Friday, February 26, 2010
Gold Digger Nation
Amazon Product Description. Gold Digger Nation by Hal Roback urges readers to rethink marriage and cohabitation. He articulates the horrible scenario that our Gold Digger Laws could possibly mean not only in divorce but in marriage, as well. Roback fills the book with insights and advice for anyone contemplating a more permanent relationship, as well as a heartfelt letter to sons and daughters everywhere. Provocative and informative, Gold Digger Nation is sure to make anyone think twice before signing a marriage license or a lease.
About the Author: Hal Roback is a two time victim of our family courts. He started with the intention of writing a very long letter to both his son and daughter about the ramifications of marriage in our Gold Digger Nation. This letter morphed into this book for his children, yours, and everyone contemplating marriage. Hal is a professional restaurateur, and owns a restaurant company. He is a graduate of a culinary school in New York, and holds a bachelor of science degree from Cornell University. All profits from this book and its associated products, will go to various causes committed to moving the pendulum back to the middle and making it safe to get married if one so chooses. He is a father of two, a son and a daughter, and is not married.
Review. Gold Digger Nation: Why You Should Remain Single is a book with a provocative title (and cover) that contains important information on divorce and the likelihood of marital success. Author Hal Roback, a self described two-time dupe, states,“if you are located in the Western world – you live in a Gold Digger Nation.” Gold Digger Nation is divided into two sections: 1) a fictionalized scenario of a modern marriage; and 2) a nonfiction review of the divorce laws that support “gold digging.”
According to Roback, Gold Digging is based on three elements of the judicial system: 1)property distribution; 2) spousal support or alimony; and 3)child support, also known as the “golden annuity.” In property distribution, the marital parties, regardless of the individual contribution, become equal partners in all of the assets gained during the marriage. Next spousal support, at least in Canada, can be given not as a temporary measure to assist in re-entry into the workforce, but also to maintain the same standard of living as in the marriage and as a means of compensating the spouse for “marital servitude/lost opportunity cost.” Lastly, child support is the “golden annuity” because it is based on the payee’s income, not need or historical expenses.
Overall, Gold Digger Nation raises valid arguments in certain scenarios: second marriages; short marriages; and financially divergent couples. I disagree, however, that the judicial system leads to “gold digging” in all marriages, rather I think the equity or (lack of) is dependent on the individual circumstances. That is for long time married partners with children and a stay at home spouse, it seems fair to equitably divide the property; provide some spousal support and child support. However, in the scenario presented by Roback of a second spouse who marries into wealth and the marriage is of a limited duration the unfairness of the judicial laws is readily apparent. Roback also makes a strong case that in wealthy circumstances child support based on income is much more than just supporting the child. As an aside, while Roback provides some references and support, several times while reading Gold Digger Nation I found myself wanting more factual information for the statistics and laws that proffered. For instance, Roback claims, without additional support, that nine out of ten custody battles go to the mother.
While the author’s proposed solution – refraining from marriage -- to avoid being taken for a judicial ride is extreme, knowledge of the relevant family laws is power! Gold Digger Nation is an eye-opening book of domestic law judicial inequities.
If you are interested in learning more, check out the author's site (which includes a blog) at Gold Digger Nation.
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (October 16, 2009), 258 pages.
Review copy provided courtesy of the author.