In divorce proceedings, courts often award one of the parties a certain amount of monthly spousal support for a specified period of time. Unfortunately, in some cases, the obligor may fail to make the required payments. If this happens, the other party may bring an action in a California court in an attempt to enforce a judgment for spousal support. There are several “judgment lien” provisions that serve to assist a party who is seeking to enforce a spousal support award. It is important to understand how these laws may affect your right to past due spousal support payments. In order to protect your financial and legal rights in any divorce-related action, you are strongly encouraged to contact an experienced family law attorney from the San Diego area as soon as possible.
Under Section 697.320 of the California Code of Civil Procedure, a judgment lien on real property may be created by the recording of a judgment for marital support obligations that are payable in installments. However, the statute further provides that the judgment lien is for the amount of installments as they mature under the terms of the judgment, but it does not become a lien for any installment until it is due and payable. Essentially, this provision allows a party to enforce a judgment lien for spousal support payments only to the extent that the monies are due and owing, not for any future unpaid support payments.