Back support owed...but costs money to chase it down


#1

My ex owes me several thousand dollars in back support. Each quarter, he is supposed to pay a percentage of any salary over 100k. He has not been paying any of this on a quarterly basis, as outlined in our agreement. He also owes additional orthodontia bills from last year. By April, he will owe about $13k.

It appears that it will cost between 5-10k to hire an attorney to file contempt charges and go to court. When I’m already owed 13k, it’s a hardship to put out even more money for legal fees. My separation agreement does state that ex will have to pay all my legal fees if I need to go to court to enforce our agreement – and it is clear he’s in contempt for several issues, in addition to the big ones shared here.

My question is whether it it worthwhile to go to court. How much power does a judge have to withhold money owed from his paycheck? Is there a guideline about what kind of percent could be taken – assuming he still needs money for his own living expenses? His annual income is around $150k. He already pays $3300/month in child support and alimony. Do I have any chance of recovering the 13k + legal fees if I go to court? He doesn’t have any assets, and I’d imagine that only so much can come out of his paycheck.

I’m also stuck with the house and equity line payments. The deed was transferred to me and I am trying to sell the house (at a loss). I only agreed to take the house based on the assumption ex would be paying agreed upon amount. If he’s not paying the agreed upon amount, can I ask the court to overturn the separation agreement where I am to take the house – I’d prefer to walk away and let it foreclose at this point.

Very frustrated that this process is so difficult.


#2

In my opinion it is worth your time to go to court, and you may ask for attorney’s fees even if your Order does not specifically provided for them. A judge can order wage withholding and even jail time for unpaid support. It is within in the judges discretion as to how much can be taken out of each paycheck and how long the re-payment period will last.
The court cannot overturn your property agreement based on these facts.


#3

What if I can’t pay on the house anymore? I agreed to take the house based on the assumption that I would get x amount per year. I am not getting that amount. I feel like I’m between a rock and a hard place. I have been told I would be in violation of the agreement if I don’t pay on the mortgage and equity line. But, how am I to continue paying on the mortgage and equity line if ex owes me over 10k and I need to cough up 5-10k to take him to court?

What can happen to me legally if I stop paying on the house and equity line? Can ex sue me? Do I have a valid excuse for not paying since ex isn’t paying me the money he agreed to in order for me to pay on these things?

He’s allowed the quarterly payments to lapse for so long that it will be near impossible to make those up (and cover my legal fees) in a timely manner. Can judges order that the bulk of his paycheck to me to cover his non-payment, or will they take pity on him and say that he can’t possibly pay any more because he needs living expenses?


#4

Your ex can sue for breach of contract if the payments are not made, your defense would be impossibility of performance based on his failure to pay support. It is within t he judges discretion how much back support will be ordered in each pay period, I cannot predict what amount that would be.