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Why Puerto Rican Men Should Sign the Independence Petition

By: Frank Worley-Lopez - Sep 26, 2014, 12:19 pm

EspañolCaribbean Business has reported that women continue to out earn men in Puerto Rico. On average, Puerto Rican women earn nearly US$23,000 a year, or about $800 more than men — a 3 percent difference. Across the United States, men still out earn women by a significant amount, although that doesn’t infer an unjust “wage gap,” one of several feminist myths that just won’t die.

This important insight fell on deaf ears with the island’s media. It is important, because family courts in Puerto Rico still treat the woman as the better parent and in need of her former spouse’s money. With near universality, women get paid both spousal and child support in custody cases in the commonwealth, even if they earn more than their spouse.

Spousal support (now a form of revenge) began as a way to help women when they left a troubled marriage, since traditionally women stayed home and took care of the kids — hence the notion that women were always the better caregivers. By default, they were the primary caregivers.

Obviously, times have changed. Women have been the majority of college graduates for two decades, the majority in professional positions for more than a decade, and now out earn men. They also spend as much time away from their children as their male counterparts while pursuing a career.

When discussing divorce at the water cooler, women in the Puerto Rico often claim that it is the right of women to maintain their standard of living after divorce. While courts enforce that belief, no such right is afforded to men. When a man must give up half of his income and his home to his ex-wife, how can he maintain his standard of living? Men have been left virtually homeless by family courts.

When it comes to the question of equal rights, I am a firm believer in two principles: (1) women are adults and responsible for themselves, and (2) equal rights also mean equal responsibility. To that end, in the constitution attached to my recent petition for Puerto Rico independence, I took on the issue of divorce equality (otherwise known as “men’s rights”) head on: the proposed constitution would stop all current orders of spousal support, prohibit spousal support in the future, and require joint custody and time in all future divorce cases.

Joint time means that half of the year the child lives with the mother, and the father pays child support as a percentage of income that automatically goes up and down as his earnings rise and fall. This would occur regardless of whether he was fired, laid off, or quit a high paying job to become a school teacher.

This is how it works before and during a marriage, and there is no reason why it shouldn’t be the same after marriage. For the other half of the year, the child stays with the father, and the mother pays the father child support at the exact same percentage.

Disqualification or loss of parental rights can only come from a conviction of a crime against the child or other children (sexual predators), major drug addiction, or as a result of rape or incest. That is to say, the rapist has no rights to the child. Had that been in force, a rape victim would never be forced to pay child support to their rapist as occurred in Arizona.

Women have learned a hard lesson in recent years too. Women who have married another woman’s discarded frog, who turned out to be a prince, suffer from the loss of their husband’s income. They are powerless, as their new husband must send part of their income to the ex-wife. That takes money out of the family bank account and food off the table for children of the second marriage and family.

Yet no political party will address this issue. They won’t address it, because the other party, whichever one it is, would attack them for a “war on women.” This is also why men tired of paying spousal support, and wives of those men stuck in eternal financial slavery, have no other choice but to sign my petition for independence. No other party or group will stand up for your rights to keep the money you earn from someone who no longer wants to share your life, but is most willing to share your money.

Upon implementation of the declaration for Puerto Rico, the new constitution would take effect and automatically repeal all previous orders of spousal support, grant fathers equal rights to their kids, and hold women equally responsible for child-support payments. If you want change, you actually have to make a change. Here is one change you can make, simply by adding your name. You can sign the English version here and the Spanish version here.