A spouse in a divorce case has certain responsibilities, including presenting evidence in support of his or her positions on the issues and showing up in court. A recent case out of Connecticut is a good example of what can happen when a person doesn’t meet those responsibilities. Although this case happened in another state, it is a good example for people considering a divorce in New Jersey. It’s also a reminder of just how important it is to fully consider the terms of a settlement agreement – with the help of a lawyer – before signing your name on the line.
Husband and Wife divorced in October 2009, following some 17 years of marriage in which the couple had two children. They entered into a divorce settlement agreement, resolving custody, property division, and other issues. Husband agreed, as part of the settlement, to pay Wife $400 per month in alimony. The agreement also stated that those payments could be modified or terminated in the event that Wife cohabitated with another person. Husband also agreed to transfer his interest in the family home to Wife, on the condition that she be responsible for paying the mortgage, taxes, and maintenance and repair expenses.
Wife moved from Connecticut to New Jersey and filed for bankruptcy in 2013. When Husband filed a motion for contempt, arguing that she had failed to pay the mortgage and other property expenses, Wife said she simply didn’t have the money to do so. Husband also asked a Connecticut court to terminate his alimony payments, asserting that Wife was now living with another man.