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Civil Law Court “A” trashes US$6,000 demanded by Saamoi’s wife in divorce case

By Lincoln G. Peters 

The Judge of Civil Law Court “A”, J. Kennedy Peabody has nullified an amended motion of Mrs. Vivian J. Saamoi against her husband, Mr. Henry F. Saamoi, who is also Chief Executive Officer of International Bank Liberia Limited, demanding US$6,000 of his monthly salary for her support. 

According to court records, Judge J. Kennedy Peabody’s ruling was also upheld by the Supreme Court Chamber Justice, Her Honor, Justice Jamesetta Howard-Wolokollie, denying Mrs. Saamoi’s Petition for a Writ of Certiorari.

The husband of Mrs. Saamoi, Mr. Henry F. Saamoi filed an action of divorce through the Civil Law Court “A” against his wife for incompatibility of temper and cruel and inhumane treatment.

The plaintiff (Mr. Saamoi) according to the complaint, filed on October 21, 2021, following their marriage on December 6, 2015, raised several issues ranging from disrespect and incompatibility. 

In his complaint, Mr. Saamoi recounted that it was his expectation that after their holy matrimony, both partners would have lived together in peace, harmony, happiness, and care for one another and if blessed with children, care for, support and bring up such children in keeping with Christian faith.

But he informed the court that contrary to such expectations, his wife, Mrs. Vivian J. Saamoi in violation of her marital vow, became disrespectful by using invective and insulting words such as stupid, foolish, irresponsible, and useless in the presence of their maid and children.

The CEO of the IB (Liberia) Limited added that besides those counts against her, his wife has been very violent by engaging in fistfights with him on two occasions, spilled his blood and also threatened and vowed to break bottle on his head if ever he discloses that she had insulted him, adding that several interventions were made by her pastor and others but all failed.

At the same time, Mr. Saamoi averred that since the matter was getting worse daily, he wrote a communication to his wife on February 22, 2019, detailing her conduct, behavior, and attitude which he said made their living together dangerous.

According to court documents, he informed Mrs. Saamoi that he was leaving and vacating their marital home on Sunday, February 23, 2020, which he had built prior to their marriage to preserve his life.

Based on these reasons and many others, Mr. Saamoi prayed the court for a decree dissolving the marital contract entered into by both of them to allow each other to go their separate way as though such contract was never made and executed.

However, in resistance to his action of divorce, Madam Vivian J. Saamoi filed a petition for an Alternative Writ of Certiorari before the Civil Law Court “A” and simultaneously filed a Motion for Alimony Pendente Lite and Support for her and their minor son, Henry F. Saamoi, Jr.

In her petition, she requested US$6,000 (Six Thousand United States Dollars) for her Alimony representing about one-third (1/3) of her husband’s monthly income and also an amount of US$1,500 (One Thousand Five Hundred United States Dollars) representing monthly support and upkeep payment for their minor son. 

However, the court rules that under Liberian Law, in an action of divorce, the husband is to support his wife while the case still goes on.

Considering this factor, the court stressed that under no condition a judgment could be passed in its wisdom on the Amended Motion for Alimony and Support, without considering the Prenuptial Agreement signed between both parties on November 30, 2015, prior to their marriage. 

Therefore, the Judge of the Civil Law Court “A”, J. Kennedy Peabody as a reliance, quoted Count 14 of the Prenuptial Agreement, “In the event of that there is a separation of the parties, Vivian will be entitled to support in the maximum monthly amount of US$500 every month on the condition that the parties are married for a minimum of two years and Henry is still gainfully employed therefore, Count 14 of the Prenuptial Agreement is not in dispute”. 

Also, in Count 15 of the Prenuptial Agreement states that the parties realize that their respective financial circumstances may be altered in the future by changes in their health, the cost of living, their employment, their marital status, the breakdown of their relationship, or otherwise. No such changes shall give either party the right to see additional support under any law.

Hence, per the court document, Judge Peabody clearly stated that Count 15 of the Prenuptial Agreement defeats the contention of Mrs. Vivian J. Saamoi that she is entitled to one-third of her husband’s income against a legitimate contract signed by both parties, adding that either party is legally obligated to uphold and abide by the stipulations (counts) contained in the Prenuptial Agreement because both parties assented and signed the instrument with their sound minds.

Also passing judgement on the awarding of alimony pendent lite in the amount of US$6,000 per month and to be paid retroactively from February 23, 2020, and during the pendency of the divorce action as prayed for by Mrs. Vivian J. Saamoi, the Civil Law Court Judge stressed that such decision cannot be left to the discretion of the parties in the proceedings.

He noted that the spirit and intent of the law, clearly obligates the court to use its discretion considering the required justice and circumstances of the parties in these proceedings to make a determination of the matter.

Judge Peabody said consistent with Section 9.3 of the Domestic Relations Law of Liberia which seeks the discretion of the court in determining such case, Mrs. Vivian J. Saamoi is only entitled to US$500 as support monthly of the date of filing the Action of Divorce contrary to her previous demand of US$6,000 monthly from her husband’s monthly income.

He further indicated that the judgement extends up to and including the date of the ruling as alimony and US$500 monthly too for the support of their minor son, Henry Saamoi, Jr. excluding school fees, something that also defeats her previous demand of US$1,500 from her husband, Mr. Henry Saamoi’s monthly salary for their son’s support. 

Meanwhile, the final ruling in the Action of Divorce as prayed for by Mr. Saamoi against his wife, Mrs. Vivian J. Saamoi, is expected anytime this week. Editing by Jonathan Browne

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