Melissa Etheridge's ex, Tammy Lynn Michaels, doesn't need $25,000 immediately since Melissa is footing the bills ... this according to an L.A. County Superior Court judge.
Tammy's lawyer wanted the judge to order Melissa to immediately pay 25k to his client, whom he claims is destitute. The lawyer wanted another 25k from Melissa for legal fees, but Melissa's attorney, Neal Hersh, convinced the judge Melissa was paying for everything -- housing, food, schools, the works -- so Tammy's claim that she can't afford to live is bogus.
TMZ broke the story ... Melissa filed to end their domestic partnership, and Tammy then filed, claiming the two were married and she wanted the marriage dissolved.
The next hearing is set for September.