My question involves a marriage in the state of: Washington
I would like to know thoughts/opinions on this case, and what the outcome might be...
The husband and wife divorced quite a while ago. The divorce decree allowed the wife to keep the home, but she was required to pay the husband his half of the equity. In order to not put extra burden on the children, the husband put into the decree that he would waive interest, and allow the wife to make payments when possible to address the judgement, but that the final balance would be due by the time the youngest child graduated high school. There was also a note that the wife had a good faith duty to make payments on the judgment in the event of any financial windfall. At the time, the wife had a standard full time job and no other income.
One year later, the husband and wife created an informal agreement clarifying the final deadline to be specifically a certain month and year. The agreement stated that it did not change the terms of the divorce decree. Both parties signed it.
Many years later the wife filed a new support order. During this time, the husband discovered the wife had come into significant money and property from an inheritance, and had not paid him any payments on the judgment. He was granted an ex parte financial restraining order to demand an explanation as to why the judgment had not been paid. The wife presented the informal agreement, and argued that showed she did not have any burden to pay anything until that deadline. Oddly enough, she did admit she had sold two large pieces of property and was getting over $1,000 per month in additional income from the sales of properties as well as rent from other properties. She also claimed that the night before the restraining order went into effect, she spent tens of thousands of dollars paying off a large number of debts and giving thousands to her sibling.
The commissioner listened to the arguments and ruled that the wife had an obligation to make payments based on the decree, but he could not at that time determine if she had sufficient funds to do so. He sent the case to a judge for later decision.
The husband's attorney forced the wife to submit financial records. The wife submitted some, but left out her savings accounts, and the declaration of all assets.
At the next hearing, the judge said he interpreted the informal agreement is indeed allowing the wife to wait until the deadline to make the full payment.
The husband's attorney filed a motion for reconsideration and was denied. The case is now filed for an appeal.
The attorney is arguing that the first commissioner was in error in not making a immediate judgment against the wife because he had sufficient evidence of her additional income by her own admission, and she demonstrated poor faith by dumping assets. Additionally, the attorney is arguing that the second judge was in error by reinterpreting the agreement, and defacto rewriting the original judgment's terms through his ruling. The attorney is asking for attorney fees due to the poor faith issue as well as the wife's additional income exceeding the husband's by a large amount.
What do you think the outcome might be?