A San Diego judge has told an ex-wife to pay her ex-husband’s legal fees and be ready to pay him alimony should he make the request once he leaves prison. Judge Geoffrey Pollack noted that he had discretion in the matter of what spousal support to award Shawn Pollack, sentenced to 6 years by another judge after his conviction for forced oral copulation on Crystal Harris. Thus Judge Pollack decided to lower the award from $3000 to $1000 per month once Mr. Pollack is released. The judge agreed that Ms. Harris does not have to pay support while Mr. Harris is incarcerated, and approved an agreement between the two parties that Ms. Harris pay Mr. Harris’ legal fees. However, Mr. Harris must pay his ex-wife restitution.
The judge justified the spousal award by saying that he compared the financial situations of the parties. Ms. Harris makes over $11,000 per month and her ex-husband was making about $400 per month. “”I can’t look at a 12-year marriage where one side is making $400 a month, the other side is making over $11,000 and say no spousal support….That would be an abuse of discretion.” California legal experts note that under the law the judge could have refused to award support only if one party had been convicted of attempted murder.
Ms. Harris is understandably upset. She told the press, ““You don’t pay a dime to somebody that rapes you…That’s sick.” She also said she feared challenging the award because the judge might award her ex-husband more money.
The district attorney’s office, however, has taken up Ms. Harris’ cause and has lined up a state representative to introduce a bill to make changes in the law by increasing the range of crimes that would disqualify an ex-spouse from receiving alimony.
The story has already made headlines around the U.S. and across the pond.