Spouse refuses to sell, but cannot afford it


#1

In my situation, my STBE wife is on disability. We separated in Jan 2018 and I am counting down the days until i can file in 2019. I of course have moved and she is still at the marital residence. I am currently still paying mortgage, water, gas, and electricity bills, along with her car insurance AND medical insurance which is taxing on me. The agreement has yet to be signed because she is “trying to see how much her disability benefits will be” now that our daughter is 18.

In the agreement that is being “volleyed” back and forth right now, I want to simply pay her directly for spousal support. Right now she is using the fact that the bill accounts are still in my name to keep me paying. But I have told her time and time again that the legally binding agreement will hold me to my obligation.

She is also refusing to sell or buy me out of the house. Both our names are on the deed and I am solely on the loan. Now of course I do not want a foreclosure on my hands so I don’t know what to do. I am even wiling to give her over half of the equity after the sale of the home.

Here are my questions:

  1. Am I being too nice?
  2. How do I get out of the utilities that are in my name?
  3. Is there any legal action that she could take if I ended [utility] services after notifying her?
  4. How do I get her to sign the papers before I file?

#2

(1) It is difficult to determine if you are being reasonable or not in your offers without knowing the full financial picture of the marital estate however, you offer to pay alimony directly to your wife and offer to divide the equity in half is, without knowing more, is reasonable.

(2) You would either need to shut off the utilities or she would need to transfer them into your name.

(3) Before you turn off the utilities, you should notify her in writing that you plan to turn them off on a certain date (giving 21-30 days notice is generally reasonable). However, she could use the fact that you shut off the utilities as a reason to file in court for postseparation support and alimony and say that you have failed to provide for her.

(4) If she is not agreeing to the terms and the negotiations are at a standstill, you would need to have a mediator in place or attend a binding arbitration. You can also file a claim for equitable distribution at the time you file for absolute divorce which would put the marital property issues before the court. It is important to note that once an absolute divorce is granted, you will be unable to ask the courts for help with equitable distribution unless there is an equitable distribution action pending at the time the absolute divorce is granted.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.


#3

Update:

I emailed her and let her know that I would be filing for absolute divorce at the beginning of the new year (Happy New Year!). I asked about the agreement and what we would do about the house. I explained the options of settling it together or to allow the court to decide (Equitable Distribution). I also did a breakdown of when each of the utilities’ billing/service cycle and when my last payment would be and she went totally silent. The only comment I received was “court”. I have no idea what it means and have attempted to get clarification with no response. I feel like I did everything the correct way, so we will see!


#4

You may need to file for equitable distribution in court in order to make any progress in settling the distribution of the marital assets and debt. You can include that claim in your complaint for absolute divorce.


Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

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 only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.