How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask LawTalk Your Own Question
LawTalk, Attorney and Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 37762
Experience:  30 years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
LawTalk is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What specific countries do not recognize United States civil

This answer was rated:

What specific countries do not recognize United States civil judgments for alimony? (No child support is involved.)
Good morning from southeast GA,

I'm sorry to hear of the situation.

It really isn't necessary to move out of the country to avoid spousal support. Just moving a state or two away will make it very difficult for a spouse with no money to collect from you.

She would have to get a judgment for support arrears, go to the state you reside in, domesticate that judgment and then seek to collect from you. This is a time consuming and expensive process for her.

If you move out of state now and take a job elsewhere---she will probably file divorce in the state she is living in and short of jumping through the hoops---she won't get any help from the state you are in to collect the support---it isn't like child support where every state you move to can come after you.

As for a foreign country-----take your pick if you want to----I doubt that she would spend the many thousands and thousands of dollars to try to perfect a support judgment in a foreign country just to try to collect money----only the financially well off can afford such folly.

As for your savings, you might as well spend it now and enjoy it, because if it was earned and saved during the period of the marriage---the court is going to give her half of it---but if it is all gone because you took a nice trip to Europe---well, there really isn't anything to divide. Spend it before you are served with the divorce papers though. Because after that there are generally automatic orders that prevent either party from depleting the marital assets and you could be in contempt and jailed if you spend it all after you are served.

I wish you the best in 2012.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a 100% successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions; and if you do, I ask that you please keep in mind that I do not know what you may already know or with what you need help, unless you tell me.

Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation, and I trust that you can understand how it would be unfair for me to be punished by a (negative rating) ----the first 2 stars/faces----for having been honest with you about the law.

Thank you,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thanks, Doug.
Follow up: How could savings be best taken and protected (prior to the divorce papers being served)? In a newly opened checking account in the new state of residence? Stuff thousands in the mattress? Can some be safely deferred to avoid taxes? Is the spouse on the hook for the amount taken out of savings if a CSI financial analyst finds it was taken out recently?
What happens if the ex-spouse visits the state of the divorce? Can they be incarcerated, detained, etc? And what if the ex-spouse later moves to the same state as the other ex-spouse? Can their case be re-opened there?
If someone moved in with a relative currently established in South Carolina, is that better than establishing a residence from scratch, in say, Florida? What makes a state change of residence "official" under the law? Change of mailing address? New Driver's license?
I own my house in Georgia, but my spouse has run up credit cards in her, my, and our names that will eat up all the equity (and then some). Should I only pay off mine to avoid bad credit?
(I understand this information may cost me another $30!)
Good afternoon,

First of all, the additional answers won't cost you more money---I'll be happy to answer them for the original amount. You haven't even rated me yet and the original $30 is still just on deposit---so I would ask you to rate me highly now so I can be credited with assisting you.

It really is almost impossible to save money and avoid having to divide it in the divorce. If you have personal debt which is yours, you might consider using some of the money to pay off your personal debt. But trying to hide it from the court will be illegal and can subject you to criminal penalties. You can pre-pay some taxes if you want.

When support is ordered and you don't pay it, eventually if your ex files a couple of petitions for contempt, a warrant will be issued and you will need to avoid the state or risk arrest.

Residency is established in a new state simply by your intent to reside there---coupled with things like actually living there---getting mail there, registering to vote there and getting a state driver's license.

If your ex follows you to the new state, she would still have to jump through all the hoops to get a new judgment and then try to collect.

As I have no idea how much money you do have---if you have a lot---then you probably can't possibly spend it all. But do pay off your personal credit card debts first.

I wish you the best.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

Would you please rate me highly now
, based on my assistance to you in understanding the law.

I wish you the best in 2012,

LawTalk and 4 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I rated you but still have questions about your comments. I'm sure I'll rate you higher but need to understand some things.

I will not receive any consideration for paying off any of my debt. Spouse intends to take ALL savings and as much regular pay as she can get in PERMANENT alimony. She will thereafter pay off anything affecting HER credit alone. She has avoided working in order to demonstrate how she is entitled to that much. Her lawyer is convincing her she can get this with no sharing of any type because of our years of marriage and (purposeful) loss of skills.

The money I have saved and she expects won't cover all the indebtedness she's incurred, so she'll pay only the cards in HER name. I will thereafter be killing myself working to remain in poverty, while she will dance, drink and get cosmetic surgery. I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX I would better protect myself by staying unemployed.

