What to Do When a Former Partner Violates a Divorce Order
So you’ve finalized your divorce, and your former spouse violates a court order. What now? It’s possible that the violation disrupts your finances, your schedule, or even your ability to care for your children. It’s important to understand your legal options while making sure your divorce decree is respected as a legally binding order.
Understanding Motions for Contempt
When a family court judge issues a divorce decree, you and your ex-spouse are bound to its rules. Anyone who fails to follow a court order may be found in contempt of court. This can happen when people fail to pay child support or alimony, or when they stray from the visitation plan. A person found in contempt may be ordered to comply with the court orders, face fines, and even receive jail time. While you do have the option to file a Motion for Contempt, some Connecticut courts tend to shy away from contempt rulings. You may also want to avoid more serious penalties for your ex-spouse. It’s important to consider the alternatives and discuss all your options with your attorney before attempting any such legal action.
Motion to Modify and Motion to Compel
A Motion for Contempt is a valid approach, but together with your family law attorney, you might decide that is isn’t the most efficient initial approach to accomplish your goals. First of all, understand that if your ex-spouse has a problem with the divorce order, he or she cannot simply ignore it or refuse to comply. If your ex has legitimate reasons to protest the order—like a job loss that makes it more difficult to pay child support—he or she must file a Motion to Modify, which can adjust the elements of a divorce decree to reflect the new situation.
Since you don’t have a responsibility to file a Motion to Modify on behalf of your ex-partner, you might consider a Motion to Compel. Motions to Compel are often used in the discovery process of a trial, but they can also be used post-divorce to enforce a divorce judgment. It can essentially require your ex-partner to follow the court’s orders.
A Tailored Approach
While these motions can be useful depending on your circumstances, filing isn’t always a necessary or even preferable plan of action. In an ideal situation, you can sit down with your attorney and discuss ways to enforce the divorce decree in a non-confrontational way. The right legal counsel will encourage you to use creative methods to meet your needs, maintain a civil relationship with your ex-partner, and move forward without any issues.
You have a right to enforce your divorce decree and discourage your ex from violating any more orders. If you want to modify a court order, or if you need help enforcing a divorce order, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney. Contact the law office of Freed Marcroft to get professional legal help with your divorce issues. You can trust our family lawyer to assertively represent your rights in court.