How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dimitry K., Esq. Your Own Question

Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37074
Experience:  I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
Dimitry K., Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I filed for divorce on August 17, 2012 in Circuit Court in

Customer Question

I filed for divorce on August 17, 2012 in Circuit Court in Michigan. On the day prior to physical separation, August 30, 2012, the Defendant and I signed and had notarized a Marital Settlement Agreement. The agreement included provision for short-term alimony payable to Plaintiff. The terms of alimony were for payments of $600 / month from Sept 2012 through Feb 2013. Starting with the first due date, the Defendant defaulted. As I was unemployed and desperately needed the money, I begged and pleaded and finally got the first two payments. The Defendant also defaulted on certain other written (e-mail) agreements we made but these are outside the Marital Settlement Agreement. In that context, I feared that I'd never get the alimony. I couldn't afford a lawyer (unemployed) so I am pro per, but he has nearly $60,000 in annual income and hired an attorney. The next two payments were made because we had court hearings scheduled to set pre-trial and trial dates. The last two payments, Jan/Feb 2013 he simply defaulted. His attorney told him not to pay because the agreement was not entered as an Order with a Judgment of Divorce. I don't disagree; the agreement is not an order. But I believe the agreement to be a contract in this interim period until such time that it becomes an order and I need a legal opinion on that point. I finally lost patience and filed Small Claims actions, one for each payment. He then paid the alimony but not the court costs ($35 for each action). Apparently the only way I can collect the court costs due to me under MI law ($70 total) is to move forward with the SC actions. The SC hearing is June 1, 2012 for both cases. The Defendant's attorney is pressing -hard- for entry of the Marital Settlement Agreement on or before May 17, 2013. If this document becomes an Order in Circuit Court, will I lose my opportunity to collect the court costs in District Court a month later? Defendant's attorney claims that only Circuit Court has jurisdiction over alimony. How can that be when the agreement is not entered as a Judgment of Divorce? What happens to the Small Claims actions after the agreement becomes an order in Circuit Court? The amount may seem to be small but to an unemployed person, every dollar counts. Please advise.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

To answer your underlying question, if this document is entered and becomes an order, it DOES NOT terminate your ablity to seek court costs unless the language in the order expressly limits your ability to seek such action. The small claims action and the order are not directly related unless he can later show that what he owed was already paid out. Further, you should (or at least can) include court costs as part of your cause of action right away, I am not quite sure why that did not happen and why you were not awarded court costs right away. Consequently adding those fees to your cause of action in small claims is valid and is something small claims judges routinelly award the winning plaintiff. The defendant's attorney is correct that Curcuit Court has jurisdiction over alimony, but small claims has jurisdiction over a breach of contract claim, and you can argue that this was a breach as it was not an issued order.

Hope that helps.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

When I filled out the Small Claims actions, I asked for the $600 payment plus court costs. I haven't had my hearing yet. It is scheduled for a futue date. But when the Defendant got the SC action, he then paid the $600, but not the court costs. So I did not dismiss the SC actions. Do I understand your answer to say that because he paid the $600 that I cannot collect the court costs? I only got paid because I filed the SC actions.

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Betsy,

Thank you for your follow-up. If he paid, then the cause of action disappeared. Therefore there is no need to bring it court as the underlying cause is no longer a cause of action. That would avoid him having to pay you the money for filing the cause of action. If/when you appear in court and the judge sees that the cause of action took place already under which you were compensated, there is no further issue in controversy. I wish I had a different answer for you, but he likely paid at his attorney's urging since when you accepted the funds, that negated the cause of action.

I am sorry.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
< Last | Next >
  • Not only did he answer my Michigan divorce question but was also able to help me out with it, too. I have since won my legal case on this matter and thank you so much for it. Lee Michigan
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    8085
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    8085
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Attorney and Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    6424
    27+ years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FL/FLAandNYLawyer/2012-1-27_14349_3Fotolia25855429M.64x64.jpg FiveStarLaw's Avatar

    FiveStarLaw

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    6336
    25 years of experience helping people like you.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dkaplun/2009-05-17_173121_headshot_1_2.jpg Dimitry K., Esq.'s Avatar

    Dimitry K., Esq.

    Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    5987
    I provide family and divorce law advice to my clients in my firm.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    5773
    JD, 15 years legal experience including family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BrianTMayer/2010-01-06_200119_BM.jpg Brandon M.'s Avatar

    Brandon M.

    Family Law Attorney

    Satisfied Customers:

    3810
    Attorney experienced in all aspects of family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/TU/TUSA/2012-6-6_55219_test.64x64.png Thoreau (T-USA)'s Avatar

    Thoreau (T-USA)

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    2634
    Attorney