Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Victim #176: 1970s Alimony Dispute Isn't Over

The judge awards you $20,000 spousal support in your divorce. Your ex stops paying, and you sue him for the money every 10 years.

How long can you keep after him?

That's the question before the Minnesota Supreme Court. The nine justices listened to oral arguments Tuesday in the case of Linda Dahlin v. Randall Kroening, a couple who divorced in Brown County in 1978.

"Do we really want parties to be able to litigate cases for 30 years?" asked Kroening's attorney, Jared Peterson of New Ulm.

Matthew Berger of New Ulm, lawyer for Dahlin, said it wasn't as if the parties were constantly in court. Rather, the judgment was renewed after 10 years, then Dahlin tried to renew it again.

But more fundamental, he said, is "that judgment debtors, and debtors in general, should pay their debts."