A New York court has declared that a 37-year-old Long Island woman can keep the spousal support she has, but will not receive more. The family-law case might have gone unnoticed in the media if the woman had not claimed she married a second man before she divorced the first.
Court records say the woman received a sum of $60,000 each year in spousal maintenance payments from her first husband. The couple married 17 years ago and had four children.
Six years ago the woman walked away from her family and began cohabiting with another man. The husband filed for divorce, but his estranged wife delayed the proceedings.
The wife apparently received financial support from her parents and her live-in boyfriend, a 51-year-old bedding manufacturer. The wife allegedly received luxurious vacations and gifts as she collected $300,000 in alimony from her husband.
The husband's desire to divorce was still unsatisfied when the wife announced she had married her boyfriend. The reported second marriage took place last spring in a religious ceremony that could have labelled the woman a bigamist.
The estranged wife told the court the marriage was a religious ceremony that fell short of qualifying for a state-recognized marriage.
A recent decision in court resolved several issues in favour of the first husband. The wife could keep the alimony she had already received, but her estranged husband was no longer obliged to continue the spousal maintenance.
The court ruled that, because no state-issued marriage license resulted from the Orthodox Jewish religious ceremony the wife claimed was her second marriage, no official marriage took place. The woman could not be prosecuted for the crime of bigamy.
The hearing officer decided that the wife's wedding ceremony was neither a real marriage nor a true religious ceremony, since Judaism forbids subsequent marriages for someone who is "married to another."
Source: UPI.com, "Woman with two husbands not a bigamist," Jan. 16, 2012