Tag Archives: divorce

God Bless the Military Wife

10 May

I grew up as a navy brat, so for me, moving every couple of years was normal. You were expected to go to a new school, make new friends, I never really considered how that was for my mom.

For my dad, who was in the Navy, this was normal. He wasn’t a navy brat like me, but his father (who was a Navy vet) worked in the construction industry. Grandpa built nursing homes across the Midwest, which meant that every 6 months to a year, he had to move to where the work was. But my mom lived in two houses up to that point; one on a farm, then other in town, and all within the same 30 mile radius.

For the next ten years of their marriage, they moved five times. I came along at year two, which always amplifies things, but she seemed rather contented from all the notes and letters that I inherited. My dad volunteered to avoid the draft (strange, but true) during the Vietnam War, so when the war was over, everyone was getting out. The personnel guys offered him a deal he couldn’t refuse… a massive jump in pay grade if he signed up for another tour. Not having anything to go back to, he agreed.

Unfortunately, not many sailors took the same choice, so the Navy was woefully undermanned in the late 70’s. That meant when my dad was put on a fleet tender, instead of the normal six month rotation, he was on it for almost two years. He hates that ship to this day. Me and my mom moved back to her hometown and lived there, because there was no point waiting in Charleston when he rarely got off the boat.

So much like myself, my mom had to make new friends, and sometimes get new jobs (although I think they made do on his income most times). Then deployments… where he’d be gone for God knows when. Again, I was pretty young for most of this, so having my Dad gone for most of the time was… my version of normal. Communication was done through letters and cards and few and far between. Thankfully, like the ex-pat community, there is a whole community of Navy wives out there to connect to, regardless of where you’re stationed.

What broke their marriage was not her being upset at the situation, it was his infidelity. Despite the fact that she moved everywhere with him, vets will tell you that they can’t relate to the civilian world. The demands of the service require a lot of you–it’s a zero-excuse environment, because doing your duty could mean the difference between life and death. After the places you’ve travelled and the things you’ve seen, how do you go back to your wife and pretend to be the average 8-to-5 working man? So when they divorced, he got married to a Navy officer, and they’ve been together ever since.

It’s a terrible arrangement, but to do it for so long is nothing short of a miracle. It’s not uncommon–honestly, the divorce rate among military couples is only slightly higher than the national average–so I’m amazed when they stay together. Then again, I’m amazed when anyone stays together, but I could be exaggerating. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below! Then if like how I tell a story here, check out one of my books. However, if you don’t like paying for my stories, go ahead and download one of my stories for free.

The Headline is Not the Story

11 Feb

When dealing with the law and court findings, headlines are frequently misleading. Family law doubly so, because they have to deal with stuff that shouldn’t be handled outside the family. So this divorce story is a whopper.

The headline is “Mere Possession Of Higher Educational Qualification Not A Reason To Hold That Wife Can Maintain Herself : Karnataka High Court.” At first blush, that makes me think, “Oh, the gold-digging ex-wife doesn’t want to get a job,” but a little further reading makes that clear, that’s not the story. The wife’s lawyer (who is an “amicus curiae” lawyer–friend of the court–so I’m not sure if that means she was court appointed or doing this for free) pointed out that just because you have two advanced degrees doesn’t necessarily mean you can get a job with them. And as my wife pointed out, often these are designed as part of getting a husband, and were never intended to be used. It’s what we used to call it in the US a “MRS. degree.”

The next obstacle to get over is that this case is in India–based on the British model–so not only are there different rules, there’s a different culture and location to be considered. The ex-husband is asking to stop having to make payments of 3,000 rupees/month–which translates to $41 USD/month. Now you might think, “What a cheap-skate!” and… well, you might be right, but when I lived in India (albeit 15 years ago), I made the equivalent of $300 USD/month (Rs.13,000; back when 1 USD was 45 INR) and we were upper middle class for the “edge of civilization” town we were living in. So you can live off that… but not very well, and certainly not in the big city of Mysuru (Mysore).

In this case, the ex-wife lives with her brother, and has for many years. How long is not reported in the case brief. However, the couple was married in 2003. Sometime after, it was discovered that there was a medical problem with her uterus, and eventually, she had to have surgery to have it removed. Read: she can’t have kids. Now this would put a strain on any marriage, so when he starts going out at night, she starts thinking he’s searching for a new wife, and the yelling starts. Eventually, things get so testy in the home that she leaves and moves into her brother. She appeals to the family court and asks for Rs.5000/month. The husband then applies for divorce and finally gets it in 2013, where the alimony is now Rs.3000/month.

So eight years later, the ex-husband is trying to get out paying alimony for a wife he only had for… a year? A couple of years? So his argument is, “she’s got TWO degrees. Let her get a job!” Understandable, but then it’s revealed that our ex-husband owns two tailoring shops, pulling in Rs.3000-5000/day. Mind you, he still has to pay 5-10 tailors in that shop, and rent, and supplies, but this is not sounding good for the ex-husband, even if you assume the wife’s lawyer is exaggerating his income.

Because this is India, the ex-wife can never get married again. She can’t have kids and that’s a deal breaker in Karnataka state. In theory, she COULD get a job (and probably does something), but she is black-listed from ever having a relationship. That means she’s a dependent on her family for the rest of her life. The husband is also black-listed, the main problem being is that he’s currently 52 years old, which means he was 35 when he got married… so he was taking his sweet time getting a bride himself. It’s hard to convince prospective parents to let you have their daughter when he’s got “divorced” on his marriage resume (yes, they exist).

In the end, the court found in favor of the ex-wife, and recommended to raise the alimony to Rs.4000/month. But this story takes so many twists and turns… and I had to skim the actual case brief, which the article has at the bottom of the story, but the news left out so many juicy details that make this story more interesting. But what do you think? Is US$41/month too high a price to pay for a couple-year relationship? Can (or should) the wife get a job? Is the ex-husband a jack-ass? Let me know in the comments below!

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