Alimony Help

Dear MarshaR:

Greetings. Yes, you can file litigation against him for breach of contract. Depending on the language drafted into your separation agreement, you may also have the right to obtain your entire attorney fees back from in.

My last suggestion is that you will want to have an attorney write him a letter as your proof of trying to mitigate your damages. Best of luck…and don’t let $84,000.00 go (the value of your overall alimony agreement) just because you are tired of dealing with him. This is your future, not his!

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney at Law
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

I have been divorced for 4 years, following a 23 year marriage, for many reasons, including my spouse being unfaithful. Our children are now all over 21 so child support is not an issue. My ex and I worked thru a mediator, and reached a separation agreement that specified, among other things, that I was to receive $1000 per month alimony for a period of years. An attorney had advised me that I should receive 23 years of alimony since we had been married that long, particulary due to the fact that I was not employed full time during much of that time due to having the children, and that he was unfaithful. I felt that was longer than I wanted to pursue, and agreed to accept 10 years. There was some discussion as to that length of time, and it was adjusted to 7 years. The final draft of our agreement was printed out by us, signed, witnessed, and notorized. It was never, however formally filed as a court document.
Last year our youngest was still in college, and my ex chose to pay for her tuition via his credit card rather than take a parent loan to pay this amount. We agreed, VERBALLY, that I would repay him my portion by a deduction from my alimony over a period of several months. This tuition has long since been paid, but my ex has not paid me ANY alimony since October 2003. I have attempted to discuss this with him on several occasions, have written him emails, and even suggested an alternate agreement that would lower the monthly amount but extend the lenght of time. The only response I get from him is a statement that he’s not paying me any money, that he doesn’t have the money to pay it, and in his opinion, I owe HIM money because of the tuition.
At this point, I am not sure if I have the energy to fight him in court over this, but I am really struggling without this income. I have returned to college in order to better my financial situation, but right now thats not helping much. My question, I guess, is this -do I have legal rights here, particularly since this was not court-ordered alimony? I can’t afford the time, energy, not to mention the money that it would cost to hire an attorney to fight this if its all for nothing. A part of me wants to end the whole thing, because I am tired of dealing with him, but the rest of me doesn’t want to see him get off so easily. By the way, his 2nd wife is a full-time law student, so I am sure he is getting plenty of free legal advice.
I appreciate any advice and comments you may have. Thanks.