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What to do when your ex violates the divorce decree

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2016 | Divorce, Spousal Maintenance

As we have discussed before in this blog, the final divorce decree is not always the end of the matter. For one thing, if there is a child support or child custody order, one parent or the other could have reason to seek a modification someday.

Then there are divorced people who refuse to comply with their post-divorce obligations. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for people to fall behind on their child support or alimony payments, or to fail to transfer to their ex his or her share of the marital property. They may even block their ex from seeing his or her children in violation of the child custody or visitation plan.

When one of these things happen to you, you may have to go back to court to enforce your rights. The first formal step in enforcement is filing an action for contempt of court. If things proceed far enough from there, the aggrieved ex may have to attend a court hearing and present evidence in support of their contention, similarly to a trial.

If this sounds too difficult to do on your own, you don’t have to walk into court solo. Your family law attorney can represent you, drawing on his or her experience and expertise to urge the judge to take action to ensure the court’s orders are met.

Possible penalties the court can impose to someone for not complying with their post-divorce obligations include:

  • Fines
  • Wage garnishment
  • When child custody is involved, amendments to the plan in the complying party’s favor
  • Jail time

Hopefully, some combination of these penalties will convince your ex to start living up to his or her obligations.

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