My question involves divorce in the State of: Colorado
I'm not even sure where to begin... but I'll try and explain the situation as much as I can.
After 25+ years of marriage, in 2007, my mother filed for divorce from my dad.
In 2003, my dad made multiple millions of dollars and started winding down the company he owns and went into semi-retirement... basically he only handled business stuff that he couldn't defer to the next person in charge. Worked a couple days a week, basically.
Unfortunately, the business my dad is in was heavily effected by the mortgage crisis and the downturn in the economy, and coupled with paying his legal fees, my mom's legal fees, and an investment that went sour, it severely damaged the families financial situation. Suffice to say, it hasn't been possible to pay back loans/mortgages in some time... and to make matters worse, throughout the divorce my mom was getting around $300,000 pre-tax in monthly payments. And that was just living expenses, and none of it went to maintain any of the assets we have... so my dad was stuck paying all of the loans.
Someone very early on convinced my mom that my dad must be hiding money from her. (Despite the fact that it was my mom who initiated the divorce, and my dad fought and did everything he could to keep them together and change her mind.)
My mom's first two attorneys and forensic accountants came to the conclusion that there was no money hidden. So she hired another, who came to the same conclusion. And then she hired a third, who unfortunately saw an opportunity and decided to take my mom for the ride of her life.
In a matter of months my mom ran up just under a million dollars in fees, my dad's being about 1/5 of that. At one of the hearings, the judge literally said "Get your head out of the sand" and advised her to renegotiate her fees. Instead of doing that, she gave her attorney's a judgement for the full amount.
The judge awarded my mom an insane amount of alimony every month, and gave her most of the assets, and left my dad with all of the debt. He thought that my dad should go back to work and would be capable of making the same amount of money again... despite the fact that there would be no way for him to get capital due to multiple loans being months overdue and credit down the toilet.
My dad does not have the money to pay any of the loans or the mortgage on the real estate that we own that has been on the market for almost a year.
Bottom line, my dad can't pay the alimony. All of his money has gone towards her alimony (over $10,000 a month after tax), but he is out of money, and is now $15,000 behind on the payments.
My mom (who I should mention is extremely unstable) has initiated a contempt of court hearing, and asked the judge to incarcerate my father.
My dad spoke with an extremely high profile criminal defense attorney to see what they thought and what his options were. They had never seen anything like it before, and frankly couldn't offer any advice.
This seems absolutely insane and illegal constitutionally under the 13th amendment since he has never been convicted of any crime. I realize contempt of court is a crime, but if they contempt of court stems from the court ordering him to work involuntarily, doesn't that still count?
My question is this:
How is it legally allowed for a judge to order someone to pay alimony, and if they have no money to pay it, order them to go out and find a $400,000 a year job, or incarcerate them?
My other question is... does anyone here have any advice on the situation or ever heard of anything like this before? All the lawyers involved are frankly dumbfounded by what is happening and don't have experience with this happening... ever.
I apologize in advance if I left any important information out. If any additional information is needed, let me know and I can answer. Thank you in advance for any help/advice. I'm extremely depressed and distraught right now at the thought that my dad could end up in jail because of this, and there doesn't seem to be a way out. It makes no sense.