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My Ex Was Ordered to Sell a House in Our Divorce and Divide the Proceeds. It Has Been Two Years. What to Do?

Question: My ex was ordered to sell a house by the court in our divorce and divide the proceeds with me. They have not sold the house and it has been 2 years. What can I do?

Answer: In California, if your ex-spouse has failed to comply with a court order to sell a property and pay you some of the proceeds, you are entitled to pursue legal action to enforce the order.

You can file a motion (called a request for orders) with the court to request enforcement of the judgment, including the sale of the property and payment of the owed amount.

You may be entitled to seek interest on the unpaid amount, depending on the terms of the original court order regarding the sale of the property.

To initiate the process of forcing the sale of the property, you will need to file a motion with the court, providing evidence of your ex-spouse’s non-compliance with the court order. This will include evidence such as the court order itself, proof of your ex-spouse’s rental income from the property, if any, and any correspondence or communication with your ex regarding the sale and payment.

The court will review your motion and schedule a hearing to consider the matter. During the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present your case and argue for enforcement of the court order, including any request for interest on the unpaid amount. Your ex-spouse will also have the chance to respond and present any defenses or arguments they may have. Based on the evidence and arguments presented, the court will make a decision on whether to enforce the order and, if applicable, award interest on the unpaid amount.

Pro tips: 1. You may be able to obtain attorney fees for the cost of using a lawyer to enforce the judgment. To determine whether you can seek attorney fees read your judgment. It may have a clause that states attorney fees will be awarded to the party that must bring a motion to enforce the judgment. Even if the judgment is silent on attorney fees the Court may award them.

2. Make a written demand to your Ex that they sell the house and include the written demand as an exhibit in your motion.  Courts will consider your efforts to informally resolve the dispute when the courts make orders including orders on a request for attorney fees.

Galen Gentry assists clients in Los Angeles and Southern California with drafting, reviewing and enforcing prenuptial and postnuptial agreements to protect their interests. Call at (310) 282-7521 or contact us online by using the Orange form on the right of your screen to schedule a free consultation.