The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
1 Points

There should be no such thing as alimony payments, spousal support or maintenance upon a divorce

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Post Voting Period
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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/15/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,980 times Debate No: 22878
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




It is suppose to be the end of a relationship and if one person no longer wants another person around then they are not entitled to their money either.


During a committed relationship, one party often makes sacrifices much of their earning potential (present and future) for the good of the relationship, making alimony and similar systems necessary for social stability and fairness.
Debate Round No. 1


What exactly is social stability? Do you mean it would look bad if the divorced wife had to go on welfare because her husband was no longer supporting her? How about you require all wealthy bachelors go out and find a poor family and they must donate 10% of their income to them for "social stability." How about the government requires all large businesses give X number of dollars to charities in their community for "social stability." How about the government require all retired teachers spend 3 hours each week tutoring struggling kids so they are more likely to go to college and get great jobs and contribute to public funds thereby encouraging "social stability." How about the government inspect every household and force people who don't volunteer to do so or face a fine for the sake of "social stability"

and as far this whole notion of lost income and fairness: I am sure there are plenty of examples of couples who divorced and had no kids and one CHOSE to simply not work and it did nothing for the relationship by not working, but yet they get X number of dollars every month for 10 years simply because they were the poor ones in the relationship.
Furthermore, even if they had kids and the one parent didn't work so they could babysit, clean the house, run errands, etc. One, they chose to do so and to the amount of money the working partner is required to pay in alimony is often more than what it would have cost them to pay for a nanny, personal assistant, housekeeper, etc.


My opponent seeks to discredit my argument by comparing spousal support (and similar institutions) to undeserved handouts that leech on the successful. Unfortunately, the situations he mentions differ completely in their particulars from spousal support (NOTE: I will be using spousal support throughout the debate to refer to alimony payments, maintenance, and similar support systems). For one, spousal support is only required after the dissolution of marriage, in which two people are recognized under the law as being committed partners, with an obligation to support each other during their marriage. This is completely unlike the situations described, in which unfamiliar people are forced to redistribute wealth for the greater good. Additionally, my opponent simply brings these situations up, and in no way analyzes the ways that they are supposedly similar to spousal support, devaluing my position in no way at all.

In the second part of his argument, he brings up the fact that couples with no kids and one unemployed spouse can break up, and alimony will still be required. Neglecting the facts that these unemployed spouses are likely to be doing other duties in the home, and that these situations are not a majority of alimony cases, it is my opponents duty to argue that there should be no spousal support whatsoever, so mentioning specific situations sympathetic to his assertion will not help him.

In addition, he postulates that a spouse who stayed home to take care of kids, clean the house, run errands, etc, would receive more in spousal support than it would have cost the working spouse to pay for a nanny, personal assistant, and housekeeper. I will be analyzing a hypothetical situation similar to this. Lets say we have Family X, composed of spouse A, spouse B, and a child. Spouse B stayed home, performing the aforementioned duties, while spouse A worked as a manager. Let's say they had a kid at the time of their marriage, and divorced 10 years later. We will now calculate the costs of a nanny, personal assistant, and housekeeper, and compare them to the cost of alimony. To be conservative, we will say in a situation in which the spouses never married, yet spouse A had a child, that per day spouse A needed a mid range live in nanny, 1.5 hours of work a day by a housekeeper, and 1.5 by someone to run errands (remember, we are trying to replace the amount of work done by the other spouse completely, so these figures are accurate, and even on the low end). assuming it will cost 500 a week for the nanny (, $10 an hour for the housekeeper (will cost this or more because of transportation), and $20 an hour for an errand runner ( (these rates are all at the low end) this would end up costing approximately 40,000 dollars a year (ignoring costs of housing the nanny), a figure affordable only to those in the upper echelons of society. With the average American Wage somewhere around 40,000, it doesn't take much analysis to see that my opponents idea of just hiring workers to replace a spouse is much more expensive than the alimony required if he had been married in that time. Even eliminating the cost of the nanny, the spouse would be paying ~15,000 dollars a year, usually above the average alimony payments for someone making 40,000 dollars a year.

This does not even begin to address the fact that the jobs the stay at home spouse performs during marriage and not transferable to a job market, and the time performing them will be time unusable for advancement in a career, or to outright make money. When people enter into a marriage, they should be ready to support each other to a reasonable extent for life if the situation calls for it, regardless if differences arise some time in the marriage.
Debate Round No. 2


1. You say the examples I gave of forcing people to give to charity are totally unlike alimony. First off, you use the word "leech" off successful. I think that is disrespectful to those who give or receive charity. Secondly, you describe it as doing something for the "greater good" and in your initial argument you say alimony is for "social stability and fairness." That sounds a lot like "greater good" to me so in that respect they are the same. Your words, not mine. Alimony is also a government enforced mandate, which is also what my examples were. The one difference you could possibly make is that the spouse receiving the support "earned" it during the marriage and the people in the examples did not. I will give you that, but I would argue (at least in some cases) they did nothing more than the other partner to "earn" anything. If one worked during the marriage then they paid for the other's housing, food, clothing etc. and if one took care of the house, kids then they did those errands for the other. Quid pro quo and it ends when the marriage ends

2. You say it is my duty to argue that there should be no spousal support whatsoever. I suppose it is, but you have to realize I was just throwing up the original argument and it wasn't exactly refined. I don't care for the formality of this site or following a bunch of rules of debate. I reserve the right to clarify my original statement. Just like you reserve the right to say there should be alimony in only some cases

3. You say unemployed childless spouses receiving alimony are not the majority of cases. Maybe we can at least agree that in some cases there should be no alimony.

