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Collecting on a Family Law Money Judgement

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Has a family law money judgement been issued against your former spouse or domestic partner for something such as back child support, spousal support, or medical expenses for your children?

If your spouse has not sent you the payment, you will have to collect on the judgement your ex-spouse or domestic partner owes you; the court does NOT collect on money judgements for people.

When can you begin collecting on the money your ex owes you? You can initiate collection once the judgement has been entered providing there is no stay (a suspension or delay in enforcing the order because of a bankruptcy case, appeal, or other legal action).

What You Can Do

Let’s say that there is no stay preventing you from enforcing the judgement. In that case, you can give your ex-spouse or domestic partner an address where they can mail your payment. If you choose, you can offer to accept less than the full judgement if your ex pays you right away.

If you agree to accept less than the full amount, you are forfeiting your right to receive the rest of what’s owed to you.

What if my ex does not pay me?

If your ex does not pay you by the date the court ordered him or her to, the next step is to send them a letter with a copy of the court order. In this letter, you can remind your ex that he or she owes you the money, and if they don’t pay you, you may need to take further action.

If your former spouse or domestic partner has a judgement against him or her for money they owe you and they refuse to pay you, we recommend contacting an attorney from our office. It can get complicated and it can take a long time to collect what you are owed without a lawyer’s guidance.

Whatever you do, do not resort to illegal means to collect your debt. For example, do NOT:

  • Lie about the debt
  • Harass your ex
  • Ask someone else about where your ex is located
  • Tell your ex’s employer about the money they owe you
  • Talk to other people about what your ex owes you
  • Contact your ex before 8:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. about the debt

If you need further information about collecting on a family law judgement, don’t hesitate to contact the Los Angeles divorce attorneys at Claery & Hammond, LLP for a free consultation.


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