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Family Law

Judge Says Victimized Wife Doesn’t Have to Pay $25K Legal Bill for Ex-Spouse Imprisoned In Sex Case

Posted Nov 13, 2012 2:57 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Crystal Harris expected to help others by fighting for a new California law that prevents courts from ordering victims of spousal abuse to pay support to the other spouse after they are divorced.

But it turns out she also helped herself. Already obligated to pay a $47,000 bill to the divorce lawyer who is representing her now ex-husband, Harris fought matrimonial attorney Pierre Domercq's effort to obtain another $25,000 for his continuing legal work, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Harris' ex-husband isn't able to pay his own legal bills because he is in prison for sexually assaulting her, the newspaper notes. Although the state law inspired by her case doesn't take effect until next year, San Diego Superior Court Judge Maureen Hallahan said in a Nov. 6 ruling that Harris doesn't have to pay the additional $25,000.

“It would be unjust to disregard California’s pronouncement of public policy or to ignore the clear intent of the new law which will be effective in less than two months,” the judge wrote.

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