If I was awarded money as per my divorce decree and it has still not been paid, can I seek interest when we go to court?

UPDATED: Jul 12, 2010

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If I was awarded money as per my divorce decree and it has still not been paid, can I seek interest when we go to court?

I was awarded a sum of money at my divorce due me 60 days after our sons graduation. I am still owed that money and am taking her to court.


Asked on July 12, 2010 under Family Law, Iowa


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

You can ask for interest, but many divorce courts tend to be pretty lax about that.  Is it "right" that your ex-wife gets what is, in effect, an involuntary interest-free loan from you?  No, but the system is far from perfect.  Many people end up having to pay their own attorneys' fees, on top of everything, to deal with situations like this, and don't get interest.

To make the strongest possible case, you should do what you can to show the court what problems or costs your ex-wife's failure to pay, on time, have caused you.  For example, if you had to pull money out of savings or another investment account to pay bills, after the due date for the money, you should be able to prove that by attaching statements showing the withdrawals.  Also attach something proving the interest rate, if it isn't on the statement; if you can show an actual dollar figure in lost investment interest or income, over and above the money owed, you might be awarded that much.

You might well want to ask the court to have the money owed you "reduced to judgment." This means that the debt becomes just like something owed to a credit card company or a bank: interest will run on the amount, from that point, and you would be able to use that judgment to garnish her paycheck or attach her bank account.

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