he owed no support. An eight-day trial ensued.

In her decision in February 2019, Superior Court Justice Sharon Shore sided with Climans. She ruled they were in fact long-time spouses, finding that despite their separate home, they lived under one roof at Latner’s cottage for part of the summer, and during winter vacations in Florida. Shore ordered him to pay her $53,077 monthly indefinitely. Latner appealed.

The Appeal Court did find Shore had made an error in deciding how long Latner would have to pay Climans support based on when they first began cohabiting. While Shore had found that to be almost from the get-go, the higher court said it wasn’t earlier than their first stay together at his cottage, meaning they didn’t reach the threshold for indefinite payments.

Instead, it ordered him to pay her support for 10 years.

So, the gal who refused to sign the prenuptial agreement will end up with CAD$6,369,240 (about $5 million U.S.). Canadians who identify as “women” and who work full-time full-year earn about CAD$52,500 per year (statcan). Thus, for her work as a travel companion, jewelry recipient, and (presumably) sex partner, Lisa Climans will receive, in addition to gifts already banked, 121 years of salary at the average wage paid to a Canadian identifying as a “woman” who endures the drudgery of 40 hours per week in the labor force.

In the Distillery District of Toronto… Love (possibly convertible into cash).

What was the old/conventional understanding of the law? From a group of divorce, custody, and child support litigators in Ontario:

In Ontario, Canada, two people are considered common law partners if they have been continuously living together in a conjugal relationship for at least three years. If they have a child together by birth or adoption, then they only need to have been living together for one year.

In Canada, a “conjugal relationship” is more than just a sexual relationship. A “conjugal relationship” in Canada is one in which two people share a home, finances, friend groups, and an emotional connection on top of having a sexual relationship.

Related:

Full post, including comments

COVID-19 kills courthouse fun

“Kentucky ‘frat house’ judge kicked off the bench” (New York Post, August 31) is an article that may cause some future readers to wonder how it was ever possible that humans mixed at such close quarters in our legal system, now mostly moved to Zoom (for the entertainment of the Chinese?).

From the article:

A Kentucky judge accused of using sex and booze to turn her courtroom into a virtual frat house was kicked off the bench by a judicial panel on Monday.

A five-member judicial commission voted unanimously to remove Kenton County Family Court Judge Dawn Gentry, who was suspended with pay in December pending a misconduct probe, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

Gentry, 39, was accused of creating a rowdy atmosphere at the courthouse, hiring her boyfriend and bandmate, allowing drinking during work hours, and using sex, coercion, and retaliation against lawyers and court employees who didn’t back her political campaigns, the outlet said.

Courthouse custodians, clerks, and other staffers testified to finding empty liquor bottles inside the chambers, and would also hear singing and guitar playing coming from behind the door.

One attorney, Katherine Schulz, told the panel that Gentry kissed her in a courthouse bathroom and also propositioned her for a threesome, which the lawyer said she turned down.

Will these kinds of activities ever be possible again in our age of shutdown and masks?

Related:

  • Kentucky family law (child support profits capped at around $15,000/year, even for plaintiffs who had sex with a billionaire)
Full post, including comments

Anniversary celebration on Facebook

A recent Facebook post:

(Text: “15 years ago today my then-wife demanded a divorce. I think it shocked her when I walked out of that house a few minutes later, never looking back. Much was lost in that moment. Much was gained.”)

Representative comment:

We’re all here to learn! I know you’ve learned a lot and have had another chance to be a wonderful husband and father!

I have had a chance to talk to this guy in real life a bit. He is unaware of whether the wife-turned-plaintiff is dead or alive. He also hadn’t spoken with a child from that marriage for many years and was unaware as to whether the child, who would have been an adult at that point, was dead or alive. (The former life was in a different state.)

When we interviewed people for Real World Divorce, the defendants who moved to different states or countries and rebooted as though the marriage had never occurred did seem to have recovered the best from being attacked in family court. But I think this is an extreme example of being “present” as the Buddhists would say.

Full post, including comments

File under Did Not Waste Any Time: divorce lawsuit in Minneapolis police murder case

From the Daily Mail:

Beauty queen wife of Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin files for DIVORCE on same day he is arrested and charged with George Floyd’s murder and says she is ‘devastated’ for the dead man’s family

As part of a press push for her bid for beauty contest Mrs. Minnesota America 2018, Kellie raved about Derek in an interview from 2018, telling the Pioneer Press: ‘Under all that uniform, he’s just a softie.’

