Today I finally write the advice portion of my response to the woman wondering if her beloved husband will ever have relief from his alimony sentence so he can finally retire.
While I doubt my readers ever miss a day of this blog, I’ll put the link here just in case you were in jail that day:
In a nutshell, the writer’s question was this:
We are thinking of trying to get the alimony modified but reading your blog posts on the subject isn’t encouraging. What do you think the chances are?
Before I answer, please click on the link below which contains my disclaimer. Failure to do so renders you an idiot.
I’m not giving you legal advice, got it?
Let’s share with the other children some of the facts of your situation:
- You live in Oregon.
- Your husband has been paying for 14 years as a result of an “indefinite” (a.k.a. “permanent”) alimony award.
- Rather than work, his ex-wife has dedicated her life to a hobby that the kids say loses money every year.
- They were both in their early 50s when they split and both have college degrees.
- She has never worked to support the family and has a terrific case of PMS (Princess Mentality Syndrome).
- Their relationship sucks. Golly, I wonder why?
- This bitch is actually considering filing for an upward modification based upon your income. You are a superstar and earn a very good living.
That last one makes my blood boil.
So far she has yet to file anything, but her daughters have both told your husband she is seeing a lawyer to consider her options.
I doubt very much she would be successful, especially because she has not suffered a major change in circumstances that demands the deal they made upon divorce be unraveled. Still, you should speak with a lawyer about getting a very tight post-nuptial agreement in place. I will email you some names.
Readers are probably wondering:
How can alimony recipients drag new spouses into their quest for never-ending private welfare, also known as “adult baby support” or “permanent alimony?”
It can happen.
I don’t have time to go into it but if you are considering co-habitating or marrying an alimony payer, be sure to have your assets protected as best you can from the ex-spouse recipient.
Advice for Catherine and her Husband
I am emailing you the names of some good lawyers. Yes, even I know a couple decent divorce attorneys. They aren’t all bad, you know.
- Gather up all your husband’s financial documents and make an appointment.
- Come prepared with a retirement planning timeline.
- Discuss with the attorney your options and chances for modification along with the pros and cons of litigation.
- Ask the lawyer to draft a letter advising the
parasiterecipient that the gravy train is pulling into the station, the conductor is retiring, and it’s time for her to get then hell off.
- See what happens next. If she gives you the legal equivalent of the middle finger, I would file for a modification.
- Have fun reviewing that discovery. Pay particular attention to tax returns. That “hobby” of hers better not be the basis for sketchy tax deductions! If so, that can give you some interesting leverage in settlement negotiations.
- Consider an emancipation buy-out, otherwise known as a ransom payment for return of your husband’s freedom. A bird in the hand might be more palatable to this woman than the idea of battling now and (if you lose) when he actually retires.
- As I said above, hire your own attorney to draft you a post-nup so that bitch can’t get yo money.
In Oregon, the law states that after ten years you can seek a modification based upon the supposition that a full decade should be enough for a recipient to get off their ass and make a living. Congratulations to your long-suffering spouse, for he has beaten that by four years!
Before that ten years is up, you have to prove a “substantial change in circumstances,” which can be very difficult.
I followed a case once in which the payer’s income dropped by 38%, the recipient had done NOTHING to become self-supporting and in fact had inherited several hundred thousand dollars, and the court still ruled against him.
In other words:
The System Sucks.
That’s the bad news.
Here’s the good news:
You and your husband have a very happy marriage.
Here’s some more bad news:
This kind of battle with an ex over money can be a very destructive force on that happy marriage.
And some good news:
It can also bring you together.
Do not underestimate the negative power of family court litigation.
This litigation between people who once cared about each other enough to marry is time-consuming, money-burning, soul-crushing and ugly.
Before you go too far down the rabbit hole, seek some time with a therapist who specializes in this sort of thing. I will email you some names along with my divorce attorney referrals.
The most important thing to always keep in mind is this hypothetical:
If you litigate and you lose, will you be OK?
Assume at the end of several months of legal battles you get in front of a judge and that judge makes a really shitty ruling keeping the alimony at its current rate. Can you both walk away hand-in-hand and enjoy the rest of your lives?
I’ve written this before and perhaps it seems overly-simplistic but it’s a good exercise. I believe you will both be a strong and happy couple no matter what happens. The question is: do you? Or is there so much resentment over this albatross that it could poison your marriage?
Don’t let it.
She may get the money but you are in love with the man.
Keep working that job and keep him in a style to which he is accustomed to keeping others in. It’s about time someone took care of that guy.
Which reminds me, I’m off for final editing!
Please leave comments and share, my friends.