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Divorce, Japanese Style

Tonight's post on Japanese divorce is by one of our Marietta and Atlanta divorce attorneys, Megan McClinton.

I've taken a break from anime for a while since Unlimited Blade Works ended. It's been basically impossible to find another anime that good. No, Attack on Titan is not as good, so I'll stop you there. I mean, is there a more awesome heroine than Saber? There is a correct answer to that question. It's "no".

Anyway, I decided to take my nerddom in a new direction: Japanese drama. I'm currently hooked on the drama "Divorce Chaser", which follows a quirky family law attorney who strives to help his clients find happiness while helping them through messy divorces. He's awesome: he never judges clients, he's attentive to their needs, and he assertively works to help them reach their goals.

Most of the time, his client's goals include compensation. It seems that in Japan, when divorcing, one spouse can seek lump sum compensation from the other for "mental suffering". If one spouse causes the divorce, that spouse can owe compensation that ranges from around $9,000 to $40,000. This compensation, and division of marital assets, is pretty much the only way one spouse can recover from the other. In Japan, once a divorce is final, spouses have NO obligation to support one another. That means no alimony!

Alimony gets a bad rap because of movies and stereotypes. The idea of alimony in Georgia comes from the concept of "traditional marriage:" during the marriage one spouse works and the other spouse doesn't. Courts look at several factors when deciding alimony including duration of the marriage, earning capacity and financial resources of each party, age and medical condition of each party, standard of living, and the rehabilitation time one spouse may need to get employment. Alimony can be temporary or permanent in Georgia.

I'm shocked by how many women have said to me: "I'm too embarrassed to ask for alimony" and " I'm embarrassed because I don't work and don't have income." Don't be embarrassed! Alimony was created to help the party who stayed home! It can be hard for someone who hasn't worked for ten plus years to find gainful employment when their spouse leaves.

In a country where the law allows alimony, know your options and don't be ashamed to ask for help! Saber would certainly agree. A part of being the hero of your own story is knowing when to stand up for yourself and your needs, and not backing down from a fight because of pride. This isn't Japan, after all. And while I love their anime, I definitely don't agree with their divorce laws.

Megan McClinton

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