Although White Plains residents might not intuitively think of them as such, divorces are in fact lawsuits just like claims involving personal injury, a breach of contract or a failure on the part of one person to pay a debt that he or she owes.
What this means is that the decision of a New York divorce court is an enforceable judgement, as well as an order of the court that can be punished by contempt. The judgement of a divorce will include language that declares a couple’s marriage legally terminated and will likely also include orders saying who owns what property.
However, judgements of this sort also frequently order one party to pay the other party under certain terms and conditions. For instance, a judge may require a cash payment from one spouse to another in order to make sure that property gets distributed fairly. In other cases, whether during or after the divorce, a judge may require a person to pay alimony or enter a judgment for the amount owed.
Hopefully, the person ordered to pay will do so in a timely fashion. However, this is not always the case. One option for someone waiting on the money owed to them is to return to court and, possibly, ask the court to hold the person who is not paying in contempt.
It is important for people to remember, however, that if they have an enforceable judgement from a divorce, they don’t necessarily need a full court hearing to take steps to collect. As is the case with other judgements, there may be a number of remedies available, including an inquest hearing, a garnishment or, if the debtor owns real estate, even the foreclosure of a judgment lien.
A collections and judgment enforcement attorney may be available to assist a person with evaluating thee options.