Saturday, July 14, 2012

Delaware High Court Rejects Wife's Claim That Alimony Computation Infringed Her Free Exercise Rights

In Wright v. Wright, (DE Sup. Ct., July 10, 2012), the Delaware Supreme Court rejected a claim that the state's Family Court violated the free exercise clauses of the Delaware and federal constitutions in the way it computed a wife's ability to pay alimony. In reviewing her monthly expenses, the Family Court reduced her monthly charitable contributions from $1000 to $100, finding that to be a "more reasonable amount."  The $1000 represented the wife's tithing to her church, and she claimed that the alimony award prevents her from paying the obligatory 10% required by her religious beliefs. However, the Supreme Court held: "The Family Court found that even after the alimony payments, the Wife still has a surplus of $1,402—more than enough to pay for the remaining $900 for tithing should the Wife so choose."

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