Advice on Attempt to Revise Spousal Maintenance

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Re: Advice on Attempt to Revise Spousal Maintenance

Unread postby Outis » Sun Aug 07, 2016 1:29 pm

I'd go for it. I'd at least look to add an end date if the cohabitation angle doesn't pan out.

I'd toss in a CS action, too. It would depend on the language of the current settlement, whether that's filed at the same time or whether it's done after revising the current SS language.
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Re: Advice on Attempt to Revise Spousal Maintenance

Unread postby IrishGuy55555 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:07 pm

Thanks Outis. I actually already decided to pursue it. Currently SS is inclusive of CS meaning I'm actually paying about $1,750 SS less $400 CS but without the tax benefit. Any reduction would mean recalculating CS as well. Good point about trying to set an end date.

It's frustrating when I work a good job that is demanding and raise our son alone and am going neck deep in debt while my ex splits or has almost all expenses paid and has an abundance of expendable income. During the divorce I mentioned working something out to set aside college money S16. She said I was thinking too far ahead and it would work itself out. After the divorce $300k I spent over twenty years saving has gone to pay off her debt and both lawyers and it's looking like community college and living at home for S16. Really sad.
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Re: Advice on Attempt to Revise Spousal Maintenance

Unread postby IrishGuy55555 » Tue Nov 08, 2016 1:12 pm

I've been busy since my last post. As soon as we filed my ex found money for an attorney even though she stated she didn't have funds for mediation. No surprise there. Information exchange showed what I thought. Her boyfriend pays for almost everything and she has more spending money now than when we were married. Even with excessive spending her checking and savings balances keep going up, and she has money for a 401k plan. Meanwhile I'm drowning in debt and keep accruing credit card debt trying to keep my home for my son and I.

Filing is due today and court in two weeks. I'm hopeful since I think my attorney did a great job making a very compelling argument around the cohabitation, my inability to keep paying what I do and showing she does not have a need for what she is receiving. I still haven't heard the outcome of any cases around the new cohabitation law but I'll let you all know how it goes.

Wish me luck!
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Re: Advice on Attempt to Revise Spousal Maintenance

Unread postby IrishGuy55555 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:00 pm

I thought I’d give everyone an update on my situation. For those of you that like to take a best case / worst case approach to things (as I do), I can say in advance that it was beyond the worst case scenario.

Like I said before – my attorney submitted a lot of solid evidence showing a relationship between my ex and her boyfriend. My ex moved out of state to stay with her mom and her mother’s boyfriend about four and a half years ago, then a week later got arrested for assault when she stole the mother’s boyfriend away. She’s been living with the mother’s former boyfriend since.

Boyfriend submits affidavit that they are not in a relationship and that he does not buy things for her. We requested information about a tanning bed and a laptop computer that were gifts from the guy to my ex, but my ex and her attorney simply ignored the request (which would have obviously disproven the boyfriend’s affidavit about buying her gifts). I know now they chose to just ignore this request because they knew the judge would allow them to do so.

I knew things were going south when the judge opened by asking about our son. A bit of background: I’ve had full physical custody of our son since my ex moved away in 2012, and there was nothing in either motion related to custody or < parenting time > or anything related to our son. In the past my ex was allowed to demand and then terminate three different family therapists at will after she refused to follow their recommendations.

The judge asks how things are between my ex and our son and my ex says she doesn’t feel that they are very close. The judge asks my opinion and I tell her that I have suggested ideas in the past such as scheduling phone calls at a specific time each week (trying to build a routine between them), and that I have also pushed for her to keep our son overnight when she comes to town instead of just seeing him a few hours on Saturday and a few more on Sunday four times a year. Prior to the court date my ex hadn’t talked to our son on the phone for almost four months and she hadn’t agreed to even one overnight visit since moving away in 2012.

The judge suggests our son spend half of his summer in Missouri and asks my thoughts. Being completely unprepared to respond on this topic a lot races through my mind. My ex hasn’t even had an overnight with our son in four and a half years. She is living in Missouri with the man my son used to think of as his grandfather (and who my son now despises and wants absolutely NO relationship with). The man she lives with has a son and a brother that are both on the national sex offender registry (one for incest, and the other for molesting a young boy). And truthfully, since my ex only spends about 50 hours a year with our son he is not very close to her, and things have gotten worse since my ex decided to end therapy sessions. So I truthfully just answer “To be honest, your Honor, all three therapists we had sessions with were strongly opposed to our son having < parenting time > out of state” to which the judge responds “Well, we don’t really care what the therapists said, do we?” Of course we don’t. I am much more comfortable having someone that has never met my son make decisions for him than respected professionals that have spent many hours with our family.

From there we argue the items that we actually came there to discuss, and my attorney does a good job of pointing out all of the evidence I mentioned previously.

The ruling: My motion for dismissal / suspension / reduction of spousal maintenance is denied, and my ex’s counter-motion for a retroactive increase to spousal maintenance is granted. Yep, that’s right. Despite me being the parent with full time care of our son I am now paying MORE spousal maintenance than before. And even though there was no motion filed by either party related to our son the judge rules for weekly phone calls (specifying a night and time each week) and for the next visit between my ex and our son to be an overnight visit.

The system is a complete joke. My ex moves out of state to live with another man, takes a job a high school kid could get, has minimal interaction with our son and has been rewarded for each one of these choices.

