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Judge: N.J.'s ex-governor owes wife no alimony

The nation's first openly gay governor will not have to pay alimony to his ex-wife.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Former Gov. James E. McGreevey will not have to pay alimony to his ex-wife, a judge ruled Friday in granting the couple a divorce after a tumultuous eight-year marriage that crumbled publicly when McGreevey acknowledged he was a “gay American.”

A superior court judge ruled that McGreevey, the nation’s first openly gay governor, must pay $250 a week, or $1,075 a month, in child support for his 6-year-old daughter with Dina Matos.

Matos had asked for $2,500 a month alimony for four years and $1,750 a month in child support. The couple share custody of the girl.

McGreevey, now a seminary student, testified during the couple’s contentious divorce trial that he’s too poor to pay alimony.

The couple formally separated in February 2005 after McGreevey resigned in 2004, acknowledging that he is “a gay American” who had an affair with a male staffer. The staffer denied the affair and said he was sexually harassed by the governor.

In her written ruling, Union County Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy lamented the anger and animosity she witnessed during the couple’s divorce trial.

“Especially, in a matter as high profile as this, the court was disappointed that much of the testimony, particularly as it related to public figures within the State of New Jersey, and the dirty laundry associated therewith, needed to be aired in the public and in the press,” Cassidy wrote.

“The McGreeveys clearly had agendas. As previously addressed, their anger seemed to override any ability to testify credibly or to be reasonable.”

Cassidy ruled that Matos is not entitled to assets from McGreevey’s tell-all book, “The Confession.” But in dividing their marital assets, Cassidy ruled McGreevey owes Matos $109,000, representing half their various bank and investment holdings.

The judge rejected Matos’ claims that her ex-husband should compensate her for the 13 months she missed out on the lifestyle perks of the governor’s office. Cassidy also rejected claims that McGreevey was purposefully underemployed so that he didn’t have to pay alimony.

The judge noted that McGreevey was able to rely on his rich boyfriend to provide for him.

“Mr. McGreevey is not seeking employment because he does not need it to sustain himself,” she wrote.

Neither McGreevey nor his ex-wife commented after the ruling was posted online.

“No alimony — that’s what I’m talking about,” McGreevey lawyer Stephen Haller said after scanning the opinion. “It’s hard to imagine a more favorable ruling for Jim McGreevey’s position.”

Matos issued a statement before the ruling decrying the pain and suffering she and her family have endured throughout the separation and divorce.

“Although the victimization continues, I am stronger for the experience,” she said.