PROVO — A Lindon woman went to court Monday to ask a judge to allow her to stop making alimony payments to her ex-husband who is charged will killing her new husband in July.
Joy Sidwell said she has been paying $500 a month in alimony to her ex-husband, Fred Lee.
Now it's just a waiting game for her because Commissioner Thomas Patton told Sidwell she's just six days shy of the legal time allowed for Lee to contest her petition to stop alimony payments.
Lee remained in the Utah County Jail Monday facing aggravated murder and other charges.
On July 3, Fred Lee, 59, told police that he went looking for his former spouse "to kill her," according to court documents. Instead, Lee was apprehended after he entered a home in search of his ex-wife, only to shoot and kill her current husband, police said.
Despite protective orders and stalking complaints filed in 2005 and 2007 against Lee, Sidwell said this alimony issue is another obstacle in the legal system that she says led to her husband's murder.
“It's going to take a long time to see justice in the court for the trial of the murder, but this would at least be justice for right now,” Sidwell said Monday.
Sidwell does not have an attorney.
“I shouldn’t need an attorney to have it stopped,” she said. “It should be a simple cut-and-dried thing.”
Lee's criminal proceedings could have impact on the petition, but attorney Kristy Hanson, who is not involved in this case, says it'll take some time.
“On a permanent basis she will be OK,” said Hanson, an attorney with MacArthur, Heder and Melter. “It's just getting through the rules and the procedures on a temporary basis.”
Hanson also said the court could grant Sidwell's petition retroactively.
“It seems like there is a gray area on temporary modifications of alimony awards,” Hanson said. “So I think that it’s something that needs to be addressed.”
Sidwell returns to court Sept. 15 to once again request a stop payment on alimony. Hanson said Lee has the legal right to contest Sidwell’s petition.
For Sidwell, it’s not the direction she wants this case to go.
“I hope he (commissioner) would do the right thing, which is not make me pay alimony to somebody who killed my husband and support him. It’s not right,” Sidwell said. “I hope that there’s a judge or commissioner, or somebody who actually sees that.”
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc