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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
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I am divorced with primary care of three girls, 15, 15, and

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I am divorced with primary care of three girls, 15, 15, and 8. The two older ones refuses to visit her; the little one must. Question # *****: The decree states that both parties are to get summer visitation. The decree states that my ex must give me notice==" no later than April 1."
My deadline is May 1. I gave her my notice on April 8;then she gave me hers on April 11; I then replied that she had forfeited her summer visitation. What is your definitive spin? HAs she forfeited her summer visitation?
Questions # ***** During the divorce hearing; she refused to pay the house payments; then I refused to pay them; eventually I caught them up for a year. Her lawyer always promised that she would. A year later, we are trying to settle the property issues-the judge gave me both of our houses with choices; I made the choice to sell both and divide income and expenses. Would her share of the late house payments be considered expenses? Is there anyway I could get my half back? She was living in the house at the time I was not. Patrick Sutton
Question # *****: The decree states that both parties are to get summer visitation. The decree states that my ex must give me notice==" no later than April 1."

My deadline is May 1. I gave her my notice on April 8;then she gave me hers on April 11; I then replied that she had forfeited her summer visitation. What is your definitive spin? HAs she forfeited her summer visitation?

A: Court orders are strictly construed. A party does not have discretion to ignore a court order. Similarly, an order that is even moderately vague/ambiguous cannot be enforced by contempt. If the order says, "April 1," then late notice is invalid, and the person who was ordered to comply cannot enforce the order in their favor. Therefore, the visitation is forfeit (unless you feel like volunteering visitation, or the other party returns to court for modified orders).

Questions # ***** During the divorce hearing; she refused to pay the house payments; then I refused to pay them; eventually I caught them up for a year. Her lawyer always promised that she would. A year later, we are trying to settle the property issues-the judge gave me both of our houses with choices; I made the choice to sell both and divide income and expenses. Would her share of the late house payments be considered expenses? Is there anyway I could get my half back? She was living in the house at the time I was not.

A: Without a specific order, you cannot force your spouse to pay. However, if the court has not made final orders concerning property division, you can ask for an order that the court credit you with a portion of the net proceeds of sale sufficient to equalize the contributions to the mortgage. If the court has already made a final order for property division, without any provision for payment contributions, then you would have no recourse.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The option that I chose is to sell both houses and divide the proceeds and the expenses. The decree has already spoken in giving me that option. But the decree did not provide any provisions for house payments, but could I ask for a modification in that as well

You cannot request modification of a final order dividing property. You can modify child and/or spousal support -- but not a property division. Which is why I said if the order was already final on the issue of property division, you would have no recourse.

This may seem ridiculous, but it's actually the child and spousal support modifications that are unusual. In fact, child and spousal support are the only final judgments that courts can modify. In any other case or issue before a court, once an order is final, it generally cannot be modified. It can be set aside/vacated for fraud or mutual mistake, or where there is an illegal provision that the court didn't notice at the time. But, if things just don't happen to go they way the parties expected, then there is no way to modify a final judgment or order.

Hope this helps.