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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 23377
Experience:  Attorney with 14 years experience
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My lawyer filed the divorce papers for my uncontested divorce

Resolved Question:

My lawyer filed the divorce papers for my uncontested divorce last week. My understanding is that the final divorce decree may take anywhere from 2-4 months to come through.

Here is my problem. I am ordered to pay my ex $10,000 per month in support. No child support, just spousal support.

The consulting business I started in 2010 grew pretty well to the rate of about $25,000 per month by end of 2011. But it started declining in November 2012, down 20%, December down 30%, January down 50% and it looks like for February I may only make about $3000. There is a major change in the industry which has caused this change, I thought I could fix things, now I'm not so sure.

In the terms of the divorce, my ex got about $3,000,000 in property and cash, plus the $10,000 per month from me. I got only $40,000, plus my $300,000 IRA which I cashed in to buy a house here in Romania where I will be living permanently.

At this point, my total net worth is $20,000 (the house had to be in my girlfriend's name, because non-Romanians are not allowed to own property.) So my total net worth at this point is $20,000. Once I pay the Feburary support payment, it will be $10,000.

More than anything, I do want the divorce to go through. I agreed to give my ex everything just to be free of her. I want to file a claim for alimony reduction, but not sure if I have to wait for the decree to be final to do this.

I will literally be completely broke in about a month.

What are my options?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Hello and thank you for using JA! My goal is to provide you with excellent service and help with your legal problem.
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This is the problem I see with your current situation...if you tell your lawyer to file a motion to modify the support obligation now, before the divorce is finalized, then that will throw a wrench into the divorce process and can result in it dragging out for several months or longer before you are finally divorced. You would also have to look at the costs of doing so now. They might actually be cheaper than doing so later if the judge hasn't formally signed off on the alimony and property settlement agreement.
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If you wait until after the divorce is entered, then you will be free, but it may cost more to file the motion to modify based on a change of circumstances. The upside is that it may look like you were actually trying to turn the business around before you were forced to file to modify.
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It is a tough situation and it will boil down to how bad you want the divorce to be over...
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Thanks.

Barrister

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If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

First, I am definitely letting the divorce go through.


 


If I run out of money and stop paying the support before the divorce is finalized, can my ex-wife do anything on her end to stop the divorce from going through?

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Well, unless the order stated that you had to start paying before the order was signed off on by the judge, the alimony typically only starts after the order is entered and the divorce is finalized.
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But if you are paying now while the divorce is pending and you stop, then yes, she could bring it up and gum up the process. But if that happened, at least you could address it then as part of the process of the divorce and provide proof of your reduced income to support a reduction request.
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So obviously it would be in your best interests to push your lawyer to get the final divorce decree signed off on as quickly as possible...
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Thanks.

Barrister

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Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

.

If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

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I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Well, since I have set a date for remarrying, my lawyer is meeting with the chief clerk to get the divorce decree expedited.


 


So I will then find one way or another to keep paying until the decree is final, even if I have to take cash advances from my credit card.


 


Now, if after the divorce is final, and it is shown that I am completely broke and negative net worth because I have taken cash advances to pay the alimony, will that go badly against me? Or will it actually look good and I can say I have been trying to meet my obligation while trying to turn my business around?

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
The court has the power to "bifurcate" the divorce case which means that they can address the formal divorce action first to get you divorced and then work on the property settlement agreement and any alimony issues later.
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This would allow you to be formally divorced first and then deal with the other things after that. Once you are divorced, you can't get un-divorced so you would be free at that point to remarry.
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I would opine that it would actually look better on you because you are holding out to the last minute before you throw in the towel and file for the modification. You did your very best to turn things around, but it just didn't happen, so now you need a modification.
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Thanks.

Barrister

.

Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

.

If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Just one last question about alimony modification. My understanding is that alimony is entirely a function of my income, not my assets. Meaning the fact that I bought a house with IRA money last year, or whatever money I have spent, is not relevant to my alimony obligiation. Because I would prefer that my ex-wife not see every financial transaction I made last year. That alimony is just supposed to come from the money I am making. So am I correct, that the only issue when it comes to filing the alimony modification is what is my current income and current net worth? So I can't be accused of buying a house last year when my money was good, along the lines of I should have kept extra savings around in case my business failed because I am supposed to pay alimony no matter what?

