When we read about cross cultural relationships and the relocations that follow, we think all about the love. The story of the chase, the move, and the adaptation are just so romantic and interesting.
We rarely stop to think about what happens when things don't work out. Oh, don't get all excited. Mr. Rant is not on the market. We said til death do us part and if it comes down to that it'll be his.
So what happens to us foreigners when the relationship that caused us to move in the first place goes down in flames? I bet you all think I'm going to get sentimental. Come on, I'm American. I'm going to get legal!
After exchanging some emails with a lawyer friend, and reaffirming her that I'm not about to leave my husband, I found out some details.
We get jack! Well, you can't say exactly that. For starters, it depends on the type of marriage contract you entered into here in Brazil. Are you universal, partial or 100% separated? Mr. Rant and I went universal as we had nothing so it really didn't even need to be discussed. The newbie love and lack of belongings made the decisions easy. I was, however, worried about the security of my Havaiana collection until I realized he has bigger feet.
From there we go into work and independence. If you are a stay at home Momma who makes next to nothing, you usually get 30% of your husband's income. Of course this is all situation based. If you are young like myself, this will be limited and you'll be told to find a job. Oh the humanity!
If you are an independent and working woman, you get your own paycheck. Children will open you up to a bit of child support. Of course, as a woman, if children are involved you usually get to keep the homestead. Primary custody usually goes to the Mother but that can be discussed and if the children are 12 years or over they can voice their opinion.
Now all of this varies on how much the husband makes and/or can afford, the situation of the household, the wife's income, and the phases of the moon.
Seriously, this is a very fair system. I'm starting to understand why it takes so damn long to get your case heard in court! They actually figure stuff out down here.
Of course, as a Mother, I will say that it does not matter how much a husband can afford to give when it comes to child support. If there are children involved they should get enough to keep their lifestyle. The Mother and Father can live on Top Ramen and black beans if money is an issue.
So there you have it. A rational system that takes time to run.
Emotionally, that's a whole new ballgame. Personally, I wouldn't leave Rio de Janeiro. This is my home, and more importantly, the home of my boys. Their Father is here. Then again, I'm not in that situation and single Motherhood anywhere, but especially here, is not easy. Props to all the single Mothers out there!
What would you do?