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.

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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.]

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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.

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Self-partnered versus Cat-partnered

A (female-identifying) reporter on Facebook:

Emma Watson says she doesn’t like the term single and prefers “self partnering.” this sounds empowering to me–how does it strike you? Let me know for a possible [newspaper] article?

(Under California family law, there are only a handful of people in the world whom the high-income, high-wealth Ms. Watson could marry and not expose herself to alimony and child support lawsuits. See “Burning Man: Attitudes toward marriage and children”:

We had a lot of high-income women in our camp. All recognized that they could be targeted and potentially become the loser under California’s winner-take-all system. A medical professional said “There is no way that I’m going to pay to support a guy. It was bad enough the last time that I lived with a boyfriend and I had to pick up his socks all the time and do his laundry. Thank God I didn’t have to support him financially.” A finance executive said “I worked my ass off for 17 years for what I have. I am not going to risk losing it.”

If Emma Watson gets sued by a husband in her native England, she could lose half of her accumulated fortune after one or two years of marriage (prenuptial agreements are not enforced by the courts there).)

I’m not sure why at least some Americans who identify as women think that “self-partnered” is more “empowered” than simply “single,” but I wonder if a person with a lot of cats could be considered “cat-partnered”.

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Kate Atkinson on modern romance and marriage

Indulging in a mystery for this cruise… From Big Sky by Kate Atkinson:

She was good at what she did—acrylics, gels, shellac, nail art—and was proud of the attention she gave to her job, even if trade was sparse. It was the first thing she’d ever done that didn’t involve selling her body in one way or another. Marriage to Tommy was a financial transaction too, of course, but to Crystal’s way of thinking, you could be lap dancing for the fat sweaty patron of a so-called gentlemen’s club or you could be greeting Tommy Holroyd with a peck on the cheek and hanging his jacket up before laying his dinner before him. It was all part of the same spectrum as far as Crystal was concerned, but she knew which end of it she preferred. And, to quote Tina Turner, what does love have to do with it? Fig all, that was what. There was no shame in marrying for money—money meant security. Women had been doing it since time began. You saw it on all the nature programs on TV—build me the best nest, do the most impressive dance for me, bring me shells and shiny things. And Tommy was more than happy with the arrangement—she cooked for him, she had sex with him, she kept house for him. And in return she woke up every morning and felt one step further away from her old self. History, in Crystal’s opinion, was something that was best left behind where it belonged.

Modern physical appearance?

Crystal was hovering around thirty-nine years old and it took a lot of work to stay in this holding pattern. She was a construction, made from artificial materials—the acrylic nails, the silicone breasts, the polymer eyelashes. A continually renewed fake tan and a hairpiece fixed into her bleached-blond hair completed the synthetic that was Crystal.

A man whose daughter has just finished high school…

He was grinding toward fifty and for the last three months he had been living in a one-bedroom flat behind a fish-and-chip shop, ever since Wendy turned to him one morning over his breakfast muesli—he’d been on a short-lived health kick—and said, “Enough’s enough, don’t you think, Vince?,” leaving him slack-mouthed with astonishment over his Tesco Finest Berry and Cherry. Ashley had just set off on her gap year, backpacking around Southeast Asia with her surfer boyfriend. As far as Vince could tell, “gap year” meant the lull between him funding her expensive private school and funding her expensive university, a remission that was nonetheless still costing him her airfares and a monthly allowance.

