Can my ex husband’s attorney hold my settlement check and not release it to me after the divorce is final?
2 attorney answers
You, preferably through an attorney, need to file a motion for contempt with the court and request a show cause hearing on the matter. This will require your husband (and his attorney) to justify their failure to turn the check over to you (his IRS issues would not seem to be justification) and/or turn over the check or be found in contempt of court, ordered to provide the payment, and possibly pay your attorney fees and court costs.
THIS IS NOT LEGAL ADVICE AND FOR GENERAL INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.- NO ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP OR PRIVILEGE EXISTS ABSENT AN EXPRESS WRITTEN AGREEMENT TO THE SAME.
This is not really a tax question as much as it is a divorce or family relations issue. Your ex-husband’s attorney is an extension of your ex-husband in the eyes of the court, so the attorney’s failure to hand over the check can be viewed as your ex-husband’s failure to comply with the court’s order - and could lead to a contempt order against your ex-husband. You should go back to the court that granted your divorce and ask the court to hold a show-cause hearing to determine why your ex-husband has failed to comply with the court’s order. The IRS’ audit of your ex-husband’s return may have nothing to do with your divorce (it was probably brought up in your case, but the court has no jurisdiction over the IRS and the IRS is not bound by your divorce decree) - so the hold up of your check is probably unjustified if the only reason for holding it up is your ex husband’s audit.
Make sure to get a copy of the transcript of the hearing in case the court finds that the attorney has not acted appropriately- you will need it if you plan on filing a complaint against the attorney with the applicable state bar.
Anything contained in this response is for informational purposes only and neither the author nor The Ornelas Firm PLLC ("Firm") makes any representations as to the accuracy or completeness of anything contained in this response. Nothing herein shall be interpreted as legal advice from the author or the Firm, or as creating an attorney-client relationship between the solicitor and the author or the Firm. Neither the author nor the Firm will be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. You should consult an attorney whenever confronted with a serious legal issue.
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