My ex-spouse is supposed to reimburse me for certain children’s expenses in our Judgment and has not paid me. How do I enforce these provisions requiring reimbursement?

paying-money-18047251Generally, there are two different ways to enforce a Judgment.  In some instances parties may file a Petition for Contempt of court, or a “Petition for Rule”.  These petitions are generally only filed if there is what is perceived to be a willful violation of the Court’s order.  Another option is a Motion to Compel, depending upon what the issues are and what the factual circumstances are.  Deciding whether a contempt petition or a motion to compel is necessary very much depends upon the specific facts of any given case.

The more important portion of obtaining compliance is ensuring you have adequate documentation to support your assertions.  For example, if you paid out of pocket medical expenses for your minor child that you are seeking reimbursement for, you should have copies of the invoices as well as proof of payment for each expense.  Providing this documentation is the only way that the Court can ensure that you did in fact make these payments and that you are not seeking reimbursement for something that you did not pay for.

Additionally, in most situations, you should make a demand on the non-complying party.  It should be in writing and can be as simple as an email, attaching the invoice as well as proof of payment, and requesting a reimbursement.  A lot of Judgments have specific language in the regarding how parties are to seek reimbursements for certain expenses from each other, as well as time frames, etc.   Parties that wish to compel the other party to comply should ensure they have properly followed whatever provisions are set forth in their Judgment governing the process of reimbursements, if any.  Many Judges get upset if parties demand a reimbursement and the first time the opposing party learned of the expense was through a motion or in Court.  Reasonableness and common sense can go a long way in these situations to help your argument, and you may even resolve the issue in the process, without requiring the involvement of attorneys and the Courts.

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