Can I Enforce a Judgement of Marital Debt Division Between My Son and Ex Daughter-in-Law Where I am One of the Debtors?

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“Do I have a court judgement for a debt the court has ordered as part of a divorce settlement?? My son and his ex-wife have just been through superior court proceedings for property settlement. During their 2+ years of marriage I gave each a loan secured by contract along with other monies to establish their newly purchased property. The court recognized all of these debts as part of community property to be split equally between the parties unless modified by the parties. However, the court says since I was not a party to the action nor was I joined, the finding and order is not intended to finally determine whether or not I have joint and several creditor rights against my son and his ex-wife. My son has stated his intent to pay me. However his ex-wife has not respoded to requests as to her intent and we believe has given me a very pointed and crude message as to her not paying any part of the debt. As such it appears that I will have to take measures to enforce a judgement.”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

You likely do not have an enforceable judgment. You likely will need to take matters into your own hands vis a vis the ex-daughter-in-law. Even though the property division is mentioned in the judgment, you do not have standing to enforce any part of it. You could proceed against ex-d-i-l for the half she owes you or against your son or ex-d-i-l to collect the full amount (and they would have a claim against the other to recover the other half). Your action is in contract in civil court, not in family court.

If your son wanted to help you out, he might take on the full debt to you and use his access to the family court to shift around other assets and debts to make up the difference. If the property is already sold and the proceeds already divided between the spouses this would decrease your son’s chance to come in and get the result you are looking for (that ex-d-i-l pay you without you having to take her to civil, or small claims court).



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Author: House Attorney

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