Judge orders rape victim to pay legal fees and spousal support to rapist
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Judge orders rape victim to pay legal fees and spousal support to rapist

Sacramento : CA : USA | Mar 19, 2012 at 8:25 PM PDT
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Woman to pay her rapist(ex husband) alimony. WHAT?!?!

Why would a judge order a woman to pay court costs, $47,000 in legal fees, and $1,000 monthly for spousal support to the man who raped her? Because the man once was married to that woman. However, the man is in prison now.

Assemblywoman Toni Atkins has a State Capitol office in Sacramento, and her Assembly Bill 1522 can be of help to victims, usually women, raped or otherwise abused by their mate and then ordered to pay thousands of dollars in legal fees and monthly spousal support, if the Bill passes. (Some men are physically abused by ex-wives, but usually it's the woman forced into a sex act by her husband or ex-husband who becomes a rape victim).

When he gets out, the rapist could get a court order restoring the spousal support. Meanwhile, the rape victim must continue to make monthly payments for the court costs and legal fees until the $47,000 is paid. Can new legislation help other rape victims who were married to their rapists from having to pay spousal support and legal fees in a similar situation?

Check out the March 19, 2012, Sacramento Bee article, Capitol Alert: Woman ordered to pay rapist backs change in California law and the article, The Buzz: Assembly measure would shield marital rape victim.

A 39-year old woman was ordered not only to pay her rapist alimony, but also his legal fees. Now the woman is trying to get legislation passed so that no other person would have to pay alimony and legal fees to her rapist whether the spouse was once married to the rapist or not.

A popular California assemblywoman, Atkins has crafted new legislation called Assembly Bill 1522. See the sites, California Assembly Bill 1522, Bill Text: CA Assembly Bill 1522 - 2011-2012 Session | eLobbyist, and Legislative Detail: CA Assembly Bill 1522 - 2011-2012 Session. Check out Assemblywoman, Toni Atkins California Assembly Bill 1522.

Why would a judge order a battered wife who was raped and divorced the batterer to pay her abuser? Can you imagine a judge awarding the rapist, the woman's ex-husband, not only $1,000 a month in spousal support, but the judge also ordered her to pay her rapist $47,000 in family court legal fees? There was an argument back in 2008, and her husband forced her to commit a sex act. That's rape.

The fact that the husband raped his wife didn't seem to matter. What did matter was money. The wife earned a six-figure salary as a financial adviser. However, as roles were reversed the rapist-husband was a stay-at-home dad for the past five years. Was the judge trying to balance the budget by awarding the rapist spousal support and payment of legal fees? After all, the couple had two children at the time ages 5 and 7.

Is there no justice in the courts for a woman who works all day at a mentally exhausting job of financial advising and then comes home to spend time with young children? Did the husband enjoy being a stay-at-home dad? And why did the children stay at home with a man capable of raping his wife by forcing her to do a sex act?

The wife did pay the $1,000 support spousal support for several months before her husband was actually sent to prison for raping her. Then the judge stopped the spousal support temporarily because the rapist was in prison for raping his wife. But the wife still pays each month those legal fees and she'll have to pay those fees until the entire $47,000 in legal fees are paid to cover the rapist's costs.

If you research the records, you can read all the threats, fights, and problems during the 12-year marriage. Will more women married to rapists have to go through this if they earn money and their husbands or ex-husbands are not working outside the home for pay?

Well, you can vote for Atkins' AB 1522. If that legislation ever gets passed it would bar a spouse convicted of rape or other violent sexual felonies from collecting spousal support, as well as fees for any legal costs or insurance benefits. The rapist or batterer in jail couldn't collect money from the rape or physical abuse victim.

What about other forms of abuse such as mental, emotional, or psychological? Can the victim be prevented from having to pay the legal fees and support payments of his or her batterer or rapist?

State law currently applies an exception to spousal payments only in cases of attempted murder or solicitation for murder but not for spousal rape or threats. Will AB 1522 pass?

There's a loophole in a law that lets a rapist get out of prison and keep applying for and perhaps getting court orders to restore spousal payments from a rape victim or assault victim.

If the bill does pass, the bill may help other spousal rape victims. But the rapist or batterer could also be released from prison and get a court order to restore spousal payments from the victim. If you want to learn more about the AB1522 bill, check out the Assembly Judiciary Committee. See Welcome to the Committee on Judiciary.

Divorce is complicated as is spouses in prison for raping their mate or ex-spouse. Should the law classify forcible rape the same as plotting the murder of a spouse when it comes to forcing a victim of abuse to pay spousal support?

Or should the spouse be helped to find a job so he or she won't need spousal support. Perhaps that depends on who's looking after the children full time. And would it make a difference once the rapist gets out of prison?

Are victim and rapist equal under the law of spousal support for the unemployed outside the home parent? How do you handle a spouse who forces a sex act from a partner when it comes to dividing up the income of husband and wife or a divorced couple with children?

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Photo by Anne Hart - cat figurine in the former Wm. Glenn store, 2010.
Can Assembly Bill 1522 help rape victims avoid having to pay legal fees and monthly spousal support to their rapists?
AnneHart is based in Sacramento, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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