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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 118689
Experience:  Experienced attorney: Family law, Estate Law, SS Law etc.
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I am 75 years old separated from my wife since 2004. I am

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I am 75 years old separated from my wife since 2004. I am living in California. She lives in the State of Washington in our home which is held in joint title. At this time, I wish to sell the home since I am on SSA benefits and a small pension. The taxes have gone up $1200 since last year. I cannot handle this type of increase. In addition, she expects me to send her at least $400 a month. There is no court order regarding this payment. She refuses to sell the home. In fact she stated in our conversation "I will not sell the house." Therefore I am going to file for divorce, pay her alimony, and the medicals for her. She will be 70 in two months. She is receiving $850 a month SSA. If I force the sale of the home, what am I looking forward to in alimony and medical expenses. I will file in the State of California since I am resident here now. First, I will file In Pro Per since I have friend who has done Family Law for 15 years or more. If it becomes contested I will then substitute an attorney in from Legal Aid.

David Terveen
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Both WA and CA are community property states, which means each of you will divide all of the marital assets 50-50, including the home. If you force a sale of the home you and she would split proceeds equally.

As far as alimony, in CA this depends on the length of the marriage, your income/assets, her needs and income/assets and her ability to support herself. CA Family Code 4320 sets forth 12 factors the court uses to determine your alimony amount if any due and they are:

(a) The extent to which the earning capacity of each party is sufficient to maintain the standard of living established during the marriage

(b) The extent to which the supported party contributed to the attainment of an education, training, a career position, or a license by the supporting party

(c) The ability to pay of the supporting party, taking into account the supporting party's earning capacity, earned and unearned income, assets, and standard of living

(d) The needs of each party based on the standard of living established during the marriage; (e) The obligations and assets, including the separate property, of each party

(f) The duration of the marriage

(g) The ability of the supported party to engage in gainful employment without unduly interfering with the interests of dependent children in the custody of the party

(h) The age and health of the parties, including, but not limited to, consideration of emotional distress resulting from domestic violence perpetrated against the supported party by the supporting party where the court finds documented evidence of a history of domestic violence, as defined in Section 6211, against the supported party by the supporting party

(i) The immediate and specific tax consequences to each party

(j) The balance of the hardships to each party

(k) The goal that the supported party shall be self-supporting within a reasonable period of time. Except in the case of a marriage of long duration as described in Section 4336, a "reasonable period of time" for purposes of this section generally shall be one-half the length of the marriage. However, nothing in this section is intended to limit the court's discretion to order support for a greater or lesser length of time, based on any of the other factors listed in this section, Section 4336, and the circumstances of the parties; and

(l) Any other factors the court determines are just and equitable.


The duration of support depends on the length of your marriage, but if you were married less than 10 years total you could be made to pay lifetime support if the court finds any support is due (See: CA Family Code 4336. However, based on your description of your income and her income it is unlikely that the court will order either party to pay support.


You can force the sale of the home in WA, which would force her to either buy out your share or put the home up for sale. The problem is that the court cannot conduct a court sale of the home in WA if she refuses to put it up for sale, you have to go to the WA court and get the CA court order of sale recognized by the WA courts as a foreign judgment and the WA court can then order a court ordered sale of the home because the CA court has no jurisdiction over real estate in another state.



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Law Educator, Esq. and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the information that you forwarded. It was very helpful. I will get a court order for the sale of the property in Washington. Does this then have to go to the Washington courts in order to get them to order the sale of the house?? If so, can this done by via mail and personal appearance in court. Any fees involved doing this in Washington?

My income is $1,990 a month plus a $200 pension. Her income is $850 a month via SSA through me. She has not worked during our marriage. She has never been employed due to lack of education and training.

She has Medicare plus a supplemental plan through AARP.

Thank you for your response.

It is really a multi step process, you must get the CA divorce order with an order for sale in the divorce from the CA court and then you have to go to the WA court and file a petition to recognize foreign judgment and through that you would get an order to sell or a court sale.

Without reviewing all of your total financial data and her's as well I could not be more specific as to how much if any spousal support she would get monthly but it would unlikely be more than $200-$300 total per month.

The medical insurance would remain with her medicare and coverage as both of you would maintain your own insurance.