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Family Law: Successful Woman Syndrome

Misogyny in our culture is alive and well.

Men are rewarded for their success. Th ey are celebrated as virtuous, dominant, excellent providers. Women, not so much.

Here's a fact pattern. A husband is offered a job half way around the world. Wife hasn't ever made a whole lot of money. Husband's job offer is for a whopping sum. The family (i.e. husband and wife) agree that the family should not miss this opportunity.

So they move themselves and their two children half-way around the world to live in this exciting, new foreign land.

One year later, it is time for the family's summer vacation. They decide, understandably so, that they would like to return to the United States to visit the grandparents. The only problem is, at the end of the visit, wife informs husband that she and the children will not return to their home and she has removed the children's passports so that husband cannot take them back home.

So husband has a quick decision to make, keep working or quit his job because his wife has demanded it and has abducted the children. Husband keeps working.

Wife spends the next several months trying to figure out where to live. She spends time in her sister's basement, having the children sleep on a mattress on the floor. Eventually, she moves the children to Georgia, where the family had lived before they moved to the new job and where the wife has finally found work.

Now, imagine that husband files to gain custody of his children now that wife appears to have settled somewhere. Imagine that instead of the judge rebuking wife for being so egotistical and anti-co-parenting for abducting the children, the judge instead tells husband that he should quit his very successful job and follow his wife to where she had unilaterally decided they would live.

That's pretty much what happened. Except that it wasn't a husband who landed the great, well-paying job, it was the wife. And it wasn't the wife who hadn't worked much, it was the husband. And it wasn't the wife who abducted the children and refused to return them to their home in the new country, it was the husband.

But it was the judge who told the wife to give up her quarter of a million dollar job to follow her husband to where he was finally earning something ($60,000 to be precise). The judge assessed no penalty to the husband for abducting the children, only to the wife for not being sufficiently obedient, doting and matronly to immediately abandon her career when her husband decreed it.

You see, the poor wife suffered from Successful Woman Syndrome. That's where a woman is successful and a man can't stand it.

Yes, misogyny in our culture is alive and well.

Michael Manely

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