The song Cheaper to Keep Her by Johnnie Taylor is packed with advice on divorce and marriage. Does Taylor’s advice still ring true 44 years after its 1973 debut?
Paying Support: Johnnie Taylor Says
One of Taylor’s stanzas packs a wallet-emptying wallop:
When your little girl make you mad
And you get an attitude and pack your bags
Five little children that you’re leaving behind
Son, you’re gonna pay some alimony or do some time
Taking a few liberties with “alimony” and “child support,” Taylor reminds Virginia’s men that abandonment is cause for a fault-ground divorce. Otherwise, you will be paying child support for those little children. The alternative? Doing “some time” — jail time.
If you are serving time, you still owe child support. Even if you claim to have no income, you still owe child support:
- One child: Fork over $68 a month
- Five adorable burdens: $155
- Six hellions: $169
Let’s say, for Johnnie’s sake, you do divorce with no income. Suppose you will pay child support for your six kids for “only” ten years. That is $20,080 you pay out even with no visible income.
And yet … consider the typical cost to raise a child as an intact family. CNN Money pegs the cost for one child raised from birth in 2015 to adulthood at $233,610. Six kids, as in our example? That could be $1,401,660. In that light, the cost of divorce and child support is far smaller than the cost of raising a family amid a loveless marriage.
Next Verse, It Gets Worse
Taylor the marriage counselor (he wasn’t, really) offers Virginia’s men this touch of reality:
See, when you get through staring that judge in the face
You’re gonna wanna cuss the whole human race
This is because Virginia judges abide by Virginia Code. For the man — or woman — who has everything including a high salary, divorce is expensive. Whatever you stand to lose, your wife stands to lose, too.
Your marital property is the combined trove of assets you and she accumulated during your marriage. That means everything:
- Retirement accounts
- Mutual funds
- Health insurance
- Military retirement benefits
- Savings accounts
- Life insurance policies
And yet ... the faster you come to the realization that your marriage is not a sensible path forward in your life, the more you will save. You will save because you will not be investing significant income and time in the sunk costs of a failed marriage just to end up at the same eventuality.
Whipped and Wiped: It’s Certainly Cheaper to Get Her
Taylor the relationship guru goes on to say:
You didn’t pay but two dollars to bring the little girl home
Now you’re about to pay two thousand to leave her alone
You see another woman out there and you wanna make a change
She ain’t gonna want you ’cause you won’t have a damn thing
With artistic liberties for the cost of a marriage license ($30 in Virginia Beach), Taylor points out that the cost to marry is small compared to the cost to divorce your wife, especially if you think you will simply move on to some other hot babe. That first hot babe you married is going to clean you out, says our maestro.
And yet … If you have a good attorney, one who defends your rights as a Virginia man, you can leave the marriage and her with both your pride and wallet intact.
Taylor the life coach has one more reminder to share:
When that judge give you that dirty look
You may as well put your money in mama’s pocketbook
What dirty look would a Virginia judge give you? Perhaps you committed one of the fault grounds for divorce:
- Sodomy or buggery outside the marriage
- Felony conviction
- Causing reasonable apprehension of bodily hurt
- Willfully deserting or abandoning your wife
If you hand your wife those reasons for divorce, you will pay a price.
And yet … what if she is the one who gives you fault grounds? It is definitely not cheaper to keep her then. If you do stay together, at least in cases of adultery, sodomy or buggery, you forfeit your righteous indignation and those fault grounds. Virginia Code § 20-94 specifically negates them if you “cohabitate” after learning of her behavior.
So Is It Cheaper to Keep Her?
Notwithstanding the cost of divorcing your wife, for many Virginia men divorce is still a saner, safer solution than keeping her, and the financial benefits may be realized over time. So, even if Taylor tells us it’s cheaper to keep her, we can see that the cost of raising children are greater than the costs of child support. The costs of being undecided and accruing property is greater than the cost of divorce. And, if your wife is the one at fault, the mental and financial costs of staying married far exceed the cost of cutting your losses.
With a call to The Firm For Men at 757-383-9184, our divorce attorneys for men, you can learn what the financial future with and without your wife could look like. Our attorneys are experienced in helping Virginia’s men protect their rights and preserve their financial freedom.