We have one outstanding issue before the court. I had discussed that in great detail in a couple of threads recently just around my last court date. BTW I am officially divorced now. Yeah Finally! after two long years. Atleast some relief there.
One of the bottlenecks in the financial settlement is monies around 140 K I have gifted to my folks back home during seven years of marriage. During the last court date, my attorney said it might be necessary to go to mediation as it provides ample time to settle all the matters which may not be possible to the court to decide in a hearing.
Even though I claim the money was given as a gift, as per the attorney some of these transactions are enormous - larger than paycheck! and hence questionable considering ex is claiming to be ignorant
She asked me if I can provide the documents/bills/receipts etc. in support of my explanation on how my parents utilized some of these funds. The idea is to chip everything that can be done as allowed by law and see we can argue on the rest of the money.
I wish I had all these records during the last court date, but regardless my effort in gathering all these documents is proving to be worthy.
Her claim is something along these lines:
Husband transferred 140K from XYZ bank account which I was not the US. He sent a significant portion of that money during the time land was purchased and building of the house at that land. Husband failed to disclose this, and he needs to reimburse the whole of 140 k
Let me subtract everything that I can which is not problematic transactions as per the law
1. The lawyer asks me, How much was pre-marital money in XYZ bank account?
Answer is 12 K., It is not community money. So that gets subtracted from 140 K
2. Was her name on the account? Was she aware when you were sending money?
The answer is her name was NOT on XYZ bank account. Was she aware? Yes, she knew I was sending money, but now she says no. That's alright. But there is one significant transaction she was certainly aware of which I can prove
In 2009 I transfered 23K to my dad in one transaction(I mean this is nothing considering that he emptied out his retirement savings to support my four years college back home and two years Master's in the US which is very very expensive for his income standards)
Due to limitation in XYZ account, I transferred from XYZ bank account to ABC account which was our joint account and wired the money from ABC account to my Dad's account.
As per the requirements of the law, she consented to giving that money. No? As per the lawyers I have spoken to, her name in the account is a consent. Now 23K is off the chart
3. In Mid 2012, a colleague at that time wanted to send some money to his relative back home immediately. I transferred 7.5K to his relative's account, and then within few days, my friend gave me that money back. I have statements to prove inflow and outflow. Ex is just looking at this transactions involving overseas transactions
So, that should bring down her claim by further 7.5k
4. Ex went to a graduate school in the US during the marriage. She had borrowed 6k of education loan from a bank back home. Her claim is that her mother is still paying the loan. As per the loan statement, I have obtained, her loan is paid off by my dad with the monies I have sent him. I have the statements to prove this
That brings down 6k further
5. I have sent 1K to ex 's bank account in home country one time
6. In 2013, I posted 2.5K to my dad's account during our first and the final family visit with the child. I don't have any bank account in my home country. All the funds were utilized for various reasons such as traveling locally, gifts, child's first birthday etc.
7. I have sent around 4 K during the later years of marriage which was used for various health reasons - my dad's hospitalization, hearing aids, Mom's surgery etc. There are lot of cash based transactions there
Now if I subtract 1 to 7 from 140 K, we end up with 84 K of community monies that was gifted. Hypothetically if court considers 84k questionable, and of community nature, then her share of this is only 42 K
Ex was very smart during the final 1.5 years of marriage. She was stashing all her income by making me pay all bills from my income. As per the law, the assets/debts during separation are split in half. Accordingly, STBX owes me 20 K of this community money and around 3K in automobiles - total of 23K
Now subtracting 23 K from 42 K that I owe, I end up owing her only 19 K.
I also have significant stocks and retirements worth around 60K. This should be straightforward to resolve.
Now there is a need for serious effort and resources to resolve this. The big problem here is the irrational belief of my ex. I do not know much about ex's new attorney, but she seems to be a reasonable woman who is dedicated to family law which is more important.
With all the documents that I collected in the past two months, I see the following as various options to settle this and would like to discuss the pros and cons of using each one
1. I propose ex directly. I lay this all out nicely and find out if her expectations can be any reasonable. This by far is the cheapest way(if she has any brains) considering what we have spent in litigation already. The only fear here is once she has access to all the documents, she can bake more stories for the trial. The cost involved here is zero
2. Arrange all the statements in order and send a proposal to OC with a magic word - this is for settlement purpose only and inviting OC to negotiate and come up with a reasonable offer. This approach may work if my ex is also convinced we can work directly to resolve instead of an expensive Mediation. This may cost me 1k to 1.5 k in attorney fees.
3. Financial Mediation - As per different lawyers I have spoken to regarding this including my own, the advantage of mediation is there is an ample time to discuss resolve which we may not have with the Judge. Even if we do not come to an agreement, we will know where we stand. But for me, this is far more expensive if STBX doesn't agree, we will have to leave it to judge anyway. Estimated cost for mediation is around 5K to 6K
4. Trial - Projected cost for trial 20k (Not sure how though considering we have settled on all the other issues). Best case scenario at trial is court may ask ex to pay 23k to me (from the assets and debts portion), and the court may not order me to pay anything from the monies I have gifted at all. In that case, I may recover my trial cost. But sure it is going to take a lot of toll on me. Worst case is if the court orders me to pay 42K, I may end up paying her 19K and losing 20 K on trial. She also may not be so inclined to go to trial if I offer something I can bite at a risk of losing at trial. We do not have much to fight for such as millions of dollars worth property. We will both lose significant money that can be used for the benefit of the child.
In fact, if there is one straight path to the trial, I am all for it and would rather like to leave everything to the court to decide. Apparently, as per the lawyers, the path seems to be convoluted and expensive
What are your thoughts on all this? What do you think is the best approach to settling this. Fortunately, we both have equal custody now. I have been in this for long and I would like to move beyond this and focus on raising our kid and better things life has to offer.
Moving forward with distress behind!