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The financial dangers of being a second wife -- court orders to pay alimony to the first wife



Girl/Boy friend's Income and Assets Subject to Alimony For First Wife

By Gerald Nissenbaum  / Divorce 411
Sunday, November 29, 2009

Q. Your Oct. 4 column said that an ex-husband could subpoena the financial records of a woman’s live-in boyfriend. How can that be? They don’t have any legal relationship and he’s probably not on the lease or mortgage. He can move out at any time. To me your advice seems wrong.
- N.G., Ashfield

A. Trust me, I’m not wrong. If you’re living with a woman and your ex-wife seeks more alimony or child support - or if you’re looking to cut down your payments - your girlfriend’s records can be subpoenaed into court.

For example, if your galpal is paying some of your expenses, that increases your ability to pay alimony and child support. So the judge may order you to pony up more. If you’re paying more money for your lady friend’s expenses than your alimony and child support, the judge also could find you can afford to pay more. More...

Wife No. 2 Paying for Wife No. 1? Join the Club

Nov. 6, 2009

Massachusetts' 2nd Wives Club Lobbies to Change Rules on Alimony Payments

Stress over alimony payments to her husband's ex-wife nearly drove Deborah Scanlan to divorce. Helping her husband make alimony payments to his ex forced Jeanie Hitner to take on a second job. Both Massachusetts women now say they wish they'd never gotten married. Welcome to the 2nd Wives Club. The club, which claims 70 members and counting, consists mostly of married women who say that Massachusetts judges' rulings forced them to contribute to alimony payments for their partners' ex-wives.... Full Story

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We are working with Massachusetts Alimony Reform to end lifetime alimony.

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Second Wives and Partner Club to Reform Alimony

Time To End Alimony Payments By Second Wives

The 2nd Wives & Partners Club is an opportunity for all 2nd spouses and partners to gain support and encouragement and to change the current alimony statute. We are hard-working women who have been ordered by the Massachusetts family courts to pay alimony to our husband's ex-wife, a person we never married. Our hard-earned paychecks have even been garnished to pay for the early retirement lifestyle of a first wife who unilaterally and conveniently refuses to work. Increasingly, our members also include women who would like to marry a Massachusetts man who pays alimony, but we refuse to marry rather than face a court order that would send a portion of our paychecks to his ex-wife.

What is the legal basis for forcing second wives to pay alimony? Read the case law analysis by the attorney representing first wife Carniece Pierce before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, page 43. The section is titled "The Trial Court Properly Noted the Income of Rudolph's [Second] Wife in its Findings of Fact".

However, the Massachusetts Appeals Court has held that a probate court judge may consider the income or assets of a second spouse where the income of such spouse contributes to the support of the household, giving the obligated spouse more or his own money with which to satisfy alimony . Cooper v. Cooper, 43 Mass.App.Ct. 55, 55 (1997). The trial court cited the Cooper Court in this regard, noting that Rudolph's current wife brings additional income into the household through her yearly salary of $125,000, and that she is currently paying many of the parties' expenses. [Pages 43-44, Brief for the Defendant-Appellee Carniece G. Pierce.]

[Note: Carniece Pierce, the ex-wife, quit her $95,000 job just before the trial.] For the two years prior to the trial on the modification complaint, the [first] Wife was employed as a development officer where she last earned $95,000 a year, more than double her salary at the time of the divorce. [PY 32, 33; RA 95, 1463 On the first day of trial the Husband learned that the Wife unexpectedly quit that job about six weeks before the trial because of work demands that she felt were too tiring at her age (64 years old). [Page 6, Brief for Rudolph F. Pierce.]

The second wives club is an opportunity to share your story with others and let the public know how paying alimony to the former spouses affects your marriage.

I am married to a wonderful man who has been sentenced to lifetime alimony. This means that I too have been sentenced to lifetime alimony. Instead of looking to a bright future, planning our retirement and being able to assist our children and grandchildren when they need it, we are working to provide a free meal ticket to a grown adult. The state has brought this person into our marriage and our life is not our own.

It is time to let your voices be heard so that we can make a change for ourselves and future generations. Please join us now!

The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.
- Abraham Lincoln

You can make a difference. If you are tired of the intrusion of the family court system in your life relative to lifetime alimony, we want to hear from you.

Some of our group have been speaking with State Representatives and as a result, a bill has been presented before the legislature for alimony reform which would limit the length of time alimony is allowed and provide for education and training for those individuals who had not worked or worked in a limited capacity during the marriage. It also puts limits on the judicial discretion that is currently in place in the court system today.

If you want to learn more, please contact

To join the second wives club, go to "Join".