Monday, June 23, 2008

Victim #21: Court Ignores Inability To Pay Alimony

I recently filed a motion with the local family court system, here in XXXX, for modification of Alimony. When the court date came and we went into the "Court Officers" chambers, she asked me to state my case. I plead that I could no longer pay the same amount of alimony that was originally required to pay because I had lost my job due to downsizing and that my new job was paying less money. Furthermore I was not able to pay my bills. I was trying to recover from a few months of unemployment.

The court officer read the final divorce decree and dismissed the case. The reason was stated that the decree states that the alimony was permanent periodic and the only reason for dismissal was remarriage of the spouse or death. When I asked how she could not consider my financial status, she replied that "there was no financial affidavit on file from the original divorce filings. On top of that I did not contest the original figure of alimony. It was also her opinion that my income now and back then are close to the same. Even though there is about $7 - 8,000.00 difference.

Well, a couple of issues exist here:
1. I was not allowed to contest the alimony amount in the original divorce proceedings. I was told that the alimony would be between this amount and this amount and that was that. I negotiated down as low as possible between the 2 defined amounts but the ex-wife was the one who had the authority to accept or decline the final amount.

2. My ex-wife's sister used to be the secretary for the Judge for this case. She happens to be another judge's secretary now. But still has access to that judge.

What I want to know is, If they did not have a financial statement for the original divorce proceedings, then how was there a determination made to the amount of alimony I would have to pay? Can I use that statement from the court officer about "no financial record" from the original divorce proceedings, as a defense? Can I use the defense that the court was in grievous error upon their original decision based on improper determination of income? Can I also use a defense that the court is prejudice based upon the relation between the ex-wife and the court?