Despite recent positive changes in the law, the judicial system continues to fail women, in favor of men with money and influence.
1. A retired foreign diplomat living in Ecuador; once jailed for deliberately not meeting commercial obligations with a business partner.
2. A previously successful Ecuadorian businesswoman who, under pressure from her husband, the retired diplomat, sold her business and put all the money received into the matrimonial home.
3. IN The Ecuador judicial system.
Ecuador law now says that property acquired during the period of cohabitation is to be divided 50/50 on the disillusionment of the relationship.
The couple lived together and married for a total of 10 years before separation and divorce.
They built a house and bought several properties while together. He ensured that all properties, including those which his wife invested heavily, were in his name.
For 20 years, he has collected rent on the former matrimonial home, valued well over 1 million dollars and has never give his ex-wife a penny. So far, she has not asked for her share, aiming to accept less in order to settle. Settling is, however, farthest from the ex-diplomate's mind. He wants to take everything and make her suffer as long as he can.
Government officials responsible for ensuring the protection of women refuse to get involved while the case is before the courts. This satisfies the ex-husband who wants to keep it in the courts till the woman abandons all claims due to fiscal and emotional exhaustion.
They gave birth to a daughter, now in university.
Following separation, the ex-diplomat claimed poverty and no income. He said that he lived on handouts from his family in Europe in an effort to avoid paying child support for the daughter. Fellow former diplomats from the same country, one of whom knew the ex-husband personally, state that he assuredly has a pension from his working life from which he should have paid child support.
In testimony before Ecuadorian judicial officials, the ex-diplomat claims that his ex-wife contributed no money to the construction of the family home and various properties. This is despite a document bearing his signature acknowledging the money that she had invested; and, related construction records and receipts in her name. The woman had sold her successful business to invest in the matrimonial home.
He continues to try to hide other properties purchased during the period of matrimony.
He forged the signature of his estranged wife on a mortgage from Banco Pacifico when she refused to sign.
In a business transaction requiring his wife's signature, he lied and claimed that she had died.
The ex-wife has, to date, only claimed 50% of the value of the matrimonial home and nothing of the other properties.
Two justices have ruled in favor of the ex-wife receiving 50% of the value of the matrimonial home. Two others have ruled in her favour regarding her ownership of a separate property; but, the ex-husband continues to take actions to stall her being able to sell the property. His aim is to prevent her from obtaining funds to pay impatient lawyers and force settlement. Mediation has failed. The ex-husband presses demands for household articles that he remembers from 20 years ago of which the ex-wife has not seen for that length of time.
After each judgment in favor of the wife, the ex-husband launched appeals. The apparent strategy of the ex-husband appears to be to exhaust his ex-wife emotionally and financially; knowing that she has no income other than personal loans based on the expectation of payback when the case is finally resolved. The pattern of his domination and attempt to control the ex-wife that characterize the union continues 12 years after their separation.
The documents before the court now fill three volumes.
The third justice appointed, withdrew from the case without explanation.
Lawyers for the wife eventually withdraw, impatient at not getting resolution that would allow the payment of their fees.
The lawyer for the ex-husband is a prominent lawyer who appears to intimidate other lawyers and justices.
What is a woman in Ecuador to do? She has borrowed heavily from friends to raise her daughter.
The macho cultural bias continues to work against them in the workings of the judicial system.
Not once has a justice official taken the ex-husband to task for the litany of lies, or forgery, provable by documents in the court’s possession, that he has used to prolong the case. Contempt of court appears to be accepted. It seems that justices dealing with matrimonial cases don't report criminal behaviour when discovered.
Money and influence corrupt the application of well-intentioned laws.
The foregoing, as manifested in this case, amounts to judicially abducted spousal abuse; a flagrant assault on this and, by extension, all Ecuadorian women. I am 100 pecent confident that the President of Ecuador would be angered by this failure of the system.
Where are the lawyers with the courage and principals to come forward to defend women and justice?
I challenge all Ecuadorian lawyers to step forward. Contact me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org ; and, I will connect you with the Ecuadorian lady.
Click RSS Icon to automatically follow Andre's Blog.
Follow Andre on Twitter