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#379916 - 04/17/08 03:39 AM Spouse refuses to pay bills
jmh Offline
recently joined

Registered: 04/13/08
Posts: 6
We have separated in the same house for 6 months. my stbx refuses to pay any bills, while I have to pay everything including the mortgage.

I know in my state normally we have to be separated for a year before we can file for divorce. Is there any way that I can force my stbx to pay a fair share of the bills?

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#379917 - 04/17/08 04:03 AM Re: Spouse refuses to pay bills [Re: jmh]
Renee Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 4022
Loc: The Palmetto State
Are you legally separated? Have you spoken with an atty to see if living under the same roof is acceptable as part of the year clock?

Barring talking with her and reaching an agreement, unless you have a legal order that she is supposed to contribute, say as part of a legal separation agreement, you're stuck. Living under the same roof kinda makes letting the lights and the heat get turned off an inconvenience for you, not just her.

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#379918 - 04/17/08 12:40 PM Re: Spouse refuses to pay bills [Re: jmh]
almostheaven Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 10468
Loc: West Virginia
I'm not sure living in the same house constitutes any type of legal separation in the divorce arena unless you've filed for a legal separation and the courts know you're still living together. While divorce is pending though, you can file for temporary support or file for other temporary matters to be resolved. Like forcing your STBX to move out if they're just in it for a free ride.
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#379919 - 04/18/08 02:41 AM Re: Spouse refuses to pay bills [Re: almostheaven]
jmh Offline
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Registered: 04/13/08
Posts: 6
I talked to a lawyer and was told that in VA there is no such thing as "legal separation". If both sides agree about the date of separation, the court would accept it. We have to wait for one year before we can file for divorce. I am not sure whether this is true.

The lawyer asks me to keep the record of all my spending, and bring them to the court for consideration when it's time to decide how to split asset.

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#379920 - 04/20/08 01:41 PM Re: Spouse refuses to pay bills [Re: jmh]
almostheaven Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 07/14/04
Posts: 10468
Loc: West Virginia
Perhaps its true in one sense, but I'm sure that lawyer didn't spend a lot of time going over other options. Like...what happens if a year from now your spouse decides they like the free ride and tells the judge that you guys weren't separated, that they've been living in the house all along, they had NO idea you felt this way, etc. etc.? If that were the case, you'd never be able to actually divorce, and you'd be forced to live in the same house with someone you can't get rid of. So there has to be more to it somewhere.
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Char Fox

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#379921 - 04/20/08 07:50 PM Re: Spouse refuses to pay bills [Re: almostheaven]
jmh Offline
recently joined

Registered: 04/13/08
Posts: 6
So what are my choices? If I stop paying all the bills, my house would be under foreclosure. If I move out without settlement, I'd be in a disadvantageous position in terms of child custody.

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#379922 - 04/21/08 12:35 PM Re: Spouse refuses to pay bills [Re: jmh]
BeachBabeRN Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 3236
Loc: VA for 21 years, NC forever!
How many children do you have? And what are their ages?

In VA, there's no such thing as a separation agreement that is filed with a court. This is something that two lawyers or the parties involved negotiate and at the proper time **1 year if you have kids** you take it and file for divorce and the terms of the separation agreement are incorporated into the divorce decree, including child custody, child support and visitation.

If you are paying all the bills in the house simply to keep it over your head and letting him/her live there? Not a great thing.

Whose name is the house in? On both the deed and the mortgage? If the house is only in your spouse's name, you have the option to stay or go. HE'S the one that'll wind up in foreclosure, not you. If the house is in YOUR name, then it obviously wouldn't benefit you to not pay the bills or lose the house.

You need an attorney NOW. Settlement of property issues has NOTHING to do with child custody.

It would help to know if you were male or female -- if you're a male paying all the bills, then obviously your STBX, especially if she's a SAHM wouldn't want to leave. You didn't mention the ages of your children either.

If you want to keep the house right now, you've got to pay the bills. Period. Keep records of your spending. Those are admissible in court.

What area of Virginia are you located in? I know of a few attorneys that I can recommend, depending on where you are.

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#379923 - 04/22/08 04:07 AM Re: Spouse refuses to pay bills [Re: BeachBabeRN]
jmh Offline
recently joined

Registered: 04/13/08
Posts: 6
Does that mean we need to have a settlement before we file divorce to court? My lawyer asked me to negotiate with my stbx for a settlement.

If we have to wait for an year before filing for divorce, what can the lawyer do now?

The house and mortgage are under both names, that's why I keep paying.

We only have one minor child.

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#379924 - 04/22/08 04:38 AM Re: Spouse refuses to pay bills [Re: jmh]
icwal Offline
enthusiast

Registered: 11/19/07
Posts: 334
I guess it depends on what state you live in.

First - I also live in state that does not have legal seperation and we have to wait 2 Years until the divorce is final. We still live in the same house, however my lawyer says the clock started clicking the day I filed.

My STBX did not pay me the other week. My lawyer said one more time he is late or doesn't pay me the full amount that we will take him to court for support (even though we are living in the same house)-he is currently paying me without a Court Order. So depending on your state laws that might be an option depending on which one of you earns the most money.

Good luck


Edited by icwal (04/22/08 04:42 AM)

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#379925 - 04/22/08 11:00 AM Re: Spouse refuses to pay bills [Re: icwal]
BeachBabeRN Offline
Carpal \'Tunnel

Registered: 01/17/06
Posts: 3236
Loc: VA for 21 years, NC forever!
In Virginia, the date of separation can start when the papers are signed **if you can negotiate an agreement** or the date that someone leaves the residence -- you can also have it stated that periods of living in the same physical location does NOT restart the clock on the date of separationi, that a separation agreement will continue to stand in spite of that.

Courts in Virginia don't like to deal with fighting couples. It would be far better to work out your own agreement and each of you sign off on it. Both your attorneys would then maintain it until such time that one of you wants to file for divorce.

If you don't want the house to go into foreclosure, then you have to keep paying -- simple. You CAN put the house up for sale, you can politely ask your STBX to leave with a signed agreement or you can leave with a signed agreement. Is your spouse currently working?

One of the ways that a judge might see this is to award the house to you or force it to sale with most of the equity going to you. That's a possibility. If your bank accounts are not separate, separate them NOW. You'll then be able to provide a paper trail that you paid all the bills yourself, without assistance from your spouse. If your spouse gives you cash, make sure you issue a receipt to them. If you have your paychecks direct deposited, have them put into a separate account. If you have joint credit accounts, cancel them and open accounts in your own name. If you just take your spouse's name off them, the possibility exists that they can be reopened without your knowledge. You might want to have mail redirected to your office address or get a PO box. You have to protect yourself and make certain that you have documentation for EVERYTHING.



If your ex absolutely refuses to negotiate, you'll be in for a long drawn out process that will probably get expensive. Then again, you will have taken the high road and that's always viewed favorably in this state.

Have you seen an attorney at all? You absolutely need one to start sorting this out.

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