Creative solutions help a client avoid contempt of court

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In a unique family law case, our client’s ex-wife wanted him to back-pay 13 years of spousal support that he believed they agreed to end. Read how attorney Dave Meier was able to mitigate this delicate situation.

The Problem: Recently, Dave Meier had a new client approach him for help. The client had failed to pay his $800 per month spousal maintenance obligation for 13 years, and his ex-wife was seeking a finding of contempt of court. If she succeeded, this would require the development of a repayment plan, along with the threat of jail time, should our client fail to pay his obligated monthly amount moving forward.

Our Solution: Our client couldn’t afford the repayment. He was retired, and living solely on social security. Because the spousal maintenance payments had been neglected for so long, with no issues raised by our client’s ex-wife in the past, we argued the equitable defense of laches. This is a defense not used frequently in court, but was an essential argument for our case – it basically means it’s too late to collect.

The Results: We successfully argued laches on our client’s behalf. We also highlighted for the judge the practical consequences of chasing down a retired man living only on social security. The judged denied the ex-wife’s contempt motion, and we later negotiated a settlement; thus avoiding the entry of any judgment against our client.

It’s important to note, this client was referred to our team after a friend of the family had experienced how our creative solutions and forward-thinking approach could have a significant, positive impact on their situation. We’re thrilled to be able to provide the kind of legal support that exceeds our clients’ expectations in our work, every day.

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