So you got a judgment, now what?

Sometimes there are no alternatives but to go to court.  You and your X are not communicating and there are some pressing issues that need to be addressed.  So you and/or your lawyer fire up a motion, a cross motion is fired back and eventually the court provides you with a ruling or a judgment.

Generally folks comply with court orders but what if your X does not.  What if the order requires you, or your X, to do something that is impossible; like get a job in 30 days or come up with $30K that you do not have?  What do you do? On either side of the court order.

A divorce court judgment without the willingness on the parties to comply is sometimes not worth the paper it is written on.  As divorce is a civil matter, under NJ law, the police will not assist and the Sherriff will only assist if they are specifically directed to do so by the court.

The party with the judgment in their favor is the person who needs to enforce it.  They need to take the steps necessary to make sure what is in the order gets done: the court does not do this.

As an example, my X refused to vacate the marital residence as per our judgment.  I had to return to court to get an enforcement, which I got, and to which he did not comply.  The court would not however, order the Sherriff to remove him from the home so I was stuck.  Eventually he did move out but only after a great deal of bitterness and bad blood being created for me and my children.

I have a client that has been awarded a significant amount of cash from her X and she believes that he does not have the cash.  So while you may get what you ask for in court, unless you have a willing and able party on the other side you need strategy to get what was ordered.

How can you use the judgment to improve you negotiating position?  The fear of a wage garnishment may give you some room to get something else if your X can not comply with the order as it stands.  While you can certainly go back to court, and you may need to, it would be better to try to get as much as you can prior to resorting to further legal action.

One thought on “So you got a judgment, now what?

  1. How disheartening. It took me over three years to get divorced. I spent well over $100,000 on four different attorneys. Lost all my life savings. My ex now owes me almost $25,000 in past due alimony. When my ex refuses to meet his monthly spousal support obligation, I’ve had to supplement whatever money I manage to make with early withdrawals from my retirement account. I just pulled another $20,000 out of my retirement on a post judgment matter… ELR and got no where!

    Why doesn’t anyone tell you that court orders are simply not enforcible before anyone spends hundreds and thousands of dollars on attorneys?

    Is there any hope that I will ever see the money he owes me?

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