It is not uncommon in divorce actions for the parties to develop a marital settlement agreement, which is essentially a contract that sets forth their rights and obligations, or for the court to incorporate the agreement into the final judgment that dissolves the marriage. If a party refuses to comply with the terms of a marital settlement agreement, however, a dispute may arise as to whether an action to enforce the agreement is subject to the statute of limitations that applies to contracts or the one that applies to judgments. Recently, a Florida court addressed this issue in a case in which the wife waited almost twenty years to file a motion to enforce a divorce judgment. If your spouse refuses to comply with the terms of your marital settlement agreement, it is advisable to contact a seasoned Florida family law attorney to assess your rights and your options for seeking enforcement.
It is alleged that the husband and the wife entered into a marital settlement agreement in 1997. The agreement divided their marital property, business assets, and debts, and dictated that the husband was to pay the wife close to half a million dollars, either in a lump sum or in five principal payments, plus interest, which were due each year beginning in 2001. The agreement was incorporated into the final judgment dissolving the marriage, which was issued in April 1997.
It is reported that the husband failed to make any payments as required under the agreement, however. Then, in 2017, one day shy of the twentieth anniversary of the entry of the divorce judgment, the wife filed a motion to enforce the judgment. The court granted the motion and ordered the husband to pay close to one million dollars to the wife based on the amount of principal payments plus accrued interest. The husband appealed, arguing that the wife’s motion was barred by the statute of limitations.