Court reverses alimony decision

Woman claimed husbands threats prevented filing

COLUMBIA --- The state Court of Appeals has reversed a family court decision that denied an Upstate woman alimony, despite her claim that her then-husband had threatened to kill her if she pursued alimony payments.

In 2005 Jekeithlyn Ross and Jimmy Ross got divorced, but instead of filing for alimony within the 30-day window, the woman filed two years later.

She claimed her ex-husband physically threatened her but also said she could not afford an attorney, according to Thursday's decision. The state Appeals Court remanded the case back to family court to determine whether she may pursue her claim for alimony.

The decision says the woman proved that her husband harassed her while she was working at Dillard's department store and had been charged with domestic violence three times during their marriage. She also testified he attacked her in April 2007 when she came home from work. The decision says the man was consequently arrested and charged with criminal domestic violence, and the woman was granted a protective order against him.

"The record does not support a finding that at some point the threats and abuse stopped and only wife's inability to hire counsel prevented her from bringing the action," states the Thursday court decision.

Laura Hudson, the executive director of state Crime Victims' Council, said she was pleased with the court's decision.

She also said it is not unusual for divorcing parties to threaten each other.

Reach Sarita Chourey at sarita.chourey@morris.com.

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