Category Archives: Spousal Support

Bankruptcy Could Increase One’s Ability to Pay Spousal Support

The Law Office of Anthony Greco successfully defended the trial court’s ruling regarding an award of permanent spousal support, an order to liquidate $30,000 in unpaid support, and attorney fees.  The divorce decree provided for Ex-Husband to pay our client spousal support.  Four months later, Wife filed a Motion for Contempt for Ex-Husband’s failure to pay his spousal support obligation.  The same month Ex-Husband filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.  As a defense, Ex-Husband argued his disabled status, according to the Social Security Administration, and his filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy made it impossible to afford the spousal support payments and the lump sum payment to liquidate his “arrearage” (otherwise known as the amount he was behind on his payments).

Appeals Court Upholds Spousal Support Despite Bankruptcy

However, our firm successfully refuted Ex-Husband’s argument on appeal.  We argued that the trial court considered that his business was unprofitable and that he was contemplating bankruptcy when our client received the spousal support award.  The Appeals Court stated that the Ex-Husband’s bankruptcy “…actually eliminated or reduced most of his debt and expenses”.  The Court further held that because Ex-Husband was receiving Social Security Disability benefits he was in a better financial situation to pay the support than he was when the court originally ordered the payments.  Overall, our client retained her spousal support, payments to liquidate the arrearage, and attorney fees.

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Attorney Anthony W. Greco has over 25 years experience fighting for his clients.  Our firm consists of numerous talented attorneys, each with the extensive knowledge and skill necessary to protect our clients’ interests.  Every member of our team treats each client’s case as unique, focusing on what is important to that individual client.  We have represented numerous clients in disputes over their spousal support, as well as other matters within family law.  Click Here to contact us and see what sets us apart from other firms.

Termination of Spousal Support Upon Cohabitation

The Law Office of Anthony W. Greco successfully represented our Client in overturning a Trial Court’s ruling refusing to the termination of spousal support based upon Wife’s cohabitation.  Our Client challenged the Trial Court’s Order finding that Wife was not cohabiting with Boyfriend.  The Court of Appeals referenced the Supreme Court of Ohio’s ruling which set forth two factors in determining cohabitation: (1) Sharing of familial or financial responsibilities and (2) Consortium.  In addressing the termination of spousal support issue, the Court of Appeals ruled there are three factors to consider: (1) An actual living together; (2) Of a sustained duration; and (3) With shared expenses with respect to financing and day-today incidental expenses.

The Court of Appeals, Fifth District, noted that Ex-Wife and Boyfriend both stated that he provided no support for Ex-Wife or her residence.  Although he admitted to using Ex-Wife’s utilities and cable, Boyfriend insisted that he did not pay for anything and did not increase the utility bill.  At one point, Boyfriend claimed that he did not even use Ex-Wife’s toilet paper.  Proof of shared expenses does not have to be by direct evidence alone, but can be established by circumstantial evidence.

The Evidence for Termination

In this case, the direct evidence of the unexplained funds in Ex-Wife’s account leads to the logical inference that Ex-Wife is receiving funds from Boyfriend. The Court went on to state that they must accept one of two positions.  Option one, that Boyfriend is merely a visitor at Ex-Wife’s home, living off Ex-Wife, who makes substantially less than him.  Option two, that Ex-Wife and Boyfriend are two intelligent individuals who understand cohabitation, but are trying to delude the court.  Either Boyfriend is a “moocher” or he is paying his way.  However, both Ex-Wife and Boyfriend agree if that they were married, their financial situations would not change except for healthcare.

The Court of Appeals then concluded that the third factor in determining cohabitation, shared expenses with respect to financing and day-to-day incidental expenses, has been minimally satisfied and the trial court erred in not finding cohabitation.  They reversed the Trial Court’s ruling, resulting in the termination of Husband’s spousal support.  The Court then returned the case back to the Trial Court for a determination as to when cohabitation first started, so the termination of spousal support could be applied retroactively.

Husband Receives Retroactive Reimbursement for Spousal Support

Update (10/3/12): On remand, the trial court awarded Father $90,360.00 in overpayment of spousal support.  Child support that was to be paid by our Client under a previous order was ordered to be subtracted by the amount owed by Ex-Wife to reimburse our Client for spousal support.  Upon the child’s emancipation, our Client would receive the remainder of the $90,360.00 still owed.

To read the full Appeals Court ruling, click here.