A surprise to some, but not all, second wives are shocked to find that their income may be considered in the calculation of alimony payments to their husband’s previous wife.  Needless to say, they’re not happy about it at all.

In an effort to change Massachusetts divorce laws regarding alimony, this 2nd-Wives Club is teaming up with a parent group called Mass Alimony Reform.  The group is lobbying for support of Massachusetts House Bill 1785 in an effort to see it happen.

From the article:

“[Deborah] Scanlan, the club’s chairwoman, says she is paying the price for her husband’s divorce. She said that because a judge took into account her $58,000 income as an executive assistant, her husband Daniel Gingras’ alimony payments total $26,000 a year — about $16,000 more than they would otherwise.”

This led her to wish she had never married her husband in the first place.  It’s unfortunate that she has those thoughts, but they’re justified.  In the interim, perhaps public attention to this issue will lead people to avoid getting married given the risk that the money the new spouse works so hard to earn could be taken and handed over to another.

It pays to be so careful with such decisions.  While child support statutes are often much more detailed and clear about what constitutes income, there is sometimes “catch-all” language such as, “…other income sources…” whereby judicial “discretion” may lead to such rulings in other areas of family law.

Some argue that such a revision to the state law will lead to men quitting their jobs and living off of the income of their new spouse.  As rare a scenario as that may be, realistically that is where judicial discretion should be considered.  The judiciary shouldn’t have carte blanche to take a new spouse’s income into consideration for payment of alimony to their husband’s ex-wife.  If, under a revised law, there is provable evidence of a willful effort to avoid paying alimony, then perhaps the judge can make a ruling on a case-by-case basis.  Even in those cases, we don’t necessarily agree that the new spouse should have to pay such a penalty.  However, if the new law passes, I’m sure it won’t be long before we’re discussing that matter, too.

To read the full article, click here: Wife No. 2 Paying for Wife No. 1? Join the Club