As soon as Ashley had fledged, on an Emirates flight to Hanoi, Wendy reported to Vince that their marriage was dead. Its corpse wasn’t even cold before she was internet dating like a rabbit on speed, leaving him to dine off fish and chips most nights and wonder where it all went wrong. (Tenerife, three years ago, apparently.) “I got you some cardboard boxes from Costcutter to put your stuff in,” she said as he stared uncomprehendingly at her. “Don’t forget to clear out your dirty clothes from the basket in the utility room. I’m not doing any more laundry for you, Vince. Twenty-one years a slave. It’s enough.” This, then, was the return on sacrifice. You worked all the hours God gave, driving hundreds of miles a week in your company car, hardly any time for yourself, so your daughter could take endless selfies in Angkor Wat or wherever and your wife could report that for the last year she had been sneaking around with a local café owner who was also one of the lifeboat crew, which seemed to sanction the liaison in her eyes. (“Craig risks his life every time he goes out on a shout. Do you, Vince?” Yes, in his own way.) It clipped at your soul, clip, clip, clip.

He had trudged through his life for his wife and daughter, more heroically than they could imagine, and this was the thanks he received. Couldn’t be a coincidence that “trudge” rhymed with “drudge.” He had presumed that there was a goal to be reached at the end of all the trudging, but it turned out that there was nothing—just more trudging.

Despite being 67, Atkinson is familiar with Internet app culture:

Craig, the lifeboat man, had been jettisoned apparently in favor of the smorgasbord of Tinder.

The book is consistent with the Real World Divorce section on England:

“If only I’d listened to my poor mother,” Wendy said as she itemized the belongings he was allowed to take with him. Wendy who was getting so much money in the settlement that Vince barely had enough left for his golf-club fees. “Best I can do, Vince,” Steve Mellors said, shaking his head sadly. “Matrimonial law, it’s a minefield.” Steve was handling Vince’s divorce for him for free, as a favor, for which Vince was more than grateful. Steve was a corporate lawyer over in Leeds, and didn’t usually “dabble in divorce.” Neither do I, Vince thought, neither do I.

Now that regular novels are mostly about LGBTQIA characters and people with glamorous urban jobs, maybe mystery novels will end up being the best record of cisgender heterosexual working class life in the 21st century? Certainly they have always covered people in social classes ignored by writers of typical literary novels.

More: Read Big Sky (or start with the first book in the series, Case Histories)

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Financial Planning 101

From a European friend…

Dan had worked 80 hours per week in the family business since finishing high school. Due to the long hours, at age 45 he was still single and still living at home with his father.

His father’s health was failing, unfortunately, and it was clear that the man did not have long to live. Dan knew that he would inherit a fortune upon the death of his father and decided he needed to find a wife with whom to share all the money.

One evening, at an investment meeting, he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away.

“I may look like just an ordinary guy,” he said to her, “but in just a few years, my father will succumb to his cancer and I will inherit $200 million.”

Intrigued and impressed, the woman asked for his business card.

Three weeks later, she became his stepmother.

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2019 should be a good year for alimony lawsuit plaintiffs

Alimony is now tax-free to the recipient (Forbes). (See “Litigation, Alimony, and Child Support in the U.S. Economy” for a reference to a U.S. Treasury analysis regarding the roughly 50 percent of alimony recipients who did not report the income and who therefore received it tax-free.)

Statutory and customary formulae haven’t changed. So where a plaintiff could previously get 30-50% of a defendant’s spending power, now there is an opportunity to capture 60-90%.

Massachusetts law, for example, provides alimony plaintiffs with the opportunity to collect 30-35 percent of the defendant’s pre-tax income via alimony (note that the plaintiff needs to spend in order to receive; the amount cannot “exceed the recipient’s need”). The tax law change means that the successful Massachusetts alimony plaintiff will now end up with more than 50 percent of the defendant’s after-tax earnings from just the alimony.

[Child support revenue will be in addition to alimony, depending on the defendant’s income and the judge. The Legislature wrote “When issuing an order for alimony, the court shall exclude from its income calculation … gross income which the court has already considered for setting a child support order.” Some judges, however, have interpreted this to mean that they can simply calculate alimony first and then subsequently calculate child support using the same total income (Judge Maureen Monks of Middlesex County is considered a pioneer in this interpretation). The result should be a transfer of roughly 80 percent of a defendant’s earnings to a plaintiff.]

