How do I enforce a divorce decree?

UPDATED: Sep 13, 2011

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How do I enforce a divorce decree?

I have been divorced almost 5 years now from my ex-wife. According to theagreement she had 3 months to either pay me $25,000 or sell the house and give me 40% of the proceeds of the sale. She has not or will not attempt to do either. Now I don’t want any money but just want my name off the mortgage. I didn’t push the issue trying to do right by my kids but enough is enough. What can I do?

Asked on September 13, 2011 under Family Law, Massachusetts


S.J.H., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

What you need to do is file an enforcement proceeding. You need to file a motion in the court that handled your divorce seeking to enforce the terms of the Judgment of Divorce. You must articulate what relief you are seeking and why the ex-wife is not in compliance with the order. Although you state that you do not wnat money, I would request that the court order your wife to immediately remove your name from the mortgage and give you the $25,,000 or sell the house. This way she will have the incentive to act on the request. You can always agree to merely making her remove you from the mortgage. If you do not request thamoney in the original papers you may not be able to request it later if she remains difficult. Also, you should review your divorce agreement to see if there is any provision which would allow you to recoup any legal fees you may incur in the event of a default.

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 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.

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