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Can I take Ex Wife to Small Claims court for not paying expenses not covered in divorce decree and parenting agreement?

Denver, CO |

I paid child support faithfully for 11 years. During that time I incurred numerous expenses for the child that my ex never paid me back for. Car insurance and repairs, legal fees, cell phone, medical, tutor expenses.She verbally agreed to pay half of those expenses. Total is roughly $10k of which I feel 50% should be her responsibility.

When she went after me for additional child support I counterclaimed for the unpaid expenses and the court only awarded to me those expenses covered specifically in the divorce decree (educational and medical expenses) and said they had no authority, short of extraordinary circumstances, to award me payment for these other expenses. Question is can I take her to small claims court to recover the remaining money owed? She will deny owing of course.

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Attorney answers 1


It is really unlikely that you could prevail in small Claims court under this fact pattern. The District Court, reviewing the facts, already found that they did not have a grounds to award you compensation, and they have all the same jurisdiction to award costs (contract, court order, tort) as does Small Claims. So, not only are you unlikely to find that there is an additional grounds supporting an award to you, but you are likely to run into a defense of "res judicata" which boils down to a finding that this claim has already been ruled upon by a court of competent jurisdiction. Sorry....

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