Court Tosses Support for Adulterous Wife

(CN) – An adulterous wife who cheated on her husband with a member of her band and her personal trainer should not have been awarded spousal support, the Virginia Court of Appeals ruled.
The case came to the appellate court from Fairfax County. During a hearing on the dissolution of their marriage, Theodore and Alison told Circuit Judge Michael Devine that Theodore had been the breadwinner of the family, that he regularly took his family on vacations, and his wife out to fine restaurants, the theater, the opera and the symphony, and that he supported her interests in the arts and even recorded her performances with her rock band.
During the course of the hearing, Alison admitted to numerous adulterous encounters with a member of her band and her personal trainer, court documents says.
Pursuant to the couple’s property settlement agreement, Alison received $1.8 million, including $397,000 in cash and over $1.3 million in retirement funds.
Theodore also agreed to pay all of the education expenses of their two children, one of whom was just entering college while the other was already in medical school.
Theodore received the couple’s $780,000 home.
Then, upon considering the future earning capacity of the former husband and wife, Judge Devine awarded Alison ongoing support payments, finding the presumed disparity in their incomes a “manifest injustice.
Theodore appealed, and on April 5, the Virginia Court of Appeals agreed the trial court had been in error.
“Here, the trial court specifically found the ‘primary reason for the destruction of the marriage’ was wife’s adultery. In addition, the trial court found ‘there was no significant fault on [husband]’s part,'” wrote Judge James Haley Jr. for the three-judge panel.
He observed that in addition to the funds she received in the divorce, Alison has a degree in mechanical engineering. The trial court found that she could earn between $27,500 and $33,000 per year.
“Moreover, at the time of the March 2015 trial court hearing, wife was fifty-five years old,” Haley noted. “Therefore, she will likely be able to access the retirement funds in the foreseeable future.”
Based on these conclusions, Haley reversed the award of spousal support and remanded the case for an award of attorney fees and costs in Theodore’s favor.
“It would be a manifest injustice to require a faultless spouse to pay support to a work-capable, millionaire spouse, guilty of repeated acts of adultery with several co-respondents,” the judge wrote.

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