Divorce Decrees and Payments from Your Spouse
Many spouses in divorce are awarded either lump sum amounts or payments from the other spouse in as part of the division of property, either to pay debts, or to effectuate a just and right division of the community estate, or a myriad of other reasons. What can be done if payments aren’t made? Or, what can be done if you were ordered to make payments and you’re not able to do so?
If you were awarded money in a decree and your spouse won’t pay, there are collection tools available. One option is to file a motion with the Court to enforce the award. The Court can order the award be made into a judgment, as well as order other relief to make the spouse pay the obligation. An experienced family law attorney can assist you with evaluating your specific situation, and determine what possible collection methods may be available.
What if you’re supposed to make payments and you cannot do so? For example, what if your financial situation changes and you don’t have the money or can’t afford the payments? One option is to file a motion with the Court to modify the decree/award. There are deadlines for such motions, and they should be brought as soon as possible if you are not able to afford your payments. You don’t want the motion to appear to be a litigation tactic if not brought for months or brought only after a motion to enforce is filed against you.
You need the guidance of experienced counsel, because every situation is different. Also, there are tools and options for spouses in both of these situations. These are just examples of some options available, and you should contact a lawyer to discuss options for your specific case and circumstances.