Contempt of Court - Name Change
When I divorced, my wife agreed to:
1. Change her name back to her maiden name.
2. Take care of the lease on the Nissan Maxima that she was driving.
I took care of my obligations! She agreed to change her last name. She has a balance due to Nissan which she says she won't pay.
Here is the question ... since she did not change her name ... can I pursue a breach of contract or contempt of court? It was VERY important to me that she no longer uses my last name. After the divorce ... I was told that anyone can use any name they want ... yet ... no one told me this during the negotiations! My feeling is that her commmitment in the court ... should supercede the usual freedom that people have.
I want to stop paying Alimony until she complies with the name change and paying off Nissan which is affecting my credit? Can I do this?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Re: Contempt of Court - Name Change
There is no easy answer without looking at your divorce papers. just the fact that she asked in her petition for divorce for her maiden name back, it does not mean that she "has to" take her maiden name back. However, a decree of divorce may have specified and mandated that this had to happen pursuant to the agreement of the parties. As far as the Nissan obligation... you can go back to court to enforce the parties agreement that she would pay off the car loan. if you were a borrower/coborrower or co-signer on the car loan you are responsible for the payments just as much as she is, even if now you are divorced. If debt collectors are calling you or if missed payments are ruining your credit... you will not be able to simply show your divorce papers to say that you are no longer responsible. Finally, rather than just stop paying for the alimony, you should go back to Court to address her failure to pay the debt.
Feel free to contact me if you have further questions at 202/271-5983.
Tiziana Ventimiglia, Esq.
Re: Contempt of Court - Name Change
Chances are that the divorce decree merely allowed your former wife to resume her maiden name but did not order that she stop using your name. If so, her failure to comply with your wishes would not be a basis to have her found in contempt.
With regard to the Nissan, if this was to be
soley her obligation under your agreement which
was then incorporated in the court's order, her
failure to comply by making all the payments due
could be a basis to have her brought back before the court on contempt charges.
However, notwithstanding the foregoing, you cannot unilaterally decide on your own to stop paying alimony, no matter what your former spouse has done or not done, until you have been given permission by the court. Otherwise, you yourself could, quite possibly, be found in contempt of court.
Related Questions & Answers
Guardianship over mentally-ill parent My mother is a diagnosed schizophrenic, she is... Asked 4/12/03, 1:51 am in United States District of Columbia Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Adoption
Is common law marriage considered legal? I lived with a man in New York City for 30... Asked 4/04/03, 6:33 pm in United States District of Columbia Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Adoption
Can't afford an attorney. My friend has been seperated from her husband for about 2... Asked 1/29/03, 9:04 pm in United States District of Columbia Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Adoption
Funding/Borrowing for Legal Assistance I am interested in any support groups or... Asked 12/15/02, 4:16 pm in United States District of Columbia Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Adoption
Non biological child - support? My fiancee has been separated for 9 years. His ex's... Asked 11/16/02, 5:58 pm in United States District of Columbia Family Law, Divorce, Child Custody and Adoption