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Alimony is not soley based on income and the judge can look at assets as well. If someone was not employed but had millions of dollars in real estate, they would likely still be ordered to pay some alimony if the property was acquired during the marriage.
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Further, the judge can "impute" income to one spouse if they feel that that spouse is intentionally reducing their income for the computation. For example, a doctor quits his $500K a year job during the divorce to go work at a clinic for $30K. The court would impute the $500K to him because he is capable of earning that and it might appear that he did this intentionally so he wouldn't have to pay high alimony.
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But as for buying a house with your IRA money, you are correct in that it wouldn't be relevant for any alimony computation and you couldn't be held responsible for not keeping your money available to pay for alimony should a divorce situation come up.
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I don't think the house purchase will hurt you regarding alimony at all.
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Thanks.

Barrister

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Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

.

If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Related to the imputement, my ex-wife's attorney put a line in our post-nuptial agreement that said since I am a graduate of Cornell (my degree is in philosophy, though) I have the potential to earn $500,000 per year. (I have not made $500,000 per year for over 6 years.) The consulting business I have now is relatively new, only 2 years old, and one I came up with when my last business failed. I did have 5 great years in a high risk business between 2003 and 2007, which generated the $4 million my net worth that my ex-wife owns 100%.


 


I really don't have a way to start a new business from scratch and generate $500,000 per year. Also, since I have virtually no net worth, I have not capital with which to start one. My girlfriend does have some family money, and since at least she owns a house for us to live in in Romania, I am not completely destitute. So in this situation, is it likely a judge would actually impute income to me? My financial records show clearly my business going down, down, down every month and I have documentation of the reasons why, which are clearly beyond my control.

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
I think he might impute some type of potential income based on your past earnings. You would have to demonstrate that the economy has turned to such a degree that it is not economically feasible for this to occur now. For example, if you were in the mortgage broker business, since the real estate market has crashed and burned, it is not realistic to impute income from something like that to someone now.
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So you might be imputed some income, but it shouldn't be as much when it was the "golden days".
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Thanks.

Barrister

.

Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

.

If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I didn't get into the specifics before, but the reason my business is failed is not because of the economy. Two years ago, in an attempt to bolster my reputation, I created a press release saying I had been named the best in my industry. One of my competitors saw the release, and wrote on his blog that I was a fraud and never to be trusted. Then other competitors picked up on this and amplified this. For a while, these blogs were far down in search rankings and did not hurt me. Now that time has gone by, these blogs calling me a fraud and a crook show up right under a search of my name. This is what has killed my business and my personal reputation. There is really no way for me to fix this. Remember, the press release I created was done during my marriage, not recently as an attempt at self-sabotage. This is certainly not something I would have done to myself. The press release itself, while a little over the edge, was not really the worst thing to do in the world. It was really the way my competitors took advantage of it to ruin me. But in terms of alimony, it was not something I did intentionally to avoid alimony, and what has happened is certainly beyond my control. Would I still likely have income imputed?

Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.
Well, if the business has effectively been damaged beyond repair, and reputations are hard to repair in a situation like this, then I think that you would have a successful argument that essentially the past is the past and that income ship has sailed. Since that business is not likely to return, and you can show a steady decline, you shouldn't have income imputed to you from the days when things were much better as that is not a true reflection of the current situation.
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.

.

Thanks.

Barrister

.

Please don't forget to rate my service "OK" or higher. It is only then that I receive credit for my work.

.

If you need further help, just reply to me via the “REPLY” button and I will be happy to continue.

.

I cannot enter into an attorney client relationship, this is a public forum, and all posts are available for public viewing. There is no duty of confidentiality that attaches to any posts. The information provided is not a substitute for a local attorney’s legal advice.

Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 23377
Experience: Attorney with 14 years experience
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