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Wife forced to pay spousal support to abusive husband

People in the Dallas-area may be interested to learn about a spousal support case from California where the wife must pay spousal support to her abusive husband. The working mother endured abuse for years before she divorced him in 2007 and took him to court for sexual assault in 2008. Despite the woman's difficult experience, the judge who heard the divorce case awarded the husband $1,000 per month in spousal support.

For years the woman endured abuse while she financially supported her husband who was unemployed. The former pair married in 1996 and two years later the abuse began to occur. "I had always been the type of woman who said if a man hits me I'm out of there," she said. The woman filed for divorce and got a restraining order, but the divorce was never finalized. The husband was extremely apologetic and "seemed reformed."

Things were fine for a while until their first son was born in 2002. From that time forward the abuse escalated. The abuse reached its height after their second son was born and after the husband's father died; both in 2007. The woman filed for divorce again, but the husband threatened her and said, "If you ever leave me or threaten to leave me I will kill you."

To end the impossible marriage and the string of abuse, the woman tape-recorded a night when the husband raped her.

The woman's divorce was finalized in 2010 and through criminal proceedings the husband was sent to jail for six years. Despite what the woman went through, the judge who heard the divorce case awarded the husband $1,000 per month in spousal support, and the judge ordered the woman to pay $47,000 of her ex-husband's legal fees.

The San Diego County District Attorney said of the ruling, "It stunned me and I think it's shocking." The district attorney's office is fighting to close a loophole in the law that allows for such judicial discretion.

Under normal circumstances, the woman would be required to pay $3,000 per month in spousal support but the judge lowered it because of the domestic violence. The woman said, "I call that the rape discount."

Source: abcnews.go.com, "Victim ordered to pay attacker spousal support," Christina Caron, November 4, 2011

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