The announcement by state Sen. David Nohe occurred at a rally held outside of the Wood County Courthouse held to generate awareness and support for Vienna resident Sean Keefe. Keefe is currently serving a six-month jail sentence for refusing to pay alimony to his ex-wife after he discovered he was not the father of their youngest son.
“Until it happens to you, you don’t realize there is no law to protect you,” Caroline Keefe, Sean Keefe’s current wife, told the Parkersburg News and Sentinel.
Two years after Keefe and his ex-wife divorced, a DNA test revealed that he was not the father of his youngest son. However, by law he was still required to pay $1,300 a month in child support and $1,800 in alimony. Although Keefe agreed to pay the child support he refused to provide the alimony payment, leading a Family Court judge to sentence him to jail in May.
Nohe and fellow state Senator Donna Boley have introduced a pair of bills in response to Keefe’s situation. The legislation would allow the court to consider ending child support payments when there is DNA evidence to prove a person is not the biological father and would bar alimony when there is proof of infidelity.
Although both bills failed last session, Nohe said he and Boley plan to write a new bill to address paternity fraud and alimony.
Tennessee’s Supreme Court recently heard a case involving an alimony issue. A man filed a lawsuit after a judge ordered he pay his wife $15,000 a year following their divorce despite the fact that she earned an annual salary of $72,000.