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legaleagle
legaleagle, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 13441
Experience:  Practicing attorney for 10 years
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I live in AZ and under order of protection giving me exclusive

Resolved Question:

I live in AZ and under order of protection giving me exclusive rights to the rented marital home. My now ex husband never terminated utilities in his name, moved his belongings, changed his address. After our marriage ended formally I stoppedmpaying his utilities ( as he still did not t3rminate his services) and when they were dissconnected began service in my own name. Am I responsible for his bill?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  legaleagle replied 3 years ago.

legaleagle :

I you were using the services even though they were in his name, then yes you can be held liable.

Customer :

But I had no choice as i cannot disconnect his services.

legaleagle :

I understand, but you were the one benefiting from the service. Since they were in his name they would most likely go after him first and then he could sue you for the amount since he was not living in the home and not using the utilities.

Customer :

well he has fil against meed a "finding of Contempt"

Customer :

I assure you I had no benefit, I constantly waited for the service to be shutn off with out notice.

Customer :

and having him keep his foot in the door. I had been granted a protection order granting me exclusive use. Also I waited nearly 8 months paying on time everytime, when my divorce was final I stopped paying. Howm long was I expected to wait?

legaleagle :

Unfortunately your remedy would have been to get him found in contempt for not terminating his services so you could begin them in your name. It was not continuing to use the utilities and not pay for them. Sorry.

Customer :

so keep going back to court and racking up lawyer fees and court costs? Also I was awarded the car I had been driving and the debt attached. After that he refinanced the vehicle and never provided me with a new payment book, due date, or bill and had the information such as bills, notices etc going to his house. I am now 1 payment late as of Friday but cannot obtain any information regarding the account. How do I remedy this?

legaleagle :

You have to return to court to show he is in contempt and causing damage to your ability to pay the car payment. Unfortunately if he is pig headed and does not follow the order the only way to force it is to involve a judge, which I understand cost attorney fees but you can sue him for the fees since he is the one forcing you to bring suit by failing to abide by the order.

Customer :

how many times do you do this game before the judge just gets sick and tired of it?

legaleagle :

It really depends on the judge. Some will not allow it after the first time, others will give him 2 to 3 chances.

Customer :

Im sick and tired of it already, I have kids and he makes more money. Really is it just a game of who can keep taking who to court because one can aqfford it and another cant?

legaleagle :

You are correct and I am sorry that is how the system is set up.

Customer :

if he keeps doing this can the judge award me damages for this continued frivilous abuse?

legaleagle :

Yes the judge can.

Customer :

Can I ask the judge for damages? Especially if I can prove the allegations are false?

legaleagle :

Yes you can.

Customer :

I just have one more related ? then I will let you go.

legaleagle :

Ok.

Customer :

Somehow he started having my medical bills forwarded nto nhim, it appears he changed the address from mine to his, however the bills are in my name. When he filed this contempt request for my failure to pay his utilities, he also stated in his complaint that he is recieving my medical bills, and presented the statement which included "procedure billing codes", problem is the procedure was an abortion. He submitted these as evidence after he opened mail in my name, now these documents are "public record". Do i have any recourse?

Customer :

Pig head is not the word for this man. Especially since it was his child.

legaleagle :

Yes he has violated your privacy rights and you can report this to the police and he could be criminally prosecuted for mail theft and fraud and for your privacy violations.

Customer :

What about his lawyer? She filed these papers? Since he opened the door in this Contempt filing, can I ask to have the record sealed and be compensated? There was no point in him producing these documents. No one is trying to collect from him. He/They did this to try to make me look bad. Can I ask the judge to forward it to the prosecutors office?

Customer :

Also his attorney has repeatedly sent me documents via us mail addressed in his name to my address. Is that also not a violation off ethics since I do have an attorney on record?

legaleagle :

She is just doing her job by filing the contempt case and at this point I see no violation that is reportable to the state bar. You can ask that the record be sealed due to the sentitive nature of the documents and that he compensate you for having to defend against the frivolous claims. The judge can forward it to the DA if you ask. If the attorney is sending documents meant for him to your address she is violating his privledge with him and you can report this to the bar.

Customer :

So i cannot be compensated for the breech of myn privacy

Customer :

by this judge in this case

legaleagle :

Only if you prove damages. The damages are the effort and legal fees to fight the contempt and to get the record sealed, but other than that it would be hard to prove damages unless you have physical manisfestations of an emotional trama, such as not eating, not sleeping, losing hair (you need a doctor's opinion that your physical problems were caused by the emotional trama).

Customer :

so privacy is worth 0

Customer :

with re to him filing my private record without consent

legaleagle :

You have to prove damages.

Customer :

what about punative? i mean if this starts to hurt him, perhaps he will stop?

legaleagle :

Yes you can get punative damages if you can show it is necessary to get the message across to stop him from doing this again. You may not get them the first time he does this, but if he does it again you have a much better chance to get punative damages since he did not learn from the first time.

Customer :

im not talking 10s of thousands but you know if u keep getting nickel and dimed

legaleagle, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 13441
Experience: Practicing attorney for 10 years
legaleagle and 8 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you

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