The parties agreed in a consent judgment of divorce that the Defendant / Husband would pay spousal support for a designated period of time, the earlier of 10 years, the wife’s death or remarriage.
Approximately a year after the divorce the Plaintiff began dating an individual who she considered marrying but decided against it, instead participating in a “commitment ceremony” so as not to lose her spousal support.
The Defendant petitioned to terminate spousal support under the argument that Plaintiff’s ceremony constituted a marriage justifying termination of spousal support. The trial court agreed and found that Plaintiff ‘s actions were done to defraud the court and circumvent the
parties’ consent judgment divorce, concluding that equity required termination of the Defendant’s obligation to pay spousal support.
The Court of Appeals (Lueck v. Lueck Docket 341018), in a case set for publication, found that the parties’ consent judgment of divorce contain unambiguous terms regarding duration of support and that termination for Plaintiff’s marriage required a legal marriage as recognized by the State. The Court of Appeals ordered that Defendant’s spousal support obligation be reinstated.
The oral argument can heard through the following link: