Two Crazy Alimony Stories
The other day, I was doing a little research on alimony obligations. For those that don’t know what those are, this article provides a clear dominion. As the article explains, alimony consists of payments made by one spouse to help the receiving spouse’s income and to help the receiving spouse adjust to a new level of income following a divorce. Alimony is often a part of divorce agreements where one spouse was financially dependent on the other. Often, alimony obligations stop after the receiving spouse remarries. The article also explains that there are three types of alimony issued: temporary alimony, permanent alimony, and modifying alimony. With this backdrop of knowledge, let me tell you about these crazy stories I read.
The first story involved a male attorney, let’s call him Husband, that spent 34 days in jail because he wouldn’t make alimony payments to Wife. He went to court in an attempt to change his alimony obligations and to recover damages for his time spent in jail. Part of his argument was that Wife was involved in a relationship with another lawyer, let’s call him Boyfriend. Not only was Boyfriend Wife’s divorce lawyer, but he was also Husband’s legal partner at a firm. In court, Husband said that Boyfriend was giving Wife money and that these payments meant that Husband’s alimony obligations to Wife should be reduced. Boyfriend denied the existence of these payments. Wife and Boyfriend said that Husband had the money to pay alimony, so it was not a smart move for him to not make these payments and end up in jail. A jury found that Boyfriend was not making payments to Wife, but it did award Husband some damages. What a wild story!
The second story involves a permanent alimony agreement. When Husband and Wife finalized their divorce, the alimony obligation part of that agreement provided that Husband would pay Wife $9,750 per year with an increase in increments to as high as $19,500 per year. As part of the agreement, this alimony payment was to be permanent.
A year later, things got better, and Husband and Wife remarried. However, this marriage, like their first, ended in divorce. This agreement resulted in an alimony obligation of $10,000 per year for fifteen years. This fifteen year period was to coincide with Husband’s estimated year of retirement. Interestingly, after this divorce, Husband began making a lot of money. Wife went to court to modify the alimony agreement. The new agreement converted the fifteen-year term to a permanent term and increased the amount to be paid each year. Ultimately, a higher court said that the term change from fifteen-years to permanent and the change in amount were both improper.
These two cases are some extreme example that illustrates how unusual alimony can be. Though the above-mentioned article defines alimony in simple terms, sometimes the application of weird circumstances to this simple definition can be tricky.