Thursday, February 27, 2014

EX FILES

Dear Susan and Valerie,
I have been paying my ex-wife alimony for three years and still have 2 more years to go. I have paid like clockwork—on time, no missed payments. A friend told me that my ex is now living with her boyfriend in a nice house near the beach. I am frosted. While she lives like a beach bunny, I work 12 hours a day to make money to send her... and her surfer dude. I feel robbed! Can’t I just stop paying her? That’s what she deserves.
A Very Pissed Off Ex

Dear Very P. Oed Ex,
Take the temperature down a few degrees. Relief may be in sight. There are a few considerations here: some legal and some practical, so try to distinguish between trying to get even and protecting yourself.
First of all, as tempting as it may be to just stop...don’t do it. Big mistake. You can’t stop paying support until there is a court order allowing for it. The law in your state may provide that there is a presumption for a decreased need or no need for support if she’s cohabiting with a boyfriend. You may be in luck! Think about consulting an attorney to explore whether support is likely to be reduced or terminated. However, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check the facts before you start taking any action, because if your friend is wrong, that could be an expensive and embarrassing error.
Also, think about your wallet. Figure out which would cost more—paying your attorney or paying deductible dollars for two more years. Often decisions boil down to good old fashioned arithmetic. Consider contacting your ex to see if she would like to avoid hassles and if she is willing to simply agree to make a change in support. Point out that the law is in your favor. If you can agree, you’ll both save money and time by avoiding a legal fight. Be sure to memorialize any agreement legally. It doesn’t hurt to try, and maybe the sea air had made her more mellow!

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