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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 102350
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Issue: Jurisdiction of Domestic relations order &

Customer Question

Issue: Jurisdiction of Domestic relations order for joint & severable IRS Debt.
Venue: Domestic Relation Court, Summit County Ohio
Background & Question:
My ex-wife and I last filled a joint Federal tax return in 2007. We were divorced in 2010.
We Jointly owed the IRS $14,000 for 2007, $1,600 to State of Ohio, and $900 City.
Our divorce order states that both parties shall pay 50% of 2007 IRS, State, and local taxes owed.
I paid off the State and local taxes in 2010, but was unable to pay any amount to the IRS and was placed in "Currently noncollectable status" and remain in that status with the IRS as of this writing.
The IRS pursued my ex-wife for payment of the joint debt and she has paid it in full through payments and the IRS retaining her tax refunds since 2008.
My ex-wife has now filed a MOTION for Contempt. Claiming that I am in contempt of the Court's order that both parties pay 50% of the joint tax debts owed from 2007.
QUESTION: Am I in contempt? Is this portion of the Court's Order enforceable since it was a Federal tax issue? What about supremacy? If it is enforceable, what enforcement ability does the domestic relations Court have in a matter like this?
What action should I take?
Thank you,
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) the site allows experts not participate in phone calls and I may or may not be able to participate in this feature. I am sorry to hear about this situation. First of all, someone in your situation wants to file an answer. Let me know if you need an example fo this. If you did not pay, then arguably yes, you are in contempt. Contempt means not following the order set out by the court. However, being in contempt can mean simply admonishment, as opposed to being fined or imprisoned. The court has discretion here. What someone in your situation wants to do is to show the Court that one did not pay not out of simply not wanting to or not caring, but because one could not afford to do so, after doing due diligence in attempting to work out payments.The Court is likely to go much more easier on a party that did not perform under the order due to inability versus someone who did not perform out of not caring.The domestic court does have power to enforce contempt, including admonishment, fining a party, making them pay for the other's costs in bringing the motion, and/or imprisonment (normally only for brazen disrespect of the court's authority).I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please RATE when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of TOP THREE FACES/STARS and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.