If your spouse is violating a divorce decree, you might try to force him or her to adhere to the terms. However, the most reliable course of action is to head to court right away with a skillful Wilmington Divorce Attorney.
Contempt of court divorce settlement may include:
- Failing to make child support payments
- Failing to make alimony payments
- Interfering with court-mandated visitation terms
Violating a divorce decree is considered contempt of court. That’s because divorce decrees are ordered by court, meaning only the court can make changes. Parties to the settlement cannot modify the agreement unilaterally.
Reporting a Violation of a Divorce Settlement
Go to a court clerk to get the necessary documents to cite your spouse’s violation of the divorce settlement terms. Keep in mind that the person who makes a contempt motion possesses the burden of proof. Therefore, you’ll need to collect evidence convincing enough for a judge to award you relief.
For a person to be declared in contempt of court, it’s a must to prove the following:
- The accused party was aware of the order’s existence
- The individual being accused had the capability to adhere to the agreement but violated the terms knowingly
- The accused lacks a just cause for violating the divorce settlement
Be sure to get solid evidence that your ex willfully violated the order before turning to the courts for a remedy.
Court Hearing and Orders
Once you have filed the forms and served your ex-spouse with a copy, the court will schedule a hearing. During the trial, the judge will probably provide an order mandating your ex to obey the divorce settlement agreement. Typically, the order will have a time restriction for compliance. That’s also when you will present any proof you’ve collected to the court.
Given that your former spouse doesn’t cease to violate the conditions, then you should make a second motion in court. The subsequent motion should be accompanied by the copy of the divorce settlement and recent court mandate. Here, the judge will most likely sanction the disobedient ex in some way. The penalty may be inclusive of court contempt, which can lead to imprisonment. The jail time threat isn’t intended to be punitive, but rather to enforce compliance.
In some cases, however, the court can officially hold a former marital partner in contempt, but fail to jail them. Such situations may include:
- When no one else is capable of taking care of the dependent children
- Existence of physical or psychological disabilities
- If the imprisonment could lead to job loss
Alternative sanctions may include the following:
- Ordered payment of court fees
- Modification of the existing arrangement for parenting, which may result in decreased child visitation periods
The sanctions are meant to make your ex-spouse compliant with the divorce settlement terms.
Seek Help from Reliable Legal Experts
Without a doubt, divorce is hard enough already without having to face an ex who fails to obey set terms. With the help of a qualified Wilmington divorce attorney, you can fight for your rights in the acrimonious circumstances. At Speaks Family Law, our divorce lawyers are ready to assist you with your contempt of court divorce settlement case. Get in touch with us as soon as possible via 910.769.7339 or fill out our online contact form.