She also told the outlet: ‘He’s such a gentleman. He still opens the door for me, still puts my coat on for me. After my divorce, I had a list of must-haves if I were ever to be in a relationship, and he fit all of them.’

Kellie told the paper she fled Laos with her family as a child and came to America as a refugee.

A photo of the Minnesota Family Court frequent flyer:

Kellie Chauvin (pictured), a former Mrs. Minnesota winner, has filed for divorce from her husband, Derek Chauvin, the same day he was charged with George Floyd's murder

I wonder if this photo will make it into the Wikipedia page for carpe diem.

Related:

Full post, including comments

Coronatinder

A friend visiting Hawaii found this on his phone on March 20:

Looks as though her family’s potential exposure to coronavirus is higher than might be expected by the husband/wife/whatever else she might be married to.

Time for an emergency order to shut down all dating/hookup sites? Even with “shelter in place” orders, people on their way to meet new friends can simply say “I was headed to the grocery store,” right?

[Let’s assume that the spouse is a “husband.” What if the man wants to cut his coronarisk? If he’s typically at work earning to support the family while the wife is with her new friends, suing this “mom with a chunky mom bod” will be pretty costly under Hawaii family law.]

Related:

Full post, including comments

Marriage Story movie

Marriage Story is a movie on Netflix that centers on a divorce lawsuit.

Warning: *** spoilers ***

As in about 50 percent of American marriages (source), the wife loses interest in having sex with the husband. After sleeping on the couch for about a year the guy eventually has sex with a single co-worker subordinate (the sequel will be #MeToo Story?). The wife finds out by getting into his email. Combining the outrage regarding the infidelity with her lack of interest in being in New York or with the father of her child, she decides to move to Los Angeles with their son and pursue a divorce.

The wife agrees to mediate, but a producer in LA tells her about the big wins she had in court with the litigator to whom she refers the wife. The wife secretly meets with the litigator and initially expresses reservations about the likely negative effects on her son of cutting off the child’s access to his father. The litigator urges her to think “I want something better for myself.” The wife quickly comes around to the idea of “adult plaintiff first” and surprises the husband, who still expects a cooperative mediated process, with a Petition (what in other states would be a Complaint; see this chapter on California family law). As often happens in real life, the surprise puts the husband on his back foot and he is never able to recover.

At this point in the movie we have a divorce plaintiff with one child played by a divorce plaintiff with one child (see “Scarlett Johansson Files for Divorce From Romain Dauriac”: “Scarlett Johansson’s husband was ‘shocked’ by the star’s divorce filing and sees the move as a ‘pre-emptive strike’ in a battle over custody of the couple’s toddler daughter, his lawyer said.”)

How will viewers be educated about important LGBTQIA+ issues if the movie is about a divorce lawsuit between two cisgender heterosexuals? Simple: Have everyone else be part of or touched by the LGBTQIA+ community. The plaintiff’s 64-year-old mother says that she has “a dead gay husband”. Apropos of nothing, a grip on the mom’s TV show says that he was “raised by two mothers.” An actor in the defendant’s theater company advises him to adapt to the departure of the wife by having sex with a lot of women… and men.

If the movie suggests that divorce litigation, as opposed to mediation, is caused by women hungry for big victories, it patiently explains, through the seasoned litigator (Laura Dern, who was herself a divorce, primary custody, child support, and alimony plaintiff in 2012), that actual divorce is caused by men “getting sick of” wives once they become moms. (Contrary to the statistics that, at least when it comes to who stops agreeing to sex and who initiates divorce, it is wives who get sick of husbands.)

One aspect of the movie that seems unrealistic is how fond the litigants are of each other, constantly hugging and pecking with kisses. The plaintiff wife has launched the family into a process that will consume 100 percent of everything that they’ve earned together and the defendant husband is as fond of her as ever. On the other hand, the legal fees portrayed are realistic: $950/hr for a divorce litigator partner and $400/hr for an associate; $450/hr for a old solo practitioner (who informs the defendant that he’ll end up being stuck with the bill for the wife’s superstar litigator and explains that “You’re [defending the custody lawsuit] because you love your kid. And in doing so, you’re draining money from your kid’s education.”).

