Let’s talk about cash.
Cold, hard, cash. My ex husband waited until I was voluntarily in Huntsville Hospital seeking help for my breakdown to bring in a paper called a “quit claim deed” which he asked me to sign and I in a drugged induced fog signed it; not knowing that he had a divorce planned, and he nefariously wanted me to lose my right to the home. In case you didn’t know, a quitclaim deed removes all your right to property you purchased with another party.
Our home on Manningham Drive was my pride and joy. I was the one who picked out the floor plan, who was there every day during the construction process, put dug the pond in the backyard while 7 months pregnant, me who went to our prior home to ask for a wister I had moved to our new house. I had grown that wisteria from a twig no longer than my forearm, and now it was a full-grown tree with blossoms that smelled like carnations and cinnamon. I loved that neighborhood so much that I put myself through terrible times to protect neighborhood property rights and values as both president of the homeowners association and member of the architectural approval committee. Quit claim deed, I would never have signed it knowing what the real purpose was. I call that fraud,obtaining property when someone is completely mentally out of it…
During the court proceeding his side brought that quitclaim deed into court declaring I wanted no part of the house. Five years later a different judge heard a case brought by American Express against my ex-husband for not paying a bill ordered by Judge battle for him to pay within 30 days of my divorce being final. My ex-husband’s defense against not having to pay that bill was that at the time the money was spent I was fully responsible for the charges that I was mentally incompetent to make good money decisions therefore he was not responsible for paying that bill. So how can I po have been lucid enough to sign that?! Was it a coincidence that the judge that heard my contempt hearing was the same judge that ruled in Chuck’s favor when American Express sued him?
In the state of Alabama if a marriage goes over 10 years before divorce the wife and husband are to divide assets equally. There are exceptions in cases where adultery is involved or other unthinkable acts, yet adultery is considered forgiven if the husband and wife remain married for more than six months after the discovery of the infidelity. This was the case in my divorce. It had been much longer than six months in fact it had been over a year since I even saw Saco. However we did have a substantial tax bill and American Express bill that needed to be dealt with. The judge ordered Chuck to pay both the taxes and the American Express to then subtract 50% of both of those bills from my portion of his Lockheed Martin retirement and pay me the remainder of my 50%, within 30 days of our divorce ring final. The judge states he, the judge, would submit the QDRO.
My husband ignored the courts order and never filed our taxes for several years he also did not pay the American Express bill which was on my credit report as well as his for years. He also never removed my name from his mortgage on our former home which had the effect of preventing me from obtaining a mortgage on a home of my own from a bank. Instead I had to go and find private money at a rate of 13% interest which is significantly higher than the rate that a bank would charge.
His failure to file taxes cost me a year of school attendance because I could not show my income to the student financial aid department. Three years after our divorce I finally spoke to a lawyer who went over my divorce decree and told me that since Chuck did not file the taxes within 30 days or pay the American Express bill within 30 days he was in contempt of court and I was no longer obligated to be responsible for that 50%. He also advised that I could file my own taxes for those years and so I did, despite having signed a joint tax return prepared about a year after our divorce. I called the IRS first, of course, and asked if a joint tax return had been filed for the years ordered in my decree with our Social Security numbers? They told me none had been filed. They agreed with the attorney and said I should file my own tax returns for the years in question with my own income stated on the forms. Of course being a stay-at-home mom with a very small business meant that I had no tax liability for the years in question.
I do not believe that it’s a grey area of law if a person disobeys a court order to do something within 30 days, failing to comply cost them the right to force another party to lose money.
His failure to follow the court order cost me dearly. Not only did I have to pay 13% interest on my home but my credit was damaged beyond belief causing me to file a bankruptcy. The lawyer who did my bankruptcy included every loan that my ex-husband and I had jointly IRS, American Express, and any debt that he could claim even remotely I owed. The bankruptcy was discharged in 2005. I am only just now reestablishing my credit.
Now let’s talk about the retirement fund. At the time of our divorce we had been saving the max allowed in the Lockheed Martin retirement fund his salary was about $120,000 a year. Lockheed Martin matched funds up to a certain point and he had worked there for seven years. Also we had retirement funds from his work at Native American services, his work at EWA, and other companies over our 13 year marriage. We also purchased a weekly $100 savings bond.
Aside from saving for the future we had a very large gun, coin, jewelry, gem, collectible, and musical instrument collection. Some of the furniture in our home was over 100 years old and quite valuable.
Through some mega bargaining I had purchased Chuck a Cadillac Deville which he and I sold after driving for a year at a profit. Very nearly unheard of. The sale price was $18,500, I paid $17,000 a year before. When the cars were brought up in court it was as though they were trying to say that I made poor purchases that cost our family money. The facts show that the purchases I made on the vehicles made our family money. Indeed I was criticized for not financing them and for paying for them with a check we had the money. We had the money, because I made several daytrades that gleaned us over $1.5 million. Indeed things were going quite well until the dreadful stock market crash. To me it seemed the divorce was partially motivated by losing money to the stock market. What my husband failed to see was that despite margin calls we still had stock worth well over $50,000. Had we just bided time these things would’ve turned around. I want to add though that about two months before the stock market crash I had asked no big him to sell all the stock and get liquid he refused to do so because he did not want a tax liability.
I promised that I would not seek alimony if he put my kids through college. So far he failed to put my two oldest children through college. Since I don’t know who is paying for my daughter Wanda Wanda to attend I can’t speak for that, and my son is not out of high school yet.
There are many other things that we could probably put a price tag on but primarily the items above should be, by court order, divided equally. This has never occurred. In fact today I have only received $20,000 from an account that I myself put my own money in from Dean Witter daytrading, and a small amount from Waddell and Reed which only represented a small portion of the money they held for our retirement and certainly did not receive 50% of our total holdings with them. Chuck never disclosed several accounts including one at Travelers, another at Merrill Lynch and finally a savings account at Redstone Federal credit Union.
When it came time for a QDRO to be filed his lawyer flatly refused to do it fill out the form. My lawyer was disbarred. However, I do not think it is too late. So if you are a lawyer capable of practicing in Alabama and would like to represent me please contact me. Lorindellia@hotmail.com