Sometimes a divorce is finalized but the family home is not sold immediately. The reasons for this can vary; the couple wants the home to be maintained for the children, the home is not ready for sale, or the real estate market in the area is changing and the couple is waiting for the optimal time to sell.
In these cases, the divorce decree should provide specific terms as to who gets what, and there should be language which orders the parties to cooperate with each other. There may be further details about listing the home and accomplishing the sale.
However, as time goes on, one spouse may become disinclined to cooperate. Sometimes s/he does not really want to sell, does not have the energy to deal with the preparation and sale, or (unfortunately) is holding on for vindictiveness or control.
This can quickly become frustrating for the spouse who is ready to proceed now, especially if the non-cooperation has a negative financial impact and appears to be for no good reason.
A family law attorney can help get the situation “unstuck” by representing the party who is ready to proceed. Steps that can be taken to get things moving include; 1) Contact with the reluctant party to inform him/her that further legal action will be taken if no cooperation is shown; 2) mediation with a certified mediator to iron out problems or details which have arisen; 3) the filing of a court action requesting enforcement of the decree.
If the divorce was granted many years ago, the decree may not be as specific as the newer decrees which have been written in the last 10 years or so. A request can be made to the court for clarification of the language.
These situations can become long-term frustrating problems. Having a consult with a family law attorney can help you clarify your options and figure out how to get the ball rolling.