How can I sue my ex-husband for not paying one of our creditors after we signed a settlement agreement at time of divorce?

Asked over 4 years ago - Atlanta, GA

My Ex-husband and I decided to share our debts. I am paying for the loan and he was supposed to pay for a car lease because he wanted to keep the car. At time of divorce I didn't have a car and told him I could afford the payments for the car we have leased. He refused. We have signed a settlement agreement which is part of our divorce judgement. The car has been repossessed because he wasn't making any payments. The creditor, Chrysler Financial asked me for the balance of $7605.17 as I am the co-signer. Of course my ex husband doesn't answer his phone. I want to make a payment arrangement with Chrysler Financial and sue my Ex for the total amount. Is it the correct thing to do?

Additional information

I want to know if I should ask for damages as my credit has been affected. If yes, how much?

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Brian E. Daughdrill

    Contributor Level 14

    Answered . Your question sounds in several areas of the law. I am assuming you had a written settlement agreement which was incorporated into the final decree granting you divorce? If so, then the condition you are describing, depending on how it was written up, gives rise to a cause of action for contempt (he has failed to adhere to the terms of the decree). Separately, even if you were not formerly married, you have a right of contribution against him as a joint obligor and, if there is a written settlement agreement, you may have an action for simple breach of contract. One of the damages you would plead would be your credit damage because it will almost certainly be reported on your credit if you were an obligor.

    Nothing in this posting may be deemed to create an attorney client relationship. In the event you wish to discuss the particulars of this matter with one of our family law or contract law attorneys, please contact us in private.

  2. Paula Jeanette Mcgill

    Contributor Level 17

    Answered . You have several options. You can return to family court and file a motion for contempt. What is in the order relating to his failure to make payments? The judge can order him to pay the balance of the lease and any fees and make payment arrangements thereby releasing you. In fact, this should have been the minute he was late on payments. This might have saved the lease.

    If you go the small claims method, even if you get a judgment, you will have to pursue the collection methods yourself (garnishment, liens, etc.). Therefore, it may be easier for collection and enforcement purposes to return to Superior Court to enforce the divorce decree.

    I am licensed and practicing in the Atlanta area. If you need additional information, feel free to contact me.

  3. Steven Alan Fink

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Yes it is. This protects your credit. You can sue your ex in small claims.

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

  4. Shawn B Alexander

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I agree with Mr. Fink you can reduce his debt to you to a judgment.
    The key to successful collections is information about a “way to go” from the debtor. The debtor's income stream from wages or contracts needs to be legally intercepted before the debtor gets it, or after the debtor puts the money in the bank. From contractual writs, to bank writs and attachments, to wage garnishments and attachments are normal points in the income stream that may be intercepted, extreme points are forced sale of assets like a sheriff’s sale. Bear in mind that if the debtor is eligible for protection under bankruptcy law that is their “get out of jail free card” and can be played when eligible and you will have to pay back anything that you obtained from 90 days prior. An interesting issues is always the age of the account and fresher is better, when the debt hits the statute of limitations you are done.

    Once you have a judgment and you can transcribe the judgment into the jurisdiction where the debtor lives or works you can collect.
    If you have a judgment you can conduct supplemental proceedings or a debtor’s examination, or in the alternative, you can send interrogatories to the debtor.

    If you suspect the debtor has transferred assets subsequent to your judgment and you can prove it, you have recourse under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfers Act if the act was adopted by your state or the debtor’s state or where the assets are located.

    You can turn your account over to licensed and bonded collection agency for about half of the proceeds or hire a collection lawyer to work the account for a time or a percentage.
    I do not practice in your state and you should talk with agencies and lawyers in the debtor’s area.

    Good Luck

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