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My ex was court ordered to pay spousal support for life to me. I have not received anything since Sept.2011 and am homeless.

San Pedro, CA |

we were married 28 years and have 4 daughters. I was a stay at home mom and also helped him start his own company. We built our dream home on 3 acres in Malibu and made several million which we invested in other properties in Malibu and Santa Monica which we owned together. He lives with his new wife in a multimillion dollars home. I live in my car with no income and my credit has been ruined by him not paying my support. I am 61 and need help but don't know how to begin to get help without money to hire someone. He is well known and has projects published in all the design magazines, including Architectural Digest and House Beautiful. His latest was in Design Bureau in August 2011 and the article is called "Celebrity Confidential". Can anyone help me!!!

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Attorney answers 4


If you are entitled to spousal support for life, you need to take a copy of your judgment/court order to an attorney and file the appropriate motion or contempt charges. If you cannot find an attorney who will take the case, then you need to do it on your own. Go to the self help center of your superior court where they will help you prepare, file and serve the papers. Most judgments contain an attorney's fees clause. If you have to hire an attorney to enforce the judgment, and if you win, the other side has to pay your attorney. If yours has such a provision, you should be able to find an attorney to take your case. If it does not have such a provision, for most attorneys you will either have to come up with some money for a retainer or you will have to pursue him on your own.

Michael is in San Jose, California and can be reached at 408-295-4232 or at Consultation fees, rates and retainers vary based on need and ability to pay.


Is there a reason you waited this long to take any action? Were you represented by an attorney for the divorce? If so, start by calling your former attorney and asking him or her if they will assist with enforcing the support order. Otherwise you will need to find a new attorney to assist you with this matter, i.e. post-judgment enforcement. If you want to try to handle this yourself, contact the Harriett Buhai Center for Family Law in Los Angeles. They offer free legal assistance to pro per litigants who qualify for their services.



I had a great attorney at first but a few months into it he let himself off my case due to what he said were health issues. Another attorney from his office took over but never gave me any information or returned my calls, so I fired him. I then went to Trope and Trope , spoke to Sorrell Trope who took my case on contingency. I was assigned one of their attorneys who also never kept me posted and oddly enough I was never told or asked when court was, so never was in a courtroom. This attorney let my alimony get cut from $5,000. a mo. to $2,500. a mo. Out of frustration, I let him go and settled. I know I didn't get close to the settlement that I should have but just wanted it over and didn't feel that I would conme out ahead prolonging the process and handing over the bulk to an attorney who wasn't fighting for me. I later found out that my ex's attorney and Mr. Trope were both somehow connected to the Harriet Buhai Center for Family Law. My first attorney has since told me that my husband's attorney was the most evil, crooked azttorney he had ever encountered..


I agree with the other answers, You should also know that it may be possible for an attorney to immediately file for an award of attorneys fees in order to allow you to protect your rights. Contempt proceedings are quazi criminal matters which means that after you file your contempt action, your ex will be arraigned and he will have to enter a plea. Then you or your attorney will have to prove he was ordered to pay support, willfully failed to do so, and that he had the ability to pay the support. If the other suggestions don't help, find the local Legal Aid office and based on what you have stated, you would qualify for their assistance. It may sound very daunting, but don't let it go.

Good Luck,
Linda Roberts-Ross

The information provided is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Said information does not constitute the formation of any attorney/client relationship. The information is provided without consideration. An Attorney / client relationship can only be formed upon the execution of a formal retainer agreement and payment of retainer fee between a consumer and my office. We are a federally designated debt relief agency.


Since you have a Judgment, and because you indicate the ex has assets, it should be relatively easy to collect your judgment.
You will have to file a Motion to Determine Arrears, add on the interest, and obtain a money judgment for a sum certain. You will get a judgment,then the next step is collecting. If he has a bank account(s) you can collect, if he owns property, you can lien it. If he has wages, you can garnish. You have quite a few options. It is troubling that you have not taken action, and that your assets are completely depleted.

Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship

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