Divorce is a highly emotional and stressful process and can be made more difficult by a former spouse who refuses to play by the rules – and by rules, we mean the divorce decree. Divorce decrees are agreements settled upon by both parties and may cover a number of issues, from child custody matters to the division of marital property. Sounds simple enough, but when one party decides to no longer comply, it can leave the other party frustrated and unsure of how to handle it. A few violations of a divorce decree are as follows:
- The liable party stops making spousal support (alimony) or child support payments
- One party refuses to allow the other party to see children or keeps children longer than specified in the custody agreement
- Retains more proceeds from the sale of shared property or refuses to surrender any items listed in the divorce decree
If your former spouse hasn’t been following the agreement in your case, there are steps to take to file an action and have your spouse ordered to follow the agreement. First, you must try and document every violation committed by your former spouse. This means keeping any and all copies of late or short support payments, bounced checks, or any other evidence that suggests your ex-spouse hasn’t been keeping up their end of the bargain when it comes to alimony, child support payments, or other terms of the agreement. The results of being found in violation of a divorce decree can be harsh. Civil judgments can include:
- Orders to pay all past-due spousal support and child support with interest and penalties
- Orders to pay the complaining spouse’s court costs
- Garnishment of wages
- Reallocation of parental rights, parenting time or visitation
- Forfeiture of property
In some cases, there can even be jail time if the spouse who is not making support payments is found to have adequate financial resources, or if they refuse to abide by visitation agreements. The length of the sentence is left to the judge’s discretion.
Divorce issues, especially when they deal with child custody, are fraught with emotion and exhaustion. This is a very difficult time and in many cases, a lot is on the line. You need the help of a lawyer who is experienced in family law. Skinner & Associates represents individuals in a number of areas of family law. If you have questions or concerns regarding your rights or obligations, we will work aggressively on your behalf. Skinner & Associates will give you the personal attention that you deserve. Contact us today for a no obligation consultation by calling 614-664-0200, emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website for more information about Skinner & Associates Attorneys at Law.
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