Conroe Judge Sentences The Wrong Spouse To Jail

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Montgomery County Court at Law Judge Patrice McDonald may have made judicial history today – but not in a good way.

Mark Athans of Willis was sentenced to five days in jail for refusing to pay his ex-wife tens of thousands of dollars in spousal support and legal fees. The judge ignored a South Dakota court order voiding Mark Athans’ marriage to Charity Parchem based on the fact that she is a serial bigamist. Parchem was married to at least two other men before she married Athans. In fact, Parchem is currently charged with the felony crime of bigamy – a case that is being heard in the very same courthouse.

McDonald suspended the sentence for Athans in the “community interest” and put him on a two-year probation until he pays the bill.

Judge McDonald says that it is irrelevant that Parchem is a bigamist and defrauded Athans by marrying him while she was already married to two other guys.

Athans’ mother called Parchem a “predator of men” and thinks that Judge McDonald should be taken off the bench for punishing her son when he is the real victim.

The case has drawn attention across the state. Athans has until March to start paying his ex-wife $1,500 a month. But don’t be surprised if his lawyers go to the Texas Court of Appeals to overturn Judge McDonald’s decision.

“Today Judge McDonald sent another message about just how screwed up the family court system is in Texas,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Ignoring the evidence that Mark Athans was victimized by a marriage fraud scheme is shameful and an embarrassment for the Montgomery County Courthouse. It is a reminder that voters need to be very careful about who they elect.”