Another realistic touch is that the father, once his lawyer tells him that he is almost guaranteed to lose, seeks a different lawyer. This is consistent with the near-universal loss aversion cognitive deficit described in Thinking, Fast and Slow (Kahneman), in a chapter on why lawsuits aren’t more frequently settled when the parties are pretty sure how it is likely to turn out.

The wife pursues a conventional-for-plaintiffs real-life strategy of conflicting out all of the high quality litigators she can find in the Los Angeles region by consulting with them briefly, thus denying her defendant the opportunity to use any of them. She meets with at least 11 law firms with her young son in tow, plus an unspecified additional number without him. The husband is playing checkers while the wife is playing chess. He expresses his faith in her character and says that he knows he wouldn’t have done something like this on purpose. The receptionist who has to turn down his business at a law firm due to a failed conflict check and tells him about this strategy says “You’d be surprised.”

The Mother’s California litigator tells her client that mothers are held to a higher standard than fathers and that the mother needs to be worried about losing custody if she admits to drinking a few glasses of wine. If true, the average California father must be a pretty sorry example since it seems that nearly all of them end up losing custody lawsuits (94 percent of the people in California collecting child support are women).

As seen in the movie Divorce Corp., a custody evaluator shows up to observe the dad and soon-to-be-ex-son in his crummy mostly bare rental apartment. As with the litigators, she delivers a convincing performance as the kind of person who makes money off children and spouses who want to have sex with new friends. The mother gets top-quality coaching from her attorneys on how to interact with the evaluator while the father is winging it.

Double spoiler alert: By the end of the movie, the father has suffered a complete defeat on every issue that was important to him. The boy will have access to the father 45 percent of the time, but only when the father is in Los Angeles (so if he were able to show up to LA for, e.g., 20 percent of the year, the son would see the father about 9 percent of the year). Since the mother, having moved into TV, is on track to make more money than the father, the parties supposedly settle without her being paid. (But if she is taking care of the child most of the time, it is tough to believe that a judge would approve the settlement without her getting a child support revenue steram.) The father had loved living in Brooklyn and walking around New York City. He ends up impoverished and spending a lot of time driving around Los Angeles in a crummy compact car. He is so compromised as a human being compared to what he used to be that he is essentially a different person than the father that the boy once had.

The mother ends up with a great career, a boyfriend who is younger and more cheerful than the discarded MacArthur Genius director, and a fabulous West Hollywood house.

The movie is not set in Massachusetts, but it suggests that “yes” is the answer to “Men in Massachusetts should simply not show up to defend restraining orders, divorces, and other family law matters?” (California is also a winner-take-all state in which courts like to find a “primary parent” to anoint as the winner.) In the middle of the movie the mother’s attorney threatens the father with a default judgment if he doesn’t pause the theater work that he loves in New York, fly out to Los Angeles, hire a lawyer, and respond to the mother’s petition (complaint).

But custody decisions aren’t final. The father had to go out to LA to see the child anyway. He could have moved out there after losing the divorce lawsuit by default and just asked the court to set a new parenting time plan based on the new circumstances of him being available in LA. On the financial side, the mother couldn’t have hoped to take away from the father any more via a default judgment than she and the lawyers on both sides took away via litigation. He could have stayed in New York, concentrated on his work and friends, and seen his son when convenient. By focusing on defending the lawsuit, he transformed his life into concentrating on negative relationships with (a) his plaintiff, (b) the lawyers on both sides who were bleeding out all of both sides’ assets, (c) the custody evaluator, (d) economy airline seats, etc.

The research psychologists say that children are better off in states such as Arizona, Nevada, et al. with 50/50 shared parenting rules, but the movie also shows that fathers and children are better off in countries, e.g., Switzerland, that have simple “mom wins” rules. Instead of spending the children’s college fund and years of time trying to prevent the mom from winning “primary parent” status (and almost inevitably failing in this endeavor), the father who gets sued in these countries can pay a few $thousand in fees and see if the mother wants any assistance with child-rearing beyond the conventional one weekend/month and 3-4 weeks of summer holiday.

Related:

Full post, including comments