Talks break down in McGreevey divorce

May 13, 2008 4:32:33 AM PDT
Settlement negotiations in the divorce case of the nation's first openly gay governor and his estranged wife broke down Monday afternoon and the two sides prepared to start trial Tuesday morning.New Jersey's former first couple met throughout the day Monday, but by late afternoon court spokeswoman Sandra Thaler-Gerber said former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey and wife Dina Matos McGreevey were at an impasse.

"The judge spent the better part of the afternoon trying to resolve the matter," Thaler-Gerber said. "It does not appear as if it was successful."

The McGreeveys left the courthouse separately and prepared to return Tuesday morning, when testimony was to begin in their trial.

To no avail, the couple and their attorneys spent the better part of the day Monday discussing alimony, child support and how to distribute their assets and liabilities.

New Jersey's former first couple split in 2004, shortly after McGreevey resigned from his first term in office following a nationally televised speech in which he acknowledged being "a gay American" and said he had an affair with a male staffer. The staffer has denied the affair and claims he was sexually harassed by McGreevey.

The McGreeveys have been separated for nearly as long as they were living together, having split when both moved out of the governor's mansion and into separate residences.

Two tell-all books and a series of public squabbles over lifestyle and custody issues followed.

The couple, who have one child, 6-year-old Jacqueline, reached a deal on the custody portion of their divorce last week. Details remain sealed by the judge's order.

New Jersey grants child support based on the income and earning ability of both parents and how much time the child spends with each. McGreevey currently pays $2,500 a month in unallocated support, meaning amounts for child support and alimony aren't specified separately.

Besides alimony and child support, Matos McGreevey is seeking additional money based on her claim of marriage fraud; she says she was duped into marrying a closeted gay man who needed the cover of a wife to advance his political career.

McGreevey, 50, now openly gay and living with a male partner, is studying at an Episcopal seminary.

Matos McGreevey, 41, recently has been seen on cable television as a guest analyst.