My High Income Ex-Husband Refuses to Pay What He Owes. – Jill

“Dear Steve,

My ex husband left my three children and me. Before he left he stockpiled marital assets offshore and borrowed off of our home until it was underwater. He claimed he no longer wanted to be a husband or father and signed custody over to me.

Our children are 17, 15 and 13. He has not seen them in three years. He has been forced to pay alimony and child support, totaling $170,000 per year, for which he is always in arrears. He has stopped paying any of the bills that he was forced to pay by decree.

He refuses to allow me to sell the house by setting the house at a price so high beyond its value. He refuses the children’s medical bills, that the decree declares that he pays.

I have had four attorneys to the total of $100K in legal fees. Each one has claimed that my ex will be forced to pay me and that his wages will be garnished. It never happens. They take the retainer, do a lot of paperwork and then nothing happens except I get charged with tons of legal fees. My ex earns $800,000 to my $75,000 however, I got stuck with the bills.

He is a lawyer and CPA so he knows how to work the system. I have $26,000 in credit card debt, but cannot file bankruptcy due to a salary and alimony that is considered too high based on what I owe. However, the ex rarely pays. How do I pursue getting a garnishment without legal representation?

Help!! I don’t know how to start over. I sit daily with mounds of bills.

Thank you.


Dear Jill,

You can file bankruptcy but you might have to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy that would adjust your bills based on what you can afford to pay and the calculation does not take your child support into consideration for the payment.

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The divorce decree was just an agreement between the two of you and not you and the lenders. If he elects to not pay your remedy is to take him to court.

I suppose you could continue to fight back and try to get his wages garnished but if your past efforts are any predictor of your chances of future success then the prognosis is very poor.

Your ex-husband sounds like a world class asshole and it’s hard to get someone like that to just do the right thing. However, if he falls behind on his child support you can immediately notify the state and they will take action on your behalf to get him to pay.

The most logical path forward here would be for you to downsize your life and potentially walk away from the house and let the lender come after him.

Move yourself and the kids into a situation that fits within your income and don’t base your life on his alimony and child support. If you do and he stops paying the bills pile up.

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Wouldn’t it make more emotional and financial sense to adjust your life to fit within your income and then use the child support for the kids and bank the alimony? You’d wind up having the last laugh.

Rather than assume what bankruptcy would mean for you I strongly suggest you meet with a bankruptcy attorney and get the facts.

You can click here to find a local bankruptcy attorney and talk to them for free about your specific situation. Get the facts and then you can make an informed and educated decision if bankruptcy is right for you.

Super Hero - FemaleYou can keep spitting into the wind or put the wind at your back and stop letting the ex control your lives.

Be a victim or be a hero. The choice is yours.

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I’m rooting for you to make the difficult choices to have a better chance at a successful future. I’ve known professional couples in similar situations and it was never until the ex-wife decided to stop letting the high income earning ex-husband control her life that she finally found happiness.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

Damon Day - Pro Debt Coach

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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