Polygamy: Reason for Ending Spousal Support?

A judge has refused a divorced man’s attempt to cut off his spousal support to his ex-wife due to his claims of her new polygamist lifestyle. The judge’s grounds for dismissal: polygamy is not legal in New York.

The Divorce

In 2009 family physician Dr. David Hunsinger,54, divorced his wife of 19 years, art professor Patricia Hunsinger. Since David earns more than Patricia, as part of their separation agreement, David was to pay Patricia spousal support until 20123 or until she remarried.

But this past July, David asked Justice Philip Rumsey if he could stop making the spousal support payments because Patricia had “entered into a polygamous marriage with Dr. Kenneth Hill and Janice Hill.” Interestingly, David Hunsinger and Kenneth Hill had done their medical residencies together. According to court papers, Patricia had confessed via a diary entry prior to the divorce, about “her desire to be married to Kenneth Hill and of her plan for a polyamorous relationship with both Hills.”

Spousal Support Proceeding

During the spousal support proceeding, David told judge Rumsey that the threesome now live together in Ithaca, and that Patricia also wears a “ring comprised of three intertwined bands that was given to her by the Hills.” An email exchange from January 2012 states that Patricia wanted the Hills to attend Patricia’s and David’s daughter’s wedding because, “I am married to both of them.”

But when it came to giving up spousal support, Patricia did not admit she had remarried.

Spousal Support Hearing

Judge Rumsey sided with Patricia, ruling that “New York allows a person to have only one spouse at a time; a marriage is absolutely void if contracted by a person who is already legally married to another.”

David will have to continue to pay spousal support – unless the threesome moves to Utah where polygamous cohabitation is legal. Anthony Elia, David’s attorney is considering appealing the decision. The decision “allows [Patricia] to say that her illegal conduct is a defense to the case,” Elia said. “I don’t understand the logic.”

For advice on spousal support and divorce, you need the expert law firm of Korol & Velen, certified family law specialists. Schedule a free consultation today.

Source: The New York Post, Man tries to stop paying alimony of ex-wife’s polygamy, November 25, 2014

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