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Patricia and Andrew Craissati divorced in 2001, and Andrew was ordered to pay $2,000 per month to Patricia, now 48, as spousal support (alimony). Their Florida divorce settlement stated that the alimony would continue until Patricia married again or lived together with another person for more than three months.
What is Alimony?
Alimony is the financial support an ex-spouse is required to give the other in a divorce or legal separation.
Nine-Year Prison Sentence for Ex-Wife
In 2005, Patricia received a nine-year sentence based on a DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) incident in which two people were severely injured. She is now an inmate at the Hillsborough Correctional Institution in Riverview, Florida.
Driving While Under the Influence
Driving while under the influence is a serious charge that is not taken lightly. Individuals charged with DUI, face:
Individuals involved with DUI incidents in which someone is injured typically receive a higher sentence.
Cohabiting with Her Cell Mate
Andrew, a self-employed investment banker from West Palm Beach, challenged the alimony arrangement based on the allegation that Patricia has been "cohabiting with another person for more than three months" — her cell mate in prison. On Dec. 10, the 4th District Court of Appeal agreed with this definition of cohabitation, ruling that the alimony payments be stopped.
One of Three Judges on Panel Disagrees
One judge on the three-judge panel dissented, writing that he would "…affirm the trial court's reasoning that this is an absurd result." Patricia Craissati's attorney, Steven Cripps, stated that he will seek a rehearing for his client before the appeals court.
"It goes to show the most winnable case is losable and the most losable case is winnable," said Cripps, an attorney with nearly 30 years' experience.
Andrew Craissati called the ruling in his favor "bittersweet." He noted that there were many aspects of his divorce that people don't know about, including the fact that he makes the payments on a house that sits empty because his ex-wife declines to rent it out.
(Source: Palm Beach Post)
If you're seeking a modification of your divorce settlement — spousal support, child support, or other details — contact us to speak with an experienced divorce lawyer in your state to discuss your concerns. You never know what's possible until you ask.