Enforcing Non-Support Obligations After Divorce

Your divorce is final and your ex has to make payments to you for your share of the family business or has to sell the house or has to refinance and refuses to do so...now what?

Often after a divorce settlement is reached there are other obligations besides child support and maintenance that must also be enforced. The agreement may require monthly payments for the purchase of your interest in the business, perhaps there is a requirement to refinance the home to remove your name from the mortgage or a requirement to cooperate with the broker in the showing of the house. However, for one reason or another there is a lack of compliance and now you have to retain an attorney to protect your rights once again.

The good news is that you no longer have to negotiate terms as there is already an existing agreement and court order requiring compliance. Usually the agreement will contain a "default" or "breach" clause that requires written notice to be provided of the failure to do what is required and a period of 10 days to comply. The notice is usually sent by certified mail often with a return receipt if specified in your agreement. The letter will usually also warn that if the person does not comply they will also be at risk to pay your attorney's fees incurred to enforce the order and agreement.

An Order To Show Cause will be prepared, it must be served and then the person will have an opportunity to explain in written papers why they have not complied. The relief that you ask from the judge could be the entry of a money judgment, it could be to appoint you as the "receiver" who is authorized to list and sell the house, it could be to relieve you of obligations and may also include a request to hold the person in contempt of court.

Since each application to the court is unique and proof of default is required, these applications are best handled by a matrimonial attorney so that your rights are protected by a person knowledgeable in the court procedure and the best method of asking the court for help.