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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

 

Appeals Court Rules Ex-Wife's Alimony Cut Off Because She Was Assigned A Cellmate

The Kansas City Star - Jan 12 8:30 PM

Andrew Craissati of Palm Beach Gardens had challenged paying alimony to his former wife, Patricia, arguing that their agreement called for him to pay only until her remarriage or if she "cohabitated" with another person for more than three months.

 

Patricia Craissati

 

Patricia Craissati, 48, was later sentenced to prison.

The 4th District Court of Appeal ruled Wednesday that she is indeed "cohabitating" - with her cellmate.

Two members of the three-judge panel concurred and ordered her alimony payments stopped. A third dissented, writing Craissati's involuntary assignment to a cellmate is not cohabitation. "I would affirm the trial court's reasoning that this is an absurd result," wrote Judge Larry Klein.

The couple divorced in 2001. In 2005, Patricia Craissati was sentenced to nine years in prison for a DUI accident which severely injured two men. She is at Hillsborough Correctional Institution on the west coast.

Her attorney, Steven Cripps, said when he first heard of the ex-husband's argument that she was cohabitating with a cellmate he said: "Are you kidding me? You are going to take advantage of this situation and do this?"

Cripps says she's been receiving just over $2,000 a month in alimony while in prison. He said he will ask for a rehearing before the appeals court.

"It goes to show the most winnable case is losable and the most losable case is winnable," said the attorney of 29 years.

Andrew Craissati, a self-employed investment banker from West Palm Beach, said an uninformed person might consider his actions mean, but that there are many factors people don't know about. For one, he has had to pay as her house has sat empty because she did not want to rent it out. He called his victory "bittersweet."

"Everything about this case is just so sad," Craissati said.

His attorney, Lewis Kapner, said the ruling is grounded in the general language of the couple's agreement - cohabitation simply defined as living with another person for more than three months.

"The facts of the situation are novel. The law is not," Kapner said. "You can say cohabitation is wearing a blue dress. But that's the agreement."


Comments:
"The couple divorced in 2001. In 2005, Patricia Craissati was sentenced to nine years in prison for a DUI accident which severely injured two men."

Can only guess the monetary damages her carelessness caused him to pay out on her behalf. Hope appeals court upholds this ruling.
I don't understand why anyone pays alimony unless the spouse supported him or her. Maybe she worked while he went to school to become an investment banker.   Are there children involved? If not, there has to be a reason he's been paying her & this sounds like a surreptitious way of getting out of his agreement.

Konane, whether or not I think she should get alimony isn't the issue. Of course she needs to be punished for injuring people while driving drunk, and she is serving time in prison, but I think the decision to stop the alimony payments is absurd based on cohabitation with a cellmate. The agreement was obviously to keep another man from living off of his wife's alimony.
I knew the reason for the non-cohabitation clause in the alimony agreement the moment I read the story. However, personal injury attorneys go after the deepest pocket hence my statement about potential monetary medical and/or punitive he had to reach in his pocket to satisfy in her behalf. Perhaps he thought he'd paid out enough for actions over which he had no control.
Patricia Craissati = Chris Kattan? :-)
Justxploring:
he was paying $24,000 a year in cash and paying for a house that is empty. He says that his ex-wife refused to rent the house. If any one deserves finances it is the two men were severely injured and their families.
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