Vajner v. Vajner
March 23, 2012
COURT OF CIVIL APPEALS REAFFIRMS TRIAL COURT’S RULING OF CONTEMPT AGAINST FORMER HUSBAND FOR NONPAYMENT OF ALIMONY DESPITE HIS ACTIVE SEARCH FOR EMPLOYMENT.
The parties divorced in 2008. Within the judgment, the father was given sole custody of two of the couples triplets, leaving one to the mother. The former wife was to pay $114 of alimony each month. In 2009, the court ordered the former husband to pay $2,000 each month to the former wife for alimony. This amount was based upon the total earnings of the former husband and the needs of the child in custody of former wife. The father did no appeal this judgment. Four months later the former wife filed for a contempt action against the former husband for nonpayment of alimony. She introduced evidence showing her total earnings for the previous year to be $43, 901 and her former husband’s retirement accounts equaling $1million. Former husband claimed he had been living from unemployment, savings accounts, as well as having family assistance. Court ruled in favor of the former wife. The husband was ordered to pay $24, 420 to former wife. Husband appealed.
Decision: Affirmed. Court found former husbands claims to be unassailable. First, the husband admitted paying expenses through his unemployment funds and his checking/savings account. Second, the original judgment had been decided upon while he was unemployed and he never introduced evidence showing a change from that time. The husband acknowledged he had voluntarily chosen not to pay alimony from savings accounts, even though he could have done so.