So for anyone thinking of suing a higher-earning spouse… 2019 is probably the best year ever!

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History of paternity adjudication

She Has Her Mother’s Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity by Carl Zimmer contains some interesting stuff on the history of paternity adjudication:

When faced with paternity disputes, Roman courts relied on the principle of pater est quem nuptiae demonstrant: The father is the one whom marriage points out. A married woman’s children should always be treated as her husband’s children, even if she gave birth a year after his death. In later centuries, judges sometimes followed this principle far beyond what nature could allow. In 1304, a husband who had been away from England for three years came home to find a new child in his house. He went to court to deny being the father. But the judge rejected his case, declaring “the privity between a man and his wife cannot be known.”

Judges were still deciding if children looked like their fathers well into the twentieth century. But the rise of genetics and molecular biology prompted some scientists to wonder if it might be possible to categorically establish kinship, to see the very atoms of heredity that tie families together. One of the first attempts to bring this science to court was made by the actor Charlie Chaplin. In 1942, Chaplin began an affair with an aspiring young actress from Brooklyn named Joan Barry. Chaplin treated her like a toy to be discarded. But when he eventually abandoned Barry, she did not go away quietly. Instead, she smashed the windows of his mansion and broke in one night, armed with a gun, demanding he take her back. By then, Chaplin had already moved on to another affair, this time with a teenager named Oona O’Neill. Barry responded by telling a Hollywood gossip columnist that Chaplin had seduced her and left her pregnant. In June 1943, well into Barry’s pregnancy, her mother filed a civil paternity suit against Chaplin on behalf of her unborn grandchild. She demanded $2,500 a month, plus $10,000 in prenatal costs. Soon, Chaplin was facing not just a civil suit but a criminal one as well. J. Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI, had always found Chaplin a suspicious character; his anti-Nazism seemed to Hoover no different than Communism. Now he relished the opportunity to find some dirt on the actor. In February 1944, Chaplin was charged with violating the Mann Act by transporting Barry across state lines for immoral purposes while she was still a minor. He was also charged with conspiring with Los Angeles police to put Barry in jail for vagrancy. Gawkers and reporters packed a Los Angeles courthouse for the criminal trial, which dredged up lurid details about Chaplin and Barry’s affair. While Chaplin admitted to sleeping with Barry, other men testified that they had been with her during the same period. The jury acquitted Chaplin of all the charges, prompting cheers from around the courthouse. Next came the civil case over Chaplin’s paternity. Between the two trials, Barry had given birth to a girl she named Carol Ann. Chaplin’s lawyers came into court ready to raise the prospect that Carol Ann was the daughter of one of Barry’s lovers who had testified in the criminal case. And then they would present evidence that Carol Ann could not be Chaplin’s daughter, because she had not inherited his genes.

In the months leading up to Chaplin’s civil trial, his lawyers negotiated a deal with Barry’s team. In exchange for $25,000, Barry would agree to have herself and her baby tested for their blood types. If the rules of heredity eliminated Chaplin, she would drop her suit. The tests turned out exactly as Chaplin had hoped. Barry had type A and Carol Ann had type B. Those findings pointed to an inescapable conclusion: Carol Ann’s father, whoever he might be, had to have type B blood. Chaplin was type O. Carol Ann had thus inherited nothing from Chaplin. Yet Barry refused to drop the case. She had gotten a new lawyer, who would not abide by the deal made by her previous ones. Chaplin’s lawyers brought the blood test results to the judge to get the case thrown out of court. But blood type tests were still such a novelty in California that the state offered no legal guidance about their reliability. The judge allowed the case to proceed, and in January 1945, Chaplin was back in court. Throughout the trial, fifteen-month-old Carol Ann sat on her mother’s lap. Barry turned her daughter’s face toward the jury to allow them to gather bald eagle evidence, judging whether she looked like Chaplin or not. “Showing none of the temperament of her mother, Plaintiff Joan Berry [sic], who sobbed on her attorney’s shoulder, or Defendant Chaplin, who shouted his denials, she quietly amused herself by napping, yawning and gurgling,” a reporter for Life wrote. Chaplin’s lawyers countered the bald eagle with blood. They called a doctor to the stand to explain the blood-type results “with charts, diagrams, and elaborate explanations,” as the Associated Press reported. They introduced a report into evidence that included tests from two other doctors, one appointed by Barry’s lawyers and a neutral one. “In accordance with the well accepted laws of heredity,” the doctors declared, “the man, Charles Chaplin, cannot be the father of the child.”

