How to Collect on a Divorce Property Settlement

by Heather Frances J.D. Google
If your spouse doesn't comply with your property settlement, you may end up back in court.

If your spouse doesn't comply with your property settlement, you may end up back in court.

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Divorce settlements, typically agreed to by both spouses and adopted by the court as part of the divorce decree, set the details of how the couple will divide their marital assets after the divorce. Settlements may also include alimony payment amounts or other terms. When a spouse fails to follow the terms of the settlement order, however, the couple may end up back in court.

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Enforcing a Settlement

Settlement agreements, once adopted by the court as part of the divorce decree, can be enforced like other court orders. Generally, the spouse who wants to enforce the agreement must return to court for enforcement, though procedures vary by state. For example, if you and your spouse create a settlement agreement that says you will receive the car, then he must turn over full possession of the vehicle. If he refuses to give you the keys, title or hides the car from you, you can file an enforcement petition with your divorce court asking the court to order him to give you the car. The court can issue additional penalties, too, typically available after one spouse repeatedly refuses to comply with the settlement agreement. Depending on state law and the type of violations involved, penalties could include economic sanctions or even jail time.