Additional spousal support award in my scenario?


#1

Here are the facts in this case. I am wondering if a judge would award additional spousal support as my stbx keeps threatening. He says that when we went to mediation, he was hopeful that we’d reconcile and agreed to lesser alimony to be nice. He never signed the agreement and now is saying that he has realized it is over and that I should be paying “big time”, and that everyone he talks to agrees. I am struggling to make ends meet as it is, and this has me greatly worried.

  • He has been out of work for 3 years. He was not looking for work at all until this past year (we fought extensively about this during the marriage). Until the last few months, he was only looking in his specialized field from before. Now he says he is looking for anything and everything. (no way to verify)
  • As such, I’ve been the supporting spouse during the marriage. Even when he was working, I made more than him.
  • To make ends meet during the marriage while he’s been out of work, we had been relying on $3000 from joint savings each month. The joint savings is now all gone.
  • I have a very long journal over the course of the marriage about his emotional abuse
  • I had an emotional affair for 5 years with someone else while we were married and he found out through phone records.
  • He wrote me a LONG letter forgiving me and wanted very much to get back together. We went to counseling and even had relations but it did not work and he moved out 3 months later at my urging.
  • We’ve been separated now for 6.5 months.
  • He pays no child support although the children are with me for 22 nights per month (because he has no job)
  • We do not yet have an agreement signed yet, however the mediated agreement was that I’d pay $1800 per month for 6 months and then $600 per month for an additional 12 months (18 months total support) or until he got a job.
  • I (foolishly) paid 5 months of the $1800 per month already = $9000. I am no longer paying him bc it is too much of a financial risk without an agreement in place.
  • In addition, I pay his medical/dental/vision insurance premium with $221 from my paycheck monthly and his car insurance
  • I’ve analyzed my budget extensively in an attempt to figure this out. Mortgage, childcare and recurring bills like power, water, etc are 70% of my monthly income (without paying spousal support). 28% then goes to food, household supplies, children’s activities, medical/dental fees, fuel, school activities, kids sports fees, clothing, personal care, quarterly exterminator, annual vehicle tax, etc. After all this I only have $134 left to cover any misc expenses not accounted for in the prior list.

Given all of the above, would a judge force me to pay him? Would they at least impute an income to him since he has been out of work for so long? What factors do they consider when awarding support that I should be prepared for?

What are your thoughts?


#2

Once can never say what any one judge will do in any particular case, however there are 16 factors listed in the statute that judges do consider in making an alimony determinations :
(1) The marital misconduct of either of the spouses. Nothing herein shall prevent a court from considering incidents of post date-of-separation marital misconduct as corroborating evidence supporting other evidence that marital misconduct occurred during the marriage and prior to date of separation;
(2) The relative earnings and earning capacities of the spouses;
(3) The ages and the physical, mental, and emotional conditions of the spouses;
(4) The amount and sources of earned and unearned income of both spouses, including, but not limited to, earnings, dividends, and benefits such as medical, retirement, insurance, social security, or others;
(5) The duration of the marriage;
(6) The contribution by one spouse to the education, training, or increased earning power of the other spouse;
(7) The extent to which the earning power, expenses, or financial obligations of a spouse will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child;
(8) The standard of living of the spouses established during the marriage;
(9) The relative education of the spouses and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the spouse seeking alimony to find employment to meet his or her reasonable economic needs;
(10) The relative assets and liabilities of the spouses and the relative debt service requirements of the spouses, including legal obligations of support;
(11) The property brought to the marriage by either spouse;
(12) The contribution of a spouse as homemaker;
(13) The relative needs of the spouses;
(14) The federal, State, and local tax ramifications of the alimony award;
(15) Any other factor relating to the economic circumstances of the parties that the court finds to be just and proper.
(16) The fact that income received by either party was previously considered by the court in determining the value of a marital or divisible asset in an equitable distribution of the parties” marital or divisible property.


#3

Thanks. I guess my main question is whether the judge could force you to pay alimony when you barely have enough to live on? Could they liquidate assets (401k and car is all I have) to give him alimony?


#4

When making alimony awards the court must consider not only the need of the dependant spouse, but also the ability to pay of the supporting spouse. The court will not require you to cash out your retirement to pay alimony.