To the jury, Mendel’s Law could apparently be stretched like taffy. They told the judge they were deadlocked, with seven jurors convinced that Chaplin was not the father, and five that he was. Barry’s lawyers filed a second suit. This time, they won, the jury deciding Chaplin was indeed Carol Ann’s father. The decision set off an uproar. “Unless the verdict is upset,” the Boston Herald declared, “California has in effect decided that black is white, two and two are five and up is down.” Nevertheless, Chaplin was ordered to pay $75 a week to support Carol Ann. All told, he would go on to pay her $82,000. The toll that the case took on his reputation was even greater. No one in Hollywood wanted to work with the little tramp anymore. Chaplin left Hollywood for good.

Adjusting for inflation, $82,000 in 1945 is about $1.2 million today (i.e., today’s plaintiffs can do a lot better under current California family law).

Looking at heredity across multiple generations there are some surprising results:

The geometry of this heredity has long fascinated mathematicians, and in 1999 a Yale mathematician named Joseph Chang created the first statistical model of it. He found that it has an astonishing property. If you go back far enough in the history of a human population, you reach a point in time when all the individuals who have any descendants among living people are ancestors of all living people.

When Chang developed his model in 1999, geneticists couldn’t compare it to reality. They didn’t know enough about the human genome to even guess. By 2013, they had gained the technology they needed. [Graham] Coop and his colleague Peter Ralph, a statistician at the University of Southern California, set out to estimate how living Europeans are related to people who lived on the continent hundreds or thousands of years ago. They looked at a database of genetic variants collected across Europe from 2,257 living people. They were able to match identical stretches of DNA in different people’s genomes, which they inherited from a common ancestor. Ralph and Coop identified 1.9 million chunks shared by at least two of the 2,257 people. Some of the chunks were long, meaning they came from recent common ancestors. Others were short, coming from deeper in the past. By analyzing the chunks, Coop and Ralph confirmed Chang’s study, but they also enriched it. They found, for example, that people in Turkey and England shared many fairly big chunks of DNA that they must have inherited from a common ancestor who lived less than a thousand years ago. It was statistically impossible for a single ancestor to have provided them all with all those chunks. Instead, living Europeans must have gotten them from many ancestors. In fact, the only way to account for all the shared chunks Coop and Ralph found was with Chang’s model. Everyone alive a thousand years ago who has any descendants today is an ancestor of every living person of European descent. Even further back in time, Chang and his colleagues have found, the bigger the ancestral circle becomes. Everyone who was alive five thousand years ago who has any living descendants is an ancestor of everyone alive today.

Presumably the rulers of 5,000 years ago were the ones who had the most children and therefore are most likely to have living descendants in 2019. We can thus all claim to have royal blood?

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Statistics-informed approach to marriage goes awry

A story of math and romance… “Local professor says he lost $50,000 after being deceived by a Russian mail order bride” (WMAR, Baltimore):

Dr. Jonathan Farley met his wife through a Russian online dating site. He was after true love, but he believes his wife was after a Green Card and his money. He estimates he lost close to $50,000.

Farley, an accomplished mathematician, looked at finding love like a statistics problem.

“There are 10 million more women than men in Russia,” said Farley.

He liked his odds, so he traveled to Siberia where he met a woman in an unconventional way.

The website delivered a match. She was 20, he was 42.

Within two weeks of getting married, Farley said his wife’s behavior completely changed.

