Retirement costly for divorced ex-judge.
Posted on Feb28,2010
Retirement costly for divorced ex-judge.Q. I read that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial is forcing former Judge Rudolph Pierce into letting his ex-wife stay on his alimony dole even though he retired at age 65. So, even though the poor dear ex-wife quit her $95,000-a-year-job, she still got $42,000 in alimony What's with the courts in Massachusetts? Can't a guy ever shake an ex-wife? J.L., Ashby A. Before I respond, a quick review: In his 1999 divorce, Pierce agreed to pay his wife, Carneice 38.6% of his then $450,000 income or $110,000 annual alimony, with modification permitted if there was a substantial change in circumstances. The parties also split their assets in half. Once he retired, Pierce sought modification because he was making only $34,000, including $23,000 from Social Security. At the modification trial Pierce had $1.3 million in assets and Carneice had $923,000. The trial judge ruled Carneice couldn't find work and that Pierce could earn $250 an hour if he came out of retirement. Even though Pierce's income dropped 87 percent, his alimony payment was reduced only by 38 percent, to $42,000. Here's one kicker: After the divorce, Pierce married a woman who earned $125,000 and who paid most of his expenses. On these and a bunch of other facts and legal points, the SJC decided the trial judge ruled correctly. The reason: If Pierce billed for just 200 hours at $250 per hour, "He could earn $50,000, more than enough to pay all his alimony."� So, Pierce got a reduction, but not an end to his alimony payments. C'est la guerre.