Kate Meyers: Melissa Etheridge, based on the amount of money you make, do you really think it's OK to pay your ex -- the person who spends the most time with your children and takes care of them while you're traveling -- just $2,000 a month? And Tammy Michaels, $800 a month for dining out ... and $6,000 for rent?! Come on! The only people I see winning here are the lawyers -- and it's pretty clear that Melissa's got the better one.
First, I would say to both of you, "Try being fair to each other, and realize that if you two can be civil, it will be better for your kids." When my husband and I got divorced after ten years of marriage, the best advice I got was this: "BE IMPECCABLE." And I give that thought to you two: It seems that there's lots of bad blood between you, but take the high road, and I promise things will go better for everyone -- especially your children.
Divorce laws in this country are wack. I truly believe that EVERYONE should be forced into binding mediation, freeing up the courts for more important things. I think settlements should be FAIR, period. That means protecting those who have been out of the workforce, but not punishing those who have worked to support the family. Assets gained while the two were together should be split (unless there's a prenup). If one person is the major caretaker of the children, they should get child support, and if one parent has been out of the workforce, they should be given enough money to live comfortably until they are able to get back on their feet and into the workforce. That said, I understand that there are plenty of situations where there just isn't enough money for this to happen. But this situation is not one of them.
I don't think we women can have it both ways. If we have CHOSEN or agreed to the privilege of staying home and raising our children and our partner has supported us in that, it doesn't mean we should be given a free ride from making a living for the rest of our lives. Nor does it mean that we should get to dine out to the tune of $800 a month or live in a $6,000-a-month rental. We all know there are two sides to every story, but when it comes to financial settlements in divorce, fairness and the children's best interest should be the priority.