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How can I get my ex to comply with our divorce decree?

Dawsonville, GA |

Our decree states my ex has to pay off the home loan or refinance within 6 months of our divorce being final, which is January 15, 2012. He has not done this yet. I have researched and have provided him with the methods possible for this to happen so I know he cannot prove impossibility with the housing market today. How do I make him process the paperwork to get my name off the loan and do I need to get a lawyer?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. You may need to consult an attorney to review the specific language in your Divorce decree and whether he is required to have already paid off the home loan or to have made attempts to do so within 6 months of the decree.


  2. If the 6 month window ended on January 15th, you may have to take him back to court. It sounds like you have tried to reason with him, which would have been my first suggestion. I HATE putting these provisions in divorce decrees, if I represent the party NOT living in the marital residence, as they too often end up with the other party being non-compliant.

    Now, you have to prove that the non-compliance is "willfull." This means the other party has to make attempts to comply and fail for reasons beyond his control. You may have cleared this hurdle by even doing the research for him to show that he could comply. Did he make any such efforts? Your post does not address what he did or did not do, which is really the relevant issue, not what you did.

    So, basically, you could be headed for a bit of a legal tangle. Before you take it up, think about cost/benefit analysis, as you probably need to go back to your divorce attorney and rehire him or her to help you with a contempt action. The Judge can order the home sold, can have your H pay you money for your damages, can put him in jail, or can even order ownership of the home back to you. The most likely, scenario, is that your H will be ordered (again) to do what he should done in the first place. Hence, you need to decide the cost and benefits of bringing suit right away or waiting to see if he will change his decisions and actions.

    The information is for general information purposes only. Receipt of this information or e-mail from our website, or other communications should NOT be construed as legal advice for any individual case or situation, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship.


  3. The fact that your ex-husband has not refinanced the mortgage does not automatically mean that he has failed to comply with the divorce decree. He has only failed to comply if he has failed or refused to attempt to refinance (no applications submitted) and/or he had the financial ability to pay the mortgage in full but did not do so. Your question did not state whether either of these are true.

    The only way to "make him process the paperwork" is to obtain an order from a judge requiring him to do so. To accomplish that, you would need to file a complaint against him for contempt.

    The above answer is a general explanation of legal rights and procedures. It does not constitute legal advice. Nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship between the individual posting the question and the attorney providing the answer.


  4. Your only legal option is to file a contempt action against your ex-husband. If he has not even applied to refinance the home loan, then the court likely would find him in contempt. Recent Georgia case law would also give you additional support in your argument. You will need to consult with an experienced family law attorney to fully discuss your options and whether to pursue your ex-husband at this time. However, the burden will certainly be upon you to take him to court and force his hand.


  5. been doing this for 30 years and it's just this simple ;
    1. send letter giving him 10 days to provide proof he's applied for loan ;
    2. if he fails to respond file contempt action ;
    3. if you feel you can figure out how to do this without a lawyer and can find the forms you need via the internet great . my hat's off to you . if not hire one . my question to you is did you have a lawyer representing you in the divorce and if yes why are you not using that lawyer to enforce the divorce decree ? . not always but majority of cases are best served if you have a lawyer already familiar with the parties . if you need to hire a new lawyer or did not have a lawyer during the divorce while initial cost will come out of your pocket judges usually award attorney fees for people in contempt thus you will recover some if not all of your cost .just be aware judges do not always award enough fees to cover all charges by your lawyer . some judges are out of touch with cost of experience lawyers and some simply feel the circumstances do not warrant full repayment of cost . each case is different . that said most judges award fees and most judges do not take kindly to people who clearly fail without good cause to comply with court order . good luck


  6. been doing this for 30 years and it's just this simple ;
    1. send letter giving him 10 days to provide proof he's applied for loan ;
    2. if he fails to respond file contempt action ;
    3. if you feel you can figure out how to do this without a lawyer and can find the forms you need via the internet great . my hat's off to you . if not hire one . my question to you is did you have a lawyer representing you in the divorce and if yes why are you not using that lawyer to enforce the divorce decree ? . not always but majority of cases are best served if you have a lawyer already familiar with the parties . if you need to hire a new lawyer or did not have a lawyer during the divorce while initial cost will come out of your pocket judges usually award attorney fees for people in contempt thus you will recover some if not all of your cost .just be aware judges do not always award enough fees to cover all charges by your lawyer . some judges are out of touch with cost of experience lawyers and some simply feel the circumstances do not warrant full repayment of cost . each case is different . that said most judges award fees and most judges do not take kindly to people who clearly fail without good cause to comply with court order . good luck

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