Is New Wife Liable for Alimony?

<i> B. Tam Nomoto, an Orange County Municipal Court judge, answers readers' questions about the law. Ask the Judge runs every other Saturday in Orange County Life</i>

Q My fiance is divorced and is paying alimony to his ex-wife. I would like to know if any of my salary could be held accountable to his ex-wife after we marry.


Newport Beach

A Your earnings after marriage would be considered community property and would be liable for any alimony payments your husband has incurred from a previous marriage. However, if you deposit your earnings in an account separate from that of any community property funds, those earnings would not be considered community property and would not be subject to any alimony obligations.


You should also be aware that if any community property from your marriage is used to pay such alimony payments, and your husband had separate property of his own, your community property is entitled to be reimbursed by his separate property for the amount which was paid to his ex-wife.

Q My life has been a mess for the past year or so. I have been in and out of hospitals and have finally gotten my health back. I just recently got a new job, and it looks like I’m starting to straighten out my life. I tried to buy a car but was told that I had bad credit because of an unpaid judgment against me. I don’t know anything about this judgment. What can I do to fight it?



A There are two ways that you could get the judgment set aside, and have a new trial. The first way is if you never received notice that you were being sued. The time limit within which you must file for the relief is 2 years after entry of the default judgment if no notice of entry of the judgment was given, or 6 months after written notice of entry of the default or default judgment was given to you. The clerk’s office in the court which issued the judgment can give you this information.

The second way to obtain relief is to ask the court to set aside the judgment on the basis that the judgment was obtained through your mistake, inadvertence, surprise or excusable neglect. To qualify for this method, you must provide the court with a reasonable explanation as to why you did not contest the lawsuit against you. The time period to file for this relief is within a reasonable time not exceeding 6 months after the judgment was taken against you. Again, the clerk’s office can provide you with whatever information you need.

Q I got a fix-it ticket for no taillights a year ago and didn’t bother to take care of it. A friend said that I could be arrested. Is this true?



A Yes, you could be arrested for failing to appear in court on the ticket. When you signed the ticket, you promised to appear in court on the date which the officer wrote on the ticket. When you failed to do so, you could be charged with the misdemeanor offense of failure to appear in court. Normally, the court will issue a warrant for your arrest. You should take care of this ticket as soon as possible to avoid being arrested.

Got a question for Judge Nomoto? Write: Ask the Judge, Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626. Questions of broadest interest will be answered in her column.