Violation of Divorce Decree: The Consequences & What You Should Do

August 2, 2018

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:

Divorce Decree

  • 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 [email protected], or visit our website for more information about Skinner & Associates Attorneys at Law.


The information at the Skinner & Associates, LLC website is intended for general informational purposes only and not as specific legal advice. Use of this site is not intended to and does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship. Visitors to this site should seek professional legal counsel regarding their specific matters. Attorneys at Skinner & Associates, LLC would be pleased to speak with interested parties, but we can only represent clients where we are licensed to practice, and where no other bar to representation exists. If the information provided by this website does not comply with the legal or ethical requirements of a particular user’s state or country, we may be unable to represent you. Although we are a general practice law firm, we may be considered a debt relief agency because we help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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