After not wanting to file taxes with me during our divorce, signed and approved in mediation and by the judge in the divorce decree, he is now asking me if I will file taxes with him so he won't owe as much. So, I'm asking if any changes are made, could it do anything to the rest of the original agreement, like changing my alimony or the other agreements that were made in mediation? Also, if we were to make any changes how would we go about doing this as I am disabled and can't afford to hire a attorney right now. My ex is putting the pressure on since tax deadline is several days away. We are also to go back to court in 1 1/2 weeks for his missing some of his alimony payments this year and arrears from last year.
Any help would be greatly appreciated,
The written agreement is what can be enforced in court. If the two of you wish to deviate from that agreement, you do not have to change the agreement. If you qualify to file joint tax returns by having been still married on December 31, 2011, then you can choose to do that. I would hope, however, that you would be receiving a portion of that tax savings. You may want to have the refund directly deposited into your account, and then share it with him as agreed.
I am exclusively a family law attorney, practicing primarily in the metro Atlanta, Georgia trial courts. However, I handle appeals from anywhere in Georgia.
While a divorce decree is binding on both parties, it can be altered if both parties agree to the alteration. If you are both willing to file a joint return for the year that your divorce was pending, you can probably do so. If you don't agree to filing a joint return, you do not have to. (He cannot force you to do so.)
Choosing to file a joint decree (to alter this portion of your decree) probably does not invalidate the remainder of the decree. This is completely true if the decree contains a clause stating that modifying removing or changing a part does not invalidate the remainder. To be certain, you would need an attorney to review the decree.
It sounds as if you are going back to court due to a contempt action. Contempt is "complaining" about a party's failure to abide by an order. That has nothing to do with any requests to modify the order.
~ Kem Eyo
The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.
He can't make you file a joint return. So you should be using this to your advantage. The agreement to do a joint return should only be done if (1) you are sure his information is completely accurate, and (2) if you use your account as the initial place to deposit the refund (NOT his), and (3) if he agrees to give you half the refund (or half of what he saves if he owes) PLUS, out of his half, catch up his back alimony. Ideally you should have a lawyer, but if you feel you have to proceed pro se, you are in the driver's seat here and he is the one who needs a favor. Make sure that any agreement as to filing jointly is done in writng signed by him.
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