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My husband and I have been separated for 13 years but never

filed anything legally. I was...
My husband and I have been separated for 13 years but never filed anything legally. I was the one choosing to end the marriage and my husband did not handle it well. When we separated we had to daughters 10 years and 13 years old who stayed with me. We owned a home that had approx $30,000 in equity at that time. With an offer of help from my parents I offered him $20,000 to sign off on the house and he refused. He wanted $40,000 because he had cashed out a 401 which helped us to buy the house but a lot of that was also used to pay off bills that he had (prior to marriage) and joint bills (many medical from children). I had a mobile home of my own prior and my equity was close to the amount of his 401 at the time. After his refusal I just let things be hoping he would get to the point on his own to settle the situation, I did not want to force things because of my daughters and the guilt I felt for leaving him. I will point out I did not leave him for someone else and was not involved with anyone else at the time.
I also never filed for any kind of child support thru the courts. He agreed to give me at least $300.00 a month which lasted about one year. Now...kids are grown and on their own. I have been living in and paying the mortgage payment entirely on my own all this time. I am ready to get this resolved and would like some input on what I am obligated to give him or what would be considered fair? At this time there is approximately $70,000.00 in equity. I would appreciate any insight provided...Thank you
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
7/19/2013
Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16,388
Experience: 13 years experience, divorce & custody issues, protective orders, child abuse issues
Verified

Hello there

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Because CA is a community property state and neither of you kept your property prior to the marriage separated out away from the marital property (in both instances you each put pre-marital assets into the marital home (you the mobile home and him the 401K money) and because you both did that the one marital asset is the home -- the court will not consider what each of you put into it at the start of the marriage because you comingled it all and made it community property). So, what you have here is a situation of home equity that would normally be split 50/50 in a community property state divorce --- however, you are entitled to pursue the back child support against him until the children reach the age of 30 in CA -- and so if neither of them have reached 30 yet you should file an application to the family court for child support payments with an overall calculation of what he owes you for the years that he did not pay. There is absolutely no getting out of child support -- if it was owed to you it should have been paid and you still have the right to collect all of the arrears on it. So, you file a petition for divorce and at the same time the application for child support payments -- and list in the documents the amount of the lump sum that he owes you as of the date of the divorce filing -- and my bet is that whatever he owes you for child support will wash right into the 35K he would otherwise be entitled to in equity on and for the marital home. Obviously, it depends upon you and how far and hard you want to push these issues in order to be permitted to keep as much of the equity of the house as you can as your payback for going without adequate child support all of the years he was supposed to be providing it. In the interests of fairness if this matter actually went to a family court trial in front of a judge the judge would order the same or a similar outcome as I discussed here.

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Please let me know what further questions that you have.

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MARY

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


Thank you for your reply, so he is still entitled to half of the equity even though I have made 100% of the payments on the mortgage? and all maintenance repairs etc?

Hello again Joy --

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You can make an application to the court to receive some of it as payback for the extra mortgage and maintenance payments that you made after he left -- which may put it to a 65/35 split or some number in that area -- and then you will be able to wipe out the difference with the child support arrears (and most likely get an order that he has to pay you a certain amount monthly for the child support arearrs). It is not an exact science -- but the judge will look at it fairly and fashion a remedy that takes into consideration everything that you have paid.

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MARY

Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16,388
Experience: 13 years experience, divorce & custody issues, protective orders, child abuse issues
Verified
Legalease and 87 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

One more quesstion if I may.....my intention is not to leave him with nothing or for him to owe me...I actuallu intended to give him $20,000 as I originally was years ago. I just want to have enough ammunition to convince him I am being more than fair...when it comes to the child support will the court go by what he agreed to give back then or what would would most likely have been awarded? Thank you very much

Hello again Joy --

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the court will use the amount he agreed to give you back then in the separation -- the court will not go back and re-do the child support for all of those years. Given everything I have told you , you definitely have a bargaining chip. When he brings up the fact that you owe him equity due to the 401K then remind him that your trailer went into the purchase as well AND the child support arrears that he owes to you. My suggestion then is to offer him the 20K for an easy, amicable divorce and if he decides he want to push for more, show him the maintenance, mortgage and child support calculations and that he may actually owe YOU more money in the long run here if you press it to a full court hearing and trial in front of a judge.

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MARY

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Legalease
Legalease
Legalease, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 16,388
16,388 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 13 years experience, divorce & custody issues, protective orders, child abuse issues

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