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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 11688
Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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I and my wife married on aug.01.2011. We started to separate

Resolved Question:

I and my wife married on aug.01.2011. We started to separate since July 2012. She sues me to give her money for spouse support.
There is my situation:
1. I bought one house in VA before our marriage.
2. She told court that she does not have any jobs.( As I know, she still have income in China. Also, she teaches drawing secretly in VA)
3. I pay the mortgage appr.$1500/month, utility appr. $250/month
4. She lives in my house without pay any fees.
5. I moved out since July 2012. I rent room in other place $500/month.
6.I used to have a full time job before July 2012. The income is around $2800-3000/month. In september 2012, I got a part time job. the salary is around$2500/month.
7. I am a US citizen. She holds conditional green card.
The question is how much money I may pay her from judge's view.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

Aside from teaching drawing, is there any reason that your wife would not be able to work? Does your wife have any assets to her name (savings, stock, etc...)?

ScottyMacEsq :

And what is the reason that you stopped working full time and only work part time?

Customer:

She told the court why she does not go to work is her English limitation. She is a Chinese.

Customer:

She is a drawing teacher in China.

ScottyMacEsq :

And is this for temporary support (during the divorce) or permanent (after the divorce is final)? (I am assuming that you're pursuing divorce)

Customer:

I want to divorce her. She sued me first to ask the spouse support.

Customer:

It is temp. support, I guess.

ScottyMacEsq :

There are two types of spousal support: temporary (aka alimony pendente lite), which is support during the divorce proceedings, and permanent (which starts after the divorce is final).

ScottyMacEsq :

I'll address permanent first:

Customer:

ok

ScottyMacEsq :

It's extremely unlikely that the judge would award permanent alimony in marriage of "short duration". And even if there is, it's going to be ordered only for a short period of time, probably half of the time that you were actually married. This is a "get back on your feet" type of alimony.

ScottyMacEsq :

It's also not going to be a lot. Think, at max, 20% of your income.

ScottyMacEsq :

 


Alimony during litigation (pendente lite) is granted by the court before the case is even heard to cover the living expenses of the dependent spouse. This amount may be awarded for a short period or until the divorce becomes final. An award temporary alimony does not mean that the party will be awarded permanent alimony.


 

ScottyMacEsq :

The court can award the house during the divorce proceedings, although it seems clear that this was your property before, and therefore it won't be part of the marital distribution.

ScottyMacEsq :

The court can also consider her immigration status, and if her green card is conditional (in that she needs to stay married) the court will consider that she may return to China.

ScottyMacEsq :

(after the divorce)

ScottyMacEsq :

 


Under the law, the judge must consider evidence of the amount of income to be generated by any monetary award prior to awarding alimony. The criteria to be applied by the judge in alimony cases is set forth in the Virginia code. They include the following:

Length of the marriage.
Education and training.
Age and health.
Respective financial positions.
Need for support.
Ability to pay.
Contributions to the family during marriage.
Prospects of the parties.
Division of marital property.
Standard of living during the marriage.


 

ScottyMacEsq :

The length of the marriage is the big one, and the fact that she's staying in the house is also a fairly significant fact.

Customer:

Do you mean my income right now? 2500*20%=500

ScottyMacEsq :

Yes, but that's the outer boundaries of it. The court may also consider the income that you can earn if you work full time, IF you are voluntarily not working full time. If you had no control over your switch to part time, then it will absolutely consider your income now.

ScottyMacEsq :

But the fact that your income is already fairly low means that the court almost certainly won't take that much.

ScottyMacEsq :

There are jobs that are available to non-english speakers, and if your wife is not trying to get employment, then the court can also "ding" her for that.

ScottyMacEsq :

It's basically the concept known as "imputed income". That is, the court will consider the income that the parties actually have, but it can also consider the income that the parties would have if they have a smaller income because of voluntary unemployment or underemployment.

ScottyMacEsq :

And you can argue the income that she makes on the side teaching should be included in her income (which would reduce any obligation, if any, that you have to her).

ScottyMacEsq :

Now the court will also consider any other assets that you may have (savings, stocks, other hard assets) in addition to your income. Basically it is looking at whether you can both survive during the divorce proceedings, and then after that you're on your own (in that she almost certainly is not going to have any additional alimony after the divorce is final)

Customer:

Sorry for read your typing slowly.I know most of what you are talking about. My English is not that good but better than her. lol. I will try to find any evidence to show that she has chinese income. Is that count? Or, I will try to find anyone whom she teaches to prove her has some income. You know we have been separated for a while. It is hard to get the evidence.

ScottyMacEsq :

Yes, any income, from whatever source, will count.

ScottyMacEsq :

I understand about trying to get the evidence.

ScottyMacEsq :

It does not just have to be formal, employment income, but any income from any source, reported or not, that will be considered.

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq :

Did you have any other questions before you rate this answer?

Customer:

I have another question. She did not tell the court she has income in China, is that ok for me to get the permit from the court to get the official documents from her work place to prove that she has salary?

ScottyMacEsq :

Absolutely. This would be a subpoena that you would seek from the court that would compel this documentation.

Customer:

Right now, I do not have a lawyer. Is there anyway I can apply one for myself from the court? or do you have any suggestion to get one which is not that expensive. I do not have so much money.

Customer:

Our case is in VA fairfax court

ScottyMacEsq :

If you mean "apply for a lawyer", there is not a "court appointed" lawyer that would be appointed, and you can probably contact legal aid in your area. You can also do this on your own, and I would suggest going to the library to find some books on representing yourself in court.

ScottyMacEsq :

You can also often find the forms at the library, or even sometimes with the court clerk.

Customer:

In this case, she lies to the court. Will she get any penalty? I mean I would like to get a lawyer from the "court appointed". I do not know whether it is available in Fairfax court.

ScottyMacEsq :

Like I said, court appointed attorneys are not available in non criminal law cases. You can see if you would qualify for "legal aid".

ScottyMacEsq :

She could be "sanctioned" by the court if she lied.

Customer:

got it.

ScottyMacEsq :

(and that could result in her not getting the alimony at all, temporary or permenant.

Customer:

Thank you so much for your help and patience. You are excellent!

ScottyMacEsq :

My pleasure.If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX good luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 11688
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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