Usually alimony claims are pretty cut and dried. A judge said you have to pay, so you have to pay. But a California mom fighting for the right not to pay her ex-husband spousal support has one heckuva case. Carol Abar divorced Ed Abar because he'd been raping her daughter, his stepdaughter, since the girl was just 9 years old.
Can you blame her for not wanting to send him a check every month? It's like handing him an award for abusing her child.
The twisted case is working its way through the courts where Ed Abar is asking a judge to force Carol to resume $1,300-a-month alimony payments she was making before he pleaded guilty last year to one count of rape (he was facing additional charges but pleaded down to avoid a harsher sentence). He even wants back support for the time period when he was in jail -- when a judge gave her permission to stop the checks.
What will happen is up to a judge, but it's sure to have repercussions for other divorce cases in the state, if not the nation.
Should criminal activity in the marriage make spousal support null and void? Should criminals be due money from their spouse simply because she (in this case) earned more during the marriage?
Traditionally, judges in family court look into claims of domestic abuse in marriages when determining alimony, but that hardly seems like enough. A rape of a child is beyond the pale and clearly impacts her mother.
In the Abars' case, it's why Carol says she filed for divorce. It took her 16 years to kick him to the curb because Ed Abar threatened the girl that he'd kill her mother and stepbrothers if she told on him, but as soon as Carol found out, she did what any mother would do: she got the sicko out of her house ASAP. How unfair is it that being a good mother is being held against her? That she's being punished when it was he who destroyed her family?
Cases don't even have to be this heinous. Surely when a spouse turns out to be a crack dealer or something equally illegal and harmful to a family, the responsible spouse who leaves to escape criminal activity should be given a chance to truly break free.
These cases can't be allowed to happen. Victims shouldn't be re-victimized because the law is inflexible.
Do you think Carol should have to pay? Where should judges draw the line?