I retained a new attorney that is very well respected and often recommended by people on this forum and he filed my appeal yesterday. So off for Round 2. It will be interesting since while I’ve heard others are also having no luck with the new cohabitation law I will be the first one to actually appeal my case.

And a final interesting sidenote: Despite the ruling my ex again chose not to have my son overnight when she visited with him last month, and she has not once followed the phone schedule ordered by the judge. She didn’t even find time to call or text him “Merry Christmas” over five days from December 22-26. Since January 1 she has talked to him three times on the phone. Each call was around her schedule, and each one only lasted about five minutes. But I know if she does actually call even one time at the appointed day and time and my son isn’t waiting for her call I will be pulled in for contempt of court, so every week I have to remind him to put aside time and wait for a call that never comes through. It would be nice if court rulings applied to both my ex and I instead of just me, but past experience has taught me otherwise.

I am wondering if “Family Court” in Minnesota should just be renamed “Ex-Wive’s Court” instead. It seems more appropriate.

I’ll let everyone know how the appeal goes. I know it’s probably a long shot, but at least I’ve got the right guy in my corner representing me.
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Re: Advice on Attempt to Revise Spousal Maintenance

Unread postby Outis » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:10 pm

The phone calls and overnight is a good thing. After all, you've pushed for those yourself. See how it goes, and realize you did your best to foster a relationship between them. Not something I'd stress over, honestly.

On the financials, that's the danger of cohabitation, and a reason why it's discouraged. It's a difficult burden to meet, as you learned the hard way.

Keep us posted on the appeal.
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Re: Advice on Attempt to Revise Spousal Maintenance

Unread postby IrishGuy55555 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:27 pm

I agree that the overnights and phone calls are a good thing. The problem is that my ex has a long history of NOT doing what she needs to do to to maintain a relationship with our son. Even simple things like calling and talking for more than five minutes. Then she keeps trying to convince the therapists and the judge that it is my fault that her relationship with our son is strained. The therapists saw through this which is why she terminated each one. The judge buys into it and sees my ex as the victim. I have no doubts that this biased the judge's ruling on spousal maintenance as well, even though it is a completely unrelated issue. Our judge is younger than me and she was just appointed a few years ago so she had hardly any experience she was first assigned to our case. My ex's attorney has played her like a violin since day one even when there is solid evidence to the contrary. That is the really frustrating part.
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Re: Advice on Attempt to Revise Spousal Maintenance

Unread postby Havalu7 » Fri Feb 03, 2017 8:22 pm

Hey Irish guy going forward please use a few more paragraph breaks because old guys like me with flip phones have trouble looking through large blocks.

Kidding about the flip phone :lol:

Thanks for the update and please consider sharing some of that knowledge that you have gained here by helping shovel the gravel (helping and chipping in when you can assist with a new guy, or when you have a tip or suggestion that you learned here or somwhere else).

Glad to see you are hanging in there and fighting the good fight.
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Re: Advice on Attempt to Revise Spousal Maintenance

Unread postby JoeSchmoe » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:47 pm

Thanks for that update Irishguy!
Ive been contemplating going back to court to ask for my alimony order to be reduced or terminated, as my ex has had a cohab guy for almost 4 years now (in Missouri).
Id hate to spend the $$$ on a lawyer, only to go to court and not only lose the case but also walk away having to now pay MORE support per month.
I dont know how i could deal with such an unfair judgement, so maybe ill just bite the bullet and keep paying NJ, thereby allowing her to keep getting income from 2 different relationships.

Must be nice to be a woman and be able to financially gain so easily by legally sleeping with men...
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Re: Advice on Attempt to Revise Spousal Maintenance

Unread postby astrolink » Thu Feb 09, 2017 6:12 pm

What county in Minnesota do you reside in?
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Re: Advice on Attempt to Revise Spousal Maintenance

Unread postby IrishGuy55555 » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:59 am

JoeSchmoe:

Thanks for the support. I've been in touch with some people that helped push the new cohabitation law through in Minnesota, but the feedback I've gotten so far is that people are not having much success in court attempting to alter spousal maintenance under the new law. In my particular case the fact that they had lived together for over four years was not in dispute, nor was the fact that the man ended a 10+ year relationship with my ex's mom to begin living with my ex.

My ex argued that they were simply roommates and not in a relationship. As far as the emails and text messages (including comments she made under deposition) from my ex talking about how much she loved this new man my ex's attorney basically stated something along the following lines: "What happened, your honor, is that the ex-husband sent some really mean emails and text messages to my client years ago stating what a bad mother and horrible lover she was. Now we can't actually FIND any of those emails (and for some reason they were never submitted in court back when this occurred) but trust us - it did happen. Well, this of course angered my client so she sent the messages that the ex-husband submitted out of anger to make him jealous. But there never REALLY was a relationship. She just really enjoys living 600 miles away from her son with her platonic roommate."

Basically, the argument was that she still lives with the man, she has lived with him for over four years, but my ex basically lied under oath about loving this man in the past so all of her past comments should be ignored. Oh, but NOW she is telling the truth, and not just because she wants to keep collecting alimony.

And the argument worked. But I do think a lot of it is due to our judge who has (in my opinion) been biased from the start. I like to think there is a good chance things could have gone differently with different judge, but who knows? From what I've seen men in general do not have much luck when it comes to divorce in Minnesota.

Astrolink:

I'm in Dakota county.
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