Tag Archive for: Alimony

“If your guy doesn’t pay his alimony, we’ll file a motion for contempt and you can tell him we’ll be asking for jail time,” said Sobel, who was representing the ex-wife.  He didn’t like the ex-husband’s attorney, Caster, ever since he had yelled at Sobel and hung up on him in another case years ago.  Sobel had a long memory.

“Come on, Sobel,” Castor said.  “The judge is not going to put my guy in jail.  It’s contractual alimony, not court ordered alimony.”

“Whadya mean, Castor?  The Agreement is incorporated into the Divorce Decree.  That makes it a court order.  And your client has failed to comply with it.”

“Well there is no imprisonment for debt in Maryland.  Check the state constitution, Sobel.”

“You check it, Castor.  I’ve got it right here.  Section 398 of Article III says ‘No person shall be imprisoned for debt, but a valid decree of a court of competent jurisdiction or agreement approved by decree of said court for the support of a wife or dependent children or for alimony shall not constitute a debt within the meaning of this section.’

“Sobel, me and my client will, as they say, see you in court.”

“Tell your client to bring his checkbook or a toothbrush, Castor, for when he goes to the slammer.”

Real world relationships are tough enough but MapleStory, a free online role playing game, has a divorce rate of 75%.

Andy Chalk writes at EscapistMagazine.com that it costs $25 real dollars to get married in MapleStory.

“I was young, naive, and thought I had met ‘the one.’ says 20 year old Tyler, and 19 year old Seth says “She was only out there to get free things off of me.”

On the bright side,MapleStory divorcees don’t pay alimony or child support and they don’t have to go to court.  I wonder if this will be good practice for  these people when they get married in real life.

Several years ago a New York judge ordered Brian McGurk to pay his wife, Dorothy McGurk, $850 a month in lifetime alimony and gave her the marital residence because of her disability.

Recently Brian saw an entry on her blog that she was now belly dancing.  Furious, he took her back to court.

Dorothy claimed that her doctor had prescribed belly dancing as therapy for her injuries in a 1997 car accident.  The doctor however did not support that claim in court.

The judge reduced alimony to $400 a month, ordered her to pay her husband’s attorney fees of $5,000 and to give him 60% of the proceeds from the sale of the house.

As Shakira says, “Hips Don’t Lie”.

Jacqueline Getty married Gordon Peter Getty Jr., heir to the Getty fortune, in 2000.  TMZ reports that she has filed for divorce in Los Angelas seeking $539,201 per month in alimony to maintain the lifestyle she had while married, which included, among other things:

— $300,000 to $500,000 per year for clothing
— $50,000 for Halloween parties
— expensive jewelry including 5 carat diamond earrings
— $40,000 for birthday parties
— trips to the private Getty compound in Hawaii 3-4 times a year
— trips on the Getty private jet (Boeing 737)
— a one million dollar bed

As for Gordon’s ability to pay, Jacqueline says he would go on several trips a year without a suitcase and buy a whole new wardrobe when he arrived.

Alimony statistics

Some alimony statistics:

  • Americans paid $9.4 billion in alimony to former spouses in 2007.  (IRS)
  • That’s up from $5.6 billion a decade earlier.  (IRS)
  • 97% of alimony-payers were men last year.   (U.S. Census)
  • The percentage of women supporting ex-husbands is increasing.  (U.S. Census)
  • Women made up 46.7% of the work force last year.  (DOL)
  • That’s up from 41.2% in 1978.  (DOL)
  • Women, 45 to 54 years old, earn 75% as much as men the same age.

– from “The New Art of Alimony” by Jennifer Levitz for the Wall Street Journal

At ABC News, Alice Gomstyn has an article about women who are angry about having to pay alimony to men.  As a result of more women become primary breadwinners in the family, the number of American men receiving alimony has climbed, from 7,000 in 1998 to 13,000 in 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  Now that the economy has gone from boom to bust, some of these high earning women are feeling pinched by their alimony payments.

In Maryland, if only one party wants a divorce, they can get it eventually.  A two year separation is grounds for divorce under Section 7-103(a)(5) of the Family Law Article of the Maryland Code.

That is why I say it takes two people to get married, but only one to get divorced.

Fault, or as the statute says “the circumstances that contributed to the estrangement of the parties”, is a factor the court can take into consideration in alimony and property determinations.

So is a divorce always the fault of one person, or are both parties at fault in some way?  This is the question asked at CreateDebate.com where you can register and vote and leave your comments.  Or you can tell us your opinion in the comment section below.

The first image broadcast by network television was a picture of Felix the Cat.  I remember watching Felix on tv when I was a kid.  He had a Magic Bag of Tricks and whenever he got stumped by a problem, he would reach into his bag and pull out some tool or device that would help him solve the problem.

I wish I had a Magic Bag of Tricks in real life.  A lawyer can do a lot of things, but sometimes the tools in my toolbox are limited.  Clients look to their lawyers to solve all sorts of problems.  But first you have to have a problem that the law recognizes as a problem.  For example, I wrote recently that not every marital agreement is recognized by law as an enforceable contract.

The law does not provide a remedy for every wrong.  There is no legal tool that will turn your difficult spouse into a nicer, more reasonable and responsible person.   I can get alimony and child support and property, but I probably cannot recover damages for the hurt you felt during your marriage.  The court can give you a visitation schedule, but it can’t make your child want to visit with you.  I can’t make your spouse settle on your terms and I can’t make opposing counsel return my calls if they don’t want to.

As a mediator said to one of my clients, “I only have a pen, not a magic wand.”

“I promise to send you 30 pounds a month,” said Mr. Balfour to his wife,  before he set sail for Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) on assignment as an English civil engineer in the early 1900’s.  Mrs Balfour’s doctor said that she should stay in England for her health rather than return to the jungle climate of Ceylon.

“I think it is better that we stay separated,” wrote Mr. Balfour, and he stopped the payments.  Mrs. Balfour obtained a divorce and alimony.  In addition, she sued him for breach of contract for the 30 pounds a month he had promised her.

The lower court held that Mr. Balfour had to continue to pay her as agreed.  The Court of Appeal unanimously reversed, finding that there was no agreement enforceable in law.

Although the judges’ reasons differed, the heart of their analysis was that married couples make agreements all the time, to pay an allowance, for example.  The court said that not all domestic agreements rise to the level of a contract enforceable by law.  Balfour v Balfour [1919] 2 KB 571

The Latin word “alimonia” means food, support, nourishment, sustenance.

The Latin word “alere” means to nourish and the Latin suffix “monia” signifies action, state, or condition.