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Old 08-12-2008, 10:21 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Why should I pay expensive alimony?

I filed a divorce (California). I want to divorce my wife because she doesn’t seem to be in line with my objectives in life and seemed to be sabotaging my endeavors. She was fired from her job eight years ago as a new account officer in a bank. She convinced me that it is better that she just stay home and do house works. She said she was tired of working in a bank anyway. She promised to keep expenses to the minimum so I can handle all expenses with just me working. I told her that while she is not working it was a good time for her to acquire a new skill that she would wants to do. However she did not want to do anything about it. As years went by, she began to be out going. She would take the kids to school, and then she’ll go out hanging out with friends, ballroom dancing, and even going to casinos. It came to a point that her expenses was getting high. Her gasoline expense was more than my gas expense, and my work is about 20 miles away.
At this juncture, the housing industry was booming. I took the opportunity to cash out on the house’s equity and bought another house for investment. Little did I know, that the boom was about to burst. By the time the house was built, real estate market was going down. So, now have two mortgages. I found a renter, but the cash flow from the property is still negative each month.
I told my wife that I need financial help and I asked her to go back to work. Initially she refused to go back to work and argued that I can handle all the expenses. Eventually I was able to force her to go back to work, but she took a part time job, although she was offered a full time job. As matter of fact, because of her experience, and she knows people in the bank, she was offered an officer position. She declined the position. She said, she just wants a light work, and go home. She has been working for over a year, but I have not seen any penny of her salary. I am still the one covering all the expenses including the insurance on her car she purchased as soon as she got the part time job in the bank!
When she got served with the divorce, she managed to get a lawyer. Her lawyer called me and told me that according to her calculation, I will be paying an alimony of 1,730 monthly because my income is significantly higher than her income. I earn six figures. I told the lawyer that I do not agree with that, and if I have to go to court, I will go even without a lawyer.
I have a record of all the expenses in the house using a computer software which I’ve been doing for many years to track down expenses. I also do my banking online and the bank can match the transactions in the software. My expense report reveals that I am negative each month. I’ve been drawing from the savings account to cover the expenses. The savings account is getting depleted. If the court awards her an alimony of 1,730, that will be an additional major expense for me and I am already negative as it is.
My question is: if I bring an expense report to court, proving to the judge that I will not be able to afford such alimony, do you think the judge will consider that? In addition, I will tell the judge that my wife is capable of working full time and taking a higher salary position because she has a college degree in “Banking and Finance” and she has 20 years experience working in a bank. There is absolutely nothing that will preclude her from working full time. Will the judge listen to me?
I will greatly appreciate any response to my question.
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Old 08-13-2008, 04:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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What you are asking is impossible for anyone to predict. And, the fact that her attorney is high balling you means you need the best attorney you can find. NOT having one can cost you a lot more for a long time.

I am not saying the amount is fair---I am just saying no one on a message board can predict how the court will rule in your specific case.

However, GENERALLY speaking---the law does recognize the contribution of stay at home mothers. While you refer to it as 'not working', the truth is perhaps you should try it for a day. I had to laugh when people told me I was lucky I "didn't have to work" parenting seven kids full time, being in graduate school and then in law school, and now doing the same as a widow with young children. Funny thing though, I never yet in twenty years had a single person offer to switch places with me for a day. Wonder why.

I am not saying your wife is a good stay at home wife. I am just saying many women that stay home DO work and put due diligence into making their home, children, and families better. Perhaps that was not the case with your wife. But, that is, basically, the reason the courts recognize the contributions of stay at home mothers.

The court will also consider your wifes ability to get gainful employment. Now, if you were a doctor, and she had a GED, it would be apparent even if she did work bagging groceries, she couldn't maintain her standard of living even if she did work. So, you may be required to pay alimony even if she did work.

While my husband was alive, his earning potential was not as much as was mine since I had the benefit of more education than did he. However, since I had not worked outside the home in many years being a full time mother he would have had to pay me alimony because we agreed that I would stay home and he would work---both of us accepting the financial limitations in exchange for a much better pay off in the lives of our children.

One more note--I would avoid comments like, "I made her work"----that suggest to the court a distinct sexism, and does not reflect well on you and could hurt your case. The truth is you cannot "make" anyone do anything--she wasn't your property or your child. She was your wife. And, using unfortunate wording such as that won't do anything to further the legitimacy of your case.

If the amount isn't fair, hire an attorney----his experience and insight could save you a lot of grief and heartache--not to mention cash in the long haul.
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To ERR is human.
To FORGIVE is divine.
NEITHER is my policy.
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Old 08-29-2008, 03:03 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Situation

Sticking in a marriage where the wife or husband doesn't work is bad news. That sets a president. She can be compelled to work by the court but in general the court views her as a basket case and will expect you to continue to support her. It's a street fight no doubt about it. Getting lawyered up is the first order of business!
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