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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JD, MBA
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If the wife in a 23 year marriage wants a divorce because the

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If the wife in a 23 year marriage wants a divorce because the husband has not been gainfully employed for nine years, although he has a doctorate from a good university. Husband claims to operate a home based business for nine years which has never made a profit, and always shows a loss. The husband remains in the home after the wife moves out because she felt unsafe/threatened by their deteriorating relationship. The husband has not paid the mortgage for three months so foreclosure is imminent. The wife now rents a small apartment using her pension to pay her living expenses. The wife is 67 and the husband is 60. The husband has been served with the summons for divorce but has not responded. The wife will deed the house over to the husband, and each party will keep their own accounts/funds. What does the law say about a situation like this, and is the court likely to order the wife to pay spousal support and/or to order the husband to get a job? How will the foreclosure affect the wife's intent to deed the house to the husband?
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Q: is the court likely to order the wife to pay spousal support
A: If the wife's only income is the pension, then it is unlikely that she'll be required to pay spousal support. However, there is a reasonable chance that the judge will rule that some of the pension is marital property and that the husband is entitled to some of it.

Q: and/or to order the husband to get a job?
A: That absolutely would not happen. The court has no authority to order the husband to get a job.

Q: How will the foreclosure affect the wife's intent to deed the house to the husband?
A: If the house is foreclosed upon, then there would be nothing to deed, as the wife would no longer own the house. If the wife were to deed the house to the husband prior to the foreclosure, then the that would simply mean that the husband owns the house entirely for a short time before the foreclosure. As an aside, in my opinion it is not usually a good idea to deed the house to a spouse if your name is XXXXX XXXXX mortgage. I would use the ownership as leverage to force the spouse to refinance. People often make the mistake of deeding the property to the spouse thinking that means they are no longer liable for the mortgage, only to find out later that although they don't own the house any longer, their credit is destroyed and they are sued after the mortgage is not paid.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There have been California cases where the Court ordered the supported spouse to find a job and limited the time for the supporting spouse to pay. In fact, three month checks were done on the job searches of the supported spouse.

Hi again.

Under the facts that you shared, that would not happen. The court would have no authority to order the husband to get a job because the court would not order that the husband pay spousal support. If the court were going to order that the husband pay spousal support, then that would change the answer.

For example, If the court ordered that the husband pay spousal support, and the husband refused to pay because he refused to get a job, then he could be held in contempt. But even then you should distinguish between ordering that the husband pay support, and ordering that the husband get a job. If the husband could pay support without getting a job, then that would be fine and no job would be required. So, getting a job is just an indirect consequence of the order to pay in most cases. Again, given the facts that you shared, that would not happen.

I hope that helps.