For one former Citadel investment portfolio manager, going to jail for missed child support payments have become a part of life. His situation is a unique one. The ex-portfolio manager who used to make $1 million a year, has been in jail eight times for failure to pay child support as he coped with the end of a seventeen year marriage. His story begins with the loss of his job in a sluggish economy, spending time unemployed and exhausting his savings. Ultimately, he was no longer able to come up with the almost $100,000 a year, court-ordered alimony and child support.

He accepts his fate, gets his nicotine patches in advance, and emails friends and relatives that he will once again be locked up. In a recent interview, the man calls it a circle of hell with no way out; he pays as long as he can before the legal ramifications of the alimony laws pull him back into a relentless system. Many New Jersey ex-spouses are subject to similar irregularities in lifetime alimony laws. Some owe amounts similar to the former investor and when they’re short, it’s back to the joint, often for contempt of court.

States like New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut offer hope as they begin to revamp this antiquated alimony system based on 40- or 50-year-old divorce laws that helped protect non-working women who stayed home to raise children and maintain a household. Today’s average woman has a more realistic earning power and circumstances have changed for the person who ends up with alimony burdens. So far three states have enacted legislation to abolish lifetime alimony and have begun to examine fair ways to calculate costs for the spouse with higher income to pay post-divorce costs.

If you are experiencing a turbulence involving unreasonable paternity alimony, or child custody issues that are providing extreme financial hardship or jail time, it is in your best interest to consult an advocate with a background in family law. Your future, your finances and your life might be irrevocably changed.

Source:, “Jail Becomes Home for Husband Stuck With Lifetime Alimony” Sophia Pearson, Aug. 27, 2013