Enforcing a Post-Divorce Modification through the Courts

By the time a divorce is final, most people are ready to be done with the process. The mental and emotional toll of a divorce can be difficult to manage, and you are likely ready to move on from the fighting. You negotiated agreements, argued in court, and have a final judgment that spells out what you and your ex-spouse must do. But what if your ex-spouse won't hold up his or her end of the deal?

In most cases, you can enforce either the terms of the original divorce decree or the terms of any subsequent modification, by filing a motion to hold the non-cooperative spouse in contempt. Your attorney can help you write a motion explaining what terms of the decree are not being met. You will need to spell out exactly what your ex-spouse was ordered to do and exactly how he or she is failing to comply. This may be anything from failing to return property allocated to you in the divorce, to failing to comply with visitation or contact provisions. It might also be failing to maintain required insurance.

No matter the specific issue of non-compliance, your attorney will file the contempt motion explaining your position to the court and requesting a hearing in front of a judge. Usually the hearing will be in front of the judge that originally issued the divorce. At the hearing, your ex-spouse will have an opportunity to explain why he or she is not cooperating. If the judge determines that your ex-spouse was not compliant with the earlier order, he or she may hold your ex-spouse in contempt. The judge may also impose sanctions—or penalties—on your ex-spouse. He or she may also order your ex-spouse to pay your attorney's fees.

If your ex-spouse is not cooperating with a court-order, you have options. Consult a knowledgeable family law attorney today for help enforcing a post-divorce modification.

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