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Judge rules man must keep paying alimony - despite ex's domestic partner

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Evil ... Thy name is Orville Redenbacher!!, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. What the hell? This ain't right.

    This guy is getting screwed by a Cali. judge.

    LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- A judge has ordered a man to continue paying alimony to his ex-wife -- even though she's in a registered domestic partnership with another woman and even uses the other woman's last name.

    California marriage laws say alimony ends when a former spouse remarries, and Ron Garber thought that meant he was off the hook when he learned his ex-wife had registered her new relationship under the state's domestic partnership law.

    An Orange County judge didn't see it that way.

    The judge ruled that a registered partnership is cohabitation, not marriage, and that Garber must keep writing the checks, $1,250 a month, to his ex-wife, Melinda Kirkwood. Garber plans to appeal.

    The case highlights questions about the legal status of domestic partnerships, an issue the California Supreme Court is weighing as it considers whether same-sex marriage is legal. An appeals court upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriage last year, citing the state's domestic partners law and ruling that it was up to the Legislature to decide whether gays could wed.

    Lawyers arguing in favor of same-sex marriage say they will cite the June ruling in the Orange County case as a reason to unite gay and heterosexual couples under one system: marriage.

    In legal briefs due in August to the California Supreme Court, Therese Stewart, chief deputy city attorney for San Francisco, intends to argue that same sex couples should have access to marriage and that domestic partnership doesn't provide the same reverence and respect as marriage.

    The alimony ruling shows "the irrationality of having a separate, unequal scheme" for same-sex partners, Stewart said.

    Garber knew his former wife was living with another woman when he agreed to the alimony, but he said he didn't know the two women had registered with the state as domestic partners under a law that was intended to mirror marriage.

    "This is not about gay or lesbian," Garber said. "This is about the law being fair."

    Kirkwood's attorney, Edwin Fahlen, said the agreement was binding regardless of whether his client was registered as a domestic partner or even married. He said both sides agreed the pact could not be modified and Garber waived his right to investigate the nature of Kirkwood's relationship.

    Garber's attorney, William M. Hulsy, disagreed.

    "If he had signed that agreement under the same factual scenario except marriage, not domestic partnership, his agreement to pay spousal support would be null and void," Hulsy said.
  2. EStreetJoe

    EStreetJoe Well-Known Member

    did this guy get screwed or not?

    Star-Ledger Staff

    A former Morris County man who learned 30 years after his son was born that the child was not his cannot recoup $110,000 spent in child support from the biological father, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

    The 7-0 decision overturned an appellate court ruling in 2005 and found there is no exception in the New Jersey Parentage Act to extend the deadline in a paternity case beyond the child's 23rd birthday.

    "The Legislature evidently knew what has been known since time immemorial -- that children would be born of adulterous relationships and that the true identity of the father might not be known for more than 23 years," Justice Barry T. Albin wrote.

    The 28-page ruling lets the biological father, who had been a close family friend and the child's godfather, off the hook for the cost of raising him. Albin noted the biological father had not engaged in "overt trickery" and at worst simply kept quiet about the possibility he fathered the child.

    "The decision makes clear the paramour has no duty to intrude into the family relationship," said Melvyn Bergstein, the biological father's attorney. "It says if you don't say anything, we're not going to sock it to you after the statute of limitations runs out."

    (rest of story not posted to save space)
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