What Should I Know About Collecting Money Judgments Post-Divorce?

Often, many California divorces end with one spouse receiving a money judgment which the other spouse must pay. The spouse who is to be paid must understand certain facts about collecting the financial judgment. Since emotions are inevitably raw after a divorce and there was likely dispute that led to the end of a marriage, one spouse owing the other money can be a complicated matter that leads to disagreement and even the owing spouse refusing to pay.

Before overreaction, the owed spouse should know the basics about collecting on the judgment. It is important for the owed spouse to remember that he or she must collect the money on their own. The court does not handle it. The payments can be collected immediately if the following conditions are in place: the judgment was entered, and there has not been a stay on its enforcement via an appeal, a bankruptcy, or other legal step.

The owed spouse can give the paying spouse an address to send the payment. It is acceptable to take less than the judgment if it is paid immediately or there can be payments made on a regular basis. Accepting less will mean the rest of the money owed does not need to be paid. If the payment is not made on the date the court stated it should be paid, the owed spouse can inform the paying spouse with a copy of the order. There can be steps taken if the payment is not made. Of course, contacting an attorney to help with the collection is helpful.

Just as creditors have certain rules they must adhere to when collecting a debt, the same holds true for someone collecting from a former spouse. It is against the law to lie or mislead; commit harassment; ask another for more information as to where the debtor is located; contact the debtor’s job or others; or call the debtor before 8 a.m., after 9 p.m., or in locations where it is known to be inconvenient.

For many, the divorce itself does not end the relationship with the other person. There are issues that must be factored in and dealt with. Often, that is connected to children and alimony, but it is sometimes linked to money that one spouse owes the other and has a judgment that it must be paid. Collecting this money can be difficult and if there is a dispute or any other problem, having legal advice from a qualified divorce lawyer is beneficial.

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