ABA Journal


Family Law

New legal battle for ex-prisoner awarded $6M: Ex-wife who he divorced in 1992 wants a share

Jun 17, 2013, 08:00 pm CDT


OK, I can see the claim for unpaid child support. 42 U.S.C. 666 allows that to proceed, thank you, Bill Clinton, effective January 1, 1993. It's retroactive, not retrospective. As for what share the other ex-wife is seeking, I think's stretching things a bit far since settlements had when the divorce decree is issued are settled as to the adults concerned, and inequities are revisited only when it is determined that one spouse withheld assets from the other. In this case, there is no withholding of assets--the guy served 24 years for crimes he did not commit and is being compensated since he probably will never be able to find a job. She divorced and rebuilt her life. His rotted away in prison. Hope that ex gets nothing but both lawyers' bills.

By LAB on 2013 06 18, 6:01 pm CDT

To Bad that the ugly system that we are living under-time-for-a-change! Accountability Accessability Affordability!

By James O. Hadnott on 2013 06 18, 7:19 pm CDT

Even after reading the source story there doesn't seem to be enough information to make a quality, debatable point concerning this story. Since the caveat is in place, I'll proceed with that sine qua non concerning comments made to stories on this site.
As stated by LAB, the only claim that should be allowed is for retroactive child support. If the statute which gave rise to the claim was specifically for exonerated inmates, she doesn't meet the class of citizens the statute was passed to serve. What is her claim?
Inchoate marital rights? - Should have been taken care of in the divorce, I suppose it is *possible* however unlikely that she preserved a claim to modify her divorce decree should he ever be found innocent.
Community property? - She received her share of the "funds" at the time of the divorce, i.e., nothing. She was provided value at that time of the divorce for his vested benefits. I have to assume though that this is the theory they are operating under, i.e., that the benefits he is receiving now were at least partially earned during the marriage.
Does any Texas practitioner know if they can reopen divorce decrees to modify a property settlement this far into the future?

By AndyRTR on 2013 06 18, 9:03 pm CDT

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