Failure to Pay International Alimony Obligation Results In Reversal Of Court Order
- April 29, 2014
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In the case, Heller v. Kuba, the Plaintiff appealed from a post-judgment court order that found that she was in violation of her ex-spouse’s litigant’s rights because she failed to pay alimony to him in accordance with a marital settlement agreement that was incorporated into their final divorce judgment. The order also awarded the Defendant attorney’s fees. The parties in this case were divorced and after their divorce was finalized the Defendant decided to move out of the United States to Prague. Pursuant to this move, the Defendant directed the Plaintiff to forward his alimony checks to his new address in Prague. Over time, the Defendant claimed that the Plaintiff stopped sending her required alimony checks to him. According to the Plaintiff, she mailed the checks to the Defendant who did not cash them. The Plaintiff insisted that she did not cease sending checks to Prague and that she possessed records proving that she continued to send the money. The lower Family Court judge found that the Plaintiff’s proofs were insufficient to show that the Defendant, had in fact, received his checks. The Appellate Division held that the Plaintiff’s proofs were probative of her good faith effort to honor the provisions of her marital settlement agreement. Further, the court found that there was a genuine dispute on the record regarding whether the Plaintiff actually mailed the checks overseas, even though the Defendant also acknowledged that the Plaintiff may have mailed the checks. The lower court judge provided the Plaintiff with the opportunity to definitively prove that the checks were cashed or stop payment on any outstanding checks and pay the arrears by direct deposit before ruling that she violated the terms of the settlement agreement. According to the Appellate Court, if the Plaintiff did, in fact, mail the alimony checks to Prague, she could not have been in voluntary violation of the marital settlement agreement. Since it was not possible to resolve the question of whether or not the Plaintiff willfully violated the terms of the agreement, the Appellate Division reversed the lower court’s order adjudicating that the Plaintiff was in violation of litigant’s rights and the award of attorney’s fees and remanded for a hearing to be held on the issues. If you anticipate that you may want to petition the court for a post-judgment modification of your divorce judgment, alimony award, or child support obligation it is critical that you seek out the advice of an experienced attorney before moving forward. For more information about post-judgment modifications, divorce, alimony, child support, or other family law matters in New Jersey visit DarlingFirm.com. This blog is for informational purposes and in no way intended to replace the advice of an attorney.