Ex in contempt, take him to court.


            Posted on Mar  16,2008

            Ex-hubby's in contempt, take him to court

Q. When we divorced, my ex-husband was ordered to transfer certain stock to me, which he didn't do, and to pay me alimony and my health insurance until I remarried, which I never did. That was 22 years ago. About 20 years ago, I became ill and fully disabled.

Three years ago, my ex retired and stopped paying both alimony and for my health insurance. What can I do to get him to pay the amounts ordered?

D.F., Lakeville

A. Hire a lawyer to file a complaint for contempt against your ex. Ask the court to order your ex to (1) pay all back alimony, (2) account for and give you the stock or pay you the value of what you were supposed to get, (3) pay your medical bills that insurance would have paid and/or (4) to repay you for health insurance you may have purchased, (5) pay interest on the money he owes, and (6) pay your reasonable legal fees.

You have to prove he could have paid when the payments and transfer of stock were due but that he chose not to pay; or prove he can pay now.

Further, the value of your alimony has eroded from inflation over the last 22 years, which I'd claim is a material change in circumstances. So also file a complaint for modification asking for increased alimony. If your ex now files for modification, he isn't entitled to retroactive relief. But, depending on the facts, he might get prospective relief.

Here are some concerns. The court may only have ordered that he pay your insurance so long as he had an employer-provided plan. If that insurance stopped when he retired or reached age 65, he might be off that hook. Also, that stock might have become worthless. Even so, you should get all the back alimony and probably an increased order of alimony, which would be more than half a loaf.