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How do I get the court ordered attorney fees my ex-wife owes me?

Thornton, CO |

My ex-wife and I had a custody process happen over the summer of 2012. I received full custody of my children. She gets supervised visits once a week for an hour and there is a RO on her for DV. Not only has she failed to pay any child support ($2500 so far due), She has not made any attempt to pay the $4000 that she was court ordered to pay towards my attorney fees. The court order gave a deadline for full payment by December of 2012. Well it is now about 6 months later and were in 2013.She has missed the deadline. How do I get her to pay me? What reprocussions are there for her to not follow order. I am worried also she will deny having a job or means to pay but I do not think its fair for her to get away with it. What are my options?

Thank You!

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Attorney answers 4


For the child support, you could file a contempt. You could also reduce the amount owed to judgment and add 12 percent interest compounded monthly which really adds up. Once you have a judgment, which is immediate once you file it (it is called a "Verified Entry of Support Judgment") you can record a lien on any real estate.


The award of attorney's fees is also a judgment; although, the court clerk may not have recorded it as such, so you may need to point the Clerk the order and have them properly enter it into the court record as a judgment. You can obtain Writs of Garnishment and garnish her pay and/or her bank accounts. You can file a judgment lien against any real estate she owns. You could also pursue a contempt against her for failing to comply with the order to pay by a certain date.

The first thing you should do is sit down with a competent family law attorney and discuss the best way to approach this collection process. Which approach is best depends on a number of circumstances. This answer is provided as general information about a legal issue, is not legal advice specific to a particular case, and does not create a lawyer-client relationship with the person asking the question.


You were granted two judgments, and they can both be collected through similar means. If your payments go through child support enforcement, they will collect the child support for you without charge. If your payments are not currently going through them, you may want to contact them to set up a file and get that started. Otherwise, you are going to need to do the collections yourself, or hire an attorney to help you and pay that attorney for the work done.

Both judgments may be collected either through a wage assignment, or a garnishment of a bank account. If the number grows to a very large debt, it may be worth seizing property and doing a sheriff's sale, but this is rarely profitable unless she owns some substantial assets, and the debt owed is large.
I have added a link to the child support enforcement unit. I hope this helps.
(CSE won't collect your attorney fees - you'll have to do that outside of this unit.)

This legal information is provided for general legal purposes and does not establish a client-attorney relationship. Because of the limited information provided in the question, it is difficult to be certain that Counsel is answering the question correctly. You are encouraged to seek further information from an attorney directly so that follow up questions may be asked if necessary.


I agree with my colleagues. You could pursue contempt on both issues. You also could reduce both issues to a judgment and then follow collection procedures, such as a bank account levy, wage garnishment, etc. You would be entitled to 12% interest compounded monthly on the child support and 8% on the attorney fees. You also likely would be entitled to your attorney fees for having to pursue the collection and/or contempt. I routinely take cases like this on a contingent fee basis, if you are interested in discussing it further. I hope this helps.

You can reach Dave Rich at (303) 886-2516 or Dave Rich is an attorney licensed in Colorado. Answering your questions does not create an attorney-client relationship between us. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts in your case, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.

David Littman

David Littman


Seeking a garnishment does not stop you from bringing a contempt action. The garnishment will happen much more quickly than the contempt, but you can do both.

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