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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  JD, MBA
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Can I collect interest on an unpaid divorce settlement agreement

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Can I collect interest on an unpaid divorce settlement agreement in Illinois?
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

If the debt has been reduced to a judgment, then you are entitled to 9% interest. If the court has not granted a judgment, and it's just an agreement between you and your ex, then you cannot collect interest. You'd need to sue, reduce it to judgment, then collect interest.

Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then please feel free to ask for clarification.

If the information that I provided is helpful, then please remember to click the green accept button so that I will receive credit and compensation for my time. Positive feedback is always appreciated as well. Thank you and good luck!

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Hello and thank you for answering so quickly. I know that there is a court order for the amount. It is $15,000 altogether with $10,000 up front and 5,000 over the next 5 years. I have only received $800. He is a year and a half past due. The same time he became due I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and may not be around much longer.

1. Is a judgment the same as a court order?
2. Will my illness have affect on my case?
3. He says he does not work but I have proof that he works under the table and has recently bought an expensive motorcycle and taken trips to California and Mexico, how will this affect my case?

I have filed suit and I have court tomorrow, I just want to be prepared. Thank you for your help.
Hi again.

1. Whether or not interest is automatic on a settlement agreement that was incorporated into a divorce decree is currently in dispute in the courts (i.e., different courts disagree). Some courts believe that interest is mandatory, while others believe that it is discretionary. Therefore, all you can do ask. You can argue that its mandatory because the agreement is a contract and the court's equitable powers were not used to determine the terms of the agreement. Even if the court determines that interest is discretionary, the judge may still award interest, and I see no reason he wouldn't, particularly when your ex has clearly breached his obligations.
2. Your illness will not affect the case (I'm terribly sorry to hear that! I truly wish you the best).
3. You can attach his motorcycle and sell it if it has any substantial equity. Obviously, that would not be possible if he has no equity due to a loan. You can also attempt to garnish bank accounts, put liens on other property, etc. The fact that the trips and motorcycle were purchased, the fact that you have evidence that he works "under the table" and has more money than he admits, and the fact that he refuses to pay you what is owed will likely work in your favor with regard to interest, and it also may convince the judge to hold him in contempt and possibly even jail him until he comes up with some money.

I hope that helps. I truly wish you luck! Please remember to click "accept."
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
You are fantastic. I will definitely click accept. One last question. Would this be the statute to refer to?

Section 5/2-1303 of volume of 735 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (legally speaking, 735 ILCS 5/2-1303) says that “Judgments recovered in any court shall draw interest at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of the judgment until satisfied.” While that’s a much better rate than banks are paying, banks actually pay. Until a debtor actually pays in full, judgment interest is another unfulfilled promise.
Hi again.

Yes, that's the statute that you would refer to which allows 9% on judgments.

As an aside, I'm curious what the judge rules in your case due to the conflict among the courts. If you don't mind posting what the judge decides, I'd be appreciative.

Good luck tomorrow!
TJ, Esq. and 5 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Excellent feedback. Thank you so much for your help. Considering you said that it is the judges discretion I am guessing that I do not need to amend the papers I filed on what I am asking for? I will just ask the just the judge to also award me interest unless I hear back from you that I need to amend.

I will be more than happy to let you know what happens and thanks for wishing me luck.
Your help is much appreciated.
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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I did not ask for interest. I recently realized that I may be entitled to it. Considering that, do I need to amend my compliant and if so how do I do that? Thank you again. I wish I could have tipped you, I apologize, my medical bills are so much and my cobra had been cut off. I am really hurting right now.

thank you again.
Oh, I see. I would amend it if you can in time. The way to amend a complaint is to simply file a new complaint with the included changes, and then call it Amended Complaint. Then you just file it like you did the original complaint.

Please, don't worry about a tip. I'm glad to be of help.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Thank you so much. I hope its not too late. I will try to amend in the morning before court. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Well it looks like my judge took the day off. So we saw a different judge for the evidence hearing in which he ruled in my favor and set it for a hearing next month. He did not rule on the interest. Thank you again for all of your help.
I see. Did you amend your complaint in time?