If my ex paid me more than the divorce agreement stated, do I need to pay the overage amount back?

My divorce agreement stated in year 1-4 my alimony was to be $1500, then in year 5 it was to decrease to $1000. ($500 less) My ex continued to pay me $1500 for Jan-Oct in year 5. He is now demanding I pay him back $5000 (Jan-Oct @ $500 per month). Do I need to pay him if it was an error on his part?

Asked on March 23, 2011 under Family Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you do need to pay him back: the fact that someone accidentally overpays and makes an error does not change their legal obligations or your legal rights--you only had a right to $1,000 for that time period, not $1,500, and his obligation was to only pay $1,000. If you don't voluntarily repay you, he could sue you for the difference.

Look at it this way: suppose he'd paid you only $1,000 each time for 10 months in years 1 - 4 and you made an error and did not catch the shortfall at that time; wouldn't you expect and demand that he pay you the extra amount? And you'd have a right to that money; similarly, if he accidentally overpaid, he has a right to get the overpayment back.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.