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Divorce decree not being honored by one party - what actions can the other do to recoup cost/ownership of shared property?

Mercer Island, WA |

In the 4 years since our divorce, my ex-spouse has not fulfilled any of the obligations he was ordered to within our decree: splitting the property taxes, HOA dues and fines for land in Glacier, WA, & splitting IRS back taxes from his failed business. Because he surrendered his US status (inc. social sec) & moved back to South Africa, IRS says I have to pay 100%.

I am paying 100% of all taxes & fees for the land & my credit has taken a huge hit from his portion due to the IRS. Someone suggested that some states allow for a spouse to be awarded a property when the other spouse abandons fiduciary responsibility from the decree. I feel 100% of the hardship while he stands to benefit from any future valuation/sale. Lastly, how can I collect his 50% IRS $ if I cannot locate him in SA?

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Not going to waste your time here. You need to go see an experienced family law attorney. The attorney is going to need more facts, to be able to determine what if anything can realistically be done to help you. Make sure that just because something can legally be done that you don't throw good money after bad if you have little to no hope of actually getting financial help.

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  2. I agree with the prior post. I'm sorry you're having to go through this. You would bring a motion to enforce the Decree asking for all the relief you want based on the facts you presented. You could ask for the court to sign the Quit Claim Deed on the property and ask for a judgment for everything he didn't pay. Best bet would be to list all that he didn't pay and show that it is noncollectable, so you get the relief you're seeking, i.e. sign over property. You would have to serve him with notice of a hearing and all the pleadings. You may have to get authorization from the court to allow an alternative method of service. Very complicated, but maybe worth it. You may also ask for attorney's fees and reimbursement of what you've had to pay.

    You may also want to talk to a CPA/tax attorney about getting relief from the IRS. Possibly an innocent spouse waiver or some compromise.

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