4. You say it would cost 40K a year to pay for all the non-working duties the unemployed spouse does and only the wealthy could afford it. Even if this is so, then the wealthy are getting a raw deal because their alimony payments are often much more than 40K a year so it would have been cheaper for them to pay for a nanny, housekeeper, etc.

5. You say the one spouse is owed something for the time spent at home instead of advancing their career. You are failing to realize that the spouse did receive housing, food, clothing during the marriage without having to work a "real job." Secondly, this a choose they made in the relationship and it should not be done contingent on alimony payments in the future. What is to stop them from having worked too and then they can share in the "home duties." I am sure there are plenty of examples of both people working and both doing equal shares of "home duties" and yet one receive alimony payments after the divorce simply because they were the poor ones in the marriage. How do you explain those cases? And I am sure this happens in a large percentage of cases. You know as well as I do that the government factors in how much somebody "makes" in determining the alimony payments and not just how much they "did" in the marriage.

6. Lastly, you talk about "when people enter into a marriage, they should be ready to support each other...regardless if differences arise some time IN THE MARRIAGE." That's just it. The marriage is no more. It is over. They should not have to support each other anymore. One is not indebted to another. That is my point.


First, to address the purported offensiveness of my use of the world "leech". The definition if leech is " to habitually exploit or rely on". The handouts that I said leeched off the successful would be relied on in some way for the welfare of the poor/struggling students/those affected by some charity could be said to habitually rely on the rich, and could therefore be seen as leeching on them. However, I will admit that a word with less negative connotations should have been used.

Next, I will try to explain the difference between spousal support and the handouts you described in a more comprehensive fashion. I will agree with you that both are for the greater good, and both are government enforced mandates, however, the differences again lie in the particulars. First, and arguably most importantly, when people enter into a spousal relationship, they are aware of the reality that upon divorce, one will likely be forced to pay support. While this alone would not justify spousal support, marrying couples also have the opportunity to draft and sign into agreement a prenuptial, in which the specifics of what will happen after divorce (at least in regards to spousal support) can be set in stone. Nearly all couples in the first world have the option to draft a prenup. Basically, you have a choice on spousal support, making the elimination of it completely unnecessary In addition to this, I also make the argument that spouses have earned the support in many cases (as you addressed in the second half of your first paragraph). You rebut this by saying that one spouse provided money, the other errands, cleaning, etc and the mutually beneficent arrangement ends when the marriage does. Again, it is not just money that could have been earned working that spousal support is covering for, it is the loss of earning potential. In a society where females are brought up to believe that their primary duty is childcare, it is often difficult to set up a relationship in which both partners will work - in our culture, it is the norm for females to be the primary caregivers, and this is a disadvantage to them in the event of a divorce, in which they will have no career skills. Our laws should consider our culture and try to counter the inherent differences of post marriage life in the interest of again, fairness.

On the topic of the subject of the debate, you claim that you retain the right to "clarify" the topic of the debate. You saying that "There should be no such thing as alimony payments, spousal support or maintenance upon a divorce" can be changed to "There should be no such thing as alimony payments in some case" is like me saying I can change "1st trimester abortions should be legal" to "ALL abortions should be legal... and MANDATORY" (just kidding about the very last bit). You set the topic of the argument, and once I accept it is written in stone. I agreed to debate against your original statement, and no other, and if the rest of your argument relies on a re imagined premise, I will consider it completely invalid.

Part 3 of your argument, yes I do agree in some cases there should be no spousal support. Again though, if I can convince voters that there is one situation in which there should be spousal support, I will have won the debate according to the premise of your original statement.

Addressing part 4, I must again say that you must argue that spousal support should be abolished completely, and not argue that it is unjust for a few groups.

In part 5, you say that the dependent "spouse did receive housing, food, clothing during the marriage without having to work a 'real job.'" The work done by a majority of stay at home spouses is equal to or greater than the work done by the working spouse ( [even if these figures are a gross over estimate, look at the "jobs" and time spent and it becomes apparent that a stay at home spouse earns their keep]), and for this diligent effort they are rewarded with little more than a goodbye upon divorce, thrust into the career market with 10+ years of experience in a field with no true career applications. You basically argue that either both parties assume equal work and home obligations, a nearly impossible task especially with children, or that one side be hugely disadvantaged after marriage.

In the final part of your round 3 argument, you leave out the most vital part of my quote, "to a reasonable extent for life if the situation calls for it", which calls into question this entire section, as you act as if i had just asserted your own viewpoint when clearly I do not believe the obligations of spousal support end with divorce.

If there were no spousal support, there would be no penalty for the end of a child free marriage. While the "sanctity of marriage" is not my biggest concern, to many around the world it is culturally, religiously, and personally important, and penalty free divorces would severely degrade one of our oldest cultural institutions. Break ups are especially harmful to children, and if we saw a removal of spousal support, the consequences would soon become apparent with higher divorce rates, and a new generation of children with issues caused by these divorces.
Debate Round No. 3


DebateHero82 forfeited this round.


Next round please :)
Debate Round No. 4


DebateHero82 forfeited this round.


First debate, give me feedback please
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
The observations helped me win this debate:

Look at imabench's voting issues at the end:

My voting issues:
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Wallstreetatheist 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF...Feedback:...1) Use rich text to bold and enlargen the headings ...2) Add a conclusion to the later rounds...3) Make observations regarding the resolution, which may help you win [see comments for link]...4) In the last rounds add a section titled "voting issues" and discuss what points and why you think you won [see comments for link].