My client was a woman in her mid-sixties who had been married to a man for 8 years; they had no children together. He had been unfaithful to her and refused to accept responsibility for it, so she decided to leave him even though it would cost her having to downsize her lifestyle in a big way. She had a very modest income as a caretaker and was having trouble finding a new gig after her longtime client died of COVID-19. With no other option, she had to move into low-income housing while she looked for work.
Her husband sued her for divorce first, and she sought my counsel.
This was a very low time for her. She didn’t have much money at the time, so I let her pay me on a monthly payment plan. I filed a counterpetition for divorce requesting Temporary Orders and post-divorce maintenance (spousal support).
At the temporary orders hearing, I was able to negotiate a deal with the husband’s attorney that the husband would continue to support her by paying her $200 every two weeks, maintaining her health insurance, auto insurance, and splitting any co-pays she had when she went to the doctor, which was at least monthly because she was developing several age-related health issues.
Additionally, the husband was ordered to maintain the payments on a Ch. 13 Bankruptcy that touched all of their community assets: 1) two pickups, 2) a boat, 3) a horse trailer, 4) and 36’ travel trailer.
About two months after the temporary orders were entered, and before the case was resolved, my client had an accident where she fell and broke all of the bones on the top of her feet. The bones were said to be shattered and she had to have metal rods inserted into the foot to assist their proper healing. This was very traumatic to my client because not only was it very painful, she had to live in an assisted living facility for 5 weeks. The total bill for this accident was over $150,000.00, but thank goodness she was covered by the husband’s health insurance that paid for all but about $2500.
About 8 months after the temporary orders hearing we went to a final hearing where the judge would make a determination (if we couldn’t work it out first) about who would get what assets and whether my client was entitled to spousal support.
There was minimal negotiation leading up to the hearing, but fifteen minutes before the hearing was scheduled to start, the opposing counsel wanted to make a deal.
My client was offered $5000 plus a payment of $723 per month for one year. My client considered this offer for mere seconds before turning it down and walking into court with me, where it became my job to present her case to the judge in hopes that we could beat the offer – and we sure did!
At trial, the judge ordered that my client receive the boat, the horse trailer, the 36’ travel trailer, and one of the pickups. The evidence tended to show these assets were worth about $25,000.
Additionally, and more importantly, the judge awarded my client $600 in monthly spousal support payable for one year while my client continues to recuperate from her accident, and the husband was ordered to finish paying for the bankruptcy. My client and I had beat the offer by a net gain of over $15,000. I am thrilled to deliver a big win for this client who certainly needed it.
About The Attorney
Matt’s passion for the law has led him to develop a broad-based practice that touches on almost every area of law that affects individuals in their everyday lives and small business representation. He also speaks Spanish.
Attorney Matt Zimmerman works tirelessly to achieve the greatest possible results for each of our clients and their families. This is a selection of one of his many successful results, settlements, and verdicts. Every case and client is unique and depends upon the individual facts and circumstances of each case. Clients may or may not obtain the same or similar results in each case.