Perhaps the problem is that he didn’t work from complete data? Wikipedia does not show that dramatically more 20-year-old Russians identify as female compared to the number who identify as male.

I wonder if this being featured by a TV station shows Americans’ fascination with Russian villains. “America, Home of the Transactional Marriage” (Atlantic) suggests that more Americans get married for the cash than do folks in other countries (in a lot of other countries, it is almost impossible to turn a substantial profit on a past sexual relationship).

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Division of labor in the home (woman complains about her husband in the NYT)

“What ‘Good’ Dads Get Away With” (NYT) is subtitled “Division of labor in the home is one of the most important equity issues of our time. Yet at this rate it will be another 75 years before men do half the work.”

(In other articles, the NYT assures us that 75 years from now every coastal city on Planet Earth will be under water. Will people care about gender-based division of labor then?)

The author, who seems to identify as a woman, complains about her spouse, who may identify as a man:

When my husband and I became parents a decade ago, we were not prepared for the ways in which sexism was about to express itself in our relationship. Like me, he was enthralled by our daughters. Like him, I worked outside the home. And yet I was the one who found myself in charge of managing the details of our children’s lives.

I would love to find out what this man (if, indeed, he still identifies as one) thinks about the wife broadcasting his deficiencies as a partner!

[Separately, if living with a man is such a raw deal for a woman, why do any of them continue in the arrangement? Every jurisdiction in the U.S. offers no-fault on-demand divorce (though the cash profits may vary enormously from state to state). There is no social stigma for the woman who sues her husband. In the 50/50 shared parenting jurisdictions, she will be on track to be free of any child-related duties every other week. Does it make sense to say that male-female partnership is nearly always a raw deal for women if roughly 50 percent of them choose to continue in such partnerships?]

As usual, the reader comments are the most interesting feature. Example:

Samantha Kelly: Women are a long way from parity in most homes with two working parents. Considering our overpopulation, and that parenting is often a “baby trap” for women, consider not having children. It is a decision of remarkable freedom!

Sophie K: The answer to this – women have to become more selfish. Don’t volunteer for unrewarding projects at work (it blows my mind to hear that women do – who are these women and why are they doing this??). Don’t “mother” men in your life. Don’t be always ready to pick up the slack when they “fail”. Men are neither stupid nor incompetent. They’re just pushing the envelope to see what they can get away with. … Be selfish, ladies. You’d be surprised how well things will be turning out for you. Men have been like that forever.

David: This is in part why birth rates are declining in western world. Work demands have increased dramatically and the family has shrunk and government support has disappeared so that all the child rearing falls exclusively to the parents. On top of this, expectations in US to focus all available non workimg time on children makes for a miserable existence. Argue all you want over who is doing more, it’s the overall demands of current society that create this dynamic.

gizmos: Like Dr. Lockman and apparently many other readers, I bought into the false narrative that men don’t contribute to the household equally and haven’t done so in years. I did a lot of research into the topic for a project and found out the opposite is true. Time use studies from the 60s till date show that men consistently have contributed more total work hours than women, when including paid and unpaid work. Women consistently have greater leisure time after including the hours spent in childcare, housework and paid work.

HS: I would love if just once this type of article included gay couples with kids. My wife and I have a division of labor in our home that largely replicates our heterosexual parents. She works and I stay home with the kids and take care of the majority of household chores and kid stuff. And yes, I know my contribution counts as “work” too. There’s no resentment on either side in part bc we each think the other has the harder job. Maybe too bc we are both women. There’s none of that gendered expectation of who does what; it seems more freely chosen and thus more acceptable to us both. [i.e., Everything is Super When You’re Gay]

HH: I’m a gay man whose social circle is mostly comprised of other gay men, as is, obviously, my primary romantic relationship. All of the phenomenon the author describes exist in my relationship or those in my periphery. … If modern feminism is actually interested in honest conclusions about what is actually a gender bias and what is just a naturally occurring difference between people then a lot more attention should be paid to the parallel world of gay men. [Attention must be paid!]

