Should I file as a civil suit or contempt if my ex-husband owes me money?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Should I file as a civil suit or contempt if my ex-husband owes me money?

I was divorced in Aug 2015.My ex is retired military and I am a 20/20/15
spouse. Both attorneys did the formula before the actual QDRO for military
retirement was issued. The percentage they came up with was fairly close if not
more than what the QDRO states.At the divorce hearing he was ordered to pay a
percentage. He was late every month and 116.00 short for 5 months. I was
constantly in touch with my attorney as she kept promising she would get the
difference to me in a check. In January I again reminded her of this. She
stated during the final signing of papers in January in the courtroom, a check
for the 580.00 would be delivered to the court that day.It didn’t happen. I
contacted her about this and she said it would cost me 2500 for her to file
contempt because the divorce was final. Why should I pay for something she
stated she would do?. She also knows I don’t have that kind of money. I sent my
ex a certified letter stating the correct amount and that he still owed me the
difference. He started paying the correct amount but not the arrearage. I have
spoken to a few attorneys just for a free consultation to see if I can file
contempt or a civil suit without going through an attorney. They wouldn’t even
discuss it with me nor give me a free consultation.I attempted the certified
letters again twice to tell my ex I want what he owes me. He didn’t even pick
them up from the post office.He has bought a 270,000 home but won’t pay what
he legally owes me. It may not be a lot to some people,but that is rent to me
and it’s the right thing to do. I just want to know what I should do.I have all
the paperwork as proof,but don’t know how to file–civil or contempt? Where do
I obtain the paperwork to file and will he have to reimburse court costs? I am
desperate here. Thanks for any information.

Asked on April 1, 2016 under Family Law, Texas


B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

To hire an attorney for full representation to pursue a contempt action for this amount is not very cost effective.  You would be better off having an attorney simply draft the petition for enforcement for you and then filing it yourself.  It's an approach to get the balling rolling so that he knows you intend to enforce it... but without breaking the bank.

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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