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Post-Divorce Judgment Issues – Property and Spousal Support


    If your ex-spouse doesn’t obey the property terms of your Judgment of Divorce (JOD), you can file a motion to ask the court to enforce it. This article talks about JOD enforcement issues you might face, and how to change spousal support. If you need help enforcing or changing child support, custody, or parenting time, see Enforcing Orders for Child Support, Custody, and Parenting Time.

    Debt Repayment

    If your ex-spouse doesn’t pay a debt assigned to him or her in the Judgment of Divorce and you pay it, you can file a motion asking the court to make your ex-spouse repay you. See Filing a Motion to Enforce Your JOD.

    Property Division

    If the Judgment of Divorce ordered your ex-spouse to return certain items to you and they have not been returned, you can file a motion asking the court to enforce their return. See Filing a Motion to Enforce Your JOD. To enforce property provisions of your Judgment of Divorce the court can also:

    • Appoint a receiver to take physical control of the property
    • Award interest
    • Use contempt proceedings

    The judge can modify your JOD if you or your ex-spouse asks for changes within 21 days after the judgment is entered. After 21 days, the property division is final, and generally it is not possible to change the way your property was divided.

    Transferring Titles to Property

    If your ex-spouse doesn’t sign the paperwork needed to transfer title to property you were awarded in your Judgment of Divorce, you can file a motion asking the court to enforce the title transfer. See Filing a Motion to Enforce Your JOD.

    Filing a Motion to Enforce Your Judgment of Divorce

    If there are property, debt, or other terms from the JOD that your ex-spouse doesn’t obey, you can file a motion asking the court to enforce those terms. Complete the following blank forms:

    Give your motion a title that says what you’re asking the court to do for you (for example, Motion to Enforce Judgment of Divorce). Explain in the body of the motion what your JOD said and how your ex-spouse has not complied. File your forms at the court, and ask the clerk for a hearing date. You must mail a copy of everything you file to your ex-spouse sooner than nine days before the date of your hearing.

    After You File a Motion

    If you file a motion to enforce your Judgment of Divorce, a hearing will be scheduled in front of the judge who signed your JOD. You and your ex-spouse will both have a chance to speak. Then the judge will decide whether to grant your motion. If the judge grants your motion, the judge may order reimbursement or other remedies. If you filed a motion for an order to show cause and the judge signs the order, your ex-spouse could also be held in contempt of court.

    Modifying Spousal Support

    Unless your Judgment of Divorce says spousal support cannot be changed, either spouse can later ask for it to be changed. Generally, spousal support can only be changed when there are new facts for the court to consider. Asking for a change in spousal support is not easy. Use the Guide to Legal Help to find a lawyer.