JD: I would direct Lockman’s attention to Edith Wharton’s portrait of Lily Bart’s father in “The House of Mirth.” The man visibly ages and sags in Lily’s eyes before he passes, because of the stress of trudging to Wall Street every day in order to sustain his wife and daughter’s lives of leisure and to maintain the family’s membership in a certain social orbit dominated by Knickerbockers.

KBronson: The women are going to live ten years longer. They will catch up on rest later.

BackHandSpin: And yet, women continue to choose and show their approval for these types of men in the dating world. No matter what women say. To display (i.e.)”child nurturing” and “caring” ( being respectful) qualities is the opposite of what women are attracted to ( status,manliness,power,money) in the dating world. There’s your problem. Millions of “macho jerks” have a faithful woman standing by his side . [Statistically, the “faithful” part is questionable!]

Carling: “He comes in from work and the first thing he does is brush his teeth!” “His teeth, not mine!

Observer of the Zeitgeist: Unless things are radically different from how they were 8 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics under President Obama certified back then that men and women are putting in equal time to making households run. In fact, men are putting in few minute more time per day. That means what needs to be examined more is psychology, not economics or sociology. Quite a few women, like this author, feel like men are not doing enough.

Benjo: Get your kids to take care of themselves and stop being a helicopter parent. You aren’t doing them or yourself any favors by micromanaging them.

Patricia: This is news?? I knew this in 1976 which is why I refused to have children. I have never regretted it.

Tanya Miller: I’m 51 so it doesn’t happen as often as it used to, but from here on out when my friends and family ask wonderingly if I ever wanted to/will get married and have children, I won’t bother answering – I’ll just email them a link to this comments page.

Denise A: This article presents women as naturally executing more leadership than men. Women get it done. Women get it done early and often. These women people, these detailed oriented, never let things slide, go getters are presented as top performers in running complex organizations called Families. Wouldn’t we expect that these would be the most qualified people to run our companies and countries? Aren’t the qualities presented here exactly what are necessary to win in capitalist markets?

Andrea: Most American men I have met, my friends’ ex-husbands, my own ex-husbands, their male friends, are simply impossible. Each and every one of them has a huge sense of entitlement and a gargantuan ego, and housework and taking care of the kids just doesn’t fit into the their sense of destiny.

Ralph Petrillo: Actually a major change has occurred due to cell phones in the last five years.which is causing men to actually do more of the work then women. Shocking but women are addicted to their cell phones and this has caused a major deterioration in the household by both gender groups. … It is also a major deterioration in couples wanting to fully comprehend their responsibilities for they get an impulse to search for their cell instead of communicating in a more traditional manner. … It is time to realize that couples are more married to their devices then each other.

Susan: In 75 years, robots will do most of the house work, so it likely won’t ever be necessary for men to reach parity in household tasks.

Single mom: Long term romantic relationship that involves co-habiting of any kind with men is highly overrated. Traditional marriage is not worth the effort for women. It was supposed to provide physical and financial security for women. But that is not a requirement for many women across the world anymore. … Women-only community living would provide support and security. We should take our cues from the wise female-only elephants.

Cary: I came to read this material expecting the usual bashing of men. But I’m pleased to find some variety: the bashing is of straight men.

elained: This article explains why single women have children on their own [women who plan this can get another 2 million reasons per child]. When you’re going to have to do it all anyway, why also deal with an exploitive, forgetful, self-centered slacker into the bargain? Women spend a GREAT DEAL of time valuing and praising men, just to keep them halfway in the game. It just is not worth it. Maybe evolution will deal them out of existence. [see this book on genetics for how somatic cells from two women can be combined to make a new human with no father]

Sarah: Being raised by two mothers and liking men, I am honestly very scared of heterosexual marriage. It just seems so much less functional than the homelife I was raised in.

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