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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 117370
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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To the moderator - the previous attorney did not answer this

Customer Question

To the moderator - the previous attorney did not answer this question adequately and I want another attorney to do so. My ex is obligated to pay for the electric bill and te propane bill. I pay him 1550.00 per month he pays all expenses required to reside
at the property. He just refused to pay the electric bill he told me to deduct half of it from the 1550.00 I told him he owed the full bill. He told me to deduct it from the 1550.00, he refused to pay it directly. first question if I pay it, and deduct it
does he have any grounds to later claim I agreed to pay it so that he was no longer responsible for the full value? 2. can I charge him for the time required for me to pay it then deduct it from the total I owe him? as it is going to take me atleast 20 minutes
to do the bill keeping required to pay the bill and deduct it? My ex iss an attorney and I am concerned that he has an motive in doing this. He has been telling me that he is taking me back to court, he wont say why. My records and documents have been disappearing
on a regular basis. I am interested to know if he can claim that my paying is a gift, even though if I do not pay they will shut off my power etc.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
1) If you deduct the payment from the amount you owe him, then when you pay him the monthly amount minus the electric/propane bill, you would attach a copy of your checks to the electric/propane company and the bills to your payment and you would indicate on the check that it is adjusted for those payments. As long as you document it in that manner, he cannot come back later and accuse you of not paying the proper amount.
2) Unfortunately, while you can deduct the amount of those bills from the $1550, you cannot charge him for the time it takes you to pay those bills, the court will not allow that as an appropriate deduction. If you do so, then he would have something to complain about.
As long as you make it clear when you send him the monthly check and send him proof of payment, there is nothing he can claim and he cannot claim it was a gift or anything else other than what you said it is.
You need to secure your records in a place where he cannot find them if you are worried about them disappearing. However, as long as there is an order he is obligated to make these payments and you document that you paid them from the money you owe him monthly, legally he would not have any claims.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The cours has given me the right to charge him for things that requite my time - like cleaning up the messes he leaves etc. to me this fits under that catagory. He is shirking his responsability and costing me time. Time is not free.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
There has not been a place that has not been accessed including breaking into my safety deposit box, which when reported to the police, the police to me that unless anything was taken, they would not act on it. that was putting me in a situation that in order to pursue I had to spend money on an attorney to fight the police. So there is no place where my records are safe.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Also he set the power company account up and has access to it. I see no reason to take thetime to send him a bill...
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your additional information.
If the court has given you permission to charge for your time that is a different story and you can add in a charge for the 20 minutes it takes you to write the checks and pay those bills at the rate approved by the court.
I do not know how to tell you to better secure the records other than perhaps hiding a safe in the house or giving them to someone he does not know.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
You need to attach a copy of the bill and proof of payment just to make it clear when you send him the payment with your deductions that you are sending him less because you paid what he was supposed to pay. It is protection to you and documenting your payment so he has no way to later complain.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Additionally I have submitted bills to him many many times, he ignores them, claims I havent provided them he has been reprehensible,,, and he is an attorney. He has cost me a lot of time that I have not said anything about. it sees his actions are abusive.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The court was not specific. It said I could hire the help required at his expense....
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.
If you are having this big of a problem with him, you really should consider that in addition to paying the bills to avoid cutoffs filing a Motion for an Order to Show Cause for contempt and bring him back into court and get the court to modify the orders to penalize him more for him not doing as ordered by the court.
Taking him back to court is the most efficient way to try to put an end to this going into the future.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He is an attorney. Doesnt he have a professional obligation to act better than this?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.
The bar will not carry his professional duties to clients into his personal matters I am afraid. You would deal with that in court by arguing in your contempt motion that as a member of the bar the court should hold him to a higher standard of compliance and ask the court itself to sanction him for refusing to comply with the court's orders.