Would an “adultery tax” shame cheating spouses into remaining faithful or divorcing prior to starting new relationships?

 In light of the $9 million payout for a North Carolina wife, Mrs. Shackelford, (sum certain for an alienation of affection lawsuit she won against her husband’s mistress Anne Lindquist) got me to thinking about this issue of monetary payouts for adultery and whether there should be an adultery tax. Frankly, I think the fact that Anne was made to pay $9 million and her husband paid nothing (certainly nothing punitive) is troubling. How is it right, or even rehabilitative to place the blame for adultery on the party who is not in privity with the marital contract? It seems another way to infantilize men and condemn women and keep them in their places. It just is a troubling outcome for any number of reasons, not the least of which is that I truly believe that there are many married male predators who prey on lonely single women, with impunity, because at the end of the day, they know they will not be blamed for any fall out and they will not be held accountable. They, and a rock throwing public (who obviously are above reproach) will simple blame the evil “other woman.” If the husband cheats with a man, the silence is usually too deafening for words. Nobody says a word. It’s as if by being silence they will the truth to go away.
But boy, “the other woman” she bears the brunt of society’s wrath, no matter what the circumstances that led to the adultery. In short, you can have a serial male adulterer who can’t keep it in his pants to save his life and he cheats with a virgin. But the virgin is the family wrecking whore and boys will be boys. The man is NEVER to blame. What’s up with that? Even if all the women he preys on are one time offenders, and he has had scores of affairs on his wife, he’s still the innocent party and the women are the bad actors. His conduct and culpability (usually he aggressively pursues his prey) it is irrelevant. The man is never blameworthy so long as he cheats with another woman,and not a man. The Shackelford case is illustrious for these purposes.
Right or wrong, it did get me to thinking about this from another angle. Should there be an adultery tax in a divorce action? If, for example, a wife like Cynthia Shackelford can demonstrate and prove her husband’s infidelity, should he be made to pay her a sum certain, some type of  “tax” as a form of punishment and retribution? Because how can it be that the third party is held solely accountable for something like this? The married couple took vows to each other. If they turn out to be miserable in the marriage and one of them starts looking, that individual needs to be held accountable for being such a loser and such a coward that they couldn’t do like Brad Pitt and go in there and ask for a divorce like a man (or a woman for that matter.) And that is really the issue. Usually the marriage has combusted anyway and they are miserable as hell. The Shackelfords are rumored to have been absolutely miserable and the husband apparently claims they had tried counseling a number of times before he tuned out from the marriage. I say that he should have been man enough to ask for a divorce before he started to date Anne. Anne should have insisted on it too. In retrospect she should have. But to suggest that Anne was able to go in an break up an otherwise happy home is disingenuous. And to punish her to the tune of $9 million while the husband is given a little “oh-you-bad-boy” pat on the wrist? I just think that is totally ridiculous. And unfair.
And so, I have come up with the concept of an “adultery tax.” In any state that still subscribes to this notion of “alienation of affection” like North Carolina, I think they should impose an adultery tax. Otherwise, this is inequitable and should be void for public policy, this law. And it smacks of sexism too. Even though men have sued under the law, to a large extent it is meant to demonize and punish women and allow men to go scot free for their transgressions. In other words, it has a disproportionate impact on women and this creates a gender bias that just doesn’t pass the smell test, I think, from a constitutional perspective.
What do you think? Should there be an adultery tax? And how much should it be?
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