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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 114028
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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Both me and my wife are US Citizens and Bulgarian Citizens.

Customer Question

Both me and my wife are US Citizens and Bulgarian Citizens. End of 2014 I filed for divorce with the Bulgarian Court and relocated permanently to Bulgaria in March 2015. On April 2, 2015 the Bulgarian court started the trial addressing all issues of divorce case including the child support. Next day April 3, 2015 my wife filed for divorce with Superior Court of Washington State. I filed immediately for dismissal based on the fact that there was divorce case in Bulgaria. The Washington State court rejected claiming the children an and the mother reside in Washington State and it has jurisdiction over the child support. Event they proof were represented that my residence is in Bulgaria and my income is about $2200 a month they appointed $2300 child support as temporary measures based on imputed income of $12000 month which I never had in US. The Bulgarian court divorced as on August 13 but refused to issue child support claiming that the US court has jurisdiction on it. I filed an appeal. On Feb 15, 2016 the appeal was addressed and the case was returned for the judge consider again the issue with the child support. The point was that there is no treaty between Bulgaria and US and therefore the child support declared by the US court is not enforceable in Bulgaria. On Feb 29, 2016 was the actual divorce trial with the Washington State court. I didn't represent my self because I was representing my self on the same matter with the Bulgarian cour at that time and because I didn't have money for a lawyer. The WA court decided I shell pay $2000 child support and $2000 spousal support which is absurd with my real income. I believe WA Court violated the Hague convention on the international private law by disregarding my real income in Bulgaria though I had provided the opposing party with financial declaration of my income and expenditures. Because child support obligation was accrued the WA court gave all the 401k to my wife. I didn't appeal for the same reasons I didn't represent my self. Now my wife's lawyer sands me some QDRO latter to sign. The question if WA court decision is already final why I am asked to sign that thing. It looks like I have a choice not to sign it. What are the risks if I don't sign it?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 10 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Unfortunately, if the children were not residing in Bulgaria, the WA court is right. Even though the divorce was filed in Bulgaria, the WA court could take jurisdiction over child support and custody with the children being residents in the US. This does not violate the Hague Convention actually, since the children resided in the US and in WA and that confers jurisdiction over the support/custody only to the WA court and under WA laws (not the divorce itself which is heard under Bulgarian laws as it was filed there first). If you do not sign the QDRO then the court will order it enforced anyhow and add in the costs for contempt of court for you not cooperating with the court's order. So you can end up being taxed with more fees and payments if you do not sign and cooperate with the court's final order and you did not appeal.