The Ninth Court of Appeals in Beaumont has issued an emergency stay in the case of bigamy victim Mark Athans.
The Willis, Texas man faced contempt charges and possible jail today in a legal battle that’s been making headlines for weeks.
March 2, was the deadline for Mark Athans to start paying tens of thousands of dollars to his ex-wife Charity Lenee Parchem Athans, despite protests the judge in the case is actively helping a criminal who lied during the divorce case. Before issuing her final orders, Montgomery County Judge Patrice McDonald had refused to even hear testimony from law enforcement proving Charity was a bigamist, married to at least two other men.
Athans went to South Dakota and a judge there voided the marriage. Charity Parchem has now pleaded guilty to criminal charges. Judge McDonald punished him anyway.
Attorneys for Athans filed an emergency appeal late Friday, and it didn’t take long for a three-judge panel in Beaumont to stop Judge McDonald from doling out any more punishment. Houston lawyers Sean Reagan and Sara Razavi Zand argued Athans’ marriage is void, and it would be illegal to force the victim of bigamy to pay money to the woman who deceived him.
The ruling is a blow to Montgomery County Judge Patrice McDonald, whose conduct, in this case, has been under scrutiny by Dolcefino Consulting.
“It is time for the governor to step in to stop a Texas judge who is clearly out of control,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “Instead of going after a woman who lied to the court and is an admitted bigamist, Judge McDonald attacks the victim in the case. Since Athans complained publicly to the media, the judge has retaliated. The Judicial Conduct Commission should take immediate action. She is out of control.”
Athans has spent tens of thousands of dollars fighting the actions of Judge McDonald after he proved his ex-wife was a bigamist. Athans was only married for less than five months before filing for divorce.
“The judge should be held liable along with the county for the criminal negligence in this case,” says Mark Athans after the Beaumont court ruling.
Willis resident Mark Athans faced jail if he didn’t pay $107,000 dollars to his ex-wife and her lawyer. That’s not a first, but here’s the shocking twist. Athan’s wife Charity Renee Parchem is an accused serial bigamist. Parchem ironically faces sentencing on Tuesday for her bigamy charge in Conroe, but the Montgomery County Judge hearing the divorce case, County court Judge Patrice McDonald, refused to let sheriff’s detectives even testify when the bigamy evidence surfaced. Athans has already spent more than $150,000 in the divorce case but spent thousands more to go back to South Dakota where he first got married to get it voided. A Judge in South Dakota quickly voided the marriage, but that wasn’t good enough for Judge McDonald either. “I had been conned and destroyed by somebody that said that they cared for me,” said Mark Athans. “The hurt and the damage that it’s doing to me financially and my son, I don’t know what to think. Now I am a victim of a family court system run a mock.” Athans was married to Charity Renee Parchem for just five months before filing for divorce, and that was even before he found out his wife was already married. A South Dakota Judge concluded late last year Parchem was really married to at least two other guys. After 8 hours of mostly Judge McDonald denying almost every motion put forward to har and refusing to allow the testimony of the bigamy into court. This to the point of keeping Montgomery County Sheriff’s Detective Jordan who filed the felony bigamy case against Parchem standing in the hall all day and refusing to allow him to testify on any part of his investigation. The hearing was an enforcement hearing over a contempt charge filed by Parchem through a Dallas Attorney for not getting monies awarded her in a divorce. Parchem stated she was not paid anything including a $9000 spousal check ordered paid by July 1, 2019. However, Athan’s attorney countered that claim saying it was mailed to her certified mail on July 1, 2019, and returned several weeks later. Parchem was allowed to open the envelope on the stand and inside found the $9,000 check. It was also discovered the check which was mailed to PO Box 8118 in New Waverly, her dad’s address was actually wrong on the court documents. Parchem then told the Judge the check was VOID because it was more than 90-days old as of today. When the Judge asked if they would drop the contempt charge Parchem stated that she wanted to see Athan’s in jail Athan’s, who holds several medical licenses in the State of Texas for his nursing was faced with losing those if he had been jailed. He also faced the worry of someone to care for his 22-year-old son Dakota who suffers from autism. When asked by the court why Athan’s two older sons could not care for him, he responded that they one worked out of town in the oilfields and another for the Federal Government in California and were not married. Athan’s parents are in their 70’s and also did not have the means. 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 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. Wany Dolcefino, who attended the trial today said, “Today Judge McDonald sent another message about just how screwed up the family court system is in Texas,” “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.” Parcham is due in Judge Hamilton’s Court in the morning on her bigamy case, a third-degree felony.