Irving, TX asked in Divorce for Colorado

Q: I got divorced, was to have my equity by12/30/22. She is finally selling the house. Do I have any recourse for delay?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Sabra M. Janko
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  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: It depends on how the agreement was drafted and the reason for the delay as well as it caused any prejudice to you. However, courts don't usually get involved in enforcing something that has been completed, even if late. There is no one size fits all answer to the question.

Rebecca Pescador
Rebecca Pescador
  • Westminster, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: From a legal perspective, this isn't a very long delay. So the answer would depend on a couple of factors.

First, how does your Decree read other than when she was to pay the equity? Is there any language about indemnifying you from harm? If so, that would be useful. If there isn't, that's not a closed door to some form of remedy, but it's clearer and easier if there is.

Second, what harm have you suffered as a result of the delay? The court is unlikely to issue a sanction against her simply because of the delay if you can't show some harm suffered by you as a direct result of the delay. For example, if the mortgage hasn't been kept up and now there's a ding on your credit, that would be harm that the court would consider addressing. In contrast, being unable to get a place of your own because you didn't have those funds and/or still had that mortgage on your credit is not a harm the court would likely consider addressing in my experience.

The most usual recourse when one party is ordered to pay the equity by a particular date is to have the court order them to sell the house immediately. It sounds like your ex has already started into selling the house at this time, so unless you can show direct harm to you from the delay, it doesn't appear from your question that there is much that the court can do.

If you have suffered some direct harm and believe you may have proof of damages that you would like to pursue, a consultation with an experienced family law attorney would provide more specific information. That attorney would want to see the Decree to see the exact language, so you'd want to be sure to have a copy ready to get to them in advance of the consultation.

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