If I can avoid any of this catastrophe by fleeing to another state or country, that is the question.
Obviously, she will want to take you for every dime she can---and only pay her credit debt---the evil one. However, the court will not allow her to sit on her keester and not even attempt to work to maximize support. You will argue and the court will impute income to her based on the income she could make if she got up, and went to work doing something. That will have an effect on any support you might be ordered to pay. Going unemployed yourself will result in the same argument by her against you.

I suggested that you pay off your personal debt while you can---before the divorce.

Just remember, to the extent that the money is not spent, it will be available for distribution in the divorce. Pay down your debt, pay your taxes, etc.

If you want to sock it to her, consider paying your credit off now, and the moment that the divorce is final, and the court has divided the marital property, file for personal chapter 13 bankruptcy, and leave her holding the bag for all the marital joint debt that you two have---including the mortgage. The court may not discriminate against you for making use of federal bankruptcy law---and doing so will really mess with the evil one---if you follow my thinking. You can not bankrupt out of spousal support though. If the court orders you to pay the joint credit card bills, and you file bankruptcy after the divorce--there is nothing she can do, other than deal with the debt herself then.

Whether you go to another state or another country---it will be about the same think. You can avoid paying support if you are clever----thousands of people do it every day. You will have to avoid going back to the state where the support award is issued though.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Filing bankruptcy ruins my ability to buy a car, get a loan, and will likely be used against me by a potential employer. I don't see the upside there.

If I move my state residency after the settlement is complete , establish a bank account there, get a driver's license there, and get a job there, then she will get some or all of my savings from the divorce settlement, but I can probably avoid ongoing alimony support then, correct?

Bankruptcy is not for everyone---but in my experience, it is not nearly as devastating and many people think. Your ability to buy a care is not truly hindered. In may instances, a person who has file bankruptcy is in a better position---because while they still have their income, they do not have all the debt and they are seen as a better risk. Before you put bankruptcy to the side, do yourself a huge favor and have a 30 minute consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. You might be pleasantly surprised at what can be done. You seemed willing to pull up roots and move to the end of the Earth to avoid paying the evil one any money----that to me is an option with no upside-----bankruptcy seems a much better idea to me.

If you do not spend the money---then you will have to disclose it to the court in the divorce. The court will rule that you must give some of it to her. Moving it to another bank in another state will only partially protect it.

Money in hand and alimony are two different things. You can avoid paying alimony much easier than you can protect cash on hand.

Have a good day,

Good evening,

I wanted to thank you for using JustAnswer, and to inquire whether my answer to you was helpful to your understanding of the law, as regards XXXXX XXXXX

Is there anything else that I can assist you with? If not, and if you haven’t already, would you please now rate my service to you highly. Thanks in advance!

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
What does "only partially protect it" mean? I don't really have a lot of needs that justify spending the savings right now. I will want to buy a condo after the divorce, and I will want the lump sums then for a down payment and maybe a car, but I can't buy those things now. (She and I still occupy the same house as we try to sell it and we avoid a "mercy sale" by looking like we're not heading into a divorce--we're living on different levels though).
Good morning,

I mean that moving the money out of state will make it more difficult to get at than if the money were in the state where the divorce decree is granted, but moving it won't fully protect it. Please refer to the out of state collection process that I already described.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I assume you mean "She would have to get a judgment for support arrears, go to the state you reside in, domesticate that judgment and then seek to collect from you. This is a time consuming and expensive process for her. If you move out of state now and take a job elsewhere---she will probably file divorce in the state she is living in and short of jumping through the hoops---she won't get any help from the state you are in to collect the support."
By "partially protect", do you mean that although it is difficult and costly, it can be done? How difficult?

Also, I mentioned the condo and car lump sums I'll need later. Can you address how I could possibly arrange and accomplish this?

Good morning,

By "partially protect", do you mean that although it is difficult and costly, it can be done? How difficult? Time consuming and expensive as she is not an experienced lawyer. If course it can be done---it is just additional litigation. You are hoping she neither has the funds nor the knowledge to do it.

Your original question was: What specific countries do not recognize United States civil judgments for alimony? I answered that and much more. This conversation has morphed into a full blown discussion of numerous aspects of your pending divorce.

Please know that the Terms of Service of JustAnswer specify that each customer ask one question in each question thread. I would respectfully XXXXX XXXXX you open a new question thread if you have a new question to ask of me. You may ask for me personally by referring to me by name (Doug) in the question and I will be able to answer your continuing questions.

Would you please rate me highly now, based on my assistance to you in understanding the law.

I wish you well.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I need more thorough and clear answers than I got from Doug.
As you want to work with another expert I will opt out.