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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 38792
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
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Dear Lawyer, I divorced 8 years ago. I owed $7900 in Alimony

Customer Question

Dear Lawyer,

I divorced 8 years ago. I owed $7900 in Alimony and paid $2795 before I used all my savings and ran out of money. I was 60 years old and lost my job 2 months before the divorce. I waived rights to Alimony Modification.

Six weeks ago I received a Demand Letter from an attorney asking for $5100.

I completed Chapter 13 bankruptcy in October 2011. I'm 67 years old. I have $500 in savings, monthly income of $2165 (Social Security) and expenses of $2028.

I have about $25000 in home equity, but my lender will not consider a loan for 5 years after bankruptcy.

On April 25, 2012 I asked the Ex to name a minimum total settlement amount and agreed to $100/month payments, but was told that nothing less than a $5000 lump sum will be accepted.

What are my options?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.

I am sorry that you are in this situation. At this point you really do not have very many options. Alimony cannot be discharged via bankruptcy, and if they choose to pursue you (which they can do), the other party can also demand attorney fees and court costs from you if they obtain a judgment based on your contempt of court order (not stating you didn't try to pay in good faith, but failing to honor the order is grounds for contempt). As a consequence you either convince her to give you a fair payment plan, or you scrimp, save, and borrow from third parties to pay her off since if she does decide to pursue you, it will end up costing you far more.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
You have not told me anything that I haven't already found out. What will the Judge likely rule in my matter?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry that I haven't told you anything new, that simply means you conducted the research correctly. In this case I do not see a judge ruling in your favor since you are behind on your payments, and he will very likely order you to make the payments. Even if you lost your job that would not terminate this obligation that you would owe to your ex, and she consequently can sue you for the arrears plus court costs, filing fees, and attorney fees. If she prevails she could then pursue your other assets if any, garnish wages if you re-enter the workforce, and charge interest on the balance due to her.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Can the Judge order that I either make payments or sell my house and which is more likely?

What if I can prove that the Ex got married some time ago or is living in a "Supportive Relationship". Will the judge remove my alimony obligation?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up.

Can the Judge order that I either make payments or sell my house and which is more likely?
Yes, he can, or he can permit the other side that if they prevail, they could obtain a formal lien against your home and then force the property into a sale.

What if I can prove that the Ex got married some time ago or is living in a "Supportive Relationship". Will the judge remove my alimony obligation?
No, he will not. That is a separate issue and while you can pursue it as a means of cutting of future obligations, your past obligations remain. Furthermore alimony is based on your own divorce decree; while some alimony payments can and do terminate once the other spouse is remarried or permanently cohabitates with someone else, others remain and keep going for the life of the other spouse even if that spouse remarries. That is very much based on how your decree is worded.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I didn't understand your answer to the following: I'll restate my question below:
------------------------------------------------
Can the Judge order that I either make payments or sell my house and which is more likely?
Yes, he can, or he can permit the other side that if they prevail, they could obtain a formal lien against your home and then force the property into a sale.
------------------------------------------------
Can the judge order I make payments?
How much of a payment - based on my net cash flow of $150/month?
Which is most likely: 1) sell home or 2) make payments?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up.

Can the judge order I make payments?
Yes

How much of a payment - based on my net cash flow of $150/month?
Which is most likely: 1) sell home or 2) make payments?
He can, and likely will, order both. If you cannot make payments based on lack of a cash flow (and they will look at gross income, not net), he can allow the other party to pursue a judgment lien against your property and force a sale so as to obtain the funds owed.

Good luck and take care.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
How much of a payment will the judge ask to avoid the sale of my home?

Income is $2165, expenses are $2028. Amount owed in back alimony is $5,100.

BTW - I'm on Social Security and my gross and net are the same.
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
He will ask for the full payment. By "gross" I stand by what I stated, which is based on your full income and not what is remaining after expenses, and that is what they will base garnishment and your ability to make payments on.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
How much of a monthly payment/garnishment will a judge typically ask for based on $2165 Gross and an arrears amount of $5,100?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
I am sorry, I am not your judge, and I cannot answer that question for you.

Good luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
In attempting to make an appropriate settlement offer, I have to have a FEEL for what the judge may award my Ex in terms of monthly payments.

What has been your worst case / best case experience with these matters in terms of awards and gross income amounts?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
The worst case was making someone pay the debt immediately on the spot and giving them 30 days to make the payments. The courts generally do not set payment plans and leave that between the parties, so if they obtain a judgment, you have to negotiate with them and not via the judge (and that means the other side can choose to be as reasonable or as unreasonable as they wish, since they can demand the amount paid in full).

Good luck.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
And the BEST CASE?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
And the best case is where for whatever reason the judge sees no merit and dismisses the suit against you as invalid.

Good luck.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 38792
Experience: I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
Dimitry K., Esq. and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Very good!

If I want to talk with you again and pay another $59, how do I go about that?
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your follow-up.

If you wish to speak with me directly, next time you post a question simply title it "For Dimitry..." and I will be notified that you are seeking me out, either by the system or by other professionals online. Happy to hear that I was able to assist and be well!

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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq.
Attorney at Law
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I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.