Your divorce is final.  You have a judgment.  You are owed money…and your ex WILL NOT PAY! Where do you go from here?

We can help!  Remember, you cannot ask the Court to collect on a judgment for you.  You have to do it yourself or ask an attorney to do it for you.

There is nothing preventing you from immediate collection efforts on a judgment, so long as:

  • The Court has entered the judgment.  You can check to local court register of actions to confirm entry of judgment; and,
  • There is no stay (suspension) on the enforcement of the order.
    • Some causes for a stay are as follows:
      • Appeal; or,
      • bankruptcy case; or,
      • other legal action.

      If you wish to take some steps toward collecting on your own, here are some tips:

      • Give your ex an address where s/he can send the payment. You can give them a Venmo option, or PayPal option.  They can also wire funds from their bank.  This will also create a paper trail for purposes of tracing a payment should you be undercut on the full amount due, preventing your ex from claiming they paid in full.
      •  You can offer to accept a reduced amount than the whole judgment requires, under the condition, there is immediate payment. Remember to keep any modifications to a judgment in writing.  BEWARE:  An agreement to take a reduced amount prevents you from collecting the remainder at a later time.  Before you consider this option, definitely, talk to us at Mendes Weed.
      • You can offer to collect payments over time.  Any payment structure should be memorialized in a writing.  Even text of email is sufficient, although, not better than a court order permitting the modification.
      • If your ex does not pay you by the date the court ordered, write your ex a letter (email is also acceptable, but ask for a read receipt if possible), and be sure to include a copy of the judgment. Diplomatically remind your ex that you are owed funds under the judgment and if they do not comply you will be forced to seek legal action.   Keep in mind, most judgments (especially if drafted by an attorney) have attorney’s fees clauses in them which permit a spouse to seek attorney’s fees for having to return to court to enforce terms of a judgment.
      • Call an attorney. If your ex refuses to comply with the judgment, the legal process can be complicated, expensive, and time-consuming.

      Do not exercise illegal self-help methods.

      Your ex could possibly be protected from offensive or unfair ways to collect the debt. It is not wise to engage in harassing and deceitful tactics to try and get your money. Further, these tactics could prevent you from collecting any attorney’s fees to which you may be otherwise entitled.  Consult an attorney at Mendes Weed about additional, lawful methods of dealing with a non-paying ex.

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