Post-Divorce Enforcement of Property Orders
Wrapping up your divorce can bring a certain sense of finality. Once the case is done and the decree of dissolution of marriage enters, it’s not uncommon for people to feel a certain sense of relief. Regardless of whether your final divorce orders regarding property were obtained through settlement negotiations or after a highly contested court hearing, being done is generally a positive thing. However, in many cases, getting the decree and your final orders is not the end of the story.
Once orders regarding the disposition of your marital property are obtained, the next step is going to be ensuring that they are followed. The divorce attorneys at Plog & Stein have years of experience helping clients make sure their final orders regarding property are enforced and that the court ordered division of property is managed as smoothly as possible. With any marital estate, our goal is to make sure our clients ultimately receive the property they are entitled to. Though effectuating the property division orders goes relatively smoothly in some cases, there are instances in which future legal action may be necessary to gain compliance and to make the aggrieved party whole.
Remedies for enforcing property division orders can include:
- Contempt of Court
- Forced Sale of Assets
- Entry of Judgment
- Forced Transfers of Title
Given the variety of assets a couple may have, there is also an array of issues which can arise, particularly when orders are not followed. Post-decree property issues might relate to the disposition of the marital home or other real estate. Sometimes on spouse might be required to either sell or refinance the home, yet may either drag their feet or outright refuse to comply with the court orders. In those instances, the first step is determining what the most effective legal mechanism for remedying the situation will be in. Failure to sign necessary documents might be remedied via a C.R.C.P. Rule 70 motion, which ultimately concludes with the court signing necessary documents in place of the violating party. Other cases may require the filing of a contempt of court motion, which brings an array of both remedial and punitive sanctions, including, potentially, jail. When equity due is secured by a lien or deed of trust, we may need to facilitate the use of a real estate attorney to initiate foreclosure proceedings on the property. Prior to entry of your permanent divorce orders, having an attorney with the foresight to obtain detailed orders with as many built-in remedies as possible is optimal for preventing problems down the road.
When dealing with the division of financial accounts, the potential remedies will largely be dictated by the nature of the account. Dividing a 401K will necessitate entry of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. If the spouse participating in the plan refuses to cooperate, the court can ultimately enter a QDRO by force. The same holds true for some pensions. Getting to a bank or similar account for purposes of enforcement may be more difficult, perhaps necessitating a request to convert the amount of funds therein to judgment, with the ultimate conclusion being a garnishment of those proceeds. Gaining a judgment can also be an effective tool for securing proceeds via garnishment of another account owed by the violating party. Ultimately, contempt of court may be the only viable solution. Each case is different and discussing your options with an experienced divorce lawyer can help take some of the guesswork out of figuring out the best way to proceed.
Sometimes enforcing orders related to the simplest marital property items can be the most acrimonious process. Tangible item such as furniture, electronics, or perhaps a coin collection, are also marital property. Though people generally agree on how to divide these items in a divorce, our attorneys see instances in which one party refuses to hand over the household items or tangible goods allocated to the other spouse. In these cases, contempt of court is likely going to be the remedy with the most legal teeth. If tangible property can be valued, a judgment can either be sought for the value in a stand-alone motion or as one of the remedies sought in the contempt proceedings.
At Plog & Stein, P.C. we look for the most efficient, effective, and cost-effective remedies to ensure your property orders are enforced. Some assets are worth more than others and, in some cases, it may not be financially prudent to expend time and money chasing after lesser items, such as furnishing or other household goods.
If you find yourself in a situation in which your former spouse is failing to follow the court orders regarding the disposition of the marital estate, contact the Denver family law attorneys at Plog & Stein, P.C.. Courts take property division orders seriously and we do, too.