A lot of Massachusetts residents were outraged to learn of a bizarre twist in California law that is forcing a sexually assaulted woman to pay alimony to her incarcerated ex-husband. A judge there has ordered the 39-year-old woman to pay spousal support in the amount of $1000 a month to the man who raped her once he is released from prison. In addition, the woman must also pay an estimated $47,000 in legal fees that her husband spent in order to win the alimony case.
The California judge who made the ruling has said that under current California family law, he had little other recourse. His ruling, he said, was made because the man had not tried to kill the woman, which is the only time alimony is not justified. What discretion he had he used to side with the ex-husband, stating that the 12-year marriage and the fact that the wife made more money helped him to come to a decision. The ex-husband is scheduled for release from prison in 2014, and it is at that time that the woman would have to begin making alimony payments to him.
Whether one agrees with the judge in this case or not, the story illustrates how alimony and spousal support can become complicated issues. Massachusetts residents who may be in need of their own divorce and alimony resolution may wish to work with a legal professional skilled in family law. Divorce and alimony issues do not have to become this complicated.
Source: The New York Post, “A$$ault in her wounds,” Linda Massarella, Dec. 4, 2011