I was ordered by a judge to pay my soon to be ex wife's attorneys fees. While I am unable to pay $6,000 a month from my income, the judge specifically stated that I was to use the equity in my home. I secured a refinance in time but despite that the home was purchased before the marriage and she is neither on the deed or mortgage, due to Florida homestead laws she was required to sign a spousal consent waiver.
I asked repeatedly, and had my attorney send two full letters explaining that I could not afford the fees unless she signed. She refused with multiple different excuses. The real reason I suspect is that she knows I cannot afford it and wants to have me held in contempt. All of this is documented including a letter from the lender saying the loan could not go forward due to lack of signature.
Her attorney has filed contempt charges now saying I refuse to pay the attorneys fees although I am able, which I assume is just standard language.
What will the judge do in this case? Could I actually be put in jail for this?
Assuming that you actually do not have the ability to otherwise pay her attorney's fees without the house refinance, you have strong defenses to the contempt allegations. I will say this, however, from years of experience handling these types of hearings: There are often two sides to these types of stories and yours probably isn't an accurate picture of the whole. If your divorce attorney is handling the defense of this contempt action, you should speak to him/her about this and be completely accurate and up front about all facts, including those that may be in your former wife's favor. If you no longer have an attorney, you should hire one immediately and explore the option of sending a 57.105 motion and letter requesting sanctions for pursuing frivolous claims. If you in fact have attempted to refinance the house, and in fact the bank has required your former wife's signature and she has refused to give it, then unless there is some other reason that you are able to make the payments, I suspect she will be sanctioned for her conduct and required to pay your costs and attorney's fees defending the contempt action.
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