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How do you enforce a divorce decree?

On Behalf of | Jan 26, 2020 | Divorce |

Your divorce is over but none of the battles with your ex seem to ever end. Despite what your final judgment says, your ex-spouse persists in treating the court’s orders like mere suggestions. It’s frustrating — and it keeps you from focusing on your future.

So what can you do to change the situation? Here are some possible options:

1. Ask the court for help.

Judges often take it personally when someone decides to ignore their orders. You may find the court remarkably willing to exert a little judicial pressure on your ex through a contempt of court proceeding.

Usually, the court will allow your ex to explain why they failed to comply with the order and give them a chance to remedy the situation — which ultimately is the goal. The court may also impose certain penalties for your ex’s bad behavior (like making them pay your legal fees).

2. Ask the prosecutor’s office for help.

When your ex-spouse isn’t living up to certain legal obligations, the criminal justice system can get involved. Aside from forced compliance efforts like wage garnishment and liens, people who are found to be willfully noncompliant can end up facing criminal charges and prison.

Criminal charges are generally reserved for cases where an ex-spouse continuously ignores the civil court’s authority, essentially thumbing their nose at the order.

3. Ask for help with collections.

Maybe you went ahead and paid off that credit card balance your ex-spouse was supposed to pay because you couldn’t have it threatening your credit any longer. If your ex-spouse’s promise to pay up evaporated, you may have to pursue collection efforts on your own. That may require another court order — but it can be effective.

If you’re struggling to get your divorce decree enforced, find out more about your legal options. You don’t have to navigate the process on your own.

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