What can I do if she and her attorney are not complying with our California Marital Settlement Agreement? 7 Answers as of December 17, 2010

My wife and I filed for a divorce and have an MSA. We both have attorneys. I signed the MSA and also paid 90% of equalization payment that was agreed upon to my wife and she accepted it. My wife and her attorney now seem to be dragging their feet on signing it. What would be my next steps to have her comply?

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Saddleback Law Center
Saddleback Law Center | Paris Kalor
You should seek enforcement of the stipulation pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure. Discuss this option with your attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/15/2010
Goldberg Jones
Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
You cannot force her to sign or accept a deal. You may need to go to court now and try to get your money back. You should never pay your end of the deal until it is a signed and done deal. I am not sure what you should do now, other than consult with your attorney and maybe another attorney or two to figure out the game plan.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/15/2010
Michael Apicella
Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
In California, you can file what is called a 664.6 motion. Per California Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6, you can ask a court to enter judgment per the terms of your MSA. Then, once judgment is entered, you can ask the court to enforce it. I am curious why your lawyer has not taken this step. It is a fairly straight forward and simple procedure, given the facts you stated.

664.6 states:

If parties to pending litigation stipulate, in a writing signed by the parties outside the presence of the court. For settlement of the case. The court, upon motion, may enter judgment pursuant to the terms of the settlement. If requested by the parties, the court may retain jurisdiction over the parties to enforce the settlement until performance in full of the terms of the settlement.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/14/2010
Maclean Chung Law Firm
Maclean Chung Law Firm | G. Thomas MacLean Jr.
You should not have paid any agreed upon payments until she signed the agreement. However, now that they refuse to sign off on it, or are delaying
finalizing it, if you want to move things you need to proceed with taking your case forward in court to get it resolved. If they have acted in bad
faith and are intentionally delaying the matter now that they have what they want, you may be able to seek sanctions against them under Family Code
section 271.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/14/2010
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
It is impossible to turn back the clock, but you shouldn't have paid your wife before the MSA was fully executed and submitted to the Court with a Judgment to sign. Since she hasn't signed the MSA, you might file a Motion for 1) refund of the amount paid, and/or 2) entry of judgment pursuant to the MSA, alleging 90% performance by you in reliance, addressing the facts. However, it is unlikely that the Court would enforce an MSA that has not been signed by one party. If you are unable to get the other side to sign an MSA, you may need to have a trial set to resolve the case.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/14/2010
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Since you already have an attorney, it would be inappropriate for another attorney to answer questions for you. Perhaps you should direct your question to your attorney. If you are looking to change attorneys, please let me know.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/14/2010
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If you have an attorney, you should speak with your attorney. But the next step would be to go to court to enforce the agreement.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/14/2010
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