When can I file for contempt?


Prior to divorcing, my ex-husband and I executed a separation agreement which was incorporated into the judgment. In that agreement, he agreed to use his best efforts to remove my name from the mortgage, either by refinancing or by working directly with the VA (I am not liable at all since my obligation was discharged in bankruptcy, but my name is still on it); we each agreed that we would do whatever was necessary to cooperate in re-titling of cars; and the party in breach of the contract would be liable for the other’s attorney fees and court costs.

My name is still on the mortgage, and per the VA, he is the only one who can get it removed. It’s a long process but can be accomplished without him refinancing. His car has been successfully re-titled in his name only. My car is still in both names. I tried to refinance previously but was denied (due to the aforementioned bankruptcy). I was told to try again after the two year mark of the discharge, which is coming up at the beginning of October. However, my ex has decided to cease all contact. In an attempt to find out how he wants me to communicate with him about these matters, I’ve texted him, called him and left him a voicemail, and emailed him - all with no response. My next step will be attempting to mail a certified letter with return receipt requested. I am assuming he will either not sign to pick up the letter, or he will accept the letter but not respond.

If I am approved for a new loan, the bank will want him to sign the deed over to the bank. I may not be able to refinance without that, and not to mention as of now, all the mail related to my car from the DMV goes to his house. I understand from this forum that I can file for a motion to show cause and contempt. My question is - must I wait until I am turned down for a loan due to his refusal to communicate and sign the title over? Or can I file those motions at some point prior to being denied for the loan, and if so, at what point? Thanks.


You can file a contempt motion (motion and order to appear and show cause) at any time that your ex-husband was ordered to do something and willfully failed to do it. If there is no time limit or deadline specified, you can file a contempt motion as long as a reasonable amount of time has passed for your husband to do what he is required to do and willfully does not.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

Rosen Online | Unlimited confidential access to a North Carolina attorney for $199/mo - click here

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service only, a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action. The information posted on this forum is available for public viewing and is not intended to create an attorney client relationship with any individual. These answers are provided for informational purposes only, a person should consult with their own individual legal counsel before taking any action that could affect their legal rights or obligations.