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Ask Maverick Your Own Question
Maverick, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 5749
Experience:  20 years of professional experience
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Married in Japan. Been Living in U.S. 20 years (Texas

Customer Question

Married in Japan. Been Living in U.S. for around 20 years (Texas 4, Oregon 15). Wife went back to Japan 3 months ago against my wishes and does not have a plan to come back that I am aware of. I have 2 kids, 17 and 8 who are doing just fine without their mother. What are my options?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Maverick replied 6 months ago.
Welcome to Just Answer (“JA”)! My name is Maverick. Please note that: (A) The information we provide is general information. No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by communicating with me. If you want legal advice, you must consult with a local attorney in person before acting or deciding not to act based on any information given here; (B) Experts answer questions based on the honor system. When I feel that I have provided you with a complete answer, I will ask for you to assign a feedback rating so that JA will compensate me for my time; and (C) You should not be concerned about any short delays between your questions and my replies. Please know that I answer most questions within the hour if I am signed on. If I am not signed on, then I still make every attempt to respond within 24 hours. Thank you for taking the time to understand how this site works. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms. Answer will follow in the pane below as per above parameters…. 1. What would you like to see happen here? Are you wanting to file for divorce?
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Not sure. I hate the idea of her being entitled to any money at all as she was not a major contributor to the family and refused to get a job and was lazy about housework and taking care of the kids.
Expert:  Maverick replied 6 months ago.
Under OR law, spousal support is not ordered in every case. Rather, it is based upon what is "just and equitable under the circumstances." The amount and duration of spousal support is based on factors such as : length of the marriage; ages of the parties; health of the parties; work experience and earning capacity (probably the most important factor), and the standard of living the couple had during the marriage. How property and debts are divided can also play a role. MORE to come...
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
My best case scenario is that she would just sign off on having her own life and leave us alone. She is back in Japan with her family - let them take care of her. With her being gone, it is evident that she was not essential to my family. If it does go the way of divorce, how do I ensure full custody of the kids?
Expert:  Maverick replied 6 months ago.
To read the spousal support laws in Oregon, see Chapter 107 of the Oregon statutes, sections 107.095(1)(a), 107.105, and 107.135 at this link. If she is willing to do a voluntary settlement agreement for the property division and alimony issues, then, yes, that would be best. If not, you may want to quickly file for divorce in OR before she does something in Japan to avoid a jurisdictional battle and having to play by Japan's rules and having to travel there for court hearings. More to come...
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
She is not likely to pursue anything in Japan. She is not proactive about anything. Also, her family knows how lucky she is to be married to me. They rave about me. Even her own mother is fond of me and is upset with what she is doing. What can I do while she is in Japan? File something? Cut off her credit cards? Put a document together and send it to her?
Expert:  Maverick replied 6 months ago.
At this link are the factors under OR law that a court considers in awarding custody. Notice no preference is to be given based on gender of the parent. If I had to take a guess based on these facts, you may have what is called joint legal custody [where the both of you make important decisions about the children such a medical care, schooling, religious up bring, etc.] but you may have sole physical custody with her having visitation rights. If that happens, she may have to pay child support to you. More to come...
Expert:  Maverick replied 6 months ago.
What can I do while she is in Japan? File something? Cut off her credit cards? Put a document together and send it to her? I would first see if you can get her to sign off on a property settlement agreement; if she does that then you both can agree as to a date when the two of you would carry on separately with financial matters. If she is not being reasonable or if you see her spending wildly on credit cards, yes, immediately cut them off and file for divorce. At this link is a form that you may want to use to nail down the issues and get her signature on.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I think she may even realize that she is not capable of taking care of the kids herself. And, it would be disastrous for the kids. The kids weren't happy to see her go but would literally freak out if I wasn't around since I am the 90% parent and my wife was 10%.
Expert:  Maverick replied 6 months ago.
Well, those facts would certainly bode well for you getting physical custody. See also the form that I referred to you for settling your financial issues at the link 2 panes above.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
The link you provided says "no children". Also, the asset I am worried about is my Roth IRA. The house currently has little to no equity (but is "home" to the kids). She has some money in a Roth IRA but mine is worth over a million dollars. Some of the money from before we were married, some from my working (never her, although I did contribute to hers) and the rest from gains. She had nothing to do with hit.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Thanks for the links. I will leave them up. Not sure if I have time right now.
Expert:  Maverick replied 6 months ago.
Here is a better one. With respect to the IRA, the value of that IRA as of the date of your marriage could still be treated as your separate property. But see my comments further below. With respect to the home, the increase in value of the IRA since the date of marriage, and her IRA [when taking into account your 20 yrs of marriage] these are likely going to be treated by the courts as marital property. The overriding, but rebuttable presumption, is that marital property is equally acquired and is to be divided equally. Pre-marital property goes to the owner of the premarital property; unless it has become commingled, used by both parties, accessible by both parties and intended to be part of the marital estate.
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Any angle to the Roth IRA that, assuming that I can get primary/sole custody of the kids, the Roth is not just for my retirement but to fund the kids college education. If the assets get split, can she be made responsible for half of the kids college education?
Expert:  Maverick replied 6 months ago.
Yes, on the IRA you would show that it WAS NOT equally acquired and thus it should not be equally split. Yes, the court can make her responsible for half the college education, but it would be better to keep control over those funds and ask the court to make you responsible in exchange for giving her less on the property division. This way she will not use up the money before the kids become of age to go to college.

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