Spousal Support 37 years after a Judgment of Divorce?
The Michigan Court of Appeals (Docket # 340580) says no and reverses Oakland County Circuit Judge Victoria Valentine finding Judge Valentine abused her discretion in awarding the petitioner $ 2,500 a month in spousal support (alimony), 37 years after the petitioner obtained a Consent Judgment of Divorce.
The Parties’ 1980 Judgment of Divorce provided that spousal support was reserved for the Plaintiff, Rita Gallagher. The Court of Appeals found that the preliminary issue of the burden of proof, specifically change of circumstances, was easily meet by the petitioner. However, the Court of Appeals found that Judge Victoria Valentine’s decision to award Plaintiff spousal support amounted to rewarding Plaintiff for being a post-judgment spendthrift and a punishment to the Defendant for his investment skills and relative frugality.
The conclusion of the Court of Appeals, it was simply inequitable to redistribute Defendant’s assets to the Plaintiff 37 years after the divorce and Judge Valentine abused her discretion in doing so.