Pennsylvania Family Law and Divorce
Lisa Marie Vari & Associates, P.C.

My ex never paid as promised...can I sue? Part I

Before a divorce can be finalized in PA, the parties must have completed the process of equitable distribution, or the division of marital assets and debts. If the parties can come to an agreement, one way to accomplish this is through a Marriage Settlement Agreement, more commonly referred to as an "MSA."

In PA, Marriage Settlement Agreements are governed by contract law. If your ex fails to fulfill a financial obligation they agreed to in the MSA, the court can order enforcement of the obligation and may even impose sanctions on the defaulting party.

But what if you fail to seek enforcement in a timely manner? Is there a statute of limitations on how long you have? The answer is . . . maybe. In PA, the statute of limitations for contracts is four years, and the statute begins to run from the moment the default occurred.

For example: Your ex agrees to pay you a lump sum of $10,000 on December 7, 2017. If they fail to make payment, the statute of limitations allows legal action to be commenced on or before December 8, 2021. If a claim is not brought by this date, the statute of limitations precludes the aggrieved party from filing suit.

There are exceptions to this rule, however, so stay tuned to for Part II to learn if an exception applies to your case, or give us a call today to discuss your MSA enforcement issue with one of our experienced family law attorneys today!

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