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Phillips Esq.
Phillips Esq., Attorney-at-Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 19472
Experience:  B.A.; M.B.A.; J.D.
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matrimonial question. divorced since 2002. exhusband is now

Customer Question

matrimonial question. divorced since 2002. exhusband is now withholding alimony as payback for a real estate transaction we had done in 1997, while separated with papers. says i owe him $15,000 which was due him. i have legal signed papers he was not entitled to that $. he also said i haven't paid any monies due for mortgage and utililites all the years until the mortgage was paid in full by him in 2003, according to our divorce papers. yes, the house will have to be sold when my youngest child is 23, or graduates college. she is 18 1/2 now; and just entered her 2nd year of college. 2 more years to go. he says i owe him over $29,000 in the mortgage and utilities which he paid "on my behalf" according to our divorce agreement that i agreed to pay my shares. however, i never paid any being i couldn't afford to. i wasn't making enough money when i went back to work then. i had to work part-time and had 4 children at home with me aging from 4 1/2 years old - 13 1/2 years old. i never consented to him to pay my share. now in 2011, our 3rd daughter is recently married and he is now waking up and withholding these monies and starting to act up. note child support i only receive now is $300 for this 1 child who lives at home with me. thats all i get. years ago he gave me $1,600 for 4 daughters @$300 per child and $400 alimony. then he cut the alimony and sent $1,200 a month. no way was i able to afford the mortgage of $729 and half of all utilities and put food on the table. then girls got married and payment was $700 a month; now $300. if he didn't "pay on my behalf" then the house should have gone to foreclosure. he took it upon himself that i would pay him back. now he's waking up. he will spend more on attorneys to fight for this than what he's fighting for. i dont have the $ to fight but am fed up. he has move on; remarried; leases a lexus; owns a house and im am still struggling to hold a house for all utilities; and all my own expenses. is he allowed to open a case from years ago without my written consent and can i use the documented letter that indicated i was to receive that $15,000 of his share of the sale of the real estate condo of 1998?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 6 years ago.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to assist you. I encourage you to ask me for clarification, if you are not clear with my Answer.

Could you clarify?

If you divorced in 2002 and the real estate transaction was done in 1997, was that transaction along with the payment part of your divorce agreement?

If so, why is he relitigating the case?

Were you supposed to pay for half the mortgage and utitlties pursuant to your divorce agreement?

If so, how much roughly were you supposed to be paying and how much did you pay?

Did he go to Court to obtain the modification of the alimony payment before he stopped paying it?

When did he stop the alimony payment?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
the real estate transaction was not part of the divorce. it wasn't even written in it. there was a separation agreement drawn up in 1997. we weren't officially divorced until 2002. according to the divorce agreement i was to pay half the mortgage and utilities until the house was paid in full. i didn't pay anything. but being he was paying everything as he always supplied an invoice along with the child support check, as check #.., payable to con ed; check #.., to ny telephone; check #.. payable to citibank (mortgage). this went on for years. He wasn't sending me enough to even cover for these bills as he knew best he continue to pay it all so the girls have a roof over their heads and he got away with lots by only giving me $300 per month x 4 daughters. No he did not go to Court to obtain the modification of the alimony payment before he stopped paying it. He tried in 2000 to stop paying alimony but my then divorce attorney instructed him he wasn't allowed to do that so he continued to pay alimony for 2 more years. then my 1st daughter got married and he cut out her $300. then my other daughter reached age 21 and he cut that too. she lived in the house with me until she got married at age 25. now my 3rd daughter got married in june, 2011 and he started this up again. now withholding the alimony. now only sending me the $300 for daughter #4.
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 6 years ago.

Thank you for the explanation.

He is not allowed to tack the 1997real estate transaction that was settled prior to your divorce to your alimony. If the transaction was not part of your 2002 marital settlement agreement, that's too bad for him. However, he is not entitled to go back and try to unilaterally undo your settlement. You may file contempt action against him for non-payment of alimony--you really should. He cannot decide on his own to stop paying alimony and get away with it. However, he may counterclaim for your 50% share of the mortgage and the utilities. You would respond that the reason you were not able to pay was because he did not pay what he was supposed to pay you in the first pace. So, you did not have any money to contribute. As for the child support his obligation ends when the children reached age of majority unless the divorce decree has different termination dates. See New York Domestic Relations Laws Article 13 Sections 240 to 244.

You can obtain contempt forms at the Courthouse in the Clerk’s office or you can down the forms online under “Self-Represented Forms.”