What to do if Your Spouse Isn’t Paying Household Bills During Divorce
When a couple goes through a divorce, a certain amount of uncertainty and change is inevitable. Certain things, however, including the regularity of continued monthly bills and payments, should remain the same. A failure to cover these bills can have serious financial consequences, as divorce proceedings can be lengthy, so if you are unable to reach an agreement with your partner about who will be responsible for household expenses while your divorce is pending, you should contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer who can negotiate on your behalf.
Financial Commitments During Marriage
When a couple initiates the divorce process, they will still both be responsible for the financial commitments they made during their marriage. Similarly, joint finances will not suddenly change or disappear. While a divorce will ultimately result in the division of all of a couple’s debts and assets, until the finalization of that divorce occurs, both parties can still be held responsible for defaulting on payments. Still, it’s a good idea to go over how bills will be paid during this transitional time. A legally enforceable agreement regarding these types of financial issues can make all the difference in giving the parties financial peace of mind and ensuring that utility, mortgage, cell phone, and other necessary bills, are paid.
Access to Marital Funds
If two spouses are unable to reach an agreement on who will cover which finances while a divorce is pending and one of the parties is left to pay the bills, he or she can look to joint marital funds in order to do so. If paying the bills is impossible because one spouse changed the couple’s banking information, the wronged spouse can request a temporary order from the court requiring the other party to disclose his or her assets and refrain from further changes.
Judges do not look kindly on this type of conduct, as wasting or hiding marital assets during the pendency of a divorce is strictly prohibited. In fact, state law specifically says that couples should keep a financial status quo as much as possible during divorce, until the final judgement is entered. One of the few exceptions to this rule applies when using or selling assets for customary and usual household expenses, which is permitted while a divorce is pending.
Those who are unable to make household payments during divorce proceedings due to conflict with their spouse or a lack of access to marital funds, also have the option of filing a motion for temporary support. These are temporary alimony awards that courts often issue to the lesser earning spouse while a divorce is pending. They only remain in place until a divorce is finalized, at which point, the official settlement agreement will go into effect.
Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Divorce Legal Team
For help coming up with an agreement about responsibility for household expenses, or if you believe that reaching such an agreement isn’t possible, please call experienced Fort Lauderdale divorce attorney Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 to learn more about your options for protecting your financial security.