A man was sent to jail by a judge in Genesee Circuit Court for his failure to pay his ex-wife's attorney fees. The man was sent to jail for 10 days if he did not pay the fees. The State of Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the man's appeal and sided with the circuit court judge.
The incarcerated man was ordered to spend the 10 days in jail over five weekends, but appealed his decision, claiming it was a "harsher" order than what the judge issued in court verbally. He also said that he was denied due process.
The appeals court stated in its ruling that the man's words in court showed that he knew it was a contempt proceeding and was "criminal, not civil, in nature." The court of appeals said that the man sentenced to jail was given ample time to pay his ex-wife's attorney fees.
Court documents show that the defendant claimed he was unemployed for two years and therefore unable to pay the attorney's fees to his ex-wife. The court documents also state that "he has been unable to find employment despite having a mechanical engineering degree from Michigan Tech and an MBA from Harvard."
The court then said that those statements were not credible due to "an expanding economic environment."
The man was ordered to pay spousal support as well as $103,500.88 for the attorney fees of his ex-wife beginning on June 3, 2015. The divorce case lasted some three years.
The court of appeals listed a host of reasons for their decision, including the following:
- Trading in his Cadillac for a Volt without the permission of the court.
- Failing to comply with discovery.
- Lying to the court.
- Dissolving a business without permission of the court.
- Hiding proceeds for the sale of his H-1 Hummer.
- Failing to pay the mortgage on the couple's marital home.
An experienced divorce attorney in Oneida, New York, can guide you through property division and other issues while also explaining your rights.
Source: MLive, "Unusual divorce ends with man in jail for refusing to pay ex-wife's lawyer," Oona Goodin-Smith, Feb. 03, 2017